I was supposed to make this list two days ago but got side-tracked talking about C86 and how being in bands suck. So here it is folks… in no particular order, here is the top ten songs from the Pebbles comps.
10. “1-2-5 by The Haunted (Pebbles Vol. 1)
The Haunted were a Canadian garage rock band started in 1965 in Montreal. Their single “1-2-5” was released in 1966. The track opens up with a booming drum beat and then promptly goes into one of the coolest harmonica riffs ever recorded. This is not only one of the best songs about picking up a hooker, this song has everything that was essential in 60’s garage rock. Fuzztone guitars, frantic one note leads, and 96 Tears style organs. Awesome, awesome, awesome track. If you’re curious look them up on Youtube, they have a great clip of them playing ‘1-2-5’ on some Canadian TV show.
9. The Cats Meow “House Of Kicks” (Pebbles Vol. 13)
Very is little known about The Cats Meow. What is known is that they hail from Staten Island, NY and were put out by Decca records. Their sound isn’t exactly typical of there era. They fused Beach Boys with garage rock. The Cats Meow were more bubble gum at a time when most bands were trying to sound like THEM or the Animals, but not like The Monkees bubble gum, like bubblegum in the same sense of how the Ramones were bubble gum. Catchy. Released in 1966, House Of Kicks is an upbeat anthem of teen angst, as evidenced by lyrics like “if you cant find a place to hang around, come along with me and I’ll show you where they’re getting it down… no ones gonna laugh or ridicule…because thats kind of hassle they give us every day at school.” Great song by a virtually unknown band.
8. “I Need Love” by The Time Stoppers (Pebbles Vol.5)
The guitar riff sounds like “London’s Burning” by the Clash. The vocals are bratty and crude. There are harmonicas. Were the Time Stoppers punk before punk was punk? Perhaps. To say the least they were laying down the foundations for punk rock. So were a lot of bands featured on Pebbles. ‘I Need Love’ is one of my all time favorites of the series. As far as information on the band goes, the single was released in 1967 and they MIGHT be from Pittsburg. Thats it. This one is a must-listen.
7. “Running Through The Night” by The Mystic Tide (Pebbles Vol. 2)
I can not say enough good things about The Mystic Tide. I first heard them when my dad gave me the book “Unknown Legends Of Rock ‘N Roll”. The book came with a CD that featured many of the bands written about in the book. One of the bands was the Mystic Tide. The name of the track was called “Frustration”. I would have loved to have added Frustration to this list but technically it was never released on Pebbles. However, “Running Through The Night” IS featured on Pebbles 2. Although not as amazing as “Frustration”, this song is still pretty fucking awesome. There sound was more psychedelic, but the distortion on there guitars is pretty awesome considering the limitations of distortion in 1966. These guys are loud. The recording is crude, which adds to the whole ambiance of there sound. These guys are definitely unknown legends. Download everything you can find by these guys. Seriously. One of the best garage bands of the 60’s without a doubt.
6. “Green Fuz” by Randy Alvey & The Green Fuz (Pebbles Vol. 2)
Named after guitarist’ Les Dale’s fuzzbox, the Green Fuz were a garage band from Texas that came out in the late 60’s. Most people have never heard of them, they weren’t very successful during there brief tenure, but they did eventually get some notoriety when the Cramps covered “Green Fuz” on their 1981 album “Psychedelic Jungle”. Evan Dando of the Lemonheads would also cover Green Fuz on his 2009 cover album “Varshons”. This is by far one of the crudest, nastiest most lo-fi garage rock song of the 60’s. Legend has it they chose to record it in an abandoned roadside diner because of its acoustics. In any event the single was a flop at its time, but started to resurface on garage rock compilations in the late 70’s. Most people I’ve played this song too are turned off by its horrendous recording quality, but for me I think the recording is perfect. It’s raunchy, out-of-tune, but yet just so hauntingly beautiful. Gotta love the Green Fuz!
5. “I’ve Been Wrong Before” by The Buckinghams (Pebbles. Vol 6*CD version)
The Buckinghams are usually known for there hit single “Kind of A Drag”, a sappy bubble-gum pop song that still plagues oldie stations to this day. So you can imagine the surprise I felt when I saw they were featured on a Pebbles comp. However, Pebbles 6 was solely focused on Chicago bands, and the Buckinghams “I’ve Been Wrong” fit the bill. It’s a surprisingly awesome garage rock tune, and compared to “Kind Of A Drag”, “I’ve Been Wrong Before” sounds like it was done by a completely different band. Though obviously more pop-orientated, this song still manages to rock. Great hooks with great melody, they remind me slightly of the Remains. I was even more shocked to find out that this song came out AFTER “Kind Of A Drag”. Usually bands are more garage BEFORE they get signed and have a number 1 hit. Not the case with the Buckinghams though. Definitely worth a listen.
4. “Be a Caveman” By The Avengers (Pebbles Vol. 2)
Not to be confused with the LA punk band The Avengers. “Be A Caveman” is by far the rudest most sexist song of the whole garage rock era. From start to end, the lyrics are all about pulling girls by the hair, keeping them ‘in line’, showing them who “wears the pants”, because if you do all that you can have them “eating right out of your hands”. Truly a classic. Info on the Avengers is basically non-existant. There are plenty of videos on Youtube that have this song and apparently the punk band Dwarves do a cover of it. The Avengers have kind of been my white whale, so-to-speak. Right when I think I’ve found some information on them, the links mysteriously lead to nowhere. If ANYONE has ANY information on this band, PLEASE contact me!
3. “Gotta Get Some” by The Bold (Pebbles Vol. 10)
Massachusetts garage rock! The Bold’s 1968 “Gotta Get Some” is another essential garage song about being horny and hating school. A very popular theme among bands of that time. The Bold’s sound however isn’t exactly as RAW as other songs on this comp. They’re all obviously highly skilled musicians who incorporate a lot of different changes and beats. The vocals are very cocky and in-your-face, and the Mitch Mitchell-style drumming is as solid as you can get. Teenage sexual frustration expressed via rock’n roll at its best here.
2. “Aint No Friend Of Mine” by The Sparkles. (Pebbles Vol 1.)
Robert Plant eat your heart out. The singing on this song is so unbelievably awesome. The Sparkles were a garage rock outfit from West Texas. Texas was somewhat of a mecca for garage rock back then. Bands like the Red Krayola, 13th Floor Elevators, Bubble Puppy (personal favorite), and Zakary Thaks. Speaking of Zakary Thaks, lets close this up with them.
1. “Bad Girl” by Zakary Thaks. (Pebbles Vol 2)
Ok, You wanna talk about being punk before punk rock was punk rock… Zakary Thaks “Bad Girl” is a loud, fast, in-your-face onslaught of garage rock fury. This song makes “Psychotic Reaction” by the Count Five sound like a power-ballad. Zakary Thaks hailed from Corpus Christi, Texas and put out there single “Bad Girl” in 1966 which would ultimately lead to them being signed by Mercury Records. “Bad Girl” is most definitely ahead of its time. I have yet to hear a band from the 60’s play as fast. Sure, the Count Five did, the Mystic Tide did, but not like this. This is punk rock in 1966. If you only check out one of the songs from this list, I’d say check out Zakary Thaks. Well that concludes my list of my favorite top ten Pebbles songs. Hope you enjoyed it.. till next time, keep on rockin’ in the gheee world.