Various Artists

Northwest Battle of the Bands, Vol. 1

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All 30 of these mid-'60s tracks (six previously unissued) are drawn from the vaults of Jerry Dennon, producer, and the man behind Jerden Records and its subsidiaries. The Sonics are the only name here that might instantly click for most browsers (and even they were pretty unknown outside of the Northwest in the 1960s, prior to their retroactive emergence as a cult band starting in the late '70s). The Northwest garage sound is frequently overrated, but this well-selected anthology does much to highlight the best aspects of the mini-style. Indeed it's the best compilation of the sort that does not include the few well-known tracks to emerge from the region during the era. It does unavoidably emphasize what compiler Alec Palao rightly terms the "pounders," but it selects some of the very best of the R&B-frat-British Invasion "pounders," like the Raymarks' "Louise," the Juveniles' "I've Searched," and the Sonics' "You've Got Your Head on Backwards." Some welcome diversity is on hand via several slower-tempo organ-based mid-tempo tunes, with the Live Five's "Yes You're Mine" and Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers' "I Told You Once Before" specifically emulating the Zombies. Future Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin turns up as lead vocalist on Sir Raleigh & the Cupons' fine 1964 recording of "Tomorrow Is Another Day," more familiar as done by the Monkees. Several of these groups, and indeed a half-dozen of the exact same tracks, show up on Sundazed's Knock You Flat! The Northwest Battle of the Bands, Vol. 2, but although that disc is respectable, this collection has the edge in quality.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:46
2 2:49
3 2:54
4 2:49
5
2:07
6
2:00
7 2:28
8 2:02
9 2:09
10
2:17
11 2:45
12 2:26
13 3:01
14
2:22
15 3:19
16 2:00
17 2:49
18
2:04
19 2:25
20
3:29
21 2:33
22 2:34
23 2:22
24 2:46
25 2:36
26 2:38
27 2:33
28 3:36
29
2:48
30 2:34
blue highlight denotes track pick