In retrospect, the relentless outpouring of records in the mid-to-late 1960s is nothing short of astounding by today's standards. Groups were forming at lightning speed and constantly cutting singles and albums released by major record companies, as well as small independent labels. The music biz attitude of the time can very well be summed up as such: "Hey, let's throw this tune against the wall, and if it sticks, if it's a hit, then perfect! If it flops, so what? There's plenty more where this came from." Both Top 40 AM radio and the emerging underground FM stations were only too happy to play the records, and the rapid turnover of 'product' was downright exhilarating for the listener.
With the explosion of folk-rock, garage and psychedelia that followed the British invasion, one American indie label that attempted to capitalize on the many new bands appearing on the scene was the New York City-based Mainstream Records, previously responsible for putting out jazz albums. Mainstream signed groups ignored by major labels like Columbia, Capitol and RCA, or other independent outfits such as Elektra.
Future hard-rock guitarist Ted Nugent and his band, the Yardbirds-influenced Amboy Dukes, found themselves on Mainstream, and were rewarded with the hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind," which kicks off this new 2CD compilation. It's the best-known number on here, since the other groups on the label (The Fever Tree, The Fun + Games Commission, The Jelly Bean Bandits and The Superfine Dandelion among them) never achieved a similar level of commercial success. The competition during this period was intense, and talented Mainstream bands like these basically slipped through the cracks, only to be re-discovered by collectors years later. The variety and top-notch quality of the psychedelic pop, garage-raunch, and all-around fuzz-filled freakiness on this collection is, to use the era's lingo, a total trip!
As is par for the course with Ace/Big Beat reissues, the fifty-two tracks on these two discs are superbly annotated with a thick booklet of fascinating info and great photos. If in the past you've, ahem, blown your mind to the Nuggets box sets, then this companion-piece of sorts should indeed provide you with All Kinds Of Highs.