Crazy Elephant

Band members               Related acts

- Bob Avery - drums (1968-70)

- Ronnie Bretone - bass (1968-70)

- Kenny Cohen - keyboards, sax, backing vocals (1968-70)

- Hal King - vocals (replaced Robert Spencer) (1968-70)

- Larry Laufer - keyboards, backing vocals (1968-70)
- Robert Spencer - vocals (1968) 



- The Cadillacs (Robert Spencer)

- The Group (Kenny Cohen)

- Livin End

- The Music Explosion (Bob Avery)

- Owen-B (Bob Avery)



Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Crazy Elephant

Company: Bell

Catalog: 6034

Year: 1969


Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: small cutout notch top seam

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD


Well for all you bubblegum pop fans, here's another entry under the Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz catalog ...


Having scored a series of gigantic commercial hits with their unique brand of disposable pop, 1968 found Kasenetz and Katz building yet another studio creation around the talents of former Cadillacs singer Robert Spencer.  Having used Spencer to record a number of demos, Kasenetz-Katz, were certain that the track "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" had radio potentiall.. The song was offered to Buddah Records 9which had released most of their previous bubblegum offerings).  Inexplicably, Buddah promptly turned the song down.  Kasenetz-Katz quickly found a willing taker in the form of the small Sphere Sound label.  Released as a single "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" b/w "Dark Part of My Mind" (Sphere Sound catalog number 77005) promptly began attracting radio attention, leading the larger Bell Records to acquire national distribution rights.  Reissued as a single (Bell catalog number 703), the single hit #12 on the pop charts.  


Eager to cash in on the song's unexpected success, Bell hastily agreed to finance an LP.  With Spencer deciding he'd had enough of the project, Kasenetz-Katz quickly hired a group of sessions players to write, record and tour in support of the album.  Having previously recorded as The Livin End, drummer Bob Avery, bassist Ronnie Bretone, keyboardist Kenny Cohen, singer Hal King (replacing Spencer) and keyboardist Larry Laufer were hired for the job.


We'll come right out and say that 1969's Kasenetz-Katz produced "Crazy Elephant" stands as one of the era's best bubblegum rock LPs.  At least in our minds, that distinction rests with the fact the LP sports a surprisingly un-bubblegum like sound.  Left to their own devices, on material such as their extended cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" (imagine The Vanilla Fudge having decided to cover the song), "Pam" and a cover "Somewhere" (easily the strangest Sondheim-Bernstein cover we've ever heard), the band opted to avoid top-40 pop in favor of a much harder rock-oriented sound.  Propelled by Hal King's soulful voice and Laufer's keyboards, tracks such as "Come To The Farm" and "Higher and Higher" share more in common with The Vanilla Fudge than anything else under the Kasenetz-Katz creative umbrella.   Hoping to repeat it's earlier sales success, Bell pulled "Sunshine, Red Wine" b/w "Pam" as a follow-up single (Bell catalog number 804).  The track could do no better than #104 on the pop charts.  The parent LP also proved  a mediocre seller.


"Crazy Elephant" track listing:

(Side 1)

1.) Respect   (Otis Redding) - 6:22
2.) Pam   (Larry Laufer - Robert Katz - Iver Kasenetz) - 2:30
3.) Come To The Farm   (Larry Laufer - Robert Katz - Bruce Kasenetz) - 3:10
4.) Somewhere   (Stephen Sondheim - Leonard Bernstein) - 3:40
5.) My Baby (Honey Pie)   (Larry Laufer - Robert Katz - Bruce Kasenetz) - 2:15

(Side 2)
1.) Sunshine, Red Wine   (Jimmy Woods - Bob Levine - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:20
2.) (Heartless) Hertie Gertie   (Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 3:07
3.) Love Strike   (Jimmy Woods - Bob Levine - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 3:40
4.) Try This When You're Ready   (Larry Laufer - Robert Katz - Iver Kasenetz) - 2:10
5.) Higher And Higher   (Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) -3:30
6.) Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'   (Joey Levine - Richie Cordell) - 2:30


Over the next year the band released three more singles:

- 1969's "Gimme Some More" b/w "My Baby (Honey Pie" (Bell catalog number 817)

-  1969's "There's A Better Day A-Comin' (Na Na Na Na)" b/w "Space Buggy" (Bell catalog number 846)

- 1970's "Landrover" b/w "There Ain't No Umbopo" (Bell catalog number 875)


Faced changing popular tastes and  flagging sales, Bell promptly dropped the group and they were quickly relegated to the bins of musical history.