Psychedelic States: Florida in the '60s, Vol. 2

Various Artists

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Psychedelic States: Florida in the '60s, Vol. 2 Review

by Stanton Swihart

As usual, there are a few cuts that are pretty tedious going on the second installment of Gear Fab's fab Psychedelic States series, but a greater number that are where it's at, or at least where it was for hip teens in 1960s Florida. Vol. 2 actually marks a slight improvement from the first volume because, while it has fewer absolute highs on the order of Neighborhood of Love's irresistible punker "Miss Blue Three Quarter" or the stunning free-form psych of Blues Messengers' "High Wednesday," it is a bit more consistent overall. And even the most mediocre tunes are usually redeemed by whiplash rave-ups, boiling freak-outs, or fuzz solos. There are fine approximations of Dave Clark Five (the Tropics), the Rascals (the wonderfully named Little Willie & the Adolescents), and the Zombies (Sounds Unlimited), and even a pretty decent pale Archie Bell imitation (the Mind's Eye). There are some nice Rolling Stones-worthy riffs (the Missing Links' "Run and Hide," although the riff outshines the actual song), professional-quality folk-rock (the Birdwatchers), and cheeky lyrical allusions (prostitution, on the Lost Generation's "I'd Gladly Pay"). And some of this truly is snot-nosed and amateurish in the actual spirit of the words: the Mods featured a pair of 12 year olds, including the lead vocalist! After awhile you're bound to grow weary of the horny, girl-done-me-wrong sentiments, yet that is also what makes this stuff so much fun. And then there are some truly breathtaking, two-minute, spit-and-venom should-a-been classics: the Rockin' Roadrunners' "Down," on which the band coaxes some amazing psychedelic sounds out of their guitars; the unhinged Arthur Brown craziness of the Purple Underground's bad-trip "Count Back"; and Cosmic Camel's brilliantly titled gothic, lo-fi psych-raga, "The Suzanne Love Mirage." The most interesting thing on here may be the Soul Trippers' version of "King Bee," on which the teen quintet sounds as if, by God, it has managed to borrow the soul of an old bluesman. (Local radio stations stopped playing it when they found out the band was white.) Not even the early Stones or Yardbirds could manage that trick. Some of this is, frankly, brain-cell-depleting stuff. But then who needs those anyway.

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