vineri, 28 august 2009

Focal Point - First Bite of the Apple: The Complete Recordings (1967-1968)

Focal Point released one fair pop-psychedelic single in 1968, "Sycamore Sid"/"Love You Forever." "Sycamore Sid" was typical of much British rock of the time in its sketch of an eccentric character, played out against a pleasant medium-tempo power pop arrangement combining hard rock guitar riffs, organ, and piano. "Love You Forever" was an altogether more romantic, dainty piece, like a woozy update of late-'50s/early-'60s teen rock ballads. A few other unreleased Focal Point tracks that have surfaced have similar fey, never-never land textures (indeed one of their songs was called "Never Never"), albeit with nice mild pop melodies and psychedelic-influenced organ/guitar arrangements.The Liverpool band's Beatles/Apple connection arose in 1967 when vacationing songwriters Paul Tennant and Dave Rhodes came across Paul McCartney, who was walking his dog in London's Hyde Park. McCartney actually gave them the name and number of Terry Doran, who was then starting Apple's music publishing company (Apple had yet to start its record label). After hearing the pair play some songs in his office, Doran was impressed enough to record some demos with the duo, which he played to Brian Epstein and John Lennon. Epstein suggested that the two form a band called Focal Point, and although he died shortly afterward, Tennant and Rhodes did form the group in Liverpool and sign a contract with Apple Publishing. Apple even rented the group a flat in London and gave them access to a recording studio in the Apple office for cutting demos. They got a contact with Deram and recorded their single, but after it made few waves, Apple's interest in the band seemed to peter out, and they never recorded again. (AMG).

1. Miss Sinclair; 2. Sycamore Sid; 3. Hassle Castle; 4. Never Never; 5. Lonely Woman; 6. Far Away from Forever; 7. Love You Forever; 8. Tales from the Gpo Files; 9. McKinley Morgan the Deep Sea Diver; 10. Falling out of Friends; 11. Girl on the Corner; 12. Goodbye Forever; 13. This Time She's Leaving; 14. 'Cept Me; 15. Miss Sinclair [Demo Version]; 16. Miss Sinclair [Alternate Version]; 17. Hassle Castle [Demo Version]; 18. Never Never [Alternate Version]; 19. Reflections [Demo Version]; 20. Reflections

sâmbătă, 11 aprilie 2009

Horses - Horses (1969)

Not quite the forgotten gem that record-collector hype has long maintained, Horses nevertheless has a lot going for it, especially for a one-shot, studio-only curio. The nucleus of the group that created the LP had its genesis in the excellent mid-'60s bubblegum-psychedelic outfit the Rainy Daze, which had a minor, Top 100 hit with the camouflaged ode to marijuana, "Acapulco Gold," in 1967. Denver radio host David Diamond had moved to Los Angeles in 1965 to kick off a new rock format called "Boss Radio" and brought the band with him. The tightly formatted, hits-only nature of his new gig didn't sit well with Diamond, so he soon moved over to KBLA, where he quickly became one of L.A.'s hippest and hottest radio personalities with the development of the psychedelic program The Diamond Mine, the beginning of the looser, more free-form underground FM radio. Frank Zappa was a fan and frequent listener, and it was Diamond's suggestion to the Doors that resulted in an international hit with the edited version of "Light My Fire." He also was the first to spin such classic songs as the Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard," Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida," Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," the Stone Poneys' "Different Drum," the Rolling Stones' 17-minute "Goin' Home," and, yes, the Rainy Daze's "Acapulco Gold." Diamond played an important role during the band's life-span, convincing an increasingly erratic Phil Spector to sign them to a management contract and then, when the significant publicity push Spector had planned didn't pan out, arranging a deal with UNI, which released the group's fine LP. The quintet's catalysts were Tim Gilbert, the lead vocalist and guitarist, and John Carter, the lyricist. The two developed into one of the more interesting minor songwriting team's of the era. They scored a huge, Number One hit with Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints," and placed compositions with Yankee Dollar and the intriguing David Axelrod-produced West Coast outfit Hard Water (famous, fellow ex-Colorado surf/instrumental unit Astronauts in disguise), but Carter and Gilbert's pet project was the quasi-psychedelic, hard rock group Horses, which they built from scratch along with Diamond after all three relocated to San Francisco in 1969.
The Rainy Daze broke up following several post-LP singles on the Turtles' label, White Whale. Carter and Gilbert, meanwhile, had written an entire album, and now needed a band to record it. With Diamond, they held auditions and ultimately assembled Dave Torbert on bass, Scott Quigley and Matt Kelly on guitars, Chris Herold on drums, and lead singer Rich Fifield. Fifield was replaced midway through the recording sessions with an unknown 18-year-old kid, Don Johnson, in his first professional gig. The resultant, self-titled album was a strong effort, mixing tongue-in-cheek counterculturalisms ("Class of '69" was a carefully couched song about a sex act) and hippie-fied country elements into its hard rock, but also, unfortunately, came out on White Whale just at the moment that the label was beginning to come undone. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Freight Train; 2. Class of '69; 3. Birdie in a Cage; 4. Nothing at All; 5. Cheyenne; 6. Run Rabbit Run; 7. Country Boy; 8. Overnight Bag; 9. Horseradish; 10. Asia Minor; 11. Wind

duminică, 5 aprilie 2009

Picadilly Line - The Huge World Of Emily Small (1967)

The British group might be more famed for evolving into Edwards Hand, who had a couple albums produced by George Martin. Before that, however, Picadilly Line put out an obscure album on CBS, 1967's The Huge World of Emily Small, in the lightest and poppiest side of the British pop-psychedelic style. They also did a couple non-LP singles, one of which, "Yellow Rainbow," was written by then-Hollie Graham Nash.
The Picadilly Line's sole album is one of the recordings that most epitomizes what has been retrospectively dubbed the "toytown" school of British psychedelia by collectors. That is, the songs bounce along daintily; the vocal emphasis is on high harmonies; the lyrics are sometimes populated with observations of British everyday life and characters, sprinkled with a coat of whimsy; and the arrangements benefit from touches of baroque orchestration. It's executed here, however, with a fey, twee touch that makes the Zombies' Odessey and Oracle, for instance, sound rough 'n' ready by comparison. It's thus going to be too light even for some British psychedelic pop enthusiasts, but it's not quite the most saccharine entry in the genre, though it's undeniably precious. There's a folky lightness that keeps this from being too wide-eyed and childish, sometimes sounding a bit like Simon & Garfunkel gone toytown, though with some similarities to both the 1967-era Beatles and '60s California pop in the vocals and arrangements. The covers of Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" and the Everly Brothers' "Gone, Gone, Gone," however, seem misplaced in these surroundings. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Emily Small (The Huge World Thereof); 2. Silver Paper Dress; 3. At The Third Stroke; 4. Can You See Me; 5. Your Dog Won't Bark; 6. How Could You Say You're Leaving Me; 7. Gone Gone Gone; 8. Twiggs; 9. Tumble Down World; 10. Visions Of Johanna; 11. Come & Sing A Song; 12. Her Name Is Easy

marți, 31 martie 2009

Plastic Penny - Currency (1969)

