Whereas the first volume of Psychedelic Crown Jewels contained many slightly higher-profile bands whose songs have shown up on other garage and psychedelic compilations, or that have full-length collections available, the second volume plucks some extremely unknown cuts from the vaults of the latter half of the '60s that have never appeared elsewhere. That can cut both ways: the listener could be treated to some mind-blowing obscurities, made even more mind-blowing by the fact that they have remained virtually unheard through the years, or the listener could be subjected to a song that remained an obscurity for good reason. Luckily, Gear Fab's Roger Maglio, with a little help from his friends (Max Waller, Ray Ehmen, Mike Kusiak, etc.), has an uncanny knack for wading through the fuzz-, vile-spewing, teenage punks and general garage mayhem and picking out legitimately great songs and performances. Throw in the fact that everything has been documented and released legitimately with the knowledge, and usually aid, of the musicians featured in the best sound possible with comprehensive liner notes, and you have yourself a nice little artifact to while away the day dreaming of girl, girls, and...well...girls. Most of these songs are much more garage rock or fuzz-punk than they are psychedelic. Not so for the wonderful "When You Made Love to Me" by New York's the Prime Mover. The song is a truly unbelievable psychedelic love (or, rather, sex) song with slide guitar and windchime percussive effects, as well as intriguing chord changes. The Grapes of Wrath, the Hustlers, the Baroque Monthly, the Barons (with the Paul Revere-type punker, "Drawbridge") and the Jelly Bean Bandits (perhaps the most well-known outfit of the lot) also chime in with excellent cuts, as do Substantial Evidence with uncanny Left Banke-influenced baroque pop on "Death Angel." In comparison to the all-out punkers, the ballads tend to sound a little too tame, and a few of the songs begin to blend into the woodwork. One can only listen to so many organs, fuzz guitars, and horny teenagers at once before wishing for, well, something with subtlety and texture. Like, say,the Rolling Stones. But the best of these songs is truly transcendent. True garage fanatics will, of course, want them all.
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart