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A 1969 psychedelic "makeover" from "square" to "hip" that really worked.

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  • A 1969 psychedelic "makeover" from "square" to "hip" that really worked.

    You who remember the 1960's will recall how some "establishment" acts (whose heyday had been in the 1940's and 1950's) attempted to "get hip with the kids" and cut their own psychedelic-sounding record. Artists like Peggy Lee, Mel Torme' and Julie London spring to mind. The results were often less-than-convincing.


    But here's a 60's switchover from "square" to "turned-on" that really did work. The Arbors were a four-man singing group from Michigan, whose shtick was very much along the "Four Freshman" or "Sandpipers" groove: Very "establishment", earnest, very self-consciously sweet vocal harmony paying homage to debutantes and graduations.



    But in 1969, they decided to get hip. They cut this record, which, to my ears, is very authentic psychedelia. A very trippy record with lots of great studio FX, circa 1969. It's the old Box Tops/Alex Chilton song, but I think that song is only being used here as a "taking-off" point, if you take my meaning.

    Play this recording as loudly as your system will permit, and bump up the HQ to its highest on the video module itself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVL3npzQylU

    Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


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  • #2
    I like the 'breathy' lead vocal and the harmonies at 1:48

    And of course the obligatory phased vox later on
    new album - smoke
    forum - the asylum

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    • #3
      Great tune. I have a soft spot in my heart for those tight sixties pieces. A little horn, some rhythm guitar, a steady drum beat and a simple plea we can all relate to.

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      • #4
        I love that wild, slow-down "peaking out" moment... They let that shimmering chord go on for so long... a-la "Time Has Come Today" ... (I actually think they could've sustained that wild chord a second or two longer for an insane psychey effect!). Such a daring thing for a "square, Establishment" group to do... and pull it off beautifully.


        Funny, on the YouTube page, one person has typed in with his comment, "Gee, now i'm wondering if this guy actually manages to catch up with his girl... kinda sad..."

        I wrote below it, "This particular recording is SO not about a guy chasing a girl."
        Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


        Friend me on FACEBOOK!

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        • #5
          Interesting take on that song. I'm surprised I never heard it before as I was really into the psychedelic music of the 60's. Thanks for posting this.

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          • #6
            I do just remember this track from back in the day - very remote, had to have been something that got only a short burst of radio plays.

            I did like it, but it did ring false just a bit to my pre-adolescent ears. It came across like an admirable, skilled "cover" of psychedelic, but not real, in-the-stream-on-the-ground psychedelic.

            The "real" psychedelic, at least in my sub-sub-sub-group of hippiedom was more like this (Texas-grown):
            l

            By "real" I mean "real" to the relatively small bunch of hippie types who imbibed in psychedelics and considered, at least for a wondrous if ephemeral season, the experience on a par with any of the most profound religious, or philosophical, or otherwise transcendent pinnacles of human experience...which was a long way from simply a collection of trippy-sounding studio tricks and Beatle-esgue falsetto harmonies...

            Nowadays? - I'll listen to either every drug has it's day...

            nat whilk ii

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            • #7
              Funny that Texas should produce a psychedelic band that was thought to lead the way with psychedelic music. Having read numerous biographies of Janis Joplin, I now appreciate that, in the mid-60's, Austin's most widely used psychedelic was not LSD, but mescalin/peyote, derived from the freely growing cacti of the region. My Dad said that UT-Austin in the mid-60's was also wild with amphetamine, because in those days, even the "straightest" of college kids could drive down to Nuevo Laredo and pick up a huge apothecary jar of speed.

              Interestingly, it was Dallas that led the way with MDMA as a party drug in the 1980's.
              Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


              Friend me on FACEBOOK!

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              • #8
                I didn't get the psychedelic effect on the Arbors, but it's only 7AM I'm drinking coffee, I didn't crank it .. the tape flanging at the end was fun.
                The 13th Floor Elevators were from my home town in Texas, where I got my first studio gig.

