The Love Generation


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-69)

- John Bahler -- vocals 

- Tom Bahler -- vocals, guitar, horns
- Mitch Gordon -- vocals, drums, bass, guitar, horns
- Marilyn Miller -- vocals 
- Jim Wasson -- vocals, trumpet, flute 
- Ann White -- vocals, keyboards 

 

  line up 2 (1969)

- John Bahler -- vocals 

- Tom Bahler - - vocals, guitar, horns

 

 

 

- The Going Thing (John Bahler and Tom Bahler)

- The Good Time Singers (Marilyn Miller)

- The Ron Hicklin Singers (John Bahler and Tom Bahler)

- The New Christie Minstrels (Ann White)


 

Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Love Generation

Company: Imperial

Catalog: LP-9351

Year: 1968

Country/State: California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1418

Price: $15.00

 

Brothers John and Tom Bahler got their professional musical starts as members of The Ron Hicklin Singers.  Imagine a vocal equivalent of the famed Wrecking Crew, the Bahler's were part of a group of professional singers who anonymously appeared on  hundreds of recordings throughout the early trough mid-'70s.

 

promo photo: left to right: 

Tom Bahler -Mitch Gordon - Marilyn Miller - John Bahler - Ann White - Jim Wasson.

 

By 1967 the Bahler's were ready to try their shot at the spotlight, forming the Los Angeles-based The Love Generation along with Mitch Gordon, former The Good Time Singers member Marilyn Miller, Jim Wasson, and ex The New Christie Minstrels member Ann White . Signed by Imperial Records, the group was placed in the studio with producer Tommy Oliver, resulting in the release of 1967's "The Love Generation".  With the Bahlers responsible for the majority of the material, tracks like 'Groovy Summertime', 'A Touch of Love', and 'Meet Me At the Love-In' were about as sunshine-poppy as you could get.  From a musical direction, the Bahlers were clearly on the same wavelength as then-contemporary outfits like The Association, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, and Spanky and Our Gang.   Full of sweet pop melodies and lush, multi-part harmonies, parts of the album was quite catchy and commercial.  Unlike those other acts, The Love Generation came across as somewhat calculated - you could have easily have mistaken some of these tracks for commercial jingles.  (Interestingly, the Bahlers did write and perform on numbers commercial jingles.)   From a lyrical standpoint, the group's relentlessly optimistic outlook on life and relations posed a significant danger to diabetics; the overabundance of sugar and love  threatening them with insulin shock.  Mind you, those comments weren't meant as criticisms since these folks could sing and harmonize with the best of their competitors.   On those isolated occasion when they dared to depart from their calculated top-40 world, they were capable of turning in surprisingly cutting edge work.  as an example, through It certainly wouldn't ever have been mistaken for a Jefferson Airplane tune, 'Not Be Found' was a first rate, slightly lysergic-tinged folk-rocker.    Other highlights included the title track and 'When the Sun Goes Down'.  Yes, it was a sexist comment to make, but the cover photo might have been reason enough to buy the album - after all, what red blooded American male wouldn't have wanted to have his hands near the attractive Ms. Miller?

"The Love Generation" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Groovy Summertime   (John Bahler - Colley - D. Ross)  - 2:24

'Groovy Summertime' was about as psychedelic and threatening to middle America as a box of Crayons, but you had to admit there was a certain naiveté, blissed out charm to this MOR-ish pop tune.   Wallowing in waves of sweet harmonies and incredible bland lyrics (groovy this, groovy that, groovy everything), it was one of those tunes that was so bad, it was actually enjoyable.  In fact, the only drawback was the fact the song ended too soon.    Imperial released it as the group's debut 45:

 

  

- 1967's 'Groovy Summertime' b/w 'Playin' on the Strings of the Wind' (Imperial catalog number 66243)  rating: **** stars

2.) The Love In Me   (John Bahler - Jim Wasson) - 2:25

For this group, 'The Love In Me' was a relatively hard rockin' performance. To my ears the tune had kind of a Spanky and Our Gang vibe, which wasn't a bad thing, but served to underscore the group's lack of true originality.   Loved the harpsichord solo.   rating: *** stars

3.) A Touch of Love      (Tom Bahler - D. Ross) - 2:52

Acoustic folkie number that sounded like it would have been part of a coffeehouse repertoire.   Always liked the harpsichord, but overall this one was hyper-sensitive and ultimately pretty dull.   rating: ** stars

