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It's A Beautiful Day


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3 stars Isn't it strange that "Marry Maiden" became IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY's best selling album, not their debut? That is strange, because it doesn't live up to the greatness of their debut. The lineup is still the same as their debut, except for Fred Webb replacing Linda LaFlamme (he also uses organ, piano, and harpsichord). Most of these songs are that soft psychedelia in the vein of "White Bird", but much shorter, and not as so inspired. The album opens up with "Don and Dewey", a violin jam inspired by the duo of by the name name (Don "Sugarcane" Harris played violin for Little Richard and even Frank ZAPPA). Then you have the gentle ballad "The Dolphins", which is the kind of ballad that worked much better on their debut. "Essence of Now" is another gentle ballad, but I think is one of the better songs here. "It All Comes Down To You" is a country-ish piece complete with Jerry Garcia of the Dead picking pedal steel guitar (I guess this piece being more country-like is no surprise since the Dead did release two country-ish albums around the same time as "Marrying Maiden" with Workingman's Dead and American Beauty). "Soapstone Mountain" is one of those idealistic hippie songs with hippie lyrics, about living in the country. "Let a Woman Flow" is a pleasant song, but with some really lame lyrics. "Galileo" is a bit different with some spoken psychedelic mumbo-jumbo. "Good Lovin'" is an upbeat piece and works quite well. "Rodeo" is an instrumental country-influenced piece, again with Jerry Garcia picking up the pedal steel here. To me, the album isn't bad, and several good songs make it work having, but never lives up to the greatness of their debut. I love the back cover, however.

Again, buy the old Columbia or CBS LP print, don't buy any reissues from San Francisco Sound, as once again, Matthew Katz, that unethical scumbag, rips people off by overcharging for inferior products, and never paying the surviving band members royalties.

Report this review (#33235)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars I rounded it off to the upper unit hence three stars. This album is quite a deception and Prpghead describes well the average number but does not mention the overall good-ol'- boy-country feeling this album develops. And since I hate country rock , you will be amazed that I gave that third star. well it is on the strenght of the last two numbers (reminds you a bit of their debut but not quite that good) and the opening instrumental Don & Dewey. Actually further controversy between Beautiful Day and Deep Purple MkII will arise because of that number. It is again clear that the brits stole from thje yankees because if you listen to Lazy on Machine Head , you will see another blatant rip-off of this instrumental pieces. It is clear that Deep Prurple (one of my fave hard rock band ever ) listened to Beautiful Day and copied , but than again , If Child In Time AND Lazy are stolen , this takes a lot of merit away from them as their two proggier numbers were derivative: This leaves the DP Mk I line-up as the most progressive.

Anyway , this album is quite a deception and should be avoided.

Report this review (#33236)
Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars More impressive than a lot of the San Francisco scene bands (other than Jefferson Airplane). "Don and Dewey" is a good rocker (guitar and fiddle mainly), and later on they play some bluegrass and such. These guys are very talented and I do reccommend this album to anyone who enjoys the San Francisco scene (Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, etc.). However, this album would not really be classified as "Prog" in my opinion, so it's not essential to a prog collection, but a good listen nonetheless.
Report this review (#33237)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Well, this is nowhere near as earthy and inspiring as their debut album was, but I must admit the musicianship is top-notch. It is basically an Americana experience though, jazz and blues and ragtime and bluegrass and folk and a little bit country, a little bit rock- and-roll (hey, wasn’t that an Osmonds song?).

Linda LaFlamme is out and Patti Santos is in, but otherwise it’s largely the same crew. The opening “Don and Dewey” is a nicely done violin instrumental with plenty of organ, piano, and a little brass with a lively tempo and not much substance.

“The Dolphins” reminds me of some old sixties country song with its wispy vocals, plain piano, one-two snare drum, and some odd-key violin for flavor. This isn’t even folk – it’s just a weak imitation of Hank Williams circa 1962.

The tempo kicks up a little on “Essence of Now”, a Byrds-inspired vocal display with some decent near-psychedelic guitar but more of the same as far as the drum goes. Next up is “Hoedown”, which is exactly what the title says it is. Yee-haw!

More almost-Byrds on “Soapstone Mountain” except that the lyrics are more like Claude King or some other forgotten old American country singer. Bo-ring!

“Waiting for the Song” starts off promising enough with a solid electric guitar riff and some decent harmonized vocals, but that’s all it turns out to be – 53 seconds of WTF?!

“Let a Woman Flow” sounds like a really disgusting title, kind of like Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”, but this turns out to be a mid-sixties crooner tune like something Tom Jones might have turned into a hit for blue-haired ladies on the Las Vegas strip. Props to the organ though, that’s nice at least.

That bluegrass I mentioned at the outset kicks in with “It Comes Right Down To You”, accompanied by The Ole’ Hickory Mountaintop One-Toothed Singers, or something that sounds like a group that would call themselves The Ole’ Hickory Mountaintop One- Toothed Singers anyway.

Other than the Elvis-in-Hawaii rhythm, “Good Lovin” is probably the only decent track on the album, with just enough grooving guitar to make you think these guys maybe torched a dube before recording it or something. The backing vocals sound like The Mason-Dixon Gospel Singers though, or a group that might call themselves The Mason- Dixon Gospel Singers anyway.

