Various Artists “The Best Of The Boston Sound” (Varese Sarabande Records 2001)
For a brief moment there, it looked as if Boston was set to overthrow San Francisco’s patchouli paradise and become the psychedelic capital of the world. To be sure, the historic New England city boasted a bustling music community, but a lot of the trumpet blowing was pure hype, orchestrated by the press. Although the region failed to produce acts as visible and successful as its West Coast counterpart, plenty of great bands emerged from the scene, and “The Best Of The Boston Sound” provides a sampling of several of the more noteworthy musings of the era.
A haunting choral pop finish, complemented by the trippy tenor of a sitar, steers the show on “Off With The Old” by Chamaelon Church, which featured future actor Chevy Chase, and the Ultimate Spinach’s “(Ballad Of) The Hip Death Goddess” floats and flows with spooky spacey instrumentation and seductively witchy vocals. Sparkling with beauty and bliss, the Lost’s “Violet Gown” is steeped in a blue-eyed soul vein similar to that of the Young Rascals, while Beacon Street Union’s “The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens” ripples and crackles to an atmospheric edge charted of roving tempos and mesmerizing maneuvers.
The Rockin’ Ramrods check in with “Bright Lit Blue Skies,” a pleasingly poppy piece teeming with sharp harmonies and clicking rhythms, the Listening’s “You’re Not There” favors a hard rock pitch, marked by a tight jam, and “Can’t Find The Time” from Orpheus shimmers and glimmers with soft and breezy furnishings. Eden’s Children’s “Goodbye Girl” is dotted with jazz arrangements, Front Page Review’s “Silver Children” carries a moody and meditative feel, Earth Opera’s “Home To You” twangs and clangs to a catchy country fried beat, and then there’s Ill Wind’s dazzling version of “High Flying Bird” that soars with emotion to the backdrop of an electrifying acid-addled folk rock performance.
Aside from containing a clutch of cool songs, “The Best Of The Boston Sound” further paints a nice picture of how rich and diversified music was in the late sixties. Genre-hopping was the name of the game and experimentation was applauded. Supplying a broad scope of styles, ranging from radio-friendly pop to progressive rock, “The Best Of The Boston Sound” offers something for everyone. A well put together package it is.
Review made by Beverly Paterson / 2013
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