Flo and Eddie


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1

- Howard Kaylan (aka Eddie) -- vocals

- Eddie Volman (aka Flo) -- vocals, guitar

 

  supporting musicians (1972)

- Aynsley Dunbar -- drums, percussion

- Barry Keene - spoken word

- Moe LaKai & The Island Singers -- vocals

- Jim Pons -- bass

- Don Preston -- keyboards

- Gary Rowles -- lead guitar

 

  supporting musicians (1981)

- Aston "Family Man" Barett -- bass

- Leslie "Professor" Butler -- keyboards

- Carlton "Santa" Davis -- drums,  percussion

- Wlt Fowler -- trombone

- Dean Fraser -- sax

- Enroy "Tenor" Grant -- sax

- Augustus Pablo - keyboards

- Phul Ramocon -- keyboards

- Earl "Chinna" Smith -- guitar

- Uziah "Stickey" Thompson -- percussion

- Albert Wing -- sax

 

 

 

 

- Checkpoint Charlie (Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman)

- The Turtles (Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman)

- Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (Howard Kaylan and

  Mark Volman)

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS-2099
Year:
 1972

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 1478

Price: $15.00

 

1972's "The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie" can be traced back to an unfortunate incident at a December 1971 Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert at London's Rainbow Theatre.  Following the collapse of The Turtles Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman were touring with Zappa when a deranged English fan, who apparently thought Zappa was making eyes at his girlfriend, snuck onstage where he managed to push an unsuspecting Zappa into an orchestra pit.  Zappa was almost killed in the fall, suffering a broken leg, several broken ribs, a damaged spine, and a crushed larynx which left him out of action for over a year.  Effectively sidelined during Zappa's prolonged recuperation, Kaylan, Volman, and the rest of The  Mothers of Invention were left on their own, eventually ending up in the studio.

 

Kaylan and Volman originally planned on releasing their debut as a Turtles album, though Reprise Records marketing arm didn't think much of the idea and the pair ultimately elected to release the collection  under their own names.  The result was either one of the strangest commercial almost you ever heard, or the most commercial strange album you've ever heard.   I'm actually using the descriptor strange as a compliment since these guys managed to do strange with a distinctly commercial edge that I've always found fascinating and enjoyable.   Featuring a largely original set of material, the pair aptly demonstrated they hadn't lost any of their pop chops.   Tracks like 'Thoughts Have Turned', 'It Never Happened ', and 'I Been Born Again' were full of mesmerizing melodies, top-40 hooks, and the pair's impeccable vocals.  At the same time, it you listened closely you could hear Zappa's influence on the pair.  Well, you really didn't have to pay much attention to hear it on the '20s styled 'Nikki Hoi' (my least favorite tune), but those  subversive influences were just under the surface of songs like 'Burn the House' and 'Feel Older Now'.   All told it was a wonderful debut and well worth tracking down.

 

"The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Flo & Eddie Theme   (Howard Kaylan - Mark Volman) - 0:55

One of the best throwaway, autobiographical intro tunes you'll ever hear.  Complete with banjo; massive backing chorus, and  a quick reference to Pete Townshend, this 55 seconds has everything going on.   rating: *** stars

2.) Thoughts Have Turned   (Howard Kaylan - Mark Volman) - 3:07

'Thoughts Have Turned' had a wonderful pop melody, bolstered by some killer Volman guitar moves, Dunbar's pounding drums, and those patented sweet harmony vocals.  The Turtles meet Pete Townshend ?   Great tune ...    rating: **** stars

3.) It Never Happened   (Mark Volman) - 2:08

When it comes to biting humor, Flo and Eddie are among the best acts out there.  Bolstered by a dark, folk-rock melody that snuck into your head and wouldn't leave, 'It Never Happened" was one of the best tunes on the album.   rating: ***** stars

4.) Burn the House   (Mark Volman) - 3:16

Sweet ballad with a lyric that always makes me snicker "The only thing I want to do today is you."   rating: *** stars

5.) Lady Blue   (Howard Kaylan - Mark Volman) - 3:32

Pretty, if slightly lysergic-tinged ballad ...  not exactly what you'd expect from The Turtles, but so what.    rating: *** stars

