Various Artists

Love, Peace & Poetry: Latin American Psychedelic Music

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Even when judged against rock of the era from non-English-speaking European countries of the time, Latin American psychedelic music has remained virtually unheard in the Northern Hemisphere, especially as the original discs are extremely rare. This 18-song compilation of 1967-1972 material from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Peru (mostly sung in English) serves the purpose of making some of it available to a wider audience and demonstrating the range of sounds produced in these countries. That's not to say it's chock-full of lost gems; much of it is heavily derivative of psychedelic sounds from the U.S. and U.K., though it tends to feature more prominent electric keyboards and sadder melodies. It's not garage or even pure psychedelic music, with the progressive sounds of the late '60s and early '70s making their impact known on some cuts. Jaded '60s collectors will probably find it enjoyable, though, for the oddity value, whether in the struggling-to-pronounce-it-correctly English vocals or the unpredictable juxtaposition of wiry fuzzy guitar solos with psychedelic sound effects and oddball touches like flamenco-ish acoustic guitars. It's easy to hear where some of these bands were getting their ideas from: Laghonia's "Trouble Child" starts like the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic?" and ends with a rave-up inspired by the Yardbirds' "I'm a Man"; Los Vidrios Quebrados take their rhythm from Love's "My Little Red Book" on "Oscar Wilde"; and Los Gatos offer a close approximation of early Pink Floyd's psychedelic organ sound on "Cuando Llegue el Ano 2000." So it might not be as stupefyingly unique as you'd hoped for, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the modest pleasures of cuts like Traffic Sound's appealingly raw cover of the Cream arrangement of "I'm so Glad," or Los Mac's intoxicating instrumental "El Evangelio de la Gente Sola," which sounds like an organ-dominated psychedelic take on a church hymn.

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