"Just when you thought "Pebbles" had thrown in the towel, these two platters leap into the fray! As usual there's plenty of fab sounds to be found here. A variety of styles are represented, in the great "Pebbles" tradition: folk-rock, pop-punk, psych, and just plain wyld stuff.
Volume 12 is no lame duck though, with great pop-punk from the likes of Peter & The Rabbits, the Outcasts, and others. Also dig the pure garage ravings of the Nomads, the Clockwork Orange, and the Breakers with their sneering folk-punk classick "Don't Send Me No Flowers (I Ain't Dead Yet)."
Both volumes are essential purchases."
- Mike Stax (Originally published in Ugly Things #3, 1984)
The Llama llaments the poor quality of this volume, just as he did from volume 10 and spiraling down onwards.
He gives a couple of disbelieving thumbs up (I guess Clock Work Orange and Vejtables were ok in his book) but shakes his head in dismay at the rest of the somewhat uninspiring platter.
If you compare Pebbles Vol. 12 with the other contemporary contesters - it is a lame duck.
Remember, in 1983 there was a lot of cool stuff coming out. Pebbles seemed swooshed by, like an old boxing champion, being toured around, an aging titan in for the quick buck.
So where does it stand today, 34 years later?
I find it wildly confusing and mildly frustrating. But I also find it bold in its oblivious mix of songs.
First we get - rushing out the gates - the ultra crude and wild party-famined Nomads riding the furious bull that is From Zero Down. Team Teenage Shutdown wisely rescued this scraggly straggler and put it in much better company on TS wildest volume: The World Ain't Round (where it is easily one of the best).
Then we get Teddy Boys chugging away on a slightly lysergic version of Diddley's Mona. A real cool version.
Then we get the first hick-up. The frowning folkpop-scraper Keep The Music Playing recorded in makeshift wall-of-sound. It sounds a bit like shit. Human shit.
Breakers don't exactly illuminate the set with an equally moody piece; Don't Send Me No Flowers (I Ain't Dead Yet). I was never a big champion for this revered track, but it has grown on me through the years. But when I first heard it, in shitty Pebbles-sound, it did nothing for the set of songs that is Pebbles vol. 12. It was just another monkey-wrench in the music machine.
But it was when the lush folkpop sounds of Peter & the Rabits entered that I knew I was fucked by a Pebbles volume again.
Pawnee Drive drives the point through and when I get to Clock Work Orange I'm in no mood to listen to music anymore. And to be fair, as cool as Clock Work Orange is - its powerful double-sided groovy acidic killer is not strong enough to save this album from mediocrity.
We do get Richard & the Young Lions glorified bubblegum blue-eyed soul. Never did much to me.
And as the world fade while you slip into a comatose state of boredom you hear some more poppish folkbeat crap.
So why don't I hate the living crap out of this silly beast of a garage comp?
First - it has so much character. It sounds like a Pebbles - and a lame-duck volume of Pebbles at that - and the bad songs are actually all pretty camp and fun.
Tracks like Pawnee Drive's Ride, Something's Gone by The Jam (not that Jam) and the high-energy pop-soul of Canada's Free Thinkers sounds even more lame now than ever.
And Keep The Music Playing by Coming Times is so terribly bland you don't know what to do.
But they all help to create the stinky but sweet ambience that is Pebbles vol. 12. What, would you want to go back in time and switch the tracks with presumed "killers"? Urgh, ok..
But I like this piss-stained paisley-shirt lame-duck set fine as it is.
It is beyond repair. You can't fix it. You can't pour more "cool" in it because it was never trying to be "cool". For the most part it is just as kitschy and camp and silly as a lot of the other crap that litters some other early volumes of Pebbles.
So, think of it like this: what you are about to hear is a compilation of poppy folkbeat aimed at the charts for mindless teeny-boppers.
Also, you get some high class acid punkers interspersed by lame ducks through the set of folky pop.
