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Sewer Rat Love Chant

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Album Review

Although the Raik's Progress only released one single in their brief career (both sides of which are included here), Sundazed magically conjured the Sewer Rat Love Chant album out of their legacy by tacking on ten songs from a live 1966 performance at the Rainbow Ballroom in Fresno. It's the studio single, though, that's the highlight of this disc, as "Sewer Rat Love Chant" is an above average piece of early minor-keyed raga-rock (and not as lyrically weird as its title indicates), with its flip side, "Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?," showing a more pronounced Byrds influence, particularly in the vocal harmonies. The live material actually boasts pretty good sound quality for a 1966 concert recording, and is comprised mostly of original material that's more in the standard raw garage mold than their sole 45. Although the performances and vocals are a mite unrefined, most of the tunes aren't bad at all. "Don't Need You" is soaked in the morose Farfisa organ swirl common to much 1966 garage, punctuated by what sounds like clanks of a rusty anvil, and several of the other group originals are overheated, semi-incoherent punk blues. There are also live versions of both songs from the single, as well as covers of songs by Them, the Byrds, and the Animals that testify to their good taste, though enjoyment of the version of the Byrds' "It's No Use" is compromised by the group's apparent unfamiliarity with all of the words and chord changes. On the other hand, there must have been few other American groups indeed who covered the non-LP Animals B-side "I'm Going to Change the World," done here with considerable guts.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

The Raik's Progress made just one garage-psychedelic single, "Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?"/"Sewer Rat Love Chant," in 1966. Though the song titles might lead you to believe the group dealt in weirdness along the lines of early Mothers of Invention or the Red Krayola, actually the songs were not as strange lyrically as the titles seemed to portend. The music, though, was fairly strange for its time, with "Sewer Rat Love Chant" one of the earlier examples of raga-rock to filter down into the garage substratum....
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Sewer Rat Love Chant, The Raik's Progress
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