Various Artists

Pebbles, Vol. 3: The Acid Gallery

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You may have heard Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix, but you haven't truly experienced psychedelic rock until you've heard the exploitation quickies, novelty records, and inexplicable dementia that fill this collection, the third volume in the classic Pebbles series of garage-punk compilations. Granted, most of these songs aren't in the same league as "White Rabbit" or "Purple Haze" -- indeed, several of them don't merit repeated listening -- but they are as much a part of our musical heritage as the more prestigious psychedelic recordings. This compilation features Higher Elevation's "The Diamond Mine," a showcase for the nonsense rambling of disc jockey Dave Diamond; Teddy & the Patches' "Suzy Creamcheese," which manages to rip off both Frank Zappa and "Louie Louie"; Crystal Chandlier's "Suicidal Flowers," which sounds like the Doors drenched in fuzz guitar; William Penn Fyve's "Swami," which is such a self-conscious attempt to evoke 1967 that it's hard to believe it was actually released that year; Jefferson Handkerchief's "I'm Allergic to Flowers," which was presumably intended as a novelty song; Calico Wall's "Flight Reaction," a fascinating acid-damaged glimpse into the mind of a passenger who's sitting in an airplane before takeoff and worrying about a possible crash; Hogs' (allegedly the Chocolate Watchband under a different name) "Loose Lip Sync Ship," which consists of an instrumental passage that mutates into Zappa-influenced weirdness; Driving Stupid's "Reality of Air-Fried Borsk" and "Horror Asparagus Stories," which features precisely the kind of grounded lyrics that you'd expect; Third Bardo's "Five Years Ahead of My Time," a genuinely good number even though it doesn't sound five minutes ahead of its time; Bees' "Voices Green and Purple," which made the Nuggets box set along with the Third Bardo song; Godfrey's "Let's Take a Trip," which is a remake of Kim Fowley's "The Trip"; Monocles' "The Spider & the Fly," which is reportedly a remake of a '50s tune; TC Atlantic's "Faces," which is apparently what you see a lot of after you've taken the substance that inspired some of the songs in this collection; Lea Riders Group's " Dom Kellar Os Mods," which is a blistering blues-rock number from Sweden; Race Marbles' "Like a Dribbling Fram," which is a spoof of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone"; and Painted Faces' "Anxious Color," which is a good, relatively tight Stones-influenced song. The CD offers several bonus tracks that weren't on the original vinyl pressing of Pebbles, Vol. 3: Adjeef the Poet, His Girl(s), His Friend(s) and the Rest of the World(s)' "Ieeek I'm a Freak," which reflects psychedelia's roots in fuzz-driven garage-punk, and "Squafrech Lemon Comes Back," which is even stranger than its title suggests; Beautiful Daze's "City Jungle, Pt. 1" and Catfish Knight's "Deathwise," both of which feature lots of trippy guitar; and Oshun's "Rattle of Life," which sums up the entire compilation when the vocalist states that "the butterfly you possess will spin our nature's merry-go-round." Add up the songs on Pebbles, Vol. 3 and you get a collection that has more historical interest than great music; as curiosity value goes, however, it doesn't get much more curious than this. Note: The CD cover lists the Monocles' "Spider & the Fly" and Godfrey's "Let's Take a Trip" as the 12th and 13th tracks respectively, but the order is reversed on the CD itself.

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