I came across this massive labour of love at the excellent blog Saved From The Trashcan, which has so far posted up over 120 volumes out of 240. That is a hell of a lot of CDs. I haven't even scratched the surface really, but can heartily recommend everything I've heard. Basically a compilation of 60s garage pop and rock, the same kind of thing that is on 'Nuggets!', it just goes much deeper than a mainstream compilation ever could. None of the songs got anywhere near the US top 40, with very few even getting anywhere near the top 100, and none of the bands have gone on to what could be classed as 'fame' these days, although some stayed around for a while, some even having hit singles (such as the Association, the very first artist featured, who were the lead-off band at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967). The quality isn't amazing, as all the songs have been ripped from old 7"s, but is definitely listenable. There are a lot of Beatles and Stones copyists (obviously - this is the 60s) but some of these songs are just ridiculously fun, ranging from early 60s pop (such as So Glad by the Good Time Singers) to more psychedelic stuff. I've put a few more mp3s of the highlights from the first couple of volumes at the end of the post.
There seems to be so much of this kind of thing around from the 60s. I don't know where the story started that DIY music didn't exist before the Buzzcocks, to be honest - John Fahey was one of the first artists to self-release a record, way back in 1959, and there were loads of small record labels around during the hippy days of the late 60s releasing stuff like this to a small audience. The records sound just as professionally recorded as many by the bigger names in the industry. Admittedly there don't seem to have been any truly major albums released by what would be termed 'indie' labels these days, but I think this is probably They just seem to have all got swallowed up in the dark days of the early 70s, with even bands from the DIY scene of pub rock releasing records on subsidiaries of major labels. Of course, the internet now means that anyone at all can make music, but I'm not sure the situation wasn't pretty much always thus.
The Good Time Singers - So Glad
The Rumbles Ltd. - California My Way
Steve Clayton - Girls Are Imitating Twiggy
Stephan & Janis - I Understand
The American Breed - When I'm With You