The Human Beinz

Nobody But Me

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It's hard to imagine what the kids must have made of the Human Beinz' first album when it was released back in 1968. The band was riding high on the charts with their feedback-enhanced cover of the Isley Brothers' bold statement of dance prowess, "Nobody But Me," and folks who bought their subsequent LP must have been expecting 30 minutes of similar high-swagger garage rock. However, the band and their producer, Lex De Azevdo, had more ambitious stuff in mind, and the closest things to the hit single on Nobody But Me were a clunky cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxey Lady" and a guitar-heavy tribute to a voodoo priest, "The Shaman," neither of which are likely to fill any dancefloors. Instead, there's the tongue-in-cheek, pseudo-Left Banke pop of "It's Fun to Be Clean," a droning, string-laden interpretation of "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," a rootsy take on "Turn on Your Love Light" which suggests the Grateful Dead's version without the jamming, and a couple exercises in moody introspection written by the band, "Sueno" and "Flower Grave." Nobody But Me is more than a bit pretentious, but it's also better than you might expect, and it builds on its psychedelic ambitions with greater success than the majority of Nehru-clad Midwesterners of the era. Still, one can't help but wish someone had persuaded the Human Beinz to cut a few more R&B covers while they were in the studio, since that's clearly where their greatest strength lay.

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