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Friday, August 24, 2012

Various Artists - Pebbles, Vol. 12: The World (1964-71 multi national garage beats rough diamonds)

This collection features 27 mid-'60s beat/punk singles from bands outside North America and the U.K., although a few of these bands were actually British outfits that moved abroad (the Rokes to Italy, and the Shamrocks and the Scorpions to Germany). Most of these singles have not been previously reissued. To their credit, the compilers have cast their net far and wide, encompassing not just continental Europe, but also New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and even Lebanon. 

The chief flaw of the volume is one that afflicts many such '60s anthologies: there are too many covers of songs (often R&B classics, like "Roadrunner" and "I Can Tell") that were done better by much more famous British bands. Nonetheless, there are some class selections here, particularly when the bands go out of the routine R&B rave-up orbit into poppier or more psychedelic territory. Among the more satisfying entries are the Four Rockets' (from Belgium) "The Place Where She Lives," with its mod chords; the Shamrocks' hot R&B single "Midnight Train" (which is not on their cult-favorite album); and Noel Deschamps' fine French cover of John Mayall's "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (retitled "Curieux Docteur"). 

Los Salvages' (from Spain) "Las Overjitas" is as raw a bash as continental bands managed; Japan's Bunnys merge British Invasion guitar with the Shadows on "Moanin'"; and Sir Henry & His Butlers' (from Denmark) "Pretty Style" is trance-inducing pop psychedelia with sitar. 
by Richie Unterberger

Artists - Tracks
1. Bunnys - Moanin' - 2:36
2. Four Rockets - The Place Where She Lives - 2:41
3. Shamrocks - Midnight Train - 2:48
4. Shake Spears - I Can't Tell - 2:20
5. Henchmen - Baby What's Wrong - 2:19
6. Phantoms - Roadrunners - 3:03
7. Klan - Already Mine - 2:10
8. Merrymen - Walking Down Lonesome Road - 2:01
9. Nicols - She Had a Name to Find Out - 2:46
10.Noel Deschamps - I'm Your Witchdoctor - 2:09
11.Odd Persons - I'm Cryin' - 2:40
12.Scorpions - Baby Back Now - 3:19
13.Honestmen - I've Been Wrong - 1:53
14.Rokes - She Asks of You - 2:09
15.John Wooley and Just Born - Look and You Will Find - 3:30
16.John Wooley & Just Born - You're Lying - 2:43
17.Shirrows - Not for Me - 2:47
18.Cedars - Hide If You Want to Hide - 2:36
19.Evariste - Connais-Tu l'Animal Que Inventa le Calcul Integral? - 2:39
20.Sir Henry and His Butlers - Pretty Style - 2:49
21.Los Salvages - Las Ovejias - 2:34
22.Tonics - Daddy - 3:06
23.Five Gentlemen - Dis-Nous Dylan - 3:52
24.Pleazers - Bald Headed Woman - 2:47
25.Entertainers - Searching - 2:45
26.Satins - Too Much Monkey Business - 3:37
27.Brothers Grimm - Beautiful Delilah - 2:19

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The Dictators - Go Girl Crazy (1975 us, raw proto punk)

In 1975, when punk rock and heavy metal were two opposing camps who barely who acknowledged each other's existence,  The Dictators' first album, Go Girl Crazy!, found New York's finest trying to bring both sides together in a brave,  prescient, and (at least at the time) futile gesture. 

The band's "smart guys who like dumb stuff" humor,  junk-culture reference points, and '60s cheeze rock covers ("California Sun" and "I Got You Babe" on one album)  would seem tailor made for the crowd at CBGB digging the Ramones and the Dead Boys,  but their sludgy and stripped down hard rock (and Ross "The Boss" Funichello's neo-metal guitar solos)  were something else altogether. And at a time when the arena rock audience had not yet embraced the less-than-subtle humor  and theatrics of Sparks or Cheap Trick, the Dictators' ahead-of-their-time enthusiasm for wrestling,  

White Castle hamburgers, and television confused more kids than it converted. Heard today, the album is a hoot and a half;  if the tempos could often stand to be a bit livelier, Adny Shernoff's songs are still great  (especially the absurdly anthemic "Two Tub Man," "I Live for Cars and Girls," and "Weekend"),  the jokes still register (while the contemporary Political Correctness brigade might blanch at "Back to Africa"  or "Master Race Rock," they're merely absurd in the Mad Magazine tradition),  and "secret weapon" Handsome Dick Manitoba was truly a find. 

Dozens of groups borrowed wholesale from Go Girl Crazy!  later on down the line, but the original is still the greatest ... and the funniest
by Mark Deming

1. The Next Big Thing - 4:20
2. I Got You Babe (Sonny Bono) - 4:08
3. Back To Africa - 3:35
4. Master Race Rock - 4:13
5. Teengenerate - 3:24
6. California Sun (Henry Glover, Morris Levy) - 3:04
7. Two Tub Man - 4:08
8. Weekend - 4:00
9. (I Live For) Cars And Girls - 3:56
Except where otherwise noted, all tracks composed by Andy Shernoff.

The Dictators
*Ross "The Boss" Funicello – Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
*Scott Kempner – Rhythm Guitar
*Stu Boy King – Percussion, Drums
*Handsome Dick Manitoba – Occassional Lead Vocals, Secret Weapon
*Andy Shernoff – Lead Vocals, Bass, Keyboards

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