Plastic Penny were an unremarkable late-'60s British group who made the U.K. Top Ten in early 1968 with "Everything I Am," a labored ballad augmented by strings, that wasn't even one of their best songs. Much of their material was psychedelic pop with hints of encroaching prog-rock, sometimes recalling the Who a bit, elsewhere going into more fey story-songs. Their guitarist, Mick Grabham, would play with Procol Harum for a few years in the 1970s.
Plastic Penny's second album offers various shades of British psychedelic pop that aren't near either the top or bottom of the class. It left the impression of a group who were good musicians, but not ones who had exceptional material or a markedly identifiable style. Beatlesque psychedelic pop that was lighter than the Beatles was the main ingredient, perhaps with elements of the Bee Gees and the poppiest facet of the Who as well, though there was more organ involved in Plastic Penny's arrangements than there was in those of any of these other groups. Sometimes the keyboard-driven sound had shades of Procol Harum and Traffic. It's respectable listening, but not a record to win commendations for originality; "Give Me Money" in particular is a shameless imitation of the Who and the Move in their circa 1967 power pop days, albeit a pretty good one. The inclusion of a couple instrumentals (the closing "Sour Suite," lasting eight minutes, and "Currency") with a heavier, more improvised-sounding organ-grounded approach, as well as mediocre covers of "Hound Dog" and "MacArthur Park," raises the suspicion that the group really didn't have enough material ready to make an album, even though those instrumentals aren't bad. Serious Elton John fans, however, will be interested in collecting this record for the presence of an early Elton John-Bernie Taupin composition, "Turn to Me," that Elton John never recorded. The way Plastic Penny do it, it sounds like an early Badfinger track. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. You Way To Tell Me Go
2. Hound Dog
3. Currency
4. Caledonian Mission
5. Mcarthur Park
6. Turn To Me
7. Baby You're Not To Blame
8. Give Me Money
9. Sour Suite
10. She Does
11. Celebrity Ball

joi, 26 martie 2009

The Paper Garden - The Paper Garden (1968)

A decent if somewhat candy-coated effort in the pop-psychedelic vein, combining cheerful sunshine pop sensibilities with some hard-edged psychedelic playing. It all falls somewhere between the Beatles' Revolver album and the Zombies' Odessey & Oracle (the latter especially on "Man Do You" and "Raven"), with some Sgt. Pepper-type layered choruses and overdubbed strings and other instruments. The question is how well it represents the sound of the Paper Garden -- and that begs the larger question behind the purpose of recording an LP; The Paper Garden dates from a period when the answer to that question was starting to change. According to the account of singer/guitarist Joe Arduino, the New York City-based quintet had a solid stage repertory established from performances at colleges in the Northeastern United States in 1967 and 1968, when they got the chance to cut this album under the auspices of British producer Geoff Turner, who was working at Musicor in New York at the time -- presented with that opportunity, the members ended up writing a whole new body of songs for the occasion; thus, the album become a new, self-contained artistic statement rather than a representation of the music by which they'd first attracted attention and defined themselves. The songs are filled with catchy tunes played on a mix of virtuoso electric lead and acoustic guitars -- with the occasional sitar, courtesy of rhythm guitarist Sandy Napoli -- and violin, string orchestra, trumpet, and trombone embellishment, and the lead singing coming down somewhere between Paul McCartney and Colin Blunstone with the backing usually very Lennon-esque. The group had three talented songwriters in their ranks whose work was worth hearing and the 27-minute running time isn't even a problem -- the content is substantial enough to make this a nicely full sonic meal and one of the most enjoyable albums of the psychedelic era. The 2002 Gear Fab CD reissue offers glittering sound and includes full annotation and credits, and is recommended to those who enjoy the Zombies' Odessey & Oracle album, or the Merry-Go-Round/Emitt Rhodes' releases. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1.Gypsy Wine
2.Sunshine People
3.Way Up High
4.Lady's Man
5.Mr. Mortimer
6.Man Do You
8.I Hide
10.A Day

marți, 24 martie 2009

Harmony Grass - This Is Us (1969)

A late-'60s band that anticipated Prelude's highly commercial harmony vocals, Harmony Grass evolved out of Tony Rivers & the Castaways. They were signed to RCA a year after being formed in Essex, and scored aTop 30 British hit with "Move in a Little Closer Baby."
Harmony Grass' sole LP has a few songs from their late-1960s singles (including "Move in a Little Closer," their only British hit), and it's also filled out by a few Tony Rivers originals and an assortment of covers. This odd, occasionally impressive and sometimes saccharine mix of pop/rock casts the group among the few British exponents of sunshine pop. Sometimes the airplane-commercial harmonies and cheeriness is vacuous. On the other hand, Rivers proves himself a competent emulator of the Beach Boys' most upbeat material on "Summer Dreaming" and "My Little Girl," as well as the Pet Sounds era on "I've Seen to Dream." On yet another hand, with "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "Tom Dooley," and the weird "(It Ain't Necessarily) Byrd Avenue," the group sounds like a college glee club, here to entertain for your social function, backed by extremely competent studio musicianship. On "Ballad of Michael," Rivers grapples with somewhat more serious lyrical themes in a tale of a philandering bachelor, but the song also finds him trying to squeeze too many words into too little space. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Move in a Little Closer Baby
2. My Little Girl
3. What a Groovy Day
4. I've Seen to Dream
5. (It Ain't Necessarily) Byrd Avenue
6. Chattanooga Choo Choo
7. Good Thing
8. Mrs Richie
9. Summer Dreaming
10. I Think of You
11. Ballad of Michael
12. Tom Dooley
13. What Do You Do When Love Dies

sâmbătă, 21 martie 2009

Blues Section - Blues Section (1967)

Blues Section is considered a seminal and ground-breaking band in Finnish rock music. They started in 1967, formed around the vocalist Jim Pembroke, a British expatriate song-writer now living in Finland. The other members of the band were Eero Koivistoinen (saxophone), Ronnie Österberg (drums), Hasse Walli (guitar), and Måns Groundstroem (bass). Their influences came among all from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Jimi Hendrix, who had played a sensational gig in Helsinki in May 1967. One can also hear in Pembroke's British-flavoured song-writing some echoes from The Beatles and The Kinks. Blues Section released a self-titled album late 1967 on Helsinki's Love Records. In 1968 Groundstroem and Pembroke left the band, being replaced by Pekka Sarmanto and (another British vocalist) Frank Robson, respectively. Also Koivistoinen would leave the band during the same year, and by the end of 1968 Blues Section was over. The Blues Section members would continue in such acclaimed progressive rock bands as Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti. Eero Koivistoinen was to become an internationally acclaimed jazz musician, and Hasse Walli would discover world music, playing in such bands as Piirpauke.

Tracklist :
1. Paint It Michael And Others, Maybe
2. Answer To Life
3. The Day The Bird Of Paradise Looked Down Trough A
4. Wolf At The Door
5. End Of A Poem
6. Please Mr. Wilson
7. Once More For The Road
8. The East Is Red
9. Carpets And Bags And Balls
10. Apartment 51
11. Call Me On Your Telephone
12. Hey Hey Hey

joi, 19 martie 2009

Kensington Market - Aardvark (1969)

The Kensington Market were a Toronto band that recorded two albums in the late 60s off the Warner Brothers label. Their first album, Avenue Road appeared in 1968 and was greeted with great acclaim. Avenue Road was a modest effort that was noteworthy for a few reasons, it featured decent pop instincts and solid songwriting. In 1969 the band released their final lp titled Aardvark. After the release of this disc the band broke up a few months later, leaving behind a much stronger lp than their debut.
Aardvark is a weird and wonderful mini masterpiece in which much of the Kensington Market’s reputation rests. This time out there were no silly jugband tracks and many of the album’s ideas are fully formed and well thought out. Some of the songs, like the beautifully trippy Cartoon and the ahead-of-it’s-time Help Me, use primitive synthesizer in all the right ways. Help Me sounds like a lost Flaming Lips track with its open arrangement and blissed out guitar playing. Side I Am would have had radio potential had it not been for the experimental Smile-era Beach Boys intro. It’s a stunning pop song with Penny Lane horns, fine vocals and that special, inspiring 60s magic. Other tracks like Think About The Times and If It Is Love have more of a meloncholy air but are equally excellent and reveal a more pessimistic side of the band. The experimental Americana of Half Closed Eyes is another standout composition that’s superb in an early morning folk-strum Dylan way with unusual synthesizer flourishes.
Aardvark requires a few close listens to sink in but it really is a great Beatles influenced pop album by an underrated band. (

