Posts Tagged ‘ 1966 ’

Les Fleur De Lys “Reflections”

As Britain’s “other” major Atlantic seaport, Southampton might have been expected to produce a stream of pop and rock successes to rival Liverpool during the Golden Years, but it didn’t happen. Probably the highest-profile outfit to emerge from the south coast seaport during this period was Les Fleur De Lys, certainly the only such with a grammatically-incorrect French name. Like their near-neighbours, Brighton’s Mike Stuart Span, they enjoyed a chequered history involving half–dozen lineups, dabbling in half-a-dozen genres, sporadically releasing a dozen or so singles and finally fragmenting in frustration after half-a-dozen years (1964-1970). Again like the Span, they never contrived to issue an album in their lifetime, but the present CD is a compendium of all their  singles from their earliest Beat Boom days through their freakbeat, blue-eyed soul, harmony-pop, psychedelic and nascent prog-rock phases. Their legacy remains a handful of classic freakbeat and psych A-sides, and their other main claim to fame is as a launch pad for guitarist Bryn Haworth’s subsequent career; he would morph into perhaps Britain’s finest electric slide player and thence become a doyen of Christian rock music in which field he remains very active.

The Fleurs could in fact boast some pretty substantial musicianship throughout their various incarnations. Drummer Keith Guster, the only ever-present member, could hold down a metronomic funky beat whilst bassist Gordon Haskell, who would move on to King Crimson, had formidable rock and soul chops. Haworth’s predecessor Phil Sawyer was also a fine player in a reckless Jeff Beck style, whilst Haworth himself boasted a fluid bluesy technique and a distinctive, piercing Stratocaster/AC30 sound. They were a top live draw around Swinging London, acting as backing band live and on disc for singer Sharon Tandy and supporting such esteemed and varied visiting headliners as the Beach Boys, Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin. In an attempt to break through chartwise they also recorded under various pseudonyms including Shyster, Waygood Ellis, Rupert’s People and Chocolate Frog (!). Several of the early singles were produced by one Jimmy Page, no less.

The twenty-four tracks of the present compilation include the A’s and B’s of all seven singles issued under their own name, the Tandy sides and all the sides released under the fake monikers. The early Beat-era stuff and the soul-based tracks are pretty disposable; the Fleurs were no Young Rascals, nor despite the presence of a couple of competent organists in the early lineups were they anyone’s Procul Harum. However the Page-produced freakbeat cover of Pete Townshend’s “Circles” and its follow-up “Mud In Your Eye” forefront Sawyer’s fine manic lead guitar licks, whilst “Gong With The Luminous Nose” and “Liar” are fine examples of Brit psychedia and guitar-led prog respectively with Haworth’s exemplary Hendrixoid fretwork to the fore. The two Sharon Tandy sides “Hold On” and “Daughter Of The Sun” are rip-roaring rockers, with the powerful backings complementing Tandy’s steely vocal and Haskell’s bass work on “Hold On” a revelation. On the rock and pop tracks the instrumentation and vocals are more than competent but the songwriting is passable at best and sometimes mediocre. The result is a fascinating 24-track collection of historical interest to Sixties rock completists, but which would have made a really good “best of” if reduced to sixteen cuts.

Originally issued on CD by Blueprint in 1996, the present Gonzo budget reissue has the same track listing but a different cover photo. The typo-strewn track listing and historical perspective in the booklet notes are not exactly academic masterpieces, but better ones can be found.

mp3: Circles (Instant Party)
mp3: Gong with the Luminous Nose

:D Compilation | 2010 | Gonzo | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

PODCAST 26 Garage,Pop


I Want to Hold Your Hand (1968-) – The Moving Sidewalks
Naughty Girl (1965/1966) – The Missing Links
Sad and Lonely and Blue (1966) – The Easybeats
I’m On Fire (1968-) – The Easybeats
Calm Me Down (1966) – The Human Expression

Her Face (1966/1967) – Steve Ellis and the Starfires
You Lied To Me Before (1966) – The Treez
You’re Too Young (1965) – The Vagrants
I’ll Come To You (1967) – The Elite
Gone To The Moon (1966) – The Savages
Out of the Question (1967 – from the Future LP) – The Seeds

Download: Podcast26.mp3
To subscribe to this podcast: [?]

