Monday, March 31, 2014

The Jay Five - Collection

The Soul Survivors - When The Whistle Blows Anything Goes With The Soul Survivors (1967)


 The Soul Survivors' only giant hit, "Expressway to Your Heart," was one of the first notable productions by Philadelphia wizards Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1967. Although they were white, The Soul Survivors adopted a convincing R&B sound for their early singles on Crimson. Gamble and Huff loaded "Expressway to Your Heart" with honking horns and other automotive sound effects, but the record's principal strength lay in its soulful vocals and pounding beat. After a less successful follow-up, "Explosion in Your Soul," the band faded but returned for one more hit in 1974.

The Soul Survivors - When The Whistle Blows Anything Goes With The Soul Survivors

 The first band to help establish the Gamble-Huff combine. A great white soul ensemble.


Le Group Five - En direct de Liverpool

The Lemon Dips - Who's Gonna Buy ? (1969)




 The Lemon Dips are a relatively unknown Garage-Rock band from the U.K. They are described as having a psychedelic influenc...

Collection of psychedelic / freakbeat vocal and instrumental tracks issued by the music library label. Three of them, 'Who's Gonna Buy', 'I Am Your Man' and 'Unpack Your Bags' were featured in the film "Haunted House Of Horror". All De Wolf recordings comprised material penned by song writers Peter Renno and Johnny Hawksworth and played by session musicians. Information taken from The Tapestry Of Delights Revisited, 2010 Borderline Productions.






Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Lemon Drops - Crystal Pure (1966-69)




Anyone who likes the Leaves, the Seeds et al will love the early cuts by this band, a hard-luck Chicago outfit who couldn't turn a local wave of popular enthusiasm into something bigger, despite some good songs. Their later stuff was more self-consciously psychedelic, but it's still very well done, with superb playing and harmonies. The Lemon Drops were Jeff Brand (bass), Bobby Lunack (rhythm guitar), Gary Weiss (drums), Eddie Weiss (rhythm guitar), and Danny Smola (vocals), who began rehearsing in the Weiss home when they were between 14 and 17 years old. With lead guitarist Ricky Erickson in tow and later an official member, they cut their first record, "I Live In the Springtime," for Rembrandt, a local label co-owned by one of the Weisses' elder siblings. "I Live in the Springtime" got an enthusiastic reception locally, and was played as far away as New York. The bandmembers became celebrities among the local kids when they were thrown out of school for their long hair. By that time, they were on their second single, the angry anti-Vietnam rocker "It Happens Everyday," and soon after had a new lead singer, Dick Sidman. The band slipped easily into the psychedelic blossoming of the Summer of Love, adding more overt flower-power references to their mix of sounds. It looked as though RCA was interested in the group, but a mix-up prevented the tapes for their third single, "Sometime Ago"/"Theatre of Your Eyes," from getting to the company in New York on time. A potential contract with Uni Records came to nothing, and their third single, as well as a dozen tracks cut live in the Weiss home in January of 1968, went unheard. A few more songs were cut on behalf of Buena Vista Records, but the death of the label head scotched the deal, and a potential contract with Alden Records fell apart, along with the group, following an acid party at the owner's Los Angeles mansion in the summer of 1969.






The Lemon Fog - The Psychedelic Sound Of Summer (1967-68)


 Enter Chris Lyons, who was recruiting musicians at Clem's Music in Houston for a new band he was forming. Danny Ogg showed up at the store, and Lyons asked him to join -- Ogg agreed on condition that Timmy Thorpe, who had just gotten laid off from work, play bass. Lyons agreed, and by that weekend, the Pla-Boys, as they were known, were playing their first gig, at St. Regis College for the Arts. It was there that they were seen and heard by Ted Eubanks, an avant-garde composer on Houston's mod scene, who caught The Pla-Boys' act, which consisted mostly of covers of such garage greats as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs and ? and the Mysterians. Eubanks liked the way they played more than what they played, and immediately approached them after the show. The band liked his suggestions, and he began putting original numbers into the group's sets. He also changed their image from clean-cut, matching suits to psychedelic, including beads. In a matter of weeks in 1965, they went from being the Pla-Boys to The Lemon Fog, who quickly became recognized as one of the more formidable bands in Houston.

The group's lineup soon shifted as Timmy Thorpe was dropped and Danny Ogg moved to bass, with Terry Horde taking over the lead guitar spot. They won a local battle of the bands, and, with help from producer-songrwriter Jimmy Duncan, were approached by Orbit Records with the offer of a recording contract. Only three singles were ever issued on the group by Orbit, although they recorded many hours' worth of demos under Eubanks' direction -- he handled most of the songwriting, alternating with Duncan. The best of these was "The Living Eye Theme," also known as "The Lemon Fog," which reached number eight on the regional and local charts in the Houston area. The group was a major draw there and in the Houston area, and made many television appearances promoting their singles.

Their sound, initially typical garage band-dance material, had advanced by leaps and bounds. Some of their songs resembled the folk-rock of the Byrds or the Beau Brummels, while their playing was closer in spirit to the complexity of Moby Grape, with lots of unexpected twists in the guitar and organ parts, and interesting harmonies. Personality conflicts eventually doomed the band, despite some extraordinary music to their credit. Egos clashed, and the use of drugs hampered the talents of one member, and in 1970, Eubanks was cutting records as a solo artist, which heralded the group's disintegration.




Lemon Pipers - Love Beads And Meditation

Lemon Pipers - Lemon Pipers (2009)



 Lemon Pipers -  Lemon Pipers [Reissue 2009]
 ака Green Tambourine 1967 + bonus 


1. The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine (2:27)
2. The Lemon Pipers - Rice Is Nice (2:12)
3. The Lemon Pipers - Shoe Shine Boy (3:30)
4. The Lemon Pipers - No Help From Me (2:41)
5. The Lemon Pipers - Rainbow Tree (2:23)
6. The Lemon Pipers - Ask Me If I Care (3:12)
7. The Lemon Pipers - Straglin' Behind (2:36)
8. The Lemon Pipers - Blueberry Blue (2:30)
9. The Lemon Pipers - The Shoemaker Of Leatherwear Square (2:05)
10. The Lemon Pipers - Fifty Year Void (5:48)
11. The Lemon Pipers - Through With You (9:09)
12. The Lemon Pipers - Jelly Jungle (2:26)
13. The Lemon Pipers - I Was Not Born To Follow (2:35)
14. The Lemon Pipers - Everything Is You (2:48)
15. The Lemon Pipers - Catch Me Falling (5:19)
16. The Lemon Pipers - Love Beads And Meditation (2:50)
17. The Lemon Pipers - I Need Someone (The Painter) (2:42)
18. The Lemon Pipers - Lonely Atmosphere (2:56)
19. The Lemon Pipers - Wine And Violet (3:08)
20. The Lemon Pipers - Dead End Street / Half Light (11:42)







