TRANSPARENT DAYS: WEST COAST NUGGETS-VINYL.

Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets-Vinyl.

Label: Rhino.

By the summer of 1967, around 100,000 people had arrived in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco. Many of those who had arrived were flower children or hippies, who had rejected consumerist values and embraced what was seen as an alternative lifestyle. The flower children, including many students on their summer break, had headed to San Francisco to meet with likeminded people, and to: “tune in turn on drop out.”  They weren’t alone.

In other American cities including New York, and in Canada, many young people had embraced the hippie ideals. It was a similar story in parts of Europe, and in Britain. Especially in the capital London, which enjoyed similar gatherings and happenings to those in San Francisco. Just like in San Francisco’s Timothy Leary’s phrase: “tune in turn on drop out” became a mantra.

Suddenly, people were dropping out of society and embracing the hippie ideals and lifestyle. This meant rejecting consumerist values held by the ‘straights’, who rejected the hippie ideals. Some hippies were interested in politics, and were anti the Vietnam War, and campaigned for equality, racism and to legalise ‘pot’. Other hippies believed they were on a spiritual journey, and embraced religion and meditation. Many hippies were more interested in art, and especially painting, poetry and music. 

The music that provided the soundtrack to the Summer of Love, included some of the most important and influential music not just of 1967, but the late-sixties. This included The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and albums by Love, The Doors, Van Morrison, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, the Rolling Stone and Bob Dylan. These are just a few of the albums that provided the soundtrack to the Summer of Love.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the original Summer of Love, Rhino have recently reissued a number of albums that provided the soundtrack to the Summer of Love on vinyl. These albums are a mixture of classic albums and cult classics. This includes Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, The Association’s Insight Out, Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, The Beau Brummels’ Triangle, The Zodiac’s Cosmic Sounds, Judy Collins’ Wildflower, The Young Rascal’s Groovin’, Dusty Springfield’s Dusty In Memphis, Aretha Franklin’s Aretha Arrives and eponymous albums by Love, Vanilla Fudge and The Electric Prunes. There’s also several compilations, including The Monkees at their most lysergic and a selection of songs from the The Grateful Dead’s earliest albums. Another new compilation from Rhino is Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets which was released as a double album on transparent vinyl.  

Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets was compiled by Alec Palao and features thirty songs that celebrate the Summer of Love. There’s contributions from The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, The West Coast Branch, Gerry Pond, The Tikis, Art Guy, The Mojo Men, The Association, The Truth, The Bonniwell Music Machine, The Electric Prunes and Love.

Side One.

In 1967,  The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band released their sophomore album Part One on Reprise. Part One was produced by vocalist Bob Markley, who wrote Transparent Day with bassist Shaun Harris. Transparent Day features the psychedelic rockers at their most melodic on what’s one of the highlights of Part One. It also lends its name to and opens Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets.

The West Coast Branch released Linda’s Gone as a single on Valiant Records in September 1966. It’s a John Hill and Joel Lester composition that was produced by Faz-Kay Productions. They play their part in two minutes of genre-melting music. Elements of folk-rock, blues, pop and garage rock are combined by The West Coast Branch on Linda’s Gone.

Another track from the Valiant Records’ vaults is The Motleys’ My Race Is Run. It was the B-Side to You, which was released as a single in March 1966. Both sides were penned by Mitchell Bottler and Harvey Price of The Motleys. Of the two sides, My Race Is Run is the strongest, and is also most melodic and memorable. This long-lost slice of perfect pop from The Motleys, is also reminiscent of The Hollies. 

The Rose Garden was founded  in 1967, and later that year, the Los Angeles’ based folk rock band signed to Atco Records. During their time signed to Atco Records,  The Rose Garden released two singles, one EP and their 1968 eponymous debut alum. In March 1968, The Rose Garden released their sophomore If My World Falls Through, which was the followup to The Rose Garden’s EP, which had been released in January 1968. Tucked away on the B-Side of If My World Falls Through, was Here’s Today. It’s a hidden gem that marries elements of folk rock, pop and psychedelia. Here’s Today is a welcome addition to Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets, and one of the highlights of side one.

Side Two.

In September 1966, The Allies, a little-known Los Angeles’ based band, released what proved to be their one and only single, I’ll Sell My Soul on Valiant Records. Even today, mystery surrounds The Allies, who married elements of thunderous garage rock with psychedelic rock on I’ll Sell My Soul. It’s a tantalising taste of what The Allies were capable of, and what might have been?

Prior to becoming The Waphphle, the Sacramento based band were known as The Marauders. By June 1967, The Marauders had been consigned to history, and The Waphphle had released I Want You (To Be My One And Only Girl) on Elektra. Hidden away on the B-Side, was Goin’ Down on a rocky and marauding slice of psychedelia that is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

It’s a similar case with the B-Side to The Front Line’s debut single I Don’t Care, which was released on York Records, in October 1965. Tucked away on the B-Side side was the psychedelic garage of Got Love. It lasts just 1.45, but this is long enough for the defiant, explosive and lysergic I Don’t Care to leave a lasting impression. Sadly, The Front Line only released one more single, Saigon Girl in 1967. By then, they left their mark with I Don’t Care.

When The Mojo Men released She’s My Baby as a single in December 1965, it was the fourth single they had released on Autumn Records. She’s My Baby was a cover of a Sly Stone song, that seems to have been inspired by the Rolling Stones, blues and garage rock. The result is whats without doubt, one of the finest singles of Mojo Men’s career.

Side Three.

For their fifth American single, The Association chose Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies, which was released on Valiant Records in November 1966. This was the followup to their number one single Cherish. However, Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies stalled at thirty-five in the US Billboard 100. When The Association released their sophomore album Renaissance in 1967, it also featured Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies. It features The Association marrying sunshine pop and baroque pop with psychedelia on what was one of the highlights of Renaissance, and indeed, Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets.

