Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (2012 Anniversary Edition)

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Initially released on the Elektra label late in 1972, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 featured a smattering of one hit wonders and no hit wonders from the not so distant past.

Although the double album was hailed by critics, contemporary record buyers viewed at it as little more than a curiosity at the time of its emergence.

Surfacing in an age when either the epic rock of groups like Yes, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull or the soft-pop gloss of the Carpenters, Bread and Lobo ruled radio, the songs heard on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 seemed rather dated and raw by comparison. But it was those very traits that eventually turned the collection into an incredibly groundbreaking piece of work.

Aside from sparking an interest in long forgotten acts from a truly magical period of rock and roll, the album spawned swarms of imitators in the form of “Pebbles,” “Boulders,” “Psychedelic Unknowns” and “Mindrocker,” to name some of the compilations to follow suit. Aspiring musicians also took note, and a whole new movement, which exists to this day, called garage band rock was born.

Much of the material included on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (given a 40th anniversary reissue last year from Rhino) pays homage to the blues-rooted romp of the Rolling Stones, Them, the Yardbirds and the Animals. Cocky vocals, accompanied by gobs of grit, a few simple chords and a trail of smoke characterize tough and tasty tunes such as “Dirty Water” by the Standells, Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction,” “Don’t Look Back” from the Remains, “Night Time” by the Strangeloves, the Chocolate Watch Band’s “Let’s Talk About Girls,” “Hey Joe” from the Leaves, the Shadows of Knight’s “Oh Yeah” and “Respect” by the Vagrants.

Absolute weirdness abounds in the haunted hallows of the reverb-spiked “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” from the Electric Prunes, while the Thirteen Floor Elevators jiggle and jug band their way through “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and the Barbarians deliver a motivational speech in the stripe of “Moulty,” a biographical confession of the group’s drummer who lost a hand due to a science experiment gone awry. Then there’s the Magic Mushrooms with “It’s-A-Happening,” which booms with silly drug-dappled lyrics and the screechy falsetto-laced “Liar Liar” from the Castaways.

Jammy and buzzing with banks of bruising feedback, “Tobacco Road” by the Blues Magoos and “Baby Please Don’t Go” from the Amboy Dukes both dial in as embryonic examples of heavy metal thunder, where the Knickerbockers offer a shimmering slice of hard rocking Beatlesque bluster via “Lies” and the Nazz’s “Open My Eyes” zips and whips with loud, fast, relentless power and presence.

Flush with ferocious fuzz guitars, jangling tambourines, squawking harmonicas, galloping keyboards, hearty harmonies and contagious hooks by the score, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 really captures the tenor of the environment these enthused youngsters peddled their fares in. Inspired by the triple attack of the British Invasion bands, folk pop and freak rock, the groups still manage to project their own special sound, style and personality, making them equal parts unique and quaintly charming.

If there’s any record deserving the reissue treatment, it’s Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 which no serious music fan should live without. Happy 40th anniversary: the spirit blazes on!

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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