Various Artists – ‘Psychedelic States: Kentucky In The 60s Vol. 1 & 2’ (2022)
For nearly a quarter of a century, the Gear Fab label has been siring collections of super obscure forty-fives from the sixties. Each package celebrates a specific state, and the imprint’s latest offering is a double disc bonanza trumpeting acts from Kentucky.
Hanging fast to the banner’s attention to detail and graphics, ‘Psychedelic States: Kentucky In The 60s Vol. 1 & 2’ features a thick booklet of information on the artists and their recordings, along with photos of the bands and the accompanying singles.
The majority of selections spread across these platters creak and squeak with youthful charm and naivity. Frustration prevails, as these teens snarl, whine and sob about girls who reject their affection. Or girls they are in love with who have no clue they even exist. Simply structured songs, maximized by raw-boned singing and playing, pose as picture-perfect illustrations of genuine garage rock. A couple of basic guitar chords, snaring hooks, rickety keyboard arrangements, the shaking of a tambourine and feral drumming complete the enthused energy propelling the tunes.
Reams of static fuzz licks carpet ‘I’m Gonna Stay’ by the Moxies, the Clock Work Orange’s ‘Do Me Right Now’ projects an edgy urgency, ‘Say Now Baby’ from the Jades logs on as a staggering rampage of distorted jamming, ‘I Realize’ by the Casuals is highlighted by a swinging break, and the Elite UFO’s ‘Now Who’s Good Enough’ is practically a step by step rehash of ‘Louie Go Home’ from Paul Revere and the Raiders.
The Mersey Beat USA’s ‘Does She Or Doesn’t She’ is robed in twinkling pop riffs and sweet harmonies, the M’Pax’s stirring ‘Mistakes’ confesses to having “made enough mistakes to last a lifetime,” but fails to reveal what these mistakes are, and the US Four’s ‘Alligator’ is a great dance number fashioned of stomping rhythms and a cool call and response chorus. Boss cuts from the Dingos, the Berkshire 7, the Sole Society, Sounds Of The Zounds, the Unit VI, the Exceptions and the Scavengers are also included in the program.
Then there’s ‘Come On’ from the Exiles, which romps and rolls to a manic pace of pounding piano passages and frantic drum beats, complemented by an audience of screaming fans. On a side note, the Exiles eventually shortened their name to Exile and scored a huge hit in 1978 with the disco flavored ‘Kiss You All Over’. Changing colors once again, Exile reinvented themselves as a country band and attained further success in the eighties and nineties.
A female group, the Hearby afford ‘Psychedelic States: Kentucky In The 60s’ a dash of diversity with ‘The Harm I Do’, a ravishing piece of radio-ready pop magnified by radiant vocals, captivating melodies and vibrant textures. By emulating the craggy brogue of Bob Dylan and strumming jangly guitars in best Byrds and Blue Things tradition, the Bad Seeds deliver a fine folk rock sentiment via ‘King Of The Soap Box’, while ‘Sunny Covington Avenue’ by the Sunday Funnies possesses a catchy paisley-laced pop presence.
As a bonus, a fair share of the material on ‘Psychedelic States: Kentucky In The 60s’ has never appeared on any other compilation albums before. Gear Fab Records certainly has the ways and means of digging up sonic fossils, and this effort is indeed loaded with such rarities.
Various Artists – ‘Psychedelic States: Kentucky In The 60s Vol. 1 & 2’ (Gear Fab Records 2022)