Next up is the magic of Mark Eric. I got this album last year, available through Rev-Ola records (where i would also recommend the loveliness of Eternity’s Children, and Bergen White in particular)

So In 1968/69, while most students were either rioting in the streets, turning on and dropping out, or going underground, a foggy haze of singer songwriters and superstar troubadours were ‘getting back to the country’ Roootsiness was the new name of the game, orchestras, session musicians and teenage symphonies to god out: Earnestness; in.

Now while that made superstars of CSNY, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and the rest of the canyon crowd, the old Hollywood hitmakers of Phil Spector, The Beach Boys (Brian Wilson was hiding in a bed by now), Curt Boecther, Gary Usher and many more found themselves on the wrong side of hip. So probably not the best time to make an album so dumbfoundly entrenched in the L.A of three years previous. But that’s what Mark Eric set out to do. A bronzed, blonde haried Surfer dude, he was actually a TV actor, magazine model and the like who had most recently starred in the Partridge Family. He obviously fancied himself as a musician (and had had one of his songs covered by the Animals) so in he went to the studio, songs in hand and crafted A Midsummers Day Dream, for me the album ends up documenting the last gasp of good vibration, surfin’ that lovin’ feelin’ California.

Because it was made so late in the day, the album has a wistfulness for the an L.A that the Eagles more successfully captured a decade later. (After The Thrill Has Gone could be it’s countryfied sister) It is unashamedly uses the old school vibes of the wrecking crew, and the wall of sound. It’s clean, it’s clear and the harmonies leap out at you throughout. But the last song is the true hum-dinger. ‘Where Do The Girls Of Summer Go’.

The Earl Palmer like drums keep the song rooted in deep harmonies, and the vibraphone over the top of the song gives it a Pet Sounds feel. Of course, the strings and horns are absoultely bang on, following the melody perfectly. His voice does struggle to meet the highest of the high notes, but every oooh and aaah harmony is perfeclty placed. But the lyrics are the killer, evoking love lost in simple terms (boy girl etc…) but putting it in context, and digging a little deeper, this becomes one the last great pean to mid 60’s California.  It also helps this album was never commercially released, only adding to it’s time capsule nature. No one really heard from Mark Eric again (although he did play a gig in LA a few years ago) But wherever he ended up and whatever he did, he created an album and song, that should sit right up there with the best the City Of Angels has to offer

Mark Eric – Where Do The Girls Of Summer Go

1 comment
  1. […] bus so to speak. The next forgotten genius is one who truly has been left on the shelf. Unlike say Mark Eric or Hopkirk & Lee, the music of Lewis Taylor was released commercially (via Island Records and […]

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