The Troggs

From Nowhere/Trogglodynamite

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The first two British Troggs LPs are combined onto one disc on this 26-track CD, with the addition of historical liner notes. Four of the cuts off From Nowhere, and more than half of Trogglodynamite, never came out in the U.S., and collectors have sometimes wondered why Trogglodynamite in particular was not more heavily represented on compilations or reissues. Now it can be told (and heard): these tracks, off Trogglodynamite in particular, were not very good. From Nowhere was substantially different, and distinctly inferior to, their first American long-player (Wild Thing), although eight of the songs appear on both records. The tracks unique to the British edition are all covers: "Ride Your Pony" and the obscure "The Kitty Cat Song" (both taken from Lee Dorsey), "Louie Louie," and Chuck Berry's "Jaguar and Thunderbird." And none of them are so hot. "Wild Thing" is the highlight of the disc, and the rest of the set is a mixed bag, peaks being the primordial power of "From Home" and "I Just Sing," as well "Jingle Jangle," the first of Reg Presley's tuneful ballads. The vaudevillian "Hi Hi Hazel," on the other hand, is a lowlight. There's no "Lost Girl," "With a Girl Like You," or "I Want You," all of which made the U.S. Wild Thing a better counterpart to this release, although this didn't prevent From Nowhere from rising to number six in the British charts. Trogglodynamite bore the hallmarks of a rushed affair, comprised largely of substandard original material and covers, and not even including a hit to stand out from the crowd. Only one of the tracks ("Cousin Jane") was even issued in the U.S. in the 1960s, a shocking state of affairs for a British group that had recently topped the American charts, although a few would appear on later compilations (Archeology has five of the songs). Part of the problem was that the group didn't have enough good original compositions to merit an album's worth of material, necessitating the enlistment of other songwriters (including Albert Hammond for "Meet Jacqueline" and their manager, Larry Page) who largely weren't up to the task. Most of the disc is surprisingly tame, with little of the crunch or roar that motored their best classics, or (with the exception of the lovely "Cousin Jane") the left-field delicate balladry they were wont to have up their sleeve. The terrific cover of Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything" is, other than "Cousin Jane," the album's lone first-rate track. Both, along with the best tracks from From Nowhere, are available on Archeology, putting this two-fer into the "only for completists" bin.

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