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Vanilla Fudge and The Psychedelic Sixties

Vanilla Fudge, John Fred & His Playboy Band & The Cryan Shames

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Album Review

In a debut consisting of covers, nobody could accuse Vanilla Fudge of bad taste in their repertoire; with stoned-out, slowed-down versions of such then-recent classics as "Ticket to Ride," "Eleanor Rigby," and "People Get Ready," they were setting the bar rather high for themselves. Even the one suspect choice — Sonny Bono's "Bang Bang" — turns out to be rivaled only by Mott the Hoople's version of "Laugh at Me" in putting Bono's songwriting in the kindest possible light. Most of the tracks here share a common structure of a disjointed warm-up jam, a Hammond-heavy dirge of harmonized vocals at the center, and a final flat-out jam. Still, some succeed better than others: "You Keep Me Hanging On" has a wonderfully hammered-out drum part, and "She's Not There" boasts some truly groovy organ jams. While the pattern can sound repetitive today, each song still works as a time capsule of American psychedelia.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Vanilla Fudge was one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal. While the band did record original material, they were best-known for their loud, heavy, slowed-down arrangements of contemporary pop songs, blowing them up to epic proportions and bathing them in a trippy, distorted haze. Originally, Vanilla Fudge was a blue-eyed soul cover band called the Electric Pigeons, who formed in Long Island, New York, in 1965. Organist Mark Stein, bassist Tim Bogert, and...
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