- The Cirkit - Yesterday We Laughed (ALT VERSION!)
- Thursday's Children - Dominoes
- Blue Boys - I Know
- Unwritten Law - This Whole World Is Blind
- The One Way Street - Illusions
- Fabulous Courdels - And You Believe Me (PREV. UNRELEASED)
- The Spacemen - Run For Your Life
- Thorns - I Want You (PREV. UNRELEASED)
- Buck Rogers Movement - Baby Come On
- The Checkmates - Get It While You Can
- The Chants - Hypnotized
- The Pack - Baby I Ask You Why
- The Soothsayers - Please Don't Be Mad
- Yesterday's Children - Feelings
- The What-Nots - I Need You Baby
- The Trolls - They Don't Know
- Next Step - I Said No
- The Grim Reepers - Two Souls
- Facts Of Life - I've Seen Darker Nights
- The Jagged Edge - Gonna Find A Way (PREV. UNRELEASED)
- The Run-A-Rounds - I Couldn't Care Less
- The Counts - Night Of Misery
- Beau Gents - Three Letter Word
- Del Rays Inc. - I'm A Lovin'
- Sons Of Sound - He's Gonna Ride
- Secrets - Somethin Good For Me
- The Runaways - 18th Floor Girl
- The Circus - Bad Seed (You're A Bad Seed)
- Jads - Miss Pretty
- The Moon-Dawgs - Baby As Time Goes By (ALT VERSION)
Gravel Volume 1 is the first in what hopefully will be a series of rare and ultra obscure garage rock from the 1960s. The series starts out strong, thanks to a fine mix of unreleased acetates, some hard to find sides and a handful of regional garage rock (from locales like Texas and PA) that have been compiled on other garage rock comps.
There's no doubt that Kumquat May Records decided to put together this series (limited to only 500 copies) based around the 5 unreleased alternate versions and acetates and a few of the astounding uncompiled tracks which are the main reason to get this compilation because they are fantastic. It helps to have a slew of other great garage rock to go along with those rarities. I only wish the compilation came with liner notes to help understand just how great the music is here.
There's nothing quite as exciting as finding unreleased acetates - and when those acetates contain fiery, pounding garage rock it's even better. The 5 unreleased acetates found on Gravel Volume 1 include Yesterday We Laughed (an alternate version) by The Cirkit, And You Believe Me by The Fabulous Courdels, I Want You by The Thorns, Gonna Find A Way by The Jagged Edge, and an alternate version of Baby As Time Goes By by The Moon-Dawgs. And all five of these songs are incredible with only The Fabulous Courdels being a little less than fab.
The original version of The Cirkit's (from Indiana) Yesterday We Laughed was originally released on the Unicorn label and has been compiled on the Quagmire Vol 2 compilation, but Gravel Volume 1 starts out with an incredible, rocking alternate that sounds like the drums are battling it out with the singer and that is worth the price of the entire compilation. There's ripping guitars, scorching vocals, and shaking rattling drums to accompany the whole thing and it just totally rocks.
Another unreleased tune is the fuzzed out rocker called I Want You by The Thorns which has an incredible harmony backing vocal, fuzz guitar and a raunchy lead vocal which is quite close to plea-perfection.
The Jagged Edge's Gonna Find A Way is an upbeat unreleased tune that sounds like The Pretty Things with harmonica and organ battling it out as the vocalist looks for a way out. You won't find better rhythm guitar than this track.
The original version of The Moon-Dawgs' (from New Orleans) Baby As Time Goes By was originally the b-side to You're No Good on the Bofuz label in 1966 and can be found on Highs In The Mid Sixties #13: Texas Part Three - but here we get an organ drenched alternate version which is incredible.
My least favorite unreleased track is called And You Believe Me by The Fabulous Courdels which just has some off key vocals - other than that the scream before the instrumental break and the rhythm is really sweet.
A truly amazing obscurity which has never been compiled and is highly sought after is Houston, Texas' own Thursday's Children - whose Dominoes was originally the b-side to their Air Conditioned Man released on the International Artists label (the same label for the Thirteenth Floor Elevators). This sounds like a garage pop tune that could've been created with the Bosstown sound thanks to its grooving guitar riff, faltering rhythm, handclaps and harmony vocals. Sadly, Jan Pedersen, the lead guitarist and lead vocalist of Thursday's Children, died in 2003 in a freak windsurfing accident, and Texas lost one of its unsung garage rock pioneers. How this band went under the radar for so many years is unexplainable.....---Patrick (read the whole review at Gullbuy)