[ Sundazed Records Series # 22 ]
In Its title, this two-CD set recalls the Chicago street address that headquartered U.S.A. Records and its associated Destination imprint. 2131 South Michigan Avenue compiles 40 tracks that reveal the highly charged garage and psychedelic sounds blowing through the city of Chicago and the Midwest during the late 1960s.
Twenty-two bands are represented by 38 songs and two advertising spots on the discs; the collection is mastered in mono, as most cuts were pressed only on seven-inch vinyl, and few were heard outside of regional radio markets.
Two previously unreleased tracks bookend the second CD: The Counts’ “Stop Cheating On Me” is a terrific British Invasion-style track showcasing the early inspiration for garage rock, while The Lost Agency’s alternate take of “Time To Dream” is immersed in the psychedelia of the late ’60s.
The compilation features The Flock, The Cryan’ Shames and The Buckinghams, three groups who gained national reputations and ultimately inked contracts with Columbia Records.
Emphasizing an edge muted on their later Columbia hits, the Buckinghams perform brash guitar and organ workouts on the extended versions of “Don’t Want To Cry” and “I’m A Man,” a five minute rave-up from the highly collectible original mono pressing of the Kind Of A Drag LP.
Along with “I’m A Man,” 2132 South Michigan Avenue has six additional cover versions of contemporary hits by local bands. These titles include “Midnight Hour,” “I Can’t Explain,” “Til The End Of The Day,” and “Help Me Boy,” which reconfigured the familiar Animals/Outsiders “Help Me Girl” to accommodate The Daughters Of Eve, the one girl group on the album.
With five songs, Oscar Hamod And The Majestics claim the most tracks on the collection. The Indiana quartet’s guitar-based R&B embodies the strengths of the Heartland, while doubling as an American reverberation of Britain’s Mod sound.
The Jokers, another group hailing from Indiana, unveil contrasting sides of their Destination label single: “I’ll Never Let You Go” is melodic pop, yet “What’cha Gonna Do” has the threatening bluesy undertow of the early Rolling Stones.
The Foggy Notions, a high-school band from hometown Chicago, deliver pure ’60s garage rock with “Take Me Back And Hold Me” and “Need A Little Lovin’,” a two-sided single on a minor affiliated label called Ginny Records.
Brimming with fuzz guitar riffs and Farfisa organ lines, this compilation holds plenty of other rare gems performed by long-forgotten groups dripping with punk-rock swagger or soaring with folk-rock harmonies.
These groups carry wonderfully inspired names such as The Sheffields, The Cherry Slush, The Shady Daze, Trafalgar Square and Park Avenue Playground, whose “I Know” sports the complex influences of post-Sgt.Pepper Anglo-pop.
The first collection to focus on these independent Chicago labels, 2131 South Michigan Avenue includes an insert showing photos of all singles and most bands, as well as author Jeff Jarema’s comments on each group coupled with impressively detailed musician lineups.
01.One Girl Man - The Lost Agency
02.I’ll Make You Pay - The Shady Daze
03.Got To Have Your Lovin’ - Oscar Hamod & the Majestics
04.Take Me Back and Hold Me - The Foggy Notions
05.Echoes - Lord and the Flies
06.Midnight Hour - The Messengers
07.If You Ever Go - Ronnie Ross and the Good Guys
08.Soul Finger - Oscar Hamod & the Majestics
09.I’ll Never Let You Go - The Jokers
10.Do You Still Love Me - The Sheffields
11.I’m the One For You - The Great Society
12.Ben Franklin’s Almanac - The Cryan’ Shames
13.Need a Little Lovin’ - The Foggy Notions
14.I Can’t Explain - Oscar Hamod & the Majestics
15.Don’t Want to Cry - The Buckinghams
16.Come With Me - The Boyz
17.You’re Gonna Lose That Girl - The Cryan’ Shames
18.I Cannot Stop You - The Cherry Slush
19.Time to Dream - The Lost Agency
20.Rowe Jukebox Promo - The Buckinghams
01.Stop Cheating On Me* - The Counts
02.Til the End of the Day - Trafalgar Square
03.Hard Times All Over - The Boyz
04.You Made A Fool of Me - Lord and the Flies
05.I Don’t Want You - The Ricochettes
06.Hard Hard Year - The Messengers
07.No Chance Baby - Oscar Hamod & the Majestics
08.What’cha Gonna’ Do - The Jokers
09.I Don’t Need Your Help - Gary and the Knight Lites
10.Are You the Kind - The Flock
11.Help Me Boy - The Daughters of Eve
12.I’m a Man - The Buckinghams
13.My Girl Is Waiting - Oscar Hamod & the Majestics
14.Lifs (Don’t Mean Nothin’) - Michael & the Messengers
15.The Trip - Park Avenue Playground
16.I Know - Park Avenue Playground
17.Gotta Take It Easy - The Cherry Slush
18.What Would You Do If the Sun Died - The Flock
19.Time to Dream (alternate vocal)* - The Lost Agency
20.Radio Spot - The Daughters of Eve
The Lost Agency, The Shady Daze, Oscar Hamod & the Majestics, The Foggy Notions, Lord and the Flies, The Messengers, Ronnie Ross and the Good Guys, The Jokers, The Sheffields, The Great Society, The Cryan’ Shames, The Foggy Notions, The Buckinghams, The Boyz, The Cherry Slush, The Counts, Trafalgar Square, The Ricochettes, Gary and the Knight Lites, The Flock, The Daughters of Eve, Michael & the Messengers, Park Avenue Playground
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