C/D: The Association

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Never been done before! Now's your chance to weigh in!

A couple of their big hits ("Windy," possibly "Along Comes Mary"), though I kind of like them, are obviously somewhat corny. "Cherish," though, is possibly thee ultimate metaphysically awesome late '60s hippie pop vocal tune.

Also, there was wildcard figure Gary "Jules" Alexander, who wrote some bizarro tunes for the group including the last three tracks on the And Then...Along Comes the Association album and that classic of existential rock, "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies" on the Renaissance album (one of the classic Meltzer/Aesthetics of Rock songs.)

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 18 September 2004 03:58 (sixteen years ago) link

why "metaphysically" awesome? though i agree it is awesome. the lyrics are a bit odd.

were they produced by curt boettcher? i haven't liked much of that rare stuff by him and his (pun not intended) associates that's been trickling out of various us and uk reissue labels. i bought that "magic time" set, found it gave me horrible sugar shock, and sold it back to twisted village in a month's time. it actually marked the end of a long and usually ambivalent flirtation with obscure pop-pysch for me.

it seems that all the harmony groups had to get a bit psych ca. 1968/69, if they weren't to become an immediate anachronism.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:09 (sixteen years ago) link

on the strength of their singles i'd like to hear more by the association, btw. i've considered picking up that rhino anthology, "just the right sound" (a nice title). but as noted above i felt particularly burned by the "magic time" set and have hesitated to venture into this genre since then.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:10 (sixteen years ago) link

i suspect jody will have something to say about this.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:10 (sixteen years ago) link

last thing: it's funny how all these harmony groups had at least one "svengali" who steered them (at least temporarily) toward psychedelia of various stripes. i suppose there were a lot of studio hacks around l.a. who suddenly were able to satisfy their pretentions once the psychedelic pandora's box was open. that sounds jaded but actually i think this is kind of a cool phemomenon. even randy newman fits in here somewhere.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:12 (sixteen years ago) link

"Metaphysically awesome" - Music can build, swell, etc. to the point where it seems like it can split the sky. The last chorus of "Cherish," raised up a whole tone and with the vocal arrangement intensified (sounding like WAILING after each of the first two lines), does this. And the tubular bells in the little coda--obviously meant to sound like they are being played in the clouds by an angel.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Anyway, yes, produced by Curt Boettcher, and Jim Yester was in the group. Those two albums (And Then...Along Comes the Association and Renaissance) are the two I have and I think they're spotty. I should listen to Renaissance again. "Enter the Young" (written, like "Cherish," by Terry Kirkman) is a great song on the former album.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:24 (sixteen years ago) link

Enter The Young is great, as is Cherish. I downloaded an album called 'The Songs That Made them Famous' that's 21 tracks and seems to have, well, the songs that made them famous, along with other stuff. It doesn't vary that much; I can put it on and pretty much drift away, so I assume it doesn't draw from their whole career..? It's something I'd pick up in a shop if I saw it.

derrick (derrick), Saturday, 18 September 2004 04:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Classic. Their Greatest Hits LP is actually a lot more diverse than you would think, and 2/3 of it is pretty great. ["and Chumba was an accident"]

My favourite="Along Comes Mary", with its insane internal rhymes.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Saturday, 18 September 2004 05:04 (sixteen years ago) link

oh, that song gets on my nerves, especially all the weird vocal shifts and that one ascending part. it almost sounds like someone's graduate thesis on the harmony group sound.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 05:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I've got the "Greatest Hits" on CD and play it from time to time. I might be in a minority here but I absolutely adore "Never my love", and am quite unashamed of it.

Rob M (Rob M), Saturday, 18 September 2004 09:06 (sixteen years ago) link

"never my love" = greatest guitar song ever

gygax! (gygax!), Saturday, 18 September 2004 09:39 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm also partial to "Never My Love" -- I like it when dramatic chord changes find their way into otherwise wimpy songs (see also, "The Heart Of Rock And Roll" and "Mr. Roboto"). "Windy" is OK. I'm not particularly fond of "Mary" or "Cherish," though.

John Fredland (jfredland), Saturday, 18 September 2004 09:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I just love it all - it's as much about the arrangemts as the songs. I put them up there with the Turtles. The unexpected chord changes in Cherish get me every time.

Jez (Jez), Saturday, 18 September 2004 11:00 (sixteen years ago) link

oh i forgot abt "never my love," is that the one with the weird reverb? that's a beautiful song.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 16:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I reviewed the last wave of reissues for Stylus sometime back (all but the Boettcher-produced debut), and having gotten them for free, well, they're pretty awesome. They cover a pretty broad swath of music from that era: sunshine pop, folk, psych. I'm not sure I would have bought them all with limited means, but Insight Out and Birthday are def. minor masterpieces. I mean, for all but the fanatics, I'd prob. recommend the 2-disc anthology.