                This one is from 1970 I hadn't watched the YouTube Video untill now, but the record is super psychedelic ... try cranking this one, get close to the speakers and close your eyes:




                Russ
                Nashville
                "In Order To Predict The Future .... Create It"

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                • #9
                  Far, far better than this:

                  ..................................................
                  Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

                  ...Pericles

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                  • #10
                    With all due respect and the Itchycoo Park flange passage notwithstanding, that is easy listening. Trust me, I know easy listening. I spent much of the early 60s listening to it, while my teen peers were listening to those faddish Beatles and all the Britvasion bands. Mantovani? Sunshine Company? They were in my collection. This strikes me as a very obvious attempt to create a clone of the Association -- the combination of lush vocal harmonies and a very hippie lite sort of thing. Frankly, I find "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things" (aka, "Flower Girl") by the Cowsills strikes me as more genuine. (And knocking off the Itchycoo gimmick so shamelessly? Un unh, baby. Uncool.)

                    For contrast, this, from 1967, was my reintroduction to rock and, lip-synced or not, I was exhilarated. If you want to talk about psychedelic, here's what I consider the real thing -- delivered without studio tricks or fancy production techniques (beyond a bunch of chamber 'verb). The mind-expansiveness here comes from the lyrics and the musical approach, reinventing folk rock, and -- perhaps moreso in other songs -- combining it with free jazz style improvisations, coming up with something that, at the time, seemed dangerous and outside. (OK, nothing seems to dangerous when it's introduced by a giggling Tommy Smothers, but you get the drift.)

                    .

                    music and social links | recent listening

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                    • #11
                      "Funny that Texas should produce a psychedelic band that was thought to lead the way with psychedelic music."

                      I think it's larger than the drug scene. Texas music is a big mix of stuff in all its auspices. Culturally, if there is anything good about Texas it's that people will find what they like and not feel bad about adding it to whatever is in the air... it makes for some real interesting polkas.

                      I'm not old enough to say for sure, but it certainly seems like there are still folks around from Nat's sub-sub-sub real "hippydom".

                      I saw Ronnie Leatherman play at a jam I played at last month, and that kind of thing always makes me feel like I'm in a good place.

                      Even better, it isn't like all the people on that bus are in their 60s and 70s, as I know plenty of people of all ages on that road.
                      My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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                      • #12


                        By "real" I mean "real" to the relatively small bunch of hippie types who imbibed in psychedelics and considered, at least for a wondrous if ephemeral season, the experience on a par with any of the most profound religious, or philosophical, or otherwise transcendent pinnacles of human experience...which was a long way from simply a collection of trippy-sounding studio tricks and Beatle-esgue falsetto harmonies...

                        Nowadays? - I'll listen to either every drug has it's day...

                        nat whilk ii
                        Right.

                        And I, too, faintly remembered the Arbors' version of "The Letter." I'd been a reluctant fan of the Boxtops version -- a great confection, one of those guilty pleasures but, sacrilege or not, it was the only track by them I liked and I was a bit ashamed to like it. (I did later see Chilton in the late 80s when he was doing the solo thing.)


                        WRT the garage psychedelic bands, another of my favorites besides the Elevators was the Blues Magoos... (there's some ridiculous 60 Hz hum in this vid recording... that is something I would not have long put up with back in the day)...




                        But then there's the Count Five...


                        And finally, when this guy sings "I can't sleep at night" -- you believe him...



                        I particularly like the scratchy lead-in groove under Dick Clark's spoken intro to the lip-synched performance (at the Philly Zoo, I'm thinking, yeah?)

                        What an odd institution the lip-synched TV performances of the era were. You expect it on a low-budget daily dance show like American Bandstand, of course -- but on a top-rated, big budget network weekly variety hour like the Smothers Brothers? [Well, at least they didn't use a scratchy, worn 45 for the backtrack on the SmoBros.]

                        Still, maybe things don't really change so much after all...
                        .

                        music and social links | recent listening

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                        • #13





                          You know Elvis Costello really really really oughta cover Talk Talk, ya know?

                          nat whilk ii

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                          • #14
                            Hell, this record perfectly describes my one and only acid trip:

                            Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


                            Friend me on FACEBOOK!

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                            • #15


                              I particularly like the scratchy lead-in groove under Dick Clark's spoken intro to the lip-synched performance (at the Philly Zoo, I'm thinking, yeah?)



                              Funny to see them playing with no amps and the guitars aren't plugged in. But, yes, it probably was the Philly Zoo. I know they used to have concerts. I saw Todd Rundgren and Utopia there once about 30 years ago.

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