Tracklist :
1. Help Me
2. If It Is Love
3. I Know You
4. The Thinker
5. Half Closed Eyes
6. Said I Could Be Happy
7. Ciao
8. Ow-ing Man
9. Side I Am
10. Think About The Times
11. Have You Come To See
12. Cartoon
13. Dorian

miercuri, 18 martie 2009

The Shamrocks - Smoke Rings Around the Cadillac (1964-1967)

The Shamrocks were the most succesfull Swedish beat group in Europe during the 60's. They never made it into the Swedish charts, but they were popular in Germany, France, Netherlands and Japan. It all started in 1962 when the Shamrocks were founded. 1963 was the year of beeing part in several talent competitions. The result were a few bookings and the first recording for EMI - "Jag Har Bott Vid En Landsvag/Petite Fleur". In 1964 a new lineup (still with founding members Bjorn and Ian) won a competition: they were elected "The Beatles of Stockholm" and got a recording contract with "Karussell Records". They recorded "We Gonna Make It" and "A Lonely Man", both songs written by themselves.
In 1965 they became famous with the Renegades song "Cadillac". The song failed the Swedish charts but made it all over Europe. The band went on tour in Finland, Sweden and in 44 towns in Germany. In 1966, the band toured again on the continent and played 14 days in "Star Club Hamburg". In July, the band recorded in Hamburg, in three days, their first LP - "Smokerings". A lot of TV shows and gigs in France, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Germany were done in 1967.
To enter the UK market, a few songs were recorded in London and published later in '67 on the LP "Shamrock A Paris". Somewhere in the summer of the same year, founding member Jan Granaht (guitar) quit the band. The remaining band members decided to go on as a trio. Germany, France and Denmark saw the new Shamrocks shows with a lot of visual effects (fireworks, smoke-screens, bengal fires etc.).
In 1968, Kent Risberg (guitar) left the band to settle in Bonn, where the band spent a lot of time between their touring on the continent. Two weeks later, Shamrocks were back on the road again in Germany and France with Jonny Wallin on guitar. Then the band return home to Sweden and after a long due rest , Bjorn and Dieter (founding members) decided to make one last "thanks and farewell" tour in Germany. During this tour, Bertil Petterson was playing guitar. The story of the Shamrocks ended at the end of the 60's when the great beat era came to an end.

Tracklist :
1. We Gonna Make It
2. A Lonley Man
3. Skinny Minny
4. A Mountain Of Silver
5. Cadillac
6. Easy Rider
7. And I Need You
8. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah
9. La La La
10. Things Will Turn Out Right Tomorrow
11. Balla Balla
12. Oxford Street 43
13. Don't Say
14. Nobody Cares About Me
15. Days
16. Smokerings
17. See Me Coming
18. I'm On The Outside Locking In
19. Please Don't Cry (For Me)
20. Gipsy Lullaby at 1030
21. Missconception
22. I'm Ready For The Show
23. Cadillac (Paris version)
24. How The Time Flies
25. Travelin' Man
26. The Smiling Kind
27. Don't You Know She's Mine
28. Daytime Nightime
29. Rich Life

duminică, 15 martie 2009

The Tremeloes - Here Come the Tremeloes (1967)

It's difficult for anyone who has heard them not to like -- or even love -- the Tremeloes. They were one of the more prodigiously talented British pop/rock bands of the '60s, and they threw that talent into making amazingly catchy and well-crafted singles that lit up the charts and radio on both sides of the Atlantic for four years running, from 1966 through 1970.
Yet, the Tremeloes are also one of the least-known and least-respected of '60s English bands. The precise reason for the lack of respect is difficult to pin down, except perhaps that their timing was off, as far as making the most of their success. They generally didn't write their own material and they cut their best singles long after the British Invasion (and the mystique surrounding the bands that were part of it) had ended. Yet, ironically, the Tremeloes are also one of the longest surviving English rock & roll bands, still playing regularly more than 40 years after the group's founding.
Here Come The Tremeloes may be the best "forgotten" British album of the 1960's, at least for sheer fun. When Brian Poole quit the Tremeloes in 1966, the conventional wisdom was that the band would soon fold. Instead, with bassist Chip Hawkes and drummer Dave Munden handling the lead vocals, they put out a string of hit singles and this LP on British CBS, which made No. 15 in England (in America, it appeared as Here Comes My Baby on Epic Records). The music is a mix of upbeat rockers ("Here Comes My Baby"), "Good Day Sunshine"), covers of American soul ("Loving You (Is Sweeter Than Ever)"), and unexpectedly strong originals, highlighted by the psychedelic-garage textured "What A State I'm In," and even a killer rendering of "You," an early song by one Gilbert O'Sullivan that's not only catchy but features some fierce fuzz-tone playing from guitarist Rick Westwood. None of it was the most challenging music coming out of England in 1967, but it's all utterly enjoyable, catchy pop-rock with a sharp edges in some of the playing, tempos, and singing. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Here Comes My Baby
2. Run Baby Run
3. My Town
4. Round And Round
5. What A State I'm In
6. Loving You
7. Good Day Sunshine
8. You
9. Let Your Hair Hang Down
10. Shake Hands
11. When I'm With Her
12. Even The Bad Times Are Good

sâmbătă, 14 martie 2009

The Fredric - Phases and Faces (1968)

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Fredric issued a rare, limited-run album in the late '60s, Phases and Faces, that's highly valued in some collector quarters. It would be ultimately inaccurate to call this garage psychedelia; it's too clean-cut and poppy, with conscientious harmonies, guitar-organ interplay, and light lovelorn lyrics. They were a very young group, and it shows in the callow songwriting, despite the well-executed arrangements. The single "Red Pier" made some modest local noise, and by 1970 they were signed to Capitol, who changed their name to the Rock Garden. They disbanded shortly after beginning their relationship with Capitol; drummer-vocalist David Idema eventually had a hit as David Geddes, "Run Joey Run." (AMG).
Lead vocalist Joe McCargar and guitarist Bob Geis were high school mates playing in a local band. When their existing drummer and guitarist quit, shortly before a gig, they drafted in Steve Thrall, with whom they immediately struck up an accord. In the days that followed, David Idema - a family friend - and Ron Bera were added, and the band began to rehearse extensively.They soon caught the eye of a booking agent, who got them a support slot for U.K. duo Harper and Rowe, who were doing a U.S. promotional tour. Harper and Rowe, didn't want to be upstaged by a local support, so the band changed their name to The Fredric on their way to the first gig in Fredric, Michigan. They soon developed a good local reputation, and opened shows for The Box Tops, Tommy James and The Shondells, and Yellow Balloon amongst others.

Tracklist :
1. Federal Reserve Bank Blues
2. The Girl I Love
3. All About Judi
4. Henry Adams
5. Morning Sunshine
6. Taggin'
7. Cousin Mary Knows
8. My Yellow Tree
9. Red Pier
10. Old Fashioned Guy
11. Born in Fire
12. Saturday Morning With Rain

Tinkerbells Fairydust - Tinkerbells Fairydust (1969)

Originally known as the Rush, Tinkerbells Fairydust was a late 60s English pop-psych ensemble that changed their name in 1967 upon the release of their debut single (an outstanding cover of Spanky & Our Gang's 'Lazy Day' b/w 'In My Magic Garden'). Band members included Steve Maher (guitar, vocals), Stuart Attride (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Gerry Wade (bass, vocals), Barry Creasy (drums, vocals), Charlie Wade (drums, vocals), Eileen Woodman (organ, vocals) and Dave Church (vocals).
In 1968, they released a second single ('Twenty Ten' b/w 'Walking My Baby') which didn't chart high in the U.K., but managed to become a #1 hit in Japan. In 1969, they briefly worked with Idle Race and future ELO guru Jeff Lynn to release a final single ('Sheila's Back In Town' b/w the Lynn penned 'Follow Me Follow'). That same year they released a self titled LP, which had a limited issue of 500 copies and now goes for thousands of dollars on the collectors market. The album includes some original material as well as some great covers, including the previously released 'Lazy Day' and Joe Cocker's 'Marjorine'. Unfortunately, the group split soon after the record's completion.

