on 5 April 2001
The only real competition for this box set comes from the Pebbles/Trash box (also available from Amazon). This set wins hands down in terms of sound quality and packaging, although the Pebbles set is also superb. All the classic tunes from Lenny Kaye's original compilation are present and correct, along with over a hundred other amazing punky freakouts.
Unlike Pebbles, which is pretty uniformly fuzz guitar and screaming youths, Nuggets has its tender moments. Consider the Nazz's 'Open My Eyes' which sounds like a prettier version of The Who's 'I Can't Explain'. The pop sensibility of this set means that there are plenty of other points of access for those who aren't used to hardcore sixties fuzz, such as Incense and Peppermints (as heard in Austin Powers) and Liar, Liar (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barells). If you buy this set, you'll have everything you need to start work on a real obsession.
on 18 June 2006
In 1972 Lenny Kaye from the Patti Smith Group compiled a double vinyl album for Electra records. It consisted of half-forgotten mid-sixties singles by semi-obscure American bands. He cannot possibly have had any idea of what he was starting. At the time compilation albums were few and far between - unlike today. Furthermore the idea of compiling an album of relatively small hits and complete misses must have seemed totally crazy. Now 34 years later that original album is back - and at a budget price too! In the intervening years it has spawned an entire 'Nuggets' franchise. For example it has been been re-issued on vinyl (by Sire Records), given its name to a whole series of albums (also on vinyl) from Rhino (now sadly deleted), inspired the creation of three excellent box sets (Nuggets, Nuggets II and Children of Nuggets) as well as three single CD compilations - all with the name 'Nuggets' in their title (Nuggets, More Nuggets and Even More Nuggets). In fact, one could also argue that it helped create the whole garage-band compilation genre, as evidenced by the success of series such as Rubble, Pebbles, Psychedelic Pstones and such. However, surely the greatest evidence of its success is that many of the bands that appeared on the original Nuggets double-album are better known now than they were in their prime. Browse around Amazon or wander around your local record store and you can easily find material by the Standells, the Seeds, the Shadows of Knight, the 13th Floor Elevators and the Chocolate Watch Band.
And what of the music itself? Certainly a great deal of it is basic and discordant with little sophistication or technical expertise. However it is all infused with a tremendous energy and vitality with liberal helpings of street-corner punk attitude for good measure. Stylistically, everything from the early-Beatles (masquerading as the Knickerbockers) to Dylan (in the guise of Mouse and the Traps)is represented. But there is plenty of experimentation and innovation too - the Magic Mushrooms, Sagittarius and the Electric Prunes. Of course it all sounds a little quaint now, but it is still an enormous pleasure to hear it again as it was originally compiled.
Thank you Mr Kaye for having the vision to create and market the original concept. Because of you I have had many many happy years of musical discovery and listening pleasure.
Welcome back Nuggets!
on 28 June 2006
The original vinyl version of this was stunning and a must have. The reissues have been very good but have tended to substitute in favoured or classic tracks like Louie Louie rather than the original track listing. The boxed set included the original tracks and a great deal more but somehow, despite the inclusions of many classics not on the original, like Love for example, it lost some impact. It was too much of a good thing if you like.
Now, here for the first time in several years is a reissue that is both beautifully packaged (albeit that you'll need a magnifying glass for the inside of the gatefold) and does no more or less than reproduce the original on CD in mini gatefold and at a ludicrously cheap price. As such it makes a fantastic artyfact in its' own right. However, it's the music that's the real revelation.
This is a classic compilation. It has highs and lows, something for everyone and the real status of being an iconic, important historical artyfact (sorry, I have to keep using their spelling) , however, unlike many influential records, its' biggest asset is that it has the music in spades. It's corny, hard, soft, tacky and obscure. Fundamentally it's a record no collection should be without. It's not perfect. Everybody will have at least one track or more that they hate but they'll also have at least half a dozen tracks that lead them to explore new musical avenues and a lifetime of pleasure.
on 11 February 2009
In 1965, American music was on its' knees. Between 10th April & 28th May, every number one was by a British act.
OK if it had been the Beatles, but that little run included Freddie and The Dreamers & Herman's Hermits. Christ, even Petula Clark had been number 1 in January, too!!
Luckily, salvation was at hand. In the charts, Beach Boys & Bob Dylan launched a major counter-attack.
And, standing on a musical bridge at Lexington, were the constituent groups on this little album. VERY little chart success came out of most of it, but no-one cared then & neither should we now.
All the energy and enthusiasm that original rock n rollers like Little Richard & Jerry Lee Lewis had captivated us Brits with 7 or 8 years before (and the captivated Brits included most of our acts now topping the Us charts in 1965!!!)was BACK-with a bang!
Dirty sounding R & B or R & R,slung back at the US in style by such as the Stones, Kinks & The Pretty Things, was now catapulted back in a different but equally wonderful style by these boys. Then they went & invented psychedlia out of it, too!
Now what is so captivating over 40 years later-is there anything that is actually captivating at all?
This was, and remains still, music you wouldn't put on the player with your parents around. It's loud, dirty, aggressive and brilliant all this time later.
OK-I'm 57 next month, but I can still annoy my wife with it.
This compo was also a complete must the moment it came out on vinyl & even that event is 36 years back, now!
So, as we are talking about the 2nd American War of Independence, in the words of George Washington(almost):
"Father, I cannot tell a Lie-this CD is completely indispensable!"
on 2 July 2006
Simply one of the greatest albums you will ever buy. A distillation of the finest US garage punk from the late 60s, this first appeared in the early 70s and, like they used to say about the Pistols early gigs, it seemed like everyone who heard it either formed or joined a band. As much as seeing bands like the Clash or the Ramones, 'Nuggets' told you that you didn't need to be a guitar hero to write a song, you didn't need a corporation to make a record. Ideas, chutzpah and a modicum of talent were plenty.
Which is not to say that this is amateur hour. 'Punk' in those days referred to the famously snot-nosed attitude that these bands espoused, not to a conscious rejection of technique and skill. These boys could really play, in a style picked up from British beat bands but honed, warped and retooled, allegedly through acid, more likely through weed and amphetamines. Great tunes are everywhere, solos and other decorative elements are pithy and minimal, little is more than two and a half minutes long and the sum of these parts adds up to a whole stack of pop excitement, without an extraneous note or song on the whole set. Styles vary from the breathless pop rush of the Seeds 'Pushing Too Hard' through the assured R'n'B of the Standells (arguably America's great lost band) 'Dirty Water', the sweet pop of The Crayan Shames' 'Sugar and Spice', the Dylanesque Mouse & the Traps and much, much more...
Nuggets reappeared a few years ago in a greatly extended box set form, but its dilution seemed to run counter to the spirit of that garage ethos; this is the real fat-free deal.
In 1974, this fabulous record changed the lives of everyone who heard it. So what are you waiting for ?
on 29 June 2015
Quite simply the greatest compilation album you could possibly buy.Originally released in 1972 Nuggets is a treasure trove of American singles released during the mid-sixties era.The majority of the songs were hits in the U.S. top forty but were unknown on this side of the Atlantic.Kicking off with The Electric Prunes and the psychedelic classic I had too much to dream last night the great songs just keep coming-Lies by The Knickerbockers,Liar. Liar by The Castaways,Pushin' too hard by The Seeds,Moulty by The Barbarians,and my two favourites Psychotic Reaction by Count Five and Dirty Water by The Standells.In all 27 glorious tracks with not a duff song in sight. If you enjoy this(and you should) then get Rhinos 4 CD box set which is amazing.
on 23 June 2008
What can I say about Volume One of the Nuggets compilation that hasn't already been said, this album after all is still one of the most important purchases I have ever made.
The cheap price tag of this collection is quite frankly daft, but with an array of quality songs from relatively unknown bands being quite literally immense on this compilation, as a starting point you cannot really do much better. So in short, you have no excuse, you need to have this compilation in your collection now.
Originally compiled and released in 1972 on the Sire Record label, by Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman with help from Lenny Kaye, Nuggets has become a superb gateway into the 1960's Psychedelic and Garage scenes of the United States, and in particular the vibrant West Coast scene.
