Nuggets, Lenny Kaye’s original 1972 compilation of garage and psych, loomed large in the record collectors consciousness, canonizing a portion of rock that was originally laughed off while setting the standard for reissues. Rhino’s 1998 box set of the same name expanded the scope of that record, replicating most of the original while gloriously spilling forth over three additional discs — and, in doing so, it spurred a minor revolution, becoming one of the most talked-about reissues of the last half of the ’90s. Rhino knew there was an audience thirsting for a sequel, and they gave them one in 2001, but they didn’t take the easy way out. Instead of offering another round of American garage rockers, they decided to take the road less traveled, compiling four discs of hidden treasures from non-American garage and psych bands. Most of these cuts are from British bands, but there are also selections from a pre-fame Guess Who, the New Zealand act the Smoke, the Brazilian psychedelia of Os Mutantes, the exceptional Merseybeat stylings of Uruguay’s Los Shakers, and the extraordinary Peruvian combo We All Together, among other non-Brit acts. It’s a brilliant, even necessary, move, since most of these bands and songs have been only heard only by the most dedicated collectors — the kind that are willing to risk money based on just hearing a band mentioned, not to hear the group themselves. Let’s face it — apart from the Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” the Small Faces’ “Here Comes the Nice,” and the Pretty Things’ “Rosalyn,” the most familiar song here is the opener, the Creation’s “Making Time,” simply because it provided the indelible soundtrack to Max Fischer’s yearbook in Rushmore.
This song’s publishing was by Apple and Paul McCartney demanded Fire overdub
more vocal harmonies and guitar reverb, which I think muddied up the original.
I don’t think the original, as posted here, even made it to the old 45, but did make it onto
Nuggets, solidifying its superiority!
That’s four songs out of 109 — a ratio that should simply entice most die-hard rockers and record collectors, especially since the familiar names (the Move, Them, the Easybeats, the Troggs) are represented by songs that aren’t heard all that often. So, the big question is, does Nuggets, Vol. 2 deliver and is it worth spending the money for 100-plus songs you’ve never heard before? Well, if you’re even slightly interested in this, the answer is yes. That doesn’t mean this isn’t without its faults — like any garage rock, if it’s listened to in once concentrated burst, it becomes a little samey, which is also a by-product of its biggest flaw, namely how the compilers favor songs that sound like American garage and downplaying the delirious, precious frutiness of British psych. Still, that’s a minor complaint, because the simple fact of the matter is this — there’s no better way to fall in love with this music, not just because it does its job so well, it just simply doesn’t have any peers. Furthermore, a lot of this stuff is pretty hard to come by (personally, I spent about 150 dollars on a complete Idle Race collection, and it’s much better to get their two best songs here). Also, much of the bands here are best heard in this context, since they have a song, maybe three, that were stunners — and all of these stunners in one place is stunning.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com