Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The Poppy Family “A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973"CD 1996 Canada Psych Pop


The Poppy Family “A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973"CD 1996 excellent Canada Psych Pop
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Led by Susan and Terry Jacks of Seasons in the Sun fame, this Canadian Pop quartet was an early-‘70s chart fixture before both the band and the Jacks’ marriage split up in 1973. This first-ever compilation includes the hits Which Way You Goin’, Billy?; That’s Where I Went Wrong (U.S. and Canadian versions); I Was Wondering , and Where Evil Grows 21 tracks!….~

This Canadian folk rock quartet was fronted by Terry Jacks (29 March 1944, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) and Susan Jacks (b. Susan Peklevits, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Vancouver-based Terry led local group the Chessmen before teaming with, and later marrying, singer Peklevits. They later added guitarist/organist Craig MacCaw and percussionist Satwan Singh (who had played tabla with Ravi Shankar). The group had a transatlantic Top 10 hit with Terry’s song ‘Which Way You Goin’ Billy?’ in 1970, which they had recorded and originally released in the UK the previous year. They had four more US chart entries before Terry and Susan divorced and went separate ways professionally in 1973. Although Susan’s voice was the main feature of the Poppy Family her later recordings on Mercury Records and Epic had little success. Terry however had further success with a plaintive cover version of the Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen song ‘Seasons In The Sun’…..~

A Good Thing Lost: 1968-1973 is an excellent best-of collection from the Poppy Family, a great, if largely forgotten, late-'60s Canadian soft rock/psychedelic group. The meticulous songwriting, production, and arranging skills of guitarist/mastermind Terry Jacks (who later had a huge solo hit with the classic pop single "Seasons in the Sun”) lift these recordings above the work of many of the group’s better-known contemporaries. Singer Susan Jacks has a beautiful voice that sometimes sounds like (but predates) Karen Carpenter, but is eminently more soulful. Although characterized in the liner notes as a “soft pop” band, the Poppy Family was also capable of a somewhat tougher sound that sometimes recalled Surrealistic Pillow-era Jefferson Airplane and folkier material in the Kenny Rogers & the First Edition/Roger McGuinn vein. Throughout, Jacks frames the songs with creative, if often dated, arrangements that compare favorably to his obvious influences, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Phil Spector. In addition to “Which Way You Goin’ Billy,” the group’s biggest hit (number two in 1970) and a generous helping of singles and high-quality album tracks, the disc includes an alternate, wildly psychedelic mix of “There’s No Blood in Bone” and two different versions of “That’s Where I Went Wrong” (the second of which features some cool country guitar leads). Overall, A Good Thing Lost: 1968-1973 is a fantastic find – one of those hidden gems that record fanatics always hope to discover. ..by Pemberton Roach ……allmusic…~

The Poppy Family? I had never heard of this group before, and frankly, if someone had simply told me the name of the band I might have dismissed it as something silly and not worth hearing. But no, no, no; this is an excellent CD of pop-folk tunes, garnished with a variety of other musical influences that make is stand out from the typical pop sounds of the 1960s. Susan Jacks has a very strong, distinctive voice, one that lends itself perfectly to these arrangements. And some of these tunes truly stick in your head. I’m still stunned: where was this band hiding? And why didn’t they get more airplay in the US back in the late 1960s and early 70s? And why am I just now discovering them? I own thousand of CDs and pretty much thought that I had at least heard of most major acts from the past five decades. Well, this surprised me. But I’m very happy to discover something new and I’m thankful that this CD popped up on my Amazon “recommended” list, and I was intrigued enough by the reviews (thank you everyone!) to give this a chance. I’m blown away. This is a really terrific compilation….. Donald E. Gilliland…..~

Listening to the radio one day, I heard an familiar song that was beautiful, but had no idea who it was. After some research, I realized it was “The Poppy family”, a group I had never heard of before. Purchasing the CD, I immediately recognized all those old tunes very clearly. “The Poppy Family” was very popular from 1968-1973. In fact, the two founding members are Susan and Terry Jacks. The latter famous for that relentlessly repetitious and popular “Seasons In The Sun”. 
Susan Jacks has a beautiful voice as a lead and background. The set is very well mixed and there is a very strong essence of Hippie influenced instruments, including congas, inventive percussion of all kinds, sitar, some special vocal effects and guitar licks that are so prevalent of that period. The lyrics are of the Vietnam and drug period. As a side note, Kurt Cobain was a huge fan of “The Poppy Family”, which is a big endorsement. 
Highlights you’ll remember are, “Which Way You Goin’, Billy” (two versions), the wonderfully strong, “That’s Where I Went Wrong” (both in the Top Ten of USA Contemporary hits), the anthemic “I Was Wondering” with a fantastic background mix of horns, “Where Evil Grows”, “Good Friends” and many more with a total of twenty-one (21) songs. 
The sound is very much the West Coast USA sound, so its interesting to know that the “Poppy Family” is all from Vancouver, Canada. Check out “The Poppy Family” and your own musical history. 
“You are my whole, babe 
My heart and my soul, babe” - “Which Way You Goin’ Billy”….by..Martin A Hogan..~

