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Spectropop V#0173

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 10/23/98

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       Volume #0173                      October 25, 1998   
    Here are the great songs. The unbelievable excitement...
    Subject:     Ballroom Review
    Sent:        10/23/98 4:15 am
    Received:    10/23/98 7:48 am
    From:        David Bash, BasXXXXXXXXcom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Hi Everyone,
    I wanted to post my review of the Ballroom CD, which will appear 
    in an upcoming issue of Discoveries. I highly recommend that every
    fan of soft pop get this disc as soon as you can. I know it's 
    available through several internet sites.
    Spectropop Rules!!!!!
    Take Care,
    The Ballroom
    Preparing For The Millennium
    Revola CREV058CD
    Mention the name Curt Boettcher to fans of late 60s soft pop, and 
    you'll get nods of reverence. Over the years, Boettcher has had a 
    growing mystique, in large part because the wonderful bands he led
    didn't achieve even a modicum of popularity during their tenure, 
    but also because he was such a talented writer and musician. His 
    bands Sagittarius and The Millennium have been written about quite
    often in recent years, as their albums have been reissued on CD. 
    Even though he passed away more than 10 years ago, Boettcher's 
    name is constantly on the lips of many fans, and perhaps because 
    of the intrigue surrounding his musical life everyone wants to 
    fill in the missing pieces. One of those pieces has long been 
    discussed in rather hushed tones although few knew much about it, 
    and that was the unreleased album by The Ballroom, the band that 
    Boettcher had circa 1966, before Sagittarius and The Millennium. 
    Most collectors had given up on the possibility that this album 
    would ever see the light of day, but fortunately people like Joe 
    Foster of Revola Records was persistent in his quest to make it 
    happen, and Revola has now released a disc called Preparing For 
    The Millennium, which contains not only the Ballroom album, but 
    outtakes from Ballroom and Millennium sessions as well as solo 
    projects by Ballroom members. The end result was more than worth 
    the wait, as the music within is beautiful, harmony filled pop 
    that will easily satiate the appetite of any fan of late 60s pop 
    Curt Boettcher had many strengths as a musician and songwriter, 
    but perhaps his greatest was his voice, which not only soared to 
    the heavens but contained a childlike innocence not unlike that of
    Peter Pan. However, while his music was certainly pretty, whimsical
    and melodic, it was often tinged with enough psychedelic flourishes
    to conjure the image that perhaps our Peter was injesting some 
    funny, mind altering substances (which indeed Boettcher was at the
    time). Upon listening to The Ballroom CD, one can hear the 
    germination of a fruitful period for Boettcher, and his bandmates 
    Sandy Salisbury, Michelle O'Malley, and Jim Bell were able 
    assistants, contributing tight musicianship, beautiful Association/
    Cowsills like harmonies, and sophisticated songwriting in the 
    case of Salisbury. The album (actually, the tapes of 11 of the 
    original 13 songs could be found) could almost serve as a 
    soundtrack to a fairytale, albeit a slightly askew one, and 
    Boettcher's Peter Pan personna is easily communicated on tracks 
    like the delightful "Spinning, Spinning, Spinning," "Love's Fatal 
    Way", and the Salisbury penned "Magic Time". The band could emerge
    from that mold as well, as the American Indian flavored "You Turn 
    Me Around," (co-written by "Along Comes Mary" writer Tandyn Almer-
    Boettcher had produced the first Association album) the slow, 
    intense, and mystical "It's A Sad World," the goofy, Vaudevillian,
    pot induced "Crazy Dreams," and the pop/psych workout of the 
    traditional R&B "Baby Please Don't Go" would attest. The Ballroom 
    album also has nascent renderings of "Would You Like To Go" and 
    "Musty Dusty", which would appear in more ornate versions on 
    Sagittarius' Present Tense and The Millennium's Begin albums, 
    respectively. The Ballroom versions are slightly slower and sparer, 
    and in that form perhaps more cogently illustrate the beauty of 
    these songs. Although The Ballroom is considered to be a 
    Boettcher-led project, perhaps the highlight of the album is the 
    Salisbury penned "I'll Grow Stronger," which contains an amazing 
    melody line, complimentary whispery lead vocals and exquisite 
    harmonies. Truly an amazing aural experience!
    The next 8 tracks on the CD are outtakes and demos from The 
    Ballroom and The Millennium, many of which emerged on either the 
    aforementioned Sagittarius or Millennium albums. These are all 
    excellent, especially "Another Time", which is more acoustic based
    than the released version but greatly emphasizes the delicate, 
    complex melody lines, and "I'm Not Living Here", which in this 
    version is carried by a prominent, slightly distorted bass line 
    (these outtakes contain some different lyrics than those versions 
    which appeared on "Present Tense"). Some songs that had not 
    previously seen the light of day in any form are the uptempo, 
    slightly loungy "If You Only Knew," the slow, Indian tinged 
    "Believe You", which could have easily fit on the Monkees' Head 
    soundtrack, and the pretty, early Monkees-ish "Sunshine Today". 
    The final three songs on the disc are the gypsy-ish "Milk And 
    Honey", by a pre-Ballroom Boettcher project called Summer's 
    Children, "All Really Have Is A Memory", a soft, romantic 
    Salisbury solo track (credited to "Sandy" on the 45) that out Left
    Bankes the Left Banke in the refrain, and a delightful version of 
    Nilsson's "Best Friend" by the Salisbury led group Puppet.
    The packaging of Preparing For The Millennium is stellar as well, 
    with cool photos, vintage press clippings, and the usual excellent
    liner notes and song annotations by the venerable Dawn Eden, which 
    include insights from various members of The Ballroom and The 
    Millennium. All in all, Preparing For The Millennium is a 
    collection that should be considered the Holy Grail of soft pop.
