Nigel Strange

Under Appreciated


For the BFD Records releases – even the most recent Pebbles CD’s on AIP normally have a copyright notice for BFD Productions – someone else was brought in to write the liner notes, since the ones that Greg Shaw did were said to be mostly geared to serious collectors.  This gentleman’s name is Nigel Strange, and he is supposedly the editor of a magazine called Web of Sound.  I haven’t been able to find out anything about this person on the Internet, and I suspect that he is yet another fiction, as is “A. Seltzer” (clearly a reference to Alka-Seltzer) who wrote the crazed liner notes for the Pebbles, Volume 2 LP.  I loved reading the liner notes as I played the Pebbles albums (still do in fact). 


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What really made an impression after awhile, however, is that more than a few of these bands were completely unknown even to the people who put the Pebbles albums together.  Introducing Train Kept A-Rollin’” by the Bold on Pebbles, Volume 10, the “Nigel Strange” liner notes say:  “. . . I sure wish I knew more about them”.  About the Wig/Wags, all they have is:  “I used to think this was a Texas group, but since they aren’t included in the recently published Journey to Tyme [here they insert a plug and address for the book] I guess it’s not.”  The liner notes for the Foggy Notions have a nice description of their great song “Need a Little Lovin’” but about the band they say simply:  “A mystery group”. 


The situation is much the same on Pebbles, Volume 9.  For the second track by the LA-area band Byron & the Mortals:  “. . . about whom nothing is known”.  And:  “The only thing I know about the Knaves is that lead singer Howard Berkman later turned up in some early 70’s Chicago bands.”  The Banshees?  “The group was Chicago-based, but that’s all I can tell you.”  One more:  “I know absolutely nothing about the Bugs.” 


In order not to sound monotonous, the liner notes don’t always state outright that all I know about such-and-such group is that I found this here 45, but several of the liner notes are descriptive only.  It wasn’t just these albums; most of the Pebbles liner notes were like this, particularly in the early years.  Sentences like “Guess what?  Another mystery band” and “Here finally is a group that I know something about” were commonplace on the back covers.  


(July 2013)


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LSD-25” by the Gamblers is one of several surf instrumentals toward the end of the Pebbles, Volume 4 CD.  This track dates from 1961; the allstar line-up includes Bruce Johnston, Larry Taylor (later in Canned Heat), Elliot Ingber (Fraternity of ManCaptain BeefheartLittle Feat, etc.), and famed drummer Sandy Nelson.  According to the CD’s liner notes (by Nigel Strange):  “Actually, surfers were the first subculture to embrace LSD, at a time when it was almost exclusively the plaything of the academics.  With their footloose existence, and a sometimes mystical rapport with the ocean, the early surfers (we’re talking years before the craze, of course) were in many ways the true inheritors of the beatniks’ existential tradition, standing outside normal society and contemplating the void.  In any event, this must surely be the first acid reference to appear on a record by several years.”  


(December 2014)


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The liner notes by Nigel Strange on Pebbles, Volume 1 (the CD that is) says of Kim Fowley:  “What more can be said about this writer/singer/producer/hustler who’s had his hand in everything from ‘Alley Oop’ by the Hollywood Argyles, to Helen Reddy, to the Dead Boys, to Guns N’ Roses. . . .  This song [The Trip], released at the onset of teenage freakout mania, was something of a sensation in L.A. at the time and was covered by others including Thee Midniters and disc jockey Godfrey.  A real classic.” 


(January 2015/1)


Last edited: March 22, 2021