I’ve been holding out for the 2012 remastered mono / stereo reissue of The Kink’s 1967 masterpiece, Something Else by the Kinks, but had to pull the trigger on this original US stereo pressing when faced with the decision. Chapter two in the “perfect album string” that started with 1966’s Face to Face and ended with 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies (6 albums in total), Something Else… is home to the following flawless cuts: Harry Rag, Waterloo Sunset, Death of a Clown (a Dave track), David Watts, and Two Sisters. Like with all early, middle, and late Kinks releases, Something Else… is nothing short of essential listening material. Ray Davies = genius… that is all.
This 1967 psych-rock album is the first from Long Island’s Vanilla Fudge, and would serve as the band’s most successful offering, peaking at #6 on the Billboard charts. With only three originals on the album Illusions of My Childhood, Pts. 1-3 (all instrumentals), Vanilla Fudge contains far-out and refreshing covers by The Zombies (She’s Not There), The Beatles (Eleanor Rigby and Ticket to Ride), The Supremes (You Keep Me Hangin’ On), and Cher (Bang Bang). For a refreshing take on classic 60’s flare, try some Vanilla Fudge in your groove diet.
The elegant mysticism that surrounds the ethereal journey that is Days of Future Passed is as inviting as it is comforting, and is, for this blue-skied Saturday afternoon, the perfect melodic mate. The Moody Blues and I are forever intertwined, as they were the first live band I’ve ever seen. I used to scoff at that fact, but now embrace it with humbled pride. Thanks, Big Guy for introducing us.
Happy Saturday, kids! Please drink / consume responsibly.
This cover couldn’t be more immediately deceiving… a bunch of privileged white kids dancing to brown-eyed soul from the great Afro-Cuban genius, Mongo Santamaría. With 1967’s Hey! Let’s Party, Mr. Santamaría fashioned a thick-lined afterparty staple with his horn-heavy deviance into the wonderful world of (a blanket term) Latin Jazz.
Pryor dug him (in both his screenplay contribution to Blazing Saddles as well as his empowering standup), as so you shall too.
Originally released on 1966’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by the great Paul & Art, Harpers Bizarre, Santa Cruz, CA’s own pop-rock (and Mt. Dew) favorites, staked their claim in the soil of hip-tified-radio-extravaganza with their cover of 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) from their debut album, 1967’s Feelin’ Groovy. Feelin’ Groovy? No, seriously… feelin’ pretty damn far-out? Hip your lobes to some Harp Biz, my friend.
Blooming Hits is a wispy collection of elaborate, late 60s pop tunes done in orchestral, easy listening-type, party-elevator music-style compositions with a racy, flower-lovers cover (phew). If ever you wanted to turn your listening area into a jazzy, hipster doctor’s office waiting room, Blooming Hits would be at the ready. It’s solid, but exceptionally tame… a bit deceiving from its attention-stealing cover.
I was able to find a stereo copy of This is Tim Hardin today at a thrifty little (unorganized) shop down in Long Beach. Already having been the owner of the original mono version, I couldn’t turn my back on this artificial (only because it was electronically re-recorded to simulate STEREO) stereo version for a cool $6. Possibly the best record I’ve ever laid ears on, I managed to acquire both copies the guy had (stereo for me, mono for a fellow Hardin-admiring buddy).
I am currently in possession of three This is Tim Hardin albums, and something tells me, it’s not enough.
“Are you ready to check out? You want both copies?!” – Guy
“Yes, guy! I have cash… why do you question the willing?” – Me, in my head
Quite possibly the most favored album in my collection, Atco Records’ 1967 released, 1963-64 recorded genius of pop music’s most overlooked son, James Timothy Hardin, This is Tim Hardin redefines perfection with each and every longing, soul-squirming spin. I can’t even begin to explore the majestic landscape that this harrowing album presents, and I’m not g’wan try. At a later date, with a much more educated mind, I’ll tackle the dynamic and vigorous layers of brilliance that this album exerts, but until then, I’ll drink my rye, and simply… enjoy.
