The Monks - Hamburg Recordings 1967
Hopefully you’re well aware about the story of The Monks. In short, 5 American G.I.’s stationed in Germany in 1966, put together a truly bizarre and insane garage band that was proto-punk even before The Stooges were. And yes, they dressed like Monks complete in black garb with partially shaved heads.
If you don’t own the Black Monk Time LP, stop reading this and take care of that right now. Ok, done. Now you need to know about this new release, Hamburg Recordings 1967. The Monks recorded 3 singles for Polydor that were released concurrently with Black Monk Time that were a little more commercial and not quite as frenzied as the songs from the LP. The last of which, “Love Can Tame The Wild / He Went Down To The Sea,” (1967) were recorded alongside another song, “I’m Watching You.” Right around that time, the band recorded a late night session at The Top Ten Club in Hamburg, the same club The Beatles played at when they visited Hamburg. The Monks laid down 4 songs at 3am after playing that same club earlier that night where they were mocked regularly by Tony Sheridan and ridiculed by confused onlookers. (Though for a time, they did have a solid following and regular residency in town). They broke up just a month later.
That session out-take and those 4 additional songs, were shelved, forgotten and unknown by all involved. That is until now. Third Man Records was sent a slew of Monks ephemera along with master tapes to these completely unheard and unreleased Monks songs.
While none of these will blow you away like “Monk Time”, “Shut Up” or “Complication”, there is definite quality to be found here. There’s the Farfisa led stomp of “I Need U Shatzi”, the pounding “P.O. Box 3291”, the playful folk-rock of “Julia” and the spaghetti-western like instrumental “Yellow Grass.” The lead cut though, “I’m Watching You” stands out for it’s psychedelia infused middle tangent and it’s chaotic buildup.
All in all, a very worthy piece to the Monks legacy and at a very reasonable price. It’s Monk time once again! (Dom)
Check out a track here.