Before They Were the Mamas & the Papas...The Magic Circle

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Before the Mamas & the Papas formed, the four members were in various commercial folk-pop groups, including the Smoothies, the New Journeymen, the Halifax Three, the Big Three, and the Mugwumps. To make matters confusing for discographers though more interesting for listeners, there are several unreleased studio tracks by ad hoc aggregations with members of the Mugwumps and Big 3. As for the music, this could be a more comprehensive overview of the Mamas & the Papas' roots, but it does illustrate the various forms of pop, folk, and rock that members were playing around with before the whole shebang coalesced with "California Dreamin'." There is Four ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Before the Mamas & the Papas formed, the four members were in various commercial folk-pop groups, including the Smoothies, the New Journeymen, the Halifax Three, the Big Three, and the Mugwumps. To make matters confusing for discographers though more interesting for listeners, there are several unreleased studio tracks by ad hoc aggregations with members of the Mugwumps and Big 3. As for the music, this could be a more comprehensive overview of the Mamas & the Papas' roots, but it does illustrate the various forms of pop, folk, and rock that members were playing around with before the whole shebang coalesced with "California Dreamin'." There is Four Freshmen-influenced folk with choral vocals on the 1960 single by the Smoothies; lively pop-folk by the Big 3; and corny satire "The Man Who Wouldn't Sing Along With Mitch" by the Halifax Three. "Oh Suzanna" and "Tom Dooley" by the temporary lineups mentioned above, come damn close to folk-rock, and serve as more evidence that various musicians were toying with the form a good year or so before the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man." Speaking of which, there are three previously unreleased 1965 demos by the New Journeymen that also have a tentative folk-rock sound, including a version of "Mr. Tambourine Man"; it was probably recorded after the Byrds' rendition, but it indicates that some folk-rockers could have been playing around with similar ideas before the form's commercial breakthrough. There are a couple of actual Mamas & Papas hits "California Dreamin'" and "Creeque Alley" that almost everyone who picks up this compilation will have already, and the selection is sometimes questionable the absence of the Mugwumps' "Here It Is Another Day," co-written by Elliot and perhaps their best song, is unfortunate. Still, it's a fascinating and at times musically fine document of the Mamas & Papas' tangled roots.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/9/1999
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • UPC: 030206599626
  • Catalog Number: 5996

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Creeque Alley (3:52)
  2. 2 Ride, Ride, Ride - Smoothies (2:10)
  3. 3 Lonely Boy and Pretty Girl - Smoothies (2:58)
  4. 4 Oh Mary, Don't You Weep - Halifax Three (2:46)
  5. 5 Rider - The Big 3 (2:34)
  6. 6 The Man Who Wouldn't Sing Along with Mitch - Halifax Three (2:13)
  7. 7 Come Along - The Big 3 (1:54)
  8. 8 I May Be Right - The Big 3 (2:31)
  9. 9 Oh Susanna (The Banjo Song) - Jerry Yester (1:46)
  10. 10 Bound for Higher Ground - The New Journeymen (2:05)
  11. 11 Tom Dooley - Jerry Yester (2:01)
  12. 12 Searchin' - The Mugwumps (3:02)
  13. 13 Mr. Tambourine Man - The New Journeymen (2:50)
  14. 14 I'll Remember Tonight - The Mugwumps (2:47)
  15. 15 The Last Thing on My Mind - The New Journeymen (2:39)
  16. 16 California Dreamin' (2:06)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Mamas & the Papas Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Band
Mama Cass Track Performer
The Mugwumps Band, Track Performer
Jim Hendricks Track Performer
Henry Diltz Track Performer
Cass Elliot Track Performer
Jack Pleis Choir Director
Zal Yanovsky Track Performer
Jerry Yester Track Performer
The New Journeymen Band
Halifax Three Band, Track Performer
Smoothies Track Performer
Technical Credits
Allen Collins Composer
Denny Doherty Contributor
Scott McKenzie Contributor
Michelle Phillips Contributor
Tim Rose Contributor
Jim Hendricks Contributor
Lou Adler Producer
Alan Douglas Producer
Cass Elliot Contributor
Bill Inglot Mastering, Tape Research
Erik Jacobsen Producer
Pete Kameron Producer
Cary E. Mansfield Producer
Bob Morgan Producer
John Phillips Contributor
Jack Pleis Director, Orchestra Director
Ronnie Van Zant Composer
Bob Cavallo Producer
Paul Surratt Producer, Contributor
Roy Silver Producer
Bill Pitzonka Artwork, Art Direction
Richard Byrne Arranger, Adaptation
Richard Barton Campbell Producer, Liner Notes
Christopher Nickens Illustrations, Cover Illustration
Gregory Rice Producer
Marshall Brickman Contributor
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