July 08, 2005


Garage Beat Vol. 4.jpg

Quality compilations from the Sundazed label

Garage Beat Vol. 5.jpg

Cleaning out the garage is always a daunting task, and it's no different when it comes to the noise allegedly created in said grease pits, garage rock.

Sifting through the first wave of savage '60s rave-ups is never easy. Locating the original records can either be ridiculously expensive or near impossible (sometimes both), making compilations the lifeblood to keeping the music alive starting, of course, with the original Lenny Kaye-compiled original Nuggets on Elektra in 1972.

The ensuing decades have seen an avalanche of releases, first on cassettes and essential LP series (Pebbles, Back From the Grave, etc.) and into the CD era. Living up to their stellar reputation, Sundazed Music is on the scene once again to find the middle ground between obscurity-hungry collectors and the above-average, discriminating music fan. Two brand new volumes of the Garage Beat '66series, Nos. 4 and 5, deliver the usual Sundazed checklist -- amazing sound quality, great packaging and informative booklets.

Rhino's 1998 four-CD expanded version of the original Nuggets set the bar for modern '60s compilations. Those fans who dug that and feel the need to dig a little deeper, Garage Beat '66 is the right place to continue the excavation of teenage '60s suburban mayhem. Purists may argue that some of the songs have appeared on other comps (many on the Collectables label out of Pennsylvania), but the fuzz and dirt have never sounded this good: Only sources where the original master tape could be located are used for the Garage Beat '66 series.

The fourth volume is subtitled I'm In Need!, after the track on the disc by the California group The Others. This 45 actually came out on Mercury Records. Other Vol. 4 highlights include a different take on the Nuggets box track "1-2-5" by The Haunted and previously unissued gems from the Groupies and the Count IV. There's also a track from monks. Not the legendary freaks Monks, but actual Franciscan monks from Wisconsin! "Ghost Power" by the Cords was the brothers' attempt to reach the younger generation! Nearly 40 years later, their message finally got out.

The fifth volume features garage legends like the Unrelated Segments and the Zachary Thaks, but the killer unreleased scorchers from the Liberty Bell, the Lemon Drops and the Beefeaters (not the precursor to The Byrds, but also a Dallas combo). The Thingies, from Columbia, Mo., contribute "I'm Going Ahead," a number that puts the rock into folk-rock. It's hard to believe the gut-wrenching howl on "Make Me Some Love" by the Knight's Bridge comes from a bunch of high school sophomores from Odessa, Texas. (You'd be hard-pressed to find the The Strokes inspire a 16-year-old to turn in a comparable performance today.)

Volume No. 5 is subtitled Readin' Your Will!, after a previously unreleased cut by the Human Expression. According to the liner notes, the band opted for this song instead of another composition they had first crack at, a ditty called "Born to be Wild." The Human Expression didn't survive that blunder. but garage rock, as these two CDs show, is alive and well.

-- By Joe Belock

Posted by medleyville at July 8, 2005 12:47 AM