The Turtles

God's gift to nobody in particular.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Out Of Control (by the Crossfires)
*It Ain't Me Babe
*You Baby
*Happy Together
*Wooden Head
*The Battle Of The Bands
*Turtle Soup

The Turtles were a sixties bubblegum pop band that hit it big with "Happy Together" and lots of other delightful singalong anthems of youth, joy and federal subpoena. I'm going to warn you right now: you won't find any grades of 10 in this section. They just weren't that kind of band. However, I suggest you buy a CD called 20 Greatest Hits. I haven't heard it in a while, but I remember it being pretty great. These guys had a ton of delightful songs written by both themselves and other well-respected songwriters of the era, and it would behoove you to pick up a hits compilation within the next fifteen minutes before I outline your yard with gasoline. Oh, and the two main guys went on to even less fame and fortune as "Flo & Eddie" in the 70s. They were even in Frank Zappa's band for a while! So was Steve Vai, did you know that? So were a couple people who ended up in Missing Persons, did you know that? Well, I'd say it's about time you start educating yourself on Frank Zappa's hiring practices. You're embarrassing the entire Quiz Bowl team.

Out Of Control (by The Crossfires) - Rhino 1981.
Rating = 6

HEY STOOPID! I'M BACK! (I'M THE MAN BEHIND CHER'S MASK!) Before The Turtles were The Turtles, they were The Crossfires, a surf/garage band that alternativenated between wicked instrumental "ticka-ticka-ticka" high-speed heavily-reverbed surf/spy guitar picking and lame drunken fratboy "Louie Louie" garbonza. You know "garbonza"? In my country, a "garbonza" is a magical sweet chick pea with special powers that saved the world. But that's not the way I was using the word. I was using it to mean "shit."

The Crossfires played their crazy tunes between 1963 and 1965 (the years that John F. Kennedy was assassinated) before finally running into the men at White Whale, who saved them from the brink of obscurity and turned them into the most popular folk-rock act of all time: Frank Zappa.

But before that happened, there was this. Only a few of these songs sound at all like The Turtles ("Stay Around" is THERE! Catchy pop song!) and throwaway novelty boogie smegma like ""One Potato Two Potato," "Pull Top" and "Follow The Rock" wear down a man's soul after a while, but when they stay away from the Animal House rhythm and blues-rock filth and let their surfing and spying (on surfers) guitahz do the talking ("Fiberglass Jungle"! "Inferno"! The Title Track!), they could beat ANYBODY at their own game.

Especially The EATING Game, the fat gucks!

Sorry about that. In order to make my web site more appropriate for children and religious pussies, I installed a "No Cuss" button on my keyboard. So if you see me using words like "DHIT!" and "GUCK!" and "HODFAMMIT!," it's because I'm trying to trick parents into believing that I've installed a "No Cuss" button on my keyboard. Then they let their kids in and WHAMMO! Before they die, they see The Ring!

I mean, chances are good anyway. Let's say they each average another, oh, 75 years. That's PLENTY of time for them to rent the DVD of The Ring to see what a spooky movie it was. How about that quick shot of the dead girl in the closet? YIKES!

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It Aint Me Babe - White Whale 1965.
Rating = 8

This would be a 7 and a half, if I believed in halves, but I do not. In my opinion, mathematics dealt a death blow to American society when it began dealing in "fractions" and "numbers over 12." But that's a topic for another essay, one which I will certainly attend to in my elderly years, if I don't die of heat starvation before then.

This debut is a typical '60s "hit single surrounded by cover tunes" album. Four originals, three Dylan covers, two AWESOME PF Sloan songs and some others you may very well enjoy in addition to the aforementioned. What did the Turtles resemble? Well, they had guitars and drums and the occasional keyboard organ and sounded kinda like The Byrds, I guess? Or REM? Or yes, THE MONKEES!!! Emphasis of the band was really on the GORGEOUS vocals of the guys who would become Flo & Eddie -- Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. MAN, did they have perfect voices for '60s bubblegum folk pop rock - soft, gentle, beautiful. The hits on here were the title track and the heart-wrenchingly catchy "Let Me Be," but there are lots of other great songs too! "Eve of Destruction," baby!!!! "It Was A Very Good Year," baby!!!! "Your Maw Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night," baby!!! That's right, YOU baby!