4.) You Took the Happiness (Out of my Head)   (R. Regan) - 2:25

Judging by this old-timey tune, Marilyn Miller didn't have much a voice (not that it mattered().  Imagine a bad Spanky and Our Gang tune and you'll know what to expect.  rating: * star

.   rating: *** stars

5.) Hey, Look Around   (Tom Baher - N. Green)  - 2:30

Bouncy, pop tune with one of the album's nicer melodies and some semi-cute lyrics.   This one could have easily been a jungle for a blue chip entity like Pan Am, or AT&T.  rating: *** stars

6.) Not Be Found   (Jim Seals)    - 2:37

Say what you will about these songs, but it was hard to ignore the fact the group managed to do a fantastic job melding their voices.  With a touch of Free Design-styled jazz added to the arrangement, they seldom sounded as good as on the driving and slightly lysergic-tinged folk-rocker 'Not Be Found'  Probably the album's standout performance.   rating: **** stars


(side 2)

1.) She Touched Me - 2:47

'She Touched Me' has always reminded me a bit of a Brian Wilson-meets-Frankie Valli mash-up, with an occasional Simon and Garfunkel "feeling groovy" thrown in for good measure.   Very melodic, but also very MOR-ish.  rating: *** stars 

2.) Meet Me At the Love-In - 2:16

The happenin' song title was one of the best parts of 'Meet me At the Love-In'.  Upbeat, radio ready and totally plastic which  didn't stop Imperial from releasing it as the collection's second single:

 

 

- 1967's Meet Me At the Love-In' b/w 'She Touched Me' (Imperial catalog number 66254)   rating: *** stars

3.) There She Goes Away - 2:26

'There She Goes Away' was a pretty, ultra sincere, Baroque-tinged pop ballad.   easy to imagine a generation of English majors swooning at the sounds of this one.   rating: ** stars

4.) When the Sun Goes Down - 2:13

The album's most overtly commercial tune, 'When the Sun Goes Down' found the group blending Mamas and the Papas styled harmony vocals with a hyper-commercial pop melody.  They almost managed to pull it off on this one.   rating: *** stars

5.) Playin' On the Strings of the Wind - 2:35

The upbeat 'Playin' On the Strings of the Wind' was another album highlight, bolstered by their amazing intertwined vocals and some unexpected oddball sound effects at the end of the song.   rating: *** stars

 

Anyone in interested in the group should check out Scott Awley's extended interview with Tom Bahler at the "C'mon Get Happy" Partridge Family website: http://www.cmongethappy.com/aguide/lovegeneration.html

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  A Generation of Love

Company: Imperial

Catalog: LP-12364

Year: 1966

Country/State: California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2052

Price: $15.00

 

Ever run into something that simply screams '60s?   Welcome to the world of The Love Generation.

 

Seriously, if you're taking the time to read this review there's a good chance you already know what The Love Generation were about ...   Continuing their partnership with producer Tommy Oliver, 1968's "A Generation of Love" wasn't a major departure from the debut.   Brothers John and Tom Bahler were again responsible for the bulk of the material, though the three forgettable covers seemed to indicate they were running a bit short on material.  Musically this was "happenin'" music for folks who thought they were cutting edge, but really weren't.  Exemplified by songs like 'Hey Girl', ''You', and their cover of The Four Seasons' 'Workin' My Way Back To You' the album was full of heavily orchestrated MOR, vocally rich pop tunes that were radio-friendly, but more-product-than-art.   To their credit, elsewhere John and Tom Bahler could be seen as making an effort to show they were more than a disposable pop fodder machine.   The single 'Maman' found the group joining the rising anti-war movement, while 'Consciousness Expansion', 'The Bummer (Guide Me Home)', and 'Epitaph (A World Without Love)' found them making an effort at tapping into a more trendy form of social relevance.   Sure, it was all packaged with an MOR sheen, but give them credit for trying to expand their horizons.

"A Generation of Love" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hey Girl   (Carole King - Gerry Goffin) - 2:26

Wow, this may be the lamest King-Goffin cover ever recorded ... I suspect even grandmothers would have found it dull, plodding, and thoroughly forgettable.   rating: * star

2.) Consciousness Expansion    (John Bahler - Jim Wasson) - 3:20

Well, the title at least gave you hope - their MOR-ish sound remained troubling, but the lyrics showed there was at least a little bit of freak in their middle American suburban images.   Actually a pretty cool tune seemingly about a young man stepping out on his own ...  okay there were a couple of druggy images, complete with freak-out sound collage at the end.  rating: **** stars

