Wild Cherries

That's Life

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If you go just by the records they managed to release during the 1960s, there's not really enough to make a Wild Cherries album. This reissue, however, makes the most of out their slim recorded legacy, combining both sides of their four 1967-1968 singles with 16 previously unreleased 1965-1966 bonus tracks. It's the eight tracks (all written or co-written by guitarist Lobby Loyde) from the singles, though, that are the truly significant ones, since it was on these that the Wild Cherries laid down the music that was among the most innovative in '60s Australian rock. On the most notable of those 45s, the group fused psychedelia, early hard/progressive rock, and soul in a manner that no other Australian band of the time was doing on record, particularly on "Krome Plated Yabby," "That's Life," and "Gotta Stop Lying." These are somewhat similar to the rock being played by some Detroit outfits of the late '60s, and if they're certainly more pop-oriented than, say, the MC5, they do offer a pretty intriguing blend of creative ambition and muscular crunch. The other, far less well-known songs from the singles might surprise listeners who've heard the other tracks on compilations, as they're more straightforward soul-rock than you'd expect (adding some pop-oriented orchestration on "I Don't Care"), though they're fairly good as that style goes. The remaining 16 tracks -- taken from studio outtakes and home/live recordings -- capture the group at an earlier pre-Loyde stage at which they were much more an R&B/rock band along the lines of British bands like the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds. In fact, just one of these songs (the quite admirably mean'n'lean "Get Out of My Life") is a group original; not only are all of the others covers, but most of them are covers of tunes that major British Invasion bands like the Yardbirds, the Who, and Manfred Mann put on their early recordings. This section of the CD isn't nearly as original as the Loyde-led material, then, and it's not as well recorded either, though the fidelity's satisfactory. Still, the Wild Cherries do sound like a good, tough, mid-'60s British R&B band at this stage in their development, and without those tracks...well, there wouldn't be enough for a CD. As is standard for the Half a Cow label, the packaging is superb, featuring a 36-page liner booklet jammed with photos.

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