Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Honeybus - Story 1970 (2008 Rev-Ola) Flac & mp3
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.
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.
Frank New Flac link