The Seeds were notable in their heyday for the trailblazing aspects of their albums – the all-original programmes, outrageously lengthy track times, eye-catching pop art sleeves – but the truth is, their music came across best on a 45rpm record. Their catalogue of singles is a solid playlist that packs punch from start to finish. And in a compilation like this – the first to use the correct mono mixes and edits, as featured on the original releases – one can join the dots and in the process easily surmise what an individualistic recording unit the Seeds were.
For an act sometimes criticised for sounding the same, consider this. Their three successive hits, ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’, ‘Mr Farmer’ and ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’, are all different and yet they are all recognisably the work of the Seeds. The problem the band faced was their pioneering work was undertaken in their first year without bringing success or visibility. Another year passed before they attracted some fame – by which time pop music required a different, higher set of standards. Yet, the best of the Seeds’ 45s exemplify those brief, transcendental moments in pop music where emotion and attitude can trump technique: a spot occupied by discs such as ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘Satisfaction’ or ‘My Generation’. There was no “file under garage rock” category when ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ broke through in late 1966 – a small hit, but a bigger anthem for many of the disaffected teens who warmed to its implied anti-establishment message.
The final chapter in the Seeds’ story is a controversial one. Although the 1969-1970 period is usually portrayed as a decline, there is a school of thought that considers their parting gambits ‘Bad Part Of Town’ and ‘Did He Die’ the equal of their classic GNP Crescendo recordings. The MGM singles have much to recommend them, but they cannot be said to match the peculiar drive of the original band, and they perhaps also lack some of the offbeat inspiration that was core to what made the Seeds great.
Much of that greatness can be found on their B-sides or non-LP singles: the breathless 50s rocker ‘Daisy Mae’, the sleazy ode to a Beverly Hills nightclub that is ‘The Other Place’, the lost hit ‘The Wind Blows Your Hair’ or the Kim Fowley-programmed teen angst of ‘Wild Blood’. Gathered together with the essential A-sides and key cuts such as ‘Out Of The Question’ and ‘Up In Her Room’, “Singles As & Bs 1965-1970” can function equally as a Greatest Hits or Best Of. Either way, it is once again testament to the enduring quality of Sky, Daryl, Jan and Rick – THE SEEDS. --- Alec Palao