Serendipity Singers

Love Is a State of Mind

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A well-scrubbed nine-piece vocal group out of Boulder, Colorado, the Serendipity Singers brought a ready-for-television professional smoothness to the folk revival with their signature song "Don't Let the Rain Come Down (Crooked Little Man)" and similar fare in the early 1960s. As the end of the decade neared, though, the group was at a commercial crossroads, although they remained a good draw on the club circuit. The banjo and double bass-anchored sound of the Singers' singalong folk sound seemed dated next to the folk rock that was ushered in by the Beatles, the Byrds, and the gone-electric Bob Dylan, among others. Always prone to personnel turn-over, the Singers went proactive and brought in electric guitarist and songwriter Nick Holmes, and also added singer Peggy Santiglia (nee Farina) from the girl group the Angels, and entered the studio to make a bona fide folk rock album. The end result, Love Is a State of Mind, appeared in the spring of 1968, and it was a re-imagined Serendipity Singers, with nary a banjo in sight, but plenty of sitars and electric guitars, and featuring several songs built around modal raga drones, although the gorgeous vocal harmonies remained. The album generated no big singles and was a commercial failure, and by 1970, none of the founding members of the group were left, and for all practical purposes, the band was history, although various configurations have continued touring under the Serendipity name in nearly every decade since. The album itself was an interesting, if hardly remarkable, piece of mildly psychedelic sunshine pop, a timepiece as much as anything else, featuring songs like the bouncy Mamas and Papas-esqe "I'd Stumble and Fall," the odd, mysterious "Rain Doll," the sitar-led "Love Is a State of Mind," and an earnest version of Neil Diamond's "The Boat That I Row." It was a well-done, professional piece of folk rock from a very particular time and era, and it amounted to a creative swan song for the original group. [The 2013 reissue of Love Is a State of Mind on CD combines the album in both stereo and mono versions and adds the A- and B-sides of a non-album single that was issued in the fall of 1968, "Illusions"/"What Will We Do with the Child," and attributed to the Serendipity Singers featuring Nick Holmes.]

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