Aces Combo: Introducing (US, 1967)

A schoolboy quintet, all 14 or 15 according to the reproduced liner notes, trot through some favourite covers - surf/instrumental (Wipe Out, Apache), ballads (Under The Boardwalk, My Girl), frat/dance (Shake A Tail Feather, The Monkey Time) and pop/beat (Pied Piper, This Boy). Kudos to Collectables for reissuing these extremely rare and expensive albums. Curiosity is satisfied without selling the family china, though the general sound of these lesser known Justice LPs is the pre-fuzz 1964/1965 period and of more interest to fans of beat/pop/frat than the "class of '66" clan.


The Surfaris: Hit City 64/ Fun City USA (US

A Glendora, CA, surf group remembered for "Wipe Out," the number two 1963 hit that ranks as one of the great rock instrumentals, featuring a classic up-and-down guitar riff and a classic solo drum roll break, both of which were emulated by millions (the number is no exaggeration) of beginning rock & rollers. They recorded an astonishing number of albums (about half a dozen) and singles in the mid-'60s; the "Wipe Out" follow-up, "Point Panic," was the only one to struggle up to the middle of the charts. The Surfaris were not extraordinary, but they were more talented than the typical one-shot surf group; drummer Ron Wilson was praised by session stickman extraordinaire Hal Blaine, and his uninhibited splashing style sounds like a direct ancestor to Keith Moon. He also took the lead vocals on the group's occasional Beach Boys imitations.

...served by germt (on january 28th) ...

The Bonne Villes: Bringing It Home (US, 1966)

Another Justice rarity is dusted off by Collectables to reveal a sextet from Salisbury, North Carolina. Not completely obscured by time in this case, since their Naughty Girl graced the eighties Tarheel compilation Tobacco A Go Go Vol.II - a slice of garagey frat-rock punctuated throughout by honking sax. Like many of the other Justice LPs, it is predominantly covers of soul, R&B, blues and ballads (Stand By Me, Monkey Time, My Girl, Midnight Hour, Under The Boardwalk) in a competent but uninspiring club style with no real bite and little variation - even their cover of 96 Tears is rather flat although they do try to belt it with a more raucous vocal style on Bring It On Home To Me. Once more with this series, curiosity is satisfied but the buzz factor is absent.

The Bonne Villes were one of the better white R&B-based acts to record for the Winston-Salem-based Justice label. A sextet consisting of Donald W. Cartner (drums), Curtis "Buzzy" Cobb (sax, organ), Butch "Carl F." Steele (bass), Nelson M. Bradshaw (lead guitar), James Alan Lovette (lead vocals), and Gary Howe (vocals), they made their way across frat parties and local clubs from their native Salisbury on out, playing early- to mid-'60s R&B; mostly covers of songs by the Drifters, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, etc., spiced with occasional originals in a similar vein by Jim Lovette. They had a fairly sophisticated vocal attack, and their instrumental skills were up to the repertory they chose; witness Steele's attack on the bass on their cover of "96 Tears."


Not a bad representation of the band's strengths, a collection of 11 tracks, mostly covers of R&B and rock & roll standards. The singing isn't up to the task of the most sophisticated material, including "Bring It on Home to Me," but the group does have a cohesive sound. Their originals simply don't hold up, however, and lackluster numbers like "Helping Hand" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" pale next to "My Girl," "Under the Boardwalk," or "96 Tears."


The Barracudas: A Plane View of the Barracudas (US,Highland Springs-Richmond, 1967)

Highland Springs just to the East of Richmond, Virginia, (not Winston-Salem in North Carolina as was stated on the Tobacco-A-Go-Go compilation) was this band's home. They formed in late 1964 as a six-piece but soon solidified into the five-piece listed above in early 1965. Donnie Thurston's dad became their manager and they took part in various 'Battle Of The Bands' during 1965. Their first 45 in 1966 comprised an unimpressive folk-rocker on the 'A' side and an instrumental cover on the flip. They put it out on their own Cuda label. The same session also produced I'll Never Fall Again, their best original, and a bizarre medley of Gloria, Baby Please Don't Go, which remains unreleased.

