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Exact matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lesley GoreCalifornia Nights (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Mercury/Ace (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $14.99
One of the best ever albums by Leslie Gore – full of sweet natured girl pop songcraft that's on par with her biggest hit singles – but with an underlying sadness and overall emotional depth that's underappreciated to this day! It might not be as monumental as, say Pet Sounds, but we truly don't understand how the mix of sugar sweet songs and genuinely resonant emotion here never got the critical props it deserves. That's OK – WE get it, and we know you will, too! Production by Bob Crewe and arrangements by Jack Nitzsche – and titles include "California Nights", "Treat Me Like A Lady", "Bad", "I'm Going Out (The Same Way I Came In)", "Maybe Now", "Love Goes On Forever", "Off And Running", "Lilacs And Violets", "The Bubble Broke" and "Cry Like A Baby". This great Ace CD version goes way above the call of duty, with huge number of bonus tracks culled from her previous couple of LPs and rarities from the same mid 60s period – 15 of them, adding up to 25 tracks in all! Bonus tracks include "My Town, My Guy And Me", "Let Me Dream", "Start The Party Again", "I Just Can't Get Enough Of You", "I Can Tell", "That's What I'll Do", "Happiness Is Just Around The Corner", "Hold Me Tight" and more. CD
Possible matches: 8
Possible matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
ChallengersOn The Move (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Vault/Warner (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $13.99
The Challengers go surfing around the world – at least as proclaimed by the cover – but they still manage to keep their groove very focused on the sunny sounds of 60s southern California! The music here is surf instrumental, but with a smoother twist – really great guitar lines from Glenn Grey, played with all the twangy brilliance of his contemporaries – but also with a confidence that never needs to overdo things at all, so that the space between the notes becomes every bit as important to the overall sound as the guitar lines themselves. The group also harmonize vocally a bit in the background – in ways that are subtle, but really effective – and although the songs are from a variety of sources, they all come together nicely with this approach. Titles include "Happy Cowboy", "On Broadway", "Foot Tapper", "Adventures In Paradise", and "The Breeze & I". CD features four bonus tracks – "Stick Shift", "Road Runner", "Lead Foot", and "Rev Up". CD

Possible matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Deuce CoupesHotrodder's Choice ... CD
Del-Fi/Warner (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $13.99
The Deuce Coupes may have a hot-rodder's name – but the sound here is surf instrumental all the way through – that hip, twang-heavy mode that put Del-Fi Records at the top of the heap back in the California scene of the early 60s! There's a nice current of fuzz on the guitar at times – which might help make the transition from cleaner surf modes to the rasp of exhaust from a hot rod – but the overall sound is still plenty clean, as the notes ring out from the low end to brighter spots higher up in the spectrum! Back cover comes complete with a glossary of drag racing terms – but this set would be equally at home on the beaches in Malibu, even though titles include "Smooth Stick", "Gear Masher", "Double-A Fueler", "Dawn Patrol", "Hayburner", and "Nite Prowler". CD

Possible matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dale HawkinsLA, Memphis & Tyner, Texas ... CD
Rev-Ola (UK), 1969. New Copy ... $8.99
A warm, southern-inflected batch of bluesy sunshine rock from Dale "The Hawk" Hawkins – best known for gifting the world with his Chess original version of "Suzie Q" back in the late 50s – a big step away from the r&b steeped rockabilly he made his name on a decade earlier! LA, Memphis & Tyler, Texas is a catchy title and kind of a good hint at the sound – which has a breezy late 60s California vibe, but it's laid down with Memphis style horn backings and swampy guitars. Dale's vocal delivery is his most effervescent ever – and the players include James Burton, Spooner Oldham, the Memphis horns and even Taj Mahal! Tracks include "LA-Memphis-Tyler", "Heavy On My Mind", "Joe", "Houndog", "Back Street", "La-La La-La", "Candy Man". "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town", "Little Rain Cloud" and more. CD

Possible matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ronny & The DaytonasRonny & The Daytonas – The Complete Recordings ... CD
Mala/Real Gone, Mid 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $21.99 23.98
Totally wonderful work from Ronny & The Daytonas – one of the many great groups who grew up in the shadows of The Beach Boys – yet found a way to have something sort of extra special in their sound! The approach is similar here – sunny harmonies and romping surf-styled guitar – but The Daytonas hail from Nashville, not the west coast – and that difference seems to make for a special sort of quality in their music – almost more of a sense of longing and melancholy beneath the polish, as if they'll never be enjoying the sun on the coast, but can only dream about it! The songs are often recorded in a sorrow-tinged harmony mode that strongly echoes the style of Beach Boys numbers like "Warmth Of The Sun" or "The Lonely Sea". The approach is really wonderful – one that makes the album really stand out from the rest of the pack at the time – because it was certainly easy enough to copy The Beach Boys when singing uptempo and surfy, but much more difficult when hitting the more sorrowful notes of the group! Arrangements have some help from Bergen White and Bill Justis – but the real strength of the record is The Daytonas themselves, who sound wonderful along with Ronny – and this smashing 2CD package goes way past any other – with lots of unusual later singles, unreleased tracks and lots of stuff we'd never heard before. 48 titles in all – with tracks that include "Nanci", "If I Had My Way", "Sandy", "No Wheels", "Teenage Years", "Hot Rod Baby", "California Sound", "Hey Little Girl", "Angelina", "Delta Day", "4 Cast She'll Love Me Again", and "Winter Weather". CD

