Sunday, July 1, 2012

196. Nuggets. Not just a one hit wonder

Album: Nuggets
Artist: Various
Genre: Rock
Year: 1972


  1. The Electric Prunes: "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)"
  2. The Standells: "Dirty Water" 
  3. The Strangeloves: "Night Time" 
  4. The Knickerbockers: "Lies" 
  5. The Vagrants: "Respect" 
  6. Mouse: "A Public Execution"
  7. The Blues Project: "No Time Like the Right Time" 
  8. The Shadows of Knight: "Oh Yeah" 
  9. The Seeds: "Pushin' Too Hard" 
  10. The Barbarians: "Moulty" 
  11. The Remains: "Don't Look Back" 
  12. The Magicians: "An Invitation to Cry" 
  13. The Castaways: "Liar, Liar" 
  14. 13th Floor Elevators: "You're Gonna Miss Me" 
  15. Count Five: "Psychotic Reaction" 
  16. The Leaves: "Hey Joe" 
  17. Michael and the Messengers: "Romeo & Juliet" 
  18. The Cryan' Shames: "Sugar and Spice" 
  19. The Amboy Dukes: "Baby Please Don't Go" 
  20. Blues Magoos: "Tobacco Road" 
  21. The Chocolate Watch Band: "Let's Talk About Girls" 
  22. The Mojo Men: "Sit Down, I Think I Love You" 
  23. The Third Rail: "Run, Run, Run" 
  24. Sagittarius: "My World Fell Down" 
  25. Nazz: "Open My Eyes" 
  26. The Premiers: "Farmer John" 
  27. The Magic Mushrooms: "It's-a-Happening" 
Some one-hit wonders deserve more recognition and appreciation. There are some bands who seemed to have one great song in them and their inability to replicate their sole hit has reduced them to the musical scrap heap. It's almost hard to know which is worse- not having a hit at all or having one big song that hangs around your neck dragging down your entire career. How do you perform a live show knowing that every song you play is met with disappointment unless it's the one track the audience loves?

Today compilation albums come out all the time and bands can have their one hit appear on a new CD every week. If there's not a new collection of forgotten hits from a certain genre there'll be a compilation of songs from a certain year, or decade, or maybe geographic location. There are dozens of ways a one-hit wonder can find its way onto a cheap compilation even if it's a four CD boxed set that is still cheaper to buy than a single chart CD.

Back in 1972 there weren't so many collections kicking around but one of the biggest was Nuggets- Original artyfacts from the first psychadelic era. Elektra records collected a double LP worth of songs by bands that history had already forgotten less than a decade after their moment in the sun. Groups with names like The Electric Prunes, The Shadows of Knight, Blues Magoos and The Chocolate Watchband had released songs which briefly broke into the top 40 and then spent the rest of their lives as old 45's sitting in people's record collections to be pulled out when the owner was hit by a brief urge for nostalgia. The original Nuggest took 27 of these hits and put them on two records which provided an instant burst of nostalgia for anyone who grew up in the era and hadn't heard A Public Execution by Mouse since it went to 121 on the billboard charts back in 1965.

In 1998 Rhino decided to rerelease the original album on CD and instead of just putting the four sides of vinyl on one shiny disc they threw in three other discs as well turning a double album into a four disc box set with 122 songs. They strayed a bit from the original intention as well by including better acts that weren't really forgotten (Captain Beefheart and The Charlatans) and songs that aren't so much obscure as classic standards (Louie Louie, I want Candy and Wooly Bully).

In its original format, Nuggets is an interesting listen and has some great songs which feel like they capture an era. The expanded version feels a bit like a watered-down concept. Rhino have just grabbed whatever songs from the era they had the rights to and flung them together as a bloated compilation of "Stuff we can legally sell". It makes for long and disjointed listening.

Highlight: Dirty Water by the Standells
Lowlight: A Public Execution by Mouse- possibly the most blatant Dylan rip-off ever.

Influenced by: Big sixties names.
Influenced: garage bands.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I wonder if we'll see a Nuggets in 2040 with "Oops...I Did it Again" or "Wannabe," because that's basically what this box set amounts to."

-Interesting concept. Although both those songs charted better than most songs here.

So are these nuggets or just tiny pebbles of wombat poo? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. This has some great psychadelic trip outs. Although Lies is a Beatles ripoff of the highest quality, I just love 13th Floor elevators and the countfive song (checkout the video clip on that Youtube thing those young people use these days)Electric Prunes is the best Psychadelic name for a band since the Magic Mushrooms.