July 13, 2008

The Parade / Sunshine Girl: The Complete Recordings

Artist - The Parade
Title - Sunshine Girl: The Complete Recordings
Hometown - The golden state
Label - Cherry Red / Now Sounds
Street Date - Out now
RIYL - Sunshine Pop, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Roger Nichols Trio, Small Circle of Friends, Phil Spector, The Rockford Files, Planet of the Apes. The Left Banke, Bubble Gum Beatles
The Hits - Sunshine Girl, Kinda Wasted Without You, Hallelujah Rocket, She's got the Magic, Love is the People's Choice,
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Moderate

The planets need to be aligned just so for an early in the AM walk to be considered nearly perfect. In this case it is a sunny cool Sunday summer morning in the Fan, the part of Richmond I live in. College kids are gone for the summer, much of the rest of the neighborhood is in church, and what's left behind is an incredibly peaceful time to take a stroll. The few who are out and about in their gardens, reading papers on the porch, and taking a morning jog are friendly bunch. I can't begin to count the number of GOOD MORNING EXCLAMATION POINT, HELLO EXCLAMATION POINT, or toothy grins I get. It is a Leave it to Beaver kind of way to start the day and I can't picture a more appropriate way to end the morning than to come home and play The Parade. They were a trio of songwriters from California who during the mid to late 60's helped to define the Sunshine Pop genre.

Murray Macleod, Jerry Riopelle, and Smokey Roberds were not a band and they didn't perform live. They were strictly interested in writing and recording feel good hits for A&M Records. Murray was a member of both the Roger Nichols Trio and Small Circle of Friends and went on to act in several popular TV shows of the day like Gidget and the Munsters (he had a three year contract with Universal). Jerry was a staff producer for Phil Spector as well as a session keyboard player, and Smokey was another actor (Planet of the Apes/The Proud and the Damned) who was also a disc jockey, running a publishing company, and was a songwriting on top of everything else.

Smokey and Murray brought in a song to Phil Spector's studio where Jerry was working at the time and the three of them clicked. "Sunshine Girl" was recorded in 1967 and this demo earned the trio a record deal for A&M. This instant hit peaked at #20 on the Billboard charts but their 4 other singles never charted which in turn caused The Parades' first and only full length record to be "shelfed indefinitely".

Sunshine Girl: The Complete Recordings compiles the group's entire recording career, including the lost full length recording. While the collection has plenty of duds, any fan of the genre of Sunshine Pop probably knows this group already for their singles and will embrace the opportunity to have all of the collectible recordings with great liner notes and pictures in one place.

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