Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Purple Toads

The 80's garage scene was one of the most exciting and diverse happenings of the decade, and it ended up taking place all over the globe. Of course, most people know the LA & NYC groups, but there were much more, including this smokin' combo from Canada. These weren't purist copiers, they weren't afraid to update the sound a bit with their two Gibson-guitar attack, giving some punk power to the hip, garage tunes - along the lines of what the Nomads were doing out in Sweden.

Brave enough to tackle the Easybeats' "Gonna Have a Good Time", they more than do it justice, keeping the wild abandon of the original (though no Steve Marriot on backing vocals, of course) and preserving this r'n'r classic. "Night of the Phantom" is interspersed with heavy lead licks and then guitarist Paul McNeil brings in one of his snotty originals, "You Got Money", a anti-major label riff-rocker that seques directly into "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White", with similar punky attitude that the Zeros brought to it. The classic "Action Woman" is given the Toads' treatment with an especially wild ending. MacNeil returns with another anti-establishment power-chord pounder "Just Another Stupid Jerk" before rockin' out "You're Gonna Miss Me", done in the vein of DMZ/Lazy Cowgirls (and done before it became the world's most covered garage tune).

Side two of the vinyl on this debut record was a solid "Have Love Will Travel" and then second guitarist Rob Sweeney gives us the high-energy "Come Here". MacNeil's "Forty Pounder Blues" opens with "I need...more my...alcohol stream" - so you get the idea what that's about! Pulling one from Mouse and the Traps, they smash out "Lie, Beg, Borrow & Steal" (the rhythm section here - Roger Branton - bass and Mark Keigan - drums - and drivin' throughout the record) and then an especially catchy Sweeney original "Action Tonight". A properly ponderous "I Want You" precedes the finale of a wild'n'wooly "Nobody But Me" that is augmented with a super cool two-guitar duel.

Super fun garage-based Canook punk'n'roll! Well worth searching for!