On series such as this, by the time one gets to the seventh volume, it's usually a point for all but the hardcore enthusiasts to jump ship. Not so with Cicadelic 60s, Vol. 7 -- most of the acts represented may have gotten past some local or regional recognition (though one, the Lewallen Brothers, made it to national TV at least twice), but the Shandells, Inc., the Shadows (not the British instrumental outfit), the Feathers, and the Rocks, any could easily have made the leap to national exposure without a lot of luck, based on the evidence here (which makes this CD also sort of sad to hear, in terms of how heartbreakingly close some of these acts got). The Shandells Inc. utilize a shimmering fuzztone effect on their material, which works well in a spacy manner on "Say What I Mean" (joined by a cheesy Farfisa organ on the break) and somewhat less so on the harder, edgier "Just Cry," which offers the drummer a great showcase for his speed on the break. The Shadows seem to have had one pretty good organist and two fine guitarists, who get to show off some of their best work on "If You Love Me," while "The Big Man" is a fairly routine dance instrumental, dressed up with some entertaining lead guitar flourishes. The Rocks are the bluesiest outfit here, and appear to have listened to a lot of Them and the Shadows of Knight, based on their one side here, "Because We're Young." The Feathers, from Odessa, TX, were heavily influenced by the Byrds and, even more so, by the Beau Brummels and the Leaves, but had a less serious edge. Most of the rest of the CD is filled out by the Lewallen Brothers, who were far and away the most successful act here -- based in Tucson, AZ, they were popular in the southwest and had a collective virtuoso attack on their instruments as well as great voices. Their six songs are worth the price of admission, and should have been enough to make this volume a keeper, especially since the last four of their songs have never been released before. But the makers have filled the CD out with a pair of sides by the Marsades, a band that backed Gayle Ann Lewallen, the fairer sibling of the Lewallen brethren represented elsewhere; they're not bad, a first-rate dance outfit who might well have made it big in L.A. in the early '60s, whence these records date, and the Lewallen sister has a pleasing rock & roll voice on "Please Let Me Know," a side that recalls Jo Ann Campbell. They also fit in doubly well in the context of this CD, as the Marsades' split led to the Lewallen Brothers organizing themselves as a band. But it's the last track that makes this CD absolutely essential to any collection of '60s garage rock -- a 23-minute interview with Cal and Keith Lewallen, where they talk about their family, the band's history, their tours with Chris Montez and the Ripchords, and sharing bills with Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Yardbirds et al; and the entire music scene around Arizona in the early '60s, as well as their near-break on Happening '68. They're so engaging that the interview is worth returning to multiple times, and is the perfect capper to an already enjoyable CD compilation.
1 Say What I Mean Shandells Inc.
2 Just Cry Shandells Inc.
3 If You Love Me Shadows
4 The Big Mess Shadows
5 Because We're Young Rocks
6 You're Gonna Leave Me Lewallen Brothers
7 Don't Say Why Lewallen Brothers
8 Don't Lie to Me Feathers
9 When Day Is Done Feathers
10 I Won't Be Your Stepping Stone Feathers
11 Them Onions Feathers
12 Wine, Wine, Wine Lewallen Brothers
13 Dream Lewallen Brothers
14 'Cause You Want Me To Lewallen Brothers
15 I'm Normal Lewallen Brothers
16 Worried Marsades
17 Please Let Me Know Marsades
18 Interview with the Lewallen Brothers Lewallen Brothers