La De Das - Anthology-Rock 'n' Roll Decade


 Original line-up: BRYAN HARRIS (drums); TREVOR WILSON (bass); BRUCE HOWARD (organ/sax); PHILLIP KEY (lead vocals); KEVIN BORICH (lead guitar).
The band formed in New Zealand in 1965 and after reaching the top there (with their single, 'Hey Baby' which made number one), they left for Sydney two years later.
On their arrival in Australia they received little attention from their recording company who at first refused to let them record. As a result they fell into a rut working steadily, but uneventfully, in Melbourne and Sydney. Then early in 1968 they decided to buy new instruments and develop a new act. The change brought with it a renewed interest in the band and in March, 1969 they released their highly acclaimed Happy Prince album.
Two months later they left Australia to try their luck in England. Other, more renowned groups, had tried before them without success and the La De Das found the going just as tough. They returned in April, 1970 minus Trevor and his place was taken by RENO TEHEI (ex-Genesis and Compulsion). In the meantime their album had sold steadily during their absence, and later in the year Bryan left and he was replaced by KEITH BARBER.
More line-up changes occurred in January, 1971 when Bruce left to form a duo with Trevor, and Reno also moved out. The band added PETER ROBERTS and reformed as follows: PHIL KEYS (vocals and guitar); PETER ROBERTS (bass); KEITH BARBER (drums); and KEVIN BORICH (vocals and guitar).
They consolidated with the new format and released a new single, 'Sweet Girl'/'I Can't Find A Reason'. Then in November, '71 came the breakthrough they had been waiting for when they made the charts with 'Gonna See My Baby Tonight.' Another hit was achieved six months later with 'Morning Good Morning.'
But, just as they seemed destined to become the superstars they had tried so long to be, the band experienced another setback. In September, 72 Peter and Phil left to form the Band of Light. But not to be discouraged, the band took on RONNIE 'PEEL (ex-One Ton Gypsy and Thunderclap Norman) to play bass and worked as a trio.




The new three piece format created a new vigour, with Kevin having to work harder on guitar, and in November, '72 they released an exciting single called 'I'll Never Stop Loving You.' From there they settled into a hectic pattern of work and in July, 1973 they issued their notorious Rock'n'Roll Sandwich album.
The following year was their last together, but included a single, 'The Place' (May, '74), a tour with Gary Glitter (July, 74) and also a re-entry into the charts with Chuck Berry's old rocker 'Too Pooped to Pop.'
Kevin went on to form Kevin Borich Express while Ronnie recorded under the alias of Rockwell T. James as well as playing with John Paul Young's All Stars.


Teenage schoolboys have always dreamed of becoming rock and roll stars, but it's a fair bet that such a fantasy was more prevalent in 1964 than all the other years combined. Certainly it was for four Auckland lads who, midway through 1964, pooled their musical talents and aspirations to become the long-forgotten 'Mergers'. The Mergers became such hot property on the Auckland school / fotball club dance circuit that the occassional weekend work became a regular occupation and mid-week engagements began to roll in as well. The quartet soon decided their name was a little too quaint and intended chnaging it to something a little tougher. When Trevor Wilson's mum heard that they were about to become The Criminals, she reprimanded, "You might as well call yourselves the La De Das". What, with mums knowing best and all that, they took her suggestrion.
During all this fledgling activity, Phil was struggling throgh high school. Trevor (the yougest, 16) was working as a delivery boy, Kevin was laboring on his parent's orchard (and would cycle 20 miles to rehearsals) and Brett had just left school. Phil had not yet begun to sing, so Kevin and Trevor were handling all vocal duties.

In April 1965, the film 'Those magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines' opened in Auckland and TV producer Robert Handlin cooked up an idea for promoting it on TV. Having heard some impressive reports about a 'happening' young group around town, he caught them in a club one night and made an offer they couldn't possibly have refused.
Resplendent in black suits, white shirts, bow ties and bowler hats, the La De Das mimed the film's theme song in prime time on national network television - an ingnominous fate for proud blues purists! Handlin, who certainly owed them a favour after that episode, liked the group enough to record single with them in a vaguely adequate 2 track studio.

17 year old Kevin Borich was the forefront of the session. He wrote the ballad "Ever Since The Night" amd co-wrote (with Trevor) "Little Girl". Ironically this was to be his last recorded composition/s for five years. Kevin's recording experience actually predated his associates for many years. When 12 Years old, he had made a private recording for Astor with two your sisters who lived in a neighbouring poultry farm in Huapai, Judy (11) and Sue Donaldson (9) later became a popular Auckland recording group called The Chicks, around the same time the La De Das were chart topping (sue now records as Suzanne in England and also sings with Cat Stevens). Kevin's withdrawl from a focal position in the group, until he finally took control in 1973, is puzzling indeed and indicates just how strong was the leadership of Wilson and later, Key.
In 1965/6, New Zealand's local pop industry was enjoying a bouyant boom, new bands were forming each week, record companies were snapping up as many acts as they could find, the public was buying local hits and gigs were plentiful. The most popular acts were mass-appeal soloists like Mr. Lee Grant, Allison Durbin, Peter Posa, Sandy Edmonds, john Hore and Maria Dallas, but popgroups were also making great strides in the footsteps of national heroes Ray Columbus & The Invaders and Max merritt's meteors. They sprung up from all over (mostly) the North Island; the most notable being Peter Nelson and the Castaways, The Crescendos, The Underdogs, The Gremlins and Larry's Rebels to name but a few. Nightspots were also thriving, in Aukland one could rage to good young R & B bands at dives like the Oriental ballroom, 1480 Village, Galaxie and Monaco. In all, it was a vibrant healthy atmosphere for the develoment of good rock music.

The hottest beat club in Auckland in 1965 was 'The Platterack', run by wrestler cum footballer cum bouncer, Dave Henderson and partner, Fred McMahon. The pair were continually reminded by one or all of the La De das of the group's decided suitability for this hallowed venue, but were a little unsure of the musicalability of 4 idealistic kids. An opportunity finally came late in 1965 when Red McKelvie's band was unable to play a full night and the La De Das were given a try-out. they were reasonably well recieved and sparadic bookings continued.
By Christmas 1965, Phil had left school and the La De Das went fully professional. The Platterack, which they were now packing out almost every night, engaged them as resident group for the fine sum of twelve poundsa week and they gradually became known around Auckland as N.Z.'s Rolling Stones. A regular quiet admirer from the balcony was one Bruce Howard, a formally trained young pianist. It didn't take long to figure that, with the holiday season requiring up to eight hours playing a night and a keyboard being good for a lengthy solo every few songs, Bruce could become a valuable addition to the outfit. He was summarily invited to join and , with restrained fervour, accepted.

