Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
Band members Related acts
line up 1 ()
- Tommy Boyce (aka Tommy Fortune) (RIP 1994) -- vocals, guitar
- Bobby Hart (aka Robert Harshman) -- vocals, keyboards
supporting musicians (1969)
- John Gallie -- keyboards
- Henry "Bill" Lewis -- drums, percussion
- Joe Osborn -- drums, percussion
- Louie Shelton -- guitar
- Tom Wilkes -- bass
- Big Mack & the Truckstoppers (Bobby Hart)
- Tommy Boyce (solo efforts)
- Tommy Boyce and His Rockin' 60's Band
- Christopher Cloud (aka Tommy Boyce)
- Tommy Fortune (Tommy Boyce)
- Bobby Hart (solo efforts)
- The Tommy Band (Tommy Boyce)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: It's All Happening On the Inside
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: --
Their third studio album ,1969's self-produced "It's All Happening On the Inside" was the first album to be less than overwhelming. A mixture of original material, and a couple of covers, to my ears it sounded as if Boyce and Hart had begun to run out of energy and ideas. I'm obviously biased, but their Monkees-styled material like 'We're All Going To The Same Place', 'Strawberry Girl' and the single 'Alice Long' was uniformly strong and enjoyable. Yeah, it may have sounded a little dated for 1969, but it retained a wonderful commercial sheen, making it easy to see why The Monkees had been so keen to cover their material. Less impressive were their stabs at soul and Gospel-tinged materials. The title track, 'Maybe Somebody Heard' and 'Prelude' which was basically a shorter version of the title track all sounded flat and uninspired. I actually liked a couple of the covers. Yet another Rolling Stones cover hardly sounded like a great idea, but slowing down 'Jumping Jack Flash' and injecting a lysergic edge made it different enough to be worthwhile. Written by band members Bill Lewis, John Gallie and Louie Shelton, the instrumental 'Abracadabra' was pleasantly funky. In contrast their molten cover of 'Standing In the Shadows of Love' sounded like their inspiration for the arrangement had been The Vanilla Fudge. Executive summary - I really liked the first two albums; this one not so much ...
Who knows why, but even though it reflected the same track listing, the Canadian release was slapped with different cover art and re-titled "Which One's Boyce & Which One's Hart?" (A&M catalog number SP-4162)
Happening On the Inside" track listing:
1.) Prelude (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 1:21 rating: ** stars
Songs opening with circus music sound effects are never a good thing. That was certainly the case here and when 'Prelude' shifted to a quick nod to the title track's faux-Gospel melody, things get even worse. Not an auspicious beginning.
2.) Change (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 1:10 rating: *** stars
Opening with Hart's organ, the ballad 'Change' offered up a Southern soul feel. It was an improvement over the opening, but too short to make much of an impression.
3.) Maybe Somebody Heard (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 2:41 rating: ** stars
Geez, I guess this was Boyce and Hart's soul album ... 'Maybe Somebody Heard' was another soul-influenced ballad. Another track where there wasn't a lot of originality going on. This sounded like a dozen other songs and the preachy spoken word segment was just irritating.
4.) It's All Happening On The Inside (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 2:16 rating: ** stars
A Gospel-styled hoedown, I took an instant dislike to the title track. They just sounded like they were trying too hard to sound authentic. The only thing I liked about this one was Louie Shelton's guitar solo. Yech.
5.) Abracadabra (instrumental) (Bill Lewis - John Gallie - Louie Shelton) - 1:48 rating: **** stars
Thankfully the slinky instrumental 'Abracadabra' finally displayed some energy. And like so much of the album, you had to wonder why the running time was so short. Ironically it was written by band members Bill Lewis, John Gallie and Louie Shelton.
6.) Jumping Jack Flash (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 4:03
Well a Stones cover may not have been the most original choice they could have made, but given the quality of the earlier originals, I can understand why they did it. I'll also give them credit for slowing the song down and injecting a stoned edge to the melody. It was actually pretty good. A&M released it as a Japanese single:
- 1969's 'Jumping Jack Flash' b/w 'We're All Going To the Same Place' (A&M catalog number TOP 1351-S)
'We're All Going To The Same Place' was a strange, hyper-sensitive ballad. The melody and refrains were nice enough but it reminded me of something Lobo might have recorded. The track was also released as a single:
- 1969's 'We're All Going To The Same Place' b/w 'Six + Six' (A&M catalog number 993)
2.) Strawberry Girl (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 2:56 rating: **** stars
One of the album's standout performance, 'Strawberry Girl' was a return to the top-40 pop-psych these guys were so good at churning out for The Monkees. In fact, it could easily have been a Monkees performance. Perhaps a little dated for 1969, it was still an awesome performance with the mix capturing some amazing Bill Lewis drums. Listening to it on good headphones is a treat.
3.) Thanks For Sunday (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 2:54 rating: **** stars
Opening up with some nice Shelton fuzz lead guitar, 'Thanks For Sunday' added a mild rock edge to their commercial edge. The lyrics were hysterical - I imagine the girl felt pretty much the same about the male character. Another album standout.
4.) My Baby Loves Sad Songs (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 3:51 rating: *** stars
'My Baby Loves Sad Songs' was another ready-made Monkees track. In fact the vocals could have been mistaken for Davy Jones and company.
5.) Standing In The Shadows Of Love (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland - 4:26 rating: ** stars
Well Joe Osborn's bass line was pretty amazing, but elsewhere their slowed down, molten cover of The Four Tops' 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love' sounded like a subpar Vanilla Fudge cover of the tune.
6.) Alice Long (Tommy Boyce - Bobby Hart) - 2:45 rating: *** stars
'Alice Long' (apparently named after one of Boyce's guitars), was actually released as a single in advance of the album. The single was actually shown as 'Alice Long (You're Still My Favorite Girlfriend)' as opposed to the abbreviated title shown on the LP. One of their bigger hits, I've got to admit this one didn't do much for me. It was catchy and would have been a good track for one of those "goofy" Monkee singles, but it just sounded a little forced and contrived; plus the melody wasn't particularly strong . Obviously my opinion didn't matter since the track hit # 27 on the US pop charts.
- 1968's 'Alice Long (You're Still My Favorite Girlfriend)' b/w 'Goodbye Baby (I Don't Want To See You Cry) (A&M catalog number 8535)
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