But first - the wildest fuckin punker there ever was: FROM ZERO DOWN by the mighty mighty Nomads!
For this comp I had a mission. And that mission was to round up all the best tracks from Fuzz Flaykes & Shakes by Tony the Tiger, and the good 'uns from Sixties Rebellion.
Now - Sixties Rebellion had already been looted, pillaged and ransacked when they made the Teenage Shutdown series. So I only found two or so tracks I wanted to use.
I found more on Fuzz Flaykes & Shakes.
The rest is some shit that just came in my path. I don't always remember where or when I stumble across the tracks that ends up on these comps.
Almost all songs here rated a 5 or 6 on the TeenBeat Mayhem 10-point scale, most of them fairly judged. Some not.
Oh, and this is vol. 35. Before The Dawn is vol. 36. But I posted Before The Dawn before this which was a mistake. Ah, the sweet confusion of European garage comps.
ATTIC SOUNDS - SHADOWS
"..yesterdays kiss is still warm.."
Heavy drums and an undulating bass kicks off the set.
High-end garage which seems to be aiming at the billboard.
At the end of January 2017 it is priced at $274.98 which is a little too steep, I think. But what do I know, I'm way too poor to afford to collect these gems. TeenBeat Mayhem tells us it is a "gtr-tamborine jangle-tuff voc" and hands it a 5 rating. Pretty accurate to me, though I might give a 6 instead. Mike released a handful more 45's, but nothing that I've heard.
(Silver Spring, MD) Jul '66
JOURNEY MEN - SHE'S SORRY
"..and though she could not find the word you know - she's sorry.."
"The Journey men were a five member band of Brunswick high school students. The band included Jim Kerns on lead guitar and vocals, Howard Cook on organ and vocals, Dale Seeds on bass and vocals, Ron MacMillan on guitar and vocals, and Bob Levandowski on drums. The band decided to take a trip down to Florida and while there, recorded an excellent teen garage 45 for the Tampa based Boss label."
The Journey Men shared label (Boss) with the Berkley Five that recorded the fantastic You're Gonna Cry and also the ultra-awesome combo the Rovin' Flames that released 4 winning 45, the second being on Boss. (Check out the Flames stunning back-catalog on this playlist). This was the Journey Men's sole 45, on the flip you'll find the mersey-esque ballad Short And Sweet.
(Brunswick, OH) '67
APOLLOES - LAUGH IN MY FACE
"..we used to walk hand in hand.."
Awesome downer mid-tempo ballad. Some sweet organ och smooth soothing strumming on the guitar. The flip is the slow yawnish stomp of Hey.
Apolloes released two more 45s as Apolloes and two as the Swingin' Apolloes. The last of the Apolloes and the first Swingin' Apolloes 45s was the same 2 songs (may have been re-recorded) - the Blue-Cheer-meats-Beach-Boys version (not as cool as it sounds) Summertime Blues and Slow Down which features some "wigged out" and "groovy" and "far out" backwards guitar wizardry.
The last 45 is the "dreamy psych gem" Chained & Bound. Actually kinda cool popsyke.
Anyhoo, this is rated 7 in TeenBeat Mayhem. I'd give it a 6. But it is a very strong 6.
(Middle Georgia Collage, Cocharane, GA) Nov '65
FIRST CROW TO THE MOON - WE WALK THE RAIN
"..I don't care what you've done, I don't care where you've been.."
This fucker is easily the strongest track on this set. To me the First Crow To The Moon is right up there with Human Expression and Dovers. Hm, maybe not. But almost. Here they atleast sound like a mix of them.
Uhm no they really really really sound like the Zombies.
The lyrics are pretty powerful stuff. Just check out these lines: "I don't care who you are, I don't care what you've seen, no matter what they say they'll never ever come between (we walk the rain) our love.."
Get it? Our protagonist is hangin' out with a girl that has a real bad reputation but he don't give a fuck what she's been, or not been, up to. "Their lies will never penetrate the kind of love I'm in". That's some pretty heady teenage poetry right there!
