Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Mystery Meat - Profiles (CRUDE 60s GARAGE US 1968)

12 February 2009

The Mystery Meat - Profiles (CRUDE 60s GARAGE US 1968)

The_mystery_meat,profiles,1968,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,illinois,bachs,FRONT"THE MYSTERY MEAT - PROFILES" (CRUDE GARAGE US 1968)

The holy grail of raw Garage Rock albums!
If there is a Great Lost Garage Album out there, this 1968 artefact by Illinois band "MYSTERY MEAT" "Dick Leighninger" (vocals), "Ron O'Dell"(guitar), "Bob Rentz" ("Farfisa Compact Organ"), "Wayne Joplin" (bass guitar) and "Gary Walden" (drums) could be it.
Like most Garage Rock LPs it is a primitive recording, featuring an inexperienced, enthusiastic band.
Unlike most Garage LPs, however, it has NO COVER versions but a string of originals ranging from good to unbelievable, and the decision to bring in a skilled, versatile vocalist adds a depth unusual for these Teenbeat concoctions.Recorded at a college in Illinois in 1968, original copies of "The Mystery Meat"'s "Profiles" (Director "DR 7303") LP are now worth a year's tuition at almost any university in the Midwest.
All original songs!

This LP was recorded in Carlinville, Illinois in the basement of the administration building of Blackburn College where all of the band members were students.
"Steve Oberman" did the engineering and editing as well as "borrowing" the college's equipment which consisted of four old "Electrovoice Microphones" and a PA amplifier which served as a mixer.
The 12 tracks were recorded live.
"Gary Walden" was the percussionist and "Bob Rentz" was the keyboard player.
The real musician and 'genius' behind the group was probably "Ron O'Dell".
"Mystery Meat's Profiles", then, is an album that consists of twelve 1966-sounding Beat/Folk-Rock ORIGINALS and NO covers, just like "The Bachs' Out Of Bachs" LP, the payoff being that "The Mystery Meat" songbook may be even stronger than that of their Illinois colleagues.

The_mystery_meat,profiles,1968,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,illinois,bachs,director_7303Although recorded in 1968 the songs had been written from 1965 and onwards, which explains the slight 'lost in time' nature of the album.
Tunes such as "Put Me Down" and "Girl Named Sue" are Teen-drama masterpieces worthy of "The Dovers", and that's saying something!

There are also rawer numbers like "Rung By Rung" with a three-chord progression typical for Midwest Garage Rock bands, and a hint of Psychedelic influences on the great "Sunshine Makes It".
"Dick Leighninger"'s lead vocals are awesome, hitting that yearning "Tim Granada"/"Sid Herring" teen innocence we all worship, and making even the lesser tracks shine.
Those vocals and the evocative, heartfelt "Farfisa Compact Organ" may recall the "All Of Thus" album from upstate New York, another obscure Garage behemoth, but again I would rate "The Mystery Meat" guys higher.
I'm inclined to credit Chicagoans "New Colony Six" with a certain influence on the overall style, but oddly the end result reminds me even more of English band "Complex" whose first LP is one of the few true Garage-sounding British albums.
Apart from the vocal/organ similarities there's a fresh faced teen enthusiasm and brooding sophomore melancholy that connect these two little-known wonders.

"The Mystery Meat" has a Primitive sound as any dirty Garage recording and then some, but the quality of the songs shine through as early as your first listen and maintain "Profiles"' unique longevity.
Soft spoken, innocent vocals and sensitive lyrics contrast frightening drums recorded, it would seem, with a blanket-covered microphone.
The muffled rhythm section is really distinct, rounded on the high end with fierce "Farfisa Compact Organ" and treble electric rhythm guitar.

Thanks to Patrick The Lama