|Rat on a Mat||Rhandy Chapmann||3:10|
|Hey You||Rhandy Chapmann||2:35|
|Momma's I.V.||Rhandy Chapmann||1:17|
|Out in the Cold||Rhandy Chapmann||3:37|
|Hay or Hey||Rhandy Chapmann||2:28|
|Attack of the Kazoo; Bless You||Rhandy Chapmann||2:12|
|Coach J Does Yoga||Rhandy Chapmann||3:39|
|Vagabond of Love||Rhandy Chapmann||4:16|
|Wanna Woman||Rhandy Chapmann||3:35|
Though the Turtles were rightfully known as an excellent pop/rock singles band, on this recording they let loose their humor, which was part of their act from the beginning. On the outside cover the group is dressed in conservative suits and bow ties, yet on the inside the group is clad in, shall it be tastefully said, less traditional attire. The Turtles (who wrote nine of the 12 songs on the original LP, two songs being added to the CD) basically mock the entire spectrum of music on this album, though elements of their pop/rock sound are contained even in the most country, psychedelic, and R&B elements of the music presented here. Two Top Ten hits are contained in this collection, Roger McGuinn's "You Showed Me" and the Turtles own subtly mocking "Elenore." Light psychedelia meets Booker T. & the MG's in the instrumental "Buzzsaw." The Beach Boys sound shows up in "Surfer Dan," and the original album closer "Earth Anthem" is a hippie ecology, folk-pop anthem that is both very pretty and quite satirical -- a listener could easily lose himself in the fine melody and atmospheric production, while laughing at the same time. The only potential problem with this album is that it is caught in the middle between two extremes: On the one hand, non-mainstream listeners will criticize the album for sounding too commercial, and, on the other, typical Turtles fans will find the album too sophisticated, especially if they are looking for another album like Happy Together. Between these two points of view falls an excellent album that is both commercial and comical, as if both of these elements couldn't coincide in one album.
In 1977, 1978, and 1979, Gladys Knight & the Pips put a lot of effort into recording separately. Minus Knight, the Pips recorded two LPs as a trio (1977's At Last The Pips and 1978's Callin', both on Casablanca), while Knight provided her first two solo albums (1978's Miss Gladys Knight on Buddah/Arista and 1979's Gladys Knight on Columbia). But by 1980, the group itself was their top priority again. The R&B department at Columbia had very high hopes for this album, and they weren't disappointed. Both creatively and commercially, About Love was Gladys Knight & the Pips' most successful album since 1974's I Feel a Song. The people they can thank for the album's excellence are the husband and wife team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who wrote and produced all of the material. The ballad "Landlord" soared to number three on Billboard's R&B singles charts, and the uptempo dance items "Bourgie, Bourgie" (originally recorded by Ashford & Simpson as an instrumental) and "Taste of Bitter Love" also became hits.
Meanwhile, About Love also contains its share of gems that weren't released as singles, including the dramatic "Add It Up" and the smooth "Friendly Persuasion." This impressively consistent LP indicated that Gladys Knight & the Pips still had a lot of life left in them as a group, and sure enough, they stayed together for another ten years before parting company for good in 1990.
Charles Manson's most famous recording was made on September 11, 1967 and released as an LP in 1970 while the Tate/La Bianca murders and subsequent Manson Family trials were still headline news. The album cover is an altered version of Manson's likeness as it appeared on the cover of Life Magazine on December 19, 1969. On the record jacket the "F" has been removed, transforming "LIFE" into "LIE" in graphic denial of Manson's guilt. Certainly Manson played up to the sensationalism, mugging for the cameras like Aleister Crowley or Arthur Brown, bulging his eyes like Beelzebub, carving a swastika into his forehead, and spouting stream of consciousness yang with nothing-to-lose-audacity. The mass media's portrayal of Manson as the archetypal homicidal freak (forever stamped with the meaningless word "hippie") permanently tarnished the common perception of '60s counterculture and rendered some of its social agenda wrongfully suspect by association. For the listener to accurately comprehend the music on this recording, an extra helping of context is in order. Composer John Moran, whose The Manson Family: An Opera adds several dimensions to an already loaded equation, has stated that ''Until the murders, psychedelia had been associated with the idea of love. After Manson, and because of the way the media portrayed him, psychedelia became associated with flipping out and violence and fear." He also adds: ''People forget that cults are not just fringe groups. America is a cult. All countries use cult techniques.
