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 36/118: Sweet Young Thing by The Chocolate Watchband
Release Year: 1967
From: Los Altos, California
Aphoristic Rating: 7/10
SWEET YOUNG THING – The Chocolate Watchband [2:41]
Personnel/DAVE AGUILAR: vocals, harmonica * MARK LOOMIS: lead guitar * SEAN TOLBY: guitar * BILL FLORES: bass * GARY ANDRIJASEVICH: drums
Produced by ED COBB for GREEN GRASS PRODUCTIONS
Recorded in Studio City, CA
Uptown single #740 (1/67)
From Los Altos, California, The Chocolate Watchband have three songs on the Nuggets set. We’ve already covered ‘Are You Gonna Be There (at the Love-In)’, which opens the fourth disc of the set. The band was originally led by lead guitarist Mark Loomis, a constant in an ever-changing early lineup. They recruited David Aguilar, a biology student, as lead singer.
Their career has a sense of missed opportunity – they were offered a contract with Bill Graham to become a house band at Fillmore alongside The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Unfortunately, a week earlier, they had already signed with a small-scale producer, and their distribution was limited as a result.
‘Sweet Young Thing’ was the band’s first single. It’s a relatively routine blues composition, but there’s enough going on to elevate it. The twangy country guitar is a nice touch. The band sound similar to The Rolling Stones and Them – David Aguilar’s voice has a similar rebellious swagger to Mick Jagger.
The song was written by producer Ed Cobb – Cobb’s other 1960s hits include ‘Dirty Water’, ‘Tainted Love’, and ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’. He was also a champion horse breeder.
The Chocolate Watchband’s initial tenure ended messily in the late 1960s. Producer Ed Cobb considered the group’s musicianship too raw and often overdubbed them with other musicians, while Aguilar left before their final 1960s album, eventually becoming an astronomy professor.
The Chocolate Watchband reunited in 1999; 1960s members David Aguilar, drummer Gary Andrijasevich and guitarist Tim Abbott are still in the band. They released This Is My Voice in 2019.