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Wooden Head

The Turtles

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Album Review

In 1970, both White Whale Records and the Turtles, their biggest act, were on the verge of ending. This assortment of unreleased odds and ends from their early years was hastily assembled as a posthumous collection, although several of the tracks hadn't been properly finished. Surprisingly, it survives as one of their stronger albums, focusing almost exclusively on their early pop/folk-rock sound. Arguably, it's better than either of their first two official LPs, perhaps because they weren't able to sweeten the tracks with superfluous overdubs. Besides several strong originals, it features interesting compositions by P.F. Sloan, David Gates, and Peter & Gordon. The album, confusingly, has been reissued at various points by Rhino, Repertoire, and Sundazed, all with different bonus tracks. The Rhino configuration, which adds the nice folk-rocker "Is It Any Wonder?" and the odd, mordant, psychedelic-tinged 1966 flop single "Grim Reaper of Love," is a bit preferable to the Sundazed one.

Biography

Formed: 1963 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

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

Though many remember only their 1967 hit, "Happy Together," the Turtles were one of the more enjoyable American pop groups of the '60s, moving from folk-rock inspired by the Byrds to a sparkling fusion of Zombies-inspired chamber pop and straight-ahead, good-time pop reminiscent of the Lovin' Spoonful, the whole infused with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of dual frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. Though they hit number one in 1967 with the infectious "Happy Together," the Turtles scored...
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