In 1967 they recorded an album for Justice Records of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Besides two originals:- I Can't Believe and I'll Never Fall Again, the album comprised sloppy teenage versions of Blue Feeling, Feel A Whole Lot Better, Not Fade Away, I Call Your Name, ShotgunI'm A Man, which were so faithfully rendered and devoid of fuzz that they sound more U.K. than U.S.. Clearly The Rolling Stones were their inspiration. One of the better tracks was I'm A Lover Not A Fighter, a frat-rocker from the Kinks' second album but Shotgun, in particular, was a pityful attempt at exploiting sixties soul music. Nevertheless the album sold over 700 copies and the band became popular on the college frat-rock circuit. and

By 1968 they had progressed into a Hendrix/Cream-type heavy jam sound, but suprisingly their final 45 in 1969 was a folk-rocker. They quit in late 1969. Their album is now quite a big collectors' item but it's really overrated.


One of the better albums to come out of Calvin Newton's Justice Records label, A Plane View of the Barracudas has been selling for big bucks in Europe for years, partly based on the fact that there weren't many more than a thousand copies pressed. The CD is a welcome addition to the catalog -- these boys may have been a little sloppy, but they were ambitious, and they had the skills to realize a lot of those goals. As an extended jam, the version of "I'm a Man" here may be the best rendition this side of the Yardbirds' classic, and adds a few layers of pyrotechnics that Jeff Beck and company weren't ready to ignite -- lead guitarist Mike Parker has a field day romping and stomping over the basic material, and Sam Shaw's bass swells and surges beneath Parker's work. Donnie Thurston sounds like he's playing on cardboard boxes, but that's par for the course on a recording like this, and not necessarily a problem. "Shotgun" closes the album and CD, and is a pretty decent cover of a then current soul hit. The notes are minimal, but the music does truly speak for itself. Strangely enough, only their covers of Lennon-McCartney tunes like "I Call Your Name" don't come off too well (though their version of "All My Loving" is pretty cool), but overall, the mix of folk-rock, soul, and blues-rock works beautifully. This must've been a great record to play at dance parties. It's also easy to see why the Barracudas did well on the frat circuit in Virginia and other East Coast locales -- they must have been great live.


Skip & The Creations: Mobam (US, 1966)

From Colonial Heights, just outside of Richmond, Virginia. This band's album is a rare and sought-after collectable. The album is garagey frat-rock of the soulful sort - covers include Harlem Shuffle, 99.5, Double Shot, Turn On Your Lovelight, Respectable, Gimme Some Lovin'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - you get the picture? I'm Calling You Baby is the most uptempo offering here - a jerky and infectious ditty but overall not recommended for garage fans.
Practically nothing is known about Skip & the Creations, apart from the fact that they were a sextet, that their first names were Walter, Brute, Jeffrey, Skip, Rick, and Tommy, and that Skip was their lead singer, Jeffrey was the lead guitarist, Walter may have been the organist, and Brute played a Fender-model bass. And that they seemed bent on becoming Virginia's answer to the Outsiders. They cut 11 songs for Justice Records sometime in 1967 or thereabouts, and disappeared sometime after that. and


These boys really tried hard, mixing r&b and gospel influences in a surprisingly effective fashion, and their concert performances must've been awesome in the context of the times. It's a shame they didn't leave more of a trail behind that could be followed today, apart from these 11 songs cut around 1967. Their cover of "Double Shot Of My Baby's Love" was no threat to the Swingin' Medallions, nor was their "Respectable" going to make the Outsiders worry about losing gigs-but even here Skip and company did sing with a demented, soulful snarl that makes their work entertaining and animated, and puts these performances over. The songs include their version of the Jamess Brown standard "I'll Go Crazy" (also covered by the original Moody Blues-these guys sound like they learned it off the original), and Skip is a pretty mean soul shouter here. "Try Me" is the highlight of the album, a seriously soulful rendition with a gospel-tinged organ that lights up the entire song. "Turn On Your Lovelight" and "Gimme Some Lovin'" are also desirable tracks, their drummer probably losing 10 pounds everytime he did the former on stage, with its myriad changes and embellishments.