The excitment being generated from the PLatterack soon found its way to the attention of Eldred C.Stebbling, a wiley manager/record producer who actually owned his own studio. Through his Zodiac Records label, Stebbing had launched Ray Columbas & The Invaders and was ever on the lookout for another promising act. He was impressed enough to take on the La De Das and devote considerable attention to breaking them nationally.
In January 1966, Stebbing produced their first Zodiac single (The Blue Magoo's) How Is The Air Up There? The studio was under his house, "He had four single track Telefunken tape recorders patched together" is how Phil Key remenbers it. "There was hardly any privacy, the wife and kids would wander through and people would call by, but we got such a great sound it didn't matter."
When released in Feburary, "How Is The Air Up There?" was an instant smash, climbing to number four on the national local artist chart and establishing the group as a major entity. For the next two years, nobody in the country could rival them for popularity and record sales. Only Larry's Rebels came near but their teenybop status was never matched with high sales or chart action.

Phil Key again recalls, "The hits just inspired confidence in us.We became totally involved in getting dressed up and going out to gigs, the gigs and rehearsals were everything. Nothing worried us, we were so busy consuming what was happening around us. We were super aware, on top of every trend in music and clothes and language. We tried to be honest and sincere with our music, only playing and recording what we liked. The guys in the good record bars dug what we were doing and they got in all the latest English R&B records for us. We were listening to Zoot Money, John Mayall, Manfred mann, The Animals, all that sort of stuff, and trying to create that sound. We were different from groups like the Underdogs who just played 12 bar blues all night, we tried to be a lot more imaginative about what we did".

Despite being featured regularly on the C'mon T.V pop show, the La De Das generally lacked a strong P.R machine and more press ink seemed to be devoted to The Gremlins and Larry's Rebels. Although Stebbing was an effective manager, his flair was more toward production than promotion.
The second Zodiac single "Don't You Stand In My Way" a Wilson/Howard original almost stiffed butv the third finally broke them on the major national chart. "On Top Of The World", a frantic John Mayall song issued at the end of 1966, hit number three and migled with the Hollies, Gene Pitney and Herman's Hermits.
Life for the La De Das was, by this point, a living fairy tale. "We had no idea what we were earning on tour, we just spent what we wanted and ploughed the rest back into the band. We had our way with girls, bought more clothes and equipment and just enjoyed being stars" admits an almost embarrassed Phil. Most of their popularity however, was Auckland based, they were yet to become a pnenomena in the South and other areas of the North Island. Brett Neilson at the time, told a straight women's magazine , "It's good in Auckland now but when we go away to places like Whangerei, it's like starting all over again." Shy Brett was, along with Kevin, attracting the bulk of adoriing fans and pleading letters by this point, with Phil a close third. Trevor and Bruce were the musical leaders - determining with Phil, the direction / repertoire of the band. Borich, as best as he remembers, just played what he was told and went along for the ride. His musical dexterity was still in apprentice stage.

The choice of a follow-up to their first big hit was crucial and finally came from legendary blind pianist Claude Papesh (one of Johnny Devlin's original Devils). In a club one night, he played them a soulful version of Bruce Channel's classic "Hey Baby" and the group fell in love with it. In March 1967 the La De Das version was released and five weeks later it knocked Penny Lane out of number one on the national charts. Not only that, it was also the very first local group recording to hit number one. Eldred Stebbing promptly sent off a telegram to Brian Epstein informing him of the event (he must have been pleased!)

The next step was quite inevitable. Kevin, Bruce, Trevor and Phil, who were all living a consumate bachelors existence together in one Auckland house, knew that they had conquered New Zealand, for all that it was worth, and that if they were to grow musically they would have to journey to more demanding pastures. England and America were worlds in another galaxy but Australia was comfortably in reach, so it was on this barren land that they set their ambitious sights. Brett was not quite so enthusiastic; although he was a fine drummer ("Looking back now, he was very together, we didn't have to tell him a thing" says Kev) he was almost involuntarily caught up in the pop-star game and, being basically shy and conservative, began to feel frightened by its threat to his domestic security.

The La De Das impeding departure was announced with a great flourish by Stebbing; "Shortly the La De das will branch into a new concept of pop music, concentrating on soul music and giving their own interpretations of Negro spirituals. because of this we want to make some appearances on Australian television shows. We eventually hope to get to America" he told the daily press. True to their word, in May 1967, with "Hey Baby" still topping the charts and another hot single in the can ("All Purpose Low"), the group flew to Sydney to begin their great rock 'n' roll adventure.

Found of Cannapower
(http://rockonvinyl.blogspot.com)
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Tee Set - She Likes Weeds - Collected -


She Likes Weeds – Collected

The Tee-Set, with singer Peter Tetteroo, is one of the most successful Dutch pop groups ever. They were in the Dutch Top 40 no fewer than 22 times. She Likes Weeds reached number one in the Netherlands and Ma Belle Amie was one of the very few Dutch records to climb high in the American charts and become a worldwide hit. The Tee-Set was enormously popular in scores of countries around the world.
All their hits, plus the Tee-Set’s best LP tracks, have been brought together for the first time on this double CD; 25 of these tracks / versions have never before been released on CD. And the sound is of absolutely optimal quality: all the songs have been remastered, based on the original studio masters, and sound better than ever.
Some of the tracks are particularly special. The opening track Ma Belle Amie is an appealing new reggae version new version from The Skankin’ Monks, with the original vocals by Peter Tetteroo. It will be released as a single, in September 2011, and supported by a clip. Don’t You Leave, For Miss Caulker, Midnight Hour, She Likes Weeds and Ma Belle Amie have been remixed from the studio tapes (three- and eight-track recordings) especially for this compilation. Now sit back and enjoy the amazing songs with which the group from Delft conquered the country and the world!

СD 1

1. Ma Belle Amie 3:31 – Single Version
2. Don't You Leave 3:22 – Stereo Remix  (TOP 40)
3. We Will Be There After Tea 3:14 - Re-Recorded 1970
4. A Sunny Day In Greece 4:17  (TOP 40)
5. Much To Soon 3:20
6. In Your Eyes (I Can See The Lies) 3:00  (TOP 40)
7. Gimme Some Lovin’ 3:00
8. Tea Is Famous (In The Whole Wide World) 3:08 - Stereo Version  (TOP 40)
9. Can Your Monkey Do The Dog 2:11
10. The Memory Of Martin Luther King 2:36
11. Just Another Hour 2:42 - Re-Recorded 1970 
12. Finally In Love Again 3:18  (TOP 40)
13. Now’s The Time 2:48 – Album Version  (TOP 40)
14. For Miss Caulker 4:49 – Stereo Remix
15. The Bandstand 4:00  (TOP 40)
16. I'll Be Lost Without Your Lovin' 4:01
17. Hot Nights 4:11
18. Mr. Music Man 3:46  (TOP 40)
19. When I Needed You So 2:07 
20. Mary Mary (Take Me ‘Cross The Water) 3:33  (TOP 40)
21. Trains (Are Coming) 3:29  
22. Smokey Joe’s Cafe 3:08
23. Shotguns 3:15  (TOP 40)

