Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The 1980s and 1990s were veritable bounties of rare & obscure rock and roll/R&B reissues courtesy of CRYPT RECORDS and all of their pseudo-bootleg sub-labels. One guy – one guy! (Tim Warren) – was pretty much responsible for turning on thousands to savage 50s-60s sounds by virtue of incredible LP-only compilation series like “Back From the Grave”, “Sin Alley”, “Garage Punk Unknowns”, “Jungle Exotica”, “Las Vegas Grind”, “Teenage Shutdown” and “Strummin’ Mental”. If I ever got a surprise check – say, a rare bonus from my company, or a tax return, whatever – it never failed that a big portion of it would go to an order with Midnight Records or some other outfit who sold these comps. I was being progressively schooled on amazing, totally lost 45rpm sounds on forgotten labels that likely would never have been resurrected if not for Warren. You always knew when it was a Crypt compilation, even when the faux record label was “Strip” or “Link Wray Records” – there was always that font they used, and Warren’s over-hyperactive, trash-talking liner notes. No one’s ever put together compilations with a higher ration of hits-to-misses than this guy – no one. He’s still doing it now; I just picked up a CD called “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL, PART THREE” , and I want to let you in on it.

The “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL” LPs started coming into the digital era about ten years ago. Until I discovered this new one, I’d thought the series was finished being repurposed on CD; “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL” Volumes 1 and 2 on CD are totally essential collections of berserk instrumental rave-ups in the mode of The Trashmen, the Ventures and the Nautiloids. Some are surf-leaning; most are aggressive, guitar-heavy reverb monsters that speak more to the inner heartland of teenage garage escapades than they do the California coast. Tons of American (and international!) kids were entranced with Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Ventures, The Wailers, The Champs & other instrumental heroes of that ilk during the 1958-65 time period that these compilations cover; it might be nice if they still were. I guess that’s where comps like this come in. “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL, PART THREE” continues the raw lineage with 33 (!!) two-minute-long wreckers, most of which chug and crash and wipe out with the best of ‘em. A couple are total destroyers, even – most notably the two I’m posting for you today to give you a taste of the thing: LOS SHAINS from Peru, and the incredible “Shains-a-Go-Go”, along with the well-monikered REEKERS and their “Don’t Call Me Flyface”. Just awesome. I hope you agree. You can buy the CD here.

Play LOS SHAINS – “Shains-a-Go-Go”

Download LOS SHAINS – “Shains-a-Go-Go”
Download THE REEKERS – “Don’t Call Me Flyface”

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