The Common People “Of The People/By The People/For The People From”
A well known rarity, The Common People’s Of The People/By The People/For The People is one of the more collectable Capitol releases. Prior to this LP, the group released two primitive garage singles which are very good but nearly impossible to find.
For many years very little was known about the Common People. Terrascope’s interview with lead singer Denny Robinett cleared up many unanswered questions regarding the band’s existence and roots. The Common People hailed from Baldwin Park California (LA area) and played the local club circuit. “Lord” Tim Hudson, of Lollipop Shoppe and Seeds fame, managed this mysterious psychedelic outfit. Of The People/By The People/For The People is an interesting mixture of garage pop and orchestrated psych whose reputation has soared in recent years – it’s a bit overrated to these ears but generally a worthwhile LA psych rock trip.
The first three tracks of the album were arranged by David Axelrod and are an amazing mixture of swirling strings and raw lead vocals. The string arrangements mesh seamlessly with Denny Robinett’s vocals, creating a sound which was very unique for 1969 – an unsettling amalgam of folk-rock, psychedelia, and orchestrated pop. Had the whole album been arranged and produced by David Axelrod it might have turned out to be a psychedelic masterpiece but unfortunately, the budget tightened up, forcing the band to abandon its original vision for something that’s more run-of-the-mill and less exciting. It’s even been suggested that Axelrod might have pulled out of these sessions because his wife suffered serious injuries from a car accident. In the end, the group was forced to move on and complete the album without him. Most of the remaining tracks are solid garage pop numbers. The low points are two generic horn rock numbers and one despicable novelty tracked titled, “They Didn’t Even Go To The Funeral.” By no means a classic or masterpiece, Of The People/By The People/For The People is a flawed but worthy album – a solid psych rock record that will satisfy many fans of the genre. The buzzing organs and occasional fuzz guitar of “Why Must I Be,” “Take From You,” “Land of Day” and “Go Every Way” deliver the garage goods in a downbeat, moody fashion. The album’s key strengths are its mood, Robinett’s gruff vocals, and Axelrod’s soaring string arrangements/production on the LP’s first three tracks.
Denny Robinett claims that Capital never promoted Of The People/By The People/For The People and that it “was never available for sale in any store.” Australian label Ascension and Fallout have recently reissued this disc on cd. The Fallout reissue includes the early singles but is a “grey area” release.
Read Terrascope’s interview with Denny Robinett for more information on The Common People.
“Soon There’ll Be Thunder”