Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Spike Drivers" 1965-68
Folkrocking psychedelic innovation from the Motor City in the mid 60s

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! ~ CD Baby


Blogger Friendlier said...

I've had this for about a year, and it's become one of my favorite albums. Why in hell aren't they mentioned in the same breath as other Detroit/Michigan legends like the Stooges and MC5?

16 October, 2006 03:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interestingly enough, one of the members of the spike drivers, moved to canada and went on to be in the canadian group the perth county conspiracy.(!!) this is great stuff.

16 May, 2007 10:09  

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