Yellow Balloon, The

Band members               Related acts

- Don Braucht - bass, rhythm guitar, percussion (1967-68)

- Paul Cannella - lead guitar (1967-68)

- Forrest 'Frosty' Green - vocals, keyboards (1967-68)

- Alex Valdez - vocals, drums, percussion (1967-68)

- Luke R. Yoo (aka Don Grady) - vocals, drums, 

  keyboards  (1967-68)



Don Agrati (solo efforts)

- The Breakaways (Don Braucht)

- The Five of Us (Paul Canella and Alex Valdez)

- Don Grady and the Windupwatch Band (solo efforts)

- The Palace Guard (Don Grady)

- The Popcorn Explosion (Don Braucht, Paul Cannella,  

  Forrest Green and Alex Valdez)

- The Rising Sons (Forrest Green) 

- Alex Valdez (solo efforts)





Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Yellow Balloon

Company: Canterbury

Catalog: CLPS-1502

Year: 1967

Country/State: California

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: stereo pressing

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4484

Price: $30.00

Cost: $66.00


1967's "The Yellow Balloon" is another mid-1960s album some dealers have labeled as psych.  It isn't.  That isn't to imply this set doesn't have it's virtues. 


The Yellow Balloon started as a studio entity - the brain child of producer/songwriter Gary Zekley.  Zekley had made his name working with and writing material for Jan and Dean.  In the wake of Jan's near fatal 1966 car accident, Zekley continued working with Dean Torrence on a planned solo album (to be credited as a Jan and Dean product).  Zekley provided Torrence with several tunes, but was disappointed with the studio recordings, eventually deciding to shop the songs around himself.  


Finding an interested party in the form of Ken Handler's LA-based Canterbury Records (Handler's parent owned Mattel Toys), Zekley convinced Canterbury to rush release one of the songs as a single.  Credited to 'The Yellow Balloon', 1967's 'Yellow Balloon' b/w 'Noollab Wolley' (Canterbury catalog number 508) provided Zekley with an unexpected top-40 hit.  The resulting publicity and demand for touring support forced Zekley to start looking for a touring band.  At the same time Canterbury had signed child star Don Agrati aka Don Grady (aka Robbie of My Three Sons) to a solo recording contract.  In addition to his television work, Agrati/Grady had been a member of the folk-rock outfit The Palace Guard and while touring with the band and as a solo act he'd accumulated a list of musicians he'd seen and worked with whom had impressed him.  Put in touch with Zekley the two agreed on a collaboration with Grady subsequently calling up some of those musicians.  The final Yellow Balloon line up consisted of ex-The Five of Us lead guitarist Paul Canella and singer Alex Valdez, former Rising Sons keyboardist Forrest Green and ex-The Breakaways bassist Don Braucht.   


Produced by Zekley (credited as Yodar Critch), the album's surprisingly good considering it reflected a mixture of Jan and Dean castoffs, Zekley demos and new material recorded with a mix of studio musicians and the recently hired band. Offering up a mix of Beach Boys-styled rock and more conventional pop, the set benefited from strong melodies and the fact that Zekley and three others (Valdez, Grady (under the pseudonym Luke R. You) and Green) handled lead vocals.  While every one of the eleven tracks had commercial potential, highlights included 'Stained Glass Window', 'Good Feelin' Time' and 'Springtime Girl'.   Elsewhere Canterbury tapped the LP for two more singles:


- 1967's 'Good Feelin' Time' b/w 'I've Gotta Feeling for Love' (Canterbury catalog number 513)

- 1967's 'Stained Glass Windon' b/w 'Can't Get Enough of Your Love' (Canterbury catalog number 516)


"The Yellow Balloon" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) How Can I Be Down   (Don Altfeld - Gibson - Gary Zekley) - 2:14

2.) Stained Glass Window   (Don Agrati - Gary Zekley) - 2:03

3.) Baby Baby It's You   (Dick St. John - Gary Zekley) - 1:57

4.) Panama Red   (Lee - Gary Zekley) - 1:39

5.) I've Got a Feeling for Love   (Don Altfeld - Jill Gibson - Lee - Gary Zekley) - 2:18

6.) Yellow Balloon   (Lee - Dick St. John - Gary Zekley) - 2:16


(side 2)

1.) Good Feelin' Time   (Don Agrati - Gary Zekley) - 2:12

2.) Follow the Sunshine   (Byrne - Ferrell) - 2:35

3.) Springtime Girl   (Byrne - Ferrell) - 2:06

4.) Can't Get Enough of Your Love   (Anthony - Dick St. John - Gary Zekley) - 2:16

5.) Junk Maker Shoppe   (Don Agrati) - 2:37



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