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Sweet As The Punch: “Along Comes” Songs of Tandyn Almer

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Tandyn Almer - Along ComesIf you don’t know the name of Tandyn Almer, you likely do know his Top 10 pop hit “Along Comes Mary,” so memorably recorded by The Association in 1966.  And you just might know two of the songs on which he shared songwriting credit with a certain Brian Wilson, “Marcella” and “Sail On, Sailor.”  But the only commercial release to have carried Almer’s name as artist has long been a 1970 Warner Bros. single, “Degeneration Gap” b/w “Snippin’ the Silver Chord.”  The Sundazed label changes all that with the March 26 release of Along Comes Tandyn on both CD and LP.

Though “Along Comes Mary” represented Almer’s commercial peak, he didn’t exactly disappear.  He was far too unique a songwriter for that; in fact, none other than Leonard Bernstein had interviewed Almer as one of the up-and-coming rock musicians profiled on his 1967 Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution television documentary.  (This was the same program that featured Brian Wilson at the piano, powerfully introducing SMiLE’s “Surf’s Up” to an unsuspecting world.)  Almer, who died on January 8 of this year, lived a quiet life by most accounts.  But it was a colorful one.  He wrote songs recorded by Sagittarius and The Ballroom, once served as a staff songwriter for A&M Records, produced songs for artists including The Purple Gang, and apparently even devised a rather effective waterpipe once described as “the perfect bong.”   In his later years, he contributed songs to Washington, DC’s annual political revue Hexagon, and also wrote “fake books” with arrangements of popular hits.

The fifteen songs on Along Comes Tandyn were written and recorded in Almer’s heyday for a demo LP released by Almer’s music publisher, Davon Music.  The purpose of the album was to garner recordings of the songs from other artists, but the album reveals more of the musical mastery of Almer himself.  Sundazed describes its musical contents as follows: “Included within this demonstration disc is the nasty, buzzing fuzztone and haunting vocals of The Purple Gang’s version of ‘Bring Your Own Self Down,’ the engaging Pop feel of ‘Find Yourself,’ the smooth groove of ‘Anything You Want’ and ‘Victims of Chance’ (recorded as an instrumental by L.A. jazz combo The Afro Blues Quintet), along with the straight-ahead Folk-Rock of ‘About Where Love Is’ and ‘Sunset Strip Soliloquy’ – the latter about the atmosphere which led to the demonstrations of late ’66.”

After the jump: more including the track listing and pre-order links!

On March 26, you can hear why author Parke Puterbaugh found Almer’s body of work “ripe for discovery” and why The Washington Post’s obituary stated, “the album that could have made him famous was never released,” adding that “he seemed to prefer it that way.”  The obituary also references that Almer’s friend Thomas Bernath is now cataloguing the many tapes left behind by the songwriter.  For now, though, the time is right to celebrate the first release of the demo LP that Sundazed has titled Along Comes Tandyn.  This bit of L.A. psych-pop-rock history can be purchased at the links below!

Tandyn Almer, Along Comes Tandyn (Sundazed CD SC 11212/LP 5406, 2013) (CD / Vinyl)

  1. Find Yourself
  2. You Turn Me Around
  3. Anything You Want
  4. About Where Love Is
  5. Everytime I Take You Back to Me
  6. There’s Gotta Be a Way
  7. Alice Designs
  8. Face Down in the Wind
  9. Where Will They Go
  10. Escape
  11. Victims of Chance
  12. Bring Your Own Self Down – The Purple Gang
  13. I Get High
  14. Menagerie of Man
  15. Sunset Strip Soliloquy

Written by Joe Marchese

February 26, 2013 at 14:20

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