Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969).

Label: Big Beat Records.

Format: CD.

Release Date: 30th September 2022.

The perfect soundtrack to a long hot summer is Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969). It’s a lovingly curated collection of late-sixtes California sunshine pop and psych nuggets from the vaults of various independent labels and production houses. 

This new compilation from Big Beat Records, an imprint of Ace Records, features twenty-four pop tracks. They’re an eclectic selection of songs that were recorded in LA and San Francisco between 1966 and 1969. Some were recorded for labels like Mira and Era, while others showcase the talents of pioneering producers including Gary S. Paxton and SF’s Trident Productions. 

Among this veritable feast of sunshine pop and trippy soft psych are contributions by JP Rags, The Pretty People and A Thousand Faces. Then there’s sunshine pop favourites from The Forum, Primrose Circus and Filipino female quintet The Third Wave, who contribute two of their early rare recordings. On several songs legendary producer legendary Curt Boettcher adds backing vocals. That’s not all. There’s also album tracks, hidden gems and obscurities aplenty on Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969). It’s a captivating compilation.

Opening the compilation is Soul Sunrise a collectible obscurity by JP Rags. This fusion of folk and psych is taken from the group’s 1968 album Scruffety on World Pacific Records and was produced by Larry Goldberg and Doug Cox. Sadly, the album wasn’t a commercial success but nowadays is much-prized by collectors.

Originally, The Forum started life as a folk ensemble. However, by the time they recorded Trip On Me for Mira in 1967 they had reinvented themselves as a sunshine pop group. This single is regarded as the group’s finest moment, and nowadays, is a favourite by connoisseurs of the genre.

A much-prized album is The Pretty People’s 1969 eponymous debut album on Crestview Records. One of the highlights of the album is Going To San Diego where harmony pop and psych seamlessly melt into one.

Curt Boettcher produced The Candy Company’s 1966 single for ABC, The Happies. The single was recorded at Gary S. Paxton’s Homewood Studio and featured a stellar cast of session players. Tucked away on the B-Side was the Sugar Stone which was penned by Gordon Hayes and Doug Rothwell. The group chant their way through this hooky, lysergic hidden gem which is a welcome addition to the compilation. 

The Primrose Circus were from Houston, Texas but spent some time in San Francisco where they recorded the single PS Call Me Lulu for Mira in 1967. Dramatic describes this single which was produced by Don Altfeld and features the group at the peak of their powers. 

One of the previously unreleased track is Meadows and Flowers by Curt Boettcher who, at the time, was making a name as a producer. However, it was Gary S. Paxton who takes charge of production duties on this dreamy and trippy mixture of sunshine pop and psych. 

Originally, The High started life as The Echoes in 1966. In August 1968, the group recorded The Beatles’ influenced Roamin’ which was produced by Leo Kulka. Sadly, the song was never released and like Meadows and Flowers, makes a welcome if belated debut on Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969). 

The second contribution from The Forum is Go To Try And Put Out The Sun. It was released on Mira in 1968 and is quite different to their previous singles. It’s a catchy and memorable slice of sunshine pop that shows a different side to the group. 

The origins of Evergreen Tangerine can be traced to the Bay Area folk scene which Tom and Carolee Gillespie were part of. Back then, they were better known as Tom and Carol. However, by 1968 they had reinvented themselves and recorded a cover of Richard And Me with producer Leo Kulka. This song is perfectly suited to the female lead vocal which is heartfelt, emotive and dramatic. Sadly, the song which could’ve transformed the group’s fortunes was never released. It makes its debut on the compilation and is one of the highlights. 

One of the last singles released on Mira in 1968 was Little Balloon Lady by The Gallery. Sadly, this The Beach Boys infused single failed to make any impression on the charts. Nowadays the single is regarded as an oft-overlooked hidden gem from the label’s vaults.

 It’s A Groovy World was released by The Lollipop Fantasy on Era in 1967. It’s catchy and long on hooks as sunshine pop and psych unite and become one. 

Closing Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969) is Until Now by Augie Moreno which was released on the Mammor label in 1968. It was arranged and produced by Gary S. Paxton and Ben Benay. Their arrangement features horns and a sitar which compliment the impassioned vocal on this paean. Although quite different to other tracks it’s the perfect way to close the compilation.

Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969) is a lovingly curated compilation. It features a mixture of singles, B-Sides, unreleased tracks, hidden gems and oft-overlooked obscurities. These come courtesy of familiar faces and new names that were recorded in LA and San Francisco between 1966 and 1969. It’s quality all the way on Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969). This compilation of sunshine pop and psych nuggets is a veritable musical feast one that anyone interested in either genre will enjoy and want to add to their collection.

Trip On Me-Soft Psych and Sunshine (1966-1969).



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