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? and the Mysterians : 30 Original Recordings
Label : CAMPARK
Cat. Num. : QMATM 01
Year of Rel. : 1995
Total Time : 76:43
Read a review of this CD.
Read the liner notes.
Reviews of 30 Original Recordings :
The Ultimate ? and the Mysterians cd!! .....almost:
Let me start off by saying that if you're considering purchasing any of the grey-market ? and the Mysterians releases, this is the one you should hunt down. With the exception of the 2 demo recordings recently made available - it has every recording that the band made in the 60's. Let's take it in the logical chunks:
Tracks 1-12: This is simply the original "96 Tears" album. Sourced, again, from a clean vinyl source with hardly any notable surface noise. All the tracks are stereo but "96 Tears," which is exactly like the Merlin release. In fact, this sounds like it may be the Merlin release. So - these tracks get a big thumbs up!
Tracks 13-23: This is the group's second full-length album, "Action," in it's entirety. However, this section is also the only reason this disc is not the absolute best collection of Mysterians material. The Move release of this album sounds brighter to me, sonically better, cleaner, and overall presented with a less heavy-handed approach to noise reduction that you encounter on this disc. So, this collection misses the mark on the Action tracks. If they would have just copied the Move release, this would be the bar-none #1 ? and the Mysterians compilation. However, if I had never heard the Move release, I suppose would be happy enough with the sound on this set.
Tracks 24-30: Wow! Let no one say that this is a band of one-hit-wonders, these singles are each in and of themselves excellent pieces of stand-alone 60's pop/rock splendor. Really, I would have bought this disc just for these singles. They are by far the most interesting items on the disc, making some of the album tracks pale in comparison. Well worth the price of admission, these tracks more than make up for the less-than-stellar sound quality on the Action tracks.
Final words? It's simple, all I had to do was make myself a homemade version of this disc, substituting the Move-sourced Action tracks. Then, you really do have the ultimate collection. Bottom line, pick this disc up! If for nothing else, pick it up for the 45's - you wont be disappointed!
Liner notes from 30 Original Recordings :
Members: Bobby Balderrama, born 190; Frank Rodriguez, born 1951; Frank Lugo, born 1947; Eddie Serrati, born 1947; ? Question Mark aka Rudy Martinez, born 1945.
With a lead singer known only by the pseudonym ? Question Mark, the Mysterians moved into the spotlight in 1966 with the number one single "96 Tears." The group placed a few other songs on the charts during 1966-67, but was not able to maintain its new following and disbanded.
The founding members of the band were born in Mexico, but by the mid-1960s were established in Detroit area. A great deal of rock'n'roll activity was taking place in clubs and auditoriums in the Saginaw Valley area, a short distance north of Detroit. ? Question Mark and the Mysterians became a favorite of local teenagers. The group comprised of ? Question Mark on vocals, Bobby Balderrama (20 years later with Joe "King" Carrasco's Crowns) on lead guitar, Frank Rodriguez organ, Frank Lugo on bass, and Eddie Serrati on drums. The original band had two other members, Robert Martinez and Larry Borjas, who were away in the U.S. armed forces when the band scored its successes.
The group wrote most of its material including "96 Tears." The organ-heavy number became a great crowd pleaser at the Mt. Holly dance hall in the Saginaw Valley in 1966. Word of the song reached small record firms in Flint and resulted in a single on the "Pa-Go-Go" label that became the number one request on local radio station NWAC. This situation was repeated a short time after on Detroit's larger station CKLW and the record soon was given national distribution on the Cameo label, selling over a million copies.
The song was featured on the group's debut LP, which made the charts during 1966. From this album two other compositions by the group entitled "I Need Somebody" and "8-Teen" were issued as follow-up singles to "96 Tears," but fared poorly with record buyers. The band fell apart soon after, but "96 Tears" became a classic, thanks in part to the keyboard styling and overall garage sound that anticipated the rise of punk and new wave in the 1970s.