I play at least 3 songs from this record every week on my radio show and since my purchase, have expanded my collection buying albums from bands which featured on this compilation and strangely even bands that didn't. Bands which before I bought Nuggets, I never even knew existed, but whom I now consider to be producers of some of the finest songs from the period.
At the time this record was released, compilations were the reserve of the greatest hits from the biggest acts. But Holzman and Kaye took a different view; their work here was to place the spotlight on acts which may have otherwise easily been overlooked by history, which makes this compilation even the more staggering.
I could list all the quality songs on this compilation, but that would mean just listing the entire track list, but I'm going to try and condense the highlights.
The album begins with the title track from 1967's I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) by The Electric Prunes, which as mentioned previously in this journal is a stunning fuzzy opener written by the queens of the underground, Nancy Mantz and Annette Tucker.
Next up is 1965's Dirty Water by Los Angeles group The Standells, a veiled protest song; it probably has the catchiest hook on the record. Track 9 is also from Los Angeles and is instantly memorable; Pushin' Too Hard by The Seeds is a relentless rampage from 1966, it won't win awards for lyrical content but certainly follows the winning formula of what makes a garage classic so marvellous.
More underground hooks follow, the most well known is probably Liar Liar by Minnesota group, The Castaways. On first listen it may appear jolly and upbeat, but I'm starting to think that this song is rather dark and sinister. The same can be said for the output of Texas Garage Greats The 13th Floor Elevators. Their breakthrough from 1966 You're Gonna Miss Me can of course be found on this compilation.
The next track which probably deserves a mention is Hey Joe, a fast paced early version from 1965 by Los Angeles group The Leaves, at present this is my favourite song on this compilation and in my view makes a mockery of the Jimi Hendrix version.....controversial I know.
There are of course examples of pure filth to be had on this compilation as well, namely from Michigan with The Amboy Dukes covering 1935's Big Joe Williams number Baby, Please Don't Go, a song made famous by British group, Them. Say what you want about Ted Nugent, but with this song he certainly has napalmed this classic to the depths, wonderful. More filth follows from San Jose, with the brilliant Lets Talk About Girls by The Chocolate Watchband, this song should probably come with a health warning.
And there I shall stop, to be fair I could have written tonnes about every song on this compilation, but that would probably ruin the surprise. Its easy to say that this album is a "must have" as such comments are used all over the shop on this World Wide Web thingy, but seriously if you don't own this album, you are missing out on a whole new world of music.
But that said this album should not be considered the definitive, but more a starting point. Buy this album and start saving straight away, because you're going to need a bigger boat.
on 3 January 2013
Waited ages to get this on CD and wasn’t let down. This is an excellent album with riffs that more than one artist took and subsequently made famous.
on 26 September 2002
Most of this blew my head off!,with a collection of this size,your going to find some songs better that others, but tunes like little girl-sydicate of sound,or your gonna miss me-13th floor Elavators are just the ticket,all the band info makes it a great package,and this music really rocks!early Beefheart,amazing Fuzzed up Garage rock fantastic!buy it!there is alot to hold your attention for a long time,some tunes here are so far out for the time,if you are a real garage Rock'n'roll fan this is for you,the kind of stuff that influenced bands like The Cramps!who are amazing enough!this is the stuff indeed.
Despite being a teenager in the 60's, I'd only actually heard one of the 27 tracks before (The Electric Prunes' 'I had too much to dream'). Despite that, it felt very much like coming home as these mostly long forgotten groups echo the sounds of the Beatles, John Lee Hooker, the Searchers, the Byrds, Dylan, a veiled undercurrent of blues, psychedelia, and the general west coast ambience. Oh yes, and the British band the Nashville Teens whose arrangement of 'Tobacco Road' is largely ripped off by the Blues Magoos (unless someone tells me the Teens ripped it off from someone else).
Lenny Kaye really did the business with this great looking package and his excellent sleeve notes. While the music may not always be the greatest -most of these bands were very young- this collection should be in yours.