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Advice

Paul Mann: Happy Together Tour Brings ‘60s Harmonies to Chumash Resort

Line up featured Grass Roots, Cowsills, Buckinghams, The Association, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and Raiders, as well as Flo and Eddie

Mark Dawson, bassist and vocalist with The Grass Roots, performs July 23 at the Chumash Resort during the Happy Togehter tour.
Mark Dawson, bassist and vocalist with The Grass Roots, performs July 23 at the Chumash Resort during the Happy Togehter tour. (L. Paul Mann photo)

Now in its fifth year, the Happy Together tour returned July 23 for a sold-out show at the Samala showroom in the Chumash Casino Resort.

The tour was created by Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, better known as Flo and Eddie. The tour takes its name form the biggest hit song by the prolific songwriting duo, from their days in the sixties American pop sensation, The Turtles.

The band even appeared in a popular surfing movie of the day, “Out of Sight.” After the band broke up in 1970, the pair took on the pseudonym, The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, and became much more serious musicians with Frank Zappa’s legendary band, The Mothers of Invention.

The band released several of their own critically acclaimed albums under the moniker Flo and Eddie. They even contributed to albums by the legendary T. Rex, including the mega hit song “Bang A Gong”.

The duo assembled the first Happy Together tour in 2010 as a tribute to the Turtles and featuring other bands from the same era of pop music.

Anchored by the duo, who exhibit the same sarcastic humor associated with the original Mothers of Invention the groups perform a medley of greatest hits, followed by an all star finale with all the bands jamming onstage at the end.

Dusty Hanvey, guitarist and vocalist with The Grass Roots, during their set at the Chumash Resort. (L. Paul Mann photo)

This year’s line up featured The Grass Roots, The Cowsills, The Buckinghams, The Association and Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and The Raiders fame, as well as Flo and Eddie performing the Turtles biggest hits.

The Grass Roots opened the show with some of the hit songs that helped the band sell more than 30 million records. The band was the only one on the tour not to feature at least some of the original members.

This incarnation of the band was put together by one of the original singers, Rob Grill, who kept the band alive over the last several decades. Although Grill died in 2012, his band continues to tour keeping the music alive.

The Samala showroom continues to feature the finest in house sound, lighting and video of any venue in Santa Barbara County, even though new construction has temporarily shrunken the the concert hall to half its usual size.

Live videos of the bands interspersed with classic footage of their sixties performances, dramatically flashed across the massive video screens throughout the performances.

The Cowsills followed, with three of the surviving members of the band playing some of their greatest hits. Siblings Bob, Paul and Susan sang some of the hits that made the band famous in the sixties and inspired the television hit series, “The Partridge Family.”

Before Susan joined the group, the band of original brothers was one of the first successful boy bands in the country, alongside the Jackson Five. One other surviving brother, John, did not join the tour.

The Cowsills, from left, Susan, Paul and Bob, perform at the Chumash Resort. (L. Paul Mann photo)

He has had a successful music career as the touring drummer for The Beach Boys for the last 15 years. He played a special reunion show with Bob at the Soho restaurant in Santa Barbara last year, as part of the premiere of the documentary film, “Family Band: The Cowsills Story," during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Noozhawk journalist Jeff Moehlis interviewed Bob Cowsill last week.

Two of the original members of The Buckinghams joined the back up band for the next set. Singer Carl Giammarese and bassist Nick Fortuna brought the Chicago pop sound alive that made the band the best selling American pop band of 1967.

Three long time members of the pop band “The Association” joined the backing band next, including founding member Jules Gary Alexander.

The group that opened the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, revived some of their biggest hits like “Windy” and “Along Comes Mary.”

Mark Lindsay made an appearance next. As the lead singer of the pop music band Paul Revere and The Raiders, he led the band as the all time biggest selling act ever for Columbia records.

His song “Cherokee People" was particularly well received at the Chumash Resort, inspiring fans to rush the stage, in the traditional opening of the venue to dance fans, towards the end of each show.

Flo and Eddie ended with an impish set, dressed in costumes and joking about the elderly musicians who had graced the venue, before inviting them back one by one to fill the stage for the jam finale.

By the end, the crowd had swarmed the stage and were singing and dancing along to some of the biggest hits of their earliest musical memories.

The Chumash Resort has some great upcoming concerts scheduled including classic rockers Three Dog Night and Kansas, and the godfather of funk rock, George Clinton. These shows will be sure to sell out fast, with the smaller venue and inexpensive tickets accelerating the process.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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