Archive for the ‘ Garage ’ Category

The Gurus “Are Hear”

With the current level of interest in Turkish and middle-eastern psychedelia out there, this may be
the perfect time to rediscover the sounds of The Gurus Are Hear. Formed in New York city in the
throes of 1966, the Gurus were the brainchild of a certain Ron Haffkine, a jeweler who liked to hang
around at Cafe Feenjon, a hip coffee shop on MacDougal Street that catered to a wild mixture of Arabs,
Israelis, and, apparently, psychedelic rock and roll musicians. His concept was a simple one: combine
the electric rock and roll beat that was rumbling across the charts with the exotic sounds of the middle
east. He put forward the concept to a number of talented local musicians, who not coincidentally also
happened to moonlight as Cafe Feenjon regulars, and they went in to cut a record.

The results could easily be compared to what Kaleidoscope was doing across the country at around
the same time, but the Gurus really kick things up a notch and cut back on some of the eclecticism
that distinguished their musical compadres. The Gurus Are Hear is very much a psychedelic garage
rock record, despite the prevalence of Pete Smith’s oud and the eastern warbling (the liner notes reveal
that these were often simple obscenities mispronounced in order to sound exotic). The record is full
of highlights, including a wonderfully unique take on the old garage band chestnut “Louie Louie”
coated in Smith’s tasteful oud playing. If you thought you’d heard every possible variation on this one
you could bear, you may want to reconsider. It really does speak to the band’s credit that, even when
delving into cosmic territories, the songs never stray far from their heavy go-go grooves. It may be
weird, but it’s always danceable. The single from the record, “Blue Snow Night,” backed with the crazy
album opener “Come Girl,” even managed to do well enough to land the band on the covers of both
Cashbox and Record World magazine.

Despite sounding so ahead of their time, however, the Gurus still come across as being an acquired
taste, due in large part to the eccentric singing of (the rather inexplicably named) Medulla Oblongata.
His faux-eastern vocalizing may lend the record a good deal of character, but also risk confounding
the unsuspecting listener. This is not to say that straighter singing would have made the record any
better, however, as his most accessible vocal just so happens to come with my least favorite cut on the
album, “Rainy Day in London”. Despite some intriguing instrumental flourishes, this one is a rather
turgid, sentimental ballad about walking in the rain and eating leftover cake that doesn’t quite sound
like anything else the band ever recorded.

It may come as a surprise that despite the success of the aforementioned single, The Gurus Are Hear
was to remain unreleased until 2003, when the tapes were rescued from the vaults by the good folks
at Sundazed Records. Five bonus tracks round out this rather belated release, those being a number of
alternate takes of songs already on the record and “They All Got Carried Away,” a moody psychedelic
pop number with some otherwise trying “Polly wants a cracker” vocal interjections.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Roads to Nowhere”

:D 2003 | Sundazed | buy from sundazed | amazon ]

The Fallen Angels “The Fallen Angels”

The Fallen Angels were Washington D.C.’s greatest contribution to 60s rock.  They only released 2 LPs and several singles but their reputation as the area’s best act transcends this limited output.

While It’s A Long Way Down is their best offering, their first Roulette album, The Fallen Angels (1967/1968-) is packed with great songs and tight performances.  Admittedly, there are a few weaker jugband-type tracks (just two) but one can’t deny the sublime psychedelic power of rocker “Room At The Top,” the moody “Love Dont Talk To Strangers,” and trippier cuts like “Introspective Looking Glass.”  The group could lay down a groove with the best of them but on LP they favor songcraft over noodling.  Jack Bryant’s moody vocals and the album’s interesting production tricks catch the ear first but the group’s energetic drive, personal lyrics and catchy melodies will win you over in the end.  Personal favorites are the sweeping psychedelic folk-rocker “Most Children Do” and a great acid pop floater with distorted vocals titled “Painted Bird.”  The first of these, “Most Children Do” is really a fabulous mellow folk cut that’s spruced up with horns and sitar.  Harder cuts “You Have Changed” and “I’ve Been Thinking” lean toward the garage psych end of the spectrum but are no less essential.  Also, check out the bizarre Mothers of Invention influenced “Your Friends Here In Dundersville.”

While not an all-time classic on par with It’s A Long Way Down (nor is it as moody or intense as this title), The Fallen Angels is still a good album by a psychedelic group whose music has held up quite well – they were one of America’s best unknown psych rock groups.  Try to look for the vinyl reissues as the Collectables cds are marred by poor sound quality.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Most Children Do”

:) Original Vinyl | 1967 | Roullette | search ebay ]

The Swamp Rats “Disco Still Sucks!”

