This press release just in:
ANDY KIM, CO-WRITER OF “SUGAR SUGAR,” IS SWEET ON COLLECTORS’ CHOICE MUSIC
Four albums by last of the Brill Building artists (How’d We Ever Get This Way/Rainbow Ride and Baby I Love You/Andy Kim) to be reissued on two CDs on July 18
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Andy Kim has sold millions of records, but most people are under the impression he sold mere hundreds of thousands. The reason is simple. Although Kim had many hits under his own name (“How’d We Ever Get This Way,” “Baby I Love You,” “Rock Me Gently” and “So Good Together,” to name a few), he co-wrote (with Jeff Barry) the Archies’ mega-hit “Sugar Sugar,” which sold 6 million 45 RPM units. Ron Dante provided the magic voice. Yet the fans never saw the scaffolding behind the scenes. The Archies, after all, consisted of Archie, Jughead, Reggie, Betty and Veronica, right?
Collectors’ Choice Music on July 18 will re-release four Andy Kim LPs via two loaded CDs: How’d We Ever Get This Way mates with Rainbow Ride to document Kim’s 1968-69 output, while Baby I Love You is conjoined with the eponymous Andy Kim. All albums except for Andy Kim (which was on Uni Records) were originally released on Steed Records, which was founded in 1967 by songwriter/producer Barry as a division of Jeff Barry Enterprises. Distribution was through Dot Records. It was another era, to be sure.
Andy Kim, the man with the magic pipes, was born Andre Youakim in Montreal and at age 16 arrived in New York, where he played a song for his Brill Building hero Jeff Barry. Thus began one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, which in turn led to Kim’s hit singles and albums for Steed, which are widely regarded as the last, glorious gasp of the Brill Building sound.
The Partridge Family
Since you’ve tried everything else, why not a fierce, impeccable pop concept album about jism pressure?
Released just before The Partridge Family’s second season left the egg, Sound Magazine, like predecessors The Partridge Family Album and Up To Date was produced by Wes Farrell, written by songwriters then resident in popdom’s upper ether (Rupert Holmes, Bobby Hart, Tony Romeo) performed by L. A. session wizards like Hal Blaine (drums) and Michael Melvoin (keys), backup sung by the Love Generation and, not quite incidentally, vocalized by TV mom Shirley Jones and her brilliantly lovelorn son, David Cassidy. Here, then, is product–that base, yet tasty, ore upon which the record industry built its fortunes. Presold to a gigantic preteen audience, there is no conventional rock critic excuse at all for this album’s emotional sweep and delicacy. So much the worse for convention and rock criticism.
Cassidy’s excuse is ambition. On previous outings, Farrell sped up David’s voice to make the star (then in his late teens) sound adolescent. The effect was that of a constipated chipmunk fleeing a series of catgut holocausts. The son of Broadway dynamo Jack Cassidy and Hollywood musical-comedy star Shirley Jones, David fit poorly the then-emerging model of instant pop star, since nothing was above his station, and had every expectation of a long career once the TV show closed. A song-cycle about star-isolation and busted love affairs was a rare perfect fit of commerce and art.
Finally, there’s the scarcely believable, yet unmistakable intent that post-Beatles preteens might respond to a sophisticated, cleverly-wrought whole. The beautiful boy’s sore heart, expressed with magnificent brio in “Rainmaker,” “One Night Stand” and “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” provided kids with tantalizing glimpses of adult miseries they couldn’t wait to have for their very own. (Ron Garmon, from the book Lost in the Grooves: Scram’s Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed)
by Steve Fuji
If I tell someone I
by James Porter
The Jackson Five were pioneers in ways no one really thinks about. When the Motown label released “I Want You Back” in the waning months of the sixties, the group was probably regarded as nothing more than five cute kids whom Diana Ross supposedly discovered, just another one of those novelty child acts that pop up every few years. As it turned out, they wound up with a #1 hit, bringing “The Motown Sound” up-to-date for the seventies. They spawned a host of imitators
by Tom Walls
Latin America has always assimilated Anglo-American popular music in some way; it has imitated it, repackaged it and has given it an indelible Latin stamp. Roberto Jord
Group Sounds and Japanese Pop
by Glenn Sadin
The Japanese music scene has traditionally been dominated by manufactured pop stars for nearly as long as there has been rock
by Gary Pig Gold
Excuse me, but I think America had already produced a more-than-competent “answer” to that great big British Invasion quite some time before the Byrds and “Mr. Tambourine Man” ever reared their jingle-jangled heads.
