October 4th, 2011 | Album reviews

(Out now on  Now Sounds/Cherry Red)

The sole album of an eponymous and short-lived L.A. sunshine pop quartet, The Collage began with a handful of original songs by outsiders Ron Joelson and Jerry Careaga that were quirky and cool enough to win the temporary attentions of Smash Records, a Mercury subsidiary. Enter singers Donna Byrd and Jodie Cline, along with Spector disciple and Wrecking Crew founder Steve Douglas, who himself fetched along a glittering karass of session wizards plus several ditties by plutonium-weight popmeisters. The band originals, especially “Rainy Blue Memory Day” and “Any Day’s a Sunny Afternoon” give a true idea where the act’s minor virtues lay. Roger Nichols’ “Can I Go” is embarrassingly far from his best work, and “She’s Just Laughin’ at Me” by the Addrisi Brothers ain’t a rag-ass patch on The Association’s “Forever My Love.” A-level production and limp borrowed tunes crushed the life out of the original LP, which dropped early in 1968 at the height of the sunshine pop trend and promptly bombed. Appearances on TV dreck like The Joey Bishop Show and Playboy After Dark slotted them for a long death on the Vegas Strip, but the band broke up instead. The bonus tracks contain several worthy originals, especially the light orchestra psychedelia of “Leave Behind a Dream.” Their take on Harry Nilsson’s “Story of Rock and Roll” is the one time the band really cooks with rented material and cuts The Turtles’ minor-hit version released later that year. The added material makes this reissue worth it for Sixties pop cultists, but don’t expect the second coming of the Free Design.

-Ron Garmon