The Syndicate of Sound

Little Girl

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The teen-band pride of San Jose, CA, the Syndicate of Sound scaled the heights of the rock & roll world for a very brief moment in the summer of 1966 with their Top Ten hit "Little Girl." With a catchy, jangly electric 12-string riff, a solid beat, a macho teen vocal, and a chord progression heavily influenced by "Hey Joe," the tune perfectly mirrored the sound of the times and was a can't-miss hit, a British sound played with American garage enthusiasm. But their success ride was short; within a year or two, their ranks were decimated from the draft, touring exhaustion, and the musically changing times. This reissue serves as their lasting legacy, combining the original 12-song album with four bonus tracks. Kicking off with a pair of souped-up R&B covers, the album casts a pretty wide net, with half of the tunes penned by various bandmembers. Of these, ballads sit alongside rockers like "Lookin' for the Good Times (The Robot)" and "Rumors" (complete with Yardbirds-style fuzz guitar rave-up in the middle), while the Kinks-style "That Kind of Man" is an imaginative British-sound knockoff. The outside material, however, is where the band shows their true chameleon-like strength. Covers of the Hollies' "I'm Alive," Louis Jordan's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" (via Buster Brown's version), the Sonics' "The Witch," and Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby" show a band that could either play a song "just like the record" or bring their own twist to the proceedings. The four CD bonus tracks likewise demonstrate that the group had no shortage of original material, but unfortunately nothing compiled here has the hit sound of "Little Girl," an easy explanation as to why the group ended up with one-hit wonder status.

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