THE CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND – The Best Of [Cult 60’s Garage Punk/Psych]

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“The first official Chocolate Watchband anthology was a triumph of sorts, although it also has some flaws that are unusual for a Rhino Records release — the most obvious of which to real fans of the band is that it over-reaches. Purists may not care for the way the producers have freely mixed the recordings (mostly singles) featuring only the actual Watchband (i.e., David Aguilar, Mark Loomis, Sean Tolby, Bill Flores, Gary Andrijasevich), album sides with extra, overdubbed instruments and redubbed vocals (by sessionman Don Bennett), and sides that (good though they are) were not the Watchband at all, regardless of how they were labeled — and all without full explanation. On the other hand, as a collection encompassing the totality of recordings issued by (or as being by) “the Chocolate Watchband,” this is unquestionably the best one going. “Let’s Talk About Girls,” which also opened their original debut album, opens this CD, and it’s a loud, defiant garage-punk masterpiece — “Sweet Young Thing,” “No Way Out” represent some peak moments for the official, classic Watchband; and then we jump to “Expo 2000” and “In the Past,” good tracks (especially the latter) that aren’t the Watchband at all, but the work of studio musicians. After that, it’s back to the “real” Watchband for “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” and “Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In),” which arguably mark the group’s high point as a recording act. “Don’t Need Your Lovin'” and “Sitting There Standing” from the soundtrack Riot on Sunset Strip are also here, along with “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker” off of Inner Mystique and the solid B-side “Gone and Passes By,” plus the then-previously unissued “Milk Cow Blues,” all tying up some loose-ends on the original band’s history — the trippy, gently orchestrated “She Weaves a Tender Trap” captures their experiment in a softer vein at the outset of the psychedelic era, and “Uncle Morris” represents the final official incarnation of the group and the album One Step Beyond, with its more folk-y slant. All of that would have been enough, and a good place to end this disc, but the makers have also included some more non-Watchband material off of No Way Out and Inner Mystique, which is filler here just as much as it was on those albums. Insofar as it brought out many lost tracks and rarities, and also its sound quality, this CD was welcomed at the time, but has been supplanted by the three early-’90s Sundazed Records’ expanded reissues of the group’s three original albums. As a single-CD compendium, however, that represents almost all that was best about the Watchband” [Bruce Eder]

 

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Cool collection [issued as 14 trax Lp in ’83.] of this San Jose, Ca. top ten 60’s punkers stuff + bonus = 20 trax of wyld garage rock action. Classic original stuff as ‘Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love In)’, ‘No Way Out’, ‘Gone And Passes By’, ‘Sweet Young Thing’, ‘Don’t Need Your Lovin’, ‘Misty Lane’, great garage/psych instros ‘Expo 2000‘, ‘Dark Side Of The Mushroom’, Voyage Of The Trieste’ and  cool covers of The Grodes ‘Let’s Talk About Girls’, Dylan ‘Baby Blue’, The Kinks ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else‘, The Brogues ‘I Ain’t No Miracle Worker’ and We The People ‘In The Past’. Ya know, there’s No Way Out… Dig!!!

 

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LIVERPOOL ECHO – s/t [1973]

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”Power pop has never sounded so powerful! When former Mandrake Paddlesteamer mainstays Brian Engel and Martin Briley convened as Liverpool Echo in 1973, the Beatles had been in the grave for just three years, and the world still desperately wanted them back — so desperately that, with a band name borrowed bodily from an old Merseybeat-era newspaper, what could any record company do, but lift a “Fabs”-headlined copy of the paper for an album cover? But “Beatles Come Home So Quietly” really wasn’t the most appropriate banner for an LP jacket, all the more so since, once you hit the vinyl, the spirit of the “Moptops” hung so heavily over the music that it screamed out for attention. Of course, it was true that any early-’70s band that was capable of melding melody with studio-borne creativity would inevitably be tarred “the new Beatles” (as Badfinger and 10cc would readily testify); it is also true that all such comparisons were then hopelessly devalued by the arrival of the Rutles. But still Liverpool Echo have an uncanny grasp of the Merseybeat sound circa 1963 and 64, spliced with a healthy hint of the Hollies, and that was more than enough to raise high hopes for the album. Unfortunately, hope was all that the record label (Spark) could do. They certainly had no promotion or distribution muscle to speak of, and both band and LP sank within seconds, to lie forgotten until Revola revived it (with excellent Mark A Johnston liner notes) in 2005.” [Dave Thompson]

Beatlesque ”Hard days’ night” era style power pop/beat. Dig!!!

