Back in the early 80's there were 2 60's re-issue albums that just tore my head off and turned me straight around, those being "If I Stay Too Long" by The Creation and "Before The Dream Faded" by The Misunderstood. Well in the early 90's there were also the twin killers of "Love At Psychedelic Velocity" by The Human Expression and the record I'll be talking about here "Solid Sound...Solid Ground" by Woodbury, New York's Mystic Tide.
In reality The Mystic Tide was single vision of one Joe Docko. Joe was the mainman of The Mystic Tide and believe it or not he stills resides in Woodbury. I actually called up information in Woodbury and got his phone number. But so far I have been too chicken to ring him up. I mean you just don't make a cold call to Joe Docko, do you?
Anyway I was first introduced to the Mystic Tide in the early 80's via a compilation on EVA records that had 2 life changing songs by the Tide, I also got a great album also from Eva that paired the Mystic Tide with the great San Jose, California folk-rock group the E-Types. However back then little was known about the Mystic Tide, I used to wonder who the hell is Joe Docko and why is his face not a part of Mt. Rushmore.
Well luckily the good folks at Distortions Records laid down this essential collection of all The Mystic Tide's primo 60's 45's along with some great new material from Mr. Docko.
The group's early material is well represented by "I Wouldn't Care", "Why", "Stay Away" & "I Search For New Love." These tracks are all ultra cool stabs at a sort of Mersey-Beat sound with garage and surf rock overtones. However things really get cooking with the immortal "Mystic Eyes" (possibly influenced by Them.) "Mystic Eyes" is a pulsating death wail of garage punk oblivion. This thing just oozes all over you, Joe sounding like a second cousin of Eric Burdon on vocals while musically the Tide sound like an east coast answer to the Calico Wall. "Frustration" (not the Painted Ship track) is just a seething, full bore punk camando raid which brings to mind The Craig's "I Must Be Mad" in terms of all out intensity.
"Running Through The Night" heads off into Third Bardo territory of surf/psychedelic madness. "Psychedelic Journey Parts 1&2" is a non-stop instrumental choke hold which was inspired by The Butterfield Blues Band's landmark "East West" title track from 1966. Next up is the group's tour de force "Mystery Ship", this one is in the same bag as "Mystic Eyes", it just sort of sits there in it's own juices then strikes at the listener like a rattlesnake, Joe's guitar is just lethal on this one. "You Won't Look Back" ties up the original 60's material of the band in fine style, turning back to the group's early garage/folk sound.
The rest of the material contained on this album are recordings of Joe Docko with a 90's lineup of The Mystic Tide. When this record was first issued a lot rock-head garage purists pissed all over these new tracks, which is pure nonsense. Docko's new recordings pick up right where he left off in the 60's. "You Know It's True" sounds like vintage 1966 Tide with a slightly modern feel. "It's Simple Sister" (possibly influenced by "Broken Barricades" era Procol Harum) contains some beautiful guitar work from Joe that reminds me of both Jimi Hendrix and Greg Sage of The Wipers.
Next up is a worthy re-make of "Mystery Ship" with a slightly different arrangement, it brings to mind Arthur Lee's update of Love's "Signed D.C." from "Out Here" but it's far more successful. Also included is a new version of "Frustration" that is pretty fucking cool, again this sounds a great deal like The Wipers with a little Thin White Rope sprinkled on top. "Silver Rails-Going Home" is my personal favorite of the newer material, this one ranks with Docko's best and features some truly inspiring guitar phrases by Joe. "See The Light" and "Solid Ground" are also above average pieces that once again showcase Docko's fluid guitar playing. What I really admire about these recordings is that Joe didn't try to modernize this material with 80's production wank, these songs sound like they could have been recorded in the late 60's or early 70's had the group stayed together. What is clearly apparent is that Joe Docko still has his touch and should still be recording, I sure hope the lukearm reception of his newer material didn't prompt Joe into retirement.
When it's all said and done, The Mystic Tide were one of the truly great group's of the late 60's as this album so readily affirms. The Mystic Tide were easily the equals of the 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watchband or any other 60's garage band you care to mention. If you enjoy this collection you should also seek out (The Wipers "Follow Blind", Thin White Rope "The Ruby Sea", Peter Kaukonen "Black Kangaroo", The Groundhogs "Split.")
Released 1994 on Distortions
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 15/02/2007ce
01. I Wouldn't Care
03. Stay Away
04. I Search For New Love
05. Mystic Eyes
07. Running Through The Night
08. Psychedelic Journey Pt.1
09. Psychedelic Journey Pt.2
10. Mystery Ship
11. You Won't Look Back
12. You Know It's True
13. It's Simple Sister
14. Mystery Ship
16. Silver Rails - Going Home
17. See The Light
18. Solid Ground
Paul Picell - Bass, Backing Vocals
John Wilham - Drums
Jim Thomas - Guitar [Rhythm], Backing Vocals
Joe Docko - Vocals, Guitar [Lead]
The Mystic Tide-Frustration 1966
[Rip and Scans by gigic2255]