Susan Pesklevits and Terry Jacks met in the band Powerline. They later married and formed the Poppy Family in 1968. With guitarist Craig McCaw and percussionist Satwan Singh, the duo’s third single, “Which Way You Goin’ Billy,” became a hit in the U.S. and their native Canada, selling over two million copies. The group recorded three albums in the early '70s: That’s Where I Went Wrong and Which Way You Goin’ Billy in 1970 and Poppy Seeds in 1971. Terry and Susan were divorced by 1973, however, and both began solo careers. Susan released Dream (1976), Ghosts (1980) and Forever (1982), but Terry became more successful when his “Seasons in the Sun” single went platinum in Canada (more than 150,000 units). His albums include Seasons in the Sun (1974), Y'Don’t Fight the Sea (1976), Pulse (1983) and Into the Past (1989). ~ John Bush…~

This is a weird tale, because they are a Canadian band (I’m from Canada) and although I’d heard many of these hits over the years on the radio I had no idea they were from this band. In fact I can’t ever remember hearing of The Poppy Family, but now I know I shant forget. They are a psychedelic pop band featuring singers Susan Jacks and the relatively famous Terry Jacks (who plays guitar also). After watching The Kids In The Hall’s new show (that was pretty crappy by the way) the only thing I really got from it was during the end of the last episode they played “Where Evil Grows”. I love that song and have since I was little, I’d just somehow forgotten about it but it’s really wicked and somewhat dark and the iconic opening, if you never check out anything else from them…grab this song. Immediately I dug until I found a copy of this compilation to listen to and to my surprise I knew a ton of these songs. “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” may have been their biggest hit, and although it’s decent enough it’s not my favorite by a mile. “A Good Thing Lost”, “That’s Where I Went Wrong”, and my second favorite song from them “Good Friends” were all songs I knew from the radio and they are all really great. “There’s No Blood In Bone”, “Shadows On My Wall”, and “Endless Sleep” were songs I maybe wasn’t familiar with but I ended up really liking them too. This isn’t all gold, some of the songs are a bit too cheesy and sappy for me, but nothing absolutely awful at least. Be prepared for lots 'o sitar, really pretty vocals and some folky sensibility that really make this band what they are. I can’t think of a better title for this compilation either, they really do seem to be lost unfortunately but you can find 'em…I did and I haven’t looked back. ..by..Goregirl ….~

Terry Jacks Bio
Terry Jacks. Singer, songwriter, record producer, born Winnipeg 29 Mar 1944. Raised in Vancouver, Jacks pursued his musical interests after trying his hand as a draftsman. In the mid-1960s he was a singer and guitarist with the Chessmen in local clubs and on CBC TV’s 'Music Hop,’ where he met the singer Susan Pesklevits. As husband and wife, they formed the short-lived Poppy Family in 1968. Essentially a duo with accompanying musicians, Craig McCaw (guitar) and Satwant Singh (tabla), The Poppy Family had international hits with 'Which Way You Goin’ Billy?’ and 'That’s Where I Went Wrong.’ The former reached No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 in the US on the Billboard charts, won the group four Juno awards in 1969 for best single, best “middle of the road” album, best group performance and outstanding sales, and eventually sold over 2.5 million copies. The songs 'Where Evil Grows,’ 'No Good to Cry,’ and 'Good Friends’ were also popular. The Poppy Family was invited to appear on the Ed Sullivan show but chose to appear at Expo 70 in Osaka instead. 

As a pop star Jacks was atypical. He has been quoted as saying he wasn’t greatly concerned with accumulating wealth, disliked touring and was reluctant to make media appearances. Pressure accumulated as Jacks assumed complete control over administrative and managerial affairs in addition to performing. Reclusive, he insisted that he preferred to go fishing. He chose to dissolve the Poppy Family and soon he and Susan Jacks divorced. Terry and Susan Jacks each undertook solo recording careers by 1973. 

