The Lovin' Spoonful

The Lovin' Spoonful Kama Sutra Box

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Due to the extremely limited time that The Lovin' Spoonful Kama Sutra Box (1991) was on the market, it has become the bane of many a CD collector. Comparatively modern digital remastering has yielded Do You Believe in Magic (1965), Daydream (1966), Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful (1966), and Everything Playing (1967) in higher fidelity editions with bonus tracks. However, this exhaustive four-disc Japanese import box set is indispensable thanks to the inclusion of the post- and non-John Sebastian era outing Revelation Revolution '69 (1968), Zal Yanovsky's long, lost Alive and Well in Argentina (1968) as well as the respective original motion picture soundtracks to Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) and Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1967). All this, plus Sebastian's debut solo single "She's a Lady" b/w "The Room Nobody Lives In" -- which was released unbeknownst to the artist after he had left the band. So, there is little wonder why -- as of 2007 at least -- enthusiasts want it so badly as it remains the only one-stop omnibus of their Kama Sutra catalog. Obviously all of the Lovin' Spoonful's hits -- that successfully blended American folk with British Invasion rock & roll -- are on board and presented in their vintage stereo LP mixes. Highlights are plentiful on each disc and while a definitive list would be inevitably up to the individual, among them are "Do You Believe in Magic?," "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?," "Younger Girl," "Daydream," "Warm Baby," "Jug Band Music," "Didn't Want to Have to Do It," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Lovin' You," "Darlin' Companion," "Rain on the Roof," "Coconut Grove," "Nashville Cats," "Summer in the City," "She Is Still a Mystery," "Six O' Clock," "Younger Generation," "Never Going Back," "('Till I) Run with You," and "Me About You." The Yanovsky platter yielded only one single, "As Long As You're Here" b/w a backward version of the same, appropriately titled "Ereh Er'uoy Sa Gnol Sa." If an argument can be leveled at the completeness of The Lovin' Spoonful Kama Sutra Box, it might be the conspicuous absence of the latter. Some listeners may actually find they prefer the mixes found here when compared to the 2002/2003 Buddha Records' upgrades of the Lovin' Spoonful's first four long-players. Across the board, the multiple reissues of the original soundtracks to What's Up, Tiger Lily? and You're a Big Boy Now pale in comparison to the editions found here. As if the four-plus hours of music weren't enough, accompanying the CDs are two well-proportioned liner note booklets. The 114-page text-intensive tome -- in English and Japanese alike -- features an historical essay, lyrics phonetically transcribed from English into Japanese and then back again, and a U.S./Japanese discography. The second contains reproductions of the original LP jackets (front and back), several pages of Japanese 45 rpm picture sleeves, rarely published color photos, and lots of other memorabilia.