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Creeque Alley - The History of the Mamas and the Papas

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Album Review

They weren't the most important folk-rock group of the mid-'60s; the Byrds and others produced more enduring music. Yet the Mamas & the Papas were undoubtedly the most commercially successful folk-rock group of their time, racking up an astonishing nine Top 30 hits in little more than a year and a half. This 43-song double-CD is by far the most comprehensive document of their legacy. It draws most heavily from their two 1966 albums (nine songs originate from their debut album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, alone), when John Phillips' songwriting talent had yet to exhaust itself. Beyond the hits, the material is variable. Quite a few album tracks — especially "Got a Feelin'," "Straight Shooter," "Go Where You Wanna Go," "Once Was a Time I Thought," and their cover of Lennon/McCartney's "I Call Your Name" — were strong enough to have been hits under their own steam. Their slowed-down, California-ized versions of rock oldies were more problematic. And there's no doubt that their later material is less spirited and memorable than their initial burst of glory. The set includes various late-'60s and '70s solo recordings by each of the group's members (including small hit singles by John Phillips and Cass Elliot). Perhaps the most intriguing rarities are from the members' pre-Mamas days. These include commercial folk by the Big Three (featuring Cass Elliot) and primitive pop-folk-rock by the Mugwumps (including Elliott, Denny Doherty, and future Lovin' Spoonful member Zal Yanovsky).

Customer Reviews

That was a review?

Not sure why the formal review was based on a DVD, but this 2-CD set is a very good overview of The Mamas and the Papas. Includes early works that you wouldn't hear otherwise, including solo singles prior to the groups formation, and a couple from after they split, and of course most of the popular tracks. Some dialog tracks too. Enjoyable listening for the most part.

OMG! Can't believe I found this!

This was the very first CASSETTE Tape that I ever owned! (Think my mom still has it up in her attic somewhere) It was this album and this band that built my love of vocal harmonies and am sure the studio chatter and out takes helped lead me to become a musician myself. Bottom line...if you like TM&TP...get this, even though you do have to buy each song individually!

The Aching Kind

The first 8-track tape I bought was the Mamas & The Papas. Mostly I loved the way they used speaker separation to make you feel they were singing all aound you in your house or car. I loved the beautiful Michelle Phillips but the voice of Mama Cass was so strong one never really knew how well Michelle could sing. This song shows that she did it very well.


Formed: 1965 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

The leading California-based vocal group of the '60s, the Mamas & the Papas epitomized the ethos of the mid- to late-'60s pop culture: live free, play free, and love free. Their music, built around radiant harmonies and a solid electric folk foundation, was gorgeous on its own terms, but a major part of its appeal lay in the easygoing southern California lifestyle it endorsed. The group's success was as extraordinary as it was brief, and onlookers may well wonder what went wrong with a performing...
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