Tracklist :
1. 20-10
2. In My Magic Garden
3. Marjorine
4. You Keep Me Hanging On
5. The Worst That Could Happen
6. Never My Love
7. Lazy Day
8. Every Minute Every Day
9. Whole World
10. They Didnt Believe Me
11. Happy
12. Sheila's Back In Town
13. Jeff's Boogie

miercuri, 11 martie 2009

Turquoise - The Further Adventures of Flossie Fillett: The Complete Recordings (1966-1969)

A quick listen to Turquoise with no knowledge of their background will surely bring two names immediately to mind: the Kinks and the Who. So, it should be no surprise that Turquoise were not only influenced by their British peers but were close associates, friends of Ray and Dave Davies, produced by Dave for their first demos -- when the band was still known as "the Brood" -- and produced by Keith Moon and John Entwistle for their second round of pre-professional recordings. Turquoise released two singles for Decca in 1968 before disbanding and those two singles, like much British pop-psych, earned them a cult of some size, eventually leading to Rev-Ola's 2006 release of The Further Adventures of Flossie Fillett: The Complete Recordings which collects both sides of those two singles -- "53 Summer Street"/"The Tales of Flossie Fillett" and "Woodstock"/"Saynia" -- along with all the other demos, unreleased cuts and alternate takes the group left behind. More than any other band from the late '60s, Turquoise modeled themselves after mid-period Kinks, circa Something Else and Village Green Preservation Society to the extent that singer/songwriter Jeff Peters (who wrote almost all of the band's recorded work, usually in collaboration with Ewan Stephens) even penned his own tune called "Village Green." Like the Kinks, Turquoise were distinctly, defiantly British in subject matter and approach -- among their unreleased items is a knees-up stomp-along called "Sunday Best" reminiscent of the Small Faces (and oddly prescient of Blur's "Sunday Sunday") -- often sounding fey and campy yet managing to stay away from being overtly twee, and even if their melodies could sigh and swirl in psychedelic colors, they never were that trippy: they were grounded by acoustic guitars that jangled like Ray Davies' on Something Else and they had ragged harmonies and a pop sense reminiscent of the brothers Davies. And when Turquoise broke free of the Kinks -- as on the absolutely terrific "Woodstock" which barrels forward on a moddish Motown beat and has a wicked Dylan impression on the chorus -- they're quite terrific, but when they were close to the Kinks, which they were for most of their career, they're merely good, even if not especially memorable. But for fans of British pop of the '60s that was obsessed with being British -- whether that means the Kinks, the Small Faces, mod-era Who or parts of the Move -- The Further Adventures of Flossie Fillett provides just enough unheard gems to be worthwhile. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Tales of Flossie Fillett
2. Flying Machine [Second Version]
3. Sister Saxophone
4. 53 Summer Street
5. Sea Shines
6. Village Green
7. Saynia
8. Sunday Best
9. Woodstock
10. Stand Up and Be Judged
11. Woodstock [First Reduction]
12. Flying Machine [First Version]
13. Leana [Backing Track]
14. What's Your Name
15. Mindless Child of Motherhood
16. You're Just Another Girl (As the Brood)
17. Wrong Way (As the Brood)
18. Turquoise 1968 Christmas Record

marți, 10 martie 2009

Rainbow Ffolly - Sallies Fforth (1968)

Thirteen examples of pleasant, mid-tempo, mildly amplified psychedelic pop, most of them owing some considerable debt to the influence of the Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver (though not their production), with some of the nutsy brand of humor that Giles, Giles, & Fripp later traded in. This is basically Paul McCartney-influenced psychedelia, not only in the tone and texture of the lead vocals, but the retro style of songs like "I'm So Happy," with some vaguely progressive touches that make one think of the more ornate tracks off of Bee Gees' 1st. "Montgolfier" is a folky/trippy, deliberately antiquated cut that intersects somewhere midway between the early psychedelic Bee Gees and the early work of Amazing Blondel. The group also had the temerity to write and record a bouncy number called "Drive My Car" that sounds McCartney-esque (even anticipating the scatting on the latter's "Heart of the Country") without ever sounding at all like the Beatles' song of that name. Other cuts, such as "Goodbye," contain elements that anticipate Simon & Garfunkel's "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright." It's all under-produced, which makes the attempted guitar flourishes on "Hey You" seem a bit anemic, but imparts a nicely lean and trippy sound to "Sun Sing." Every track here was essentially a demo, a fact that may explain why the album never found an audience in an era when layer upon layer of overdub was the norm -- but it is pretty, in a minimalist sort of way. (AMG).
Obviously influenced by labelmates The Beatles, the sole album of Rainbow Ffolly is a psychedelic delight of the first order. Lush, inventive arrangements and sharp winning melodies are presented in a truly wide range of styles at once sophisticated and witty. It can be said without exaggeration that this album exceeds on musical grounds the period piece value of many of its contemporaries. Great use of sound-effects contributes to its excellence, while the feeling is so thoroughly English as on few other albums. A single with "Drive My Car" on the flip, which is not the Lennon/McCartney song, sank without a trace and no further recordings were made. The vast diversity and the great accessibility make it hard to understand why this album was completely ignored, but it makes completely clear why it is as sought-after as it is.

Tracklist :
1. She's Alright
2. I'm So Happy
3. Montgolfier
4. Drive My Car
5. Goodbye
6. Hey You
7. Sun Sing
8. Sun and Sand
9. Labour Exchange
10. They'm
11. No
12. Sighing Game
13. Come or Go

luni, 9 martie 2009

The Lemon Pipers - Jungle Marmalade (1968)

