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Spectropop V#0377

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 01/25/00

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       Volume #0377                        January 25, 2000   
                  ONE WORLD - ONE RECORD COMPANY              
    Subject:     Just very good vocal groups
    Received:    01/25/00 1:42 am
    From:        Joseph Scott
    To:          Spectropop!
    Hi all,
    Jamie wrote: 
    "We seem to have reached a general conclusion that at 
    least some of the 'sunshine pop' artists were really just 
    very good vocal groups who were riding a wave. I contended
    that many simply had the fortune to land a record deal, get
    superb vocal arrangements, and record what was at the time 
    contemporary vocal pop. The result was a psychedelic 60s 
    tinged take on what groups like Chordettes, Four Freshmen,
    Lettermen etc. had been doing for years. Obviously the 
    arrangments on any of these records didn't happen in a 
    rehearsal hall full of stoned hippy guitar players, no 
    matter what the record jacket might lead you to believe." 
    These are very interesting issues. Here is my take on some
    of this stuff:
    Young people always want to perceive their music as very 
    distinct from their parents'. (Whether it really is or not
    is completely irrelevant to that.) E.g. in the late '50s 
    Elvis didn't put a sticker on his records saying "Your 
    parents will enjoy this too because my pianist Dudley 
    Brooks used to be Benny Goodman's pianist and is playing 
    in basically the same style he did with him" -- it would 
    have been true, but it would have been very foolish 
    marketing. Similarly, Jagged Little Pill does not have a 
    sticker from Alanis reading "Your parents will enjoy this 
    too because I hired organist Benmont Tench, who was 
    playing on Tom Petty hits before you were born" -- again, 
    that wouldn't turn the kids on one bit. From generation to
    generation, this aspect of marketing never changes.
    Now, one could ask "Was Dudley Brooks an authentic 
    'rocker'?" "Is Benmont Tench an authentic 'Generation 
    Xer'?" In my opinion these are meaningless questions -- 
    musicians either play well or don't. The rest is 
    Now the way the above applies to the '60s, I think, is 
    this. As in every other decade, the way to market records 
    to young people was to tell them what they wanted to hear.
    Young people generally wanted to hear about something 
    vaguely like a "counterculture" and all that good stuff. 
    (These things never change.) Magazines such as Rolling 
    Stone played into this. The rock groups played into this. 
    Basically everybody played into this. As a result, the big
    question became, Who is one of us (the young, the 
    counterculture, yada yada yada) and who is just pretending
    to be one of us, but is really one of THEM, our parents' 
    age group, those hopeless insensitive bores? And that big 
    question has never really gone away in the minds of most. 
    Many people still often tend to judge Simon and Garfunkel 
    and Janis Joplin and Bob Thiele and the Byrds and the 
    Mothers and the Association and everyone else largely on 
    the basis of their perceived street cred etc. (or, I 
    should say, how their supposed street cred etc. was 
    The funny thing is if you try to actually rationally apply
    those "street cred etc." criteria retroactively to '60s 
    acts, it just doesn't work. Who smoked more pot, Zappa or 
    Simon? Gee, THAT can't be what makes music good, can it, 
    whether the artists have an ingenuous, serious commitment 
    to drugs? :-) Who hung out with Coltrane, Thiele or 
    Joplin? Oh wait, never mind. :-)
    And it can't be jumping on a bandwagon, because one can 
    easily argue that e.g. the Byrds were a close-harmony 
    vocal group who decided to "ride the wave" of 
    folk-rock-psych. Does that makes their c. '66 stuff 
    invalid in some way? Certainly not, according to my ears! 
    (Indeed the whole notion of supposed bandwagon jumping is 
    very tenuous, because musicians ALWAYS influence one 
    another, and playing in a style that is currently popular 
    -- just about everyone does that, if they want to sell any
    Basically, this (imaginary) who's authentic/who's not 
    divide is all about the younger generation (as of the '60s
    ) vs. the older generation (as of the '60s). When did 
    Simon and Garfunkel lose their "street cred" in the minds 
    of many? When a ton of older people happened to love "
    Bridge Over Troubled Water." Why do many people consider 
    Donovan more hip than Mel Torme? Because he's YOUNGER. 
    That's IT. (Note that Torme's cover of "Sunshine Superman," 
    which is excellent, has been marketed on CD as camp, 
    which has nothing to do with reality and is in poor taste.
    Donovan himself says he was influenced by the Torme-era 
    jazz singers, and it shows.)
    So what I'm trying to lead up to here is that I think, 
    aurally, Jackie Ward is Jackie Ward, whether she's singing
    with Anita Kerr or anyone else. Know what I mean? There's 
    this perceived distinction between (1) the vocal groups 
    who were marketed in the '60s to older people and (2) the 
    vocal groups who were marketed in the '60s to younger 
    people -- that's what it comes down to, and it is written 
    right into decades of rock and roll literature (which has 
    mostly been controlled by baby boomers, makes sense eh?) 
    like you wouldn't believe -- and the distinction basically
    was NEVER there in the first place.
