Digging this feature back out after a few starts last year. This is where I feature favorite classic picks and new finds in garage rock, inspired by the Nuggets compilation and Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Here’s a link to the original post that has more details on the idea.
First up, The Knickerbockers – One Track Mind
The pride of Bergenfield NJ, the Knickerbockers formed in 1962 – their classic line up consisted of brothers Beau Charles (guitar and vocals) and John Charles (bass and vocals), Buddy Randell (vocals and sax), and Jimmy Walker (drums). They got their name from a road that ran through an adjacent town.
I featured their top 20 hit Lies, from 1965, in a Song of the Day back in September of last year. One Track Mind came out in 1966, and didn’t do as well (#45) due to distribution problems. Both songs have great pop melodies reminiscent of the Beatles.
Next up, Big Star – When My Baby’s Beside Me
Big Star (Alex Chilton (guitars, piano, vocals), Chris Bell (guitars, vocals), Jody Stephens (drums, vocals), and Andy Hummel (bass guitar, vocals)) formed in 1971 in Memphis, and before breaking up in 1974, released a series of albums that served as a blueprint for power pop music for decades to come. They were one of those bands that never really achieved commercial success at the time but in retrospect were hugely influential, cited as an inspiration by REM, the Replacements, as well as many others. When My Baby’s Beside Me is off their 1st record, aptly names Number 1 Record.
Let’s go overseas to Scotland and The Marmalade’s I See The Rain
As I’ve mentioned, one inspiration for these posts is Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Usually, the 4th set of the show features what Steven calls a “slightly psychedelic” set. While I’ve never really been into that genre very much, I did hear this song for the first time on the show and really loved it (and to be honest, it is really only slightly psychedelic!). I especially like the guitar line, the harmony vocals, and the making the best of the situation ethos of the lyrics.
The Marmalade were from Glasgow Scotland, having first formed in 1961 and going under several other names before settling on The Marmalade in 1966. Members included Patrick Fairley (vocals, 6 string bass/rhythm guitars), William Junior Campbell (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Dean Ford (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Raymond Duffy (drums), and Graham Knight (vocals, bass). I See the Rain was released in 1967 (and topped the charts in the Netherlands) and was also on their 1968 album There’s Alot of It About.
Cotton Mather – Lost My Motto
While I have mostly focused on classic garage from the 1960s, there are many great garage bands still keeping the flame alive. Here’s another great one that I discovered on the Underground Garage.
Named for the 17th century Puritan preacher, Cotton Mather formed in 1990 in Austin TX, and consisted of Robert Harrison (guitar and vocals), Whit Williams (guitar and vocals), Matt Hovis (bass) and Greg Thibeaux (drums). Weaving in influences from the Beatles to early Elvis Costello, they play great guitar power pop. This cut, Lost My Motto, from the 1994 album Cotton Is King, also has a distinctly Squeeze like feel. As of 2017, they were still active.
Well, time to roll the garage door down for now. Til next time…..