The Lemon Pipers were a 1960s /psychedelic pop band from Oxford, Ohio known chiefly for their song "Green Tambourine", which reached number one in the United States in 1968. The song has been credited as being the first bubblegum No.1 hit and ushering in the bubblegum pop era.
The band, formed in 1966 from two Oxford bands, Ivan and the Sabres and Tony and the Bandits comprised singer Ivan Browne (b. 1947), guitarist William Bartlett (b. 1946), keyboardist Robert G. "Reg" Nave (b. 1945), drummer William Albaugh (1948-1999), guitarist Ron Simkins (b.1948) and New Zealand-born bassist Steve Walmsley (b. 1949).
The band played a mix of blues and rock jams regularly in Oxford clubs and a Cincinnati underground rock venue, the Ludlow Garage, and released a single on the Carol Records label, "Quiet Please". In late 1967 they were offered a recording deal by a talent scout from Buddah Records and moved to New York.
Working with producer and songwriter Paul Leka, the group’s debut on Buddah was a Bartlett composition, "Turn Around and Take A Look". When the song failed to make the charts, the label approached Leka and his songwriting partner, Shelley Pinz, who were working out of an office in the same Broadway building as Buddah, to come up with a song. The pair wrote "Green Tambourine" and the band reluctantly recorded it. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at the end of 1967 and hit No.1 in February 1968. The song peaked at No. 7 in the UK and was also a hit worldwide.
Its success led to pressure being placed on the band by the label to replicate the song with an identical follow-up and in March the band released another Leka/Pinz song, "Rice Is Nice", which peaked at No. 46 in the US and No. 41 in the UK in May. The band had little enthusiasm for either song, however, dubbing them "funny-money music" and recording them only because they knew they would be dropped by Buddah if they refused.
Their pop success created what Nave has described as "the duality of the Lemon Pipers": "We were a stand-up rock 'n' roll band, and then all of a sudden, we're in a studio, being told how to play and what to play."
The chasm between the label’s aspirations and the band’s own musical tastes became apparent on the Lemon Pipers’ debut album, Green Tambourine (1967). Produced by Leka, the album contained five Leka/Pinz songs and the band-written free-form and extended blues-inspired tracks "Fifty Year Void" and "Through With You" (the latter bearing influences of The Byrds and running to more than nine minutes). Writing in Bubblegum is the Naked Truth, Gary Pig Gold commented: "It was the Pipers’ way with a tough-pop gem in the under-four-minute category which was most impressive by far: 'Rainbow Tree', 'Shoeshine Boy' and especially 'Blueberry Blue' each sported a taut, musical sophistication worthy of The Move and, dare I say it, even the Magical Mystery Beatles."
The band recorded a second album for Buddah, Jungle Marmalade, which again showed both sides of the band – another Leka/Pinz bubblegum song, "Jelly Jungle", (released as a single and peaking at No. 51 in the US), a version of the Carole King/Gerry Goffin song "I Was Not Born to Follow" (released in 1968 by the Byrds) and an 11-minute, 43 second epic, "Dead End Street/Half Light".
The band left the Buddah label in 1969 and later dissolved.

Tracklist :
1. Jelly Jungle
2. I Was Not Born to Follow
3. Everything Is You
4. Catch Me Falling
5. Hard Core
6. Love Beads and Meditation
7. I Need Someone
8. Mirrors
9. Wine and Violet
10. Dead End Street/Half Light

sâmbătă, 7 martie 2009

The Young Rascals - Once Upon a Dream (1968)

After releasing three classic garage blue-eyed soul records, the Rascals felt a need to expand their sound, become a bit more ornate, and take in the influence of psychedelia. In early 1968 they released Once Upon A Dream, a vague concept lp inspired by recent albums Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s. The concept is a bit unclear to me but I believe each track is supposed to represent a different dream. The group’s vocal arrangements were some of their most ambitious to date and where the previous three albums had been excellent collections of album tracks and singles, Once Upon A Dream hangs together quite well as an album - a finished product if you will.
Once Upon A Dream opens up with a fairly well known track, Easy Rollin’. Easy Rollin’ is one of the mini classics on this album and stands out from previous Rascal outings in that it’s more roots influenced with edgy acoustic guitars, harmonica, and B-3. The production on this song is remarkable: one can hear birds chirping in the background and the band itself seems to have more space and breathing room. Other tracks like the dreamy Silly Girl and zany Rainy Day are psychedelic pop songs that have strings and horns in the mix. These sweet, confectionery treats give way to harder edged psych rockers Please Love Me and It’s Wonderful. Please Love Me harks back to the band’s mid 60s garage soul period but has wonderful flute and swirling fuzz guitar effects. Other great songs are the soul-blues of Singin’ The Blues Too Long which has a clear Ray Charles influence, and the great, overlooked blue-eyed soul classic, My World. My World is notable for including female backup singers as well as the Rascals’ own excellent vocal arrangement.
The Rascals would release other good albums after Once Upon A Dream but few pop records from the time are as instantly memorable and sophisticated as this. At the time, the album’s production and sound were considered a triumph. This is a true classic and should be part of any serious rock n roll collection. (

Tracklist :
1. Intro/Easy Rollin'
2. Rainy Day
3. Please Love Me
4. It's Wonderful
5. I'm Gonna Love You
6. My Hawaii
7. My World
8. Silly Girl
9. Singin' The Blues Too Long
10. Sattva
11. Finale Once Upon A Dream

joi, 5 martie 2009

White Plains - My Baby Loves Lovin' (1993)

The British group White Plains had a big hit single in 1970. "My Baby Loves Lovin" was a bubblegum classic that features the ubiquitous vocals of Tony Burrows and a bouncy, happy, and decidedly British pop sound. The group formed when the the Flowerpot Men, best known for the dippy, bubble-psych hit "Let's Go to San Francisco," decided a name change and a stylistic change were in order. Burrows was in the last incarnation of the Flowerpot Men and he carried over into the initial White Plains lineup; as did pianist Pete Nelson, bassist Robin Shaw, and Ricky Wolff, who was proficient on guitars, keyboards, flute, and saxophone. The group soon recruited drummer Roger Hills and lead guitarist Robin Box, both of whom had played backing Peter & Gordon and Paul Jones.
On October 26, 1969, the band recorded four tracks from which "My Baby Loves Lovin'" was picked as the single. Released on January 9th of 1970 on Deram, the single zoomed up the charts in the U.K., eventually landing in the Top Ten. It also hit big in the U.S., reaching number 13 on the Hot 100. Burrows never was a real member of the group, he only sang lead at that initial session (which was actually intended as a Flowerpot Men session until the brains behind the group decided on the switch). The band carried on as a five-piece, releasing three more singles in 1970 and eventually a self-titled album. The album sold respectively in the U.K. but only reached number 166 on the U.S. charts after a skimpy four-week run. The album as well as all their singles were produced by the prolific duo of Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook. They also wrote most of the songs. They guided the sound of White Plains away from the trippy harmony pop of the Flowerpot Men towards a more adult and softly rocking sound. Their output was neatly split between light-hearted and chugging, kiddie pop tunes like "My Baby Loves Lovin'" and "Sunny Honey Girl"; and mainstream pop songs like "You've Got Your Troubles" and "Young Birds Fly," which are bathed in strings and masses of choir-like vocals that wrap around the emotional, Neil Diamond-esque lead vocals.
The group kept plugging away, releasing three singles in 1971 and a sophomore album, When You Are a King, none of which did much on the charts. The next three years found them losing a member, Ricky Wolff was replaced by organist Ron Renolyds, and releasing more singles (two in 1972, three in 1973, and one in 1974); including the cowbell driven "Ecstasy," which is notable for being the rare track written by Roger Cook without Roger Greenaway. However, the band was never able to recapture the success of their first single and in 1974 White Plains left Deram, and in 1976 recorded one last single, "Summer Nights," and stopped recording. After some time apart, most of the band regrouped and began touring the oldies circuit. (AMG).

