The Yellow Balloon — The Yellow Balloon
(Sundazed SC 11069, 1967/2002, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2005-03-01The Yellow Balloon is basically the story of one producer & songwriter Gary Zekley who, disappointed with the results after having Jan and Dean record one of his songs, decided to record it again himself. Then, with an unexpected smash hit song on his hands, quickly recorded a full album of material with studio musicians, then contacted his friend, multi-instrumentalist & singer Don Grady (better known as Robbie Douglas from the TV show My Three Sons) to assemble a “real” five-piece band to work up a live set and make a bunch of TV appearances in the wake of the hit. Beginning with album opener “How Can I Be Down?” the material has an unapologetically positive and uplifting vibe, heavily influenced by the “Good Vibrations”-era Beach Boys sound and the sunshine pop of the period (think Millenium, The Association, Sunshine Company, etc.) full of melody, simple happy-go-lucky rhythms, fun lyrics that intentionally eschew the social consciousness of the times, and meticulously arranged elaborate multi-part vocal harmonies. The twelve songs are all short, no-nonsense pieces that concisely showcase and support the songwriting, and although musicianship is top notch throughout, there’s not a lot of room here for solos. Songs like “Follow the Sunshine,” “Stained Glass Window,” “Baby Baby It’s You,” and “Springtime Girl” are all as strong as the better known title track. Eight bonus tracks include singles, demos, and four cuts by Don Grady and his pre-YB Windupwatchband. All taken, an important, if somewhat obscure slice of 60s pop history.
Related artist(s): The Yellow Balloon
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more