Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Leaves - All The Good That's Happening (1967)

One of the first L.A. folk-rock groups to spring up in the wake of the Byrds in the mid-'60s, the Leaves are most remembered for recording the first — and one of the most successful — rock versions of "Hey Joe," which reached the Top 40 (and was a huge California hit) in 1966.

 None of their other releases approached this success (although "Too Many People" was a local hit), but the group recorded a fair number of strong covers and original songs during their brief existence. More explicitly Stones and Beatles-influenced than the Byrds, they didn't project as strong an identity as competitors like the Byrds or Love, despite displaying considerable talent for harmony rockers in both the folk-rock and British Invasion styles. After cutting some singles and an album for the tiny Mira label, they moved to Capitol and disbanded after a disappointing follow-up (All the Good That's Happening, 1967) that offered less distinguished material and a more diluted sound. Leaves bassist Jim Pons went on to join the Turtles for a while in the late '60s. ~ Richie Unterberger

1. THE LEAVES - Twilight Sanctuary (2:35)

2. THE LEAVES - One In The Middle (2:33)

3. THE LEAVES - On The Plane (2:34)

4. THE LEAVES - Officer Shayne (2:50)

5. THE LEAVES - Let's Get Together (2:50)

6. THE LEAVES - Introduction To A Cartoon Show (0:34)

7. THE LEAVES - With None Shoes (2:20)

8. THE LEAVES - To Try For The Sun (2:58)

9. THE LEAVES - Codine (3:55)

10. THE LEAVES - Flashback (The Rhythm Thing) (4:16)

11. THE LEAVES - The Quieting Of Oliver Tweak (The Stone Freak) (2:22)

12. THE LEAVES - Lemmon Princess (2:02)

An uneven album, and understandably so because the group was disintegrating at the time it was made. The band's folk-rock sound is still its strongest side, and they play hard on numbers like "Twilight Sanctuary" and "With None Shoes," and give good accounts of Donovan's "To Try For the Sun" and Buffy St. Marie's "Codine." They get into a good dance groove on a cover of Jimmy Reed's "Let's Get Together" and the band original "Officer Shayne" (spoiled by a silly chorus), and achieve a sweet, languid spaciness on "On the Plane." Much of the rest is weak, however, and the group's psychedelic efforts here, "The Quieting of Oliver Tweak" and "Lemmon Princess," are embarrassingly fey compared with the psychedelic numbers on their prior album. Only Bobby Arlin was left at the finish of the sessions, and he padded the album out with the guitar-dominated, almost totally instrumental blues-oid "Flashback." The sound on the One Way CD is good and crisp. ~ Bruce Eder
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