Aug 202011

Side 4

The Chocolate Watch Band: “Let’s Talk About Girls”

The Mojo Men: “Sit Down, I Think I Love You”

The Third Rail: “Run, Run, Run”

Sagittarius: “My World Fell Down”

Nazz: “Open My Eyes”

The Premiers: “Farmer John”

The Magic Mushrooms: “It’s-a-Happening”

BONUS PERFORMANCES…after the jump!


  26 Responses to “Once and for All: Round 1, Rock Town Hall Determines the Best Song on Side 4 of the Original Nuggets Compilation”

  1. tonyola

    Side 4 is the most problematic side of the Nuggets collection…

    Sagittarius – This interesting but utterly studio-bound concoction is arty proto-prog that’s not the least bit Nuggety. “My World Fell Down” is the anti-“Liar, Liar” and it just doesn’t belong here.

    Premiers – It must have been a great party but “Farmer John” sounds more 1962 than 1967. Being released in 1964, the inclusion as a Nugget is questionable. It’s not a particularly memorable song either. If Lenny Kaye wanted a Latino band, he should have picked Cannibal & The Headhunters and “Land of 1,000 Dances” from 1965.

    Third Rail – Is there such a thing as bubblegum protest? Another pure studio project and it ends up being much too precious, fizzy, and cute. Nugget? Naw, this is pablum.

    Mojo Men – A charming and well-performed song, but once again it’s a little too cute.

    Magic Mushrooms – Unquestionably psychedelic but pretty silly and dumb. “It’s-a Happening” sounds like a parody. I wish these guys would decide on a tempo, though the heavy Yardbirds-style rave-ups are fun. The spoken bits are laughable.

    Chocolate Watchband – Not bad in a sub-1964-Stones sort of way, but not exactly timeless either. The long feedback ending doesn’t seem to fit the song.

    Nazz – “Open Your Eyes” is barely a Nugget, being released in 1968 and showing a level of craft and polish that’s beyond garage. Credit a young Todd Rundgren for this one. A good song with tons of drive and energy; however, it sounds like the tape was overloaded during recording and the gimmicky phasing in the chorus wasn’t necessary. Wonder what Peter Townshend thought about the “I Can’t Explain” opening? This song gets my vote for the side, but that’s partly due to the weak competition.

  2. Has anybody seen Kosher Pickle Harry?

  3. machinery

    I agree with the Nazz comment. Although it’s a great song, it never felt “nuggety” to me. Probably the production and the vocals. That’s why my hands down winner is “let’s talk about girls.” The vocals are pure Nuggets snarl … and the guitar sound is echo-y garage great.

    Way better than the Undertones cover.

  4. Not much time today but “Sit Down”, “Run Run Run” and “Farmer John” are out. “It’s a Happening” is too heavy on BS and too light on music. “Let’s Talk About Girls” is prime garage subject matter and a good simple driver of a song. “My World Fell Down” is my favorite soft psych number on the set and I could happily accept this one as a representative of that style.

    But Nuggets is about the hard edges for me and the Nazz gets it. It may be a little too studied (Kentonite?) for this competition but the ’72 Todd Rundgren peeks out in the middle 8 and the guitar solo after that rocks.

  5. I’m short on time today as well but Tony summed it up when he said that the Nazz show a “craft and polish beyond garage.” Even though it doesn’t fit exactly in the Nuggets asthetic, it’s hands down the best song on the side, and just a great song in general.

  6. BigSteve

    I’ve always been a bit unsure about this term, but the Nazz song is totally prock, right? You know me, I like people who know how to play, but this track is just over-cooked, too accomplished, and not just for Nuggets. It’s off-putting just on its own.

    No love for Farmer John? Come on, it flat out rocks.

  7. BigSteve

    It’s some kind of joke without a punchline the emcee introducing the Premiers says before Farmer John kicks in.

  8. Big Steve’s got it covered.

    I just like that song, but couldn’t think of a scholarly argument in it’s behalf.

  9. I take points off from Open My Eyes for the inappropriate maj7th chords in the break. I can handle that device in later Rundgren songs, but it takes me out of the moment in this kick ass rocker.

    Let’s Talk… Has a fantastic pinky rock chorus and many great ideas, but that singer may be my least fave poor man’s Jagger. The Undertones would work their asses off to make something of that song, but it’s such a phony song beside the pinky rock and the freakout outro. In short, this song verges too far into the forced tough guy stance that stops me short of fully embracing the garage rock world that has always been an inspiration to me.

    My vote went to that silly Third Rail sing. It’s the best bubblegum sing in the batch, and that’s a key aspect of what this album represents to me.

  10. 2000 Man

    It’s one of those songs that doesn’t need a scholarly explanation. It’s just fun.