There's a story about the origins of the zany name First Crow To The Moon and the mostly accepted is that it was a misprint on their (sole) 45 and it should say "Crew" and not "Crow".
But I've also heard that they actually was named "First Crow"..
Whatever the truth, both a fuckin' stupid names.
We Walk The Rain sounds a little wonky due to some 90s dodgy mixing (a bit too clinic and in atrocious stereom, it is mixed from the master tapes I 'spose) but that can't take away any of the power from this potent moody punker.
"..mysteries in my souls and worries on my mind.."
A short summary
The Other Four were a San Diego garage band that released three singles in 1965 and 1966, the last of them appearing on the Decca label. Most of the group had played in the Man-Dells who put out an unimpressive single in the winter of 1964/1965. The Other Four's 45s were better but still rather unexceptional efforts that were pretty typical of what countless other bands in the United States were doing at the time. The singles varied between standard pop/rock garage; a more slickly produced harmony pop/rocker ("These Are the Words"); a tune with a folk-rockish riff that sounded a bit like the Monkees at their hardest-rocking ("Once and for All Girl"); a pointless cover of Kenny Dino's 1961 hit "Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night"; and a daintily arranged tune ("How Do You Tell a Girl") that was a little reminiscent of the mid-'60s Beach Boys' productions, though of course not remotely in the same league. Members Rick Randle and Norman Lombardo later played together (and were the songwriters for) the Brain Police, a San Diego psychedelic group that recorded an obscure demo album in 1968. Richie Underberger
Richie is right on the money. The other two songs by the band that are ok are Why? and Once And For All Girl, but I do find the Yardbird-sy Searching For My Love sweet as hell.
Real nice moody garage pop.
Rated 5 in TBM and now also by me.
(San Diego, CA) Dec '65
CHECKMATES - HEY GIRL
"..I've been in love before and I just can't go through it anymore.."
Checkmates from Texas released 2 45s on the Ruff label, a cool label that also put out the fuzz-powered uptempo Please Come Back by Yall's and the highly original rhumbadelic punk of That's The Way My Love Is by the Trolls not to mention sunny psychedelic swinger Walking In The Queens Garden by the US version of Them.
Back to Checkmates!
Hey Girl is an irresistible slice of bouncing jangling americanized merseypop.
Fantastic sound on this great little gem!
Rated 4 in TBM but I'd give it atleast a 5.
(Amarillo, TX) Mar '65
MYSTERIONS - IS IT A LIE
"..day and night I sit at home and I cry.."
More sounding-slightly-pedestrian-but-is-really-GODHEAD mersey-ish pop! It is sooo hard to tire of this adorable little ditty. Great drums, great guitars, supercool bass, cool laid-back vocals.
TBM gives it a 6, I'd kick it up a notch to...hmmm..7.
And what about the Jox label? Yeah, you can find some more cool collectable tracks there.
Solid mersey-esque with excellent playing all through. And an anguished scream at 1:10.
The lyrics are of the, what shall I say, spartan kind. I've heard wordier pieces by the Ramones.
Also, there's this crazy reverb on it. It's like the singer is sitting in a slightly different dimension.
That reverb could be something that was laying around in the studio since Noblemen's labelmates the Incrowd also got some crazy reverb on their chaotic Set Me Free.
(McCordsville, IN) Nov '65
PALACE GUARDS - SORRY
"..never knew how much I cared, until I realized that she wasn't there.."
"..where can she be.."
...but the rating of this in TBM is crazy - a 5? No, this is totally a 6, 7 even!
This was Amoeba's sole 45, and Lost Love is their only recorded original song. The flip is a run-through of Stones version of Time Is On My Side. Lost Love is very spooky number and you get the feeling of creeping around in damp and dark catacombs, looking for undead love.
(-, TX) Aug '65
PRIMATES - SHE
"..I tried to make her happy, make her smile.."
