Dancing bear 45 by The Mamas And The Papas

March 26, 2013

dancingbear mamas

The Mamas & The Papas were a pure pop vocal group that caught the fancy of the flower power and hippie generation of the mid to late 1960s. John Phillips was a talented producer who had the ability to transform their four voices into a virtual choir.

They placed 11 singles on the BILLBOPARD MAGAZINE Hot 100 during 1966-1967, four more in 1968, and a fianl reunion hit in 1972. Five of their singles reached the top five. “California Dreamin'” and “Monday Monday” are songs that helped define the era.

Their last single of 1967 was “Dancing Bear.” Ir was their usual brand of smooth pop with impecabble vocals. By this time however, their career was on the down side. “Dancing Bear” stalled at number 51 on the Hot 100.

Today, all members of the group are deceased except for Michelle Phillips.


I Saw Her Again by The Mamas And Papas

August 23, 2012

The Mamas and Papas first two hits, “California Dreamin'” and “Monday Monday” were two of the memorable and classic songs of the 1960s. Their third release may not be as well known but it was another smooth pop creation curtesy of producer John Phillips.

“I Saw Her Again” was released during the summer of 1966 and reached number five on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. By this time John Phillips had the groups’s formular down pat. He would mix the background vocals into a vitual sonic choir and have his or Mama Cass’ vocal float over the top. Even nearly a half century later, the music still stand fresh and production rarely equaled.


Monday Monday 45 by The Mamas & The Papas

January 25, 2012

The Mamas & The Papas are members of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. They were a pure pop group with excusite vocal harmonies. John Phillips was one of the better producers who combined the four voices into a virtual choir.

“Monday Monday” was the follow-up release to their first big hit, “California Dreamin.'” Released April 9, 1966, it was their only number one hit as it topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for three weeks.

Very early releases of the single came with a rare black and white picture sleeve and a different B side. The sleeve is worth in the $500 neighborhood.


Mississippi 45 by John Phillips

July 16, 2011

John Phillips was the genius behind The Mamas and The Papas, who were one of the classic vocal groups of the rock ‘n’ roll era. He wrote “Monday Monday,” California Dreamin'” and dozens more that rank as some of the best songs of their era.

He was equally adept in the studio as his production gave the group’s four voices a choir sound. He was one of the few producers who came close to Brian Wilson in his ability to put a song together.

Despite his genius, he was never able to establish himself as a commercially succssful solo singer. His only chart success was the song “Mississippi,” which was issued May 16, 1970. It wqould reach number 32 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

It was a catchy uptempo song with layers of vocals. One can only guesss why he could not duplicate this sound and the sound of the Mamas & Papas on his own.


Man On The Moon by John Phillips

October 3, 2009

Let me say that this was one heck of a time to release a new John Phillips album. His daughter, Mackenzie, has just published a tell all book and whether it is accurate of not, it has certainly put Phillips back in the public eye eight years after his death.

John Phillips is best remembered for his work with The Mamas & The Papas. His songwriting ability and his expertise as a producer would help them release a string of classic albums and singles in the mid to late 1960’s leading to their induction into The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Shortly after the group’s first breakup he began working on his grand project. Five years of his life would be spent developing the play Man On The Moon. The idea for the space themed production was initiated by the first moon landing in 1969. When a bomb is left on the moon by an Apollo space mission, a human astronaut leads a group of spacemen to diffuse it which ultimately forces humanity to abandon their destructive ways. The part of the astronaut was originally written with Elvis Presley in mind. I’m not kidding!

The play went through a number of producers, backers, and directors. Andy Warhol finally stepped in as a producer and helped Phillips find funding for the project. One of his personal actresses, Monique van Vooren, was given the female lead opposite Denny Doherty.

Man On The Moon debuted off Broadway with such luminaries as Warhol, Warren Beatty, Yoko Ono, Rex Harrison, and Geraldo Rivera in the audience. It lasted for a grand total of five performances and quietly disappeared into the mists of time.

The producers of this CD have done an outstanding job assembling all the material from this project. While a few of the songs have appeared in various forms over the years; for the most part it is seeing the light of day for the first time in three plus decades.

The heart of the release is the 22 songs that comprise the play. Most are in demo form as they feature Phillips on vocals supporting himself on acoustic guitar or piano. They take on an intimate feel but are not representative of their final form. Only a few of the songs have backup singers which demonstrate more of what he was trying to create.

Tracks 23 through 28 were recorded by Andy Warhol from the audience. Given his primitive recording equipment the sound is pretty good and remains the only extended recording of an actual performance. They also catch Denny Doherty at his vocal best.Tracks 29 to 33 are performances by his then third wife Genevieve Waite. Three of these songs would be released on her solo album, Romance Is On The Rise.

The album draws to a close with some very raw video footage plus assorted clippings, scripts and more.


Cass Elliot/The Road Is No Place For A Lady by Cass Elliot

September 6, 2009

Cass Elliot has been gone just over 35 years now. She emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene as a member of The Big Three and The Mugwumps to join The Mamas & The Papas. Her voice was instrumental in creating their sound. Their career would be short, 1966-1968 with a short reunion in 1971, but their impact would be lasting. John Phillips superb songwriting and production, the gorgeous harmonies, and a sound that appealed to all ages of listeners enabled the group to produce such classic songs as “Monday Monday,” “Dedicated To The One I Love,” “California Dreamin’” and “I Saw Her Again” plus sell over forty million albums. They would be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998.

Mama Cass Elliot would release several solo albums during the group’s first break-up. They were light pop that were carried by her pure vocals. They would achieve some chart success in The United States.

By late 1971 she had signed to The RCA Label, and would issue three albums for them during the next two years. She would drop the Mama from her name and just go by Cass Elliot. These albums would not fare well commercially and quickly disappear from view. Collector’s Choice Music has combined her two 1972 releases onto one disc plus added some bonus tracks. Cass Elliot and The Road Is No Place For A Lady are seeing the light of day for the first time in 39 years.

These albums show Mama Cass moving toward mainstream pop. She certainly had the voice for it as these remastered songs show. The first disc is highlighted by such songs of the day as “Disney Girls,” “Baby I’mYours,” “I’ll Be There,” “Jesus Was A Cross Maker,” and “It’s All In The Game” which is the albums best track. The songs from the second album are a little more obscure but just as enjoyable and probably a wise decision on her part at the time to stay clear of well known material. The title song by Leah Kunkel, “Say Hello” by Paul Williams, “Saturday Suit” by Jim Webb, and “Oh Babe, What Would You Say” by Hurricane Smith are the highlights.

The CD package features excellent liner notes by her personal historian Richard Campbell and her daughter Owen who directed the project.

Who knows what musical roads Cass Elliot would have traveled. She died of a heart attack July 29, 1974 after performing at two sold out shows in London. While she will be best remembered for being a part of one of the eternal pop groups in American music history, these final recording of her career feature a number of hidden gems and are well worth the time and price.


California Dreamin’ 45 by The Mama’s and The Papa’s

June 15, 2009

841eThe Mama’s and The Papa’s were a pure pop group that appealed to the rock ‘n’ roll crowd of the mid-1960’s. John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips combined their voices to create some of the best harmonies this side of The Beach Boys.

John Phillips was the leader of the group. He wrote most of their original material but it was as a producer that he would leave his mark. He was able to create a near perfect sound that very few vocal groups have ever able to duplicate.

“California Dreamin'” was their debut single and it would quickly shoot to the top of The American charts. It remains a signature song from the 1960’s.

It’s hard to believe that all the group members except for Michelle Phillips have died. What we are left with here is one of the best and most beautiful creations of the era.