Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Fine overlooked 60's folk-rock
Hans Pfaall | Connecticut, USA | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I am thrilled to see that two top ten reviewers have reviewed Let's Live For Today, it is my opinion that neither of the gentlemen entirely hit the mark. While the title track is without compare, there is much to recommend the album. In fact, I have come to believe that Let's Live For Today is one of the finest overlooked folk-rock records of the 60's.
Originally, I picked this CD out of a used pile almost four years ago and had almost no idea of what to expect. The Grass Roots had many a hit single, and I didn't see too many of them on this record. Also, I never strongly associated the Grass Roots with folk-rock, so it was interesting to note how folk-rock influenced the album was upon hearing it. Considering how big of a hit the title track was, it's a surprise today to note that the album made only a disappointing #75 on the charts. Therefore, the album was not (as stated by another reviewer) one of the best selling albums of the decade.
Aside from the title cut, the material is made up of seven Sloan/Barri compositions, and four group originals that stand up well alongside the professional team's efforts. As for the professional team, it is NOT clear that they were better as producers than songwriters. Their production skills are evident in all of the material here, but we cannot forget their past history as songwriters. The duo was responsible for writing and producing some Turtles hits, as well as Johnny Rivers' signature tune "Secret Agent Man." Also, their composition "A Must to Avoid" was recorded for a hit by Herman's Hermits. In addition, P.F. Sloan had a good amount of success by himself as a writer, having penned (among other songs) Barry McGuire's #1 hit "Eve of Destruction," and "Take Me For What I'm Worth," a top 20 UK hit for the Searchers. To this day, Sloan is a highly regarded figure in 60's folk-rock.
There are no weak cuts to be found on this album. Two of the Sloan/Barri songs on Let's Live For Today reached the top thirty, "Things I Should Have Said"(#23) and "Where Were You When I Needed You."(#28) "Things" was a well executed pop/rock effort, while "Where Were You" had musical similarity to Sloan's "Eve of Destruction." Some of the tunes, such as "Tip of My Tongue" and "Out of Touch," traversed garage rock territory to an extent, though they were far more intricately produced and recorded than typical garage rock. "Wake Up, Wake Up" had definite psychedelic influence, and "This Precious Time" was a fine commercial LA folk-rock production of a song that had been recorded previously by Barry McGuire. "Is It Any Wonder" was an effective pop song that might have had hit potential if it was released as a single. The group originals were strong as well, and the snarling fuzz of Creed Bratton's "House of Stone" was a welcome surprise. "House of Stone" is an excellent garage rock effort that few to this day know about.
Overall, Let's Live For Today is a fine album that deserves to be heard beyond the admittedly top-notch title track. The album was reissued in 2002 on Repertoire as a twofer with the second album Feelings, and that is probably the best way to acquire this music if you are buying it on CD for the first time, though this CD is a great deal cheaper than the twofer.
Mixed Bag For A Great Group!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 03/06/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The magic behind both the single and the album propelled into the stratosphere in the late 1960s is best explained by recognizing the lyrics for what they really are; an anthem and a call to action for the boomer generation, a counter-cultural coda railing against the materialism and calculated future orientation of the mainstream society. And although there are a number of other good songs on this album, performed by what was more an eclectic studio group than a group in reality, the individuals involved rose to the occasion and made the most of the situation. With songs such as "Things I should Have Said", "Wake Up, Wake Up", and "Out Of Touch", what is most amazing is the success of the album (which clearly rode the coat-tails of the single) to become one of the best selling albums of the decade. This is an interesting album, one that clearly shows that the makeup of the group was a constantly evolving collection of individuals who showed up for individual recording sessions and then eventually went their own way. Still, the group did survive, and went on to tour and record a number of other interesting and quite popular songs. A better choice for their work is their Greatest Hits album, which unlike this one, features all that other work s well. This is an interesting album, however, but is one more for us old-timers who see collecting it as a chance to grab another copy of what we played so much on vinyl it eventually self-destructed. Enjoy!"
This CD of their second album is a pop masterpiece.
Hans Pfaall | 10/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's take a trip back in time! This is a CD of the Grass Roots' second album, and their first album for Dunhill (the record label they were to stay at for most of their hitmaking). This album captures the band at their freshest. Although it's only their second album, their pop craftsmanship matches any of their contemporaries. This CD is a symbol of the idealistic era it stems from and can take credit for contributing toward this era's rock n roll legacy. Not only does it contain "Let's Live for Today" (which was later covered by The Damned) but their earlier hit, as well (which was later covered by The Bangles), "Where Were You When I Needed You." What's amazing is that just about every other song on the album could've just as likely been hit singles had they'd been individually released--ranging from the folk rock kickoff of "Things I Could Have Said" to the fuzz-entrenched finale of "House of Stone." Despite the individual worth of each track, however, this factor doesn't lessen the sense that this effort, as a whole, is no less than an all-encompassing experience. I should also mention (since the CD's artwork isn't featured here) MCA has also been respectful enough to retain the original LP's psychedelic album jacket. Now if only the 'Root's "Feelings" and "Lovin' Thing" LPs can also be released on CD. Then we of the present generation can "live for today" in the same sense it's been lived for in the past. Groovily!"