Gary Puckett and The Union Gap – Featuring Woman Woman

Artist: Gary Puckett and The Union Gap

Genre: Pop-Rock
Title: Gary Puckett and The Union Gap Featuring Woman Woman
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Gary Puckett – lead vocals, guitar, Kerry Chater – bass guitar
Gary “Mutha” Withem – organ, piano, soprano saxophone, flute,Dwight Bemont – tenor saxophone, Paul Wheatbread – drums
Producer:Jerry Fuller

Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (initially credited as The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett) was an American pop rock group active in the late 1960s. Their biggest hits were “Woman, Woman”; “Over You”; “Young Girl”; and “Lady Willpower.” It was formed by Gary Puckett, Gary ‘Mutha’ Withem, Dwight Bement, Kerry Chater and Paul Wheatbread, who eventually named it the Union Gap. It featured costumes that were based on the Union Army uniforms worn during the American Civil War.

It is not known if this band was serious or just marketing. Reading the back story on this group tells me that this was more marketing than a band with musical ambitions. There also seemed to be a rigid hierarchy. Seemingly, it seems that this was mostly about Gary Puckett trying to make a name for himself. This is evident in part by the fact that it was insisted his name appear to be the main focus in all the LPs the group made after the first one titled “Incredible”, while at the same time keeping with their gimmick of dressing as Union soldiers and having rank within the band. There were 3 LPs they did where the title did not include “Gary Puckett”: “Incredible”, “Woman Woman” and “Fillin The Gap”. The band did not last long, (1968 to 1975). To me they sound like an airplane that just can’t get off the ground no matter what. The LP just doesn’t sound musically present. Sonically, this LP is ok with nothing major to point out. Musically though, is where things drift off.

Track listing:
“Woman, Woman” (Jim Glaser, Jimmy Payne) – “Woman, Woman” is a hit song written by Jim Glaser and Jimmy Payne, recorded by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap using session musicians from The Wrecking Crew for their 1968 debut album, Woman, Woman. Like most of the band’s hits, it is a ballad centered around Gary Puckett’s soulful vocals. The lyrics are from the perspective of a man who senses that his wife is dissatisfied with him sexually, and fears that she is going to start “cheating” on him.,_Woman 
“M’Lady” (Steve Karliski) – This song sounds like a Tom Jones tune, but it is not. I bet though that he could have made it a hit had he done it.
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (Jimmy Webb) – “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is a song written by Jimmy Webb. Originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965, it was covered by American country music singer Glen Campbell on his album of the same name. It is done here in the same style as Glenn Campbell did it.
“Paindrops” (Jerry Fuller) – This is an ok song with an interesting bass line in my opinion.
“Believe Me” (Gary Puckett) – Typical pop sound to this one.
“I Want a New Day” (Kerry Chater) – This is a ballad. The vocals leave something to be desired, but it is not a bad song and has a good structure.
“You Better Sit Down Kids” (Sonny Bono)-“You Better Sit Down Kids'” is a major hit single release by American singer/actress Cher in 1967 from her fourth studio album With Love, Chér, released on November 1967 by Imperial Records. The song was written by her then-husband Sonny Bono. Sung from a father perspective, the lyrics tell the story of a divorce. This is a very depressing song and not good musically either in my opinion.
“Kentucky Woman” (Neil Diamond) – “Kentucky Woman” is a 1967 song written and originally recorded by Neil Diamond. I like the original better.
“My Son (version 1)” (Gary Withem, Kerry Chater)
“To Love Somebody” (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) –
“Don’t Make Promises” (Tim Hardin) –
Just nothing to say about the remaining tracks.


Johnny Rivers – Realization

Artist: Johnny Rivers
Genre: Rock, Psychedelic rock
Title: Realization
Released: 1968
Label: Imperial
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Johnny Rivers – vocals, James Hendricks-rhythm guitar, Marty Paich – strings & horns, Hal Blaine-drums & Percussion, Joe Osborne – electric bass & guitar, Larry Knectchel – keyboards, James Burton – guitar
Producer:Johnny Rivers & Lou Adler
Engineer: Armin Steiner

This is another one of those “oh what the hell for a dollar” LPs I pick up on occasion. Very little is known about this one. Note though that “The Wrecking Crew” are on it and it was co-produced by Lou Adler.

One may think this is a full psychedelic rock LP, but there is really only one song on here that would comfortably fall into that slot. The rest is either contemporary pop or ballads. There is a mix of covers and originals on this LP.

Side One:
1 Hey Joe written by – William Roberts*, Johnny Rivers – This song was not written by Johnny Rivers in any part, but actually rearranged by him for this LP. Yes, this is the same “hey Joe” made famous by Jimmy Hendrix. This psychedelic flavored version is interesting, but I prefer the Hendrix version.
2 Look To Your Soul – Written-By – James Hendricks – No this is not that Jimmy Hendrix (different spelling anyway). This song is more of a pop-ballad and has an interesting bass line. Not bad.
3 The Way We Live – Written-By – Johnny Rivers – This ok song is more of a down-tempo pop song.
4 Summer Rain – Written-By – James Hendricks – Standard pop song, nothing to write home about.
5 Whiter Shade Of Pale – Written-By – Gary Brooke*, Keith Reid – This is a cover of the hit by Procal Harum. Not my favorite song overall, but I like the original better.

Side Two
1 Brother Where Are You – Written-By – Oscar Brown Jr. – This song is more of a soul style.
2 Something Strange – Written-By – James Hendricks, Johnny Rivers – This ballad is one of my least favorite tracks on this LP
3 What’s The Difference – Written-By – Scott McKenzie – Having not heard the original of this song, I can’t compare this cover, but I can say that this track is not one of my favorites.
4 Going Back To Big Sur – Written-By – Johnny Rivers – This ballad has a bass line and sound that is very similar to The Mamas & Papas as well it should be because the wrecking crew were the studio band for them.
5 Positively 4th Street – Written-By – Bob Dylan – This cover of this Bob Dylan song is ok, but I prefer the original.


Neil Diamond – Gold (Live at the Troubadour)

Artist: Neil Diamond
Genere: Pop, Rock
Title: Gold
Label: United Artist
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: Neil Diamond – vocals, guitar, Carol Hunter – guitar, Eddie Rubin – drums, Randy Sterling – bass guitar, Jessie Smith,Venetta Fields, Edna Hunter – backing vocals (uncredited)
Engineer: Armin Steiner

Gold: Recorded Live at the Troubadour is a live album by singer/songwriter Neil Diamond. In fact, a just starting out Neil Diamond to be exact. This was just before he started becoming more popular.
On this LP we hear Neil Diamond not quite ready for prime time, but giving it his all which includes straining his voice. Neil’s voice appears gravelly at various points. It also does not help that the vocals end up getting distorted here and there. While no singles were released in support of the album, the opening track “Lordy” appeared as the B-side of “Cracklin’ Rosie”. Something to note is that the song “Lordy” on this LP is the only recording available of this song. Continue reading