Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (1965-1968) was first released in 1972. As compiled by Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye, the double album presented for extra consideration bands and their hits that embodied a wilder American underground scene beyond the Top 40 (except for those tracks which leapt feet-first into the Top 40, but which were awesome anyway). Nuggets was immensely influential both musically and commercially, its music encouraging a number of garage bands nearly as equal to the number of copycat compilations encouraged by its success.
Rhino Records, in its infinite wisdom, released Nuggets in 1998 with an expanded format, packing over 100 rollicking tracks into a single boxed set. So I’m sharing today only a sliver of the glory available on Nuggets; the first three songs appear on the original LP, while the third ambles in tardily on the Rhino set.
The Electric Prunes were an early psychedelic band from the West Coast. Their only significant, lasting hit “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” can still be heard on the radio now and then (I just heard it last night), which is quite a testament for a band who named themselves after old people food.
Another West Coast band, the Standells, are best known for a song, “Dirty Water”, which is about Boston, about as far-flung a subject as could be devised. It’s one of the better performing songs on Nuggets, reaching all the way to #11 on the Billboard charts. Also, they appeared in an episode of The Munsters.
Victor Moulton of the Barbarians lost his left hand in an explosion, so naturally he was the band’s drummer. (Take that, Rick Allen.) His band’s most notable song, “Moulty”, is a humorously melodramatic autobiography that could actually be a little inspiring if you aren’t paying attention.
The legendary Sky Saxon led his band the Seeds to regional success in southern California, his strangled, squealing vocals adding histrionic earnestness to a couple of moderately successful singles. The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” did well nationally, but I think “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” is much better.