The Chocolate Watchband

Inner Mystique/One Step Beyond

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The Big Beat reissue of Inner Mystique and One Step Beyond, released in 1968 and 1969, respectively, represents the Chocolate Watchband in a time of transition. The sound is perhaps a little fuller and sharper than that in the 1994 Sundazed reissues of the original albums. Otherwise, the same virtues and flaws attach that applied to the original albums, in terms of content, Inner Mystique being only marginally associated with the actual Watchband (but still a great psychedelic/punk record); and One Step Beyond being the work of the later, more folk-rock influenced version of the band, featuring singer Danny Phay in place of David Aguilar. The drawback is that there are no bonus tracks, and that there are cuts that were on the Sundazed reissues that aren't present here or on the companion No Way Out...Plus CD. It's worth tracking down the Sundazed versions of any of those albums because of the bonus tracks, though this disc has the virtue of conciseness and excellent sound, and easy availability (it's in print as of 2005, where the Sundazed stuff isn't, and No Way Out...Plus has two worthwhile rarities that Sundazed didn't release).

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