CD 2

1. She Likes Weeds 3:39 – Remix  (TOP 40)
2.  Red Red Wine 2:42 – Stereo Version  (TOP 40)
3. Marie Claire 2:58
4. There Goes Johnny (With My Lady) 3:25  (Top 50 + Tip)
5. Walk On By (My Door) 2:27
6. If You Do Believe In Love 2:29  (TOP 40)
7. Miss Cathy Jones 2:19
8. Linda Linda 3:28 – Session Version  (TOP 40)
9. What Can I Do 1:59 – Single Version Stereo  (TOP 40)
10. Now That You’ve Gone 2:45
11. Early In The Morning 2:24  (TOP 40)
12. Sugar Shack 3:52
13. Life's But Nothing 4:06  (Tip)
14. Do It Baby 3:58  (TOP 40)
15. This Rose In My Hand 2:33 – Album Version  (TOP 40)
16. The Magic Lantern 4:31 – Stereo Version  (Tip)
17. Please Call Me 2:59  (TOP 40)
18. Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long 3:37
19. Ma Belle Amie 3:15 – Remix  (TOP 40)
20. Midnight Hour 2:15 - Stereo Remix
21. Little Lady 2:49  (TOP 40)
22. Mama Said 3:20
23. Believe What I Say 2:20  (TOP 40)
24. When This Battle Is Over 4:07

- 47 Re-Mastered Tracks from the ORIGINAL master tapes
- 22 TOP 40 Hits
- Digi Book size: 14 x 25


Butch Engle & The Styx - No Matter What You Say (1964-67)


Butch Engle & the Styx were a very minor mid-'60s San Francisco Bay Area band that issued just three singles (the first, in 1964, under the name the Showmen). They played moody garage-folk-rock with a similarity to the Beau Brummels that was not coincidence: all of their material, except for the Showmen single, was written or co-written by Ron Elliott of the Beau Brummels. the Beau Brummels were a fine group, and Elliott was an excellent songwriter. But the compositions Butch Engle & the Styx were granted access to were weak by Elliott's own high standards and in fact were basically leftovers that were not deemed strong enough for the Beau Brummels to record. As Engle himself recalled in the liner notes to The Best of Butch Engle & the Styx: No Matter What You Say, "Ron, Sly Stewart, [and Autumn record executives] Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell would choose which songs would go on [a Beau Brummels] album, and then we could take what we wanted from whatever was left."

Butch Engle & the Styx released just two singles under that name and broke up in 1968. Both sides of those two singles, along with both sides of the Showmen single and almost a dozen previously unissued cuts, were issued by Sundazed on The Best of Butch Engle & the Styx: No Matter What You Say in 2000.
 
 
This has a pretty funny title, considering that the group only put out three singles (one of them under a different name) and never had anything close to a hit. A better title might have been "The Entirety of Butch Engle & the Styx," since it's difficult to imagine that any more material could have been retrieved than appears on this CD. In addition to both sides of the three singles (the first done in 1964 when they were still called the Showmen), this also includes 11 previously unreleased tracks, including some alternatives and multiples. The unwary might initially dismiss this as a subpar, more garagey Beau Brummels, a comparison that becomes even more valid upon the discovery that Beau Brummels songwriter Ron Elliott wrote or co-wrote everything except the Showmen single. To be brutal, Elliott was wise to cast off most of these instead of recording them with the Beau Brummels. The songs just aren't nearly on the level of his usually excellent efforts for his own band, although they have some similar trademarks (particularly the minor-based melodies and moodiness). Butch Engle & the Styx were lesser musicians and singers than the Beau Brummels, too, although they were OK, adding some cheesy garage organ that you'd never find on Beau Brummels sessions. "Hey, I'm Lost," which was one of the singles (and appears along with two alternate versions of the same tune), was just about their best moment: a charging, slightly ominous and doubtful number with good vocal harmonies. This is certainly worth getting for major fans of the Beau Brummels, as none of these songs were actually recorded by that group. As a '60s garage record, though, No Matter What You Say is average, even unremarkable.
 

Alice Babs - Lollipop


 A popular singer when she was still a young teenager, Alice Babs has had a long and varied career. She made her recording debut in 1939 at the age of 15 and, although her yodelling made her initially popular and the novelty "Swing It, Mr. Teacher" was her first hit, Babs even at the start had a highly appealing voice and a lightly swinging style. She mostly recorded in jazz and swing-oriented settings throughout the years of World War II. Babs remained active throughout the 1950s and '60s in Europe, singing everything from jazz (recording with Duke Ellington in 1963 and performing the classic "Heaven" at his second spiritual concert) and pop to a bit of classical music. By the late '70s, Alice Babs had become less active but into the mid-'90s, she occasionally performed on special occasions. Although her important first set with Duke Ellington (on Reprise) remains out of print, a Phontastic CD (Swing It!) does a fine job of summing up her first 15 years on records.




Adamo - 1966/1967


A passion for music and an emotion-tinged vocal quality has made Salvatore Adamo one of the most commercially successful singers in Europe and one of the most famous Italian immigrants living in Belgium. Since his debut album, Vous Permettez Monsieur, transformed him into an internationally recognized celebrity, Adamo has sold over 80 million copies of his albums worldwide. Adamo, who emigrated to Belgium with his parents at the age of three, was raised in Jemappes and later moved to Brussels. A bright student, Adamo was able to avoid the coal mining industry that lured many Italian immigrants to Belgium and concentrate on his academic and musical studies. Adamo's influences included the music of Victor Hugo, Jacques Prevert, and George Brassens, and the Italian canzoetta and tango. While he recorded a collection of songs from Napoli, Adamo has sung in his adopted language of French. In the mid-'60s, he reached his commercial peak, placing a number of songs at the top of the music charts including "Sans Toi Mamie" in 1963 and "Vous Permettez Monsieur," "Quand les Roses," and "Dolce Paola" in 1964. He released a string of live albums and compilations throughout the '60s and '70s, but his career trailed off in the '80s, his style being no longer fashionable.

