The Lemon Pipers
Love Beads and Meditation
This is bubblegum pop’s Ground Zero: where the genre began to march toward the more assembly-lined, more airbrushed, more commercially artful product we hear today. This Rev-Ola-issued compilation of The Lemon Pipers’ lone two albums (1967’s Green Tambourine and the following year’s Jungle Marmalade), is guitar-driven pop accented with ethereal strings, bubbling organ and sonic exotica like harpsichord and electric sitar. The Pipers are clever enough to leave the mind-expanding to the more accomplished, merely dallying with down-the-rabbit-hole psychedelia on “Rainbow Tree,” “Blueberry Blue” and the title. Meanwhile, the infectious “Green Tambourine” and gushy “Rice Is Nice,” which betray the genre’s Svengali aesthetic (they were penned by the songwriting tandem of Paul Leka and Shelley Pinz), are more grounded, relying on uncomplicated hooks and melodies. Other efforts playfully acknowledge contemporaries: the Kinks-inspired, third-person narrative “The Shoemaker of Leatherwear Square” and the Syd Barrett apery in “Jelly Jungle.” The Pipers’ brand of airy, kaleidoscope pop launched a thousand imitators—early Creation Records, the Paisley Underground, the Elephant 6 collective. Sixties bubblegum was less contrived and processed—and it’s all here to clutch and enjoy.