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Come On Get Happy!: The Very Best of the Partridge Family

This CD set was released in conjunction with the DVD set of the first season of The Partridge Family which celebrates its 35th anniversary this fall. The show is about a widow, Shirley Jones, and her children forming a band and traveling around the country in a school bus that became a television icon due to its Mondrianesque paint job. It’s a cross between The Monkees and The Brady Bunch with the usual sitcom high jinks taking place and the band playing a wholesome pop song or two before the half hour was up.

Since the show was cast with actors, someone needed to be responsible for creating the music. This task feel to record producer Wes Farrell, who wrote The McCoys “Hang On, Sloopy.” He gathered together an all-star group of L.A.’s session players, dubbed “The Wrecking Crew,” and a talented group of background singers, most notably Ron Hicklin, who sang lead on “Together (Havin’ A Ball)” and “Let The Good Times In” which were heard during the debut episode. Farrell was well aware of the importance of songwriting, which is why he sought out the best at their craft: Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, Gerry Coffin and Carole King, and to solidify The Monkees connection, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who wrote many of the Prefab Four’s hits. Under Farrell’s direction this stellar line-up created the seven albums in The Partridge Family catalog.

Of course, the integral piece of the puzzle that helped make The Partridge Family’s music such a success was David Cassidy, who portrayed eldest son Keith on the show. He was a very good singer and his handsome looks made him a teen heartthrob sensation, a concept that never hurts record sales. Cassidy was a trooper, working long hours on both the show and the albums.

Come On Get Happy! collects 17 songs, six of which made the Billboard Hot 100, and four of which have never been released before. I only recognized songs that everyone knows: the theme song, “I Woke Up In Love This Morning,” and “I Think I Love You,” their only No.1 hit and an all-time classic love song.

I was surprised by the quality of the set, considering that the liner notes stated that the music was considered “innocuous bubblegum” back when it was released. I found them to be well-crafted songs with sharp lyrics that deliver heartfelt emotions and sophisticated musical arrangements that bring to mind the Beach Boys and other California sounds of the early ‘70s. Forget the television show, and not just because there’s no little girl playing tambourine, but to allow yourself the opportunity to discover an album of terrific songs that would do serious damage to today’s pop charts. Mr. Kincaid should think about getting the band back together.

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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