Various Artists

Don't Press Your Luck! The in Sound of 60's Connecticut

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Connecticut had a solid garage rock scene in the mid-'60s, and more than a few of the best bands in the region logged time at Wallingford's Trod Nossel Studios (aka Syncron Sound), a recording facility run by Thomas "Doc" Cavalier, truly an unlikely champion of local rock & roll. Cavalier was a successful dentist who gave up his practice to manage New England rockers the Bram Rigg Set and the Shags (not to be confused with the infamous Wiggin sisters), and when Syncron Sound (where both bands had recorded) fell on hard times, he bought the studio, changed the name, and turned it into a profitable business that's still running today. Don't Press Your Luck! collects material from a handful of New England acts who recorded at Trod Nossel and were overseen by Cavalier, and there's little arguing that the folks at the studio knew their stuff -- compared to many compilations of '60s garage rarities, these tracks sound lively and robust, crackling with teenage energy but recorded with a skill that didn't blunt the enthusiasm of the musicians. (Bob Irwin's superb remastering is also to be commended.) And the music is pretty great, too -- the Wildweeds' classic "No Good to Cry" (featuring a pre-NRBQ Al Anderson) is the standout here, but there's also some moody beat stuff from the Shags ("Don't Press Your Luck," "Hide Away"), fuzztone-powered angst from the Bram Rigg Set ("Sleepless Nights," "You Don't Love Me," and a potent cover of Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything"), and intriguing weirdness from the misanthropic Fourth Ryke ("Please Leave," "You're Cutting Out"), and while you'd expect high goofiness from a group called Uranus and the Five Moons, their material is actually smart and adventurous ("Nothing Remains," "SSS Happenin' Here"). Some radio spots recorded at Trod Nossel also make the cut, as does a demonstration of the wonders of multi-track recorded based around a session by the Shags. Garage fanatics and folks with a taste for Connecticut history will both find this set to be well worth investigating.

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