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You Baby - White Whale 1966.
Rating = 7

More of the shame. The hits on here were the title track and the heart-wrenchingly catchy "Let Me Be," but there are wait just a goddamned minute!!! I just wrote this goddamned sentence!!! Who the fuck are they trying to kid prove they can fuck over me and my fan base by putting the same goddamned heart-wrenchingly catchy "Let Me Be" song on both of their first two albums??? This is the most disgusting charade since Jimmy Carter sent our boys to Vietnam and Russia sent a man (Yakov Smirnoff) to the moon!!!! What do they want, my brain to splatter inside my skull and just goop around sloshily like that of the average Judas Priest fan???? NOT GONNA FUCKIN' HAPPEN, CHEESEBURGER NICKY!!!! I'D RATHER SUCK THE BALLS OF RICKY MARTIN AGAIN BEFORE I'D SEE THAT HAPPEN TO THIS COUNTRY OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY BASED DIRECTLY ABOVE MEXICO, YOU DOUCHE NICKEL FUCK TENT!!!!

On this record, The Turtles continue in the folk-rock tradition of such timeless bands as The Leaves and The Happening with such hit singles as the heart-wrenchingly catchy "Let FUFKDAL;!?"@J!!!!!o F I WILL MURDER YOUR WIFE UP THE COCK, PAT SAJAK!!!!!!!

My copy of this album doesn't say who wrote what, but I bet the crappy blues song and bland ballads were written by The Turtles. They were better singers than they were songwriters. After all, they're not the ones that came up with the heart-wrenchingly catchy "Let It Be." That was the Beatles. Nor are they the ones that came up with the heart-wrenchingly catchy "Let Her Cry." That was Hootie And The Blowjob. Nor were they the ones that came up with the heart-wrenchingly catchy "Almost There," which closes side two on a HELLA high note, though nobody used the slang term "hella" in the '60s when the LP was released. They probably referred to it as a GROOVY high note that they could DIG, the fuckin worthless hippie drug addict naked sex fuck Charles Mansons.

Oh shit, I just realized that the sleeve DOES say who wrote each song. Looks like the Turtles only wrote four songs, but one of them, so it seems, is "Almost There"!!!! I LOVE that song, and always have!!!! Hate "Down In Suburbia" to pieces though, damned Bob Lind of "Elusive Butterfly" fame. In Bob Lind's defense, however, the b-side of his "Elusive Butterfly" single is a gorgeous melodrama called "Cheryl's Goin' Home." God I love that song. The Turtles should have done that one too.

In short, this one doesn't have as many good songs as the first one. It's still just basic "hit single surrounded by covers" crap though, so what do you expect? The quality of a late-period Asleep At The Wheel LP? Ha ha! Don't make me laugh!

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Happy Together - White Whale 1967.
Rating = 8

Here it is. The 1967 psychedelic masterpiece that made the whole world throw Sgt Pepper in the ashcan, rip Pet Sounds a new one, kick Surrealistic Pillow in the ballsac (which was cleverly packaged with the LP) and flip Piper At The Gates Of Dawn a collective bird for at least four hours at a stretch - hell, FIVE in some instances!!! Happy Together brings together the conceptual genius of Al Nichol, the production mystique of genius Joe Wissert and the picture of smoke that Guy Webster took, and delivers a couple of hit singles surrounded by cover tunes. The hit singles were the title track, which you doubtless know from one of those Ernest movies that cokehead Jim Varney made before he died and went to Hell and "She'd Rather Be With Me," but there were lots of other bonus tunes on here. Group original "Rugs Of Woods & Flowers" deserves mention as one of the most creative and bizarre tunes ever recorded by this group - what the hell is it supposed to be? Pseudo-nightmare-opera? You decide! I'd rather sit here and watch my puppy dog bob his head up and down

I'm back. He dug a really sharp thing out of the wall and was chewing on it. And he's peed FOUR TIMES in the last hour! Always on the newspaper in the bathroom! Yay, Henry!!!! Not sure why he's so hyper right now - just having fun, I guess. I also caught him chewing one of those Combat anti-ant things. Oops!

Thus, this album. The addition of horns don't add a whole lot, unless you're a beatnik but I guess they don't hurt anything since the vocals still kick arse. Lots more fantastic folk bubblegum pop tunes, a lot of which seem quieter and mellower than usual, but that's okay! As always, The Turtles themselves only contribute four tracks of their own, so we don't have to sit through much of THAT crap (i'm just kidding, of course - their originals are fine). More '60s product. Lots of good little bubblegum tunes to make you happy. There's even a great tune by then-unknown and now-washed up songwriter Warren Zevon! Check it out, Balls And A Wangdang!

