Groovin' without Movin'—Trippin' Garage Rock

Enlightenment, people! That's what it's all about, though none of us can ever achieve it. From the Beatles' Tibetan Book of the Dead-by-numbers vision of becoming one with the universe (in «Tomorrow Never Knows»), through the Rolling Stones' marketing ploy response («2000 Light Years from Home»), to familiar '60s staples such as «White Rabbit» (Jefferson Airplane), «Eight Miles High» (Byrds), «Have You Ever Been» (Jimi Hendrix) and «Break on through» (Doors), the radio waves from 1966 to the heroin daze of the early '70s spat out many a wide eyed song about minds being blown, hearing the taste of invisible beige—always brought on by a miracle chemical (usually only alluded to or implied in the lyrics).

The fad saw many embarrassments, of course. The Temptations' psychedelic phase, hypocritically balancing bandwagon celebrations of mind expansion with cautionary tales of bad trips (both equally ignorant of the reality of psychoactives), was a particularly cynical attempt at cashing in (though the music produced some of the most ear tingling sonic textures ever put to tape). And the Hair musical was only the nadir of exploitation films that began in the '60s with Psych-out, The Trip and other unintentionally hilarious misrepresentations of the psychedelic experience.

But these were the success stories among the sell outs. Other hopefuls recorded songs they hoped would catch on, tune in and drop out. Some were sincere in their beliefs that entheogens could free their asses, minds and society as a whole. The 13th Floor Elevators, the Grateful Dead and Golden Dawn thought so. Then there were the garage bands that penned acid anthems more in the hopes that the wave would carry them on high to the very top of the Billboard charts. Or who tried to convey something profound, but whose talent, originality or eloquence never quite matched their ambitions. Others—Kim Fowley and Frank Zappa, to name but two—were merely taking the piss.

This compilation collects not the famous anthems you all know from Hollywood films about hippies, but low budget '60s rock odes to chemically enhanced revelation. And it's sequenced to trace the trajectory of a trip! The whole ordeal kicks off with incitement to ingest illegal substances, followed by descriptions of the first surge of heightened sense experience to tickle your mind & body. Then things settle as the trippy hippie thinks he's getting used to the high, finding his equilibrium, before things start getting weird and not groovy at all and the trip goes bad. Or he just panics (as you do). It doesn't last of course, and in the end, though it's not a happy one, the frazzled tripper finally settles back into his own skin, not enlightened but perhaps a little wiser for it.

All to the scuzzy strains of garage rock!

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