Various Artists

Mystic Males

This is the fourth anthology of '60s obscurities released by a couple of California residents under the rubric "Soft Sounds for Gentle People." As the title implies, this one highlights male musicians. The 23 tracks spanning the years 1965 to 1970 offer some crazy-cool music ranging from upbeat pop to psychedelia, with plenty of flower-power grooviness all around -- fans of everything from vintage rock in the vein of Arthur Lee's Love to the current crop of freak-folkies should find plenty to enjoy here. The CD's liner notes are well-researched and entertainingly annotated; for example, "You Should Be From Monterey" by Chip Taylor (also a pro golfer and brother of actor Jon Voigt) features a "fuzzed-out Beach Boys attack that prefigured the Jesus and Mary Chain by about 20 years." A lot of the stuff on this disc sounds amazingly current, such as Tom Parrott's "Groovy and Linda," which bears a jarring resemblance to the Magnetic Fields. Sadly, attempts to contact members of the groups on the "Soft Sounds" comps have met with little success. That much of what's on these records outshines most contemporary pop releases is sadder still.

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