Association, The

Band members               Related acts

- Gary Alexander -- vocals, guitar (1965-, 68-)

- Ted Bleuchel Jr. -- vocals, drums

- Brian Cole (RIP 1973) -- vocals, bass

- Russ Giguere -- vocals, guitar (1965-70)

- Terry Kirkman -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards

- Larry Ramos Jr. -- vocals, guitar

- Richard Thompson -- guitar (replaced Russ Giguere


- Jim Yester -- vocals, guitar




- Bijou (Gary Alexander)

- Cosmic Brotherhood (Richard Thompson)

Russ Giguere (solo efforts)



Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Birthday

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: W 1733

Year: 1968

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Country/State: US

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5093

Price: $7.00


By the time 1968's "Birthday" was released The Association were in a major battle to save their artistic credibility.  Much to the band's chagrin, sessions players had handled most of the material on their previous album.  Moreover, interested in shedding their squeaky clean top-40 image, the band wanted to explore more contemporary and experimental genres.  All of that put them at odds with producer Bones Howe and Warner Brothers management who were interested in preserving the status quo.  Adding to their problems were increasing personality clashes with various members criticising each others musical interests.  For better or worse Howe won most of this round of the creative war. Much to the band's dismay most of the "Birthday" sessions were again handled by sessions players. On the other hand, whereas 1967's "Insight Out" featured lots of outside material, the band were successful in insisting on being allowed to showcase original material. Most of the eleven tracks were band originals, but in spite of the psych cover, "Birthday" may have been the band's most commercial and pop-oriented release.  Tracks like 'Rose Petals, Incense and a Kitten', 'Toymaker' and 'The Time It Is Today' showcased their instantly recognizable silky smooth vocal harmonies and highly commercial MOR sound.  Ironically the band's stabs at more up-tempo pop were actually far more impressive.  The bouncy opener 'Come On It' stood as one of their most impressive performances, while 'Hear In Here' (sporting a true guitar solo) and '' would have both made dandy singles.  Sure, none of it may not have been particularly cool, but it sure sounded great. Elsewhere Warner Brothers tapped the collection for a pair of singles:


- 'Everything That Touches You' b/w 'We Love Us' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7163)

- 'Time for Livin'' b/w 'Birthday' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7195)


While the set didn't enjoy the same commercial success as their first three studio sets, it still managed to hit # 23.


"Birthday" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Come On In   (Jo Mapes) - 

2.) Rose Petals, Incense and a Kitten   (McClelland - Jim Yester) - 

3.) Like Always   (Bob Alcivar - Oretga - Larry Ramos Jr.) - 

4.) Everything That Touches You   (Terry Kirkman) - 

5.) Toymaker   (Jeff Comanor) - 


(side 2)

1.) Barefoot Gentleman   (Jim Yester - Skip Carmel) - 

2.) Time for Livin'   (Dick Addrisi - Don Addrisi) - 

3.) Hear In Here   (Ted Blueschel Jr) - 

4.) The Time Is Today   (Russ Giguere) - 

5.) The Bus Song   (Terry Kirkman) - 

6.) Birthday Morning   (Jim Yester - Skip Carmel) - 



Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Goodbye, Columbus

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: 1786

Year: 1969

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+


Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 

Price: $10.00


Since most Association studio LPs are less than essential listening, you've probably already figured out that this 1969 soundtrack LP is something that all but the most hardcore Association fanatic will be able to live without.  We're not even going to try to BS you on this one ...  


Produced by John Boylan,  "Goodbye, Columbus" provided the soundtrack to a throwaway film starring Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin (I've seen it and it's one super lame flick - always loved the line "every father's daughter is a virgin" - tres risque for 1969).  While billed as an Association album, most of the set consisted of throwaway incidental instrumentals courtesy of composer Charles Fox.  Those were rounded out by some half assed film dialog ('Ron's Reverie').  Counting the title track (which was included in vocal and instrumental renditions), there were only four Association compositions.  The title track was a typical Association styled ballad and provided the group with a minor radio hit, while 'So Kind To Me (Brenda's Theme)' was bland and instantly forgettable.  Sporting a decent melody, 'It's Gotta Be Real' was  easily the standout effort. 


"Goodbye, Columbus" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Goodbye, Columbus   () - 2:21

2.) How Will I Know You (instrumental) - 1:52

3.) Dartmouth? Dartmouth!! (instrumental) - 2:20

4.) Goodbye, Columbus (instrumental) - 2:07

5.) Ron's Reverie

    a.) Across the Field  (W.A. Dougherty) 

    b.) Carmen, Ohio   (Fred Cornell)


(side 2)

1.)  It's Gotta Be Real - 2:14

2.) A Moment To Share - 2:28

3.) Love Has a Way - 2:06

4.) A Time for Love - 1:24

5.) So Kind To Me (Brenda's Theme) - 4:01




Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Association Live

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: 2SW 1868

Year: 1970


Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: double LP; embossed, gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 86