6.) Strange Girl   (Howard Kaylan) - 3:17

And you didn't think they could rock out.  Hell yeah they could.   No idea what it's about, but it certainly did rock.  The funny thing about this one is it always reminded me of another act, but every time I started  to think about it, the comparison would slip away from me.  Luckily, one day stuck with me - imagine Bare Tree era Bob Welch (of Fleetwood Mac fame), and you'll have a feel for the tune.    rating: **** stars

7.) Who But I   (Howard Kaylan - Mark Volman) - 4:27

Their mesmerizing harmonies remained instantly recognizable, but 'Who But I' had a distinctive West Coast vibe.  Kind of a CS&N aura going on here.  Nice and you had to wonder how radio managed to pass on it.  rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) I Been Born Again   (Mark Volman) - 3:46

Okay lyrically it was a bit repetitive, but what a great swinging' tune.   Add in some soulful Don Preston organ moves and a touch of Norman Whitfield-styled psychedelic trumpet and life was good.   Another album highlight.   rating: **** stars

2.) Goodbye Surprise   (Alan Gordon - Garry Bonner) - 2:56

As you could probably tell from the songwriting credits, 'Goodbye Surprise' was a remake of an earlier Turtles tune. A catchy, rollicking rocker, it was probably the most mainstream tune on the album, explaining why Reprise tapped it as the album's 45:

- 1972's 'Goodbye Surprise' b/w 'Nikki Hoi' (Reprise catalog number REP 1113)   rating: **** stars

3.) Nikki Hoi      (Howard Kaylan - Mark Volman - Jeff Simmons) - 1:59

With a breezy island melody; non-too-subtle smutty lyric, this was the album's most Zappa-esque tune.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement to my ears. rating: ** stars

4.) Real Love   (Mark Volman) - 4:26

The ballad 'Real Love' found the pair adding a Neil Young-styled yelp to their repertoire.   A lot better than you would have thought.  rating: *** stars

5.) Feel Older Now  (Howard Kaylan) - 4:26

To my ears 'Feel Older Now' was probably the best example of their Turtles pop instincts colliding with Zappa's influences.  Powered by Dunbar's muscular drums and some hysterical screams, this one rocked harder than anything else on the album, yet retained a commercial edge.   Okay, Volman's man boobs weren't really necessary and there was  no information on when or where it was recorded, but YouTube has a high quality concert performance of the tune:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS8sksM38EE    rating: **** stars

6.) There You Sit Lonely    (Howard Kaylan - Mark Volman) - 3:40

The lysergic-tinged ballad 'There You Sit Lonely' was the album's second Turtles remake (it eventually appeared on 1974's "Happy Together Again: The Turtles Greatest Hits"), and another indication of what an overlooked talent that band was.   rating: **** stars

 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Rock Steady with Flo and Eddie

Company: Epiphany

Catalog: ELP 4010
Year:
 1981

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID:2322

Price: $20.00

 

 

Their first album in five years, leave it to Flo and Eddie to release one of the strangest reggae and rocksteady albums you'll ever hear.  Having become increasingly fascinated with reggae and rocksteady, "Rock Steady with Flo and Eddie" was recorded in Kingston Jamaica at Bob Marley's Tuff Gong Studios.  Co-produced by the pair, Errol Brown, and  guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith,  the collection found the pair rolling through an intriguing set of reggae, rocksteady, and ska classics that's likely to be largely unknown to anyone outside of the reggae world (Stranger Cole, The Heptones, The Melodians, The Sensations, Delroy Wilson, etc.).  Given how obscure some of these tunes were, I'm guessing Brown and Smith were responsible for helping with the song selection.   I'm not going to tell you that a pair of stoned, middle aged white guys turned in a classic reggae album.  They most certainly didn't.  In fact, many of these performances were perfunctory at best.  At the same time, you could tell these guys were earnest in their affection for these genres and exemplified by tracks like 'Swing and Dine', 'Party Time' and a recast cover Billy Stewart's soul classic 'Sitting In the Park' several of the covers were quite enjoyable.  And for Turtles fans, there was always the closing reggae remake of 'Happy Together'.  Maybe because my initial expectations were so low, it's also an album that I've become increasingly fond of over the years.

