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The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading / The Great Conspiracy

Peanut Butter Conspiracy Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 20.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Psychedelic rock band formed in Los Angeles, 1966. Spun off from the folk-rock band Ashes, incl. John Merrill (guitar/ vocals), Alan Brackett (bass/ vocals), Barbara Robison (vocals), Spencer Dryden (drums) and Jim Cherniss (guitar/ vocals). Ashes recorded a 45 for Vault Records mid-1966, after which Dryden split to San Francisco to replace Skip Spence in Jefferson Airplane. Around this time ... Read more in Amazon's Peanut Butter Conspiracy Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Feb 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collectables
  • ASIN: B000040JF6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,729 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. It's A Happening Thing
2. Then Came Love
3. Twice Is Life
4. Second Hand Man
5. You Can't Be Found
6. Why Did I Get So High
7. Dark On You Now
8. The Market Place
9. You Should Know
10. The Most Up Till Now
11. You Took Too Much
12. Turn On A Friend (To The Good Life)
13. Lonely Leaf
14. Pleasure
15. Too Many Do
16. Living, Loving Life
17. Invasion Of The Poppy People
18. Captain Sandwhich
19. Living Dream
20. Ecstasy
See all 25 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

3 star
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1 star
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOP NOTCH WEST COAST ALBUM 11 Oct 2006
Format:Audio CD
this band are often overlooked in the history of 60s Psych...unjustly so!
They sound like a cross between the Mamas and Papas and the Byrds with a bit of Airplane thrown in for good measure...but end up sounding quite unique ..a large part due to the beautiful voice of Sandi Robison

It is also the strength of the songs...very melodic... and the lyrics are rarely hippy drippy and often quite insightful

the first half of the disc has their first album which is ok but not brilliant ..but it is the second album from track twelve onwards that makes this cd worth it....great songs like Lonely Leaf..Too Many Do...Time is After You..well they are all good with magical harmonies that just ooze West Coast sunshine

"Turn on a friend to the good life..and your heart will be filled to the sky"
as you may gather..i like it!

after several listens i realised that the first album is just as good as the second..maybe needs a few more plays but Then came love and Dark on you now are particularly good

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational. 27 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD
The Great Conspiracy is not only their best album, but one of the best-ever in my opinion. I owned this on vinyl in the early days and loved its freshness and 'one-take' feel right from the start. Everyone who heard it, loved it and they still do to this day. Go onto TGC album start point... Great compositions - some extended like mini-operas, lovely guitar work and smooth vocals and a band that, as a whole, seemed to really enjoy motoring along with its music. What more can anyone ask? If you love driving harmonies and tasteful rock guitar and want fresh music (not the muti-layered, no-soul, stuff) don't hesitate. Buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Upon initial listening then the PBC appear like a less arresting version of the Mamas & Papas but then their slightly different more frantic harder edged style starts to attract. 1st track 'It's A Happening Thing' trying for a hit (back then) is nice & breezy with massed vocals & captures that magical year 1967 fairly well; 'Then Came Love' is different via gentle baroque overtones with heavenly harmonies much in the style of Mamas & Papas. Then comes a spread of 4 fairly similar tracks 'Twice Is Love', 'Second Hand Man', 'You Can't Be Found', 'Why Did I Get So High' which takes us along the light psychedelic folk rock path with at times some beautiful vocals & rhythms, but tending to jump from one idea to another & now sounds dated. As Lillian Roxon stated at the time lacking some of the necessary melodic touches. Next 'Dark On You' is better & allows the voice of Sandi Robison to shine (The Love Exchange also did a great version of this called 'Swallow The Sun')...a fine vocal on this pretty folk rock number with Byrds like jangle guitar. The dramatic 'The Market Place' impresses with a strong demanding lead vocal from Lance Fent (though Lance would soon leave) with swirling flutes & other psychedelic notions & even the fluttering guitar break fits in...this is good or even brilliant. Then it's back to various up-tempo folk rock outings via 'You Should Know', 'The Most Up Til Now', 'You Took Too Much' with each being a little too frenetic. Opening track on the 'Great Conspiracy' LP is 'Turn On A Friend' & is not that impressive but next 'Lonely Leaf' is an improvement being more soulful & shows that Sandi has a beautiful voice (up there with Cass Elliot) & the lyrics seem more thought out. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, a Hollywood based group (not San Francisco) was one of the top groups on the west coast at the time of these lps (1967 - 68), at least in personal appearances, often booked atop groups thought today to have been the top artists of the time, such as the Doors, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, etc. Because of a better review than the Jefferson Airplane received in New Jersey, Bill Graham said "no more gigs with Peanut Butter" and the group was kept out of west-coast packages, Woodstock, the Monterey Festival and that had a lot to do with what kept them from the big time. They were an underground group and did not have the proper people behind them to compete, a story told over and over again in the music business. They did get a lot of airplay, however and this music is very typical of the times. Barbara had a beautiful voice and the group was very good instrumentally and vocally.Although not recorded with the care that others were at the time, this is the best of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and worth having.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Side from 1968? 17 Aug 2004
By J. R. Thelin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I bought this collection of PBC's Columbia material last year, almost on a whim, since I had never been a big fan during their late 1960s existence. However, I did see the group live in Chicago, summer of 1968 (more on that later). I was familiar with the LPs, but never owned either, preferring the first one (Spreading) over the second (Great), which I found rather cold.

