If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
It’s high irony that this southern California singing group would become world-famous for their harmonies, considering that once this debut album was in the can the four members of the group were anything but harmonious with each other. Leader John Phillips rehearsed the group for months in the Virgin Islands before committing these carefully sculpted tunes to tape and the craftsmanship shows. Thanks in no small part to this well-received debut album that combined easy-flowing folk-rock with vocal arrangements more associated with doo-wop groups from the previous era, 1966 was a watershed year for AM pop radio. “California Dreaming” and “Monday, Monday” became immediate hits, while the group’s inventive approach to other well-known tunes such as “Spanish Harlem,” “Do You Wanna Dance” and “The ‘In’ Crowd” made them noted interpretive artists as well. A nightclub rendition of the Beatles’ “I Call Your Name,” P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri’s “You Baby” and several Phillips originals (“Somebody Groovy,” “Go Where You Wanna Go,” covered by the 5th Dimension) round things out in exemplary mid-60s form.