    Which is why Brian Wilson listened to Four Freshmen 
    records (and I'm sure glad he did!).
    Best to everybody,
    Joseph Scott
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     examples of jazz vocal harmony pop
    Received:    01/25/00 1:42 am
    From:        DJ JimmyB
    To:          Spectropop!
    In a message dated 1/23/0 10:59:38 AM, you wrote:
    >but I wonder if there aren't examples of jazz vocal 
    >harmony pop that would similarly appeal to fans of 
    >sunshine pop.
    Singers Unlimited, Sergio Mendes, Chris Montez, The 
    Sandpipers...all crossed into jazzy turf. Also don't 
    forget Johnny Mann Singers, Ray Conniff Singers, even a 
    touch of We Five....more??  
    Jimmy Botticelli
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     unison versus harmony
    Received:    01/25/00 1:42 am
    From:        Nat Kone
    To:          Spectropop!
    >...examples of jazz vocal harmony pop that would
    >similarly appeal to fans of sunshine pop. Something like 
    >the Randy van Horne Singers doing Bacharach and Brian 
    >Wilson covers. That is a list I would like to see 
    >alongside David's comprehensive soft pop list.
    I have a little section in my collection with the Kirby 
    Stone Four, the Hi-Lo's, the Double Six of Paris and a 
    bunch of other things like that, including Ray Conniff's 
    "S" records, like "S'Wonderful". I don't know if the KS4 
    lasted into the sixties and made hippy records - I haven't
    seen any - but certainly the Ray Conniff Singers did, along
    with similar aggregations by Percy Faith, Billy Vaughn, etc. 
    But it seems to me that on Ray Conniff's fifties records, 
    the singers were really doing something. There were 
    arrangements and harmonies happening. In the sixties, it 
    seems all they did was sing along in unison. And this is 
    true of virtually all the "choir" records I have from that
    period. The Living Voices - and their classic version of 
    "Like A Rolling Stone" - the Doodletown Pipers, the Enoch 
    Light Singers, the Ray Charles Singers. I don't know why 
    they felt they had to work less hard when they were 
    singing sixties tunes but it seems they did. And this is 
    sort of why I don't include the Lettermen in "soft 
    sunshine pop" though certainly they're related. I don't 
    know enough about harmony to comment on their arrangements
    but there's not a lot going on there. Not that some soft 
    pop doesn't also include a lot of "unison" singing. Anyway, 
    here and there I have found a few "choir" records with a
    bit more going on. Not enough for a list but for a short 
    There's the Singers Unlimited. They have an association 
    with the Hi-Lo's and bring a kind of soft jazzy harmony to
    bear. I can recommend the one record I have by them "Try to
    Remember". But I suspect all their records would qualify. 
    The Anita Kerr Singers are a cut above. They have a record
    "All you need is love" with a lovely version of the Bee 
    Gees' "Holiday". Keith Textor, who made a Stereo Action 
    record, made at least one "hippy" record, "Measure the 
    Valleys". Then there's Hugo Montenegro. His "Good 
    Vibrations" is one of my all-time faves and he made a 
    bunch of records in that period with similar vocal 
    arrangements and moogy instrumental backups. (I can't 
    recommend all of them as Chuck knows.) I'm not sure this 
    helps you since these are LP's and I'd be surprised if 
    much of this had been (legitimately) reissued. Then again,
    I'm often surprised this way.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Re: Soft Pop Which *Isn't* On CD
    Received:    01/25/00 1:41 am
    From:        David Bash
    To:          Spectropop!
    > Also, while I am on the subject, I would like to see your
    > list of soft pop which *isn't* on CD, David. I bet that
    > list includes more Gary Zekely material besides the Yellow
    > Balloon, and Michael Brown's Montage album too.
    > All the best,
    > Jamie LePage
    > n.p. Introducing the Four King Cousins
    Hi Jamie,
    Well, since you it is, keeping in mind that 
    this list is not all-inclusive, mainly because I haven't 
    heard everything (like those King Cousins discs, for 
    example). And yes, Jamie, you were quite right in your 
    guesses. :-) 
    #1 Album-Chris & Peter Allen (Mercury, 1968)*
    The American Revolution-The American Revolution (Flick Disc, 1968)
    A Symphony For Susan-The Arbors* (Date, 1967)
    The Arbors Sing Valley Of The Dolls-The Arbors (Date, 1967)
    I Can't Quit Her/The Letter-The Arbors (Date, 1969)
    Are Not For Smoking-The Blades Of Grass (Jubilee, 1968)
    Bound To Happen-Cashman, Pistilli, and West (ABC, 1968)
    Chamaeleon Church-Chamaeleon Church (MGM, 1968)
    The Cambridge Concept of Timothy Clover-Timothy Clover (Tower, 1968)
    Rain And Shine-The Canterbury Music Festival (B.T. Puppy, 196?)
