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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense And Peppermints (1967 us, classic psychedelic flower power, debut album, 2011 sundazed issue)

The Strawberry Alarm Clock made musical history with its first single, the infectiously psychedelic “Incense and Peppermints,” which topped the singles charts in December 1967. It remains one of the Aquarian Age’s most enduring anthems. And as the California combo’s debut LP demonstrates, there was a lot more to the Strawberry Alarm Clock than their iconic trademark hit.

Incense and Peppermints combines gorgeously melodic flights with a Sunset Strip sensibility—the album is filled with trippy soundscapes, fuzzy guitars, sophisticated harmonies and the evocative lyrics of tracks such as “The World’s on Fire,” “Birds in My Tree,” “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” and “Paxton’s Back Street Carnival.” The result is a surprise-filled collection that All Music Guide calls “a strangely compelling mix of psychedelia, sunshine pop, garage rock, and California harmony.”

Mastered from the original stereo UNI?reels, this compact disc edition includes new liner notes by Domenic Priore and features the album’s unique original cover art. 

1. The World's on Fire (E. King, G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, M. Weitz, R. Seol) - 8:25
2. Birds in My Tree (S. Bartek, G. Bunnell) - 1:54
3. Lose to Live (C. King, T. Stern) - 3:15
4. Strawberries Mean Love (G. Bunnell) - 3:02
5. Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow (S. Bartek, G. Bunnell) - 3:04
6. Paxton's Back Street Carnival (S. Bartek, E. King, G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, M. Weitz, R. Seol) - 2:04
7. Hummin' Happy (E. King, G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, M. Weitz, R. Seol) - 2:24
8. Pass Time With The SAC (G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, E. King, J. Pitman, M. Weitz) - 1:21
9. Incense and Peppermints (J. Carter, T. Gilbert) - 2:47
10.Unwind with the Clock (E. King, M. Weitz) - 4:13

Strawberry Alarm Clock
*George Bunnell - 2nd Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Randy Seol - Drums, Bongos, Vibes, Vocals
*Lee Freeman -  Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Edward King - Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Weitz - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Harpsichord
*Gary Lovetro - 1st Bass Guitar, Vocals

For more Strawberries
1968  Wake Up...It's Tomorrow
1968-69  The World In A Sea Shell / Good Morning Starshine

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Betty - Handful (1971 us, rough psych biker boogie roll, Shadoks remaster)

Originally recorded in 1971 by California's long-forgotten Betty, Handful is an interesting and frustrating album, but not because of any of the songs on it. The ten tracks are standard for the time period and show that the musicians were competent if not particularly imaginative songwriters. Opener "Boogie with You" has a distinct roadhouse feel reminiscent of the Doors or Canned Heat. Guitarists Mike McMahon and Anthon Davis lay down some funky guitar licks accented by Tom Jordan's piano and an able rhythm section comprising Al Rodriguez on drums and Kerry Kanbara on bass. And the other nine songs on the album are variations on this theme.

"Blind with Shame" contains some poppy guitar hooks and a catchy chorus, and "Thank You" replaces the piano with an organ and blues riffs with Moby Grape-inspired metal chords. On "Lights Gonna Shine," the band travels the farthest afield by trading out the shouted lyrics and boogie sensibility of the other tracks for a more folk-oriented point of view. 

Listening to the album does pique an interest in the band that put them together, and in that regard Shadoks Music misses out. There was a huge opportunity here to track down the members of the band for interviews and have them put Handful into both an artistic and a historic context. It's nearly impossible not to wonder what became of Betty. 
by Mike Burr

1. Boogie With You (Anthon Davis) - 2:53
2. Blind With Shame (Anthon Davis) - 2:60
3. Just For Fun (Mike Mcmahon, Anthon Davis) - 4:01
4. High Rollin' On The Freeway (Lee Marks, Anthon Davis) - 3:33
5. River Bummin' (Lee Marks, Anthon Davis) - 3:35
6. Handful (Of Love) (Mike Mcmahon, Anthon Davis) - 3:19
7. Thank You (Lee Marks, Anthon Davis) - 4:09
8. Learn How To Boogie (Lee Marks, Anthon Davis) - 3:28
9. Harley Perdoo (Lee Marks, Anthon Davis) - 3:23
10.Lights Gonna Shine (Mike Mcmahon, Anthon Davis) - 3:05

*Al Rodriguez - Drums
*Mike McMahon - Guitar
*Kerry Kanbara - Bass, Vocals
*Anthon Davis - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Guest Musicians
*Tom Jordan - Keyboards
*Lee Marks - Chorus
*Ed O'Donnell - Chorus

1973  Good Dog Banned - Good Dog Banned 

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