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That's the Way It's Gonna Be

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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Lee Mallory (vocals, guitar); Randy Miesner, Rusty Young.
  • This release from influential California soft pop rocker Lee Mallory includes a number of fascinating late 1960s demos among its 20 tracks.
  • Personnel: Lee Mallory (vocals, guitar); Michael Fennelly, Joey Stec (vocals, guitar); Curt Boettcher (vocals, Theremin, background vocals); Sandy Salisbury (vocals, background vocals); Mike Deasy Sr. , Ben Benay, Butch Parker (guitar); Rusty Young (lap steel guitar); Jim Bell (woodwinds, brass, background vocals); Jim Horn (woodwinds, brass); Doug Rhodes, Tandyn Almer (keyboards); Gary Usher (Moog synthesizer); Toxey French (vibraphone, drums, percussion); Ron Edgar (drums, percussion); Pat Shannahan, Jimmy Troxell (drums); Michele O'Malley, Dotti Holmberg, Bobby Jameson, Ruthann Friedman (background vocals).
  • Liner Note Author: Joe Foster.
  • Recording information: Bakersfield International Studios, Bakersfield, CA; Paxton Sound Studios, Hollywood, CA.
  • Arranger: Lee Mallory.
  • Although there are liner notes to this 20-song compilation, complete with quotes from Mallory himself, the track listings are so vague as to give the impression that someone's trying to keep secrets. No dates, no recording release information, no data on what was officially released or previously unreleased, though there are plenty of listings for personnel, songwriting, and production credits. A press release does clarify that it's a collection of 1966-1970 demos, including four songs that were re-recorded for Mallory's pair of official Valiant 45s. The haziness gets a bit in the way of evaluating the music, which is pretty fair, though not astounding, sunshine pop. The melodies are attractive but not stellar, and the harmonies and production elaborately crafted but kind of cloying, as is the case with many recordings with which Curt Boettcher was associated (and he was involved in the production of virtually all of this stuff). The best cut is certainly "That's the Way It's Gonna Be," which (redone as a Valiant single) made the bottom of the Top 100, and has a pretty supercharged Southern California sunshine pop stomp, particularly for a song co-written by folkys Phil Ochs and Bob Gibson. Most of the tunes are Mallory originals, which ensures that they're less saccharine than some other Boettcher productions, though they're still on the helium-light and optimistic side. It's recommended to fans of Mallory's late-'60s band the Millennium, though not as impressive, even if it's somewhat less airy-fairy in mood (an exception being "I'm With You," which was on the Millennium album, though it's not noted whether this is the official version or an alternate or demo). Actually some of the (presumably later) demos get into tougher guitar textures with shades of hard rock and soul, though these weren't Mallory's forte. ~ Richie Unterberger
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