The Blades of Grass

The Blades of Grass Are Not for Smoking

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New England's Blades of Grass were every bit as good as any of the other so-called sunshine pop groups that surfaced in the psychedelic summer of 1967, and if it weren't for a run of just plain blind bad luck, might have had a chance for bigger and better things. As it was, they managed just one album and a handful of singles before calling it quits. The group's biggest success was a version of "Happy," which charted well on the east coast, but unfortunately had to compete with the Sunshine Company's rendition, which stole most of the airplay in the rest of the country. Amazingly, Blades of Grass turned around and subsequently repeated the same scenario with "I Love You Alice B. Toklas," competing with the version by Harpers Bizarre, leading one to wonder if it wasn't bad management rather than bad luck that ultimately haunted them. The group's sole album, Blades of Grass Are Not for Smoking, is presented here in its entirety, along with some non-LP singles, and the end result is a light, soothing collection of baroque pop, heavy on angelic harmonies and ornate orchestration. Unfortunately most of the tracks are covers, and there really isn't much of a future in covering songs like the Beatles' "Help!" even if your version is solid and surprisingly effective. Fans of sunshine pop and light psychedelic pop will find a lot to like here, as long as no one expects anything too radical or innovative. Highlights include "Happy," the airy "Just Ah," and "Help!" which would have certainly given the Blades of Grass a huge hit if the Beatles hadn't already previously taken care of that.

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