Wednesday, May 23, 2012

VA - Nuggets, Vol. 10 Folk Rock [1986]

Label: Rhino Records  – RNLP 70034
Series: Nuggets – RNLP 70034
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 1986
Genre: Pop, Rock
Style: Folk Rock [discogs]

Review    by Richie Unterberger (allmusic)
One of the weakest offerings in the series, with oft-anthologized hits by The Byrds, Turtles, Scott McKenzie, and Barry McGuire. The non-hit cuts tend toward the lightest, poppiest facets of folk-rock. An exception is the powerful acoustic, original version of "Dazed And Confused" by Jake Holmes, which was transformed into heavy metal by Led Zeppelin.

A1 The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man 
A2 The Turtles – It Ain't Me Babe  
A3 The Grass Roots – Only When You're Lonely
A4 The Deep Six – Rising Sun       
A5 Jake Holmes – Dazed And Confused 
A6 The Sunshine Company – Back On The Street Again 
A7 Scott McKenzie – San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) 
B1 Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction 
B2 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Buy For Me The Rain 
B3 M. F. Q. – Nighttime Girl
B4 The Peanut Butter Conspiracy – It's A Happening Thing 
B5 The Love Exchange – Swallow The Sun 
B6 P.F. Sloan – The Sins Of A Family
B7 Hearts And Flowers – Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies
mp3@320&scans 131 MB
Dazed And Confused  here
or Here

 Liner Notes
Hey. we were tense, right? After all, the world had actually come close to destroying itself during 1961's horrible Cuban Missile Crisis. (Look it up kids, it's in all the books.) Nikita was alive and pounding his red shoes all over our democratic tables, shouting, "We will bury you!" and millions of Americans were beginning to believe that Kubrick's brilliant Doctor Strangelove nightmare was an all-too-possible reality. Then JFK was assassinated in 1963, and Bye Bye Miss American Pie—that seemed to be The Day The Music Died.
Or at least, evolved... began to think. Oh, we had had our share of thinkers in the past, of course; the social conscience of America, don't ya' know: pioneer Woody Guthrie and his contemporary and protege, Pete Seeger; Tom Paxton pleading with us not to go to war; and Peter, Paul and Mary crying for us because they knew we had no choice.
The answers were, indeed, "Blowing In The Wind." That's what the messiah, rebel Dylan, had written in '62, and that's what he and Baez had sung to a crowd of forty thousand at Newport, a year later. That same 1963 was not a banner year for the pop music scene in the good ol' U.S. of Α., either. Rock'n'roll in America, post-Elvis and pre-Beatles, was bleak territory. Bobby Vee and Connie Francis were not exactly breaking new ground, and although the Beach Boys were rockin' and rollin' and surfin', they weren't thinking. At least, their music required absolutely no thought from their listeners.
Then, the Beatles hit the fan and nervous Americans were, at least momentarily, content to tap their toes to Ringo and cast aside their lingering fears that their lives might actually hinge on a bad case of indigestion contracted by whomever might push the Big Red Button on a given day. So, we were thinking. Yes. And Rocking. Yes. But not at the same time And then, he did it. Bobby did it. The Zimmer-Man.
He strapped on an electric guitar at the very same Newport Folk Festival in 1965, and the polar caps shifted. Bob was rocking out. Thousands of sensitive Forest Hills elitists screamed that he was "selling out." But the public didn't think so. The times, they were a changing, and if The Big One was going to drop, American kids wanted to go out dancing. Dylan gave them "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and they danced. And when everyone decided that it was 0. K. to dance and to think at the same time, along came The Byrds.
Newsweek magazine called The Byrds "Dylanized Beatles," although there are healthy arguments that it was the other way around. At any rate, "Mr. Tambourine Man" was the first official folk-rock hit. It zoomed to Number One and today remains the quintessential example of the genre. For myself and for the other members of my musical group, the Byrds' debut performance at Ciro's on Sunset prior to their record's release, was the beginning of the rest of our lives.
McGuinn, Crosby, Hillman, Clark and Clarke—I owe these guys a lot. (Of credit, fellas, not money!) Millions of us do. They started the ball rolling. They got thousands of us to buy 12-string guitars and find something to protest. In 1965 there was plenty to protest about. So, if the Byrds could make a Bob Dylan classic into a rock hit, why couldn't we? Immediately, six South-Bay surfer-types from Los Angeles changed the name of their band, washed the pomade out of their hair, quit college, and released "It Ain't Me Babe—the second  Dylan song to be a huge national hit, and the record that launched the on-going careers of The Turtles. I thank you.
As the war in Vietnam escalated, the youth of America got angry. And as the Baby Boomer Population was of monumental proportion, it became increasingly popular to be angry. Popular enough to make the public's anger commercial.
Barry McGuire's classic "Eve of Destruction" was the first Number One record to prophesy doom, a statement a little strong for many AM radio programmers who refused to play the record despite its sales. (For a real collector, try to find "The Dawn Of Correction" by the Spokesmen, on Decca. the right wing reply.)
McGuire may have sounded angry-perhaps he was-but those weren't his own words he was espousing The song, in fact, had been written by a rebellious young songwriter named Phil Sloan. Or P.F. Sloan, if you will. Or Flip, as his friends used to call him. Flip had asked the Turtles to record "Eve Of Destruction" as our second record, but we told him that the song was, in our opinion, far too radical to ever make it Sure. What instinct! We chose his "Let Me Be" instead, but it all worked out, Barry had a hit, we had a hit, and Flip put out his own album including "Sins Of The Family," a classic opus of genetic inevitabilities (included on Rhino's recently released "Best of P.F. Sloan"). Sloan, together with co-writer Steve Barri, wrote a zillion hit records during Dunhill Records' heyday. I wonder where he is today? Everything changes.
M.F.Q. changed, too. Before on-stage electricity became chic, they had been the Modern Folk Quartet- Cyrus Farrar, Jerry Yester, Chip Douglas, and Henry Diltz. Acoustic and multi-ethnic, the Quartet played all the same coffee houses that Theodore Bikel and Judy Collins had, with an up-beat comedic cabaret-type show. Then, they found rock'n'roll.
The gypsy-caravan approach of"Nighttime Girl" was a bit too experimental for the era (and for Dunhill), and their second effort, "This Could Be The Night" remains a classic of Phil Spector's record publication but did little to propel the MFQ's popularity.
