GILBERTO GIL :
60S PSYCH-POP/FREAKBEAT/GARAGE (REISSUES + NEW BANDS)
review page 6

old bands
(reissues/compilations) :

Gilberto gil ('68,'69/'08)
Monocles, The  &
Higher Elevation, The ('65-'69/'08)
Outspoken Blues, The / Bryd(e)s, The ('65-'68)
V.A. : Where you gonna go ? ('65-'69)
Morning Dew ('66-'69/'09)
The Jujus ('66-'67/'09)
V.A. Raks, Raks Raks ('60s/'09)

new bands
(60s styled):

Stay ('08)
The 17th Pygmy ('07)
(see also Haakon Ellinsen ('08))

Gear Fab Rec.   The Monocles & The Higher Elevation :
The Spider, The Fly & The boogie Man (US,1965-1969,re.2008)***°

One of the things I liked of American mid-sixties inspirations were the fun horror movies and series (both on screen as on TV) from those years that seem to have been made in the context as if they were the kind of innocent anti-pressure compensations for the communist nuclear and other threats paranoia, something which in music led to great examples of rockabilly, surf and freakbeat fantasies, something which the Monocles greatly seem to have appreciated (see also the reference to the title of this compilation : “the spider, the fly & the boogie man”), teenage fantasies amongst other interests like love affairs.

Recently, one of the members made a huge web archive on the two related bands, so it was only a matter of time before a release happened, with, of course, a 12 page booklet biography and photographs, and no less than 31 tracks of which a few alternative tracks and some instrumental versions. Different from much American song music from that period this band succeeds to make very focused ‘real’ songs that stay with you easily. So, after the first two already ok tracks more or less every single track is a winner. I will describe most of them.

After one twist & rock’n roll track, “you don’t know” is a beautiful psych-pop love song winner with melodic piano, and with some whoohoo background vocals, a first track reminding of the horror-fun teeny-bop & at first rockabilly period I was talking about. “A little bit less”, in comparable style, confirms that tracked inspiration, while this is a sad song with softly marching drums. This is followed by a soft ballad, “the other side of happiness” with romanticizing harmony vocals, and another rock’n roll-alike song, again with good lyrics, (referring to a certain girl as “like a living doll”). Great again with the previous sort of inspiration is “the boogie man” with mad laughs and funny rhythmic sounds, rockabilly at its best. The next track, “psychedelic” is fitting well in style but is also much more “psychedelic” and with a psychedelic instrumental part (weird organ and freaky guitar). Brilliant and expressive again is “the spider and the fly”, a nightmarish psychedelic track with weird horror hop vocals, crazy organ and sounds, an some helium gas vocals crying for help. Also “the diamond man” is horror hop psychedelica. The more up tempo greatly swinging “Crazy Bicycle” fits well, has a bit of brass, and a crazy guitar solo. “Thoughts of Lila” is a moody 60s love pop song with organ, good rhythm moves and vocal harmonies, and a fine small guitar solo. Both “Country Club Affair” and “Summer Skies” are songs about romances. “Odyssy” sounds more Kinks-alike, directs more to attractive pop, and has some brass. “Highway 101” is even more different, country’roll or something, and with brass too, and with mainstream poppy rhythms. These two last tracks were made in a period when they had already changed their name, headed ambitiously to either a more successful professional career or were more or less forced by the mums to do something more serious with their life, despite their growing success as a highschool band, Higher Elevation didn’t bring them that much further as expected. Some members continued in many more bands to come.

After these first 17 tracks the rest can be considered as bonus material, and I wish it was indicated on the list a bit more clearly. After some listens however their inclusion reveals themselves better in their quality, showing a few more aspects and a couple of good songs. A couple of recordings seem to have been taken from a bad quality acetate? vinyl source, of which I like perhaps best the small surf improvisation, and a couple of rough demo versions of songs recorded with just voice and rhythm guitar, of which the sad “where is my life”, a sad song about lost love is especially appealing, as well as a few instrumental versions.

