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Monday, April 1, 2013

The Nomadds - The Nomadds (1965 us, fine roots garage teen beat, 2009 digi pak issue)

Their only album has finally been reissued by Way Back Records on vinyl and cd. The Nomadds was originally released by Radex in 1965. They enjoyed quite a local following in Freeport and were Northwestern Illinois’ most popular teenbeat group bar none. The group’s lineup is: Lee Garner (lead guitar), Tony Cannova (drums), Greg Johnson (rhythm guitar, vocals), Denny Kuhl (bass), and Dean Kuehl “Stick” (vocals, harmonica – the big guy who stands center on the album’s cover).

The Nomadds is closer in spirit to early British Invasion records like Meet The Beatles or Gerry and the Pacemakers from their giddy 1963/1964 prime. For this reason interest may be limited: there are no fuzz guitars, walls of feedback, psychedelic freakouts, or shouting punk vocals; this album was recorded in 1964! That being said, the song arrangements are articulate and take interesting detours that most teenbeat/garage groups couldn’t handle. The Nomadds cut their teeth playing the bars and teen clubs of Illinois which would explain the accomplished nature of their performances.

You’re buying the album for the five great originals but some of the covers are pretty solid too. Standout covers to these ears are a rocking version of “Roll Over Beethoven,” a rollicking “W.P.L.J.,” Jimmy Reed’s “Shame Shame Shame,” and the ultimate teenage heartbreak of “Tragedy.” Excellent originals like “There Is No More” and “You Can Fall In Love” mix minor chords, folk-like guitars and rocking rhythms while other good tracks hit more of a tender, love song vibe. My favorite tune is “Don’t Cheat On Me”, a great performance with an interesting guitar intro and a marvelous vocal arrangement – this is teenbeat at it’s finest, really.

1. You Can Fall In Love (Greg Johnson) - 2:30
2. Shame Shame Shame (Jimmy Reed) - 3:19
3. I'm In Transit (Greg Johnson) - 3:26
4. Lucille (Albert Collins, Richard Wayne Penniman) - 2:47
5. Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry) - 2:53
6. There is No More (Greg Johnson) - 2:43
7. Ain't That Just Like Me (Earl Carroll, Billy Guy) - 2:13
8. Don't Cheat On Me (Greg Johnson) - 2:38
9. Tragedy (Fred Burch, Gerald Nelson) - 2:45
10.Love Potion No. 9 (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:11
11.W.P.L.J. (R. Bryant, Willie Graham, Donald W. Woods) - 2:11
12.Enter Into My Life (Greg Johnson) - 4:08

The Nomadds
Tony Cannova - Drums
Lee Garner - Guitar
Greg Johnson - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Dean "Stick" Kuehl - Harmonica, Vocals
Denny Kuhl - Bass

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