The Electric Prunes — Underground

This is the second album by The Electric Prunes, released in August 1967, just six months after their first album came out. This one is much more the work of the band and is again a fuzz-heavy, psychedelic rock approach. Though they got to do more of their own compositions, gotta say that the strongest track on this is a Goffin-King creation, “I Happen to Love You,” which they sneer and stomp through in pre-punk rage. Overall the album is, like the first one, uneven but enjoyable for what it is, and I’ve had it since shortly after getting that first one, which was probably around 1979. It definitely came from the bins at Desertshore Records in Syracuse.

It’s got some fun tracks, a well-produced sound. Given the time frame, you can easily imagine The Monkees doing any of these songs as they flexed their independence . . . they’ve got that kind of feel.

Underground front cover
Underground front cover — mandatory trippiness

Based on my enjoyment of these two records, I also collected two further Prunes records: “Mass In F Minor” and “Release of an Oath” from 1968. Those albums were what was happening as acid took hold. Someone (their producer) thought it would be a good idea if the band did an album written and arranged by a classical musician, David Axelrod, which was envisioned as a religious sort of rock opera. Maybe “Mass in F Minor” would have worked if any of the musicians involved were up for that, or there was enough time to do it, but that wasn’t the case, and the album is, to me, an unlistenable mess. Nevertheless, I held onto it for many years. “Release of an Oath” was the same idea, but without any real involvement by the band. It’s a pretentious Axelrod composition performed by the Wrecking Crew. Also owned it, also got rid of it. Those were among the few albums I ever decided I could just get rid of, as I was never ever likely to play them again and they were just taking up room in my life. But I digitized them first, just to be safe, and so that if I ever wrote.a blog about my entire record collection, I’d be able to second-guess my decision. No need: these two are really unlistenable, and have absolutely nothing to do with what the band was supposed to have been about. Lesson: don’t let your producer own your band’s name.

Underground back cover
Underground back cover — it’s a negative image so you know it’s trippy!
Oh god the '60s promos
Oh god the ’60s
Reprise records promo sleeve b
You like the garage psychedelic sounds of The Electric Prunes? You are gonna LOVE Dean Martin
Reprise records promo sleeve
Or perhaps the magic of Trini Lopez is more your speed?
Fans of The Electric Prunes may enjoy
Fans of The Electric Prunes may enjoy the Sing-Along World of Trini Lopez

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