They teach you that anything outside the cult is evil and to be feared, and they constantly inundate us with slogans. We like to think that we're past propaganda, but we are subjected to it all the time, through the media and through our friends. What is commonly called a cult is just smaller.''Manson's main cultural influences (outside of prison) seem to have been L. Ron Hubbard, Robert A. Heinlein, and the Beatles. To some extent he thought he was the fifth Beatle, and a sitar was incorporated into some of the mixes in order to drive home the point. "Look at Your Game Girl" embodies Manson's fundamental approach to influencing young women by targeting their socially imposed hang-ups and implying that his way is better and more liberating. This is problematic considering his remarkable knack for mind control. Manson insisted that the "Ego" needed to be done away with, preferably by massive doses of LSD and prolonged bouts of sexual intercourse. "Cease to Exist" also references this process ("...give up your world...") while imploring "I'm your kind -- I'm your kind -- and I love you -- "never learn not to love," , followed by the manipulative suggestion: "submission is a gift, give it to your brother."Dennis Wilson's entanglement with the Manson Family resulted in a cover of this song by the Beach Boys, retitled "Never Learn Not to Love" and included on their album 20/20. Hearing Manson's original and the Beach Boys' cover back to back is an unforgettable experience, particularly when the popular group's coordinated vocal arrangement kicks in and a sort of imitation Moody Blues "aum" trope appears as if to certify that the composer of the song was a spiritually advanced being. "Cease to Exist" (often mistitled "Cease to Exit") is one of Manson's signature performances, and has justifiably invited comparison with Jim Croce and José Feliciano. Parallels could also be drawn with Cat Stevens, Don McLean, Harry Chapin, John Denver. and one of Manson's ex-buddies, Bobby Beausoleil.Charles Manson was a byproduct of the United States penal system, and his ideology was largely shaped by what he learned in reformatories and prisons prior to being paroled in 1967. Within the largely female-inhabited circle that came to surround him, several attributes of the burgeoning counterculture were in place, including communalism, vegetarianism, and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol and Charlie's own patriarchal, hierarchic brand of communalism. Conspicuously absent were of course non-violence, feminism (Manson's women were peculiarly subservient), and an informed awareness of the wrong-headedness of racism. Among the Mansonites, this fundamental aspect of '60s youth culture at its most promising seems to have been entirely eclipsed by white supremacist theories which are still firmly entrenched in the prison system. One of the cornerstones of the counterculture was and is the awareness that institutionalized racism is a lie rooted in ignorance and therefore something to rebel against. Given that the Civil Rights Movement was one of the basic building blocks of progressive activism during the '60s, for the Manson Family to be stereotyped as hippies while espousing a racist worldview is one of the great ironies of this wretched story. Another huge misconception is that barbaric, bloody homicides were committed by people who were heavily dosed with LSD. While large quantities of acid were in fact used by Manson to break down the egos of his followers, by the time he sent "assassins" to slaughter people in their own homes, his secret weapon was amphetamine, the same drug that enabled storm troopers and kamikaze pilots to achieve their goals during the Second World War."Mechanical Man" is a striking example of the Manson Family as a renegade performance troupe whose voices and instruments mimic the workings of an automated system in need, perhaps, of disassembling. "People Say I'm No Good" typifies Manson's wistful if stubborn response to a lifetime of being ostracized and alienated. It also contains language implying that young people know more about life than mature adults; he would still be using this line years later as a mature adult playing his guitar inside the lockup at San Quentin. "I'll Never Say Never to Always" is a jingle sung by the Manson girls. Lasting less than a minute, it seems largely to be composed of rhythmic phrases learned from Manson. Towards the end of the song, cooing babies may be heard in the background. "Garbage Dump" is by far the most enduringly relevant of these Manson songs, because it makes a legitimate point about wasted resources and our nation's failure to distribute food properly. Among the widely circulated images of family members is a photograph of several individuals merrily engaged in dumpster diving behind a supermarket, rescuing discarded fruits and vegetables which would be used to nourish occupants of the communal homestead back at the Ranch. This was authentic countercultural resourcefulness, and thousands of furry freaks employed it nationwide in order to survive. Even if Manson's rhyming of "dump" and "lump" seems puerile, there's nothing silly about the line "you can feed the world with your garbage dump." That point of view has been articulated by many others, including outspoken performance poet John Giorno. "Arkansas" has a haunting quality that is enhanced by the harmonizing voices of family members, and here one can easily imagine what it was like to sing along with Manson round the fire at Spahn Ranch. This album was reissued in 1993, and in 2006 by ESP-Disk with 12 extra tracks.