Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Mojo Men - Dance With Me (1965-1966)

One of the earliest San Francisco rock bands, the Mojo Men had local hits on the Autumn label with "Dance With Me," "She's My Baby," and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Off the Hook" in the mid-'60s. Their early sides displayed a raunchy but thin approach taken from the mold of British Invasion groups like the Stones and Them. In 1966, after female drummer Jan Errico joined from the San Francisco folk-rock group the Vejtables, they moved to Reprise and pursued folky psychedelic pop directions, and had a Top 40 hit with a Baroque arrangement of Buffalo Springfield's "Sit Down I Think I Love You" in 1967. In their later days, they developed more intricate arrangements and harmonies that reflected the influence of the Mamas & the Papas and Jefferson Airplane, although they weren't in the same league as those groups. Their many singles never fully displayed the band's considerable songwriting and vocal talents, and after changing their name to the Mojo and finally just Mojo, they disbanded in the late '60s.

A ragtag collection, drawn from their first seven singles and a few unreleased tracks. The later tracks, featuring Errico, are much more ornate productions that sound like a somewhat less refined Mamas & the Papas. A wealth of unreleased material (much of it original) that has circulated among collectors shows them to be a much more interesting group than this album would indicate; unfortunately, this anthology (the only one available) focuses on their more simplistic and derivative numbers

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