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garage rock

Have an Existential Christmas (Circa 1965)

Yessir there’s plenty of Christmas pop and rockers, do-wop-a-doers, and soul twisters. They never stop coming, every year brings more remakes and holiday pastiches and original turns, a few good uns too; the rock and pop Christmas tune never going out of sight or out of style. Had a million different favorites myself, liked ‘em serious, solemn, sexy, soulful, antic, blasphemous, tawny, jazzy, woeful, sarcastic, folkifized, solo Beatle, real Beatle, Beatle-like, corny, powerpoppish, reflective, heartfelt, satirical, rebellious, preachy, old school, trad, subversive, and even sweet.

   Right now, today, this December, my current absolute fave rave, the one spinning repeatedly on my internal holiday season turntable, the current Tops of the Christmas Pops is The Sonics 1965 “Santa Claus.” It’s a propulsive and molten stomp all over the still ruddy cheeked Santa archetype, a plaintive holiday yelp with a backbeat (signaling “Farmer John”) where the lead vocalist (with a truly glorious garage rock  guttural howl) asks Santa for no more than “a brand new car, a twangy guitar and a cute little honey with lots of money.” The cool daddy holiday surprise is that this early 60’s version of Santa lays the shattering truth on the entitled-mondo- boot-wearing-rebel-with-a-bleat–it’s-always-about-me-shaking-my-hair-budding-protest –kid  with a stark indifference, as the dumbfounded singer exclaims in the chorus:

“And he just say nothing,








I Can't Control Myself: THE TROGGS

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The Hombres
Let It Out (Verve/Forecast FTS-3036)

This is one of the great American garage albums that just don’t give a hoot.  A Memphis combo, the Hombres opted for the lighter side of garage-punk.  The Hombres’ album cover (which is their only album cover since no record label was brave enough to release another record by them) is an obvious reference to the Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird LP, released in ’64, which shows the infamous surf band from Minneapolis clustered around a garbage truck.

The Hombres from Memphis album cover

Ironically, the Hombres had originally intended to be a surf band.  In 1967, they traveled through Houston posing as a pop version of a West Coast surf group and somehow got tangled up with Texas producer Huey Meaux.  In ’65, Meaux had already transformed a band of San Antonio punksters into an ersatz British Invasion act, the Sir Douglas Quintet (featuring a very young Doug Sahm).  And so, with the Hombres, Meaux saw an opportunity for reshaping the rebellion of a garage band into a comedic sensibility.