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5 Aug 2017

Bit 'A Sweet "Hypnotic 1" 1968 US Psych Pop Rock


Bit 'A Sweet "Hypnotic 1" 1968 US Psych Pop Rock

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Bit a Sweet was reportedly a top draw at the big discotheques in New York City. Their only album, Hypnotic -- released by ABC in 1968 -- is a rare, and often over-looked, high-concept pop-psych album of the first degree. Today it is highly praised by collectors who are interested in psych-pop production values (phased vocals, electric sitar, strings, fuzz guitar). Bit a Sweet was produced by the multi-talented Steve Duboff, who also wrote most of the group's material, including both sides of their heavily edited "2086"/"Second Time" single. Duboff's sometime songwriting partner on this album, incidentally, was Artie Kornfeld, who -- during this time -- was producing the Cowsills for Mercury; their "How Can I Make You See" also appears here. Another highlights include Bit a Sweet's version of the George Harrison-penned Beatle track "If I Needed Someone." (Incidentally, Kornfeld and Duboff also recorded under the moniker Changin' Times). In February 1967, a year prior to the release of this album, Bit a Sweet covered the Steve Duboff-Dave Morris-penned "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," which was released on MGM (cover versions were also waxed by the Marauders and Limey & the Yanks). This song -- which unfortunately isn't featured on their debut -- is probably the group's best-known song. If you're curious, you can see it performed, along with one other selection, during the first few minutes of the sexploitation flick Blonde on a Bum Trip, and can also be found on several psychedelic compilations . Drummer Russell Leslie later recorded with a band called Neon (produced by Tommy James) and became a session drummer.....by Bryan Thomas.


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 them up as a vehicle for his songs in early 1968. Their sole album was released that May, and makes its long-overdue CD debut here. 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 exploito movie Blonde On A Bum Trip), and liner note


Trippy psych pop with varied instrumentation, such as theremin, sitar, strings, organ and even a synthesizer. There are lots of very well written, melodic songs here but not all of them hit. In fact, I probably would have rated this a 4 had there not been a few songs here that I didn't care much for. But the good stuff is VERY good and among the reasons I love the genre so much. Overlooked album here, it is not a lost classic or anything but any psych fan worth their salt will want to wrap their ears around this one.....by....geldofpunk 


A mixed bag here but overall it deserves a recommendation for those into 60's psychedelic pop. If nothing else, the band deserves some kudos for not playing it safe and trying to be outside the box. Some succeeds, some fails. 

"Speak Softly" is basically an orchestrated ballad that's kind of bland but it's saved by it's really interesting middle section that sees some cool organ, some theremin, indian sounding guitar lines and a martial beat. "2086" is kind of jaunty, dainty, with some weird electronic effects in places that they usually aren't. Kind of a meh track but kudos for not playing it straight-safe. "If I Needed Someone" is a very intersting, solid cover with some cool jangly guitar (tho' it's credited to Lennon/McCartney on the back sleeve of the record!). "With Love" is one of my two favorite tracks, deserving of a placement on some popsike comp. It's dreamy, moody, echoey. Cool. "Monday-Tuesday" is a waste of vinyl. Similar to other tracks that kill albums by some good bands (think the Electric Prunes "Toonerville Trolley" or Commom Peoples "We Didn't Even Go to the Funeral") it's just awful. "Diamond Studded Eyes" is the most commercial track but it too shows that the band was willing to be different even while aiming for the mainstream with it's oscillator sounds, psychedelicized harmony vocals... "How Can I Make You See" is a r 'n b styled track but again with the psych effects thrown in. "Travel" is my other fave track. Again, dreamy, moody, subtle with some nice eastern influence. "A Second Time" should have been better but they overshot their goal here by trying to make something epic out of an idea that can't bear the weight of it (if that makes sense).....by......Purple_Daze


Every now and then I stumble across an album that doesn't quite knock my socks off, but keeps finding its way back to my turntable. Surprisingly they tend to be albums that others haven't gushed over. 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 and driving force behind the group. 

Originally signed to MGM, the band debuted with a rare 1967 single. If you can find a copy of the 45, be prepared to pay more for it than for their ABC LP. 

- 'Out of Sight Out of Mind' b/w 'Is It On - Is It Off?' (MGM catalog number K-13695). 

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVlXkq06mx8 

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. Musically most of the nine tracks 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. ...by....RDTEN1 .


This 1968 album straddles the fine line between exploito psych and the real thing. Packed with lots of effects, but also with some interesting arrangements and melodies, it sometimes can give the feeling of being overdone and lacking sincerity, but overall I must admit I find it an interesting listen. There are certainly a number of very worthwhile psych rock tracks here, quite original in their experimentation. There are 2 bonus tracks taken from their 1967 single, and the A-side 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind' is actually one of the highlights of the album, a psych rock track that should be better known.....ByMichael..

Jack Mieczkowski - Mitch London - Dennis DeRespino - Russell Leslie

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......

*Dennis DeRespino - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, Guitar
*Russell Leslie - Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Mitch London - Vocals, Bass, Percussion
*Jack Mieczkowski - Vocals, Guitar, Sitar
with
*Steve Duboff - Keybords, Percussion, Production
*Vince Bell - Guitars
*Jimmy "Wiz" Wisner - Strings Arrangements

Tracks
1. Speak Softly (Steve Duboff) - 5:10
2. 2086 (Steve Duboff, Art Kornfeld) - 2:50
3. If I Needed Someone (George Harrison) - 3:36
4. With Love (Mitch London, S. Duboff) - 3:50
5. Monday - Tuesday (S. Duboff) - 1:50
6. Diamonds Studded Eyes (M. London, Russell Leslie,S. Duboff) - 4:02
7. How Can I Make You See (Art Kornfeld, B. Cowsill, B. Cowsill) - 2:40
8. Travel (instrumental) (S. Duboff) - 5:00
9. A Second Time (S. Duboff) - 8:30
10.Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (S. Duboff, H. Morris) - 2:36
11.Is It On - Is It Off? (S. Duboff, H. Morris) - 2:53

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