The Standells

In Person at PJ's

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A year or two before they really hit upon the garage rock style for which they're most known, the Standells were a popular club band in Los Angeles, grinding out covers of recent hits. In Person at PJ's is a document of their live set at the time, the ten tracks devoted mostly to well-worn R&B/rock tunes like "Money," "Louie Louie," "Bony Maronie," "Linda Lu," "So Fine," and "I'll Go Crazy," with a nod to the British Invasion in the Beatles' "You Can't Do That." If this is a disappointment, it's only in relation to the far more original work the Standells would do only shortly thereafter. If judged as a frat rock album (disregarding its having been recorded in a prominent urban club rather than a frat), it's actually considerably above the average; the group plays well and with verve. But the lack of original material and particularly distinctive approaches to the songs means it's not nearly as interesting as what they'd record later, and the sound quality is actually a bit subpar, though certainly listenable. You can hear a hint of what was to come in Dick Dodd's lead vocal on one of the less famous songs, Jimmy Reed's "Help Yourself," but largely this bears little relation to the Standells' best records.

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