Everpresent Fullness

Fine and Dandy: The Complete Recordings

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The story of the Everpresent Fullness is one of record company politics, missed opportunities, and -- above all -- good music. Rev-Ola's Fine and Dandy: The Complete Recordings presents the music as the band intended for the first time, and in the process unearths a darn good group that played a high-energy blend of folk, jug band, and pop music with the occasional harder-edged garage-style track -- sort of like a happy kid brother to the Lovin' Spoonful or maybe a jacked-up Byrds, though not as strong in the vocal department as either of those bands. Their only album, The Everpresent Fullness, was released in 1970, four years after it was recorded and long after people stopped caring about music like theirs. This collection is made up of tracks from the original album, both sides of their second single, an unreleased demo acetate, and five demos that predate the group's formation. The first seven tracks are taken from the album and were remixed by bandmembers Nick Walusko and Paul Johnson in 2003. The group always felt that producer Bones Howe had botched the final mix, making it too poppy. Amazingly, Howe still had the original tapes and handed them back to the band to revamp. Now the songs fairly jump out of the speakers, sounding very alive and exciting. The best tracks, like the very Nesmith-sounding "My Girl Back Home" and their strong take on "I Know You Rider" (here called "Rider"), sound like they could have been hits in 1966. The tracks the group recorded for their second single contain their best original songs; "Darlin' You Can Count On Me" is a snarling Dylan-inspired rocker and "Yeah!" is a rollicking instrumental the band never had a chance to put vocals on. Best of all might be the unreleased take of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." It's one of the most commercial versions of the song, giving the track a bouncy Spoonful sound and adding some wonderfully cheesy female vocals on the tag line. The five tracks featuring three-fifths of the Everpresent Fullness (guitarist Paul Johnson and vocalists Jack Ryan and Tom Carvey) are pretty straight folk-rock numbers with nice harmony vocals. The songs they cover include a folk standard by Tom Paxton ("Sometimes I Don't Know Where I'm Bound"), a couple of Dale Hawkins songs ("Suzie Q," "La Do Da Da"), a Buddy Holly track ("Lonesome Tears"), and a strong original by Johnson ("The Rovin' Kind"). It is nice to hear the roots of the band, but the tracks aren't much more than a pleasant diversion. The real strength of the disc lies in the tracks by the full band. That their record company sank the group's fortunes is not a huge surprise, and while it was a real shame for them, luckily the story turned out okay and fans of '60s folk-rock have this excellent document.

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