After he Moody Blues released "Seventh Sojourn" late in 1972, they took a hiatus during which each of them released at least one solo LP, and Hayward and Lodge collaborated on "Blue Jays". By this time the mellotron had been put out to pasture permanently with the departure of keyboard player and 'tron expert Mike Pinder; as a fan of their late'60s - early '70s style I regard this as mostly unfortunate, but most of the solo LPs contained some superbly orchestrated material like this song, which really is glorious! All manner of strings, horns, and flute (not by Ray Thomas, I don't think) combine to make this one of the best-arranged songs in rock history. Moodies veteran producer Tony Clarke did the honours here, although he didn't last beyond 1978's "Octave", which coincidentally (or not?) was their last really good LP!
John Lodge's "Natural Avenue" was overall the best of the Moody Blues' solo ventures of the mid-1970s, being almost up there with the "Blue Jays" effort on which he collaborated with the band's guitarist Justin Hayward (whose own solo LP "Songwriter" was the biggest disappointment of the lot). This track has a wonderfully exotic feel to it, what with lyrics like "Show me your island of a thousand names" as well as orchestration including strings, oboe and bassoon, and some kind of bubbling thingy which may be a synthesizer. On a darker note, some of the other lyrics seem to indicate the alleviation of an addiction to certain substances, e.g. "Paint all the clouds the colour of 'No'" and "Gone is the white horse that carried us home", but hell, every band was addicted to stuff back then and I'm happy that 99% of them seem to have survived intact. Anyway, it's a lovely exotic song that if you haven't heard it, it's about time you did!
From Ottawa, the Staccatos were Canada's best pop band of the 1960s and, with the possible exception of Strange Advance, still their best ever. This song is a bit of a clone of their biggest hit, 1967's "Half Past Midnight", right down to the lyrical preoccupation with time, but it's still worth a listen if you like that late-'60s "summer pop" sound, because its production is pretty tight and it has several neat little tricks like the best pop songs do. The flip side is called "We Go Together Well" and it's pretty good too, with its fuzzy guitars (or is it the bass?) ...
All of these tracks mentioned here were found on a 1969 LP called "Five Man Electrical Band", which is what the Staccatos had changed their name to. The LP contains both sides of the "It Never Rains On Maple Lane" / "Private Train" release which was the first under that name, but subsequent material followed a musical change of direction to what I would call "swamp rock" after that ghastly "Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night (ugh!), although "Signs" and "I'm A Stranger Here" at least had some lyrical smarts ... a CD of this stuff has been released but unfortunately the Staccatos material has not, apart from "Half Past Midnight" which showed up on a best-of-Canadian compilation.
A pretty 1965 pop song by Danny Hutton a few years before he got big as a member of Three Dog Night, the group which had a long string of hits beginning in 1969. There's a bit too much of that tinkling thing which I thought wasn't so prominent when I heard it on the radio, but maybe I'm wrong ...
But the best thing about the song in my opinion is the drum track! It's probably one of the L.A. session men, but whoever it is puts on an absolute clinic! Best bits: the one at the end of verse two, before the first bridge, which seems to tie up the song to that point in a nice bow, and the one before the second bridge which reminds me of the drums in Tommy Roe's hit 1962 "Sheila".
"Roses and Rainbows" is the first track on the double-CD Three Dog Night best-of.
from Pre-Dog Night available on CD - Celebrate: The Best Of Three Dog Night (MCA)
In the late 1980s the Connells managed to produce some excellent songs which had an extraordinary amount of tension built into them, and this one is probably the best example (others are "Hats Off" and "1934" from the "Darker Days" LP). I don't know exactly how they did it, maybe it's just the rumbling bass combined with splattering drums and tambourine that gives the whole thing an edgy, anticipatory feel, but I sure as hell like it a lot.