THE LOST POP-PSYCH CLASSIC OF THE '60s!
The late, great composer/pianist/producer/MENSA member Tandyn Almer first emerged in pop culture consciouness as the writer of the 1966 smash single by The Association, "Along Comes Mary." Its seemingly innocuous lyric about a girl became a point of intense scrutiny as rumors of marijuana references wafted through a society fraught with generational conflict. One of those listeners on the far side of the gap, Leonard Bernstein, recognized the song's musical sophistication and deft wordplay as something noteworthy. Consequently, Bernstein chose Almer as an interview subject for his CBS News documentary Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, which aired on Tuesday, April 25th, 1967. It was a groundbreaking special, with Almer's cool media attitude working well to calm the controversial storm surrounding the movement that would soon blossom into the Summer of Love.
If this were a Hollywood film script, Almer would have then been catapulted to the upper echelons of pop stardom, rubbing elbows with hottest hitmakers of the day. Instead, while he released one single of his own, "Degeneration Gap," and wrote and produced several more pop-psyche gems, Almer's career path took a much more enigmatic route. He did collaborate with fellow melodic savant Brian Wilson, most notably as the co-writer of "Sail On Sailor," and published a songbook of his new compositions. In service of these songs, a 15-track demo LP was recorded and pressed in a small quantity by his publisher, Davon Music, to distribute to potential recording clients.
Through the years, word of this LP spread through the collecting world, its legend increasing with each telling and its price increasing with each resale for those lucky enough to find a copy. Included within this demonstration disc is the nasty, buzzing fuzztone and haunting vocals of The Purple Gang's version of "Bring Your Own Self Down," the engaging Pop feel of "Find Yourself," the smooth groove of "Anything You Want" and "Victims of Chance" (recorded as an instrumental by L.A. jazz combo The Afro Blues Quintet), along with the straight-ahead Folk-Rock of "About Where Love Is" and "Sunset Strip Soliloquy" -- the latter about the atmosphere which led to the demonstrations of late '66. At long last, Sundazed Music has rescued this "holy grail" album and presents the first-ever commercial release of Along Comes Tandyn. A stunning collection covering a wide stylistic range, it is a resounding confirmation Almer's harmonic genius. After one listen, you'll understand why Tandyn was always the smartest guy in the room.
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Fricke's Picks: 2013's Best Reissues From Under the Radar
Tandyn Almer - Along Comes Tandyn (Sundazed)This enigmatic folk-rock songwriter, who died last January, was already a ghost in this music: a set of demos recorded in 1965 and '66 in largely unfussy arrangements by mostly anonymous session musicians. Almer, then in his early twenties and a rising star for writing the Association's Top Ten hit "Along Comes Mary," only appears on occasional keyboards and vocals. The album was originally pressed as a promotional tool by Almer's publisher to generate more covers and smashes. But the rhythmic and melodic twists even in these demos and Almer's elliptical blend of wordplay and acute, interior distress suggest an ambition doomed to founder in the business of writing for hire. Almer later co-wrote "Sail On Sailor" for the Beach Boys, then sailed on to quiet exile, leaving this jangling evidence of stranded gifts.
-- David Fricke Rolling Stone Magazine
Find Yourself • You Turn Me Around • Anything You Want • About Where Love Is • Everytime I Take You Back • There’s Gonna Be a Way • Alice Designs • Face Down in the Mud • Where Will They Go • Escape • Victims of Chance • Bring Your Own Self Down • I Get High • Menagerie of Man • Sunset Soliloquy
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