Iron Leg Digital Trip #29 – How To Pop!!!!

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Iron Leg Digital Trip #29 – How To Pop!!!!

Playlist
Archies – Melody Hill (Calendar)
Candymen – Ways (ABC)
Turtles – Sound Asleep (White Whale)
Lee Mallory – Many Are the Times (Valiant)
Love Generation – The Love In Me (Imperial)
Merry Go Round – Early In the Morning (A&M)
Mark Eric – Night of the Lions (45edit)(Revue)
The Robbs – Bittersweet (Mercury)
Clique – Hallelujah (White Whale)
Hardy Boys – I Can Hear the Grass Singin’ (RCA)
Holy Mackerel – Scorpio Red (Reprise)
Nilsson – Daddy’s Song (APB edit) (RCA)
Klowns – Yellow Sunglasses (RCA)
Racket Squad – That’s How Much I Love My Baby ()
Wildweeds – Someday Morning (Chess)
Beethoven Soul – Dreams (Dot)
New Colony 6 – Treat Her Groovy (Mercury)
Orpheus – Congress Alley (MGM)
Byzantine Empire – You (Amy/Dunwich)
Peanut Gallery – Summer’s Over (Canterbury)
Moods – Gotta Figure Out (Bang)
Southwest FOB – On My Mind (Hip)


This mix can be heard in the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive

Greetings all.
I hope the new week finds you all well.
The mix I bring you today is an assemblage of a wide variety of mid-to-late 60s pop, hailing from an area of the pop spectrum that is not (ironically) all that wide. Though there are contributions here from genuine, accepted past masters of the pop world (i.e. messrs Nilsson, Rhodes y los Turtles), many of the artists here (and I use the term loosely, to be explained forthwith) fall so far from what might be described as musical legitimacy as to be artificial (if not fraudulent).
As discussed in this space previously, concepts of artistic ‘realness’, especially in the 60s were especially flexible. Where many of the bands/performers included in this mix were ‘serious’, if marginalized by their obscurity, some are considered less so because they were presented as teen idol fodder (which should not necessarily tarnish the music they made), and others were little more than studio fabrications, the sounds they made produced by faceless professionals, their songs provided by equally faceless craftsmen/women.
The purpose of this mix – aside from obvious the obvious musical pleasures therein – is to illustrate how easily those lines are blurred with 40 years of time. To many people, a look at the playlist above will produce little or no recognition. To aficionados of lesser known pop, some of the names will ring more bells than others, but that doesn’t matter much either because when you ‘drill down’ below the surface of a lot of this stuff you discover that while some of the records are truly obscure (i.e. written, performed and produced by people lost to the ages), many of the others bear the marks of the involvement of names that are, or should be familiar.
Once you start deconstructing some of these records and drawing tangents between them you start to realize that a lot of those barriers we music snobs throw up between artists are as artificial as the lines on an old map, and the more you learn the more the lines need to be moved, or in some cases, erased.
The connective tissue in Iron Leg Digital Trip #29 is good pop songs. The vast majority of this stuff (just like most of what you hear any day on Iron Leg) comes from between 1966 and 1970, maybe the greatest era of pop music (in America or anywhere else) in which the sounds, no matter how crassly commercial showed the influence of the headiest artistic pretensions.
This little bouillabaisse de pop, in addition to the obvious and inescapable influence of the Beatles, has threads of psychedelia, soul running through it accented by bits of Tin Pan Alley fillagree.
The first tune in the mix is the flipside of one of the biggest hits of 1969, ‘Sugar Sugar’ by the Archies. If you didn’t already know, the Archies were literally a cartoon, starting in comic books and ending up animated on Saturday morning. The music on their records was created by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim, and sung by Ron Dante. ‘Melody Hill’ has a uncharacteristic roughness (though ‘rough’ might be overstating the case a bit), highlighted by a fuzzed out guitar solo.
The Candymen were a Georgia group with connections to the people behind the Classics IV. Their albums are hit and miss, but did have their moments. One of those, on the poppier end of the scale was ‘Ways’, with a great reverbed piano opening.
The Turtles of course were one of the great 60s pop bands. They were one of those bands that managed to mix a ‘good time’ pop vibe with just enough serious artistic weight that their music holds up quite nicely 40 years on. ‘Sound Asleep’ was a Top 40 hit in 1968 and shifts gears from sunshine pop to ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ psychedelia and then back again.
Lee Mallory was part of the Curt Boettcher ‘galaxy of stars’, performing with, and being produced by him through the second half of the 60s. ‘Many Are the Times’ hails from one of his two Boettcher-produced 45s for the Valiant label.
The Love Generation were another sunshine pop group (featured here recently) that combined Free Design-like harmonies with pop hooks on their albums. ‘The Love In Me’ is packed with tight harmonies and baroque touches.
The Merry Go Round are best known as the first taste of manstream fame for singer/songwriter Emitt Rhodes (not counting his time with the Palace Guard). Their 1967 A&M LP is a wonderful taste of Sunset Strip pop on the wane. The band was poppy, yet always managed to keep it real with folk rock and country touches, even edging up to (if not committing to) psychedelia. They seem to have been marketed mainly to teenage girls, but their music was much better than that.
Mark Eric – and I’ll feature more of his music soon – is utterly obscure (outside of hardcore Beach Boys/sunshine pop nuts) yet his 1969 ‘Midsummer’s Day Dream’ album for Revue is truly a lost work of pop genius. To make a long, involved story short, when the rest of the world was letting their hair get long and greasy, plugging in and turning on, Mark Eric was writing and recording music that was perhaps the greatest tribute to 1965/66 era-Brian Wilson ever laid down. When I first read about him, he sounded interesting in theory, but when I finally got my hands on, and listened to his album, I was blown away. It was nothing less than a work of devotion, doomed to obscurity by the fact that it was so ‘not of its time’. ‘Night of the Lions’ is probably the ‘rockiest’ track on the album and is presented here in its slightly different 45 mix.
The Clique are best known as having recorded the original version of ‘Superman’, later made famous by REM. Their 1968 LP for the White Whale label is packed with sunshiney pop, from which ‘Hallelujah’ is a blue-eyed soul departure.
The Hardy Boys were another studio creation, set up to provide the music for the imaginary Saturday morning cartoon version of the old Franklin W. Dixon characters. Though they were portrayed by actual humans on their album covers, as far as I know there is no correlation between those models and the actual people on the records, though I’ve seen a reference that suggests that there may have actually been a touring version of the ‘Hardy Boys’. Their records are once again connected to the Jeff Barry hit factory, and ‘I Can Hear the Grass Singin’ – despite any lysergic suggestions in the title – is actually a very nice bit of sunshine pop.
The Holy Mackerel were Paul Williams’ first band, and their one album for Reprise is really quite good (it has been reissued). ’Scorpio Red’ is one of their more psyched out numbers.
Harry Nilsson was, of course, a true genius of pop music. Gifted with the voice of an angel and the ability to write brilliant pop songs, Nilsson was beloved by the Beatles (and his music shows that love to have been requited). The version of ‘Daddy’s Song’ presented here is the remix from the ‘Aerial Pandemonium Ballet’ album and is one of my faves.
Now, when it comes to ‘manufactured’ bands, they don’t get any krazier than the Klowns. A real Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey tie-in, with music by the Jeff Barry hit factory, the Klowns were created out of whole cloth, appeared on a 1970 TV special and are rumored to have included both Barry Bostwick and John Bennett Perry in their ranks (you can actually see Perry – father of none other than Matthew Perry – on the record cover). They wore clown makeup and mod-ified clown outfits, and their music was pure AM pop. ‘Yellow Sunglasses’ is a really cool pop-rocker, and is about as heavy as the Klowns got.
I know little about the Racket Squad. They appear to have roots in a Pittsburgh, PA band called the Fenways, and recorded two LPs for the Jubilee label in the late 60s. ‘That’s How Much I Love My Baby’ is a great slice of pop.
The Wildweeds were a Connecticut band that recorded a number of 45s for the Chess label in 1967, and featured the singing, guitar and songwriting of Al Anderson who went on to join NRBQ. ‘Someday Morning’ is my fave Wildweeds tune, with just a taste of soul, and a musical shout out to Bach.
The Beethoven Soul are another largely anonymous band that made an interesting pop album for the Dot label in 1968. Their album was produced by James Griffin, who went on to join David Gates in Bread.
Chicago’s New Colony 6 are an example of a group that had the talent to be much bigger than they were. Starting out with a sound that was a garagey take on the British Invasion, moving on to bubblegum and then sophisticated AM pop (where they had their biggest successes), they recorded a lot of good music in their time. If the title didn’t tip you off, ‘Treat Her Groovy’ was one of their more bubblegummy efforts.
Orpheus were a Massachusetts band that recorded a number albums for MGM in the late 60s/early 70s. I featured my fave Orpheus track ‘Lesley’s World’ in an early Iron Leg mix, and ‘Congress Alley’ is another taste of their jazzy sophistication.
The Byzantine Empire are best known (at least around here) for recording an early version of Tandyn Almer’s ‘Shadows and Reflections’ more famous in a version by the Action. ‘You’ is the flipside of that very 45 and has touches of the Association.
The Peanut Gallery recorded one 45 for the Canterbury label. The A-side ’Out of Breath’ is a mind-bending slice of Sunset Strip garage mania. The flip ‘Summer’s Over’ is a much poppier number that bears the influence of the poppier side of the British Invasion.
The Moods are a band that I picked up back in the day when I was grabbing everything I could on the Bang label. ‘Gotta Figure Out’ is a gritty number with shades of the Rascals.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip closes out with an album cut from the Southwest FOB. The Texas band, best known for their cover of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s ‘Smell of Incense’ recorded their sole album for the Stax subsidiary Hip records.
I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back next week with some cool stuff.