For a brief period in time the Swamp Rats were one of Pittsburgh’s top rock n roll acts, they even needed bodyguards!  The group was basically an updated version of the Fantastic Dee-Jays, a crude garage pop group who released a handful of singles and a fine LP in 1966.  Unfortunately there would be no album for the Swamp Rats but most collectors agree that their original 45s represent some of the best (and rawest) music the genre ever produced.

The Swamp Rats’ Disco Sucks! compilation was released on vinyl in 1979/1980.  The original LP had cuts from the group’s 45s, an outtake, two reunion tracks from 1972 and a few tracks from Bob Hocko’s mid 70s hard rock band, Galactus.  Fast Forward to 2003,  Get Hip releases Disco Still Sucks!, the definitive overview of this great band’s mid 60s output.  The substandard reunion and Galactus tracks are thankfully replaced with quality unreleased Swamp Rats material.  Also, there are three acoustic Bob Hocko tracks that are unlisted but tacked on at the end of this disc. These cuts add nothing to the Swamp Rats’ legacy and are actually quite dispensable.

The Swamp Rats were together for a brief period of time – a year, possibly a year and a half at most.  During that time they released 5 singles (one of them a Dee-Jays track) and recorded quite a bit of studio material (not all of this material has been released).  Their first 45 was a blazing, raw punk cover of “Louie Louie” backed by a fuzzy version of “Hey Joe.”  This single was issued by St. Claire in 1966 and is one of the essential garage 45s – don’t miss this one.  The way I see it is that only two groups other than the Kingsmen did right by “Louie Louie,” one of them was the Sonics and the other was this masterful version put down on wax by the Swamp Rats.  A short while later the Swamp Rats issued their second 45, a cover of “Psycho” backed by a moody folk-rock interpretation of the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.”  “Psycho” was immortalized on the infamous first volume of Back From The Grave and is probably regarded as the group’s finest effort.  “Psycho” is more guitar oriented than the Sonics’ classic version as it features plenty of fuzz and a stinging solo by guitarist Dick Newton.   It’s every bit as good as the Sonics’ original but is also notable for Hocko’s psychotic vocals and a brief backwards guitar outro.  One of the best fuzz guitar garage 45s ever cut.  Their next 45 was another classic, sneering fuzz monster titled “No Friend of Mine” backed by a mediocre Stones’ cover ( “It’s Not Easy”).  Sadly, the Swamp Rats last 45 in 1967 was their weakest, a so/so cover of “In The Midnight Hour.”

Disco Still Sucks! features all the single cuts plus several unreleased gems.  I can live without their “It’s Not Easy” (there are two versions of this song) and “In The Midnight Hour” covers but everything else here is very good.  They turn in two powerful Kinks covers, a good raw version of “Tobacco Road” and two very impressive originals.  “I’m Going Home” is more of a moody folk-rock cut while “Hey Freak,” as the title suggests, is another fuzz monster that would have been a great followup to “No Friend Of Mine.”   So other than a few throw away tracks mentioned above (10 out of the 13 tracks are really good), this compilation of Swamp Rats material is essential listening.  They were one of the very best local garage punk groups of the mid 60s.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“No Friend Of Mine”

:) Vinyl Issue | 2004 | Get Hip | search ebay ]
:D CD Issue | 2003 | Get Hip | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Nerves “One Way Ticket”

Just when you think you’ve heard every little yellow pill of power pop, every filthy pebble of over-amplified teenage angst from the past, and every nugget of garage-rock glory that’s come back from the grave, you stumble onto something that stands a cut above the rest, that stands the test of time, that sticks in your brain like flies on sherbet–you come across The Nerves.

The Nerves were formed in San Francisco in 1974 by Peter Case, Paul Collins, and Jack Lee. By this time the hippy-dippy Haight Street magic of the late 60s had given way to a neurotic street scene in a nervous, anxious city by the Bay. Specializing in raw rock n’roll tunes with perfect pop hooks, the band played with a frenetic frenzy that, in hindsight, very accurately predicated the official arrival of punk rock that would hit the air in just a few years, and quite arguably created the template for the power-pop scene that was yet to come. Appropriately named as they were, the band made music that was perfect for the time. However, after failing to hit the big time from the surprisingly insular scene in San Francisco, the band headed south to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles they fell in with the burgeoning punk scene, playing gigs with bands such as The Avengers and X at the Masque, the Whiskey, and other fabled Hollywood venues of the time.