The Kings Verses “The Kings Verses”

In 1966, Fresno CA band the Kings Verses went into the studio to cut the 10 tracks that make up the bulk of this special LP release.  What could have been a fine mid 60s garage LP ended up in the can for what seemed like an eternity.  The good folks at BeatRocket took it upon themselves to release these excellent recordings on vinyl/MP3.  The record label was also kind enough to include two quality live cuts from around the same time – all in good sound. This live material was culled from the band’s first place performance at the 1966 KYNO Battle of the Bands. Legal complications with the musicians’ union and LA’s Hullabaloo Club would ultimately seal this legendary group’s fate.

During their heyday the Kings Verses played LA’s Griffith and also appeared at the Elysian Park Love-Ins. Their sound alternated between crunching garage punk and sullen folk-rock (think early Love).  For garage rock fanatics this is a major find, along the lines of another mysterious CA group that never released any official singles or albums in their day but produced a slew of unreleased recordings, the Public Nuisance.

To my knowledge, all the tracks on the Kings Verses LP are original compositions that come from the pen of guitarist Jim Baker.   Furious punkers “The Ballad of Lad Polo” and “A Million Faces” caught my attention first but album opening raver “Light” is just as good.  “The Ballad of Lad Polo” is a near classic track that proves this group was more than just a myth – the Kings Verses catch fire here, unleashing a blazing fast paced rocker with lots of great static-like fuzz.  Other good cuts are the fuzzy instro “Mind Rewind”, the menacing garage ballad “She Belonged To Me” and a trio of beguiling folk-rockers, “It’s Not Right”, “E. Sok Baxter” and “You Can Be.”

Had this been released on vinyl back in 1966 it would have been up there with the very best garage rock albums.

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.

“It’s Not Right”

:D Compilation | 1998 | BeatRocket | buy from sundazed ]
;) Digital Download | buy from reverbnation ]

Mike Stuart Span “Children of Tomorrow”

The cosmopolitan seaside resort of Brighton, Sussex – my own birthplace, as it happens – has been a Mecca for the more unbuttoned forms of the performing arts ever since the louche patronage of the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Strangely, especially given its nearness to “Swinging” London, it produced only a sparse crop of memorable artists and groups in the halcyon years of pop and rock music. During their brief sojourn as a recording act, the Mike Stuart Span were the only such from Brighton – and that at the height of the sixties beat/psych era when groups were being signed nationwide in hundreds.

Like many of their contemporaries, they launched as a beat group, became a mod-soul outfit, then floated off into psychedelia before gravitating towards progressive rock. Starting around 1963 as the Mighty Atoms, they underwent numerous personnel changes and name-changes, first to the Extremes and then to the Mike Stuart Span – after their vocalist, Stuart Michael Hobday – before landing a contract with EMI Columbia in 1966 under which they released a couple of Stax-ish singles. These both bombed and EMI let the band go. Dumping their keyboards and horn section, the remaining four-piece – Hobday, guitarist Brian Bennett,  bassist Roger McCabe and drummer Gary Murphy – recorded an acid-tinged cover of “Rescue Me” and a couple of similarly lysergic originals for Decca, who branded these insufficiently commercial and declined to release them at all. Taking what appeared to be the only remaining path, the band cut, at their own expense, two unashamedly psychedelic originals “Children Of Tomorrow” and “Concerto Of Thoughts” and issued these in 1967 in a run of 500 singles on a small independent label, Jewel. The record received sufficient exposure and critical acclaim to gain them local support slots to Cream and Hendrix, a couple of John Peel sessions, a BBC TV documentary (on struggling rock bands!), a misguided pure-pop single on Fontana and, eventually, an offer to sign to the UK branch of Elektra, under condition that they change their name; this they did yet again, to Leviathan. Two fine guitar-led prog-rock singles on the new label came and went unnoticed in 1969, and sessions for an LP were completed but Elektra head honcho Jak Holzman was dissatisfied with the product. With the prospect of the album’s release fading, the band called it a day and split late in ’69, all but Bennett leaving the music industry. “Children Of Tomorrow” resurfaced as an uber-rarity during the 1980s psych revival. Interest slowly grew and a compilation (officially-sanctioned) of most of the band’s psych/prog-era studio work finally appeared in 1996.

