Positively not quite 4th Street
Who wants another history lesson? There’s a good percentage of us that have been VH1’d to death, and most of the time we’d rather tune into something a little more current.
Too bad if you tune out on Friday, May 11, though, and you decide to go eat sushi instead. Because Friday, specifically from the hours of 5 to 9 p.m., is when the Sacramento Archives & Museum Collection Center will stage Sounds of Sacramento: Hearing Our History, an open house and history fair that will take place at the Center, located at 551 Sequoia Pacific Boulevard (Sequoia Pacific runs north off Richards Boulevard, between North 3rd and North 5th streets). I’m guessing there’s been at least one other item in SN&R touting this. But here’s why it’s important: Those points in the development of pop culture where major shifts occur are good places to find really great stuff.
Think of them like the transition between “beats,” the motivational units that, chained together, make up a stage play. It’s in the transitions where you find major infusions of energy. In music, it’s where you often find a greater flowering of creativity, too. It’s why hardcore old-time music fanatics tend to focus on that short period of a couple years between the introduction of electrically recorded 78-rpm records, around 1927, and the point when those records became widely available and the backwoods musicians, whose primitive tunes were the target of field recordings, started listening to them and adjusting their music accordingly. It’s also why early hip-hop recordings hold such fascination today, because those artists were inventing the music as they went along.
In this case, the era from 1964 to somewhere between 1968 and 1970, around the time the album really began replacing the 45-rpm single as preferred format for rock records, led to a huge explosion of local music—bands like the New Breed, Public Nuisance, the Oxford Circle, the Marauders and more, all cutting singles and getting them played on local radio. Perhaps it was because the Beatles, Beach Boys and others inspired kids to pick up instruments, or because Leo Fender was making great-sounding guitars and amps down in Fullerton, or because there were local radio production guys like the late Bill Rase and labels like Ikon Productions who were picking up a little extra cash by recording local teen bands.
At any rate, we’re left with some really great noise. Much of it compares very favorably with anything on Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilation, which set the benchmark for all the great “psych band” reissues that followed. And quite a bit of those local records have been anthologized by Frantic Records proprietor Joey D, whose yabba-dabba-doo enthusiasm for the genre knows no bounds, and his friend Alec Palao, who compiles records for Ace Records, the English analogue to Rhino. Both D and Palao will be spinning records at the fête Friday, and one of the bands, the New Breed (which, along with the Marauders, are the subjects of new CD compilations on Frantic), will reunite to play; rumor has it that Timothy B. Schmit, the band’s bassist who went on to greater fame in the Eagles, will join them onstage. Also on the bill is contemporary garage revival band the Shruggs. So be there.