VARIOUS ARTISTS – ” Double Whammy! A 1960s Garage Rave-Up ” Record Store Day 2020

Posted: October 23, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Craft Recordings has followed up last year’s Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic Age with a new collection focusing on garage rock sounds.  Double Whammy! A Sixties Garage Rock Rave-Up lives up to its title.  Like Poppies, it’s not an overall anthology of the genre but rather an impeccably curated journey through rarities and oddities.  The biggest names here are Count Five (with the unedited version of their 1966 top five hit “Psychotic Reaction”) and The Music Machine (with the previously unreleased, full-length version of “The People in Me”).  But the other artists are no less worthy. 

Producer/compiler Alec Palao writes that “perhaps the easiest way to explain garage rock is simply as the American grass roots response to the British Invasion, as the Beatles kicked a stale record industry into overdrive, and a generation was primed materially, emotionally, and philosophically to create and consume.”  Create they did, often only armed with guitar, bass, drums, and organ – and perhaps a harmonica and the occasional vocal harmony!  There’s plenty of D.I.Y. goodness here from a variety of labels including Fantasy, Scorpio, Vanguard, and even Art Laboe’s Original Sound and Stax – not to mention some professional, polished productions that nonetheless managed to capture that primal, raw garage spirit (the Sonny Bono-produced cover by Joey Paige of Bill Wyman’s “‘Cause I’m in Love with You,” Trade Martin’s production of The Vagrants’ “I Can’t Make a Friend”).  Hooks and riffs abound on the catchy likes of The Torquays’ “Harmonica Man (From London Town),” The Bittersweets’ “In the Night,” and Lonnie Duvall’s British Invasion-influenced “Attention.”  

En toto, the set produced and compiled by Alec Palao features three previously unheard cuts out of 16.  Steve Stanley has designed a beautiful package including a reflective silver jacket and a gorgeous, four-page booklet at LP size which boasts Palao’s detailed track-by-track annotations.  The album itself is pressed on blue vinyl.  With every track crisply mastered in AM radio-ready mono by Joe Tarantino, energy abounds on this Double Whammy! 

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