Well, the music obviously has not changed, but my perceptions of it has. Spreading is a decent first effort, but it has a rather piece-meal quality to it. While not a singles band, the album plays as if PBC were that very thing. Thus, the tracks work better individually than as a well-integrated album of 11 songs. The strongest tracks are "Dark on You Now" (which, sometimes, as "Swallow the Sun," was covered by a number of West Coast bands), "You Should Know," and "Twice Is Life," all written by John Merrill. (Alan Brackett, PBC's other songwriter tended to write more commercially; his compositional abilities were shown to greater effect on LP #2.) Sandi Robinson was a lovely singer, as many reviewers have noted, and she helps elevate some of the more mundane material. And actually, while the harmonies are not as ethereal as some of the Mamas & Papas or as rhythmically engaging as the Airplane's, they are generally worth hearing. A B or B- grade, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Great is another story, however. The songs do not have a cold veneer like I originally thought 35 years (ouch!) ago. Instead, PCB plays harder and tighter, emphasizing more of the Rock part of Pop/Rock. Bill Wolf was a stronger, more inventive guitarist than the previous lead of Lance Fent. His more overtly San Francisco-influenced psychedelic licks (think CJ Fish a la Barry Melton or David Cohen) balanced well with John Merrill's more traditional rock `n' roll approach to tone and rhythm. Speaking of rhythm: the rhythm section of bassist Alan Brackett and drummer Jim Voight made a great leap forward on this LP, playing with greater dynamism and subtlety. There are two tracks over 6 minutes each which allow the whole band to stretch out instrumentally (and vocally, for that matter, too), thus giving us more of a good sense of their improvisational abilities. The song quality is more consistently superior to the first LP. In fact, I challenge you to find a better 1st side of an LP from a West Coast 1960s band than Side 1 of Great. Other than Love's side A of Da Capo, I doubt there is as strong a side of musical composition/performance as "Turn On a Friend" (a stronger single and lead-off cut than "It's A Happening Thing" from Spreading, which other reviewers seem to favour) through the half-minute vocal swirl of "Invasion of the Poppy People" (okay, okay, the title is dated, but not necessarily the music). Lyrically, PCB was no great shakes. Themes were largely freedom and romance, neither surprising given the times. Sometimes their best lines bump up against awful ones in the same song (try Alan Brackett's "Living Dream," for one). Despite, the lack of profundity and wit in many of the songs, PBC brings out the luster of the tunes through their energetic playing and imaginative vocalizing. And this is a real album, not just a hodge-podge collection of songs, and not one of the many dreadful "concept" LPs hurriedly recorded and rushed to shelves after the success of Sgt. Pepper. Great gets an A (A+ for Side 1, A- for Side 2).

