“Mississippi”: Pickwick Would Never Try to Mislead the Public

I remember as a kid learning the hard way about albums disguised as hits collections that were, in fact, faithful renderings by some shadow studio group.  Soundalike LPs, if you will.  Case in point:  18 Golden Hits of 1970.  The singers and musicians who did their best to mimic the year’s big hits are not named here (Discogs.com indicates the album’s author to be “Unknown Artist”).  Not surprisingly, the end result is extremely unsatisfying.

18 Golden Hits of 1970 LP

With Sounds of the Woodstock Age, Pickwick is in no way trying to deceive music lovers into believing these recordings are the original songs, original artists.  To Pickwick’s credit, on the front cover below the names of the 18 “heavy hits” it says, “played and sung by” followed by the name of the artist – Tribes – in boldface upper case letters.

Tribes LP

Tribes do a surprisingly credible version of John Phillips’ top 40 hit from his debut solo album – and in spite of the low-budget crowd sounds added by Pickwick to simulate Woodstock  (listen, too, for the small flub by the drummer in the intro before the vocal):

Mississippi (‘live’) – Tribes

[Pssst:  Click on the triangle above to hear ”Mississippi” simulated live by Tribes.]

Amusing to see in Wikipedia’s entry for Pickwick Records that Lou Reed, who once worked as a staff songwriter for Pickwick Records, is a figure of note in the label’s history of copycat records:

“Several of Pickwick’s soundalike albums from 1964 to 1965 feature Reed as an uncredited session musician.  Two of his songs, “Cycle Annie” (credited to The Beachnuts) and “You’re Driving Me Insane” (as The Roughnecks), both appeared on the Soundsville! compilation in 1965.  “The Ostrich” and “Sneaky Pete”, two earlier songs by Reed, united him with John Cale, leading to their founding the Velvet Underground.”

John Phillips All-Stars

Check out the musician credits for the original 1970 LP, John Phillips (also known as, John, Wolf King of L.A.):

  • John Phillips – vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Buddy Emmons – pedal steel
  • Red Rhodes – steel guitar
  • James Burton – guitar, dobro
  • Dr. Eric Hord – guitar
  • David Cohen – guitar
  • Gordon Terry – fiddle, violin
  • Darlene Love – vocals
  • Fanita James – vocals
  • Jean King – vocals
  • Joe Osborn – bass
  • Hal Blaine – drums
  • Larry Knechtel – keyboards