Primates was another band that put out two fantastic 45s, both on Marko. One of them is the flip side to this - the stone-cold classic Knock On My Door. In '66 they released Don't Press Your Luck which turned out to be their last.
She is a stunning piece of teenage drama.
(Astoria, NY) Sep '65
BITTER SWEETS - SHE TREATS ME BAD
"..when she left me - I died that day.."
Heavy on the atmosphere and packed with hurt young feelings. Bitter Sweets would record two more 45s and then transform into 20th Century Zoo who released 4 more singles, one being the storming stomper You Don't Remember.
(Scottsdale, AZ) Jul '66
HI-NOTES - WITHOUT YOU DARLING
"..how much do I love you I don't know why, but without you darling I would die.."
Heartfelt vocals, swirling organ, driving drums. Pretty bullet-proof ballad. Buy it now for a scandalous $350. On the flip you'll find the awkward Goodbye Baby.
Rated 6 in TBM and by me as well. Or maybe a 7..
(Silver Spring, MD) Nov '65 Stroidon 174
SUNRISERS - I SAW HER YESTERDAY
"..and I knew that my love had to die.."
Ominous mip-tempo downer. Awful flip. They later changed their name to What Four (Rollem) and recorded a very unimpressive single and then sunk into oblivion.
TBM and me agree rating this with 6 out of 10
(Litte Neck-Whitestone, NY) Oct '66
EYE ZOOMS - SHE'S GONE
"..I'll get down on my knees and pray, but she's gone now..oh no.."
This tune is so darn sweet, man.. fantastic piano in the background lends a slightly haunted-house feel, and the exquisite guitar solo flies like a lonely strand in the wind. The singer seems to be in a never-ending-alice-in-wonderland-slow-fall kind of a state of mind.
Very druggy, really. I've said it before and I'll say it again. A lot of these old pre-psychedelic ballads can possess some very potent qualities.
TBM rates it a 5 but to me this is at least a seven. One of the most impressive tracks on this set.
(Toledo, OH) Oct '65
MISSING LINKS - I CRIED GOODBYE
"..you had your arms around someone new. Oh I cried..yes cried goodbye.."
Absolutely incredible one-of-a-kind moody garage. This is rated 5 too - way too low! Just as Eye Zoom's She's Gone it has something special about it, something that makes it transcends your usual moody garage ballad. Just check the spoken words on the outro.
The flip is a very loony version of Heartbreak Hill.
This is the first of three albums released on Epilogue records. The other two are Josefus and Truth, not really what we're looking for.
If you're not looking for trouble, that is. The Josefus album (EPI 002) has a different version of the five-hour epic apocalyptic hippie-ripper "Dead Man". Funny. We didn't even need the original version.
Enough talking about insignificant pleasantries.
What we have here is 16 tracks from 14 Indiana groups.
You could argue that this is one of those so-so, standard, meat-and-potato garage comps.
And you'd be half-right.
It tries, and fails. Tries, and fails again. Throws a sureshot - but it's too late.
This is not a watertight comp. This is the kind of comp that used to leave me frustrated and bewildered some 20 years ago.
"Do people actually like this shit?" I would ask myself. "I can't believe I paid $20 for this fucker! I can't understand why I didn't listen to it in the store! Fuck it, this is it, I'm never buying another fuckin' garage comp!!"
I lied, of course. I would buy more comps. A lot of them too. My faith would never be restored. But it wasn't Hoosier Hotshots that broke my spirit.
It was actually some impotent professor-esque albums that was flying under the flag of Big BeatsNuggets From The Golden State. It just bored me out of my fuckin face.
I swear - when I opened the CD-case, a moth stumbled out, coughed out some dust, wiped his glasses on his cotton vinyl-friendly gloves, spewed out some trivial facts about pressing plant numbers, release dates, locales and the benefit of making garage comps from masters instead of original 45's. He then checked his prostate himself, made himself a cup of green tea and passed out on the sofa. He's still there. He's funny, my friend the moth.
