Album Review: The Blues Magoos: Psychedelic Resurrection

Psychedelic Resurrection is the first album from garage rock band the Blues Magoos in four decades.
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The psychedelic sound of the late 1960s produced many bands with colorful names and one mainstream hit. The Vanilla Fudge, Electric Prunes, Bubble Puppy, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Seeds (not a flashy name, but a major group in the genre), and the Blues Magoos. Hailing from the Bronx, the Blues Magoos formed in 1964 as the Trenchcoats, fusing garage rock with a hint of blues.  Best known for their hit “(We Ain’t) Got Nothin’ Yet” and the electric suits they occasionally wore onstage, the band’s debut album Psychedelic Lollipop , released in November 1966,  positioned the group as the East Coast’s representative in the psychedelic-music movement. The band had more of a stripped-down, proto-punk sound, but the psychedelic label stuck. Although “(We Ain’t) Got Nothin’ Yet” made it to #5 on the Billboard charts, a raunchy cover of John D. Loudermilk’s “Tobacco Road” was the album’s standout track.

The Blues Magoos parted ways in 1972, but like many other long-dormant bands of that era, they've returned for another shot at the limelight. Three of the original members have reformed for a new album, Psychedelic Resurrection. The 12-song collection adds an infectious pop twist to the band’s late ‘60s sound.

 Many of the songs are revamped versions of tracks from the band’s two ‘60s releases. Electric Comic Book. There’s a new version of “Pipe Dream” from Electric Comic Book. a controversial drug anthem for the  “turned-on generation” and the 2014’s boisterous power-pop-tinged take on  “Gotta Get Away” from Psychedelic Lollipop.  A new song, “I’m Still Playing” extols the joys of living the rock ‘n’ roll dream  ( I’m still playing/and you’re still hanging around). Another new song, the goofy “D’ Stinko Me Tummy’s on the Blinko”, deals with the results of ordering bad Chinese food.  The album’s  catchiest tracks, unsurprisingly, are the reworked versions of “(We Ain’t) Got Nothin’ Yet” and “Tobacco Road”.

The eye-catching CD cover, with its bright purple and red design, draws you in visually, with the inside cover showcasing photos from the band’s original incarnation. Psychedelic Resurrection  features original Magoos members - Peppy Castro (guitar), Ralph Scala ( keyboards) , and Geoff Daking (drums).  New members Mike Ciliberto (guitar) and Peter Stuart Kohlman (bass) round out the line-up. Original bassist Ron Gilbert and guitarist Mike Esposito make guest appearances on the album.

Psychedelic Resurrection is more than a nostalgic visit to the LSD and flower-power days. It’s a sonic surprise with plenty of fun tunes, both new and old, that will entice fans into more than a cursory listen. The band recently played a show at New York's Bowery Electric to celebrate the CD's release.

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