This Is My Voice by The Chocolate WatchbandRelease date: February 22, 2019
Label: Dirty Water Records
How do you become rock legends without ever having a hit single, a charting album or playing almost any concerts outside your local surroundings while you were the ‘original’ band in your prime? Easy, if you ask the original San Francisco scenesters, The Chocolate Watchband, who is back, fifty years on, with a brand new album, This Is My Voice!
Well, of course, not so easy. It just turns out that their singles, three original albums and performances in cult Sixties movies “Riot On Sunset Strip’ and ‘The Love-Ins’ got picked up by the post-punk generations that went in search for the original bunkers and garage rock of the Sixties, turning the band into one of the vinyl market and reissue sensations of the Eighties and on. Being included on the original ‘Nuggets’ album certainly helped too.
But what was the fascination after all? The Chocolate Watchband were always just ‘pure’ garage/punk/psych band that stuck to their guns with a mixture of originals and covers, the latter usually matching the quality of the original material, whether it was Dylan or The Kinks. At some point, they were also branded as the American Rolling Stones. The original mid-Sixties stones, I would say.
So what are the changes on this latest edition of the band and the new album? Not many, and that certainly ain’t a bad thing! In the first place, three original members are still around – singer David Aguilar, guitarist Tim Abbott, and drummer Gary Andrijasevich, who joins the band a bit later on. The two new faces are guitarist Derek See and noted producer and reissue specialist Alec Palao on bass.
Secondly, the original garage thang is still on in full force! After all, if Jagger and Richards can strut it on, so can these guys, and they show it. They have not lost a touch in their chops, and the originals/covers mix is still as potent as it was then, the title song and the cover of Dylan’s ‘Desolation Row’ taking the cake. The modern technology helps, although they have tried, and succeeded in keeping the original Sixties feeling to the sound.
In many ways, it is hard to initially say whether This Is My Voice was recorded yesterday or today, and it is better for it!