Regards An adaptation of Adamo's composition, "Les Filles Du Bord de Mer," was recorded by Arno in 1993 and sparked a renewed interest in his work. That year, Adamo was made an honorary UNICEF ambassador and began to visit war-torn countries in this capacity. Almost certainly as a result, his 1998 comeback album, Regards, brought a sociopolitical edge to his music with songs commenting on racism and the civil war in Bosnia. In Belgium, the album was released with two songs -- "Laat Onze Kinderen Dromen (Let The Children Dream)" and "Il Zie Een Engel (I See An Angel)" -- sung in Dutch. After that, he continued to ride a wave of nostalgia-fueled success, eventually becoming at least as famous in the new millennium as he had been in his heyday. In 2001 he was knighted by King Albert II of Belgium for his services to the country's music industry. Adamo recorded several successful studio albums during the 2000s, including the obligatory duets album -- 2008's Le Bal des Gens Bien -- on which he re-recorded some of his biggest hits with a string of hot young artistes. He showed no signs of stopping as he moved into the early 2010s, with another new album, La Grande Roue, dropping in 2012. 

 01. Adamo - Une mèche de cheuveux
02. Adamo - La Complainte Des Elus
03. Adamo - Sonnet Pour Notre Amour
04. Adamo - Princesses Et Bergeres
05. Adamo - Elle était belle pourtant
06. Adamo - Tu me reviens
07. Adamo - Ton nom
08. Adamo - Du soleil, du boulot
09. Adamo - En bandoulière
10. Adamo - On N'a Plus Le Droit
11. Adamo - Tenez-Vous Bien
12. Adamo - Que Le Temps S'arrete
13. Adamo - Inch' Allah
14. Adamo - Sont-ce vos bijoux
15. Adamo - Je vous offre
16. Adamo - Ensemble
17. Adamo - On Se Bat Toujours Quelque Part
18. Adamo - Dans ma hotte

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The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine (1967)







The Lemon Pipers included singer Ivan Browne, guitarist William Bartlett, keyboardist R.G. Nave, bassist Steve Walmsley, and drummer William Albaugh. The group is best known for their number-one bubblegum hit "Green Tambourine" and several followups, all written by the team of Paul Leka and Shelley Pinz. The group actually wanted to play more psychedelic music; they only recorded "Green Tambourine" because their label would have dropped them had they refused. They eventually got the artistic control they wanted and ended up dropping off the charts for good with their first self-produced album. They broke up in 1969, with Bartlett joining Ram Jam.
****
Unlike the majority of bubblegum bands, the Lemon Pipers' albums are actually quite good, not least because they were one of the few bubblegum bands who were a proper band with their own songwriters (although outside writer/producers did provide the two hits, the inescapable "Green Tambourine" and the actually even better "Rice Is Nice," a sweet, harp-laden depiction of a wedding day). Even the album tracks are pretty groovy, like the Cat Stevens-like character sketches "Shoeshine Boy" and "The Shoemaker of Leatherwood Square," which effectively use trippy string sections and playful harmonies. The snottier folk-rock of "Ask Me if I Care" and the far-out "Fifty Year Void," to say nothing of the nine-minute freakout "Through With You," give Green Tambourine a harder edge than most bubblegum albums, though it's still closer to, say, the Cyrkle than Cream. Seek it out, bubblegum snobs: you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised.
****

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Prety Tinghs - Emotions (1967)


Of all the original British Invasion groups, perhaps none were as underappreciated in the United States as the Pretty Things. Featuring the hoarse vocals of Mick Jagger-lookalike Phil May and the stinging leads of guitarist Dick Taylor (who actually played in early versions of the Rolling Stones with Jagger and Keith Richards), the Pretties recorded a clutch of raunchy R&B rockers in the mid-'60s that offered a punkier, rawer version of the early Stones sound.

The Pretty Things [UK] Their first two albums, 1965's The Pretty Things and the same year's Get the Picture, as well as a brace of fine major and minor British hits (of which "Don't Bring Me Down" and "Honey I Need" were the biggest), featured first-rate original material and covers, and remain the group's most exciting and influential recordings. Unfortunately, the band remained virtually unknown to American audiences, most of whom would first hear "Don't Bring Me Down" on David Bowie's Pin Ups album (which also included a version of the Pretties' "Rosalyn").
Emotions After their initial run of success, the group took a sharp left turn into psychedelia with the orchestrated album Emotions (1967), impressive singles that owed more to Pink Floyd than Bo Diddley, and, most significantly, S.F. Sorrow (1968). The first rock opera, S.F. Sorrow was a major influence on Pete Townshend, who released his much more successful opera, Tommy, with the Who the following year.
Parachute Founding member Taylor left shortly after S.F. Sorrow, and the group continued to record progressive rock and hard rock with less impressive results through the mid-'70s, although Parachute (1970) was named Album of the Year by Rolling Stone. The group reunited sporadically for occasional gigs and recordings in their early R&B vein before officially re-forming to release Rage...Before Beauty in 1999 and Balboa Island eight years later. 


In accordance with their label's (and not the band's) wishes, the Pretties were teamed with a middle-aged orchestra directed by Reg Tilsley on this album, which saw the Phil May-Dick Taylor songwriting team making an effort to move beyond R&B knockoffs into more sophisticated territory. Sometimes the arrangements (dubbed onto tracks without much involvement from the group) worked; more often, they were an unnecessary hindrance. An interesting failure, it contained some genuinely top-rank originals that saw the group expanding their vision into social observation and tentative psychedelia, including "My Time," "The Sun," and especially the moody, folk-rock-ish "Death of a Socialite."

text

Brenda Lee - This Is... Brenda & Emotions




One of the biggest pop stars of the early '60s, Brenda Lee hasn't attracted as much critical respect as she deserves. She is sometimes inaccurately characterized as one of the few female teen idols. More crucially, the credit for achieving success with pop-country crossovers usually goes to Patsy Cline, although Lee's efforts in this era were arguably of equal importance. While she made few recordings of note after the mid-'60s, the best of her first decade is fine indeed, encompassing not just the pop ballads that were her biggest hits, but straight country and some surprisingly fierce rockabilly.

Lee was a child prodigy, appearing on national television by the age of ten, and making her first recordings for Decca the following year (1956). Her first few Decca singles, in fact, make a pretty fair bid for the best preteen rock & roll performances this side of Michael Jackson. 'Bigelow 6-200,' 'Dynamite,' and 'Little Jonah' are all exceptionally powerful rockabilly performances, with robust vocals and white-hot backing from the cream of Nashville's session musicians (including Owen Bradley, Grady Martin, Hank Garland, and Floyd Cramer). Lee would not have her first big hits until 1960, when she tempered the rockabilly with teen idol pop on 'Sweet Nothin's,' which went to the Top Five.

The comparison between Lee and Cline is to be expected, given that both singers were produced by Owen Bradley in the early '60s. Naturally, many of the same session musicians and backup vocalists were employed. Brenda, however, had a bigger in with the pop audience, not just because she was still a teenager, but because her material was more pop than Cline's, and not as country. Between 1960 and 1962, she had a stunning series of huge hits: "I'm Sorry," 'I Want to Be Wanted,' 'Emotions,' 'You Can Depend on Me,' 'Dum Dum,' 'Fool #1,' 'Break It to Me Gently,' and 'All Alone Am I' all made the Top Ten. Their crossover appeal is no mystery. While these were ballads, they were delivered with enough lovesick yearning to appeal to adolescents, and enough maturity for the adults. The first-class melodic songwriting and professional orchestral production guaranteed that they would not be ghettoized in the country market.