P.S.: The bonus tracks range from bad Mamas & Papas ("It's So Hard Hard") to soulful pop (courtesy of Sandi Robinson and writer Brackett in "I'm a Fool") to bittersweet nostalgia ("Peter Pan" - we can fly off to Neverland...we're never gonna grow old, etc.). "Peter Pan" also reminds me of my "live" experience with PBC, who opened for Spirit at the `Lectric Theatre, the Chicago northside club owned and operated by Aaron Russo (later Bette Midler's manager). I actually recall very little of PBC's performance; but I do remember, with great sadness, nearly colliding with singer Sandi in-between sets. Like Peter Pan, she never grew old - and it's hard to believe she's been dead for over 15 years - but I wish she and her true, crystal voice were still around....
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Sandi... 20 Feb 2004
By Steven Cain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It was the exquisite voice of the sadly late Barbara (Sandi) Robison (who passed away in 1988) which got me into PBC, the first time I heard Turn On A Friend (To The Good Life) on a CBS Rock Machine sampler album.
As other fans have said, it was no lack of talent that kept this band from the big time. Sometimes people just don't get the breaks, either due to bad management, music industry politics or whatever. Incredibly, by 1969, it was essentially over, and the band that started out as The Ashes, would never record again as PBC.
These two albums are both classics, though stylistically somewhat different. Each kicks off with a storming track - It's A Happening Thing from the first album, and the superb Turn On A Friend from the second. The quality of the songs, vocals, musicianship and arrangements is second to none, and you just cannot get away from the feeling that this band should have been absolutely huge.
If you surf for the PBC unofficial website, it contains a link to a beautiful and informative tribute to Barb, which includes some beautiful photos of that fine fine lady, as does the website itself. I seem to recall the reason she became known as 'Sandi' is that as a teenager, she regularly used some false ID in that name in order to be able to play in clubs and bars.
Wonderful, and Amazon.com does it again with this simply outrageous value-for-money double set.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy it! 3 Jun 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
WOW. So I've been avoiding this group for thirty years. They were always there in the record bins. What a ridiculous name, right? Sure they have that nice jangly song (It's a Happening Thing) but they've gotta be lame psyche bubblegum madison ave. poseurs when it comes down to it, right? Sure people over the years have told me that they're "not bad." Well I'm mad at those people right now! Why were they apologizing? I have finally discovered how GREAT PBC was/is! OK, I'll rave if I'm not careful - I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM - I have 1,000 records & @ 2,000 CDs and I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM! *****If you are even barely considering this -for any reason - just get it!***** I have to confess - on my first listen I thought, "well, that's nice, derivative, not terribly exciting, but not bad, a great snapshot." But that was passive listening. There were enough hooks to get me listening again and every listen gets better. And after you're acclimated, crankin it up on a nice stereo is fantastic. Noone will let me near the stereo ever again! Why did those people say "not bad?" I know I'm crazy, but right now I'm certain that PBC is the greatest underappreciated band in history and that It's a Happening Thing is the single greatest pop song of all time. I'm flippin'! All I can figure is that they never got their due for the same reason I always shrugged them off - that silly name! The previous points are true - crisp production values by Usher ; 1 part Byrds/1 part Mamas&Papas/1 (pre-67) Airplane. Beautiful stuff. And while I'm raving - why don't I ever hear anyone point out the obvious? 1967 was the single greatest year in the musical history of the world. Think about it - really think about it - it's hands down true. I'd list why and the albums and artists - but that would take gigabytes! And this album gives us one of the better performances of that pivotal time (ok and peeking into '68)....."the grooviest thing up till now in the world."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a gooey confection... 15 Dec 2000
By Jason Penick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Wow, I just bought this cd on the reccomendation of a friend, and I must say that since buying this disc, not a day has gone by that I haven't listened to it at least once! Before I start to gush, let me introduce one caveat-- the writing, while interesting, is not incredibly tuneful, and the lyrics in particular haven't aged well. Gary Usher fans looking for another 'Present Tense' may find that this cd is not their bag. The PBC were a different animal-- about as balanced between pop and rock as humanly possible-- their music coming across as a wonderful hybrid of Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and Mamas and Papas, but with lesser songwriting. Not to say that the songwriting is at all bad, or even mediocre... it just doesn't reach the same heights as those superstar acts.
That being said, there is much to reccomend about this cd and band. Their main strengths are: a) vocalist Sandi Peanut Butter (ne Barbara Robinson) who has a sonic wonder of a voice-- nearly as clear and powerful as Mama Cass, b) the guitar work (which incorperates eastern and jazz voicings), and c) the stellar production by icon producer Gary Usher, who also worked with the Byrds, Sagittarius, Chad and Jeremy and a host of other west coasters.
The PBC had a knack for catchy if somewhat bizarrely structured singles. The infectious "It's a Happening Thing" starts off with a verse of only one line before kicking into its propulsive chorus. (Nothing like getting straight to the point.) "Dark On You Now" and "Turn On a Friend" both feature dark guitar lines interspersed with uplifting melodies. This dark/ light opposition may be the most attractive feature of their music. This is also obvious on some of the extended pieces on 1968's 'The Great Conspiracy' -- the more "rock" of the two albums included on this cd. While Usher dominated 1967's 'The PBC Is Spreading', turning it into another of his patented psych-pop story-albums, you barely notice he's involved at all on the second record. The PBC deserves credit for successfully developing the sound on the superior 'Great Conspiracy' themselves. This is the band that blew Jefferson Airplane off the stage at the Fillmore.
This reissue also includes three bonus tracks, including the great single "I'm a Fool", showing the group were headed towards a more soul-oriented direction at the close of '68. While they are suprisingly adept at it, the real joy here is the psychedelic mind excursion stuff.
Buy this album and discover a classic that was lost in time. Highly reccomended to all fans of west coast rock and pop.
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