Fire: Underground and Overhead; The Alternative Fire (UK, 1967/69)

Formed in Hounslow, Middlesex, in 1966, and originally known as Friday's Chyld, their first 45 was a fine slice of pop psychedelia complete with frantic chord changes and a catchy tune on the 'A' side, whilst the 'B' side was almost as good. Their second 45 lacked the sparkle of the first, however, and is consequently far less sought-after and expensive to obtain.
Prior to recording their first 45, they cut some demo's in early '67 at R.G. Jones' Morden studio, and auditioned for Decca with demo versions of Father's Name Is Dad and Treacle Toffee World. Suitably smitten, Decca offered them a deal, and on the strength of the recordings, they were also signed by Apple Publishing.
Their first 45 was released in March '68, many months after it had been recorded, and two versions exist - after Paul McCartney heard it on the radio, he arranged for the band to recut the 'A' side with backing vocals, and doubled guitar riffs an octave higher... It didn't make much difference however, although both versions have now been preserved on the Underground and Overhead album. Following this failure, the band recorded a number of demo tracks, many of which are again featured on the Underground...

Rather inexplicably, both sides of the Round The Gum Tree were written by Mike Berry, head of Apple Publishing, after he had rejected all of The Fire's demos as 'unsuitable'. The band refused to play on the disc, and The Fire's contribution to the 45 is limited to Lambert's vocal on the 'A' side.
With their relationship with Decca and Apple Publishing damaged, the band set about demo'ing tracks for what would become The Magic Shoemaker a concept album that revolved around a cobbler and a pair of magic shoes.

their 1st lp here


The Apostles: An Hour Of Prayer With (US, 1965)

Preprock band from the same school (Phillips Academy) as the Rising Storm and the Ha'Pennys. "An hour..." supplies one track to a Garage Punk Unknowns. Haven't heard these though it seems to be all covers. Great primitive sleeve designs.
This was a prep/punk group from Philips Academy, Massachusetts, who recorded two albums. A cover of The Kinks' You Really Got Me, from their second LP, later resurfaced on Garage Punk Unknowns, Vol. 7 (LP). The albums probably have a value of $150+.


Los Bulldogs (URU, 60`s comp + bonus tracks)

This Uruguayan quartet started out in 1964 as Los Epsilon. After recording a single for the Clave label, they relocated to Buenos Aires in Argentina. There they released various singles and two garage-orientated beat albums sung in English which are now very rare. Before the third album Kano, their singer, forced them to rename themselves as Kano Y Los Bulldogs. Their eponymous album featured the hit Sobre Un Vidrio Mojado. They returned to Uruguay prior to their final album, which was only released in that country. This largely featured mainstream pop/rock.
They released several singles, mostly in picture sleeves.
Psychedelic garage from Uruguay. Highly Recommended.

LOS BULLDOGS: Nengo (guitarra líder), Kano (segunda guitarra y voz), Jorge (bajo), Ricardo (batería). Grabaron en 1964 con el nombre de The Epsilons un SP en el sello Clave de Montevideo y luego cambiaron su nombre a Los Bulldogs. Se radicaron en Buenos Aires, donde realizaron varios simples con covers en inglés, como "Black is Black", de Los Bravos, incluido en "Los 16 Hits del Momento", un LP de varios intérpretes de RCA en 1966. Después de grabar dos LP comenzaron a presentarse como Kano y los Bulldogs, obteniendo cierto éxito con "Sobre Un Vidrio Mojado" en 1969. Regresaron a Uruguay, donde editaron para Sondor su último LP ("Carita con Carita") en 1972.


Age Of Reason (US, 1969)

A teen garage quintet from the Bronx, New York. Their sole 45 became a sought-after item many years later after Magnet, a brooding punk-popper, was included on the 1983 compilation LP Ear-Piercing Punk (reissued on CD in 1996).
Larry Russell recalls: "Our original name was The Loose Ends but, when we recorded Magnet on 9/8/66, our manager decided to change our name (that night) because there had been another band with the same name that had a record deal before us."
"On that day we recorded 4 songs, the other two besides the single were (It's A) Dirty Shame, which was going to be our follow-up single, and Pride, written by our producer and which, in our opinion, sucked. I have copies of all of those recordings."
Their 45 did well enough to make the national charts and the band found themselves opening for top division acts like The Four Tops, Drifters, Box Tops and Young Rascals. However the big push from the label did not materialise and the follow-up never happened. The band called it a day in the Spring of 1968. Thirty-five years on Dirty Shame has finally been unveiled, on Psychedelic States: New York Vol. 1 (CD). It's a catchy swinger that harks back to upfront 1964-era Merseybeat shouters, punctuated with "yeah"s aplenty.
Larry Russell was 16 when the record was cut. He went on to tour with Billy Joel, Gary U.S. Bonds, Mary Travers, and Robert Gordon. In the late nineties he was the percussionist for wimp-rock superstar Bryan Adams.
Psychedelic Bluesy Garage*.

