Performers includes: Sonics, Bootmen, Rooks, Paul Bearer, Rockin' Robin Robert, Ron Davies, Mayalta Page.
Contains 24 tracks.
Liner Note Author: Alec Palao.
Photographers: Gail Davies; Alec Palao; Jeff Miller.
Unknown Contributor Role: Ron Davies.
If it had done nothing other than record the Sonics' "Psycho" and "The Witch," Etiquette (operating out of Tacoma, WA) would probably be esteemed as the most notable Northwest independent rock label of the mid-'60s. It did a good deal more than that, though its total output wasn't that voluminous. This well-selected CD has a good chunk of it, the 24 tracks including five cuts by the Sonics. Those are certainly the most famed inclusions on this disc, though note that the versions of "Psycho" and "The Witch" here aren't the standard ones that have shown up on many compilations. In what might be a boon for serious collectors, if a slight disappointment for the relatively few people buying this CD who don't have those songs already, the version of "Psycho" is a previously unissued full-length take, while "The Witch" is a previously unissued alternate take with strange sounds produced by dragging a piece of metal over a guitar. Otherwise, much of this collection will be unfamiliar even to most '60s garage collectors, with the exception of the Wailers' best and most powerful cut, "Out of Our Tree" (which appeared on the Nuggets box set). Much of the rest of the set has the kind of chunky, raunchy R&B-infused mid-'60s garage sound typical not just of the Sonics and the Wailers, but of much Northwest rock in general. And as one finds with many '60s Northwest comps, some of that material is quite energetic but otherwise ordinary and unmemorable. But this is one of the better '60s Northwest anthologies, both because of the power of the Sonics and Wailers' contributions, and also because it does offer some variety in some tracks that were more British Invasion-influenced than the typical Northwest garage record. Those songs include the fuzzed-out "I've Been Thinking" by Paul Bearer & the Hearsemen; the uncommonly mild (for Etiquette) quasi-Merseybeat of the Galaxies' "She Said I Do"; the competent Liverpool imitations on the two sides by the Rooks; the previously unissued suicidal folk-baroque-rock of "Mistake" by Ron Davies (later famous for writing "It Ain't Easy," covered by David Bowie); and the raw girl group-soul of Mayalta Page's "Don't Worry About Me Baby." All of the tracks date from the mid-'60s save the notable exception of Rockin' Robin Roberts & the Wailers' 1961 single "Louie, Louie," which played a key role in that song's transition from mid-'50s R&B tune to '60s garage rock standard. ~ Richie Unterberger