The Lollipop Shoppe - Someone I Knew/Through My Window

The Lollipop Shoppe
Someone I Knew/Through My Window

Released 1969 on Shamley
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 01/12/2007ce

Several months back I spoke about The Lollipop Shoppe's debut 45 "You Must Be A Witch" b/w "Don't Close The Door" (UNI 1968.) As promised here are a few words about the group's final recording "Someone I Knew" b/w "Through My Window" (Shamley 1969) which was issued as a non-LP 45 after the group's "Just Colour" album failed to attract much action at the record shops.

It's pretty clear to me that the Lollipop Shoppe were influenced by Arthur Lee's Love. The aforementioned "You Must Be A Witch" being almost a letter perfect clone of Love's storming "7 & 7 Is" 45. Also many of the album cuts on "Just Colour" reminded one of 1966 vintage Love. But having said that I'm in no way implying the group were simply Love ripoff artists, far from it. Lollipop lead man Fred Cole was clearly a man with a mind and a sound of his own.

In his flawed but well intentioned book "Fuzz, Acid & Flowers" writer Vernon Joynson dismissed "Someone I Knew" as a disappointing downer. Actually I couldn't disagree more with Joynson's assessment. While "Someone I Knew" certainly could be described a downer it is far from disapointing, in fact it showed the Shoppe growing artistically in the same way as Arthur Lee's boys during their "Forever Changes" days. However the A side was an odd choice for a single due to it's rather odd tempo and arrangement. Also lead singer Fred Cole seems to be on the verge of tears during his somber lead vocal. The backing track has the same eeriness as some of the darker moments on "Forever Changes" most notably the creepy string sections. All in all this song was a major artistic leap forward for the group.

The flipside "Through My Window" is every bit as strong but is much more melodic and commercial, in fact this number most definitely should have been the A side. Sorry but the Love influence is once again present in the backing track which sounds almost exactly like Love's "Orange Skies." Actually this just may be the most melodic song Cole has ever recorded. But sadly neither side of this single drew much attention from radio programers. I found my copy of this record in a junk shop in Vernon, Connecticut (home of Gene Pitney) and the label did have writing on it from the Hartford, Connecticut station WDRC which was a fairly progressive station for 1969, so the record might have seen at least a few spins on the air. Connecticut radio was very regional in the 60's in that stations in New Haven often had very different playlists from stations in Hartford (and the two cities are only about 45 minutes apart, some of the stations did try to out-hip each other by playing more obscure records in those days, I seem to remember one of the hipper stations in the state playing King Crimson's first record when it was first issued.)

It's with this 45 that The Lollipop Shoppe saga ends, yet in some ways the group went out just like their heroes Love, as the original lineup of Love also bowed out with a very progressive non-LP single "Your Mind & We Belong Together" b/w "Laughing Stock" (Elektra 1968.) Of course the good news is Fred Cole carried on making great music with Dead Moon and others for many years, right up to the present day. For those wishing to hear this single try to track down the UK re-issue of The Lollipop Shoppe's "Just Colour" album on Big Beat records, this issue contains liner notes by the great Brian Hogg and both sides of the Shamley 45 are included as bonus tracks.

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