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The Electric Prunes

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Though they got considerable input from talented L.A. songwriters and producers, with their two big hits penned by outside sources, the Electric Prunes did by and large play the music on their records, their first lineup writing some respectable material of their own. On their initial group of recordings, they produced a few great psychedelic garage songs, especially the scintillating "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night," which mixed distorted guitars and pop hooks with inventive, oscillating reverb. Songwriters Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz wrote most of the Prunes' material, much of which in turn was crafted in the studio by Dave Hassinger, who had engineered some classic Rolling Stones sessions in the mid-'60s. "Too Much to Dream" was a big hit in 1967, and the psychedelized Bo Diddley follow-up, "Get Me to the World on Time," was just as good, and also a hit. Nothing else by the group made it big, and their initial pair of albums was quite erratic, although a few scattered tracks were nearly as good as those singles. Although they began to write more of their own material on their second album, their subsequent releases were apparently the products of personnel who had little to do with the original lineup. Their third LP, Mass in F Minor, was a quasi-religious concept album of psychedelic versions of prayers; a definitively excessive period piece, its best song ("Kyrie Eleison") was lifted for the Easy Rider soundtrack. None of the original Prunes were still in the lineup when the band dissolved, unnoticed, at the end of the '60s. ~ Richie Unterberger

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