Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968- Various Artists

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965 - 1968
Various Artists
Sire SASH 3716-2

This is a reissue on Sire of the original Elektra release from 1972.  It has a different cover than the original, in this case a cool psychedelic cover by Kelley Mouse Studios reminiscent of their work for the Grateful Dead.  Rhino Records took the original Nuggets concept and expanded it hugely over numerous CD box sets many of which I happily own, but this original record still shines in its beauty and purity.  It is an incredibly important record for me, my rock bible.  It changed my life.  I barely knew what a garage band was when I bought it, I think the only group on the record that I had ever heard of was the Blues Project (hardly a garage band, their inclusion on this record is debatable, but I'm not complaining.)  The idea that a bunch of teenage punks could make better records than the Eagles or Peter Frampton never occurred to me, the garage bands at my school just played crappy covers by BTO or Neil Young, I couldn't conceive of anything good coming out of them.  Then I heard this and I realized how much the Eagles and Frampton actually sucked.  The music on this record blew me away.  Well before I heard the Ramones or any new wave bands, this record showed me that short, fun and fast rock songs trumped the pretentious and bloated music I was hearing on commercial radio stations or watching on "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert."  After I heard the Standells and the 13th Floor Elevators, how could I possibly want to listen to Styx or Kansas or any other crummy 1970s band?  This was the real thing, the holy grail of rock.  A relentless stream of classic music flowed from the turntable when I put this on.  I instantly became a fan of Nazz, the Electric Prunes, the Remains, the Chocolate Watch Band, the Mojo Men and the Leaves.  I've loved these bands with a passion ever since.  Every song on here even the most obscure and silly ones appealed to me.  From the Magic Mushrooms to the Castaways, there is not a dud on here.  The fact that so many of these songs barely charted and were largely ignored by the oldies stations, showed me that there was another rock music, the one that wasn't on the radio and or in the chain record stores, but rather the one that existed in used record stores, college radio stations and in the collectors magazines.  This record opened up the idea of alternative music, it paved the way for the punk revolution.  In fact this record's liner notes were the first place I ever encountered the term "punk rock."  This album is a model of its kind, the perfect compilation album.  It has a point of view, it is brilliantly curated and features wonderful and humorous liner notes from Lenny Kaye that I basically memorized from reading them so often.  It taught me so much, it influenced me so deeply, I'll always cherish this record.  Even though I own just about every song on it on a CD or a vintage vinyl album, I'll never part with it.  Recommended for classic rock fans who don't know what they are missing.

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