Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Turtles - The Battle of the Bands - `68 - White Whale Records

the turtles cover the gamet in styles here. truly a talented band , this one includes the hits elenore , & you showed me !


I remember first hearing this album in the late 70's, and from the very beginning I knew I was hooked.

12 songs, 12 different artists, all performed by The Turtles.

This band had such a diverse lineup of singers and creative forces that an album like this had to happen for them.

Too bad the mindset at the label was hostile, demanding results and hits, but meanwhile there was internal band/manager problems and with that pressure, this was the result, and as another Amazon reviewer said perfectly, it's the American version of both The Beatles' "White Album" & "Sgt. Peppers'" as they were both concept albums and very musically forward.

Here's the 12 tracks:
1. The Battle of the Bands, by 'The U.S. Teens featuring Raoul' - very introductory, lets the listener know he or she is in for a big treat, kinda like the opening of Sgt. Pepper's, but not as noisy
2. The Last Thing I Remember, the First Thing I Knew, by 'The Atomic Enchilada' - very trippy, very sixties, but I think this was the intention, to let everyone know they are part of that whole hip stuff, too
3. Elenore by 'Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim & Al' - the anchor song of the whole album. A bit of history first: their label, White Whale, wanted another hit record like "Happy Together" a year back, so to get the label off their backs, Howard Kaylan wrote a novelty song he knew they wouldn't like - he wrote it as a joke expecting them to immediately reject it, and to add insult to injury , he deliberately reversed the chord progressions of "Happy Together" and then added dumb lyrics like "you're my pride and joy, et cetera" and "gee I think you're swell," even rhyming "groovy" with "movie". However, even the band was surprised that the label loved it so much it was released as a single and it went to #6. Strange...
4. Too Much Heartsick Feeling by the 'Quad City Ramblers' - Some good old-fashioned Austin Texas country music here, complete with drippy corny lyrics, slide guitar and a spoken solo in the middle of the song - "honey, I want you, and I believe you want me toooooo"... perfect.
5. Oh, Daddy! by "The L.A. Bust '66" - progressive rich White boy blues, with Chippy asking Daddy to bail him out of the joint on a "trumped-up" drug charge. The song is actually pretty good lyrically and is one of the better upbeat drug tunes out there, complete with an New Orleans jazz band celebrating his release at the 1:46 mark.
6. Buzzsaw by 'The Fabulous Dawgs' - Heavy guitar fuzz and a Hammond organ scream throughout this slow burner - then the chorus - "Buzzzzzzz sawwwww..." - a quick song, complete with a DJ screaming that after a "pause for the cause" there'll be more.
7. Surfer Dan by 'The Cross Fires' (actually the name of the band is a tip of their hats to their past, as Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman from The Turtles' first started in a surf band in the early 60's as "The Crossfires from The Planet Mars") - as The Beatles had their tribute song to the Beach Boys with "Back In The USSR", so The Turtles paid tribute to not only their past but to the whole surf rock genre with what has to be the ultimate surf rock song! It has cool cars, cool kids, cool lyrics, with the music and singing and the spirit all just right. One of the best tracks on the album.
8. I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're the Royal Macadamia Nuts) by 'Chief Kamanawanalea and his Royal Macadamia Nuts' - his has got to be one of the strangest yet most put together jam songs ever constructed. The title alone is a pun, a dirty joke and a come on all at the same time! It's one of the strange songs that segue to another song, kinda like they way The Beatles "Revolution #9" did.
9. You Showed Me by 'Nature's Children' - very sixties, with a very well created mellow vibe. You can hear violins and cellos and electronic organs all meshing and mixing together. This song was a follow-up hit for them after the monster of 'Elenore'. It's actually very sensual, lyrically too.
10. Food by 'The Bigg Brothers' - It seems more like a grocery list of everything the band had eaten until a sudden break in the music, and then a recipe for pot brownies is introduced! It seems that the lists of bookend the pot brownie only let us know they had the munchies before and after, and the sound of Alka-Seltzer takes us home!
11. Chicken Little Was Right by 'Fats Mallard and the Bluegrass Fireball' - very sunny bluegrass country music indeed, but with strange sinister undertones about the actual kidnapping of the sky. Very wild.
12. Earth Anthem by 'All' - according to an Wikipedia entry, "The final song, "Earth Anthem", was notably recorded at 3:00 A.M. by candlelight, to capture the exact mood the Turtles wanted." I have to admit, it seems as if the band, instruments and all, were drifting off into space as they floated above us and everyone else's problems.

