Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Nuggets - Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968

I came across this cultish popular compilation album via "Aphoristical"'s excellent site - check it out - 

where the author, (Aphoristcal) is reviewing the hundred plus songs one by one, on a weekly basis. That is a gargantuan task that I will not be undertaking but I feel I want to record my feelings regarding the album, because it is an impressive one.

It covers the period from 1964-68 is US musical history and includes a bucketful of rarities that were filed under the genre "garage rock", "acid rock" or "psychedelic rock". Although some of the artists were better known, and some of the groups' members went on to bigger and better things, the groups concerned have a Northern Soul-style mysterious obscurity about them. I guess the genre is to rock and punk music what Northern Soul was to Motown and Stax.

Rather like US punk was different to UK punk, the music is is more rocky than its trippy UK equivalent, much of which can be found on the Decca/Deram compilation The Psychedelic Scene - 

This US material is riffier, with more verve and attack and clearly was a big influence on punk and new wave. Indeed, the original double album compliation was curated by then DJ Lenny Kaye, who went on to be the bass player with The Patti Smith group. In fact, the sleeve notes are said to contain one of the first written references to "punk rock". 

The influences on the material are many - The Beatles, early Rolling Stones, early Kinks, early Beach Boys and surf music, "mercury sound" Bob Dylan, Them, The Yardbirds and many others. In turn, songs like (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet by The Blue Magoos is very much the pre-cursor of Deep Purple's Black Night, with its bass riff that Purple subsequently played on lead guitar and Music Explosion's A Little Bit O' Soul was covered by The Ramones on their Subterranean Jungle album. You can hear punk and new wave hints all over the place and there are also huge debts to the British r 'n' b - blues bands in much of the material.

The Ramones covered four of the tracks from the album on their Acid Eaters album of covers and, for me, you can really hear the influence of this sub-genre on the early Blondie albums - short, frantic tracks like I'm On E, for example. 

The album in its full, extended format only seems to be available on vinyl, although the original CD is still on sale here and there online. Neither of the albums are available via streaming, so I have managed to make up a playlist of around 100 of the tracks by searching for them individually from the track listing.

The sound quality is pretty good on most of the tracks too, although there are a few that sound a bit rudimentary.

I will just list my favourites as opposed to commenting track by track:-

Nobody But Me - The Human Beinz

Journey To The Center Of The Mind - Amboy Dukes feat. Ted Nugent

A Little Bit O' Soul - Music Explosion

(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet - The Blue Magoos

Mindrocker - Fenwyck

Steppin' Out - Paul Revere & The Raiders

Action Woman - The Litter

Incense And Peppermints - Strawberry Alarm Clock

Night Time - The Strangeloves

Hold Me Now - The Rumors

You're Gonna Miss Me - The 13th Floor Elevators

You Burn Me Up And Down - We The People

Run, Run, Run - The Gestures

Psychotic Reaction - The Count Five

Baby Please Don't Go - Ted Nugent

Last Time Around - The Dell-Vetts

Liar, Liar - The Castaways

Don't Look Back - The Remains

A Question Of Temperature - Balloon Farm

Oh Yeah - The Shadows Of Night (check out that Jean Genie-Blockbuster! riff)

It's Cold Outside - The Choir

One Track Mind - The Knickerbockers

The Trip - Kim Fowley

Outside Chance - The Turtles

Out Of Our Tree - The Fabulous Wailers

Blue's Theme - Davie Allan & The Arrows

I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time - The Third Bardo

I Want Candy - The Strangeloves

Why Do I Cry - Barry And The Remains

Laugh, Laugh - The Beau Brummels

She's My Baby - The Mojo Men (very early Rolling Stones in sound)

Get Me To The World On Time - The Electric Prunes

Love's Gone Bad - The Underdogs

I Can't Make A Friend - The Vagrants

I Wonder - The Gants (obviously Beatles influenced)

She's About A Mover - Sir Douglas Quintet

Pushin' Too Hard - The Seeds

Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl - The Barbarians

So What!! - The Lyrics

Little Girl - Syndicate Of Sound

Dirty Water - The Standells

A Public Execution - Mouse And The Traps (a very Dylanesque number)

Also well worth checking out is Nuggets II, which features largely UK material. I prefer the US one for its poppier, often bubblegum-esque feel but there is also some good stuff to be found here.