Classic tracks: the above mentioned, for sure, but also their absolutely bizarre take on Jimmy Webb's "P.F. Sloan", "Come On In", "Wantin' Ain't Gettin'", "Requiem for the Masses", and the oh-so-exquisitely-titled "Rose Petals, Incense and a Kitten".

Definitely underrated, too...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Saturday, 18 September 2004 23:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, and this appears to be the first time I've ever agreed with Tim Ellison on anything.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Saturday, 18 September 2004 23:00 (sixteen years ago) link

You my bro!

The thing is, real cheap copies of those albums are readily available. You have piqued my interest in the two you mentioned (to the extent that I am willing to shell out a dollar for each as long as they are in decent condition).

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 18 September 2004 23:14 (sixteen years ago) link

In 1972 The Association released "Waterbeds In Trinidad". Without any memorable hits, this album is my favorite. It's also next to impossible to find. I think of it as their answer to The Beach Boy's Surf's Up. I'm saying that with a straight face.

Wonderful productions in Come The Fall, Indian Wells Woman, Little Road And A Stone To Roll and a decent cover of the Lovin' Spooful's Darlin Be Home Soon. This album wasn't laden with typical filler songs that I seem to remember from their earlier recordings.

Most unfortunately, I purchased it on 8-track back in the day and have long since discarded that daft format. I've tried ordering the CD at different music shops, but to no avail.

Not a band I'd look to when I want to rock, but still very classic.

jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 19 September 2004 00:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Not a band I'd look to when I want to rock, but still very classic.

You've obviously never heard "Goodbye Forever" from the s/t album. Now, that's some ROCK, man!

Def. worth it, Tim. As a curiosity: they also do Millennium's "Just About the Same" on their live album. And it's pretty good!

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:10 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, and amateur!!!st: it's a shame you didn't wait until your insulin had kicked in, because Magic Time has some incredible, incredible stuff on it, like the seriously spaced-out "It's a Sad World" and obsessive "Baby, Please Don't Go", which sounds like The Fifth Dimension performing a tribal ritual in Africa.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Someone please report on the song about broccoli that I have not heard on one of their later albums. (Something about "broccoli, tastes so good in my mouth," etc.)

I like that version of "Baby Please Don't Go" by Ballroom, too.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:18 (sixteen years ago) link

Waterbeds in Trinidad???

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:18 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh I could say I need you but then you'd realize
That I want you just like a thousand other guys
Who'd say they loved you With all the rest of their lies
When all they wanted was to touch your face, your hands
And gaze into your eyes


Jimmy Mod, Los Sexx Yanqui (ModJ), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, that was the working title, and the cover had them in Antarctica or someplace.


Didn't Madonna lean into that number?

jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Waterbeds In Trinidad was their only record on Columbia and their last. Not that Jim is wrong or anything, but AMG gives it one-star. Then again, I'd give their redesign only a half star, so...

As for "Broccoli", that's on the s/t record where they got "hep." And it sucks -- the track, that is. And, no, I don't know if Dana Carvey was hip to it or not. But he pretty much nailed it regardless.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Sunday, 19 September 2004 01:36 (sixteen years ago) link

I've got "Insight Out", which critical consensus tells us it isn't good because hip people like Jerry Yester and Curt Boettcher aren't involved but which is in fact tremendously entertaining. It's not a work of genius, it's just a good listen, it reminds of that Johnny Rivers' album with all the Jimmy Webb tunes on it in that regard.

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 10:23 (sixteen years ago) link

On the whole, not just classic, but ... sweet as the punch!

Moreover, the earnestness of their lyrics & glee-club harmonies make them the perfect vehicle for dirty-version singalongs:
When all they wanted was to touch your face, your hands
And C upon your T's

briania (briania), Tuesday, 21 September 2004 12:07 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Classic all the way dudes, at least until the patchy, semi-official reunion recordings that started in the mid 70s. Never My Love rules the universe, but much more in their catalog, the 2cd comp is a must for any sunshine/harmony/light psych consumer, and I'd make a strong case for Birthday as a really interesting example of how "square" pop stars tried to get all psychedelic in the late 60s, at equal turns inspired and ridiculous. Also, regarding Goodbye Columbus - when they worked on the soundtrack, they submitted several songs, the one deemed strongest was eventually chosen as the title track and it is so insanely catchy and vocally dynamic it's painful. But one of the runner ups was just slightly modified lyrically to become Goodbye Forever, and that was released on their next album - and it's just as great!

timmy tannin (pompous), Friday, 28 April 2006 01:49 (fourteen years ago) link

... it's better! I'm not a big fan of the early folk-rock stuff - the songs are often great but the sound is so weedy. I prefer 1967/1968 period when the music was more arranged and "pop", curiously this was the period when Gary Alexander wasn't in the band - curious because he was the best songwriter! Some amazing songs from 1969 onwards too: "Goodbye Forever", "Under Branches" (stunning).

They're Dairylea Mad, Them Kids (Dada), Friday, 28 April 2006 08:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Collector's Choice has
just re-released their first EIGHT
albums on CD

some of it is weird
classic wanna-be psych pop,
some of it is square,

on their live album
they make corny osmonds-ish
jokes, then RIP SHIT UP

Haikunym (Haikunym), Friday, 28 April 2006 12:55 (fourteen years ago) link

I wish The Clientele would do a cover of "Never, my love".

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Friday, 28 April 2006 13:16 (fourteen years ago) link

Classic. "Never My Love" = my wedding song.

blackmail (blackmail.is.my.life), Friday, 28 April 2006 13:17 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm perhaps alone
but I think "Cherish" is FAR

parse it out closely,
and it defines the meme "so
not gonna happen"

there's a Zombies vibe
running through most of their songs:
unrequited pain

Haikunym (Haikunym), Friday, 28 April 2006 13:21 (fourteen years ago) link

["and Chumba was an accident"]

No idea how the hell THAT got there! Some kinda bizarre cut-and-paste mishap obviously, but I'll never know the original context.

Myonga Von Baffled (Myonga Von Bontee), Friday, 28 April 2006 16:45 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...

I've got "Insight Out", which critical consensus tells us it isn't good because hip people like Jerry Yester and Curt Boettcher aren't involved but which is in fact tremendously entertaining. It's not a work of genius, it's just a good listen

-- Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, September 21, 2004 6:23 AM (3 years ago) Bookmark Link

OTM, these are my exact sentiments, having just heard this album for the first time. What's not to like? It's like a more vanilla version of the Zombies!

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Thursday, 10 January 2008 10:43 (twelve years ago) link

Yes, and "Birthday" and "The Association" are great too

Tom D., Thursday, 10 January 2008 10:44 (twelve years ago) link

I find it quite staggering that in Britain the Association only had the one hit - "Time For Livin'" in '68 - since their records were regularly played on radio over here in my childhood. Although it may be that "Time For Livin'" was the only one they came over here to promote, as I don't think they bothered with Britain much.

Dingbod Kesterson, Thursday, 10 January 2008 10:51 (twelve years ago) link

this party fears two is a great song

burt_stanton, Thursday, 10 January 2008 12:34 (twelve years ago) link

I grew up in the era of "Windy" and "Mary" bombarding me from the ol' AM radio and never gave them much thought, more like some king of frilly aural flocked wallpaper.

I'll have to admit that the version of "Mary" on disc 3 of the Monterey Pop Fest set pretty much blew me away though. Actually that disk is pretty much a must-see IMO as it's chock fulla stuff like the Butterfield band wailing away with Mike Bloomfield screaming from the side of the stage and an outrageous Electric Flag number etc etc (sorry for the digression).

factcheckr, Thursday, 10 January 2008 14:45 (twelve years ago) link

i LOVE "Wanting Ain't Getting" from "Insight Out". totally funky track

jaxon, Thursday, 10 January 2008 19:46 (twelve years ago) link

Ah, another thread revival, another chance for me to furrow my brow and puzzle over that "Chumba" remark upthread. And to note that the more familiar version of "Enter The Young" (from the Greatest Hits) is completely different from the version on the debut - even a different lead singer, I think. Strange...

Myonga Vön Bontee, Thursday, 10 January 2008 21:02 (twelve years ago) link

four years pass...

I heard "Never My Love" on the way home tonight, first time in years. I once included it in a radio countdown of my favourite songs ever, and it hasn't lost anything--I was especially struck by the arrangement tonight. It might be one of the first songs I'd point to if I wanted to see if someone's conception of pop genius extends in some of the same directions mine does. Lots of nice stuff said about it above.


clemenza, Friday, 30 March 2012 00:53 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

Great interview with Terry Kirkman. Guy's a mensch.

holger sharkey (Tom D.), Wednesday, 24 June 2015 18:01 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

"Dubuque Blues" from the 1969 self-titled album is such an amazing song. One of Gary Alexander's.

timellison, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 01:36 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Russ Giguere's book coming out next month - Along Comes The Association: Beyond Folk Rock and Three-Piece Suits

timellison, Monday, 10 February 2020 18:47 (seven months ago) link

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