In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Saturday, September 30, 2023

Various Artists - Lost Innocence Garpax (1965-68 us, splendid garage psych, 2021 release)

Top-rated West Coast garage sounds from the vaults of maverick genius Gary S Paxton. Acknowledged classics, tantalising obscurities and several previously unheard gems, all from the original master tapes. 

Vintage garage rock is only one of the many tributaries of popular music that the maverick Gary S Paxton recorded and produced in his 1960s heyday, and compared to other genres, the off-kilter genius behind ‘Alley Oop’ and ‘Monster Mash’ was hardly prolific with it. But for a producer-engineer of his repute, it was inevitable that Paxton would cross paths with the sudden surge of teenaged rock groups that emerged in the wake of the British Invasion. We’ve gathered the best of them on “Lost Innocence”, and for any aficionado of the genre, a treat is in store. As well as a brace of acknowledged Californian punk classics present and correct for the first time direct from master tape, this rockin’ little disc also shares further booty from the Garpax vaults, including some obscurities well worthy of re-appraisal, along with completely unreleased nuggets of note.

Counting among the well-known are the Avengers, Bakersfield’s top dogs in the punk bracket thanks to snot-nosed missives such as ‘I Told You So’ and the controversial ‘Be A Cave Man’. Ken And the Forth Dimension and Limey And the Yanks serve up the highly regarded items ‘See If I Care’ and ‘Guaranteed Love’ respectively, with a trio of ear-opening unissued tracks from the latter as a bonus. Riverside’s Whatt Four weigh in with the popular ear-burners ‘Our Love Should Last Forever’ and ‘You're Wishin’ I Was Someone Else’. And the Buddhas’ title cut is still the most eloquent ode to carnal knowledge in the entire 60s punk pantheon.

Most of the material on “Lost Innocence” was recorded at Paxton’s two Hollywood studios between 1965 and 1967, but some of the freakier cuts derive from facilities he ran from a converted bank in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale in the last three years of the decade. These include the trippy ‘My Dream’ by the aforementioned Buddhas, the soul-punk of Canadian transplants the New Wing, and fantastic unreleased cuts by the Fog and Mental Institution, the latter one of the many pseudonyms Paxton acolyte Kenny Johnson used while recording at the studio.

The eccentricities that are never far from a Paxton production inform a couple of tracks that nevertheless have punk merit. In particular, the unbelievable screaming on Carl Walden And the Humans’ ‘I’ll Never Let You Go’ would put James Brown or Wilson Pickett to shame. Last but not least, the voluminous Garpax tape library revealed a tantalising mystery in the unknown group responsible for a marvellous Raiders-style pounder titled ‘This Freedom I Have Found’.

In the commercial environs of mid-1960s Hollywood, the producer remained omnipotent and Paxton would happily call on his seasoned session crew if you weren’t cutting it, musically speaking. On “Lost Innocence”, however, most of the players remained those same wide-eyed teenagers that had been ushered into his presence. Their stories also have the same ring of truth as most youthful combos in that era: hearing your record on the radio for the first time, the expanded social and career possibilities afforded by membership of a successful local band and seeing that dream rent asunder by the draft. Yet having Gary S Paxton behind the controls, with his innate expertise and guidance, not to mention a soupçon of the appropriately bizarre, helped these same “typical” groups make some truly memorable music.
by Alec Palao

Artist - Song - Composer
1. The Whatt Four - Our Love Should Last Forever (Tom Bitters) - 1:44
2. The Avengers - Be A Cave Man (Gary S Paxton, William Powell) - 1:55
3. Limey And The Yanks - Guaranteed Love (Denny Reed, Gary S Paxton) - 2:26
4. The Buddhas - Lost Innocence (Dane Nelson, Dennis Roark, Gary Lettiere, Larry Meadors, Michael McCarthy, Rick Starr) - 2:11
5. The Fog - Grey Zone (Gary S Paxton, JD Wilson) - 3:32
6. New Wing - I Need Love (Al Wilson, Len LaLiberte) - 2:03
7. Ken And The Fourth Dimension - See If I Care (Kenneth Johnson) - 2:16
8. Mental Institution - In The Heat Of The Night (Kenneth Johnson) - 2:19
9. The Avengers - When It's Over (Gerry Blake, Henry Gonzales) - 1:51
10.The Whatt Four - You're Wishin' I Was Someone Else (Greg Sanders, Kenneth Johnson) - 2:21
11.Limey And The Yanks - Flight Of The Dead Bird  (Unknown) - 2:57
12.The Buddhas - My Dream (Dane Nelson, Dennis Roark, Gary Lettiere, Larry Meadors, Michael McCarthy, Rick Starr) - 2:26
13.The Avengers - I Told You So (Kenneth Johnson) - 1:56
14.Don Hinson - Peddlers Of Hate (Don Hinson, Kenneth Johnson) - 2:05
15.New Wing - Melodyland Loser (Al Wilson, Doug Policha) - 2:03
16.Chocolate Tunnel - The Highly Successful Young Rupert White (Kenneth Johnson) - 2:20
17.Limey And The Yanks - Tomorrow Never Comes (Kenneth Johnson) - 2:26
18.The Whatt Four - You Better Stop Your Messin' Around (Greg Sanders) - 2:28
19.The Avengers - Shipwrecked (William Powell) - 1:48
20.Unknown Artist - This Freedom I Have Found (Unknown) - 2:38
21.Limey And The Yanks - Leather Coated Cottage (Unknown) - 2:25
22.New Wing - Brown Eyed Woman (Al Wilson, Doug Policha, Len LaLiberte) - 2:31
23.The Avengers - My True True Love (Buddy Wayne) - 2:58
24.Carl Walden And The Humans - I'll Never Let You Go (Carl Walden) - 2:17

The Whatt Four
*Greg Sanders - Bass
*Tom Ference - Drums
*John Langdon - Lead Guitar
*Tom Bitters - Rhythm Guitar  

The Avengers
*Ken Zigoures - Bass 
*Gary Bernard Drums
*Greg Likins - Lead Guitar 
*Henry Gonzales - Rhythm Guitar
*Gerry Blake - Vocals, Electric, Farfisa Organ

Limey And The Yanks
*Bob Batman - Bass
*Wes Hunsinger - Drums
*Tim Dunne, Wally Downing - Guitar
*Steve Cook - Lead Vocals

The New Wing
*Doug Policha - Bass
*Len Saidman - Drums
*Henry LaLiberte - Guitar
*Al Wilson - Organ
*Davey Peters - Vocals

Ken And The Forth Dimension
*Don Johnson - Bass
*Eddie Hilton - Drums
*Kenny Johnson - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Valdez - Organ
*Bob Hopps - Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals