The Moon


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Andy 'Drew' Bennett -- bass

- Larry Brown -- drums, percussion, keyboards

- David Marks -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Matthew Moore -- guitar, keyboards

 

  line up 2 (1968-69)

- Larry Brown -- drums, percussion, keyboards

NEW - David P. Jackson -- bass (replaced Drew Bennett)

- David Marks -- vocals, guitar

- Matthew Moore -- guitar, keyboards

 

 

 

- Davie Allan & the Arrows (Larry Brown)

- The Alpha Band (David P. Jackson)

- The Band without a Name (David Marks)

- The Bel-Aires (Larry Brown)

The Beach Boys (David Marks)

- Colours (David Jackson)

- Country Coalition (David Jackson)

- Mike Curb and Larry Brown

- Dave and the Marksmen (David Marks)

- Dillard and Clark (David P. Jackson)

- The Good Time Singers (David P. Jackson)

- Gunhill Road (Larry Brown)

- Hearts and Flowers (David P. Jackson)

- David Marks (solo efforts)

- Matthew Moore (solo efforts)

- Matthew Moore Plus Four (Larry Brown and Matthew Moore)

- The Plymouth Rockers (Matthew Moore)

- Rachel & the Reindeerz (David Marks)

- Jerry Styner and Larry Brown

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Without Earth

Company: Imperial

Catalog: LP-12381
Year:
 1968

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/ VG+

Comments: includes promotional materials

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5852

Price: $150.00

 

The Moon is one of those mid-1960s Southern California bands that gets widespread praise, but for some strange reason seems to consistently get lost when it comes to people's list of favorites.

 

Formed in 1967, the band had quite a talented line up with three of the four members having already recorded material.  The lone exception to that statement was bass player Andy Bennett.   

 

  • Drummer Larry Brown had been a member of The Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows.  He was also an in-demand sessions player having worked on scores of Hollywood exploitation soundtracks.

 

  • Rhythm guitarist David Marks replaced Al Jardin in The Beach Boys as the group's rhythm guitarist, recording several albums and touring with the band prior to Jardin's 1964 return to the lineup.  All of 16, he fronted Dave and the Marksmen, and recorded some material as a member of The Band without a Name.

 

  • Singer/multi-instrumentalist Matthew Moore had fronted Matthew Moore Plus Four, recorded several 45s with The Plymouth Rockers and recorded some solo material.

 

My copy of the LP came with some Imperial promotional material, including a band photo and a brief band history which I'll go ahead and quote for it's entertainment factor rather any bibliographical value:


"The Moon is causing a high tide of admiration from pop music fans across the United States.  "Without Earth," The Moon's first Imperial records LP, is causing this wave of acceptance and has promoted critics to heap praise on this versatile and talented group.  The Moon was formed in Los Angeles in the summer of 1967 and is composed of Matthew Moore, Drew Bennett, Larry Brown and David Marks.  The group is unique in that it is completely self contained.  Members of the group play all the instruments, write all the tunes, and produce and engineer all of their recording sessions.  Larry Brown, drummer of the group, in addition to being a musician is a recording engineer.  he was born and educated near Hollywood and has been involved in the music industry for five years.  His first job was playing piano at private parties.  Drew Bennett, bass, has a varied entertainment background.  He has worked in television and movies as an extra and has toured with several pop groups.  Bennett, a Los Angeles native, has been recording and writing tunes for five years.  In his pare time he is learning the art of karate.  Guitarist David Marks also brought a vast amount of pop music experience to The Moon.  He has recorded and traveled with groups for more than five years.  marks is a native of Lake Erie, Pa.  Rounding out The Moon is lead vocalist and multi-talented musician, Matthew Moore.  Moore, in addition to his vocals, plays nearly every keyboard instrument.  A native of Oregon, he has been recording for four years.  This is The Moon and it's music will never be eclipsed."

