Category: The Mama’s & The Papa’s

The Mamas & The Papas – The Papas & the Mamas

ARTIST: The Mamas & The Papas 220px-Cover_-_papas_and_mamas

TITLE: The Papas & The Mamas

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #15 US

SINGLES: Twelve Thirty (#20 US), Safe in My Garden (#53 US), Dream a Little Dream of Me (#12 US, #11 UK), For the Love of Ivy (#81 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not from this one.

LINEUP: Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Michelle Phillips. The Wrecking Crew provided the backing even though they moved studios

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It was a downer year for all and this record was not bright and happy. But it was better than the last one by far.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Tensions were high within the group as they set about to record this album. John Phillips and Cass Elliot were feuding, the sessions for the album stalled out, and Elliot made plans to go solo.

Still, with all of this, the album aims high and mostly succeeds. “For the Love of Ivy” was a complex song with interlocking vocals. “Mansions” was another standout, and most of the second side was great but darker than their other material.

The times were changing here and the band was almost done. The public didn’t like their darker side and moved on. It less than three years, it was basically over.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The trouble may have started when John Phillips installed a studio in his house, and he could record as he wished. Which meant he diddled around and the vocals took forever thanks to Phillip’s perfectionism.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE A-: Though it wasn’t well received at the time, it’s aged a lot better than you’d expect.

The Mamas & The Papas – Deliver

ARTIST: The Mamas & The Papas Deliver

TITLE: Deliver

YEAR RELEASED: 1967

CHART ACTION: #2 US, #4 UK

SINGLES: Look Through My Window (#24 US), Dedicated to the One I Love (#2 US, #2 UK), Creeque Alley (#5 US, #9 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Covers of My Girl and Twist and Shout

LINEUP: Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Michelle Phillips. The Wrecking Crew provided the backing.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: “Let’s Put On A Show!”

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Mamas & The Papas were still big business in 1967, with hit singles, album sales, TV appearances, and spearheading the Monterey Pop Festival. What happened was that when this album was put together, instead of seminal sunshine pop, it was time for show-biz! At least for side one.

Cover songs of well known songs and show tunes (though “Dedicated to the One I Love” is breathtaking), accompanying a kinda novelty that re-tells their story (“Creeque Alley” – charming in its own way). They exploit Cass Elliot’s natural charisma to propel the songs into something fitting for a variety show.

Which is kind of disappointing, really. Side two is much more in vogue with their other records – a combo of folk and sunshine pop with great harmonies, except for an instrumental (this was a vocal group, really, right?) Still, kind of a downer given the first two releases.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title is a sly reference to Elliot’s pregnancy and delivery of a baby in 1967.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 

GRADE B-: Could have been better. Some is great and some cringeworthy.

The Mamas & The Papas – The Mamas & The Papas

ARTIST: The Mamas & The Papas 220px-MamasPapas

TITLE: The Mamas & The Papas

YEAR RELEASED: 1966

CHART ACTION: #4 US, #24 UK

SINGLES: I Saw Her Again (#5 US, #11 UK), Words of Love (#5 US, #47 UK), Dancing Bear (#51 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dancing in the Street (#73 US as a B-side)

LINEUP: Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Michelle Phillips. Jill Gibson was in for Michelle Phillips for a spell. The Wrecking Crew provided the backing along with Ray Manzarek.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A sunshine-pop smash that masked inter-group turmoil.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ten of the 12 tracks on the self-titled second album by The Mamas & The Papas were written (or co-written) by John Phillips, as his creativity was hitting full stride.

The group was also hitting full stride, using inventive arrangements and production lead by Lou Adler. The harmonies were spot on, and Denny Doherty’s and Cass Elliot’s leads were sassy and sweet as needed. “I Saw Her Again” and “No Salt on Her Tail” were classics of the 60’s (even if the last wasn’t a single).

The album masked a lot of issues, though. Michelle Phillips had cheated on John with Doherty, upsetting the dynamic, and then when Michelle was caught in an affair with former Byrd Gene Clark, they booted her from the group. Jill Gibson came in, but was let go after three months. Songs were recorded, re-recorded, and re-re-recorded. What Gibson actually sang on was and is unknown. That really doesn’t matter. What matters is the end product.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The false start on “I Saw Her Again” (before the third chorus) was an engineering mistake by Bones Howe (a legend in his own right in Sunshine Pop), but Lou Adler kept it in.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE A-: A classic of Sunshine Pop, deep cuts and hits all working well.

The Mamas & The Papas – If You Can Believer Your Eyes and Ears

ARTIST: The Mama’s & The Papa’s             220px-TheMamasAndThePapas-IfYouCanBelieveYourEyesAndEars

TITLE: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

YEAR RELEASED: 1966

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: Go Where You Wanna Go, California Dreaming (#4 US, #23 UK), Monday Monday (#1 US, #3 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not

LINEUP: John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliot. Part of the famous “Wrecking Crew” provided the music.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It could be said that the Summer of Love and the world of Sunshine Pop started with this record. It’s got a great sunshine and laid back vibe even if some of the lyrics were dark and jaded. 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The hits really overpower this album, but the whole album is filled with great melodies and harmonies, all impeccably sung and produced. Their version of I Call Your Name is arguably better than the Beatles’ original. Some of the covers are really just filler, but all of the Phillips’ originals are keepers. A fine album that will keep you humming and smiling even with the darker undertones of some of the songs.

There’s no doubt the kids started to think about California as an idyllic place thanks to this album.

 NOTES & MINUTAE: Lou Adler is the unsung hero of this record. He assembled the backing band, put the group through their paces, and came out with one of the classic Sunshine Pop albums.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. There’s a good reason for that. ABC / Dunhill got rid of the first generation mono masters and the recording session tapes as a “cost savings move” in the 70’s. So any re-release is the stereo masters, which are a couple of generations removed from the pristine takes. Thanks, bean counters.
GRADE: B+. Some of the covers seem perfunctory, as John Phillips hadn’t filled up his bag o’songs yet.