Various Artists

Ya Gotta Have Moxie, Vol. 1

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In the late 1970s and '80s, the Moxie label was famous, or infamous, for its Boulders compilations of obscure '60s garage rock. Boulders was to Pebbles what Pebbles was to Nuggets; an even rawer, more obscure approach to unearthing '60s garage music, in both the rarities arena and the fidelity and graphics of the packages. More than a decade after Boulders' demise, AIP (which handles the Pebbles series) is anthologizing its one-time rival, this first volume presenting a whopping 52 songs (including one, the Checklads' "Shake Yourself Down," that did not appear on the original Moxie series) on its two CDs. The pressings of Boulders were notorious for their poor fidelity, and to its credit, AIP (not exactly a bastion of digitized sound itself) has remastered from cleaner copies of these rarities when possible. This is one of the better bulky garage anthologies, as it is more flexible in its scope than many '60s punk comps (such as the later Pebbles volumes, which usually stick to standard snotty rants. There are plenty of those here, actually, but there are also some good folk-rockers, a Sonny & Cher soundalike (Boo Boo & Bunky), a cover of a song from the Mothers' Freak Out (the Basooties' "You Didn't Try to Call Me"), and a single that sounds like a Freak Out wannabe (Communication Aggregation's "Freakout USA"). There are also some touches of pop and soul, as in the Cherry Slush's outstanding "I Cannot Stop You," and the Down 5's "I'm Takin' It Home," produced by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. And there are a surprising number of entries recorded by major labels. For pure '60s punk dementia, it doesn't get much hotter than the Chocolate Moose's "Chocolate Moose Theme." The Avengers' "Open Your Eyes," which affixes some hypnotic psychedelia to the Byrds' jangle-folk-rock, is one of the great, outstanding, obscure mid-'60s singles of all; the Birdwatchers' "I'm Gonna Love You Anyway," with its neat alternation of stomping verse and light British Invasion harmonies on the chorus, had (unlike most of the stuff on Boulders) actual hit potential.

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