Eventually, in 1976, the band made it into the studio to record a self-titled 4 song EP. This EP, which was distributed by the infamous Bomp! Records, ended up being the band’s only official release, as the band split nearly a year later without any time to deliver a follow up. After time this self titled 4 song EP became the stuff of legend, gaining a reputation amongst musicians in-the-know and record collectors as an irresistible slice of wax, a definite must own for fans of power-pop, punk, and garage rock. Copies always sell for a pretty penny and seem to practically never show up on Ebay, as if they are silently being passed down, from hand to hand by fanatics the world round. Fortunately for us, in 2008 Alive Records released One Way Ticket, which includes the self titled 4 song EP along with a handful of unreleased tracks, including live cuts, demos, and two songs that the band recorded for Bomp! that were intended to comprise a second release. Every studio recording made by The Nerves is included on this release.

Simply worth the price of admission alone for the fabled four song EP, “One Way Ticket” is almost too good to be true. The two cuts that were intended for the follow up release on Bomp! are incredible. “One Way Ticket” is an up-beat rocker to be reckoned with that recalls the early sound of The Beatles and showcases the singing and songwriting of bassist Peter Case (who had written and sung only one of the four songs on the initial EP), while “Paper Dolls” is yet another catchy tune delivered by guitarist Jack Lee that sounds like some lost Flamin’ Groovies outtake, only better! Both songs practically leap from the speakers with their infectious amphetamine energy, sounding more punk than most punk rock ever manages while showcasing pure golden California pop hooks. Case sounds practically frantic on the title-track, lamenting the insane urban environment of the time. When he sings “Get me outta here! “at the end of the hook he sounds fed up, like he’s had enough of the crazy narcotic, neurotic urban streets of post-war America.

Other standout tracks include, of course, the original version of “Hanging On The Telephone,” which reaches deep and just destroys Blondie’s later remake. The Nerves’ version seems to come from an altogether different place, with singer Jack Lee sounding desperate, pathetically pleading not to be left behind and forgotten–a (young) man at the end of his rope. Similarly, Case’s “When You Find Out” is a phenomenal slice of garage-rock glory that features an exceptionally smokin’ vocal performance from Case. Case sings it like he means it for real, and it’s the ultimate kiss-off when, amidst the minor chord jingle jangle of Rickenbackers and the thump and thud of Paul Collins’ drums, he sings “When you find out I was the one/It’s gonna be pretty hard on you”. On the other end of the spectrum is the upbeat pop tune “Working Too Hard.” With a sound influenced by The Kinks this tune shows a lighter side of the band and foreshadows the arrival of The Knack on the power-pop scene. The only complaint about this release is that some of the unreleased tracks suffer from the audio quality being a bit muddy, obviously due to the fact that most of these recordings were never intended to be released. The demo version of “Many Roads To Follow”, while interesting and catchy, definitely sounds like a demo–that is, not a completely finished song, and eventually has the affect of leaving one wishing for a proper studio version of the tune. Who knows, maybe more tapes will start being discovered in old suitcases.

This review couldn’t possibly be complete without mentioning the live tracks. This band delivers the goods, and then some. You can imagine them playing, peeling the paint off the walls of some bombed out North Beach dive to a bunch of burned out ex-flower-children assuredly watching in amazement, mouths agape and beers in hand or a bunch of jaded Angelino punks at a scuzzy Hollywood bar. These live tracks, which feature mostly guitarist Jack Lee on vocals, reek of beer and sweat and are valuable for the glimpse they provide of The Nerves’ live sound, which, after having become the stuff legends are made of, sounds to be markedly more punk sounding than any of the studio recorded material. All in all, the live tidbits really add to the overall package, providing a fuller view of the band.

Anyway you slice it One Way Ticket is a killer album, with the first six songs being practically perfect lost pop masterpieces. If you’re a fan of power-pop, garage rock, or punk this album is a must own and will surely became a new favorite within a matter a moments. If you’re a fan of rock music, period, you need this album. In the end, what’s so fascinating about The Nerves isn’t just their early input into power-pop, their involvement with the burgeoning Los Angeles punk scene, or the direct link they provide between garage rock and punk–but the fact that the first six tracks on this album sound like they could have been recorded yesterday by a handful of 22 year olds in a garage in San Francisco (ie. Girls, The Fresh and Only’s, etc…) or even at the turn of the century by a handful of 22 year olds in a basement in New York City.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Hanging On The Telephone”

:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Alive Records | buy from bomp | amazon ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Pretty Things “Get the Picture?”

