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It's Bad for You But Buy It
     

It's Bad for You But Buy It

by Ace of Cups
 
The Ace of Cups never released a record, but this 73-minute CD was compiled from late-'60s "rehearsals, demos, TV soundstages, and in-concert tapes," according to the liner notes. (Unfortunately no dates are given for any of the tracks, except the 1966 Denise & Company single "Boy, What'll You Do Then," a garage rock rarity with

Overview

The Ace of Cups never released a record, but this 73-minute CD was compiled from late-'60s "rehearsals, demos, TV soundstages, and in-concert tapes," according to the liner notes. (Unfortunately no dates are given for any of the tracks, except the 1966 Denise & Company single "Boy, What'll You Do Then," a garage rock rarity with future Ace of Cups member Denise Kaufman on lead vocals.) It might not be fair to judge a band on recordings that were not originally intended for wide circulation, and did not benefit from truly professional studio production (though the fidelity's fine). However, simply to judge the music that's here, it's frankly pretty erratic, and not a convincing argument that they might have developed into a first-rate band had they gotten a real record deal. Rawness is not always a bad thing, but at its most raw -- particularly on the bluesy garage rockers -- the group often teeter on the line of sloppy amateurism. There's some promise here in some of the unusual song construction -- "Glue" detours into a commercial satirizing consumerism mid-song, and other tunes unpredictably change tempo and stretch out into long instrumental sections -- and in some of the eerie harmonies and melodies, particularly on the fragile tunes like "Music," "Simplicity," and "Taste of One." There's also some plain-speaking toughness reflective of a middle-class generation starting to truly express what was on their mind in popular music, somewhat reminiscent of the most straightforward blues-rockers by a San Francisco band that slightly preceded them, the Great Society. There's also a cool if not quite totally polished rock vocal cover of Mongo Santamaria's jazz classic "Afro Blue," and some interesting gospel-rock fusion of sorts in the most mature-sounding compositions; it's easy to imagine that the group might have headed in that direction had they started to record around 1970. But much of this is interesting, with off-kilter ideas in search of some honing. It's admirably eclectic, yet doesn't fully cohere into a satisfying whole; the songwriting and tunes are unusual, but not really compelling; and there's usually a lack of tightness in both the playing and singing, like that of a group who haven't totally mastered their skills (or timing). For all that, as a reflection of the loose genre-blending ethos gathering currency in San Francisco psychedelic rock in the late 1960s, it's not a bad document. And it's certainly well-documented here, the accompanying 20-page booklet including detailed quotes from all five band members.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/2004
Label:
Big Beat Uk
UPC:
0029667423625
catalogNumber:
236
Rank:
64000

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ace of Cups   Primary Artist
Lonnie Hewitt   Accompaniment
Mike Friedman   Accompaniment
Denise & Company   Track Performer
Chip Wright   Accompaniment
Marla Hunt   Organ,Piano,Vocals,Group Member
Denise Kaufman   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Group Member
Mary Ellen Simpson   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Mongo Santamaría   Composer
Alec Palao   Liner Notes
Daron Taylor   Composer
Denise Kaufman   Composer
Mary Ellen Simpson   Composer
Diane Vitalich   Composer

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