Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Music Explosion - Little Bit O' Soul (1967)

One-hit-wonder Ohio garage band that reached number two in 1967 with "Little Bit O'Soul," a great gutsy pop/rock number with a classic bass-organ riff. Whatever personality they may have had was coated in the studio by producers Jeffrey Katz and Jerry Kasenetz, who would soon help create bubblegum with acts like the 1910 Fruitgum Co. and the Ohio Express. The Music Explosion didn't have nearly as juvenile a sound as those groups, but they never latched onto another piece of material nearly as attention grabbing as "Little Bit O'Soul," entering the Top 100 only once more with the tiny hit "Sunshine Games."

EP The Music Explosion - A little bit o' soul (1967)

The Music Explosion - Little Bit O' Soul [Laurie]

The Music Explosion's only album, released in mid-1967, was unfortunately typical of the more hastily assembled packages by one-hit wonders of the time. It had the hit ("Little Bit o' Soul"), its B-side ("I See the Light"), and ten other songs, most of them written by their producers, with covers of "96 Tears" and Terry Knight's "Love, Love, Love, Love, Love" thrown in. Unsurprisingly, "Little Bit o' Soul" towers over everything else in the collection as the only really fine cut. The rest is middling garage-pop-rock, with more of a soul influence than was typical for the style. All of the tracks are on the best Music Explosion compilation, Sundazed's Little Bit o' Soul: The Best of the Music Explosion.

Little Bit O' Soul: The Best of the Musical Explosion

This is an improvement over the best previous Music Explosion compilation, One Way's Anthology, in that it not only contains all 21 of the songs from that release, but adds three non-LP B-sides not on that CD. Granted, all three of these B-sides are psychedelic instrumentals that most likely feature session players and not the Music Explosion. But those are rather cool tracks, in the manner of the trippy fuzz guitar-organ psychedelic songs heard on soundtracks to films exploiting the hippie movement. More importantly, perhaps, the package also includes respectful detailed liner notes, with quotes from several bandmembers. All that borne in mind, you still can't get around the fact that the group didn't have anything too great to offer other than "Little Bit o' Soul." They did virtually no original material, and their songs were average, OK-to-unexciting pop garage rock with a bit of soul and bubblegum, though Jamie Lyons was an above-average singer for bands of this type, with a grittier and more soul-influenced style than the norm. Interestingly, the liner notes say "Stay by My Side," the folk-rock-influenced B-side of their first single and one of their best and harder-rocking cuts, was a band original, though it got credited to their producers. Incidentally, this doesn't quite round up every last track credited to the band in the 1960s, as it's missing a few 1968-1969 B-sides. Nor does it have any of the sides Lyons did for Laurie on his own, billed as a solo artist or with the Jamie Lyons Group.

Thanks Cor !!!

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