My Filthy 50 List In Decibel Magazine
The Filthy 50 - Story by Scott Seward
Decibel unearths 50 forgotten late ‘60s/early ’70s thud-rock masterpieces.
Basically, it goes like this: Chuck Berry—British Invasion—Garage Rock—Cream—Hendrix—Led Zeppelin—Black Sabbath—the last Hate Eternal album. OK, it’s not quite that neat. Nothing ever is. Which brings us to this completely biased and unscientific list of late ’60s and early ’70s heavy stuff that time (mostly) forgot. Proto-metal albums that had one supreme goal: to blow your little mind. To make this list, an album had to fit one or more of the following criteria:
• Thud: Does it make you want to fight or fuck?
• Crud: Is it unsavory in some way?
• Mud: Is it a bummer that stabs the hippie dream in the face?
• And, finally, Sticky Sticky Bud: Is it drug-induced and do you know where we can get some?
Apologies to hipster faves Toad, Bang, Sir Lord Baltimore, May Blitz, Black Widow and a zillion others that we forgot. The list-making process got a little, um, fuzzy, and we’re just glad we remembered how to count to 50. If you can remember to look for some of these the next time you hit the used bins, then you probably need a new dealer.
01 Groundhogs,Thank Christ for the Bomb
Groundhogs are a religion and Tony McPhee is the pope. Every solo and riff is the end of the world as you know it.
Liberty | 1970
02 Grand Funk Railroad,On Time
Underrated despite their ubiquity, this is the Funk at their earliest, fiercest and most doom-laden, and it makes most overhyped greaseballs sound flabby by comparison.
Capitol | 1969
03 Toe Fat,Two
Kick-ass, unattractive and totally bad for you. In other words, thud-rock at its most essential. The most elemental riffs known to man. Grab the debut while you’re at it.
Rare Earth | 1971
COMPLETELY drug-drenched killer hard rock from ex-Experience member Noel Redding on this—like Toe Fat’s Rare Earth label—Motown subsidiary. Somewhere, Smokey Robinson wept.
Natural Resources | 1972
All Bloodrock albums are worth owning, but only one has the song “Don’t Eat the Children,” where spirits invade your skull like Satan’s festered hand. You know?
Capitol | 1971
06 Epitaph,Outside the Law
In the states, these German hard-rockers shared a label with kraut space-cases Neu! and the ever-popular Lucifer’s Friend, but their own brand of fancy fretwork shouldn’t be overshadowed. Dudes could shred.
Billingsgate | 1974
Superior power-trio blast featuring future Ramone Marc Bell (“Marky Ramone”) and the incomparable stoner doom anthem “From a Dry Camel.” Marc made two great Dust albums and the excellent Estus album on Columbia before going all CBGB’s on our ass.
Kama Sutra | 1971
08 High Tide,Sea Shanties
So ludicrously loud and violent that you gotta wonder what the hell punk rock was supposed to be saving us from. Oh yeah, ELP. Whatever. Most punks couldn’t hold a candle to the nihilistic fury of High Tide. Liberty | 1969
09 The Litter,Emerge
Their first two albums are garage-punk classics, but on their third, the Litter had become a fierce fuzzy beast and a harbinger of hard rock to come.
Probe | 1969
10 The Head Shop,The Head Shop
Speaking of harbingers, the Head Shop’s lone psych semi-classic is likewise a breath of foul air filled with woozy—and supremely heavy—bad acid moments that would reflect the coming waves of dirt metal that the ’70s had to offer.
Epic | 1969
Vanilla Fudge’s rhythm section plus the godlike blues rock guitar of Jim McCarty makes Cactus’ debut the bone-crunching and highly influential album that it is. Heed the advice on the back cover: “This album should be played at ‘high’ level.”
Atco | 1970
12 Edgar Broughton Band,Wasa Wasa
The mud-caked bastard offspring of Captain Beefheart and U.K. acts like the Deviants, Edgar Broughton Band pisses all over your flowers and then proceeds to pass out. Now THIS is grunge.
