- Released: September 11, 2001
- Originally Released: 2001
- Label: Varese Sarabande
Description by OLDIES.com:
Before the classic, much imitated proto-grunge garage band sound of Crazy Horse was even a concept or option, Neil Young walked into an ill-attended show by the band he had discovered on this very recording - The Rockets, yet another maverick project from the amazing White Whale label, the timeless, hypnotic, crazy yet understated groove of Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina captivated Young, Danny Whitten's out there ELECTRIC guitar, like a shower of sparks, touched a nerve in a man whose own contributions to out there guitar are not too shabby either! The classic sole album by the band who became Crazy Horse (with the legendary sound already in evidence) it doesn't get much better!
Uncut - p.1233 stars out of 5
-- "All 10 tracks are graced by the acid-hillbilly fiddle-playing of Bobby Notkoff."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1284 stars out of 5
-- "[W]hat a very fine album: raw rock and garage-psychedelia tinged with retro-pop, rock'n'roll, R&B, electric blues, surf guitar and country."
- 1.Hole In My Pocket
- 2.Won't You Say You'll Stay
- 3.Mr. Chips
- 4.It's A Mistake
- 5.Let Me Go
- 6.Try My Patience
- 7.I Won't Always Be Around
- 8.Pill's Blues
- 9.Stretch Your Skin
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
The Rockets: Danny Whitten (vocals, guitar); George Whitsell, Leon Whitsell (guitar); Bobby Notkoff (violin); Billy Talbot (bass); Ralph Molina (drums).
Producer: Barry Goldberg.
Reissue producer: Carey E. Mansfield.
Recorded at Paramount Recording, Hollywood, California. Originally released on White Whale (7116). Includes reissue liner notes by Bill De Young.
Digitally remastered by Dan Hersch (DigiPrep, Hollywood, California).
Earning a footnote in rock history as the band that ultimately morphed into Crazy Horse, Neil Young's infamous backing band, the Rockets deserve a high perch in the annals of garage psych in their own right due to this self-titled 1968 full-length. Featuring a core line-up of Danny Whitten, Ralph Molina, and Billy Talbot (all future Crazy Horse members) along with Leon Whitsell, George Whitsell, and amplified violinist Bobby Notkoff, THE ROCKETS is a revelatory set of songs.
On the strength of Notkoff's electrifying fiddle freak-outs and Whitten and Co.'s doo-wop inspired vocals, the band rises above standard late '60s murk. "Let Me Go" builds on a gritty riff until an extended dissonant solo casts Notkoff as the West Coast answer to John Cale. Tracks such as the aching "Won't You Say You'll Stay," the country shuffler "Try My Patience," and the druggy "Pills Box" highlight the soulful presence and underrated songwriting that would turn Neil Young into a devout fan of Whitten's. Essential listening for both Young fans and '60s psych enthusiasts.