Thursday, August 31, 2023

Andrew Gold - The Fraternal Order of the All – Greetings from Planet Love

Andrew Gold was a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer who was best known for his hit songs "Lonely Boy", "Thank You For Being a Friend" and in the UK "Never Let Her Slip Away".  He was also the arranger and multi-instrumentalist for Linda Ronstadt on three of her albums, and along with 10cc bassist and guitarist Graham Gouldman, was half of the duo Wax (Wax UK in the US), who released four albums in the eighties and nineties.  In 1997 he decided to record an album that was a tribute to sixties psychedelic rock and released Greeting From Planet Love under the fictitious band name The Fraternal Order of the All.  Now, thanks to Esoteric Records, this out-of-print gem has been reissued on CD and limited edition 10" splatter vinyl.  With the exception of a few guest appearances on a couple of tracks, Gold played and sang everything and also wrote or co-wrote all but one song and produced all but two.  Throughout the twenty songs, which includes several short instrumentals and musical interludes, Gold presents an outstanding collection of tunes that do a fantastic job of re-creating the sounds and styles of that era.  Following the short, tripped out, largely instrumental title track that introduces the album, he heads into Beatles territory for the first time with the Sergeant Peppers era psychedelia of “Rainbow People”.  He also closes the album with another Beatles influenced track, “Tomorrow Drop Dead”, which is full of backwards guitar and brings to mind “Paperback Writer” meshed with “Tomorrow Never Knows”.  The psychedelic “Love Tonight” is very reminiscent of The Beach Boys along with “Time Is Standing Still”, a gorgeously produced Brian Wilson like track with layers of beautiful vocal harmonies, a chorus and other bells and whistles.  Amazingly, “Ride The Snake” is a dead ringer for The Doors, complete with organ and very Morrison-like vocals, and if you didn’t know any better you would think “Space and Time” really was The Byrds, with its incredible “Eight Mile High” like guitar work.  A couple of songs are an interesting meshing of styles and influences like “Mr Plastic Business Man”, a combination of psychedelic era Beatles with Dylan like vocals and lyrics, and “Wink of the Third Eye”, mixing the quirkier sounds of The Beatles with The Beach Boys.  Some of the other highlights include “Tuba Rye and Will’s Son / Balloon In The Sky”, a complex track that channels both The Beach Boys and some ELO with more strong vocal harmonies and carousel organ, and “Freelove Baby”, a funky freakbeat tune with great guitar along with some sitar and horns.  Ironically, quite possibly the best track here is “King Of Showbiz” (co-written with Gouldman), an extremely catchy song that brings to mind the best of mid-seventies power pop and therefore is a step away from the sixties psychedelia of the rest of the album.  Several of the aforementioned shorter interludes are also worthy of a mention including the swirling psychedelic “Swirl”, “It Has No Eyes But Sight” and “Groovy Party at Jimmy’s Magic Pad”, an instrumental with funk-tinged psychedelic guitar and sound effects that just like the title says, sounds like what you would hear in the background of a sixties era movie party scene.  Greetings From Planet Love is like a compilation album of some of the greatest hits of the sixties that you've never heard. 

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