Beat Goes On

Album Review

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's second album is a masterpiece. From the opening bars of Jackson Browne's "Shadow Dream Song," the high spirits overflow the grooves (or ones and zeros, on the CD) of the record. The singing and playing are more confident, and some of the songs -- including the bluesy "Ooh Po Pe Do Girl" and the hook-laden "I'll Search The Sky" by Jeff Hanna, and Copeland and Noonan's (the "Buy for Me the Rain" team) "Tide of Love" -- are as solid as anything coming out of California. Even the kazoo-dominated "Coney Island Washboard" and "Happy Fat Annie" and the nostalgic '20s-styled Jackson Browne-written "It's Raining Here in Long Beach" fit well into the mix, reflecting the full range of the band's influences. As to why this record never caught on, it could be the timing -- released late in 1967, in the wake of Sergeant Pepper (which had its own musichall influences, albeit of the English variety, and covered with lots of psychedelic overdubbing) and the Summer of Love, it just wasn't what college kids starting their search for the Lost Chord were looking for. Maybe a kazoo or two less would've helped, and a real drug song or two wouldn't have hurt, but these guys would play a jug band number ahead of a drug anthem anytime. Their cover of Brewer and Shipley's "Truly Right" is pretty spacy in its production, though, but "The Teddy Bear's Picnic" -- an adaptation of an old children's song -- was probably beyond the pale of most listeners. Beyond NGDB completists, anyone looking for a companion to Notorious Byrd Bros. or the Monkees' Aquarius, Capricorn Pisces & Jones Ltd., or a precursor to Crazy Horse's At Crooked Lake, need look no further. (British import)
Bruce Eder, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Shadow Dream Song
  2. Ooh Po Pe Do Girl
  3. Coney Island Washboard
  4. Put a Bar in My Car
  5. It's Raining Here in Long Beach
  6. I'll Search the Sky
  7. Truly Right
  8. Tide of Love
  9. Happy Fat Annie
  10. I'll Never Forget What's Her Name
  11. Call Again
  12. The Teddy Bear's Picnic
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