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Topic: Electric Prunes Albums Reissued Return to archive
2nd February 2007 01:44 PM
Ten Thousand Motels Electric Prunes Albums Reissued on Collector' Choice Music
Jazz News Service
Feb 2, 2007

When you mention the Electric Prunes, the Nuggets-era garage/psychedelic hits "Too Much To Dream Last Night" and "Get Me to the World on Time" generally come to mind. But unlike many of their one-or-two-hit contemporaries, the Electric Prunes never really went away. Or at least the name stayed alive while the personnel changed completely. It's all part of one of the most bizarre stories in rock 'n' roll history. But before we elaborate, we'd like to announce that the Prunes' two final Warner Bros./Reprise albums -- Release of an Oath (1968) and Just Good Old Rock and Roll (1969) -- will be reissued on Collectors' Choice Music on March 13, completing the label's reissues of all things Prune.

The original Electric Prunes, of "Too Much To Dream" fame, were a talented and inventive band that made several good records under difficult circumstances. They were not, as many sources inaccurately claimed, an anonymous studio project or a front group for behind-the-scenes players. They were a real band that found itself in a bind because they were signed to a production deal with producer/engineer Dave Hassinger, who in turn signed them to Warner/Reprise through his own production deal. Hassinger also produced the Grateful Dead for Warners.

After making the first two albums (which CCM reissued a few years ago), Hassinger masterminded the band's classical-rock Mass in F Minor concept album -- essentially the project of David Axelrod, who wrote and arranged it. The real Electric Prunes played on most of the album, which of course was impossible to reproduce (there was one legendary disastrous high-profile performance of the album in LA, and they never attempted it again). By then the band was understandably demoralized and split up -- following a brief stint with Kenny Loggins replacing lead singer James Lowe.

After the original band broke up, Hassinger -- who still controlled the name and the band's deal with Warner Bros. -- assembled a new Electric Prunes primarily harvested from a Colorado band called Climax. He also enlisted some of LA's "A" team players -- Carol Kaye on bass and Earl Palmer on drums, among others.

And what was the follow up to Mass in F Minor but a rock 'n' roll version of the Jewish prayer "Kol Nidre, " the prayer recited on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. David Axelrod, coming off of production duties from Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderly, composed and arranged the album, which was recorded in three days. Needless to say, Release of an Oath didn't exactly burn up the charts, failing to even match Mass in F Minor's peak album chart position of No. 135. Yet in years to follow, interest in David Axelrod brought renewed interest to both Mass and Oath.

The next and last Warner Bros. album, credited to the "New Improved Electric Prunes, " was Good Old Rock and Roll, letting the band do what they did best -- play no-concept rock 'n' roll. The album featured the same lineup as Oath -- organist John Herron, vocalist/drummer Richard Whetstone, organist John Hadian from the Canadian band The Collectors. During the recording, Herron left and was replaced by Ron Morgan (formerly of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, among others). The result was a solid organ-driven, funk-influenced, heavy rock sound akin to that of Rhinoceros. The new Prunes were poised to compete in 1969's post-Monterey, pre-Woodstock rock world. Boston After Dark, forerunner to The Boston Phoenix, wrote: "The tunes are driving and reminiscent in their abundant tempo changes of the old Yardbirds."

Ah, but the Warner/Reprise deal ran its course. It's uncertain whether the flowers on the front cover were meant to symbolize Reprise's waving farewell. Soon after, the band split up. Herron went on to play with Flo & Eddie. He died in a traffic accident a few years ago.

As a footnote to the Electric Prune legacy, principal members of the original group -- James Lowe, Mark Tulin and Ken Williams -- reformed the band a few years ago and have toured and recorded pretty consistently since then. They have a new album out called Feedback, which gleaned high marks from critics.

But whoever the Electric Prunes happened to be at any given time, life was never dull. And Collectors' Choice's now complete reissue discography finally gets them to the world on time.
2nd February 2007 01:57 PM
Saint Sway dude
2nd February 2007 02:11 PM
gimmekeef I'll have a listen ...as I sip my prune juice.....What..no box set or remastering....or world tour!!!!!
2nd February 2007 02:24 PM
Ten Thousand Motels
quote:
Saint Sway wrote:
dude



Lude
2nd February 2007 02:26 PM
gimmekeef
quote:
Ten Thousand Motels wrote:


Lude



And tattooed
2nd February 2007 06:05 PM
Ten Thousand Motels
quote:
gimmekeef wrote:
And tattooed



Screwed and blewed.
2nd February 2007 06:13 PM
Ten Thousand Motels >"Too Much To Dream Last Night"<

That was a good song. Back in the day.

[Edited by Ten Thousand Motels]
2nd February 2007 06:22 PM
SheRat
quote:
Ten Thousand Motels wrote:
>"Too Much To Dream Last Night"<




This song is awesome. Reminds me of my acid-riddled sophomore year in high school.

I still have a tape of them doing a radio spot for the Vox wah-wah pedal!
2nd February 2007 09:04 PM
Brainbell Jangler
quote:
Ten Thousand Motels wrote:
They were a real band that found itself in a bind because they were signed to a production deal with producer/engineer Dave Hassinger, who in turn signed them to Warner/Reprise through his own production deal. Hassinger also produced the Grateful Dead for Warners.

After making the first two albums (which CCM reissued a few years ago), Hassinger masterminded the band's classical-rock Mass in F Minor concept album -- essentially the project of David Axelrod, who wrote and arranged it.


Stones link: Hassinger also worked with the Stones and wrote the liner notes on "Aftermath."
Here he is with the Prunes:
2nd February 2007 09:56 PM
Slavegirl I actually have an Electric Prunes self titled LP...not sure if it is the one the article is about but it is definitely a repress...it's on 180 gram vinyl by Reprise records and it rocks!
2nd February 2007 09:58 PM
pdog The prunes are definitely cool. Great garage rock...
3rd February 2007 03:13 PM
guitarman53 Psychedelic! all we need now are the 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watch Band, Seeds, Leaves, arthur Lee & Love, Blue Cheer & all the other great bands from mid to late 60's.
3rd February 2007 03:28 PM
*ginda
quote:
guitarman53 wrote:
Psychedelic! all we need now are the 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watch Band, Seeds, Leaves, arthur Lee & Love, Blue Cheer & all the other great bands from mid to late 60's.



Amen, Guitarman. Mr Skin would never forgive us if we forgot Spirit.
3rd February 2007 05:15 PM
Brainbell Jangler
quote:
guitarman53 wrote:
Psychedelic! all we need now are the 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watch Band, Seeds, Leaves, arthur Lee & Love, Blue Cheer & all the other great bands from mid to late 60's.


Blue Cheer is currently touring.
http://www.bluecheer.us/indexmain.html
3rd February 2007 05:19 PM
pdog
quote:
guitarman53 wrote:
Psychedelic! all we need now are the 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watch Band, Seeds, Leaves, arthur Lee & Love, Blue Cheer & all the other great bands from mid to late 60's.



a few of these have been reissued on CD... I've got a few of them on wish lists... now all i need is money. The Seeds and 1th Floor Cd's are almost $20, so I've been hoping to score them cheap on a lucky record shop visit.
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