Thursday, 21 January 2016

"Hot Hits & Hot Ones: Is This The Way That You Get Your High?" By THE STANDELLS (1993 Ace/Big Beat CD - Duncan Cowell Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Young Barracudas..." 

Los Angelinos hipsters THE STANDELLS pioneered 60ts Garage and Punk (although they probably didn't see it as such) - and this old (1993) but wickedly to-the-point CD compilation from England's Ace Records (using their Big Beat label imprint) is a near-perfect stab/reminder of that 'so cool' frenzied brilliance. This little sucker rocks - it really does. Here are the White Guys painting it black...

UK released June 1993 – "Hot Hits & Hot Ones: Is This The Way You Get Your High?" by THE STANDELLS is a 21-track CD compilation on Ace/Big Beat CDWIKD 114 (Barcode 029667411424) and plays out as follows (62:49 minutes):

1. Dirty Water (1965 US 7" single on Tower 185, A)
2. Rari (1965 US 7" single on Tower 185, B-side of “Dirty Water”)
3. Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (1966 US 7" single on Tower 257, A)
4. Medication (from their June 1966 debut LP "Dirty Water" on Tower ST 5027, Stereo)
5. There Is A Storm Comin' (from their June 1966 debut LP "Dirty Water" on Tower ST 5027, Stereo)
6. 19th Nervous Breakdown (from their June 1966 debut LP "Dirty Water" on Tower ST 5027, Stereo)
7. Why Did You Hurt Me (1966 US 7” single on Tower 257, B-side of "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White")
8. Why Pick On Me? (1966 US 7" single on Tower 282, A)
9. Paint It Black (from their December 1966 2nd LP "Why Pick On Me – Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" on Tower ST 5044, Stereo)
10. Black Hearted Woman (1967 US 7" single on Tower 314, B-side of "Riot On Sunset Strip")
11. Mainline (from their December 1966 2nd LP "Why Pick On Me – Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" on Tower ST 5044, Stereo)
12. Mr. Nobody (1966 US 7" single on Tower 282, B-side of "Why Pick On Me?")
13. Wild Thing (from their 3rd LP "The Hot Ones" on Tower ST 5049, Stereo)
14. Riot On Sunset Strip (1967 US 7" single on Tower 314, A)
15. Try It (1967 US 7" single on Tower 310, A)
16. Barracuda (from their 4th and final LP "Try It" in 1967 on Tower ST 5098, Stereo)
17. Poor Shell Of A Man (1967 US 7” single on Tower 310, B-side of "Try It")
18. Can't Help But Love You (1967 US 7" single on Tower 348, A)
19. Ninety-Nine & A Half (1967 US 7" single on Tower 348, B-side of "Can't Help But Love You")
20. Animal Girl (1967 US 7” single on Tower 398, A)
21. Soul Drippin' (1967 US 7” single on Tower 398, B-side to "Animal Girl")

Bar 2-sides (entry No. 4) - the rest of THE STANDELLS US 45s on Tower Records can be sequenced from this CD as follows [8] = Track 8 etc:

1. Dirty Water [1] b/w Rari [2] – December 1965, Tower 185
2. Sometimes Good Guys Wear White [3] b/w Why Did You Hurt Me [7] – August 1966, Tower 257
3. Why Pick On Me [8] b/w Mr. Nobody [12] – October 1966, Tower 282
4. Don't Tell Me What To Do b/w When I Was A Cowboy – January 1967, Tower 312
5. Riot On Sunset Strip [14] b/w Black Hearted Woman [10] – February 1967, Tower 314
6. Try It [15] b/w Poor Shell Of A Man [17] – May 1967, Tower 310
7. Can't Help But Love You [18] b/w Ninety-Nine & A Half [19] – October 1967, Tower 348
8. Animal Girl [20] b/w Soul Drippin' [21] – February 1968, Tower 398

The 8-page inlay features liner notes from noted writer and long-time Ace Records associate and CD compiler ALEC PALAO. There are photos of the four band members Dick Dodd, Tony Valentino, Larry Tamblyn and Dave Burke alongside snaps of them with The Rolling Stones (acted as their opening act). The potted history goes into their formation in the bars of Los Angeles and break-up after album No.4 "Try It" appeared in late 1967 (Lowell George of Little Feat joined them for a brief period as their live guitarist but they never recorded with this line up and he soon split after differences). The snap of the Standells on the rear of the booklet looking dapper with Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman at an airport somewhere is the epitome of 60ts cool but it's a real shame that none of the three gorgeous and rare US pic sleeves to "Riot On Sunset Strip", "Try It" and "Can't Help But Love" aren't reproduced (a booklet upgrade is due methinks)...

The DUNCAN COWELL Stereo Remasters are from original tapes and sound ballsy and full of menace and life. Each of the four Tower Records albums was issued in both MONO and STEREO – Ace has used the STEREO versions. If you wanted the first album "Dirty Water" in its gritty Mono entirety – buy the CD Ace CDWIKD 110 which gives you "Dirty Water" in Mono and the follow up "Why Pick On Me..." in Stereo lumped together onto 1CD (52:15 minutes).

Essentially "Hot Hits & Hot Ones..." offers you the A & B-sides of their eight Tower Records 45s frantically issued between late 1965 and early 1968 (only "Don't Tell Me What To Do" b/w "When I Was A Cowboy" is missing) – along with a smattering of seven LP sides in Stereo. For me every track is a blast - fresh still. The lyrics for the brilliant "Some Times Good Guys Don't Wear White" are radical and articulate - reflecting the changing and turbulent times - "...good guys, bad guys, which is which...the white-collar worker or the digger in the ditch..." Not surprisingly you get sly druggy references in "Medication" – a kind of 1966 love song that is back-dropped by the sinister fuzz-guitar of Tony Valentino. That edgy stabbing nature permeates "There's A Storm Comin'" too – and their cover version of "Paint It Black" may as well be The Stones its so faithful to the sound of the original.

The hard-hitting Standells trademark sound is never far away - the bright lights, the pretty girls, the long-haired dudes and scared parents all clashing with the 'heat' make "Riot On Sunset Strip" feel well - riotous. The thrashing drums of Dick Dodd, that Doors organ of Larry Tamblyn lingering in the background and the raging vocals in "Black Hearted Woman" still thrills as does the irresistible 'get my kicks' on the old "Mainline" (stunning sound quality). But my crave on here is the brilliant "Barracuda" where we were told that our excitable boy is "...a mean Barracuda...don't you mess with me...I'm lonely and I'm starved for some of your love...ah sweet thing...you're just what I've been thinking of..." (look out ladies). Even their cover of "Wild Thing" by The Troggs from the much derided "Hot Ones" album has the groovy edge of the original and pre-dates Hendrix's incendiary version. I also love those brilliant B-sides like "Poor Shell Of A Man" and "Ninety-Nine & A Half" (great brass fills) - both rocking like The Stones and melodic like The Byrds...

A fantastic sounding CD with uber-cool 60ts music...genius baby yeah...and that’s just the left leg...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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