Various Artists

Garage Rock Classics

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AllMusic Review by

Hey, the title doesn't lie. Well over a dozen of these tracks are '60s garage rock classics -- Paul Revere & the Raiders' "Just Like Me," the Sonics' "Psycho," the 13th Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me," the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie," the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)," the Nazz's "Open My Eyes," the Music Machine's "Talk Talk," the Leaves' "Hey Joe," the Amboy Dukes' "Journey to the Center of Your Mind," and Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" all qualify with flying colors. In fact, no less than 17 of these tracks also appear on the Nuggets box set, the widely acknowledged crème de la crème of the genre (and Nuggets did not include the Shadows of Knight's biggest hit, "Gloria," which does make the lineup here). However, that also means it's a little puzzling who the audience for this single-disc anthology is, other than those who might want a less expensive compilation and aren't too particular about assembling a big library of the best garage cuts. That's particularly the case since the menu's filled out by half a dozen or so far rarer, less familiar cuts that aren't in nearly the same league as their neighbors, though some of these are pretty nifty, like the bizarre early psychedelia of the Giant Crab's "Listen Girl" and Strawberry SAC's "In Relation" (which unsurprisingly sounds much like the Strawberry Alarm Clock, considering that it featured several former members). If you're a casual fan who's just looking for the odd good garage comp, though, there's no reason to be disappointed with this disc -- there are lots of classic garage cuts here (including a couple of great regional-only hits that also appear on Nuggets, the Litter's "Action Woman" and the Del-Vetts' "Last Time Around"), with a range that encompasses influences from pop, psychedelia, and folk-rock. The CD ends with three bonus tracks of live 1999-2000 performances by the Standells, the Blues Magoos, and the Syndicate of Sound reprising their big hits, and while it would have been far better to feature the original 1960s versions, at least all of the 25 preceding cuts are the original 1960s recordings.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:33
2 2:07
3 2:35
4 2:12
5 2:28
6 2:16
7 2:45
8
3:08
9
1:54
10 2:45
11 2:56
12 2:40
13
1:45
14
2:22
15 2:09
16 1:59
17 2:49
18
2:36
19 2:32
20 2:14
21 2:17
22 2:23
23 2:04
24 3:34
25 3:05
26 3:41
27 2:35
28 2:34
blue highlight denotes track pick