Yeah, Hoosier Hotshots ain't that bad. It has some immediate killers (Not killers really. More like manslaughterers. In selfdefense-ers)
We have XL's classic acid punk clawing itself into your ears. I can't stand that high-pitched fuzz but I guess it is a matter of taste.
Cirkit is undeniably one of the best tracks here.
The Endd of Out Of My Hands fame (Pebbles #9) does a pretty damn neat hazy freakbeaty slice of psych.
Those three are the only ones that really grabs you the first listen. And they're all relatively pedestrian garage.
So you feel a little bit empty the first time you've listened through it. That is when you listen to it again. If not right away, then atleast in the near future.
And then details hiding in the dark corners will emerge, voices from testosterone of yore will beckon your name and you will slowly come to a realization: this is a good album.
It is not great. But it is good.
I checked it out on Discogs and my-oh-fuck-me-my what an overpriced slice of sausage.
60 bucks? Seems legit.. I tell ya, those vinyl-collecting pharaohs are paying too much. Masochists. Consider it entry fee for the country club.
And what did I do wrong this time?
I repeated tracks. Second Choice and Tell Me Girl is on Before The Dawn goddammit!
I didn't plan to revamp this, but I did anyway, then Ichanged my mind and somehow they sipped through so when I changed my mind again I find I repeated those two fuckers.
Sorry 'bout that.
While regions such as the Northwest and New England and states like Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Ohio, Minnesota and even Colorado have been represented by 60s garage compilations, Indiana seems to have been ignored until now. To be honest, I'm not even sure where it is on the map!
However, judging from this brand new album, the Hoosier State also had its share of frustrated teenage musicians learning how to play guitars when they could've been trying out for the school football team or doing their geography homework (so they'd know where to find their home state on the map).
Hoosier Hotshots is a good package with a glossy cover (which smells great for some reason) and an info-packed 8-page booklet.
Things start out with the XLs' "Second Chance," a creepy organ mezmerizer making good use of an unusual deadpan lead vocal, but I've little use for their other cut, a later psych thing on which the guitarist applies dentist drill fuzz leads to your nerve ends.
The Cirkit show how fuzz should be used on "Yesterday We Laughed," which has a fat, aggressive fuzztone riff and some original tricks in the arrangement.
The Wild Things are anything but, yet their "I'm Not For You" is an amazing mid-tempo haunter with some inspired changes and a magical basement production: all muffled bass, cheap reverb, rattling tambourine and almost-in-tune guitars.
In the teen ballad stakes there's Sir Winston & The Commons, whose "One Last Chance" is a cool Merseyish pleader which sounds like it was recorded from inside the bass drum. The Teen Tones' "Long Cold Winter" is another heart-tugger enhanced by some lonely wind effects ala Joe Meek. Yeah!
Blues Inc. turn in a nice, Zombies-inspired tune, "Tell Me Girl," complete with electric piano and breathy Blunstoned vocals.
The Endd (of "Out of My Hands" semi-fame) make an appearance with "Come On Into My World." Trouble is, after a promising beginning, the second half of the song degenerates into a distorted facsimile of Robert Plant fronting Blue Cheer (kind of like a lot of those long-hair/cut-off jeans bands that are always on TV nowadays, come to think of it).
I prefer the Dukes' "Take Your Love," a twisted minor-key pop song with simple guitar and bass interplay and a slightly spastic rhythm which keeps the song on the verge of total collapse - hey, sometimes that's the best place to be!
Other good tracks include the Shooting Stars' "I Love Her Anyway," a pounding shouter (or should that be shouting pounder?) from the teenage Louie/Sloopy/Lupe Lu school of 3-chord tricks, the Brit-style R&B of the Backdoor Men's "Evil," and a fine incompetent thudder by the Ferris Wheel. All of these tracks support the basic premise of this enjoyable comp and others like it: to hell with sophistication - leave that to the wimps!
- Mike Stax (Originally published in Ugly Things #11, 1992)