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Thursday, November 13, 2014

We Five - You Were On My Mind

Artist: We Five
Album: You Were On My Mind
Year: 1965
Style: Folk-Pop
Similar Bands: The Seekers, Byrds, New Christy Minstels, The Mamas & The Papas, Kingston Trio, Neko Case, Corin Tucker.
One Word Review: Choir Folk-tunes
Based Out Of: Los Angeles 
Label: A&M, Trident
 You Were On My Mind - Cover & Record
You Were On My Mind - Back & Record
You Were On My Mind (1965)
  1. Love Me Not Tomorrow 3:06
  2. Somewhere Beyond the Sea 2:22
  3. My Favorite Things 3:12
  4. If I Were Alone 2:33
  5. Tonight 2:04
  6. Cast Your Fate to the Winds 1:58
  7. You Were On My Mind 2:34
  8. Can't Help Falling in Love 2:34
  9. Small World 1:31
  10. I Got Plenty O'Nuttin' 1:50
  11. Softly As I Leave You 2:40
  12. I Can Never Go Home Again 2:25
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Mike Stewart - Vox, Guitar, Banjo (West)
Pete Fullerton - Bass, Vox
Beverly Bivens - Vox 
Bob Jones - Guitar, Vox (West)
Jerry Burgan - Vox, Guitars (The Burgans)
Frank Weber - Producer (Kingston Trio)
Jerry Granelli - Percussion
John Chambers - Percussion
Dennis Hodgson- Cover & Liner Notes
Peter Whorf Graphics - Album Design
Peter Abbott - Engineering

Unknown-Ness: I remember picking this album up in a thrift store in San Fran many years ago, as I embarked on this quest, and I did not know what I had. It was an older band for sure, but I did not know if it would sway the way of folk or head to a more pop avenue. Well, I wanted to pick it up, as I knew there were some good bands that came out of the mid-late 6o’s in that area, and I did not know what I would hear. It’s the best time to take a chance.

Album Review: “Love Me Not Tomorrow” is an original song by Mike’s brother, John, who was a member of the Kingston Trio. The female vocals remind me a little of Corin from Sleater Kinney. Just the little bit of country twang in a pop song. The song itself is slow, thoughtful, and folksy. Minor instrumentation behind the vocals grows as the song progresses. I would also not be surprised to find this number on a Neko Case solo album. Apparently these bold female were uncommon for the era. It feels like an opening track, but it never evolved beyond the intro.
“Somewhere Beyond the Sea” is a cover of the song made famous by Bobby Darin sung as a male-female vocal group’s call and response, taking the verses, and combining in other areas. There is a rushed nervousness implied with the rapidly strummed guitar work, and the song is rushed along. I imagine this is what it’s like today for a punk band covering a pop hit.
“My Favorite Things” is from the Sound of Music. This version is a wispy, renaissance folky rendition. In this case, it is slowed down, and the band adds a bit of a psychedelic tint to the melody. The lyrics are drawn out to the point where it is a Christmas choir singing and holding specific notes, abandoning the rollicking melody.
“If I Were Alone” is an original song. It is jangley and again reminds me of Neko Case’s country-pop style. The guitar doesn’t exactly fit the melody, but it is full of some good ideas layered together.
“Tonight” is from West Side Story. This version floats along, drifting like the hopeful dream the song represents. The choir of voices is dramatic and ethereal, and I could imagine the folky twist taking the song out onto a western bound wagon train settling in for a campfire for the evening.
“Cast Your Fate to the Winds” is a Vince Guaraldi song. It features the female vocals tittering in high pitches before it glides down to the normal register. The vocals stand out, greatly set apart from the music which is just a hint in the background. The little hook in the verse is cheerful and fun to follow

“You Were On My Mind” is an Ian and Sylvia Song. It begins with a light drum. The vocals are deeper than usual, and the song takes on a more psychedelic melody. The guitar is used lightly too. Just to accent the chord changes. The song is a fun and peppy pop song, that feels, with a little modification, could be sung in nearly any possible musical genre. It has a nice little breakdown, and the band builds it back up right into the Who-Oh-aOhas. And the song ends before it has a chance to get boring.
“Can't Help Falling in Love” is a cover of the Elvis Presley song. This liquid version has a jittery instrumentation, almost giving the song the impression that it is being played under water. The slow, familiar melody lurches along with the choir of relatively deep vocals. Until the change of melody, where the vocals reach higher notes and the female stand alone vocals shine.
“Small World” is from Gypsy. It still hold a hug reliance on the show tune melody, and cannot break free from that mold. The chorus of men and female vocals gives it a depth, but it still feels like a play’s story song.
“I Got Plenty O'Nuttin'” is from Porgy & Bess. But it is supped up with a catchy 60’s melody (or what Belle & Sebastian has been going for recently), and the guitar feels like it means to sell the band as if it were right in line with the boy pop/rock bands of the day.
“Softly As I Leave You” was an Italian song written by Giorgio Calabrese & Tony De Vita. And this song takes the melody and energy down to a sullen monastery, feeling like a wedding song or a hymnal.
“I Can Never Go Home Again” is an original song by Mike’s brother, John, who is a member of the Kingston Trio. Starts out as a light folky sing along. The camp fire melody invites the audience to sing along with them if they know it, and the song is actually quite similar to the Monkees “Pleasant Valley Monday.” The song features the male vocals more than I can pick out from the other tracks, and the female vocals call back in response. 


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