So, it's New York City, 1971, and all the usual suspects, from The Tokens to the left-over Left Banke members were kind of at a loose end - the Brill Building thing, Psychedelia, Bubblegum were all done really, even the 1960's were done!! On the edges of all this some important Brit figures of the recent past lurk in residence - Andrew Loog Oldham and John Lennon (!!) - come not to lord over them but to become of them.
The scene at the Record Plant was electric in '71. An energy force surrounded it. Think about it - Eddie Kramer mixing "American Pie", John Lennon and Phil Spector overdubbing vocals and strings for the "Imagine" album, Aerosmith were laying tracks for their first album, Paul Stookey of "Peter Paul and Mary" was singing solo, The Raspberries were completing their first album, and here we come to The Chesapeake Jukebox Band - the creation of singer/songwriter/producers Steve Sawyer and Rusty McFinn, a very special record which ranks among the best American pop-sike releases of all time.
The third mind on the project was Ron Frangipane, a major player in the NY studio scene, including The Archies, and arranger for (deep breath) John Lennon, Diana Ross, Kiss, The Monkees, Bert Sommer, Stories, The Rolling Stones, Janis Ian, Neil Diamond, Dusty Springfield, Melanie, Townes Van Zandt and a whole lot more.
A maelstrom of influences (mainly Brit) ranging from The Beatles to Genesis to Roy Wood to Mark Wirtz applied to a subject matter and atmosphere which was as much an Americana of the eccentric imagination as "SMiLE". Perhaps the closest comparisons would be with The Family Tree or early Nilsson with the added Van Dyke Parks-esque factor, all made in an atmosphere where John Lennon would pop in to ask Ron something anytime and one time to lend the band his mellotron in exchange for a studio-time swap which I suppose all added to the dreamlike vibe!
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Until We Meet Again / Love / Jennifer / This Time / Has To Be / Daiseys For The 8th Of May / Sad Nite In Boston / Fizbee's Tavern / Chesapeake Jukebox Band / The Door's Unlatched