The Arbors - The Arbors Featuring I Can't Quit Her/The Letter

The Arbors - The Arbors Featuring I Can't Quit Her/The Letter
The Arbors Featuring I Can't Quit Her/The Letter
Sunshine Pop
Release Date:

Less than two years after the Box Tops took "The Letter" to number one, this Lettermen-style group ,with the help of future John Lennon engineer Roy Cicala and his wife, Lori Burton, took a semi-orchestrated remake of the Alex Chilton/Joe Cocker signature tune to the Top 20. In doing so, "The Letter" became their signature tune as well, bringing the group with impeccable vocals to a much wider audience. Starting off with "Motet-Overture," the Arbors give new meaning to the term Gregorian chant. It's a wonderful prelude which melts into their astonishing version of "The Letter." The combination of acoustic guitars, vocal harmony, and orchestration takes the sterling composition into uncharted territory. The jet sounds at the end are more subdued than the Box Tops, but everything blends perfectly. Following this innovative production with a Beatles medley is as foretelling as the "Motet-Overture," which begins the disc. Hugh McCracken, guitarist for both Paul McCartney and John Lennon at various times, gets to play on "Good Day Sunshine" and "Got to Get You Into My Life" before his work on Ram and Double Fantasy. More than a medley, this version is a mixture of the two songs -- the Ray Coniff Singers gone rock & roll, if you will. "Lovin' Tonight (Maybe Tonight)" is one of the two originals here, put together by arranger/conducter Joe Scott, a pleasant diversion from all the pop reconstructon that is the album's main focus. It's the combination of talents, from Joe Scott and engineer Shelly Yakus to the producers, and all involved's willingness to experiment with a style considered so straight-laced that makes songs like the complete reinvention of "Like a Rolling Stone," with modulation and stops, as creative as what Jimi Hendrix would do to the same melody. Al Kooper's "I Can't Quit Her," Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe" (who says they weren't listening to what Jimi Hendrix was covering?), the Doors, and even another song from "The Letter" author Wayne Carson all get the treatment. Carson's "Mr. Bus Driver" sounds like "Come on Down to My Boat Baby" fused with the "gotta get back to my baby" line from "The Letter." Get it? First he used an airplane, now the sequel has the author taking a bus -- from "listen Mr." at the airline ticket counter to listen "Mr. Bus Driver," it's a little contrived, but sequels are always fun. Stripping the sexuality out of the Doors' "Touch Me" makes it sound more Simon & Garfunkel than the cover of "For Emily, Whenver I May Find Her." Edward Farran and Fred Farran, along with Scott Herrick and Tom Herrick, the two sets of brothers who make up the Arbors, may think the music is sexy, but it is not. More important is that they've created a soundtrack for seduction. There's an excellent interview with the bandmembers from Circus Magazine used as the liner notes. The Arbors Featuring: I Can't Quit Her/The Letter is a highly experimental and entertaining album. It's too bad they didn't take this concept a bit further. Imagine doing this to songs by U2, Roxy Music, and the Velvet Underground? The album closes with an explosive, apocalyptic "Hey Joe" and the return of the sound which Tibetan Monks would find popularity with a couple of decades later. Truly groundbreaking work.

Motet - OvertureThe Arbors
Letter / Wayne CarsonThe Arbors
Good Day Sunshine/Gotta Get You into My Life / John Lennon / Paul McCartneyThe Arbors
Lovin' Tonight (Maybe Tonight)The Arbors
Like a Rolling StoneThe Arbors
I Can't Quite Her/For EmilyThe Arbors
Whenever I May Find HerThe Arbors
Most of AllThe Arbors
Mr. Bus DriverThe Arbors
Touch Me / The DoorsThe Arbors
Hey JoeThe Arbors

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