The Bee Gees, Easybeats, others – Down Under Nuggets: Original Australian Artyfacts (1965-67)

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Originally released in 1973, Nuggets: Original Aryfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 only offered a keen look at select one-hit and no hit wonders from the magical years it represented. The double album also parented a series that stands as the best resource for stuff of this ilk.

There’s been Nuggets dedicated exclusively to pop, folk rock and acid rock, then came an expanded version of the initial release, a four-disc box set. Further sets have focused on Europe, Los Angeles, San Francisco and even a Children Of Nuggets, which included acts, mainly from the psychedelic garage rock revival of the ’80s, duly patterned after the cool, quirky and adventurous groups of yore.

Comprised of 29 tracks, 2012’s Down Under Nuggets: Original Australian Artyfacts 1965-1967 (Festival Records/Warner Music) marks the latest installment of the heralded series. Considering Australia has always been a self-contained music community, not many of the faces here will ring a bell with non-residents. Throughout the years, however, a number of these bands have come to the attention of record collectors from all over the world, making some of them even more revered now than they were decades ago.

The only groups appearing on Down Under Nuggets that actually nabbed global recognition are the Easybeats with the whip-cracking power pop of “Sorry” and the Bee Gees, whose demo of the soul styled garage rock of “Like Nobody Else” was covered by Los Bravos of “Black Is Black” fame.

Seething with angst and arrogance, “Buried And Dead” by the Masters Apprentices tumbles, rumbles and crumbles with piercing riffs and driving drum stunts, the Throb’s “Black” pounds on and on to a dark and doomy air, and from Peter and the Silhouettes, there’s “Claudette Jones,” which rips, rivets and rolls with stuttering breaks and seizing hooks by the score.

The D-Coys check in with the ferociously fetching “Bad Times,” while “Raining Teardrops” from Barrington Davis jingles with melodic potency, Toni McCann’s “No” swaggers to a knee-shaking display of bluesy harmonica thrills, and “Wild About You” by the Missing Links is indeed quite wild, with its ragged and tattered approach, coupled with lusty lyrics referring to oral pleasures.

Subsequent tunes not to be ignored are The 5’s “There’s Time,” which entails a burst of sassy six-string strumming, the brutal bite of “Come On” from the Atlantics, the sinister and suspenseful delivery of the properly dubbed “Ugly Thing” by the Creatures, a snarling teen anthem, “The Hot Generation” from the Sunsets, and the Bobby James Syndicate’s insanely catchy “Hey Hey Hey” that soars to the moon with delirious choruses and a sliver of psychedelic supremacy.

Thick with shrieking fuzz guitars, galloping keyboards, enthused vocals, restless energy and raw but righteous musicianship, Down Under Nuggets: Original Australian Artyfacts 1965-1967 logs in as a shining example of genuine garage rock. Attitude and excitement govern the goods, not technical aptitude. Turn the sound up as far as it will go and rock on to your heart’s desire!

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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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