All the Singles CD, Import
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There is a whole lot of good stuff here, including the hits ("It Ain't Me Babe," "You Baby," "Happy Together," "She'd Rather Be With Me," "Elenore," "You Showed Me," etc.) and loads of tracks that weren't really successful --- even a couple or so tracks that were intended to be released on singles but weren't! There are a few songs that I didn't even know existed! I'd NEVER heard of "Umbassa The Dragon," "Christmas Is My Time Of Year" (which was/is credited to "The Christmas Spirit"), or "Teardrops" (credited to "The Dedications") before! I'd also never heard the single version of "Chicken Little Was Right," although I knew that it wasn't the same as the album version. In fact, I don't believe those four tracks had ever been on CD before this set (and the simultaneous release of the album collection)! "Gas Money" (a "cover" of an old Jan And Arnie song, also credited to "The Dedications"), another song that you VERY rarely if ever find, is here as well! Then there are the totally wacked-out B-side "Can't You Hear The Cows," the horn-less version of "Makin' My Mind Up" (also new to CD)... you get some super-rarities with this set!
The notes do a great job of telling the "story" of the Turtles, although much of the notes are "re-prints" of the ones from Rhino's earlier 2-CD Solid Zinc Anthology collection, which is now out of print and, the last time I checked, horribly expensive, at least new. [Edit: The notes here also seem to contain a couple of errors, and there is also an error on the first CD: For one, they say that "We'll Meet Again" was an A-side and "Outside Chance" was its B-side, but actually it was the other way around! For another, they say that "Come Back," the B-side of "Grim Reaper Of Love," was pulled from the group's second album; by that, I assume they mean that the song was also on that album, but it wasn't! Additionally, "Outside Chance" and "We'll Meet Again" appear (on the first CD) in the reversed order given in the notes!]
Anyhoo, this is an awesome collection. The Turtles didn't have a whole lot of hits, so therefore many or most of these tracks may not be really well known, but they put out some super music. If you want a great, not-too-pricy, not-just-one CD collection by this chameleonic (and sadly underappreciated) "'60s band" who did so many different styles, from folk-rock to pop to psychedelia and more (and if you don't mind mono sound, or if mono is what you want), this set should definitely fit the bill --- at least if you, like me, don't have hard-to-please or audiophile ears!
The hits include titles written by Dylan, P.F. Sloan (“Let Me Be” and “You Baby”), Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon (“Happy Together,” “She’d Rather Be With Me,” “You Know What I Mean” and “She’s My Girl”) and Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark (a radically reimagined version of the Byrds’ “You Showed Me”). But they also wrote their own hits (notably 1968’s “Elenore”), as well as a host of fantastic low-charting singles and B-sides that ranged from folk to sunshine pop to garage rock to psychedelic and progressive rock. The band’s reach wasn’t always evident on their hits, but their lower-charting singles and flipsides tip the even greater breadth of their albums.
That same inventiveness led the group to reimagine Kenny Dino’s “Your Maw Said You Cried” as a Dave Clark 5-styled rave-up, and Vera Lynn’s WWII-era “We’ll Meet Again” (a song that had been renewed in the mid-60s consciousness by Dr. Strangelove) as Lovin’ Spoonful-styled good-time music. They stretched themselves even further with original material “Rugs of Woods and Flowers,” “Sound Asleep,” and “Chicken Little Was Right.” The latter’s sitar arrangement differs greatly from the album track, making this single version unique. B-sides were often given to artistically rewarding material, such as Warren Zevon’s “Like the Seasons,” rather than throwaways (though there are the Red Krayola-styled freakout “Umbassa the Dragon” and Brian Wilsonish “Can’t You Hear the Cows.”).
While some of their A-sides may have been ill conceived commercially as singles, others simply failed to gain the response they deserved. Sloan & Barri’s deliciously sweet “Can I Get to Know You Better” has all the hallmarks of a Turtles’ hit, yet struggled to only #89, Nilsson’s “The Story of Rock & Roll” was scooped by a same-week release from the Collage, and three Ray Davies-produced singles from Turtle Soup failed to cracked the Top 40. Ditto for the beautiful “Lady-O.” There are several B-side gems, including Warren Zevon’s “Outside Chance” and the original “Buzz Saw,” that managed to find their own form of popularity - the former as a favorite of the Beatniks, Sounds Like Us, Bangles and Chesterfield Kings, the latter as a much loved break-beat sample.
The set’s bonuses include two singles that never saw release. First is the original 1966 mono single of Goffin & King’s “So Goes Love,” and its Al Nichol-penned B-side “On a Summer Day.” Though the former was included on 1967’s Golden Hits, and the latter on 1970’s Wooden Head, the mono single mixes are previously unreleased. The second is an early version of the Ray Davies-produced “How You Love Me,” featuring Howard Kaylan on lead vocal. Additional rarities include a horn-free single mix of “Making Up My Mind,” the holiday single (as The Christmas Spirit) “Christmas is My Time of Year,” a cover of Lee Andrews and the Hearts’ “Teardrops” (released as the Dedications), its unreleased B-side cover of Jan & Arnie’s “Gas Money,” and the promo-only “Is It Any Wonder.” Also included are unlisted tracks at the end of each disc featuring period Turtles-sung commercials for Pepsi and Camaro.
Having bought their White Whale masters at auction, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman have issued this set (along with a parallel set of the Turtles’ albums) on their own FloEdCo label. The love they have for this material shows in the attention to detail, and in the extensive song notes Sandoval elicited from Kaylan, Volman, Al Nichol and Jim Pons. The two discs and 20-page booklet are packed in a tri-fold slipcase. All tracks are mono except for #16-21 on disc two, and as Sandoval notes, the mono sides are especially revealing for 1968-69 when the albums were stereo only. Taken together with the previously unreleased and promo-only material, this is an absolutely essential companion to the album collection. [©2016 Hyperbolium]
Many of the tracks in this set (B sides as well as unissued singles-tracks in particular) also take you a little deeper than the standard stuff most people are familiar with.
The packaging is modest but sufficient and the sound quality is excellent throughout. If you're a mild fan of The Turtles but a serious fan of Pop/Rock of the 60's, this is one of the "essential"-types you may have let slip by as I did. I'm very glad I finally took notice.