The Happenings

I Got Rhythm

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This collection is of a piece with other early- to mid-'60s records by the Tokens (who produced it), as well as the Beach Boys in their pre-Pet Sounds period and the Four Seasons. The rock & roll numbers such as "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" are dressed up in ethereal harmonies and slow tempos that remove their obvious source, whereas pieces such as "I Got Rhythm" and "Bye Bye Blackbird" get a light electric treatment that makes them relevant to audiences two generations removed from their origins -- and then there are choice originals such as "Down, Down, Down," by Dave Libert and Bob Miranda, that get a kind of folk-cum-pop/rock treatment, playing up their hooks like the best light folk-rock of the period (reminiscent of what the Association were doing with greater visibility around the same time from the opposite coast). The mix of old and new sounds today sounds perfectly valid, but in 1967 and 1968, amid the psychedelic boom, the Happenings were a little too uncool to really do much more than make some successful runs up and down the singles charts, appealing to the lighter and quirkier side of the AM-radio listenership. The craftsmanship is beyond reproach, however, and quite bracing, even on such improbable numbers as "My Mammy" and "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows." Their singles of the same period fill out the balance of the CD, which is of a piece with the album cuts except perhaps a little more accessible, in terms of songs -- there are fewer older (i.e. 1920s and 1930s) standards and more elegantly punched up vintage songs of a more recent nature, including "Go Away Little Girl," "Music, Music, Music," and "See You in September," all of which are made to sound completely contemporary as pop/rock records of their era, dressed up in gorgeous harmonies and boasting punchy rhythms and unexpected (but not unpleasing tempos).

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:58
2 2:48
3 2:29
4 2:32
5 3:21
6 2:34
7 2:55
8 2:35
9 2:32
10 2:32
11 2:28
12 3:05
13 2:27
14 2:50
15 2:15
16 2:23
17 2:49
21 1:59
22 2:22
23 2:40
24 2:38
25 2:24
blue highlight denotes track pick