The Palace Guards

The Complete Recordings

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A 1960s garage band out of New Orleans, the Palace Guards sound pretty much like a thousand other similar regional bands who drew inspiration from the Beatles, the Byrds, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Animals during the middle part of the decade. The Guards, particularly after they added an organist in 1968, had at times a soulful R&B edge, but they remained pretty much part of the Byrdsian jangling guitar army throughout their run, which lasted from 1966 to 1970, during which time they released five locally successful singles on Frank Udoe's U-DOE Records imprint. Both sides of all five of those singles are included here, as well as some unreleased material and alternate takes, and a 1974 recording by guitarist Jeff Miller ("Waltz for Alissa") made a couple years after the group disbanded. Nothing here rises to the level of a lost gem, although "Gas Station Boogaloo Downtown" has a playful energy and both "My Window" and "Wrong Side of the Street" are compelling pop songs with decent hooks. One of the most striking tracks is "Don't Know Why I Feel Good," which has a distinct Rascals-like soulful groove to it, and indicates a direction the band might have taken had they broken free of the British Invasion influences. Seemingly every town in America had a band or two like the Palace Guards in the mid-'60s, and they are hardly singular in what was essentially a suburban garage band folk movement, but there is still something refreshing about these guys, derivative as they are, and fans and collectors of the genre will undoubtedly be delighted with this set.

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