Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 Box set
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In Los Angeles during the mid-'60s, music was everywhere--from the garages of Orange County, to the dingbat apartments of the San Fernando Valley, to the bungalows of Laurel Canyon. But without a doubt, the epicenter of the music scene was the Sunset Strip, where "freaks"filled the rock clubs lining the famed Hollywood thoroughfare.. Encompassing four discs arranged thematically to cover different aspects of the pop, rock, club and Top 40 sounds of the era, Where the Action Is! compiles 101 tracks that mix many of the city's brightest stars (The Byrds, Love, The Doors, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, Captain Beefheart, The Mama & The Papas, Lowell George, Iron Butterfly, The Monkees) with talented artists whose stellar songcraft sadly flew under the radar (The Seeds, Jameson, The Electric Prunes, Modern Folk Quintet, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Spirit, The Everpresent Fullness, Kaleidoscope, The Standells, The Bobby Fuller Four).
Lenny Kaye can't have had any idea what he was starting when he compiled his original Nuggets album of psychedelic ‘artyfacts’ back in 1972. We've had two huge Nuggets sets, a Children of Nuggets box of disciples, and a San Francisco-specific collection – all of them treasure chests of proto-punk classics and cult obscurities.
Mid-60s Los Angeles being a hotbed of such music, Rhino's Andrew Sandoval now follows up 2007's San Francisco Nuggets with a compendium of LA's various exponents of psych-pop and garage punk. From masthead names like The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield to no-hit wonders like Limey & the Yanks, Where the Action Is! is a one-stop tour of mood-altered SoCal teen rock of the period.
Sandoval divides his box into four platters. Disc one (‘On the Strip’) offers the names you'll know in a playlist that's like strolling into Gazzari's with a bell-bottomed babe on your arm. What you notice is how an almost generic style of edgy sub-British Invasion pop all but dissolves the differences between Love, Sonny & Cher, The Association and Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.
More compelling for the cognoscenti are discs two and three. The first (‘Beyond the City’) focuses on roughly-recorded, primarily non-Hollywood acts from East LA's Premiers and Thee Midniters to Lancaster's Merrill & the Exiles; the second (‘The Studio Scene’) dips into the less punky pop of The Monkees, The Mamas & the Papas and the obscure Pasternak Progress. Opus 1's superb Back Seat '38 Dodge is like the Beach Boys on STP and the W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band's Hippy Elevator Operator is worth the price of entry for the title alone. Disc three treats include October Country's cult classic My Girlfriend is a Witch and the spooky waltz of the Garden Club's Little Girl Lost-and-Found.
Disc four (‘New Directions’) charts the evolution of the LA sound into canyon folk and country rock, kicking off with a Stephen Stills and Richie Furay demo of the Springfield's Sit Down, I Think I Love You and taking in Gene Clark, Van Dyke Parks, Harry Nilsson, Del Shannon's psych-tinged I Think I Love You, and an alternate take of the Beach Boys' Heroes and Villains and more – not forgetting a Warren Zevon/Bones Howe team effort as the Motorcycle Abilene.
This is where the action was, folks. Take a trip back in time and you too can ride so high. --Barney Hoskyns
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
It is very well presented in a 48 page book format with the 4 CDs slotted into recesses at the back - bit of a scuff risk if played a lot, but quite secure. The book has full track details as would be expected from the likes of Andrew Sandoval and Alec Palao, and featurettes on the LA radio stations and clubs of the era. It is well illustrated and very informative and will look very nice on your shelf!
The 101 tracks fill the 4 CDs and Amazon has provided audio clips for your delectation. Bill Inglot ferreted around in the tape vaults to find these gems and Dan Hersch and Andrew Sandoval remastered them to sound fresh and exciting. Where the Action Is! Is lovingly produced by people who have an obvious love of the music featured, and considerable knowledge of the era.
