Fever Tree/Another Time, Another Place
Collectors’ Choice Music
One of a series of retrospective albums released by Collectors’ Choice Music, this CD is a special bargain, combining two albums, Fever Tree and Another Time, Another Place, originally released in 1968 and 1969 respectively, into one 19 song set that gives more than 70 minutes of diversified music.
Never a real force in the psychedelic era, Fever Tree had only one minor hit, “San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native)” in 1968, which made it to #91 on the charts. At first, it’s hard to understand why anyone would be motivated to release this retrospective of such a little-known band. True, Fever Tree/Another Time, Another Place might be of interest to a collector of psychedelia, but there can’t be much more of an audience than that. For those who do decide to give this release a listen, they’ll find some very interesting music.
For the most part, this music is locked in time, defined by and defining the era in which it was born and died. Not timeless as classics tend to be, the songs here are artifacts of a past era and are, as such, anachronisms. Throughout this set, there can be heard echoes of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and even Jefferson Airplane. Even so, this music is not purely psychedelic and the set is filled with unusual song choices and quirky performances.
Much has been made of the fact that many of these “psychedelic” songs were written by a married over-thirty couple, Scott and Vivian Holtzman, who had also written songs for cowboy singer Tex Ritter and for the Mary Poppins film score. This in an era where Jerry Rubin was advising kids not to trust anyone over thirty. Also the band’s producers, this couple would clearly have had an influence over the selection of songs and may have contributed to the album’s diversity.
Tucked away among the band’s original compositions are a medley of “Day Tripper” and “We Can Work It Out” from Lennon and MacCartney; “Ninety Nine and One-Half,” a screamer written by Wilson Pickett and Eddie Floyd; Little Willie John’s classic “Fever;” and songs penned by Neil Young and others. It’s an eclectic mix of genres and flavours, only loosely blended and not always cohesive.
This is a playful album. Watch out for musical and verbal fun throughout. Up from the primal electronic stew rise excerpts from classical music, sometimes credited and sometimes not; excerpts from contemporary folk music [including an uncredited "We Shall Overcome"]; sound effects to rival Spike Jones; and nature effects that include a marvelous rainstorm. As you move through the songs, watch out for clever wordplay, including some very bookish literary allusions, and bad puns. Probably the worst [best?] example of the latter is the song titled “Grand Candy Young Suite” to echo Ferde Grofé’s masterpiece.
While Fever Tree may not be a well-known band or this CD an important release, the music is interesting and gives very good value. If this collection of songs holds up a mirror to the era in which it was created, it’s a flawed mirror and the image is to some degree distorted. I’m not sure this matters in the end. If not taken too seriously as a retrospective, this set can make a fun listen.
This CD includes extensive liner notes by Richie Unterberger giving much of the history of this band and their music.
You won’t find a lot of information about Fever Tree online, but there’s a possibly inaccurate article on Wikipedia that does provide some interesting information.
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