Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
From: San Francisco, California
SHE’S MY BABY – The Mojo Men [2:57]
(James Alaimo/Paul Curcio/Steven Alaimo)
Personnel/JIM ALAIMO: vocals, bass * PAUL CURCIO: guitar * DON METCHICK: organ * DENNIS DeCARR: drums
Produced by SLY (STEWART) for DONAHUE-MITCHELL PRODUCTIONS
Recorded in San Francisco, CA
Autumn single [diff mix] #27 (2/66); Reprise single #0486 (6/66)
The Mojo Men were from Florida, but formed in San Francisco. They first recorded with Sly Stewart, who would go onto success with Sly & the Family Stone, sharing billing as Sly and the Mojo Men. Stewart chose not to release these recordings but continued to produce the group.
‘She’s My Baby’ was the group’s third single. It’s quite different from the band’s other song on Nuggets – their cover of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ is baroque, while this is a garage rock song with a fuzzy riff.
She talks like my sister, walks like my brother
Looks like my father, but cooks like my mother
The recording featured original drummer Dennis DeCarr, but the artwork in this post features replacement drummer Jan Errico, cousin of Family Stone drummer Greg Errico. Female musicians are thin on the ground in the Nuggets boxset – it seems like an unfortunate occurrence that one of the few is in a band named Mojo Men. The band shortened their name to Mojo before recording their only studio album, 1968’s Mojo Magic.
The central riff of ‘She’s My Baby’ is its strongest feature. This was recognised by Kanye West, who slowed it down and used it as the basis of the track ‘Hell of a Life’ on his acclaimed 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
That’s not the group’s only link to a more recent and better-known act – guitarist Paul Curcio later founded a studio in Rochester, New York. His clients included Metallica – he produced their debut album Kill ‘Em All.
Despite recording 20 tracks in a single day in 1967, the band’s career never took off – although ‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ did make the US top 40. Unfortunately for the band, when you search for Mojo Men nowadays the first result is for erection pills.