Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Turtles - Present the Battle of the Bands

 The Turtles - Present the Battle of the Bands

The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands is the band's fourth album and was released in 1968 on White Whale Records and the follow up to the Happy Together album. Battle of the Bands is a concept record with the Turtles pretending to be 11 different bands, playing different styles in a "Battle of the Bands" competition. We get some surf music, bluegrass, country, hard rock and some psychedelic pop all performed by different "bands". The Turtles dressed in evening dress on the album's cover act as hosts of the "Battle of the Bands". The inside gatefold showed the Turtles dressed up as the 11 different bands.  

The album was produced by Chip Douglas, who had played bass with The Trutles in 1966 and also masterminded some of The Monkees biggest hits.  While the album bombed at No. 128 in the US Billboard Chart compared to its predecessor's top 30 placing it did produce big hit singles in Elenore and You Showed Me. Both singles charted at No. 6.

The album was poorly received upon its original release, something which frustrated co-frontman Howard Kaylan. "Battle of the Bands was our Sergeant Pepper. It was actually a wonderful idea," Kaylan told Altsounds, "it still bugs me, all these years later, that it was under-appreciated by the music critics upon its release, despite yielding two top ten records. We performed in the styles of all these different bands and took costumed photographs of each group - quite the concept, but some people, like Rolling Stone at the time, thought that we were trying to rip off the Mothers of Invention for some reason. Baffling. I was happy with it then, and I still think it's the strongest stand-alone album that the band ever recorded."

The 11 bands featured on The Battle of the Bands were:

1. The U.S. Teens featuring Raoul, 
2. The Atomic Enchilada (a trippy 60s psychedelic sound), 
3. Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim & Al (this band's contribution to the "Battle" was Elenore), 
4. The Quad City Ramblers (an old-fashioned country band), 
5. The L.A. Bust '66 (progressive, White boy blues), 
6. The Fabulous Dawgs' (heavy guitar fuzz and a Hammond organ on this instrumental), 
7. The Cross Fires (a tribute to surf-rock and The Beach Boys), 
8. Chief Kamanawanalea and his Royal Macadamia Nuts (a jam song), 
9. Nature's Children (singing the Byrds' Preflyte-era You Showed Me, a huge hit for The Turtles), 
10. The Bigg Brothers, 
11. Fats Mallard and the Bluegrass Fireball (bluegrass country music). 
12. The final song on the record is credited to "All" (hippie ecology, folk-pop anthem)

The U.S. Teens featuring Rauol - The Battle of the Bands
(Opens the album, kinda like the opening of Sgt. Pepper's.)

The Atomic Enchilada - The Last Thing I Remember, the First Thing I Knew

Howie, Mark, Jonny, Jim and Al - Elenore
(The big hit off the album and followed Happy Together into the Top 10)

Quad City Ramblers - Too Much Heartsick Feeling
(Country Music)

Surfer Dan - The Cross Fires
(Surf Music)

Nature's Children - You Showed Me
(Written by Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark of The Byrds,
this was the last major Turtles hit)

The band would return in 1969 with their last album, the brilliant Ray Davies produced Turtle Soup. The Turtles wound down their career in 1970 and Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan joined The Mothers of Invention as Flo & Eddie (White Whale Records had copyright over The Turtles name and the names Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan in a musical context). 

1 comment:

The Underground of Happiness said...

fantastic stuff
i'll be checking that out
if anything, madder than zappa