Scott McKenzie

Stained Glass Reflections: Anthology, 1960-1970

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

If you already have Scott McKenzie's 1967 album The Voice of Scott McKenzie, that's likely everything you'll need by this pleasant but bland folk-pop-rock crossover singer. If not, though, this compilation rates as the best overview of his work, if only by virtue of its length. It contains most of the songs from The Voice of Scott McKenzie, the entirety of his 1970 album Stained Glass Morning, his little-heard 1965 Capitol pop single "Look in Your Eyes," plus three tunes from his early-'60s folkie days (one from the Smoothies, the other two from the Journeymen). While the one-hit wonder tag belies the length of his career, it's undeniably true that "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" (which is here of course) is by far his most memorable achievement. He wrote little of the material on the LP The Voice of Scott McKenzie, which surrounded a few John Phillips tunes with covers of songs by Tim Hardin, Donovan, and Zal Yanovsky and John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful. These had acceptably clean period pop-folk-rock arrangements, unsurprisingly in the Mamas and the Papas mold, but exuded little individuality or vision. Stained Glass Morning, in contrast, consisted entirely of McKenzie originals, but its country-rock was laid-back to the point of torpor. The presence of Ry Cooder, Rusty Young, Bunk Gardner, and Barry McGuire in the supporting cast might lead you to expect something more interesting than what actually resulted in that 1970 LP, which has an exhausted, almost funereal air at times.

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