Sunday, August 3, 2014

What a Way to Die: 15 Forgotten Losers from the Mid 60s

This week's record of random (Unit 11, Number 66) is "What a Way to Die: 15 Forgotten Losers from the Mid 60s" on the aptly named Satan Records.

Don't get me wrong.  I do enjoy the genre popularly known as "Garage Rock", but what I don't like are the records that sound like every other garage rock record.  Yes, I know, it's not a genre that one expects the world from right?  The sound that is built upon four chords and a drum beat.  However, to me, to end up as a favorite in my music heart, it's got to have an excellent beat and enough melody and changes to actually say something. 

Whenever my husband listens to records at home, it's these types of songs that tend to make the floors shake.  I don't mind, and I even hear a few that stick to me musically.  Just like that, this album has done the same.  Some hits, some misses, and some that are just (sorry) unremarkable to me.

Let's take a look at the tunes included in this compilation:

Side One:

1.) The Pleasure Seekers - What a Way to Die:  So, there's a pic of these women on the back cover.  Not to be one who makes generalized statements, but I'm going to anyway.  Women in bands in the 60's didn't tend to sound like that and look like this:

But, it's the Quatro sisters.  Yep, one part being Suzi Quatro.  Who would later go on to have her fame (Happy Day's-ish that it may have been) looking like this:

2.)  Larry & the Loafers - Let's Go to the Beach

3.)  The Teddy Boys - Don't Mess with Me

4.)  The Grains of Sand - That's When Happiness Began:  Sounds like strains of "I Wanna Be Your Man" by the Stones and "Little Girl" by Syndicate of Sound put in the blender and poured into this tune.

5.)  The Magic Mushroom - I'm Gone: I couldn't help but think of "You're Gonna Miss Me" by the 13th Floor Elevators.  They're not exactly alike, but perhaps it was "inspired" by.

6.)  The Knaves - Leave Me Alone

7.)  The Renegades - 13 Women:  The best part of this song is the organ.  It gives it something different and makes it a little more foreboding. 

Side Two:

1.)  The First Four - Empty Heart

2.)  Richard and the Young Lions - You Can Make It:  I'm just guessing (haha), but this is probably the reason why my husband bought this record.  I know he LOVES "Open Up Your Door", and often talks about when he saw the reformed band when he was back home in New Jersey.  This song is quite good, and very superior to what I have heard on this compilation as of yet.  (Probably why they are the only band on the cover...or maybe it's one of the only bands they could find a picture of?)  I don't know much about Richard and the Young Lions, but their signature seems to be raucous songs with that "build to explode" format that makes a crowd happy.  I can only imagine how much fun it was/is to see them live.

3.)  The Beech-Nuts - My Iconoclastic Life:  The only thing I like about this song is the using the word "Iconoclastic" in the title.

4.)  The Human Beingz - Evil Hearted You:  Everyone knows "Nobody But Me", but this is just an okay cover of a great song.  You can't touch The Yardbirds.

5.)  The Swingin' Machine - Do You Have to Ask?:  You don't have to be the greatest singer in the world to front a garage band, but I don't think they even tried.  The guitar isn't bad, though.

6.)  The Enfields - She Already Has Somebody:  This one is pretty good!  They seem to have thrown enough of a bit of everything in to keep it interesting.  Decent lyrics, mixed with some surf rock, mild psych and melody.

7.)  The Pleasure Seekers - Never Thought You'd Leave Me:  Why do I have a feeling that the makers of this compilation just really, really wanted to put this Pleasure Seekers single that they had on a compilation album?

8.)  Special Extra Bonus Cut:  "...the first known recording of a notorious 60's punk band that everyone seems to love."  Complete with sax. Must be called "Gonna Have a Twist Tonight" or perhaps "Hideaway".  I really don't know who it is.  The singer sort of sounds like Tommy Smothers.  Is it Iggy?  I'm sure John will know...

On to John...

Where did you buy this record and when?
"I got that at Curmudgeon Records in Highland Park, NJ.  Had to be in the late 90's, early 2000's."

Do you own it in any other format?
"No, but I'd like to have it on CD for ease of convenience.  I haven't played it in so long and there's some killer tracks I was hearing while you were listening to it."

What is your over-all impression of this album?
"That's one of the best garage comps I've got!  There's really like one weak track on the end...I think it's the Standells."

Favorite Track?
"The Richard and the Young Lions track.  It's really cool how they put the Harry Harrison thing on the beginning and the end."

How many stars out of five?
"Five out of Five. It's a great comp."

And for my next blog,  the first person to comment with a number from 1 to 16, and another number from 1 to 75, that will be my next randomly selected record from John's vault. :-)