3.) You   (E. Fournier - D. Manl)  - 2:33

Back to Association-styled harmony rock ...   if you like your pop with all the edges smoothed off then this one might appeal to you.   The group's harmonies were quite good, though the arrangement was just side of Mitch Miller.   rating: *** stars

4.) Leaves Grow Gray    (Tom Bahler - Jim Wasson) - - 2:44

Sappy big ballad that almost choked on its own hyper-sensitivity.  If a guy came at a woman with this much sincerity I suspect most would run like hell.   That said, the elaborate arrangement and churchy harmony vocals were kind of nifty.   rating: *** stars  

5.) A Groovy Kind of Love    (Toni Wine - Carole Bayer) - 2:14

I don't think anyone would claim The Mindbenders' cover of 'Groovy Kind of Love' was particularly exciting, but compared to this version ...  Wow, I don't think I've stumbled across anything quite as deadening.   This  had all the energy of a terminal malaria patient.     rating: * star

6.) The Bummer (Guide Me Home)      (John Bahler - Jim Wasson) - 2:39

I would have given this song two stars just for the hysterical title ...   Add in the breathless lead vocals (get that man some oxygen) and the harpsichord arrangement and this one gets a well deserved three stars.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 1)

1.) Workin' My Way Back To You   (D. Randell - Sandy Linzer) - 3:00

The arrangement didn't sound much different than The Four Seasons hit.  In fact the lead vocals served as a pretty good imitation of  Frankie Valli and company.   Nice song, but there wasn't a single reason to pick this one over the original hit.   rating: ** stars

2.) Epitaph (A World Without Love)     (Tom Bahler - D. Ross) - 2:13

With a Baroque arrangement, 'Epitaph (A World Without Love)' found the group take a stab at something that was reminiscent of The Mamas and the Papas at their trippiest.  rating: *** stars

3.) Maman (Mama)    (M. Charnin - E. Thomas) - 3:44

So give the group credit for joining the chorus of group's willing to make an anti-war stance.   Admittedly the song wasn't very good with the spoken word sections being cringe worthy, but ultimately it was hard to argue with the underlying sentiments.  Interesting that Imperial tapped it as the the album's instantly obscure leadoff single:

- 1968's 'Maman' b/w 'W.C. Fields' (Imperial catalog number 66275)  rating: *** stars

4.) Stop! In The Name Of Love   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozer - Eddie Holland) - 2:58

Motown turned into a flat, uninspired car commercial ...  Worth hearing because it was so bland.   I don;t know if there's such a thing as a song so bad it's good, but this one might be a candidate for such a designation.   rating: **** stars

5.) Fluffy Rain     (Tom Bahler - C. Copeland - John Bahler) - 2:14

Ann White and Marilyn Miller finally get a shot at the spotlight ...  Unfortunately, once again the pop-psych song wasn't very good.  By the way, the rain sound effects actually sounded more like a shower.   rating: ** stars

6.) W.C. Fields    (C. Copeland - Tom Bahler - John Bahler) - 2:44

Another one featuring the ladies, though this time around it sounded like Marilyn Miller was on lead vocals.  Bouncy  and one of the few tracks that actually demonstrated how good their blended harmonies could sound, though it was way too cute for anyone's good.   rating: *** stars

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Montage

Company: Liberty

Catalog: LP-12408

Year: 1969

Country/State: California

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap (though opened and wrap is torn)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1419

Price: $30.00

 

First a truth-in-lending type warning; if you're looking for true '60s psych then you need to run away from The Love Generation. On the other hand, if you like Association, The Free Design (without the mock jazzy influences), The Mamas and the Papas, or Orange Colored Skies-type of harmony rich pop, this'll almost certainly appeal to you.   Wow, talk about an era classic ... hard to believe music could have sounded so young and innocent ...  

 