Peace
Larry


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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some bluesy soul.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

Lynn Redgrave – While I’m Still Young

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Illustration from the cover of the ‘Smashing Time’ OST

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Listen – Lynn Redgrave – While I’m Still Young – MP3

Greetings all.

This weeks ‘end of week’ post is coming a bit early on account of it’s a holiday and I’m taking the rest of the week off, on account of that’s how I roll on Thanksgiving.
The tune I bring you today is something I dug up onmy recent trip to the Berkshires.
I should start by informing you that the song you are about to hear is nothing less than a demented work of genius, and should be covered by a punk band (garage or otherwise) as soon as humanly possible.
The strangest thing of all is that ‘While I’m Still Young’ is basically a parody to start with, composed to be sung by Lynne Redgrave’s character ‘Yvonne’ in the 1967 film ‘Smashing Time’.
‘Smashing Time’ was always a touchstone of sorts back in the mod days, mainly because it was packed wall to wall with Carnaby Street type scenery, and that it provided an odd little snapshot of the short lived ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ fashion craze in the UK, AND (dig this) a cameo by no less a band than Tomorrow (Keith West, Twink, Steve Howe et al) as a band called the Snarks.
The main thrust of the film is Yvonne and Brenda (Rita Tushingham) heading into the big city in search of stardom, where the former, discovered as a “typical teen” is taken and injection-molded into attempted pop stardom by a cynical record industry.
Today’s selection’While I’m Still Young’ is the highlight of the soundtrack, with a bright, brassy 1967-centric vibe (as seen through the prism of middle aged showbiz types) and an absolutely insane lyric.

I can’t sing but I’m young
Can’t do a thing but I’m young
I’m a fool, but I’m cool
Don’t put me down
I don’t read but I’m young
I’m built for speed cause I’m young
I’m a fool, but I’m cool
I’m not a clown
Don’t give a fig if you don’t dig
That I’m around
I don’t walk but I’m young
I never talk cause I’m young
I won’t cry, if I die
While I’m still young

Yeah baby I’m so young
Yeah baby I’m still so young

The lyrics were written by English satirist/surrealist (and jazz singer) George Melly, and they’re really amazing. ‘While I’m Still Young’ reads like the long lost bridge between raw 1966 punk and snotty 1976 punk, all delivered through Lynne Redgrave’s shrill vocal, laid on top of a cool, sitar tinged arrangement.
I dig it a lot, and I hope you do too.
Have a great holiday and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for heavy bit of Latin funk.

Sounds of the Millennium #1 – Puppet – Best Friend

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Sandy Salisbury (bottom row, left side) with the Millennium

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Listen – Puppet – Best Friend – MP3

Greetings all.