Don't be put off by the speculation and guesswork of the "reviewers" who "reviewed" this collection before it was actually released - it is a good sounding and good value set. Most of the material has been available before - but not these remasterings - but there are three previously unreleased tracks featured as well. Once Upon a Time by Tim Buckley, Sit Down I Think I Love You by Stephen Stills & Richie Furay and Words (Demo) by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart. You know you want to hear them!
Where the Action Is! Is probably not the best introduction to the Nuggets series, but if you have the others then it will not disappoint. Some great music, well presented and reasonably priced must deserve five stars even if it's not perfect!
The music contains nearly all the familiar bands that you would expect, but not necessarily the track or version that you might anticipate. Examples are Byrds: You Movin' (from the preflyte sessions);Beach Boys: Heroes and Villains (alternate take). One for the completists is the Tim Buckley track Once Upon A Time (previously unissued). Another early track is the Stills/Furey version of Sit Down I Think I Love You - classic West Coast!
Overall, this is a very good package with much music to enjoy, especially for anyone who loved the era. I don't consider it quite as good as the San Francisco set, hence only 4 stars, but this is a personal opinion on the music itself - it's still worth purchasing.
WHERE THE ACTION IS ???
little action , indeed, way too mellow an affair & way too MANY fillers to make this a transcendent experience !
this compilation does not even faintly live up to what it promises to be.
if you want some action, turn, for instance , to:
Various – Michigan Meltdown (Post-Garage Pandemonium And Pre-Punk Fuzz Freaks From The Mitten State's Miliken Era) !
there was lots of action in the 60ies in terms of demented psych/punk garage rock, real psyched out stuff,
however, hardly being reflected in those los angels nuggets.
yet I gave three stars to it SOLELY on account of it holding at least some real decent garage rock bands
in that rhino records managed to extract the ONE good piece from those bands ,the other pieces off them being real dull hence a complete waste of money had you purchased the whole output of those garage bands !
this applies to CD1 - CD3 .
CD4 is rotters, a total dud, an exasperating farrago of pop-like & insufferable sounds, for mollycoddles only.
where has the action gone all of a sudden? clearly fading away into inane ludicrousness noisome to ear & mind alike !
some reviwers were quick to dish out five stars, but
if you're looking for obscure psych garage sounds the way I was
this here collection is to be recommended for collectors only !
I realised that this volume was packaged differently.It comes as a hardback book with loads of interesting information etc.Then you get to the actual cd's housed on the inside of the rear cover.To my horror as I removed them three of the 4 cd's were heavily marked rendering them unplayable.I returned the set to Amazon (at their cost unlike HMV)I opted for a refund. Recently a friend bought me a copy of the same title. When I opened it after removing the cellophane wrap 3 of the CD's were fine but the last had the same problem as the first set with marks all over the disc on the play side!! This is due to the ridiculous design of the cd housing which patently damages the cd's as you remove them and also the glue that is used in the production that clings to the discs.This is not a cheap item by anyones standards.Unfortunately my friend had lost the receipt so it could not be exchanged. The music is excellent if you can ever find a fully playable copy I have bought many of Rhinos boxed sets and have in the main been thrilled with them but this Nuggets set needs an urgent redesign of it's packaging. I will certainly think twice before buying any other Rhino products if this is going to be the way they intend to package cd's .
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic box set, the packaging looks great and the music is better than I expected. However I do leave the cds out of the book as they do get scratched. Read morePublished on 8 May 2013 by Amazon Customer
Another in the line descended from the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compiation.Packaging is not up to the same standard of the first 3 boxed sets and little thought was given to... Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2009 by Mark Andrews
There's more 60s psychedelia out now than there was in the 60s and it keeps growing.
In the U K psychedelia meant the Beatles who laid down the blueprint and America... Read more
This is a nice introduction to the L.A. scene, but it doesn't really contain a lot for the devoted L.A. music fan. I have pretty much everything on this box set. Read morePublished on 30 Aug. 2009 by Even Johan Ottersland