Possible matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousSoft Sounds For Gentle People Vol 3 ... CD
Pet Records, Late 60s. New Copy ... $9.99
Dreamy dreamy pop from the late 60s underground – a wonderful assortment of rare singles and LP tracks, all hand-picked by the genius crew at Pet Records! The set seems to even top their previous excellent volumes – going beyond even the lesser-known, to come up with 24 tracks that we'd never heard before – but which easily rank with our favorite Sunshine Pop records ever! The package features a great set of notes that gives you details on each track, and really helps put the music into perspective. Loads of great harmonies, catchy tunes, and sweet California production – perfectly summing up the huge amount of untapped genius in the post-Pet Sounds era! Titles include "Where Is The Door" by West Coast Branch, "January Girl" by The Pipe Dream, "My Imagination" by PK Limited, "A Scene In Between" by The Stained Glass, "October Rain" by The Cinnamon Ship, "Floating Downstream On An Inflatable Rubber Raft" by The Second Helping, and "Lovin Day" by The Status Cymbal. CD

Possible matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousTruckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels – The Blissed-Out Birth Of Country Rock Vol 3 – 1970 ... CD
Bear Family (Germany), 1970. New Copy 2CD ... $26.99 31.98
1970 was a crucial year for country-tinged rock in the US – a time when the style really came into its own, and both found strong support in the mainstream, and an approach that was hardly just a straight rehasing of its roots! This third volume may well be the best so far in this excellent series – as it showcases a range of key artists who drew strongly on the sounds of Nashville and Bakersfield, but really found ways to make those influences their own – expressing a country aesthetic in the younger voice of the time, at a level that would then go back and influence mainstream country in years to come! As with the other volumes, the package is beautiful – a nice heavy book, filled with thoughtful notes on the tracks – and a total of 38 cuts that include "Tell Me A Song" by Morning, "Silver Moon" by Mike Nesmith & The First National Band, "Hurry Up" by Poco, "Delta Mama Blues" by Townes Van Zant, "He Darked The Sun" by Linda Ronstadt, "God's Own Singer" by Flying Burrito Brothers, "Big Bayou" by Swampwater, "Tobacco Road" by David Allan Coe, "Be Real" by Doug Sahm, "Livin In The Country" by Country, "Just A Country Dream" by Eric Anderson, "California" by Rick Nelson, "Right Before My Eyes" by Moby Grape, and "Biloxi" by Jesse Winchester. CD

Possible matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Lesley GoreSomeplace Else Now ... CD
MoWest/Real Gone, 1972. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
An obscure later album from Lesley Gore – and a set that's far more mature and adult than you might know from her 60s girl pop hits! The album's cut for Motown's MoWest subsidiary, and has the same hip style as other albums on the label at the time – kind of a California singer/songwriter style, which fits well with all the original material penned by Gore for the album – arranged with kind of a gentle, glowing sound by Artie Butler and the team of Michael Omartin and Jimmie Haskell. The approach is laidback and warm on most numbers, with compressed orchestrations that would be right at home behind Dionne Warwick – and titles include "She Said That", "Out Of Love", "For Me", "The Road I Walk", "Someplace Else Now", "Mine", and "Be My Life". CD

Possible matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ NirvanaStory Of Simon Simopath (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Island/Universal (Japan), 1967. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Tremendous! This album is one of the few relics cut by the British group Nirvana – a late 60s ensemble that is not to be confused with the more famous Seattle one – a really cool combo who are way more than the usual pop psych of the time – and have so many great twists and turns of their own! The set's a brilliant batch of baroque and trippy tunes – presented as a "science fiction pantomime", but coming off more like a series of fab pop tunes that kind of crossup Brit Invasion and California Sunshine Pop sensibilities. The great Syd Dale (of KPM fame) handled the arrangements, so the album's got a nice extra-groovy punch – and titles include "We Can Help You", "Satellite Jockey", "Lonely Boy", "Wings Of Love", "In The Courtyard Of Stars", "You Are Just The One", and "Pentecost Hotel". CD features the full mono and stereo mixes of the album – plus bonus tracks that include "I Believe In Magic", "Life Ain't Easy", "Feelin Shattered", and "Requiem To John Coltrane". CD

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