Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Nuchez's - Open Up Your Mind/B.G.'s One Eye

Nuchez's
Open Up Your Mind/B.G.'s One Eye


Released 1967 on Rembrandt
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 16/05/2007ce


There was quite a bit of confusion about this group after both sides of this 45 were included on the first volume of the legendary UK mod/psychedelic compilation "Chocolate Soup For Diabetics" in 1980. Since for the most part the 3 volume "Chocolate Soup" series deals almost exclusively with UK acts, most people including myself assumed The Nuchez's (or simply Nuchez's) were a British group. There were wild rumors around that claimed the single's B-side "B.G.'s One Eye" which was credited to R. Erickson was indeed a lost Roky Erickson song, and Nuchez's were somehow connected to the 13th Floor Elevators. On a totally different matter but also connected to "Chocolate Soup Volume 1" was a group featured on the compilation called The Fresh Windows whose "Fashion Conscious" was credited to a mysterious person named Barrett. Both sides of their lone 1967 45 "Summer Sun Shines" b/w "Fashion Conscious" (Fontana 1967) are credited to Barrett, and to me both songs show a writing style very similar to Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. The jury is still out on this one.

Anyway back to Nuchez's. I managed to track down a copy of their 45 "Open Up Your Mind" from a UK collector's shop in 1983 for a mere 15 UK pounds. I really didn't know why it was so cheap as during this time period original 45's from The "Chocolate Soup" series usually changed hands for 35 to 45 pounds. Very soon after I found out that Nuchez's were not British at all, but a garage group from Chicago with connections to another great Chicago outfit The Lemon Drops. I also learned that the mysterious R. Erickson who penned the B-side was a certain Chicago hotshot guitarist named Ricky Erickson (who served time with both groups.) Mystery solved! Yet why was the 45 I bought considerably cheaper than other UK freakbeat singles? Simply because they were American. It turns out some UK record collectors are extremely snobbish in favor of UK releases. An example would be UK psych/pop group July, a USA copy of their lone 1968 album on Epic Records sold for about $100 back then in the early 80's, while the very same album on the UK Major Minor label sold for 5 times that. I really don't understand it.

Of course one could be totally forgiven for assuming Nuchez's are British, because "Open Up Your Mind" has all the hallmarks of the best of UK freakbeat groups such as One In A Million, The Open Mind and Wimple Winch. In fact this 45 is as good as any of the more celebrated UK psych acts such as The Creation, Poets, Birds etc. What is on offer with "Open Up Your Mind" is every pyschedelic trick in the book, a stinging fuzztone guitar, gruff UK style vocals, charging organ flashes and typical Keith Moon/Mitch Mitchell style out of control drumming. Without question this song is one of the strongest on a very strong collection.

"B.G.'s One Eye" on the flipside is an above average psychedelic surf instrumental with biting electric guitar played by Mr. Erickson. Looking back this song should have alerted me that Nuchez's were probably Americans because UK groups just did not play this style of guitar. If you are looking to hear both sides try tracking down the aforementioned "Chocolate Soup For Diabetcs Volume 1" which has been issued at various times on CD. Both sides of the 45 can also be found on the excellent mid-80's collection "Chicago Garage Band Greats" (which also has other Nuchez's related material. The Lemon Drops "Crystal Pure" album is also highly recommended.)

One final note on "Chocolate Soup For Diabetics Volume 1" since I'm here concerns the track "A Walk Down Emily Lane" by The Unexplained, I was informed by a pretty reliable source that this track was an 80's studio creation by a mystery group that was recorded exclusively for the album, so don't waste your time trying to find the record, I don't think it exists.


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