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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Association (the): And Then...Along Comes~ & Insight Out*

Band: The Association
Albums: And Then...Along Comes~ & Insight Out*
Years: 1967
Style: Oldies Folk Pop
Similar Bands: Herman's Hermits, Earlier Rolling Stones, The Raiders, Kingston Trio, The Vogues, Jay & The Americans, The Grass Roots, Early Kinks
"One Word" Review: Melodic-Oldie-Chameleon
Based Out Of: Los Angeles, California
Label: Warner Bros.~* Seven Arts*,
And Then...Along Comes Cover Front & Side 1
And Then...Along Comes Cover Back & Side 2
Insight Out Cover Front & Side 1Insight Out Cover Back & Side 2

And Then...Along Comes (1966)~
1. Enter the Young (sample) 2.42
2. Your Own Love 2.19
3. Don't Blame it on Me 2.26
4. Blistered 1.45
5. I'll Be Your Man 2.45
6. Along Comes Mary (sample) 2.30/
7. Cherish (sample) 3.25
8. Standing Still 2.43
9. Message of Our Love 3.56
10. Round Again 1.48
11. Remember 2.35
12. Changes 2.30

Insight Out (1967)*
1. Wasn't It A Bit Like Now (Parallel '23) 3.29
2. On A Quiet Night 3.19
3. We Love Us 2.33
4. When Love Comes to Me 2.43
5. Windy (sample) 2.49
6. Reputation 2.36/
7. Never My love (sample) 3.07
8. Happiness Is 2.11
9. Sometime 2.35
10. Wantin' Ain't Gettin' 2.15
11. Requiem For the Masses (sample) 4.06

Album Rating (1-10)
7

Members & Other Bands:
Russ Giguere
Brian Cole
Ted Bluechel
Gary Alexander
Terry Kirkman
Jim Yester
Jerry Yester (Modern Folk Quartet)
Larry Ramos (New Christy Minstrels)
Bones Howe - Producer, Arrangements, Engineer~
Clark Burroughs - Arrangement~
Ray Pohlman - Arrangements~
Bill Holman - Arrangements~
Ed Thrasher - Art Direction~
Sherman Weisburd - Cover Photo~
Don Peterson - Liner Photo~
C. Boettcher - Producer*
Gary Paxton - Engineer*
Pete Romano - Engineer*
Fred Poole - Photo Cover*
Peter Whorf Graphics - Album Design*

Unknown-ness: I had not heard of these guys before I got the albums. Although, after listening to the first album, I realized that I have heard "Cherish" before. I did not know this was them. From the dates and art direction of the albums, I suspected them to sound like Herman's Hermits or the Kinks at that time. On the cover-back, they compare themselves to The Rolling Stones, the Raiders, and The Kingston Trio, so I knew there was not much doubt that these guys were listenable.

Album Reviews: Their first, debut album, ATAC begins with a somewhat psychedelic "Enter the Young." Powerful assured vocals guide the song along, into beautifully harmonized choruses and humming. An electric guitar peaks its head in from the background at a variety of points, giving the song a solid backbone. The song cruises to a growing climatic finish in vocal, harmony, and guitar. The songs on this album show a diverse band, and seem flow from quick poppers to quiet ballads. They move from the Beatle-y "Your Own Love" to the slow minimal ballad "Don't Blame It on Me," full of harmonic Ba-Ba-Ba's in back-up. The Beatle-y style returns with harmonica on "Blistered" (which also kind of sounds like the end-verses in the Scooby-Doo theme).

The album moves through the ebbs and flows of song tempo. Their two big numbers come back to back, and also represent this opposite charge layout of quick/slow. “Along Comes Mary” is a psychedelic, handclappy upbeat tune, with the strong memorable chorus ‘Along Comes Mary.’ The song has a retro-Latin groove feel, like something from Sergio Menendez. Their other song, Cherish is a nice song, with a Christmassy vibe. The marching tempo of the "You don't know how many times..."chorus is the big hook, making a lasting memory. The album winds down after the hits with some slow jazzy song structures. The final song "Changes" is a very good way to sum up the album. It has all the various themes and musical vibes rolled up into one song.

I really love how the next album begins. "Wasn't it A Bit Like Now" is a fantastic song, that has a sound I attribute to the Kinks. It starts off with a little teaser-song, a repetitive guitar lick for 4 measures, about :22 seconds, and then goes headlong into an old rag-tyme, drunk honky-tonk, styled southern band theme. After the first verse, it looses the southern charm, and becomes a straightforward pop number, but then reverts back to a vaudevillian number with the chorus. It is a really eclectic song, and it ends with the same 4 bars of guitar lick from the teaser beginning. On the first album, just as a quieter number would follow in pattern, here the second, third, and fourth songs all fall on the quieter side of the scale, yet they still retain their fair share of hooks. Many songs sound like quieter Beach Boys tunes (like "In My Room”).

One single on the album, Windy, is a solid song. With a harmonic, repetitive chorus, Windy lends itself to bubblegum pop quite well. And out of nowhere comes the next song "reputation" with a strong, soulful set of vocals, this song tells of how a woman should not sleep around if she'd want to keep her man and her reputation intact (usually a hypocritical story-line). It is ruggedly bluesy with harmonica and hand claps displayed proximately. It acts as a good buffer for their big hit, a song that, according to BMI, had the second most radio airplay behind "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" in the 20th century. "Never My Love" is your typical slow oldie, with a gentle tinkling organ in the background, filled with romantic imagery and life long promises. The next song, "Happiness Is," feels like a Monkees’ song. With harmonic Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba's and a jive-bouncing groove, the song glides along very smoothly and pleasantly. The rest of the album has solid songs, with a great variety of elements. “Wantin' Ain't Getting” possesses many aspects that made later Beatles songs popular. "Sometime" is a good bubblegum folky number. And the album ends with a drummer-boy marching chant, which has the visual equality of flying over a battlefield of fallen soldiers at sunrise.

Over all these are very solid albums. I feel like I should have known these albums more, as they are very versatile and promote a variety of styles. I am looking forward to picking up more of their albums.

Stand Out Track:
Cherish
Wasn't It A Bit Like Now

Links:
The Association still playing
The Association Allmusic
The Association Wikipedia
Never My Love #2 most air-play in 2oth century
The Association Vocal Group Hall of Fame
The Association Audio Clips
Jim Yester's & The Yesterdaze
Yesterdaze Myspace

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