Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3 out of 5
Do Unto Others is a post-Millennial (as in the band, not the year) blast of sunshine pop from 1969. The billed artist, Sandy Salisbury was a close Curt Boettcher cohort showing up in the Ballroom, Sagittarius and the Millennium. Although his contributions to those bands like "5 AM" were often very strong, this sustained dose of Salisbury is a little hit or miss.
The good spots here belong a space on the shelf right next to the best of other Boettcher-produced sunshine pop. He's still on board here as producer and also logs in with two co-writing credits. "Spell On Me," "The Good Ol' Times," and "Once I Knew A Little Dog" all could have rated a spot on Begin a year earlier. Well, the last of those has awful lyrics, but the sound remains quite ethereal. Even on the lesser songs, there's usually a production trick or two to increase the tune's interest. For example, "Come Softly" is basically a harmonic vocal exercise, but gets a little more textured with the insertion of sound effects near the end. On the more negative side, the strange muddying halfway through "I Just Don't Know How To Say Goodbye" sounds pretty ill-conceived to my ears. Even on the lesser tracks, however, Salisbury's singing voice is extremely strong and is perfectly fitted for sunshine pop.
The weakness here is that Salisbury just isn't a top flight songwriter. Something like "Baby Listen" or "Come Softly" succeed in creating a cool vibe, but tends to echo better songs from earlier in the decade. He's great at presenting himself as a laid back pop troubadour, but these recordings are often missing an inspired spark. Unfortunately, when Salisbury takes on an A-list cover with Brian Wilson's Smile-era "With Me Tonight," it ends up sounding like something out of a Vegas spectacular.
Being 1969, there are also some touches of dusty, faux-cowboy rock showing up here. It's usually in measured doses. No one's going to confuse this with, oh, Poco (let's leave Gram Parsons out of this). Only on "The Hills Of Vermont" does this instinct completely take over to mixed results.
This is far from the main stage of the L.A. rock scene, or even Curt Boettcher's productions. There's still enough here to sate the truly obsessed and Do Unto Others remains a pleasant, if rarely mindblowing, listening experience.
Sandy Salisbury's solo recordings have been anthologized in several different collections in the past 10 years or so. I'm not sure if Do Unto Others is the best of these, although it's certaintly a fine collection and happens to be the one I came across. There is a disc entitled Sandy that at least has more bonus tracks. Do what you must.
Sandy Salisbury - Do Unto Others