Shelby S. Singelton, Jr. founded the Plantation label in 1967 and ran the independent and its offshoot SSS until 1976, managing to score one massive hit in Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley PTA" but generally churning out odd fodder for Southern jukeboxes and radio stations, most of which fell through the cracks until Omni Records issued this double-disc retrospective in 2009. Plantation Gold doesn't necessarily prove to be a treasure trove of unheralded gems, but it sure is a wonderful collection of period oddities, filled with songs about girls without tops, Vietnam refugees, hippies, dangling participles, truck drivers, jet planes, protesting preachers, C.B. radios, flag-draped coffins, and, of course, the PTA, all sung with gallons of echoes and set to jangling electric and rolling acoustics colored with fuzz guitars, wailing harmonicas, lush strings, horns, and sitars. Some of this is straight-up novelty -- whether it's the god-awful mock Chinese of Ray "Wong" Riley's "Happy Valley C.I.A." or the Johnny Cash parody "Hello, I'm Johnny Credit" -- and some of it is just impossible to classify, like Dee Mullins' creepy eco-friendly "I Am the Grass," the hazy wannabe protest of "C" Company's "Wake Up America," or the gay panic of Rod Hart's lisping "C.B. Savage." Part of the fun of Plantation Gold is trying to figure out who the audience was for each of these singles -- something that even applies to the few big names here, like Webb Pierce's fuzz-drenched anti-tax blues "The Good Lord Giveth and Uncle Sam Taketh Away" -- and one can surely find a handful of gems scattered throughout the generous 58 songs, but the real appeal of the set is that it functions as a time capsule of all that was forgotten about the '60s and '70s.
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