Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Hardtimes - Blew Mind (1968)


Hardtimes were a '60s rock band that were dubbed punk rock after the phrase came to be acknowledged. The U.K. release of BLEW MIND is the album's first compact disc pressing. This Rev-Ola catalog item includes the original 1968 World Pacific LP album, the group's final recordings under The New Phoenix, and some singles that were not included on the the original vinyl pressing of the album. 22 tracks total. One of the members was later in Steppenwolf.



San Diego's the Hard Times were a solid garage folk-rock outfit led by two gifted songwriters, Rudy Romero and Bill Richardson, but the band unfortunately never seemed to establish its own identity, drifting between folk-rock, sunshine pop, and a light psychedelia during its short history, breaking up almost immediately after releasing one album, 1967's Blew Mind, which is included here in its entirety along with a handful of non-album 45 releases, making this essentially the group's complete recorded output. There's a lot to like, certainly, from lovely covers of Bob Lind's "Come to Your Window" and Al Kooper's "Sad Sad Sunshine" (which is presented in both the album and single versions) to the spooky, atmospheric "Blew Mind," a Richardson original, and Romero's "Give to Me Your Love" (which was actually recorded under the group name New Phoenix and was produced by Mama Cass Elliot). There's also a lot to scratch one's head about, as well, like the odd, overly baroque version of "Candy Man" which opens this collection, a production approach that is also repeated on Hard Times' ill-advised cover of Donovan's "Colours." One can't help but wonder what might have happened if Romero and Richardson had been allowed to develop the band further on a second album, but that was not to be. When all is said and done, the Hard Times remain an intriguing footnote in the era between mid-'60s folk-rock and the emerging flower power scene of 1967 and 1968. ~ Steve Leggett

Mid Sixties pop/punk band from Los Angeles. They were regulars on Dick Clark's famed TV Show 'Where The Action Is'. The group included Larry Byrom (Steppenwolf), & Paul Wheatbread ( Gary Puckett And The Union Gap) 1st time on CD, this has 10 rare bonus tracks. The entire 1968 World Pacific label album, non-LP singles and the group's last two recordings as the New Phoenix that were produced by Mama Cass Elliot.

Personnel: Nick Robbins, Joe Foster (synthesizer).

Liner Note Author: Steve Stanley.



First time on CD for 1968 album from San Diego act who were regulars on Dick Clark's 'Where The Action Is' with The Robbs & Paul Revere & The Raiders. Includes the entire World Pacific album, non-LP singles, & their last two recordings (as the New Phoenix which were produced by Mama Cass Elliot). Features 22 tracks including 10 bonus tracks, 'You're Bound To Cry', 'There'll Be A Time', 'That's All I'll Do', 'Come To Your Window', 'They Said No', 'Sad Sad Sunshine' (Mono 45), 'Fortune Teller' (Mono 45), 'Goodbye' (Mono 45), 'Give To Me Your Love' (The New Phoenix) & 'Thanks' (The New Phoenix). 



San Diego's the Hard Times were a solid garage folk-rock outfit led by two gifted songwriters, Rudy Romero and Bill Richardson, but the band unfortunately never seemed to establish its own identity, drifting between folk-rock, sunshine pop, and a light psychedelia during its short history, breaking up almost immediately after releasing one album, 1967's Blew Mind, which is included here in its entirety along with a handful of non-album 45 releases, making this essentially the group's complete recorded output. There's a lot to like, certainly, from lovely covers of Bob Lind's "Come to Your Window" and Al Kooper's "Sad Sad Sunshine" (which is presented in both the album and single versions) to the spooky, atmospheric "Blew Mind," a Richardson original, and Romero's "Give to Me Your Love" (which was actually recorded under the group name New Phoenix and was produced by Mama Cass Elliot). There's also a lot to scratch one's head about, as well, like the odd, overly baroque version of "Candy Man" which opens this collection, a production approach that is also repeated on Hard Times' ill-advised cover of Donovan's "Colours." One can't help but wonder what might have happened if Romero and Richardson had been allowed to develop the band further on a second album, but that was not to be. When all is said and done, the Hard Times remain an intriguing footnote in the era between mid-'60s folk-rock and the emerging flower power scene of 1967 and 1968. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi


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