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Vinyl Cave: The Inner Sounds of the Id by The Id

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In the mid- to late '60s, the major labels were mostly still trying to catch up to the sounds of tomorrow emanating from smaller regional labels, a game they'd been playing at least since RCA bought Elvis' contract from Sun. While they were gradually growing more able at identifying bands with true appeal to the hip, many of the good rock bands that found success on majors like Columbia were still being poached from the smaller labels at even the hint of a hit record.

After a couple-year diversion from scouting many American groups due to the British Invasion, tons of psych and "heavy" rock LPs began appearing on major labels, most of which are obscure and collectible today. While I nearly always pick up unknown LPs from the era when running across them, it's somewhat rare to find an example that stands up very well as more than a period piece.

RCA Victor was one of the majors that was very willing to throw anything at the wall and see if it stuck during the garage band era and a bit beyond. There's a lot of surprisingly good non-hit rock and soul 45s on the label, but RCA seemed a bit more hesitant to issue LPs by unproven acts -- at least before they started selling tons of Jefferson Airplane LPs, after which they went hog wild on psychedelic-looking LPs which often turn out to be light pop acts, or worse.

A couple years before their binge of youth culture-aimed, kinda junky LPs, RCA took at shot at attracting the heads with The Id, a studio assemblage anchored by super-prolific Wisconsin native Jerald Kolbrack, better known as surf guitar hero/session man Jerry Cole. Unless you know what Cole looked like, the cover provides no identification, only trumpeting "Created and Produced by PAUL ARNOLD" instead of listing any band member names. Cole was no stranger to uncredited work, recording sessions for countless hit records in the '60s, and also releasing various instrumental albums for Capitol or budget labels like Crown and Alshire, many of which are detailed on his MySpace page.

On The Inner Sounds of the Id, Cole's classic reverbed-out guitar proclaims his presence loud and clear, and is the best thing about this album. Arnold takes the bulk of the songwriting credits, and what emerged is definitely in the interesting but spotty category.

It's a grab bag of decent slick L.A. garage and folk-rockers, odd time signatures and the de rigueur (for 1967) long track that epitomizes exploito-psych. The most genuinely psychedelic track is the Count Dracula-vocaled "Boil the Kettle Mother," bizarre enough to manage to be hilarious, rocking and strangely menacing at the same time. The mostly horrible stereo mix, often either muddy or the dreaded all vocals on one side, all instruments on the other method, doesn't do The Id any favors, either.

For more about the album's genesis, there's a well-researched article by Barry Stoller on pop culture website PopMatters. According to his article, the tracks on the album were culled by RCA from a pile of masters recorded over the previous couple years, and after The Inner Sounds sunk quickly Arnold absconded with said masters, leasing them willy-nilly to cheapie labels.

There's been somewhat of a Cole renaissance in recent years thanks to reissues by Sundazed and Ace, and even The Id has resurfaced on vinyl and CD, with 10 bonus tracks, through German label World in Sound. (RCA Victor, 1967)

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