Monday, February 8, 2016

The Apple Pie Motherhood Band - 1968 - The Apple Pie Motherhood Band

The Apple Pie Motherhood Band 
The Apple Pie Motherhood Band

01. Born Under A Bad Sign — 7:05
02. I’d Like To Know — 2:15
03. Ice — 2:31
04. Yesterday’s New Song — 3:14
05. Barnaby’s Madness — 2:45
06. The Ultimate/Contact — 7:13
07. The Way It Feels — 2:27
08. Bread And Jam — 3:14
09. Apple Pie — 2:55
10. Variations On A Fingernail — 3:15

Ted Demos — lead guitar
Joe Castagno — rhythm guitar
Richard Barnaby — bass
Jeff Labes — organ, piano
Jackie Bruno — drums
Felix Pappalardi — producer

The Apple Pie Motherhood Band were a Boston-based aggregate combining a formative heavy blues base with equally earthy elements of psychedelia. With Atlantic Records staff producer Felix Pappalardi behind the console, the results were a reflection of the ever-changing pop/rock soundscape.

Although the band' s lineup would remain in a constant state of flux, the ensemble credited here includes Dick Barnaby (bass), Jack Bruno (drums), Joe Castagno (guitar), Ted Demos (guitar), and Jeff Labes (organ/piano). Although Anne Tanzey, their original "chick" (a la Janis Joplin) singer had already split by the time they were recording this -- their self-titled debut album -- Marilyn Lundquist (vocal) was temporarily filling the vocalist's void.

Her dulcet tones grace several songs -- particularly notable is the Baroque-flavored update of David Blue's "I'd Like to Know" and the trippy "Ice," which Lundquist co-wrote alongside Demos. The thoroughly explored reading of Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign" is an obvious homage to British supergroup trio Cream who had previously reworked it into a blues-fused jam. Listeners can even catch Barnaby's note-for-note recitation of Jack Bruce's foreboding bassline during the waning moments of the fade. Labes' "Yesterday's New Song" is a minor-chord masterwork.

The gentle and understated melody perfectly supports some of the Apple Pie Motherhood Band's best vocal harmonies -- recalling the Association or Spanky & Our Gang at their affective best. Barnaby contributes the catchy and concise "Barnaby's Madness," and while the psych-meets-punk vibe is an earmark of the unit's Bosstown Sound roots, to a certain degree, the best of the band can be heard on the seven-plus minute slice of psych medley that links the group-penned instrumental "The Ultimate" to a blue-eyed soulful interpretation of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon's "Contact."

The number was a return to the Apple Pie Motherhood Band's prototype C.C. & the Chasers -- whose single "Put the Clock Back on the Wall" b/w "Two & Twenty" were both from the Bonner/Gordon songbook. Labes' quirky "The Way It Feels" may well have been inspired by Sopwith Camel's vintage sounding "Hello, Hello," while his upbeat "Apple Pie" is layered in sweet, harmony-laden sunshine pop.

Labes likewise penned the closer "Variations on a Fingernail" that propels forward with tricky rhythmic syncopation reminiscent of early Mothers of Invention melodies such as "Mother People" and "Oh No." The Apple Pie Motherhood Band would continue with a revolving door personnel for another year and release their swan song Apple Pie (1970) shortly before breaking up at the dawn of the following decade.

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