Merry-Go-Round, The


Band members               Related acts

- Rick Dey (RIP 1973) -- bass (replaced Bill Rinehart)

  (1967-69)

- Doug Harwood -- drums (1966)

- Gary Kato -- drums (1966-69)

- Joel Larson -- drums (replaced Doug Harwood) (1966-69)

- Emitt Rhodes -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums

  (1966-69)

- Bill Rinehart -- bass (replaced Mike Rice) (1966-67)

- Mike Rice -- bass (1966)

 

 

- Bullet (Gary Kato)

- Derek (Gary Kato)

- Rick Dey (solo efforts)

- The Gene Clark Group (Joel Larson and Bill RInehart)

- The Grass Roots (Joel Larson)

- The Leaves (Bill Rinehart)

- The Palace Guard (Emitt Rrodes)

Emitt Rhodes (solo efforts)

- The Vejtables (Rick Dey)

- The Wilde Knights (Rick Dey)

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 5 stars *****

Title:  The Merry-Go-Round

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP 4132

Year: 1967

Country/State: Hawthorne, California

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: small cut out hole top left corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5104

Price: $40.00

 

I'm not even going to try to hide the fact that I'm a gigantic Emitt Rhodes fan.  The fact he's been largely overlooked and forgotten by music fans is nothing short of criminal.  If I had $20,000 or whatever it took I'd ensure that some of the demos he's recorded over the last thirty years would be released.  Against that backdrop, this album is in my small pile of 'must own' efforts.  

 

Having previously played in The Emerals (not The Emeralds) and The Palace Guard, in 1966 drummer Emitt Rhodes started all over.  Switching to guitar, rehearsals in his parent's garage with high school buddies Doug Harwood, Gary Kato and Mike Rice went well, but things really kicked into gear when Rhodes started hanging our with ex-Grass Roots drummer Joel Larson and ex-Leaves bassist Bill Rinehart.  The latter two had also been members of Gene Clark's post-Byrds The Gene Clark Group.  After a couple of weeks of rehearsals and with $500 in their pockets the foursome recorded a pair of demos that quickly attracted the attention of A&M Records.

 

 

Signed by A&M the group's 1966 debut 'Live' b/w 'Time Will Show The Wiser' (A&M catalog number 834) topped the L.A. charts, proving a substantial hit throughout Southern California and even made the top-70 Billboard charts.  Though it charted, the follow-on single 'We're In Love' b/w 'Gonna Fight The War' (A&M catalog number 857) didn't do as well, though A&M Records executives quickly decided to release a Merry Go Round LP.

 

Produced by Larry Marks, 1967's "The Merry-Go-Round" served to compile the earlier singles, along with a selection of recently recorded demos.  Largely penned by Rhodes (Kato contributed one track and the pair collaborated on one song), the results were a stellar (and grossly overlooked) set of Beatles-influenced pop.  Normally such a comparison would imply something shallow and highly derivative.  Not the case this time around.  On material like 'On Your Way Out', 'Had To Run Around' and 'We're In Love' Rhodes and company were clearly influenced by the Fab Four (particularly Paul McCartney's pop sensibilities, though the latter was a dead ringer for John Lennon), but these guys had more to offer than simply mimicking The Fab Four.  Light psych ('Time Will Show the Wiser' showcasing an early backward guitar track), country-rock ('Gonna Fight the War') and even Baroque influences ran through the material.  Imagine what the Beatles would have sounded like had they soaked in L.A.'s flourishing folk-rock scene and you'd get a feel for the earlier single 'Live' and 'Early In the Morning'.  Guess what?  They could also rock out.  Anyone under the impression these guys were simply a pop band need only check out 'Where Have You Been All of My Life' or the Rhodes-Kato collaboration 'Gonna Leave You Alone'.  Bottom line is that this is one of those rare LPs where literally any of the 12 tracks would have made a dandy single.  Full of killer melodies, first-rate harmonies and inspired performances, highlights abound.   Personal favorites include 'Live', 'You're a Very Lovely Woman' and the bouncy 'A Clown's No Good'.  And the crowning glory ... you can still find the album for a reasonable price !!!  As for singles, A&M pulled two more from the LP:

 

- 'Time Will Show the Wiser' b/w '' (A&M catalog number 834)

- 'You're a Very Lovely Woman' b/w '' (A&M catalog number 863)

 

 

"The Merry-Go-Round" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Live   (Emitt Rhodes)  - 2:32

2.) Time Will Show the Wiser   (Emitt Rhodes)  - 2:25

3.) On Your Way Out   (Emitt Rhodes)  - 2:29

4.) Gonna Fight the War    (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:00

5.) Had To Run Around   (Emitt Rhodes)  - 3:34

6.) We're In Love   (Emitt Rhodes)  - 2:22

 

(side 2)
1.) You're a Very Lovely Woman   (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:45

2.) Where Have You Been All of My Life   (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:14

3.) Early In the Morning   (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:05

4.) Low Down   (Gary Kato) - 2:57

5.) A Clown's No Good   (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:18

6.) Gonna Leave You Alone   (Gary Kato- Emitt Rhodes) - 2:16

 

Shortly after the album was released Rinehart quit.  He was quickly replaced by ex-The Vejtables bassist RIck Dey.  The revamped line up began work on a follow-up LP (eventually shelved).  Before calling it a day in 1969 they also managed to release a series of three of non-LP singles:

 

- 1968's 'Come Ride, Come Ride' b/w (A&M catalog number 899)

- 1968's 'Gonna Leave You Alone' b/w 'Listen, Listen' (A&M catalog number 920)

- 1968's 'Highway' b/w 'Til The Day After' (A&M catalog number 957)

 

Courtesy of YouTube, there's a short band performance clip available.  They're clearly lip-synching and literally drop Sgt. Pepper influences, but who cares:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgmioAfzhXE

 

 

In an apparent attempt to cash in on Rhodes solo career, in 1971 A&M reissued the band's third single:

 

- 'You're A Very Lovely Woman/' b/w 'Til The Day After' (A&M catalog number 1254)

 

 

For anyone interested, Kevin Ryan has an amazing Emitt Rhodes website at:

 

http://users2.ev1.net/~kryan73/emitt/index.html

 

 

 

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