I had an interesting weekend. How’s about you?
The short version is, I started to feel sick (like kidney problem sick) on Friday, went to the hospital, had a brief (yet unpleasant) surgical procedure and was sprung by Saturday afternoon. All in all not the worst episode in recent memory, but honestly, who the fuck wants to spend a night in a hospital bed when you could be somewhere (anywhere) else?
Fortunately the ‘out by Saturday afternoon’ aspect of the deal was the crucial part, that and the fact that I’m not feeling too poorly overall, allowing me to return to my appointed rounds in a timely fashion.
The tune I bring you today is the first in a series of Millennium-related tracks that I amassed during the approach to the recent Curt Boettcher project. Though Boettecher is the name most closely associated with that group, the ranks of the Millennium included a surplus of songwriting and performing talent. Starting today, and going forward I’ll be featuring a number of interesting cuts by members of the band.
The inaugural post features a song that I chased for years by virtue of it having occupied a place in my childhood memory.
Back when I was a kid, there was a show called ‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ (which itself was a remake of a 1963 Glenn Ford movie). It ran from 1969 to 1972, starred Bill Bixby (known to slightly younger viewers from the ‘Incredible Hulk’) and most importantly featured an incredibly catchy title song performed by none other than Harry Nilsson.
Flash forward 15 years or so to a much older me browsing through the crates at some record show or other and what do I turn up but a Nilsson LP called ‘Aerial Pandemonium Ballet’. An interesting artifact, ‘APB’ was in fact (and I did not know this at the time) something of an ur remix project, in which Nilsson took tracks from his first two LPs, 1967’s ‘Pandemonium Shadow Show’ and 1968’s ‘Aerial Ballet’ and engaged in often subtle bits of reworking/rerecording. He was essentially taking advantage of the fact that most of his 1971 audience – who came to him via his 1969 mega-hit ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ would have been unfamiliar with his largely overlooked early work, and presenting some of that work in a new setting.
Of course I knew none of this at the time, and it would have been aside the point except for the fact that one of the tracks on ‘APB’ sounded eerily familiar. The first time I heard ‘Daddy’s Song’ the archetypal light bulb went on over my head and I thought to myself, ‘This sounds an awful lot like the theme to ‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’, which it did. It was only years later that I discovered that the theme song in question ‘Best Friend’ was actually an amalgam of ‘Daddy’s Song’ and an unreleased (originally planned for inclusion on ‘Aerial Ballet’) song called ‘Girlfriend’.
Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I always wondered if there had been a commercial release of Nilsson’s ‘Courtship’ theme song.
There was not (unless you count a one-minute long version of it that surfaced on a ‘TV Theme’s’ comp years later).
However, back in the day, knowing a good song when they heard one, some enterprising souls put together a group – from what I can tell a one-off studio conglomeration – called Puppet, to record and release a (very faithful) cover of ‘Best Friend’. That group just happened to feature the lead vocals of none other than long-time Boettcher accomplice and Millennium member Sandy Salisbury.
Salisbury, who recorded a 45 (and an excellent unreleased LP) for Gary Usher’s Together records had worked with Curt Boettcher on a number of projects through the 60s. He had a wonderful voice and wrote songs like ‘Lonely Girl’ (recorded but originally unreleased for the Sagittarius sessions) and ‘5 A.M.’ from the Millennium’s ‘Begin’. I have no idea how Salisbury got involved in Puppet. The vast majority of his known credits were Boettcher-related, and as far as I can tell (at least by the label) Puppet was not one of those projects. It’s certainly not out of the question – considering his talent – that Salisbury (like Boettcher) did other similarly ‘anonymous’ work to make a buck.
Either way, it’s a groovy record, never straying too far from the original, which I assume was intentional since the assumption here is that Puppet were essentially trying to cash in on the popularity of the TV series. Naturally, as often happens with such projects, Puppet went absolutely nowhere, rendering their one 45 both obscure and rare*. I looked for this one for a long time, eventually stumbling on it in an unexpected place and grabbing it for a pittance.
I hope you dig the song, and I’ll be back later in the week.

