The Grass Roots – Leaving It All Behind

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Over the course of their first four studio albums, The Grass Roots had changed artistic directions numerous times. Released in 1969 on Dunhill Records, Leaving It All Behind was no exception. The band had lost lead guitarist, Creed Bratton (yes from The Office), and replaced him with two guitarists and a keyboardist (Terry Furlong, Brian Naughton and Dennis Provisor respectively). With the additional guitarist and a first-ever keyboardist, the band decided to go towards a more blue-eyed soul kind of sound. Over their previous four albums, the band had evolved from folk rock to psychedelic rock to sunshine pop, all of which would continue to influence the band. This new sound yielded the band two charting hits––”Wait a Million Years” and “Heaven Knows”––both which feature Dennis Provisor and horn musicians prominently in addition to Rob Grill’s powerful vocals. While these songs were the most commercially successful ones on the album, they weren’t enough to set the band apart. The songs sounded so similar to other blue-eyed soul and sunshine pop songs of the time, causing them to get lost in the cookie-cutter classics heard on oldies stations today. Despite these more formulaic songs, the band does produce a couple more creative numbers. “Truck Drivin’ Man” is like nothing else on the album; in fact, it sounds more like a folk rock song that one might find on The Grass Roots’ debut album. This song was written by the drummer, Rick Coonce, and is a breath of fresh air on an album that is soaked with low-hanging pop/soul tunes. In addition to the cookie-cutter songs, the band also struggles to fully flesh out some songs. Several songs including “Back to Dreaming Again” and “Walking Through the Country” seem to be decent shells of songs, but they contain too much filler and fluff for the songs to really accomplish anything. By the time the album ends, listeners may feel like they’ve wasted too much time just to hear a couple of decent tracks. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem for The Grass Roots. They never had a really killer studio album because they rushed albums to production with a few decent tracks and a lot of fluff. I have never made this recommendation for any band, but for this band, instead of buying this album, buy one of their many hits records. One of their hits records is equal to one studio album of a fairly decent band from the 60s. C-

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