Nuggets - Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968

The original Nuggets was released as a thirty track double album in 1972. Compiled by Jac Holzman, founder and president of Elektra Records, and Lenny Kaye, guitarist and rock historian, it documented the sound of American teenagers trying to emulate The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Them or any one of the other bands that constituted the British Invasion that swept all before it in the USA of 1964.

These forgotten garage punk bands (as they became known) were all but forgotten, even in 1972. They had in common, their youth, their enthusiasm and their general lack of anything but the most basic musical competence, all of which meant that they were perfectly paced to produce the most delectable three minute blasts of rock'n roll the world has ever seen.

The album achieved an almost mythical status in the Britain of the mid 1970's and helped inspire an underground cult of people who believed that rock music was better off without synthesisers. All it then needed was for The Ramones to light the blue touch paper.

The original vinyl release has long since been deleted, but now we have the 118 track, four CD complete with colour booklet box set version with more retro-punk classics that you ever knew existed. Hence you too can thrill to the sound of the Count Five's Psychotic Reaction or the Standells' Dirty Water and listen to Oh Yeah by the Shadows Of Knight and finally work out, after all these years, from where David Bowie really did steal that riff for Jean Genie. Oh and it's even got Louie Louie; what more could you want?

Yeah down by the river Down by the banks of the river Charles Ah that's what's happening baby That's where you'll find me Along with lovers, muggers and thieves Ah but they're cool people Oh I love that dirty water Oh Boston you're my home

PS: Although actually the Standells were from Los Angeles, but a minor geographical detail like that should never get in the way of a good song.

Unfortunately volumes 2, 3 and 4 of the box set don't live up to the original compilation. The original compilation contained wonderful sunshine pop moments like Sit Down I Think I Love You - how could a track written by Stephen Stills, produced by Lenny Waronker, arranged by Van Dyke Parks and performed by a band formed by Sly Stone go wrong? But the other three CDs stick too closely to the three-chord guitar band caricature that grew up around the album. Still a great set though.

Rhino have recently released a companion volume - Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire & Beyond. But for the real deal, try the Pebbles series of compilations, and the UK Ripples comps, for a fuller view of the myriad genres encompassed by the original.

Tracklist for the original compilation (disc one of the box):

  1. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) - The Electric Prunes
  2. Dirty Water - The Standells
  3. Night Time - The Strangeloves
  4. Lies - The Knickerbockers
  5. Respect - The Vagrants
  6. A Public Execution - Mouse
  7. No Time Like The Right Time - The Blues Project
  8. Oh Yeah - The Shadows Of Knight
  9. Pushin' Too Hard - The Seeds
  10. Moulty - The Barbarians
  11. Don't Look Back - The Remains
  12. An Invitation To Cry - The Magicians
  13. Liar, Liar - The Castaways
  14. You're Gonna Miss Me - The Thirteenth Floor Elevators
  15. Psychotic Reaction - Count Five
  16. Hey Joe - The Leaves
  17. Romeo & Juliet - Michael And The Messengers
  18. Sugar And Spice - The Cryan Shames
  19. Baby Please Don't Go - The Amboy Dukes
  20. Tobacco Road - Blues Magoos
  21. Let's Talk About Girls - Chocolate Watch Band
  22. Sit Down, I Think I Love You - The Mojo Men
  23. Run, Run, Run - The Third Rail
  24. My World Fell Down - Sagittarius
  25. Open My Eyes - Nazz
  26. Farmer John - The Premiers
  27. It's-A-Happening - The Magic Mushrooms

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