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Echoplex guitars, tinkling keyboards, swinging backbeat and layered vocals - snapping at the Psych boot heels of The Byrds and the sheer happy pop of The Mamas & The Papas - The Stained Glass (originally to be called The Stained Glass Window but someone made a typo on a letterhead and the short name stuck) are something of a genuine discovery. And although they managed only four US 45s (one as their former incarnation as The Trolls) - they are thoroughly deserved of this fabulous first-time-on-CD reissue.
Using their Big Beat Records label imprint - Ace Records of The UK have gone deep into the Nuggets From The Golden State on this South Bay Area one and come up with a doozy. You sit there listening to these 24 slices of Sunshine Music (San Jose in this case) and wonder just how the California State produced so much of this `should have made it big' quality with apparent effortless ease. Here are the things in-between details...
UK released December 2013 - "A Scene In-Between 1965-1967" by THE STAINED GLASS (featuring The Trolls) is a first-time CD compilation (limited edition of 1500 copies) on Ace/Big Beat Records CDLUX 014 (Barcode 029667057226) and pans out as follows (64:44 minutes):
1. Walkin' Shoes (January 1966 USA 7" single on Peatlore P-V 23267, A)
2. She's Not Right (2013, Previously Unreleased)
3. How Do You Expect Me To Trust You? (January 1966 USA 7" single on Peatlore P-V 23267, B-side of "Walkin' Shoes")
4. No Rhyme Or Reason (2013, Previously Unreleased)
5. Sweeter Than Life (2013, Previously Unreleased)
6. Such Good Friends (2013, Previously Unreleased)
THE STAINED GLASS
7. Broken Man (2013, Previously Unreleased)
8. Lonely Am I (2013, Previously Unreleased)
9. If I Needed Someone (July 1966 USA 7" single n RCA Victor 47-8889, A)
10. My Buddy Sin (September 1966 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-8952, A)
11. Vanity Fair (September 1966 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-8952, B-side of "My Buddy Sin")
12. Revenge Is Sweet (2013, Previously Unreleased)
13. We Got A Long Way To Go (April 1967 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-9166, A - Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song - it's B-side "Corduroy Joy" is not on this CD)
14.Inside Ouch (1 February 1967 RCA Recording UPA3-4225 - 2013, Previously Unreleased)
15. Too Fit To Be Tied (Demo) (2013, Previously Unreleased)
16. Dollar Sign Friends (Demo) (2013, Previously Unreleased)
17. Second Day (Demo) (2013, Previously Unreleased)
18. Bubble Machine (5 September 1967 RCA Recording UPA3-7536 - 2013, Previously Unreleased)
19. Mediocre Me (October 1967 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-9354, A)
20. A Scene In-Between (October 1967 USA 7" single on RCA Victor 47-9354, B-side of "Mediocre Me")
21. Mr. Martyr (5 September 1967 RCA Recording UPA3-7536 - 2013, Previously Unreleased)
22. You Keep Me Hangin' On (Live) recorded end of 1966 in the San Francisco area, a cover of The Supremes hit written by Holland-Dozier-Holland
23. My Flash On You (Live) - recorded end of 1966 in the San Francisco area, a cover of an Arthur Lee song on Love's 1966 self-titled debut album
24. 2120 S. Michigan Avenue (Live) - recorded end of 1966 in the San Francisco area, a Rolling Stones cover version
[Notes: Tracks 2, 4 to 8, 12, 14 to 18 and 21 to 24 are 2013, Previously Unreleased. "No Rhyme Or Reason" is a Roger Hedge song, "Lonely Am I" and "Dollar Sign Friends" are Bob Rominger songs - all others except the noted cover versions are by Jim McPherson.
THE STAINED GLASS (formerly known as The Trolls) was:
JIM McPHERSON - Vocals, Harmonica, Keyboards and Bass
BOB ROMINGER - Lead Guitar and Vocals
ROGER HEDGE - Rhythm Guitar and Vocals (Except on Tracks 18 to 21)
DENNIS CARRASCO - Drums and Vocals
Don Peake - Guitar on "If I Needed Someone"
Billy Mure - Harmonica on "My Buddy Sin"
Quality names like ALEX PAULO and WALLY SOUND produced the compilation in conjunction with surviving band members and relatives - hence the chockers 28-page booklet is festooned with personal detail and fab colour snaps of the boys in action at Fraternity gigs and the Coconut Grove, Santa Cruz in 1966, outside RCA Hollywood, in the studio at the microphones, those rare 45 labels on Peatlore and RCA Victor, Acetates, handmade flyers and even a photo of Jim McPherson and Dennis Carrasco with their enormous man-sized homemade bass cabinet. It's beautifully done and features a dedication from Eve McPherson on her song-writing hubby that brims with pride and affection. Jim McPherson died in 1985 after a long illness - he'd gone on to be with Copperhead and contributed material to Quicksilver Messenger Service's debut album on Capitol. NICK ROBBINS - long-time Engineer for Ace Records has done a stunning job with the largely Stereo tapes - all spangly and new - sounding so full of life and promise. There are times for sure that the channel separation is very one-sided - but I suspect that's to do with the original masters. That this stuff is back out there at all is a minor miracle...
It opens with their debut 45 as The Trolls - a driving Harmonica bopper called "Walkin' Shoes" which is superb. Its B-side "How Do You Expect Me To Trust You?" is a pleading ballad that shows McPherson's knack for a warm melody (he was their principal songwriter). The 4 other Trolls cuts on here are previously unreleased and sound so like Arthur Lee's early Love albums ("Sweeter Than Life").
George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone" from The Beatles "Rubber Soul" LP had yet to see light of day in the USA (eventually showed on the American "Yesterday And Today" LP) even though it had surfaced in the UK in the winter of 1965. By the summer of 1966 - there was an opportunity to release their Beatles-esque soundalike version of it on RCA Victor and it did business in places like Rochester, New York. Its impossibly hip and Sixties cool with wonderful layered vocals and McPherson's harmonica playing giving it such a commercial edge. Speaking of that mouth instruments - Billy Mure plays fabulous Harmonica wails on the upbeat "My Buddy Sin". But what gets you is the excellence of the stuff that's been in the can for nearly five decades - McPherson's "Lonely Am I" is very impressive while there's choppy pop rhythm in "Revenge Is Sweet" which reminds me of The Monkees on a roll. The silly-titled "Inside Ouch" is excellent too with lovely shaking guitars and `groovin' vocals. The closest they get to The Byrds and that Roger McGuinn jangle comes with Rominger's excellent "Dollar Sign Friends" and "Mediocre Man" is surely going to make someone's day as a cool long-lost single that deserves re-airing.
Another fab release from Ace Records and surely one the reasons why this British reissue label (celebrating 40 years in the game in 2015) are held in such affection...