Tommy Roe

Phantasy

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In early 1967, Tommy Roe took a leap into the world of psychedelic pop, and with the help of wonder producer Curt Boettcher created a minor soft psych gem with the It's Now Winter's Day album. Adding walls of heavenly vocals along with inventive and strange arrangements to Roe's tough and propulsive rhythmic underpinnings was a stroke of genius that sadly wasn't repeated on the follow-up from the same year, Phantasy. While the sound of the album is less elaborate and therefore less interesting, the main problem is the quality of the songs. As on Winter's Day, Roe wrote the bulk of the songs on Phantasy, and it may have just been too much to ask for him to deliver another album's worth of good songs so soon. The melodies are weak and the lyrics sound forced, especially "Plastic World," where he laments that the world has become a place where "money buys everything," which surely sounded trite even in 1867, much less 1967. The two songs penned by an outside writer are even worse, as the usually reliable Sandy Salisbury (a Boettcher regular who made great records under his own name and with the Millennium) digs two clinkers from the back pages of his songbook, the saccharine "These Are the Children" and "Goodbye Yesterday." Only a couple songs ("Little Miss Sunshine," "The You I Need") have any of Roe's trademark memorable hooks that might inspire listeners to dance, to smile, or at least to make it to the end of the album. Along with being an artistic flop, Phantasy was a commercial disaster that prompted Roe to go back to his hitmaking formula of the recent past. Quite often this kind of retrenching fails miserably, but Roe was rewarded with his first number one single since 1962's "Sheila" when "Dizzy" topped the charts in 1969. Phantasy became a forgotten record, and like many "lost" albums, uncovering it gave people a chance to see why it was lost in the first place.

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