Friday, April 17, 2009

The Ides Of March - Ideology (1965-68)

Chicago's Ides of March burst onto the national scene in 1970 with the million-selling single "Vehicle," a tune that bore more than a passing resemblance to the then mega-selling Blood, Sweat & Tears. But the band's pedigree went back further than BS&T's, and with a much different origin. Formed in the mid-1960s in the Windy City, founding member Jim Peterik put the original Ides together as a teen band, strong on original material and British pop harmonies. Soon the band was recording for London's Parrot Records subsidiary, releasing five singles between 1966 and 1967, including the local hit "You Wouldn't Listen." By the late 1960s, however, Peterik had reconfigured the band to include a full horn section, and a new sound and style for the band was born. Ever the crafty commercial songwriter, Peterik fashioned a new single, "Vehicle," to showcase this sound, which mirrored the success of horn rock bands like Chase and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The record was a huge hit, spawning the soundalike follow-up "Superman." The other chart hit for the group (and a complete about-face from the horn-dominated sound of "Vehicle") was the wistful "L.A. Goodbye." Personnel problems and a label shift to RCA-Victor spelled the end of the band as Peterik eased into the 1980s in the role of producer/songwriter, penning several hits for the likes of .38 Special and others. The group re-formed in 1993 to record an album of new material and recuts of their hits going all the way back to "You Wouldn't Listen," and Peterik remains quite active both as a tunesmith and producer.
1. You Wouldn't Listen 2:33 Not Available 2. Girls Don't Grow On Trees 2:58 Not Available 3. You Need Love 2:47 Not Available 4. Roller Coaster 2:33 Not Available 5. I'll Keep Searching 2:24 Not Available 6. One & One Does Not Make Three (previously Unissued) 2:23 Not Available 7. Give Your Mind Wings 2:54 Not Available 8. Things Aren't Always What They Seem 2:29 Not Available 9. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore 2:21 Not Available 10. Hole In My Soul 2:54 Not Available 11. I'm Gonna Say My Prayers 3:02 Not Available 12. Sha-la-la-la-lee 2:58 Not Available 13. My Foolish Pride 2:19 Not Available 14. I'll Take You Back (previously Unissued) 2:05 Not Available 15. Like It Or Lump It (the Shondells) 3:28 Not Available 16. No Two Ways About It (the Shondells) 2:13 Not Available 17. Hole In My Soul (stereo Version) 2:52 Not Available 18. Girls Don't Grow On Trees (stereo Version
ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY JIM PETERIK EXCEPT:"You Wouldn't Listen" -- Peterik/Millas/Borch, --- I'll Keep Searching", - Millas/Peterik"The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore", - Crewe/Gaudio, --- " Sha-La-La-La-Lee", - Lynch/Shuman"Like It or Lump it", -- Peterik/Millas, -- "No Two Ways About It", -- Peterik/Millas
All tracks recorded 1965-1968.
This collection of 1965-1968 material, taken from rare regional singles along with a couple of previously unreleased tracks, is far removed from the Ides of March's horn-rock era (as heard on their 1970 hit "Vehicle"), both chronologically and stylistically. When they started, the Ides were a Chicago teen band, recording mostly original songs heavily influenced by folk-rock and the British Invasion, although a few of these cuts do use brass. In general that's good news (and preferable to the horn-rock of their later career), but the harmony-heavy pop/rock of this early work isn't too exciting. In common with several other groups from the Chicago and Midwest areas, the group favored a rather clean-cut, Americanized take on British Invasion bands like the Beatles and the Hollies, though the folk-rock of the Byrds is heard in the guitar arrangements especially. The local Chicago hits "You Wouldn't Listen" (which made number 42 nationally) and "Roller Coaster" are here, but to be tough about it, there's not enough light and shade here to put the Ides on the level of good British Invasion bands, or even of good British Invasion-influenced bands from the same region, such as the New Colony Six. More to the point, there's too much light and not enough shade; although the harmonies are fairly impressive and the execution polished, the material is too often sunnily bland. The great exception to that is the riveting, raw folk-rocker "I'll Keep Searching," buried on a B-side, which has great bittersweet melodic hooks, melancholy harmonies, and dramatic stop-start tempos. The disc includes two 1965 songs that they recorded as the Shondels on a super-rare self-released 45, as well as the previously unreleased originals "One and One Does Not Make Three" and "I'll Take You Back." The latter of these, an uncommonly moody tune, is actually a highlight of the collection.
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