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Let's Live for Today

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Album Review

Released in the spring of 1967, Let's Live for Today was almost a musical throwback, steeped in folk-rock, which was fairly passé at the time, rather than psychedelia, but that's what makes it so appealing to listeners today. Listeners in 1967 were probably disappointed that there was nothing on the album as dramatic or memorable as the title track, but everything else is solid folk-rock with a pretty hard edge, which allows it to stand quite well alongside rival releases by the Beau Brummels, the Cryan Shames, the Blue Things, et al. Most of the music here is derived from the P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri songwriting and production team, spiced with four surprisingly strong originals — mostly drawn from the original demo tape that they submitted as the 13th Floor — by the band members themselves. The Sloan-Barri numbers are smooth, hook-laden folk-rock "Things I Should Have Said," "Is It Any Wonder," some of it with a garage band edge, and with elements of mild pop psychedelia ("Wake Up, Wake Up") occasionally manifesting themselves. Sloan and Barri's production gave the music a polish that made it thoroughly commercial without entirely losing sight of the band's fervor; the Grass Roots, only a few months out of playing bowling alleys, rose to the occasion in the singing and the basic playing, but they were also in the hands of two producers who knew how to add such embellishments as an unobtrusive harpsichord or flute over a garage band workout like "Tip of My Tongue," and who also took full advantage of stereo separation. The latter made this album a real treat for the fans, who bought it and got to hear the playing by Sloan (who contributed some guitar), Creed Bratton, and Warren Entner, and the singing by all of them (especially on "Is It Any Wonder") in vivid detail. Also surprising are the group originals, such as Entner and Bratton's "Beatin' Round the Bush" and Bratton's rocking "House of Stone," each of which is a match musically for most of the Sloan-Barri numbers. Admittedly, the lyrics on Sloan and Barri's songs are somewhat more sophisticated than those on most of the group originals, but the simpler words on the latter firm up this album's rock & roll credentials. The CD reissue has decent sound and is worth tracking down as one of the last examples of 1960s commercial folk-rock.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Grass Roots had a series of major hits — most notably "Let's Live for Today," "Midnight Confessions," "Temptation Eyes," and "Two Divided by Love" — that help define the essence of the era's best AM radio. Although the group's members weren't even close to being recognizable, and their in-house songwriting was next to irrelevant, the Grass Roots managed to chart 14 Top 40 hits, including seven gold singles and one platinum single, and two had hits collections that effortlessly went...
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Let's Live for Today, The Grass Roots
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