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 44/118: Can’t Seem to Make You Mine by The Seeds
Release Year: 1965
From: Los Angeles, California
Aphoristic Rating: 5/10
CAN’T SEEM TO MAKE YOU MINE – The Seeds [2:31]
Featuring Sky Saxon
Personnel/SKY SAXON: vocals, bass * JAN SAVAGE: guitar * DARYL HOOPER: electric piano * RICK ANDRIDGE: drums
Produced by SKY SAXON & MARCUS TYBALT
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA
GNP Crescendo single #GNP-354 (10/65); Reissued [w/same #] (3/67); Pop #41
Vocalist and bassist Sky Saxon had already been kicking around with a few different acts after moving to L.A. from Salt Lake City. He recruited some buddies, and started rehearsing in the garage (obviously…) of his Malibu home.
‘Can’t Seem Too Make You Mine’ was the band’s first single, although ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’, a 1966 top 40 hit, is their best-known song. ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ is a much stronger record. Saxon is a larger-than-life personality, and he struggles to deliver this more straightforward number convincingly. Vocally, he’s not unlike some sort of weird hybrid of Captain Beefheart and Van Morrison, and I find him a tough listen.
Aside from Saxon’s vocal, the rest of the band is on the sloppy side, even by Nuggets standards. I like the guitar, which reminds me of Neil Young’s primitive approach.
While I struggle with the vocal, ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ has been covered by a surprisingly large and credible group of artists, including the Ramones, Alex Chilton, Yo La Tengo, Johnny Thunders, and Garbage. I liked the Ramones’ version best – it strays furthest from the weird vocal performance of the original.
The DIY spirit of the garage bands of the 1960s influenced punk, and lots of punks have specifically cited The Seeds as an influence. The band split in the late 1960s, but later reformed for a 1989 Summer of Love tour. Saxon passed away in 2009, but the band have sporadically reformed, with keyboardist Daryl Hooper.