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Introducing... The Gants

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Album Review

Sundazed's 2006 release Introducing the Gants rounds up 16 rarities that the Southern garage rock band recorded between 1965 and 1967. Apart from the opening pair of "Another Chance" and "What's Your Name" — the A- and B-sides, respectively, of a single they released on Statue in 1967 — this is all previously unreleased material, including the first recording sessions at Sam Phillips' recording studio in 1965. The mere existence of so much unreleased material is rather remarkable considering that the Gants' albums proper often seemed padded with covers, but Introducing is actually more interesting than those to a certain extent, since it is the strongest proof of the group's heavy debt to British Invasion pop. There are covers here too, but they're balanced with several previously unheard originals from lead vocalist Sid Herring, songs that highlight his considerable Beatles influence. The Gants had an uncanny knack for replicating the sound of mid-period Beatles — the harmony-heavy sound of Help!, along with a flair for the punchy rhythms of Merseybeat — and this compilation of odds and ends emphasizes this, not just because Herring's "I'm No Good" has traces of Lennon's understated menace from Beatles for Sale, or that the bouncy "Cryin'" has elements of McCartney's melodicism and sounds not unlike early Beau Brummels. It's also because the group cover a bunch of Beatles' songs: "Eight Days a Week," "Things We Said Today" and "Twist and Shout" date from those first sessions with Sam Phillips; there's an alternate version of "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" from the group's debut; and they cover "Taxman" over Little Rock radio in 1967. Plus, their version of "Lucille" is done in the style of the Fab Four. This may be a bit of overkill, but it also distinguishes the Gants from many garage rockers of the '60s: they're lighter and more melodic, at least in these largely unheard sessions, which makes this equally of interest to fans of the Beatles and Beatles-influenced '60s pop as it does to garage rockers.

Biography

Formed: 1965

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

One of the relatively few garage bands from the Deep South to make a national impression in the mid-'60s, the Gants hit the Top 50 in 1965 with their cover of "Roadrunner." Liberty Records then preceded to bleed the band dry by issuing three cover-heavy albums and five more singles in the next year and a half. They deserved better, because lead singer and guitarist Sid Herring was a performer and songwriter of some talent. Too Beatlesque to be considered a garage band in the usual mold, their original...
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Introducing... The Gants, The Gants
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