I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night

April 23, 2017

How long did it take to get that sound? asks American Bandstand host, Dick Clark. 

'I hate to even say,' replies Electric Prunes frontman, James Lowe. Immediately my mind is thinking of the crack-addled Happy Mondays trying to record an album in Barbados for months on end, or Guns n' Roses taking 13 years to finish an LP no one wanted.

 

'About two or three hours. It was quite an involved process.'

 

Ha! That sums up why I love 60s garage punk, and this tune, that veers into very early pysche. These guys gave up a whole afternoon to perfect the haunting, fuzz reverberation that underlines this one-hit wonder as a classic from the time. It makes the hogwash and horseshit surrounding the making of modern alternative pop seem so ridiculous. It's like he's prejecting 50 years (50 years!) into the future to tell 21st century pop groups, yep, we did this in less than a day. What did you do?

 

Also, I've heard this song hundred of times, it was included on the seminal Nuggets compilation first released in 1972 (and still available on various formats, highly recommended), but I'd never seen the band until finding this video this morning. They're pure hipsters, back before that was a derogative term. Look at Lowe, with his Oscar Schmidt autoharp and glassy-eyed stare. I can just imagine aluminum siding salesman dads tensing with anger at the goddamn racket junior was glued to. 'Three hours to make that garbage? They could just run over a cat,' he'd say while his knuckles went white gripping a tumbler of Seagram's.

 

Now pop acts aren't allowed on TV unless they look like they're dressed by Top Man or Liberace. There's no avant garde. . If, like me, you love this record and didn't have enough to dream last night, check out this alternative performance, sans mini harp, with added 1960s graphics and matching golf club attire. Then, another version below, from two years later, where their threads have caught up with their sound. Songs really were a slower burn back then, it seems. 

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