Gary Paxton was an early rock'n'roll journeyman who tried everything once in the music business and Hollywood Maverick: The Gary Paxton Story released by Ace Records from the UK is the most all encompassing compilation of his work.
Paxton is best known for a couple early 60s hits including The Hollywood Argyles' Alley-Oop (which he recorded with another rock'n'roll journeyman Kim Fowley) and Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash, both of which are included in this compilation.
Other compilations which spotlighted a more focused light on certain genres Paxton worked in include Beach Party - Garpax Surf'n'Drag (a compilation of surf and hot rod music produced by Paxton) and Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls (a girl group compilation, the best of which was from The Rev-Lons and Beverly Williams).
Paxton also was involved with producer Curt Boettcher (from the Millennium), engineering The Association's album And Then...Along Comes the Association (and their hit Along Come Mary), Lee Mallory's (also from the Millennium) That's the Way It's Gonna Be, and Friar Tuck & His Psychedelic Guitar (an album from 1967 that has yet to be reissued which was arranged by Curt Boettcher, and featured Curt and Sandy Salisbury from the Millennium and Jim Bell and Michele O' Malley from The Ballroom on vocals).
Also, around this time Paxton produced The Highly Successful Young Rupert White by the Chocolate Tunnel, which was later used as the backing track for The Eternity's Children's Rupert White by simply adding new vocals to the backing track (the Chocolate Tunnel version can be found on Fading Yellow volume 6 while The Eternity's Children's tune is on From Us Unto You: The Complete Singles). Paxton then went onto produce The Eternity's Children's Timeless album.
Hollywood Maverick has a more general overview of Paxton's production, from his early days of Everly Brothers styled recordings, to the novelty hits, some girl group sounds, pop vocalists, harmony pop, and ending with his Jesus freak music. And while there are a slew of unissued sides, the best thing about Hollywood Maverick are in fact the liner notes by Alec Palao which shine a spotlight on the backstory of these recordings.
Certain things are interesting to hear in this context some of which isn't all that great on its own - like
- Paxton's own work as Skip & Flip from early his career
- the early Paul Revere & The Raiders single Midnite Ride from 1961
- David Gates and Leon Russell recording as David & Lee on Tryin' To Be Someone from 1962
- Sky Saxon from The Seeds as Ritchie Marsh on Darling, I Swear That It's True from 1962
- Mickey Rooney's son, Mickey Rooney, Jr.'s unreleased I Can Read Between the Lines
- Renfro & Jackson's nonsense novelty tune Elephant Game, Pt. 1 from 1963
- the harmony pop of the Four Freshmen's Nowhere to Go from 1966
- and the Jesus freakness of the Art Reynolds Singers' Jesus Is Just Alright from 1966 (a song later made famous by Doobie Brothers)
Missing is any of the aforementioned work with Curt Boettcher and The Eternity's Children. Including this here could have fleshed out this compilation, and make it something I would return to more.