Tuesday, June 23, 2009

P.J. Orion & The Magnates - Selftitled

Mp3\\60 Mb
So-named because they were sons in affluent Greek shipping families, P.j. Orion & The Magnates put out a self-released garage rock LP while attending prep school in Massachusetts, like quite a few bands at such institutions did in the 1960s. The self-titled album consists entirely of covers, mostly of British Invasion and folk-rock hits, all done rawly but competently in folk-rock-heavy arrangements. Though very rare in its original pressing, the record became fairly well-known among '60s garage rock collectors after getting reissued in the mid-'80s. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
"Local prep-garage LP with a folkrock sound a la Ha'Pennys but slightly more pro-sounding, adds some early 60s and UK R'n'B covers for good measure. Consistent in its $15 jangly Searchers/early Byrds sound, even on Stones and Animals numbers, with a folkrocked "Love Minus Zero" perhaps the most original thing on board. Nice live feel with appealingly loose drummer and amateur vocals. No selfpenned material and kind of short with only nine tracks, even as most of them cross the 3-minute mark. Recorded in New York. The band members belonged to wealthy Greek shipping families (hence "Magnates") and were students at the Groton prep school, which makes their tough greaseball stance on the supercool cover seem a wishful Spring break fantasy. [PL]"
Of the numerous so-called "prep rock" garage albums to be released on small or private labels by prep school students in the mid-1960s, the self-titled one by P.J. Orion & the Magnates is among the better ones. Not that it's great, and it's certainly not very original, as all of the nine tracks are covers of pretty well-known songs by the Rolling Stones, Animals, Barry McGuire, Drifters, Tommy Roe, Bob Dylan, the Searchers, the Byrds, and Them. And all of them are done in a garage-like Byrds style, with the kind of jangly electric guitar arrangements in which the Byrds specialized, though these aren't as sophisticated. For all that, though, these are pretty well executed, and the group must have been a good choice to play at high school dances back in the day, even if no one in their right mind would compare these to the originals. The version of Roe's "Sheila" is pretty cool, actually, adding a little garage oomph not present in the hit version. Cool, too, is the cover, in which they pose with their instruments and sunglasses in the middle of deserted railroad tracks. That cover, and the decision by Eva Records to make this one of the earlier of the albums it reissued in the mid-1980s -- at a time when Eva was one of the very few companies reissuing such rarities -- probably accounts for its relatively high visibility among '60s collectors as such things go. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

1 As Tears Go By
2 We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
3 Eve Of Destruction
4 Under The Boardwalk
5 Sheila
6 Love Minus Zero
7 What Have They Done To The Rain
8 Bells Of Rhymney
9 Gloria

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