One of their label-mates, however, had considerably more success. Scott McKenzie had a national Number One record with "San Francisco," a song penned by Papa John Phillips. Scott and John had performed together in the Journeymen just prior to the Mamas and Papas' surprise stardom, and was nearly a "Papa" himself. Though "Like An Old Time Movie" almost followed-up his initial entry to the charts. Scott's second biggest claim to fame is being godfather to Laura (McKenzie) Phillips. In fact, he is currently on tour with the presently reformed Mamas and Papas, opening the show with Flowers in his hair.
While Lou Adler was producing slick, Hollywood-folk hits, others on the West Coast were deliberately trying to get back to Roots. Anybody's roots. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band took up the gauntlet in 1966 with influences from Spike Jones to the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Their big hit, "Buy For Me The Rain," from 1967, is included here, although since then, they've changed band names nearly as often as members. (Jackson Browne started his career with them.) They've been the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Nitty Gritty; The Dirt Band: you name it. Next week they're changing their name to simply "Dirt" Well, maybe not.
Also from California, following the optimistic tone set by the Kinks, the Lovin' Spoonful and yes, the Turtles, came The Sunshine Company.Initially a duo, Mary Nance and Maury Manseau were doing an acoustic club act until they fell in with a surf group's rhythm section and began to make records. Their first was Jimmy Webb's "Up Up And Away," but it bombed. Go figure. Jackson Browne wrote songs for this band, too (boy, does he get around!), but it was Steve Gillette who's responsible for their single chart success.
Hearts And Flowers were Mary Murray, Rick Cunha and Dave Dawson. Already this is probably more than you need to know about Hearts And Flowers, but let's continue. The group formed in Hawaii and later moved on to the L.A. area playing Randy Spark's Ledbetter's Club and the Ice House in Pasadena. Future Burrito Brother, Bernie Leadon joined the group for their second album, but despite the flowing hippie imagery of their first single release, no one cared.
Back on the more profitable side of the fence, Adler's Dunhill Records was still churning out non-stop hits fueled, to a large degree, by the songwriting team of Sloan and Barri, and the seemingly endless amount of quality singles by The Grass Roots. Warren Entner crooned and Rob Grill harmonized. It was smooth; it was professional; it was about as folky as the Turtles had become, which is to say that the Grass Roots were a Hit Machine Songs like "Midnight Confessions" and "Live For Today" became instant anthems, and will probably outlive us all. "Only When You're Lonely" was not one of the Roots' biggest hits, but certainly was among their best,
Driving around Hollywood in those halcyon days, i can remember seeing a bumper sticker that said, "The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading!" I wondered for three solid months what the hell that was supposed to mean-one of those new Psychedelic bands no doubt... harrummpff! Then I heard their new record, "It's A Happening Thing"—real AGo-Co stuff aimed at the "Love American Style" audience. But cute. Sandi Robinson was the singer's name: I remember Sandi—with an "I". Cute. A bit wimpy, but it was on Columbia Records for heavens sakes—instant credibility! "Turn On A Friend" was their follow-up single, only no one turned it on and the PBC disappeared. I never saw that bumper sticker again, either.
But I have lived through deja-vu flashbacks. No, not the old drugs kicking in. I'm referring to the strange feeling I got only recently hearing Jake Holmes' 1967 version of "Dazed And Confused" for the first time Silly me, I had attributed that classic urban blues to Led Zeppelin even though their version followed Jake's by several years. So, who says that Page and Plant were innovators? Just kidding.
Jake's been a Greenwich Village mainstay as long as 1 can remember: an ethereal enigma who quoted Dostoevski on his 1969 album, but now makes a healthy living singing the praises of McDonald's (among other products) on television commercials. Who deserves a break today anyway?
I know absolutely nothing about Deep Six, except that I bought their record after hearing it one time on local LA. radio. That guitar line sounding like a French horn got to me I guess. The record, I discovered upon purchase was a) on Liberty Records-very reputable, b) by a group from San Diego, and c) not to become a very big hit—oh well. C est la vie... they got Deep Six after all.
Likewise, 1 feign ignorance about the limited careers of Love Exchange represented here by "Swallow The Sun." Hang on... I've just been told that they originally attended my old alma mater, Westchester High School, and that their former name was the Crusaders... hummm... the Crusaders-wasn't that Freddy Barnett and his brother, and before that they called themselves Freddy and the Fanatics? Yes! Yes! I've never heard their record, but I've still got their business card.
See, what comes around goes around. Same as it ever was. So, what have we learned here? If it's true that by combining relevant socio-political statements and derivative African folk rhythms, a new form of music evolved in the mid-sixties, who then are the artists carrying on this tradition in the eighties? Folk-rock in the eighties is Springsteen and Mellericamp, the Roches and the Del Fuegos. Lou Reed and the Talking Heads or indeed the Dream Academy and the Pet Shop Boys.
Folk music is (and always was) music of the people, by the people and for the people And you know what? The people still want to rock!
Howard Kaylan
The Turtles

Nuggets is a series of releases dedicated to preserving the hits and undiscovered gems of the first psychedelic era...

Vol. 01  Vol. 02  Vol. 03  Vol. 04 
Vol. 05  Vol. 06  Vol. 07  Vol. 08
Vol. 09              Vol. 11  Vol. 12


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