Terry Jacks also owned the publishing company Gone Fishin’ Music Ltd, and later Sunfish Publishing, but preferred to work as a producer. Jacks, who sang in what Peter Goddard described as a 'feathery, almost adolescent voice’ (Toronto Star, 7 Oct 1974), had the biggest hit of his career with his self-produced single “Seasons in the Sun” (1973). The single was released under his own label, Goldfish Records, which Jacks established in the fall of 1973. Jacks adapted his version of “Seasons in the Sun” from Rod McKuen’s English translation of the Jacques Brel song 'Le Moribond.’ The song had previously been recorded by the Kingston Trio in 1963, and Jacks had started producing it with the Beach Boys, but the recording was never completed. He then attempted to convince Larry Evoy to record it with Edward Bear before finally recording it himself. Jacks’s version stayed on the charts for 17 weeks in Canada and 15 in the US, reaching No. 1 on both the adult contemporary and pop Billboard charts in the US in 1974. The single won Juno awards for best male vocalist and best contemporary/pop single in 1974 as well as best-selling single in 1975, and has sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. In the wake of his success Jacks appeared on American Bandstand 9 Feb 1974, but declined most other media and stage appearances. “Seasons in the Sun” has been recorded by several other artists, including punk rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (1997). Among Jacks’s other Canadian hits were 'I’m Gonna Love You Too’ (1973), 'Rock and Roll (I Gave the Best Years of My Life)’ (1974), and 'Christina’ (1975). Jacks also had one hit single with the band Hood in 1974, covering the Beau-Marks tune “Cause We’re In Love.” 

Jacks was only intermittently active in music in later years. He produced, starred in and composed music for the TV film Seasons in the Sun (1982), released the single “You Fooled Me” and the album Pulse in 1983, and the album Just Like That in 1987. He also produced albums for Susan Jacks and Chilliwack, as well as a new version of his own 'Where Evil Grows’ for D.O.A. in 1989, with Jacks reportedly making a cameo appearance in the video of the song. Jacks has been credited as the first Canadian to produce two songs to reach No. 1 on the US charts. The first of these (“Which Way You Goin’ Billy?”) was successful before the era of Canadian content regulations, while the second (“Seasons in the Sun”) was successful shortly after the ruling came into effect. 

In the late 1980s Jacks left the music industry to become an environmentalist and anti-pollution activist. Through founding the organization Environmental Watch of BC, Jacks spoke out against the pollution caused by pulp and paper mills to the province’s coastal waters. He released a second film, The Warmth of Love: The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas (2000), an environmental documentary that Jacks produced, directed, wrote, scored, and narrated….~

Terry Jacks - vocals, guitar, keyboards, producer 
Susan Jacks - vocals, tambourine, percussion 
Craig McCaw - guitar, sitar 
Satwant Singh - tabla, bongos, percussion, drums 

Bob Nelson - guitar 
Ron Johnson - piano 
Doug Edwards - bass 
Jim Chivers - drums 
Kat Hendrikse - drums 
John Murray - guitar 

Tracklist 
Beyond The Clouds 2:37 
Free From The City 2:18 
What Can The Matter Be? 2:16 
Which Way You Goin’, Billy? 3:23 
Happy Island 2:53 
There’s No Blood In Bone 3:01 
A Good Thing Lost 2:03 
You Took My Moonlight Away 2:43 
Shadows On My Wall 2:30 
That’s Where I Went Wrong 2:32 
Where Evil Grows 2:51 
I Was Wondering 3:02 
Tryin’ 3:02 
Winter Milk 3:24 
Good Friends? 2:39 
I’ll See You There 3:20 
You Don’t Know What Love Is 2:49 
I Thought Of You Again 2:27 
Another Year, Another Day 2:35 
Evil Overshadows Joe 2:29 
That’s Where I Went Wrong (U.S. Version) 2:33 

Discography 
POPPY FAMILY 

That’s Where I Went Wrong. (1970). London PS-568 
Which Way You Goin’ Billy. (1970). London PS-574 
Poppy Seeds. (1971). London PS-599 
Terry Jacks & The Poppy Family. (1976). K-tel TC-230-8 
The Poppy Family’s Greatest Hits: Featuring Susan Jacks. (1989). A&M Records CD 69998 
A Good Thing Lost: 1968-1973. (1996). March Records 60017-2 

TERRY JACKS 

Seasons in the Sun. (1974). Goldfish GFLP-1001 
Y'Don’t Fight the Sea. (1976). Goldfish GOLP-1 
Into the Past. (1982). A&M SP-69881 
Pulse. (1983). A&M SP-9096 
Just Like That. (1987). Attic LAT-1229 

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