The Bells


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1965-67) (as The Five Bells)

- Doug Gravelle -- drums, backing vocals

- Cliff Edwards -- lead vocals, guitar

- Gordie McLeod -- organ, backing vocals

- Ann Ralph -- lead vocals

- Jacki Ralph -- lead vocals

 

  line up 2 (1967-68) (as The Five Bells)

- Doug Gravelle -- drums, backing vocals

- Cliff Edwards -- lead vocals, guitar

NEW - Mickie Ottier -- keyboards (replaced Gordie McLeod)

- Ann Ralph -- lead vocals

- Jacki Ralph -- lead vocals

 

  line up 3 (1970-71) (as The Bells)

NEW- Charlie Clark -- guitar, backing vocals

- Cliff Edwards -- lead vocals, guitar

- Doug Gravelle -- drums, backing vocals

NEW - Frank Mills -- keyboards (replaced Mickie Ottier)

- Jacki Ralph -- lead vocals

NEW- Michael Waye -- bass, backing vocals

 

  line up 4 (1971-72) 

- Charlie Clark -- guitar, backing vocals

- Cliff Edwards -- lead vocals, guitar

- Doug Gravelle -- drums, backing vocals

 Jacki Ralph -- lead vocals

- Michael Waye -- bass, backing vocals

NEW - Dennis Will -- keyboards (replaced Frank Mills)

 

  line up 5 (1972-73) 

NEW - Will Cardinal -- bass (replaced Michael Waye)

- Charlie Clark -- guitar, vocals

- Cliff Edwards -- lead vocals, guitar

NEW - Skip Layton -- drums, percussion (replaced Doug Gravelle)

- Gordie McLeod -- organ, backing vocals

 Jacki Ralph -- lead vocals

- Michael Waye -- bass, backing vocals

- Dennis Will -- keyboards 

 

 

 

 

- Ambush

- Cliff Edwards (solo efforts)

- The Five Bells

- The Lisa Hartt Band

- The Maritimes (Charlie Clark and Michael Waye)

- Frank Mills (solo effort)

- Don Norman and the Other Four

- Ocean (Will Cardinal and Skip Layton)

- Satan and the D-Men (Will Cardinal)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Love, Luck n' Lollipops

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD 5503
Year:
 1971

Country/State: Montreal, Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1140

Price: $9.00

 

As you could not doubt figure out from the sunny, hyper-'70s cover, this album wasn't going to be for everyone ... 

 

The band's roots trace back to the mid-'60s when singer/guitarist Cliff Edwards and then-girlfriend Ann Ralph started playing Montreal clubs, doing popular covers.   By 1965 they'd expended the act to include Ann's sister Jacki, along with drummer Doug Gravelle and keyboard player Gordie McLeod.  McLeod was quickly replaced by Mickie Ottier.

 

As The Five Bells, the group found steady work on the Canadian club circuit, eventually making some inroads into the American market.   By 1969 they'd changed their name to The Bells and inked  a deal with Polydor.

 

Produced by Edwards, 1972's "Love, Luck n' Lollipops" was the band's third studio set.   Like the earlier releases, the album featured a mixture of eclectic covers and isolated original material.  While the overarching sound as best tagged as soft rock, perhaps a reflection of their club band roots, the track listing included stabs at bubblegum pop (the Edwards original 'Easier Said Than Done') and even outlaw country (their appalling Kris Kristofferson medley 'Kris Collection').  While he didn't spotlight it very often, Edwards wasn't a bad guitarist (check out his jazzy moves on 'For Better for Worse').  He was also a more than decent singer - certainly far better than Jacki Ralph who had one of those "little girl" voices that you either loved, or detested.  While lots of folks think she sounded sexy, I've always found myself in the latter category.   There wasn't anything particularly original here and exemplified by tracks like their cover of John Sebastian's 'She's a Lady' the overall feel was sickly sweet.   That said, there are folks out there who will love the collection.

