Before he became Patti Smith’s bass player, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years from 1965-1968, and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 117: Voices Green and Purple by The Bees
Release Date: 1966
From: Covina, California
Aphoristical Rating: 9/10
Confusingly, there are at least four recorded bands known as The Bees – a 21st century indie band from the Isle of Wight, a band from Nashville (with Daniel Tashian) that became The Silver Seas, a 1960s Californian folk-rock band, and a 1960s Californian garage band.
It’s the latter that’s included on Nuggets – The Bees were a very short-lived trio of high school students from Covina. They never played live, and the single ‘Voices Green and Purple’ and its b-side ‘Trip To New Orleans’ was their only recording. ‘Voices Green and Purple’ received only a little radio play upon release, but became better-known after it was featured on 1979’s Pebbles Volume 3, then Nuggets. The original single has become a collectors item – only 250 copies were pressed in its first run.
‘Voices Green and Purple’ has some parallels with the early Rolling Stones – vocalist and bassist Robbie Wood’s voice resembles Mick Jagger, as does the bands bluesy stomp. It’s the unhinged chorus that’s most notable though, accelerating into chaos. ‘Voices Green and Purple’ tells the story of a bad acid trip – opinions vary on whether it’s from experience or not.