Jessie Lilley
Buddy Barnett
Brad Linaweaver

November 2009     Web Edition     Issue #3

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Young Girl

The Best Of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

Sony Legacy 2004

It’s kinda hard to remember BS [Before Stewart 1970 AD*] sometimes but it’s kinda hard to forget as well: Hip-huggers and body suits—headbands and love beads—The Monkees, The Beatles, The Byrds, Paul Revere and The Raiders [with Mark Lindsay!—such a dish] and Gary Puckett—the loves of my young life. Listening to the Union Gap’s Greatest Hits 35 years later was a bit of a struggle. I had to force myself to turn off Stewart, turn off Tyler, turn off bloody Mick Jagger [well that is Keith Richards on guitar after all] and put this CD in the box. I usually listen to the epic “Get A Grip” album from Aerosmith—or the Stones’ caveman brilliance of “Aftermath.” And leave us not forget our lad Rod and my heartthrob “Gasoline Alley.” You want oldies? I got oldies. I mean, for God’s sake! Who wants to listen to “Young Girl” when you can hear this stuff? I do.

Who knew?

I didn’t know. Not until I forced myself into this because I couldn’t let Garmon do it—distant relations down South and all that. One must preserve the magazine’s integrity, no? Besides, I always liked Gary Puckett and it sounded like a kick.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Just put the sucker in. Wow! They even remembered ‘Daylight Stranger!’ That is one cool track. Five part harmony and country pickin’ keeping up with a greased lightning keyboard! Now see here. Some fan site online says this track only has guitars and drums. No way! That’s Gary Withem tickling those ivories.

Here’s a liner note problem. Why is there not a track listing letting us know what’s on what and who plays it? Jaan Uhelszki notes the band members but that doesn’t help when you’re a rabid fan and you want the details. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of information either. It’s just—incomplete. I hate that. But I digress.

I forgot how hot these guys were.

I also forgot what a terrific voice Gary Puckett has. Somehow, bubble-gum has become ‘little kids’ music. “Oh! You liked that when you were a little kid!” I guess no one ever told Elvis. According to his widow, Puckett was one of the singers in the Big E’s collection. They were bubble-gum. They wore Union soldier get ups and sang tight harmony, clean melody, super smooth ballads and story teller lyrics to break the heart. From ‘Young Girl’ to ‘Don’t Give in to Him,’ the Union Gap managed to sell over 20 million records by 1970. The fannish though reasonably informed liner notes point out that they even outsold The Beatles one year. Not too shabby.

There are only 14 tracks on this set but they are primo. I keep pushing the buttons to go back to “Woman, Woman” and “Lady Willpower” [the A side of the ‘single’ with ‘Daylight Stranger’ on the B side] and of course, the teeny-bopper girl’s wet dream, ‘This Girl Is a Woman Now.’

Oh well. I guess I’m gonna have to go out and buy more Raiders and Monkees and, and….[sigh].

—Jessie Lilley

*Yeah, yeah, I know. But 1970 is when I first noticed him! And as a result, those other fellas—The Stones—yeah—I found out about them too.