RELEASE
1968
LABEL
Dunhill Compact Classics
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Psychedelic, Folk-Rock, Sunshine Pop, AM Pop

Album Review

The second album by this version of the Grass Roots -- who changed the spelling of their name to "Grassroots" here (and then changed it back two albums later) -- was a serious departure from its predecessor. Having reached the Top 10 with "Let's Live for Today" and made the Top 100 with the accompanying album -- all done under the direction of producers Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan, with a lot of outside musicians playing on them -- the group members were eager to flex their own musical muscles. The result was Feelings, a much less slick, less polished work but one that better reflected the quartet's own sensibilities. This album was to the Grass Roots roughly what Headquarters was to the Monkees, though not remotely as popular. The album opens with the title track, a group original going back two years, to their days as a garage band -- the sound is psychedelia with a garage band edge, complete with fuzz effects and a spaced-out feel, complete with a faux-raga break. A trio of Barri/Sloan and P.F. Sloan numbers follow, all produced in a more lyrical folk-rock/pop mode that recalls the prior album -- indeed, "Here's Where You Belong" closely resembles "Where Were You When I Needed You" in tempo and texture. "The Sins of the Family Fall on the Daughter" is a surprisingly catchy number for so serious a subject (and title), with pleasant hooks and a searing lead guitar part of the sort that AM radio listeners seldom associated with this band; and "Melody for You" is a pleasant piece of midtempo Baroque pop/rock. The members' own compositions dominate most of the rest of the record, and the sound varies widely -- the Warren Entner/Rob Grill-authored "Who Will You Be Tomorrow" offers a deliberately heavier sound without any attempt at emulating the pretty pop harmonies that dress up the Barri/Sloan numbers -- but on "You Might as Well Go My Way" (written by Richard Podolor) and "All Good Things Come to an End" (authored by Albert Hammond), the group delivers a leaner, punchier version of their folk-rock sound. Creed Bratton's bluesy "Hot Bright Lights" gives the lead guitarist a chance to show off his work with the volume pedal; they switch gears to languid psychedelic pop on Entner and Grill's "Hey Friend," while the same writing duo's "You and Love Are the Same" gives Entner a great part on rhythm guitar and all four a chance to contribute some lush choruses amid a psychedelic haze that is enhanced by the presence of a string orchestra accompaniment. And "Dinner for Eight" is an eerily reflective piece with a disconnected psychedelic break that rolls right back into a reprise of "Feelings." Without a hit single to drive its sales, Feelings was ignored by most listeners and never charted, which is a shame. The album isn't close to perfect -- and has more flaws than its predecessor -- but it's also more ambitious musically, and does offer a rare and honest glimpse of the group in an unusual moment of experimentation. And it is close to essential listening for anyone wondering who these guys were, beyond the hits -- certainly anyone who owns the Rhino double-CD anthology should also have this album as an equally valid complement to their most commercially successful work.
Bruce Eder, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Feelings
  2. Here's Where You Belong
  3. The Sins of the Family Fall on the Daughter
  4. Melody for You
  5. Who Will You Be Tomorrow
  6. You Might as Well Go My Way
  7. All Good Things Come to an End
  8. Hot Bright Lights
  9. Hey Friend
  10. You and Love Are the Same
  11. Dinner for Eight
  12. Feelings, Reprise