This new collection, Children Of Tomorrow, represents the entire studio output of the band in all its incarnations on all labels apart from about half of the aborted Elektra album, and gives a fascinating insight into a band exploring every avenue to try to make the big-time, with talent to spare but luck totally lacking. The whole story is laid out in the splendid accompanying booklet. Of the music, the early soul-based tracks are solid and energetic if unoriginal, while the Decca efforts are worthy generic acid-pop. From here things improve markedly; both sides of the Jewel single are splendidly druggy stuff, fully deserving of their high rating. But best of all IMHO are the demos the band cut before the Elektra signing and the sides subsequently released as Leviathan singles; the tight arrangements, imperious vocals and wallpaper-stripping guitar work of “World In My Head”, “Second Production”, “Flames”, “Blue Day” and “Remember The Times” suggest that the cancelled album would have been a fine prog-guitar artefact. Allegedly the master tapes still languish in Elektra’s vaults, and Warner has hinted in the past about finally releasing the album in original form. If it ever appears, it will almost certainly have been worth the wait.

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.

“Children of Tomorrow”

:D Compilation | 2011 | Grapefruit | buy here ]

The Klan “Join Us”

In America “The Klan” might have some negative connotations, but to a group of kids in Brussels in 1963 it sounded like the perfect band name (good enough to have chosen it over their original name “Los Ombres“). They soon began adding a disclaimer to their name, written as “The Klan (Belgium Band),” to prevent any further confusion.

Regardless of the cheeky title, The Klan were a wonderful baroque pop outfit with one exceptional full length LP to their credit. The songs on 1966’s Join Us are incredibly musical and far more considered than the typical pop fair of the time.

Like most bands of the era, this record touches on all facets of the Beatles but mainly cops the folk rock shamble of Help! and Revolver, with heavy Harrison style vocals. The lush string/brass arrangements and studio effects occasionally take the record into mild psych territory, like on the gorgeous “And I Love It So” and “Already Mine” with it’s vaguely eastern refrain. There’s also a light flair for Spector-esque grandiosity here, with some songs aproaching the Brill Building style.

It’s difficult to pick favorites from such a solid album, but some standouts include opener “Fify the Fly” which outshines its goofy subject matter with a pretty melody and a bouncy harpsichord line, and “One of My Dreams” which could easily have been a mid-period Harrison song.

With all the Beatles references aside, The Klan wrote some fantastic material and although they did not achieve much notoriety outside of their home country, these songs definitely deserve to be heard apart from their mid-60s context to truly appreciate the unique perspective on this record.

“Join Us” has yet to be reissued on CD, but LPs do turn up on eBay frequently (especially the 1967 Brazilian pressing).

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.

“Fify The Fly”

:) Original | 1966 | Palette | search ]

The Rising Sons “The Rising Sons”

The Rising Sons seem to have done things backwards. Built around Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, and Jesse Lee Kincaid (whose ‘She Sang Hymns Out of Tune’ would later find its way onto records by Nilsson, Hearts and Flowers, and the Dillards), the band would certainly have been deemed a supergroup had it gotten its act together a couple of years down the line. As it stands, the band first made a name for itself on the hip side of the Los Angeles folk scene before eventually finding its way into the studio with producer Terry Melcher, fresh from his success with the Byrds. Though these recording sessions would ultimately lead to the demise of the band, they yielded a strong, if scatterbrained, collection of blues-oriented folk-rock – excellent music that would unfortunately remain unreleased for over thirty years.

Though a compact disc of the band’s recordings was compiled in the late nineties, it was put together as a historical or archival release, and as such, was a little messy in its presentation (a handful of the cuts featured new, overdubbed vocals by Taj Mahal). Fortunately, however, Sundazed Records has recently taken matters into their own hands and pulled off a beautiful restoration job, putting together twelve of the leanest cuts from that mid-sixties session and releasing what they think the first Rising Sons record would have been like, had it actually seen daylight. Even the artwork on this release has been carefully and lovingly designed to look like a vintage record jacket.

The album opens with “Statesboro Blues,” the Blind Willie McTell standard, and a barreling take on the Monkees tune “Take A Giant Step.” Both songs would later be re-cut by Taj Mahal in arguably superior arrangements, but the sides here have a brash recklessness to them that’s both engaging and refreshing. Cooder’s slide guitar and Kincaid’s twelve-string are all over the place, buzzing around the songs and really propelling above your usual late-sixties fare. When the band sets aside the fuzz tones and brings out the acoustic instruments on “The 2:10 Train,” it’s extraordinary to hear how beautiful the Sons can sound when they put their minds to it. Linda Albertano and Tom Campbell’s folk ballad positively dances here, and is as laid back as the earlier cuts are furious, gesturing towards the road Taj would soon take with Jesse Ed Davis and beyond.