I like the acoustic guitar and what I believe is a French horn on “Galileo”, but just when I think this will get interesting it turns into a Yanni spoken-word kind of thing and I lose interest. Oh well.

The only reason I’m not giving this one star is for “Good Lovin” and “Do You Remember The Sun”, the latter which sounds like The Association, who I happened to like a little when I was a kid. Otherwise this is pretty much a waste of time and money, doubly so since it’s actually hard to find if you didn’t get it as a birthday present from your aunt when you were eight years old. So since I already said I won’t give it one star, I’ll give it two and Mr. LaFlamme should consider himself lucky. I think it was false advertising to call this an It’s a Beautiful Day album.


Report this review (#104798)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Marital differences

Any IABD album which does not include "White Bird" is it seems automatically deemed inferior and less interesting. This album was recorded just a year later, yet already the cracks are beginning to appear, with Linda LaFlamme being ousted in favour of Fred Webb. In fairness, this probably had as much to do with the status of the LaFlamme's marriage, as it did with any musical differences.

"Marrying Maiden" starts pretty much where we left off with the first album with "Don and Dewey". The violin playing of David laFlamme is though a bit more jazzy, with leanings towards Stephen Grappelli. The track, named after the US duo who inspired it, makes for an odd starter to the album both because of its jazz basis, and because it is not representative of what is to follow.

Once "Don and Dewey" is out of the way, the proto prog effectively ends, and we are into an album of country tinged shorter songs. "The dolphins" is a beautiful song with Val Fuentes adding some fine backing vocals, but it is much more in the way of band such as FAMILY DOGG or the MAMAS AND THE PAPAS. LaFlamme even slips in the odd yodel! "Essence of the now" continues in a similar style, Webb adding some fine organ playing to the song.

Things take an unfortunate turn with the obviously named "Hoedown", a hand-clapping banjo playing, violin fuelled burst of country pie. Fun I am sure, but totally out of place. "Soapstone mountain" returns to the Mamas and the Papas harmonised pop, but with a fine instrumental section where organ and guitar take centre stage.

There are distinct indications that bands such as BREAD were influenced by the music of IABD, especially in songs such as "Let a woman flow". "It comes right down to you" is a forties sounding jaunty sing-a-song which does actually work. "Good lovin'" develops into quite a heavy guitar driven number with echoed vocals and high pitched screams. The album closes with a couple of softer, laid back vocal songs.

The sleeve includes the notation "Produced in San Francisco..", a comment which is highly relevant to the album. "Marrying Maiden" is an optimistic album of west coast pop which draws in other influences but remains true to its foundations. There are fleeting moments of proto-prog, but they tend to be disguised behind the strong male/female harmonies. Good album though.

Report this review (#116275)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars An album the time passed by.

Some albums does not age well at all. This, the second album from It's A Beautiful Day is one of them the time passed by. The music on Marrying Maiden is romantic late 1960s pop/rock, largely influenced by late 1950s/early 1960s pop music, pre The Beatles. Add a lot of country'n'western too and some of the songs Elvis Presley were forced to record at that time. Most of all; this album is full of innocence and flower power. That without the space rock elements which later dominated that scene. In short; It's A Beautiful Day, music wise.

The quality is not good though. A song like The Dolphins is so bad it makes me blush with embarrassment like a virgin on the wedding night. But the album rises to the challenge at the end though without really becoming good. I cannot find a single good song on this album at all. The sound though is good and the album is not particular offensive bad in any way, with the exception of the above mentioned song. So a good two stars will make do for this album which I may suspect is a hate/love album.

2 stars

Report this review (#368845)
Posted Friday, December 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Their debut album was quite a good psyche one, and since most of the reviews were quite good as well on this one, was rather keen to discover their sophomore record.

Needless to say that I was quite disillusioned while I heard some bloody stuff as "The Dolphins", which is nothing else than a poor Presley rock ballad. The great (but scarce) psyche parts of their debut album are unfortunately forgotten in this album.

OK: "Essence Of Now" is a delightful track which belongs to the best of the late sixties track of the genre. But it is frankly the only one from this album. When I listen to the dreadful but so US oriented "Hoedown", I can only recommend to "press next". But some other songs are quite wild and decent like "Soapstone Mountain".

At times, this work sounds as a very poor and early "Purple" stuff and I am not overall too enthusiastic about this album. Let us be realistic: there is NOTHING prog in here. At times: some fluting, some violin. But is this enough to describe this work as prog?

A song as "Let A Woman Flow" is sufficient to tell you all of the contrary. This album is not a good one, either in terms of prog music or just rock music. Two stars is a VERY generous rating, believe me. When I listen to the lousy "It Comes Right Down To You", the one star rating is even a subsequent suggestion.

As you might have understood, I don't like this album very much even if the sweet "Good Lovin'' offers a fine approach.. Psychedelic is mainly next door. Some decent "Bolero" feeling can still be taken under consideration ("Galileo"). Two stars overall.

Report this review (#534166)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink

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