  11. 2000 Man

    I like that Nazz song, but Farmer John just kicks ass. I’m going with that one for sure.

  12. pudman13

    OK, side four…my two favorite songs on the whole album are here, so it’s a bummer to me that one has to be voted out, but I have a feeling nobody else likes it much anyway. Anyhow, here we go:

    Chocalate Watch Band: From one of the most overrated bands of all time, a song that isn’t even particularly representative. It’s got some oomph, I guess, but this isn’t even really garage rock, if you ask me, more like soul, I think, and I can think of a dozen of their songs I’d have rather heard than this.

    Mojo Men: Nice, fun, inconsequential and not an original. This is a heck of an album side if I’m already knocking out something like this.

    Premiers: Purposely put on the comp to show the roots of this kind of stuff…closer to “La Bamba” than garage rock, but pretty great anyway and I like it a whole lot in context.

    Third Rail: This song is a total kick. Their album is surprisingly good too. A great song that is up against great competition.

    Magic Mushrooms. I always loved this…a really goofy example of acid punk that is the perfect ending for this album. Maybe it’s better because of the context, but I love it and wish that some of the weaker tracks on the comp were replaced with obscurities like this.

    Sagittarius. Can anyone name another song where the long version is the single and the shorter edit is the one they put on the album? That chorus always knocked me out, one of the most beautiful post-surf vocals ever. The whole Zekeley/Boettcher scene is a tad disappointing musically, but vocally it’s the pinnacle of soft rock, and when it’s good there’s nothing like it. To me this is the finest moment of that whole genre. And, yeah, the weirdo breaks do add something to it.

    Nazz: “Open My Eyes” is psychedelic, it’s power pop, it’s hard rock, and it’s garage rock, and in my opinion it’s the pinnacle of any of those genres. I just think this is one of the greatest songs of all time, and is my favorite thing on the album and probably even above “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” as my favorite song in the Rundgren canon. The Nazz, by the way, are another band who could have made great albums but just didn’t…but that’s typical of everything Todd was ever involved in, isn’t it?

  13. Agreed brother – Nazz should win this. The Bangles do a good cover.

  14. cliff sovinsanity

    Once again Pudman pretty much nails it for me, although I’m not as convince with The Third Rail song. I’ll give a few more listens.
    In another time and place, My World Fell Down would be as popular on oldies station as much as other symphonic psych masterpieces like Good Vibrations and Strawberry Fields Forever. Or more accurately if Gary Usher had found the right group to give it to at the time. Alas…
    Open My Eyes is so much of everything packed into a tight 2:40. It’s so hard rock but so melodic. Add in the obligatory psychedelic flourishes (organ and phase-shifting) and you’ve got the fruits of young talented songwriter’s first stab at greatness. Bravo Todd.

  15. Last day of intra-division voting for sides 3 and 4!

  16. mockcarr

    Nothing much to add, Open My Eyes is the best song. Again, the break in My World Fell Down kind of ruins it’s momentum. I would have liked a little thump somewhere in Sit Down under the clapping, but it’s the bronze medal for that one. Farmer John had the sound down, but I got bored 1 1/2 in even with all that loud estogen.

  17. pudman13

    mockcarr, you should listen to the LP version of “My World Fell Down” and see what you think.

  18. I voted for “Let’s Talk about Girls” because it seems the most nuggety–although there are a handful of Chocolate Watchband songs that I like better than this one.

    “Open My Eyes” was a close second. I wasn’t tempted to vote for “Farmer John,” but it think it deserves more respect than it’s getting here (much like the Vagrants version of “Respect”).

  19. BigSteve

    I must have listened to this side of the LP MUCH less than the others, because I don’t really remember most of these tracks. Only a handful of the stuff on Nuggets had made it to AM radio, at least in my neck of the woods. On this side, only Sit Down I Think I Love You.

    I liked Let’s Talk About Girls more than I thought I would, especially the droney ending, but I ended up going with Farmer John. It’s so alive. I wish I could have seen the Premiers play, because it would probably have been fun.

    I knew the Nazz was going to win because of the regional thing, but I continue to be unmoved by their kitchen sink approach.

  20. Now this is interesting. It appears that The Move did a cover version of “Open Your Eyes”. It seems to have been performed live though never made it to any of the official LPs. The Move are always listenable and sometime terrific – it would be intriguing to hear how they treated the song.

  21. I could totally hear them doing that one. It’s as if Rundgren wrote it for them.

  22. mockcarr

    It’s better, but that harp bit coming into full stop in the middle still feels weak. I don’t know if I can make it through the rest of Present Tense. It’s what I imagine a Davy Jones album would sound like if the Monkees were pulled apart into solo records like Kiss.

  23. mockcarr

    BigSteve would have even more trouble, I bet the kitchen sink would be clogged with old jam butties in their production of it.

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