Space travel: '60s CD takes a UFO ride
Some girls like mink. Some like diamonds. I like the Troggs.
A few years ago, my mom handed over her coveted breadbox of '60s singles. As a kid, I'd tried to sneak in a few scratches with my Fisher Price needle and discovered I was better at getting grounded than doing the frug. She'd collected the 45s throughout her youth, which transpired during the golden era of garage and psych.
Those bad seeds created some pretty good music. Soon, inspired upstarts in smaller locales introduced their own versions of the stuff. Here in Virginia, the mop-haired outfits mostly hailed from the gritty city of Richmond, but they could be found as close as Staunton and as far away as Winchester and Bristol.
Thanks to Charlottesville resident Brent Hosier, the Aliens, Psychos, and Wild Things compilations have attempted to record this spike in Virginia's musical timeline. It could be the finest assortment of regional groups to date. For those who missed the heyday, or those who just want to relive a little mind-expansion, the series is worth the investment.
Volume Three, "Virginia and Outer Spaces: 1965-1970," is the most recent release. Collecting 71 minutes worth of those eerie flashes in the pan must have been a monumental task; Hosier supplemented his own personal collection with lucky finds, and dug deep for biographical information and buried gems (he even transferred songs from an Ampex 8-track cartridge tape).
Simply put, Volume Three feels like a UFO cruise down Tobacco Road. Liner notes describe the contributing individuals as "heavy high school poets, who even when they miss the mark, are aided by fuzz and pizzazz." True, occasionally they drop from the bulls eye, but it's easy to cut them slack; the adolescent fusion of hearts and hormones can be a little awkward at times.
Groups like the Perpetuated Spirits of Turpentine, Velvet Haze, and the Changing Tymes may sound a little frilly on the cuff, but the songs don't crimson and clover over and over. Instead, they roll along the astral plane with a blues-heavy inertia. In many of the tunes, like the Wanted & Co.'s "Why" and the Lost Souls' "Minds Expressway," sine waves shimmer forth from electric organs.
The IV Pack's "Whatzit?" is a Booker T. rooster strut for "the girl who gives a psychotic reaction," and comes complete with an interpretative interlude. On softer numbers, like "For You" by the Lost Souls, it's easy to envision dust motes slow-dancing through the beams.
With "Days of a Quiet Sun," the Barracudas speed their 2:56 Byrds-like ascension with tambourine rattles and vocal effects. Bosom Blues' bow to the "Hippie Queen" is filled with the guitar neckin' of hot-fingered local legend Larry McCullough, who later resurfaced in Zion Crossroads (excellent name).
However, the winning cover-worthy candidate is the adrenalin-fueled "Urban 44" by Morning Disaster– easy riders from Petersburg, of all places.