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The Marsadees - The Marsadees (LP)
 

The Marsadees - The Marsadees (LP)

Price: $650.00 currently not available     
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Genre: garage
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  The Marsadees
Company: Justice
Catalog: JLP-150
Year: 1967
Country/State: Lexington, Sputh Carolina
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: vinyl shows some use, but plays without skips, or excessive noise; name in blue ink on back cover 'Brenda Kanch'
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6149
Price: $650.00

As anyone who collects Justice albums knows, pretty much everything on this obscure label is rare, but 1967's 'The Marsadees" (I think it's pronounced similar to the German car maker Mercedes), is in a league by itself. The last time I checked the Popsike reference list, exactly one copy had sold in the last seven years. Mega-collector Hans Pokora lists this one as a six star rarity in his 1001 Record Collector Dreams reference book. Clearly, good luck finding another original copy ...

Unlike many Justice label acts, a little bibliographical information is actually available on this outfit. The band formed in 1964 and featured friends attending Lexington High School (go Wildcats) in Lexington, South Carolina. (In case you cared, Lexington is located in the center of the state and may be best known for the fact General Sherman's troops burned most of the town to the ground during the Civil War.) The band line up featured rhythm guitarists Bobby Arehart and Larkin Conley, bassist Stack Harmon (who looked like he was about ten), drummer Larry Ingram, and lead guitarist Dennis Steele. Like so many other groups, they enjoyed a bit of local success playing local parties and dances (the LP photos look like they were snapped during a performance in a high school auditorium). Those successes apparently led the group to decide to record a self-financed album on Justice - 1967's "The Marsadees".

So if you were looking for a cutting edge collection of garage rock energy, or teenaged angst, let me warn you this isn't the album for you. Eleven of the twelve tracks were covers of early-1960s pop and rock hits, with most of the material showcasing the band's obvious affection for early-1960s instrumental surf rock (two Beach Boy tunes, The Chantays, The Surfaris, etc.). The set was rounded out by one original - the marginally competent instrumental opener 'Palisade'. So musically this was far from being the most original album you've ever heard, let along the most original release on Justice. That said, the performances were all pretty strong. For such a young band with limited performance experience, they sure showed surprisingly confidence in the studio ... check out their cover of Billy Medley's ''Louie Louie''.

- The lone original, 'Palisade' was a pretty surf-rock instrumental that spotlighted lead guitarist Steele. rating: *** stars
- Their cover of Bill Doggett's 'Honky Tonk' was a nice example of the band's strengths and weaknesses. Musically the track wasn't half bad with Steele and company actually generating quite a bit of energy. That said, the sound was extremely dated - much more 1960 that 1967 (when it was recorded). My only real complaint comes from the fact the track faded out just as the band was really starting to kick into a groove. rating: *** stars
- Yes, the vocal sounded like it was recorded in a bathroom stall (not sure who the singer was) and their version didn't stray from the original arrangement, but their cover of The Beach Boys' 'Little Honda' was actually quite good - I've head far worse. Again, shame it faded out so fast. rating: ** star
- Their cover of Santo and Johnny's 'Sleep Walk' offered up another competent, but forgettable surf-rock instrumental.. rating: ** star
- With literally thousands of covers of 'Louie Louie' out there, this wasn't the best, or the worst version you've ever heard. Sloppy and quite energetic, about all I can say is that I suspect The Kingsmen would have approved of this one. rating: *** star
- It's lost amidst the fact this is one of rock and roll's most covered songs, but tf you've ever really listened to The Ventures 'Walk Don't Run', you'd quickly realize it isn't the easiest surf-rock instrumental to cover. Regardless, Steele and company pulled it off with minimal effort. rating: ** stars
- If there was a sleeper on the album, then it was probably their cover of 'Take a Little Love'. A pretty, breezy ballad, the song benefited from a surprisingly assured vocal (again, I'm not sure if Arehart was the lead singer), and a dazzling Stack Harmon bass line. rating: *** star
- 'Chartreuse' offered up another competent, but now-dated Ventures-styled surf-rock instrumental. rating: ** star
- With Arehart sharing lead vocals with an unknown second member, their cover of Bill Medley's 'Little Latin Lupe Lu' offered up another highlight - the slow, bluesy groove was quite nice. rating: **** star
- 'Lonely Sea' was the album's second Beach Boys cover. While the vocal was a bit flat, the overall effect was actually pretty good - very forlorn, downbeat, and depressing ... think of a foggy day at Myrtle Beach ... rating: *** star
- So if you're going to do surf rock covers, you have to cover The Chantays classic 'Pipeline' and The Surfaris ' Wipe Out'. Nice performance on both by lead guitarist Steele, with drummer Larry Ingram finally getting a moment in the spotlight at the start of 'Wipe Out'. rating: ** stars

No, this wasn't earth-shattering, but song-for-song wasn't bad and stood out even more when you considered the band's youth and the fact they weren't exactly from a rock and roll hotbed ...

"The Marsadees" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Palisade (instrumental) -
2.) Honky Tonk (instrumental) (Bill Doggett - Clifford Scott - Billy Butler - Shep Sheperd - Glover) - 3.) Little Honda (Brian Wilson - Mike Love) -
4.) Sleep Walk (instrumental) (Santo Farina - Johnny Farina)
5.) Louie Louie (Richard Berry) -
6.) Walk Don't Run (instrumental) (Johnny Smith)

(side 2)
1.) Take a Little Love
2.) Chartreuse (instrumental)
3.) Little Latin Lupe Lu (Bill Medley) -
4.) Lonely Sea (Brian Wilson - Gary Usher)
5.) Pipeline (instrumental) (Brian Carman - Bob Spickard) -
6.) Wipe Out (Bob Berryhill - Pat Connolly - Jim Fuller - Ron Wilson) -




After The Marsadees called it quits Arehart, Harmon. and Ingram continued their partnership in the band The Insights (along with Charles Alexander, Matt Bennett, David Brown, and Mendel Lindler), even scoring a small local hit with the 1968's single 'I Need Your Loneliness' b/w 'It's Alright' (Palmetto Artists catalog number 8-9021).
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