Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Honeybus - Story 1970 (2008 Rev-Ola) Flac & mp3


Honeybus' sole album was recorded in 1969 and released in early 1970, by which time "I Can't Let Maggie Go" was fading from the memory of the British public, original leader Pete Dello was long gone, and the band itself had been inactive for months. It's therefore not entirely representative of what the group was about. Honeybus did show themselves to be one of the few bands that could emulate the lighter and quieter sides of the 1968-1969 Beatles with a degree of competence, although as is usual when the Beatles were imitated, the songs and execution were much more lightweight than what the Beatles themselves recorded. At times it sounds like Badfinger without the muscle or occasional outstanding songs that made Badfinger recall the Beatles without sounding like tepid wannabes. The Beatlesque harmonies are nice and the lyrics sometimes clever, and the arrangements are tasteful, sometimes employing substantial traces of country music and subtle orchestration. All of the songs are available on the 25-song compilation At Their Best (which also includes a B-side recorded around the same time, "The Right to Choose"), which is a far better alternative than finding a copy of the original album.(Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com)

The story of Honeybus is almost a cautionary tale. Considering that most have never heard of them, it's amazing to ponder that they came very close, in the eyes of the critics, to being Decca Records' answer to the Rubber Soul-era Beatles. The harmonies were there, along with some catchy, hook-laden songs and usually tastefully overdubbed brass and violins. The pop sensibilities of Honeybus' main resident composers, Pete Dello and Ray Cane, were astonishingly close in quality and content to those of Paul McCartney and the softer sides of John Lennon of that same era. What's more, the critics loved their records. Yet, somehow, Honeybus never got it right; they never had the right single out at the proper time, and only once in their history did they connect with the public for a major hit, in early 1968. Their best known lineup consisted of Pete Dello (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Ray Cane (vocals, bass, keyboards), Colin Hare (rhythm guitar, vocals), and Pete Kircher (drums, vocals), with Dello and Cane writing most of their songs.
Dello and Cane, songwriting partners and ex-members of various minor early-'60s rock bands, most notably Grant Tracy & the Sunsets, were the prime movers behind Honeybus. In 1966, they formed the Yum Yum Band with ex-Them drummer Terry Noon, which became popular in the London clubs and released five singles on the English Decca label. A collapsed lung put Dello out of action in early 1966, and it was during his recuperation that he began rethinking what the band and his music were about. He developed the notion of a new band that would become a canvas for him to work on as a songwriter -- they would avoid the clubs, working almost exclusively in the studio, recreating the sounds that he was hearing in his head. Those sounds mostly featured lush melodies and lyrics that suddenly blossomed with the upbeat radiance of flower power and the Summer of Love. It was a novel strategy, paralleling the approach to music-making by the Beatles in their post-concert period, and all the more daring for the fact that they were a new group, without the unique hitmaking history of the Liverpool quartet.
Out of this came Honeybus, with Noon stepping aside to manage the group and being replaced by Mike Kircher. The group was one of the best studio bands of the period, reveling in the perfection that could be achieved through multi-tracking and overdubbing, and an approach that also mimicked the Beatles' breadth, playing with either admirable taste or reckless abandon, depending on the song. They were duly signed to England's Decca Records and assigned to the company's newly organized Deram label, which was intended to represent their new generation of pop/rock acts, oriented toward sunshine pop, psychedelic, and what was later designated "freakbeat" sounds. Their debut single, "Delighted to See You," which was cut with the help of Roulettes members Bob Henrit and Russ Ballard, sounded more like the Beatles than anything heard in British pop/rock since the Searchers had faded from view in early 1966. The B-side, "The Breaking Up Scene," could have been the work of the Jimi Hendrix Experience or the Creation. Actually, if anything, they sounded a great deal like the Bee Gees, who had just begun establishing themselves as something more than Beatles sound-alikes -- the difference was that the Bee Gees were a performing band as well as a top-notch studio outfit, fully capable of doing (and willing to do) most of their output on-stage.

The critics were quick to praise the band and the record, but it never charted, and their second single was also unsuccessful. Then Honeybus hit with their third release, "I Can't Let Maggie Go," in March of 1968, which rode the British Top 50 for three months and peaked at number eight. One of the most fondly remembered examples of psychedelic pop/rock to come out of England in 1967, with a richly textured, reed-dominated arrangement (with a bassoon very prominent and a break played on oboes and clarinets) and a pleasant McCartney-esque lead vocal surrounded by gentle high harmonies, all wrapped up in a melody that wore well on repeated listening. The record should have made the group, but instead it shattered them.
Pete Dello resigned during the single's chart run. He had been willing to play live on radio appearances and the occasional television or special concert showcase -- during which the group used a Mellotron to replace the overdubbed strings and other backing instruments on their songs -- but he couldn't accept the physical or emotional stresses of performing live on a regular basis, or the idea of touring America, which would have been the inevitable result of a British hit of that size. Perhaps a Brian Wilson/Beach Boys-type solution, with an on-stage replacement, might have worked, but instead Dello left, and with him went his songs.(excerpt by allmusic.com)

This is a very fine album full of songs with a light psych touch, great melodies and good songs.
Give it a try if you don't know the album. With 11 bonus tracks.
Enjoy
          Frank            New Flac link
                               mp3@320
                               

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