Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Leaves - Hey Joe (1966)

The Leaves were an American garage band formed in California in 1963. They are best known for their version of the song "Hey Joe", which was a hit in 1966. Theirs is the earliest release of this song, which became a rock standard.

This is one hell of a debut album, especially for a group that only lasted for about a year after its release. The Leaves perform some superb folk-rock in a Byrds/Beatles vein ("Just a Moment," "Girl From the East"), excellent lyrical garage punk ("Words," "Tobacco Road"), and solid hard rock ("Hey Joe," "Too Many People"), and cross swords with the Rolling Stones ("You Better Move On," "Back On the Avenue" -- the latter a ripoff of the Stones'"2120 South Michigan Avenue") and Bob Dylan ("Love Minus Zero"). The sound isn't exactly consistent, given the gamut of influences at work here, from Bo Diddley ("Dr. Stone") to primitive psychedelia ("War of Distortion"), but there isn't a bad song on the disc, and the CD reissue has about the best sound ever heard on this material, bringing out the guitars in a genuinely crisp and vivid fashion. Maybe the strangest and best track in that regard is their cover of "He Was a Friend of Mine," which incorporates elements of both the Searchers' "When You Walk In the Room" and the Byrds' "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" into its structure and beat -- the guitars are a real kick there.
The bonus tracks may have come from vinyl sources rather than tape,
 but they hold up very well for sound quality. Anyone who enjoyed the first two Byrds albums must own this disc.

01. Dr.Stone (2:23)
02. Just A Memory (2:21)
03. Get Out Of My Life Woman (2:51)
04. Girl From The East (2:57)
05. He Was A Friend Of Mine (3:25)
06. Hey Joe! (2:52)
07. Words (2:24)
08. Back On The Avenue (3:13)
09. War Of Distortion (2:13)
10. Tobacco Road (2:15)
11. Good Bye, My  Love (3:09)
12. Too Many People (3:24)
13. Be With You (Bonus Track) (2:08)
14. You Better Move On (Bonus Track) (2:29)
15. That's A Different Story (Bonus Track) (2:33)
16. Love Minus Zero (Bonus Track) (2:33)
17. Funny Little World (Bonus Track) (2:06)

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