The Tea Company
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1966-67) (as The Naturals)
- Frankie Carr (aka
Frankie Carretta) --
- Al Vertucci -- guitar, vocals
line up 2 (1967-68) (as The Tea Company)
- Frankie Carr
Frankie Carretta) --
vocals, rhythm guitar
- The Missing Links (Al Vertucci)
- The Summa-Sets (Mike Lassando and John Vancho)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Come and Have Some Tea with Tea Company
Country/State: Queens, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: promo stamp on back
Catalog ID: SOLD 6085
Price: SOLD $40.00
Here's an outfit I've always wondered about ... Singer/guitarist Frankie Carretta (aka Frankie Carr) was the brainchild behind this New York-based outfit. Showcasing the talents of Carr,, drummer Joe DeGregorio, bassist Al Franzia, singer Joe Santos, and former Missing Links guitarist Al Vertucci, these guys started out as the Queens, New York based The Naturals. The Naturals generated some attention on The New York - New Jersey - Long Island club circuit, eventually signing with Joseph Cosentino's small Massachusetts Jowar label which released a pair of instantly obscure singles:
- 1967's 'Internationally Me' b/w 'Say Hay-Ha-Ha' (Jowar catalog number JW 120)
- 1967's 'Maiden From The East' b/w 'Theme From A Natural'
(Jowar catalog number JW123)
"Come and Have Some Tea with Tea Company" track listing:
1.) Come and Have Some Tea with Me (Frankie Carr) - 3:32 rating: *** stars
'Come and Have Some Tea with Me' opened the album with a sound collage that included a music box, echoy horns, fuzz guitar, and the sound of tea being poured into a cup. Sounding like it had been recorded in a shower stall, the track literally dripped with lysergic touches including Carr's stoned vocals, hyperactive bass and drums and an awe-inspiring collection of studio effects.
Amazingly, Smash decided to tap it as a single (though in a heavily edited format).
- 1968's 'Come And Have Some Tea With Me' b/w 'Flowers' (Smash catalog number S 2176)
2.) Flowers (Frankie Carr - Mike Lassando) - 10:09 rating: **** stars
Flowers' started out as a pretty, but extremely stoned ballad, before abruptly morphing into eight minutes worth of acid-drench studio experimentation, including the strangest version of 'Mary had a Little Lamb' you've ever heard. I've heard tons of psych album, but the combination of Vertucci freak-out guitar and bizarre 'Halloween' influenced backing vocals, this was one toasted track.
3.) Love Could Make the World Go Round (Frankie Carr) - 3:36 rating: *** stars
Ah, time to get social relevant ... and how could you not enjoy a track that name checked Lincoln, McCartney, Lennon, and Dylan ... This one basically found Carr reciting one of the funniest manifests you've ever heard over a folk-rock background that recycled The Fab Four's 'All You Need Is Love' riff over and over ...
1.) You Keep Me Hangin' On (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) - 8:50 . rating: ** stars
Side two was a bit disconcerting given it started out with the same music box/horns as found on side one ... I remember thinking I'd forgotten to flip the album over ... Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), after that brief interlude the band launched into their cover of Holland-Dozier-Holland's 'You Keep Me Hangin' On'. The track's clearly a Motown classic, but trying to turn in the ultimate 'heavy' cover (yes, the tried to outdo The Vanilla Fudge version), ensured their version was flawed from the start. The painful results went on for eight plus minutes with only a brief spell of relief where they seemingly lost the song's melody and actually come up with something far more interesting, only to lose it again ..
2.) Don't Make Waves (Water Sound Effects) (instrumental) - 1:39 rating: ** stars
Well, kudos to the band for believing in truth in advertising ... 'Don't Make Waves (Water Sound Effects)' was an apt description of this instrumental. At least I'm guessing that's what water would sound like if you took a bath stoned out of your mind ...
3.) As I Have Seen You Upon the Wall (Frankie Carr - John Vancho - Mike Lassando) - 2:46 . rating: ** stars
Kicked along by a jaunty Vancho bass line and some circus organ, 'As I Have Seen You Upon the Wall' was a breezy, if totally stoned pop number ... love the line "there's fun in tea ..."
4.) Make Love, Not War (Frankie Carr) - 2:36.
rating: ** stars
By the way, having missed out on the 1960s, I can only report that "tea" was supposedly a reference
to weed. Contrary to popular rumor, I can tell you the plant shown on the cover
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