Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1965-70)
- Mark Bird -- guitar
- Warren Hansen -- vocals, organ, plasmatar
- Tim Harrison -- drums, percussion
- Chuck Spieth (RIP) -- bass
- Mark Bird (solo efforts)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Another Day, Another Lifetime
Catalog: V 124
Country/State: Los Angeles, California
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 4891
My personal opinion (worth absolutely nothing), is that this relatively unknown mid-'60s outfit deserve to be on the list of purveyors of classic psych albums. Again, not that anyone cares, but note that in my world of music criticism, I assigned it a rare four stars rating to their sole album ... Lots of folks will disagree, lumping them into the sell-out MOR pile, but I would vigorously disagree with that characterization. Ultimately you'll have to judge their album by your own standards.
The David's another short-lived Southern California act I wish I knew more about. The line up consisted of guitarist Mark Bird, singer/keyboardist Warren Hansen, drummer Tim Harrison and bassist Chuck Spieth. I've got nothing to back it up, but a couple of on-line references indicate that all four were still in their teens when the recorded their first couple of singles and sole LP.
Originally known as The Reasons, after signed to 20th Century Fox, the band debuted with a pair of instantly obscure and highly collectable 45s:
1966's '40 Miles' b/w 'Bus Token' (20th Century Fox catalog number 6663)
1967's 'People Saying, People Seeing' b/w '40 Miles' (20th Century Fox catalog number 6675)
1967 found the band signed to the small, newly formed L.A. based Vance Music Corporation (VMC) label which agreed to finance an album. Obviously nothing more than a coincidence, but band manager Steven Vail was the label owner.
Produced by Vail with Gene Page arranging, "Another Day, Another Lifetime" showcased a set of ten originals penned by singer/keyboardist Hansen. Lots of reviewers have slapped The David with a Baroque/sunshine pop label and while there's certainly some of that genre in their repertoire (check out ''), that label was limiting, if not outright misleading. Like competitors such as The Association, Curt Boetcher, Orange Colored Skies, etc., tracks such as 'Another Day, Another Lifetime/I Would Like To Know', 'Now To You' and 'Mirrors of Wood' offered up an intriguing blend of classic pop moves with occasional nods to psychedelia, then cutting-edge eastern musical influences, and cool studio experimentation. Unlike lots of their competitors, the album distinguished itself from the competition by virtue of the fact almost all of the horn and string arrangements actually added to the collection's appeal - check out 'Tell Me More'. Credit arranger Gene Page. The other strength these guys has stemmed from the fact that while they were comfortable playing pop, without breaking a sweat they could rock out. Skeptics need only check out the driving fuzz and organ propelled 'I'm Not Alone', the equally impressive 'Tell Me More', or 'Professor Crawford'. Personal favorites included the psych-drenched 'Time M' and 'Of Our Other Days'.
Day, Another Lifetime"
1.) Another Day, Another Lifetime/I Would Like To Know (Warren Hansen) - 5:50 rating: **** stars
For a group of guys still in their teens, 'Another Day, Another Lifetime/I Would Like To Know' showcased a surprising amount of confidence and a willingness to experiment. Kudos to VMC management for allowing the band to go beyond the normal two minute slice of mundane top-40 pap. The result was a great slice of sunshine pop complete with wild orchestration (courtesy of Gene Page), nice harmony vocals and a distinctive Indian raga influence. This was the kind of material Curt Boetcher and bands like The Association would have killed to get their hands on.
2.) Iím Not Alone (Warren Hansen) - 1:48 rating: ***** stars
The Farfisa organ and fuzz guitar propelled rocker 'Iím Not Alone' was one of the album's commercial highpoint. Imagine The Monkees being allowed to cut a real rock song and you'd have a feel for what this pounding gem sounded like. The track was tapped as the album's lone single:
1968's 'I'm Not Alone b/w 'Sweet December' (VMC catalog number V-716).
3.) Sweet December (Warren Hansen) - 4:05 rating: **** stars
Showcasing Hansen on lead vocals and Doors-styled keyboards, 'Sweet December' found the band taking a stab at a double time slice of garage grunge. Moody and quite likeable.
4.) Tell Me More (Warren Hansen) - 2:25 rating: **** stars
'Tell Me More' showed these guys could handle top-40 styled jangle rock. Great melody with one of those hooks that bore into your head and won't let go. Even better was Harrison's frantic drumming (move over Keith Moon) and Bird's freak out closing guitar solo.
5.) Now To You (Warren Hansen) - 3:58 rating: **** stars
The first side's most commercial offering, 'Now To You' somehow managed to take a good rock song, slap Baroque-styled orchestration on top of it and not kill the song. In the hands of a band like The Left Banke the results would have been coma inducing, but here Hansen and company managed to retain control of the the song ... not sure how, but the thing actually rocker. One of my favorite songs on the album.
Side two opened up with a great slice of psych-tinged jangle-rock. Imagine 1967-era Roger McGuinn and company getting away from Bob Dylan covers and you'd get a feel for this one. With angelic harmony vocals, a killer guitar hook (trying shaking it out of your head), and a fantastic splash of fuzz guitar, this was easily one of the album highlights.
2.) Time M (Warren Hansen) - 4:50 rating: **** stars
Full of reverb, effects treated vocals, and haunting keyboards, 'Time M' was two blatantly psychedelic offerings.
3.) So Much More (Warren Hansen) - 2:16 rating: ** stars
'So Much More' was another pop song covered in heavy, psych-tinged orchestration. Unfortunately, while Hansen and company gave it their all, unlike the other tracks, on this they were largely swallowed up by the arrangements.
4.) Mirrors of Wood (Warren Hansen) - 3:40 rating: **** stars
Complete with hypnotic one-two beat, Bird's effects treated guitar, Hansen's lysegenic soaked vocals, and some "Magical Mystery Tour" styled orchestration, 'Mirrors of Wood' was a classic slice of psychedelia. Very cool song.
5.) Of Our Other Days (Warren Hansen) - 2:05 rating: **** stars
Sporting a vaguely Caribbean feel, 'Of Our Other Days' showcased the band's more conventional and commercial side. Clearly a throwaway song, but with a catchy top 40-ish melody it would have made a dandy AM radio single. Judging by the sound effects, it sounded like they had quite a bit of in-studio fun recording the track.
In summary all ten tracks were worth hearing, and my only real complaint would be that clocking in at a hair over 31 minutes the set was simply too short. Shame they never recorded a follow-up. Not exactly rare and the set's been reissued a couple of times, however original copies still command fairly high prices. (By the way, the album sounds great on a high end stereo or with a pair of good headphones.)
I've never seen it, but there's supposedly a fourth and final non-LP 45: 1968's 'Don't Slam The Door In My Face' b/w 'Sandy' (VMC catalog number V-717) - see comment below - little research indicates the single as actually recorded by Larry Marks.
Bird taught music at the college level; recorded a series of classical guitar albums and became a physician. Speaking of Bird, he was kind enough to send me a brief note:
very complete a interesting compendium of the group. Most of the material is
correct except that the single "Slam the Door in my Face" was not
one of our songs. Warren and I were 16 and Tim and Chuck were 17 when we
recorded the David album. We did the singles when I was fifteen. Thanks
again for taking the time to write the review.
Hansen became an environmental engineer.
Harrison seems to have vanished.
Wikipedia indicates bassist Spieth died at 21 in a house fire.
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