The Lemon Drops

Sunshine Flower Power

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The Chicago area’s Lemon Drops were only together for two years (1967-1968) and they only really released one regional single during their time together, the searing garage psych folk rock gem “I Live in the Springtime,” which never so much as dented any Top 40 list, but they actually recorded a enough stuff in various studios to make up this two-disc complete survey of their brief career. These were young guys -- the oldest member was only 19 when “Springtime” was tracked -- who no doubt enjoyed being edgy, cool rock stars with the high school crowd as the Summer of Love dawned and peaked, and truthfully, most of the material they recorded works more because of youthful zeal and energy than from any actual wisdom or depth of substance, and they could be downright (and earnestly) silly -- the songs “Popsicle Girl” and “Paper Plane Flyer,” to name just two, are every bit as sophisticated as the titles. The Lemon Drops couldn’t quite decide if they wanted to be snotty garage rockers, LSD-laced psychedelic pioneers, the second coming of the Byrds, or Donovan’s little flower power brothers, and they pursued all of these avenues with tremendous enthusiasm, which is why this set is so much fun, even if it doesn’t exactly change the history of pop music very much. The original single version of “I Live in the Springtime” (there are four different versions collected here, including an extended alternate one) is still a delightful gem, and if nothing else quite keeps up that same standard here, it’s all interesting, particularly as a well-documented historical profile of a promising folk-rock group stuck wonderfully young and unhinged in the Summer of Love.

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