Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mystifyingly Glad: Mystifyingly Glad - Show 2

Mystifyingly Glad: Mystifyingly Glad - Show 2:

New show now up at Mystifyingly Glad. Four great tracks including...

"Tracy | The Cuff Links
A classic song from the King of bubblegum vocalists. Ron Dante worked minor miracles fronting various conglomerations of session musicians under an ever changing selection of band names - the name may not ring a besll but you sure know his voice. Dante provided the voice for such bands as The Archies, The Ohio Express, the 1910 Fruitgum Factory."

Curt Boettcher Biography at

Curt Boettcher Biography at

"Producer and composer Curt Boettcher was among the principal architects of the sunshine pop sound of the mid-'60s, his harmony laden, melody rich approach gracing the Top Ten hits of the Association as well as his own projects, including Sagittarius and the Millennium..."

Friday, March 25, 2005

Mystifyingly Glad: Sunshine Podcast

I've put together a short but sweet Podcast focusing on the Sunshine/Bubblegum scene. It's fairly basic for the moment but hopefully I'll get the hang of it as I go along - as limited as my DJ skills may be I promise that the songs will be great...

Mystifyingly Glad: Mystifyingly Glad - Show 1:
The first ever Mystifyingly Glad Podcast is now available.

Show One Tracklist :

* Mr. Dieingly Sad : The Critters
* Kites Are Fun : The Free Design
* Sailing : Best of Friends

Album Review: Roy Wood & Wizzard - Main Street

Long awaited but decidedly underwhelming set from Move/ELO/Wizzard mastermind Roy Wood. Originally slated or release back in 1977 the album sat on the shelf for a quarter of a century before finding it's way to market in 2000. It needn't have bothered - Main Street is a thoroughly mediocre hodge podge of recycled ideas that marked the sad decline of a pop genius (not that Wood isn't still capable of musical magic, just that it materializes far less frequently then in the 60's and 70's).

For every decent track (Indiana Rainbow, Main Street) there's an equally forgettable offering (the underpowered cod big band French Perfume, the second division jazz rock of I Should Have Known, Saxmaniax which sounds like a backing session from Message From the Country). Main Street isn't all bad, and had it come from some unknown it would be considered fairly promising, bit from Roy Wood - after 25 years of waiting - it's a big disappointment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What is Bubblegum Pop?

What is this thing called Bubblegum Pop/Rock/Music?

MusicMoz sez...

"...Bubblegum Pop Refers to bands and artists, typically in the 60's and 70's which targeted a preteen audience. Generally it was more lightweight and catchier than it's rock and roll brethren, and generally typified the one hit wonder class of the era..."

which is true but fairly superficial...

Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the genre tracing it from the early days of R&B and Doo Wop (and earlier) through to the golden age in the 70's & 70's with even a stop at The Ramones before covering the modern practioners of the art. Thier definition is pretty great too...
"...Bubblegum pop (bubblegum rock, bubblegum music) is a genre of popular music and rock and roll. The defining characteristics of bubblegum music include catchy or hummable melodies, simplistic three-chord structures, repetitive riffs or "hooks", and lightweight lyrics, deceptively simple at best or even only one step removed from nursery rhymes..."
Robert Fontenot, Oldies Music guru at offers a short but informative look at Bubblegum proper ...
"...true bubblegum, not boy bands or tweener divas like Britney Spears - was quite the phenomenon in its heyday (roughly 1968 to 1974). Reportedly, it all started with rock guru Don Kirsher, tired of dealing with the egos of his manufactured pop group the Monkees, decided to create a TRULY manufactured group with no real faces and names to get in the way..."
...and Andy at Bubblegum Music History has a wonderfully personal view of the birth and heyday of Bubblegum...
"...Young AM radio listeners like myself were turned off by protest folk and rock music and psychedelic music that was influenced by substances we'd never tried (nine-year-olds didn't sell and use drugs in those days). Our experiences revolved around TV and minor explorations with the opposite sex. Bubblegum music filled that limited area of interest by combining simple children's music borrowed from schoolyard games and nursery rhymes and silly, barely concealed lyrics about sex..."

Essential Reading: Bubblegum - The History of Plastic Pop

Bubblegum: The History of Plastic Pop

Well researched and fun to read, Nick Brownlee explores five decades of Bubble Gum pop goodness from Frankie Avalon to Britney Spears with countless cool stops in-between. A must read!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

News : Still up and away with 5th Dimension

The Fifth Dimension

Still up and away with 5th Dimension:

"'Jimmy Webb was this young songwriter who couldn't sell his songs because they were labeled too pretty and too different,' LaRue recalled. 'At the time, psychedelic music was very popular. Jimmy had written this beautiful ballad, 'Up, Up & Away.' That song and the subsequent arrangement was so beautiful we bridged the gap between the adults and the young people,' she said.

Arguably the group's signature song, 'Up, Up & Away' won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including record of the year.

Over the next two years, the 5th Dimension scored chart toppers again and again: 'Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,' 'Stoned Soul Picnic,' 'Sweet Blindness,' 'Wedding Bell Blues' and 'Save the Country,' the last four written by the late Laura Nyro.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Essential Sites : The Free Design - NOW is the time!

The Free Design - NOW is the time!

Nifty site dedicated to the extraordinary vocal group The Free Design. Features include news, interviews, discographies, and a terrific history of the band...

"The golden sound of the Free Design was shown in a non-stop run of potential hits (Friendly Man, I Found Love, You Could Be Born Again etc) and a collection of gems dedicated to "very important people" (ie: children).

Despite the almost unbelievable lack of chart success they had keen followers. With the contemporary rock air of the late 1960s early 1970s thick with the textures and attitudes of Led Zeppelin, Zappa, David Bowie and Sly Stone together with the arrival of the disco, a brothers and sisters act who struck no poses but sang melodic popular music was ostracized. The craftmanship of the Free Design's productions, the intricate arrangements, the timelessness of the songs and the purity and natural beauty of their voices were in contrast with the trends being set by their contemporaries."

Essential Listening - Curt Boettcher / The Millennium : Begin

The Millennium - Begin

What AMG's Matthew Greenwald refers to as" a bona fide lost classic", Begin was Curt Boettcher's stab at creating his own West Coast Folk/Sunshine/Psych supergroup - like most "supergroups" it's lifespan was frustratingly short and the recordings left behind are a maddening hint at what might have been. Begin is certainly on the short list for" best album no one you know has ever heard of". The upside of it's obscurity is that it's like finding buried treasure - a late 60's pop classic you never knew existed.

Sample tracks at Amazon (Windows Media sample for all tracks - Real for just a few)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sunshine Pop at Ready Steady Go

Let's open things up with an triffic overview of the Sunshine scene from Ready Steady Go.
It covers all the important names and bands - Curt Boettcher (Millennium/Ballroom), Gary Usher (Saggitarius), Eternity's Children, The Yellow Balloon and so on...

Sunshine Pop - Do You Believe in Magic?
"'Pet Sounds' and the immortal 'Good Vibrations' were just the tip of the iceberg. They call it Sunshine Pop. The upbeat, warm, feel good factor is evident throughout even the tracks dripping in sweet melancholy are reassuringly heart-warming. Between 1964 and 1968 a bundle of classic records were recorded and produced by many pioneering producers (such asCurt Boettcher, Gary Usher, Gary Zekley) and musicians whose united aim was to produce music that would affect people on a subconscious level. They wanted to make spiritual music. These artists had an extraordinary vision and the music they created was simply ahead of its time and oten under appreciated."