The Master’s Apprentices’ 1967 debut album is a real hit-and-miss affair. The Australian band were capable of high-energy freak-beat originals like “But One Day”, the absolutely menacing “Undecided” and their best-known track “War Or Hands Of Time”; all of which were comparable to The Yardbirds or Them. So, why did they record five covers on a twelve-song album? Worse, why did they chose material that didn’t suit their style? I’ll give them a thumbs up for their Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry covers – they make perfect sense given the band’s blues roots – but covers of The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine”, The Temptations’ “My Girl” and Wilson Pickett’s “Don’t Fight It” are all dead weight. With all the forward thinking music happening in 1967 (Sgt. Peppers, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Velvet Underground and Nico…etc.) it’s rather disappointing that these guys were still surviving on blues/r&b covers that were out of fashion. Consider this album a missed opportunity, with moments of greatness.
The newly released massive 2-CD set from Aztec Music augments the original album with six post-album psychedelic singles, an alternate take of “I Feel Fine” (no thanks, fellas), a six-song demo from 1966, and a fifteen-song rehearsal from 1966 that suffers from both poor sound quality and cover songs that you’ve heard done a million times before. The package is rounded out by a large booklet with a well-researched history of the band some great rare photos.