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Vinyl Holy Grail: Here are the Sonics!!! Original Pressing

Here are the Sonics!!! Original Pressing Vinyl

This album is true crate digger gold. A Holy Grail vinyl record. One to cherish and love. I present to you Here are the Sonics!!! by The Sonics. In this post, I’m going to give you an overly brief rundown on The Sonics, talk a little bit about what makes this album so, so great. And share why this is crate diggers gold. Let’s dig in…

An Original 1965 Mono Pressing

This right here is an original pressing 1965 mono pressing, with all its scuffs, scratches, and man-made flaws, makes it all the better. For fans of garage rock, garage punk, fringe and underground music from the 1960s and 1970s, Here are the Sonics!!! is often listed as a Holy Grail album for many.

And this one set me back just $30.

Watch as I dig into this in my coverage on my YouTube Channel.

Introducing The Sonics

Picture this: Five men, clean-cut in a faded photograph, masquerade as upstanding members of society. And in true American fashion, they had a deep dark secret tucked up their sleeve. 12 inches long.

No, not that. You sicko.

A 12-inch diameter disc of wax. 

If you were around in the mid 1960s — which I most certainly wasn’t — and if you were up on rock music, you probably listened to The Beatles, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, maybe The Kingsmen. 

And at the end of that decade, 1969 in particular, for those on the fringes of society, maybe it was The Stooges or MC5. These artists tend to get credited as being at the forefront of punk rock. Or, pop back to 1966, The 13th Floor Elevators, a band that gets the nod for cultivating psychedelic rock.

I’m not even talking that late. I’m looking at 1965.

If you lived in Tacoma, Washington and frequented the frat houses, two Pacific Northwest artist stood out: First was The Wailers and next, The Sonics.

The Sonics are quintessential early garage punk. 

Their 1965 debut album Here are the Sonics!!! is stuff of legend. You hear die-hard vinyl old timers talk about how that was the party album whenever the crew got together. More on the results of that in a moment.

Here are the Sonics!!! Original Pressing Vinyl

R&B Influences

The Sonics drew from many of the same R&B influences that The Beatles did in the mid 1960s, and they paired it with influences of fellow Pacific Northwest frat rock pioneers The Fabulous Wailers (also known as just The Wailers), and of course you have the surf rockers of the time. Then dragged it along the gritty greasy gravel roads with fuzzed out guitars and explosive hyped up energy. And a few screams as well.

Other music from the mid 1960s seems tame in comparison.

Given how steeped their influences are in the R&B of the day, you’ll find them covering the likes of Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. (with “Do You Love Me,” “Money”). There’s a cover of Chuck Berry (“Roll Over Beethoven”), and Richard Berry (“Have Love Will Travel”).

They even drop one from their Pacific Northwest peers The Wailers with “Dirty Robber.”

This music was legit — and it still is. Gritty and raw, Here are the Sonics!!! had a sound that ultimately influenced countless garage and punk bands and even some surprising mainstream artists that followed. Artists as diverse as Nirvana and even Bruce Springsteen, believe it or not. And its influence continues to this today. Two more: The White Stripes and LCD Soundsystem

On the track list you’ve got “The Witch” and  “Strichnine” and “Psycho” — songs about the occult, drugs, and straight up evil women. And they screamed! These wild yelps!

Landing the Vinyl Holy Grail

If you’re watching this, you’re like me: a fan of The Sonics. And, like me, you’ve probably been a fan since the moment they graced your ears. They came onto my radar well over a decade ago while on a binge of early garage rock, and I just couldn’t get enough! I wanted my own copy of Here are the Sonics!!! in my collection!

Being in the Pacific Northwest, they were actually a bit easier to come by than I thought they’d be. I’ve owned a few over the years, always flipping the poorer quality one for whichever original pressing I could get my hands on that was in better condition.

Remember how I talked about all those man made flaws earlier?

This has always been a party album. That means the edges on the sleeves were all worn to bits. Parties tended to include alcohol, which means the records themselves weren’t always handled with care. Scratches and scuffs were honorary. A testament to a good, wild night.

The occult, drugs, and evil women, am I right?

My 1965 Pressing of Here are the Sonics!!!

I’ve probably owned five pressings from 1965 to 1966. Then I landed this copy. It’s a mono 1965 original on Etiquette Records. 

The sleeve isn’t half bad. A little rough around the edges with cracks here and there, but no major splits or bends. It has minimal ring wear in comparison to others I’ve owned. The colors are pretty solid. The black saturation of the photograph on the cover is pretty consistent, and that tends to show wear quite quickly.

I’d grade the sleeve as a midrange VG.

The vinyl, though, is actually quite stunning. Over the years I picked up four or five copies, none really getting better than a G+ at best. This one I’d list as a high end VG. Sure there are some notably visible scratches, but the wax has a nice shine to it and the vibrant red labels are damn close to near mint as I’ve ever seen on a 1960s pressing of this album.

Here are the Sonics!!! Original Pressing Vinyl

I put this record on and it hums nicely. Maybe a subtle pop or crack here and there. Just enough to remind you it’s an original pressing, and not enough to remind you that your parents may have conceived you in the back room while their friends abused their record collection.

Believe if or not, I also have a copy of Boom! And I’ve NEVER seen another original pressing of that one.

What are some of your gold mine waitlist records? Let me know in the comments.

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