Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Lemon Pipers - 1968 - Green Tambourine

The Lemon Pipers 
Green Tambourine

01. Rice Is Nice    
02. Shoeshine Boy    
03. Turn Around Take A Look
04. Rainbow Tree    
05. Ask Me If I Care
06. Stragglin' Behind    
07. Green Tambourine    
08. Blueberry Blue    
09. The Shoemaker Of Leatherwear Square    
10. Fifty Year Void    
11. Through With You

Bass Guitar – Steve Walmsley
Drums – Bill Albaugh
Lead Guitar – Bill Bartlett
Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar – Ivan Browne
Organ, Tambourine, Horn, Toy – R.G. Nave

Strings – Irv Spice Strings*

I will never understand people who don't like bubblegum pop, and thus I will never understand why groups like The Lemon Pipers aren't considered on equal footing as say, The Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that a lot of the album tracks are pretty much run-of-the-mill late 60s psych-pop, the success of "Rice Is Nice" and the title track proved that this group was operating with a greater understanding of hooks than many of their contemporaries.

Those two hits aren't the only thing to recommend here, though; in fact, far from it. "Rainbow Tree" has the same pop chops, with a beautiful vocal/harpsichord melody; "Ask Me If I Care" brings in a Byrdsesque country shuffle; and "Blueberry Blue" is as insistent in its verses and pastoral in its chorus as any bubblegum hit of the day, with sitar weaving in and out of the arrangement throughout. And then there's the excellent closer, "Through With You," with a killer bassline running throughout while the guitarists engage in some seriously freaked out interplay. It's probably the weirdest song to ever make it onto a bubblegum pop record, and an unheralded mini-classic of the psychedelic era. Overall, this is a sneaky strong record and more deserving of classic psych-pop status than what it gets credit for.


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