Lenny Kaye And Elvis Hitler Have A Psychotic Reaction To Dirty Water and Go Cruisin’ Down Tobacco Road

This compilation of, well, nuggets of forgotten garage bands was lovingly compiled by future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and released in 1972. It was a musical fork-in-the-road for yours truly back in, oh let’s say, 1988. I was just ending my hardcore punk phase, just entering my “alternative” phase, and a friend of mine (who was musically way ahead of his time, immune to the trends that infected us at the time) one night brought out a stack of albums: Suicide’s first album, Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power, and this. Production in the late 80’s was a so glossy and professional it made Frankie Goes To Hollywood sound like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and these three albums, especially Nuggets, was a breath of fresh air. Or rotten air, depending on your preference. The music and bands were skuzzy and dirty sounding, full of fuzz tone bass and guitar with the drums and singers most often sounding like they recorded their parts at the bottom of a steel oil barrel. It was magnificently raw, man. I mean, just look at the original track listing: 

The Electric Prunes: I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night

The Standells: Dirty Water

The Strangeloves: Night Time

The Knickerbockers: Lies

The Vagrants: Respect

Mouse: A Public Execution

The Blues Project: No Time Like the Right Time


The Shadows Of Night: Oh Yeah

The Seeds: Pushin’ Too Hard

The Barbarians: Moulty

The Remains: Don’t Look Back

The Magicians: An Invitation to Cry

The Castaways: Lies Lies

The 13th Floor Elevators: You’re Gonna Miss Me

Count Five: Psychotic Reaction

The Leaves: Hey Joe

Michael And The Messengers: Romeo & Juliet

The Cryan Shames: Sugar And Spice

The Amboy Dukes: Baby Please Don’t Go

Blues Magoos: Tobacco Road”

The Chocolate Waistband: Let’s Talk About Girls

The Mojo Men: Sit Down, I Think I Love You

The Third Rail: Run, Run, Run

Sagittarius: My World Fell Down

Nazz: Open My Eyes

The Premiers: Farmer John

The Magic Mushrooms: “It’s-a-Happening

After hearing Nuggets I became a garage band junkie. The Fuzztones, The Gruesomes, The Creeps and The Cramps, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Fleshtones, Chesterfield Kings, Elvis Hitler, King Kurt and a host of others dominated my turntable for years after. When I could, I’d also look for full albums by the original ’60’s bands listed above, but they were, and remain, hard to come by.

And when it was rediscovered in the mid 70’s, mid 80’s and again in the mid nineties the Man exploited the scene by releasing about a billion “Son Of Nuggets” compilations and almost ruined it for me.

God Save Elvis Hitler…