By the time 1969's Tommy Oliver-produced "Montage" hit the stores The Love Generation wasn't so much a group as it was brothers John and Tom Bahler working with an array of sessions players.  Always a studio entity, unlike most groups, The Lover Generation doesn't seem to have broken up amidst personnel confrontations and heated arguments over musical direction.  Their split seems to have been unusually amiable.  The cover art was actually a good indicator of what was going on - John and Tom staring ahead in the foreground while former members  Mitch Gordon, Marilyn Miller, Jim Wasson, and  Ann White could be seen walking away in the background.  In spite of the personnel shake up, musically the third album wasn't a major change in sound, or  direction. This time around the Bahlers expanded their heart warming (or mind numbing) hip platitudes beyond top-40 pop.  Apparently meant to give the group a slightly more controversial edge, tracks such as The Pill', Consciousness Expansion (what a great late-'60s title), and A Touch of Love' (complete with excerpts from John F. Kennedy speeches) saw them wrapping their ever cheerful tight knit harmonies around socially and politically-relevant themes. Before you went running out of the room in terror, I'll tell you that I've certainly heard worse in my musical traveling. Not only that, but the Bahlers brought with them a certain cloying enthusiasm; almost evangelistic fervor in the knowledge that their insights could change the world.  Personal favorites include the leadoff song 'Montage from How Sweet It Is (I Knew That You Knew)'.  It provided a great example of  Jimmy Webb at his most articulate, or most stoned ("we knew you knew we knew you knew ...") and the should-have-been-a-hit slices of top-40 pop 'Let the Good Times In' and 'Candy'.   I almost hate to admit it, but this goofy LP actually grew on you if you gave it a chance ...

"Montage" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Montage from How Sweet It Is (I Know That You Know) (Jim Webb) - 

Webb wrote 'Montage' for the James Gardner/Debbie Reynolds flick "How Sweet It Is" (will have to track a copy down sometime).   Even though it was just the Bahlers, the patented Love Generation sound remained unchanged complete with lush , hushed, and deeply sensitive harmonies.   Lyrically it was kind of a mess, but so what.   Imperial tapped it as the group's sixth single:

 

 

- 1969's 'Montage From 'How Sweet It Is' (I Knew That You Knew' b/w 'Consciousness Expansion' (Imperial catalog number 66310)   rating: *** stars
2.) Let the Good Times In  (  Carole Bayer - Neil Sedaka) - 

'Let the Good Times In' was one of their most straightforward and commercial tunes.  Hired to work on The Partridge Family television series, the Bahlers subsequently re-recorded the song for the series.  It appeared on show's pilot episode.   If you listen to the version attributed to The Partridges, it's pretty clear they weren't singing the tune:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bso1rcZRm7A    rating: **** stars
3.) I Keep On Talking (Mitch Gordon) - 

Written by former The Routers/Mar-Kets member Mitch Gordon, 'I Keep On Talking' was my choice for the group's best ballad.  Yes, it was smooth and sappy, but the Bahlers gave it a super sweet arrangement that would have made The Association blush.  rating: **** stars
4.) Love and Sunshine   (Tommy Oliver) - 

Penned by producer Tommy Oliver, complete with banjo and breezy melody 'Love and Sunshine' was clearly meant to be a cutesy old-fashioned pop song.  It wasn't.   Nauseating comes to mind.  rating: * star
5.) A Touch of Love   (Tom Bahler - Dick Ross) - 

Acoustic folk song with annoying oboe arrangement.   I can remember hearing stuff like this at Saturday Catholic folk masses.   Yech.   rating: ** stars
6.) Candy    (R. Wilson Royer - James Griffin) - 


(side 2)

1.) Love Is a Rainy Sunday   (Ray Chafin) - 

The sunshine-pop feel was still here, but to their credit 'Love Is a Rainy Sunday' reflected a slightly updated top-40 sound.   Perhaps it was the instrumentation which included strings, or the mildly jazzy trumpet solo, but this one wouldn't have sounded bad on top-40 radio.   rating: **** stars
2.) The Pill   (John Bahler - Tom Bahler - Tommy Oliver - Mitch Gordon) - 
3.) Sunrise Highway   (Peter Andreoli - Vincent Poncia Jr. - John Linde - Bobby Bloom) - 

MOR-ish tune that simply never kicked into gear.  Almost sounded like something intended for a Broadway show.   rating: ** stars
4.) Magic Land   (Tommy Oliver - John Bahler) - 

'Magic Land' had previously been released as the group's second single:

- 1967's 'Magic Land' b/w 'Love and Sunshine' (Imperial catalog number 66289)
5.) You   (Dave Mani - Ed Fournier) - 
6.) Consciousness Expansion    (John Bahler - Jim Wasson) - 

Apparently a left over from earlier sessions, 'Consciousness Expansion' was probably the most interesting thing they'd ever recorded.   Still very pop-oriented, but with a mild pop-psych feel and an interesting lyric seemingly dealing with personal growth.    rating: **** stars



Following the group's collapse the Bahlers went to work touring in support of the Ford Motor Company.  In addition to recording commercials for the company, they performed at company sales meetings.  After the Ford affiliation the [pair  went on to work with The Partridge Family, writing, arranging and providing background vocals for the majority of their recorded catalog. 

 

 

 

 

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