When we started this bracket process back in October of 2014 we had very little understanding of how long this would take and how it would reform our understanding of these records. When scrutinized closely, when compared competitively next to another record from the same region, some records were, to be blunt, not as great as we may have once thought they were. Some had one wonderful side, but fell flat on the other side. Some are great rockers, but really didn't elevate to another level like their competition did. Some had youthful exuberance but didn't go much beyond that. And some records elevated to levels much higher than we had expected. Take, for example, The Bad Roads out of Louisiana. The South was a very competitive and unique region and The Bad Roads had to beat out records from We The People and The Tasmanians and Dr. Specs Optical Illusions. But when they were put head to head with these bands, and one really considered both sides of the record, it was very clear that their tiny production run of a record was the best of the region. In fact, one of the best of the whole genre.
And then we had the regions. In the image below you can see how the regions were mapped out. With two notable exceptions. California was split into two because of the wealth of music coming out of that state. We couldn't show that on our map. And, secondly, Canada, and that country's winner, The Ugly Ducklings, is not shown on the map. Sorry.
So now we have three records. 21 inches of love to give you. Flip-sides and A-sides. We will spin all six sides of the three records and we will ask our hard working, celebrity judges to weigh in and rank each record from one through three. Then our San Francisco accounting office will secretly tally the results and we will crown, in order, the top three garage records ever.
Will it be The Misunderstood? The Southern California band that had to travel to the UK (and add a Brit member) to finally record a few of their own songs? Will they be able to take their 1966 recording of Children Of The Sun/I Unseen and bring it back to the US as the champ? A record that wouldn't even get released in the US! A record that only got released in the UK three years after they had recorded the numbers. A long, convoluted trip to the top three, no doubt.
Will it be The 13th Floor Elevators? The band whose recording of I Had To Tell You was in fact the inspiration for creating this fine blog some eight years ago. Will the Texas sized champions be able to take their unique little release for IA Records of You're Gonna Miss Me/Tried To Hide and put Texas at the top spot? The band that helped define the psychedelic movement and influenced countless acts from Janis Joplin to The Grateful Dead.
Will it be The Chocolate Watchband. A real band out of San Jose who was taken under the gossamer wing of producer and writer Ed Cobb to rise to new but obscure heights. A band whose name would routinely be used by others for projects that had little to nothing to do with them. Will it be their swan song of a single, released on the legendary LA label, Tower Records, in 1967, that takes the top spot? Are the two songs of bleakness and doom, Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love In) and the flip-side, No Way Out the number one record of all garage times?
Regardless, these three records are firmly ensconced now on Mount Garagemore. Even if you are not one of our celebrity judges, please take this moment to chime in below to let us know what you think. After all, the idea of the blog, started some eight years ago, was to build a community around the obscure music we love so much.