Though they never released an album and were only around for a short time, the Vagrants had a crucial place in rock & roll history. In the 1960s New York music scene, they were the missing link between the rockin' soul of the Young Rascals and the slow-burning psychedelia of Vanilla Fudge, having come up under the wing of the former and provided a direct, overt influence on the latter. The Vagrants' brief run of mid-‘60s singles was also the first to feature the sounds of guitarist Leslie West, who would soon attain celebrity status as the driving force behind power trio Mountain, alongside Vagrants producer/songwriter Felix Pappalardi. It should also be noted that the band's organist and occasional singer/songwriter, Jerry Storch, went on to release some fine solo work. The obsessive archivists at Light in the Attic have put together as comprehensive a Vagrants collection as has been seen to date with I Can't Make a Friend 1965-1968. The A-sides and B-sides of all six of the band's singles are here, along with a handsome booklet featuring a well-researched history of the group and lots of great photos. The chronologically arranged tracks find the Vagrants' development mirroring that of ‘60s rock itself, as the band moves from raw, garage rock rave-ups ("Oh Those Eyes," "I Can't Make a Friend") to the soul-slathered sounds of "I Love, Love You (Yes I Do)" and Otis Redding's "Respect" (cut at the same time as Aretha Franklin's version) and, finally, to the fuzz-guitar glory of their atmospheric, Pappalardi-produced psychedelic cuts, including "Beside the Sea" and "And When It's Over." While the most hardcore of Vagrants admirers might cavil over the lack of additional rarities, like live recordings or demos, the band's short-but-sweet singles discography is surely a rare enough bird all by itself.
AllMusic Review by James Allen