Category: The Association

The Association – Renaissance

ARTIST: The Association 220px-Associationrenaissance
TITLE: Renaissance
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #34
SINGLES: Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies (#35), No Fair at All (#51)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt it.
LINEUP: Gary Alexander, Terry Kirkman, Jim Yester, Russ Giguere, Brian Cole, Ted Bluechel, session players
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Product made because the record company needed it. Some songs were well conceived and thought out, and others needed work. But, hey, product.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Association had to follow up their big hits with something, because back in the 60’s, if you went six months or so between singles, you were forgotten. Yester’s brother Jerry was enlisted as producer this time and over three months, between gigs on the road, they finished this album.

Some tracks are absolutely wonderful examples of sunshine pop (“Looking Glass” and “No Fair at All’). “Pandora’s…” was an excellent twisted rumination perfect for 1966, but really shouldn’t have been a single. (Product, you know…I mean can you imagine a fast talking BOSS DJ trying to get that title out?) They effort on the rest, but something isn’t quite there. This is evident in the vocal arrangements, which aren’t as lush and complex as the first album.

It was enough of a hit, though, that when Columbia Records bought their label out, they got to come with. They’d get more support going forward, which would help them a great deal.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Jerry Yester joined the Lovin’ Spoonful soon after he produced this album. As was usual, the Association didn’t play their own instrumental parts for the most part – just Kirkman and Alexander.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C+: Four or five cuts are absolute winners. Does that make it a B album? Sadly, the other cuts are problematic enough for me to grade this here. If you’re not a fan like me, you may want to find the good ones on a compilation.

The Association – And Then…Along Comes the Association

ARTIST: The Association Alongcomestheassociation
TITLE: And Then…Along Comes the Association
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #5
SINGLES: Along Comes Mary (#7), Cherish (#1)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probaby not.
LINEUP: Terry Kirkman, Russ Giguere, Jules Alexander, Ted Bluechel, Brian Cole, Jim Yester
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album by folkie influenced group that rather much created the sunshine-pop genre (thanks to their producer).

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Association were an unwieldy (at the time) six-man band that sang tight harmonies and tried to play rock and folk and pop with varying success. They finally got a contract, and producer Curt Boettchler worked with them to form a sound that incorporated their harmonies along with light-ish arrangements that accentuated the pop sheen of the songs.

This works to a degree. There are a lot of great vocal hooks and harmonies throughout the album. When they try to rock it out – they don’t succeed – and the second half of the album kind of falls off due to some weaker material. (Can’t polish up a dull song…)

Still the hits and some other songs like Your Own Love and Enter the Young benefit from the production and the six-man harmonies. Boettchler was a sunshine pop genius and the group benefits from his ears and production.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the only Association album Boettchler produced, unfortunately. He was a bystander in a contract dispute with their former manager.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: Some of the material is A-rate. The other songs are just there (but in a harmonious way) – and they shouldn’t have ever really tried to rock.