Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands

Today’s album feature is not what I would call a great album or even a good album, but rather an interesting album. 1968’s “The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands” was the fifth LP for The Turtles.  This particular LP showcased the humor of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan. Later known as The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie and Flo and Eddie, Volman and Kaylan later brought their brand of humor to Franks Zappa’s Mothers of Invention before branching out on their own.

“The Battle of the Bands” was a concept album where every song was supposedly recorded by different bands – although all of the bands were actually The Turtles. While the LP only peaked at #128 in the US, it produced band’s last two Top 40 singles: “Elenore” and “You Showed Me” both charting at #6. I bought the LP as a cutout in the early 70s.

Elenore / Surfer Dan

Originally written as a tongue and cheek response to White Whale Records’ insistence that the band have another hit on the scale of “Happy Together,” the horrendous (but humorous) lyrics didn’t matter and the production was great. The song was credited on the album to Howie, Mark, Johnny, Jim & Al. Mimicking The Beatles, the song ends on a 6th chord.

You got a thing about you
I just can't live without you
I really want you, Elenore, near me
Your looks intoxicate me
Even though your folks hate me
There's no one like you, Elenore, really

Elenore, gee I think you're swell
And you really do me well
You're my pride and joy, et cetera
Elenore, can I take the time
To ask you to speak your mind
Tell me that you love me better

I really think you're groovy
Let's go out to a movie
What do you say, now, Elenore, can we?
They'll turn the lights way down low
Maybe we won't watch the show
I think I love you, Elenore, love me

The flip of the single was a take-off of the surf music style of Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys, Ronnie and the Daytonas, and others. Credited to The Crossfires, the song is a parody of The Turtles who started out as The Crossfires who recorded surf music.

Live Version of Elenore

From the Kraft Music Hall in September 1968, the most amazing thing about this video is the drumming of Johnny Barbata. It was his last album with the band before joining the Jefferson Airplane/Starship.

Oh Daddy

Credited as the LA Bust ’66, it is difficult to classify the type of music on this song. There was a tinge of the vocal bands such as the Mamas and Papas and Spanky and Our Gang, but also a little bit of the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens. But then, there is a Dixieland break in the middle and the talking vocals toward the end. I don’t know what it is, but I like it.


Listed as The Fabulous Dawgs, “Buzzsaw” starts out like Memphis instrumental ala Bill Black’s Combo and Booker T & the MGs. Again, so different I can classify it.

You Showed Me

One of the first songs written by Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn, “You Showed Me” never appeared on an original Columbia album by The Byrds, but was featured on Together Records’ issue of the Preflyte LP in 1969. It was The Turtles last Top 40 hit. I love the synth on this. The alias used on the album for this song was Nature’s Children. It is a great example of the singing prowess of Flo and Eddie.

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