    David Bash
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Touch The Wall Of Sound/Flabby Road
    Sent:        10/23/98 2:46 am
    Received:    10/23/98 7:48 am
    From:        David Marsteller,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    On Fri, 23 Oct 1998, john rausch wrote:
    >...and to david marsteller:
    >the wall of sound set that you mentioned being on clearance is a 
    >reissued 2 disc set,the original release was on 3 discs from japan.
    >That is the set I have but i`m not sure if the newer set was 
    >condensed track wise to fit on 2 discs, the original 3 disc set 
    >has a total of 60 cuts. great collection by the way :-) most of 
    >the songs were transferred directly from the records to cd, there 
    >are some stereo but mostly mono . "cause i love him" by alder ray 
    >is in stereo and sounds great, but thanks to a tape from mark 
    >landwehr, i got to hear the mono mix which has more umph....maybe 
    >more "compression?"
    If someone on the list hasn't already got the 2CD version, I'll post 
    about it when my copy arrives. By the way, can anyone comment on the 
    Flabby Road collection of Beatle-related songs? I've got a copy on 
    order, but haven't heard much about it.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     more on baldness
    Sent:        10/24/98 9:53 pm
    Received:    10/25/98 2:19 am
    From:        Ron Bierma, ELROXXXXXXXXcom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    In a message dated 10/22/98 12:27:03 PM, you wrote:
    <<I don't think they sped up the vocal tape, I think it was the 
    other way around. As the vocals were being recorded, the engineer 
    slowed down the multi-track tape little by little with a 
    variable speed oscillator. The vocalists were hearing the rhythm 
    track slowing down little by little, so they were able to keep 
    their singing in time with the retarding rhythm. When the multi 
    was played back at normal speed, the rhythm sounded relatively 
    consistent and the singing in time, but the voices got progressively
    Thanks to Jamie & Marc for theories on my "She's Going Bald" 
    question. I think the above is probably the method used, tho I 
    think there is no actual rhythm track at that point in the song, 
    so perhaps they had just a metronome or some other inaudable time 
    keeper being slowed down with the tape. I guess they could have 
    recorded MLs bass 1st in real time, then the sha-na-nas recorded 
    to his timing? Try's pretty hard, then try it in 4-5 part 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject: The Crystals Twist Uptown!
    Sent: 10/23/98 3:48 am
    Received: 10/23/98 7:48 am
    From: Jimmy Cresitelli, JimmXXXXXXXXcom
    To: Spectropop List,
    AGREED! That's a fabulous album cover-- all dressed up in their 
    party dresses, ready to go... uptown? You know, my friends and I 
    actually managed to teach ourselves "The Frankenstein Twist" and 
    did it at parties all through the '70s and early '80s... it's 
    really easy to learn, and the next thing you know, you're out on 
    the floor, doin' that Frankenstein dance... ; ) And regarding 
    Barbara's writing ability: I am a writer by trade, and can attest 
    to Barbara's ability to grab the reader, hold his interest, and 
    keep him amused and entertained as well. Good work, Ms. Alston! I 
    too am looking forward to a great read. Once the Crystals are 
    published, I guess we'll be needing a book from Fanita James, to 
    pose as a counterpoint to Darlene's bio?
    ; ) 
    Barbara: our regards to Phippy, wherever she may be!
    Keep on rockin', people...
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     There's A Story (I want you to know)
    Sent:        10/23/98 7:30 am
    Received:    10/23/98 7:48 am
    From:        Barbara Alston, BARBXXXXXXXXcom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Hi Guys!
    Thank you again for your wonderful comments. It pleases me to know
    that you are all die-hard 60's fans! :-) I love it because those 
    were the greatest years of my life. Yes, Fatima, Dee Dee and I are
    writing a book. We're telling it all, just the way it happened as 
    far as we can remember. We are, however, trying not to mention 
    other artists by name, so you'll have to figure out who we are 
    talking about. I don't think this group will have a problem there!
    But our purpose is not to trash any artists, we're just trying to 
    tell the whole truth which inevitably includes other performers.
    [john rausch wrote:
    >...Anyone interested in seeing the Twist Uptown cover can check it
    >out at: <>]
    As far as the Twist Uptown album is concerned, from left to right 
    is Patsy Wright, La La Brooks, Dee Dee Kenniebrew, Mary Thomas and
    yours truly! Phil did not buy the station wagon. I believe our 
    manager, Benny Wells, bought that for us because we did not 
    like "flying". We didn't care if it took five days to get there, 
    we just wanted to drive :-) We had Crystals written on both sides 
    of the wagon (maybe not at the time of the album picture) and were
    very proud of that vehicle. It was truly a part of the group. We 
    chose our own clothing at all times. Phil never bought anything 
    for us or suggested what we should wear. Dee Dee was the main one 
    for picking out our gowns. I'll ask Dee Dee where the photo was 
    taken, I can't remember. It was in New York, however, but where, 
    who knows! If I'm not mistaken, this wasn't a major 
    picture-taking affair. I believe we did it fairly quickly and with
    which photographer, I haven't the foggiest!
    I was the group romantic and dreamer. I don't remember the finer 
    details. That's Dee Dee's forte! I'm the one that was forever in 
    love, forever day dreaming, forever asking questions. I wanted to 
    know everything about everybody I met. I tried to get to know 
    people for who they were in the little time we had together. 
    That's why I have a lot of stories to tell! As a matter of fact, the
    name of the book will be "There's A Story (I want you to know)."
    I will make the official release announcement of the book right 
    here on Spectropop. And, again, thanks for the opportunity to 
    express a lot that's been within for many years now.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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