Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5
Tommy Roe's career stands mostly as a textbook example of a teeny-boppin', bubblegum rockin' "how-to." For a year or two in the late 60's, however, Tommy must have gotten the itch to be more relevant, and this great album is the result of the fruits of his labors. First off, Mr. Roe clearly chose the right producer in the guise of psychedelic sunshine master Curt Boettcher. Along with Boettcher came some of the awesome musicians who hovered around the Sagittarius and Millennium projects. Even beyond this first-rate psychedelic gauze, we've got to give Tommy Roe credit for penning some great pop songs (he has a credit on every track and sole credit on about half of them) and laying down some vocals that at least the Monkees would have been envious of (and keep in mind that I consider Mickey Dolenz a great vocalist).
Most of the tracks here sound like prime singles fodder, although this ended up as the low point of Roe's career commercially. I can't imagine why as the first four tracks here have pretty much been in constant rotation in my head since I bought the disc a few weeks ago. "Leave Her" is a driving, harmony-laced rocker, followed by the backward cymbals and endearingly goofy lyrics of "Moontalk." "Aggravation" and "Golden Girl" easily match the bubblegum psych standard of the Monkee's Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones. Later on the album we get the oddly ominous sounding ballad "Cry On Crying Eyes," which resembles a jukebox track from 1956 slowly melting over a psychedelic furnace. Even better is the title track, closing the album with ethereal pads of Boettcher-arranged harmonies and strange reverberating shimmers of sound.
As readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan, so let's give Boettcher's production some closer attention. At it's heart, this album really is not a far cry from Roe's teeny boppin' days. The difference is all in the details. The backing vocal arrangements are every bit as spaced out as the best moments of the Millennium while Boettcher throws in just enough instrumental twist, turns, and oddities to keep Roe floating somewhere past the ozone layer. It probably helps that Roe's lead vocals are not a far cry from Boettcher himself.
You've got to be receptive to a taste of sugar to really dig this one, but those of you willing to stare into the sunshine very well may end up regarding this as at least a minor classic. It's not quite up to the level of the Millennium's Begin, but it inhabits the same ballpark of sound and more than deserves your ear.
Tommy Roe - 1967 - It's Now Winter's Day