Colours


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Chuck Blackwell -- drums, percussion
- Jack Dalton -- guitar 
- Rob Edwards -- guitar 
- Gary Montgomery -- keyboards 
- Carl Radle (RIP) -- bass 

 

  line up 2 (1968-69)

- Chuck Blackwell -- drums, percussion
- Jack Dalton -- guitar 
- Rob Edwards -- guitar 
- Gary Montgomery -- keyboards 
- Carl Radle (RIP) -- bass 

 

 

 

 

- Delaney and Bonnie (Carl Radle)

- The Dependables

- Derek and the Dominos (Carl Radle)

- Eddie and the Showmen (Rob Edwards)

- The Moon


 

Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Colours

Company: Dot

Catalog: DLP-25854

Year: 1968

Country/State: Oklahoma
Grade (cover/record):
 VG+/VG+

Comments: minor edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4192

Price: $30.00

Cost: $6.00

 

Interestingly some reference works I've come across show this outfit as being English (probably due to the fact their name was spelled with the added English 'o').  Don't be fooled since the band's roots can be traced to Oklahoma where drummer Chuck Blackwell and bassist Carl Radle were buddies with a young Leon Russell.  Guitarist Rob Edwards had previously been a member of Eddie and the Showmen.

 

Best known for the fact their initially lineup included future Derek & the Dominos/Jimmy Buffett bassist Radle, this five piece survived long enough to release a pair of interesting and highly diverse late-1960s albums. The debut is a little heard psych classic; the follow-up a far more conventional and altogether less impressive work.

Produced by Danny Moore and Richard Delvy, 1968's "Colours" offered up a nifty set of Beatles-styled pop-rock. Penned by guitarist Jack Dalton and keyboard player Gary Montgomery, material such as "Love Heals", "Helping You Out", "Where Is She" and "I Think of Her (She's On My Mind)" (the latter baring an uncanny resemblance to the forthcoming Badfinger), offered up a wonderful collection of harmony-rich, radio-ready pop. One of the year's most impressive debuts, the set was full of playful psychedelic touches. Highlights included the droning, raga-influenced "Rather Be Me", the sitar-and-bagpipe (don't ask) propelled "Brother Lou's Love Colony" and the ominous leadoff "Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby" (which found the band effortlessly shifting thought at least a half dozen time changes). Unfortunately with public tastes already moving beyond the summer of love, the collection was overlooked by the press and the buying public. (Dock the set half a star for Jon Borgzinner's pompous liner notes ("Colours have the crystalline sharpness of the Beatles before they turned acid.") and for the tacky Nehru jackets the band sported on the front and back covers.)

 


"Colours" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:06

This is the kind of orchestrated pop-psych that bands like The Association wished the could have churned.  Simultaneously trippy as all, commercial (the title track chorus is a hoot), and lyrically entertaining (dumbsh*t trying to rob liquor stores with a black-polished wooden gun), it was simply a genre classic.  Shame more folks haven't heard it.   rating: **** stars

2.) Love Heals   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:38

Thing they'd been listening to any Beatles before writing and record 'Love Heals' ?   This one simply drips Sgt Pepper influences from the double time beat, to the treated vocals, the operatic backing vocals, and even the summer-of-love subject matter.   Great slice of faux-Fab Four.  Easy to see why Dot tapped it as a single:

 

 

- 1968's 'Love Heals' b/w 'Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby' (Dot catalog 45-17132)   rating: **** stars

3.) Helping You Out   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:57

And if you couldn't hear the band's Beatles fixation there was always the bubbly 'Helping You Out' which literally sounded like they'd stolen if from the Lennon-McCartney songbook.  Very 'Fixing-a-Hole' styled pop--psych.  If you're a Beatles fan this will strike home.  Otherwise, probably not so much.   rating: **** stars

4.) Where Is She   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:24

You have to smile at the thought of five guys from Oklahoma trotting out their best Paul McCartney impressions.  And the funny thing is they actually did a pretty good on the ballad 'Where Is She'.  Yeah, the flute solo was needless, but otherwise this was pretty good.    rating: *** stars

5.) Rather Be Me   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:55

Prominent raga influences (sounds like they were playing it on a banjo); heavily treated vocals, loads of Beatles-styled production effects, and a pea-soup thick layer of lysergic-tinged influences made 'Rather Be Me ' a blast to hear.   rating: **** stars

6.) I'm Leaving   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:45

Kicked along by some nice fuzz guitar, a great hook, and the band's sweet harmony vocals, 'I'm Leaving ' was probably the first side's most commercial pop track.  Very ready-friendly had it been tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Brother Lou's Love Colony   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:56

Another fantastic slice of pop-psych complete with trippy lyrics, treated vocals, lysergic keyboards, fuzz guitar, sitar colorings, and even bagpipes at the end of the song  ...   what's not to love about this one ?    rating: **** stars

2.) I Think of Her (She's On My Mind)   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:10