 

Was anyone paying attention ?   Nah, the album sank without a trace.  

 

 

Who knows why, but in 1987 Rhino reissued the album under the title "Prince Flo & Jah Edward I" (Rhino catalog number RNLP 70079).  Would you be shocked to learn it vanished without a trace the second time around ?

 

"Rock Steady with and Eddie" track listing:
(side 1) 

1.) Prisoner of Love   (Leon Robin - Con Conrad) - 3:58   rating: ** stars

If you ever wanted to hear a reggae tune transformed into a sleep inducing, bedtime bore, then grab a copy of 'Prisoner of Love'.   The pair seriously sounded like they were singing this one in a trance.  Give me The Ink Spots reading any day of the week.

2.) Swing and Dine   (Tony Brevitt - Brent Dowe) - 3:21   rating: **** stars

I'm certainly no reggae historian, but I believe 'Swing and Dine' was originally recorded by the Kingston-based ska outfit The Melodians.  Giving credit where due, the pair turned in a nice, breezy cover of this one.   That said, the true star was Aston "Family Man" Barett's sweet and melodic bass line.

3.) Stop   (Tony Chin) - 2:12  rating: *** stars

Written by Soul Syndicate guitarist Anthony Chin, 'Stop' actually generated a bit of energy and demonstrated the pair could still nicely blend their voices. 

4.) Moving Away   (copyright control) - 3:19   rating: *** stars

Ken Boothe recorded the original.   Nice to see them injecting a bit of soul into their reggae set.  The "duck" sounds always make me smile.

5.) Pearl    (copyright control) - 3:32   rating: ** stars

'Pearl' was a good example of why middle aged pop stars probably wanted to be careful before delving into reggae.  While there was nothing wrong with the rhythm track, Flo and Eddie's vocals were fragile and shrill.   

6.) Dancing Mood   (Delroy Wilson) - 3:11   rating: *** stars

Their arrangement wasn't all that different from Delroy Wlson's original version, but their performances managed to strip away the song's soul, turning it in to a slice of MOR beach music.  It wasn't bad, but couldn't compare to Wilson's original.

 

(side 2)

1.) Party Time   (Leroy Sibbles) - 3:05   rating: **** stars

Another cover that simply couldn't come close to the original - this time by The Heptones.  That said, you had to give Flo and Eddie some credit for giving this classic tune some exposure and if you were going to pick one of their better performances, this would be in the top three.  Hey, "shoobie doo" yourself.   LOL

2.) Sitting in the Park   (Billy Stewart) - 3:10   rating: **** stars

Billy Stewart's original is one of those lost soul classics so giving it a reggae arrangement has always struck me as a curious move.  I will admit that this version of 'Sitting In the Park' showcased the pair's sweet vocals remained intact.

3.) Those Guys   (Bryan - Harris) - 3:14   rating: *** stars

The Sensations originally recorded hit, but with a sappy love lyric, Farfisa solo, and one of Earl "Chinna" Smith's prettiest solos, 'Those Guys' sounded like a Turtles tune that had been re-jiggered as a reggae tune.   

4.) Rock with Me Baby   (L Clark) -3:01   rating: ** stars

I actually had a friend who owned (and loved) the Johnny Clarke's version (The Gaylads did the origina)l.  I can still remember hearing it on his stereo.  About all I can say is track the version down, as opposed to Flo and Eddie's lame cover.

5.) Just Like a River   (Joel Gibson - Stranger Cole) - 3:16   rating: **** stars

Another tune I'd actually heard before.  I'd heard Stranger Cole's 1968 original (credited to Stranger and Gladdy) and also The Mighty Diamonds' cover.  And if there was one tune that may have come out equal to the originals, this was it.  The pair's reading was reverent, but also managed to showcase their clear affection for the genre.  Plus I love the way they sang the word "alright".  

6.) Happy Together   (Garry Bonner - Alan Gordon) - 2:11   rating: *** stars

I'm not even going to guess why they felt the need to redo one of their biggest hits as a reggae number. To be honest, the song's melody was so strong and recognizable, you really had to pay attention to even notice the reggae touches  

 

 

 

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