People! - The Best Of People! Vol 1: 40 Year Anniversary

Published Tuesday 22nd May 2007
People! - The Best Of People! Vol 1: 40 Year Anniversary
People! - The Best Of People! Vol 1: 40 Year Anniversary

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 21044-11834
LABEL: Solid Rock SRP001
RRP: £14.69

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Looked at through the lens of chart action, People! Were a minor rock band with one hit, their second single on Capitol "I Love You". But in terms of rock archaeology myths and legends this art rock band were pioneers. According to the stories on the sleeve here, the Who's Pete Townsend observed People! Performing their 13 minute, 26 second-long "The Epic" night after night and this gave him the idea for attempting a rock opera of his own and within a year emerging with 'Tommy'. Also, according to that sleevenote People! were the first rock band to perform country music (I thought that was Buffalo Springfield - but then such is the time-shrouded obscurity of People! history that I'm ready to be corrected). Certainly as evidenced here Gene Mason (vocals, harmony), Larry Norman (vocals, harmony), Dennis Fridkin (drums, vocals, harmony), Albert Ribisi (keys), Geoff Levin (guitar) and Robb Levin (bass) made some fascinating, and for its time, innovative music. There's a bit of everything here from hooky, commercial pop to early experimental psychedelia complete with flutes and sitar. It's Mason who takes the bulk of the leads here (which is a disappointment for Larry buffs) but it's fascinating to hear the original version of "She's A Dancer" while "Riding High" still has its moments. The compilation seems a tad arbitrary, four tracks from 1967's 'I Love You' album, two tracks from 1969's 'Both Sides Of People!' album and the others from the band's EPs and singles but it's certainly a fascinating trawl through rock history.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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