 

 

Produced by Brown, 1968's "Without Earth" fell a little short in terms of originality, but the band deserved credit for having good taste when it came to their influences - a dash of Brian Wilson and Beach Boys, a touch of The Bee Gees and a big heaping of 1967-era Beatles.  Largely penned by Matthews, it all came together in a wonderful mix of acid drenched pop-sike. Yes, the band members have admitted they were ingesting various illicit substances while recording the album.  The lack of creative originality was largely made up for by their enthusiasm, the set's commercial orientation, and the general sense of fun found on tracks like 'Mothers and Fathers' and 'Someday Girl.'   Add to that Moore had a voice that was perfectly suited for the genre (his performances frequently reminded me of Emmit Rhodes.  Some of my favorite American mid-1960s pop-sike. 

 

It isn't perfect, but remains one of my favorite mid-1960s American pop-sike albums.  Well worth tracking down, even more so given you can still find affordable copies.

 

"Without Earth" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Mothers and Fathers (Matthew Moore) - 2:04   rating: **** stars

'Mothers and Fathers' started the album off with a great slice of English influenced psychedelia. To their credit, unlike many California bands these guys actually turned in passable English accents.   One of the most commercial tracks on the album with a killer hook that's almost impossible to shake.  I've always wondered why it was relegated to being a "B" side on the 'Someday Girl' single.

2.) Pleasure (Matthew Moore) - 3:19   rating: **** stars

The lysergic flavored 'Pleasure' made it clear the band had been listening to more than their share of "Sergeant Pepper" and "Magical Mystery Tour".  With it's sweet harmony vocals and heavy trance-ish orchestration, the song was a nice nod to The Fab Four ...    

3.) I Should Be Dreaming (Matthew Moore) - 2:34   rating: **** stars

Reaching back to The Beatles catalog for inspiration 'I Should Be Dreaming' borrowed dreamy Lennon-esque vocals, sitar, backward guitars, and taped effects to come up with another attractive lysergic ballad.  Fantastic song to listen to on quality headphones, or through top flight speakers. 

4.) Brother Lou's Love Colony (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 4:59   rating: **** stars

One of two tracks penned by Colours' Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery, 'Brother Lou's Love Colony' melded Coral electric sitar (including a solo that would have made George Harrison proud), with a nice pop melody.  A classic slice of sunshine pop that deserved to have been a hit.  

5.) Got To Be On My Way (Dan Moore) - 2:01   rating: **** stars

Opening up with a searing Clapton-esque guitar solo from Marks, 'Got To Be On My Way' found the band dropping the Beatlesque influences in favor of a straight forward rock attack.  The result was one of the album's highlights.  Fantastic track !!!   Had Emmitt Rhodes recorded this one he would have been a massive star.   

6.) Someday Girl (Matthew Moore) - 2:41   rating: **** stars

Continuing to play it straight, 'Someday Girl' was a glorious pop tune that was radio ready.  You just ha to scratchy your head and wonder how the buying public missed this one ...   The song was tapped as the album's only single:

- 1968's 'Someday Girl' b/w 'Mothers and Fathers' (Imperial catalog number 66285)

 

(side 2)
1.) Papers (Matthew Moore) - 1:00   rating: *** stars

'Papers' started out as one of the album's best compositions, but hit a brick wall after roughly a minute,  Shame they didn't finish it.  

2.) Faces (Matthew Moore) - 2:04   rating: **** stars

'Papers seamlessly morphed into 'Faces' which was one of the album's most attractive vocal performances.  Great melody and multi-part vocal arrangement with another hook that you'll be hard pressed to shake.    

3.) Never Mind (Matthew Moore) - 1:48   rating: ***** stars

Another highpoint came in the form of 'Never Mind'.  Musically this one sounded like a cross between A Michael Nesmith-penned Monkees tune and 1965-era Beatles.  Killer two minutes of pop majesty.  Only complaint was I wish it were longer.     

4.) Give Me Moore (Matthew Moore) - 2:45   rating: *** stars

The harpsichord-propelled ballad 'Give Me Moore' was pretty, but kind of fey.  Not one of my favorites.  

