Listen – Billy Vaughn – Time of the Season – MP3
How’s by you?
I’m sitting here, seep in the fortress of solitude, surrounded by impenetrable mountains of dirty snow (with a protective layer of vinyl), with a cup of rapidly cooling coffee, wondering when I might find time for a nap.
What better time for us all to get our easy on?
Late last year the wife and I managed to crowbar in one of those extremely rare – childless – getaways into the mountains of western Massachusetts. Not only were we able to grab some outstanding ethnic food (Mongolian, anyone?) but I was for the first time in a long time adrift in uncharted digging territory. I put out some feelers and my fellow wax-o-holics sent me some leads, which I was soon pursuing vigorously.
While I didn’t score much in the way of soul/funk records, I did manage to grab a huge stack of 60s pop, psyche and easy/kitsch stuff. Today’s selection is drawn from the latter category. As has been addressed here before (check out Iron Leg Digital Trips #s 5 and 14 in the Archive), the maestros of easy, your Enoch Lights, Mancinis, Mizzys et al are a particularly interesting lens throygh which one might view the pop charts of the 60s. Though they were mainly catering to urban bachelors and suburban adults, these cats often dipped into the sounds of the younger set and applied their own naugahyde and formica vibe. As hard as this may believe, even though they all had a ticket on the last train to squaresville, these slumming expeditions au-go-go often produced very interesting results.
While it’s entirely possible that this had more to do with the innate strength of the material than it did with the prism of Easy, the end results were very groovy.
Whilst flipping through a huge stack of records in a quite, out of the way record store, I happened upon an album with a very unusual cover. There, by the seaside sat a dolly bird on the rocks, with a frogman in the background and the title of the record (Billy Vaughn – The Windmills of Your Mind) laid out in that very timely 60s computer font. All these things – and the fact that it was only a dollar – compelled me to add it to my stack and take it home.
Good thing too.
Billy Vaughn, though almost completely forgotten today (by anyone under 65 who doesn’t decorate their home in the Tiki style) had several chart hits in a career that lasted two decades (back when those of his ilk were still getting played on the radio. The interesting thing – at least to me – is that he wasn’t part of the NY/LA establishment. He hailed from Kentucky and did most of his work for Dot Records in Gallatin, TN (just outside of Nashville).
The ‘Windmills…’ LP has a fairly typical song list for its time, featuring a couple of original tunes and versions of a bunch of current pop hits. Though not much on the album was grabbing me, when I dropped the needle on Vaughn’s cover of the Zombies’ ‘Time of the Season’, I knew that my dollar was not wasted.
‘Time of the Season’ is one of the great records of the psychedelic era, melding the Zombies jazzy tendencies with the general lysergic vibe in the air. Vaughn slows the song down a bit, adding a harpsichord, a flute piped through a Leslie speaker, twangy Nashville guitar and washes of very typical easy listening strings, all propped up on a drum line very close to the original. It lacks some of the subtlety of the original, but it’s not hard to imagine it as either the soundtrack to some lothario’s leopard-print seductions, or bending the mind of some poor, pilled up suburban housewife.
Very groovy, indeed.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.