Various Artists

Psychedelic Crown Jewels, Vol. 1

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This Florida-based outfit tries to out-Nuggets the Nuggets people, and out-Pebbles the Pebbles series, and pretty much succeeds. There's a lot of wonderful psychedelic punk here -- not lounge-act-in-cool-clothes ersatz bands that certain reissue labels have pushed, but the real article, fuzztone-driven sneering demands to be heard from the likes of acts like the Cykle, out of Lumberton, North Carolina, Majic Ship from Brooklyn, the Faine Jade from Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, the Mystic Tide (a real Yardbirds-type outfit, a la "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago") from Long Island, and the Morning Dew from Topeka, Kansas. Forget 15 minutes of fame, 15 seconds is more like it -- the Farfisa organs swirl, the volume pedals get worked out and worked over hard, and the male (and female punkette) teen angst just melts, bubbles, and overflows like the colored wax going through those tubes at the climax of House of Wax and coming out as music. Just as importantly, the notes are pretty thorough, even where almost nothing is known of a band (like the Bow Street Runners -- hell, the producers of this CD even ask for information), and even better, the sound is good and clean; there are disc-source transfers, but they're mostly done with real care. As for the surprises, check out Nancy Blossom's punkoid vocals on the Fifty Foot Hose's "Red Sign Post," which is also so overloaded with feedback that it should have made Hendrix fans take notice (though nobody did in 1968); and then there's "Mary Jane" by the Baroques, released on Chess and immediately banned as a drug song -- with its Howlin' Wolf textured lead vocals and a beat too quick to dance to, it had obstacles that were insurmountable, but being pro-drug wasn't one of them. Not all of it is quite up to this standard, but it's all solid stuff, and no one will regret owning these 75 minutes of music.

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