Zakary Thaks – Face to Face
Zakary Thaks came from Corpus Christi Texas, an area that was considered a hotbed for such groups. Much of their reputation rests on 1966’s Bad Girl, an incredible single notable for its jaunty start-stop tempo. They managed to release 6 great 45s throughout the decade, some of which were local hits. Most of their 45 releases are originals and cut while the group were still in their teens (they covered just one Kinks track, I Need You – a good version too). Face to Face, their second J-Beck single released in 1967 was arguably the group’s finest moment. It begins with one of the all time great guitar intros and is no doubt one of Texas’ prime garage punkers. The intro sounds like swirling police sirens but Face to Face is also anchored down by a good chaotic fuzz guitar solo and an uplifting chorus. This single was a huge regional hit (selling over 6,000 copies) giving the Thaks major local popularity and momentum to break into other regions/states. The group was poised for a major breakthru but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. All the group’s singles and outtakes have been compiled on BeatRocket’s excellent Form The Habit.
It’s almost unfair to call the Zakary Thaks a garage rock group. Their sound was definitely raw but they were great musicians, well above the typical garage band standard. Also, their sound was constantly evolving and changing throughout the 60’s – just listen to all of their singles. The first time I heard Face to Face my head was blown off clean, it’s a terrific song from a group that were ahead of their time.
“Face To Face”
Vinyl Reissue | “Form The Habit” | Beat Rocket | buy from sundazed ]
The Mind’s Eye – Help, I’m Lost
This group was short-lived and from San Antonio Texas but their single is excellent and worth the search. The B-side had come from Louis Cabaza, Steve Perron and Chris Holzhaus’ prior group, the Argyles. Bill Ash played guitar for the Mind’s Eye briefly and prior to this was a member of the Stoics. The Stoics released a double sided garage rock gem in Enough Of What I Need/Hate – suitably underproduced and menacing. The Mind’s Eye’s only A-side, Help, I’m Lost, is a primitive garage psych classic. Perron’s vocals are mad while the string arrangement adds a sophisticated texture to the swirling organ and acidic raga guitar solo. This single was recorded in 1967 and released off the Jox label. As with many great singles from this era, it received very little commercial feedback and sank without a trace. Many of the Mind’s Eye members went on to form the Children, who would release a good psych pop record in 1968 (all the above tracks were released on Gear Fab’s Rebirth reissue by the Children).
“Enough Of What I Need”
The Mind’s Eye:
“Help I’m Lost”
😀 CD Reissue | 2002 | Gear Fab Records | buy from amazon ]
Morning Disaster – Black Leather Books
This track was never released. Morning Disaster were from Colonial Heights Virginia (a Petersburg suburb). They recorded two other good psych pop tracks that also went unreleased at the time: Song of Innocence and Urban 44. All three tracks appeared on Aliens, Psychos & Wild Things Volume 3 ( a great compilation of local Virginia garage psych bands). Not much is known about the group but I believe these tracks were recorded in 1968 with Black Leather Books/Urban 44 as a projected single. Stanley Rose, vocals and guitar, had written all three tracks and been in prior garage bands the Lost Cause and Fugitives. Black Leather Books is his finest 3 minutes, a demented masterpiece of spacey psychedelia with compelling lyrics “all of your children, waiting in slumber, sad golden children, waiting in slumber.”
“Black Leather Books”
😀 CD Compilation | 2003 | Arcania Int’l | buy from amazon ]
Thor’s Hammer – The Big Beat Country Dance
One of Iceland’s finest groups, Thor’s Hammer (in Iceland they were known as Hijomar) released singles, eps and a few albums then eventually morphed into progressive rock group Trubrot. The late 60s albums were more in a pop-rock/psych-pop mode though perhaps their best work was the 1966 ep titled Umbarumbamba. This disc featured four hard hitting rockers: My Life, I Don’t Care, Better Days and the Big Beat Country Dance. My Life, Big Beat Country Dance, and I Don’t Care are acknowledged killers but Better Days is also pretty good. Big Beat Country Dance sizzles from the intro and forges on with a skull crushing intensity that never lets up – these guys knew how to raise hell. The group recorded these sides in London’s Lansdowne studios. Every song is full of frenzied drum work and walls of guitar distortion. This ep is essential for fans of freakish mid 60s beat sounds.
“The Big Beat Country Dance”
😀 CD Reissue | 2004 | Big Beak UK | buy from amazon ]