The Downliners Sect

Sect Appeal

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The Downliners Sect had called it quits by the time of the psychedelic era, but in 1976 a version of the band featuring Don Craine and Keith Grant re-formed in the wake of a small avalanche of praise that they'd received as an influence on the likes of Dr. Feelgood and other bands of the period. This CD is the product of that first comeback by the band, and while they might be shown off to better advantage as part of Thee Headcoats Sect, they're not bad here. Their sound is pure garage punk, stripped down and very energetic, although hard as the band tries on the four studio tracks that open this disc, they pale next to the 14 live cuts, which were recorded in the spring of 1980 in London and Norway. Those sides, though 13 years removed from the original group's history, capture the raw power of the Sect's classic EMI sides, with the instruments and the members alike set at a much higher wattage. Don Craine, Keith Grant, and Paul Tiller alternate on lead vocals, through familiar fare like "Sect Appeal" and covers of Jimmy Reed's "Baby What's on Your Mind," Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man" (with an amazing vocal performance by Don Craine), and Leiber & Stoller's "Love Potion No. 9," sizzling versions of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Back in the USA," plus good originals like Tiller's "Loose End." The influence of Bo Diddley runs through many of these sides, and when they finally get to one of his songs, "Nursery Rhymes," it's like a musical apotheosis -- you can practically feel them leave the ground as they slip inside the beat and the choruses for five minutes of rock & roll nirvana.

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