Life at 33 1/3
By Carl Meyer
Vanilla Fudge: Vanilla Fudge (Atco)
Vanilla Fudge sounded like the Young Rascals on acid. Which probably was the
intention as they were great admirers of the blue-eyed soul group from New
Jersey. The Beatles were also on their list of gurus. They do not sound like
the Beatles at all, but they cover two Beatles tunes and they also quote
from “Strawberry Fields Forever” as the album fades out..
Vanilla Fudge loved the Hammond organ, lots of Hammond organ, and all the
songs on the album starts with a slow, swirling Hammond warm up before the
rest of the band enters, guns blazing, billows of keyboards, guitars and
overexcited harmony voices splashing through the speakers every time they
reach the chorus. Then it all calms down for improvisation-sections that
hardly go anywhere but sound quite psychedelic. They preferred long tracks.
And “Eleanor Rigby” sure gets the full eight minute treatment.
Their taste in music was irreproachable and they picked great tunes. Besides
The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and “Ticket To Ride”, they do “Bang, Bang”
(they get much more out of it than Cher did), Evie Sands’ “Take My For A
Little While”, Curtis Mayfield’s wonderful classic “People Get Ready”, The
Zombies’ “She’s Not There “ and of course, The Supremes’ “You Keep Me
Hangin’ On” which they turned into a monster hit.
The latter is the blueprint for almost everything the band did later: Take a
strong song, slow it down, and pour everything and the kitchen sink into it.
Their style became monotonous in the long run, you always knew what to
expect, and there are limits to how much you can take of those wailing
voices. But on this album they are buzzing, they are hungry, they are
inspired. They sound like 1967. And it’s pretty OK. They get away with it.
The sequel however, “The Beat Goes On”, was an outright disaster, probably
the worst concept album of all time, but that’s another story.
I recommended a search for them on YouTube. They sound like a trippy gang,
but they sure don’t look like it. Hilarious.
Released: July 1967
Produced by: Shadow Morton
1. “Ticket to Ride” (Lennon–McCartney) – 5:40
2. “People Get Ready” (Curtis Mayfield) – 6:30
3. “She’s Not There” (Rod Argent) – 4:55
4. “Bang Bang” (Sonny Bono) – 5:20
1. “Illusions Of My Childhood - Part One” – 0:20
2. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (Brian Holland-Lamont Dozier-Eddie Holland) –
3. “Illusions Of My Childhood - Part Two” – 0:23
4. “Take Me For A Little While (Trade Martin) – 3:27
5. “Illusions Of My Childhood — Part Three – 0:23
6. “Eleanor Rigby” (Lennon–McCartney) - 8:10
Carmine Appice - drums, vocals
Tim Bogert - bass, vocals
Vince Martell - guitar, vocals
Mark Stein - lead vocals, keyboards