THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
694) The Lamp of Childhood — “First Time, Last Time”
’67 A-side is a gorgeous song of longing by an L.A. folk-rock group with a big connection to big rock royalty. As Jason Ankeny tells us:
Folk-rock combo the Lamp of Childhood was formed in Los Angeles in the fall of 1966 by singer/guitarist James Hendricks, the former husband of Mamas and Papas vocalist Mama Cass and her collaborator in the Big Three and the Mugwumps. Guitarist Fred Olsen, bassist Mike Tani and former Mastin & Brewer drummer Billy Mundi comprised the original Lamp of Childhood lineup, which signed to Dunhill to record its debut single, a cover of the Donovan classic “Season of the Witch” issued in early 1967. By that time, Mundi was already out of the band–he’d joined Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention–and after two more Dunhill singles, “First Time, Last Time” and “Two O’Clock in the Morning,” the Lamp of Childhood dissolved in June 1967.https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-lamp-of-childhood-mn0000105054/biography
Interestingly, the connection with Mama Cass may have actually hurt the group (see https://garagehangover.com/the-lamp-of-childhood/).
“First Time, Last Time” was written by the band’s producer and Israeli classical pianist Gabriel Mekler. Andrew Sandoval notes that following TLOC, Mundi “recorded with Tim Buckley and nearly joined Buffalo Springfield . . . . Hendricks . . . moved on to songwriting for Johnny Rivers (“Summer Rain,” #14 in late ’67), Mekler wound up producing Dunhill hitmakers Steppenwolf, [guitarist] Fred Olson recorded with Mike Bloomfield, and Mundi briefly joined Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.” (liner notes to the Where the Action Is!: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 comp) Misterjimi says that Mekler “himself had several flop singles on Dunhill [and was] producer/pianist for Janis Joplin, Steppenwolf, Genya Ravan, Etta James, Three Dog Night. Died young.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzBktQar-qw)
I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.
Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise
Please consider helping to support my website/blog by contributing $6 a month for access to the Off the Charts Spotify Playlist. Using a term familiar to denizens of Capitol Hill, you pay to play! (“relating to or denoting an unethical or illicit arrangement in which payment is made by those who want certain privileges or advantages in such arenas as business, politics, sports, and entertainment” — dictionary.com).
The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.
All new subscribers will receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock magnet. New subscribers who sign up for a year will also receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock t-shirt or baseball cap. See pictures on the Pay to Play page.
When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.
Just click on the first blue block for a month to month subscription or the second blue block for a yearly subscription.