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The Grass Roots “Feelings” (1968)

It’s rare for me to find an album that I enjoy from beginning to end, and yet here we are.

When I listen to a new album, I generally give each song a star rating based on my first impressions and how likely I think I am to go back and listen to them again. Somehow, only 4 of the 11 songs on this album were rated 4 out of 5 stars. The rest were all 4.5 or 5. That should really tell you something about how nice it was to sit back and enjoy this album.

Here is a track-by-track breakdown of this forgotten gem.

A1  What can I say about album opener and title track, “Feelings” except to tell you that it kicks ass. The bass is fantastic and the guitar rips a mean late 60s Duane Eddy style that hovers somewhere between the days when the 60s music was all about reverb and the days when it became all about distortion pedals. It’s no surprise that this track frequently shows up on “Best of” collections.

A2 “Here’s Where You Belong” kicks some harpsichord and strings into the mix and has a gorgeous late 60s pop groove to it. It has a wonderful vibe!

A3 “The Sins Of A Family Fall On The Daughter” feels like it would have been at home on a Byrds album with a bit of a rough-edge lead guitar that keeps pace with the rhythm. Reminds me of the sound of Buffalo Springfield‘s “Mr. Soul”.

A4 Another track that was included on their first best of collection, “Melody for You” is gorgeous and really channels the sixties, or at least the sixties as we think they were in our collective memories! It’s not quite heavy, not quite psychedelic and yet somehow both.

A5 “Who Will You Be Tomorrow” is another track that channels Buffalo Springfield, though this time the vibe is very clearly “For What It’s Worth”.

A6 “You Might As Well Go My Way” is a great folk-rock sounding track with a little hint of Buddy Holly’s “Heartbeat” dancing along in the background. It sounds nothing like the Buddy Holly song, but you can feel the influence in the choice of instrumentation.

B1 “All Good Things Come to an End” has great acoustic guitar and sweeping vocal harmonies that remind me of the backing vocals of Del Shannon’s “Runaway” (though the rest of the song is nothing like it at all). It features a great bouncing bass and banging piano chords that accentuate the beat. It’s a brilliant upbeat foot tapper and fun to sing along with.

B2 “Hot Bright Lights” is a strange one. While it also appears on the “Best of” Album, it seems like a bit of an odd man out. It feels like it it trying to be a bit of a blues number while also trying to be folk, and rock, and something else. It’s good, but it distracts me because the bass line and guitar stabs remind me of “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc, though this song is by no means disco… and almost ten years too soon for that anyway.  Maybe this track was Funkytown’s inspiration?

B3 “Hey Friend” is another track that feels familiar, but as of this time of writing, I can’t put my finger on it. It has a wonderful slapping-shuffle drum beat that carries it along with some great acoustic guitar and strings.

B4 “You and Love are the Same” starts out as a bit of a jangle pop track then gets really funky at the bridge with a beat that predates early hip hop but manages to catch the essence of it.

B5 “Dinner for Eight” has a wonderful organ/acoustic guitar interplay that seems cheerful despite the minor chords and melancholy lyrics and overall tone of the track. It contains some of the best elements of Iron Butterfly without getting too heavy, but the toms and floor drum fills definitely channel the epic drum solo in “Inna Gadda Da Vida”, even though this album was likely recorded before the the Iron Butterfly album came out. This track is a stunner of an album closer, and yet as it fades out, a “reprise” of the opening track “Feelings” plays for about a minute… gently urging you to put the album back on side A. Which I did. 🙂

If you haven’t ever heard this album, I cannot recommend strongly enough: go find it! Stream it if you have to, but dig out a dusty vinyl if you can. Give the album a quick wash, drop the needle, sit back and enjoy! It is some of the most wonderful 60s pop that I have come across is ages! This album is definitely a 4.5/5.

For more about the Grass Roots, check out THIS POST, which is an overview of the classic Grass Roots discography.

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