Sunday, June 17, 2007

NUGGETS Box: Disc 1, Song 1

I am loving the Nuggets boxed set I bought the other day. I mean LOVING it!!! In fact, from now on, when I'm struggling to come up with a new post, I'll just move on to the next song from Nuggets. [NOTE: Based on recent history, you can expect a LOT of Nuggets-related posts.]

The lead-off batter for the entire line-up is "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" by The Electric Prunes. This is fuzzy-guitar psychedelia at its most classic. It topped out at #11 on the U.S. singles charts in January 1967. Lenny Kaye's liner notes in the original Nuggets double-LP, released in 1972, begin with "Originally from Seattle, the Prunes..." This is quite interesting, as they were not from Seattle, but rather Los Angeles. The liner notes from the new boxed set are as follows:

From its magnificent, oscillating intro to its final crashing, shuddering fade, "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" is a vivid celebration of the exciting changes pop music was undergoing in 1966-67. The song's startling effects, overwhelming vibrato guitar, and booming production herald the seemingly endless possibilities of the new psychedelia, while sacrificing none of the pounding aggression of the mid-'60s, Stones-derived garage punk. While experimental in design, "I Had Too Much To Dream," penned by the writing team of Annette Tucker & Nancie Matz (also responsible for "I Ain't No Miracle Worker"), is also a great pop song.
Formed in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley in 1965, The Electric Prunes had misfired with their debut, "Ain't It Hard," but "I Had Too Much To Dream" established them nationally -- for a while, at least.

Click here for more on The Electric Prunes.

Their album of the same title was named one of "The 40 Greatest Guitar Albums of 1967" by Guitar Player magazine. Here's some fairly technical, guitar-geeky stuff they had to say:

With a stunning leadoff title track, Electric Prunes’ guitarist Ken Williams kicked off what would become the quintessential psych-punk masterpiece. “For that tune, and most of the record, I used a 1960 Bigsby-equipped Gibson Les Paul that I had just purchased at Ernie Ball’s guitar shop in Canoga Park,” says Williams of the haunting buzzed-out helicopter intro. Williams, together with co-guitarist James “Weasel” Spagnola, make Too Much to Dream a cornucopia of fly-buzzing fuzz and trembling tremolo. “James and I would time the tremolo pulse to each track, being very careful to let things ride on that pulsing pillow of sound,” explains Williams, who would manually adjust the Speed control on his Fender Concert 4x10, while Spagnola plugged his Fender Telecaster and Jaguar into a Magnatone combo. “We would also crank up various small tube amps and lay the headstock of the guitar on the amp to get sustained feedback,” continues Williams, who also plugged into a Fender tape echo, a Maestro Fuzz-Tone, an Arbiter Fuzz Face, and a homemade buzz box.

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Blogger Beth said...

Excellent song, isn't it? Strange, though, that Lenny got something wrong.

5:40 AM, June 18, 2007  
Blogger Old Lady said...

ELECTRIC PRUNES!!!! Damn, I forgot about the Electric Prunes. You shakes the dust outta my braims.

7:00 AM, June 18, 2007  
Blogger haahnster said...

Beth: Excellent, indeed. Apparently, the "Seattle thing" was a fairly widespread rumor back in the day, possibly based on disproportionately high record sales for the Prunes in that metro area.

OL: Based on the spelling ("braims"), I'd say there might be some dust left! Just kidding. Glad to bring back a fond memory.

9:34 AM, June 18, 2007  
Blogger Old Lady said...

H. It is intentional. I use it in my braim danaged statement sometimes.

2:13 PM, June 18, 2007  
Blogger Old Lady said...

H. It's sorta like sammich.

2:14 PM, June 18, 2007  
Blogger haahnster said...

Sorta...except I've actually heard people say "sammich" before! "Braim" is a new one on me, I'm afraid.

Either way, glad you're A-OK.

6:35 PM, June 18, 2007  

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