Collection of rare recordings by posthumously-recognised sunshine pop genius.
Any musician or music producer whose name goes on to become synonymous with a particular genre must have been doing something right. In Curt Boettcher's case that genre was sunshine pop. In the latter half of the sixties studio technology was expanding at the same rate as the imaginations of the people who used them. Music entered what scientists like to call “a purple patch”. The most obvious example of this alignment of stars would be the Beatles creating their sonic masterpieces in London's Abbey Road Studios, or Brian Wilson in making “teenage symphonies to God” with the help of his brothers, a cousin, some extremely talented session musicians and the best studio technology Los Angeles had to offer.
There were of course others forging similar paths, doing work that pushed the boundaries of what a three-minute pop song could sound like. Boettcher was one such man. And if anecdotal evidence is correct Boettcher actually influenced Brian Wilson with his uplifting, shimmering pop, helping raise the bar for music production as an art-form.
Boettcher was best known for producing hit records for the Association, and for forming rock bands The Ballroom and The Millennium, but he also made vast amounts of recordings with various groups and singers in the studios of LA. Bad deals and bad luck meant he didn't attain fame and financial success. He died in 1987 at the age of 43, at the time largely unrecognised for the work he'd left behind.
Over time interest has grown however and his reputation is now beginning to match the size of his talent. This collection, expertly put together by Steve Stanley, founder of Now Sounds Records, is not a “best of”, but focuses on the work Boettcher did as a producer rather than a performer. It highlight just what a treasure trove the perpetually busy producer left behind. Not only that, it gives a strong sense of what the Californian music scene was all about. Most of the tracks on this compilation were released as singles and have been unavailable and out of print since their initial release.
I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this collection is. There's not a duffer among the CD's 21 tracks (18 on the vinyl version). My own personal highlights include Cindy Malone's stomper 'You Were Near Me', the gentle psych-pop of 'Milk And Honey' by Summer's Children, and Ray Whitley's 'Lorraine' – a masterclass in melancholic melodrama akin to the works of Scott Walker. For the more psychedelically minded there 's Eddie Hodges' ' Shadows and Reflections' or the Latin-influenced 'Enamorado' by Keith Colley. Novelty and light relief get a look in too with Jonathan Moore's camp pastiche of swinging London, 'London Bridge'.
If you're of the belief that the well of '60s music has been drained and exhausted think again. This well-researched, and lovingly annotated collection can only further enhance Boettcher's growing reputation.
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