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Various Artists: Happy Lovin' Time: Sunshine Pop from the Garpax Vaults

Track List

>Make Up Your Mind - Augie Moreno
>Dandelion Wine [Stereo Mix of Mercury] - The Whatt Four (remix)
>Thinking Animal, The - New Wing (mono)
>Christina, In My Dreams - Curt Boettcher
>Happy Lovin' Time - The Black Box (mono)
>Ostrich People [Stereo Mix of In-Sound 403/Era 3185] - Chocolate Tunnel (remix)
>She Loves Me - Dave Antrell
>How Many Times - Jim Gordon
>Games - The Bogart Cult
>Bad Sign [Stereo Mix of Columbia 2750 (Canada)] - The Jaybees (remix)
>Am I Wastin' My Time - Johnny Apollo
>Clean Up Your Own Backyard - The Bakersfield Poppy Pickers (remix)
>Nowhere to Go [Stereo Mix of Decca 32070] - The Four Freshmen (remix)
>Is It Love - Willie & the Walkers (mono)
>Savin' (Everything for You Girl) [Stereo Mix of Pace 16-867 (Canada)] - The Lords (remix)
>Stay - Curt Boettcher
>You Take Things Lightly Babe - Dave Antrell
>Highly Successful Young Rupert White [Stereo Mix of Capitol 72530, The (Cananda)] - Privilege (remix)
>Is It Better to Live or to Die [Stereo Mix of Pace 18-1166 (Canada)] - Mary Saxton (remix)
>Don't Put Me Down - The Lords (mono)
>It's Written All Over My Face - The Bakersfield Poppy Pickers
>Who Do You Think You Are [Stereo Mix of Columbia 2750 (Canada)] - The Jaybees (remix)
>Dirt Beneath My Feet - Homogenized Dirt
>I Never Wanna Hurt You - Dave Antrell

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Alec Palao.

One of the great eccentric pop producers of the '60s, Gary S. Paxton first scored with the early-'60s novelty singles "Alley Oop" and "Monster Mash," and a decade later he decamped for Nashville, where he got straight and found religion. In between those two extremes, he scored smash hits with the Association and Tommy Roe, and those singles are the touchstones for Happy Lovin' Time: Sunshine Pop from the Garpax Vaults, a spectacular collection of 24 Paxton-produced rarities from the late '70s. Most of these recordings -- a good chunk of which are unreleased; 13 of the 24, to be exact -- were made in 1966 and 1967, which is when Paxton headquartered his Garpax Studios in Hollywood, instructing the Four Freshmen on how to sing harmonies as he foraged a fruitful partnership with Curt Boettcher. "Nowhere to Go," that Four Freshmen 45, is here, as are the unreleased Boettcher numbers "Stay" and "Christina, In My Dreams," along with other collaborations with Curt. Boettcher was a good match for Paxton, ratcheting up his majestic instincts, but what's striking about Happy Lovin' Time is the extent of the producer's quirks, how he'd throw everything into the mix, balancing freaked-out fuzz guitars with blaring horns, undercutting a soul groove with harpsichords, and sliding harmonies into a bath of liquid echoes. All this studio flair is very trippy and very Southern Californian; the sides Paxton recorded in Bakersfield prior to leaving for Nashville aren't of a piece with this lush studio craft, there's not a bit of prescient country-rock. That ingenious use of the studio -- colorful and willful without being self-consciously strange -- is what makes Happy Lovin' Time such a delight. Sure, some of the songs are tightly written or boast hooks that carve their way into the cranium, but it's those sounds, softly swirling yet slyly insistent, that make this collection such a blast and such a valuable document of the swinging '60s L.A. underbelly. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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