If you dig the later work of any of the members involved, or are simply looking for a righteous slice of Los Angeles folk rock, the Rising Sons album delivers. The band manages to deliver an eclectic range of Americana with the perfect blend of rock and roll attitude and musical traditionalism. If it all sounds a little wild and messy, it comes with the territory – this stuff is the real deal. Dig.

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 Giant Step”

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2001 | Sundazed | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Count Five “Psychotic Reaction”

Most fans of garage know Count Five as the group behind the classic single “Psychotic Reaction” – a three minute and eight second distillation of everything that’s great about the genre, from its immediately recognizable opening fuzz riff to its last wigged-out break. Eminent garageologists all agree on the track’s importance in the canon, and its inclusion on the original Nuggets LP cemented its hall-of-fame status long ago. But make no mistake, the sum of Count Five is much more than that one single. If you like “Psychotic Reaction,” you’ll love Psychotic Reaction.

Of course, Psychotic Reaction the album wouldn’t exist but for the success of “Psychotic Reaction” the single, so some background information is in order. Count Five began in the suburbs of San Jose, California, when John “Sean” Byrne, recently arrived from Dublin, Ireland, heard The Squires practicing R&B and British Invasion covers in a garage. Byrne asked if he could sit in, and being the closest thing in San Jose to a real Beatle, he was immediately asked to join the band. Flash forward a year, and with competition for bookings becoming increasingly fierce, the quintet attempted to stand out from the rest of the pack by donning vampire capes and becoming Count Five. (Check out this promo shot of the band in full Dracula regalia, awkwardly standing in front of the Winchester Mystery House).

The capes didn’t last long, but as Count Five, the band began to write original material and soon came up with the basic structure of “Psychotic Reaction.” Although the song was a hit with local audiences, record labels weren’t interested and the band endured months of failed auditions. But Count Five pressed on, revising and reworking “Psychotic Reaction” until the fledgling Los Angeles label Double Shot decided to take a chance on the song, though it ended up hedging its bet with some last-minute cutting and splicing. (A producer made the wise decision to copy the rave-up section in the middle of the completed track and add it to the end as a fade out). Released as a single in June 1966, “Psychotic Reaction” began to dominate radio playlists across the country, and was a national top five hit by September. To capitalize on the success of the single, the suits at Double Shot immediately pressured the band to record a full-length album. Yet despite the hurried circumstances of the album’s origin, with songs literally being written in the airplane on the way from San Jose to the studio in Los Angeles, Psychotic Reaction has a high killer-to-filler ratio.

The album was rush-released in October: eleven tracks of caveman stomp and Maestro Fuzz-Tone inside a genius album cover that makes you forget about that earlier promo shot – the band looks like they’ve quickly and ruthlessly disposed of some poor soul foolhardy enough to call them a poor man’s Yardbirds. While none of its tracks overshadow the greatness that is “Psychotic Reaction,” the shambolic perfection of “Pretty Big Mouth” comes close. With its propulsive circular fuzz riff, sly lyrics, and brilliant key change at the chorus, the track absolutely nails the smart-aleck swagger every garage band circa-1966 tried to cop to. “Peace Of Mind,” the follow-up single to “Psychotic Reaction,” is another contender for best track: an unholy racket of strident, siren-like guitar, surf drumbeats, and heavy doses of controlled feedback, all barely held together by an insistent three-note bass groove. (To these ears, “Peace Of Mind” sounds similar to the proto-punk the Monks were recording over in Germany around the same time). Unfortunately, AM radio wasn’t quite ready for “Peace Of Mind,” and the single failed to chart.

