Invest In The Sunshine Co.
:: Children Could Help Us Find The Way ::
:: Four In The Mornin' ::
:: Love Is A Happy Thing ::
:: Back On The Street Again ::
I like the Sunshine Company. As a matter of fact, the more I listen, the more I like them. I'm beginning to really get into the whole sunshine pop/folk psyche thing. The store I bought "Happy Is The Sunshine Company" from had two copies. I picked the cheaper one because the vinyl looked fine. Unfortunately, it was a shitty pressing with surface noise throughout. But I dug it, so of course I went back to the store and bought the other copy AND a copy of their 2nd album. Turns out the more expensive copy of "Happy Is" is in mono, and it sounds great.
The Sunshine Company were, in many ways the very definition of sunshine pop. Forced to come up with a name for the band on the eve of their 1st record release, they looked no further than the brand of crackers they were currently eating, not guessing it would someday define the genre. The crux of the band met at Harbor College in South Los Angeles in the mid 60s and began hanging out together at folk clubs and coffee houses in the Orange County area along with contemporaries like Jackson Browne and Tim Buckley. Before long their harmony vocals got noticed, and they were asked to record Jimmy Webb's "Up, Up and Away". Unfortunately, the Fifth Dimension beat them to it (with an almost identical arrangement), so the single was not released (although it was included on "Happy Is").
Thinking that was it, and not really having any aspirations to become pop stars anyway, the band went back to the folk clubs and making music strictly for the love of it. But they were asked to sing on another track called "Happy". To everyone's surprise, this one charted. The band was signed to Imperial Records and were sent into the studio to complete an album. Right away the band clashed with the powers that be over the direction the music was taking. Producer Joe Saraceno (see: The Ventures) and arranger George Tipton (who did some beautiful string arrangements) knew what the record company wanted, which was to make a quick buck, so very commercial pop songs were chosen for the band to record. The Sunshine Company wanted to keep it in the folk realm, but instead songs like "Love Is A Happy Thing" were chosen. It wasn't all bad though. Their breakthrough hit, "Back On The Street Again" struck a fine note somewhere between melancholy and pure pop lushness, as did "Four In the Mornin'". For every "Children Could Help Us Find The Way", with goofy lyrics like, "Back to a world of yesterday where a cow can fly, and nobody wonders why", there are great reworkings of "I Need You" and "Rain" by the Beatles (with arranging help from folk singer Mary McCaslin).
Overall this is a very fine record, and they made a good second album too. I haven't heard their 3rd album yet, but I do know that bassist Larry Sims and drummer Merle Brigante turned up later in Loggins & Messina's backup band, which makes sense. It's all about the sunshine.