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Sunshine Girl: The Complete Recordings

The Parade

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Album Review

Although the Parade had planned to release an LP titled Sunshine Girl in 1968, that record failed to appear when A&M shelved it. This 23-song 2009 CD compilation is a kind of belated substitute for the record, including both sides of all six of the singles they issued in 1967 and 1968; a couple other tracks, "Lovers," and "Kinda Wasted Without You"; some demos and alternate/mono/45 mixes; recordings by the Roger Nichols Trio and Smokey Roberds in which some members were involved; and even a 1965 acetate by Connie Austin of a soul-pop song written by Paraders Murray MacLeod and Smokey Roberds. The crucial half of the disc are the dozen tracks from those 1967-1968 singles, starting with the 1967 Top 20 hit "Sunshine Girl," which is now regarded as one of the core anthems of the sunshine pop genre. While nothing else has the obvious hit singalong appeal of "Sunshine Girl," the other 45 tracks are well-crafted, cleanly produced exponents of late-'60s Southern Californian harmony pop/rock that are generally a bit more mature, and not as ornate or cheerily bouncy, as much other sunshine pop of the era. There's still some of that whitebread stuff, to be sure, like the vaudeville-edged "Frog Prince." But there are also cuts with echoes of moody flamenco ("She Sleeps Alone" and "The Old Melody") and dreamy Baroque psychedelia ("Lullaby"), as well as ones that resemble the Monkees in a particularly upbeat frame of mind ("She's Got the Magic" and "I Can See Love"). "A.C./D.C.," meanwhile, is one of the most accurate mid- to late-'60s Donovan soundalikes ever cut, to the point where it's hard to tell if it's an imitation or a parody. "Hallelujah Rocket" has some of the scatting pizzazz and wit you might associate with a Nilsson track; "everyone can have their own guided missile if no one blows the whistle" is surely one of the phrases most apt to be trotted out as proof that not all sunshine pop lyrics were piffle. While the non-45 tracks are as expected not quite up to the level of the rest of the material, they're good complements to the main body of the CD that will please anyone interested in hearing what the Parade were up to beyond "Sunshine Girl." All such listeners will also be interested in the very thorough liner notes, which do a lot to clarify the slightly confusing Parade story, with interview quotes from everyone in the group.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

Sunshine pop pioneers Parade teamed veteran songwriter and producer Jerry Riopelle (a former Phil Spector associate who'd played keyboards on sessions headlined by the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, and Ike & Tina Turner) with character actors Murray MacLeod (known for his work on television series including Hawaii Five-O and Kung Fu) and Allen "Smokey" Roberds. MacLeod and Roberds — longtime friends and songwriting partners who occasionally collaborated with Roger Nichols of A Small...
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Sunshine Girl: The Complete Recordings, The Parade
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