The Canterbury Music Festival — “First Spring Rain”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 31, 2022


687) The Canterbury Music Festival — “First Spring Rain”

Call this ’68 A-side baroque pop, call it soft pop, call it sunshine pop, call it pop psych, but call it a masterpiece by the CMF (see #358).

If you are looking for ultra-rare Softpop, you’ve come to the right place! Only 150 copies were pressed (in order to establish copyright) [of] Rain & Shine [on which “First Spring Rain” also appeared], an almost willfully secret psych-pop masterpiece of sorts, on the obscure and collectable BT Puppy label out of New York City, owned by the legendary Tokens . . . . [It is] scarily collectable . . . .

Patrick says of the song:

The plucked guitars, the gliding string arrangement and the lush backing vocals will either send you into a soft pop heaven or dull the nerves of the more jaded. I for one am transported”.

And Steve Stanley notes that for the single (the band’s first):

[T]hey were credited as We Ugly Dogs — a choice the Tokens were none too exited about. Remembers [band leader] Roger [Germelle], “The Tokens said we had to change our name” . . . . In spite of this minor conflict, the tune was a “pick hit” in sixteen states in Billboard and was number one in Duluth, Minnesota, even managing to outsell the Beatles. . . . The second pressing was released under the name Canterbury Music Festival.

liner notes to CD reissue of Rain & Shine

Tim Sendra says that “the label really had no distribution and the[ CMF’s] one shot at the big time slipped away.” (  Phil Margo, a Token and co-owner of BT Puppy, says that “[m]y personal regret is that this band . . . had quality material, but the distribution wasn’t there to back it up. . . . I wish more stuff had happened for them.” (liner notes to the CD reissue of Rain & Shine) Roger Germelle says that “I never [even] knew an LP was released! . . . It must have been released after we split up.” (liner notes) The LP, if a a copy could be found, was selling for $300, but then the “soft pop aficionados at Rev-Ola in the UK” ( had to ruin all the fun by reissuing the album on CD!

By the way, how is the album? It is “one of the lost gems of late ’60s soft pop” (, full of “[c]harmingly romantic, effortlessly fluid love songs, perfect lead and harmony vocals and it’s all played with love and life well and truly happenin’. . . .” ( Patrick at Gullbuy says that:

[It is] a ’60s pop delight. There’s a shimmering and delicate sheen to the album, like rain falling on a bed of leaves in the fading days of Autumn. . . . [T]he sweet harmony vocals and the sunshine sadness of the lyrics . . . all combine together for a host of amazing songs.

OK, Richie Unterberger does equivocate:

The album mixed some decent if innocuous original compositions . . . with less impressive material supplied to them by their producers, the Tokens. Though at their best they were adept at soft pop-rock songs with string arrangements, accomplished harmonies, and a tinge of psychedelia, the record was weighed down by Tokens-devised tunes with a more gimmicky bubblegum-psych flavor.

Richie, for once, is actually out-snarked by his fellow All Music Guide critic Tim Sentra:

The music remained unheard until [a label] decided to reissue the album. The question that arises here is: Did they need to? Yes and no — mostly no. . . . Anyone who isn’t a sunshine pop fanatic will wonder why [the label] bothered, as most of the tunes are pretty insubstantial and sometimes downright embarrassing . . . . Unless you are a sunshine pop nut with a fat bankroll, you can rest easy with the knowledge that you aren’t missing anything . . . .

Well, I may be a sunshine pop nut — wouldn’t that be a great name for a new snack food? — but I bought the CD. So I get to keep my fat bankroll!

Here is a cover by the Molly Maguires (‘69):

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