20 Comments

Fantastic as always, Robert! And perfect timing: I just picked up a copy of "And Then Along Comes..." this weekend.

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Thank you, Kevin. Nice - hope you enjoy it. It's a solid debut.

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Mar 5Liked by Robert C. Gilbert

I just devoured this. I love The Association and appreciate this very excellent breakdown of their peak albums!

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Thank you, Matt - appreciate it.

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Mar 7Liked by Robert C. Gilbert

Thanks very much, Robert! I hadn't heard The Association before, but now I'm listening to "Birthday" and really enjoying it.

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Awesome! Glad you're liking what you are hearing.

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Mar 6Liked by Robert C. Gilbert

This was an extremely intellectual, interesting approach to a 60s group that no one really talks about much. I went back and listened to some of the songs you discussed. I can think of them in an entirely new light. The mixes themselves were a little disconcerting for me. The drums were so far down, as were the guitars. Of course technology is light years better now, and a lot of the period groups suffer from those problems when played on modern equipment. You’re almost better off listening to mono versions on older equipment.

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Thank you, Daniel. I have the Association’s first two albums on mono (early pressings on Valiant) and they really sound great, especially the debut.

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Mar 5Liked by Robert C. Gilbert

At this late stage in the game,I never thought I’d get to read such an astute and passionate deep dive into their highly underrated and sophisticated music. Thanks! If I may, I’d like to raise my hand for Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies, a psych-pop curio from the Renaissance album, written by Gary Jules Alexander. Haunting, in a weird way, and perhaps an unintentional sequel to Along Comes Mary. Cheers!

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Thank you, Chuck. I really enjoy writing at length about music that typically does not receive that level of treatment. Right you are about 'Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies' - the only top 40 hit by the group I don't mention in the essay but a favourite of mine. Thanks for mentioning it.

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I really enjoyed reading this. The Association wasn't a band I really listened to on the day. Obviously everyone knows songs like Cherish, but the band wasn't high on my must listen to list. I enjoyed reading and listening to your picks which showed how they developed and how they belonged to their era. Along Comes Mary with the introduction reminded me a lot of Frank Zappa.

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Thank you, Luigi.

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Fantastic essay, Robert! I really enjoyed diving in and learning more about The Association. The only album of theirs I ever bought was "Birthday," mainly because of its more psychedelic cover art.

Given the band's popularity, it makes sense that John Phillips wanted them for Monterey. When I was 16, I rented D.A Pennebaker's 'Monterey Pop Festival' and knew that the bands featured weren't the only ones who performed (I knew the Grateful Dead & Moby Grape, for example, had performed). I read that many of the SF bands didn't want to sign the film release. After knocking everybody out the first time, Janis insisted the guys in Big Brother to sign, and they were given another opportunity to perform again, this time the cameras captured it.

Anyway, regarding The Association & Monterey, as they were the first act, the camera crew was still setting up and didn’t film much of their short set (I think most bands/artist's only had 40min on stage).

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Thanks so much, Michael - appreciate it.

One thing I have always liked about Monterey was the diversity of acts that performed - more so than Woodstock. Yes, that's right about Janis Joplin and thank goodness, they were caught on film. A good moment captured there.

The only part of the Association's set on film is 'Along Comes Mary.' 'Windy' is also available but just the music. It looks like that they started their set and by extension, the Festival, with 'Enter the Young' - a fitting choice.

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The Association is one of my favorite '60s bands- their harmony laden vocals and rich musical tapestry mark them as an ideal landmark of that era. The 2CD anthology "Just The Right Sound" shows them at their best and converted me into a fan.

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I had always liked them - buying a copy of 'Birthday' in 2011 was the key to turning me into a big fan.

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Too much syrup for me, then and now.

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It does get laid thick but just right for me.

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Mar 5Liked by Robert C. Gilbert

Excellent. The Association have always been my go-to example of how much dissonance there is between what people (like me) who weren't around in the Sixties think the Sixties were like, and what the Sixties were actually like. Ray Manzarek told the story of how the first time they played in Des Moines there were 34 people in the audience but the weekend before The Association played for 5,000.

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Thanks, Mark. The Association were huge and certainly among those groups, seem unique to me in terms of how many members were good songwriters and good singers.

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