Archive for the ‘The Letterman’ Category

Spanky & Our Gang

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Listen: Like To Get To Know You / Spanky & Our Gang

God, I hated Spanky & Our Gang when they were current. As a kid, they just sounded like safe sonic sludge, a cross between The Mamas & The Papas and The Letterman. Being impatiently addicted to the English group image, this bunch were simply hideous visually, out of shape and way too American.

Add to that, they were signed to the US Mercury/Philips/Fontana labels. As far as I was concerned, any money and manpower directed toward them took away from The Herd, The Troggs, Manfred Mann, The New Vaudeville Band, The Pretty Things and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Trust me, this did not sit well.

Truth be told, I was kind of wrong. Indeed, they probably did rob those other acts of company resources, but musically, they were pristine. To be fair, as the years passed, I found Spanky & Our Gang to be a nagging guilty pleasure, and one that eventually carried no guilt. Their collection of hits and non-hits sound even better with age. In fact, very psychedelic, aided in no small way by some of the earliest stereo 7′ pressings I can recall.

Check out both the production and arrangement of any Spanky & Our Gang single, start with ‘Like To Get To Know You’. This was on the radio constantly in ’68 and rivals Richard Harris’s Jimmy Webb written/produced ‘MacArthur Park’ for the flowery mini symphony slot of the era.

The Vogues

Friday, December 4th, 2009

VoguesUK, The Vogues,  American London, Len Berry

Listen: You’re The One / The Vogues VoguesYoure.mp3

One of the member’s vocal style bordered on yodeling and these guys looked not unlike The Four Seasons or The Righteous Brothers aka dreadful. But the early singles: hands down greatness. It’s hard to pick a favorite, as both ‘Five O’ Clock World’ and ‘In The Land Of Milk And Honey’ are close runners up, but I’m going with ‘You’re The One’.

The Vogues eventually moved to Reprise where the schmaltz sound and image got….worse. Suddenly they were more like The Letterman than ever before, although I can admit it, ‘Turn Around, Look At Me’ is an occasional guilty pleasure.