Lee's last Top Ten pop hit was in 1963, with 'Losing You.' While she still had hits through the mid-'60s, these became smaller and less frequent with the rise of the British Invasion (although she remained very popular overseas). The best of her later hits, 'Is It True?,' was a surprisingly hard-rocking performance, recorded in 1964 in London with Jimmy Page on guitar. 1966's 'Coming on Strong,' however, would prove to be her last Top 20 entry.

In the early '70s, Lee reunited with Owen Bradley and, like so many early white rock & roll stars, returned to country music. For a time she was fairly successful in this field, making the country Top Ten half-a-dozen times in 1973-1974. Although she remained active as a recording and touring artist, for the last couple of decades she's been little more than a living legend, directing her intermittent artistic efforts to the country audience. By Richie Unterberger


 This Is... Brenda  1960

 Brenda Lee's third album was significantly above the average for a pop/rock LP of the era. The orchestrated Nashville production was lush but tasteful, Lee's singing unfailingly committed, and the material pretty strong, even if there was nothing else on the album as strong as its big hit, "I Want to Be Wanted." The record did lean more toward pop than rock, but it was clearly not either Nashville country or straight adult pop, even if by this time in her career she was taking her shots at (and doing quite well with) standards like "Teach Me Tonight." The rock & roll side of her sound was represented by "Love and Learn" and covers of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" and "Walking to New Orleans," though she really did better with the ballads. And some of the ballads here are among her stronger material that you won't find on typical Lee greatest-hits collections, à la "If I Didn't Care," "Pretend," and "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)." It was certainly among the most commercially successful of her albums, reaching number four in the LP charts.

 Emotions 1961

Brenda Lee's fourth album, Emotions, stayed with the approach she'd used on her previous LP, This Is...Brenda, mixing gorgeously produced Nashville orchestration with a bit of rock & roll and lush pop ballads. While it was the kind of record that could appeal to both kids and adults, it wasn't watered down, as the production on its own was pretty delightful to listen to, matched by the excellence of Lee's incredibly (for a teenager) mature vocals. "Emotions" was the big hit on the record, which also contained its B-side, "I'm Learning About Love," which made the Top 40 under its own steam. Nothing else on the album is too well known to listeners other than serious Lee fans. But there are some good ballads here, particularly "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)," which is nearly on par with her big hits in that style. While the rock covers (the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" and "Swanee River Rock") were more on the filler side, Lee still brought commitment to each and every one of her vocals. Also leaning toward the rock & roll side of things was a decent frisky number, "Crazy Talk," co-penned by Mel Tillis, who had a few of his tunes cut by rock & roll artists in his early years.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Tee Set - Forever (1969)

Tee Set - Emotion (1966)

Tee Set - The Original Hit Recordings And More

Swinging London - Saga Records&Boulevard Records




Swinging London - Saga Records

01 - Swinging London (The First Impression)
02 - Jack Sly (The Good Earth)
03 - Split Down the Middle (The First Impression)
04 - Help Yourself (The Good Earth)
05 - Big Time News (The First Impression)
06 - Young Man Seeks Interesting Job (The First Impression)
07 - Down Home Train (The Good Earth)
08 - Captain Green (The First Impression)
09 - All Lead Back To You (The First Impression)
10 - Clap Hands, Big Deal (The First Impression)
11 - Piccadilly Sunshine (The First Impression)
12 - Unwashed, Unwanted (The Good Earth)

Swinging London - Boulevard Records 

13 - I Feel Fine (Russ Sainty)
14 - Help (Russ Sainty)
15 - Can't Buy Me Love (Russ Sainty)

The Good Earth aka Mungo Jerry 


Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints (1967)


 This is the debut long-player from the southern California-based Strawberry Alarm Clock -- the title track of this album topped national singles charts in December of 1967. As the cover art might suggest, their image practically defined both the musical as well as peripheral aspects of the pseudo-psychedelic counterculture. However, below that mostly visual veneer, Strawberry Alarm Clock actually have more in common with other "Summer of Love" bands such as Love and Kak than the bubblegum acts they have long been associated with. Prior to Strawberry Alarm Clock, the band was initially named Thee Sixpence and issued a 45 -- "In the Building" b/w "Hey Joe" -- in the spring of 1966. As legend has it, none of the actual bandmembers sang lead on the hit single; the singer was in fact a vocalist named Greg Munford, who was attending the session as a visitor. The track was originally issued by Thee Sixpence on the regional All-American label. By the second pressing, however, the band's name had changed to Strawberry Alarm Clock. Sensing the possibility of a national hit, they were scooped up by the MCA Records subsidiary Uni and given the go-ahead to commence recording this, their debut LP. Much of the band's sound is due at least in part to the writing styles of George Bunnell (bass/vocals) and the uncredited Steve Bartok (flute/vocals). The edgy fuzz-toned guitar sound of "Birds in My Tree" and the Los Angeles freeway-inspired "Paxton's Back Street Carnival" exude a garage rock flavor similar in style to that of Spirit's self-titled debut long-player. Another distinguishing factor is Strawberry Alarm Clock's multi-layered vocals. "Hummin' Happy" and "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow" are precursors to the sophisticated harmonies that would also inform "Tomorrow" and "Pretty Song From Psych-Out," from their follow-up long-player, Wake Up...It's Tomorrow.






Strawberry Alarm Clock - Wake Up... It's Tomorrow (1968)


 Strawberry Alarm Clock occupies a peculiar niche in the history of '60s rock. Their name is as well known to anyone who lived through the late-'60s psychedelic era as that of almost any group one would care to mention, mostly out of its sheer, silly trippiness as a name and their one major hit, "Incense and Peppermints," which today is virtually the tonal equivalent of a Summer of Love flashback. But there was a real group there, with members who had played for a long time on the Southern California band scene, who were proficient on their instruments and who sang well and generated four whole LPs of which at least three were worth hearing more than once.

The band's origins go back to Glendale, CA, in the mid-'60s, and a group then known as the Sixpence. It was 1965 and all things British were still a selling point, so the name made as much sense as anything else. Their lineup was formed from the members of various other bands coming together, and included Lee Freeman on vocals, guitar, and harmonica, Ed King on guitar, Gary Lovetro on bass, Gene Gunnels on drums, Mike Luciano on tambourine, and Steve Rabe on lead guitar. They mostly did covers of then-popular hits and developed a considerable following in Glendale and also in Santa Barbara, playing there so often that a lot of histories have them coming out of Santa Barbara. They were like a lot of hot local bands, good enough to pull people to their shows and always seemingly poised to make the jump to the next level. They did record, starting with an early single, "You're the One," on the Impact label and a trio of 45s that included "Hay Joe" [sic] and covers of the Who song "I Can't Explain" and the rock & roll standard "Fortune Teller" in 1966, for the tiny All-American label; with "Fortune Teller" flipped to the A-side, their third All-American single was picked up by Dot Records for national distribution. Their membership changed late that year as well, with Rabe departing and Mark Weitz joining on keyboards and vocals, sharing the lead singing chores with Freeman. They continued issuing singles on All-American into 1967, changing their name along the way to Thee Sixpence at one point.

In the spring of 1967, there was a flurry of activity going on surrounding the band. They were working out a new single, the A-side of which was to be a sneering punkish piece called "The Birdman of Alkatrash," written by Weitz. They needed a B-side, and an instrumental titled "Incense and Peppermints" -- also put together by Weitz with help from guitarist Ed King -- was duly recorded, and producer Frank Slay (who also owned a publishing company) ended up sending a tape of the track to a friend, songwriter John Carter, who had scored a modest but important hit with a song called "That Acapulco Gold," for a group called the Rainy Daze, earlier that year. He delivered the words to "Incense and Peppermints," which ended up -- under a contract he had with Slay -- credited to him and his songwriting partner, Tim Gilbert.

By this time, the band had developed enough self-confidence that they felt offended by Slay's maneuver, and neither Weitz nor Freeman was willing to throw themselves into the lyric the way they should have, especially as Carter came down to the session to oversee the recording of his lyrics. It was his choice, backed by Slay, of Greg Munford, a 16-year-old friend of the group who happened to be hanging out at the session. Such was the level of confusion that although Slay promised to put Weitz and King on the song as composers, when the producer/publisher filed the copyright registration, Carter and Gilbert were the only composers listed, although Weitz and King are credited as arrangers -- and nobody seemed overly concerned by the fact that Munford wasn't actually in the band. This was "just" a B-side, after all, that would be forgotten as soon as "The Birdman of Alkatrash" started to get airplay, if it ever did.

The single was issued on All-American, with "Incense and Peppermints" as the B-side, and a few copies seem to have gotten out credited to the Sixpence. But the group and their management became concerned over the fact that there were other, similarly named (if differently spelled) bands out there, and began thinking that a new name was called for. So the story goes, the group members were sitting around Weitz's house, trying to come up with a name, and had settled on "Strawberry," appropriated from a recent hit Beatles song. They were trying to figure out what went with "strawberry" and someone noticed a piece of household equipment that was making some noise as they sat there. "Strawberry Alarm Clock" scanned well and sounded playful enough in the tenor of the times, and the new name was in place by the middle of the summer. And at that point, with the new name affixed to the All-American 45, the single started to take on a life of its own -- literally. The All-American single actually began getting airplay, but it was the B-side, "Incense and Peppermints," that DJs were choosing and airing.

Enter Uni Records, a newly established imprint of American Decca and its parent company, MCA, who picked it up for national distribution. For a record now credited to Strawberry Alarm Clock, Uni Records was a perfect conduit, with its brightly colored label design, not that this was real factor in what people heard -- it just completed the picture.

The song swept across the airwaves gradually, fueling a sales wave that built into a number one chart placement over the next three months, in November of 1967. By that time, the group had been prevailed upon to record an album around the single, even though Munford, who'd sung on the hit, wasn't in the group. The album involved a few changes in the lineup, partly growing out of the fact that the existing membership didn't have enough songs to fill an LP. They brought in 18-year-old George Bunnell, a Massachussets-born musician and songwriter who'd previously played in the Something Else and as a member of Chapter Four and the Waterfyrd Traene, and his collaborator, Ohio-born Steve Bartek, who was still in high school at the time. They brought with them a brace of songs, and Bunnell -- who also played bass -- was having trouble getting the group's bassist, Gary Lovetro, to handle the bass parts correctly, and King finally suggested that Bunnell play bass on those songs, while Bartek ended up playing flute on the album. Bunnell was so effective that all agreed that he should become a member, and he agreed after initial hesitation over abandoning his current group. Even Bartek, who was only 16, was offered a chance to join, in recognition of his contribution to the album, but because of his age he needed his parents' permission, which wasn't forthcoming.

Thus, Strawberry Alarm Clock became extremely unusual (if not unique) as a band with two bass players. Additionally, drummer Gene Gunnels, who'd been with the Sixpence since 1965, then left and then returned, and who had played on "Incense and Peppermints," was gone by the time the group got around to doing the album. In his place was Randy Seol, who'd been in the band since 1966 and sang as well as played drums. And just to make the membership situation more complicated, Seol sang on "Incense and Peppermints," and Gunnels would be back to replace him on drums a couple of years later.

The Incense and Peppermints LP ended up coming out astonishingly strong, especially considering the haste with which the album was recorded, and the evolving membership during the recording process. Its number 11 chart placement (the only time one of their LPs actually charted) only affirmed the seemingly charmed nature of the group's work during the last eight months of 1967. This was partly a result of the way that the album was approached -- it was done in a hurry, on the fly, but with a rather bold creative impulse at work within that framework. In addition to the flute provided by Bartek (who also evidently played a few other instruments on the sessions), Wietz, Bunnell, King, and Seol all had credits on the album for "special effects," referring to unusual instruments (or unusual sounds from their usual instruments) that they played. In an interview with Gary James, Bunnell recalled employing several different basses as well as an array of exotic instruments in the studio, including the Vox Mando guitar, which resembled a cut-down 12-string (the instrument was immortalized by Brian Jones in a photo but was seldom actually heard on record). In all, the album proved to be one of the more delightful artifacts of the psychedelic era, a strangely compelling mix of psychedelia, sunshine pop, garage rock, and California harmony.

Wake Up...It's Tomorrow If the group wasn't in the front rank of rock acts, they'd certainly earned the entrée to run with them. Strawberry Alarm Clock toured nationally for the second half of 1967 and much of 1968 off the success of "Incense and Peppermints," sharing billing at various times with the likes of Country Joe & the Fish, Jimi Hendrix, and the Who; while Bunnell found the latter to be a highlight, for King it was touring with the Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield that became the high point of his career. They also underwent some more changes. Gary Lovetro, the band's original bassist, a founding member of the group, took the money and ran -- for a 25,000 dollar buyout, he relinquished his position to Bunnell and left the music business. The five-man version of the band cut a follow-up single, "Tomorrow," a collaboration between Weitz and King that reached number 23 nationally in early 1968. The song had lots of great hooks, vocal and instrumental, with a killer feedback-soaked guitar break by King and lyrics that belonged to Weitz this time; along with the rest of the album, it also benefited from the presence of vocal coach Howard Davis, who was brought in to help the members push the harmony singing displayed on Incense and Peppermints to new levels of sophistication. On the single they sounded a bit like the Association crossed with the Who or the Creation (except that, unlike the Association, the Alarm Clock played on their own records). Despite the success of "Tomorrow," the album Wake Up...It's Tomorrow never sold as well as it should have, mostly because Uni Records was late in getting it out, a month after "Tomorrow" had started its run up the charts. The public's attention span was very limited, and 30 days was an eternity in a marketplace crowded with lots of new (and some good) music; it's the difference between individual record stores ordering one or two copies of an LP, versus five or six, and displaying them prominently or at length, versus putting them in the browsers for people to find, and listeners still having the song in mind when they find the album. It ended up selling nowhere near the quarter-of-a-million copies of the first LP, and in many ways marked the sudden downward turn in the band's fortunes.
The whole image of the group as it's been passed down might have been different if Wake Up...It's Tomorrow had sold better. "Incense and Peppermints," for all of its success, was a piece of product produced by many hands, as was the album that followed, while Wake Up...It's Tomorrow was the creation of a cohesive working band, and sounded it, even with the presence of Howard Davis working to make their singing more sophisticated. There were some exotic instruments, to be sure, and some uncredited contributions by the members -- in an interview with Gary James, King said that he played a lot of the bass parts on that record -- but it was much more an expression of the five members, complicated by the sometimes very direct (and sometimes interfering) influence of the record label, which was always looking for the most accessible, commercial sound, and also by some disagreements. Weitz revealed in an interview with Richie Unterberger that he and several of the others had strong reservations about Seol's and Bunnell's compositions, most especially "Nightmare of Percussion" and "Curse of the Witches." Still, the album did fit together in its odd way, and was more of a musicians' record than a producer's record -- and had more people heard it, they might've been remembered in subsequent years as a band and not just as an AM radio phenomenon with a funny name.

It was while working on the album that the group also got pegged for screen immortality, when they were invited to appear in and perform a song in Richard Rush's 1968 drama Psych-Out, set in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury hippie mecca and starring Susan Strasberg, Jack Nicholson, Dean Stockwell, and Bruce Dern. Produced by Dick Clark, even that opportunity was an outgrowth of the success of "Incense and Peppermints" -- after appearing on Clark's program to mime to their hit, the group got the offer of the movie, which gave King and Freeman a fresh songwriting opportunity, in the form of "Pretty Song from Psych-Out." According to Weitz in an interview with Unterberger, King also served as a technical consultant on the movie when it came to showing Nicholson enough about how to hold and finger a guitar so that he looked as though he were really playing. The song made for one of the better moments on an otherwise already very strong album, and the movie helped shore up the group's seriousness (and their legacy) as an actual band, putting them alongside the Seeds and Boenzee Cryque.

The World in a Sea Shell Their record sales never rebounded, however, even with whatever help Psych-Out gave. By late 1968, they were still getting bookings based on "Incense and Peppermints" and "Tomorrow," but not what they had been. The record label, which had allowed the members some autonomy on the prior two albums with regard to songwriting and the overall approach to recording, decided to exercise a lot more control for the third album, The World in a Sea Shell. With softer harmony singing and orchestral accompaniments -- including brass flourishes -- and four songs from outside writers, this was where the Alarm Clock seemed to "sell out" as far as its fans were concerned. Making matters worse was the fact that two of the four outside songs were written by John Carter and Tim Gilbert, the two composers whose names had somehow ended up on "Incense and Peppermints" despite their not having written a note of music (and Gilbert not having written a comma); and this was becoming a sore point as the members, catching their breath after a year's furious activity, realized what two of them had lost -- suddenly, but understandably, the group became more than a little distrustful of the management and the producer who'd signed away at least 50,000 dollars in royalties for two of its members.
The album was even more irksome in its final form, the first side dominated by the outside songs, two of which were written by Carole King and Toni Stern and perfectly fine as songs -- but not really what the group was about; the whole first side sounded like the work of some pop outfit trying to sound psychedelic, and what there was of the Alarm Clock's real sound didn't get heard until the second side. By the time the smoke cleared, Randy Seol and George Bunnell -- who weren't represented on the album at all as songwriters -- had opted out, and the Alarm Clock's position with its fans was even more precarious, especially amid the maneuvering that followed. The group dismissed their longtime manager, Bill Holmes, and in retaliation Holmes organized a "new" Strawberry Alarm Clock around Seol and Bunnell, booking a tour for them and even initially ignoring a restraining order obtained by Weitz, King, and company. By the time the situation was sorted out legally, promoters were afraid to book anyone claiming to be Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Good Morning Starshine The new lineup for the real band included ex-Nightcrawlers guitarist/singer Jimmy Pitman, with King shifting over on an even more permanent basis to playing bass, and, returning to his former spot, drummer Gene Gunnels, replacing interim drummer Marty Katin. The new lineup was almost a new group, in the sense that Pitman's vocals and guitar -- which was heavily blues-inflected, and just plain heavy -- completely altered their sound, and his songs were harder, louder blues-rock numbers than anything the group had ever before attempted to record or perform. This lineup went into the studio one last time on Uni's dime, the label hoping to salvage something from the chaos surrounding the band, and this time were allowed to produce themselves, with Weitz and King stepping up to that chore. And the results weren't bad -- Good Morning Starshine, as it was titled, might not have sounded too much like the Alarm Clock of "Incense and Peppermints" or even "Tomorrow," except on a couple of cuts such as "Small Package" and "Dear Joy," but it was an honest statement of who they were, and even on somewhat disjointed pieces like "Off Ramp Road Tramp," they generated a powerful sound; more to the point, if they weren't exactly making sounds that would endure for the ages, they sounded engaged and involved, which was more than one could say about most of the previous LP. The only exception was the title track, a pop standard from the musical Hair that got to number 87 before it was eclipsed by Oliver's more accessible pop-focused version.
It all proved an exercise in futility as the single failed and the group was now more hamstrung than ever, thanks to their ex-manager's chicanery. With record sales going through the floor and bookings difficult to get, there was no reason for the members to stay together, especially amid the continuing disputes and lawsuits over money. Pitman had gone by the end of 1969, to be replaced by vocalist Paul Marshall while King switched back to lead guitar, and Weitz left soon after, disillusioned with the band and the music business. A quartet version of the band carried on, picking up what bookings could be generated by the name until 1971, led by King. In a classic example of one door closing and another opening in life, it was a little later that he was invited to join Lynyrd Skynyrd, an up-and-coming Southern rock band that had opened for the Alarm Clock in its final phase, and whose lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant, he'd become friendly with. It was with Skynyrd on their classic first three LPs and the tours around them that he would finally get the reward to which his success entitled him.




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