The Blue Things

The Blue Things Story, Vol. 2: 1963-1968

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The Blue Things (on some releases they are listed as the Bluethings) were an extremely interesting band, full of talent and a willingness to take creative leaps that gives them some claim to being the Great Lost 1960s folk-rock group. Born on the high plains of Kansas, the Blue Things enjoyed tremendous regional success but were never able to expand on it, even though they had a major-label deal with RCA, which led to their only album, 1966's Listen & See. This disc charts their folkier material, beginning with lead singer (and chief songwriter) Val Stecklein's early recordings with the Hi-Plains Singers in 1963, tracks with a pre-RCA version of the band attributed to the Blueboys, key cuts and alternate takes from the Listen & See sessions, and ends with demos from Stecklein's solo project, Grey Life, from 1968. Stecklein has an intriguing voice, reminding one at times of Gene Clark crossed with John Lennon, and although his writing bends too much at times to the maudlin end of things, it is easy to see how a break here or there could have made him a major player. The breaks didn't happen, however, and the Blue Things remain a lost treasure. Highlights here include the Lennon-esque "High Life" and two intriguing songs that sound a bit like the Beau Brummels crossed with Buddy Holly, "Doll House" and "I Must Be Doing Something Wrong." Collectables has also released a CD entitled The Blue Things Story, Vols. 1-2 that includes much (but not all) of what is here, but also adds in some of the group's later psychedelic experiments, particularly the lost psych classics "The Orange Roof Tops of Your Mind" and "You Can Live in Our Tree."

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