Various Artists – Voyages Into Folk-Rock + Garage + Pop-Psych

As they put it themselves at the headquarters where these musical voyages are being conducted from, this CD series is “devoted to unearthing rare and intriguing 45’s from the mid ‘60s through the early ‘70s”, with an occasional original album track that has yet to be introduced to the digital era, with the majority of the material being uncomped, and ALL of it appearing on CD for the first time, and also ALL of it delivered in the glorious monophopnic sound!

The Folk Rock volume opens with Mark Lindsay’s side project THE UKNOWNS, providing an alternative version of the “Revolution” track Tighter with a bit of a Brummel-ish country flavour, while LARRY & THE PAPER PROPHETS’ The Only Thing isn’t too far from the same concept neither.

I Don’t Believe It shows THE BOWS & ARROWS as conscientious disciples of the Dylan-through-Byrds school of covers, THE DILLONS and THE SHADOW CASTERS provide us with a pair of power-folk-rocking tunes, if there ever was such a sub-genre, while MESSENGERS, who supposed to be the first white band signed to Motown, offers us “a little bit of” Monkee business.

On the moodier side of things, THE SAGES’ I’m Not Going To Cry is a nice Mersey flavoured ballad, TOMMY & THE TRUE BLUE FACTS go slightlydelic with their punky folk protest tune, and the closing Dancing Girl is what’s usually called the acid-folk, done by 1st CENTURY.

As for the Garage volume, some of the faves might be THE REACTORS’ Do That Thing, worthy of any of the Nuggets/Pebbles volumes, SHANNON CANNON with Right Back, suggesting their fascination with The (US) Outsiders, and also throwing in a Sloan/Barri-like chorus, the closing Come On, Lil Darlin which finds THE MINCY TWINS “searching” for the garage punk genre’s origins as far back as 1963, the Mouse-like Dylan impersonation of LONDON & THE BRIDGES.

While the trio of LARRY & THE PAPER PROPHETS’ (also featured on the folk-rock volume) Can’t Sit Around, THE MIKE MANN OUTFIT’s Twice As Much On Sunday and THE NEW ORDER’s “knickerbocker” length power-pop You’ve Got Me High, all have the genuine HIT SINGLE tag written all over them.

The highlights of the Pop-Psych volume include some genre defining stuff such as the dreamy, sitar-laden Flower Hill by CENTRAL PARK or STAINED GLASS’ Lady In Lace, the cool upbeat sunshiny West Coast harmonizing of MC², the appropriately named UNDERGOUND SUNSHINE, mixing some underground fuzz with baroque styled keyboards, while the Association associated (written by Jules Alexander/produced by Clark Burroughs) JOYRIDE sounds kinda like (guess who?) The Association-meets-Airplane-ish-West-Coast-psych.

POE’s Up Through The Spiral is more like a Harrison-through-Badfinger-ized power pop, which might not be such a surprise, considering that it comes from ’71, D.C.HAWK’s Since You’ve Been Gone (released on UNI right after the Poe single!) is a similarly catchy, semi-acoustic power-pop-sike, and also worth the mention is an interesting, almost loungey, cover of Fred Neil’s The Other Side Of This Life, done by THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BAND.

Though privately pressed, this CD series is an obvious labour of love, with every volume featuring detailed info on all of the tracks/artists, and as a special bonus, each of them is interspersed with cool commercial spots by the likes of The Who, Sopwith Camel, The Blues Magoos, Sam the Sham, Curt Boettcher …

[Released by Voyages Records 2005]

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