Kim Fowley

One Man's Garbage: Lost Treasures From The Vaults 1959-1969 Volume One

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Kim Fowley is a mad genius if the music business has ever produced such a thing; as a songwriter, producer, manager, and idea man, he's enjoyed steady success over the course of a career that's spanned seven decades (!), but there's always been a wild and sleazy undercurrent in his music that befits a man who has frequently gone out of his way to paint himself as a sex-crazed scam artist out for a buck. (Read Fowley's contributions to Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen's oral history of the Los Angeles punk scene, We Got the Neutron Bomb, or his extended interview in issue nineteen of the garage rock journal Ugly Things for evidence.) Fowley has had his hands in more than a few hit records over the years, but he's also cut at least as many discs that are marvels of perverse inspiration the mass audience could not fathom, and the folks at Norton Records (a label built around inspiration at its most perverse) have given Fowley a chance to share some of his more interesting smash flops in a pair of compilations. One Man's Garbage: Lost Treasures from the Vaults 1959-1969, Vol. 1 features 16 tracks Fowley produced (and sometimes sings) that somehow failed to become hits; in the case of grooving instrumentals like "Bodacious" by the U.S. Rockets or "Inferno" by Johnny C & the Blazers, it's hard to say why they didn't click, but once you get into the joyously dumb "Big Fat Alaskan" by Donnie & the Outcasts, or the oddball novelty disc "The Rebel" by the Players, it seems fairly evident that sometimes Fowley was amusing himself and his friends rather than aiming for the charts, and "I Saw Her First" by Bruce & Jerry (featuring future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston) and "Late Late Show" by the Patterns push the clich├ęs of '60s teen pop into directions that are clearly meant to be parody despite their clean-cut surfaces. And when it comes to stuff like "Surf Pigs" by Fowley and Mars Bonfire and Althea & the Memories' justifiably legendary "Worst Record Ever Made," the man seems to be making some sort of elaborate inside commentary on the ephemeral nature of pop music that's funny and truly bizarre at the same time. On pretty much every song, it's clear Fowley has a way with a tune and a smart lyric (no matter what the thinking is behind it), and this music comes from the era when nearly every studio in Los Angeles was cranking out great-sounding records on a regular basis, so most of this sounds far more professional than one might imagine. One Man's Garbage is a wildly entertaining ride through the roller coaster of Kim Fowley's mind, and his crazed liner notes only add to the fun.

blue highlight denotes track pick