This compilation made me more curious again to future 60s reissues.

Note : John Sebastian played spontaneously tambourine on “Wizard Of Love” without the band knowing it was him joining in the session.

Label info : http://gearfab.swiftsite.com/Catalog_List/catalog_list.html
The H.Elevation : http://www.bobyeazel.com/... & Monocles : http://www.bobyeazel.com/...

El Rec./Cherry Red Rec.    Gilberto Gil :
The Sound Of Revolution 1968-69 (BRAZ,1968-1969,re.2008)**°'
(= 'Frevo Rasgado' & 'Cérebro Eletrônico')

Songwriter Gilberto Gil nowadays is remembered as one of the forerunners of the Tropicalia genre (together with close friend Caetano Veloso).

The country knew a military coup in 1964 supported by the in that time very conservative Americans who felt the country needed a control on creative change, which meant that this new government kept an eye on change. When American and English records and styles were imported, some people felt it might endanger the local dance rhythms related and “Tropical” sounds experiences. The liner notes mention a 1966 incident, led by musicians Edu Lobo & Elis Regina, in Sao Paulo, which was going to be known as the “protest march against the electric guitars”, something with which Gilbert Gil participated. It turned out to be a publicity stunt for two TV music shows…. With Gilberto Gil dressed up in uniform as a brass band leader on his second album, there is multiple irony behind all that, which why perhaps slightly provoking the military government that there exist an alternative Brazil voice of its own, in that way it still is referring slightly to the former incident for this is an alternative to a marching band. It is redefining Brazil music while seeing Brazil as a creative centre in the world and while feeling conscious of all that surrounds them, somewhat which is the opposite of the American music examples by then who hardly adapted anything from abroad, and which is just like most other countries did in forming a more global sound expression, which is not necessarily its one and only centre of influence, but which just keeps its own centre and fundaments, while playing a vivid mix of all experiences it knows spontaneously and consciously. The new Tropicalia genre was definitely a Brazil sound, no matter if electric guitars were brought in. The cooperation of Os Mutantes (as well as the Beat Boys), very much defined a large part of the sound on this second album, so that you can place the album well next to the early Os Mutantes albums, besides there are also a few other influences. There are a few brass arrangements, which work confusingly on the first track as if this is going to be a marching band supported album, which it is not. While adapting local rhythms (sambas and such), there is also a nice feeling of inner freedom of a voice with his own expression, while at the same time there can be just relaxed songs with orchestrations, being gentle music on its own.

Besides his second album, also his fourth album is also added (the third is even more by Tropicalia defined). While this is considered as his most experimental album, the songs are in fact basically rather recognisable, with this Tropicalia influence, but also with a rock context, adding electric fuzz guitars and such, and the effects of a reacting public, and with a last experimental track with spoken word.

When Gilberto Gil appeared with Os Mutantes on national television this sort of charismatic experiences were now felt as a threat and provocation for a new form of freedom so that Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso were imprisoned for three years without a reason, and then kindly pushed to leave the country. Gilberto Gil continued his career in the UK while playing with great bands (like Pink Floyd), before returning to his country after some years. His musical sound didn’t grow more progressive, but also tamed down a bit to more mainstream song music and embraced genres like bossa nova. Rather recently he was invited to join the now changed government, and since 2003 he became and still is minister of culture. For a real “progressive music” interest, I think it are especially the cooperations with Os Mutantes which are worth hearing and checking out.

