Artist: The Association
Genre: Classic Rock, Rock, 60’s rock, 60’s Pop
Title: And Then Along Comes…
Original Released: 1966
Label: Warner Bros
Producer: C. Boettcher
Engineers:Gary Paxton & Pete Romano
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_Then…_Along_Comes_the_Association And Then… Along Comes the Association is the debut studio album by the American sunshine pop band the Association, and was released originally on Valiant Records, in July 1966. It became one of the top selling LPs in America, peaking at number five, and remains the Association’s most successful album release, with the exception of their Greatest Hits compilation.
The album was preceded by a few non-LP singles as the Association struggled to establish themselves a commercial presence. Moving from the Jubilee record label to Valiant Records, the group released a cover version of Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings”, which received attention from Curt Boettcher. Boettcher, who had previously worked with the folk rock group The GoldeBriars, and demoed “Along Comes Mary” with lead guitarist Jules Alexander, was brought in by the group to steer the Association in a pop rock musical direction. Aside from “Along Comes Mary”, the sessions with Boettcher provided the band with the song’s B-side, “Your Own Love”, and two other tracks that are featured on the album “Remember” and “I’ll Be Your Man”. The Association yielded some of the instrumental playing on And Then… Along Comes the Association to top L.A. session musicians, including guitarist Mike Deasy (who would continue to play on other Association albums), bassist Jerry Scheff, and percussionists Jim Troxel and Toxey French.
And Then… Along Comes the Association saw the group experiment with luscious vocal harmonies that anticipated the musical textures of Bottecher’s later groups the Millennium and Sagittarius. In addition, the album incorporated a wide-assortment of influences, including folk rock, psychedelia, Baroque pop, and remains a cornerstone of sunshine pop. Along with the hit singles “Along Comes Mary” and “Cherish”, notable tracks on the album include the reflective “Enter the Young” and the Addrissi brothers’ “Don’t Blame It on Me”. The partnership between the Association and Boettcher—while innovative and commercially successful—was cut short after Boettcher began to overreach his authority in the group’s musical direction. For their sophomore effort, Renaissance, the Association recruited Jerry Yester to replace Boettcher as producer.
In 1967, Warner Bros. bought the Valiant label and reissued the album, altering the cover by replacing all Valiant references with the Warner Bros. logo and new catalog number of 1702. On the back cover, the monaural and stereo catalog numbers of the Valiant issues at the bottom center were replaced by a “MORE BY THE ASSOCIATION” byline with the Renaissance and Insight Out album covers shown underneath. Copies exist with the gold WB label as well as the green Warner Bros. Seven Arts label.
I have the WB green label released 1967. In my opinion the highlights and things of note on this LP include: The first track “Enter The Young,” it is the inferior sonic offering on this LP. Half way into the song it goes psychedelic, nothing wrong with that except that the percussion and guitars are too forward sounding in the mix. “Don’t blame it on me” showcases some nice vocal work. I like track #4 “Blistered” for its hip and fun sound and noted that it is the same tempo as “Along Comes Mary”. Speaking of “Along Comes Mary” which is track #6 on side one,“Along Comes Mary” is sung from the point of view of a once-disillusioned young man talking about the “tribulations no one ever sees” and who “curses the faults in me.” In the song’s title and lyrics, “Mary” subtly refers to marijuana. The singer believes “Mary” gives him comfort and improves his life.
Another favorite of mine and a hit for the band begins side two, “Cherish”. The single release of the song was slightly edited by removing one of the two “And I do cherish you” lines near the end of the song. This edit was done as a means of keeping the track from exceeding the three-minute mark, as radio programmers of the era frowned upon songs that went beyond three minutes. Another interesting note is the following track, “Standing Still” follows the same structure as the previous track, but at a slightly faster tempo with a couple of different elements sprinkled in.
The worst song on the LP in my opinion is “Message Of Love”, the vocals sound way off, whether intentional or by accident is irrelevant since it makes for a unpleasent listening experience. The strange effects in the bridge and towards the end of the song do not help. Track #4 “Round Again” is notable for its Brubeck like jazz style.