Various Artists, The Boston Sound: 1968 Revisited

Fred Goodman

By Fred Goodman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
An unfairly lost scene, revived without the hype.

Few hypes in rock history have been as quickly and brutally deflated as "the Bosstown Sound," a 1968 marketing campaign dreamed up by producer Alan Lorber. A music industry jack-of-all trades with a better understanding of how business is conducted than how rock & roll is made, Lorber hit on the idea of creating his own scene to market. But the bands he signed — Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus and Beacon Street Union — were wildly divergent and didn't know they were part of any "sound" until they saw the ads in Billboard, and critics quickly wrote them off as co-conspirators in the hype. Alas, lost in the shouting were several good Boston bands, including Bagatelle with Willie Alexander, the Beatles-inflected Puff and Eden's Children. The Boston Sound: 1968 Revisited is a swell documentary, bringing together the good, the bad and the ugly of the era's Boston scene — including Orpheus 'overlooked "Can't Find the Time"; Lorber's own Bacharach-esque Muzak take on psychedelia; and Chameleon Church, featuring Chevy Chase on keyboards.