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The Association

The Association

31 Dec 1968
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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The Association
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 31 Dec. 1968
  • Release Date: 24 July 2006
  • Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 38:03
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001F3WRBQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,614 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mono beats stereo
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Imagine if you will the following scenario:

You're a music fan of the usual critically acclaimed yet commercially undervalued 60s west coast stuff (The Byrds circa Notorious Byrd Brothers, post Pet Sounds Beach Boys, Forever Changes, Gene Clark, Head-era Monkees etc), you've discovered a few gems of your own that seem to have slipped under the radar altogether (Moby Grape? Clear Light? The United States Of America? The Dillards?), and you've got a taste for that sort of sound. Just The Right Sound, in fact.

Now, further imagine you know The Association only fleetingly, being perhaps too young, or the wrong side of the Atlantic to appreciate their success in their heyday. As far as you're concerned, they're another sub Beach Boys pop group who had a couple of chirpy pop hits and still trawl the oldies circuit with scant original members. LIke Gary Puckett, or the 1910 Fruitgum Co. That sort of thing.

Is this you? If it is, the scenario should be continued as follows:
On the recommendation of someone in a record store, or a friend, (or an online review- hello!) you pick up this album out of curiosity; it's cheap, you get it on vinyl for a quid, you get it from iTunes. Whatever.

You slip it on expecting a few chirpy tunes in close harmony. And you hear a banjo and acoustic guitar, as warm and as close as a Burritos tune, but with polished harmonies that only seven voices can create. The opening track Look At Me, Look At You may be a Vietnam lament, but it's beautiful, powerful, surges in all the right places, stays quiet in others. Terry Kirkman's lead vocal is utterly sublime and heartbreaking. You wonder if you've got the wrong CD? This is GOOD.
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Format: Audio CD
Unlike Guy Incognito I bought this album in 1970, soon after its release. I replaced my first vinyl copy two years later because the original had completely worn out. I replaced my second vinyl copy two years later again, with a US import copy which included lyrics, band photos and a gatefold sleeve. I replaced my third vinyl copy with a very expensive (£30) Japanese import CD soon after I bought a CD player in the early 90s. I might just go and buy this version for the liner notes and rare photos (I have all the other bonus songs on other CDs).

If I could take only one album with me to a desert island it would be this one. If I could take only one song it would be 'What Were the Words'.

The Association might have been a great, mid-60s pop band but on this album they matured into a great band - period. Three years and three albums later they were all but finished. Their like will never come round again.
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Liner notes indicate they played instruments in the studio (tho the bass and drums often sound like Joe Osborn and Hal Blaine). Regardless, the song writing is evocative, mature in theme (except perhaps for Broccoli = ), and the harmonies sublime. Two of my favorite ASSN songs are on this collection: Look at Me, Look at You, and Under Branches. Though my most fave album is Renaissance (because they did play on it, and it sounded more like their "live" playing than most of the slicker studio recordings), this album has consistent substance and eclectic sound for which they were best known, and alas, also most under-appreciated. Several of the songs made it onto their "live" album (1970), including Larry Ramos rocking ditty "Are You Ready," which makes up for somewhat simple lyrics with their driving playing - again a side of the band most people (and critics) did not appreciate.
So if you've only heard their hits (and/or have their best selling Greatest Hits album), allow this one to introduce you to their writing, playing and singing at their peak. It shouldn't disappoint!
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Format: Audio CD
Not Bad
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