CD Review: Various Artists (More from Psychic Circle Records)

psychiccircle-webVA – Breaking Point: 20 Hard-edged Beat Diamonds
VA – Cosmerama: Blow Your Cool Vol. 2
VA – I Gotta Be Me, Who Needs Tomorrow Vol. 2: 20 Garage Missles from the USA
Psychic Circle

I am back with more great releases on the excellent Psychic Circle label. If you read my review from a few days ago you will know how..um…psyched I get when I receive one of the label’s releases in the mail to review. They are truly some of the coolest comps around and are all compiled and annotated by Nick Salomon of The Bevis Frond. Anyone who has heard The Frond knows Salomon is qualified to write about psych and is fast becoming one of the pre-eminent scholars of music of the ’60’s. This musician is, more than anything else, a music fan and shows his love of anything and everything ’60’s on every comp that comes out on his label. Not only are all these artists very obscure but the cuts on these CDs have never been comped before! Dig that!

The comp Breaking Point features Salomon’s most recent finds among the tons of beat groups who were gigging and recording during the early-to-mid-’60’s. If you like your rock rough and ready this may be the perfect comp for you. Artists include The Liverpool Five (covering Stepping Stone and a band who had formerly toured the States with The Beach Boys and The Righteous Brothers), The MI5 (featuring two members who would later to go on to join the band Deep Purple), The Dennisons (for whom soul singer Ben E. King once wrote a song especially for one of their releases), Lee Grant and the Capitols (the band’s claim to fame include appearing in a low budget horror flick with Boris Karloff), Hamilton King (who once boasted of forming a band featuring a pre-Kinks Ray Davies), The Circles (future members of British psych band Plastic Penny), and George Bean (a protege of Rolling Stones’ producer Andrew Loog Oldham) among many others. Once again Salomon gives us the cream of the unreleased crop by unearthing these great “lost” tracks.

On Cosmerama, Salomon has painstakingly collected some of the best uncomped, rare psyche and prog ever unearthed (until his next comp at least) and has thankfully presented here on one mind blowing CD. Some of the notables are Pussy (produced by Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan), CWT (produced by onetime Rolling Stones mentor Andrew Loog Oldham), and The Pebbles (famed producer Norman Petty mentored them and the Beatles’ Apple label wanted to sign them but were rebuffed by the band), but there are many other great artists and songs on this CD. Though no one else from the artists gathered here had their big brush with fame, the music selections here are all top notch and as you listen you will wonder why these bands did not have more of an impact.

For the comp I Gotta Be Me, Salomon has turned his attention to the US garage scene of the ’60’s, digging up a bunch of very obscure songs for your perusal. Anyone who is a fan of garage is going to get a kick out of this comp, as I listened to it and immediately wondered why some of these bands did not make it to the top of the charts. There is not a bad cut in the bunch! Artists include Group Axis (produced by Buddy Holly’s producer Norman Petty), Bobby Simms (later a member of The Rotary Connection), The Bay Ridge (featured guitarist Richie Zito who would later cut albums with The Motels, Eddie Money and Elton John), The In Crowd (featuring future members of The Five Americans), and The Outsiders (featuring a drummer who would later join The James Gang with Joe Walsh) among many others featured on this comp. For those who like the energetic sound of incendiary garage rock, this comp is for you.

Once again I am in awe of all the great grooves and psychedelic musical mayhem Salomon is able to dig up for his releases. I can’t underdstand how he is able to not only research all these great bands and their backstories but also obtain their music to put out on his releases. The man must not sleep! Then again, if you had all the great music Salomon seems to have, why would you want to? Another great bunch of releases that any fan of ’60’s rock music will enjoy. Pick them up as soon as you can so you can be cooler than all of your friends!