In London’s early 60s it seemed all the kids wanted to play American R&B and Chicago blues. Kids all throughout England exchanged guitar licks with one another in the front room of their parent’s flat – trying to emulate the sounds of Jimmy Reed, Slim Harpo or Elmore James. There was a group of young Londoners in particular who did just this, jamming after art school at the childhood home of budding guitarist Dick Taylor. When these boys, who coined themselves Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys, started to get serious about their music and parted ways to form other groups, half of the camp went on to form a little band called The Rolling Stones while the other half formed The Pretty Things.

The Pretty Things had a hard-driving, raw, and energetic soul that poured out in their loose and urgently chaotic music. While The Stones skyrocketed into the stratosphere of success, The Pretty Things didn’t prove to be as lucky. Though they quickly gained immense notoriety around London by playing their guitar amps louder, their arrests and social punch-ups coupled with outrageous behavior (drummer Viv Prince was The Pretties’ Keith Moon…nuf’ said).  Though they never achieved the commercial success of their shaggy haired brethren, they did manage to influence many younger garage bands including The Shadows of Knight and The Primitives. The Pretties’ unique sound was propelled by Viv’s primeval drumming and Dick Taylor’s jagged & piercing guitar runs. Not to mention the main ingredient of The Pretty Things sound – Phil May, the man behind the painfully soul-filled vocal that exalted these tunes beyond the reach of mere mortals.

“Get The Picture” is The Pretty Things at their best, with two sides of amazing material. “You Don’t Believe Me” starts the record with a jangled pop-soul fever featuring Jimmy Page on supportive guitar and percussion duties. “Buzz The Jerk” comes next which has, quite possibly, one of the coolest intro riffs to come out of England. The title track “Get the Picture” has that head bobbing swagger that is truly infectious. They do a stellar job on Slim Harpo’s “Raining in My Heart,” with its tremolo soaked guitar work and May’s sorrowful vocals. The album closer, “Gonna Find Me a Substitute” oozes with cool. The fuzz bass drives and pushes this track while Dick Taylor lays down great guitar riffs throughout the song backing May’s perfect vocal performance. The Pretty Things may not have received the recognition and success they deserved, but they did and still continue to burn up turntables across the world. I guess some things are best kept secret.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Get The Picture”

:D CD Reissue | 2000 | Snapper | buy here ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1965 | Fontana | search ebay ]

The Electric Prunes “Underground”

When the Electric Prunes are remembered at all, it’s for their seductive nightmare of a 1967 single, “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night).”  Culled from their first album, “I Had Too Much to Dream” set a template for the best of the band’s work: distorted guitars and vocals, bizarre lyrics and a spooky vibe.

By the time of their second album, the Prunes were tired of being considered a prefab band.  Fed songs from some of L.A.’s best psych-garage writers, controlled in the studio by producer/Machiavelli Dave Hassinger and often replaced on record by studio musicians, the band broke out of the prefab mold and wrote many of the songs on Underground.

The result was a more cohesive album than their first album, even if the many of the album’s best songs were contributed by other songwriters. Goffin-King’s “I Happen to Love You” is one of the disc’s strongest tunes, and the duo of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz of “I Had Too Much to Dream” fame, contributed “Antique Doll,” another standout track.

But the songs contributed by band members are not throwaways by any means.  “The Great Banana Hoax” by members Jim Lowe and Mark Tulin has as much in common with the Monkees as the Standells, but is nevertheless memorable (and not banana flavored in the least), as are the pair’s other contributions, especially the brooding “Everybody Knows You’re Not in Love” and “Wind-Up Toys.”

Alas, Underground would be the last album for the real Electric Prunes; subsequent albums of pseudo-religious music (sung in Latin at times) used studio musicians playing under the moniker “the Electric Prunes,” while the actual Electric Prunes faded from view. Dirty shame.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Wind Up Toys”

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2009 | Hi Horse | buy here ]
:D CD Reissue | 2000 | Collector’s Choice | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Honeycombs “All Systems Go!”

Before the dust settled on their million-selling debut single “Have I the Right?” produced by Joe Meek, the Honeycombs released their self-titled debut LP on Pye records in September of 1964.

