Music

Don and the Goodtimes: So Good

The 1960s garage legends went soft on their major-label debut, but the bonus tracks on this reissue help redeem it.


Don and the Goodtimes

So Good

Label: Rev-Ola
US Release Date: 2006-06-06
UK Release Date: 2006-05-01
Amazon
iTunes

Though seldom accorded the recognition he deserves, Don Gallucci is a bona fide rock 'n' roll legend whose accomplishments outstrip probably half of the past five years' inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only did he play the signature keyboard lick on the Kingsmen's definitive 1963 version of "Louie Louie", but he also produced the Stooges' landmark Fun House album -- two developments that have preserved rock 'n' roll as much as anything over the past 40 or so years. Gallucci was also a progressive rock pioneer with Touch, which evolved from his previous outfit, Don and the Goodtimes.

Formed after Gallucci's exit from the Kingsmen in early 1964, Don and the Goodtimes more than held their own with the many great bands on the 1960s Northwest scene. Though overshadowed by the Sonics, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Wailers, the Goodtimes were one of the most adventurous bands in the region, not only rearranging familiar standards like "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and (of course) "Louie Louie", but also penning first-rate originals like "Little Sally Tease", "You Did It Before", and "You Were Just a Child", a 1966 masterpiece blending rave-ups with melodic choruses and a lustful lyric. They were perhaps the only band to cover "The Witch" in a manner that did justice to the Sonics' original.

With that rocking heritage in mind, it's perhaps no wonder that So Good, the poppy 1967 album they made after migrating to Los Angeles, is so often maligned by their most ardent fans as syrupy and overproduced. While it's not up to the standard of their best stuff -- not to mention a dramatic departure from their old direction -- if assessed on its own merits even its sternest critics (including this writer, who used to hate it) will have to acknowledge that it has its moments.

One of them is certainly the Goodtimes' only national hit, "I Could Be So Good to You", a buoyant pop ditty bolstered by the presence of A-list session players and a Beach Boys-style harmony vocal line in the background. There are two more in that vein: a ballad called "If You Love Her, Cherish Her and Such" and "And It's So Good", but the rest of the album includes pedestrian covers of "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "With a Girl Like You" and a few originals penned by bassist Ron Overman with a tad too much sugar-coating.

The same over-sweetening plagues some of the bonus tracks, but there is a great cover of the Toys' "May My Heart Be Cast into Stone", plus a fine Overman original called "Happy and Me" that nicked the Top 100 at #98 in 1967. Overman also penned both sides of two singles included among the bonus cuts: 1966's "You Were Just a Child" b/w "I Hate to Hate You" and "You Did It Before" b/w "Colors of Life". While not part of the band's tenure on Epic, all four sides are part of their evolution -- with the melodic "You Did It Before" (unreleased until 1968) and the folk-rocking "I Hate to Hate You" recorded in L.A. in 1966 shortly before the band permanently moved there, and the absolute killer "You Were Just a Child" recorded around the same time.

Steve Stanley's liners don't quite tell you the story of those two singles, but otherwise they're a detailed, interesting read about the band's often-ignored L.A. period. (Because the notes are well-researched, we'll pardon the rather embarrassing error of calling Fun House the Stooges' "debut" album.)

While it probably takes the bonus cuts to make this reissue worthwhile, So Good is nevertheless a better effort than many (including me) gave it credit for, if also not nearly as good as its supporters claim. Even under major-label pressure, Don and the Goodtimes proved that they could still make solid music. And they would continue to excel when they became Touch in 1968, and even when three former members regrouped again in 1974 for an excellent hard rock album with Stepson (with, predictably, a guest slot by Gallucci).

6


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Film

Greta Gerwig's Adaptation of Loneliness in Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women strays from the dominating theme of existential loneliness.

Music

The Band's Discontented Third LP, 1970's 'Stage Fright', Represented a World Braving Calamity

Released 50 years ago this month, the Band's Stage Fright remains a marker of cultural unrest not yet remedied.

Music

Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.

Music

Rufus Wainwright Makes a Welcome Return to Pop with 'Unfollow the Rules'

Rufus Wainwright has done Judy Garland, Shakespeare, and opera, so now it's time for Rufus to rediscover Rufus on Unfollow the Rules.

Music

Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.

Film

The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.

Music

Arlo McKinley's Confessional Country/Folk Is Superb on 'Die Midwestern'

Country/folk singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley's debut Die Midwestern marries painful honesty with solid melodies and strong arrangements.

Music

Viserra Combine Guitar Heroics and Female Vocals on 'Siren Star'

If you ever thought 2000s hard rock needed more guitar leads and solos, Viserra have you covered with Siren Star.

Music

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Honor Their Favorite Songs With "Oh No" (premiere)

Ryan Hamilton's "Oh No" features guest vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, and appears on Nowhere to Go But Everywhere out 18 September.

Music

Songwriter Shelly Peiken Revisits "Bitch" for '2.0' Album (premiere)

A monster hit for Meredith Brooks in the late 1990s, "Bitch" gets a new lease on life from its co-creator, Shelly Peiken. "It's a bit moodier than the original but it touts the same universal message," she says.

Music

Leila Sunier Delivers Stunning Preface to New EP via "Sober/Without" (premiere)

With influences ranging from Angel Olsen to Joni Mitchell and Perfume Genius, Leila Sunier demonstrates her compositional prowess on the new single, "Sober/Without".

Music

Speed the Plough Members Team with Mayssa Jallad for "Rush Hour" (premiere)

Caught in a pandemic, Speed the Plough's Baumgartners turned to a faraway musical friend for a collaboration on "Rush Hour" that speaks to the strife and circumstance of our time.

Music

Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."

Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.