The Ballroom — “Another Time”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 20, 2023

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

707) The Ballroom — “Another Time”

Courtesy of Curt, so gorgeous that it takes your breath away, a “ravishing, delicate ballad” (Joe Marchese, https://theseconddisc.com/2019/11/07/shadows-and-reflexions-high-moon-records-collects-rarities-from-curt-boettcher-and-friends/), “heaven on earth” (benjaminblakemitchner8365, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWU1wK05qus) with “stunningly beautiful” lyrics (EarpJohn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWU1wK05qus).

I consider the Ballroom’s version the best. Sagittarius’ is a bit too busy and overproduced for my taste and omits some verses. Aquarium Drunkard says (in reference to Sagittarius’ version) that:

[It is] a song overflowing with love, but mixed with lamentation that it’s not the right time, and fear that it might never be. Boettcher’s pure, ever-smiling voice floats on sonic sunbeams through the wistfulness, striking a strange mix of happy and sad that feels particularly compelling, like hugging a loved one goodbye. He sounds so hopeful that less sensitive type might even miss the pangs of pain entirely – the unanswered questions, the hesitation, the love too strong to end happily, the longing for better times, and the pining for affection that is actually returned . . . .”

https://aquariumdrunkard.com/2019/10/25/curt-boettcher-friends-looking-for-the-sun/

As to Curt, Noel Murray tells us:

First making his mark as part of the early ’60s folk group The GoldeBriars—where he showed a knack for complicated vocal arrangements—Boettcher became an in-demand producer for acts who combined the dreamy with the catchy, like The Association, for whom Boettcher produced the hit singles “Along Comes Mary” and “Cherish.” Boettcher formed his own band, The Ballroom, and recorded an album for Warner Bros. that went unreleased, but got passed around among other young studio wizards like Wilson and Columbia Records songwriter/producer Gary Usher. Boettcher joined the Columbia fold and helped Usher with his experimental pop band Sagittarius, while assembling some of the top songwriters and session-men in Los Angeles for his own project, The Millennium. On the surface, the music Boettcher recorded with The Ballroom, Sagittarius, and The Millennium . . . is right in the mainstream of radio-friendly pop from 1966-68. His songs had the angelic harmonies of The Association and The Mamas & The Papas, the aspirational naïveté of The Beach Boys, the live-inside-the-music atmospherics of The Beatles, and the lysergic tinge of every California band from San Francisco on down. But Boettcher and Usher were also interested in the avant-garde and classical music, and their highbrow approach to the sweet and fluffy didn’t connect in an era where rock ’n’ roll was getting harder and rowdier. Both Sagittarius’ debut album Present Tense and The Millennium’s debut album Begin [see #397, 506, 586, 662] were expensive flops for Columbia in 1968, and Boettcher and Usher lost their wunderkind cachet.

https://www.avclub.com/sunshine-pop-1798225095

As to the Ballroom, David Bash writes:

In late 1966 The Ballroom was formed in Los Angeles.  The band consisted of Boettcher, Michele O’Malley, whom Boettcher had recently befriended, oboist Jim Bell . . . and Sandy Salisbury . . . .  It’s likely that Boettcher didn’t like The Ballroom being labeled as a Mamas and Papas-type band because that’s not the sound he was going for.  He had been using hallucinogenic drugs, and in accord with that experience he was trying to “create music that was not only inspired by psychedelic drugs, but would recreate the psychedelic experience with all its freedom and possibility, in the mind of the listener,” explains Dawn Eden, noted Boettcher historian.  To the ears of most Ballroom fans, the sound achieved was much like a hybrid of the two styles . . . . The Ballroom recorded enough songs to fill an album, with Boettcher and colleague Keith Olsen, who had recently left The Music Machine, co-producing.  Two of those songs, the Peter Pan-like “Spinning, Spinning, Spinning” and “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” an absolute gem of a freakout, were slated for release as Warner Bros. 7027 in May of 1967.  It’s likely there were never stock copies made of that single, but it was shipped to radio stations, and apparently “Spinning, Spinning, Spinning” was heard by several people, among them a band from New Zealand called The Simple Image, whose recording of it . . . soared to #1 on the local charts in mid-1968.  Unfortunately, the Ballroom version did not experience a similar fate anywhere in the world, and any plans Warner Brothers might have had for releasing a Ballroom album were scrapped. . . .

liner notes to the Magic Time: The Millennium/Ballroom comp

Richie Unterberger adds that:

Boettcher had already made his mark on the Los Angeles pop/rock prior to the formation of the Ballroom in late 1966, primarily for his production work with the Association. The Curt Boettche production “That’s the Way It’s Gonna Be,” [#18] a single by Lee Mallory, won the admiration of Brian Wilson. . . . The Ballroom recorded an album’s worth of material for Warner Brothers, produced by Boettcher, who wrote many of the songs as well. The Ballroom’s recordings were bedrock sunshine pop: super-optimistic lyrics, ultra-sweet commercial melodies, sophisticated and sometimes experimental production and arrangements, and high harmonies . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-ballroom-mn0001822571

Here is Sagittarius:

Here is Curt’s demo version 1:

Here is version 2:

Last but not least, a version by Sweden’s Hep Stars with about to be ABBA Benny Andersson! —

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