Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, 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 114: Why Pick On Me by The Standells
Release Date: 1966
From: Los Angeles, California
Aphoristical Rating: 6/10
WHY PICK ON ME – The Standells [2:30]
Personnel/DICK DODD: vocals, drums * TONY VALENTINO: guitar * LARRY TAMBLYN: organ, vocals [+ BILL COOPER: bass]
Produced by ED COBB for GREENGRASS PRODUCTIONS
Recorded in Studio City, CA
Tower single #282 (9/66); Pop #54
The Standells are one of the better-known acts on Nuggets, with three songs on the set. They’re also represented by their #11 hit ‘Dirty Water’, a song often played by Boston sporting teams because of its Boston references. ‘Don’t Pick On Me’ was taken from their second album, Why Pick On Me – Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White.
The Standells are led by Larry Tamblyn, whose brother Russ Tamblyn is a notable actor. Lead vocals were handled by drummer Dick Dodd. The group’s notable for several high profile musicians who were members before joining other bands – early drummer Gary Leeds would later join The Walker Brothers, Dewey Martin would briefly replace Dodd in 1965 before joining Buffalo Springfield, and Little Feat’s Lowell George was briefly a member in the late 1960s.
Like lots of Nuggets acts, it’s easy to draw comparisons to early Kinks and Rolling Stones. ‘Why Pick On Me’, also reminds me most of The Small Faces, and Tamblyn’s Vox Continental organ is an important component of the sound. The brief Vox Continental organ solo that comes in at around 1:07 is the song’s most memorable feature. ‘Why Pick On Me’ was written by producer Ed Cobb, who also wrote ‘Dirty Water’ as well as ‘Tainted Love’ (originally an obscure 1964 song before it was turned into a 1981 mega-hit by Soft Cell).
The Standells are still a going concern, although Tamblyn is the only 1960s-era member still in the band. They released four records in the 1960s, as well as Bump in 2013.
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