Standells, The - Live on Tour––1966! – New LP
Live in Ann Arbor (opening for fellow folks Los Angeles the Beach Boys).
Stephen Thomas Erlewine: Unlike a lot of '60s rock & roll bands, the Standells actually released a live album while they were active. That record, In Person at PJ's, was cut in 1965 prior to the band's big 1966 hit "Dirty Water" and prior to the band having much in the way of original material, either; they were just a covers band cranking away on their home turf. Sundazed's archival 2015 release, Live On Tour 1966!, is a different beast, finding the band taking "Dirty Water" out on tour and playing at Hill Auditorium in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan during October of 1966. The Standells still rely on covers to fill out their nearly 35-minute set -- they smother on the organ for a slow-grooving "Please Please Please" and steer Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" toward a hopping frat beat; they also debut a version of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" which would later pop up on their second album, The Hot Ones! -- but this is firmly grounded in the greasy, garagey stomp heard on "Dirty Water" and "Some Times Good Guys Don't Wear Black." These two hits naturally close out the group's ten-track set; both are played with a trebly gusto that doesn't feel as heavy or trashy as the original singles, but part of the appeal of this set is its lightness. The Standells do rock hard, as evidenced on their questioning originals "Why Did You Hurt Me?" and "Why Pick on Me?" but Live On Tour 1966! is distinguished by their good humor: how the group ribs the college crowd about the Wolverines playing Minnesota, how the band cornily introduces a tune by saying "for this song we got an Oscar…Mayer wiener," and how they interject dirty jokes into "Gloria" ("it looks like Jayne Mansfield with a hernia," "she takes out her false teeth and gums me to death"). Everything the Standells do in this concert is in good fun and, accordingly, the album is a bit of a party too.
The Standells’ amazing string of punkish, tough-guy anthems, like “Dirty Water” and “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White,” define the legacy of mid-sixties garage rock like nothing else. With the success of these records came ‘66 tours with the Rolling Stones and Beach Boys. From all reports, the Standells proved a superb live act. But for decades, their on-stage reputation rested on an earlier, Pre-Tower label live album documenting the Standells in an unrecognizably clean-cut night club incarnation. But there’s a happy ending to this story. It turns out the Standells were in fact recorded at their peak, LIVE ON TOUR-1966! At last, here’s the whole knock-out live act from the year the Standells stormed the charts. All the ‘66 hits are here including “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White,” “Why Pick On Me?” and of course, “Dirty Water” (in tremendous versions, all of them). Fan faves are also on board, like the fuzzed-out “Mr. Nobody” and stomping “Why Did You Hurt Me.” Highlights also include high energy covers of “Midnight Hour” and “Please, Please, Please,” to name just a few of these crowd-pleasers, showcasing the Standells’ R&B roots updated with ‘66 sheen. Hearing the Standells’ road-tested, extended take on “Gloria” is not to be missed, either! Rescued from a professionally recorded concert at the University of Michigan, the Standells are captured in astonishingly clean sound that rivals their legendary studio recordings. This may just be the finest recorded example of vintage live ‘66 American garage rock.
Led by the snotty, voice of drummer Dick Dodd, the entrancing keyboards of Larry Tamblyn and the searing guitar of Tony Valentino, the Standells cut "Dirty Water” and a laundry list of mighty garage-rock anthems that would one day fuel the eager young minds (and sticky fingers) of the Stooges, Ramones and Green Day, as well as legions of adenoidal punk-rockers yet to come!