Monday, 5 June 2017

"LOU ADLER: A Musical History" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (February 2014 Ace Records CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Flowers In His Hair..."

25-Tracks from the career of Producer, Songwriter and Ode Records founder LOU ADLER stretching from 1958 to 1974 – "A Musical History" is a brilliant and eclectic mix of styles, songs and genres that cleverly maps the emergence of the "California Sound" - including huge names like Sam Cooke, The Mama's & The Papa's and Carole King. 

Here are the Eve Of Destruction details...

UK released February 2014 – "LOU ADLER: A Musical History" on Ace Records CDCHD 1384 (Barcode 029667057523) is a 25-Track CD Compilation of Remasters that pans out as follows (71:40 minutes):

1. Wonderful World – SAM COOKE (1960 USA 7” single on Keen 82112, A)
2. Deana Baby – JOHNNY “GUITAR” WATSON (1958 USA 7” single on Keen 3-4023, A)
3. Bim Bam – SAM BUTERA & THE WITNESSES (1958 USA 7” single on Capitol F 4014, A)
4. Baby Talk – JAN & DEAN (1959 USA 7” single on Dore 522, A)
5. All Of My Life – SAM COOKE (1958 USA 7” single on Keen 3-2005, A)
6. Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight – THE UNTOUCHABLES (1960 USA 7” single on Madison M134, A)
7. Alley-Oop – DANTE & THE EVERGREENS (1960 USA 7” single on Madison M130, A)
8. Honolulu Lulu – JAN & DEAN (1963 USA 7” single on Liberty 55613, A)
9. Crying In The Rain – THE EVERLY BROTHERS (1961 USA 7” single on Warner Brothers 5250, A)
10. Eve Of Destruction – BARRY McGUIRE (1965 USA 7” single on Dunhill 45-D-4009, A)
11. Go Where You Wanna Go – THE MAMA’S & THE PAPA’S (1965 USA 7” single on Dunhill 45-D-4018, A)
12. California Dreamin’ - THE MAMA’S & THE PAPA’S (1965 USA 7” single on Dunhill 45-D-4018, A)
13. San Francisco “Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair” – SCOTT McKENZIE (1967 USA 7” single on Ode ZS7-103, A)
14. Stoney End – THE BLOSSOMS (1967 USA 7” single on Ode ZS7-106, B-side to “Wonderful”)
15. Wonderful – THE BLOSSOMS (1967 USA 7” single on Ode ZS7-106, A)
16. Snow Queen – THE CITY [featuring Carole King and Danny Kortchmar] (1968 USA 7” single on Ode ZS7 113, A)
17. Wear You Love Like Heaven – PEGGY LIPTON (1970 USA 7” single on Ode OD-66001, A)
18. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – THE BROTHERS & SISTERS OF LOS ANGELES (1969 USA 7” single on Ode ZS7-123, A)
19. Oh No, Not My Baby – MERRY CLAYTON (1972 USA 7” single on Ode ODE-66030, A)
20. It’s Too Late – CAROLE KING (1971 USA 7” single on Ode ODE-66015, A)
21. It’s Going To Take Some Time – CAROLE KING (from her 1971 album “Music” on A&M/Ode Records SP 77013)
22. Gimme Shelter – MERRY CLAYTON (May 1970 USA 7” single on Ode ODE-66003, A)
23. I Got A Line On You – SPIRIT (1969 USA 7” single on Ode ZS7 115, A)
24. Earache My Eye – CHEECH & CHONG (1974 USA 7” single on Ode ODE-66102-S, A)
25. Sweet Transvestite – TIM CURRY & THE ORIGINAL ROXY CAST featuring Alice Bowie (1974 USA 7” single on Ode ODE-66103, A)
Notes: Tracks 1 to 7, 14, 15 and 17 are MONO – all others are STEREO

The 28-page booklet is properly gorgeous – affectionate and wonderfully informative liner notes by noted Music Writer MICK PATRICK. The artist-by-artist assessments are peppered with repros of almost every American 45 on labels like Madison, Ode, Keen, Dore, Liberty, Dunhill and more. There’s are US picture sleeves for The Everly Brothers, Jan & Dean, The Mama’s & The Papa’s and Peggy Lipton with In Studio black and whites publicity shots of Lou Adler with Jan and Dean and Herb Alpert, Billboard and Cashbox adverts, sheet music and so on... At 28-pages it really stretches out and looks the part. And once again NICK ROBBINS does a bang up job of remastering – each track sounding special in their own way.

It opens with Sam Cooke’s gorgeous “Wonderful World” –a three-way co-write with Cooke, Adler and his songwriting buddy Herb Alpert. Sam Butera & The Witnesses were pretty much the backing band for the wonderful Louis Prima and Keely Smith – so his best-loved R&B hit “Bim Bam” is a really welcome choice – complimenting the wicked same beat found on Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Deana Baby” (a genius inclusion). I’ve never been a fan of the Surfing Jan & Dean sound and the vocal group take by The Untouchables of “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight” just sounds out of place somehow.

By the time we get to Track 10 the whole “California Dreamin’” hippy vibe starts to kick in – a mixture of rage at War and Weapons proliferation (“Eve Of Destruction”) sat perfectly alongside the Sixties newfound joy for life (“San Francisco “Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair”). The Blossoms featuring Darlene Love, Jean King and Fanita James do a girl-group cover of Laura Nyro’s “Stoney End” layering on the strings – the flipside to the melodrama of ‘Wonderful”. A truly fantastic discovery for many will be Carole King’s group The City (before she went solo) – the gorgeous melodies and layered vocals in “Snow Queen” are a genuine standout here.

Bizarre cover goes to Peggy Lipton for her version of Donovan’s “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” which segues into something more righteous and far better – the Gospel/Church cover of Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” by The Brothers & Sisters Of Los Angeles fronted by Merry Clayton at her powerhouse best. Two tracks from her trio of albums on Ode provide genuine highlights – her tender take on the Maxine Brown classic “Oh No, Not My Baby” (written by Goffin & King) and her storming cover of the song that made Clayton famous – The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”. Things then go stratospheric with King’s sublime "It's Too Late" – a US Number 1 and a Grammy winner from her stunning "Tapestry" album of 1971 followed by a track from her "Music" album.

Wicked inclusion number 109 goes to Spirit's "I Got A Line On You" - a sort of Blood, Sweat & Tears meets The Spencer Davis Group piece of fast-paced upbeat dancing Sixties pop (written by Randy California). Then quickly back to bizarre. It seems amazing now to think that the Frank Zappa Rock/Comedy Kiss excess that is Cheech & Chong’s pisstake on Rock stars “Earache My Eye” went Top 10 in 1974 (“...As long as I can have my limo and orange hair...I’m so rich! Ha1 Ha!”) The compilation ends on the equally rocktastic and anarchic “Sweet Transvestite” – a Richard O’Brien boogie from “The Rocky Horror Show” which sounds like David Bowie meets Lou Reed - with both having fun about high-heeled boots and gender-bending.

So there you have it – Bubblegum Pop, Sweet Soul, Surfin’ Safari, Harry Hippy, Girl Group, Seventies Singer Songwriter, Comedy and Men Dressed Up As Women – Lou Adler produced them all - and from the sounds of this compilation - with real style (along with Herb Alpert he also penned tracks 1, 2, 3 and 5 and had a hand in 8). There’s so much to enjoy on here - even if you do own those overplayed Mama’s & Papa’s, Scott McKenzie and Carole King tracks. Dig in and enjoy - and Ace Records have done it again folks...another winner... 

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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