THE ASTRONAUTS – Astronauts Orbit Kampus – (RCA) – 1964

The Astronauts live at The Tulagi in Boulder, Colorado!


I don’t know if the guys went to University (orbit Kampus? In any event the “K” is prior to The Kinks going crazy with “K’s) though I suspect not as they were a working band.


In any event they didn’t have to travel far to “The Tulagi” in Boulder, Colorado as they were from Boulder, Colorado.


I don’t even know if this is recorded live – it wasn’t uncommon to make in-house live albums in the 60s and call them “live”. This was recorded February 27 – March 1, 1964 though.


What is clear is the Astronauts desire to put together a rocking, frantic party album. With that in mind they have recorded some old rock n roll favourites. Not surprisingly, they have gone back to the 50s for most of the tunes given there wasn’t as much straight ahead rock n roll coming out of the early 1960s.


This is music has no pretence and no subtlety. And that is precisely the enjoyment in it. It’s made for dancing and it’s ragged, rough and visceral.


Oddly in England at about the same time the same songs were being covered and it’s interesting to note that the versions here are more frantic, rough and primitive as much of this frat (come surf rock) was. Also within its grooves are the seeds of garage rock which was to explode in the US within the year …..


This is the Astronauts 4th (?) album in a year and they still smoke – the energy levels are high, and the covers, generally, are individual – that is they have played around with the originals to make them suit their sound rather than doing straight covers.

See my other entry for biographical information.


Tracks (best in italics)

  • Johnny B. Goode-(Chuck Berry)-   a smoking version of the Chuck Berry classic which actually plays around with the original version.
  • Be-Bop-A-Lula -(Tex Davis / Gene Vincent  ) –   a cover, nothing more nothing less.
  • Good Golly Miss Molly -(Robert "Bumps" Blackwell / John Marascalco) –   a smoking version of the Little Richard classic …this was done by many English rock acts but this version out does them all. Hints of (future) garage are creeping in.
  • Let the Good Times Roll -(Shirley Goodman / Leonard Lee) –  a cover.
  • Linda Lou -(Ray Sharpe) –   A stomper of the highest order with a great guitar break …
  • Bony Moronie -(Larry Williams) –   a cover.
  • Diddy Wah Diddy -(Bo Diddley / Willie Dixon) –   a excellent version – and it’s not even overshadowed by Captain Beefheart’s later cover version.
  • Roll over Beethoven -(Chuck Berry) –   wow….did the MC5 hear this before they did their cover of Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA”? This is fast, white and all energy.
  • Shop Around – (Berry Gordy, Jr. / Smokey Robinson  ) –  hey, a band has got to eat…so you play what the audience wants to hear. What’s more egalitarian than that?  Here they do a early sould song from The Miracles (1960). The Astronauts have adapted the song to their sound.
  • Greenback Dollar -(Hoyt Axton / Kennard Ramsey) –   well on campus they would have been listeing to folk and The Kingston Trio’s Greenback Dollar ( also covered by many others) was a staple of the pop folk revival. As with all the other tunes the Astronauts have “garaged” up this folk staple.
  • Summertime -(George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin / DuBose Heyward) –  
  • Sticks and Stones -(Titus Turner) – a cover 

And …


All covers and glorious in part …. I’m keeping it.


Chart Action





Nuttin, no where




Linda Lou


Bony Moronie


Diddy Wah Diddy


The Astronauts – Diddy Wah Diddy








The music is for dancing!’s/The_Astronauts_Tulagi’s.htm





About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at Cheers
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3 Responses to THE ASTRONAUTS – Astronauts Orbit Kampus – (RCA) – 1964

  1. beno says:

    In 1963, the Kingston Trio had a near Top 20 hit on the US charts with Greenback Dollar, which Hoyt co-wrote with fellow folk singer Ken Ramsey. The song also made the Billboard charts on three different Kingston Trio albums during the sixties. However, the financial reward never came, and Hoyt made a mere $800.00 from the song. “After I got ripped off as a writer on ‘Greenback Dollar’, I didn’t go into a blue funk and walk around crying that everyone’s crooked,” Hoyt says of the experience. “I’ve always been an optimist, and I’m going to stay that way until I die. I think I get that from my mother, who could go up to the devil himself, and she’d say ‘Hello, young man, you’re a lovely shade of red, but you’re a naughty boy’. With ‘Greenback Dollar’, I had a crooked publisher, and that was when I’d only been in the business a year, so I didn’t know anything – I was just a kid with a guitar living in a car… How could I sue when the whole point of the song was how I didn’t give a damn about a greenback dollar?”

  2. beno says:

    i never knew hoyt axton’s mother co-wrote heartbreak hotel or that he wrote 3 dogs night’s “joy to the world” and steppenwolf’s “the pusher”

    • Franko says:

      Not only that but: from wikipedia: “Boren was the link between Elvis Presley and RCA Records. She introduced a 19-year-old Presley to Colonel Tom Parker after a performance in Jacksonville, FL. She worked on behalf of Bob Neal to promote Presley and pressured RCA Nashville division head Stephen H. Sholes to sign Presley. In 1955 Boren co-wrote the Elvis Presley hit-song “Heartbreak Hotel” with Tommy Durden. Durden presented the idea to Mae Axton, from a newspaper article he had read about a man who had killed himself, leaving behind only the message “I walk a lonely street.” It was Mae who suggested there be a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of the man’s lonely street thus creating Elvis’ first #1 record and one of rock n rolls greatest hits”.

      Elvis changed the lyrics slightly (“They’ll be so lonely they could die” replaced “They’ll be so lonely they pray to die”) but as was the fashion at the time he got some songwriting credit for recording the same. Before we judge that practice it should be said that Tom Parker arranged for Elvis to receive a songwriting credit in exchange for singing it. This meant that royalties were split between Durden, Axton, and Elvis. In a 1982 interview, Durden said this song “has paid the rent for more than 20 years.”

      Also Hoyt himself recorded “Heartbreak Hotel” for his 1964 album “Explodes”.

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