Saturday, 19 August 2017
Sunshine Pop by Wichita Falls - Life Is But A Dream 1968 (2011 Tune In Records) Flac & Mp3@320
Liberty Records evidently had great hopes for this obscure late 1968 LP, seeing it as an attempt to fuse classical and rock into a concept album that told, if obscurely, "the story of a life" (as guitarist/singer David Roush remembers in the liner notes to the 2011 CD reissue). The label even put $50,000 into the recording budget, a high sum by 1968 standards, using the string section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and arrangements by the respected Artie Butler. Heard many years later, you have to wonder what Liberty was thinking. For this album (a commercial flop, and the only one Wichita Fall would make) is a pretty tepid attempt at making an ambitious pop masterwork. Wichita Fall's songs were only average material to begin with, perhaps falling on the earthier side of the sunshine pop then in vogue among much of what was being produced in Hollywood.
However, the compositions are not just overwhelmed, but almost subsumed, by the dainty orchestration, which is more appropriate for links on a TV variety show than it is for an album with any connection to rock. It was too much for the original drummer, who left the band rather than play on the album, which made the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed (a possible influence on Liberty taking this approach in the first place) sound evil and gritty in comparison. While you can hear a potentially decent harmony-oriented pop/rock group in the mix, their strengths are smothered by the settings, and by the time of the infuriatingly cloying closing title track (a variation on the "row row your boat" chant), you might be rolling your eyes at the excess.
[The CD reissue on Tune In adds two bonus tracks from a non-LP 45 that show their strengths as a fair pop-folk-rock group to much greater advantage, especially on the country-influenced "Ginger Blue," though the other side ("Lovely Love") is still a little overproduced. The reissue also has extensive historical liner notes, with quotes from bandmembers, that tell the fascinating story of the flawed album's creation well.](allmusic.com)
Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this achingly beautiful orchestrated 1968 pop Psych odyssey from Los Angeles. Wichita Fall's Life Is But a Dream takes the listener on a magical musical journey of 13 compositions, grouped into four suites, all lovingly arranged by renowned conductor Artie Butler. Taken from the original Liberty Records masters, this release also includes both sides of their final 45, along with the complete inside story behind the album in the liner notes with quotations from group members and rare photographs. This is a must hear for all fans of sunshine Psychedelia and orchestrated Pop. Tune In.(amazon)
This is a great sunshine pop work with fine orchestrations.
SB1 Flac p1 & Flac 2 - mp3@320