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Wild about my Lovin`
on 7 December 2012
Of all the groups (we didn`t have bands then) from the sixties, there are two that stand out for me, whose music not only seems to exemplify that confused decade but transcend it, sounding even better now than they did at the time. One is The Mamas & The Papas, the other is this foursome. For a while, the Lovin` Spoonful were almost as big as the Beatles in the States, and with good reason. John Sebastian, surely one of the most talented and versatile musicians of the last fifty years, wrote or co-wrote an astonishing number of perfect pop songs (including on his later solo albums, well worth seeking out) usually with a dreamy, delirious feel to them, or else with a healthy dose of the jugband sound to which he`s always been devoted.
Over the years there have been several Spoonful compilations carelessly thrown together, that you should avoid at all costs. Either the sound is shoddy or the vocals are lost in the muddied mix, or they`ve used `alternate` versions which bear little relation to the official releases. No such worries with this generously assembled 67-minute, 26-track feast of Spoonful magic. It`s the best and most comprehensive collection of this wonderful group`s songs I`ve come across. Nearly everything you could wish for is here - despite one or two ommissions such as the engagingly languid Boredom. More songs might have been included given that at least another ten minutes were available to the compilers, but few such compilations are perfect, though this one comes close.
What you do get is such a stream of glorious, intelligent, melodic songs that you won`t want it to come to an end, numbers such as the sweetly gentle You Didn`t Have To Be So Nice, the wonderful Wild About My Lovin`, the coyly tender Younger Girl (covered as a single by The Critters), lyrically exhilarating Jug Band Music, uncharacteristically Motown-ish Summer In The City, the appropriately countrified Nashville Cats, Lovin` You, the deliciously slow and sensuous Coconut Grove, the blissful Darling Be Home Soon, bouncy Darlin` Companion (a onetime Johnny & June Cash staple), the ebullient She`s Still A Mystery, the wrily pensive Younger Generation, the timeless Daydream...and, oh joy, two immaculate lesser-known songs: the wondrous song Full Measure, and equally impressive Never Going Back, a lovely song by John Stewart, also covered well by Peter, Paul & Mary.
The opening track is a kind of Spoonful signature song, the irrepressible, timeless Do You Believe In Magic?
When I hear these songs, I think I do.