Category: Harpers Bizarre

Harpers Bizarre -Feelin’ Groovy: The Best of Harpers Bizarre

ARTIST: Harpers Bizarre MI0000127413
TITLE: Feelin’ Groovy: The Best of Harpers Bizarre
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
SINGLES: Charted: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) (#13), Come to the Sunshine (#37), Chattanooga Choo Choo (#45), Anything Goes (#43)
LINEUP: Ted Templeman, Dick Scoppettone, Eddie James, Dick Yount, John Petersen. Arrangers and session musicians included Van Dyke Parks and Harry Nilsson.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Bright, cheery, sunshine pop group that was pillowy soft with light arrangments and twee vocal harmonies.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They may have been a little subversive, in putting a few wink, wink references in their songs, and they did cover songs by Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks and Paul Simon, but at times their overt sweet harmonies and arrangements are a bit much. Their covers of Newman’s work remove the bitterness a bit too much.

The highlight for me is “Come to the Sunshine”, a Parks number containing the lines “You know I know you know that I love you”. They had hits on adult contemporary radio more than pop radio, so I don’t know if they were really successful or not in trying to add a little bite to the music that squares listen to. You also have to wonder how they did this stuff live. I can’t imagine them taking a string and woodwind section on tour. A bassoon is hard to fit in a van packed with amps and gear.

I’m a Sunshine Pop guy and at times this is a bit much. It is well arranged and well sung; the Association would have killed for some of their vocal arrangements. They did have good taste in material. One song at a time is fine, but a 14-track album can overload your blood sugar.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Templeman later became a big time producer, famous for several rock records in the 70s and 80s. He’s the producer David Lee Roth badgers in the classic Van Halen song “Unchained”.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple of other worthless covers are attached.

GRADE: C+: It all depends on your tolerance for overly sweet sunshine pop – can you eat three cotton candies in a row?