Friday, 10 May 2013

Pinkiny Canandy - Pinkiny Canandy (1969)

I was browsing on Ebay the other day and I noticed an LP that I'd bought over a decade ago, one that I'd totally forgotten about. The bids were at about £20 when I looked although I never did see how much it finally sold for. I read the sellers description of the album and he was doing a great job of bigging it up, claiming it to be a Beatlesque masterpiece with every track a killer. I figured I'd better dig it out and give it another spin.

The LP is housed in a superhero/comic book sleeve, aimed at the younger, bubblegum market although there is little on here that is true bubblegum. The sleeve notes give little away about who Pinkiny Canandy is but the songs are credited to Michael Chain who I figured must be the guy on the sleeve dressed in pink. So after a little bit of googling I discovered that Chain was in another band I'd heard of called The Knack, not the "My Sharona" bunch but the sixties band who had a minor hit with "Time Waits For No One" on Capitol Records in 1966 which is a great garage pop tune, you can listen to here. I also found out that the Pinkiny Canandy record was demoed by the Knack before they split in 1969 after being dropped by Capitol. Would be interesting to hear that.

The album is not a one man project that it appears at a glance. He is accompanied by Doug Altman (Drums), Mike Rice (Bass) and Gary Kato (Lead Guitar). None of the musicians are mentioned on the sleeve. Both Rice and Kato had played in Emitt Rhodes's Merry Go Round who also split in 1969.

Chain and Kato
Pinkiny Canandy is by no means a killer album, but it does include some ace tracks with some songs that I'd definitely tag as power pop and with some with Beatlsey touches, musically rather than vocally. It's a relatively short album even by 1969 standards with eight of the ten tracks clocking in under the three minute mark and the album lasting little more than 25 minutes. The production was handled by Mike Post, known mostly for composing television theme tunes including the "A-Team".

Opening and closing tracks "Hello Hello" and "Goodbye Goodbye" bring to mind the opener and reprise on the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with some real neat guitar work from Chain and Kato. Some nice harpsichord on "Barbara" fixes what would otherwise be a standard ballad into something more like Left Banke/Peppermint Trolley Co. "Sadie Godiva", a song about a nude female Manhattan taxi cab driver. Some fab guitar riffs fill the censored spaces on what would be Sadie's response to drivers that honk her. There's a whiff of the Lovin' Spoonful on "Mr Keiley's Roof", a laid back tune sung in a hushed vocal style that really suits Chain. It's also a dead ringer for "Bryant Hotel" from "Left Banke Too" LP. The real highlight for me is "Christopher Centipede", a great catchy pop tune which showcases Chain's craft for writing good, humble, unpretentious songs. There's even a picture of the Christopher Centipede riding a skateboard (freaking out Pinkiny!) on the back sleeve. Had record label UNI chosen to release this as a single, the album may have shifted a few more copies.

Bizarrely, Pinkiny Canandy winded up supporting Led Zeppelin in Las Vegas in 1969. I wonder what the Zep fans made of them? Lack of any major success ultimately meant the end of the band. Chain went solo for a while, releasing singles on Metromedia, RCA and 20th Century Records respectively before going on to write TV show scripts in the 1980's. Michael Chain has since returned the music business where he appears to be writing prolifically and performing regularly to US armed forces troops.

Anyone interested in finding out what he's up to lately should check out his website here. He also has a YouTube channel here which is worth checking out.

Dig Christoper Centipede.......

1 comment:

  1. Photo is of Mike Rice, not Gary Kato. I played in this band with Chain and Rice for years.