Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vinyl Review - The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection

When remembering the 1960's one things comes to mind; the music.  From the advent of the British Invasion to the psychedelic musings of many bands and the sensible pop songs being crafted, it's no wonder that the music lives on.  

And live on it does.  Recently, I was sent the 8 record 45 rpm set from The Turtles to review (The Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection was released September 16, 2014).  Housed in a neat and study box, are eight of the band's most recognized cuts and some that you may have heard but a few times.  Manufactured and distributed by Manifesto Records and on the FloEdCo label, these songs not only bring back pleasant memories, but also a time when getting on radio's top forty meant something.

The Turtles were a mixture of pop, bubble gum, cascading melodies and straight up rock and roll. Their influences are clearly heard with every cut, from the jangly guitars and folk-pop sounds of the Byrds, the soaring harmonies of the Mamas and the Papas, the Brit pop sound of the Dave Clark Five, the quirkiness of the Lovin' Spoonful, the hook driven sound of the Kinks (in fact, Ray Davies produced a couple of the cuts ("You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain and "Love In The City"), the folk sound of Bob Dylan and even some of the hazy sweetness of Tommy James and the Shondells.

Their superb cover version of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" in 1965 started it all and in between (from 1965 and 1970) the band placed seventeen songs on the Billboard Top 100.  Included in the set is the 1968 inventive and pure harmonic balance of their #6 hit "Elenore," the cowbell-driven 1967 #3 hit "She'd Rather Be With Me," the bubble gum pop of "You Baby" (#20 in 1966) and a cover of an early Byrds release 1969's #6 hit "You Showed Me." The top cut in the set is the instantly recognizable sound and the soaring harmonies and the band's pinnacle of success 1967's "Happy Together," which was the group's only number one record.  The song actually knocked the Beatles' "Penny Lane" out of the number one slot for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. What's amazing is that the song had been rejected a dozen times before it was offered to the Turtles.  

But I think one of the most endearing qualities of the boxed set is that you sit and change the records.  With most clocking in at about the three minute mark, the set forces you (in a good way) to actually sit down and enjoy the music (after all, you do have to flip the 45's over and replace them with the others).  I must admit that giving the time length of some of the cuts, they really didn't have the time to fully develop (case in point 1966's psychedelic cut "Grim Reaper Of Love").

The band broke up in 1970, with founders Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman joining Frank Zappa's The Mothers of Invention before touring on their own again as Flo & Eddie. and in between many sessions as recording artists and radio programmers; they still tour today as The Turtles.

Overall, if you like 60's music, this boxed set is full of sweet ear candy, full of all the elements that made the 60's sound pleasurable to listen to.  The Turtle's boxed set is full of catchy choruses, inter-woven harmonies, addictive pop hooks and is an intoxicating palette of songs that must be heard in their entirety.  Highly recommended by the CVR blog as a collectible and an extraordinary box set of 60's music!

The limited edition Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection can be ordered at Flo and Eddie’s official Turtles site,

Turtles 45 RPM Vinyl Singles Collection 

It Ain't Me Babe #8 b/w You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain #51 
Let Me Be #29 b/w Love in the City #91 
You Baby #20 b/w You Know What I Mean #12 
Happy Together #1  b/w Grim Reaper Of Love #81 
She'd Rather Be With Me #3 b/w Story Of Rock And Roll #48 
She' s My Girl #14 b/w Can't I Get To Know You Better #89 
Elenore #6 b/w Outside Chance  NA 
You Showed Me #6 b/w Sound Asleep  #57 

The Turtles:
Howard Kaylan – vocals (1965–1970, 2010–present)
Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals (1965–1970, 2010–present)
Al Nichol – guitar (1965–1970)
Jim Tucker – guitar (1965–1967)
Chuck Portz – bass (1965–1966)
Don Murray – drums (1965–1966)

Joel Larson – drums (1966)
John Barbata – drums (1966–1969)
Chip Douglas – bass (1966–1967)
Jim Pons – bass (1967–1970)
John Seiter – drums (1969–1970)

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