Moon were a sort of second-tier supergroup in the late 1960s, led by pianist and songwriter Matthew Moore, drummer and producer Larry Brown (late of the Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows), and ex-Beach Boy David Marks on guitar, with Andy "Drew" Bennett on bass (Bennett was replaced by the time of the group's second album by David Dawson, formerly of Hearts & Flowers). For all that pedigree, though, Moon received little support from their label, Imperial Records, and the group's two albums, 1968's Without Earth and 1969's Moon, went virtually unheard when they were released. Fans of period pop psychedelia found the albums irresistible, however, and the group has enjoyed a kind of low-key cult status ever since, leading to Rev-Ola's reissue of both albums on one CD, along with a handful of bonus tracks that include a couple of mono 45 mixes and three tracks from Moore's pre-Moon band, Matthew Moore Plus 4. Sounding a bit like a low rent version of the Zombies or the Left Banke, it is easy to see why fans of baroque-'60s pop are so enamored of Moon, but like many bands from the era who fell under the influence of the Beatles, the absence of strong songs and melodies all too often renders the heavily phased and string-laden arrangements forgettable as soon as the next track begins. Not that the group doesn't get close to |pop-psych heaven here with songs like "Someday Girl," the goofy, sitar-laced "Brother Lou's Love Colony," or the ultra-Beatlesque "Give Me More" (all from Without Earth), it's just that the swirl of the arrangements can't hide the fact that none of these songs are particularly front line. The songs from the second album, Moon, fare better, as Brown (both albums were recorded at his Continental Sounds studio) cuts back a bit on the orchestration and Moore simply delivers better material, like the haunting, beautiful "Lebanon" or the intriguing "Life Is a Season," which has Moore singing lines like "comprehension wields the sword that kills the fear" with agile, melodic ease. Also worth mentioning is the reincarnation revenge song "Pirate," which has a plot line so bizarre that it can't help but be memorable. When all is said and done, one wishes Moon had gotten a crack at a third album, since they were clearly inching toward the kind of uniqueness that might have allowed them to rise above their influences.
Limited till March, 20, 2017
This collection of 1965-1968 material, taken from rare regional singles along with a couple of previously unreleased tracks, is far removed from the Ides of March's horn-rock era (as heard on their 1970 hit "Vehicle"), both chronologically and stylistically. When they started, the Ides were a Chicago teen band, recording mostly original songs heavily influenced by folk-rock and the British Invasion, although a few of these cuts do use brass. In general that's good news (and preferable to the horn-rock of their later career), but the harmony-heavy pop/rock of this early work isn't too exciting. In common with several other groups from the Chicago and Midwest areas, the group favored a rather clean-cut, Americanized take on British Invasion bands like the Beatles and the Hollies, though the folk-rock of the Byrds is heard in the guitar arrangements especially. The local Chicago hits "You Wouldn't Listen" (which made number 42 nationally) and "Roller Coaster" are here, but to be tough about it, there's not enough light and shade here to put the Ides on the level of good British Invasion bands, or even of good British Invasion-influenced bands from the same region, such as the New Colony Six.
Hope you will enjoy.