The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Before Blondie and Talking Heads: Now Sounds Presents The Original “New Wave”

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Blame it on the bossa nova.   It was at a Westwood record store that Reid King first heard Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba,” performed by the great Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida and the Modern Jazz Quartet.  In no time at all, King found inspiration in the tricky chords of the bossa nova.   He mastered them and went on to write his own songs, often in collaboration with one-time child actor Thom Andriola, who performed under the stage name of Tommy André.  By 1966, King and Andriola were recording demos, and one year later, they were signed to Canterbury Records.  At the cult favorite Sunset Boulevard label, home to the Yellow Balloon, they found themselves collaborating with rock royalty as The New Wave.  Van Dyke Parks, Gene Page, Mike Post, Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye all added their magic to the duo’s debut.   But the promise of the day soon gave way to disappointment, and the New Wave’s lone LP has been shrouded in mystery for over forty years, out-of-print since its 1967 release. 

Now Sounds, truly the home to the best in retro California pop/rock, rectifies this with the May 30 release of Little Dreams: The Canterbury Recordings.  This new disc compiles both the mono and stereo versions of this long-lost LP together with two bonus tracks.  For their debut, The New Wave brought together the sounds of King’s beloved bossa nova with jazz, pop and classical strains, while the harmonies recalled late-period Chad and Jeremy or even Peter and Gordon.  (One guesses that Reid and Tommy just didn’t have the same ring to it, especially in the psychedelic days of 1967.)

The New Wave took its name from the French filmmaking movement.  Nouvelle Vogue included directors Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard among its numbers, their work epitomizing the auteur theory of cinema as espoused by publications such as Cahiers du cinéma.  King and André hoped to bring that singular vision to their music.  As such, they wrote all but one of the songs on their first (and only released) long-player, and the one cover version was a rearranged version of Michel Legrand’s “Autrefois” from Jacques Demy’s 1964 musical film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, or The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.  This was hardly Top 40 fare in 1967, adventurous though those times were.  King took Legrand’s romantic melody and rearranged it as a bossa nova, paying homage to two of his most pronounced influences in the process.  Perhaps in tribute to the Modern Jazz Quartet’s Milt Jackson, the evocative, sometimes eerie sound of the vibraphone played a major role in the sound of The New Wave.  Renowned bassist Ron Carter (one-time labelmate of Jackson at Creed Taylor’s CTI label) even contributed bass to the record.

Carter was just one member of an illustrious musical cast.  Hit the jump for more, plus track listing and discographical details!

It’s no surprise that members of the famed Los Angeles “Wrecking Crew” participated in sessions held at TTG Studios and Armin Steiner’s studio.  Gene Page, another Phil Spector session veteran, was in the arranger’s chair and co-produced (uncredited) with Canterbury’s Ken Handler.  Van Dyke Parks was enlisted into service on piano while in the midst of work on SMiLE.  (Hmm, it’s a good year for Parks’ lost records of 1967, no?)  The New Wave’s rich sound included harpsichords, strings and oboes, adding color to the most introspective songs on the LP as well as the sunnier cuts.  The album performed well in the Los Angeles area, but Canterbury wasn’t behind it.  King and Andriola continued to explore the boundaries of popular music, taking their sound in a less commercial direction (inspired by modern classical composition) and recording a second album in the U.K.  that never saw release.  But the New Wave’s self-titled LP has remained a favorite among sunshine pop collectors for its intelligent lyrics and quirky, moody, individual melodies.

Now Sounds’ deluxe remastered edition features a 16-page booklet with rare photographs and detailed liner notes from the pen of Reid King.  You’ll have to read King’s recollections to find out what Ken and Barbie (yes, the dolls) have to do with the history of The New Wave!  Intrigued?  You can rediscover this soft-pop gem when Little Dreams arrives in stores in the U.K. on May 30 and in the U.S. the following week on June 7.  The final track on the collection is entitled “Esemplastic Polyhymnia,” one of those wonderful titles that could only come from the late 1960s.  Merriam Webster defines “esemplastic” as “having the power to shape disparate things into a unified whole,” while “Polyhymnia” is the Greek muse of sacred poetry, hymn and eloquence.  There can be little doubt that The New Wave combined disparate influences to create their poetic musical hymns.

The New Wave, Little Dreams: The Canterbury Recordings (Now Sounds CRNOW26, 2011)

  1. Little Dreams
  2. Shadows Of Good Bye
  3. The Evening Mist A Morning Dew
  4. Autrefois (J Ai Aimé Une Femme)
  5. In A Lonely Towne
  6. The Shade Of The Sun
  7. Walkin’ On Down The Street
  8. Once
  9. Live For Today
  10. Not From You
  11. Where Do We Go From Here
  12. Little Dreams
  13. Shadows Of Good Bye
  14. The Evening Mist A Morning Dew
  15. Autrefois (J Ai Aimé Une Femme)
  16. In A Lonely Towne
  17. The Shade Of The Sun
  18. Walkin’ On Down The Street
  19. Once
  20. Live For Today
  21. Not From You
  22. Where Do We Go From Here
  23. Kiss the Mountain
  24. Esemplastic Polyhymnia

Tracks 1-12 from The New Wave, Canterbury LP CLPS-1501 (Stereo), 1967
Tracks 13-22 from The New Wave, Canterbury LP CLPM-1501 (Mono), 1967
Tracks 23-24 are previously unreleased bonus tracks

Written by Joe Marchese

May 18, 2011 at 10:12

Posted in News, Reissues, The New Wave

One Response

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  1. Wonderful music, I have heard the music of Reid King and Thom Andriola many times, at first in the late 60’s, and many times after!! They are gifted writers, singers and musicians. This CD should be is everyone’s collection!!
    I plan to purchase a few copies and give them to my friends.


    June 23, 2011 at 00:36

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