Video of live track from 1968 with Os Mutantes : http://www.youtube.com/...
Audio on http://www.gilbertogil.com.br/sec_discografia_view.php?id=2
Review with 3 audio tracks on http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=99109
Pages on Gilberto Gil : http://www.gilbertogil.com.br & http://old.gilbertogil.com.br/
& http://www.ejn.it/mus/gil.htm
& http://www.allbrazilianmusic.com/en/Artists/Artists.asp?Status=ARTISTA&Nu_Artista=246
& http://www.imnworld.com/gilbertogil
& http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilberto_Gil
About Caetano Veloso and Gil's cooperation : http://www.brazzil.com/cvrdec02.htm
Single taken from 1969 album on http://loronix.blogspot.com/...
Other description on http://www.dustygroove.com/item.php?id=v3xvsbc62x&ref=index.php
Other review of second album : http://www.answers.com/...
& http://shopping.yahoo.com/... & on http://www.amazon.com/...
& fourth album : http://www.answers.com/topic/gilberto-gil-1969?cat=entertainment
& http://www.npr.org/about/nextgen/internedition/sum07/music/?p=18
Interview : http://www.thebraziliansound.com/gil2.htm
Feathered Apple Rec. The Outspoken Blues (US,1966-1968,re.2008)***°
(+ The Bryds) (US,1965)

“Not Right Now” appeared on ‘Back From The Grave, Volume 8!’ before, and this came from one of the most sought after and most expensive garage related singles ever. Luckily we have it here with a compilation of other recorded material, and their, also appreciated single of their previous group, The Bryds (not the Byrds!)

On the firstly listed, famous single their style is also at their most most attractive, and it is a shame not much more was recorded like this. The A-side is an original 60s romantic emotionally expressed psychpop song with harmony vocals, with good electric guitars, some progressive rhythmical changes, a beautiful song. Unfortunately I can’t recall now to which groups to compare this well. The B-side is harder, with electric solos and more garage-like vocals. Both are with good drumming, and attractive organ. Their garage-starting point can still be noticed elsewhere more often, or remains at least a good influence, and the psychpop organ is kept too, as well as the drumming skills, mostly, when the band evolved more often to more R&B styled songs (5 out of 13 tracks are covers), with trumpet solos or brass arrangements coming to it. With also some romantic and one more funny song this still all fit well together and the band never loses its strength being fairly above the average, always enjoyable. From the Bryds bonus tracks, especially the A-side is very strong, the B-side a bit more simple going teenage breaking up song.

Most of the material was never released before. The band formed a reunion for this occasion.

Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/outspokenblues
Band info : http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~stanfam/blues.htm
& http://www.rimpo.de/outspokenblues.html
Description on http://www.bompstore.com/servlet/Detail?no=9111
Waukegan bands from the time  :
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~stanfam/bands.htm
Label info : http://homepage.swissonline.ch/featheredapple/featheredapplerecords.html
Listing in most wanted singles list : http://www.finerecordingstudio.com/g45/?r=0
Bracken Rec./Fruits De Mer   Stay -ep- (SP,2008)***°/**°'

The purpose of the label is to promote some classic pop songs outside the mainstream pop territory, with covers by promising bands and individuals. The Spanish band Stay surely is such a band, who succeeds to perform in a strong 60s psychpop style. The first track, a favourite ‘mushroom’ song by Strawberry Alarm Clock is in such a style, features wild guitars, well arranged acoustic guitars, psych organ, and sitar. What usually was better in the sixties, and not in the neo-sixties band was clarity in sound and arrangements, a quality which luckily this band seems to keep awake here, of course also thanks to a fine example. Equally strong as the opener and luckily not too different in form is the Rolling Stones song from their only psych album, with similar organ contribution, and 60s vocals. The last, Graham Nash song is more dominated by guitars and more straight rhythms on drums is my least favourite, sounds a bit more indie rock than 60s pop. 

Audio : "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow","2000 Light Years From Home","Chicago"
Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/staysongs
Band info : http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.aspx?epk_id=142055
Label info : http://www.brackenrecords.com/p540.html
& http://www.myspace.com/fdmer 
The Unrelated Segments
Cicadelic Rec.   V.A. : Where you gonna go ?
  - Motor City Garage Bands 1965-1969 (US,re.2008)****