Mellow Yellow, the 1967 album by the Glasgow born, Scottish revolutionary, Donovan Phillips Leitch (as apposed to Mello Yello, the refreshing citrus beverage enjoyed during the bike riding summers of yesteryear), carries with it an aura, a golden, warming glow of sandal-wearing, ankle-wading, mind-clearing, beach-yearning temperaments of folky goodness, perfect for soaking in the warm, skin-kissing rays from that mass of incandescent gas we call the sun.
Certain times throughout the annual revolution of our inhabitable rock, the specific craving for particular sounds eclipses that of everyday listening pleasure. In December, it’s the Monks, in May it’s Vacuum Scam, and for whatever unknown (however wholeheartedly welcomed) reason, March is the perfect time for Donovan.
As a collector, I have several piles of records neatly sitting around my office (AKA the Den, the Lounge, FitB Studios, etc.). There’s a pile “to be digitized,” another “to be photographed and inserted into Discogs,” another, ever revolving pile of “newly acquired and yet to spin before it goes into the collection,” and finally, the dreaded “getting rid of” pile. Eventually, everything that stays ends up in the big pile on the wall, also known as my record library, but before any pressed disc finds its welcomed home, it must first 1) be spun at least once, 2) be catalogued into Discogs and 3) be considered for digitizing. I’m strongly considering adding a 4th phase tentatively titled, “cleaning.”
So today’s number, The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) had been neglected and left for dead amongst other soulless, breakable frisbees in the “getting rid of” pile. Now, I’m a nut for these obscure gems, but one thing I hate more than just about anything (aside from close-minded buffoons) is a record that skips. This detestable sliver in the side of paradisiacal beauty enrages me (much more so that it probably should), to the point where I never want to look at said disrupting maker of trouble for as long I live. Makes sense, considering additional copies of most albums can be acquired, but The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) had been catching my eye as of late, and I (reluctantly) decided to reintroduce it back into the folds, attempting to ignore it’s glaring, skip goiter. The reason, not because of its kickass-ery, but instead, The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) had been used on a short back in my film school days. As a self-inflicting maker of rules, anything that gets photographed or mentioned here on the Prudent Groove automatically stays. So, without further adieu, we welcome The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) back to the family. That short has long been lost and has since receded into Memory Lake, but this album, like few before, has officially switched piles.
… or so they claim. Although I’m not a fan of the late, womanizing crooner Frank Sinatra, I find myself acquiring a decent amount of his label’s records these days. Most recently, 1967’s The Live Kinks, where I discovered this lovely gem.
Signing the North American distribution rights to Don Ho, The Kinks and Dean Martin is a respectably eclectic maneuver for a label founded by the Rat Pack King (I prefer Dean Martin, myself), and it speaks to the ever enveloping, changing winds that swept through the later half of the social 60s… or so I gather… I wasn’t around then, so all these bits of online data could be nothing more than inaccurate gibberish… much like The Prudent Groove. I like inserts, and I like The Kinks. Good day.
There is something distinctly haunting that unjustly fills the room when I listen to the fortuitous desperation that surrounds Tim Hardin when he sings the lyrics, “I’ll never get out of these blues alive” on the Fred Neil classic, Blues on the Ceilin’ from Tim’s 1963 recorded, 1967 released (third) album, This is Tim Hardin. For you see, he didn’t. Escape those blues, that is. Mr. Hardin, my current crutch, passed on December 29, 1980. The cause of his untimely death? The blues… in the form of diacetylmorphine.
Other monumental iconic phrases from this track are:
– I’d do it all over, but I’d rather not
– Love is just a dirty four-letter word to me
– The bitter the blues, the better they keep
– The toast was cold, the orange juice was hot
White. Boy. Blues. As prolific an oxymoron as it is, has its fair share of respectable highlights. Tim Hardin isn’t known for his blues-driven ways (and that’s painfully unfortunate), but instead, for his often covered and heart-tuggingly sweet If I Were a Carpenter.
When I drink whiskey, alone, I subconsciously gravitate towards Tim Hardin. Like a beaming source of intellectual and soul-bearing light, Mr. Hardin asks only one favor of us while we enjoy his personal blues-documenting catalog, and the favor is that we must share in this man’s heartfelt dismay. Pain manifests itself in many forms, up to and including a soulful voice accompanying sincerity projecting from the blackened heart.
