Saturday, May 11, 2019

Various Artists: Pebbles Volume 1: Various Misfits, Original '60s Punk & Psych Classics 1992

Various Artists: Pebbles Volume 1: Various Misfits, Original '60s Punk & Psych Classics [AIP CD 5016] - Released 1992
CD cat. #: AIP CD 5016

Pebbles is an extensive series of compilation albums in both LP and CD formats that have been issued on several record labels, though mostly by AIP. Together with the companion Highs in the Mid-Sixties series, the Pebbles series made available over 800 obscure, mostly American "Original Punk Rock" songs recorded in the mid-1960s — primarily known today as the garage rock and psychedelic rock genres — that were previously known only to a handful of collectors. In 2007, the release of the Pebbles, Volume 11 CD marked the final album in the Pebbles series (curiously, Vol. 12 had been issued in 1999). The following year, Bomp! marked the 30th anniversary of the original Pebbles album with a spartan, limited-edition, clear-vinyl reissue complete with the original pink cover insert.

The Pebbles series played a significant role in the emergence of a "canon" of garage-rock music and artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

[Originally compiled as a semi-bootleg vinyl compilation in the 1980s, as a thematic follow-up to the classic proto-punk anthology NUGGETS, PEBBLES VOL. 1 is now a legitimate anthology of rare and vintage garage rock singles from the style's 1960s heyday. The point of the PEBBLES compilations has always been that they take it as given that the listener is familiar with the best-known works in the style, such as the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction." So these tracks are filled with the more obscure and often downright unhinged, like the Elastik Band's "Spazz," one of the most incoherent and bizarre singles ever released by a major label, or the Outcasts' apocalyptic study of disaffection, "I'm In Pittsburgh (And It's Raining)." This makes PEBBLES VOL. 1 an excellent second step into the garage rock underground.

--Charity Stafford, AllMusic.  Rating: 4,5/5 stars. ]

In his review of the Pebbles series for Allmusic, Richie Unterberger comments: "Though 1972's Nuggets compilation reawakened listeners to the sounds of mid-'60s garage rock, it only focused on the tip of the iceberg. Behind those forgotten hits and semi-hits lurked hundreds, if not thousands, of regional hits and flops from the same era, most even rawer and cruder... More than any other factor, these compilations [in the Pebbles series] were responsible for the resurgence of interest in garage rock, which remains high among collectors to this day."

Including the Highs in the Mid-Sixties series, Best of Pebbles series, Essential Pebbles series, Planetary Pebbles series, and two box sets, more than 60 compilation albums have been released using the Pebbles name. Following on the heels of the success of the Pebbles series, dozens of other series of garage rock compilation albums have been started, with numerous albums being released each year for several decades.

Pebbles is a compilation of US underground and garage single record releases from the mid- to late-1960s. It had a limited original release in 1978 and a more general release in 1979 (where the album was identified simply as Pebbles); this album was followed by several subsequent Pebbles compilations and albums (nearly 100 in all). This album is nowadays known as Pebbles, Volume 1 and was originally issued in 1978 as Pebbles, Volume One: Artyfacts from the First Punk Era, an obvious riff on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, a similar, groundbreaking compilation from 1972.

The music on this first volume sets the tone for the obscure music collected in the Pebbles series. The first cut on the LP includes a skip during the break – on the original record, according to the liner notes – scrambling the line: "You say you love me, girl, but why are you so cold", but otherwise not really affecting the enjoyment of this genuine classic. Despite the fact that the Litter released three albums and is among the most well-known bands on this album, "Action Woman" was almost unavailable without this skip for many years. For instance, the bonus track at the end of the CD is a 1985 cover of this song which also omits the line. (The artist is not given on the CD but is identified on the AIP Records website as Echo & the Bunnymen).

The frantic cover of the Count Five classic by Positively 13 O'Clock is from a one-time studio session that includes members of Mouse and the Traps; it also appears on a retrospective album of this band that was released on Eva Records. The cover of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is hilariously to the tune of "Louie Louie".

Songs by well known bands are normally not included on Pebbles albums unless they are curiosities, and the track(s) by the Shadows of Knight – famed for their major hit with Van Morrison's "Gloria" – is no exception. Following a brief clip of "Gloria", the band introduces themselves with corny yet charming answers – sample: "What kind of fans do you prefer?", "I prefer electric fans" – followed by a song that the band wrote "especially for you". "Potato Chip" was originally released only on a five-inch cardboard record (possibly as a promotion for a potato chip company) and is surely the most earnest ode to a snack food ever recorded.

The bonus tracks on the CD include one of the most beloved of all garage rock songs, "Blackout of Gretely" by GONN. Remarkably, the band issued a reunion album 30 years later (in 1995) with all new material.

Due to a mastering error, many of the tracks printed on the artwork for this CD differ somewhat from the tracks actually included on the album. The above track list is correct.

The last track by Echo & the Bunnymen is listed as "surprise track" on the cover.


01. The Litter: "Action Woman" — rel. 1967
02. The Preachers: "Who Do You Love" (Ellas McDaniel)" — rel. 1965
03. The Floyd Dakil Combo: "Dance Franny Dance" — rel. 1964
04. The Outcasts: "I'm in Pittsburgh (and it's Raining)" — rel. 1966
05. The Grains of Sand: "Going Away Baby" — rel. 1966
06. The JuJus: "You Treat Me Bad" — rel. 1966
07. The Haunted: "1-2-5" — rel. 1966
08. The Soup Greens: "Like a Rolling Stone" (Bob Dylan) — rel. 1965
09. Positively 13 O'Clock: "Psychotic Reaction" — rel. 1966
10. Kim Fowley: "The Trip" (Kim Fowley)" — rel. 1965
11. The Elastik Band: "Spazz" — rel. 1967
12. The Split Ends: "Rich with Nothin'" — rel. 1966
13. The Shadows of Knight: "Radio Spot" — rel. 1967
14. The Shadows of Knight: "Potato Chip" — rel. 1967
15. The Wilde Knights: "Beaver Patrol" — rel. 1965

Bonus Tracks

16. The Sparkles: "Ain't No Friend of Mine" — rel. 1967, CD bonus track
17. GONN: "Blackout of Gretely" — rel. 1966, CD bonus track
18. The Weeds: "It's Your Time" — rel. 1966, CD bonus track
19. Echo & the Bunnymen: "Action Woman" — rel. 1985, CD bonus/surprise track

CDs — AIP Records

    Pebbles, Volume 1; #AIP-CD-5016
    Pebbles, Volume 2; #AIP-CD-5019
    Pebbles, Volume 3: The Acid Gallery; #AIP-CD-5020
    Pebbles, Volume 4: Surf N Tunes; #AIP-CD-5021
    Pebbles, Volume 5; #AIP-CD-5022
    Pebbles, Volume 6: Chicago 1; #AIP-CD-5023
    Pebbles, Volume 7: Chicago 2; #AIP-CD-5024
    Pebbles, Volume 8: Southern California 1; #AIP-CD-5025
    Pebbles, Volume 9: Southern California 2; #AIP-CD-5026
    Pebbles, Volume 10; #AIP-CD-5027
    Pebbles, Volume 11: Northern California; #AIP-CD-5028
    Pebbles, Volume 12: The World; #AIP-CD-5029

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