Archive for the ‘The Left Banke’ Category

The Left Banke

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

LeftBankeSheMay, The Left Banke, Smash,

Listen: She May Call You Up Tonight / The Left Banke LeftBankeSheMayCall.mp3

What a nice initial saga. Both ‘Walk Away Renee’ and ‘Pretty Ballerina’, The Left Banke’s first two singles became deservedly sizeable US hits. Although from New York, both their sound and image were very English, and so they caught my ear.

The 3rd single, ‘Ivy, Ivy’ however, didn’t happen, neither at radio nor with the public, (or as if it mattered with me). They seemed to have completely lost the plot. Turns out, there was a bit of a line up shuffle, most of the original band suddenly weren’t invited to participate – both label A&R and manager clearly being pussies, caved, thereby allowing the inferior track to not only be recorded, but worse yet, released, resulting in a ‘game over’ career killer.

Probably hoping whatever lineup nonsense would calm down and all could be salvaged, Smash lifted ‘She May Call You Up Tonight’ from the first album, issuing it as single number 4. Obviously, the shine for the band had really been tarnished by the very weak ‘Ivy, Ivy’ and airplay was scarce. Luckily, not in my hometown. WNDR played it heavily. I couldn’t buy a copy fast enough.

I bet had ‘She May Call You Up Tonight’ been the followup to ‘Pretty Ballerina’, a big hit it would have become.

The Strawberry Children

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Strawberry Children Picture Sleeve

Listen: Love Years Coming / The Strawberry Children

Turns out Johnny Rivers was a pretty hip cat, as I believe he’d be referred to at the time. Like his career, Johnny Rivers’ record label Soul City, was very Los Angeles centric. Having earned parent company Liberty a ton of cash, he was afforded an imprint and indeed quite the businessman, which occasionally populated the landscape during the 60′s. In short, he licensed his masters instead of allowing the label to own them. Not only as performer, but as producer and A&R alike, Johnny Rivers had talent, signing The Fifth Dimension to Soul City as well producing many of their hits. Reputedly giving Jimmy Webb his initial songwriting placements, Rivers teamed he and The Strawberry Children together. Never shy on picture sleeves, Soul City issued ‘Love Years Coming’ during the summer of ’67. It was almost a hit.

Looking back on one of my local radio station’s chart below, ‘Love Years Coming’ was that week’s pick hit. Look further though. Usually a very tight follower of the national Top 40, seems WNDR was burning it’s bra that summer as well. The sunshine was clearly powerful as acid pop singles aplenty were being played: Sagittarius at #15 (which they misspelled), The Third Rail, The Forum, The Merry-Go-Round, The Will-O-Bees, The Cyrkle, The Left Banke and pyschedelic folk hippie Marcia Strassman. Not to mention some decent soul/Northern soul: Linda Jones, The Sweet Inspirations, Betty Swanne and a portion, though not big enough, of UK stuff: The Kinks, The Spencer Davis Group

It was a great summer.