The Second Disc

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Talk, Talk! Ace Revs Up “The Bonniwell Music Machine”

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Bonniwell Music MachineBack in 2006, Ace Records’ Big Beat imprint delivered on its promise of The Ultimate Turn On via a 2-CD edition of The Music Machine’s 1966 debut album, Turn On. That release comprehensively revisited the complete output of the original band line-up, with the mono and stereo versions of the LP, four non-album singles, and an entire disc of rehearsals, demos and alternates intended for the second album that the band planned to release on the Original Sound label. Alas, the “Talk, Talk” hitmakers broke up in 1967, but leader Sean Bonniwell soldiered on. He parlayed a release from Original Sound into a deal at Warner Bros. Records, and in 1968, the label issued The Bonniwell Music Machine. Like Turn On, it’s arrived from Big Beat in a deluxe 2-CD edition. This expanded reissue premieres over 25 previously unreleased tracks from the psych-garage mavericks (including songs from a session helmed by Boyce and Hart) as well as other singles and rarities to present the band’s complete Warner Bros. recordings and more.

Though the band had broken up by the time of its release, The Bonniwell Music Machine largely features The Music Machine’s original line-up of Bonniwell, Mark Landon, Doug Rhodes, Keith Olsen and Ron Edgar. Touring in the first half of 1967, the quintet had rehearsed Bonniwell’s latest batch of songs and recorded demos at the New Orleans studio of famed producer Cosimo Matassa. Three of the Crescent City-recorded tracks appeared on the album along with music recorded at RCA’s Los Angeles studios in late March 1967. Its track listing replicated the contents of the planned sophomore album for Original Sound, as producer Brian Ross had been able to convince Original Sound’s Art Laboe to transfer the masters to Warner.

Bonniwell formed a new Music Machine, this time adorned with his surname, consisting of Ed Jones on bass, Harry Garfield on organ, Alan Wisdom on guitar and Jerry Harris on drums. A press release reproduced in the lavish booklet to Big Beat’s reissue puts it thusly: “When asked what happened to the original Music Machine, [Bonniwell] states flatly, ‘they left because they felt like it.’ Three weeks and six days after the split, Mr. Bonniwell had formed another group.” But the group’s auteur confessed in the liner notes by producer Alec Palao, “The second line-up didn’t really take life seriously; everything was just like a joke…” All four men did play on The Bonniwell Music Machine, however; less than one month after they came together, the new band members were ushered by producer Ross and Bonniwell into Los Angeles’ United-Western Studios. They remained a unit until July 1968, months after the February release of the LP. Bonniwell again wasted no time in putting together a new Music Machine, and Mk. 3 – featuring Bonniwell, Harris, Joe Bruley on guitar and Fred Thomas on bass – recorded two sides of one more single for Warner, a one-off single for Bell and various demos before The Music Machine called it a day. All the while, Bonniwell was expanding his group’s sound; the tracks here build on the garage-rock template with horns, strings and woodwinds.

We have a rundown of what you’ll find on this set after the jump – plus order links!

The new Bonniwell Music Machine includes the entire original LP in stereo save “Affirmative No” which is presented in mono rather than the original album’s simulated stereo. The first disc adds new stereo mixes of five single sides and a number of previously-unissued recordings including “Black Snow” which was re-recorded by Bonniwell for his T.S. Bonniwell solo album reissued in 2012 on Real Gone Music. The second disc, subtitled Inside Eternity: Demos and Rarities, has both sides of the Bell single in new stereo mixes plus demos and rehearsal recordings by The Music Machine and home recordings by Bonniwell. It also premieres four tracks from The Ragamuffins, the pre-Music Machine group of Bonniwell, Olsen and Edgar, from a session supervised by the duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The disc closes with the rare “Citizen Fear,” a track created by Paul Buff and originally released under the name of the Buff Organization in 1968. Bonniwell added lyrics in 1969, and the vocal version makes its debut here.

Alec Palao’s notes in the lavishly-illustrated 28-page booklet (housed with the discs in a foldout digipak) add up to a definitive history of the band’s Warner Bros. period. Nick Robbins has remastered all tracks. The Bonniwell Music Machine is available now from Big Beat and can be ordered at the links below!

The Bonniwell Music Machine, The Bonniwell Music Machine (Big Beat CDTOP2 319, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1: The Warner Bros. Recordings

  1. Astrologically Incompatible
  2. Double Yellow Line
  3. The Day Today
  4. Absolutely Positively
  5. Something Hurtin’ on Me
  6. The Trap
  7. Soul Love
  8. Bottom of the Soul
  9. Talk Me Down
  10. The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly
  11. I’ve Loved You
  12. Affirmative No
  13. Discrepancy
  14. Me, Myself and I
  15. You’ll Love Me Again (Stereo Mix of Warner Bros. 7188/7189, 1968)
  16. In My Neighborhood (Stereo Mix of Warner Bros. 7188, 1968)
  17. To the Light (Stereo Mix of Warner Bros. 7199, 1968)
  18. Everything is Everything
  19. This Should Make You Happy
  20. Black Snow
  21. Tell Me What Ya Got
  22. Time Out (For a Daydream) (Stereo Mix of Warner Bros. 7234, 1968)
  23. Tin Can Beach (Stereo Mix of Warner Bros. 7234, 1968)
  24. Unka Tinka Ty
  25. 902

CD 2: Inside Eternity – Demos and Rarities

  1. Gimme Gimme (Home Demo)
  2. Stand Aside (Home Demo)
  3. Two Much
  4. Push Don’t Pull
  5. Chances
  6. Talk Me Down
  7. Point of No Return (from Splendid Magazine flexidisc, 1986)
  8. I’ll Take the Same (Home Demo)
  9. The Life I Live (Home Demo)
  10. Would You Believe (Home Demo)
  11. Inside Eternity (Home Demo)
  12. Paper Mache (Home Demo)
  13. You’ll Love Me Again (Home Demo)
  14. Dark White (Demo)
  15. King Mixer (Demo)
  16. She Is (Demo)
  17. Reach Me in Time (Rehearsal)
  18. Closed (Rehearsal)
  19. Temporary Knife (Rehearsal)
  20. Advise and Consent (Stereo Mix of Bell 764, 1969)
  21. Mother Nature – Father Earth (Stereo Mix of Bell 764, 1969)
  22. King Mixer
  23. Dark Mixer
  24. Citizen Fear

CD 1, Tracks 1-14 from The Bonniwell Music Machine, Warner Bros. LP WS 1732, 1968
CD 1, Tracks 18-21 & 24-25 and CD 2, Tracks 1-6, 8-19 & 22-24 are previously unreleased recordings or mixes

CD 1 is stereo except for Track 12 which is mono
CD 2 is mono except for Tracks 20-23 which are in stereo

Written by Joe Marchese

July 3, 2014 at 16:25

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