5.) She's On My Mind (Jack Dalton - Gary Montgomery) - 2:24   rating: ***** stars

The second Dalton-Montgomery composition, 'She's On My Mind' sounded like something The Free Design would have recorded.  With its intricate group harmonies, it was a very MORish track, but in a cool kind of way.  Since I'm a big Free Design fan, it gets high marks from me.   

6.) Walking Around (Matthew Moore) - 1:52   rating: **** stars

Opening with an odd sound effect that reappeared midway through the track (Theramin, oscillator?), 'Walking Around' turned into one of the album's best pop efforts.  Another radio-ready slice of top-40 pop.    

 

 

The band members have a small website devoted to their careers at: HOME (themoonalbums.com)

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 

 

The Moon was formed as a result of several individual goals of several individual souls all converging for the purpose of creating music that was newer than all that was surrounding them.

Matthew Moore, Larry Brown, David Marks, Drew Bennett, and Dave Jackson, were the souls.

The music recorded was an effort to contribute an augmented level of warm, meaningful, and enjoyable listening fare for all of the creatures that hear.

The beginnings were mainly generated by the songs being written by Matthew Moore. Matthew's brother, 'Daniel Moore', was an independent record producer in Los Angeles and had produced several singles with Matthew as the artist. Daniel had arranged a meeting with 'Mike Curb' at Sidewalk Productions, in an effort to find a recording contract, and Mike was very helpful in providing the producer, and engineer, and drummer, and keyboardist: (Larry Brown), and in encouraging Matthew to seek out musicians that would form a group to record his compositions. Larry Brown introduced "Drew" Bennett to the proposed gathering, and Matthew had been running into David Marks around town, so he approached David with the idea of recording a few trial tracks.

Within a few weeks the project was under way. The Studio was to be, "Continental Studio", in Hollywood, and the four young adventurers set up camp and locked the doors. These young men were still not yet 21 years of age. The tremendous technical and organizational task had began.

All were single, all were very accomplished musicians, all were ridiculously fearless as to the huge undertaking they had embarked upon. It was agreed upon from the beginning that the fewest possible distractions and interruptions during the recording process must be the rule. The doors were locked and only food deliveries and an occasional visit from Mike Curb was allowed during the basic track recording phase. Sleeping, eating and playing music....that was all. The quest for perfection was the standard, many re-takes, many 'start all overs', and many heated discussions concerning choices of parts to be played or parts, not to be played.

Matthew: " I remember waking up ..having slept on the floor near the piano. A dim light was on in the booth, so I tried to walk to the door out of the studio. I kept stepping on boxes and kicking over cans and bottles but I made my way to the light panel to bring up the light in the room. I couldn't believe the amount of clutter and trash we had accumulated. We had to take a day off to allow the janitors to come in and clean. I still can recall the 'Warnings' we invoked, to "be careful and not move any wires or mikes or touch any set up instruments". We had to go out into the world for a day and entertain ourselves. Dave and I went to a $.50 triple feature western movie downtown and watched the winos sleep. A few days later we resumed our quest.