Price: $8.00


A 22 song, double album concert set recorded at the University of Utah, my first impressions of 1970's  "The Association Live" were less than overwhelming.  I'm not sure why I was so critical of the set.  It may have had something to do with the group's cheesy stage patter, or perhaps I was just listening to critics who rejoice in slamming the group for their MOR reputation.  While I can't tell how much post-production went into the LP, the fact of the matter is that these guys were excellent musicians, responsible for some of the mid-1960s most memorable top-40 pop.  Anyone doubting their talents need only listen to the wonderful harmony work on hits such as 'Along Comes Mary' and 'Never My Love'.  Sure, there was plenty of filler here.  America probably didn't need another version of Dino Valenti's 'Get Together'.   Biggest surprise here - tracks such as 'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You', 'Are You Ready' and 'Seven Man Band' showed these guys could actually rock out fairly convincingly.  


"The Association Live" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Dream Girl (Dressing Room)   (Ted Bluechel, Jr.) 

2.) One Too Many Mornings   (Bob Dylan) 

3.) Along Comes Mary   (Tandyn Almar) - 

4.) I'll Be Your Man   (Russ Giguere) - 

5.) Goodbye Columbus   (James Yester) - 

6.) Get Together   (Dino Valenti) - 


(side 2)

1.) Wasn't It a Bit Like That   (Terry Kirkman) - 

2.) Never My Love   (Don Addrisi - Dick Addrisi) - 

3.) Goodbye Forever   (Gary Alexander) - 

4.) Just About the Same   (Rhodes - Stec - Fennelly - Mallary - Edgar) - 

5.) Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You   (Joan Baez) -


(side 3)

1.) Seven Man Band   (Terry Kirkman) - 

2.) The Tie Is Totally Today   (Russell Giguere) - 

3.) Dubuque Blues    (Jules Alexander) - 

4.) Blistered   (E. Wheeler) - 

5.) What Were the Words   (Jim Yester) - 

6.) Remember   (Gary Alexander) - 


(side 4)

1.) Are You Ready   (Larry Ramos - Anthony Ortego) - 

2.) Cherish   (Terry Kirkman) - 

3.) Requiem for the Masses   (Terry Kirkman) - 

4.) Windy   (Ruthann Friedman) - 

5.) Enter the Young   (Terry Kirkman) - 




Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Waterbeds In Trinidad!

Company: Columbia

Catalog: KC-31348

Year: 1971

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: ownership stamp on back cover; includes original insert

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4500

Price: $15.00

Cost: $1.00


No Association album is particularly rare, but this (their final studio release), isn't exactly common.  This is only the third copy we've ever seen.


Ending their longstanding relationship with Warner Brothers, in 1971 Clive Davis signed the band to Columbia.  Released the same year,  "Waterbeds In Trinidad!" teamed the band with producer Lewis Merenstein.  A mix of originals and well chosen covers, to my ears the collection's surprisingly impressive.  Musically material such as 'Silent Song Thru the Land', 'Come the Fall' and 'Midnight Wind' retains the band's trademarked penchant for radio friendly pop, complete with those instantly recognizable group harmonies. At the same time, the band sounds somewhat reinvigorated, almost as if the new label gave them a chance at a new creative life.  Even better, most of the mind numbing MOR touches that plagued their latter day Warner Brothers releases (sappy string arrangements and instantly forgettable ballads) is absent.  Mind you, you won't mistake this for "Led Zepplin II" and nothing here will change your outlook on life.  Besides, musically the set was hopelessly out of synch with then prevailing popular tastes.  Both of those facts probably help to explain why the album faltered at # 194 - by far their worst selling album.  Columbia also pulled a pair of unsuccessful singles from the album:


- 1972's 'Darling Be Home Soon' b/w ''Indian Wells Woman' (Columbia catalog number 4-45602 ) 

- 1972's 'Kicking the Gong Around' b/w 'Come the Fall' (Columbia catalog number 4-45???)


Adding to the group's ongoing problems, shortly after the album's release long time bassist Brian Cole died from a heroin overdose.


"Waterbeds In Trinidad!" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Silent Song Thru the Land   (Ron Davies)  - 3:17

2.) Darling Be Home Soon    (John Sebastian) - 3:36

3.) Midnight Wind    (Jules Alexander - Steve Carey) - 2:59

4.) Come the Fall    (Terry Kirkman) - 3:38

5.) Kicking the Gong Around    (Jules Alexander - Steve Carey) - 3:30


(side 2)

1.) Rainbow's Bent    (Jules Alexander - Steve Carey) - 2:23

2.) Snow Queen   (Carole King - Gerry Goffin - 3:13

3.) Indian Wells Woman   (Del Ramos - Larry Hickman - Larry Ramos) - 3:19

4.) Please Don't Go (Round the Bend)    (Jules Alexander)  - 3:21

5.) Little Road and a Stone To Roll   (John Stewart) - 3:34 




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