12 Harvest | 1969
13 Randy Holden,Population II
This album is fucked. Randy Holden is a god. The electric guitar has never been abused so thoroughly since.
Hobbit | 1969
14 Atomic Rooster,Death Walks Behind You
The title track kicks so many kinds of ass that it’s kinda hard to even focus on the rest of the album. And the rest of the album is fucking great.
Elektra | 1971
Just in case you were wondering what tech-death sounded like in 1975, former Yardbird Keith Relf and Captain Beyond drummer Bobby Caldwell would like to show you. One of the GREAT major label releases of the 1970s.
A&M | 1975
16 Leigh Stephens,Red Weather
Randy Holden wasn’t the only former member of Blue Cheer to feel the need to get something off his chest in 1969. Red Weather is a singular, drugged and supremely bummed-out epic by this stoner rock pioneer. Amazing and haunting.
Philips | 1969
17 Crow,Crow Music
Not a great album, but Crow deserve a nod for their straight-up biker rock, the seriously doomed proto-metal of “White Eyes” and for providing Black Sabbath with their first single (“Evil Woman”).
Amaret | 1969
18 Smoke Rise,The Survival of St. Joan
While they might not have been the greatest hard rock band in the world, they are, as far as anyone knows, the only band high enough to think that a double album stoner boogie opera about Joan of Arc was a good idea. And that’s got to count for something.
Paramount | 1971
19 The Open Mind,The Open Mind
Brit power-psych with a huge bottom end and deathless, doomed proto-metal vibe that can’t be beat. You can FINALLY get this as an official release with decent sound and no longer have to shell out a thousand clams for the original.
Philips | 1969
Gun was guitar hero Adrian Gurvitz’s first chance to show his stuff via hard rock gems and jams that are as wild and wooly as his huge red afro. The dude is genius.
Epic | 1969
21 The Damnation of Adam Blessing,Second Damnation
One of the greatest US rock bands that hardly anyone has heard, TDOAB lay down a serious hurting on their second full-length.
United Artists | 1970
22 Peter Green,The End
of the Game Ex-Fleetwood Mac guitar god goes down a very steep cliff and just keeps falling and falling and falling…
Reprise | 1970
TDOAB labelmates (UA’s hard rock roster was unfuckingbeatable) Valhalla effortlessly blend prog, psych and jaw-dropping heavy stuff on their lone, nearly-forgotten LP.
United Artists | 1969
24 The Hook,Will Grab You
Exemplary post-Hendrix power-trio blast.
Uni | 1968
25 Thunder and Roses,King of the Black Sunrise
Exemplary post-Hendrix power-trio blast. Vol.2.
United Artists | 1969
Exemplary post-Hendrix power-trio blast. Vol.3.
ABC | 1969
27 Eden's Children,Eden’s Children
Exemplary post-Hendrix power-trio blast. Vol. 4.
ABC | 1968
28 The Grodeck Whipperjenny,The Grodeck Whipperjenny
James Brown put this funky beast out because he didn’t think you had enough fuzz in your life. Now you do.
People | 1970
29 Bubble Puppy,A Gathering of Promises
Yeah, it’s a psych milestone, but it’s also one of the great progressive hard rock albums of the ’60s. When Bubble Puppy changed their name to Demian, they repeated the trick with their lone album on ABC-Dunhill.
International Artists | 1969
30 West, Bruce & Lang,Whatever Turns You On
Jack Bruce knows power-trios, and the one he put together with Mountain man Leslie West was a beefy, greezy beast.
Windfall/Columbia | 1973
Keeping away from the better-known names on this list for the most part to give the neglected their due, but this live Five set from ’68 is a wind tunnel of viciousness and needs to be studied by the Department of Homeland Security in the hopes that they can stave off any future attacks of sonic terrorism.
