This 1,000-copy limited-edition CD reissue does collectors -- and there are a few of them, by the way, who really do want a complete Banana Splits library -- a favor by putting a wealth of material by the group on one disc, with plenty of rare tracks. The core of this 31-song (!) disc is the entirety of the group's sole album, We're the Banana Splits. For all its good-natured, well-produced late-'60s pop, it is too sweet and happy in one dose, like having a banana split for appetizer, lunch, and dessert. Still, those songs do include the well-remembered hit "The Tra La La Song," plus some surprisingly raving garage- soul-pop with "I'm Gonna Find a Cave" and the Wilson Pickett-like "Doin' the Banana." The more bubblegummy happy-go-lucky numbers and ballads are harder to bear, but obviously the session cats playing on these tried harder than they had to, putting sitar on the lightly psychedelic "In New Orleans" and Baroque harpsichord on the uncharacteristically moody "Wait Til Tomorrow." The CD also adds eight non-LP bonus tracks, including more typically bouncy lightweight kiddie pop/rock and a boisterous alternate version of "The Tra La La Song," but also the rather fetching ballad "Pretty Painted Carousel," which sounds a bit like early Peter & Gordon. Actually the best part of the package, though, are the ten tracks from the rare 1967 LP by fellow kiddie TV group the Beagles, who are actually not bad mid-'60s pop/rockers with a Beatles-Merseybeat influence to the songs and harmonies, though the production bears strong American soul and pop influences.
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