The album is short at under 45 minutes, but it's cohesive, fun, and thought-prevoking on some levels.

Even though many bands were trying to re-create the sound of the very first REAL original concept album, 1966's "Pet Sounds" by the Beach Boys (and a year later the formentioned Beatles albums), this album comes the closest to being that answer from another room, and if you've heard "Pet Sounds," too you know that I'm right!

(Now if you want to go way back, if you listen to the inspiration for "Pet Sounds" - The Beatles' "Rubber Soul" - then you'll get where I'm coming from as far as REAL musical progression, not just one-upmanship on the Beatles part in 1967 and '68.)

In the final analysis, if you gave me a choice for something that challenges me versus something that has been listened to over and over and over until the meaning behind it is lost, I say give me the Turtles and give me "The Battle of The Bands."
[ John J. Martinez - amazon]

#1 The Battle of the Bands (Harry Nilsson, Chip Douglas) – 2:14 (The U.S. Teens featuring Raoul)
#2 The Last Thing I Remember, the First Thing I Knew – 2:55 (The Atomic Enchilada)
#3 Elenore – 2:31 (Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim & Al)
#4 Too Much Heartsick Feeling – 2:43 (Quad City Ramblers)
#5 Oh, Daddy! – 2:45 (The L.A. Bust '66)
#6 Buzzsaw – 1:59 (The Fabulous Dawgs)
#7 Surfer Dan – 2:42 (The Cross Fires)
#8 I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're the Royal Macadamia Nuts) – 1:34 (Chief Kamanawanalea and his Royal Macadamia Nuts)
#9 You Showed Me (James McGuinn, Gene Clark)– 3:16 (Nature's Children)
#10 Food – 2:40 (The Bigg Brothers)
#11 Chicken Little Was Right – 2:47 (Fats Mallard and the Bluegrass Fireball)
#12 Earth Anthem (Bill Martin) – 3:54 (All)



Anonymous said...

Great posting, Turtles 'teamed' full of talent. Way back when The Turtles came and sort of got smothered by all the rest of what was going on then, however, today, hearing this fresh, will cheer up my morning. Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aka, the last track floored me, grounded me, there is no escape from Mother Earth,

akashaman said...

dood , i know , that last song is great. never heard this lp much , but i really did notice the last song when i recorded it. love the way it just builds up & the layering of voices keeps adding harmonies etc.

great talent.


flem_snopes said...

Thanks for the post. Big fan of their Flo and Eddie stuff, too.

Anonymous said...

I had to dump zshare for my posting. People were continually getting a file with nothing in it. The same just happened with this download and some others from other sites. So it can't be me screwing up. Went to megaupload. No irritating 15 minute wait like Rapidshare, which seems to be a very popular method. Many of my users would just leave and some would never come back. People are impatient and can't be bothered.

mister shabbadoo said...

Thanks for sharing this great album. Flo and Eddie should be admired not only for their work with The Turtles and The Mothers, but for the brilliant backing vocals that helped T. Rex sell a zillion records.
Just discovered your blog and hope you post more stuff soon.. Cheers,

Albino Cavewoman said...

Hey thanks for the link. The copy I payed for DRM'd and I can't play it now that I have forsaken iTunes. Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

GREAT! I've been meaning to hear this for some time now. I LOOOOVVVEEE you showed me, there were too talented for their own good. the dvd/doc about them is sad. when they were riding the top of the charts, they were dead broke, so many ultra-talented bands got the bad end. like the zombies as well. thanks for sharing.

MontyAlban said...

This is one of the funniest rock albums ever. A brilliant concept well executed by a very talented group of musicians. I bought it when it first came out and still play it to this day. Howie and Mark or Flo and Eddie, they're funny guys.

Camiss Lee said...

Hi, I'm from South Of Brazil and found your blog because I'm looking for the turtles download. fantastic we can meet it this way, don't you think?

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