Monday, March 08, 2021

Out March 19: Harpers Bizarre: Come To The Sunshine – The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings, 4-CD Box Set

Details:

This four CD Box Set presentation comprising all four of the original Harpers Bizarre albums; “Feelin’ Groovy”, “Anything Goes”, “The Secret Life of Harpers Bizarre”, and “Harpers Bizarre 4”, augmented by single A & B sides in chronological order of release.

The charmingly understated, slightly baroque, endlessly listenable Harpers Bizarre were one of the most important harmony vocal groups of the 1960s. Their cultured interpretation of Paul Simon’s ‘59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)’ is among the recordings that define the most golden of eras in popular music. Between 1967 and 1969, under the auspices of producer Lenny Waronker, they created four delightful, intelligent, unique sounding albums of what broadly has become known as Sunshine Pop, with contributions from such dashing young American writers and arrangers as Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks and Leon Russell.

The Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’ was one of the handful of recordings that revolutionised popular music during the 1960s. The enormity of its influence cannot be overstated. Waronker had it in mind while recording “Feelin’ Groovy” – thinking in terms of layering vocals – creating a memorable arrangement of woodwinds and voices.

Lead vocalists Ted Templeman and Dick Scoppettone were backed by members of the Wrecking Crew, an aggregation of some of the most sought after Los Angeles session musicians of the day, including the guitarist Glen Campbell, bassist Carol Kaye, and the drummer Jim Gordon.

‘Feelin’ Groovy’ caught the public ear and quickly entered the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking in April 1967 at #13 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Easy Listening chart.

The subsequent album was released by Warner at almost the precise moment the single reached maximum popularity. It combined the talents of a small group of brilliant young American songwriters; Randy Newman, Leon Russell, and the the 22-year-old wunderkind, Van Dyke Parks, who had been working with Brian Wilson on “SMiLE”, and with Lenny Waronker on his own monumental album, “SONG CYCLE”. To Harpers Bizarre’s debut album Parks’ contributed the breezy opener, ‘Come to the Sunshine’.

The Second album, ‘Anything Goes’, was another highly original pop creation; a panorama of, and tribute to, the musical styles of the past century. It included Randy Newman’s ethereal “Snow” and a dreamy interpretation of Van Dyke Park’s ‘High Coin’. Released as singles, ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo’ and ‘Anything Goes’, despite only making a small impression on the Top 50, reached Numbers 1 & 6 respectively on the Billboard Easy Listening chart.

Another skillfully constructed piece of musical architecture, THE SECRET LIFE OF HARPERS BIZARRE, yielded only a minor hit in “The Battle of New Orleans”, but It has many high points, including the Bacharach-David novelty, “Me, Japanese Boy” to which Harpers Bizarre bring all of the composition’s innate tenderness and sensuality to the surface.

Similarly, the Roger Nichols-Paul Williams composition ‘The Drifter’, originally featured on “Small Circle Of Friends”, where Harpers’ present a lush, angelic response to Nichols’ masterful statement. A Templeman-Scoppettone original, the joyful ‘Mad’ epitomises the Harpers Bizarre attitude of those days.

The diverse “Harpers Bizarre 4” includes versions of Lennon & McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ and John Denver’s ‘Leaving on A Jet Plane’ and ‘I Love You, Alice B Toklas’ an extraordinary playful piece of Hollywood pop psychedelia from the very funny film of the same name. Quite complex music; shades of Ravi Shankar, Eric Dolphy and the Beatles at Jimmy Webb’s MacArthur Park. And the Harpers voices are splendidly effective. Also released as a single, it’s one of the finest examples of pure psychedelia for those who feel that genuine article is something more enigmatic than rock.

Harpers Bizarre were special. With Lenny Waronker they made meticulously crafted records that were a testament to the advances made in sound production and conceptualisation of pop in the sixties. Ted Templeman thought Lenny was a genius. Evidently working with him was a singular apprenticeship that paved the way for his own career as a sound producer, which has found him working with, amongst others, Van Morrison, Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, Van Halen and The Doobie Brothers.

 

Track Listing:

DISC ONE:

FEELIN’ GROOVY (1967)

1. COME TO THE SUNSHINE

2. HAPPY TALK

3. COME LOVE

4. RASPBERRY RUG

5. 59TH STREET BRIDGE SONG (FEELIN’ GROOVY)

6. THE DEBUTANTE’S BALL

7. HAPPYLAND

8. PETER AND THE WOLF

9. I CAN HEAR THE DARKNESS

10. SIMON SMITH AND THE AMAZING DANCING BEAR

BONUS TRACKS: ADDITIONAL SINGLES

11 LOST MY LOVE TODAY

12 BYE, BYE, BYE

DISC TWO:

ANYTHING GOES (1967)

1. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

2. ANYTHING GOES

3. TWO LITTLE BABES IN THE WOOD

4. THE BIGGEST NIGHT OF HER LIFE

5. POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES

6. SNOW

7. CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO

8. HEY, YOU IN THE CROWD

9. LOUISIANA MAN

10. MILORD

11. VIRGINIA CITY

12. JESSIE

13. YOU NEED A CHANGE

14. HIGH COIN

BONUS TRACKS: ADDITIONAL SINGLES

15. MALIBU U

16. COTTON CANDY SANDMAN (SANDMAN’S COMING)

DISC THREE:

THE SECRET LIFE OF HARPERS BIZARRE (1968)

1. LOOK TO THE RAINBOW

2. BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS

3. WHEN I WAS A COWBOY

4. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY (INTERLUDE)

5. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

6. LAS MANANITAS

7. MEDLEY: BYE, BYE, BYE / VINE STREET

8. ME, JAPANESE BOY

9. I’LL BUILD A STAIRWAY TO PARADISE (INTERLUDE)

10. I’LL BUILD A STAIRWAY TO PARADISE

11. GREEN APPLE TREE

12. SIT DOWN YOU’RE ROCKING THE BOAT

13. I LOVE YOU, MAMA (INTERLUDE)

14. I LOVE YOU, MAMA

15. FUNNY HOW LOVE CAN BE

16. MAD

17. LOOK TO THE RAINBOW

18. THE DRIFTER

19. THE DRIFTER (REPRISE)

BONUS TRACKS: ADDITIONAL SINGLES

20. BOTH SIDES NOW

21. SMALL TALK

DISC FOUR:

HARPERS BIZARRE 4 (1969)

1. SOFT SOUNDIN’ MUSIC

2. KNOCK ON WOOD

3. WITCHI TAI TO

4. HARD TO HANDLE

5. WHEN THE BAND BEGINS TO PLAY

6. SOMETHING BETTER

7. BLACKBIRD

8. I LOVE YOU, ALICE B. TOKLAS

9. THERE’S NO TIME LIKE TODAY

10. ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT

11. COTTON CANDY SANDMAN

12. LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

BONUS TRACKS: ADDITIONAL SINGLES

13. POLY HIGH

14. IF WE EVER NEEDED THE LORD BEFORE

No comments:

Post a Comment