Flowerz - Flyte (1967-68, US, garage, Arf!Arf! CDRrip, single flac + cue, log, artwork)
The third in a four album series from Arf! Arf! Records highlighting 60s garage bands from eastern Pennsylvania; `Flyte' is a representation of the live show put on by a Reading-based band named The Flowerz. To be more specific, the recording contains the complete set played by the band at Albright College on Friday, February 16, 1968. A total of 21 songs were played; 16 covers and 5 originals. With few exceptions (Link Wray's `Rumble' and Bert Kaempfert's `Wonderland by Night'), the material was decidedly contemporary. As one would expect from a college show at that time, the crowd wanted to dance to music they knew. And, the set list assured that outcome containing hits by The Doors, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Byrds, to name but three. (I have to say, I was surprised that `Good Lovin' wasn't here). We also get an added bonus as some of the DJs on WXAC - the college FM station - are heard doing intros and outros for the songs, as well as running a dance contest. This includes the dulcet tones of some Brit chick on staff that is so absolutely apropos for this point in time! It's also a time - at least in retrospect - of transition for radio. This is an FM station and while the hyper-helium chatter of Top 40 AM isn't apparent, the shift to the laid back, album track format is still a distance off.
But, it is not a recording of the show. Instead, on first blush - that is to say, before I read very, very good liner notes by producer Erik Lindgren - I reacted to the clearly different sound of the songs versus the commentary by saying, "Oh my God, another faux live show is being foisted off on me."
This is, however, a case of `No Harm/No Foul." Lindgren is quick to provide an explanation; namely that the band and recorded its planned set ahead of time with the intention of playing live along with the tape so as to boost the volume and impact of the performance. This application of the Sound-on-Sound technique used by Phil Spector when he recorded may or may not be unique. I've never heard of its use before and this album was put together by Lindgren - who tells us what it is.
So, after much explanation, what do we have here?
Well, I'll suggest it's a good performance by a band that had a number two hit in Reading with "I Need Love,' a band penned song that is on the CD. I say good because I have no way to rate the performance against another by the band. The vocals are a bit thin, but that may be due to my unfair comparison with the original artists. The lead singer probably was in his teens - as more than likely were the rest of the band - so the lack of authority might have been inexperience or youth. It's also the case that many of the songs seem hurried in their presentation. Ray Davies of The Kinks - a song by that band being included in the set - writes and speaks of how the group would, out of nervousness, rush through them songs at breakneck speed. I get that from some of these cuts and that's odd because the band were recording in a studio over an extended period so rehearsal and repeats and even editing were available. But, it's also the case that by the end of the decade the band - just like the summer of love - was gone; so maybe this basically sound but nothing outstanding performance is what they were like all the time.
Now, let me stipulate that I can and do listen to this stuff ad infinitum or - as my wife would suggest - ad nauseum. And I try to keep my criteria for commentary around the quality of the performance, not of the recording technology. That being the case, I like this album, particularly what they do with `Bend Me, Shape Me,' `He Was a Friend of Mine' and `Do You Believe in Magic.' On these songs, as well as their own material, they show a good feel for the softer side of rock 'n' roll. This leads me to perceive these guys as more like The Association, The Grassroots or even The American Breed
The harder, more raucous and attitude-laden songs aren't delivered as well; though as mentioned, coming up to the standards set by Paul Revere and the Raiders (Ups and Downs); The Stones ("Let's Spend the night Together') and The Kinks ("All the Day and All of the Night') might be asking for too much. The instrumentals are - with the exception of the aforementioned `Rumble, which is done in a way that I can only describe as "odd" in that it is quite devoid of anything threatening (it's about a street fight, for God's sake!) - classic examples of what was, for a long time, a lost genre. (I'd argue that Rave music is a descendant of what is on here.) The last cut, `Saturday Morning', is a particularly good example of setting a mood while also allowing band and audience to cool down.
All in all Flyte is worth the investment to capture - or recapture if you're my age - what music we liked to hear in the mid to late 60s and, maybe most importantly, what we danced to.
(~amazon) By Jersey Kid
Flowerz - Flyte
01.I Need Love Now
02.Talkin` About Love
04.Ups And Downs
06.Under My Thumb
07.It`s My Life
08.Come On Down To My Boat
09.Let`s Spend The Night Together
10.Heart Of Stone
11.Gimme Some Lovin`
12.Bend Me Shape Me
13.Light My Fire
14.Wonderland By Night
15.My Sad Story
16.All Day And All Of The Night
17.Do You Believe In Magic
19.He Was A Friend Of Mine
20.Little Latin Lupe Lu
21.WXAC Concert Report
Mike Lecce - lead guitar, vocals
Jim Leinbach - drums, vocals
Bill Sheffer - keyboards, vocals
Larry Skillman - bass, vocals
Jeff Stout - vocals, percussion
Barry Tucci - rhythm guitar, vocals
[Rip and Scans by gigic2255]
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