Reader Comments (Zevin Polzin)
Mark - check out Zevon's "Life'll Kill Ya" and "My Ride's Here" - the guy's hardly washed up. Which Zevon song do they do?

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Wooden Head - White Whale 1970.
Rating = 6

This didn't come out until the band broke up but I'm told that all the tracks were outtakes from the first few albums, so I decided to put it here in my chronology. Feel free to tell me if I'm wrong! That would be great! God, that would totally be the best! Either way, this isn't incredibly impressive. The songs sound like The Turtles, but there's just not a whole lot of "hooks" here, aside from a wonderful Peter & Gordon cover and just a coupla udders. I give it a 14 out of 79.

Reader Comments
Well there is one GREAT song, and one very good song on this record. The great song is 'I Get Out Of Breath' a semi "protest" song that really rocks, and has an inspired vocal performance from Kaylan. She'll Come Back' is the other keeper, from the movie 'Out Of Sight' it is a minor key jangle-fest!

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The Battle Of The Bands - White Whale 1968.
Rating = 8

On this release, The Turtles took control of their destiny and decided to try an experiment: a concept album on which every song is a different genre, presented by a different "band" (all portrayed by The Turtles, of course). The idea is an excellent one, and the inside-sleeve pictures of The Turtles dressed up like all the different bands is a stone cold owl hoot! Plus, unexpectedly, the band do an amazing job of emulating a bunch of different types of music (country/western, surf, doowop, motorcycle rock, etc) with great ORIGINAL songs!!! Seriously! In fact, the worst song on here is the piece of shit intro song, which was written by legendary alcoholic Harry Nilsson! The hits were "Elenore" (a sarcastic parody of generic "i love you girl" songs, featuring the chorus "You're my pride and joy, etc." - ha!) and "You Showed Me" -- which was actually written by The Byrds! And I have to point out that the tribal joke song "I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're The Royal Macadamia Nuts)" actually made me laugh out loud just now while I was in the head takin' a pee. Hilarious song! Gotta give The Turtles credit on this one. The concept may not work all the way through, but most of the songs are great fun!

Reader Comments (James A. Gardner)
One of the few decent concept albums ever. (The greatest ever, though, is Godfrey Daniels' "Take A Sad Song" ... find it if you can!) If you like this, find a copy of the Flo and Eddie "hits" compilation; lotta lighthearted, fun pop there, too. And be sure to seek out their finest post-Turtles moment, on the Gumby tribute CD, "We're All Gumby." Glad you devoted some space to these guys.
A 1997 trip-hoppy cover of "You Showed Me" by the Lightning Seeds got to #8 in the UK charts. It's pretty good, and so is that band's best of disc. Can't beat the original! Unless you prefer the cover!

Tom Troccoli
This is the album that Zappa had heard that convinced him that Flo and Eddie were right for his new Mothers Of Invention in 1970. Parody after spot on parody. Their best, and one of the best of the genre.

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Turtle Soup - White Whale 1969.
Rating = 7

Produced by The Kinks' Ray Davies!!!! On this, the final release before The Turtles turned into Flo & Eddie, the band presents twelve songs all of their own composition, and of no overall theme whatsoever! So whatcha got is the same type of thing they were doing in 1965, but four years late! Not much for creative growth, perchance, but at least there are lots of pretty songs to enjoy like "House On The Hill," "Somewhere Friday Night" and "John And Julie." The rockers are none-too-miraculous though, kinda having that Moody Blues "we shouldn't really be trying to rock" feel to them. Hits? I think "Love In The City" and "You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain" were hits. The former is fantastic - the latter is a gaudy ripoff of "Elenore." The vocals seem slightly less gorgeous on this album, for some reason, which makes me wonder if Volman and Kaylan allowed the other guys to sing lead or something.

Conclusion? Buy a greatest hits album! You'll love it! I bought one for my Dad and he loves it! If you buy one for your Dad, he'll love it! Everybody loves it and/or will love it and give it to someone who loves it! It's like Pay It Forward except not shitty! Everybody loves it!

Reader Comments
Finally it happened; somebody saw the light and reviewed the Turtles. Why should'nt those reptiles(are turtles reptiles?) get their albums reviewed. Few bands could make sunny delightful songs like them. And they are one of the funniest bands heard. Think I'll get their albums soon. Repertoire has put out an eccelent comp callep 25 Classic Hits. It is even better than the Rhino 20-hits-thing for the obvious reason of five songs..

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