Various Artists

From the Mid-Sixties: The Bad Vibrations of 16 Lost Bands (Vol.1)

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There isn't much repetition between this 16-track collection and other 1960s garage anthologies, nor is there any overriding theme to the songs that were selected. It's just, in the grand tradition of hundreds of other garage compilations, a whole bunch of rare singles thrown together into one pot. It's thus hard to distinguish it from the field. But generally this is more willing to admit songs that are a little stronger in the hooks department and more willing to include tracks that other compilers might not consider garage enough due to some traces of pop or late-'60s psychedelia or other "non-garage" elements. The better cuts include the Boys Next Door's "Suddenly She Was Gone," with its moody organ and pop/rock harmonies (though it's easily available on Sundazed's Boys Next Door collection); the Rocks' "Because We're Young," with its mutated "I'm a Man" riff and saxophone; and the frat rock exuberance of Gil Bateman's "Wiked Love." Then again, much of this is the standard generic garage norm of morose melodies, insouciant vocals, fuzz guitar-organ combos, and such, though Colossal's five-minute cover of the Doors' "Light My Fire" makes for an odd choice. Future members of NRBQ, incidentally, were in the Merseybeats U.S.A., whose "Nobody Loves Me That Way" is one of the better songs. There are absolutely no liner notes, though there are small reproductions of the original 45 labels on the sleeve, and the sound is pretty good as these anthologies go.

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