Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Nightcrawlers - The Little Black Egg [Big Beat] (2000) Compilation

The Nightcrawlers had a small hit, "The Little Black Egg," in the mid-'60s that's remembered for its cutesy folk-rock-cum-garage sound and its enigmatic lyrics. Although it only reached number 85, it made more of an impact than that low placing might reflect, since it was a regional hit in various parts of the country after it was recorded in 1965, only making the national charts upon its third issue in early 1967. The Nightcrawlers did a few more singles with their original lineup, which disbanded in mid-1966 with enough material for one LP on Kapp. A different Nightcrawlers did keep going for one more single in 1967 and principal songwriter Charlie Conlon did a couple of singles as leader of a different band called ... Read More...
1. The Little Black Egg Listen Listen 2. A Basket Of Flowers Listen Listen 3. Sally In The Alley Listen Listen 4. Who Knows Listen Listen 5. Me For Me Listen Listen 6. If You Want My Love (Undubbed Version) Listen Listen 7. I Don't Remember Listen Listen 8. If I Were You Listen Listen 9. The Last Ship Listen Listen 10. Show Me The Way Listen Listen 11. What Time Is It Listen Listen 12. You're Running Wild Listen Listen 13. Washboard Listen Listen 14. Sticks And Stones Listen Listen 15. He Shouldn't Hurt You Listen Listen 16. Cry Listen Listen 17. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 Listen Listen 18. All Day And All Of The Night Listen Listen 19. Grown Up Wrong Listen Listen 20. Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin') Listen Listen 21. Sea Of Love Listen Listen 22. It's All Over Now Listen Listen 23. Washboard (Early Version) Listen Listen 24. Heart Of Stone Listen Listen
At a glance it might be assumed that this is the definitive Nightcrawlers retrospective; after all, it has 24 tracks, by a band that only did a few singles and an album. It does contain everything from their sole LP (also called The Little Black Egg, from 1967) and a few non-LP singles and unreleased cuts. However, there are curious imperfections that prevent this from being a definitive retrospective. The B-side of their first 45, "Marie," isn't here, and more problematically, their 1967 single "My Butterfly"/"Today I'm Happy" is not included, either. Nor does it include the two singles by spin-off band Conlon & the Crawlers. Yes, the back sleeve does note that this has "all the recordings by the original band," which presumably means there was a deliberate decision to exclude all material that did not feature that lineup. The problem is, "My Butterfly" — an incredibly accurate early Who imitation complete with high harmonies, ringing guitar, and airplane take-off instrumental breaks — is their best song other than "The Little Black Egg." Both sides of the "My Butterfly" single, and both sides of both Conlon & the Crawlers singles, were included on the Eva LP compilation The Little Black Egg, which had much poorer sound and barely any liner notes (the Big Beat compilation, on the other hand, has a copious group history). The optimum approach would have been to add the 1967 Kapp single and the Conlon & the Crawlers singles in place of the handful of previously unreleased British Invasion/R&B covers that conclude the Big Beat CD. As it is, neither the Eva nor the Big Beat anthologies represent the group's output to collectors' utmost satisfaction, although comments in the liner notes to the Big Beat compilation propose that the missing material is not worthy of comparison to what's heard on this disc. As for what is here, it's mostly pretty thin and forgettable, though periodically engaging, moody garage-folk-rock.
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