If you’d already had success dropping a double volume of super obscure but super dope garage soul and psych-funk (not to mention all shades in between and beyond) and you had a crate digger on speed dial who you knew could turn up another payload of such nuggets – you’d probably give him the green light straight away. Which is precisely what Perfect Toy Records have done on Down In The Valley 3 & 4, two additional volumes in their series released almost exactly a year after the first two volumes. I reckon if you had a copywriter on speed dial who’s copy you were happy with, you’d probably green light him to go again too. Oh look – what are the chances:
A HEAVY DOSE OF unreleased GARAGE ROCK & PSYCH-FUNK TRACKS
The Perfect Toy label continues its righteous quest to unearth the finest rare sounds from way out with Volumes 3 and 4 of its Down In The Valley series and in doing so delivers what is most certainly “A heavy dose of garage rock & psych-funk.”
Vol. 3 opens with a characteristically inspiring cut – Sand’s cover of Down By The River – one of the best (and certainly one of the most obscure) versions of the Neil Young classic. This is followed by two fine examples of garage rock with a funky twist – Pegasus’ Honeysuckle Willow Pride and Enalpria’s Sliding, in the slipstream of which follows Heart and Soul’s raw psych cut Afterthought. Also featured on this volume are two tributes to Jimi Hendrix that the big man himself would be proud to hear – The Fabulous Troubadores’ version of Hey Joe (here literally entitled Tribute To Jimi Hendrix) as well as a psych-soul cover of Stone Free by the The Good Earth. Side B kicks off with Lifeless, the farewell 45 from La Crosse, Wisconsin outfit Today’s Tomorrow and also includes two cuts occupying the nexus of garage and psych-funk from Milk & Cookies and Sound Inc., along with the Del Counts’s fierce organ-led funk instrumental Who Cares and a very special contribution from GIN whose Louisville Luck is one of two previously unreleased tracks.
Vol. 4 commences with Frozen Sun’s acid rock beast Electric Soul, then rocks even harder with Pax 72’s Ezra before Stars and Stripes’s Listen edges in a funkier direction, adding syncopated rhythms and wah-wah into the mix. Then it’s the turn of another unreleased track from GIN to make an appearance – Pseudo Funk – a blistering psych-rock band-rehearsal recording that the label is excited to include in the DITV series. Super-heavy funk-rock is the name of the game on Pushin, a wah-wah-drenched monster from The Outer Edge – recorded when they were 16 years old and their one and only 45 before they disbanded in 1971. The funkiness continues with Watch My Baby Do It – a shingaling and boogaloo dance-celebrating funky soul nugget from Chicago music-scene mainstays The Bossmen, dope garage-funk crossover Away With Me from Soul Intentions and groovy country-funk bump Keep On Walking from Rocky Barra, the man behind the famous Strictly Elvis fanzine. All of which just leaves space for the heavy soul-laden garage rock of Forum’s Who Needs You, a mellow psych groove from Morning Reign (a name that should ring a bell since Perfect Toy dropped an album full of their unreleased material in late 2018) and Grainger Hunt ‘s Noah (a new discovery in rhythm & blues circles when it was first re-issued on 45 in 2011) which makes its first appearance on any full-length album here.
Deepest respect goes out once again to crate-digging supremo, Chan The Man, the curator of these two brand-new volumes in the Down In The Valley series. His ambition to search for the impossible and get his hands on private pressings that no one except the freakiest vinyl nerds knew existed has set the path to the release of these two discs. Accompanied by detailed liner notes and never-before-seen photos of the artists, Down In The Valley 3&4 continue the same attention to quality and detail set by their predecessors.
(Words: Stone Monkey/ March 2019)
(Out 31 March On Perfect Toy Records)