The Best of the Boston Sound

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
Best of the Boston Sound is a good example of the notion that less is more. The 18-song compilation at hand is mostly -- but not entirely -- a stripped down version of Big Beat Records' earlier double-disc set Bosstown Sound, 1968: The Music & The Time. Acts such as Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus, Front Page Review, and the Lost, who got three or four songs each on the latter, are reduced to a single track representing them here. This may not always be an accurate account of their sound, but the producers have generally selected the stronger work from the material contained on the earlier set, making for a very pleasant listening single disc, and they've also added some ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
Best of the Boston Sound is a good example of the notion that less is more. The 18-song compilation at hand is mostly -- but not entirely -- a stripped down version of Big Beat Records' earlier double-disc set Bosstown Sound, 1968: The Music & The Time. Acts such as Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus, Front Page Review, and the Lost, who got three or four songs each on the latter, are reduced to a single track representing them here. This may not always be an accurate account of their sound, but the producers have generally selected the stronger work from the material contained on the earlier set, making for a very pleasant listening single disc, and they've also added some artists: the Colwell-Winfield Blues Band, who sound like a Bay State answer to Paul Butterfield and company, Fabulous Farquahr, whose gentle psych-folk sound recalls the Byrds from their "Goin' Back" period; the harder, electric guitar and keyboard-driven, spaced out yet goofy sound of Phluph; Beadgame's more self-consciously sophisticated, languid, and classically influenced brand of psychedelia; the hard-driving sound of Ford Theatre, whose "Theme for the Masses" is the most viscerally exciting on this collection; and the heavy guitar and harmony-driven sound of Listening. None of what's here was terribly influential or successful in its time, as can be attested to by the absence of any full catalog reissues of Ultimate Spinach, but this is a very enjoyable collection, in a generic late '60s sort of way; certainly there was nothing here to make the West Coast bands of the period break stride, though there's plenty of good playing and the occasional exceptional song, and the sound is very good. The notes, such as they are, focus in on the marketing and the failure of the "Bosstown Sound," rather than on any of the artists featured.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/15/2001
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • UPC: 030206623529
  • Catalog Number: 066235

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Can't Find the Time - Orpheus (3:25)
  2. 2 The Clown Died on Marvin Gardens (3:57)
  3. 3 Bright Lit Blues Skies (2:19)
  4. 4 Cold Wind Blues - The Colwell-Winfield Blues Band (4:02)
  5. 5 My Island - Fabulous Farquahr (3:01)
  6. 6 Violet Gown - The Lost (2:39)
  7. 7 Another Day (4:46)
  8. 8 Silver Children (6:28)
  9. 9 Off With the Old - The Lords of the New Church (4:22)
  10. 10 Goodbye Girl (3:21)
  11. 11 High Flying Bird (4:58)
  12. 12 Back on the Farm - Bagatelle (3:46)
  13. 13 Sweet Medusa - Beadgame (3:09)
  14. 14 Changes - Puff (3:40)
  15. 15 Theme for the Masses - Ford Theatre (4:10)
  16. 16 You're Not There - Listening (4:11)
  17. 17 Home to You (4:27)
  18. 18 (Ballad of) The Hip Death Goddess - Ultimate Spinach (6:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Beacon Street Union Track Performer
Bagatelle Track Performer
Earth Opera Track Performer
Eden's Children Track Performer
Orpheus Track Performer
Phluph Track Performer
The Ill Wind Track Performer
The Rockin' Ramrods Track Performer
Front Page Review Track Performer
Technical Credits
Alan Lorber Producer, Liner Notes
Chip Taylor Producer
Dan Elliot Producer
Fred Cenedella Producer
Wes Farrell Producer
Al Gorgoni Producer
Gary Kannon Producer
Cary E. Mansfield Producer
Harry Palmer Producer
Peter K. Siegel Producer
Bob Thiele Producer
Jerry Keller Producer
Bill Pitzonka Art Direction
Ronn Campisi Producer
Listening Producer
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    If Boston Had A Sound In The 60's, It Was Orpheus!

    If you're looking to take an interesting audio trip back to the east coast in the late-sixties and early-seventies, buy "The Very Best of Orpheus" instead. Most fans and music historians agree that Orpheus was without a doubt, the best thing to come out of the over hyped "Boston Sound" fiasco. Unfortunately, this CD includes only one of the many Orpheus / Bruce Arnold songs that were in heavy rotation on national airwaves. In fact, with the exception of the pretentious Beacon Street Union track, "The Clown Died On Marvin Gardens", (penned by a painfully un-hip Wes Farrell), none of the other included tracks received even moderate airplay. Unlike Orpheus, bands like Bagatelle, Ultimate Spinach, Beacon Street Union and Earth Opera found it nearly impossible to secure gigs outside of the occasional frat party or high school dance. I can remember seeing the Beacon Street Union play a pitiful set at a park in Rhode Island. The apologetic band members handed out free marijuana to convince the audience to stay. The scheme worked, but the other "Boston Sound" bands weren't so lucky, (both Ultimate Spinach and Earth Opera were regularly booed by audiences expecting more sophisticated songs like “Can’t Find The Time”). In response, producer and "Boston Sound" chief architect, Alan Lorber, employed a band called Chameleon Church, (an Orpheus knock-off featuring a young Chevy Chase), to tour southern universities posing as Orpheus! According to a 1988 Boston Globe interview with Chase, this was done to capitalize on Orpheus' growing popularity. Interestingly, during this time, Bruce Arnold, leader of Orpheus and the genius behind the group's distinctive sound, had moved the band to New York and was trying in vain to sever all ties to the "Boston Sound". Unfortunately for Orpheus, the noise made by the record label’s hype and the moronic music of their stable mates was too loud to overcome. An obvious casualty of guilt-by-association, Arnold's brilliant work with Orpheus has yet to receive proper consideration. Shortly after the release of the third album for MGM, Arnold fired two of the original band members for alcoholism and poor musical ability. A year later, he formed a new Orpheus, which featured some of the studio musicians who had played in place of these members on the first three albums. The resulting fourth album released on Bell Records is only now beginning to be considered a cult classic. All four albums are included on "The Complete Orpheus", which is also available on Barnes & Noble.

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