Somewhere between The Association, The Monkees and even Moby Grape - The Grass Roots have been off the CD radar for what feels like decades now. Well they're back with a bang on this superb-sounding Real Gone Music reissue CD (out of the States). Here are the Summer of Love details...
Released March 2014 - "The Complete Original Dunhill/ABC Hit Singles" is 24-Track USA-Only CD compilation on Geffen/Real Gone Music RGM-0227 (B0020162-02) (Barcode 848064002277). All tracks are USA 7" single MONO mixes and break down as follows (66:27 minutes):
1. Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man) (1965, Dunhill D-4013, A)
2. Where Were You When I Needed You (1966, Dunhill D-4029, A)
3. Only When You're Lonely (1966, Dunhill D-4043, A)
4. Let's Live For Today (Uncensored Version) (1967, Dunhill D-4084, A)
5. Things I Should Have Said (1967, Dunhill D-4094, A)
6. Wake Up, Wake Up (1967, Dunhill D-4105, A)
7. A Melody For You (1968, Dunhill D-4122, A)
8. Midnight Confessions (1968, Dunhill D-4129, A)
9. Bella Linda (1968, ABC/Dunhill 4162, A)
10. Lovin' Things (1969, ABC/Dunhill 4180, A)
11. The River Is Wide (1969, ABC/Dunhill 4187, A)
12. I'd Wait A Million Years (1969, ABC/Dunhill 4198, A)
13. Heaven Knows (1969, ABC/Dunhill 4217, A)
14. Walking Through The Country (1970, ABC/Dunhill 4227, A)
15. Baby Hold On (1970, ABC/Dunhill 4237, A)
16. Come On & Say It (1970, ABC/Dunhill 4249, A)
17. Temptation Eyes (1971, ABC/Dunhill 4263, A)
18. Sooner Or Later (1971, ABC/Dunhill 4279, A)
19. Two Divided By Love (1971, ABC/Dunhill 4289, A)
20. Glory Bound (1972, ABC/Dunhill 4302, A)
21. The Runway (1972, ABC/Dunhill 4316, A)
22. Anyway The Wind Blows (1972, ABC/Dunhill 4325, A)
23. Love Is What You Make It (1973, ABC/Dunhill 4335, A)
24. Let's Live For Today (Censored Version)
The 24-page colour booklet is lovely - packed with period photos of the classic line-up (Creed Bratton, Rock Coonce, Rob Grill and Warren Entner), rare Picture Sleeves, Dunhill Demo 7"s and ED OSBOURNE liner notes which feature recollections from original Producer Steve Barri and compilers/mastering engineers - Andrew Sandoval and Bill Inglot. There's Joel Whitburn chart details (they scored 14 Top 40 Billboard hits, 19 in Cash Box and 18 in Record World) and extensive reissue credits.
But the big news is the remaster of original MONO single sources for each track - heard like they were when first broadcast on US radio. The liner notes explain that the AARON KANNOWSKI transfers were achieved `using the best sources from both master tapes and vinyl sourced from around the world'. It doesn't state which is the 'vinyl' source
The `I'm glad we're different..."and "don't worry about tomorrow..." lyrics in "Let's Live For Today" meant something to Vietnam grunts while "Things I Should Have Said" has hit written all over it et it only rose to 23 in Billboard. "Wake Up, Wake Up" is the kind of pop ditty The Association rattled off in the late Sixties with ease - a very cool Summer Of Love tune. But even better is the pretty "A Melody For You" with its lyrics "if were a poet...my words would be revealing..." - a sweetheart of a tune.
There's a seed change when they introduce brass into the Motownesque "Midnight Confessions" - deliberately going after the dancefloor as well as the heart. "Lovin' Things" had been a UK hit for Marmalade (featuring Junior Campbell) in 1968 - the Grass Roots took its infectious beat to the charts in March 1969. "The River Is Wide" was originally recorded by The Forum on Mira Records 232 in 1967 while the final twelve songs saw the songwriting team of Dan Walsh and Harvey Price dominate proceedings. "Just a breeze as I walk through the country..." is so drenched in hippy lore its kind of cheesy (but nice) - better is the "natural woman" bop of "Baby, Hold On" - a great Motown-pounding Pop Tune. Another pert corker is "Temptation Eyes" - great brass fills - the remaster sounding fabulous.
A uniquely American phenomenon - The Grass Roots had a superb Rhino 2CD Anthology dedicated to them way back in the mists of 1991 (its since acquired a hefty price tag) - so its great to report that this single-CD peach is a more readily available and audio pleasing alternative. I can even forgive those beads and that hairy chest man...