1965, LA. The beginning of the original acid generation was morphing out of the garage and surf band era and from that explosion of originality and sheer weirdness came the Electric Prunes.
Originally a surf band called the Sanctions, they added a keyboard player and were re-named as Jim & The Lords. Then along comes Dave Hassinger – a sound engineer who had worked on the Stones ‘Aftermath’ album – and the Electric Prunes were born.

This six CD set contains the original two albums by the band along with the two albums recorded by noted composer David Axelrod which featured the band’s name but added Axelrod’s musicians due to the complexity of the music. Disc 5 includes 45 Mixes, Rare Tracks And Extended Versions and disc 6 is a live recording from Stockholm in 1967.

CD1 features the band’s first self-titled album and includes their two most famous singles ‘I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and ‘Get Me To The World On Time’. However, the album also includes tracks such as ‘A Quarter To Nine’ – twee and sweet and influenced by the English pop bands of the time. Most of the tracks were written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz and definitely show the pop tendencies but the two hit singles are exquisite examples of the psychedelic garage music produced at that time. Raw, loose and with a massive beat courtesy of Mark Tulin (bass) & ‘Quint’ Weasley on drums.

The second album ‘Underground’ is far more an album by the band themselves and the experimentation and creativity is very much to the fore. Opening track ‘The Great Banana Hoax’ is a pointer to where the band wanted to go with early samples and ‘noises’ over a number that builds into a massive fuzzed guitar solo. ‘Dr Do-Good’ is an exceptional number – described as “More a horror movie than a pop hit”. All through the album you can hear the band developing ideas and trying to expand their musical horizons. It’s a much more satisfying album, even though less commercial than the first – as a psychedelic statement it works on many levels.

CD3 & CD4 are the two albums recorded with David Axelrod ‘Mass IN F Minor’ and ‘Release Of An Oath’. The opening track on ‘Mass …’, ‘Kyrie Eleison’, was featured in the movie ‘Easy Rider’ and, while member of the band featured on every track, Axelrod brought in his own people to manage the more complex parts. They are far more than quasi-religious pieces and ‘Mass In F Minor’ stands up as a great album of the time.

As is always the case with these boxed sets you get plenty of alternatives, especially the mono versions, and the live set is a delight. There is a fine booklet included.

If you are into early psychedelic pop, this is a great package, very well worth investigating.