'I Think of Her (She's On My Mind)' found the band mining The Beatles "Rubber Soul" era soul-moves with suitably impressive results.   Very-1966-ish (backward guitar !!!) with some acoustic guitar work  that will slay you.   rating: **** stars

3.) Lovin'   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 1:38

'Lovin'' has always reminded me of Harry Nilsson trying to do his best John Lennon impersonation.  Again, the result is very Beatles-esque.   Great tune with a simply melody that you simply can't shake once it gets in your head.  In fact the only complaint is the song is too short.   rating: **** stars

4.) Cataleptic   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:06

It was trippy, but 'Cataleptic' was probably Dalton and Montgomery's best melody ...  It also sported the band's best guitar solo.   Instantly memorable and one that I find myself humming at unexpected times.  Always wondered about the title since the lyric seems to be "I can't remember".   The '60s band Aorta also covered this one, though I don't like their version nearly as much.  rating: **** stars

5.) Don't You Realize   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 1:52

The closer was one of the few tracks where they abandoned their Beatles fixation, exchanging it for a Country Joe and the Fish-styled good time feel.   It was short, but didn't do much for me ...  the album's one disappointment.   rating: ** stars

 

Yeah, you can criticize the album as being imitative (and it was), but it was a fun set from start to finish and you couldn't help but be impressed who good the imitations were.  One of my favorites mid-'60s albums and you can still find affordable copies.

 



 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Atmosphere

Company: Dot 

Catalog: DLP-25953

Year: 1969

Country/State: Oklahoma

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: mono pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 8950

Price: $35.00

 

Following a major personnel upheaval that saw most of the original line-up head out the door, singers/guiatrists Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery continued The Colours nameplate with the release of 1969's "Atmosphere".  Anyone expecting another slice of Beatles-influenced psychedelia was in for a major surprise. Produced by Dan Moore (Richard Delvy serving as executive producer), the set found the duo pursuing a surprisingly dull and uninspired mainstream sound.  The sound was definietly different this time around, including some totally unexpected  jazz-rock fusion tinged melodies (check out the singles 'God Please Take My Life' and  'Hyannisport Soul (Lost You To The Wind)').   Elsewhere, weak vocals ('Angie') and some hackneyed orchestration (Grey Day)  didn't exactly help the cause. Among the few tracks worth hearing more than once were 'You're High' (incidentally the only track to recall the debut) and the soul-influenced 'I Tried To Make You Love Me Last Night'.  Change is good, but in the case you walked away with the feeling these guys were at a total loss in terms of what they wanted to do. 

 


"Atmosphere" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Angie   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:11

Initially the weak vocal on 'Angie' was a major turnoff, but after a couple of spins it revealed its charms turning out to be one of the rare highlights on the album.  Musically it was quite catchy, reminded me a bit of Badfinger, or Emmitt Rhodes-styled early-'70s pop.   rating: *** stars

2.) God Please Take My Life   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 5:00

Giving credit where due, 'God Please Take My Life' started out with some nice electric guitar, but unexpectedly found the band verving off into jazz-rock fusions ...   Talk about a seriously unexpected move.  And then just as you were acclimating to the instrumental groove, the song dove off in a blues-rock vein that sounded like someone trying to pull off a bad Blood, Sweat and Tears impersonation.   What the world ...   Why Dot tapped this one as a single is beyond explanation.    rating: ** stars

3.) When Will You Be Coming Home?   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:27

Another Badfinger/Emmitt Rhodes-wannabe Paul McCrtney-styled pop number, 'When Will You Be Coming Home?' had a gentle, but attractive melody, but once again suffered from a slightly under-whelming vocal.  In the hands of a stronger vocalist, the song would have been a killer tune.   rating: *** stars

4.) I Tried To Make You Love Me Last Night   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:32
5.) Grey Day   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 3:55

Structurally 'Grey Day' had a nice melody and considerable promise, but the irritating meandering guitar, crappy orchestration, and fey lead vocal ultimately turned it into an aural mess.  Shame.   rating: ** stars

6.) Smilin' In Toronto   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 4:09

 

(side 2)
1.) Hyannisport Soul (Lost You To The Wind) (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:16
2.) Run Away From Here   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 1:58
3.) It's Time To Tell You   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 4:03
4.) Announcement   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 1:54
5.) I'll Be Your Friend   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:15
6.) You're High   (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:37

'You're High' was the song that came closest to capturing the spirit of the debut LP.  Yeah, there wasn't a great deal to the lyric, but the song had a bouncy melody and the harmony vocals were great.   rating: *** stars

 

Dot released a pair of singles off the second LP:

 

  

- 1968's 'Hyannisport Soul' b/w 'Run Away From Here' (Dot catalog number 45-17181)

- 1968's 'God Please Take My Life' b/w 'Angie'  (Dot catalog number 45-17280)

 

Like the debut album, "Atmosphere" was another commercial nom-entity and within a matter of months Colours was history.  If you're going to check 'em out, go with the debut LP.





 

 

 

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