What was one of the greatest bands to come out of Boston in the middle 1960’s that you never heard of? Give up? Still thinking it over? If you happen to think of The Remains, give yourself a well deserved pat on the back! You are really into your 60’s music. The Remains are probably one of the most underrated and unheard of bands of the decade of the sixties.
The Remains formed in Boston in 1964, and though they never received much notice outside of New England at that time, they were good. Really good! Unfortunately, by 1966, The Remains were no more. Short, sweet and powerful! If they could have made a go of it longer than a couple of years, they would have been much bigger, I’m sure. What they did leave behind is their one studio release in 1966, and it was masterful. What success they left on the table back in the middle sixties, would eventually become an international following, as an underground cult band.
Let’s put some things in perspective. At around the time of their 1966 studio release, The Remains, and their quick departure from the music scene at the time, they opened for The Beatles on their final tour. They also were on the music tv show Hullabaloo as well as The Ed Sullivan Show. They were on the way to stardom before their early departure from the music scene.
The Remains were not really part of the psychedelic music scene that would become synonymous at the start of the middle sixties. They were more of a garage rock band, and proto-punk. However, they featured some very psychedelic sounding guitar solos on some of their songs.
Their leader, Barry Tashian, who in my opinion is one of the better vocalists of the era, would have a very interesting career after The Remains. He would eventually become a guitarist and singer for Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and The Flying Burrito Brothers. He currently, and has for quite some time, teams up with his wife Holly to make up the duo Barry and Holly Tashian. They play and record country music, folk and bluegrass.
One of my favorite songs off of The Remains self titled debut is Why Do I Cry, a great garage rock song with elements of punk and r&b and a great guitar riff. Their sound is infectious, danceable, and is one of Boston’s finest!
Don’t Look Back is a cover tune, and another one of my favorites off the record. It features excellent vocals by Barry Tashian, and there are times when he sounds like he is summoning his inner Mick Jagger. A great garage tune, which is in my opinion, a gem that never got the recognition it deserves.
The record as a whole is solid, shows a band that is very talented, and is a pleasure to listen too each time I listen to it. I find it unfortunate that The Remains never got the notoriety that they deserved, and that their career as a unit was so short. Had they stuck around a bit longer, they could have been one of the truly great artists of the sixties and beyond. What we have from The Remains though, is a treasure, and they left their mark, especially in Boston and New England as a whole. One of Boston’s best, regardless of their lack of popularity outside of New England.