The Lemon Pipers

Green Tambourine

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Unlike the majority of bubblegum bands, the Lemon Pipers' albums are actually quite good, not least because they were one of the few bubblegum bands who were a proper band with their own songwriters (although outside writer/producers did provide the two hits, the inescapable "Green Tambourine" and the actually even better "Rice Is Nice," a sweet, harp-laden depiction of a wedding day). Even the album tracks are pretty groovy, like the Cat Stevens-like character sketches "Shoeshine Boy" and "The Shoemaker of Leatherwood Square," which effectively use trippy string sections and playful harmonies. The snottier folk-rock of "Ask Me if I Care" and the far-out "Fifty Year Void," to say nothing of the nine-minute freakout "Through With You," give Green Tambourine a harder edge than most bubblegum albums, though it's still closer to, say, the Cyrkle than Cream. Seek it out, bubblegum snobs: you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised.

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