Various Artists

All Kinds of Highs: A Mainstream Pop-Psych Compendium 1966-70

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Though the Mainstream record label is best known for its jazz, blues, and soundtrack releases, in the late '60s its founder, Bob Shad, explored the rock world to search for new talent. His first rock band signing, Big Brother and the Holding Company, released their debut album on the label, only to have their contract sold to Columbia as Janis Joplin's star began to rise, but dozens of likeminded artists waited in the wings. All Kinds of Highs: A Mainstream Pop-Psych Compendium 1966-70 collects the best cuts from the psychedelic pop catalog of Mainstream (and related label Brent), offering a heady hodgepodge of vintage sounds and crafting an immersive experience by using original mono mixes where available, and including extensive liner notes. Where the similar compilation With Love: A Pot of Flowers focused on Mainstream's west coast-based signees, All Kinds of Highs tackles the rest of the country, pulling two to four songs apiece from about a dozen artists. Most familiar are Detroit acid rockers the Amboy Dukes -- featuring a young Ted Nugent as guitarist -- who offer their consciousness-heightening break-out hit "Journey to the Center of the Mind" and a fiery take on Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go," plus Houston band Fever Tree, with the pre-"San Francisco Girls" orchestral, Baroque-influenced singles "Girl, Oh Girl (Don't Push Me)" and "I Can Beat Your Drum." Record hunters will also note three tracks featuring the sweeping harmonies and deft guitar work of Chicago-centric group Growing Concern, as well as selections by Cleveland-based, England-influenced psych rockers the Tiffany Shade, and upstate New York wildmen the Jelly Bean Bandits. And don't count out the virtually unknown bands appearing here: West Haven, Connecticut's the Wrongh Black Bag (sic) serve up a tight slab of garage rock featuring soaring vocals by Christine Bernardoni (aka Christine Ohlman, who would become lead singer of the Saturday Night Live Band decades later); Paraphernalia stretches out in the grass with the fantasy-like "Sunny Days (And Good Good Living)," and the Underground refresh with their breezy folk-rock.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:17
2 02:05
3 01:56
4 03:07
5 02:34
6 03:51
7 02:36
8 03:05
9 02:18
10 02:42
11 02:42
12 02:25
13 02:17
14 02:57
15 02:26
16
06:12
17 04:32
18 02:38
19 03:50
20 02:22
21 02:49
22 02:23
23 03:14
24 02:58
25 02:35
26 02:24

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:04
2 02:45
3 02:22
4 02:29
5 02:05
6 02:59
7 03:41
8 02:43
9 02:34
10 02:36
11 02:08
12 02:25
13 02:37
14 02:24
15 02:47
16 03:07
17 02:49
18 02:36
19 03:14
20 02:34
21 02:21
22 02:39
23 02:21
24 02:44
25 02:20
26 02:44
blue highlight denotes track pick