The Standells: Dirty Water (1966)

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The Standells: Dirty Water (1966)

Before there was proto-punk there was raw and reductive r'n'b-based garageband rock and great bands like the Seeds, Count Five, early Them, the Downliners Sect, the Pretty Things and many more, some of whom enjoyed a long overdue acknowledgement when Lenny Kaye pulled together his first Nuggets collection, thereby setting of a revivalists search.

Among the more recent collections was the double CD Dirty Water compiled by Kris Needs which kicked off with terrific title track and worked its way through the Deviants, Pink Fairies, the Monks, Sun Ra, MC5, Death, the Stooges, Suicide, the New York Dolls and more.

The Standells formed in LA in '62 and originally released some fairly ordinary pop (their name sounds very early Sixties) but when they signed with Capitol the producer Ed Cobb steered them – or at least opened them up – to the possibilities of something more earthy . . . and not a million miles from Them's Gloria.

Although oddly enough the geographical references in Dirty Water are not LA but Boston where Cobb had lived. Hence “Boston you're my home” which apparently still plays well when the Red Sox enjoy a victory at home.

It is almost idiotically simple – Farfisa organ and fuzz box, singer Dick Dodd's tightly clenched vocals, the sexual innuendo – but that is the appeal, and the template of garageband rock.

If you can hear the words you aren't playing it loud enough! 

For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults


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