She makes me feel like sunshine when she says my name
October 10, 2019 8:39 PM   Subscribe

If you don't already know The Association, perhaps a good introduction to them is their stellar third album Insight Out. The band grew out of the improbable music scene in LA centered around The Troubadour. Their blend of 60s "California Sound" rock and folk with light touches of psychedelia finally achieved chart success with this release in 1967. Side A: Wasn't It A Bit Like Now (Parallel '23), On A Quiet Night, We Love Us, When Love Comes To Me, Windy, Reputation posted by hippybear (50 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Windy was my favorite song for years when I was little. I've always really loved this group and the music from this album but haven't listened to them in a long time. Thanks for the post!
posted by phunniemee at 8:49 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]

Haha this brings back memories of childhood in the 70s.  Being the youngest of three, I inherited all my older siblings' leftover 45s.  And now I'm having flashbacks to the 45 of "Windy," playing on my Mickey Mouse turntable with 6 year old me happily singing along to it—and that scratchy single of the Shirelles "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" that also inexplicably ended up mixed into my collection of Disney records along with it.

So strange, the memories that get dredged up
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 8:53 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]

Heh - it was my favorite too! Apparently there's something about that song that particularly appeals to youngsters. Dredged up memories indeed...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:57 PM on October 10

The Association perform Requiem For The Masses on the Smothers Brothers Show in 1967. And from the same stage, their first hit: Along Comes Mary (with intro).
posted by Rash at 9:12 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]

My childhood introduction to Windy.
posted by mwhybark at 10:12 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]

I can't let a post about The Association pass without mentioning Curt Boettcher's other band The Millenium, and their incredible only album Begin.
posted by riddley at 12:13 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

They look so tame and mom-approved that you expect them to start with "Welcome! Welcome! All chaperones can now take a 45-minute break. We've got you covered."

A little like 'los pantalones del muerte', I would play my big sister's stacks of abandoned 45s on a tiny plastic record player, and 'Windy' was in there. Fifty-something years later, when I go out to ride my bicycle on a blustery day, I still find myself singing 'Windy'.
posted by pracowity at 12:32 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Sorry I will never take seriously the band that recorded “Broccoli.”
posted by spitbull at 1:03 AM on October 11

They look so tame and mom-approved ...

And to me, that's how they sounded, too. Sort of The Lettermen of rock.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:37 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

Yeah that was my childhood response to hearing The Association, that it was parent-approved “rock” safe for kids, and therefore uninteresting to me, although to be fair I had already discovered Pink Floyd.
posted by spitbull at 4:31 AM on October 11

I love the song "Windy", but it reminds me of being 5 years old in the waiting room at the dentist in the 70s. The receptionist, either by preference or direction, kept the radio on the Lite FM station, so I'd hear "Windy", "Never My Love", and "Along Comes Mary".

It wasn't until I was 15 in the 80s that I realized that "Along Comes Mary" might not exactly be about a woman.
posted by droplet at 4:45 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

If you want to know how I feel about The Association, I got married two months ago, and our first dance was to "Never My Love".

It was one of the first decisions we made about the entire wedding. There was a list of other songs we listened to, but more as a formality of "Are any of these a better choice? Nope, we were right the first time."
posted by cardioid at 5:32 AM on October 11 [8 favorites]

"Along comes Mary" was written by one Tandyn Almer -- start searching out what else he wrote and you'll rediscover or discover all kinds of great stuff.
posted by thefool at 5:33 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Also coolest record in my house growing up that was originally my moms (well maybe Joan Baez?) So pretty common but I still totally loved the sound. (My dad's record collection was 1/4 Beehoven, 1/4 Dylan, 1/4 Frank Zappa and 1/4 free jazz and Eric Satie and stuff, so interesting but not exactly "cool" either)
posted by thefool at 5:34 AM on October 11

Being a Wendy, I used to have "Windy" sung at me all the time. I hated it, but it was way better than the Beach Boys whining "Wendy what went wrong", so I'll take it.

