Band members Related acts
- Dan Harris -- vocals, guitar (1970)
- Shaun Harris -- vocals, bass (1970)
- Michael Lloyd -- vocals, keyboards, guitar (1970)
- Bob Markley -- vocals, percussion (1970)
- Shaun Harris (solo efforts)
- The Laughing Wind (Michael Lloyd Dan Harris and
- West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (Dan Harris,
Shaun Harris, Michael Lloyd and Bob Markley)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Markley - A Group
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: includes lyric sheet insert
GEMM Catalog ID: SOLD
Except in name, for all intents and purposes, 1970's "Markley - A Group" served as the final LP by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (WCPAEB).
Following a disastrous release for the small Amos Records, 1969 found singer/keyboardist Michael Lloyd using his connections and charm to get WCPAEB signed with Mike Curb's newly formed Forward Records label. Ironically, after most of the album was recorded vocalist Bob Markley came up with the suggestion/demand that the band name be chnaged. Apparently aware that the group was about to play itself out, the other members gave in without a major fight, though longtime vocalist Shaun Harris appears to have effectively dropped out of the line up. Though he's shown on the back cover, he's only listed as co-writing "Outside/Inside" - which was itself a remake of a track originally found on the previous "Where's My Daddy" LP.
For a band about to collapse, musically 1970's "Markley - A Group" is surprisingly consistent and accomplished. With Markley and Lloyd co-producing, tracks such as "Elegrant Ellen", "Sweet Lady Eleven" and "Magic Cat" are nearly as good as some of the highlights from the WCPAEB catalog. Lyrically the set found Markley again engrossed in fighting personal demons (the paranoid sounding "Roger The Rocket Ship") as well as unloading on a host of social evils while finding time to express an keen interest in young (emphasis on young) women. That said, the results could be a bit creepy. Along those lines check out Markley's sh*t eatin' grin on the back cover, as well as his non-too-subtle lyrics on songs such as "Next Plane To the Sun" and "Sarah The Bad Spirit". Luckily, Lloyd's influence is quite apparent in terms of the album's rich harmonies and full and delicate arrangements gracing selections such as "Elegant Ellen" and "Little Ruby Rain". Interestingly, on a number of tracks the band opts for a more commercial sound. Overlooking Markley's anti-capitalist rant, "Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!" almost sounds like a slice of Kasenetz-Katz-styled bubblegum rock. The album's other big surprise is found in Dan's emergence as a major writer. Credited as co-writing eight of the twelve tracks, he kicks in several impressive numbers, including the dazzling country-rock opener "Booker T. & His Electric Shock". A highly personal effort, the song was reportedly inspired by Dan's experience as a manic depressive subjected to electroshock therapy. Surprisingly enjoyable and worth the investment ...
"Markley - A Group" track listing:
1.) Booker T. & His Electric Shock (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
2.) Next Plane To The Sun (Bob Markley - Michael Lloyd)
3.) Roger The Rocket Ship (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
4.) Elegant Ellen (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
5.) Little Ruby Rain (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
6.) Message For Miniature (Bob Markley - Michael Lloyd)
1.) Sarah The Bad Spirit (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
2.) Truck Stop (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
3.) Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
4.) Sweet Lady Eleven (Bob Markley - Michael Lloyd)
5.) The Magic Cat (Bob Markley - Dan Harris)
6.) Outside/Inside (Bob Markley - Shaun Harris)
Needless to say, the album vanished without a trace; the band calling it quits shortly thereafter. Shaun recorded an instantly obscure solo album. Lloyd went on to considerable success as a producer.
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