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The Spike-Drivers - 60's Folkrocking Psychedelia from The Motor City (1965-1968)

Marycarol Brown - vocals
Sid Brown - guitar
Ted Lucas - guitar, vocals
Richard Keelan - bass, vocals
Steve Booker - drums
Larry Cruise - drums (in late 1965)

With such a descriptive title, perfectly capturing the general mood of this Detroit band, this collection almost needs no review at all. You'll be assured to this fact as soon as you hear the opening lines of their '66 debut single's b-side (the longest single track at the time) "Often I wonder" or (appropriately titled) "Strange Mysterious Sounds", both with a doze of US "Kaleidoscopic" darkness combined with Eastern influenced folk-psych. Even when they get a bit more conventional musically, like in the 'Spoonfulish "Baby won't you let me tell you how I lost my mind" or the Hendrix-gone-folky "Blue Law Sunday", the lyrical concept is still a bit moody. Though they've never reached the commercial hights proportional to their possibilities, the one that should've taken them to the toppermost of the poppermost is their super-jangly a-side of their debut called "High Time", and besides all of these, there's also an unexpected goofy, Bonzo-Doggish take on the Californian saga, "Baby can I wear your clothes". The Spike-Drivers' second edition was a bit "wilder and freer" though not necessarily "stranger and funnier" as band member Sid Brown puts it in the liner notes. "Portland Town" continues the eerie folk-psych sound of the early singles in a kinda Slick-y, way with an addition of almost classical string arrangement, to be followed with a couple of classic psych tracks, with an omnipresent middle eight fuzzed-out rave-up, like in "Everybody's got that feeling", the spiritual "I know" or "Time will never die", and you'll even find a bit of a honky tonk finger pickin' in "Grocery store". The third segment of the CD is made of two folk-rockin' '65 demos, "Can't stand the pain" and the Holly-ish "I'm so glad". By the way: Sid Brown was the guy who told Mike Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band who to play an "Eastern" guitar; the result can be heard on "East-West", their second album on Elektra in 1966!

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