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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hobbits - Men And Doors (1968 us, enjoyable sunny psych folk, original Vinyl issue)

Between 1967 and 1969 Jimmy Curtiss worked with a group called The Hobbits in New York. This was presumably more a studio project than a performing live band. Despite the band's name, apparently taken from the universe of Middle Earth, which was very popular in hippie circles at the time, Tolkien's creatures never appear in the songs of The Hobbits, even though the first album is called "Down To Middle Earth" and the last "Back From Middle Earth". 

There are three LPs and two singles by the Hobbits. "Strawberry Children"/bw "Pretty Young Thing" even appeared as a licence release on Festival Records in New Zealand and Australia. The third album was probably never released officially. At least I only know of copies bearing the imprint "promotional copy". The first two albums, released on Decca in New York in 1967 and 1968 respectively, offer a mixture of sunshine pop and soft psychedelia. Not unlike the music bands such as The Cowsills or Jay & The Americans. 

There are excellent vocal harmonies, especially on the second album "Men And Doors" (1968). Two female studio singers and a flamenco guitar player were added to the usual line up of bass, drums, guitars, and keyboards, resulting in a special flavour all over the whole recordings.The Hobbits 2.LPBoth most outstanding psych pop songs written by Jimmy Curtiss are included here as well: "The Journey" and "Strawberry Children". 

Listening to the first album (1967) of the Hobbits I get the impression, that musicians and arrangers are operating in a field they're not really familiar with. Obviously they tried to jump the psychedelic bandwagon in the summer of love, which had already passed it's zenith and was approaching a deadend street. So all efforts of Jimmy Curtiss and his partners Jerry Vance and Terry Philips came too late to gain reasonable success. In the end these efforts were supposedly too tame and evidently made up. 

1. Men And Doors (Jimmy Curtiss, Terry Phillips) - 2:28
2. España Baby (Jimmy Curtiss, Terry Phillips) - 2:28
3. Let Me Make My Own Mistakes (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:24
4. Feeling (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:30
5. Words Get In The Way (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:45
6. The Journey (Jimmy Curtiss, Howie Sell) - 2:32
7. Will You Be Ready For Tomorrow (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:28
8. Love Is (Jimmy Curtiss, Terry Phillips) - 2:36
9. Strawberry Children (Jimmy Curtiss) - 3:20
10.University Of The Street (Jimmy Curtiss, Kay Daniels) - 2:36
11.Artificial Face (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:28

The Hobbits
*Gini Eastwood
*Heather Hewitt
*Jimmy Curtiss
*Tony Luizza
*Zok Russo

The Hobbits
1967  Down To Middle Earth
Related Act
1969  Jimmy Curtiss - Life

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