Peace

Larry

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*’Best Friend’ was included on the ‘Preparing for the Ballroom’ CD comp

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a deep soul ballad

Kak – Rain (45 Edit)

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Kak

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Listen – Kak – Rain (45 edit) – MP3

Greetings all.

The end of yet another week is here and I’m just glad to get here in one piece.
In celebration of that fact, I bring you one of the awesomest, most brain bending-est, psychedelic sonic blasts ever committed to seven inches of vinyl.
The record in question is one that I chased for years, never finding one at a decent price until a few months back when I caught a copy as part of a big lot of 45s. In addition to the wondrous 45 we’ll all be hearing today, I also got a bunch of soul and 60s pop in the deal, some of which have already appeared in this space.
I first heard of Kak way back in the early days of CDs when I got two of their tracks (including today’s selection) on an import comp of 60s psyche. I bought that comp (three CDs at a relatively high price) to get one specific track, that being Love’s ‘Your Mind and We Belong Together’, which was not yet available on compact disc (anyone else here remember those days???).
Anyhoo, the comp – the title of which I can no longer remember since it was long ago lost after being loaned out and never returned – ended up turning me on to a couple of bands I later dug into deeply, namely Pearls Before Swine, and today’s artist, Kak.
Some time after acquiring those CDs, I blew a wad of cash on an import bootleg repressing of Kak’s sole Epic LP. I liked the record a lot, but was pole-axed when I discovered that the version of ‘Rain’ on the LP was a much tamer affair than the one I had grown to love on the CD comp. That this was in an era when the interwebs were in their infancy, I was at a loss as to why the versions didn’t match up, and it wasn’t until years later that I discovered that the version of the song that I loved so much had appeared only on a 45 release.
Thus began the search….
I was never able to grab a copy in the field, and seemingly every time it would pop up on E-Bay I would end up getting outbid.
As is always the case, I saved the search and bided my time. When the lot of 45s popped up (with no individual records graded) I knew I was taking a chance, but that’s part of the record game. Sometimes you have to leap before you look in the hopes that you will be rewarded when you land.
Fortunately for me, this was one of those times.
I won the auction, the box of records arrived at my door, and I opened it only to discover that the seller had packed everything in huge wads of shredded newsprint – which, since it’s one of the shittiest grades of paper imaginable – had (post-shredding) deteriorated even further, leaving my house coated in small scraps of paper, paper dust and god knows what else.
That said, the added labor of the clean up paid off in the end because the one 45 I actually wanted in the lot (the one by Kak) was in decent shape, and there was a nice stack of extras to make the value of the purchase all the better.
Now, at the beginning of the piece when I described the 45 edit of ‘Rain’ in glowing terms, I suspect (having listened to it yet again while I was writing this) that I was not quite effusive enough. ‘Rain’ is nothing less than two solid minutes of ass-kicking compressed into 45 form, guaranteed to set your hair on end, while you leap from your chair, air-guitar in hand, leaping about your house like a goofball.
It’s that good.
Where the LP version (which can be heard here) is a relaxed bit of San Francisco sunrise, the 45 edit of ‘Rain’ is a blistering and unrelenting mixture of late period garage powered, speed-freakery with just a pinch of soul added for flavor. The lead guitar by Dehner Patten is a fluid, wah-wah soaked wonder and the rhythm section is uncharacteristically powerful with over modulated drums and even at one point pushed even further by a round of handclaps, and just when it gets up to full speed, it’s over almost as soon as it started.
I listen to ‘Rain’ and the first thing that comes to mind is to question why not this wasn’t a hit, at least in the limited world of the FM underground. Perhaps it was too intense, whether for the Golden Gate Park hippies or the general AM radio audience. It’s entirely possible that ‘Rain’ may have made it’s only impact amongst the amphetamine sodden, leathered and chained motorcycle set where it provided the soundtrack for any number of nocturnal chain-whippings. Could it be that the band (or the label) witnessed the unholy explosions unleashed by the record, then changed their tune (literally) retreating into the version of the song that appeared on the LP?
The world may never know.
I hope you dig the song as much as I do, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a Jamaican funk 45!

The Monkees – Tear Drop City

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Peter we hardly knew ye….

