An eclectic time capsule -- its grooves enshrining four Bay Area bands of decidedly different stripes -- this compilation runs the gamut from mind-altering psychedelia to jangly folk to Anglophilic rock. Similarly, a wide range of talent is represented (from stellar to abysmal). Overall, however, With Love: A Pot of Flowers is a worthwhile addition to any '60s collection. The album's three highlights -- "I Think I'm Down," "Streetcar," and "Walking Down the Road" -- are among the best releases of 1966 (having previously appeared as singles for their respective bands).
With its Jagger-esque vocal, humorous lyric (the plaint of a long-limbed equestrian), and red-line fuzztone lead, "I Think I'm Down" is simply killer. "Streetcar" recalls the Who's "A Legal Matter" with electric piano effects; while "Walking Down the Road" is turbocharged Kingston Trio with the sounds of a psilocybic Keystone Kops paddy wagon in the bridge. Of the three remaining tracks by the Harbinger Complex, "When You Know You're in Love" easily outsparkles the others with its snappy syncopation. "Time to Kill" is wistful, anti-establishment wordplay on a theme of Vietnam.
Given lead singer Jim Hockstaff's habit of leaving girlfriends in the family way, "My Dear and Kind Sir" (a suitor's plea to a father for his daughter's hand) smacks of tongue-in-cheek irony. Its folksy musical stylings hark back to gold rush-era San Francisco. Meanwhile, two of Wildflower's offerings ("Wind Dream" and "Coffee Cup") suffer beneath the dead weight of bombastic lyricism.
The former is a dreary ballad; the latter meanders aimlessly through claves and bongos. This pair, with Euphoria's "No Me Tomorrow," are the album's low watermarks. "No Me Tomorrow" is reminiscent of the Third Bardo's "I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time," and wallows indulgently in self-pity (and advocates what? an OD?). Its best moment is its raga-rock fade, suggesting the singer's voyage across the River Styx.
This is a great compilation with a bunch of wonderful popsike songs. I love this kind of stuff.
Enjoy and Peace Folks
SB1 Flac p1 & Flac p2 - mp3@320