Wednesday, 8 June 2016

"Yesterday’s Sunshine: The Complete 1967-1968 London Sessions" by GRAPEFRUIT (2016 RPM CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Elevator Going High..." 

Famously associated with Apple Publishing and therefore the orbit of Paul McCartney and John Lennon (they produced "Lullaby") – London's swinging Pop-Psych kids GRAPEFRUIT had the wickedly good songwriter George Alexander at its four-piece core and should have been big. But instead they managed a cluster of largely failed 7" singles and one posthumous LP before going Hard Rock with their second platter "Deep Water" in 1969 (outside the remit of this CD). Well along comes quality reissue label RPM and they’re determined to reassess and re-define. And after decades of fruitless searching for mastertapes (they located them in 2015) - I think they have more than a point. Here are bittersweet details...

UK released 20 May 2016 – "Yesterday's Sunshine: The Complete 1967-1968 London Sessions" by GRAPEFRUIT on RPM Retro 977 (Barcode 5013929599772) is a 20-track CD compilation of Remasters and plays out as follows (57:21 minutes):

1. Dear Delilah
2. Dead Boot
3. Breaking Up A Dream *
4. Lullaby (Sped-Up Stereo Version) **
5. Another Game
6. Elevator **
7. Yes **
8. Ain't It Good **
9. Sweet Little Miss No Name */**
10. Round Going Round (aka "Round And Round")
11. Someday (Alternate Version) **
12. Somebody's Turning On The People */**
13. Trying To Make It To Monday
14. C'mon Marianne **
15. Theme For Twiggy (aka "Theme For A Lonely Queen")
16. This Little Man
17. Do What You want To (aka "Learn To Love Me") */**
18. Yesterday's Sunshine **
19. Someday Soon
20. One More Try */**
* = Previously Unreleased in Any Form
** = New Tape Transfer/Multi-Track Mix

GEORGE ALEXANDER, JOHN PERRY, PETE SWETTENHAM and GEOFF SWETTENHAM (ex The Sugarbeats who had two 45s on Polydor)

Produced by MARK STRATFORD and STEFAN GRANADOS - the 16-page booklet has superlative and informative liner notes from band expert STEFAN GRANADOS that includes input from surviving band members, pictures of Advision Tape Boxes, trade adverts for RCA (one with a photo of McCartney) and Stateside/Dunhill, several EMI Apple Acetates, Sheet Music for "Dear Delilah", UK Press reviews and various publicity photos. It's well done and very detailed. Much is made of the only-recently located master tapes - and rightly so. The experienced SIMON MURPHY did the Transfers and remasters at FX Sound and Another Planet and the Audio is superb - very clean yet full of atmosphere and presence (only "Trying To Make It To Monday" is from a restored Acetate as the master tape couldn't be located).

This CD compilation will allow fans to sequence their first five 45s as follows:
1. Dear Delilah [1] b/w Dead Boot [2]
January 1968 UK 7" single on RCA Records RCA 1656 - USA 7" single on Equinox 70000

2. Elevator [6] b/w Yes [7]
April 1968 UK 7" single on RCA Records RCA 1677 - USA 7" single on Equinox 70005

3. C'mon Marianne [14] b/w Ain't It Good [8]
July 1968 UK 7" single on RCA Records RCA 1716 - USA 7" single on Equinox 70008

4. Someday Soon [19] b/w Theme For Twiggy [15]
December 1968 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 8005 (no US release)

5. Round Going Round [10] b/w This Little Man [16]
March 1969 UK 7" single on Stateside SS 8011 - USA 7" single on ABC Dunhill 4178

Stateside in the UK and ABC/Dunhill in the USA issued a posthumous debut album in April 1969 called "Around Grapefruit" that took nine of the ten single sides and threw in three new songs recorded in 1968 ("Another Game", "Yesterday's Sunshine" and "Lullaby"). This CD will allow fans to sequence the LP as follows [5] = Track 5 etc...

Side 1:
1. Another Game [5]
2. Yesterday's Sunshine [18]
3. Elevator [6]
4. Yes [7]
5. C'mon Marianne
6. Lullaby
Side 2:
1. Round Going Around [10]
2. Dear Delilah [1]
3. This Little Man [16]
4. Ain't It Good [8]
5. Give It One More Try [20] * see Notes
6. Someday [19]
Tracks 1 to 12 is the debut LP “Around Grapefruit” – released April 1969 in the UK in Stereo on Stateside SSL 5008 and in the USA on ABC/Dunhill DS- 50050. The song “Give It One More Try” is “One More Try” renamed and makes its CD debut here.

At the heart of the group was prolific melody songwriter George Alexander who apart from "Yes" by John Perry and a cover of The Four Seasons "C'mon Marianne" - penned all 18 of the other songs. There's Psych in the swirl of "Dear Delilah" and the mellotron-drenched "Someday Soon" (a slowed down re-write of "Someday") - but stuff like "Round Going Round" is more Kinks-pop. They go Move-pop for the catchy "Elevator" which features Status Quo's "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" type-guitar. Of the unreleased tracks - "Breaking Up A Dream" is a well-recorded instrumental that feels like it badly needs lyrics - better is the bopper "Sweet Little Miss No Name" where the band could be 1966 Monkees chalking up another Top Ten smash. One of the unreleased gems is surely "Somebody's Turning On The People" where they sound like embryonic Badfinger.

It's not all genius by any means - and the lack of out and out killer singles probably did for the band in the end - but when you sequence that album as I've done above - it's a very cool and impressive listen. Well done to RPM and all involved...

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