("Born to Run" is my favourite song.)
posted by wellred at 5:50 AM on October 11 [8 favorites]

Safe, middle-of-the-road pop that manages to stick with you 50 years later. If that was their goal, they’ve more than succeeded.
posted by tommasz at 6:35 AM on October 11

Oh, dear. Look at the audience.
posted by pracowity at 6:47 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Never My Love is in my piano rotation. Played it at my daughter's wedding. It hits nostalgia buttons for olds like me, and also for the youngs because it was on a popular movie soundtrack about 10 or 15 years ago.
posted by hypnogogue at 6:54 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Wikipedia says it's "the second most-played song on radio and television of the 20th century."
posted by pracowity at 6:57 AM on October 11

I'm happy to stan The Association, but mostly I'm waiting for the world to reevaluate the Dave Clark Five as obviously the superior alternative to the Beatles. #tottenhamsound
posted by tobascodagama at 7:08 AM on October 11

I can't believe nobody's mentioned Cherish yet!
posted by vitout at 7:23 AM on October 11 [8 favorites]

i bought the self-titled album based on the cover art. I was hoping for prog rock. I was wrong.
posted by rebent at 7:30 AM on October 11

By coincidence, I am just in the middle of watching the film Goodbye, Columbus. Without their soundtrack, the movie would have a completely different tone — possibly more like Roth's intentions, but definitely less fun.
posted by ubiquity at 7:37 AM on October 11

I knew Ruthann's kids growing up and the gold record for Windy was on the wall in the parent's study like nbd whatever. She remains a cool, down to earth lady.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:54 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

From the comments on a related site:

I was an usher at Indiana University in 1967. Each spring the University would stage an extravaganza with a variety of entertainers. That year the Association was on the bill with Bob Hope. Cherish had been released and was hugely popular. Hours prior to the show in the IU football stadium the performers were conducting sound checks. I noticed someone sitting in the stands that looked familiar. It was Jim Yester. I struck up a conversation with him and quickly discovered him to be a friendly guy. During our conversation he confided that his group would be premiering a song that evening and was curious if the crowd would realize the meaning of this particular line of lyric, "Who's bending down to give me a rainbow everyone knows it's Windy." From my lack of reaction it was obvious to him that I had no idea what that meant. Fortunately, he told me what Windy was actually doing.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:59 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

They look so tame and mom-approved ...

And to me, that's how they sounded, too. Sort of The Lettermen of rock.

This has long been my take, more or less. Like evidence of what would've happened to American pop culture if vast amounts of LSD hadn't got dumped into the proverbial water system. Things would've gone quirky as opposed to outright STRANGE.

But that said, they did nail it at Monterrey Pop - 1967. The intro's cool (as noted above) but it's the tightness of the live vocal delivery that blows me away.
posted by philip-random at 8:28 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

"Along Comes Mary" is the song that made me assert that "There is no quality rock song that contains a flute solo."

I have yet to be disproven and don't say "Tull" because you're wrong.
posted by donpardo at 8:59 AM on October 11

My dad had one of the members of The Association as a coworker at a microfilm/microfiche service place in the San Fernando Valley around 1979/1980.

This guy said he had $3M (like $25M these days) in his bank account after their hits. But, after years of dumb shit like flying private to NYC and back just for dinner, he had a regular job making $18/hr (which wasn’t bad by any stretch for around 1980) where he hung out with my 27 year old father in the break room, imploring to everyone that “I’ll just write another hit” is a terrible way of thinking when it comes to spending your money.
posted by sideshow at 9:13 AM on October 11 [7 favorites]

...made me assert that "There is no quality rock song that contains a flute solo."

Which means that you don't like "Nights in White Satin."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:20 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

Or "California Dreamin'"
posted by briank at 9:46 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Surely these ...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:51 AM on October 11

"There is no quality rock song that contains a flute solo."

defense rests
posted by philip-random at 10:13 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]

The flute turned up all the time in folk and psych rock. Traffic (OK, not exactly a rock song but still), Procul Harum, yadda yadda
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:40 AM on October 11

Rare Earth - Born to Wander.
Flute throughout, but solo at 2:07.
posted by rocket88 at 11:20 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

Statements about Rock Orthodoxy kind of miss the point.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:37 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

Just now on Facebook, Puddles' Pity Party posted a cover of "Never My Love"
posted by briank at 11:45 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

I'll stop my hijack after this, but note that there are several parts to the assertion:
1) It has to be a flute. No recorders, no ocarinas and no god-damn penny whistles.
2) It has to be an actual solo. Accents and backgrounds instrumentation don't count.
3) It has to be rock. I don't know what Traffic is, but it ain't rock. Neither is Rare Earth or The Left Banke or, frankly, The Association.
4) It has to be quality.

