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Not A Sour Note Here..on the CD At Least
on January 18, 2000
Why can't the great harmony group get along after the show? The Everlys, Beach Boys, CSNY, Simon & Garfunkel, Eagles...they scratched, clawed and fractured over professional or personal travails.
The same is true of the Mamas & Papas, represented here in their best one-disc collection (originally released on ABC Records.) You hear personal pain and discord even as the group harmonizes about adultery and obsession ("I Saw Her Again"), loneliness in the city ("Twelve-Thirty," their signature song, "California Dreamin'"). Even their covers of Motown ("My Girl") and the Beatles ("I Call Your Name") seem somber in this context.
Then there's the underrated Cass Elliot, whose brash but nuanced versions of standards like "Dream A Little Dream of Me" only hint at what she could have been; the rock n'roll equivalent of Ethel Merman. All this turmoil was swept away in a vocal flow that reminded you of the best folk and pop harmony groups, from the Weavers to the Fleetwoods (whose "Outside My Window" sounded like a springboard for "Got A Feelin'") Here's hoping MCA re-releases this and lets the public decide which hits collection stays.