this weell´s ON FIRE

The Foul Dogs: No.1 (US, 1966)

A Concord, New Hampshire group whose album comprised typical local R&B/prep rock. One cut, I'm A Man, also appears on Oil Stains (LP). The album sounds very Stones-influenced but had a couple of self-penned numbers. Great covers repertoire.


Fever Tree (US, 1968)

A minor, if reasonably interesting, late-'60s psychedelic group, Houston's Fever Tree is most famous for their single "San Francisco Girls," with its dramatic melody, utopian lyrics, and searing fuzz guitar. Most of their best material, ironically, was written by their over-30 husband-wife production team, Scott and Vivian Holtzman, who had previously written material for Tex Ritter and the Mary Poppins soundtrack. These odd bedfellows produced some fairly distinctive material with more classical/Baroque influences and orchestral string arrangements than were usually found in psychedelic groups.

The self-titled debut album of this unfairly neglected psychedelic band is an odd mix of slick studio work laced with surprising moments of eclecticism, from soundtrack references to hard rock worthy of the best bands of the time. They open up with a pretty good piece of musical prestidigitation, melding Johann Sebastian Bach and Ennio Morricone into the album's first track, which segues neatly into a hard rock style that's their own on the spaced-out, Ravel-laced "Where Do You Go," which sounds like the Doors and the Jimi Hendrix Experience jamming together. They also roll over "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out," squeezed into a two-song medley, like a proto-metal steamroller while quoting "Norwegian Wood" and "Eleanor Rigby"; then switch gears into a beautifully elegant, gently orchestrated pop/rock rendition of Neil Young's "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing" that's worth the price of admission by itself. The harder rocking numbers (especially "San Francisco Girls") are highly diverting artifacts of their time, while the last two songs, "Unlock My Door" and "Come with Me (Rainsong)," show off a totally unexpected and beautifully reflective folk-rock side to their sound that's strongly reminiscent of Phil Ochs' work on Pleasures of the Harbor and Tape from California. The variations in sound and content, plus the fact that the only keyboard player, Rob Landes, made any large contribution to the in-house songwriting (mostly the work of their producers, Scott & Vivian Holtzman), makes it difficult to pin down precisely what Fever Tree was about, beyond the evidence at hand; but taken on its own terms, the album ought to be better known than it is, which is probably also true of the band itself.



The Litter Action Woman 7"

One of Minneapolis' most popular '60s bands, the Litter are most known for their classic 1967 garage rock single "Action Woman." With its demonic fuzz/feedback guitar riffs and cocky, snarling lead vocal, it was an archetype of the tough '60s garage rock favored by fans of the
Pebbles reissue series.



The Litter I´m A Man 7"

Banda de garaje y psicodelia, fundada en 1966 en la ciudad estadounidense de Minneapolis. Influenciados por bandas británicas como The Who, Spencer Davis Group, Yardbirds o The Small Faces, The Litter ejecutaron algunos de los pasajes garajeros más potentes de finales del decenio, con vibrantes versiones y piezas propias dominadas por el ritmo y la distorsión.

PURE FIRE: I´m a Man


The Standells Dirty Water 7"

A finales de 1965, gracias a Cobb, los Standells publicaron "Dirty Water" en el sello Tower (de la Capital Records). El éxito fue brutal, y en julio del 66 "Dirty Water" se encontraba en el número 11 del Billboard. La canción, escrita por Cobb, era toda una demostración de saber hacer standelliano, con un riff pegadizo y un sonido muy Rolling Stone. Gracias a este éxito, los Standells fueron los teloneros de la gira de Sus Satánicas Majestades en ese mismo año.