Wednesday, November 4, 2009

VA - Psychedelic States - Florida In The 60's Vol1 (2000); Vol 2,3 (2001)

As a continuation of Gear Fab's trawl through the backwaters of the '60s American teen movement, new series Psychedelic States, rather like AIP's mammoth High in the Mid Sixties, focuses on regional band scenes. This, the first volume, investigates mid- to late-'60s music from Florida, collecting together the area's movers and shakers -- many of which have never been compiled. And with 28 songs that take in a huge array of styles, the venture is for the main part very successful. The Canadian Rogues' Northwest punk sound and the Shades' far more polished pop style show that in Florida it wasn't only one style that the local youths took to. "Xcedrin Headache # 69" (Mouse & the Boys), one of the most wigged-out numbers here, is an urgently snarled, drugged-out plea with searing fuzz guitar and a stomping beat. As psychedelic '60s punk goes, it doesn't get any better than this! The obscure Miami outfit the Fewdle Lords take a baroque influence, while the Maundy Quintet excel as purveyors of soft folk-rock with a Byrds feel. The Squiremen's dramatic pièce de résistance ("Who in the World") airs just how the influences of the likes of the Beatles, the Left Banke, and Nazz gave bands who had previously been playing garage rock something to really test their skills with in the latter half of the decade. Their effort fuses melody with melancholy to create the kind of spine-tingling intensity that the Choir were achieving at the same time up in Cleveland. And in a completely different field, the manic semi-instrumental "Miss Blue Three Quarter (3/4)" by Neighbourhood of Love is among the toughest punk riffery to be heard -- ever! For the majority of this collection, the mixture of folk-rock, garage punk, psychedelia, and pop show that although Florida has never really been praised as one of America's most regarded regions for '60s rock, it was, in fact, quite happening.
1 Keep in Touch Canadian Rogues 2:18
2 You're Gonna Cry Berkely Five 2:18
3 World Burlington Squires 1:49
4 Who Loved Her? The Shades 2:12
5 Undertaker's Theme Doctor T., Undertakers 2:20
6 Xcedrin Headache #69 Mouse & the Boys 3:22
7 No Place or Time Echoes Of Barnaby Street 2:12
8 Cheating Joshua Dyke 2:41
9 Farewell to Today and Tomorrow Fewdle Lords 3:53
10 Shadows Echo 2:23
11 Grim Reaper Twelfth Night 1:57
12 2's Better Than 3 Maundy Quintet 2:32
13 High Wednesday (I'll Stay With You) Blues Messengers 2:12
14 She's Coming on Stronger The Outsiders 2:21
15 You Lied Dark Horsemen 1:45
16 Who in the World Squiremen 2:59
17 Can't Go on This Dead Beats 2:42
18 I Talk to the Sun Rare Breed 2:34
19 I Know The Illusions 2:25
20 She Means All the World to Me Magic Circle 2:09
21 Not This Time Jackson Investment ... 2:06
22 Miss Blue Three Quarter Neighborhood Of Love 2:25
23 I Can Feel It Flower Power 2:07
24 I'll Get by Without You Members 2:40
25 Please Agree Mysteries 2:38
26 I Will Make History Surprize 2:25
27 Ain't a Shame Wave 2:22
28 Searching Undertakers 2:38

As usual, there are a few cuts that are pretty tedious going on the second installment of Gear Fab's fab Psychedelic States series, but a greater number that are where it's at, or at least where it was for hip teens in 1960s Florida. Vol. 2 actually marks a slight improvement from the first volume because, while it has fewer absolute highs on the order of Neighborhood of Love's irresistible punker "Miss Blue Three Quarter" or the stunning free-form psych of Blues Messengers' "High Wednesday," it is a bit more consistent overall. And even the most mediocre tunes are usually redeemed by whiplash rave-ups, boiling freak-outs, or fuzz solos. There are fine approximations of Dave Clark Five (the Tropics), the Rascals (the wonderfully named Little Willie & the Adolescents), and the Zombies (Sounds Unlimited), and even a pretty decent pale Archie Bell imitation (the Mind's Eye). There are some nice Rolling Stones-worthy riffs (the Missing Links' "Run and Hide," although the riff outshines the actual song), professional-quality folk-rock (the Birdwatchers), and cheeky lyrical allusions (prostitution, on the Lost Generation's "I'd Gladly Pay"). And some of this truly is snot-nosed and amateurish in the actual spirit of the words: the Mods featured a pair of 12 year olds, including the lead vocalist! After awhile you're bound to grow weary of the horny, girl-done-me-wrong sentiments, yet that is also what makes this stuff so much fun. And then there are some truly breathtaking, two-minute, spit-and-venom should-a-been classics: the Rockin' Roadrunners' "Down," on which the band coaxes some amazing psychedelic sounds out of their guitars; the unhinged Arthur Brown craziness of the Purple Underground's bad-trip "Count Back"; and Cosmic Camel's brilliantly titled gothic, lo-fi psych-raga, "The Suzanne Love Mirage." The most interesting thing on here may be the Soul Trippers' version of "King Bee," on which the teen quintet sounds as if, by God, it has managed to borrow the soul of an old bluesman. (Local radio stations stopped playing it when they found out the band was white.) Not even the early Stones or Yardbirds could manage that trick. Some of this is, frankly, brain-cell-depleting stuff. But then who needs those anyway. ~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide
Psychedelic States - Florida In The 60s Vol. 2
1. Tropics - "I Want More" (2:31)
2. Lost Generation - "I'd Gladly Pay" (2:45)
3. Epics - "Cruel World" (2:20)
4. Rockin' Roadrunners - "Down" (2:23)
5. Little Willie and the Adolescents - "Looking for Love" (2:00)
6. Souldiers - "Would You Kiss Me?" (1:59)
7. Purple Underground - "Count Back" (2:38)
8. Ravens - "Reaching for the Sun" (2:48)
9. Plant Life - "Flower Girl" (2:54)
10. Me and the Other Guys - "Everybody Knew But Me" (2:43)
11. Cosmic Camel - "The Suzanne Love Mirage" (2:33)
12. Chain Reaction - "G.Y.S. (Get You Some Lovin')" (3:33)
13. Deep Six - "Last Time Around" (2:38)
14. Esquires - "Heartaches Stay the Night" (2:19)
15. Mods - "Empty Heart" (2:22)
16. Sounds Unlimited - "Nobody But You" (2:35)
17. Mind's Eye - "Mind's Eye Theme" (1:57)
18. Missing Links - "Run and Hide" (3:01)
19. Barons - "Reach for the Sky" (2:08)
20. Birdwatchers - "It's to You I Belong" (2:37)
21. Soul Trippers - "King Bee" (2:05)
22. Emotions - "That's Not True" (2:34)
23. Emotions - "Sometimes" (1:53)
24. Shy Guys - "Black Lightening Light" (4:32)
25. Burgundy Blues - "I'll Get You Back Again" (2:53)
26. Hustlers - "My Mind's Made Up" (1:46)
27. Ron and the Starfires - "Why Did You Cry?" (2:21)

