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"People Like Us" is for People Like Us!,
This review is from: People Like Us (Audio CD)
The Mamas & the Papas' John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips, were one of the most musically literate groups on the pop scene in the mid-sixties. Their sophisticated harmonies set them apart from any other group.
Vocal-arranger genius, John Phillips' and the big 'n brassy, Cass Elliot's voices aren't as prominent on this Mamas and Papas' fifth album, originally released towards the end of 1971. Normally, the mellow tunefulness of Cass Elliot's peerless alto eclipses Michelle Phillips' pure soprano, but on the "People Like Us" CD, it seems to be just the reverse. I actually prefer it this way.
Denny Doherty's celestial voice is featured on "Step Out." I absolutely love this song and think it's a masterpiece. It is Denny Doherty at his best! Michelle compliments Denny's clear and rich lead vocal with her angelic harmony. I agree with other reviewers that "Step Out" should have shot to the top of the charts when it was released as a single. Denny had just finished writing tunes and singing on his great solo 1971 album, "Watcha Gonna Do," -- with his beautiful "Waiting for a Song" LP (Cass and Michelle on background vocals here) still three years in the future.
Doherty currently sings "Step Out" -- and stars in -- his play, which he co-created with director, Paul Ledoux, entitled "Dream a Little Dream, the Nearly True Story of the Mamas and the Papas." The show played to packed houses in Canada and will probably be coming to the states soon.
No money? No problem. In "No Dough," you distinctly hear Denny and Michelle echoing each other, having the perfect, romantic honeymoon in bed. I love this number. ".....Pass the chips, you have salt on your lips....."
Cass Elliot and Denny have nice solos on the gem, "Pearl," And the bouncy, "Pacific Coast Highway" is the ultimate song for cruisin'!
Michelle's sweet soprano highlights "Snowqueen of Texas" which brims with melody, and the group's harmonies on "Grasshopper," along with the CD's title track, "People Like Us," are luminous.
John Phillips produced the "People Like Us" album and wrote all the songs, with the exception of Michelle Phillips' clever, self-penned, "I Wanna Be a Star." John Phillips' lyrics are slightly weaker on this album, but the melodies shine. And as the Mamas & the Papas weren't really together in 1971, the passion normally present in the group's vocals seems lacking in some numbers, but that was also what was in vogue in the early '70s.
I do miss the sound of "Chunga," John Phillips' 12-string guitar on this CD. So did Denny. He plays a 12-string in his play, and also on his "Watcha Gonna Do" album. "Watcha Gonna Do" features some fine guitar work, too, from Denny's friend singer-songwriter, Eddy Fischer, currently of Robin and Eddy fame, the duo whom Denny occasionally performs and records with now.
Yet "People Like Us" is a relaxing and pretty album. By the time the final tune comes around, lyrics like:
"Blueberries for Breakfast
Love in the Afternoon
Butterflies in My Trousers
Under the August Moon" - (John Phillips) ....seem quite charming to me :-)