 

BARRACUDAS – Through The Mysts Of Time [Surf-Punk/Power Pop]

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”This London-based Anglo-American band was formed in 1979 and scored a U.K. chart hit in 1980 with the neo-surf song “Summer Fun.” Their punkish attitude comes from a red-hot, enthusiastic amateurism. The band melded together the sounds of pop surfers like Jan & Dean with hip urban post-garage rockers like Flamin’ Groovies and song-oriented ’60s ensembles like the Byrds. The result of this formula is infectious, unexpected, and raw. This collection comprises demos, outtakes, and alternate versions from the same era as the Drop Out and Meantime LPs.”

“Rougher and rawer than this old English power pop quartet’s otherwise fun singles and LPs, this 71-minute, 25-track collection of earlier demos, outtakes, and other rarities replaces such works as 1981’s Drop Out and 1983’s Mean Time as the definitive statement on a truly underrated ’60s-infested band. The Barracudas were looking back in the midst of a punk revolution — covering Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Little Red Book” just like Love or the Standells — and succeeding just the same, probably because, like the unrelated but not totally dissimilar mod revival bands of the time, they brought a purely modern crunch and crackle to the thick guitars underneath the songs about girls. This is boy/girl punkish pop before it became an ’80s/’90s staple”[Jack Rabid]

 

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BLACKTOP – Up All Night [1994. Garage/Blues/Punk]

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From Detroit, Michigan, Mick Collins next garage “project” after The Gories. Now they added bass but don’t worry, it’s raw and evil garage blues punk simmilar to Gories. Killer stuff as Tornado Love, I Think It’s Going To Rain, Mojo Kitty, Blazing Streets, great covers of Cpt.Beefheart’s ”Here I Am, I Always Am”, Sonny & Jaycee ”Keep Doggin’ Me”, ”44 Blues”, Amos Milburn ”Let Me Go Home Whiskey”, instro ”Bahia”. This lp was issued on Australian Au Go Go ‎label and it’s bit different than ”I Got A Baaad Feelin’ About This” on In The Red, with some different trax and cover. Anyways, this one is my fav so ya gotta dig it alright!. Vinyl rip by Surfadelic. Let Me Go Home Whiskey, Dig!!!

 

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THE BEGUILED vs THE GORIES [90’s Garage Punk]

”Scream Baby,… Scream”

Welcome to the ”Garage pit of horror” featuring two of the best Crypt rec. garage punk gangs in a raw lo-fi battle. The Beguiled from California with their 4 trax ’93. ”Black Gloves”EP, a satanic rippin’ garage rock ritual predecessor to their legendary ’94 evil masterpiece ”Blue Dirge”, with slightly more twisted versions than on album. It’s a brutal reverb mix of Stooges, Link Wray and 60’s garage influences.

On the other side is pretty well known Mick Collins cult garage/blues punk gang with couple of their ’92 singles with non Lp tunes. Primal sound of simple drums, no bass, twin guits driven garage screech. Great tribalistic treat of ”Idol With The Golden Head” and trax from ‘Back From The Grave’, ”To Find Out” [Keggs] and ”Makin’ Love” [The Sloths].

Baby say… Dig!!!

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THE UNTAMED YOUTH – Untamed Melodies / Major Chaos! [Garage/Surf Revival]

”Well, they’re dancing all over, yeah
They’re dancing everywhere I go
You know I see ’em on the tv
And I hear it on the radio…”

 

Missouri’s finest, the Untamed Youth (Deke Dickerson, MACE, Steve “Sammy” Rager, Joel Trueblood) is one of the best groups of 90’s garage/surf revival wave and my favorites next to The Boss Martians, The Bomboras, Man Or Astro-Man, Los Straitjackets etc. They play energetic & fun 60’s influenced frat rock/hot rod/surf music with loads of real cool covers, perfect for wyld beach parties. ”Untamed Melodies” is great best of collection of trax from their first three 1988-1992 Norton lps and 45’s. ”Major Chaos!” is kinda rarities compilation with unreleased songs rare 45’s and stuff from 1987. to 1998. This stuff is A MUST for all you dragsters & surfers out there. It’s almost summer here kiddies and it’s time for some untamed rockin’ beach fun! Do the wobble and the watusi, Dig!!!

 

”Gonna twist, gonna stomp with you
Do the wobble and the watusi too
Locomotion, here we come
Gonna have some kind of fun”

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INSIDE THE VAULT OF MR. ASTRO [60’s Instros covered by Man Or Astroman?]

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Somethin’ like ”Songs Man Or Astroman Taught Us”. This unofficial collection gathered 60’s instumentals, mostly surf/sci-fi with few movies/tv series themes [as Edwin Astley ”High Wire”[Danger Man], The Jetsons Theme , Jerry Goldsmith ”The Man From U.N.C.L.E” , Jack Marshall’s ”The Munsters Theme”, and John Barry’s ”Goldfinger’‘]. Here you got classic surf acts as The Ventures, Dick Dale, Link Wray, The Markettes, The Original Surfaris, The Revels, Eddie & The Showmen, The Chantays and others. Loads of interplanetary, outer-space surfin’ action! Say… Dig!!!

