17 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Early supporters of The Lovin' Spoonful included The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Fred Neil (they cover his “Other Side of This Life”), and Phil Spector (they cover his “You Baby”)—so it’s no surprise that the Spoonful's 1965 debut album is as diverse a musical statement as anything released that year. There’s traditional blues (“Blues in a Bottle”), jugband adaptations (“My Gal”), and a Henry Thomas ragtime classic (“Fishin’ Blues,” later covered by Taj Mahal and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). Some of it sounds kind of British Invasion–esque, but these guys were Yankees all the way. (Though bandleader John Sebastian rightfully credited The Beatles for reminding them of their own American roots.) “Nightowl Blues” reflects the band’s Greenwich Village home turf, which gave them a rich folk history from which to rise. The folky beauty in Sebastian’s own “Younger Girl” and “On the Road Again” equals his ear-bending ability to translate classic Americana into rock ’n’ roll. The insanely catchy title song made the band pop stars; it’s a joy-provoking sing-along that sweetly straddles a jangle of electric autoharp and Zal Yanovsky’s arpeggiated guitar.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Early supporters of The Lovin' Spoonful included The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Fred Neil (they cover his “Other Side of This Life”), and Phil Spector (they cover his “You Baby”)—so it’s no surprise that the Spoonful's 1965 debut album is as diverse a musical statement as anything released that year. There’s traditional blues (“Blues in a Bottle”), jugband adaptations (“My Gal”), and a Henry Thomas ragtime classic (“Fishin’ Blues,” later covered by Taj Mahal and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). Some of it sounds kind of British Invasion–esque, but these guys were Yankees all the way. (Though bandleader John Sebastian rightfully credited The Beatles for reminding them of their own American roots.) “Nightowl Blues” reflects the band’s Greenwich Village home turf, which gave them a rich folk history from which to rise. The folky beauty in Sebastian’s own “Younger Girl” and “On the Road Again” equals his ear-bending ability to translate classic Americana into rock ’n’ roll. The insanely catchy title song made the band pop stars; it’s a joy-provoking sing-along that sweetly straddles a jangle of electric autoharp and Zal Yanovsky’s arpeggiated guitar.

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