    Peter Cofield-Peter Cofield (Coral, 1968)
    The Collage-The Collage (Smash, 1967)
    Colours-Colours (Dot, 1968)
    We Can Fly-The Cowsills (MGM, 1967)
    Captain Sad And His Ship Of Fools-The Cowsills (MGM, 1968)*
    II X II-The Cowsills (MGM, 1969)
    Touch 'N Go With The Critters-The Critters (Project 3, 1968)
    Daughers Of Albion-Daughters Of Albion (Fontana, 1968)
    So Good-Don And The Goodtimes (Epic, 1967)
    Edwards Hand-Edwards Hand (GRT, 1968)
    Miss Butters-The Family Tree (RCA, 1969)
    The Magic Garden-The Fifth Dimension (Soul City, 1967)
    Five Man Electrical Band-Five Man Electrical Band (Capitol, 1968)
    Elephant Candy-The Fun and Games (UNI, 1969)
    Color Blind-The Glitterhouse (Dynovoice, 1968)
    The Gordian Knot-The Gordian Knot (Verve, 1968)
    Take A Picture-Margo Guryan (Bell, 1968)*
    Blew Mind-The Hard Times (World Pacific, 1968)
    Down To Middle Earth-The Hobbits (Decca, 1967)
    Tic Tac Toe-The Jackpots (Sonet Svenska, 1967)*
    Jack In The Box-The Jackpots (Sonet Svenska, 1968)*
    Love Generation-The Love Generation (Imperial, 1967)*
    A Generation of Love-The Love Generation (Imperial, 1968)*
    Montage-The Love Generation (Imperial, 1969)*
    A Midsummer's Day Dream-Marc Eric (Revue, 196?)*
    Marshmallow Way-Marshmallow Way (United Artists, 1968)
    Montage-Montage (Laurie, 1968)
    Without Earth-The Moon (Imperial, 1968)
    Mortimer-Mortimer (Phillips, 1968)
    October Country-October Country (Epic, 1967)
    Orange Colored Sky-Orange Colored Sky (UNI, 1968)
    Will You Be Staying After Sunday-The Peppermint Rainbow (Decca, 1969)
    Peppermint Trolley Company-Peppermint Trolley Company (Acta, 1968)
    Hot, Cold, & Custard-Peter & Gordon (Capitol, 1968)
    Procession-Procession (Smash, 1969)*
    Queen Anne's Lace-Queen Anne's Lace (Coral, 1968)
    It's Happening-The Red Squares (Columbia Denmark, 1967)
    The Robbs-The Robbs (Mercury, 1967)
    It's Now Winter's Day-Tommy Roe (ABC, 1967)*
    Phantasy-Tommy Roe (ABC, 1967)
    The Rose Garden-The Rose Garden (ATCO, 1968)
    The Blue Marble-Sagittarius (Together, 1969)
    The Smoke-The Smoke (Sidewalk, 1968)
    Divided We Stand-The Split Level (Dot, 1967)
    Captain Nemo-The Sundowners (Decca, 1968)
    Basic Magnetism-Teddy & The Pandas (Tower, 1968)
    Island In The Sky-The Tuneful Trolley (Capitol, 1968)
    Twinn Connexion-Twinn Connexion (Decca, 1968)*
    For Women Only-Bergen White (SSS International, 1969)
    Hair-Zen (Phillips Holland, 1969)*
    The ones with the asterisk are those I'm looking for, so 
    if anyone has any of them for sale or trade I'd be very 
    grateful. :-)
    As you might imagine, a lot of the albums on my list are 
    pretty scarce. However, I've seen them, and have won some 
    of them on eBay, so that seems to be the most viable 
    ticket for finding these albums.
    Spectropop Rules!!!!!
    Take Care,
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Re: Renee Armand
    Received:    01/25/00 1:42 am
    From:        Hans Ebert
    To:          Spectropop!
    Would someone be able to tell me whatever happened to a 
    very underrated singer-songwriter named Renee Armand?
    The lady, who was a backup singer, recorded, at least one 
    solo album for A&M titled 'Rain Book' which included a 
    great track co-written- as I believe were all the tracks- 
    with then-husband Jim Gordon called 'England.'
    Also, the whereabouts and musical odysseys of of Mark 
    Radice, Felix Cavaliere, the brilliant Leon Russell, any 
    members of the Critters, Left Banke and Alan Merrill.
    Alan was once a member of the Arrows, the first band to 
    record 'I Love Rock 'n Roll' and stayed in Hong Kong for 
    some time before moving to Japan and then the UK.
    Alan, if you happen to read this, I just found a tape of 
    our collaborations when in Hong Kong- 4 tracks that were 
    perhaps slightly ahead of their time!
    Hans Ebert
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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