maandag 30 maart 2015

* Psychedelic Unknowns *

"Mr. Pharmacist, can you help me out today, in your usual lovely way?…"

'Mr. Pharmacist', covered quite well by The Fall, was originally recorded by The Other Half (1966). After spinning both versions the other day I just had to play this other 60s-garage/psychedelic-song, 'Apothecary Dream' (guess why) by a group called The Sound Sandwich. I first found it long time ago on 'Psychedelic Unknowns volume 1', a double-7inch-EP compiled by Billy Synth, a record collector from Pennsylvania. It was released on Calico Records in 1978; volume 2 followed the next year. 

Back then, there weren't that many similar compilations. The legendary Nuggets-2lp (programmed by Lenny Kaye, soon to be famous as guitar player with Patti Smith) came out in 1972, way ahead of its time. In 1979 the Pebbles-series started digging a little deeper for unpolished rock, and came up with more clumps of gold. Together with the first three Pebbles-LP's, these 7"-records by Billy Synth were the next best thing when I first heard them (and have been firm favorites ever since).

There also was a Psychedelic Unknowns-LP, containing all but two songs of the first two EP-volumes. 
The songs came without any info about the bands, most of them being really obscure. Some were more straight-forward garagerock, like The Split Ends with 'Rich with Nothing' or The Jury's 'Who Dat', some close to perfect pop (The Squires-'Going All The Way'). But many were truly psychedelic, as you could tell from the band names (The Cosmic Rock Show) or song titles ('I Dig Your Mind').

                                                           Psychedelic Unknowns-LP

side A, all 10 tracks from Psychedelic Unknowns vol.1:
01 The Calico Wall-'I'm A Living Sickness'
02 The Sound Sandwich-'Apothecary Dream'
03 The Daybreakers-'Psychedelic Siren'
04 The Split Ends-'Rich With Nothin'
05 The Nervous Breakdowns-'I Dig Your Mind'
06 The Evil I-'Love Conquers All'
07 The Cosmic Rock Show-'Rising Sun' (yep, reconstructed 'House of the Rising Sun') 
08 Thee Sixpence-'My Flash On You' (written by Arthur Lee; on the first album of his band Love)
09 The Iron Gate-'Feelin' Bad'
10 The Ides-'Psychedelic Ride'

side B, 10 out of 12 from vol.2 (but missing 'To Be Or Not To Be' by Yesterday's Children,
                                                  and 'The Diamond Mine' by Dave Diamond and the Higher Elevation):
01 The Starfires-'I Never Loved Her'
02 The King's Ransom-'Shame'
03 The Caretakers of Deception-'X + Y = 13'
04 The Jury-'Who Dat?'
05 First Crow To The Moon-'Spend Your Life'
06 We The People-'In The Past'
07 The Painted Ship-'Frustration' (adopted by Finnish band 22-Pistepirkko for their 'Frustration' in '98)
08 The Squires-'Going All The Way'
09 The Front Line-'Got Love'
10 The Nobles-'Something Else'
                                                    LP with same tracks, different cover

Most bands above made two, three worthwhile singles at best, sometimes just one. Notable exception: We The People (honored by the Sundazed-label with a 40track-2cd, including 'Mirror of Your Mind', 'You Burn Me Up And Down' and 'When I Arrive'). Also worth checking out: The Squires, whose B-side 'Go Ahead' was equally great Pop. But they also delivered 'The Original', with unexpected outrage. Crypt collected their stuff on an LP, that was just recently reissued in an expanded 16-track edition.

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