Is at it again on the third volume of their Psychedelic States series, rounding up the last remaining pearls (at least one would imagine) from the oyster that was '60s Florida garage psych and, surprisingly, coming up with yet another pretty solid edition. There is still roughly the same percentage of gold-to-dross as there was on the first two volumes in the series, but volume three is arguably the most listenable collection from beginning to end. The filler is just a little bit more likeable than before, and while there are not many lost masterworks of psychedelia in the order of Neighborhood of Love or Blues Messengers from the previous editions (the Fantastic Group's "Land of Lakes" being one, the Cavemen's unnerving "It's Trash" being perhaps the only other competitor), there is at least half an album's worth of consistently fine garage and pop/rock nuggets. The quality might have to do with the number of holdovers from the original two CDs. For instance, Bernie Leadon and Don Feldner's the Maundy Quintet are back, as is Cosmic Camel (on the deliciously gothic "The King's Winetaster"), the Twelfth Night, the Fewdle Lords, and several others. In addition the great Orlando-based We the People makes their first appearance here (although "My Brother the Man" is a shade repetitive compared to the band's strongest sides), as do the notable Painted Faces. Aside from those conspicuous examples, of course, there is not a lot of what you could label as originality in the music and some of the tunes are frankly rather nondescript, yet such shortcomings are routinely filled with a sloppy aggression and enthusiasm that brings the era back in all its kaleidoscopic glory. As before, the CD is strictly recommended to garage rock devotees, but that considerable group will find a wealth of previously unreleased treasures here that is reason enough for the digging. ~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide
Psychedelic States - Florida In The 60s Vol. 3
1. Cavemen - "It's Trash" (2:06)
2. Modds - "Don't Be Late" (2:11)
3. Maundy Quintet - "I'm Not Alone" (2:47)
4. Cosmic Camel - "The King's Winetaster" (2:23)
5. Jester IV - "She Lied (I Know Why)" (2:13)
6. Dark Hoarsemen - "Girl, Stand By Me" (2:42)
7. We the People - "My Brother, the Man" (2:12)
8. Clefs of Lavender Hill - "One More Time" (2:40)
9. Dr. T & the Undertakers - "Times Have Changed" (2:19)
10. Powers Uv People - "Miss Dove" (3:34)
11. 2/3s - "2/3 Baby" (3:29)
12. Rare Breed - "In the Night" (2:49)
13. Tasmanians - "Baby" (2:21)
14. Noah's Ark - "Paper Man" (2:18)
15. Invaders - "She's a Tiger" (2:15)
16. Burlington Squires - "Back Up" (2:12)
17. Dalton Gang - "Our Love" (2:03)
18. Novas - "Please Ask Her" (2:10)
19. Minority - "High Flyer" (2:03)
20. Montells - "You Can't Make Me" (2:17)
21. Painted Faces - "I Lost You in My Mind" (2:16)
22. Fantastic Group - "Land of Lakes" (2:29)
23. Twelfth Night - "I Don't Believe You" (3:01)
24. Rovin' Flames - "How Many Times" (1:53)
25. Generation Gap - "Plastic Faces" (2:52)
26. Shades - "Sights" (2:27)
27. Fewdle Lords - "I Know" (2:12)
28. Hungry I's - "Half Your Life" (2:45)
29. Inner Thoughts - "1,000 Miles (Cheating On Me)" (2:56)

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