The Strawberry Alarm Clock
Listen/Download – The Strawberry Alarm Clock – Tomorrow
The sixties were a turbulent time…
That said, whenever some decrepit 60s icon staggers into view on late night TV, trotting out that tired, old saw to sell CDs, you can just about guarantee that it will be followed (backed?) by the music of one of three pieces of music:
Jimi Hendrix doing ‘Purple Haze’
Canned Heat doing ‘Going Up the Country’ (or possibly ‘On the Road Again’ depending on the level of drug association required)
Or, and this one works it’s own specific kind of magic, gathering together a special class of damaged brain cells through which the mind processes things like tie-dye, psychedelic light shows and documentaries about the 60s being a ‘turbulent time’,
The Strawberry Alarm Clock playing ‘Incense and Peppermints’.
Very few songs pack the kind of psychedelic punch most likely to grab your ‘mainstream’ viewer more than ‘Incense and Peppermints’. It is at once trippy, bubblegummish, and a well written pop song, and its opening, with the pounding drums and swirling organ are just about perfect.
The kind of thing that will compel most people of a certain age to start doing a loose amalgam of the frug and the Batusi, by which they indicate that they understand the psychedelic-ness of the situation, and are imagining those two refugees from Woodstock in the old ‘Freedom Rock’ commercial.
Now, I say none of this to put down the Strawberry Alarm Clock (even the name is the ne plus ultra of psychedelic absurdity), since I really dig that song.
Though I can’t say that I know a lot about the band (other than that Ed King ended up in Lynrd Skynyrd), the 45s that I have procured over the years (especially the tune they did in ‘Psych Out’) have been cool, or at least cool enough to separate them from the kind of Kasenetz-Katz ersatz band product that was its contemporary.
The Strawberry Alarm Clock were not dwelling on the psychedelic Olympus with bands like the Jefferson Airplane, but they did create a very solid brand of psychedelic pop that managed to remain somewhat authentic, while simultaneously crossing over to the pop crowd.
The song I bring you today, ‘Tomorrow’ (sounds like an Abbott and Costello routine…), written by guitarist Ed King and keyboard player Mark Weitz, is a breezy pop-psyche confection with a vaguely Latin underpinning that sounds somewhat Association-ish until the combo organ and acid guitar pop in, and then closes out with a bit of trippy echo.
Proof once again (literally) that they were more than a one-hit wonder.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday.