*** Reviewed by great fellow Adamus67 ***First-ever album release of the group's quirky garage recordings, circa 1966. Drawing on wild and woolly influences as diverse as Captain Beefheart, Them and the Animals this band was led by Steven Krikorian, aka hitmaker artist, Tonio K. Steven Krikorian, along with friends Alan Shapazian, Steve Olson, Nick van Maarth, and Duane Scott, in 1966, formed a surf-funk/psychedelic-punk band called The Raik's Progress, which recorded a single for Liberty Records, released in 1966. Known for their Dadaist-inspired between-song routines, one reviewer described their performance while opening for Buffalo Springfield at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium as being like "The Three Stooges playing strip poker with Iggy and the Stooges.” This full-length album by the band, Sewer Rat Love Chant, was eventually issued on Sundazed Records in 2003.
"A bunch of 17-year-old quasi-intellectual proto-punks", according to former group member Steve Krikorian, comprised Fresno, California's Raik's Progress. Their story is a familiar one: the five young guys formed a band, released an obscure single, and broke up, not before engaging in some memorable exploits and brushing shoulders with a few 60s rock notables (including Captain Beefheart, whose band's fuzztone was pilfered by the Progress in proper punk style).
Though the Progress reveals its influences with covers of Them, Byrds, and Animals songs, the original material the group created testifies to the musical ability and sheer bravado (surely of equal importance to 60s rock) of its own ranks. Sewer Rat Love Chant opens with the two songs that the band released as its sole single, on Liberty Records in 1967: the title track and "Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?" The minor-key "Sewer Rat Love Chant" is notable both for its affected psychedelic lyrics and novel instrumentation, revealing a clear Eastern influence. In fact, in terms of songwriting, "Sewer Rat Love Chant" seems to have hatched from the same pool that spawned the hits "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" and "Incense and Peppermints". But alas, a similar fate did not befall "Love Chant". "Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?" continues the Eastern influence and obscure lyrical imagery, with no less satisfying results. The remainder of the CD, comprised of previously unreleased material unearthed by the Sundazed staff archaeologists and much of it appearing to have been recorded live, shows the group as readily capable of all-out garage rock as pseudo-profound psychedelia.
A burst of fuzz guitar announces the original composition "'F' in 'A'", a stunning rave-up with fuzztone and organ battling for supremacy. The other group compositions are similarly impressive: "Don't Need You" is a major downer full of atmosphere and angst; "All Night Long" tantalizes with its raga-rock guitar introduction, which later morphs into a good rock tune; the dark "Prisoner of Chillon" is half punk and half Lord Byron (as revealed by the liner notes). The group's prideful admiration for its musical influences is evident when Krikorian announces "By Them…" at the beginning of "Baby Please Don't Go". This and the other Them cover, "Call My Name" are strong, and interestingly, the Progress doubles the length of the latter simply by repeating the verses. Their sped-up version of The Byrds' "It's No Use" is excellent, maybe even surpassing the original.
The other cover included, The Animals' "I'm Going to Change the World", is another strong one. Really impressive are the live versions of "Sewer Rat Love Chant" and "Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?" Showing the group to be adept at reproducing the somewhat complex arrangements on stage, these live versions are probably even better than the ones released on the single. As usual for Sundazed, the liner notes--written by Jud Cost and including a brief piece by Krikorian--are a good read. And the darn good setlist here makes Sewer Rat Love Chant a good buy.
Thank you so much Adam for that effort
Can't believe that no one else has reviewed this stunning lp that Sundazed managed to unearth, master and give a legit / proper release. Another over-looked - obscure garage / psychedelic band from the late '60's. Raik's Progress (you have to wonder how they got that name) initially put out just one 7" vinyl single - as both sides of that 45 show up on this Sundazed title + ten of the Fresno band's unreleased songs. I'm guessing this is the entire repertoire of this short-lived ensemble. Tunes here I couldn't get enough of (at first) are "Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?", the catchy "'F' In 'A'", the somewhat sappy "Don't Need You", the Seeds-like "Call My Name", the out-of-sight "Prisoner Of Chillon", the title cut "Sewer Rat Love Chant" and the wailing "I'm Going To Change The World". Personnel: Nick Van Maarth - guitar & vocals, Duane Scott - keyboards & vocals, Steve Olson - bass and Alan Shapazian - drums. Highly recommended for fans of the Outsiders (the U.S. band), Gonn, Music Machine and Fever Tree.
(~amazon) by Mike Reed
Garage/psych doesn't come much better than this consistently killer collection. Many of these previously unreleased tracks feature strong punk flavor, as well as fuzz guitar and Farfisa organ. What a shame this awesome mat'l remained in the vaults all these years, leaving us with only 1 amazing 45 to remember them by. Extensive liner notes on the back cover tell all about them. Grades - 1 A, 5 A-'s, 3 B+'s, 2 B's, and a B-. They were from Fresno, Cal.
(~rateyourmusic) by tymeshifter
Raik's Progress - F in A
01. Sewer Rat Love Chant
02. Why Did You Rob Us, Tank?
03. ‘F’ in ‘A’
04. Baby, Please Don’t Go
05. Don’t Need You
06. It’s No Use
07. Call My Name
08. All Night Long
09. Prisoner Of Chillon
10. Sewer Rat Love Chant (live)
11. Why Did You Rob Us, Tank? (live)
12. I’m Going to Change The World
Nick van Maarth
[Rip and Scans by gigic2255]
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