 

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THE AVENGERS VI vs THE VENTURAS [60’s Surf Instros]

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The Avengers VI from Anaheim, California, formed in 1964 as 6 pieces surfin’ instrumental gang [watch out they have four guitars!] issued their sole lp ”Good Humor Presents Real Cool Hits’‘ a bit late for genre, in 1966. Recorded in a one long all night session in ’66. the album turned out to be promotional ploy by the Good Humor Ice Cream Company so lps were sold from the ice cream trucks [as you can see on cover] As company collapsed the album went to obscurity. I First heard ’em on now classic garage surf comps as Diggin’ Out and Get A Board! with three great original tunes ”Heartbeat” ”Good Humour Stomp” [aka ”The Avenger’s Stomp”] and ”Time Bomb” [later covered by The Bomboras]. Other fav trax on lp are cool covers of ”Slaughter On 10th Avenue” and ”Pipeline” as well as originals ”None But The Brave” and slightly psychedelizied ”Sahara”.

The Venturas [almost The Ventures] from Chicago issued their sole slab in 1963. It’s all-covers album with only one original tune ”Ram-Charger” [can be heard on ”Surfin’ In The Midwest” Vol.2 and Surf Guitars Rumble]. They covered well known classic tunes as ”Bulldog” [The Fireballs], ”Apache” [The Shadows], ”Ginchy” [Bert Weedon], ”Out Of Limits” [The Marketts], ”Penetration” [The Pyramids], ”Driving Guitars” [The Ventures], Sleepwalk, Runaway, Walk Don’t Run… Pretty rare lp. Vinyl rip by Surfadelic, Dig!!!!

 

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HONKERS & TWANGERS [Rare & Unreleased 60’s Instros]

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”Too often, rock & roll instrumentals are considered filler when they were often a pivotal part of the pre-Beatles rock & roll experience. Ace’s 2013 collection Long-Lost Honkers & Twangers doesn’t collect the best of that forgotten era — the title itself is a tip-off that the compilation concentrates on oddities, not known quantities — but by balancing 13 rare singles with 13 previously unreleased sides, the compilation re-creates an era when echoed guitars could be a groovy thing in and of itself. Certainly, there are times when the surging rhythms recall surf rock — many of these bands are Californian and even if they weren’t, the rush of cascading waves was an irresistible temptation to mimic — but some groups have a CinemaScope bent to their sonic vistas while other bands get down and dirty, concentrating not on the melody but the rhythm.” [Thomas Erlewine]

Yep! Another all-instrumental collection with some rare surfin’ & twangin’ gems as The Avantis ”Wax ’em Down”, The Titans ”Skokiaan”, The Reveliers ”White Water”, The Rondels ”Zombie”, The Exports ”Car Hop”, The Swanks ”Ghost Train”, The Gigolos ”Night Creature”,  The Ventures ”Murfreesboro” and some so so & lame trax like stupid Johnny & the Hurricanes tunes. Anyways, get yer twang!

 

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THEE MIGHTY CAESARS – English Punk Rock Explosion!! [80’s Garage Punk] Vinyl Rip!

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”Thee Mighty Caesars – punk raconteur Billy Childish’s interim band between the retro-revivalism of the Milkshakes and his ultimate rock & roll expression in Thee Headcoats — were the ideal bridge between the Shakes’ stylish, loyal Merseybeat revivalism and the fully-functioning threadbare punk-rock cathartic songwriting Childish began wielding like a rusty knife once Thee Headcoats had formed. Even though the aesthetic trappings were the most ridiculous of any of Childish’s outfits (the band was pictured and, presumably, performed in togas with leaf wreathes donning their noggins) Thee Caesars allowed him a forum for making a transition between rocker and artist. English Punk Rock Explosion!, a greatest hits compilation, was the only Mighty Caesars album to capture the full scope of this rock & roll culture collision. From brutal guitar instrumentals such as “Death of a Mighty Caesar,” with it’s tribal beat and percussive guitar, to the first recording of the nihilist, venom-spewing anthem “You Make Me Die,” English Punk Rock Explosion! is an unrelenting parade of melodic-yet-raw diamonds in the rough. While this may have been Childish’s least prolific and shortest-lived band, this is a crucial document of DIY punk’s (ancient?) history. Full of all the hubris of youth and tempered by the wisdom of a jaded experience, Thee Mighty Caesars were a force with which to be reckoned.” [Chris Handyside]

 

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Issued in 1988. this lp is kinda like a “Best Of” part 1 [part 2 is ”Surely They Were The Sons Of God”]. Raw lo-fi garage punk action with Downliners Sect 60’s  r&b/garage influences. Vinyl rip by Surfadelic. Et tu, Brute? Dig!!!

 

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