Walflower Complextion

The Walflower Complextion

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This double CD pairs both of the group's rare Colombian LPs into one release. The first, The Walflower Complextion, is a crudely performed, typical 1966 high school garage rock album, a bit weirder than some of the others from the time. Although it was recorded and released in Colombia, it was recorded by Americans, and really could easily have been made in the U.S., rather than abroad. Amid the clumsy covers of "Hanky Panky," "Long Tall Shorty," and four songs by the Rolling Stones are more unexpected renditions of Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper" and Richard & the Young Lions' regional garage hit "Open Up Your Door." More interesting, although not immensely so, are the band originals. There's an average folk-pop-rocker ("All It Is"), but otherwise all of those are instrumentals: "Chris's B's," which accelerates like an amateur-hour Yardbirds contest; "Blue Bells," a pretty fair surf instrumental with some odd discords and fast-to-slow-to-fast-again tempo changes; and "Sapphire," more surf-meets-rave-up improv with an ill-tempered spoken rant in the middle. The group's second album, When I'm Far from You, is not really any different from their first: not a surprise, actually, considering that it was recorded just a few months later. It's a similar mix of British Invasion covers (or, in some cases, covers of British Invasion covers) and quirky, though not outstanding, original tunes. The title cut is a murky, folk-rockish ballad, somewhat similar to early Rolling Stones ballads like "Blue Turns to Grey" (which the Walflower Complextion had covered on their earlier LP), or the hazy folk-rock ballads the Rising Storm did on their cult '60s garage album, though more sluggish. At the behest of the label president, there were a couple of rock versions of Colombian cumbia folk numbers. More interesting, and perhaps the best cut on the album, is the odd instrumental "From Head to Toe," which starts like a folk-rock instrumental in the mold of the backing track of the Rolling Stones' "I Am Waiting" with its wavering guitars, then speeds up to a jagged rave-up. The covers -- not just of songs learned from British bands, but also Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me" and James Brown's "Out of Sight" -- are of little note, although they might be a little less ramshackle than those on the prior album. It's going to be a lot easier (and less expensive) to find these records on CD than it is to locate the Colombian-only originals, and there's a booklet of photos and (rather brief) liner notes. For whatever reason, though, the songwriting credits are rife with shoddy misspellings and mistakes.

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