M.C. 2 + only released just four singles between 1967 and 1968. This includes their third single Smilin’, which was produced by Lenny Waronker and released on Reprise in February 1968. By then, The M.C. 2 + had matured as a band. Smilin’ which features The M.C. 2 + at their most melodic on a carefully crafted marriage of psychedelia and baroque pop. It’s a reminder of a truly talented band who should’ve reached greater heights than they did.

It was a similar case with The Ballroom, who in May 1967, released Spinning, Spinning, Spinning on Warner Bros. They were a five piece band that featured Curt Boettcher, Michele O’Malley, Jim Bell and Sandy Salisbury. Spinning, Spinning, Spinning was produced by Curt Boettcher. He also produced the B-Side, which was a cover of Joe Williams’ Baby, Please Don’t Go. The Ballroom transform the song, and take it in new and unexpected directions. Suddenly, Please Don’t Go becomes a lysergic and otherworldly, and very different to previous or indeed, later versions of this oft-covered song.

Side Four.

Los Angeles based Things To Come released a trio of singles between 1967 and 1968. Their sophomore single was the Russ Ward composition Come Alive, which was produced by Dave Hassinger.  Come Alive was released on Warner Bros, in January 1968. It finds Things To Come marrying garage rock with psychedelic and Eastern influences. It’s a potent and heady brew, that shows Things To Come at their most inventive.

Nowadays, The Bonniwell Music Machine is regarded as one of the founding fathers of garage rock and psychedelia. They were formed in Los Angeles in 1965, and cultivated a sound that was dark, raw and featured a fusion of proto-punk and psychedelia. That can be heard on The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly which was released as a single on Original Sound in June 1967. It was one of the earliest singles where The Bonniwell Music Machine were billed as The Music Machine. A year later, in 1968, Warner Bros released The Bonniwell Music Machine’s eponymous sophomore album, which featured The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly. The Bonniwell Music Machine was the last album the group released, and is the perfect introduction to a truly influential group.

The Electric Prunes were formed in 1965 in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Within a year, they had signed to Reprise and released I Had To Much to Dream Last Night, which reached number eleven in the US Billboard 100 in 1966. Little did The Electric Prunes that they had just enjoyed their biggest hit single. Two years later, in June 1968, The Electric Prunes released Shadows, which was a one-sided single. This they hoped would give them another hit single. Alas, commercial success eluded The Electric Prunes and Shadows is one of the ones that got away for the LA based psychedelic rocker

Closing Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets is a band who were regarded as the Kings of the Los Angeles’ psychedelic rock scene during the late sixties, Love. By 1968, they had released three albums for Elektra, 1966s Love, 1966s De Capo and the classic Forever Changes in 1967. The following year, 1968, Love released Your Mind and We Belong Together as a single in May 1968. Despite its quality, the single failed to chart, Your Mind and We Belong Together remains one of Love’s hidden gems. It proves the perfect way to close the newest addition Rhino’s long-running Nuggets’ series.

Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets which was recently released by Rhino as a double album on transparent vinyl, is welcome addition to the Nuggets series. However, eighteen months ago, fans of this long-running and successful series were wondering if their would ever by another new addition to the Nuggets series? Even the most optimistic thought that this was unlikely.

The Nuggets series made a welcome return on Record Day 2016 with Nuggets Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults. A year later, and  Record Store Day 2017 saw the reissue of Come To The Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults. Now just three months later, in July 2017, and Rhino released Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets, which is the first new addition to the Nuggets’ series since 2009. It has been released to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Summer of Love. So have a number of other classic albums, cult classics and compilations.

Among the reissues are Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, The Association’s Insight Out, Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, The Beau Brummels’ Triangle, The Zodiac’s Cosmic Sounds, Judy Collins’ Wildflower and The Young Rascal’s Groovin’. That is not forgetting Dusty Springfield’s Dusty In Memphis, Aretha Franklin’s Aretha Arrives and eponymous albums by Love, Vanilla Fudge and The Electric Prunes. There’s also several compilations, including The Monkees at their most lysergic and a selection of songs from The Grateful Dead’s early albums. Every one of these albums has been released on vinyl, which is how people listened to the albums during the Summer of Love. The only difference is that most of the albums have been released on coloured vinyl. These albums are a perfect introduction to the music that was being released during the Summer of Love. 

Especially for younger record buyers, who want to discover some of the most important and influential music released during the Summer of Love. They also have the opportunity to discover several albums that slipped under the radar. It was only much later that these albums were rediscovered, and nowadays, they’re regarded as underground and cult classics.

It’s a similar case with Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets, which features everything from baroque pop, garage rock, power pop, sunshine pop,  plus psychedelia pop and rock. There’s thirty songs from old friends, familiar faces and new names. They contribute singles, B-Sides and album tracks on a compilation that literally oozes quality. That is what fans of the Nuggets’ series have come to expect since it began in 1984. Thirty-three years later, and that is still the case with latest instalment in the long-running and successful Nuggets series, Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets. 

Just like previous volumes in the Nuggets’ series, Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets is a luxurious and lovingly curated compilation. As befitting such a prestigious series, black vinyl isn’t good enough, so Rhino have used 180 gram transparent vinyl. As a result, Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets looks great and more importantly sounds great. It’s sure to bring memories come flooding back for music fans of a certain vintage.

They will remember when some of the songs that feature on Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets were part of the soundtrack to the Summer of Love, which this year, celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Rhino ensures that the Summer of Love celebrates such a prestigious anniversary in style with a string of important reissues and compilations, including the best compilation of them of all, Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets.

Transparent Days: West Coasts Nuggets-Vinyl.

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