“Psychedelic Guitars” is Ace’s third collection of Jerry Cole’s 1960s recordings for the Crown and Custom labels. “Hot Rod Twangin’”, the first in this series, showcased some of Jerry’s early R&B work as Billy Boyd and tracks from his hot rod-themed LPs of the mid-60s. The second, “Guitars A Go Go”, found him playing some fierce disco-fuelled guitar wizardry. And when everybody started tuning in and dropping out, Crown turned to Jerry Cole to save the day. It was at this time that Crown launched Custom Records, the label on which his six psychedelic albums were released.
Custom’s first psychedelic LPs weren’t psychedelic at all. Released as “Psychedelic Guitars” and “More Psychedelic Guitars”, they were merely Jerry’s “Guitars A Go Go” and “A Go Go Guitars” albums repackaged in new, splashy covers. But with the release of the Projection Company’s “Give Me Some Lovin’” LP things started to get a bit more interesting.
In 1966, avant-garde violinist and composer Paul Arnold hired Jerry and his main recording mates – Don Dexter, Norm Cass and Glenn Cass – to record a psychedelic concept album, “The Inner Sounds Of The Id” for RCA. At the same time, LA-based Alshire Records released the psychedelia-exploitation LP “The Animated Egg”, another album prized by collectors of the genre.
It’s not entirely clear which came first, “The Id” or “The Egg”, tracks and outtakes from both of which also appeared on Jerry’s Custom albums. The Projection Company’s “Give Me Some Lovin’” LP contained three alternate takes from “The Id”: ‘Wild Times’, ‘Boil The Kettle’ (with its Freudian psychobabble removed) and ‘I Love You, I Do’. A down-in-the groove take on ‘That’s The Way It Is’ from “The Egg” resurfaced as ‘Tune Out Of Place’ and the instrumental ‘‘T Morrow’ had vocals added to become a pretty good version of Spencer Davis’ ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’. New tracks included ‘What Else’, ‘Uh, Uh, Uh’ and the standout ‘Our Man Hendrix’.
With the release of T Swift & The Electric Bag’s “Are You Experienced” album Jerry and crew must have really started to come on to the Orange Sunshine. On tracks such as ‘Expo In Sound’ and ‘Free Form In 6’ Jerry waved his freak flag higher than most. ‘Kimeaa’ is a classic in its own right, as is Jerry’s 12-string workout on ‘What’s Your Bag?’, and even the cover version of ‘Are You Experienced’ is fun to listen to.
While the title track is a rather dreadful affair, the Generation Gap’s “Up, Up And Away” album is actually quite good. ‘Fool’s Luck’, ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Strange Shadows’ are excellent instrumentals and ‘High On Love’ and ‘Lisa’ are good examples of Jerry’s writing skills and vocal ability.
The Stone Canyon Rock Group’s “MacArthur Park” album duplicates the same “Id” material as the Projection Company LP. It also contains a repeat of ‘Strange Shadows’ (re-titled ‘Light Show’), the rockin’ ‘I Can’t Stand It’ and a couple of MOR vocal tunes.
Jerry Cole was a space age, soul-surfin’, hot roddin’, go-goin’, blues-pickin’ psychedelic ranger if there ever was one. Not many know these hard-to-find LPs even exist. I hope this compilation and the others in the series give listeners an opportunity to discover, re-evaluate and enjoy his unique and fun recordings for Crown and Custom.
By Mike Vernon