Colours were a west coast psychedelic pop act that came together in 1967 at the request of songwriters, Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery. Essentially a studio project, Colours featured future Derek and the Dominoes bassist, Carl Radle, who had already made quite a name for himself as a session musician and touring performer. The album was assembled over several months in late 1967, and subsequently issued by Dot Records the following year. Dot, being primarily an easy listening and country label, had little experience dealing with a band like Colours and thusly the album failed to explode as a result of their poor marketing. Quickly, the album became a collector's item and its value has only increased over the years.
Much like the Lemon Pipers or Grapefruit did, Colours attempted to sustain themselves autonomously after their partnership with Dalton and Montgomery had expired. Releasing their followup, "Atmosphere" in 1969, the album was a glaringly inferior effort, eschewing much of the sunny pop leanings of the debut. The album came and went with little fanfare and members began defecting to other musical opportunities. Colours ceased to exist in 1970. Members went on to work with Taj Mahal, Derek and the Dominoes, Eric Clapton, JJ Cale, Joe Cocker and Freddie King. Radle passed away in 1980 from a lethal combination of alcohol and narcotics.
To call this an unsung gem is an understatement. "Colours" is a brilliant Beatlesque masterpiece that, while somewhat derivative, is rife with bouyant arrangements, strong melodic hooks and sophisticated soundscapes. From beginning to end, the album is tight and focused. Like a cross between Left Banke, The Beatles and Orange Bicycle, the band's slight psych temperment is perfectly balanced with their impeccable musicianship and pitch perfect harmonies. One listen to the opener, "Bad Day at Black Rock, Baby" and their mission is crystal clear. The band never relents and at its conclusion, "Colours" leaves you wanting more. Sadly, there wasn't much more left, but damn if this isn't satisfying. Though the album has been bootlegged in Korea on CD, this has never officially been reissued. While we wait (don't hold your breath), check out this clean vinyl rip and marvel...this is good stuff!
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