Blues Magoos

Psychedelic Lollipop

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The Blues Magoos sound less like psychedelic visionaries than a solid garage band with a taste for the blues on their debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, though the lysergic reference of the title certainly put them ahead of the curve in 1966, when LSD was still obscure enough to be legal in much of the United States. The album leads off with the group's first and only major hit single, "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet," and unlike most albums released by one-hit wonders of the mid-'60s, the single isn't the most exciting song here. That honor goes to the Magoos' cover of J.D. Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road" (which Lenny Kaye selected for his iconic garage rock compilation Nuggets), featuring some gutsy guitar work from Mike Esposito and Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm and impressive organ swells from Ralph Scala as the tune leans into a major rave-up midway through. Outside of that, Psychedelic Lollipop rarely sounds like a classic, but it's solid stuff -- the covers are chosen and played well (including a committed take on James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy"), the originals show the band knew their way around rock & roll, R&B, and blues with no small aplomb, and the band could stretch out on numbers like "Sometimes I Think About," "Worried Life Blues," and "Tobacco Road", while generating excitement and not losing the plot. Psychedelic Lollipop doesn't sound like the work of a great band, but certainly like one who were better than average, and considering how many bands who cranked out a single like "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" ended up making albums clogged with filler, it says a lot that even the weakest tracks here show this group had talent, ideas, and the know-how to make them work in the studio.

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