The Savages: “Quiet Town” (Live ‘n’ Wild, 1966)
Following on from my Bermudan ginger beer post, here’s my favorite Bermudan garage rock song, recorded live at The Hub, a venue located in Hamilton’s Princess Hotel. The Savages were the house band there, playing to locals and American and British tourists seven nights a week. They also gigged in New England and on Long Island, and quite a few copies of Live ‘n’ Wild were taken off-island by visiting American college students.
The band had few competitors out there in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—the best was a band called The Gents, but also few opportunities. So when they got a chance to make an album for Duane, Bermuda’s only record label at the time, they jumped at it. According to members of the band interviewed by Garage Hangover, they jumped a little too hard, playing almost every song way too fast, nervous about making a record.
Still, the LP is an impressive achievement. Only three of the songs are covers (one of which, awesomely, is their own English-language version of a “Ertu Med,” by Icelandic beat group Thor’s Hammer), and their originals are mostly pretty great.
This one is especially awesome. Say the words beat or garage rock and most people’s minds automatically go to blaring organs and shouted vocals, but it wasn’t all ball and brawl. Some of my favorite mid-60s beat tunes are songs like this one, slow and melodic, with a sort of cobwebby, haunted vibe.
So give The Savages credit not only for their creativity, but for their range. They made a great album, without the benefit of studio time (the other old Bermudan album I’ve heard, The Invaders’ 1970 funk bomb Spacing Out, is also fantastic, but is a studio LP), and it can compete with any similar LP made in the US around the same time. I raise a Barritts to them, and I hope all the band members are doing alright.