Spanky and Our Gang (above), Margo Guryan (below)
Listen/Download – Spanky and Our Gang – Sunday Mornin’
Welcome back to another week here at Iron Leg.
When I was perusing the archive to see what I might offer up this week, I happened upon something double-extra-groovy.
I apply that rating – if you will – because the song not only comes from the catalog of a very cool – some would say underrated – group of the 60s, performing a tune by one of the more interesting cult artists of the same period.
The group Spanky and Our Gang, the writer, Margo Guryan.
I always dug the sounds of Spanky and Our Gang, with their biggest hits popping up frequently on the oldies radio that occupied so much of my childhood.
While the initial impulse was to compare their soaring harmonies to the Mamas and Papas, Spanky and Our Gang had a unique sensibility, informed by old school pop music, show tunes and the like.
Lead singer Elaine McFarlane had a bright, powerful contralto that drove all of the group’s most memorable numbers, like ‘Sunday Will Never Be the Same’ and ‘Lazy Day’.
What I didn’t have any inkling of, until well into my adulthood, was that one of the big behind-the-scenes forces in the group’s sound was a huge favorite of mine, that being the mighty (and also underrated) Bob Dorough.
Along with his musical partner Stu Scharf, Dorough arranged and produced for the group, as well as composing some of their material (Scharf wrote their hit ‘Like to Get to Know You’).
Margo Guryan was a NY-based singer/songwriter who recorded a long-lost but essential bit of pop history in her 1968 LP “Take a Picture’ (which has been reissued and should be picked up by fans of exceptional pop music). She wrote and recorded the tune ‘Sunday Morning’ (Spanky et al dropping the G) on that very album.
Spanky and Our Gang recorded their version of the song, stretching it out a bit with all manner of baroque vocal touches on their own 1968 LP ‘Like To Get To Know You’.
Their version fades out, then comes back for a reprise of sorts.
Though their albums aren’t very hard to come by, a few years back Hip-O Select compiled all of their Mercury recordings into a single set.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back next week.