The Turtles' first album was recorded in a frantic hurry, in response to the hit status achieved by their debut single, "It Ain't Me Babe." At the time, the members were barely out of high school, a situation that might have caused a lot of other young musicians to fold up under the strain of the moment -- there was no time to write (and barely time to find) the songs the members might have seemed worthy of so momentous an event (which it would have been) as a debut long-player. But the members were smart and they were also lucky -- they reached out to more of Bob Dylan's songbag, and also back to their own high-school past in folk music as the Crosswind Singers. Thus, their debut album led with a chiming electric rendition of Howard Kaylan's 1963-vintage "Wanderin' Kind." That genial opening number led into their overwrought, almost folk-punk reinterpretation of "It Was a Very Good Year," which showed audiences to expect the unexpected from this sextet -- and in case anyone missed that point, the almost garage-punk style of "Your Maw Said You Cried" (which trod onto Paul Revere & the Raiders territory) brought it home in high amplification (for the time and the genre). The rest of the record veered across the folk-rock spectrum in smoothly polished form, as the bandmembers successfully shaped an artistic statement out of the flotsam and jetsam of their past, anchored by some prime Dylan material and a surprisingly un-ironic rendition of P.F. Sloan's "Eve of Destruction" (which belatedly became a hit single five years later, as a posthumous release by the record label). Heard with the benefit of hindsight, this album may now seem a very tame and predictable body of music from this band, but it has a geniality and polish that make it an enduring classic of its genre and period, if not exactly representative of the Turtles' range or their very best work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder