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Monday, July 2, 2012

Bit A Sweet - Hypnotic 1 (1968 us, stylish psychedelic rock, 2012 Kismet bonus tracks edition)

Bit 'A Sweet promises to be a chart regular with the bright and creative spark branded into 2086, If 1 Needed Someone and How Can 1 Make You See?. They blend all the pop ingredients - strong vocals, rich production and instrumentation, and a special trick with a tune. This LP may well serve as the group's musical calling card, and with their fresh originality and breezy psychedelics, Bit 'A Sweet will top the charts.
Billboard, 29/6/68

Formerly known as The Satisfactions, this hard-hitting Long Island club act were veterans of the local scene when producer-arranger Steve Duboff (who also worked with The Cowsills, The Monkees, The Insect Trust and others) signed to MGM, the band debuted with the 1967 single 'Out of Sight Out of Mind' b/w 'Is It On - Is It Off?' (MGM catalog number K-13695). 
Their sole album was released that May. A likeable blend of psychedelic pop and early synthesizer sounds, it’s presented complete with both sides of their rare 1967 debut 45 (as performed in the movie Blonde On A Bum Trip).

1. Speak Softly  (Steve Duboff) - 5:10
2. 2086  (Steve Duboff,  Art Kornfeld) - 2:50
3. If I Needed Someone  (George Harrison) - 3:36
4. With Love  (Mitch London, S. Duboff) - 3:50
5. Monday - Tuesday  (S. Duboff) - 1:50
6. Diamonds Studded Eyes  (M. London, Russell Leslie,S. Duboff) - 4:02
7. How Can I Make You See  (Art Kornfeld, B. Cowsill, B. Cowsill) - 2:40
8. Travel (instrumental)  (S. Duboff) - 5:00
9. A Second Time  (S. Duboff) - 8:30
10.Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind  (S. Duboff, H. Morris) - 2:36
11.Is It On - Is It Off?  (S. Duboff, H. Morris) - 2:53

Bit A Sweet
*Dennis DeRespino - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion,  Guitar
*Russell Leslie - Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Mitch London - Vocals, Bass, Percussion
*Jack Mieczkowski - Vocals, Guitar, Sitar
*Steve Duboff - Keybords, Percussion, Production
*Vince Bell - Guitars
*Jimmy "Wiz" Wisner - Strings Arrangements

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adamus67 said...

Long Island’s Bit’a Sweet is a perfect example in that most reviews are lukewarm, or outright hostile, but at least to my ears this set kicks the crap out of many higher priced collectables. This is also another one of those ABC releases that seems to have all but vanished the minute it was released. While Bit’a Sweet was apparently a full fledged band consisting of keyboardist Dennis DeRespino, drummer Russell Leslie, bassist Mitch London and guitarist Jack Mieczkowski, the late Steve Duboff seems to have been the mastermind/driving force behind the group.

Originally signed to MGM, the band debuted with the 1967 single ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ b/w ‘Is It On – Is It Off?’ (MGM catalog number K-13695). If you can find a copy of the 45, be prepared to pay more for it than for their ABC Lp. I’m not sure if the single led to their appearance in Raf Mauro’s exploitation film Blonde On a Bum Trip, or vice versa,. Regardless, the band had a cameo in the flick playing ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ in a club scene.

The video and sound quality aren’t very good (not that the original black and white film was any great shakes in the production quality arena), but someone stuck a clip of their performance on YouTube: The liner notes to 1968′s “Hypnotic 1″ credit Duboff with producing, directing, arranging, writing the majority of the material, as well as providing keyboards and percussion. Long-time partner Artie Kornfeld was listed as co-writer on a pair of songs.

Released in 1968 by the American label ABC in New York, with guitarist of familiar-sounding (Polish name) ... Mieczkowski.

Music Bit 'A Sweet are beautifully arranged (sitar, various orchestrations, authorities ...) pop-psychedelic rock combining the melodies of the Beatles sound with experiments on synthesizer,included the place for a really successful and definitely psychedelic version from the LP "Rubber Soul" song "If I Needed Someone" - The Beatles.
Musically most of the nine tracks(originally on LP - CD Kismed, +2 bonus) mixed lite-psych with a distinctive top-40 edge and small dollops of experimentation (notably quite a bit of electric sitar, occasional oscillators, phasing, various studio effects and early synthesizer gurgles and gasps). There’s nothing particularly original to be found on the collection though it’s fun to play spot the influence – some Association-styled harmonies here (’2086′), Felix Cavalerie and the Rascals blue-eyed soul there (‘How Can I Make You See), bit of Beatles inspired mysticism (the ‘Blue Jay Way’-styled ‘Travel’), etc…. While that may not sound real promising, those comments are actually meant as a positive endorsement.
The album is nothing but fun and the band turn in a great cover of George Harrison’s ‘If I Needed Someone’ (which is erroneously credited as a Lennon and McCartney composition) !!! To be honest the only real disappointments are associated with the band’s efforts to get cute – ’2086′ suffered from some irritating synthesizer noise and a cloying pseudo-music hall sound, while the heavily phased ‘Monday – Tuesday’ sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks trying to cover some obscure 1920s-era song after spending the afternoon huffing helium. All told though, a pleasant and still affordable major label surprise.
*Sadly Duboff died of cancer in February 2004. He was only 63.

Thanks Marios!

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot !!!!

sorogan said...

Thanks a lot Marios !

psychonaut said...

I've always known this album as "Hypnotik I" (not '1'!). Anyway, that's a weird effort, sometimes surprising amd sometimes disappointing. Sometimes they look like a fine baroque pop combo and sometimes they look like the Young Rascals on a bad trip!
Thank you Marios :-)

Anonymous said...

If I needed someone was written by George Harrison, not Lennon & McCartney.

Anatoly said...

Truly good album. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Russ (drummer) Leslie lived around the corner from me back in Plainedge NY. We used to watch/listen to them work on their songs in his garage. Naturally, I ran out and bought the album which I always knew as Hypnotic "Eye" as well.

Anonymous said...

I was married to Jack Mieczkowski for 17 years before he passed away in July, 1996 from cancer. He was always playing his guitars either for pure personal enjoyment or playing in local venues with different 60's doo wop bands. He was a wonderfully gifted musician and terrific friend to all. Joyce Mieczkowski

Unknown said...

Does anyone know the where-abouts of the remaining members? I actually played with the band for 2 weeks then bang-o I was drafted.
So sorry to read about Jack he was always smiling.They were the greatest band ever!

Unknown said...

PLEASE RE-UPLOAD, this record is great and been looking for ages!

Best regards,

Marios said...

.....Sweet Up...Hypnotic...

Unknown said...


mal998 said...

Hi All. Being that this post is 6 years newer, my guess is nobody will ever see it. Anyway, a question was asked about the remaining Bit'A Sweet members. Three of us are still around. Russ Leslie lives in New Mexico, Dennis DeRespino lives in Arizona and I (Mitch London) live in South Florida. I saw Russ a couple of years ago and we ususally speak once a year. I haven't spoken to Denny for quite a few years but I assume he's OK. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Jack's widow I would like to hear from you.

mayblitz said...

Hi Marios! Could you re-upload this one?

Marios said...

Mayblitz, "Bit A Sweet - Hypnotic 1" is up!