If condition 1 is discarded, the answer is "Wild Thing" by the Troggs which contains an ocarina solo.
If condition 2 is discarded, the assertion is pointless. Lots of great songs have a flute in the background.
If condition 3 is discarded then the answer is something like Debussy's "Prelude A L'apres-midi D'un Faun".

And condition 4? Condition 4 is what I say it is. That's why Tull and Marshall Tucker are specifically excluded.

Also, your favorite flute solo sucks.
posted by donpardo at 11:46 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

I don't know what Traffic is, but it ain't rock.

Maybe you don't know what rock is.

Dear Mr. Fantasy

Empty Pages

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave

Gimmie Some Lovin
(Traffic was Winwood's band after Spencer Davis)

I coud go on, but this is a weird derail in a thread about "Windy."
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:33 PM on October 11 [8 favorites]

We can't talk about "Windy" because it's girl music, and this is a boy zone for big butch boys only!
posted by tobascodagama at 1:39 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]

Focus disproves this theorem, not only for the flute, but for whistling, yodeling, and weird teeth scatting. An unalloyed marvel.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:52 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]

One of his biggest fans was composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. 6 Facts About "Along Comes Mary" and Its Composer, Tandyn Almer. Previously.
posted by How the runs scored at 2:31 PM on October 11

also on the flute solo tip ...

Love + Rockets - no new tale to tell
posted by philip-random at 3:41 PM on October 11

Everyone Knows Its I Talk To The Windy
posted by hal9k at 4:57 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Lots of Gabriel-era Genesis had flute, actual solos too. I think most people consider Genesis to be a rock band, but I don't have a copy of donpardo's rubric so I don't know if he would agree.
posted by hippybear at 5:42 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]

I dislike Windy because while in elementary school I was somehow drafted into the chorus, which I hated, and one of the songs was Windy. Also the 59th Street Bridge song. Forever tainted.

Conversely, I recently watched the wonderful mindfuck movie Under the Silver Lake, which starts with “Never My Love” playing during a strange and languorous mood-setting scene, and that song suddenly rocketed up from the depths of my memory to become an obsession. Thanks for this post, which has reminded me I’ve been slacking on playing it over and over.
posted by ejs at 6:29 PM on October 11

Dang. I forgot how many tracks they had on the soundtrack of my youth.
posted by lhauser at 7:32 PM on October 11

Their wikipedia article linked in the FPP is pretty astounding. Band members playing with Zappa and Cass Elliot and David Crosby and at one point being in the house band at The Troubadour...

Oddly, their very first very tiny label single was Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, which you might possibly recognize from Joan Baez. The Associations' interpretation of the song was adventurous, right up until Led Zeppelin.

I quite like what Paul Oakenfold does when he plays with this song... this has long been a favorite LZ remix of mine

Their second single was on Valiant and was Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings, which had been sung by many others previously. Very much a part of the folk canon in the crowd they were hanging out with. (This video is a fake stereo mix of a lip-synch performance of the 1965 single.

Also astounding on the wikipedia page is the list of current and former members. They didn't even bother to try to bar-chart this one out like they have with a lot of bands. Holy wow! It makes you think about the name of the band and how they were involved in open mic group nights at The Troubadour and people moved in and out over the years, and back in again repeatedly, and they were all Associates, but maybe not always part of The Association.

