Book a Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records

Various Artists

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Book a Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records Review

by Richie Unterberger

Book a Trip has 26 tracks from singles released on Capitol from roughly 1966-1970, most of them making their CD debut. The actual sounds are very much more "pop" than "psych," and it might be more accurate to peg these as pop recordings reflecting some influence of the psychedelic era rather than tracks combining pop and psychedelia. Certainly they're obscure and collectable, however, with just a couple of unlikely popular acts (the Four Preps and the Lettermen, neither of them groups associated with psychedelia or rock), as well as a few (the Shanes, Stained Glass, Chris & Craig) who might be recognized by specialist '60s collectors. The songs and productions are generally period pieces that are pleasant but not innovative, with little that approaches the classic or even extremely commercial. The arrangements often show strong traces of Capitol's biggest American group, the Beach Boys, in both the harmonies and musical backing; a good share of Association influences crop up, too. One of the strongest tracks, "Chris Craft No. 9" by the Shanes (actually a Swedish group), is much more in the guitar-oriented British Invasion style than its surroundings. The numerous famous names and connections to bigger acts, detailed by the excellent liner notes, are arguably more interesting than the music itself. Chris & Craig went on to lead one of the better obscure Los Angeles folk-rock groups, the Penny Arkade; a couple tunes were written by Dick & Don Addrisi, of "Never My Love" fame; David Axelrod co-wrote and co-produced Moorpark Intersection's "Yesterday Holds On," and produced the Lively Set's "Let the Trumpets Sound," written by David Gates; the Exception, whose "My Mind Goes Traveling" very strongly emulates the late-'60s Beach Boys, featured a pre-Chicago Peter Cetera; Leon Russell arranged and conducted the orchestra on the Four Preps' "Hitchhiker"; "Along Comes Mary" composer Tandyn Almer arranged and played on Pleasure's "Don't Take the Night Away"; and Summer Snow's "Flying on the Ground" is one of the earliest covers of a Neil Young song.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 This Side Up 02:13 Amazon
2 The Shanes 02:08 Amazon
3 Chris & Craig 02:49 Amazon
4 The Act of Creation 02:00 Amazon
5 Sidewalk Skipper Band 02:50 Amazon
6 Tim Wilde 03:03 Amazon
7 Teddy Neeley Five / Teddy Neely Five 02:26 Amazon
8 Fargo 01:59 Amazon
9 The Stained Glass 02:10 Amazon
10 The Staccatos 02:39 Amazon
11 Moorpark Intersection 03:06 Amazon
12 Sidewalk Skipper Band 02:37 Amazon
13 The Tuneful Trolley 02:44 Amazon
Exception / The Exception 02:22 Amazon
The Four Preps 02:32 Amazon
16 The Lettermen 02:39 Amazon
17 The Lively Set 02:47 Amazon
The Carnival Connection 02:24 Amazon
19 The Phoenix Trolley 02:51 Amazon
20 Sidewalk Skipper Band 02:14 Amazon
21 The Summer Snow 02:25 Amazon
22 Burgundy Street Singers 02:25 Amazon
23 Griffin 03:03 Amazon
24 Moorpark Intersection 02:06 Amazon
25 Pleasure 02:56 Amazon
26 Sidewalk Skipper Band 02:48 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick