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Lulu - To Sir With Love! (The Complete Mickie Most Recordings)

 For the majority of American listeners, Lulu's career began and ended with "To Sir with Love," the theme song to the 1967 box office hit, though she enjoyed considerably greater success in the United Kingdom, and not without reason. Lulu had a solid, spirited voice that could handle an admirable range of material, and she tended to get good songs that she made the most of with the assistance of some very talented studio help (John Paul Jones arranged much of the material on her 1969 set Lulu's Album). To Sir with Love: The Complete Mickey Most Recordings features 39 tunes recorded during Lulu's tenure with famed British producer Most, and if this consistently leans to the more commercial side of British pop of the late '60s, it's great pop with heart, soul, and no shortage of enthusiasm. On tunes like "Love Loves to Love, Love" and her cover of the Beatles' "Day Tripper," Lulu sounds very convincing belting out tough rock & roll, and she's just as confident handling soulful material with real emotional weight, such as "Morning Dew" and "To Love Somebody." And while she also gets her share of MOR pop tunes here, she handles them flawlessly, and "The Best of Both Worlds" and "A House Is Not a Home" are marvelous, heart-tugging stuff. Lulu and Most had a great ear for material, tackling numbers from the songbook of Neil Diamond, Dan Penn, Harry Nilsson, and Elton John, and even the lesser tracks (we get three versions of the less-than-thrilling "Boom Bang a Bang" -- in English, French, and Italian!) are executed with superb craft and as much feeling as the singer could muster. Lulu continued to make fine records through the 1970s and still performs today, but her early material captured her at her peak, and this thoroughly enjoyable package offers the lion's share of her excellent 1967-1969 work, digitally remastered and sounding spectacular with intelligent liner notes. Fans will love it and those who only know Lulu as the "To Sir with Love" girl will be very pleasantly surprised.

Lulu - To Sir With Love!  (The Complete Mickie Most Recordings)

The Lettermen - Jim, Tony and Bob (1962)

The Lettermen  - Jim, Tony and Bob (1962)

The Lettermen's close-harmony pop songs with light and easy arrangements made them quite a successful group with adult audiences during the 1960s, when changing styles and tastes made many older listeners feel just a bit left behind in the music world. Formed in 1960 by singer Tony Butala, along with two students from Brigham Young University, Jim Pike and Bob Engemann, The Lettermen recorded without success for about a year until they signed to Capitol Records. The group's first single for Capitol, "The Way You Look Tonight," did very well on the pop charts, and its follow-up, "When I Fall in Love," reached the Top Ten in late 1961. Though the group only reached that plateau one more time, with the 1968 medley "Goin' Out of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (the same year Jim's brother Gary Pike stepped in for Engemann), successful album sales to adult listeners and popular concert tours kept the group going long after many of their similar contemporaries had died off. Another Pike brother, Donny, replaced Jim in 1974, and The Lettermen formed their own Alfa Omega Records in 1979, sporadically releasing albums of new material even into the 1990s. Jim Pike and Bob Engemann later formed Reunion (with Gary Pike and Ric de Azevedo), a group that released several albums for Collectables. Butala toured The Lettermen well into the 21st century, proving popular with older audiences. He also founded a Vocal Group Hall of Fame outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Lettermen  - Jim, Tony and Bob (1962)

The Lemon Dips - Who's Gonna Buy ? (1969)

 The Lemon Dips are a relatively unknown Garage-Rock band from the U.K. They are described as having a psychedelic influenc...

Collection of psychedelic / freakbeat vocal and instrumental tracks issued by the music library label. Three of them, 'Who's Gonna Buy', 'I Am Your Man' and 'Unpack Your Bags' were featured in the film "Haunted House Of Horror". All De Wolf recordings comprised material penned by song writers Peter Renno and Johnny Hawksworth and played by session musicians. Information taken from The Tapestry Of Delights Revisited, 2010 Borderline Productions.

The Lemon Dips - Who's Gonna Buy ? (1969)

The Lemon Drops - Crystal Pure (1966-69)

Anyone who likes the Leaves, the Seeds et al will love the early cuts by this band, a hard-luck Chicago outfit who couldn't turn a local wave of popular enthusiasm into something bigger, despite some good songs. Their later stuff was more self-consciously psychedelic, but it's still very well done, with superb playing and harmonies. The Lemon Drops were Jeff Brand (bass), Bobby Lunack (rhythm guitar), Gary Weiss (drums), Eddie Weiss (rhythm guitar), and Danny Smola (vocals), who began rehearsing in the Weiss home when they were between 14 and 17 years old. With lead guitarist Ricky Erickson in tow and later an official member, they cut their first record, "I Live In the Springtime," for Rembrandt, a local label co-owned by one of the Weisses' elder siblings. "I Live in the Springtime" got an enthusiastic reception locally, and was played as far away as New York. The bandmembers became celebrities among the local kids when they were thrown out of school for their long hair. By that time, they were on their second single, the angry anti-Vietnam rocker "It Happens Everyday," and soon after had a new lead singer, Dick Sidman. The band slipped easily into the psychedelic blossoming of the Summer of Love, adding more overt flower-power references to their mix of sounds. It looked as though RCA was interested in the group, but a mix-up prevented the tapes for their third single, "Sometime Ago"/"Theatre of Your Eyes," from getting to the company in New York on time. A potential contract with Uni Records came to nothing, and their third single, as well as a dozen tracks cut live in the Weiss home in January of 1968, went unheard. A few more songs were cut on behalf of Buena Vista Records, but the death of the label head scotched the deal, and a potential contract with Alden Records fell apart, along with the group, following an acid party at the owner's Los Angeles mansion in the summer of 1969.

The Lemon Fog - The Psychedelic Sound Of Summer (1967-68)

 Enter Chris Lyons, who was recruiting musicians at Clem's Music in Houston for a new band he was forming. Danny Ogg showed up at the store, and Lyons asked him to join -- Ogg agreed on condition that Timmy Thorpe, who had just gotten laid off from work, play bass. Lyons agreed, and by that weekend, the Pla-Boys, as they were known, were playing their first gig, at St. Regis College for the Arts. It was there that they were seen and heard by Ted Eubanks, an avant-garde composer on Houston's mod scene, who caught The Pla-Boys' act, which consisted mostly of covers of such garage greats as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs and ? and the Mysterians. Eubanks liked the way they played more than what they played, and immediately approached them after the show. The band liked his suggestions, and he began putting original numbers into the group's sets. He also changed their image from clean-cut, matching suits to psychedelic, including beads. In a matter of weeks in 1965, they went from being the Pla-Boys to The Lemon Fog, who quickly became recognized as one of the more formidable bands in Houston.

The group's lineup soon shifted as Timmy Thorpe was dropped and Danny Ogg moved to bass, with Terry Horde taking over the lead guitar spot. They won a local battle of the bands, and, with help from producer-songrwriter Jimmy Duncan, were approached by Orbit Records with the offer of a recording contract. Only three singles were ever issued on the group by Orbit, although they recorded many hours' worth of demos under Eubanks' direction -- he handled most of the songwriting, alternating with Duncan. The best of these was "The Living Eye Theme," also known as "The Lemon Fog," which reached number eight on the regional and local charts in the Houston area. The group was a major draw there and in the Houston area, and made many television appearances promoting their singles.

Their sound, initially typical garage band-dance material, had advanced by leaps and bounds. Some of their songs resembled the folk-rock of the Byrds or the Beau Brummels, while their playing was closer in spirit to the complexity of Moby Grape, with lots of unexpected twists in the guitar and organ parts, and interesting harmonies. Personality conflicts eventually doomed the band, despite some extraordinary music to their credit. Egos clashed, and the use of drugs hampered the talents of one member, and in 1970, Eubanks was cutting records as a solo artist, which heralded the group's disintegration.

Lulu - To Sir With Love!  (The Complete Mickie Most Recordings)The Lettermen - More Hit Sound Of The Lettermen !The Lettermen - The Hit SoundThe Lettermen - College Standards (1963)The Lettermen  - Jim, Tony and Bob (1962)JOHN LAMERS - THE STORY OF... with Cees & His SkylinersThe Lemon Dips - Who's Gonna Buy ? (1969)The Lemon Drops - Crystal Pure (1966-69)The Lemon Fog - The Psychedelic Sound Of Summer (1967-68)Lemon Pipers - Love Beads And Meditation

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