Dismissed by some as a novelty act for having a female drummer (bandleader Honey Lantree), they cut consistently good material at Meek’s Holloway Road home studio throughout 1965 and released their finest effort All Systems – Go! on Pye in December of that year.

Mostly a mix of freakbeat and the bubblegum-pop of their singles, All Systems- Go! also features some great experimenting from a band trying to maintain their success. It’s these genre hopping tracks that make this a solid record, but also account for some of the lesser numbers.

There are a few throwaways, like the light R&B fare of “Ooee Train” (which starts strong but dies at the verse) and “Don’t Love Her No More” (which has a great guitar sound but a terrible chorus). The version of “I Can’t Stop” featured here is not as catchy as the single, but the Honey-sung “There’s Something I’ve Got To Tell You Baby” has been improved from the Glenda Collins version. This time it’s slowed down and more sincere, replacing the strings with a mellow organ and classical guitar musings. “Our Day Will Come” expands on the exotica vibe of “Totem Pole” and displays Honey Lantree’s strong prowess as a drummer. The rhythm section is especially tight on this album and really pops out.

“If You Should” could be mistaken for an early Brian Wilson production, and is easily among the best here. “Nobody But Me” stands out with its persistent guitar line and another solid performance from Honey, but the title track is the most single-worthy, with its anthemic full band chant of “ALL…SYSTEMS…GO!!”. Most of the songs here were written by Howard & Blaikley, with the exception of the Ray Davies penned “Emptiness”, which was never recorded by The Kinks. It’s very Kinks-like and bears a striking similarity to “Something Better Beginning” which had also been recorded by the Honeycombs earlier in the year. The disc closes with the Roy Orbison sounding “My Prayer” that works strangely well and highlights the uniqueness of Denis D’Ell’s voice.  Probably the most grandiose recording here, it shows the Honeycombs as far from their core sound as they ever got, but also comes across as the most confident.

Forty six years on and All Systems Go is still an interesting and rewarding listen. It’s full of unique sounds and rhythms and is definitely one of the best of the few LP’s Joe Meek recorded.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“All Systems Go”

:D CD Reissue | 2fer | buy here ]
:) Original LP |  1965 | Pye | search ebay ]

Spur “Spur of the Moments”

Spur was an unknown Illinois band who gained some local notoriety in the late 60’s but never hit the big time (they opened for many of the era’s big bands: The Byrds, Cream, Bob Seger, Steve Miller and The Grateful Dead).  For Spur of the Moments, Drag City compiled the best tracks from their sole album (1968-), along with several outtakes and rare 45 cuts.  Tons of blogs and rock magazines/fanzines have reviewed this gem, so we figured we’d give our own spin on this exciting new reissue.

While Spur of the Moments is by no means a cohesive, album-like statement, each song is finely crafted 60’s rock n roll that’s well worth a spin.  Spur started out life as a garage band who called themselves The Unknowns.  The Unknowns would eventually change their name to Spur and touch on a variety of classic 60’s sounds: garage, folk-rock, heavy psych and country-rock.  It must’ve been a challenge to assemble and piece together this anthology.  Spur were certainly long-lived by 60’s standards (1965-1972) but they were also a group who frequently revamped their sound/style and spent very little time in the recording studio.  That being said, Drag City does a great job putting all their highlights together in one convenient place.

The LP’s first five cuts are its most brilliant ones.  We begin with “Mind Odyssey,” a classic slice of psychedelic country-rock that’s highlighted by fluid guitar work and mild studio experimentation.   With “Tribal Gathering,” Spur turns a classic Byrds track into a 14 minute Grateful Dead-like acid guitar jam.   “Time Is Now,” another great performance, is quality West Coast psychedelia with good harmonies (about mid way through), fuzz guitar and a strong Jefferson Airplane feel.  These 3 cuts also suggest that Spur may have been listening to The Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers album.  “Modern Era,” a 1966 single which was originally backed by a cover of Gene Clark’s “Feel A Whole Lot Better” (not included), recalls 5D Byrds, with it’s punchy, jangley guitars and acid fried lyrics – definitely a keeper.  “Mr. Creep,” a terrific cut from Spur’s sole album, sports cool, distorted vocals, razor sharp guitars and bizarre lyrics (great, twisted garage psych).  Other fine tracks: Spur’s excellent country-rock take on The Beatles’ classic “Eight Days A Week” (banjo and steel guitar make me think of a cross between Dillard & Clark and The Flying Burrito Brothers), the suprising power pop of “Help Me I’m Falling” and the jumpy garage number “Be Tender, My Love.”

