Defining musical styles and sketching out their origins is a daunting task in the rocket-fueled, digitally injected, and ever rapidly and constantly changing world of 21st century pop. It can seem easy enough at first -- the punk and new wave explosion of the late '70s obviously drew a lot of inspiration from the garage band and trash-rocking era of the mid-'60s. But where did those garage and trash artists draw inspiration? That’s where things start to thin out. Since the rise of radio into virtually every home and car, musicians were exposed to countless recordings in countless different styles and approaches, and since pop culture always demands something new, combining one style with another became almost an act of survival for musicians with aspirations. This delightful two-disc, 50-track set attempts to outline the origins of the 1960s garage and trash acts, and it’s a superb playlist that crackles with a kind of loose and raw kinetic energy, with classic sides and songs by Ma Rainey (“See See Rider”), Howlin’ Wolf (“Smokestack Lightning”), Dale Hawkins (“Susie-Q”), Link Wray (“Rumble”), the Champs (“Tequila”), the Shirelles (“Boys”), and John D. Loudermilk (“Tobacco Road”). It’s a great playlist. It’s a great playlist for a very cool party in the garage. But are these tracks the roots of garage and trash? You could listen to the early singles of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and probably get just as close to an epicenter. Some things are just in the air -- like electricity, and electricity and amped guitars are the real reason any of it happened. This is a wonderful set, whether it's the roots of anything else or not.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2