The Electric Prunes are a rock band who first achieved international attention as an experimental psychedelic group in the late 1960s, and contributed two tracks to the soundtrack of Easy Rider. After a period in which they had little control over their music, they disappeared for a period of 30 years, reforming as a recording and touring band in 2001.
The group which originally called themselves called themselves The Sanctions, started in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. The first members, Ken Williams (guitar), James Lowe (lead vocal), Michael Weakley (drums) and Mark Tulin (bass). Their lineup changed many times, including one lineup with Kenny Loggins.
Lowe, Tulin, Williams and Weakley were introduced to David Hassinger, then resident engineer at RCA studios, who arranged for them to record some demos at Leon Russell's home recording facility (which he called Sky Hill Studios). Hassinger also suggested they needed a new name. In response, the band produced a long list of suggestions, with The Electric Prunes last as a joke. Somehow it stuck.
A single Ain't It Hard/Little Olive (the A side a cover, the B side original) was released from these sessions, but it flopped.
The Prunes' next single, I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) (1966), was chosen from material Hassinger sourced from the established songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz. It remains their highest charting success, reaching 11 in the USA and 49 in the UK. Personnel included Jim Lowe on vocals, James "Weasel" Spagnola and Ken Williams on guitar, Mark Tulin on bass and Preston Ritter on drums. This is regarded by many as the classic Prunes lineup.
Their third single, Get Me to the World on Time, was also successful but less so, peaking at 27 in the USA and 42 in the UK. However both their first album, The Electric Prunes: I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) (1967) and consisting mainly of Tucker/Mantz material, and the followup Underground (1967) which featured mainly original Prunes material, charted in the lower reaches of the Billboard charts.
By the time Underground was complete, there had been several more personnel changes. Original drummer Weakley returned to replace Ritter, and Spagnola was replaced on guitar by Mike Gannon, who appears on only two songs. Their fourth single Everybody Knows You're Not In Love appears on this album.
The Prunes' third album, Mass in F Minor (1968), was a psychedelicized setting of the Mass written and produced by David Axelrod, and somewhat of an underground favorite. Kyrie Eleison from this record was used to back the Mardi Gras drug trip scene in Easy Rider. The band reportedly broke up during the recording, and Axelrod completed the album using Canadian band The Collectors and session musicians. There was a planned tour to follow the album release, which was cancelled after one disastrous show at which it was obvious that the Prunes couldn't play the music, some of which they had seen for the first time only days previously.
At the time of the recordings of 4th album Release of An Oath (1968), another religious-themed Axelrod work none of the original members were left. It was produced by Axelrod using top session musicians for all instruments.
The following album Just Good Old Rock and Roll (1969) was recorded by another, completely different group of musicians, originally from Colorado, who were assigned the Prunes' name, which was not legally owned by Hassinger (according to James Lowe in a recent interview). The album cover read the new improved Electric Prunes. This band toured and also released a single on Reprise Records in 1969, but had totally dissolved by 1970.
The late 1990s saw renewed interest in the Electric Prunes, with the release of Stockholm, a concert recorded by the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation while the (original) Prunes were on tour there in 1967. An early collection of recordings by The Sanctions and Jim and The Lords was also released, recovered from unplayed 35-year-old acetates.
After a long period of 30 years, the original quartet of Lowe, Tulin, Williams and Weakley met in the studio to consider a revival. As a result Lowe, Tulin and Williams (the three who had played on all the early recordings) were joined by two new members including James Lowe's son to reform the band. They began touring internationally in 2001, and in 2002 released a new recording titled Artifact and a DVD album called Rewired.
Continuing the momentum in 2007, the trio of Lowe, Tulin, and Williams released a new CD entitled Feedback and have also taken residence in myspace, reaching out to fans of new and old.
They are now recording and touring with a new drummer, Walter Garces, who has been called the "drum guru" of LA. Source: "Wikipedia"
Key Band Members:
Mark Tulin: Bass. Original member. Tulin was/is along with Williams and Lowe a key member in the band, who also wrote/co-wrote some of their strongest originals
Ken Williams: Guitar. Original member still with the group.
James Lowe: Vocals. Original member. still with the group.
Michael Weakley: Drums. Original member who also rejoined gthe others when they reformed.