Without Earth And The Moon" ------ What do you get when you combine a Beach Boy (David Marks), an Arrow (Larry Brown of Davie Allan & the Arrows) & garage rock legend Matthew Moore...one of the most unjustly overlooked studio aggregations of the 1960s.The Moon's only two lps that were released/recorded back in '67 & '68 are quite ahead of it's time, considering the debut lp was done on a three track, the later on a 4 track! The sound is hugh with psych "analog" punch (especially the bass). Although the debut lp "Without Earth," is a little bit bright (nothing a good EQ can't change), there's still that big bottom end "full of wall" sound. Nevermind the some songs are killer "Beatles (think Magical Mystery Tour era) Psych style" full tilt. Others that have over the top hooks, and even one track that has sort of a funk groove (Got To Be On My Way) going on. The real candy psych tracks- Pleasure, I Should Be Dreaming (backward drums), Brother Lou's Love Colony, Someday Girl, Papers, and Faces, keep you coming back for more and more. Tracks: 1. Mothers And Fathers 2. Pleasure 3. I Should Be Dreaming 4. Brother Lous Love Colony 5. Got To Be On My Way 6. Someday Girl 7. Papers 8. Faces 9. Never Mind 10. Give Me More 11. Shes On My Mind 12. Walking Around The Moon recorded two albums (in 1968 and 1969 for "Imperial Records") that were both heavily influenced by the British invasion sound of "The Beatles". The Moon were somewhat of a second tier 60's rock Super Group. The Moon was headed by "David Marks" (lead guitar) and "Matthew Moore". At 14, circa 1962, he joined "The Beach Boys" as a rhythm guitarist (the Wilsons were his neighbors in Hawthorne, CA) when "Al Jardine" left their lineup to attend dental school. David Marks appeared on the first five Beach Boys albums and several hit singles, including "Surfer Safari" and "Surfin' U.S.A.". When "Al Jardine" returned, "David Marks", just 16, became the leader of "Dave & The Marksmen", who had localized hits with "Cruisin'", "I Wanna Cry", and "I Could Make You Mine". The Moon's debut, "Without Earth", is by far the stronger record with more Psychedelic (Today, "David Marks" admits these were produced under the influence of LSD, and sound "like a cross between The Bee Gees, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix") arrangements and a greater consistency.

Have a listen to a few songs:

No one knows for sure, how many hours or days or weeks or months it took to finish the first album, (Without Earth) but we do remember the final moment when we all looked at each other and nodded in agreement that it was finished. (Whew)

 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Moon

Company: Imperial

Catalog: LP-12444
Year:
 1969

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut lower left corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5853

Price: $60.00

 

 

Interestingly this was the first used album I ever bought.  I remember shelling out $3.00 for it at a Northern Virginia yard sale and being less than knocked out by the results (of course I was listening to lots of Robin Trower at that point in my life). 

 

After a personnel change that saw original bassist Andy 'Drew' Bennett replaced by David P. Jackson, the band reappeared with 1969's "The Moon".  Co-produced by drummer Larry Brown and singer/multi-instrumentalist Matthew Moore, musically the set wasn't a major change from the debut.  With Moore again writing the majority of the eleven tracks, some of the debut's sense of experimentation was dropped in favor of a relatively stripped down sound.  Listening to glistening pop tunes like the Paul McCartney-styled single 'The Pirate', the horn-propelled 'Transporting Machine' and the quirky rocker 'John Automation' you were left with the impression they may have been regrouping in the hopes of coming up with a more radio-friendly attack. One of the things I've always loved about the album were Moore's affinity for quirky subject matter and lyrics. Reincarnated pirates ('Pirates'), tiem travel ('Transporting Machine') and robots ('John Automation') - where else were you going to find all of these topics in one place?   By the way, exemplified by the sweet ballad 'Lebanon', 'Mary Jane' and 'Not To Know', they didn't totally walk away from their earlier pop-psych sound.  For years I thought the debut was the better of their two albums.  Not by a large margin, but I felt "Without Earth" was fresher and more creative.  Now I'm not so sure. Having listened to the album dozens of times over the years  it has come to impress me at least as much as the debut. Song-for-song It made for another enjoyable slice of mid-1960s American pop-sike. Unfortunately, like the debut, the sophomore LP also failed to sell and the group subsequently called it quits.  

 

 

 

For hardcore fans there were actually two versions of the album.  Both versions featured the same track listing, but the original Kevin Leveque cover illustration didn't include Paul Slaughter's band photo.

 

 

 

 

 

"The Moon" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Pirate (Matthew Moore) - 2:56  rating: **** stars

Yeah the lyrics were goofy (something about a mortal enemy being reincarnated as a beautiful woman), but 'Pirate' was one of the most top-40 commercial things they'd recorded.  Featuring one of those bright pop melodies with barrelhouse piano and glistening harmony vocals that Badfinger would effortlessly churn out, it was a great choice for a single, though it did little commercially.  Always loved the faux-English accents.  

