Nuggets: I See the Light by The Five Americans

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 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 49/118: I See the Light by The Five Americans
Release Date: 1965
From: Durant, Oklahoma
Aphoristic Rating: 7/10

I SEE THE LIGHT – The Five Americans [2:10]
(Norman Ezell/Mike Rabon/John Durrill)
Personnel/JOHN DURRILL: vocals, organ * MIKE RABON: lead guitar, vocals * NORMAN EZELL: guitar, vocals * JIM GRANT: bass, vocals * JIMMY WRIGHT: drums
Produced by DALE HAWKINS
Recorded in Tyler, TX
Abnak single #A-109 (11/65); HBR single #HBR-454 (12/65); Pop #26

The five American members of the Five Americans met in college in Durant, Oklahoma. They formed in 1962, before the British Invasion hit, and started playing Duane Eddy and Bo Diddley songs. They started covering The Beatles and added a Vox Continental organ.

The Five Americans had a bigger hit with ‘Western Union’, although the garage sound of ‘I See The Light’ makes it a better fit for Nuggets. The Five Americans are strong musicians – there’s a cool organ part and good use of dynamics. But at the same time, ‘I See The Light’ is a pedestrian song and it features one of the less impressive vocals on Nuggets.

The band members largely pursued careers outside of music – guitarist Norman Ezell became a minister, while the other guitarist earned a master’s degree in public school administration. Organist John Durrill wrote “Dark Lady” for Cher and “Misery and Gin” for Merle Haggard, and was also a member of The Ventures.

On August 26, 2016, Ryan Nazari, an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, created a petition to change the city’s name to “Westbrook” because Kevin Durant left the team for the Golden State Warriors that received 1,999 supporters.,_Oklahoma

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  1. This one is really really super-Nuggety with the all-important organ and everything but I still like Western Union better cuz of the great hook and stuff. I think it’s supposed to be imitating a telegraph with that dit dit dit dit dit thing. I always loved songs that imitate the sound of something. like a machine or something

      • Well, now Western Union is just a place for sending money but I guess it started out as a telegraph company. I actually used Western Union once when I got stranded in New Orleans and I had to ask my father to wire me some money for gas so I could get home. I remember sitting in that waiting room waiting for the money to go through. It took forever.

  2. I thought I commented yesterday on this…I’m almost sure I did. Anyway I do like Western Union better and this one is ok…what I like is the sound of this recording…they must have remastered it and they did it well.

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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person. It features album reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.

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Graham Fyfe has been writing this website since his late teens. Now in his forties, he's been obsessively listening to albums for years. He works as a web editor and plays the piano.

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