James Spagnola: Guitar. Played on the first two albums
Preston Ritter: Drums. Played on the first two albums
Tracks: 1. I Had Too Much to Dream / 2. Bangles / 3. Onie / 4. Are You Lovin' Me More / 5. Train for Tomorrow / 6. Sold to the Highest Bidder / 7. Get Me to the World on Time / 8. About a Quarter to Nine / 9. King Is in the Counting House / 10. Luvin' / 11. Try Me on for Size / 12. Tunerville Trolley / 13. Ain't It Hard* / 14. Little Olive* / 15. World of Darkness* / 16. I've Got a Way of My Own * / 17. Luvin'* / 18. I Had Too Much to Dream* / 19. Are You Lovin' Me More* / 20. Get Me to the World on Time* / 21. Vox Wah Wah Pedal Radio Spot*
Rating : 7
Tracks: 1. Great Banana Hoax / 2. Children of Rain / 3. Wind-Up Toys / 4. Antique Doll / 5. It's Not Fair / 6. I Happen to Love You / 7. Dr. Do-Good / 8. I / 9. Hideaway / 10. Big City / 11. Captain Glory / 12. Long Day's Flight / 13. Everybody Knows* / 14. You Never Had It Better* / 15. Shadows * 16. Dr. Dr-Good* / 17. Hideaway* / 18. Wind-Up Toys* / 19. Great Banana Hoax* / 20. Long Days Flight*
Rating : 7
Tracks: 1. Sell / 2. 14 Year Old Funk / 3. Love Grows / 4. So Many People To Tell / 5. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers / 6. Giant Sunshore / 7. Violent Rose / 8. Thorjon / 9. Silver Passion Mine / 10. Tracks / 11. Sing To Me
Rating : 4
6. Stockholm 67 [LIVE] - Birdman 1997
Tracks: 1. You Never Had It Better / 2. I Had Too Much To Dream / 3. Try Me On For Size / 4. I Happen To Love You / 5. I Got My Mojo Workin' / 6. Long Day's Flight / 7. Smokestack Lightning / 8. Get Me To The World On Time
7. Artifact - PruneTwang 2001
Tracks: 1. Lost Dream / 2. 7 & 7 Is / 3. Big Stick / 4. The Dream I Had Last Night / 5. Bullet Thru The Backseat / 6. Phone Won't Ring / 7. All About Wires / 8. Devils Candy / 9. Analog Life / 10. Mujo 22 / 11. Castaway / 12. LeFire / 13. Halloween Ending / 14. Hard Time / 15. Slobodon
8. California - PruneTwang 2004
Tracks: 1. SideShow Charade / 2. 49 Songs / 3. I Never Knew What You Wanted / 4. Makin' Some Noise / 5. Pacific Ocean Blue / 6. I'll Drag You Home / 7. Rosy Made Me Crazy / 8. Transient Absolution / 9. Tidal Wave / 10. Rewired / 11. Running With Scissors / 12. The Rickenbacker 12 String / 13. Cinema Verite / 14. Bonus Track
Original albums as listed and rated on “Rate Your Music” - July 20 - 2007
60Underground - 1967
88 I Had Too Much to Dream - 1967
201 Mass in F-Minor - 1968
254 Release of an Oath - 1968
249Stockholm 67 - 1997 Check and Rate Here!
July 20 - 2007 - "rateyourmusic.com"
My Suggestion For a 80 minutes (app.) Best Of Compilation:
1. I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night ( Tucker/Mantz ) I Had Too Much to Dream
2. Get Me to the World on Time ( Tucker/Jones ) I Had Too Much to Dream
3. Sold to the Highest Bidder ( Tucker/Mantz ) I Had Too Much to Dream
4. Everybody Knows ( Lowe/Tulin ) Single 67
5. Are You Lovin' Me More ( Tucker/Mantz ) I Had Too Much to Dream
6. Train for Tomorrow ( Tucker/Mantz ) I Had Too Much to Dream
7. Great Banana Hoax ( Lowe/Tulin ) Underground
8. Hideaway ( Lowe/Tulin ) Underground
9. Antique Doll ( Tucker/Jones ) Underground
10. It's Not Fair ( Lowe/Tulin ) Underground
11. I Happen to Love You ( Goffin/King ) Underground
12. Big City ( Walsh/Walsh ) Underground
13. Kyrie Eleison ( Axelrod ) Mass in F-Minor
14. Ain't it Hard ( Lowe/Tulin ) Single 66
15. Bangles ( Walsh ) I Had Too Much to Dream
16. Onie ( Tucker/Mantz ) I Had Too Much to Dream
17. King is in the Courting House ( Tucker/Mantz ) I Had Too Much to Dream
18. I Got a Way of My Own ( Clarke/Hicks/Nash ) I Had Too Much to Dream
19. Children of Rain ( Williams/Williams ) Underground
20. Wind-Up Toys ( Lowe/Tulin ) Underground
21. You Never Had it Better ( Lowe/Tulin ) Single 67