- 1969's 'Pirate' b/w 'Not To Know' (Imperial catalog number 66415)

2.) Lebanon (Matthew Moore - Peter Morse) - 1:43  rating: **** stars

Surrounded by an elaborate Robert Klimes string arrangement (Klimes was a high school music teacher at the time), the ballad 'Lebanon' came off as the band's attempt at a big statement (though that plotline was lost on me).    Moore's English accented vocal was unusual in that it featured him shifting into a higher register surrounded by some of the band's sweetest harmony vocals.  The result was one of their prettiest melodies.  Shame the song was so short.    

3.) Transporting Machine (Matthew Moore) - 1:37  rating: **** stars

The overlooked Larry Brown opened 'Transporting Machine' with some jarring drums which lead into some nice David Marks guitar.   Sporting another set of "out there" lyrics - father-in-law created a time machine, the track was surprisingly funky, kicked along by an unexpected soulful horn arrangement.  

4.) Mary Jane (Pat Witcraft - Robert Klimes) - 2:10  rating: *** stars

Co-written by arranger Robert Klimes, 'Mary Jane' was the lone non-original.  Slathered in a neo-Baroque arrangement 'Mary Jane' and pompous for my tastes.  Nice stereo separation on the mix. 

5.) Softly (Matthew Moore) - 2:56  rating: *** stars 

The horn powered 'Softly' never seemed to find its footing; the cluttered arrangement bouncing through different time signatures and musical niches.  One of Moore's few forgettable efforts.  Shame they didn't stick with a streamlined melody line.    

6.) Not To Know (Matthew Moore) - 2:40  rating: **** stars

Once again featuring a distinctive English feel, the pretty ballad 'Not To Know' has always reminded me of an Emmit Rhodes-meets-Badfinger track.  Cloaked in another interesting Klimes string arrangement, the song featured a sweet melody and one of Moore's nicest vocals. 

 

(side 2)
1.) The Good Side (Matthew Moore) - 2:55   rating: ** stars 

'The Good Side' opened side two with what qualified as a stab at a bluesy number.  Give them credit for being willing to try something outside of their normal creative bounds, but clearly blues weren't their strength.       

2.) Life Is a Season (Matthew Moore) - 2:19   rating: ** stars 

'Life Is a Season' was a bland pop number that simply never ignited.   

3.) John Automation (Matthew Moore) - 2:15  rating: **** stars

Propelled by some nice Marks fuzz guitar and the band's harmony vocals, 'John Automation' was an out-and-out rocker.  Moore's penchant for quirky lyrics made it an interesting choice for a single and perhaps helping explain why it didn't sell.   

 

 

 

 

- 1968's 'John Automation' b/w 'Faces' (Imperial catalog number 66330)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Come Out Tonight (Matthew Moore) - 2:45  rating: **** stars

The piano dominated 'Come Out Tonight' could have been a "Ram"-era Paul McCartney outtake.  Very commercial, but some folks will find it's sincerity cloying.  I love "Ram" so this one appeals to me.   

5.) Mr. Duffy (Matthew Moore - Larry Brown) - 2:52  rating: **** stars

With its intricate Beatlesque arrangement 'Mr. Duffy' was the song that most recalled the debut LP.  Again, it'll be too cute for some folks, but I love this kind of stuff.    

 

 

 

  • Brown continued working as a sessions player, as well as playing with Tony Allwine and the short-lived Guhnill Road.  He has a website at: www.larrybrown440.com 

 

 

 

  • Jackson reappeared as a member of Dillard and Clark.

 

 

  • In the mid-1970s Marks rejoined The Beach Boys, replacing the late Carl Wilson.   When The Beach Boys underwent a nasty internal split, he hooked up with Mike Love's Beach Boys, but 'retired' when he came down with Hepatitis C.  He's served as the national spokesman for The Hep C Hope Foundation and has a nice website at: http://www.davidleemarks.com/

 

 

  • Moore toured with Joe Cocker on his Mad Dogs and Englishmen rampage, recorded some solo material, and became a sessions singer and keyboard player.

 

 

 

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 

 

 

 

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