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Green Tambourine - The Best of The Lemon Pipers

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Album Review

This compilation is the first thorough domestic U.S. release to gather tracks from both out of print Lemon Pipers albums. Although known primarily for their international, ersatz, hippy, bubblegum pop anthem "Green Tambourine," the quintet's formidable musical chops and material are displayed at the center of Green Tambourine: The Best of the Lemon Pipers. During their brief existence, the Lemon Pipers had two additional charting hits — "Rice Is Nice" and "Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade)" — for music mogul Neil Bogart's Kama Sutra label. Bogart was already hosting a number of successful bubblegum bands such as Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Company. His hugely thriving production team featured Jerry Kasenetz and the Jeff Katz-scouted Ivan and the Sabers — a local Oxford, Ohio band. The Pipers were self-contained instrumentally, but Bogart and company supplied the tunes. The team of producer/composer Paul Leka and lyricist Shelley Pinz provided the Lemon Pipers with a great deal of their material. When left to their own devices, the band ironically had very little in common with the sounds on the chart-topping "Green Tambourine." On the whole, the group falls somewhere between the over the top pseudo-psychedelia of the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the garage pop of the Blues Magoos. There are a few gems on Green Tambourine: The Best of the Lemon Pipers. The trippy "Catch Me Falling" takes on dimensions of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Buffalo Springfield, and the innovative fretwork of a Jorma Kaukonen-propelled Jefferson Airplane. "Dead End Street/Half Life" — the 11-minute epic that rounds out this compilation — recalls the indulgence of "In a Gadda Da Vida." However, variations in instrumentation as well as tempo are actually more akin to the Grateful Dead's "Cryptical Envelopment" suite. The sound on Green Tambourine: The Best of the Lemon Pipers is brilliant, leaving previous compilations and the European CD pressings sounding thin in comparison.


Formed: 1967 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s

The Lemon Pipers included singer Ivan Browne, guitarist Bill Bartlett, keyboardist R.G. Nave, bassist Steve Walmsley, and drummer William Albaugh. The group is best known for its number one bubblegum hit "Green Tambourine" and several follow-ups, all written by the team of Paul Leka and Shelley Pinz. The Lemon Pipers actually wanted to play more psychedelic music; they only recorded "Green Tambourine" because their label would have dropped them had they refused. They eventually got the artistic control...
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