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Spanky and Our Gang – The Complete Mercury Singles (2014) review

July 11, 2014

Spanky and Our Gang – The Complete Mercury Singles (2014) review

Spanky and Our Gang “The Complete Mercury Singles” (Real Gone Music, 2014)
               It’s
impossible not to think of The Mamas and the Papas when one listens to Spanky
and Our Gang. The two groups’ blends of folk-tinged soft pop were near
identical in approach, and Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane’s singing style is so
close to that of Mama Cass. And while it has to be said that the comparison
between the two bands does not favor S&OG, they were a force of their own
kind in their time and still worthy of consideration now. “Sunday Will Never Be
the Same” couldn’t have been more perfect as a breezy, dreamy song to hear over
your car radio in 1967. “Like to Get to Know You Better,” “And She’s Mine,”
their reading of Margo Guryan’s “Sunday,” etc. are also era-defining gems. What
this collection – mono mixes of all their singles, A and B sides, for Mercury
between ’66-69 – reveals, though, is that there was another side to them: there
was an undercurrent of corny, revue-style performance to their act, like they
were always just about to break into a Vegas style routine. They seemed trapped
on the cusp of being a band people needed to take seriously, and a novelty act.
Maybe things would have been different if they’d had a John Phillips within
their circle, writing their material, or the kind of explosive interpersonal
chemistry between the members of Phillips’s band. Instead, they mostly relied
on outside scribes to provide them with tunes. 
Still, at their best they had a strong command of the type of fare they
handled and they made some classic singles. The truth is that a more apt way to
see them, rather than as a second-rate Mamas and Papas, is to compare them to
other psychedelic bubblegum bands of the day. They made trippy soft pop akin to
that done by the likes of The Free Design, The Yellow Balloon, and The
Peppermint Rainbow; seen in the context of that set of bands, they were
taste-making leaders rather than wannabes.
Review made by Brian Greene/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
2 Comments
  1. WOLFfrank Napo

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  2. WOLFfrank Napo

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