Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Gestures - The Gestures (1964)

One of the first American garage bands to write and perform British Invasion-derived material, the Gestures only recorded two singles in the mid-'60s. But one of those, "Run, Run, Run," was an excellent effort indeed, with its blend of surf-styled guitar, terrific pummeling drums, and Beatlesque harmonies. It made #44 nationally in late 1964, and made the Top Ten in several cities, but the Minnesota group only made one follow-up before disbanding. Recording for a tiny regional label, there wasn't enough of a support network to build the Gestures into a bigger act, although some strong original songs — which employed pleasing harmonies and unusual, almost jazzy chord structures — indicated that the group had considerable potential. As it was, they're just another in a line of young groups whose prospects were short-circuited by limited opportunities, although "Run, Run, Run" is now acknowledged as one of the earliest and best garage 45s, especially after it was reissued on Pebbles, Vol. 9.
01 - Hi-Heel Sneakers
02 - I'm Not Mad
03 - Don't Mess Around
04 - Run Run Run
05 - Things We Said Today
06 - Can I Get a Witness
07 - Long Tall Texan
08 - Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying
09 - It Seems to Me
10 - She Cried
11 - When Does Linda Cry
12 - Savage World [instrumental]
13 - Candlelight
14 - Things We Said Today [Alternate Backing Track]
15 - I'm Not Mad [Alternate Version]
16 - Stand by
The Gestures never released an album during their brief existence. This 16-track disc was patched together by combining all four songs from their two singles with 12 previously unreleased cuts that were recorded for a projected (but unreleased album). "Run, Run, Run" is a stone classic, from its opening rush of ascending chords to its final chorus. Gestures songwriter Dale Menten penned a couple of other neat, more subdued tunes that bridged surf-frat rock with British Invasion styles. Most of the unreleased stuff, though, is competent, but not overly stunning, covers of mid-'60s hits from both the U.K. and the U.S. As such, it's more a testament to what might have been than a notable document, although garageheads will find it entertaining.
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