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Listen -The Monkees – Teardrop City – MP3

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end and that you’re all ready to weather yet another week.
The tune I bring you today is yet another 45 that emerged from my giant, everlasting, pulsating record stash of a few summers ago, whence my father-in-law brought me down a heap of records, thousands strong, which even today is still giving up the goods (albeit at a much slower rate).
I still have a couple of crates of stuff from that haul down in the basement, and every once in a great while, when I’m moving the wash, emptying the humidifier or hunting the huge, mutant crickets that have moved into the cellar, I stop by those boxes, grab a handful of records and pick a couple of things that look like they merit further investigation.
These days, the amount of records that meet that criteria is getting smaller and smaller. The wife and I made a pretty thorough pass through the initial mountain of vinyl, so the pickings are relatively slim, however, there always seems to be something lurking down there, and today’s selection is one of them.
The Monkees have made a couple of appearances at Iron Leg over the years. I’m a fan, and there are still a couple of LPs by the group that I go back to on a regular basis. When I happened upon a copy of the ‘Tear Drop City’ 45, I thought the song title was familiar but could not recall anything of what it might sound like. As it turns out that was perfectly reasonable because I’d never actually heard the song.
I gave it a spin an really liked it, which sent me out onto the interwebs where I was surprised to discover that this was actually some of that late-period Monkee goodness, so late in fact that it is, how do they say, ‘Tork-less’.
That’s right, Peter Tork had left the band (no doubt to devote his time to beaded buckskin jackets and daisy chains) by the time the ‘Instant Replay’ LP was released in 1969. ‘Tear Drop City’, with its ‘Last Train to Clarksville’-ish guitar riff had actually been recorded the previous year by its authors, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart on their ‘I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight’ LP. The Monkees version is a much rougher take on the tune (though the 45 was arranged by Boyce and Hart) with heavier guitars and a more aggressive pace.
Following ‘Instant Replay’ there was one more Tork-less LP ‘The Monkees Present’ before Mike Nesmith got wise and tore himself loose, leaving Mickey and Davey to slog it out for one more LP as a duo, 1970s ‘Changes’.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back later in the week.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a new mix of funk and soul for the kids!

The Love Generation – Not Be Found

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The Love Generation

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Listen -The Love Generation – Not Be Found – MP3

Greetings all.

How’s by you?
The end of the week is nigh, and since it’s grey, gloomy, cold and windy outside, I figured I’d brighten things up a bit with a glittery little slice of sunshine pop.
It bears mentioning that had I been out digging in the field – sans portable – I would have been duty bound to pick up an album by a group calling themselves the Love Generation (assuming of course that some deluded flea marketeer wasn’t trying to get $25 bucks for it).
That said, when I finally did get the first album by said Love Generation, I was aware of them in name and reputation, and needed only to venture out into that great digital flea market known as the interwebs to secure my copy.
I hadn’t heard any of their music, and truth be told the group shot on the album cover screamed “corny”, but I had heard enough positive things about them that it wasn’t going to kill me to grab the record. Good thing too, since the album in question contained some excellent examples of the great, sunshiney harmony pop that I love so much.
When it comes to the subject of what the collector geeks of the world refer to as “sunshine pop” the range of quality is fairly wide, encompassing everything from visionary pop like the Millennium to one-off cartoon show soundtracks recorded by anonymous collections of studio professionals. How much an individual is willing to dig into the genre is guided both by a love for pure pop, and by a willingness to follow that love down all kinds of back alleys, some stranger than others.
Sometimes an obscure album yields nothing more than a bright cover and another worthless slab of vinyl to throw on the growing heap in your record room.
Other times – and I’m happy to report that this is one of them – you pick up a record, apply the needle to the wax and get a rush when what comes out of the speakers is in fact quite good.
The Love Generation were by and large the work of the brothers John and Tom Bahler. They, along with Mitch Gordon, Ann White, Marilyn Miller and Jim Wasson, took the sounds of groups like the Mamas and Papas, Spanky and Our Gang and the Association (among others) as a starting point and ran off into what can only be described as a groovy sunset wrapped around a licorice rainbow (sure, most people wouldn’t use those specific terms, but this is my blog…).
It’s important to give this music a serious listen, because a casual pass at a song like today’s selection ‘Not Be Found’ might impress the casual listener as light and disposable. The truth of the matter is, groups like the Love Generation, while wrapping themselves in the external trappings of the hip world, were in fact applying the pop vocabulary of the day to a much more conventional framework. They were using the same kinds of hooks as many more ‘serious’ rock bands, but delivered them in a decidedly non-rock fashion. This isn’t to say that they were square – because I can’t imagine anyone outside of the youth demographic enjoying this stuff – but rather that they were proudly un-hip. Where any number of rock bands that people might consider more ‘legitimate’ would have presented themselves with a rougher, cooler vibe (in both looks and sound), the Love Generation took some of the same energy and applied it to both songcraft and performance. Unfortunately for them – at least as history goes – is that their efforts landed them much closer to a commercial, even bubblegummy vibe that 40 years down the road endears them only to specialist collectors, rendering them disposable to pretty much everyone else. Had they come along a few years later they may very well cut a much wider commercial swath.
It should come as no surprise to you that I think this is unfair.
Say all you want about the ‘deeper’ bands of the day, but I’m here to remind you that even the brightest pop confections had their artistic moments.
The song I bring you today, ‘Not Be Found’ has a folk rock base, wrapped, again and again in layer upon layer of bright, lush harmonies. Like Curt Boettcher, the Bahler brothers knew the value and power in the human voice, making it the most prominent instrument on their records.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Bahler brothers were involved in the early albums by the Partridge Family, as both writers and performers. Tom Bahler went on to write both ‘Julie Do Ya Love Me’ for Bobby Sherman, and ‘She’s Out Of My Life’ for Michael Jackson.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some dance floor grooves.

