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9 Jan 2017

Bit ‘A Sweet “Hypnotic 1” US Psych Pop Rock














Bit ‘A Sweet “Hypnotic 1” US Psych Pop  Rock
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‘This pop-psych album gets points for early willingness to experiment, and it includes some veryprimitive electronics’ – The Acid Archives 

‘Pleasant stuff, with electric sitar dotted throughout and some light synth here and there… Their pre-LPsingle combines a tough garage A-side (with prominent guitar leads) with a soulful, horn-driven B-side’– Endless Trip 

Formerly known as The Satisfactions, this hard-hitting Long Island club act were veterans of thelocal scene when producer-arranger Steve Duboff (who also worked with The Cowsills, TheMonkees, The Insect Trust and others) signed them up as a vehicle for his songs in early 1968. Theirsole album was released that May, and makes its long-overdue CD debut here. A likeable blend ofpsychedelic pop and early synthesizer sounds, it’s presented complete with both sides of their rare1967 debut 45 (as performed in the exploito movie Blonde On A Bum Trip), and liner notes……………… 

Bit 'A Sweet’s most famous cut is the psych garage classic 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind’ on MGM but it seems that they fully embraced the new psychedelic rock sound for their 1968 album 'Hypnotic 1’ which is full of worthy mind-bending experimentation where the band utilize electric sitar, oscillators, primitive synths and trippy phasing. There is MUCH to please the psych head. 
I’ll focus on The Beatles cover version of 'If I Needed Someone’, which is correctly credited to George Harrison on the label but sadly listed as a Lennon-McCartney song on the back cover of the album. 

I think it would be difficult to make a bad version of 'If I Needed Someone’ as it’s a stupendous folk-rock tune. Here though, Bit 'A Sweet turn it into a tripped out piece of psych and make it their own. Such a slowed down killer cool version. 

No expense seems to have been spared creating this work with assistance by Steve Duboff, who I know from The Changin’ Times..he is listed as providing additional keyboards, percussion and wrote several of the songs on the album. String arrangements by Jimmy “Wiz” Wisner, I’ve seen his name credited on many releases. 
The thick card sleeve includes a neat lyric insert. 

I don’t think the album sold in any quantity, it may have done reasonable in NY but not beyond their location. Copies of the album are scarce that’s for sure but I believe there’s been a recent CD reissue. 

A white label promo single was taken from 'Hypnotic 1’ with edited versions of '2086’/'A Second Time’ and is another release for collectors to seek out……. 

Bit 'A Sweet promises to be a chart regular with the bright and creative spark branded into 2086, If 1 Needed Someone and How Can 1 Make You See?. They blend all the pop ingredients - strong vocals, rich production and instrumentation, and a special trick with a tune. This LP may well serve as the group’s musical calling card, and with their fresh originality and breezy psychedelics, Bit 'A Sweet will top the charts. 
Billboard, 29/6/68 

Formerly known as The Satisfactions, this hard-hitting Long Island club act were veterans of the local scene when producer-arranger Steve Duboff (who also worked with The Cowsills, The Monkees, The Insect Trust and others) signed to MGM, the band debuted with the 1967 single 'Out of Sight Out of Mind’ b/w 'Is It On - Is It Off?’ (MGM catalog number K-13695). 
Their sole album was released that May. A likeable blend of psychedelic pop and early synthesizer sounds, it’s presented complete with both sides of their rare 1967 debut 45 (as performed in the movie Blonde On A Bum Trip)………… 

Long Island’s Bit’a Sweet is a perfect example in that most reviews are lukewarm, or outright hostile, but at least to my ears this set kicks the crap out of many higher priced collectables. This is also another one of those ABC releases that seems to have all but vanished the minute it was released. While Bit’a Sweet was apparently a full fledged band consisting of keyboardist Dennis DeRespino, drummer Russell Leslie, bassist Mitch London and guitarist Jack Mieczkowski, the late Steve Duboff seems to have been the mastermind/driving force behind the group. 

Originally signed to MGM, the band debuted with the 1967 single ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ b/w ‘Is It On – Is It Off?’ (MGM catalog number K-13695). If you can find a copy of the 45, be prepared to pay more for it than for their ABC Lp. I’m not sure if the single led to their appearance in Raf Mauro’s exploitation film Blonde On a Bum Trip, or vice versa,. Regardless, the band had a cameo in the flick playing ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ in a club scene. 

The video and sound quality aren’t very good (not that the original black and white film was any great shakes in the production quality arena), but someone stuck a clip of their performance on YouTube: The liner notes to 1968′s “Hypnotic 1″ credit Duboff with producing, directing, arranging, writing the majority of the material, as well as providing keyboards and percussion. Long-time partner Artie Kornfeld was listed as co-writer on a pair of songs. 

Released in 1968 by the American label ABC in New York, with guitarist of familiar-sounding (Polish name) … Mieczkowski. 

Music Bit 'A Sweet are beautifully arranged (sitar, various orchestrations, authorities …) pop-psychedelic rock combining the melodies of the Beatles sound with experiments on synthesizer,included the place for a really successful and definitely psychedelic version from the LP “Rubber Soul” song “If I Needed Someone” - The Beatles. 
Musically most of the nine tracks(originally on LP - CD Kismed, +2 bonus) mixed lite-psych with a distinctive top-40 edge and small dollops of experimentation (notably quite a bit of electric sitar, occasional oscillators, phasing, various studio effects and early synthesizer gurgles and gasps). There’s nothing particularly original to be found on the collection though it’s fun to play spot the influence – some Association-styled harmonies here (’2086′), Felix Cavalerie and the Rascals blue-eyed soul there (‘How Can I Make You See), bit of Beatles inspired mysticism (the ‘Blue Jay Way’-styled ‘Travel’), etc…. While that may not sound real promising, those comments are actually meant as a positive endorsement. 
The album is nothing but fun and the band turn in a great cover of George Harrison’s ‘If I Needed Someone’ (which is erroneously credited as a Lennon and McCartney composition) !!! To be honest the only real disappointments are associated with the band’s efforts to get cute – ’2086′ suffered from some irritating synthesizer noise and a cloying pseudo-music hall sound, while the heavily phased ‘Monday – Tuesday’ sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks trying to cover some obscure 1920s-era song after spending the afternoon huffing helium. All told though, a pleasant and still affordable major label surprise. 
*Sadly Duboff died of cancer in February 2004. He was only 63…by adamus67 ….. 

Bit A Sweet 
*Dennis DeRespino - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, Guitar 
*Russell Leslie - Vocals, Drums, Percussion 
*Mitch London - Vocals, Bass, Percussion 
*Jack Mieczkowski - Vocals, Guitar, Sitar 
*Steve Duboff - Keybords, Percussion, Production 
*Vince Bell - Guitars 

01 – Speak Softly [00:05:07] 
02 – 2086 [00:03:14] 
03 – If I Needed Someone [00:04:07] 
04 – With Love [00:03:57] 
05 – Monday – Tuesday [00:01:58] 
06 – Diamond Studded Eyes [00:04:09] 
07 – How Can I Make You See [00:03:02] 
08 – Travel [00:04:57] 
09 – A Second Time [00:08:47] 
10 – Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (Bonus Track) [00:02:36] 
11 – Is It On – Is It Off (Bonus Track) [00:02:53] 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..