The Very Best of the Tokens 1964-1967 by The Tokens | 30206654721 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Very Best of the Tokens 1964-1967

The Very Best of the Tokens 1964-1967

5.0 1
by The Tokens
     
 
The title of this compilation is at least partially misleading. To virtually everyone's mind, anything labeled as containing "the very best of the Tokens" would have to include their early-'60s number one hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and their 1961 Top 20 single "Tonight I Fell in Love." This CD doesn't have those recordings, and nor for

Overview

The title of this compilation is at least partially misleading. To virtually everyone's mind, anything labeled as containing "the very best of the Tokens" would have to include their early-'60s number one hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and their 1961 Top 20 single "Tonight I Fell in Love." This CD doesn't have those recordings, and nor for that matter does it have their 1967 Top 40 hit "Portrait of My Love." It focuses almost solely on tracks from 1964-1967, when most of their efforts came out on their own B.T. Puppy label. "Portrait of My Love" doesn't make the cut as it came out on Warner Bros., and while there are actually versions of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Tonight I Fell in Love" added as bonus tracks, these are taken from a 1993 album rather than the original recordings. All of those qualifications out of the way, this is a fair overview of their 1964-1967 B.T. Puppy releases, though it's pretty erratic. The one substantial hit to come from that stint, "I Hear Trumpets Blow," is superb clean-cut harmony pop
ock, but little else hear comes close. Some of the tracks are mediocre late-period doo wop, and others are innocuous, unmemorable tunes more in line with the updated production values of the mid-'60s. Yet others are downright embarrassing, like the 1967 quasi-psychedelic single "Green Plant," with trendy backwards effects, heavy echo, and lyrics musing on, yes, why a green plant grows. Not much less embarrassing is the Beach Boys-style "Greatest Moments in a Girl's Life," with its horribly dated timeline of the great moments a girl can look forward to in life, which of course are all related to romance, marriage, and settling down. In better news, this has the original version of the Gerry Goffin-Carole King composition "He's in Town," which the Rockin' Berries covered for a huge hit in Britain (though the Rockin' Berries did it better). For that matter, it has a couple of other close harmony songs the Rockin' Berries covered for smaller 1965 U.K. hits, those being "You're My Girl" (also penned by Goffin-King) and "The Water Is Over My Head" (co-written by a young Al Kooper). Four 1960s commercials featuring the Tokens' vocals are also included, capping this intermittently pleasing retrospective of the mid-'60s work by this versatile but inconsistent group. Incidentally, this has a track the group issued under the pseudonym of the Four Winds, as well as one by the United States Double Quartet, who were the Tokens recording with the Kirby Stone Four.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2004
Label:
Varese Sarabande
UPC:
0030206654721
catalogNumber:
066547
Rank:
4154

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tokens   Primary Artist
Carole King   Conductor
Mitch Margo   Group Member
Phil Margo   Group Member
Jay Siegel   Group Member
Hank Medress   Group Member

Technical Credits

Carole King   Arranger,Composer
Kooper   Composer
Ellie Greenwich   Composer
Don Everly   Composer
Phil Everly   Composer
Gerry Goffin   Composer
Ernie Maresca   Composer
Tokens   Producer,Audio Production
Jeff Barry   Composer
Luigi Creatore   Composer
Irwin Levine   Composer
Hugo Peretti   Composer
Mitch Margo   Composer,Producer
Phil Margo   Composer,Producer
Jay Siegel   Composer
George David Weiss   Composer
Steve Duboff   Composer
Steve Kolanjian   Liner Notes
Hank Medress   Composer
Ralph Affoumado   Composer
Norman Bergen   Producer
Artie Kornfeld   Composer
Bill Pitzonka   Art Direction
Rusty Lane   Composer
Walter Spriggs   Composer
Stephen Friedland   Composer
Paul Kahan   Composer
Big Time Productions   Audio Production
Bright Tunes Productions   Audio Production

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The Very Best of the Tokens 1964-1967 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though technically a two-hit wonder - their first single was the top-20 charting "Tonight I Fell in Love" - the Tokens are popularly known for 1961's chart-topping "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Much like other one hit wonders that were real groups (rather than temporary concoctions of a record producer), there was some great music that followed their brief intersection with commercial fortune. Perhaps their larger chart impact (and an idea in search of a compilation CD) is their production and background vocal work for groups like The Chiffons, Randy & The Rainbows, The Happenings, and Tony Orlando & Dawn. // What's featured here is the group's "second act." Having left RCA (where they scored with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), they embarked on an interesting series of recordings for their own B.T. Puppy label, combining their Brooklyn doo-wop roots with Brill Building pop and the burgeoning sunshine sounds of the 1960s. The group wrote a significant portion of their own material, with highlights including the falsetto-driven "Breezy," the discothèque rock of "Swing," and the pop psychedelia of 1967's "Green Plant." // The group was also connected to several of the era's top songwriters, and availed itself of exceptional songs like Carole King's "He's in Town" and Al Kooper's "The Water is Over My Head." Sadly, neither of these created made as big an impact on the U.S. charts as The Rockin' Berries' (not very dissimilar) versions made in the UK. The Tokens take of Barry & Greenwich's obscure "Nobody But You" had the makings of a hit (that never was), combining their doo-wop harmonies with catchy vocal accents and a sweet acoustic guitar hook. The group found latter-day adult contemporary success via a sweetly dated "duet" with The Kirby Stone Four entitled, "Life is Groovy." // Bonus tracks include re-recordings of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Tonight I Fell in Love" that couldn't hope to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle of the originals, and a quartet of fun radio commercials. Cuts 1, 6, 9, 16, 17-18 are true stereo, the rest are mono (and, as others have pointed out, from fidelity-limited masters) - but sound quality isn't the selling point here; the group's energy, vocal arrangements and strong song choices are what count.