Enoch Light & the Glittering Guitars – You Showed Me

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The Maestro – Enoch Light

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Listen -Enoch Light & the Glittering Guitars – You Showed Me – MP3

Greetings all.

Welcome to another fantabulous autumnal week, in which my attempts to do psychic battle with the leaves in my yard result only in their repeatedly mocking me by falling to the ground.
In an attempt to soothe my shredded nerves I figured I’d get things started this week with something on the mellow side.
I have previously described my ongoing fascination with the sounds of Mr. Enoch Light.
Light spent the 30s, 40s and 50s as the leader of a popular big band, but it wasn’t until that last decade that he carved himself out a place as one of the true leaders of the ‘Now Sound’ with his work creating hi-fi masterworks engineered for full exploitation of the topography of the American bachelor pad.
Light, via his Command and Project 3 labels pioneered hi-tech stereo recording to 35mm sound and built a significant and widely varied catalog of albums. On the surface many of these records – especially the earlier ones – seemed aimed exclusively at hi-fi nuts who liked to sit between expensive loudspeakers listening to sounds bounce back and forth between the channels.
However, as Light and his army of crack session players (including keyboard whiz Dick Hyman, guitarist Tony Mottola and drummers like Bobby Rosengarten and Ed Shaugnessy) moved on into the swinging sixties, the material they covered on these records, under a variety of names, began to lean toward the hip side of the street.
And – wonder of wonders – the recordings of this material started to sound just as hip. The records by Enoch Light and the Light Brigade (or the Brass Menagerie, or as in this case the Glittering Guitars) and Hyman especially began to reflect less exploitation and more empathy with the material, so much so that if their interpretations sometimes sounded a little far out (listen to some Hyman’s visionary moog recordings of the 60s) they were more often that not very interesting.
The tune I bring you today hails from the compilation LP ‘Enoch Light Presents Patterns In Sound Vol. 6: The Now Scene’, which features selections from of number of the instrumental groups in the Command roster as well as the two best known vocal groups in Light’s stable, the Free Design and the Critters. The tune I bring you today is by Enoch Light and the Glittering Guitars, a cover of the Turtles classic ‘You Showed Me’.
The Light version features an ‘easy’ background, over which are layered a couple of very fuzzy, very sustained lead guitars (one by Vinnie Bell). Delivered at a familiar tempo, the juxtaposition of strings and fuzzed guitars sounds like the backing track for a mod boudoir scene in a period exploitation film.
It’s very groovy and I hope you dig it.
I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

Example

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a funky 45

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