Hearts and Flowers

The Complete Hearts and Flowers

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In 1967 and 1968, Hearts and Flowers stood at the intersection between folk, country, and rock. The band recorded two albums, Now Is the Time for Hearts and Flowers in 1967 and Of Horses, Kids and Forgotten Women in 1968, and then disappeared. The Complete Hearts and Flowers collects both of these albums and enough extras (13 songs) for another album. In 2003, over 30 years after these albums were recorded, it will surprise many listeners -- who've never heard of the group -- how well Hearts and Flowers' eclectic blend of California folk/country/rock has held up. Like the Dillards and the Byrds, one quickly notices the band's high-flown harmony and mixture of acoustic and electric instruments. While cuts like "Save Some Time" and Donovan's "Try for the Sun" show their folk revival roots, "Rain, Rain" takes a psychedelic turn and "The View From Ward 3" adds a touch of country. The straight production of the early material expands to tasteful string arrangements on the second album. This leads to a dreamy take on "Second-Hand Sundown Queen" and trippy pop fare like "She Sang Hymns out of Tune." The extra material comes from several scattered sessions, and by and large delves more deeply into country-rock. These bonus tracks hold up well to the officially released material, sounding a lot like a lost album. The Complete Hearts and Flowers offers a pleasing musical time capsule to the fertile L.A. scene in the late '60s.

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