THE GURUS – Are Hear! [US 60’s Garage]

The Gurus Are Hear!

The Gurus Are Hear! was actually advertised in Billboard and Cashbox in 1967, but the album was canceled only a few weeks before its projected release. More than 35 years later, it finally emerged as this Sundazed CD, augmented naturally by five bonus cuts. So is it just as mysterious and exotic as psychedelic collectors suspected? Not exactly, but it’s a pretty interesting if slightly contrived and kitschy hybrid of psychedelic rock and Middle Eastern music. As it turns out, the best of their demented anguished-psychedelia-in-a-falafel-restaurant-bellydancing-room had already been issued on their two singles (both sides of which are included on the album). From those 45s, “Come Girl,” “Blue Snow Night,” and “Everybody’s Got to Be Alone Sometime” are genuinely fine and rather ahead-of-their-time songs. Singer John Lieto howls like a pained cantor while the band plays psychedelia fit for a harem, with oud trills, raga-rock electric guitar, bent notes, and tortured minor keys aplenty, though not bereft of some garage rock energy and hooks. The other songs aren’t quite up to that level, aren’t terribly varied, and are sometimes quite a bit more pop-oriented and normal-sounding, with “Contact” penned by the Bonner-Gordon team of “Happy Together” fame. But not all of those extra cuts are unmemorable, the band totally overhauling “Louie Louie” into a dervish-swirling dance that must rank as one of the weirdest covers of this covered-to-death song. And you’ve gotta love a song (“Shaker Life”) with the line “Come life eternal, shake it out of me, all that is carnal,” set to a tune and beat like “Twist and Shout” gone to temple. The less essential bonus tracks include another Bonner-Gordon tune, “They All Got Carried Away,” and alternate versions (one of them wholly instrumental) of four songs from the album. [AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberge]

”This cd basically rocks from start to finish but there are a couple of throwaways. The ones that aren’t strong are the more polished mainstream pop efforts which don’t bare much of a resemblance to their sound. But otherwise this band had a very innovative and interesting early psychedelic sound, which occasionally reminds me of The Music Machine. Their sound is characterized by banging bongos, fuzzed out guitar solos, Yelping vocals, strange middle-eastern instruments, and a hypnotizing overall vibe. THis is a nice breath of fresh air for all you garage/psych heads that have already bought everything else from 66-69. enjoy!” [Amazon Customer Reviews]

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