Tracklist :
01. I've Got You On My Mind (2:46)
02. When Tomorrow Comes Tomorrow (3:56)
03. Taffeta Rose (2:27)
04. (I Remember) Summer Morning (3:46)
05. To Love You (2:34)
06. In A Moment Of Madness (2:53)
07. My Baby Loves Lovin' (2:51)
08. Today I Killed A Man I Didn't Know (3:27)
09. You've Got Your Troubles (4:21)
10. Show Me Your Hand (2:44)
11. Young Birds Fly (2:26)
12. Sunny, Honey Girl (3:12)
13. Lovin' You Baby (3:14)
14. Julie Do Ya Love Me (2:40)
15. Every Little Move She Makes (2:56)
16. When You Are A King (2:55)
17. Gonna Miss Her Mississippi (3:06)
18. Carolina's Comin' Home (2:35)
19. I Can't Stop (3:05)
20. Dad You Saved The World (3:01)
21. Step Into A Dream (2:28)
22. Does Anybody Know Where My Baby Is? (2:42)
23. Julie Anne (3:03)
24. Ecstacy (3:15)

marți, 3 martie 2009

The Grass Roots - Let's Live for Today (1967)

Released in the spring of 1967, Let's Live for Today was almost a musical throwback, steeped in folk-rock, which was fairly passé at the time, rather than psychedelia, but that's what makes it so appealing to listeners today. Listeners in 1967 were probably disappointed that there was nothing on the album as dramatic or memorable as the title track, but everything else is solid folk-rock with a pretty hard edge, which allows it to stand quite well alongside rival releases by the Beau Brummels, the Cryan Shames, the Blue Things, et al. Most of the music here is derived from the P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri songwriting and production team, spiced with four surprisingly strong originals — mostly drawn from the original demo tape that they submitted as the 13th Floor — by the band members themselves. The Sloan-Barri numbers are smooth, hook-laden folk-rock "Things I Should Have Said," "Is It Any Wonder," some of it with a garage band edge, and with elements of mild pop psychedelia ("Wake Up, Wake Up") occasionally manifesting themselves. Sloan and Barri's production gave the music a polish that made it thoroughly commercial without entirely losing sight of the band's fervor; the Grass Roots, only a few months out of playing bowling alleys, rose to the occasion in the singing and the basic playing, but they were also in the hands of two producers who knew how to add such embellishments as an unobtrusive harpsichord or flute over a garage band workout like "Tip of My Tongue," and who also took full advantage of stereo separation. The latter made this album a real treat for the fans, who bought it and got to hear the playing by Sloan (who contributed some guitar), Creed Bratton, and Warren Entner, and the singing by all of them (especially on "Is It Any Wonder") in vivid detail. Also surprising are the group originals, such as Entner and Bratton's "Beatin' Round the Bush" and Bratton's rocking "House of Stone," each of which is a match musically for most of the Sloan-Barri numbers. Admittedly, the lyrics on Sloan and Barri's songs are somewhat more sophisticated than those on most of the group originals, but the simpler words on the latter firm up this album's rock & roll credentials. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Things I Should Have Said
2. Wake Up, Wake Up
3. Tip of My Tongue
4. Is It Any Wonder
5. Let's Live for Today
6. Beatin' Round the Bush
7. Out of Touch
8. Won't You See Me
9. Where Were You When I Needed You
10. No Exit
11. This Precious Time
12. House of Stone

luni, 2 martie 2009

Blossom Toes - We Are Ever So Clean (1967)

They never had any commercial success in the U.K. or the U.S., but Blossom Toes were one of the more interesting British psychedelic groups of the late '60s. Starting as the Ingoes, just another of thousands of British R&B/beat bands of the mid-'60s, the group hooked up with legendary impresario Giorgio Gomelsky (early mentor of the Stones and manager of the Yardbirds and Soft Machine, among others) in 1966. Gomelsky changed their name and put them on his Marmalade label. Their 1967 debut LP was miles away from R&B, reflecting an extremely British whimsy and skilled, idiosyncratic songwriting more in line with Ray Davies. After some personnel changes, the group released their second (and final) album a couple years later. Another extremely accomplished work, it was markedly different in character than their first effort, showing a far more sober tone and heavier, guitar-oriented approach. The group broke up at the end of the decade; members Brian Godding and Brian Belshaw formed the equally obscure B.B. Blunder, and Godding became active on the fringes of the British experimental rock scene.
Imagine the late-'60s Kinks crossed with a touch of the absurdist British wit of the Bonzo Dog Band, and you have an idea of the droll charm of Blossom Toes' debut album. Songwriters Brian Godding and Jim Cregan were the chief architects of the Toes' whimsical and melodic vision, which conjured images of a sun-drenched Summer of Love, London style. With its references to royal parks, tea time, watchmakers, intrepid balloon makers, "Mrs. Murphy's Budgerigar," and the like, it's a distinctly British brand of whimsy. It has since been revealed that sessionmen performed a lot of these orchestral arrangements, which embellished the band's sparkling harmonies and (semi-buried) guitars. But the cello, brass, flute, and tinkling piano have a delicate beauty that serves as an effective counterpoint. The group sings and plays as though they have wide grins on their faces, and the result is one of the happiest, most underappreciated relics of British psychedelia. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Look at Me I'm You
2. I'll Be Late for Tea
3. The Remarkable Saga of the Frozen Dog
4. Telegram Tuesday
5. Love Is
6. What's It For?
7. People of the Royal Parks
8. What on Earth
9. Mrs Murphy's Budgerigar
10. I Wil Bring You This and That
11. Mister Watchmaker
12. When the Alarm Clock Rings
13. The Intrepid Balloonist's Handbook, Vol. 1
14. You
15. Track for Speedy Freaks (Or Instant LP Digest)

duminică, 1 martie 2009

The Marmalade - Reflections of the Marmalade (1970)

Marmalade is one of those groups that just seems to endure. They are best remembered today for one record, their cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," although they charted number one records and even Top Ten American singles into the 1970s. The group, especially as constituted up through the early '70s, had many sides, including white soul, harmony dominated pop/rock, and progressive pop, all very much like the Beatles in their middle years. However, it was their cover of a Beatles song, oddly enough, that weighed down their reputation.
In point of fact, they did somewhat resemble the Beatles musically, having started out as a band of teenagers eager to play hard rock & roll; like the Beatles, they developed a great degree of sophistication in their singing and playing, but they never had the freedom to experiment with the different sides of their music. Ironically, in their prime, their career arc most resembled that of the Tremeloes, who made incredibly well-crafted pop/rock but were never taken seriously.
The group re-emerged in the winter of 1969 after nearly a year of inactivity with "Reflections of My Life," a daring original by Campbell and Ford incorporating pop/rock and harder progressive elements, including some superb guitar work. It topped the English charts six weeks after its release, in the final week of January 1970, and became a Top Ten American single as well. They followed this up with the equally appealing (though less successful) "Rainbow," which charted in both England and America.
These twin hits were followed by the LP Reflections of the Marmalade, which proved to be something less than a success, owing to the sheer diversity of sounds on it that ranged from soulful rockers and harmony dominated progressive-sounding material to their covers of singer/songwriter-type repertory. The LP never found an audience in England, but did in America, where it was retitled Reflections of My Life and reached number 71. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Super Clean Jean
2. Carolina On My Mind
3. I'll Be Home (In A Day Or So)
4. And Yours Is A Piece Of Mine
5. Some Other Guy
6. Kaleidoscope
7. Dear John
8. Fight Say The Mighty
9. Reflections Of My Life
10. Life Is

The World of Oz - The World of Oz (1969)

