Art of Lovin'
stamp on back cover
catalog ID: 4239
In an effort to
compete with the success RCA Victor and other labels were having with San
Francisco based bands, the mid-1960s found Mike Curb and MGM Records signing
virtually every New England band they could lay their hands on. In their
efforts to market the Bosstown Sound, Curb and company somehow managed to
miss one of Massachusetts more talented outfits - The Art of Lovin'.
Built around the talents of singer/guitarist Paul Applebaum, bassist Johnny
Lank, sax player Barry Tatelman, vocalist Gail Winnick and drummer Sandy
Winslow, 1968 saw the band signed by the small Detroit-based Mainstream
Records. Released later in the year, "The
Art of Lovin'" made for one of the year's more
interesting debuts. Curiously, for years I'd read reviews that labeled this
album as being folk-rock oriented. It's not. That said, the first time I spun the collection
I was left with the nagging feeling I'd heard it
somewhere before. The second time around, the comparison instantly dawned
us. Powered by Applebaum's pseudo-psychedelic material and Winslow's
crystalline voice, stylistically tracks such as 'What the Young Mind
Says', the rocker 'Take a Ride' and 'Good Times'
bore more than a passing resemblance to early Jefferson Airplane. Imagine
the Airplane having elected to abandon some of their more strident moves in
favor of a slightly more commercial orientation and you'll get a good feel
for the LP. At the other end of the spectrum, harmony rich tracks such as 'Daily Prayer' sounded like The Mamas and the Papas having
abandoned their chirpy top-40 orientation. Simultaneously catchy and quite
commercial, it's easy to see why this album is valued so highly by
collectors. The funny thing is that it gets better each time I go back
and listen to it.
"The Art of Lovin'" track listing:
1.) Paul's Circus
(Paul Applebaum) -
2.) What the Young Mind Says (Paul Applebaum) -
3.) Take a Ride (Paul Applebaum) -
4.) Good Times (Paul Applebaum) -
5.) Daily Prayer (Paul Applebaum) -
1.) The First Time
(Paul Applebaum) -
2.) And I Have Seen Them All (Paul Applebaum) -
3.) You'll Walk Away (Gail Winnick - Paul Applebaum) -
4.) (How Can We) Hang On To a Dream (Tim Hardin) -
5.) State of Mind (Paul Applebaum) -
There's also a non-LP 1968 single 'You've Got the Power' b/w 'Good Times' (Mainstream catalog number 687).
Shortly after the
album was released Winslow suffered a schizophrenic episode that left him in
and out of care for the next 30 years. In spite of his fragile mental
health, he managed to attract national attention through his scratchboard
art. Sadly, in October 2002 he died after a brief bout with
cancer. I found a short, but touching on-line tribute to Wilson at:
Through the magic of the internet I also got a brief note from Paul
had to laugh, someone finally liked my music! I thought the album was
dead and buried. Nice
to know that it is being kept alive. Is there anyway that I can get
copies of past critiques, articles, etc. about the band that were mentioned
in the review.
was also kind of enough to share a little more about the band:
We were a bunch of kids who loved creating music in
a time that was ripe for psychedelic pop. We spent most of our time
working on the tunes in the bass player's basement. A tape was
sent to Mainstream records through a friend and we got signed, much to our
surprise. A month later we were in NY recording. The entire album
took 20 hours to record at A&R Studios. It was a fantastic
experience. We had a ball doing the "rock star" thing,
well, at least in our heads.
I guess we were one of the projects that Mainstream was hoping to sell off
if our music could show some limited success, as they had done with Big
Brother and the Holding Company and the Amboy Dukes. Unfortunately,
the album didn't do that well, although Billboard red-starred us, and
described us as a cross between the Mamas and Papas and Jefferson
Airplane. Quite a compliment, and totally unexpected.
We didn't play out too much. We opened for Mountain once at a club in
Boston, and otherwise did a few local gigs. We disbanded shortly
after the LP came out. Most of the members headed off to college,
and felt that the band was an enjoyable endeavor, but not so much of a
commitment that they would put off a college education, etc.
It was a great experience, and I admit that I am still amazed that the
album generates interest, 40 years later.