The Standells – The Standells in Person at P.J.’s

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Although The Standells are more well known today for being early pioneers of punk rock, in their first album, The Standells in Person at P.J.’s, they prove themselves to be solid garage rock musicians. Soon after signing to Liberty Records in 1964, The Standells released this album, recordings from a series of concerts at P.J.’s in Hollywood. The band would later go on to pioneer the raw sound of punk rock, but at this point in their career they were known to perform groovy garage rock classics. There is surely no shortage of solid tunes on this album. In addition to a great rendition of the world’s best-known garage rock, “Louie, Louie,” The Standells also do excellent covers or “Money (That’s What I Want) and John Lennon’s “You Can’t Do That.” While all three songs are top-notch, there’s a certain lack of authenticity. That is to say: the band plays the songs as would most garage rock bands from the era and don’t do anything to necessarily set themselves apart from the crowd. However, “Money (That’s What I Want),” was released as a single from the album and became their breakout single though it never charted. The band also does several more comedic garage rock songs with “Bony Moronie,” “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” and “Linda-Lu.” Of the three, “Linda-Lu” is perhaps the best (although all are fun to listen to) because of its rolling repetition of certain syllables. Its unique and clever. For the blues fans of the blog, The Standells, like many garage rock bands, do harder, faster versions of blues classics, like the ever-popular Jimmy Reed’s “Help Yourself” and Johnny Otis’s “So Fine.” Both are high quality transitions from deep blues to 60s garage rock. All of these songs are very good, but not spectacular. That’s where “What Have I Got of My Own” and “I’ll Go Crazy” step in. “What Have I Got of My Own” is strikingly different from Trini Lopez’s popular version. It’s deeper and more hypnotic, with cooler guitar riffs. It’s my personal favorite from the album and far superior to any other version I’ve heard. “I’ll Go Crazy” gives “What Have I Got of My Own” a run for its money on best song. It is almost like a glimpse into the future of the band. It’s much more raw and up tempo than anything else, demonstrating their knack for early protopunk. Overall, this album is very good. There isn’t a single song on the album that I dislike. That being said, being their first album, The Standells didn’t do as much as I would have liked to make themselves unique. It would take a couple more years and a couple more albums for The Standells to fully carve their place in history.  B+

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