LOWS IN THE MID SIXTIES: VOLUME 54 – KOSMIC CITY, PART 2

The garage groups of Kansas City

This week the weather hasn’t been that great with plenty of rain. This means that my lawn maintenance care has been put on hold until the sun bursts through the clouds.

The delay of course means that I’ve been able to catch up on dozens of albums I’ve bought over the past couple of years but never had the spare time to play them!

I bought “Lows In The Mid-Sixties” last summer in ‘Hot Rats’, the only independent record shop left in Sunderland.

It seemed like many years since I last acquired a ’60s garage compilation, so this one was coming home with me.

I was totally oblivious of this LP, released in 2015 on the little known Numbero label. They were clearly inspired by the early ’80s compilations ‘Highs In The Mid Sixties’ – even the colour scheme, fonts and plonking a picture of a teenbeat combo on the front to tease the buyer into buying the item . . . . it worked on me!

Having the title ‘Volume 54’ is a piss-take. There are no previous 53 volumes. This compilation is a one-off.

There are fourteen tracks on here, all featuring inventive and wild groups from the Kansas City music scene.  A lot of the numbers are garage band fodder such as “I Can Only Give You Everything”, “In The Midnight Hour”, “Hey Joe” and “The Last Time”.

In amongst these crunchy and workman-like cover versions is a pounding “La Do Da Da”, complete with some crude and vicious guitar work. There is also a totally bizarre “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” by The Montaris.

I’m making The Montaris thee stars of this set for having the brazen boldness  to tackle this mind-blower from The Yardbirds.  

Here’s what the liners said about The Montaris:

While no evidence turned up to support Farfisa tickler Chris Slatinsky’s claim that the band was named after a computer on Star Trek, the quintet’s rippling version of Love’s “7 And 7 Is” is confirmation that The Montaris were Plattsburg’s first proto-punk band.

Helmed by singer Dave Tinnen and filled out by guitarist Tommy Barnett, bassist Lowell Hartrell, and drummer John Mabry, all The Montaris were doing hard time at Plattsburg High.

Skip Tinnen had big dreams for his son, and paid for the July, 1967, Cavern session on Spec. With no originals prepared, The Montaris set down serviceable versions of The Yardbirds’ “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” and Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour,” alongside Every Mother’s Son’s “Come On Down To My Boat” – which held down #3 on the Billboard charts when Cavern reels rolled.

Dave Tinnen selected the tracks, and the other Montaris did their level best to keep up with his frenetic pace. But while they managed to follow Tinnen in the studio, the rest of the group was a few years younger, and upon his leaving for college in the fall of ’68, The Montaris fell out of time.  

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