While the trio of “Psychotic Reaction,” “Pretty Big Mouth,” and “Peace Of Mind” make this album essential for any garage devotee, there’s also the hopped-up mayhem of “Double Decker Bus” to consider. While it’s basically a double-time rewrite of their hit single, complete with a rave-up midsection, you won’t hear any complaints from me. Other notable tracks include “They’re Gonna Get You,” with its falsetto verses and abrupt tempo changes, and the trippy, disoriented vibe of “The Morning After.” As mentioned above, Psychotic Reaction does contain some filler. The inclusion of two workmanlike Who covers (“My Generation” and “Out In The Street”) offer no surprises, and there’s a couple of backward-looking tracks that feel out of place with the rest of the album, such as the beefed-up British Beat of “Can’t Get Your Lovin’.”

Band members complained in later interviews that due to the hurried nature of the recording sessions, they never had the chance to shape the songs the way they wanted them to sound, but in my opinion, whatever perceived flaws there may be are part of the album’s perfection. Although subsequent non-album singles would sound more assured and incorporate newfangled effects such as the wah-wah pedal, they lacked the raw simplicity of this album. On Psychotic Reaction, there’s nothing fancy, nothing complicated or too clever – just fuzz and low-end stomp that squarely connect on a primal level. Do yourself a favor and take this album for a spin the next time you’re looking for a garage fix. Your inner teenage punk will thank you for it.

Both mono and stereo versions of the original vinyl album can be found quite easily, but for the last word on Count Five, check out Big Beat’s Psychotic Revelation – The Ultimate Count Five, which contains the original album in mono, unedited versions of “Psychotic Reaction” and “They’re Gonna Get You,” plus non-album singles and essential demos.

Q. Since we’re on the subject, what are your top five U.S. garage singles? Mine are included in the comments below. . .

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.

“Pretty Big Mouth”

:) Original Vinyl | 1966 | Double Shot | search ebay]
:D CD Reissue | 2003 | Big Beat | buy here ]

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 ]

Book A Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds Of Capitol Records

Shortly after the sonic experimentalism of Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s, the rules for creating the perfect pop single changed. A catchy refrain wasn’t enough– producers and musicians were now expected to use studio technology to dress up pop hooks with trippy effects, unconventional instrumentation, and multilayered harmonies. Book A Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds Of Capitol Records collects twenty-six singles that attempted to capture some of that studio magic.

As is to be expected, there’s a distinct Beatles/Beach Boys influence throughout the tracks. Although a few betray perhaps a bit too much influence (such as The Tuneful Trolley’s magical mystery tour through the Fabs’ 1967 recorded output in “Written Charter”), the majority of the acts comped here took the newfound sense of musical adventure as a starting point and charted their own path. I can’t think of a better example than the anything-goes production of Tim Wilde’s “Popcorn Double Feature,” which not only brazenly mixes dit, dit, dits and bah, bah, bahs, but throws in an electric sitar breakdown followed by an exuberant trombone solo. And did I mention the random bubble sounds?

There’s a wide range of psych pop styles represented among the twenty-six tracks, including attempts by decidedly non-groovy Capitol acts such as The Four Preps and The Lettermen to update their sound. Yet even the more conventional numbers contain surprises in their arrangements and are worth a listen, especially Leon Russell’s Pet Sounds influenced orchestration on the Preps’ “Hitchhiker.” On the whole, Book A Trip is loaded with fine examples of psych pop and sunshine pop, with many tracks containing elements of both genres– you won’t find any bad trips here.

A personal favorite is the faux-British psychedelia of The Act Of Creation’s “Yesterday Noontime,” its insistent percussive riff competing with undulating peals of guitar and lysergic backing vocals. Other high points include the handclaps and soaring harmonies of Fargo’s “Robins, Robins,” the pumping harpsichord of Stained Glass’s “Lady In Lace,” and the quirky vaudeville of the Sidewalk Skipper Band’s “(Would You Believe) It’s Raining Flowers In My House.”

Moorpark Intersection’s sole Capitol single (co-produced by David Axelrod) is another highlight. “I Think I’ll Just Go And Find Me A Flower,” ambles along on a sunny acoustic riff, nodding to the country-psych direction the band would later follow as Morning, while the flip, “Yesterday Holds On,” is a much heavier slice of orchestral psych pop.

With Book A Trip, Now Sounds has put together a first-rate compilation, featuring pristine sound and detailed track-by-track information– the CD graphics even replicate the classic Capitol “swirl” 45 label. Whether you’re new to the genre or a sixties pop aficionado, there’s much to recommend here.

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.

“Yesterday Noontime”

:D CD | 2010 | Now Sounds | buy here ]

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 ]