Upset, The

Band members               Related acts

- Peter Allen -- ???



- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Sunshine

Company: Guinness

Catalog: GNS 36057

Year: 1977

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: cut corner; still in shrink wrap

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5078

Price: $40.00


Okay, I'll admit that I'm fascinated by the whole 'tax scam' record label concept.  Part of it may have something to do with the fact I was a business major and have a budget-oriented career (what a great subject this would have been for a thesis).  That said, as I've delved into the tax-scam world I've been surprised by how good much of this 'throwaway' music has been.


From a marketing perspective this 1977 release was a pretty standard tax scam product - non-descript packaging, minimal liner notes, etc, however musically "Sunshine" was actually pretty good.  Produced by Lou Guarino (who I believe was the same guy associated with such records labels as Calico, Robbee and World Artists), all nine tracks were credited to 'Peter Allen'. I'm also guessing it wasn't the same Peter Allen who was married to Liza Minnelli and recorded a series of albums for A&M, though some of the pseudo-dance material wasn't that far removed from the other Allen's catalog.  Lacking liner notes there's no way of tell who actually performed on the album, but assuming Mr. Allen handled the vocals, he acquitted himself quite well.  Tracks like the 'Riding High' and ''It's Gettin Better sported a power pop sound that wasn't all that far away from the likes of Badfinger.  Too bad the whole album wasn't as good.  Material like 'Tell Me Why' and like 'All I See' (propelled by a Frankie Valli-styled falsetto and some of the year's cheesiest synthesizers) were equally pop-oriented though far less distinguished, while 'Jumping High' and 'Man On the Flying Trapeze' fell victim to a mild-disco feel.  Perhaps because it sported a weird pseudo-English and mildly psych feeling, my personal favorite was the ballad 'In Reach'.  Sure, there wasn't a single ounce of originality to be found here, but for a throwaway product it sounded better than three quarters of big name releases.


"Sunshine" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Brother   (Peter Allen) - 2:32

2.) Riding High   (Peter Allen) - 2:48

3.) Tell Me Why   (Peter Allen) - 2:47

4.) Jump Back   (Peter Allen) - 3:10

5.) Man On the Flying Trapeze   (Peter Allen) - 2:44


(side 2)
1.) It's Gettin' Better   (Peter Allen) - 2:50

2.) Sunshine   (Peter Allen) - 3:20

3.) In Reach   (Peter Allen) - 3:30

4.) All I See Is You   (Peter Allen) - 3:10



Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Midsummer Night

Company: Guinness

Catalog: GNS 36058

Year: 1977

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5780

Price: $80.00


The first Upset LP on Guinness is pretty easy to find, but that certainly isn't the case for the 1977 follow-on "Midsummer Night".  Curiously, even though it is hard to score (I've seen three copies in 25 years of collecting), the set doesn't command some of the stratospheric prices of other harder-to-find Guinness releases.  I'm guessing that's due to the fact most of the nine anonymous songs (no writing credits) were pretty MOR-ish.  You tell me.  In typical tax-scam fashion this one offered little biographical info.  Lou Gauarino was credited as the producer, but there were not writing, or performance credits.  Demo tapes that were scraped together?  That certainly seemed to be the case since at least a couple of the side two performances ('Echoes of My Love' and 'Suzi Love') sounded nothing like the rest of the album leading to speculation they were added to pad the collection out.  Who knows ...


- Complete with horns, the title track was an okay,1960s-flavored pop effort that sounded like something an MOR vocal group like The Four Seasons, The Heppenings, The Tokens, or The Vogues might have recorded.  Commercial, but in a safe, AM radio fashion.  It sounded to clean to be a vintage track so I'm guessing it was recorded in the mid-1970s.  All told, pretty forgettable.   rating: * star

- Even though it opened up with a cool organ segment, 'Dancing In the Dark' was an even more MOR-oriented number.  This wasn't really pop, or rock, rather was something that you'd hear in a Las Vegas lounge.  Imagine a third rate Harry Connick Jr. and you'll have a feel for it.   rating: * star

- Normally something as sappy as 'Holding On for Dear Love' wouldn't make much of an impression on me.  It certainly wasn't a great song, but compared to the first two performances this one actually showed a bit of energy.  rating: ** stars

- Hands down one the best song on the album. 'Crystal' was a very conventional pop song, but sported a nice melody; a touch of fuzz guitar, and some decent vocals.  This one would not have sounded out of place had you heard it on mid-1960s radio.  Picture The Association performing one of their more up-tempo numbers.  rating: *** stars

- Hardcore psych fans would laugh themselves silly if you tried to tag 'Electric Mirror' as a foray into psychedelia.  That said, the song featured some of the group's wilder lyrics and actually had a modest lysergic feel to it.  That dark edge made if my choice for best performance.  rating: **** stars

- Side two opened up with another MOR stab at top-40 pop.  Imagine a crappy Vogues song and just skip on to the next track.  rating: * star

- 'Groovin'' was another track with a very 1960s feel, complete with Herb Alpert-styled horns.  Listening to this one it was very easy to picture a bunch of guys in matching leisure suit, feathered back hair, and big moustaches trying to be way more cool than they really were.    rating: **** stars

- Opening up with some tasty acoustic and pedal steel guitar, 'Echoes of My Love' sounded nothing like the rest of the album.  There was no way this was the same outfit featured on most of the earlier material ...  Musically the song was a pretty country-rocker with a performance that recalled something Michael Nesmith might have recorded in the early-1970s.    rating: **** stars

- Another country-rock number, 'Suzi Girl' was another track that sounded out of place on the album.  Pretty in a Poco-styled fashion ...    rating: *** stars   


Not the best and not the worst of the Guinness catalog,    


"Midsummer Night" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Midsummer Night - 2:38

2.) Dancing In the Dark - 2:02

3.) Holding On for Dear Love - 2:40

4.) Crystal - 2:37

5.) Electric Mirror - 


(side 2)
1.) Going Out of My Head - 2:44

2.) Groovin' - 2:46

3.) Echoes of My Love - 3:07

4.) Suzi Girl - 3:00