Rose, Biff

Band members               Related acts

- Benny Barth - drums

- Van Dyke Parks - synthesizers

- Biff Rose - vocals, keyboards



- none known





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Children of Light

Company: Tetragrammaton

Catalog: T-116

Year: 1968

Country/State: California

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: some soiling, but is in shrink wrap

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4367

Price: $10.00

Cost: $66.00


Geez, here's another one of those late-1960s/early-1970s artists who managed to record a handful of bizarre and mildly entertaining LPs before settling into obscurity for some thirty years.  Born in California and raised in New Orleans, Rose apparently started out as a comedian, writing for George Carlin and Steve Martin.  He  apparently enjoyed some success, even managing to appear on Johnny Carson's The Tonight show before turning his attention to music.  


Rose's material isn't exactly rock and roll, rather features increasingly dark and sophisticated social commentary-cum-1960s troubadour.  He's hard to adequately describe, but imagine a Loudon Wainwright III with an affection for New Orleans-styled honky-tonk keyboards and you'll be in the right neighborhood.  Today Rose is probably just as well known as a songwriter as a performer (which is to say he's hopelessly obscure to audiences).  David Bowie and Tiny Tim both recorded Rose's 'Fill Your Heart' (co-written with Paul Williams) Bowie's version appeared on the "Hunky Dory" album, while Tim's served as the 'B' side to the 'Tip Toe Through the Tulips' 45.


Like his debut, Rose's sophomore LP second album for Bill Cosby's Tetragrammaton label was co-produced by former New Christies Minstrels Nick Woods and Art Podell.  Musically 1969's "Children of Light"  is probably best described as an 'acquired taste'.  Rose doesn't have much of a voice and lots of folks will find it tough to handle his flat sing-song delivery and irritating habit of falling back on a whiney falsetto.  Whereas the debut exhibited a happy-go-lucky attitude, this time around material such as 'Just Like a Man' and 'American Waltz' has a much darker and painful feel.  Adding to the problem, exemplified by tracks such as 'Communist Sympathizer', 'Ballad of Cliches' and the live 'Colorblind Blues', much of the set's social commentary hasn't aged all that well.  Elsewhere, Van Dyke Parks provided a weird synthesizer to the opener 'Ain't No Great Day',  while producer Woods contributes a Moog solo to the goofy 'Evolution'.  It's a timepiece for sure, but  the set's so bizarre that it's actually worth checking out. 


"Children of Light" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't No Great Day   (Biff Rose) - 2:25

2.) Communist Sympathizer    (Biff Rose)- 2:04

3.) Evolution   (Biff Rose) - 3:00

4.) Just Like a Man   (Biff Rose) - 3:30

5.) American Waltz   (Biff Rose) - 2:34

6.) Son In Moon   (Biff Rose) - 3:41


(side 2)
.) Children of Light   (Biff Rose)- 2:36

2.) Ballad of Cliches   (Biff Rose) - 2:45

3.) To Baby   (Biff Rose) - 2:52

4.) Colorblind Blues   (Biff Rose) - 3:20

5.) Space Out/I've Got You Covered    (Biff Rose) - 3:20


Rose apparently continues to record, perform and occasionally tour to this day, though he's become increasingly eccentric, expressing blatantly anti-Semitic views.  For those of you interested, he also has an interesting website at:





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