Review

This is the third long-player from A&M artists' the Sandpipers. A distinction should be made from this quartet and others that have used the same name. These are not the folks whose recording of the "(Theme From) Mighty Mouse" was mimed by Andy Kaufmann on Saturday Night Live. Nor, is this the South African-originated combo -- who, apart from their moniker, seemed to share no other similarities with these Sandpipers. During an era when pop acts were becoming celebrities in their own right, the band took a backseat to their easy listening, middle-of-the-road music. A&M even went so far as to only feature members' photos on the rear of the album jackets. Which is where James Brady, Michael Piano, and Richard Shoff are seen -- minus the distinct presence of Pamela Ramcier. The reasons she was rarely (if ever) credited is vague. Yet the aural evidence remains that she was an active participant in the Sandpipers when Misty Roses (1967) hit store shelves in late 1967. The modus operandi was pretty much the same as their previous platters, blending light and affective cover versions of concurrently popular music from a remarkably wide variety of sources, and not always in English, either. As the Sandpipers had scored a Top Ten Pop hit with their interpretation of "Guantanamera," presumably it was considered a mandate to include at least one foreign-sung selection on each LP. They kicked off the affair with the heartfelt "Cuando Sail de Cuba (The Wind Will Change Tomorrow)" before turning the tables on two pop classics. The Beatles' ballad "And I Love Her" was given a poignant lyrical Spanish translation, while "Fly Me to the Moon" was refurbished into a lively Spanish language samba. On the opposite side of the interpretive coin, the reading of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream" doesn't do the song -- or the singers for that matter -- any good. The title track -- a wispy and carefree update of Tim Hardin's "Misty Roses" is infinitely better, as is the folk-derived "The Honey Wind Blows," easily besting the Brothers Four and Glenn Yarborough's respective takes. Similarly, the Sandpipers weave their spacious harmonies through a well-tempered run on Chip Taylor's wistful "Strange Song." In 2006, Collectors' Choice Music paired Misty Roses with the follow-up The Wonder of You (1968) on a two-fer CD -- making each available for the first time in the digital domain. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi

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