The Detroit scene knew some Motown successes (Capitols,Reflections,..) besides bands like MC5. There also was a popular radio show on WKNR which mostly led to a performance on the popular TV show called “Swinging Time” on Channel 9. Many teenagers directed towards these 5 minutes of fame. A small independent label was related with all this, called SVR, a label which became nationally distributed (by Hanna Barbara Records) after The Tidal Waves hit, “Farmer John”. The distribution later was taken over by Liberty Records, then by United Artists but without providing promotion of it. By the time of around 1970 the music styles changed drastically so the label closed down. One of the focuses have been “garage bands” as they called them (besides some soul recordings, not listed here). This historical compilation is a selection of the label, (with 2 more independent singles) with the main focus on The Unrelated Segments whose “Story Of My Life” appeared on Rhino’s Nuggets box set (here also with an extra alternate long version) and The Tidal Waves who scored the number one hit “Farmer John”. This means : 75 minutes with a very good choice of songs, and with the earliest styles as the first tracks, which in the beginning showed a teenage choice of either becoming famous on the radio/TV with rock’n roll power or with some chick sensitive or realistic ballads (like about girls who are just wanting their money). Occasionally these early tracks could have some studio added orchestration or sax solos, most of the tracks are kept simple as strong song-orientated expressions. A really very enjoyable release, with, exceptionally, all very good tracks.

Audio : The District Six : "East Side Story" ;  The Unrelated Segments : "It's Not Fair"
Label info : http://www.cicadelic.com/segments.htm
& http://www.cicadelic.com/whereyougonnagopromopg.htm
Distributor info : http://www.clear-spot.nl/catalog/view.php?item_id=319614
Trakwerx  The 17th Pygmy : Ballade Of Tristram's Last Harping (US,2007)***°

One thing you can say about the band the 17th Pygmy (who changed name now from ‘17 Pygmies’ who existed since 1984 and had a comeback double cd, after 17 years silence, reviewed on next page), is that they have dealt with inspirations from many styles, often from the 60s. While their previous comeback album dealt with a psychedelifolkpop style to modern/new electronic pop inspirations, most of this album focuses entirely on a 60s psychpop in focus. Meg : “The different styles of music can be attributed to Jackson Del Rey's vision. He never creates back to back CDs that are alike, and always tries to stretch all of us into new musical territory with each release.” The new name change for this project hangs in between the associations of The Dave Clark 17 and Paul Revere and the Pygmies, but without creating too much confusion with them.

Most of the album uses this sort of typical electric Sitar-guitar sound we know from The Byrds. Especially the opener “My Generation” could have been a real old classic song from the sixties, while this is all new and freshly squeezed. With this they have an attractive pop sound, with a certain 60s-loudness (electric) and directness in sound (consisting of electric ass/drums/reverb guitars/electric guitar vocals). When the female lead singer comes in the style changes a bit more towards 60s folk-psych ballads. The close harmonic-melodic electric guitar arrangements with two different guitars are really nice to hear. After two third of the album the rhythmic drive becomes more settled down, with post-funky rhythms or lighter rhythms, dreamier and easier and smoothly rocking, a bit less 60s psych, a more later sound (indie 80s or such), but with a certain dreamy vibe still hanging there.

Audio on http://www.rhapsody.com..
Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/17pygmies
& http://cdbaby.com/cd/17thpygmy
Bandinfo : http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.aspx?epk_id=114276
Label info (with audio) : http://trakwerx.com/label.htm#The17th
Description (with audio) : http://www.notlame.com/...
Other reviews : -

The more folky version of the band, "17 Pygmies" is reviewed on http://www.psychedelicfolk.com/psychfolkpopreview6.html
Cicadelic Rec.Morning Dew : No More 1966-1969 (US,re.2009)***'

Morning Dew (inspired as a group name from Tim Rose’s song) came into existence in 1966, after they were The Toads and before that The Impax, without having recorded with the previous bands. These are all their recording sessions spanning in three years very much of the natural and fast evolution of the mid to late 60s styles of their time. Starting in 1966 with a rather Teenage-power effective punk/garage with emotional songs, some occasional scream, heavy guitar solos, sung with a sharp dirty American accent, some shaking rhythms with a certain primitivism in style, singing about subjects like girls and teachers, very quickly, at first, ballad rhythms, folk-rock sounds with more acoustic elements are adapted into it. Then, the next year, in 1967, psychedelic sounds, some wah-wah guitar, and more fuzz guitars, and psychedelic flute starts to dominate the music itself, while the voice gets quieter, and more in the background. Around 1969, also bluesy elements are adapted into their sound, with interesting rhythmic elements (“Young Man” with a shaking rather Afro-rock rhythm!), equally fine electric fuzz solos, fine bass lines and a few small arrangements are added. It’s really interesting to hear this evolution happen in a band in such a short period of time.

