It’s easy to underestimate how good the Lovin’ Spoonful were — their genial songs were anything but slap-dash productions, and you can hear the craft behind their (mostly) carefree music on Daydream (1966), the quartet’s second album. The Spoonful followed up their successful debut with another generous helping of melodic pop/rock tunes and lighthearted folk ditties. The title track (a toast to relaxation with a hook that won’t quit) and “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” (a musical bouquet of pure affection) are the best known songs here, but talents of singer/autoharpist John Sebastian, guitarist Zal Yanovsky and the rest of the group make the more obscure cuts worth hearing as well. Tracks like “Day Blues,” “Jug Band Music” and “Bald Headed Lena” let the band revel in their love for old-time acoustic sounds. “Let The Boy Rock And Roll” is a ‘50s-style rock rave-up, while “Didn’t Want To Have To Do It” allows Sebastian to shine in a jazzy vein. Despite its casual atmosphere, the music here is sharp, sly and smartly played. This album feels like a summery idyll in the midst of the era’s psychedelic ferment — a “daydream” of a high order.

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