The Fraternal Order Of The All “Greetings From Planet Love” (J-Bird Records, 1997)
Best remembered for late seventies hit singles like “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You For Being A Friend” as well as session work with a handful of notable performers, namely Linda Ronstadt, Andrew Gold is actually the face behind The Fraternal Order Of All. Graham Gouldman, whose stunning resume includes penning tunes for the Hollies, the Yardbirds and Herman’s Hermits, not to mention membership in 10cc, also contributed a couple of songs to “Greetings From Planet Love.” Although the album was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek affair, it is so great that it’s too bad Andrew didn’t pursue such psychedelic fantasies. Claming to be recorded between August 1967 and August 1968, “Greetings From Planet Love” weighs in as a flawless reflection of the flower power era, right down to the trippy sound effects to the weird, wiggy and whimsical lyrical content.
Robbing every trick from the freak machine imaginable, but doing so with a grin as wide as the Cheshire Cat, The Fraternal Order Of The All channels the soul of the paisley-poised Beatles on the irresistibly hooky “Rainbow People” with shameless verve, while both “Love Tonight” and “Tuba Rye And Will’s Son/Balloon In The Sky,” with their pastoral textures, goose-pimply harmonies and complex arrangements say hello to the Beach Boys. Slathered with reedy keyboard fills, a cotton candy and ferris wheel ambience worthy of the Strawberry Alarm Clock pervades the cheesy instrumental doodles of “Swirl,” and the chugging “Freelove Baby” blends acid-laced raga rock riffs with funky rhythms. Drenched to the bone with jangly licks, the gorgeously melodic “Space And Time” does the Byrds better than the Byrds themselves, which is indeed an accomplishment considering how utterly remarkable the Byrds are.
Assembled of angelic choruses and a production so sparkling that it is blinding, “Time Is Standing Still” is a spellbinding slice of pure pop magic, and the eerie expressions of “Ride The Snake” pays obvious lip service to the Doors. Croaking vocals, clearly modeled after those of Bob Dylan, cap the sarcastic “Mr. Plastic Business Man,” where the rousing “Tomorrow Drop Dead” is more or less the cousin of “Tomorrow Never Knows,” as it squeaks and squeals with backwards guitars. Created strictly for fun, “Greetings From Planet Love” may be silly, but the quality of the material is excellent and the songs are played with an earnest feel and understanding of the music The Fraternal Order Of The All so accurately imitates. Had the album been released at the height of the psychedelic craze, there’s no doubt it would have reaped praise. In June of 2011 Andrew Gold departed the earthly realm, but you bet your bippy he’s now in rock and roll heaven, hopefully jamming good to a day-glo beat!
Review made by Beverly Paterson/2013
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