The Peppermint Rainbow – Will You Be Staying After Sunday

ImageThe Peppermint Rainbow first came to notoriety after Mama Cass Elliot from The Mamas and the Papas recommended them to Decca Records after attending one of their shows. The band was soon signed, and in 1969 they released Will You Be Staying After Sunday. Although this would be there one and only record, they seemed to have left their mark on the sunshine pop genre. Several of the album’s songs, most notably the title track “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” and “Walking in Different Circles,” feature prominent upbeat vocal harmonies and simplistic yet catchy rhythms. With a good combination of both male and female vocalists, The Peppermint Rainbow thrive in vocal heavy tracks. Interestingly enough, the band also flirts with psychedelic pop on tracks such as “Pink Lemonade” and “Green Tambourine.” These songs (my personal favorites) incorporate traditional psychedelic pop features like distortion and surrealistic lyrics in order break the monotony of incredibly cheerful sunshine pop songs. These two songs do a lot to bring the album familiarity and quality. For all of the positive aspects of the album, Will You Be Staying After Sunday lacks several key things to truly set this album apart. Although The Peppermint Rainbow often sound fresh, they struggle to find their own identity through a myriad of covers and sound-alikes. The album also fails to be consistent. When the tracks aren’t enjoyable, they can be dreadful––songs like “Jamais” and “Sierra (Chasin’ My Dream)” come to mind. This lack of consistency is perhaps why the band’s post-album recordings failed to materialize into a second album despite a mildly popular debut. Overall, this album is a fairly decent 60s sunshine pop album with some very solid tunes. If you enjoy sunshine pop or are willing to dabble outside of your comfort zone, then you should pick up this album. If you are into harder rock ‘n’ roll bands, there’s plenty of other talented bands reviewed below.  B-

The Mugwumps – The Mugwumps

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Yes, I know. For those of you who’ve heard of The Mugwumps, I am fully aware that they aren’t garage rock or protopunk or really similar to anything at all that I’ve previously reviewed on this blog; however, I would consider them underground 60s music. While they did play and record pop songs and their members were very famous, they never became very popular as a group and disbanded soon after they made their first recordings. The Mugwumps, consisting of such members as Mama Cass Elliot and Zal Yanovsky, recorded nine songs in 1964, played a few live shows, and quickly went their separate ways. Fast forward three years: most of the members have been cast into stardom from their other musical projects, so the record company that owned The Mugwumps’ musical rights decides to capitalize on their recent fame by packaging these nine previously unreleased singles as an album; hence, their one and only album, The Mugwumps, released in 1967 on Warner Bros. The fact that these songs were originally shelved and the group quickly disbanded may leave you thinking that the album can’t be very good. But wait… don’t be so quick to judge. Although there are certainly a few songs that were included as filler, there are also a few solid 60s pop rock songs. Songs like “Searchin'” and “I Don’t Wanna Know” start off the album as solid radio-friendly tunes that sound like they could have come from other powerhouse pop rock bands of the time like The Byrds or The Monkees. Neither song is amazing, but both are kind of catchy and worth listening to. Later in the album, The Mugwumps add a touch of psychedelic rock into their pop rock with songs “Do You Know What I Mean” and “Don’t Judge a Book by the Cover.” These songs are even better because it shows the band had a little range and may have even been a little ahead of their time. Another great song on the album is “So Fine.” It’s a pop rock song with a moderate amount of blues flavoring. It also has perhaps the best guitar and harmonica work on the album. That being said, my favorite song is “Do What They Don’t Say.” I’m hesitant to say that it’s the best on the album, but it’s my favorite because it is definitely the most interesting. As strange as it sounds, “Do What They Don’t Say” is a pop rock song with a reggae beat. I know that reggae hadn’t really been developed yet, but either the band stumbled into a unique sound or one of the members had heard ska music (reggae’s predecessor). Either way the song combines American pop vocals with Jamaican-influenced rhythm. Unfortunately, the other three songs on the album seem (at least to me) to be of a vastly inferior quality. I theorize that they were included to stretch the album from an EP to an LP. Overall, The Mugwumps contains some surprising quality. Many of the tunes are not only listenable but also extremely enjoyable. It’s unfortunate that the band never gave it another chance. I believe that they could’ve used this album as a solid base and improved upon it immensely. Nevertheless, this album stands on its own feet and provides some solid 60s underground music and a brief glimpse into an interesting point of rock ‘n’ roll history.  B-