Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Various Artists - Pebbles, Vol. 9 Subtitled: Southern California 2, Original '60s Punk & Psych Classics 1996

Various Artists - Pebbles, Vol. 9
Subtitled: Southern California 2, Original '60s Punk & Psych Classics
1996 Archive International Productions (AIP)
CD cat. #: AIP CD 5026

Pebbles, Volume 9 is a compilation album among the CDs in the Pebbles series; it is subtitled Southern California 2. The previous CD in the series, Pebbles, Volume 8 also features bands from
Southern California; while Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 1, Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 2, and Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 3 showcase music from Los Angeles specifically.
This album was released on AIP Records in 1996 as #AIP-CD-5026 (although the disk is actually imprinted with the catalogue number of the previous volume). 
Despite the similar catalogue number, there is no relation between the tracks on this CD and the tracks on the corresponding LP.
Notes on the tracks


According to the liner notes, the track by the Standells had not been reissued before now; and this is probably the first-released version of the early Monkees hit "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone". One of the members of the Second Helping was Kenny Loggins, and this single is his earliest known release. The Velvet Illusions are actually not from California but were a Yakima, Washington based band; while often mentioned as having heiress Patricia Hearst's former boyfriend Steven Weed as a member, the band actually featured a different Steve Weed. The final track is from an unreleased acetate by the band that is best known for "I Never Loved Her" (included on the Pebbles, Volume 8 CD).

The two songs by Fenwyck, "I Wanna Die" and "Iye" were produced by Zane Ashton (aka Bill Aken) who had founded Progressive Sounds of America in 1963 and recorded the two sides at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California. After an emotional breakdown when one of his artists 'Kathy
Dee' suffered a stroke and died, he sold the label to the Quinlan Corporation and Jay Bonner with the stipulation that 'Fenwyck' would be the first record released under the new management. That is why the label says "Produced by Zane Ashton." Ironically, although the new owners ridiculed him as being emotionally unstable, without its founder's love of rock and roll and his production instincts, the label died a very quick death and within a year was out of business.

Even though its not quite as good as its predecessor, the second volume of the Pebbles series to focus on ultra-obscure sixties garage rock from Southern California is still a smokin' collection of tunes, stuffed with mean fuzz guitars and primal vocals, courtesy of a whole buncha bands that just never
managed to make it big. A few songs that make this disc a blast o' joy are Ty Wagner's "I'm a No Count," a nasty two-chord outcast anthem that bristles with teenage agression, as well as Thee In Set's stomping caveman frat pounder, "They Say." There's also "Someday You'll Cry," a snotty garage-pop tune from the pre-"Dirty Water" Standells, and the Care Takers' funky soul-shakin' cover of Bob Seger's "East Side Story" (shut up, Bob Seger rules!), not to mention the Velvet Illusions' menacing "Velvet Illusions" (gotta love bands with their own theme songs). The Children of the Mushroom's "August Madamoiselle" is a psychedelic tune that manages to pull of the neat trick of being both dark and whimsical. Great stuff. The David's "I'm Not Alone" is a fuzzy, flailing, organ-propelled fuzz thumper and the Second Helping's "Let Me In" is just plain wonderfully creepy. There are plenty of other highlights (don't even get me started on the W.C. Fields Memorial String Band!), but this set falls a bit short of the five star rating, thanks to the inclusion of a few tunes that are little more than by-the-book garage rock (I'm lookin' at you, "Won't Come Down!"). 
Still, this is an excellent disc, a really good addition to the Pebbles series, and it deserves to belong in every garage fan's collection.

[Twenty-four Socal garage-band obscurities from 1965-69, more psychedelic in tone than the average Pebbles collection (though not every track is psychedelic-influenced). It's about average for a '60s
garage anthology, with some standouts like the Standells' Beatlesque "Someday You'll Cry" (not available on any other CD), the David's garage-pop take on the Doors ("I'm Not Alone"), the Gypsy Trips' folk-rock "Ain't It Hard" (later covered by the Electric Prunes), a pre-Monkees version of "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" (by the W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band), and the blues-rock protest of the Starfires' "Cry for Freedom." It's the first time on CD for all selections, a few of which had been previously unreissued.
Richie Unterberger, AllMusic]

Track listing

01. Ty Wagner and the Scotchmen: "I'm a No Count"; rel. 1966
02. The Caretakers: "East Side Story"; rel. 1966
03. The Hysterics: "Won't Get Far"; rel. 1965 (?)
04. The Standells: "Someday You'll Cry"; rel. 1965
05. The Magic Mushroom: "I'm Gone"; rel. 1966
06. Fenwyck: "IYE"; rel. 1967 On Progressive Sounds of America
07. The Buddhas: "Lost Innocence"; rel. 1967 (?)
08. The David: "I'm Not Alone"; rel. 1967 (?)
09. The David: "40 Miles"; rel. 1966
10. The Edge: "Scene thru the Eyes"; rel. 1969
11. The Second Helping: "Let Me In"; rel. 1967 (?)
12. Good Feelings: "Shattered"; rel. 1968
13. Gypsy Trips: "Ain't It Hard"; rel. 1965
14. The Nervous Breakdowns: "I Dig Your Mind" (Rusy Evans)
15. Moms Boys: "Up & Down"; rel. 1967 (?)
16. W. C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band: "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone";     rel. 1966
17. Children of the Mushroom: "August Mademoiselle"; rel. 1967 (?)
18. The Velvet Illusions: "Velvet Illusions"; rel. 1967
19. Perpetual Motion Workshop: "Won't Come Down"; rel. 1967 (?)
20. The Crumpets: "Mama Baby"; rel. 1966 (?)
21. Sounds Unreal: "Scene of the Crime"; rel. 1967
22. Mal-T's: "Here to Stay"; rel. 1966 (?)
23. Thee In Set: "They Say"; rel. 1966 (?)
24. The Starfires: "Cry for Freedom"; rel. 1967 (?)

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