The groovy side of Peter Sellers
Listen – The Blades of Grass – I Love You Alice B Toklas! – MP3
Glad to be back in the saddle as it were, with a slice of groovy 60s pop.
This is an interesting one.
The song itself was the title tune for a very funny Peter Sellers movie of the same name. I always dug the movie, and the song, so when I found this 45 many years ago (pre-portable) I grabbed it and brought it home.
So I fire up the victrola and slap the disc under the needle, and all of a suddenly I realize that the song I was hearing was different from the song I was remembering, at which point something snapped in my brain and the next thing I know it’s hours later and I’m on the floor in a pool of my own sweat.
Well, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I did experience a somewhat jarring disconnect, which was of course explained a short while later when I discovered that the song ‘I Love You Alice B Toklas!’*, as performed in the movie was done by none other than Harpers Bizarre. The version of the song on the 45 – the one you’re hearing today – was by another group entirely, North Jersey’s own Blades of Grass. This was especially confusing since the 45 label says that the tune is from the movie (I guess they were being extra literal)*.
Though I’ve seen references that suggest that the Blades of Grass were from Upstate New York, I’ve seen plenty of others that make a better case for their coming from the Maplewood/South Orange, NJ area.
The group had the unfortunate experience of releasing two 45s of two different songs (‘Happy’ and ‘I Love You Alice B Toklas’) that were released at the same time by two competing groups (The Sunshine Company and Harpers Bizarre respectively).
The groovy thing is (for you and me) is that the Blades of Grass version of ‘I Love You Alice B Toklas’ is a much cooler take on the song than the HB version, with the Blades of Grass taking things a little farther out, with the psychedelic vibe adding an edge to the brighter, poppier underpinnings of the song, especially the freakout at the end.
While it’s certainly not putting the fear of jeebus into the Chocolate Watchband, it is quite groovy, and I dig it. I hope you do too.
See you later in the week.
*If the title piques your curiosity, it’s a reference to the companion of writer Gertrude Stein, who was rumored to have concocted a particularly delicious recipe for pot brownies. What Toklas actually provided a recipe for (borrowed from none other than Brion Gysin) was hashish fudge.