Various Artists

Early Days of the Future: Adventures in West Coast Rock

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This is one of those albums for which you want to read the small print on the back cover. It reads, "Includes studio, radio and concert recordings." What the album does not include, however, are the original recordings of the songs. Licensing the tracks from Phoenix Productions, Inc., HHO Ltd., Classic World Productions, Inc., and Music Rent, Inc. -- but not from Sony, Universal, BMG, Warner, or the other labels where the more familiar recordings reside -- British budget-reissue label Prism Leisure has created a compilation of oddities and rarities the belie the familiarity of the titles and artists. The Mamas and the Papas, who open and close the album performing live, are no doubt some later lineup of the group, not the original, probably the one with Spanky McFarlane and Mackenzie Phillips. Santana's "Soul Sacrifice" is an early take from before the band's years on Columbia Records. Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" is a live performance with plenty of distortion. The song listed as Crosby and Nash's "Wind on the Water" is actually their "Mama Lion." (We have corrected the song list below.) But perhaps the most interesting track is "900 Miles," by Marty Balin (later of Jefferson Airplane) and the Town Criers. The Town Criers were a folk group Balin was a member of in 1963-64, but they were not thought to have issued any recordings. Yet this is clearly Balin singing, which will make the album a worthwhile purchase for Jefferson Airplane completists. Otherwise, buyer, beware!

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