Thee Sixpence are most noted by collectors as the group that, with some lineup changes, evolved into Strawberry Alarm Clock. Before that, they issued four singles in 1966-1967 on the tiny All-American label. These were above-average, though not outstanding songs in the typical raw, foreboding Los Angeles garage-verging-on-psychedelia mode, sounding close in respects to better-produced efforts during the same era by the Chocolate Watch Band, the Seeds, and the Standells. They had the good taste to cover a couple of Love songs, "My Flash on You" and "Can't Explain," and were one of several L.A. bands to take a shot at a hard rock version of "Hey Joe" (which, as it happened, Love had also put on their debut album). Their best song that was not a cover of a well-known tune was "Heartful of Rain," with its characteristic pained snarled vocal, snaky guitar lines, piercing organ, and minor-keyed background harmonies. Just before they released "Incense and Peppermints," their name was changed to Strawberry Alarm Clock; when that single was picked up by Uni, it went to number one and started a whole new career for the band. All of the material from their rare All-American singles (including the "Incense and Peppermints"/"The Birdman of Alkatrash" 45 released under the Strawberry Alarm Clock name and picked up by Uni) was assembled for the CD reissue Step By Step.
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