Spur of the Moments is only being offered on vinyl and MP3 formats (not cd).  This is certainly one of the better reissues of 2010.  A good one to own if you’re into Moby Grape, The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Mr. Creep”

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2010 | Drag City | here ]
;) Digital Download | here ]

The Sorrows “Take A Heart”

The Sorrows’ roots can be traced back to Coventry (around 1963), where Don Fardon (vocals), Pip Whitcher (lead guitar), Terry Jukes (rhythm guitar), and Philip Packham (bass) played in various local beat groups.  While plying their trade in the local night clubs the group was discovered by John Schroeder, Picadilly’s label manager.  Their first Picadilly (owned by Pye) single, “I Don’t Want To Be Free/Come With Me,” was an excellent Kinks-like number, full of power chords and tough, soulful vocals.  Another quality single leaked out (“Baby”) but success seemed to elude the boys.

It wasn’t until “Take A Heart” that the Sorrows had their big top 20 smash.  Originally written by songwriter Miki Dallon and recorded by the Boy Blues, “Take A Heart” for my money, is one of the UK’s greatest rock n roll singles.  The song’s arrangement gradually builds up into an explosion of speedy guitar work, charging rhythms, and violent lead vocals (Fardon was a great vocalist).  Without question, this 45 is one of the true classics.  To capitalize on the single’s success Pye released the Take A Heart LP in December of 1965.  The LP is consistently good, featuring originals, a few more tracks written by Miki Dallon and some interesting R&B covers.  Standouts include their ferocious take on “Teenage Letter,” the trashy mod pop of “Come With Me,”  a couple of strange beat ballads (“How Love Used To Be” and “We Should Get Along Fine”), and a Dylan influenced folk-rocker titled “Don’t Sing No Sad Songs For Me.”  Another great cut is their cover of “Let Me In,” a track that rocks really hard and features impressive fretwork.  Take A Heart is right up there with the early Stones’ output, the Pretty Things first two LPs, and the Small Faces debut; it’s that good.

The Sorrows released a few more 45s from the lp but none of them made the charts.   At this point Fardon decided it was best that he leave the group to pursue a solo career.  The Sorrows would soldier on, releasing an excellent early psych 45 in 1967 (“Pink, Purple, Yellow, Red”) and then relocate to Italy.  It was around this time that the group cut an LP titled Old Songs, New Songs in 1968.  A respectable LP, Old Songs, New Songs was a mixture of group originals and covers of then popular tracks by Traffic, The Small Faces and Family.  Despite the LP’s fine guitar work, it was nowhere near as good (or original) as Take A Heart.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Take A Heart”

;) MP3 2-Album | 2006 | Sanctuary | download ]
:)  Vinyl | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Ikon Records Story

Several years back the good folks at Frantic Records treated us to The Ikon Records Story.  This vinyl sampler of the fabled label was followed by a grand, 2 cd set (60 tracks!), which included plenty of bonus cuts, lost 45s and unreleased tracks.  Many of these tracks were recorded during the prime garage/teenbeat era (1964-1966) at Ikon Studios, which was located in Sacramento, California.

There are no fuzz (Eirik Wangberg’s excellent “Every Night I Dream A Little” is a notable expection – it’s a twisted gem of a record) or freaky garage stompers a la Back From The Grave.  Be that as it may, The Ikon Records Story is loaded with great slices of mid 60’s rock n roll, surf, instrumental numbers, folk-rock, garage punk, spy-themed novelty bits and Brit influenced pop.  It’s nearly the equal of Back From The Grave but focuses on a wider array of vintage teenbeat sounds: key cuts being Madd, Inc.’s powerful, rebel rocker “I’ll Be The One” (a near classic), the Knightsmen’s impressive, Rolling Stones-like “Daddy Was A Rolling Stone,” the Mergers’ fine British Invasion influenced pop rocker “Love, You Funny Thing,” and The Shondells’ downbeat jangler “It’s True.”

There’s really too many highlights here to list – The Ikon Records Story is a terrific collection of adolescent, fresh-faced sounds from the days when rock music was new, raw and vital.  Most of the original 45’s are so rare that it would cost thousands of dollars to piece this collection together.   If you’re into classic mid 60’s sounds you should really own this superb compilation of regional rock n roll.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Sel-Sync – The Fire Is Gone

:D CD Issue | 2006 | Crypt Records | search ebay ]