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Pete Lawrence - 09 Sep 2017
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“We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Indeed.

In 2006 I started to put together a double CD of late 60s flower-power and bubble-gum pop for Universal to mark the 40th anniversary of that golden age of pop history... 

Here are my sleeve notes :

The late 60s was a golden age for pop, bubblegum, psychedelia and lounge. The summer of love was in full swing, England had recently won the World Cup, man was landing on the moon, people were starting to jet-set overseas and there was definitely something in the air. This hand-picked soundtrack, a double CD set of tracks from the likes of The Mamas and Papas, The Cowsills, Thunderclap Newman, Traffic, Warm Sounds, The Box Tops and The Association, reflects and revives that golden age, with a mixture of chart hits and rarities. There's no denying that this music made a profound impression on me as a pre-teen adolescent. Here, I've revisited a time when everything seemed that little bit more utopian and magical, at least to my rose coloured eleven year old visions.

At the time, I was discovering the slightly illicit delights of pop music, which - at least until the advent of Radio1 - was really only available via the less than clear signal I received on my tranny from the offshore pirates, in particular Caroline and London. The listening experience was always exciting and filled with an element of daring, not least for the threat of being caught under the bedclothes after lights out.

The sentiments, inevitably about love, peace and nature, struck a chord in the prosperous baby-boom years, and remarkably retain their relevance today with an added resonance, given the trajectory of the last forty years and the subsequent adoption of many values from the hippy era by a large majority today, despite these social shifts being much maligned at the time.

It was a year or so ago, on a wet weekend trip to rural Slovakia that I suddenly and inexplicably got the urge to gather together these tracks and as I meditated on some of better known tunes, more and more artist names and song titles came into my head - mostly stuff I hadn't thought about in the best part of four decades... Merrilee Rush, P.P Arnold, Keith West, The Casuals, Spanky and Our Gang, Eclection... and I was delighted to find that most of it sounded even better than I remembered. Right now, it feels natural to stand up and salute this era of song - strong on melody, unsurpassed in harmony, simplistically arranged but utilising the new-fangled studio gadgetry of the time and invariably uplfting in lyrical content. Whether or not there’s a new wave of flower power on the horizon, the current 60s hippy fashion revival is on the streets, and articles are everywhere marking the 40th anniversary of the ‘Summer Of Love’, and I can’t help thinking that the timing has never been more right for a compilation such as this. I’ve been road testing the music in recent months, and had a highly positive reaction, not least at the triumphant ‘Do It Again’ nights at The Big Chill Bar. In a recent ‘Readers Digest’ poll, a third of the voters pinpointed the 60s as the decade they would have most liked to be a teenager, so something about it has undoubtedly stood the test of time, as does this music, remastered here with love and care, and sounding as vibrant and contemporary to these ears as anything else on offer at the moment.

“We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Indeed.

PETE LAWRENCE, SUMMER 2007

 

Disc: 1

  1. Windy - The Association

  2. Creeque Alley - Lou Adler, The Mamas & The Papas

  3. Let's Go To San Francisco - The Flowerpot Men

  4. My World Fell Down - Gary Usher, Sagittarius

  5. Birds And Bees - Warm Sounds

  6. Paper Sun - Jimmy Miller, Traffic, Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood

  7. Incense And Peppermints - Frank C. Slay Jr., Strawberry Alarm Clock, Bill Holmes, Paul Buff

  8. The Rain,The Park And Other Things - Artie Kornfeld, Jimmy Wisner, The Cowsills

  9. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Harpers Bizarre

  10. Nevertheless - Eclection

  11. Like To Get To Know You - Spanky & Our Gang, Stuart Scharf, Bob Dorough

  12. Cast Your Fate To The Wind - The Sandpipers, Tommy LiPuma, Mort Garson, Bruce Botnick

  13. The Fool On The Hill - Sergio Mendes

  14. Stoned Soul Picnic - The 5th Dimension

  15. Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James & The Shondells

  16. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' - Crazy Elephant

  17. Groovin' With Mr Bloe - Mr Bloe

  18. Rainbow Chaser - Muff Winwood, Nirvana

  19. This Wheel's On Fire - Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity

  20. Beggin' - Michael Aldred, Timebox

  21. In The Year 2525 (Exordius & Terminus) - Denny Zager, Zager & Evans, Richard Evans

  22. Morning Dew - Tim Rose

  23. If I Were A Carpenter - Erik Jacobsen, Tim Hardin

  24. Love Is Blue (L Amour Est Bleu) - Jeff Beck, Mickie Most, Ron Wood

  25. Classical Gas - Mason Williams

 

Disc: 2

  1. Something In The Air - Thunderclap Newman, Pete Townshend

  2. Kites - Simon Dupree & The Big Sound

  3. Sunshine Superman - Donovan

  4. Carrie-Anne - The Hollies

  5. Days - The Kinks

  6. Temptation Eyes - The Grass Roots

  7. Keep The Customer Satisfied - Marsha Hunt

  8. My White Bicycle - Tomorrow

  9. Ride My See-Saw - The Moody Blues, Tony Clarke, Derek Varnals

  10. Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) - John Fred & His Playboy Band

  11. Jesamine - The Casuals

  12. Angel Of The Morning - Merrilee Rush, The Turnabouts

  13. Young Girl - Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

  14. Everlasting Love - The Love Affair

  15. The First Cut Is The Deepest - P.P. Arnold

  16. Excerpt From A Teenage Opera - Keith West

  17. From The Underworld - Steve Rowland, The Herd

  18. Spooky - Buddy Buie, The Classics IV

  19. Spinning Wheel - Blood Sweat & Tears

  20. The Letter - The Box Tops

  21. Out Of Time - Chris Farlowe

  22. Turn, Turn, Turn, (To Everything There Is A Season) - The Byrds

  23. San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie

  24. Woodstock - Matthews' Southern Comfort

3 Comments

845

Kimm Fearnley

Lovely article and soundtrack. X

2663

Steve Kimberley

There are a good few in there I'd completely forgotten. You've got me thinking now...

2663

Steve Kimberley

And have just popped it into my Amazon Wish List in the vain hope that someone might spring for it for my birthday. (Sadly, at nearly thirty nicker, it's slightly outside of my pocket's scope at the mo!).

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