Jun 21, 2009
HARPERS BIZARRE - FEELIN' GROOVY (WARNER BROS 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus
If any group and song was the prototype for sunshine pop, it would be Harpers Bizarre and their hit version of "Feelin' Groovy". Their high range choir boy harmonies, positive themed material, and sophisticated arrangements were all part of the genre's model.
Along with Spanky and Our Gang, The Association, The Sunshine Company, The Free Design, The Cowsills, and the Fifth Dimension, Harpers Bizarre produced music that poured out of AM radios in the 1960's.
"Feelin' Groovy featuring 59th St. Bridge Song" was the first LP release for the group in 1967.
The production pattern ,set on this release, was as follows: regardless of the song style, each song is gussied up in the Harpers Bizarre sound of Ted Templeman and Dick Scoppettone's voices singing soft and high; lush background harmonies weaving in and out of orchestration with strings, flutes, oboes, horns; and John Petersen drumming with brushes to tie it all together.
The title song reached #13 on the charts in 1967 and its soaring Van Dyke Parks composed follow up "Come to The Sunshine" reached #37 that same year.
The LP contained a catchy version of "Happy Talk" from the musical "South Pacific"; a couple of smooth pop nuggets ("Come Love"and "Raspberry Rug"); and three Randy Newman tunes("Simon Smith and The Amazing Dancing Bear", "Happyland", and "The Debutante's Ball").
Bonus tracks include two original songs recorded when the group was known as The Tikis-"Bye Bye Bye" and "Lost My Love Today". The vocals are similar, but the accompaniment is pure British Invasion garage guitar and drums.
Additional personnel: Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman (piano).
Mojo (Publisher) (3/02, p.120) - "...Whether drawing on folk, country, soul, Roaring Twenties or baroque influences, they liked to put the 'shh!' into kitsch....They are fascinating....Their lush vocals and elaborate orchestrations are strangely affecting....highly enjoyable..."