Various - Psychedelic Gems 5

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Gardem Of Delights
Catalog Number: PGCD 05
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:10:00

While it may be bad form to start a review at the end of the CD, that is where the most ... interesting material on this CD lies, that being the pair of tracks from Tibet, a 70s German quartet (plus one) from the Sauerland region of Werdohl, Germany. That "plus one" that I added parenthetically is because the female vocalist on these two tracks was a young girl (16-17 years old) that keyboardist Deff Ballin brought to the studio with him when they band entered the studio to record the two singles that are featured here. After this recording was made, they acquired a full-time, male singer, with whom they recorded their only album, the self-titled Tibet. What makes these two tracks interesting...more interesting than the previous 11, let say, because there are points of interest in tracks 1 through 11 ... is the bass of Karl-Heinz Hamann and the vocals of the woman known only as Maggie, who sounds older than her years. But, we'll get back to that in a moment.

Listening to this CD, you can hear in it the evolution of rock from the poppy 60s to the psychedelic 70s. The album is laid out chronologically, and features essentially one-offs, as most of the bands didn't record anything other than what appears here.

The first two tracks are from a band called The Desperates. The first is a cover version of The Pretty Things' "LSD." Recorded in 1966, the music is certainly of its time -- big, twangy guitars played as taut as the drumming, pounding bass... very much like The Association ("Along Comes Mary" came to mind at lot. The second track from The Desperates is a cover of Otis Redding's "Stupidity." Both tracks are on the edge of psychedelic, but not quite there.

The third and fourth tracks are from the more psychedelic Tortilla Flats, who have a darker sound...a bit like early Deep Purple, actually, and like Cream and the Yardbirds. The guitars are fuzzed and throaty (Michael Koch on guitar, Ulrich Grossmann on bass), the drumming tight (Wolfgang Matzak) right along with the keys (Norbert Abels, who also composed the two pieces). Vocals here are by Andreas Freund who does a more than just adequate job. This was the only recording this quintet made, recorded and released in 1970.

Just We hold down the next two tracks, both from 1971. The first, "Somethin' Like It" begins with a funky drum tattoo (Rainer Frays), to which some Jimi Hendrix/Edgar Winter like guitar funk is added (Rainer Lange)... there are vocals (Herbert Ziegler), but this track would have worked just as well as an all instrumental, which it nearly is, as those vocals are sparse. Bass (Ziegler again) and drums are very up front in the mix, with guitar serving as a second "vocalist." Though, really as lead vocalist, since Ziegler as singer is lower in the mix and sings rather low tones as well. Bluesy funk. The second piece, "Dallas Woman Blues" is a bit lighter in tone, but still very bluesy. If someone had told you this was an early ZZ Top track, you'd believe them... it's the kind of piece that Led Zeppelin would certainly have covered in their early days as well. If the truth be told, this sounds very much like authentic American blues. Just We didn't record another thing after these two singles.

If Eric Clapton came to mind before, both with Tortilla Flats and, though I didn't mention him, with Just We, he most certainly does when listening to The Giants' "He-he-ho," as vocalist/guitarist Dieter Gehrmann even sounds like Clapton. The guitar is the area of most interest as Gehrmann isn't content just to play, but experiment...musing notes at one point, assured licks at another...and when he's not, he's playing in an easy, bluesy manner, out front. To this is added humming, throbbing bass (Helmut Lützenkirchen), and crashing drums (Erich "Paddy" Hübüsch). Keyboardist Peter Hupp doesn't really make his presence known until the second track "Broken Earth," which his church-organ like tones that open the track. After this opening however, the track becomes a rather muddy mess in the middle, things improve for an interlude, but fall back into an unspired morass. Interestingly, the opinion expressed in the booklet (another terrific job on the part of Garden Of Delights) is quite the opposite, saying "the A-side is a bit shallow, featuring almost embarrasingly bad lyrics, the B-side is more sophisticated..." Of the bands so far, The Giants were one with the most live performance activity (B.S.H. had more), supporting artists such as The Move, The Kinks, The Easybeats, and Golden Earring. And before their split in 1973, supporting Elton John and The Small Faces.

The least interesting, from a musical perspective, are Chain. They aren't bad, but it takes a while for "Greasy" to become something a little more than ho-hum...and then that lasts all too briefly. As a singer, Gerd Schmidt is a better lyricist... and having said that, on "London City" he sounds like an unpolished Ray Davies (The Kinks). The line up for this two tracks, the only one truly recorded by this group (the accompanied a childrens' choir in a different guise), included Jürgen Gotschy on rhythm guitar, Karl "Charly" Knecht on drums, Martin Firniss on guitar, and Niko Argyrakis on bass.

B.S.H. (Beitler/Steyrer/Hatzke) are represented by one track -- the very funky, bass heavy "Short Step," bass being played by Peter Steyrer, who also paid for the recording session. Guitar (Joe Bietler) slashes across this steady beat, the latter driven by the drums (Reinard Hatzke). Again, Hendrix comes to mind. All instrumental, it is quite a tasty little track. GoD included only the B-Side of the sides they recorded as the A-Side was a little too pop for the scope of the CD. (Bietler died in 1997).

Which brings us to Tibet. Okay, the jaunty bass and guitar that opens the track might be a little too peppy for prog/psychedelic fans (and dang if it doesn't sound familiar...), but it's that very same jauntiness that draws you in. There's some, perhaps unintended humour here, too, in the lyrics... or perhaps its just the delivery by the male vocalist (none are creditedHappy organ from Deff Ballin, too. Tibet here are sort of a funky folk band, as Maggie sounds a bit like Joan Baez.

This is another entertaining entry in the Psychedelic Gems series from GoD, and comes recommended.

LSD (The Desperates) (2:52) / Stupidity (The Desperates) (2:26) / Facts (Tortilla Flat) (2:24) / Life (Tortilla Flat) (2:25) / Somethin' Like It (Just We) (3:30) / Dallas Woman Blues (Just We) (3:38) /He-he-ho (The Giants) (5:03) / Broken Earth (The Giants) (4:45) / Greasy (Chain) (4:34) / London City (Chain) (3:10) / Short Step (B.S.H.) (3:22) / Only Man's Love (Tibet) (3:22) / She Is Gone (Tibet) (3:32)


Various - Psychedelic Gems 1 (1996)
Various - Psychedelic Gems 2 (1997)
Various - Psychedelic Gems 3 (1997)
Various - Psychedelic Gems 4 (1999)
Various - Psychedelic Gems 5 (2001)
Various - Psychedelic Gems 6 (2004)
Various - Psychedelic Gems 7 (2008)

Genre: Psychedelic/Space Rock

Origin DE

Added: June 26th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1045
Language: english


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