CHAD & JEREMY Of Cabbages And Kings

Of Cabbages And Kings (1967)

Andy Shernoff of the Dictators once wrote a song called “Who Will Save Rock and Roll?,” which featured the memorable verse “June first, ’67/Something died and went to heaven/I wish Sgt. Pepper never taught the band to play.” Maybe Shernoff was going a bit far to make a point, but the unfortunate truth is that once the Beatles released their magnum opus, it would be many years before an album that was simply a collection of great songs would seem to be enough in the eyes of the rock cognoscenti. Seemingly every act of any significance during the late ’60s made a high-gloss concept album, and Chad & Jeremy were no exception; while they had a sure knack for smart and subtle folk-influenced pop with outstanding harmonies, the times demanded more of them, and in 1967 they released their response to the Sgt. Pepper’s phenomenon, Of Cabbages and Kings. Taking its title from Lewis Carroll (whose Through the Looking Glass is quoted at the outset) and credited to Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde, Of Cabbages and Kings opens with six lushly orchestrated, self-consciously arty pop tunes, beginning with “Rest in Peace,” a smart but cheeky number in which a man who carves gravestones tells listeners just how he feels about his customers. Side one also gingerly flirts with controversy with “Family Way” (about an unwed girl who finds she’s pregnant), and allows Chad & Jeremy to ponder the sorrows of a musician’s life in “Busman’s Holiday.” If the songs are often too wordy for their own good, they confirm that Stuart and Clyde were gifted songwriters who could work outside the standard pop framework of the day, and Stuart (who orchestrated the album) was a talented and imaginative arranger who gives the material a sound that’s both rich and intimate. It’s side two where things go seriously awry; “The Progress Suite” is a wildly pretentious five-part tone poem cluttered with sound effects and voice-overs that charts the rise and fall of the modern age (or something like that), and while they manage to inject a certain amount of whimsy into the proceedings, at close to 27 minutes it goes on far too long and raises the eternal question “Sure it’s art, but is there another reason why I should care?” The trouble with the second half of Of Cabbages and Kings is that it clearly confirms Chad & Jeremy had the talent and the ability to create something more ambitious than “A Summer Song” or “Yesterday’s Gone,” but no one had the sense to rein them in once the album began to teeter on the edge of collapse. Ultimately, it’s the simpler but still adventurous first side of this album that succeeds, while “The Progress Suite” sounds like the score to a movie that wisely never got made; shut this off at the halfway point and you might think it’s a masterpiece. - The All Music Guide Thanks to Grateful for the re-up.

Rest In Peace
The Gentle Cold Of Dawn
Busman’s Holiday
Can I See You
Family Way
I’ll Get Around To It When And If I Can
The Progress Suite: Prologue
The Progress Suite: Decline
The Progress Suite: Editorial
The Progress Suite: Fall
The Progress Suite: Epilogue

13 Comments

  • 1
    Maude Lange
    February 18, 2012 - 00:03 | Permalink

    The Progress Suite was the Firesign Theatre’s first appearance on record.
    The Ark is better anyway.

  • 3
    February 18, 2012 - 00:37 | Permalink

    I agree with your take on this album — it’s half great — well crafted pop tunes (some of which remind me of Ray Davies Face To Face Kinks era)…when The Progress Suite comes on it’s time to ask for the check….of course, this all points to the dilemma many pop/rock bands had in the wake of Sgt Peppers — how to come up with a sustained flow of songs throughout an entire album. Previously, albums usually had the one or two hits and a lot of filler (things like “Carl’s Big Chance” off of the Beach Boys’ All Summer Long lp)…one other thing I remember about this era of pop music is that bands would release product every six months as opposed to this era of album release – tour for 2 years – hiberate for another year & then start the whole process over again.

  • 4
    Gerald
    February 18, 2012 - 08:30 | Permalink

    Willard, I’m interested in hearing this. Are you going to upload it? Thanks.

  • 5
    Willard
    February 18, 2012 - 10:09 | Permalink

    Yeah… that WOULD be helpful, wouldn’t it. Thanks.

    Search HERE

  • 6
    notBob
    February 18, 2012 - 19:52 | Permalink

    I actually bought this LP back in the day ’cause I was a sucker for sound effects. A couple of years ago I dug it out and tried (and failed) to listen to it again. Just look at the cover—it proves you can’t go back again! Never heard “The Ark” though. Any chance you’ve got it, too?
    (Thanx for everything else, too, btw)

  • 7
    Willard
    February 18, 2012 - 20:09 | Permalink

    Sure… coming up in a couple days.

  • 8
    OtagoPaul
    February 19, 2012 - 19:11 | Permalink

    Chad and Jeremy are definitely the best 2-man vocal group to appear in an episode of Batman.

    • 9
      MNW
      February 25, 2012 - 14:38 | Permalink

      Re: Chad and Jeremy are definitely the best 2-man vocal group
      to appear in an episode of Batman.

      I don’t know… does Victor Buono count?

      Anyhow, I accidentally purchased The Ark a couple years ago thinking it had the FST on it. The fact that I enjoyed the LP pissed me off even more than the fact that it wasn’t the one I wanted.

      But Willy, you’re in luck today — you’re not required to post David Cassidy’s album, “The Higher They Climb,The Harder They Fall” from 1975 immediately, cuz someone has got the FST cut “Massacre At Park Bench”/”Common Thief” up on YooHooToob. “Massacre” was easily worth the quarter I paid for THAT album, though, I must admit!

      – mnw

      BTW: In attempting to dig out said David Cassidy LP, I ran across Theo Bikel’s “A New Day” [Reprise Recs. 1969] in the pile. It was produced by the fascinating Richard Perry and features Theodore’s renditions of such classic tunes as “For No One, Piggies, Mother Nature’s Son*… you get the idea. IIRC, that ties this with “Little Joe Sure Can Sing! [Brunswick Recs. 1969] for the lead in the “Why the f*** not just go for broke and make a goddam Fab 4 tribute album already?” sweepstakes. Any takers for more than 3 Beatlecovers on one artist’s regular old album?

      *(Okay, “A New Day” also has Theo rocking the Stones (Lady Jane), Paul Williams, Jacques Brel, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, PP&M, and Cat Stevens, so it’s not ALL that single-minded).

  • 10
    Willard
    February 19, 2012 - 19:46 | Permalink

    Fantastic, thanks.

  • 11
    buzz baby jesus
    February 19, 2012 - 23:29 | Permalink

    “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”

  • 12
    MNW
    February 25, 2012 - 15:31 | Permalink

    Quoting the A-MG entry: “’The Progress Suite’ sounds like the score to a movie that wisely never got made”.

    Am I right in guessing at least one poster here would continue that sentence:.”..as opposed to ‘Zachariah’”?

    – mnw

  • 13
    B
    February 9, 2013 - 20:00 | Permalink

    Thanks Capt.

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