Beverly Paterson’s Top Albums for 2011: Reissues

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Today, we climb inside the way-back machine for look at my favorite reissues from 2011, a list that includes established acts like the Kinks and Hollies as well as lost-classic faves like the Strawberry Alarm Clock and Neighb’rhood Childr’n.

Here they are, in alphabetical order …

FILET OF SOUL – FREEDOM: An obscurity from 1969, “Filet of Soul” leaps back and forth between shredding rockers, cranky garage punk, top forty fashioned pop and rhythm and blues, and does so with substance and style. Covers of songs from the Zombies, the Temptations and Roy Head disclose Freedom’s far-reaching influences, while their own compositions tend to cop a healthy grope from both the Music Machine and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

THE HOLLIES – THE CLARK, HICKS AND NASH YEARS: Six discs raining hooks and harmonies! There’s really nothing I can say about the Hollies that hasn’t been said before, except I will stress this hefty box set is not only an ideal introduction for those who have no clue what charms the band were endowed with, but it’s an essential purchase for long time fans as well.

THE KINKS – SOMETHING ELSE: How fitting Something Else has been elected to appear in a webzine bearing its name! 1967 was the year this choice album came out, and while the majority of rock musicians during that period were embracing the joys and challenges of psychedelic imagery, the Kinks basically rejected such wiggy illusions. A nostalgic mood aims to hover over Something Else, triggered by excursions into dance hall music, gentle pop melodies and picturesque lyrical content. A genuine classic!

THE LEFT BANKE – WALK AWAY RENEE / PRETTY BALLERINA: We’ve been waiting forever for the striking debut album by the Left Banke to stage a resurrection, and our prayers were finally answered! 1966 was the date this beauty was born, which indeed starred the band’s two big hit singles, “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina” that the disc was christened after. Elegant and sophisticated, with just enough rocking moments to appeal to the teens, here’s an album that’s perfect in every sense.

MARSHMALLOW OVERCOAT – THE COMPLETE SOUND: Fuzz, fuzz and more fuzz! Not to mention dizzy keyboards, shaking tambourines and snarling vocals worthy of any righteously raw tune heard on compilation albums like “Nuggets,” “Pebbles” or “Garage Beat 66.” Comprised of six generous discs, The Complete Sound” is your ticket to Marshmallow Overcoat heaven, who are one of the best 1960s psychedelic garage rock bands that weren’t even around in the ’60s!

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MATERIAL ISSUE – INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW: Should someone ever ask you to describe what power pop music is, all you have to do is play them this album. Ablaze with catchy sing-a-long choruses, snappy hooks, youthful energy and guitars that chime and crunch, International Pop Overthrow captures the true essence of the genre. Originally released in 1991, the record is the benchmark which all serious power pop musicians aspire to.

NEIGHB’RHOOD CHILDR’N – NEIGHB’RHOOD CHILDR’N: So many incredible albums flooded the bins in 1967, and that includes this rarity from a band that deserved all the success in the world. Arresting female vocals conduct the trippy symphony that bring to mind the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and Jefferson Airplane. Doused with experimental twitches, the record involves a fair share of acid-laced folk rock, gushing with stinging guitars and stirring vocals.

OWEN-B – OWEN-B: Initially released in 1970, the one and only album by Owen-B skillfully blends the emerging progressive rock hullabaloo of the day with finely-tuned pop practices. Sturdy songwriting throughout, innovative arrangements and harmonies to die for make this disc the stunner that it is.

THE POETS – WOODEN SPOON: THE SINGLES ANTHOLOGY: Hailing from Scotland, the Poets cut a handful of happening singles in the sixties, that to this day, remain priceless artifacts. Leaving no genre untouched, the band appropriated pop, folk rock, soul and psychedelia with flair and finesse. Peculiar chord changes, assisted by haunting vocals and unconventional patterns and designs allowed the Poets to stand apart in the pack. Wooden Spoon: The Singles Anthology is a stupendous summary of a band that still sounds fresh and relevant decades down the road.

THE STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK – INCENSE AND PEPPERMINTS: We’re all familiar with the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s smash hit single, “Incense and Peppermints,” from 1967, but not a lot of people have had the opportunity or pleasure to hear the band’s first album of the same handle because original copies are not that easy to find any more and it has never been properly reissued until now. Not to be missed no matter what, here’s a platter stuffed silly with fun and freaky songs. Tribal jamming, a circus like atmosphere, Beach Boys based harmonies, exotic instruments galore, hallucinogenic verse, piles upon piles of plucky pop melodies and a loose and carefree attitude give way to one heck of an amazing record.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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