Although marketed as a surf band, Minnesota's Trashmen
were decidedly landlocked by geography, but not by spirit. The group's odd mix of surf, R&B, sneering garage pop, and psychotic instrumentals made them one of the most eccentric and interesting of the groups that sprang up around the surf craze of the early '60s. This delightful collection of rare live tracks shows the kind of offhand, humorous dementia that they channeled into their shows, climaxing in a near six-minute version of their wacky masterpiece, the manic "Surfin' Bird." But this was a surprisingly versatile and nimble band, and their versions here of Booker T. & the MG's
' "Green Onions" and James Brown
's "Mashed Potatoes" spotlight a funky little R&B groove, while "Same Lines" sneers along with the best of 1960s garage punk, and "Keep Your Hands off My Baby" is skillfully executed faux doo wop. Two of the songs here ("Bird Dance Beat," "King of the Surf") were recorded at the Home School for Girls at the Saux Centre in Minnesota in 1966, and the mere thought of young, impressionable girls listening to this band of goofy maniacs is a sobering one.