  1. Your top three favorites are probably mine too. Those three plus Psychotic Reaction and Incense and Peppermints are all in my Top 100 greatest singles of all time. Can't believe you didn't include Little Girl. And Louie Louie and Dirty Water are automatics. They don't even require any deliberation. ha ha

  2. You are right that it is hard to find. I had to download it from someone's personal website a few years ago. Some albums are worth taking the risk cuz you just can't find them anywhere else. Several times I got viruses that completely crashed my hard drive, so when I finally get a new computer I probably won't continue that practice. Although when I think about the thousands of dollars worth of music I downloaded that way it really was worth it.

  3. You would probably like Nuggets 2, the British Invasion one. I was surprised it had more familiar ones on it than the first Nuggets. Or at least more of the artists were familiar to me. I think I just borrowed it from my friend but I never owned it. I wonder if that one is hard to find too

  4. Yes, I added Dirty Water and Little Girl, for some reason I forgot them although I like them. There's so many tracks to remember. As regards Louie Louie, I have known the track for fifty-odd years, as we all have, so I have never seen it as part of this cornucopia of obscurities. Obviously people see it as a big hitter in the genre, but I have always seen it as a sort of off the wall rock 'n' roll number, different from the others here. It is very mainstream due to its everlasting popularity, whereas many of the others are still unknown. That's why it didn't make my list!

    I checked the listing for Nuggets II. It looks like a good one. Some of the artists feature on The Psychedelic Scene (that is streamable, by the way).

    I'll have to make a playlist from the individual tracks, as I did with Nuggets I.

  5. I don't think I ever owned or even heard any albums by anyone on Nuggets, except for Human Beinz. They do a goofy version of Foxey Lady on it. And also I had a Turtles greatest hits album and I think Paul Revere and the Raiders greatest hits too. Syndicate of Sound sounds interesting.

  6. Syndicate Of Sound is a good album of its type, and enjoyable, but Little Girl functions better as part of a compilation, as all those tracks do. Things like Nuggets suits singles fans like yourself perfectly. I guess it becomes like an album in its own right, just featuring different artists. I can't stop listening to it at the moment. I've made a playlist of the UK one's tracks too. I like it, but prefer the US one. It is more poppy and less far out, man.

    That pounding organ-drum intro to Human Beinz's Nobody But Me reminds me of Tommy James & The Shondells' Mony Mony every time I hear it.

  7. Mony Mony is one of the greatest singles ever also. Tommy James had actually about five of them. Did you ever hear the original Nobody But Me by The Isley Brothers? It sounds really lame in comparison. It's just kind of a mediocre 60s dance record whereas the Human Beinz' version just explodes all over the place.

    1. Just checked out The Isley Brothers' version, its ok, but not nearly as good as The Human Beinz one, It has a nice bit of saxophone on it though. Terrible sound quality. The "no, no, no" vocal only comes in near the end too. Funnily enough, I played it via you tube and it followed it with The Human Beinz version which highlighted the difference perfectly.

      I have loved Mony Mony since 1968. I love that vivacious bubblegum sound. Another favourite of mine from that period is Hang On Sloopy by The McCoys.

  8. Hanky Panky is just about as great as Mony Mony, plus it's got that really rough sound to it. I'm surprised Tommy James doesn't get more attention. Crimson and Clover, I Think We're Alone Now, Draggin the Line and Crystal Blue Persuasion are all total classics. Actually, I think they're all equally great.

    1. The first time I heard I Think We're Alone Now was the Rubinoos' excellent 1977 version.

  9. I just listened to that. I knew who the rubinoos were but I didn't know they did that song. It's really good. It's not as great as Lene Lovich version, but it beats the shit out of Tiffany's version. LMAO

    1. Tiffany's version was God-awful. I am surprised you didn't know The Rubinoos' version - it became their signature song during the year or so when they had a certain cult-ish popularity on the new wave/power pop scene (around 78-79). I saw them live the and they were great.

  10. Thanks for the shoutout - I was on summer vacation so I missed this post at the time. Based on first impressions, I probably prefer the UK Nuggets, but we'll see as I work through.

    1. Summer holiday - that sounds nice as I sit with the thick frost outside!

      It is going to take you over two years to work through those nuggets at one a week...I'm enjoying reading them though.

      I normally prefer the UK variants (like UK punk over US punk) but for these I find the US ones are my favourites.