When The Collage signed with Mercury Records’ Smash division in 1968 (also the home of The Left Banke), the group was on the verge of a breakthrough. Consisting of Jerry Careaga, Ron Joelson, Donna Byrd and Jodie Cline, the two-man, two-woman Collage was in the mold of The Mamas and the Papas, but with two ace songwriters instead of one; Careaga and Joelson worked as a team. Their songs – described by Careaga as “beat-poetry lyrics to show-tune-style melodies” – grabbed the attention of industry movers and shakers including Nik Venet at Capitol. But it was Steve Douglas, famed Wrecking Crew saxophonist and Mercury A&R man, who had faith in The Collage and produced their self-titled debut LP. This was a top-tier production all the way, with the Wrecking Crew working their legendary session magic (more on them here and here), and future star J.J. Cale engineering. While the basic tracks were cut at North Hollywood’s Amigo Studios, additional recording was conducted at Hollywood’s renowned United Recorders. Harry Nilsson’s frequent collaborator Perry Botkin Jr. provided the arrangements. Hot on the heels of its acclaimed reissues of Paul Williams’ Someday Man and The Cowsills’ On My Side, the Now Sounds label will on February 28 release a deluxe expanded edition of this lost slice of late-sixties psych/sunshine pop, The Collage. Fans of The Mamas and the Papas, The Free Design or harmony pop: this one’s for you!
The songwriting lineup of The Collage is a virtual “Who’s Who” of the era. Joelson and Careaga’s own compositions were augmented with cuts written by Roger Nichols and Tony Asher (“Can I Go,” well-known to fans of Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends), The Addrisi Brothers (“She’s Just Laughin’ at Me”), Price and Walsh (“Virginia Day’s Ragtime Memories”) and Curt Boettcher (“Would You Like to Go”). Producer Steve Stanley has doubled the length of the original 1968 LP, adding a whopping ten bonus tracks! You can expect mono single mixes of “Driftin’,” “Virginia Day’s Ragtime Memories,” “Lookin’ at a Baby” and “Any Day’s a Sunday Afternoon.” Six rare songs round out the set, including a version of Harry Nilsson’s “The Story of Rock and Roll” and an instrumental track of Roger Nichols’ and Paul Williams’ “Someday Man.”
The Collage was released in January 1968, but despite its rich harmonies, lush orchestrations and psychedelic touches, the album failed to take off in the charts. The group hit the television circuit on such programs on American Bandstand, The Joey Bishop Show, The Steve Allen Show, It’s Happening and Playboy After Dark, and made appearances in Las Vegas at The Sands and Caesar’s Palace before disbanding.
Hit the jump for further information including the confirmed track listing, pre-order information and full discography!
Now Sounds’ release includes a full-color booklet illustrated with rare and previously-unseen photographs. In addition, group member Jerry Careaga has written new liner notes recalling The Collage’s halcyon days encountering the likes of Fred Neil, Harry Nilsson, Paul Williams and film composer Stu Phillips. He also shares the fascinating stories behind the recordings of “The Story of Rock and Roll” and “Someday Man.” The Collage is due in the U.K. on February 28 and on American shores on March 8. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon U.K. here and Amazon U.S. here.
The Collage, The Collage (Smash LP SRS 67101, 1968 – reissued Now Sounds CRNOW24, 2011)
- Lookin’ at a Baby (Vicksberg-Henderson)
- Driftin’ (Edwards-Kimmel)
- Rainy Blue Memory Day (Joelson-Careaga)
- Any Day’s a Sunday Afternoon (Joelson-Careaga)
- My Mind’s at Ease (Joelson-Careaga)
- Virginia Day’s Ragtime Memories (Price-Walsh-Bottler)
- Can I Go (Nichols-Asher)
- She’s Just Laughin’ at Me (Addrisi-Addrisi)
- Ragged Clown (Joelson-Careaga)
- Would You Like to Go (Boettcher-Alexander)
- Driftin’ (Mono 45) (Edwards-Kimmel)
- Virginia Day’s Ragtime Memories (Mono 45) (Price-Walsh-Bottler)
- Lookin’ at a Baby (Mono 45) (Vicksberg-Henderson)
- Any Day’s a Sunday Afternoon (Mono 45) (Joelson-Careaga)
- Hard Days (Joelson-Careaga)
- Leave Behind a Dream (Joelson-Careaga)
- The Story of Rock and Roll (Nilsson)
- Someday Man (Track Only) (Nichols-Williams)
- Fly Big City Love Bird (Joelson-Careaga)
- What You Gonna Do (Joelson-Careaga)
Tracks 1-10 from Smash LP SRS 67101, 1968
Track 11 from Smash single 2150, 1968
Tracks 12 & 17 from Smash single 2170, 1968
Track 13 & 14 from Smash single 2135, 1967
Track 14 also from Smash single 2150, 1968
Tracks 15-16 and 18-20 are previously unreleased