I think I’ve mentioned before that the guys in The Berries range in age from Larry, who is in his late 60s, to Joseph, who is in his mid-20s. One of the consequences of this is that we’ve got a pretty broad range of generational influences that we meld into our take on the garage and psych thing.
Larry, for example, is something of a folkie in addition to being a veteran of the original surf and garage scenes. In that respect, he may be the most “authentic” garage rocker of the five of us. One of the things he told me once was that he frequently thinks of what we’re doing as a kind of folk music (and not just because he plays the 12-string with us.) At first, I was a bit taken aback by that; I’m okay with a lot of folk music, and grew up with my dad’s albums ranging from Folkways stuff to the variants like the Kingston Trio and Simon & Garfunkel, but as a rocker, there’s a certain amount of
in my makeup.
But as I thought about it, I decided it makes a lot of sense to think of the stuff I play as its own sort of folk revival. (Leaving aside, of course, the fact that I have yet to hear it played by horses.) There’s the emphasis on sincerity and authenticity over technical facility, and on a sort of music of ordinary people rather than an elite audience — it just happens that the ordinary people in our case were misfit teens from suburbs and small towns.
I thought of this today as I was reading the liner notes to my latest garage-rock purchase, volumes 9 and 10 of the Back From the Grave series. As it turns out, one of the bands on the set is from my wife’s Appalachian hometown of Paintsville, KY. So here’s an example of a region known for one sort of folk music producing another kind. It’s a song that entered the world about when Mrs. M did. These are the Classics (a band that was successful enough even to gig in Louisville — a long haul back then), and the song is called “I’m Hurtin’.”
A salute to you guys, almost 50 years later.