The Turtles, Happy Together

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

One of the best pop bands to come out of the US in the '60s, the Turtles remain sorely underrated today, probably because they never released a truly great album. 1967's Happy Together, released on the heels of the monster hit of the same name, came closest — despite being essentially a patchwork of singles, B-sides and (in the case of "Guide For the Married Man") one-off contributions to cheesy movie soundtracks. "She'd Rather Be With Me," "Me About You," "Makin 'My Mind Up" and the immortal "Happy Together" are California sunshine pop in excelsis, with the sort of skyscraping horns and cascading "ba-ba-ba" vocal harmonies designed to be cranked from transistor radios on beach towels everywhere. "You Know What I Mean" and "She's My Girl" (two non-LP hits from the same period, added here as bonus tracks) show the Turtles dipping into the psychedelia bag, with magically delicious results — Howard Kaylan's impeccable vocals and John Barbata's dynamic drumming never sounded finer than they do on the latter cut. Throw in a lovely orchestral reading of Warren Zevon's "Like the Seasons," and you've got a record whose plethora of pop highlights more than make up for its occasional stiff.