Six degrees of…

separation?  Kevin Bacon? 

You’ve probably heard about this… the premise being that there is an interrelatedness between individuals (the specific theory stating that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries).  This was later popularized in the person of actor Kevin Bacon.  I’m not trying to defend the theory here… rather,  just wanted to play my own version of “connect the dots”.  In my last (full) post, I finished by playing a short clip… to save you going back, here it is again.

The song was a minor hit for an East Coast band called The Sundowners.  In this post I’m going to try to connect the band to

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. The Monkees
  3. The Association
  4. The American Breed
  5. The Beatles
  6. The Flying Nun (Sally Field)
  7. The Beach Boys

So… first, here’s the song… both as a single and in its album incarnation.  The principal difference comes in the intro.

The single…

The album track…

A good song.  Probably deserved more airplay than it received.

Connections…

#1 and 2 are easy.  Although the band never achieved great fame they did garner sufficient attention to open  for both Jimi Hendrix and The Monkees on tour.  Yes, really… Jimi Hendrix, The Monkees and The Sundowners… together on tour in (I believe) 1967.

#3 One comment under Always You on YouTube suggested  “I would have guessed it was the Association if I didn’t know the artist.”  The rich harmonies certainly would bear out that assumption.  More directly, if you look at the ’45 version (single) on YouTube, you will notice the song is produced by Bones Howe.  Now he’s the guy also produced The Mamas and Papas, The Turtles, Johnny Rivers, The Fifth Dimension and (in this time period) The Association

#4  The American Breed are best known for their hit Bend Me, Shape Me.  They also liked Always You well enough to give it a place on their album Lonely Side of the City in 1968.  

#5 No, they never opened for the Beatles.  But… they could certainly sound Beatlesque.  Here’s probably the best example of them sounding fab fourish

By the way, if you noticed from this particular video clip… I might have added The Rolling Stones and The White House to this list of connections!  So, what did these guys sound like on that Monkees/Hendrix tour?  I came across an audio sample (below) taken from the band live in performance during one of these concerts… so should I now add The Dave Clark Five

#6 This is one I didn’t know until I started cruising YouTube for these video clips.  The band apparently appeared on an episode of The Flying Nun… their role here is self-explanatory (at least as much as you’re going to get from a sixties nun comedy)…

#7  The Beach Boys connection is rather interesting.  The song itself was written by Roger Nichols and Tony Asher.  Now Tony Asher is most famously notable as the lyricist for Brian Wilson on the pivotal Pet Sounds album.  Among his lyrical gems there are God Only Knows and Wouldn’t It Be Nice.  Here’s yet another version of Always You… this time as a demo by composer Nichols and a circle of friends (literally).  [By the way, detour onto Roger Nichols and you’ll end up connecting to Steely Dan, Three Dog Night, The Carpenters, John Denver… amongst others!]

By the way, a caveat… if looking for more Sundowners on YouTube or elsewhere… others have used the same moniker (notably an Australian band).  The vinyl album I have (and it’s a goodie now available on CD) is Captain Nemo

Looking ahead…

Next post we’ll look at a songwriting team you may not know by name… but you’ll most certainly know some of their songs. Meanwhile,  Happy November…

November

by Thomas Hood

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–

No road–no street–
No “t’other side the way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–

No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ’em–
No knowing ’em!

No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No park–no ring–no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
November!

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