Billy May

Billy May Today!

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Billy May's great mod album Today! packs some incredible punches. The horns and big beat of "Michelle" are supplemented with an eerie electronic "space" effect, as if Michelle is a swank, green-skinned alien in go-go boots stepping out of a saucer decorated by Pucci. "Strangers in the Night" has some dubiously cheesy "doobie-doobie-doo" vocalizing and marimba, but is of a piece with the album's overall sound, while vibes (probably by Julius Wechter) soften the horns of "Rain Sometimes." Mays' take on "Spanish Flea" may be the ultimate version, but the fantastic original "Compatibility" captures the raunchy mod sound as well as any tune. "The Shadow of Your Smile" ends the album in triumph, and still-hip Billy May can roar off in his sports car knowing he's nailed the "today" sound of June 1966.

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