The Lovin' Spoonful

Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful

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Having released two previous albums and a soundtrack, along with a stream of singles, over the previous 12 and a half months, the Lovin' Spoonful assembled their third regular studio LP, Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, for release around Thanksgiving 1966. It contained the group's chart-topping single from the previous June, "Summer in the City," along with September's Top Ten hit "Rain on the Roof" (curiously titled "You and Me and Rain on the Roof" on the LP). Released simultaneously with the album and included on it were the two songs from the next single, "Nashville Cats," which became the band's seventh consecutive Top Ten entry, and "Full Measure," a B-side featuring drummer Joe Butler on lead vocals that scraped into the singles chart. Those were the money songs, although Bobby Darin discovered the leadoff track, "Lovin' You," and quickly covered it for a Top 40 hit, and the moody "Coconut Grove," a tribute to Fred Neil, would become a permanent part of Spoonful leader John Sebastian's repertoire in his solo career. An emphasis on the parts of the album is a way of describing it as more a loose collection of disparate tracks than a unified effort, despite Sebastian's hand in all the compositions and his lead vocals on most of them. This was by necessity, but also by design, since Sebastian and co. went into the studio trying to sound completely different each time. They often succeeded: Except for the vocal similarity, the rock band playing "Summer in the City" and the caustic, autobiographical "4 Eyes" doesn't sound much like the country unit picking its way through "Lovin' You" and "Nashville Cats." Sebastian may have been an obvious New Yorker (those "yellow Sun records" were from Memphis, not Nashville), but that didn't keep him from expressing his musical passions effectively. The 2003 Sundazed LP reissue added four demos, instrumental tracks, and alternate versions of songs from the album.

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