I speak of the undeniably brilliant, once and forever Happy Hit Machine known as the Lovin’ Spoonful.
With long tangled roots deep within folk, jug-band music and the blues, this quartet somehow squeezed from its diverse musical lineage the deceptively simple brew they called, quite perfectly, Good-Time Music. In fact the band’s first monumental hit, “Do You Believe In Magic,” was no less than a musical manifesto – a Top Forty Call-To-Arms even! — which instantly launched a solid three-year run of immense yet ** always ** innovative international hits.
The story began in New York City on the momentous night of February 9, 1964. At 8PM, on the corner of 53rd and Broadway, Ed Sullivan was introducing those four guys from Liverpool to a rightfully astonished nation. A couple of miles downtown, three under-employed folk singers named Cass Elliot, Zalman Yanovsky and John B. Sebastian were among the 73 million most definitely tuned in. Then and there, all three decided to form their very own rock ‘n’ roll combos, and after various incarnations and permutations – not to mention a recreational side trip or two (all documented in song and dance, by the way, within the verses of the Mamas & Papas’ “Creeque Alley”) — it was John and Zal who, when the haze had cleared, were wowin’ em every night from the stage of the Night Owl Café with co-conspirators Steve Boone and Joe Butler in tow. Taking their name from a Mississippi John Hurt tune, the Lovin’ Spoonful soon numbered among their most loyal fans Phil Spector (who lobbied, unsuccessfully as it transpired, to be their producer), local boy Bob Dylan (getting ready to plug himself in at that very time), and a would-be Andrew Loog Oldham name of Erik Jacobsen, who quickly signed the band to the brand new Kama Sutra label.
Of course, you can safely call the Spoonful “bubblegum” (as just one look at lead guitarist Zal Yanovsky, a human cartoon if ever there was one, will attest), but they were in fact one of those rare bands who dared to – and were capable of – supplying a goodly amount of Substance with their Pop. Certainly hits such as “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” and especially the landmark “Summer In The City” laid the keyboard-crafted game-plan for much Super K gumness to come, plus the band’s on-stage penchant for brightly-striped T-shirts and over-sized cowboy hats make even the 1989 Musical Marching Zoo‘s stagewear seem downright demure by comparison. In fact, so potent was the Spoonful’s aura of goofy, glorious mayhem that they were briefly being considered for a starring role in their very own weekly television series! Lucky for Davy Jones though, the Spoonful seemed content instead to make a cameo appearance in – not to mention write the score for — Woody Allen’s first (and by far greatest) film, 1966’s Japanese Bond spoof “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?”
Yet beneath all this day-glo zaniness, the band remain widely respected and revered more for their musicianship, and in particular Sebastian’s songwriting, than they are for their happy-go-lucky mugging across Hullabaloo and Shindig. Tragically though, the luck began to run out in 1967 following the controversial arrest and subsequent removal of Yanovsky back to his home and native Canada (where, until his above-untimely demise in 2002, he continued cookin’ up storms as owner and proprietor of the legendary Chez Piggy restaurant); by 1969, all that seemed to remain of those once Good Times was the disturbing sight of John Sebastian, clothed from head to toe in tie-dyed denim, babbling about far-outness on the stage of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Yikes!
Nevertheless, the Lovin Spoonful remain a very vital part of 1960’s American Pop, and their early breakthrough period provided a veritable musical and visual blueprint upon which all manner of Bubblegum was shortly thereafter concocted. And as if that alone wasn’t ample legacy enough, may I now remind you all that the late, so great Zally’s 1968 solo album “Alive And Well In Argentina” just has to be one of the drop-down, most magnificent works of bubble-fried art ever created by man or beast, and as such should immediately be searched out and purchased by each and every person reading these here words.
by Jack Stevenson
While American pop culture beams itself to all corners of the globe, invading and conquering foreign cultures with movies, sex symbols and hamburgers, its harsh glare is outshone once a year by the mega-watt glitter of the Eurovision song contest
by Metal Mike Saunders
Having spent my entire life in the bargain bins, the junk bins, and the thrift store racks (and if you really want to go way back