September 11, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 79: The Lovin' Spoonful ~ The Very Best of The Lovin' Spoonful

In addition to my vinyl LP record collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes as well. This is an entry about one of them that is for sale on eBay (see link below). Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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Early in 1965 two rockers from Long Island, Steve Boone and Joe Butler, teamed up with two folkies from Greenwich Village, John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky, to form the Lovin' Spoonful and go on to record and perform some of the songs that would dominate the charts and establish them among the greats of the mid-sixties era. The Very Best of . .  contains some of those gems.

Combining the best of folk music and rock and roll, with a touch of country thrown in, they gave us such hits as Do You Believe in Magic, Daydream, You Didn't Have to be So Nice, Nashville Cats and the anthem for a hot July evening, Summer in the City. All this in the span of 4 years and 5 albums. In addition to that they also wrote and performed two soundtrack albums for two directors very early in their careers, Woody Allen, What's Up, Tiger Lily?, and Francis Ford Coppola, You're a Big Boy Now. They toured almost constantly during this period and were one of the first rock bands to perform on college campuses almost as much as for teenage concert goers.  

Their albums were issued on Kama Sutra Records which was started in 1964 by Arthur "Artie" Ripp, Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg as Kama Sutra Productions, a production house. The "Kama Sutra" is an ancient Sanskrit text. The recording company featured many great musicians and groups such as Brewer & Shipley, the Charlie Daniels Band, The Fifth Dimension, Flamin' Groovies, The Jaggerz, NRBQ, Sha Na Na, The Shangri-las, Sopwith Camel, Stories and many other artists.    

reel-to-reel tape box cover detail
detail photo by Styrous©

The cover features clay sculptures of the band, with the band's signature lack of eyes, nose or mouth sculpted by Ollie Alpert and photographed by Bob Bailey.

 sculptures by Ollie Alpert 
photo of sculptures by Bob Bailey
detail photo of reel-to-reel tape box by Styrous®

One of my favorite of their songs, Younger Girl, is a mellow song about a new, young love. Actually, most of their songs were in a gentle, easy, delicate and beautiful mode.

Another song of theirs, Daydream, is in that gentle mood with the comfortable feeling of just laying back, relaxing and enjoying a pleasant day with the feeling of a gentle breeze wafting through the trees. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also #2 on the UK singles chart. The song originated with Sebastian's attempt to rewrite The Supremes' Baby Love.

reel-to-reel tape box back
photo by Styrous©

With You Didn't Have to Be So Nice, they pick up the tempo but once again it is smooth and features great male vocal harmonizing with chimes even. It is from their 1966 album Daydream. It reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1966.

reel-to-reel tape box back detail
detail photo by Styrous©

In Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?, they ponder the question of tough decisions in life. It was from their 1965 debut album Do You Believe in Magic. It was the second single released from the album and the most successful, reaching #2 on the American Billboard charts on the week of June 11, 1966 (#1 being Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones).  

On Do You Believe in Magic? they ponder the wonders of love and its allure. It was the first single from their debut album Do You Believe in Magic. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

photo by Styrous©

In a faster tempo tune, Summer In The City, they use the sound of car horns and jackhammers to illustrate the hectic feeling of big city life but the feeling is still mellow. It is filled with the fun of urban living.

reel-to-reel tape detail
detail photo by Styrous©

my two favorite songs

Rain On The Roof is a beautiful song, in spite of its minor chords and syncopated rhythm, and a totally charming love song. It almost has a country feel to it. Even though it has an abrupt end, it has always made me feel happy. It reached #10 on the US pop charts.

Darling Be Home Soon is as close to a rock ballad as they ever got. It is warm, sincere and heartfelt with a clear tambourine intro and a lush orchestral backing. It was written for the soundtrack of the 1966 Francis Ford Coppola film You're a Big Boy Now. It reached #15 on the US pop charts.

On March 6, 2000, The Lovin' Spoonful were officially inducted into the Cleveland, Ohio, Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.  

reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous©

Track listing:

Side 1: 

  1. Younger Girl (John Sebastian) – 2:23
  2. Didn't Want To Have To Do It (John Sebastian) – 2:06
  3. Daydream (John Sebastian) – 2:18
  4. You Didn't Have to Be So Nice (John Sebastian/Steve Boone) – 2:29
  5. Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? (John Sebastian) – 2:00
  6. Do You Believe in Magic? (John Sebastian) – 2:04
  7. Summer In The City (John Sebastian/Mark Sebastian/Steve Boone) – 2:39
Side 2:
  1. Rain On The Roof (John Sebastian) – 2:13
  2. Six O'Clock John Sebastian) – 2:38
  3. Darling Be Home Soon (John Sebastian) – 3:34
  4. Till I Run With You (Alan Gordon/Gary Bonner) - 1:52
  5. Never Going Back (John Stewart) - 2:48

Kama Sutra Records - KAM D 2013

Lovin' Spoonful music on YouTube: 
Younger Girl
You Didn't Have to Be So Nice
Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?
Do You Believe in Magic?  
Summer In The City 
Rain On The Roof
Darling Be Home Soon 

The Lovin' Spoonful ~ The Very Best of The Lovin' Spoonful, reel-to-reel tape, is for sale on eBay 

reel-to-reel tapes on eBay

Thanks for the many years of comfort, peace and calm you've given me.

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