#712: 1965, Count Five, Pyschotic Reaction

by George_East on June 24, 2013

Jackie South’s last Song To Learn and Sing referred to the great Patti Smith gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last Wednesday.   It was also the first time I had seen her, and I have to say that she absolutely rocked. Bat shit nuts  but superb.     The 10 minute Land/Gloria finale to the main set was as good as anything I’ve seen live –utterly exhilarating rock n roll.  Not bad for a 66 year old.

As Jackie South also mentioned, in the middle of the set, Patti left the stage to her long term guitarist Lenny Kaye, who embarked upon a four song suite of mid-60s American garage rock, with the rest of the band.    This was the last of the songs he played.

Kaye is, of course, essentially known for two things.  His superb guitar playing with Patti Smith and for curating possibly the greatest compilation album of all time:  Nuggets – Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968.  This double album, which came out in 1972, was put together by Kaye, who had himself played on the garage rock circuit in the mid-60s.

The album consisted of a bunch of mostly obscure singles by even obscurer garage bands (though more well known artists like the 13th Floor Elevators and the Electric Prunes also appear).   Although, the album referred to the ‘first psychedelic era’ and although there are spacey LSD influenced moments on some of the tracks, listening to it now, it is the line from these raw garage songs through The Stooges and MC5 to the punk explosion that is most evident.  This is rock n roll at its most basic and unsophisticated.  It is brilliant stuff.  Indeed the liner notes for the album are said to include the first use of the word ‘punk’ in the way we understand it today – raw stripped down guitar music.

The first track I ever heard from the album was Psychotic Reaction.  It used to get played at indie discos back in my university days, with the freak out guitar bit, after the words ‘oh little girl, psychotic reaction’ , causing absolute mayhem on the dance floor.

I had no idea who it was by then and even though now I do know (having purchased Nuggets in my 20s), I don’t know anything about Count Five.  I could wiki them to find out more about them, but that kind of defeats the object (and you can always do it yourself).  Their very obscurity is all part of the appeal.  Suffice to say for this one gem of a song, Count Five have their deserved place in rock n roll history.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray_North June 24, 2013 at 11:38 am

I love Nuggets. One of my favourite pleasures .


Charlie_East_West June 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I have to say, this is an outstanding selection.


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