Alive/Total Energy | 1998
32 Wishbone Ash,Wishbone Ash
Before they floated off into the UK rural prog jam band ether, Wishbone Ash delivered seriously smoking and locked-in boogie rock fire. Their first three albums are essential.
Decca | 1970
33 Jade Warrior,Released
Dude, flutes and horns? What is this shit? Oh, wait, that guitar solo just sliced my face off. My bad.
Vertigo | 1972
34 Mad River,Mad River
If the song titles “High All the Time” and “Amphetamine Gazelle” don’t give you an idea of where Mad River were at, then the furious and tense bad trip Quicksilver-esque head-nodding devil music on their debut most certainly will.
Capitol | 1968
35 Fear Itself,Fear Itself
Awesome and powerful Zeppelin-esque blooze grunge with singer and guitarist Ellen McIlwaine playing the part of Robert Plant. A sadly short-lived group that still impresses.
Dot | 1969
36 Mott the Hoople, Brain Capers
Everyone ON EARTH should own the first four Mott albums, but JUST IN CASE someone has never heard “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” or “Darkness, Darkness,” well, there’s still time to make something of your wretched life.
Atlantic | 1971
37 Captain Beyond,Captain Beyond
Bobby Caldwell is god and this is hands down the greatest southern space rock boogie metal album ever made.
Capricorn | 1972
Pristine, hypnotic and driving hard rock that mesmerizes with ease. They don’t make bands like this anymore.
Atlantic | 1969
39 Sam Gopal,Escalator
Lemmy invented metal. And then he invented god and the devil and then he ate them.
Stable | 1969
40 Terry Brooks & Strange,To Earth With Love
DIY astral guitar superhero melds Hawkwind and his own demented charm until sparks fly. Recorded in 1979, but it was always 1971 in his world.
Star People | 1980
41 Humble Pie,Rock On
Steve Marriott is a legend, so let’s take this time to give a shout-out to Suck, JPT Scare Band, Nitzinger, Budgie, the Frost and Pentagram! A&M | 1971
42 Ursa Major,Ursa Major
The mighty Dick Wagner of the Frost would make this amp-burning screamer before heading off with best bud Steve Hunter to add crucial fierceness to Alice Cooper and Lou Reed albums.
RCA | 1972
43 The Bob Seger System,Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
So fuckin’ cool. Heavy, rockin’, in your face and HUNGRY. Bob has long been considered a garage rock legend, but you gotta hear this shit to believe it.
Capitol | 1969
44 Ten Years After,Stonedhenge
Again, legends, but not an album you hear every day. Stoner minimalism and an x-ray of the blues creates late-night lysergic bliss.
Deram | 1968
45 Savoy Brown,Looking In
This. Is. How. You. Do. It.
Parrot | 1970
46 Pink Fairies,Kings of Oblivion
The rock is out. The cock is out. Larry Wallis shows no mercy. It’s like listening to the birth of a planet. You need this like you need air and water.
Polydor | 1973
47 Glass Harp,Glass Harp
Epic arrangements, Phil Keaggy’s guitar heroics and seriously brainy jammage.
Decca | 1970
48 Bitter Blood Street Theatre,Vol. 2
Alice Cooper supposedly stole this group’s theatre of the absurd shtick. Recorded at the dawn of the ’70s, Vol. 2 has crazed spoken word interludes, raggedy horror-filled rockers like “The Monkey Wolf” and “Gutter Children” and a unique drug-soaked energy unlike most albums of the day.
Vetco | 1978
Crude and rude and heavy on bar band-friendly covers, Conception is a degenerate soundtrack. It’s really LOUD, has no socially redeemable qualities and it will make you pine for the days when Quaaludes grew on trees.
Lizard | 1971
50 Three Man Army,A Third of a Lifetime
Post-Gun, Adrian Gurvitz just cranks up the heat and the speed to deliver Mach 3 jams that reverberate for eons.
Kama Sutra | 1971