Audio : "I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone", "Winter Dreams"
Biography : http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/bio/0,,470354,00.html
Info : http://www.cicadelic.com/morningdew.htm
Cicadelic Rec.The Jujus : You Threat me Bad (US,1965-1967re.2009)***'

This is a compilation of The Jujus who had released this famous and attractive “You Treat Me Bad” single (Pebbles vol.1). Their style evolution on the recorded tracks (including alternate and unreleased versions) from 1965 till 1967 ranges from simple songs of rather raw teenage garage with sax, to more mainstream mellow folk-rock, to more Beatles influenced songs.

From the famous Fenton studios.

Info : http://www.cicadelic.com/jujusstory.htm
Golden ring single
Raks DiscosV.A. : Raks Raks Raks
  -27 garage psych nuggets from the Iranian 60s scene- (IR,60s,pub.'09)***°°

I’m glad someone finally bent over, and has spend a fortune on Iranian rarities and in his ambition proved the existence of a now neglected even forbidden from memory scene from which I did not even know it ever had a real 60s reference too. The compiler didn’t want to make any statements ; he just loved the music. But still it is sad that because of other taboos pictures of western styled women or bands with a women singer or drummer (like Golden Ring) are even more rare (I wish he had included another band picture of them for that reason). If Iranian costumers finds them anywhere they are immediately ripped to pieces. “Modern Iran” tries to wipe out history and the fact that women were not always dressed as they are today in Iran (-even in Persian museums you never see women on paintings with shawls the way it is instructed today by the first Islamic pope-based society in history). Included in this compilation are the really earliest traces of modern pop music, from rock’n roll over garage to 60s pop music, and one longer track from the more known 70s styles from Iran. What is especially rewarding is its use of rhythms. The complexity of it is incomparable to any of the Western 4/4 based easy going smoothness. The songs however remain relatively relaxed as being typical for Iran (compared to for instance the Lebanese Cedars, which are much more up tempo and attractively nervous compared to this).

Compared to the 19 track LP this 27 track CD has a few extra surprises in garage and rock’n roll style and a few extra 60s covers in a Persian way. Most of the later tracks however (track 22-26) are less essential, mostly from the rock’n roll area, but they still give an idea of how such less creative tracks can still show some minor mixed style/crossover elements. Different and more funky and groovy than all other tracks together (perhaps also because this is from a few years later) and with a more "free" feeling is Gogoosh’s track “respect” (with sax, organ, electric guitars and drums and heavy screaming vocals, definitely influenced by the American scene with Janis Joplin, ..). Strange is also the Morricone western-typed whistling intro on Golden Ring's A-side, and some harmonica besides organ/fast rhythms. A few tracks less would have made this a nearly perfectly compiled, a must-have album, but I won’t complain for an even more complete picture of a unique historical document, of music in its essence is great to listen to as well! Compilation of over 76 minutes.

The compiler just told me he kept the killers for a second volume later this year. Compared to what is already compiled here I can't imagine what more surprising things to expect.

Audio : Littles "Fatemah Sultan" ; Moha Jamin :"Sheshwa Heshat Moho Jamin", "Ashk e Roya e Bashkohe" ; The Flowers : "Meekshi Manoo", Group Takhala Ha : "Dkhtar E Darya", Zia :  "Man Kiam?", Ojoobe Ha :  "Sartegar Nakesh Chen"
LP version was reviewed on http://psychemusic.org/persiareviews.html#anchor_67
-on a page with many more Iranian prog/psych/crossover music reviews-
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