Various Artists

Garage Beat '66, Vol. 6: Speak of the Devil

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The garage band era of the mid-'60s was the modern equivalent of a folk movement as seemingly every town in America had a half-dozen or more energetic, ragged and often musically challenged young rock combos vying for weekend gigs and small independent record deals. These bands frequently made up for what they lacked in ability and originality with an abundance of verve and self-perceived panache, and if they did manage to make a record, it was usually derivative and crude, but often fascinatingly so, even if few of these releases ever so much as dented a regional play list. These are the kinds of musical artifacts that Sundazed has collected in its Garage Beat series, of which this is the sixth volume. Subtitled Speak of the Devil, this installment features a heavy dose of sneering, attitude-laden garage gems recorded between 1965 and 1967, including the William Penn Fyve's wry "Swami" (the organ player from the band, Gregg Rolie, went on to greater fame with Santana and then later still with Journey), Neal Ford & the Fanatics' "Good Men (Are Hard to Find)," the Road Runners' "Goodbye" (this one could have easily been a big pop hit in a world with a fair and equitable music distribution system) and a spirited version of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" by the Druids of Stonehenge. Nothing here would have toppled the Beatles or the Rolling Stones back in the day, but now, some forty years on, these tracks still sound wonderfully snotty and free of annoying finesse. What a time it was.

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