The Buckinghams “Kind of a Drag”

The Buckinghams first disc is unlike anything they would ever record again. Sure, the title track was a bubblegum smash but the rest of the LP is given over to garage, blue-eyed soul, blues, and British Invasion influenced pop. It’s all good too, sung beautifully and played very tightly. You’ll be surprised when you put this gem on the turntable, if only for the two masterful garage punkers from the group’s USA tenure, “Don’t Want To Cry” and “I’ve Been Wrong.” These two tracks alone make Kind of a Drag worth a purchase.

“Sweets For My Sweet” is also given a nice garage pop reading with it’s raw guitar work and smooth organ sounds. Reissues include a powerful version of “I’m A Man”, a track that was featured on early USA pressings of this LP. Other standouts: the garage pop of “Makin’ Up & Breakin’ Up,” a superb blue-eyed soul song titled “Love Ain’t Enough” and “Beginners’ Love,” great Beatles inspired rock n roll. Even the album’s one instrumental, “Virginia Wolf,” is skillfully performed, in fact the whole album is very engaging, lacking any weak spots or noticeable mistakes. There’s lots of energy, thought and professionalism put into this music – these guys must have been one hell of a club band back in the day.

Kind of a Drag sold pretty well, so vinyl copies are very easy to find. Also recommended is the Sundazed CD reissue that was put out some years back. The youthful energy in the playing and the Buckingham’s willingness to tackle different musical genres is what makes this disc so exciting – a must if you’re into garage pop. The Yardbirds, the Kinks, and the Who were strong influences on the early Buckinghams as they had yet to fall into the bubblegum hit-making trap that was soon to come.

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“Love Ain’t Enough”

:) Original Vinyl | 1967 | USA | search ebay ]
:D CD Reissue | Sundazed | buy at sundazed ]

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  • s

    Does anyone know where to get the original version of the song Kind of a Drag?
    This album and Mercy Mercy have a remixed version which sounds a lot weaker than what you catch on the radio.

  • Len Liechti

    To my surprise, shortly after reading the above post on an act I’d never heard of (the Buckinghams having achieved about the same penetration here in the UK as the Raiders – ie. considerably less than zilch), I discovered on the shelf of a charity shop here in Bath a 1991 compilation entitled Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by these very same Buckinghams on Columbia Legacy, and of course bought it for the sum of one English pound, for curiosity value and in the hope of getting a blast of the energetic stuff from the album reviewed above. Sadly it has only the title track, followed by a crop of what I can only describe as Blood, Sweat And Tears for teenyboppers, a style seemingly foisted on the band by James Guercio, who would later do something similar but more mature with the real BS&T and Chicago. The lyrics are exclusively of the godawful “moon in June” variety and there’s a cover of “I Call Your Name” which has to be one of the worst Fabs covers I’ve ever heard. The only relief is the psychedelic interlude in “Susan” which Guercio reportedly dropped into a gap left in the original recording when the band couldn’t decide how to fill it. Pretty cheesy stuff, really, except for the final track “You”, a previously unreleased, modest but becoming soft country rocker that might have signalled a change of direction had the band not split. The sleeve notes to this CD are actually very good and, perhaps surprisingly, suggest that the Bucks had little affection for the first album, regarding it as a bunch of “studio tossoffs”. Dunno if the “Kind Of A Drag” thereon is the original or the “weaker” remix, never having heard the Bucks on the radio (or anywhere else).

  • JAN

    I LOVE this album. It is one of my all time favorites.
    I bought it in a cut-out bin, in a drug store, back in the late 60s or early 70s.
    I had only heard of these EARLY tracks + that they were recorded in 1965!!!!
    Well, that had me at Hello. It was only availbe in mono at this store, so I’m glad to have a stereo CD copy finally. Had to wait to get Lawdy Miss Clawdy, until the greatest hits LP came out. It is my FAVORITE Buckinghams album, and I have all the Columbia LPs.

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