The Cryan' Shames' debut album was typical of the more thrown-together rock LPs of the era: both sides of their first two singles and a bunch of cover versions. The singles, actually, were pretty good, including their most well-known song, "Sugar & Spice," a cover of a Searchers hit that actually was more memorable and imaginative than the original. Its B-side, "Ben Franklin's Almanac," was a respectable original with shades of the Byrds, the Yardbirds, and California harmonies; the second single, "I Wanna Meet You," was a decent meld of Beatles-Byrds jangle with Beach Boys harmonies; and its flip, "We Could Be Happy," was an OK soft rock number. Throw in the sole original composition not from a single, "July" (one of the better 1966 Byrds sound-alikes), and you have half a decent (though not great) period pop/rock album. The problem is, though, that the cover versions that fill out the record -- including songs written and/or popularized by the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Animals, along with "Heat Wave" -- are neither too creatively done nor even imaginative selections. "Sugar and Spice" and all four of the originals appear on the Legacy compilation Sugar & Spice, which makes this album superfluous if you already have that anthology. The 2002 CD Sundazed reissue is bolstered by six bonus songs: their 1967 single "Mr. Unreliable" (different from the LP version) and its laid-back B-side "Georgia," a cover of the Beatles' "You're Gonna Lose That Girl," and three previously unreleased 1969 tracks that found them going into a mellow folk/country/soft rock direction.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger