gullbuy music review

The Everpresent Fullness


Fine and Dandy


Rev-Ola Records


The Everpresent Fullness CD coverThe folks at Rev-Ola have kept on digging through the White Whale vaults of music and come up with a really wonderful reissue project with The Everpresent Fullness Fine and Dandy disc.

The Everpresent Fullness had the ill-fated luck to record 2 singles for White Whale at a time when the label was trying to followup on their immediate success with The Turtles cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe.

Rev-Ola previously investigated the depths of the White Whale vaults on In The Garden: The White Whale Story (volume one in a compilation series called Phantom Jukebox), which was itself a followup to Happy Together: The Very Best of White Whale Records (on Varese Sarabande).

Both compilations featured music by The Everpresent Fullness (the Varese Sarabande compilation included their first single's A-side, Wild About My Lovin', while the Rev-Ola compilation included their second single's A-side Darlin' You Can Count on Me) - both compilations left the White Whale fans wanting more by this elusive group.

As is often the case in the music business, The Everpresent Fullness were left hanging in the midst of recording their debut album in 1966. After they were led through the labyrinth of the music industry by a label and a producer (Bones Howe) who tried to saddle the band's sound and bastardize it into a selling commodity, the members of The Everpresent Fullness were not satisfied with how their own vision had been distorted.

Even though the band had started out like so many other groups at the time - coming from the sounds of surf music in the early 60s (from groups like The Belairs, where Everpresent Fullness member Paul Johnson was one of the founding fathers of surf guitar and had written the surf smash Mr. Moto; Paul had also played with Everpresent Fullness member Steve Pugh in Davie Allan and the Arrows). Paul Johnson met up with folk duo Jack Ryan and Tom Carvey, and together they combined their sounds to create the folk rock hybrid vision that was The Everpresent Fullness.

The Everpresent Fullness started out recording some demos based around the idea of setting Ryan and Carvey's folk based sound in a rock setting devised by Paul Johnson. These demos are included on Fine and Dandy, tracks 10 through 14. These are definitely in a similar style to the sound that Simon & Garfunkel were also mining at this time. Songs like Somewhere I Don't Know Where I'm Bound and Lonesome Tears (a Buddy Holly tune) are excellent examples of the folk rock sounds circa 1965 and 1966, remixed in a subtle but unique way in 2003 which gives the songs somewhat of a modern sound quality. The Rovin' Kind (a Paul Johnson original) keeps this sound intact, but ups the tension, veering closer to pop song techniques, and in a way predating the guitar scrubs of bands from the 1980s. Two Dale Hawkins songs are also given the teen folk rock sound to fine effect in La Do da Da (a sound not far removed from The Dalton Brothers, in fact, the pre-Walker Brothers group, who had a similar sounding song) and Susie Q (later done in an ego bending version by Creedence Clearwater Revival).

In response to The Turtles luck with Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, The Everpresent Fullness also cut a Dylan tune, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue preserved here from a surviving acetate. Featuring future Associations drummer Ted Bluechel, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue is a raw scrappy cover worth checking out for the Dylan fans.

White Whale had some more ideas of sounds they wanted The Everpresent Fullness to fulfill when they recorded them for their single releases. The first single, Wild About My Lovin' is a Lovin' Spoonful album track done in the jugband style ( the group admits they too loved the Spoonful, as well as the Jim Kweskin Jug Band). The Everpresent Fullness also delved into this sound for the cd opener Fine and Dandy (a tune which was supposed to be The Everpresent Fullness' first single until the aging songwriter complained about this rendition).

The second single is much more adventuresome in sound - Darlin' You Can Count on Me (a Paul Johnson original) sounds like the songs that PF Sloan was penning at the time, and it's a real gem here with it's driving verse and off kilter chorus. The b-side for the second single is an early instrumental take of Richard Fariña's Leavin' California called Doin' a Number (and included here as the last track). They eventually recorded a full version of Leavin' California, which was included on the album. Both songs are harmonica driven pounders of the first order.

Another Paul Johnson original written in the guitar strumming, finger picking folk rock style, My Girl Back Home combines excellent scratched percussion with some angsty vocals. This fits well with The Everpresent Fullness' version of the oft covered traditional tune Rider, which is much more concisely scrubbed then most of the ego driven versions recorded in the mid 1960s.

Two songs which stick out on this disc but that are really two of the best tunes here - You're So Fine (the much covered song best known by The Falcons) and the early Warren Zevon composition The Way She Is (which was written to sound like Herman's Hermits). Both tunes are catchy as all heck, and even veer towards some gummy goodness (especially on the Herman like Zevon tune). These two tunes are definitely improved upon thanks to the new mixes made in 2003.

The final song is a group written instrumental called Yeah! - fittingly left unfinished in a way that represents how fed up The Everpresent Fullness were with the music business. When White Whale finally released The Everpresent Fullness album in 1970 (4 years after it was recorded), in an attempt to cash-in on the success sing/songwriter Paul Williams was having with Roger Nichols and their tune We've Only Just Begun (for The Carpenters), White Whale included the Paul Williams penned tune The Room on the album - a song that none of The Everpresent Fullness had anything to do with. Fittingly, they've decided to leave that song off of this disc - I guess that's their way of having the final say in this sick, sick business....

---Patrick, April 27, 2004