 

"Love, Luck n' Lollipops" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Half n' Half   (Mac Davis) - 3:19

Musically this could easily have been classified as a bubblegum pop tune with an insidiously catchy pop melody and the kind of up-with-people uplifting lyric that could plunge the unwary into a diabetic coma.  The la-la-la-la background simply had to be heard.   Wonderful way to start the album off.   rating: **** stars

2.) Gifts   (Alan O'Day) - 2:38

With Jacki Ralph and Cliff  Edwards sharing lead vocals, 'Gifts' was one of the sappiest ballads I've ever heard.  The fact Jacki sounded like a lovelorn twelve year old gave the song a slightly creepy vibe.   rating: ** stars

3.) Kris Collection   (Kris Kristofferson)- 4:46

     a.) Sunday Morning Coming Down

     b.) Help me Make It Through the Night

     c.) For the Good Times

I've never been a big Kris Kristofferson fan, but when you hear the group's medley of these three Kristofferson tunes, you'll  have at least a modest appreciation for the originals.  In 1973 Polydor released the medley as a promo single.   rating: ** stars

4.) Easier Said Than Done   (Cliff Edwards) - 2:29

The only Edwards original on the album, 'Easier Said Than Done' was also one of the album highlights - shimmering bubblegum pop with a hook that simply wouldn't leave your head, this could have easily fit on an Archies album.   rating: **** stars

5.) Lady Dawn   (M. Cooper) - 2:36

Well, Jacki handled lead vocals again so your  take on this ballad was going to be dependent on what you thought of her little girl voice. Always wondered why the song wasn't entitled 'Lady Night' ...   Personally, I thought it was pretty lame, which didn't stop Polydor from tapping it as a US single (with a slightly modified title).    rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Sweet Sounds of Music   (Frank Mills) - 2:55

One of two tunes written by former band member Frank Mills, 'Sweet Sounds of Music' was mildly interesting to hear these guys trying to sound funky   There was an unexpectedly nice little guitar fill at the end of the tune..  The song was tapped as an American 45.  rating: *** stars

2.) She's a Lady   (John Sebastian) - 2:14

I'll keep my comments brief - yech.   rating: * star

3.) To Know You Is To Love You   (Phil Spector) - 3:59

Why they would have wanted to cover one of the worst songs ever written in a mystery to me.   Dreadful.  rating: * star

4.) For Better for Worse   (Frank Mills) - 3:12

The second Frank Mills contribution, 'For Better for Worse' actually had a decent melody, but the haphazard arrangement and flat vocals essentially crushed the life out of it.  That left Edwards unexpectedly jazzy guitar solo as the song highlight.   Polydor tapped this one as the Canadian single.    rating: ** stars

5.) Homeward Bound   (Paul Simon) - 3:19

Slowing it down and stretching it out did little to improve Simon and Garfunkle's 'Homeward Bound'.   The heavy orchestration and Jacki's shrill delivery didn't help it either.   rating: ** stars

 

As mentioned, a couple of singles were floated off the album:

 

- 1971's 'I Love You Lady Dawn' b/w 'Rain' (Polydor catalog number PD 15027)

- 1971's 'Sweet Sounds Of Music' b/w 'She's a Lady' (Polydor catalog number PD 15029)

- 1971's 'For Better for Worse' b/w 'To Know You Is To Love You' (Polydor catalog number PD 15031)

 

   Spanish release

- 1971's 'Lady Dawn' b/w 'Rain' (Polydor catalog number 21 21 056)

 

For hardcore fans, in 1973 Polydor reached back and released 'Kris Collection' as a promo single.

 

- 1973's 'Sunday Morning Coming Down Help Me Make It Through The Night For The Good Times (mono)' b/w 'Kris Collection Sunday Morning Coming Down Help Me Make It Through The Night For The Good Times (stereo)' (Polydor catalog number PD 15063)

 

 

 

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