Some killer late sixties, early seventies psych rock from the USA, garage bands gettin' "heavy". Well this disc, on the same Nick Saloman-affiliated label Psychic Circle, is in some ways a sequel, featuring similar bands of the era from the UK (and one Israeli band that recorded in London, to be perfectly accurate). With the subtitle "20 Gems From The Early Years Of Prog", it's billed as a collection of obscure "progressive rock" tracks... but the stress is on the rock. After all, Black Sabbath was once considered a "prog" band too. Sure, there might be some keyboards, but there's lots of raw, raucous energy here, both singers and guitarists wailing away in full fuzzed-out psychedelic proto-metal glory, when they didn't know from headbanging but knew how to boogie! Being a comp, of course some of this is better 'n the rest, but quality control is pretty high. Some faves include the punkish Helter Skelter (ex-Crushed Butler), the powerful axe-action of Israel's Jericho, and the heavy blues thud of early UFO, among other treats here to be heard from these bands (some we already knew, some new to us): Treetops, Mousetrap, Deadwood, Fuzzy Duck, Incredible Hog, Mouse, Beggars Opera, Kingdom Come, Little Big Horn, Strange Fox, Onyx, Spontaneous Combustion, Sheephouse, Pussy, Axe, Sunchariot, and Kansas Hook.
(buy it @ aquarius records)
This one is another trip into early prog-psych or prog per se and comes up with some really cool tracks. Treetops' 'Why Not Tonight' from 1972 is a classic case of the late '60s pop act gone heavy. Not dissimilar to The Symbols and other over sugary harmony pop acts of that decade in all their previous singles, 'Why' could have been a statement of intent or a last hurrah before the cabaret circuit beckoned, who knows. In any event it is an excellent guitar and keys driven slab of wax with a thick harmonised vocal chorus that makes you want more. Mouse's 'It's Happening To Me And You' like a number of the cuts here, was a fabulous psychy B side to a more conventional and chart aimed top side. Mouse was the vehicle for guitarist and ex John Barry Seven man Ray Russell. The guitar work here is spacey, decorative, and highly effective. Great light touches on the wah-wah rather than overdriven. Fab record, great controlled guitar work, I must find an original! Little Big Horn were a Brit band with a German only released album (on Polydor) in 1970 from which 'Just A Game' is taken. It's a fab example of the psych prog crossover. A strong rhythm with earnest vocals a good tune that uses chord changes to good effect. I'd love to hear the whole album! One of my faves on this comp is the totally unknown Sheephouse. Yet another B side, 'Ladder' is a frenetically played acoustic and tabla led rhythm with a thick layer of harmony vocals and weaving electric guitar throughout. It's definitely the most tuneful number on the disc and now another top want of mine. If Sheephouse have the most melodic tune on the disc then Sunchariot have the best riff in 'Do You Wanna Know', yet another B side to a Decca 45 from 1972. Essentially a rather dated lyric about the singer ditching his woman and "leaving on the midnight train" is more than compensated for by the sheer infectious riffiness of the backbeat on the verses and middle eight, it sticks in your head. Jesse Hector (of Hammersmith Gorillas fame) features in a short lived venture form '79 called Helter Skelter, but it sounds as primo-garage r'n'r as it does freak rock or indeed post punk madness! All in all another winner of a comp, great stuff! (buy it @ dustygroove)