Though best known for writing the Association’s infectious smash “Windy,” on these home demos Friedman is revealed not as a pop songwriter, but as a jazzy, abstract seeker of answers, love and vision. With her sad, husky voice and often convoluted imagery of nature and the human zoo, these rediscovered tracks evoke a tough yet sensitive hippie lady struggling to define herself, survive and occasionally triumph. The original demo of “Windy” swings nicely, “To Treat A Friend” haunts and “Southern Comfortable” is an intriguing period piece exploring American racism on the coasts and elsewhere. Don’t tune out before the closing tune, the fully orchestrated Tandyn Almer composition “Little Girl Lost & Found,” a psychedelic swirl of children’s book characters gone marvelously mad. The glossy booklet includes Friedman’s memories of each song and some evocative vintage snapshots.
Not too long ago, maybe a few months ago, I stumbled upon a record reissue label called Sonic Past(www.sonicpastmusic.com) which is quickly releasing some of the most incredible vintage pop and rock music.
I first noticed the label while perusing the Brian Wilson section of my local record hut. There sat a CD entitled “Smile For Me” which is a symphonic tribute to Brian Wilson which was produced, arranged and conducted by noted producer Gary Usher. While you may or may not know the name, Usher has been involved with many ’60’s pop hits and had done a lot of work with the Beach Boys when they were scoring hits right and left.
Interested in everything Wilson, I immediately picked it up and when I got home, put it in the CD player immediately. What I encountered next was a glorious tribute to Brian Wilson’s genius featuring many of the same musicians Wilson himself had used when creating the Beach Boys’ most glorious recordings. Since it was recorded in 1970 and not released until 2004, the musicians were still at the peak of their powers and the presence of Wilson himself (though not on the recording) and his spirit is very palpable.
This is but one of the great Sonci Past reissues I’ve been grooving to lately. It seems label head Joey Stec (who some may remember as guitarist for the Millenium) has somehow got a hold of a ton (and I mean lots) of classic ’60’s pop and other cool recordings you just won’t find anywhere else.
Besides the Brain Wilson symphonic tribute are tons of unreleased tracks by Millenium members Sandy Salisbury (vocalist for the band), Lee Mallory, Joey Stec and even full albums of unreleased stuff from the Millenium. Familiar musicians like Randy Meisner from the Eagles and Millenium producer/solo artist Curt Boettcher also have several of their early tracks reissued in album form on this label. There is even a CD from Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora before he joined Bon Jovi and Davey Johnstone’s (from the original Elton John Band in the ’70’s) only solo CD.
In other words, Sonic Past has somehow opened a vault somewhere which has enabled them to present some great pop albums, including tracks of which many have never seen the light of day.
The ones I have been grooving to the most have featured the Millenium and its’ members. For those unfamiliar, the Millenium were a soft pop group who unfortunately did not catch on with the legions of rock fans caught up in the noisier sounds of acid-rock. Now, that is a much more simplified description than the band deserves as the band had some of the best production, arranging, orchestration and songwriting elements as any band at that time but you will have to hear them and decide for that for yourself. Sadly, the band disintegrated after their first CD Begin but, thanks to Sonic Past’s reissues, many heretofore unreleased and unknown tracks have been unearthed and released which have greatly embellished the band’s reputation as being one of the greatest.
Soon, I will review these CD’s one by one on this blog and give you the lowdown on some of the leading lights of this ear including Boettcher, Salisbury and Joey Stec. In the meantime, feel free to check out this label and get immersed in these rich, plush orchestrated pop sounds from the past. If you like bands like Sagittarius (who also were helmed by Boettcher) and The Association you will flip over the Millenium and many of the other great releases on this label. Please go to Sonic Past’s site and check them out.
The Music Nerd Knows…..