Nuggets: Voices Green and Purple by The Bees

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.

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  1. Jagger’s voice was emulated by many bands back then it seems. The simplicity of it is the reason I like it. No frills rock track with spaces to breathe. Robbie Wood has a mixture of Jagger and also Van when he was in Them. I love stories about these long-forgotten garage bands. In his case, there had to be some regret that more wasn’t done… I love these styles of songs.
    I just looked up The Silver Seas, really cool music. I have heard of them…I don’t know if it’s because they are local or I saw them on a blog.

    • Christian posted about Daniel Tashian recently – I haven’t heard any of his solo/Silver Seas stuff, but I love his collaborations/productions for Kacey Musgraves (who won best album grammy for 2018’s Golden Hour) and Josh Rouse.

      • I knew that name sounded familiar…you are right…I liked what I heard of the Silver Seas.
        I do like the Bees song…I’m going to make a playlist in youtube of those. I’m glad Kaye put this together or these songs could have been forgotten…

  2. This is an excellent Nugget track cuz it has everything you need to be a great garage rock song. It has a great guitar hook and a great vocal hook that are repeated over and over. And it sticks in your head from the first time you hear it. That’s how these songs are. You could tell from the first listen wheher they’re any good or not. They take hold right away.

  3. The original Nuggets is a classic, probably my favorite sampler/collection. Kaye opened a window into a short, exciting period that had already become forgotten. The expanded collections are interesting but, in my view, just too much. So I give you credit for taking on this mighty task!

    • It’s definitely an interesting period – the parameters of rock were still becoming established. I’ve enjoyed it so far, I’ll see how it goes. There’s Nuggets II as well!

  4. I think I’m with vinyl connection here – like the elements but seems more like a song idea or demo that never got fully finished.

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