Uncut (6/03, p.134) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...A dream-pop delight, boasting country picking, drifting psych-lite and 24-carat Sebastian pop mastery..."
Dirty Linen (8/03, p.85) - "...HUMS OF THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL arguably represented the group's pinnacle..."
The Lovin' Spoonful: John Sebastian, Zal Yanovsky, Steve Boone, Joe Butler.
Additional personnel: Henry Diltz (clarinet); Larry Hankin (Jew's harp).
Originally released on Kama Sutra (8054). Includes liner notes by Dennis Diken.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Henry Diltz (clarinet); Larry Hankin (Jew's harp).
Photographer: Henry Diltz.
Having released two previous albums and a soundtrack, along with a stream of singles, over the previous 12-and-a-half months, the Lovin' Spoonful assembled their third regular studio LP, Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, for release around Thanksgiving 1966. It contained the group's chart-topping single from the previous June, "Summer in the City," along with September's Top Ten hit "Rain on the Roof" (curiously titled "You and Me and Rain on the Roof" on the LP). Released simultaneously with the album and included on it were the two songs from the next single, "Nashville Cats," which became the band's seventh consecutive Top Ten entry, and "Full Measure," a B-side featuring drummer Joe Butler on lead vocals that scraped into the singles chart. Those were the money songs, although Bobby Darin discovered the leadoff track, "Lovin' You," and quickly covered it for a Top 40 hit, and the moody "Coconut Grove," a tribute to Fred Neil, would become a permanent part of Spoonful leader John Sebastian's repertoire in his solo career. An emphasis on the parts of the album is a way of describing it as more of a loose collection of disparate tracks than a unified effort, despite Sebastian's hand in all the compositions and his lead vocals on most of them. This was by necessity, but also by design, since Sebastian and co. went into the studio trying to sound completely different each time. They often succeeded: except for the vocal similarity, the rock band playing "Summer in the City" and the caustic, autobiographical "4 Eyes" doesn't sound much like the country unit picking its way through "Lovin' You" and "Nashville Cats." Sebastian may have been an obvious New Yorker (those "yellow Sun records" were from Memphis, not Nashville), but that didn't keep him from expressing his musical passions effectively. ~ William Ruhlmann