Looking For The Sun, credited to Curt Boettcher & Friends, is a fascinating alternate universe snapshot of the 1960’s sonic landscape. Boettcher is revered among fans of all things sunshine pop, an artist and producer who never quite had his bright moment in the star-shine. But that isn’t to say he didn’t try and his legend has grown over the years to almost mythic status depending upon who you talk with. I’m a fan these days, for sure.
Boettcher certainly had some hits producing the debut album for The Association (And Then… Along Comes The Association). He broke into the business producing Tommy Roe’s gold-selling hit “Sweet Pea.” His recording with The Millennium is the stuff of legend and remains an in-demand collector’s item as are his Gary Usher produced recordings with Sagittarius (who more or less “discovered” Boettcher while he was producing a record for Lee Mallory, “That’s The Way It’s Gonna Be“).
But there was much more…
And that is where Looking For The Sun comes in, filling gaps with a multitude of singles was involved in that should have been on radio but which for whatever reason didn’t quite make it to the top of the pops (some didn’t even get released!).
You might have noticed that I mentioned how Looking For The Sun is credited to “Curt Boettcher & Friends.” Indeed there are some tracks here that seem to be included as they are part of the universe from which Boettcher emanated.
Keith Colley’s fabulous “Shame Shame” which feels like a lost Spanky & Our Gang hit, was produced by surf music legend Gary Usher (The Magic Lanterns had a Top 30 hit with their version of the song in 1968).
That song was the flip-side to “Enamorado” which — according to the copious notes in the detailed booklet in the album — included background vocals from Boettcher and his band The Millenium. “Shadows & Reflections” by Eddie Hodges could be a lost Polyphonic Spree epic!
This collection is more than just obscure singles compiled: there are some fabulous previously unreleased tracks which inexplicably never saw the light of day. One of the best tunes opens the album: “You Were Near Me” by Cindy Malone (who apparently was Spike Jones’ niece!). It is a driving 1967 psychedelic pop rocker that falls somewhere in the grandest of canyons between Dusty Springfield and Abba.
I should note that these fine classic 60s rock productions are frequently backed by many of the greatest musicians of the day — many from the Wrecking Crew, in fact! — including Jerry Scheff, Mike Deasy, Plas Johnson, Ray Pohlman, Glen Campbell, Jerry Cole, Bill Pitman, etc.
Looking For The Sun was recently released on the High Moon Records imprint but I was pleased to find the physical LP is presented on a period-accurate “two-eye” Columbia Records label (Sony owns High Moon and Columbia, so this makes senses). The vinyl is happily quiet and well centered and sounds terrific — very much in keeping with how a record from this period might sound.
Looking For The Sun is not on Tidal or Qobuz as of this writing but there are a couple handy Boettcher-related collections there you should explore.
First up is The Collected Curt Boettcher Vol. 1 (click here for it on Qobuz) which has a number of interesting tracks including a demo for The Association hit “Along Comes Mary” which Boettcher produced. You can also find Curt’s fine lone 1973 solo album — There Is An Innocent Face — on both streaming services (click here for Tidal and here for Qobuz).
There is much sunshine pop joy to discover in the Curt Boettcher universe and if you are already a fan you no doubt need Looking For The Sun.