The World of Oz were a British psychedelic pop band that enjoyed a short string of successful singles in Europe. Between those major charting records in Holland and a lot of good press at home, the release of an album was planned -- yet they managed to throw it all away with an unexplained split. All four original members -- Tony Clarkson (bass, vocals), David "Kubie" Kubinec (organ), Christopher Robin (guitar, piano, vocals), and David Reay (drums) -- hailed from Birmingham, and had been parts of that city's burgeoning pop/rock culture for varying amounts of time. Clarkson had several years' experience playing in various bands, and had also performed on the European continent. Kubinec had spent two years working mostly in Germany as a member of the Pieces of Mind, doing a mixture of R&B and soul. Reay and Robin (real name Christopher Evans) had played in a band called the Mayfair Set, working in Germany for a year before returning to Birmingham late in 1967, where they broke up. The pair decided to form a new band, and Kubinec and Clarkson were recruited through advertisements in musician magazines. In January of 1968 they formed the group, the "Oz" name and imagery fitting in with the trippy ambience of the late '60s.
This album was, for many years, a choice and expensive collectable in the U.K. and elsewhere, mostly owing to its sheer obscurity -- the group had virtually ceased to exist by the time the 12" vinyl platter made it into record shops on either side of the Atlantic, and it disappeared soon after. But The World of Oz has more than rarity or obscurity to recommend it -- it actually works on two levels, the original album's 11 songs holding up as first-rate sunshine pop, strongly reminiscent of the Bee Gees' Horizontal and Idea albums, while more select parts of the record document a band that was regarded as one of the more promising to come out of late-'60s Birmingham. On the softer side of the music, "Beside the Fire" recalls "World" from the former album, while "Jackie" is strongly reminiscent of any number of early Robin Gibb-sung ballads, and that is hardly to be considered negative criticism. The group does reveal a somewhat heavier sound on "The Hum-Gum Tree," which was also their third single -- the thicker-textured guitar and bass work are probably closer to what this group sounded like on-stage, while the haunting "With a Little Help" mixes a restrained orchestral accompaniment and Beatlesesque harmonies, it's a great compromise between their pop and rock aspects. The music may sometimes seem a bit fey and light, but as with the Bee Gees on Horizontal, one does get a strong sense of a band with some solid chops there beneath the harmonies and orchestral flourishes. "Mandy-Ann" works even better as a horn-and-harmony driven piece with the rhythm section coming to the fore, though one wishes that the producers had avoided one annoying punctuating sound-effect. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Muffin Man
2. Bring The Ring
3. Jackie
4. Beside The Fire
5. Hum Gum Tree
6. With A Little Help
7. We've All Seen The Queen
8. King Croesus
9. Mandy Ann
10. Jack
11. Like A Tear
12. Willow's Harp

sâmbătă, 28 februarie 2009

The Flower Pot Men - Let's Go to San Francisco (1967)

This British group was an outgrowth of mid-'60s pop group the Ivy League. Songwriting partners John Carter and Ken Lewis wrote, produced and performed "Let's Go to San Francisco" and licensed it out to Deram, who had an international hit with it as the Summer of Love was just winding down. The pair released four more singles, including one under the moniker Friends. None were hits and the group dissolved in 1970. Though they were extremely derivative of the then-au courant West Coast sound (especially the post-surf Beach Boys), the group managed to come up with some worthwhile tracks that showed a talent for smooth pop in a variety of modes (folkish, progressive, psychedelic, etc.) albeit with little rock backbone.
The most comprehensive collection around, this has all their singles (most notably, the extended version of the Pet Sounds-influenced title track and a fantastic 1968 B-side, "You Can Never Be Wrong,") and 11 tracks not released until the '80s and '90s, some from an aborted album project. Though it can't really be called essential, much of the Flower Pot Men's legacy will nevertheless be enjoyable to lovers of '60s pop, who will be able to spot traces of the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Left Banke, the Easybeats, the Zombies, the Move, the Moody Blues and others. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Let's Go to San Francisco (Pts. 1 & 2)
2. A Walk in the Sky
3. Am I Losing You
4. Man Without a Woman
5. You Can Never Be Wrong
6. Piccolo Man
7. Mythological Sunday
8. In a Moment of Madness
9. Young Birds Fly
10. Sweet Baby Janes
11. Journey's End
12. Silicon City
13. Busy Doin' Nothing
14. White Dove
15. Let's Go to San Francisco pt.1
16. Let's Go to San Francisco pt.2
17. Cooks of Cake and Kindness
18. Gotta Be Free
19. Heaven Knows When
20. Brave New World
21. Children of Tomorrow

vineri, 27 februarie 2009

The Paupers - Magic People (1967)

In 1967 the great band from the North released their debut record. The Paupers, along with the Guess Who, were one of the first Canadian bands to capitalize on the British Invasion. They started releasing singles in 1965 with a lineup consisting of Denny Gerrard (Bass), Skip Prokop (Drums), Bill Marion (Guitars) and Chuck Beal (Guitars). Prokop and Marion handled all the songwriting chores on their first clutch of singles.
Their early sound was a classy mixture of roots music, blues and folk-rock (think early Byrds or Lovin’ Spoonful crossed with the Blues Project circa 1965). The band began rehearsing 14 hours a day, honing their setlist and evolving into one of the tightest bands around. They hit the hip Yorkville District of Canada, playing to packed out venues daily and in return this gained them immense popularity. Rumor has it that the Paupers blew the mighty Jefferson Airplane off stage one night. In 1966/1967, Bill Marion exited the band for reasons unknown, prompting the Paupers to recruit Adam Mitchell. Mitchell (guitar and vocals) proved to be an excellent songwriting partner for Prokop, and at this point the band set out to create their debut lp.
Magic People has a good mid 60’s sound and is anchored by the band’s folk-rock leanings. There are a trio of good psychedelic sunshine pop fuzz rockers on the record. These songs, Magic People, It’s Your Mind and Think I Care, are highlighted by Prokop’s distinct drum patterns, special guitar effects, and great raga soloing. The only dud on the album is One Rainy Day, which is a jaunty good time Lovin’ Spoonful rocker. The remaining six songs are good to great folk-rockers, that recall the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Beau Brummels. The catchy You and Me feels like a throw back to a 1965 Byrds or Brummels folk-rock sound. Tudor Impressions is excellent, reflective, and abstract, including horns, sparkling accoustic guitars and a Beach Boys-like harmony pop ending. Black Thank You Package and My Love Hides From Your View have a great outsider feel. Black Thank You Package has a distinct, exciting intro and a catchy chorus while My Love Hides is an absolute haunting masterpiece of acid-folk. (

Tracklist :
1. Magic People
2. It's Your Mind
3. Black Thank You Package
4. Let Me Be
5. Think I Care
6. One Rainy Day
7. Tudor Impressions
8. Simple Deed
9. My Love Hides Your View
10. You And Me

joi, 26 februarie 2009

Paul Revere and The Raiders - Revolution! (1967)

No other rock & roll band has experienced the rollercoaster ups and downs in reputation that Paul Revere & the Raiders have known across 40 years in music. One of the most popular and entertaining groups of the 1960s, they enjoyed 10 years of serious chart action, and during their three biggest years (1966-69) got as much radio play as any group of that decade, sold records in numbers second only to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and received nearly as much coverage in the music press of the period (which included a lot of teen fan magazines) as the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Yet when most histories of rock started getting written, Paul Revere & the Raiders were scarcely mentioned -- at best, they were usually a footnote to the boom years of the late '60s.
If not as consistently a knockout as Spirit of '67, Revolution! is nevertheless right on its heels, containing as it does an even greater degree of pop experimentation within the form. Suffice to say that this group managed to make the transition from the simple, tough R&B-flavored rock they helped found to the more psychedelic popcraft/acidic majesty that soon unfolded behind the 1964-1965 Beatles' lead. And if Spirit is the Raiders' Revolver, then Revolution! is their less wacked-out Sgt. Pepper. Beginning with one of their most supreme moments — the rough-and-tumble, aggressive yet amazingly catchy "Him or Me — What's It Gonna Be" — the LP takes the same twists and turns as its predecessor through a multitude of entertaining styles, from the sharp laze blues of "Reno" to the quintessential upbeat smack of "Mo'reen" and especially "Gone-Movin' On." Through it all, bandleader Mark Lindsay is a minor marvel. Lindsay may not have been blessed with a classic pop voice croon, but his exciting lower-range grunt and snarl compliments his upper-range prettier voice in a way that adds bushels of unfiltered attitude. His gutsy, versatile style totally blends with the rough edges of both the production and playing, which belies the more gilded pop moments. Lindsay is the glue that holds what would have been a willy-nilly collection together. Truly 1967 was the most magical year in pure pop history. But if many with-it fans have already bathed in the unbelievable sonic pleasures of that year, far too few have given the Raiders their rightful place in this pantheon, even though they certainly held such a place in their time. There can be no reason for this oversight to continue, for here is the evidence once again laid bare. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. Him Or Me (What's It Gonna Be)
2. Reno
3. Upon Your Leaving
4. Mo'reen
5. Wanting You
6. Gone - Movin' On
7. I Had A Dream
8. Tighter
9. Make It With Me
10. Ain't Nobody Who Can Make It Like Leslie Can
11. I Hear A Voice

miercuri, 25 februarie 2009

Stained Glass - Crazy Horse Roads (1969)