Anyway, they're an interesting group, I think. They're a bit white bread but they're also interesting enough to all be truly excellent musicians and singers and songwriters and arrangers, and the under 3 minute full journey pop/rock song is a bit of a lost craft these days.
posted by hippybear at 8:45 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Maybe the most prominent use of "Windy" lately. (Somewhat NSFW.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:49 PM on October 11

perhaps a good introduction to them is their stellar third album Insight Out

Ohman, the third album is indeed a great introduction to the band, because that's the first album where they had (imo) their coolest member, Larry Ramos. Though it may seem like no big deal to have a brown Asian in a band of white guys in 2019, that really wasn't the case back in the 1960's, so in many ways Larry Ramos (and by extension, The Association) are responsible for helping pave the way for brown Asians in rock/pop music. He really was among the first.

Larry Ramos (who is Filipino, with some Chinese and Spanish heritage as well) started out in the New Christy Minstrels, where he was also the only brown guy in a band full of white folks. He auditioned for the band and was a great fit, but since the New Christy Minstrels were the backing band for the Andy Williams Show, the producers hemmed/hawed/fretted over whether to put a brown dude on TV in a very white show. The producers ultimately decided to have him join the group, and he toured like non-stop with them for years. He met and married a blackjack dealer in Vegas while on tour and his wife Helene gave birth to twins while he was on tour. After being present for their birth, he didn't see his kids again until they were 6 months old, and then he was like "Yeah, I can't be a dad if I never see my kids, so I'm quitting the New Christy Minstrels." The group's producers vowed he would never work in the music biz again.

Larry was doing solo music stuff for a while, then in 1967 a friend told him that the lead guitarist for The Association, Jules Gary Alexander, was about to head to India to explore his spirituality. Larry goes out to California to follow The Association on tour, to get a sense of their music. He catches one of their shows, and then rigggght before the next show, the bass player for The Association fucked up his own hand by screwing around throwing firecrackers out of a car window. The lead guitarist, who hadn't left for India yet, was like "So Larry, you're going on tonight. Playing guitar." (Yeah, I dunno why he wasn't asked to play bass, but there you go.)

The problems with this were: 1) Larry didn't play guitar at that time, he played banjo and ukelele (which, btw, are strung differently than a guitar), and 2) the show was in 4 hours. Larry goes "Ummm, okay, but how am I supposed to learn the songs?" Alexander goes "Well, there's a turntable... and there's the two albums we've done." So Larry just plays the fuck out of the albums, learns how to play guitar AND how to play the songs on the albums, and is ready to go after 2 hours. Who TF does that? Larry Ramos, that's who.

Larry eventually got to sing too, and he sang co-lead on a number of their most notable songs. He credits his time with the New Christy Minstrels with training him to blend his voice to fit in with many other voices, which helped him fit right in with The Association. Also, while in the New Christy Minstrels, Larry had often been tasked with laying down ghost vocals so that the less-strong singers in the band could have a guide (later deleted) which would help them stay on pitch. He ended up doing the same thing for the baritone and higher parts for about 80% of the tracks for The Association as well. Who TF does that? Larry Ramos, that's who.

Larry had always assumed that he was just filling in for Jules Gary Alexander while Alexander was in India, and that when Alexander came back from India, that'd be the end of his time in the band. Alexander came back from India in 1968, but by then, everyone else in the band agreed that Larry was totally part of the band now, especially since he sang co-lead on two of their biggest hits, so the band went from being a six-piece to being a seven-piece band.

Given that it was the 1960s in the USA, Larry had to deal with some racist microaggressions from his bandmates before they were even called microagressions- Larry wasn't cool with always being the butt of the joke though, so he'd often comment on his bandmates' whiteness for laughs, and the crowds would eat it up. (Here's an clip of Larry doing some band banter before the song Cherish, right after he joined the band.) Larry quit the band over musical differences in 1976, but in 1979 Larry and the original members of The Association got back together for a reunion. By the mid 1980s, Larry (and Russ Giguere) acquired the rights to the name The Association, and though the band has played with many non-original members, Larry and Russ did get several of the founding members to rejoin for various tours over the years. Since the 1980s, Larry had been the manager of the band and considered its' leader. He toured with The Association until 2014, when he dropped out due to health problems, and he died a few months later. His brother Del took over for him in The Association, but maaaan, there's never going to be another like Hilario Ramos.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:13 PM on October 16 [12 favorites]

« Older The best of Google Street View   |   The rise of deathly pop music Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments