At first glance, garage beat and punk rock may seem strange bedfellows. But are they really?
The DIY attitude, raw energy and rough edges are common to both – and it’s actually less than 10 years between the end of the golden era of garage and the introduction of what we now know as punk, followed by bands like the Prisoners who obviously have feet in both camps.
This album is a sampler of music covering both genres. Not a greatest hits, but a selection of tracks from (arguably) the best reissue label around. The idea is simple – check out the range and dig deeper if anything tickles your fancy.
And with 20 tracks on offer for a budget, there’s sure to be something appealing.
For me, a classic garage tune is a pounding beat, a memorable guitar riff and a snarling vocal. And if you want examples, what better tracks to kick off with than The Sonics’ brilliantly gritty take on ‘Have Love Will Travel’ and The Wailers’ lesser-known but equally impressive ‘Out Of Our Tree’.
We also have early psych, courtesy of The Oxford Circle’s ‘Foolish Woman’, the mock horror of The Last Word’s ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and some girl garage (with great swirling organ) courtesy of She’s ‘Outta Reach’.
‘Lie, Beg, Borrow Or Steal’ by Mouse and the Traps and ‘Hey Boy’ by he Spiders are pure ‘Nuggets’, ‘Intoxica’ by The Revels jumps back an era to a Duane Eddy twang and ‘Just Out Of Reach’ by the Zombies is just great pop – sharply contrasting the more psychy ‘Bad Little Woman’ by The Wheels from the same year.
Although the sound doesn’t change massively, you can tell from the gruff Brit punk vocals that we’re deep into the 70s with The Radiators’’Electric Shares’ and Riff Raff’s ‘Cosmonaut’. And most people will know the vocal sound of The Damned’s Dave Vanian. The band appear twice – once under their own name with ‘Melody Lee’, then later as their excellent 60s alter ego Naz Nomad and the Nightmares, with a cover of ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’.
We also get a nice bit of UK garage beat from Thee Milkshakes with ‘Out Of Control’, a less-impressive dirge from The Vibes (‘Miniskirt Blues’), a fairly tame offering from the Tall Boys, a nice take on ‘CC Rider’ from the Delmonas, the superb Prisoners with ‘Reaching My Head’ and The Bugs rocking out with ‘It’s About Time’ to bring things to a close.
This really is amazing value for money and an excellent introduction to a label that consistently releases and reissues some of the best music around.
If you are not yet acquainted with Ace, this, and the other samplers, are obvious places to start.