The wonderful world of Crazy Horse Roads, released in 1969 by Stained Glass, has been unjustly forgotten with the passing of time. The band started out life covering Beatles songs in San Jose, California. Their first single, a cover of the Beatles’ If I Needed Someone was released in 1966. It was a respectable cover of the Beatle’s classic though the flip was better, being a moody folk-rock original.
The single tanked, prompting the band to quickly release the self-penned My Buddy Sin later on that year. My Buddy Sin was an excellent folk rock song with wailing harmonica, soaring harmonies, sharp lyrics and an acid tinged production. This single failed to attract attention despite it’s quality, forcing the band to record a brill building classic for their next 45.
In the 1960’s, artists and rock bands depended on the success of the single to grant them artistic and creative control/freedom (making albums). We Got A Long Way To Go was a huge local hit, well executed, pleasant enough and professional, though betraying the band’s roots and creative aspirations. A few other decent though commercially unsuccessful singles followed in the psychedelic pop vein. Eventually the band was granted freedom to record two albums on the Capital label.
Crazy Horse Roads is a unique effort, and much different from their jam oriented Aurora album. There are some solid psych pop songs (Night Cap, Twiddle My Thumbs and Fingerpainting), soul rock (Two Make One and Fahrenheit), galloping country-rock (Horse On Me) and hard folk-rockers (Light Down Below, Doomsday, I Sing You Sing, and Soap and Turkey). Doomsday really stands out as the lost mini classic though, with some huge vibrating fuzz riffs, hard strumming accoustic guitars, tight harmonies and a psychedelic production. Night Cap is also a really good bouncy, twisted psych pop song with a British influence. You never know whats coming next throughout the album and the band’s sound resembles Moby Grape, HMS Bounty and Buffalo Springfield.
Jim McPherson, the founding member of Stained Glass, went on to form Copperhead with Quicksilver’s John Cippolina. Together they made one expensive (for the time), quality album that was overlooked in it’s day. (

Tracklist :
1. I Sing You Sing; 2. Finger Painting; 3. Soap and Turkey; 4. Twiddle My Thumbs; 5. Fahrenheit; 6. Nightcap; 7. Horse on Me; 8. Two Make One; 9. Light Down Below; 10. Piggy Back Ride and the Camel; 11. Doomsday

marți, 24 februarie 2009

The Tokens - Intercourse (1971)

This Brooklyn doo wop group was originally known as the Linc-Tones when they formed in 1955 at Lincoln High School. Hank Medress, Neil Sedaka, Eddie Rabkin, and Cynthia Zolitin didn't have much impact in their early days recording for Melba. They later disbanded, but Medress re-formed the group in 1960 as the Tokens. Brothers Phil and Mitch Margo and Jay Siegel were now the members. They recorded for Warwick in 1960, then had their one glorious hit in 1962, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." It was based on the South African Zulu song "Wimoweh," and reached number seven on the R&B chart while topping the pop surveys. The Tokens formed their own label in 1964, B.T. Puppy, but weren't able to keep the hits coming very long, although "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" remains a standard.
The Tokens are generally thought of as the vocal group who brought their "Lion Sleeps Tonight" hit to yet another generation through the success of The Lion King. But what we have here is the great lost Tokens album, recorded in 1968 and promptly turned down by Warner Bros. To fill a contractual obligation, a few hundred copies were pressed up -- in a slightly altered form -- and the album pretty much remained an interesting catalog sighting before its CD-era reissue. What we also have here is a White doo wop group delivering an album that falls somewhere between Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper's. No wonder Warner didn't know what to make of it; previous attempts by other doo woppers at updating their sound produced some of the most laughable examples that the genre has to offer. But everything on here works in a very organic manner: all of the songs follow a neat continuum and could easily be termed as a humanistic song cycle, each one surrounded by late-'60s Beatlesque production values, right down to the massively compressed drum sounds and omnipresent tape saturation. Trippy, loopy, and totally of its time, classic doo wop this is not; great, however, it is. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1. It's Amazing to Be Alive
2. Droplet of Water
3. Bathroom Wall
4. Animal
5. Greenfields
6. Wonderful Things
7. Commercial
8. Gray Is Gray
9. Waiting For Something
10. I Could Be
11. Girl on 6
12. I Want to Make Love to You
13. In and Out
14. Stereo
15. You Loser You Fool
16. It's Amazing to Be Alive - Reprise
17. Some People Sleep

luni, 23 februarie 2009

Dead Sea Fruit - Dead Sea Fruit (1967)

Combining the deadpan wit of the Bonzo Dog Band and the social-conscious lyricism of the Kinks, Dead Sea Fruit helped to bring the British Invasion of the 1960s to France. Formed in 1966, the group spent three years based in Paris thrilling French audiences with their hook-laden songs. Although all but two members relocated to Dakar, Senegal, electric bassist/guitarist/vocalist Arthur Marsh, who had replaced founding member Christopher Hall in early 1967, returned to England after three months when club owners demanded that they stick to cover tunes. Dead Sea Fruit reached their apex in 1967, when their tongue-in-jowl single, "Lulu, Put Another Record On," reached the top position on the British music charts. Their self-titled album was released the same year. (AMG).

Tracklist :
1.The 815 And The 545; 2. Lulu, Put Another Record On; 3. Psychiatric Case; 4. Mr. Barman; 5. Matters; 6. Seeds Of Disconcent; 7. I'll Come With You; 8. I've Been Away Too Long; 9. Mr. Coffee Pot; 10. Time Waits For No One; 11. I Should Have Guessed; 12. Kesington High Street

duminică, 22 februarie 2009

Ro-D-Ys - Earnest Vocation (1968)

The Ro-d-ys were from the northern part of The Netherlands and were formed somewhere around 1965. The name Ro-d-ys was chosen after they heard there already was a band called The Rowdies. There very first single, released in 1966 flopped saleswise but got a lot of airplay. Their lucky break came with the follow up single "Take Her Home" in 1967. The succes continued with their best known single "Just Fancy" which was a hit late summer/early autumn 1967. In 1968 more quality singles were met with increasing lack of succes and after one more failed attempt with the beautiful and haunting single "Winter Woman" early 1969 the group called it quits. They released two albums, "Just Fancy"in 1967 and "Earnest Vocation" in 1968. If you like sixties rock with influences from The Beatles, The Kinks & The Yardbirds then this is it.
1968 had to be the year of the Ro-D-Ys.They released their more experimental psychedelic album Earnest vocationwich was produced by Hans van Hemert wich also produced the albums by Q65 and Group 1850.
The album was somewhat a concept album based around the story of The Little John by Frederik van Eeden(wich was a 19th/20th century writer) - a fantastical adventure of an everyman who grows up to face the harsh realities of the world around him and the emptiness of hopes for a better afterlife, but ultimately finding meaning in serving the good of those around him.
The album sold good,but the singles didn’t get any attention.

Tracklist :

1. Unforgettable Girl
2. Isn't It a Good Time
3. Love Is Almost Everywhere
4. Robinetta
5. No Place Like Home
6. Everytime a Second
7. Earnest Vocation
8. Easy Come, Easy Go
9. Look for Windchild
10. Let It Be Tomorrow
11. Dr. Sipher
12. Peace Ants