Album Reviews

The Turtles

All the Singles

Artist:     The Turtles

Album:     All The Singles

Label:     Manifesto Records

Release Date:     08/19/2016


How many Turtles songs can you name? Everyone knows “Happy Together.” Most of us who listened to AM radio back in the day remember “Elenore.” There was a rocking cover of “It Ain’t Me Babe,” and movie buffs might recall “Guide for the Married Man.” After that, things get a little fuzzy, but as the late-night TV pitchman says, “Wait, there’s more.”

A lot more, in fact. The Turtles: All the Singles is a two-disc set featuring 50 (“count ‘em, 50”) songs from one of the 60’s top Pop groups. Every single released between 1966 and 1970 plus select B-sides, unreleased material and commercial jingles for Pepsi and Chevy Camaro are all here for Turtles completists and fans of groovy, feel-good music. Many of these songs are probably buried deep in your musical subconscious, but even the ones you’ve never heard before will sound familiar as timepieces of semi-psychedelic Pop.

Turtles frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, aka Flo and Eddie, wrote many of the band’s songs, but they also drew from some of the major songwriters of the decade. In addition to Dylan, there are tunes by P.F. Sloan (“Let Me Be,” “You Baby”), Gerry Goffin and Carole King (“So Goes Love”) and a very young Warren Zevon (“Like the Seasons”). Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon penned “Happy Together” along with “She’d Rather Be With Me,” “You Know What I Mean” and “She’s My Girl.”

But wait, there’s more. This seemingly exhaustive compilation is only the first step in a comprehensive Turtles revival. A six-CD set of all their original albums is now available, allowing for a reflective look at the music beyond the singles. The albums are at turns more ambitious and experimental than listeners might expect. Maybe not Pet Sounds but, as Volman suggests, something akin to the Byrds.

So whet your appetite with All the Singles before going in for a deeper dive. It’s binge listening that’s just light enough to keep things fun.

– Lou Montesano

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