How much more is the 1967 Catalog from Elektra Records compared to the 1966 Catalog from Elektra Records (not pictured here)? One… exactly one more. Nowhere else in the history of mankind (except, maybe for Orange County, CA in the late 70s) will you be able to find Jean Shepherd’s albums (complete with Elektra catalog numbers… EKL = mono prefix), Love’s first two albums (this catalog was pressed before Love released Forever Changes…), debut albums by *Tim Buckley as well as *The Doors (* indicates new release), and seven albums by The Oranim Zabar Israeli Troupe featuring Geula Gill (offered in both stereo and mono).
This little time warp was an exciting find in the record section of my local thrift store, and will serve as my immediate music-hunting checklist (if anybody was interested).
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the mighty boots of Sgt. Pepper? Well, you can’t, so stop dreaming for the impossible, and come back down to reality because presented here is (not at all) the next best thing.
Tucked deep inside my rather dilapidated copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is this lovely little “costume themed” Sgt. Pepper insert. Some assembly is needed, but with minimal work (scissors are required), you can amaze and confuse your family and friends by dressing up as the honorable Sgt. Pepper.
This cut-out kit includes:
1. Moustache (No Sgt. Pepper impersonator would be caught dead without one.)
2. Picture Card (To pass off as a valid and law-abiding photo identification card, presumably when questioned by authorities, or children with worried looks in their eyes.)
3. Stripes (To keep your Sergeant arms warm.)
4. Badges (Nothing says you’re serious about your appointed duties like a badge with a picture of yourself posted proudly upon your heroic chest.)
5. Stand Up (No Sergeant, ESPECIALLY Sgt. Pepper, would be caught parading around without a psychedelic, four-piece band. Here is a picture of that band.)
Halloween is several months away, but you can practice your army-commanding stature with this lovely, and surprisingly accurate, cut-out costume. (Mind-altering drugs and sitar sold separately.)
If you happen to find yourself in a less than ideal climate, or the mystics and wonders of the outdoors don’t appeal to your ornate senses, may I suggest a little culinary calisthenics?
Liz Anderson, with all her digestible wisdom, offers up 12 hysterically ardent recipes full of tears, sorrow, heartache, cumin, and remorse. Liz’s whimsical approach and articulated wordplay border on the line of congenial, 60s Country and youthful Singer-songwriter music, but you know, with a lace apron. A slide guitar is sprinkled in for that down-home flavor, which helps to give this mouthwatering entrée of emotional ear food an elevated, ethereal intonation. Think Patsy Cline, drunk, in the kitchen, insufficiently attempting to restrain herself from dumping a bag of flour onto the floor and calling it a day.
Sometimes the mind gets hungry for heartache-y, overly sensitive, and beautifully sung mood music. Chef Anderson certainly knows her way around agony’s kitchen, and Cookin’ Up Hits is a perfect recipe for any, less than optimal dinner occasion.
1. Frank Zappa.
2. The Mothers of Invention were originally called The Soul Giants, but changed their name to The Mothers (on Mother’s Day 1965?), before settling on their full title for their debut album, 1966’s Freak Out!
3. Like your mother, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention promote the consumption of vegetables. From Call Any Vegetable, The Mothers explain, “This is a song about vegetables. They keep you regular. They’re real good for ya.” Don’t become irregular. Eat your veggies!
4. Staunch fans of pets, and reptiles in general, the 1970 reinvention of the Mothers included three former members of The Turtles, Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan and Jim Pons.
5. Frank Zappa.
6. Also similar to your mother, these Mothers promote the healthy balance of a nutritional diet, aquatic exercise, and proper education. In the epic Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, we hear, “TV dinner by the pool. I’m so glad I finished school.” Listen to your mothers. They know what’s best for you.
7. The band’s Producer, Tom Wilson, made a name for himself by his acclaimed work with Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, The Animals and The Velvet Underground.
8. Frank Zappa.
The Prudent Groove would like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there (regardless of your personal prune preference)!