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Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution
PART TWO - by Billy Ingram

THE ALBUM

You can forgive yourself if at times you think you're listening to a New Wave album from a decade later. This LP lovingly trips over the pop conceits of the sixties, breaking songs down to a simple, happy energy in the same way groups like The Knack and The Go-Gos would in the early-eighties.

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1 - Sha-La Love You
The album started out with the single that nearly cracked the Top 40; the 45's picture sleeve is seen right.

2 - Teaser

3 - Wild Dreams (Jelly Beans)
With lyrics like: "Jet planes, freight planes, my heart's beating fast; It's pounding out the rhythm of a hydrogen blast. Blind bats, alley cats, why can't you see; Just what the thought of loving you is doing to me."

4 - Kissing Doll
There was a lot of free association going on with the lyrics to these songs, I suspect.

5 - Magic Feeling
It almost sounds like the theme from Beverly Hills 90210 at the start. This song was no better or worse than anything else on the charts in 1970.

6 - Live

7 - Rollin' in the Clover
I Wanna Be Sedated meets Crimson and Clover. It was pretty clever to write a song for kids about rolling around on the ground since that's about all we had to do as kids in 1970.

8 - Yummy Love

9 - Superstatic, Instamatic, Electric Vibrations
With lyrics - "It's your super-static, instamatic, e-lect-ric vibrations going on inside of me."

10 - Daydream
The ballad of the LP has a sparse arrangement with blended harmonies from vocalist Steve Hammond - singing with himself.

11- Blind Date

12- The Evolution Revolution
The hardest rocking tune has some nice guitar work and the organ is pre-synthesizer era.

 

THE PRODUCER SPEAKS!

Bob Emenegger was the producer of the Lancelot Link and the The Evolution Revolution LP and he also scored the incidental music for the series. He tells us:

My music career began at UCLA where I directed and composed songs for student musicals. I was lucky enough to work with Barbara McNair and especially with the very talented Carol Burnett! We all did a number of USO shows for the troops and I acted as music director, playing the bass, which I faked it a lot when I didn't know the music.

Later I wrote songs with Bert Convy after the original Cheers broke up (Black Denim Trousers). We got great reviews but few sales.

Then I worked for Carson Roberts Ad agency as Broadcast Creative Director, writing commercials and also scoring many of them (Mattel, Max Factor, Gallo Wine). Later I moved to Grey Ad Inc. as V/P Creative Director, doing campaigns and much of the music.

One day I met with Allan Sandler who owned a large TV production studio. I had done the score to a feature film he produced called Frazier, the Sensuous Lion. Not at big hit.

He was producing Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp for television with Carol Burnett Show writers Burns and Marmer. Allan asked me to score Lance Link - which was a blast!

For the songs, I brought in Steve Hoffman who I had used on several Honda TV spots. He was a gem of a find. His talent was perfect for Lance Link, both singing and writing. Steve was an unknown vocalist, from a group that TV producer Clancy Grass used. He was/is an untrained musician who played guitar left handed.

Steve composed most of the songs on the album, I did several as well (Rollin' In the Clover was one I co-wrote with Steve). I produced the LP exactly as if I was doing a TV commercial or background music for a film.

It was not written to be bubble gum music - I penned the songs to fit the show. As I recall, Steve did all the vocals and overdubbing and we recorded in a studio that ABC/Dunhill set up. The band was made up of studio players - about 7 musicians, 2 brass with a percussionist on chimes also. It's possible the score may have called for more instruments at times.

The videos were shot later to match the completed songs. They even played the tunes for the chimps - who were all over the place until they heard the music and began to play in sync to the beat.

After Lance Link, I did the score to Another Nice Mess for Tommy Smothers and Bob Einstein (Super Dave Osborne) and again used Steve Hoffman to sing the featured songs.

I didn't do any other kid shows except for some sequences for the Electric Company/Sesame Street.

I did collaborate further with Allan Sander and co-owned a film studio (Pico Bronson) where we co-produced 10 original Sci-Fi features for television, along with a handful of specials including UFO's Past, Present and Future which was nominated for a Golden Globe award. I wrote the script and the music (didn't have enough money to hire a composer).

I retired to Fayetteville, Arkansas after my wife hounded me to get out of LA after the riots, earthquakes, traffic, graffiti, etc. Here I got involved with the Access Station board. I'm a supporter of the Symphony and wrote a piece for the North Arkansas Symphony which was performed during their regular season. A fine orchestra, the conductor is from New York.

Last I heard (years ago) vocalist Steve Hoffman was doing music in Vegas.

- Bob Emenegger

 

THE GRASS ROOTS /
EVOLUTION REVOLUTION
CONNECTION

The Grass Roots were responsible for a number of the biggest hits of the late-sixties / early-seventies, tunes like Midnight Confessions, Sooner Or Later and Temptation Eyes. We asked Glenn, the Webmaster of the Grass Roots Fan Page what these groups had in common.

The Evolution Revolution connection with The Grass Roots is very close.

The Lancelot Link album was released on Dunhill/ABC, the same label the Grass Roots were on. And Steve Barri, the Grass Roots' producer, was A&R Director of that label and had direct say over everything that was released.

It was Barri who gave the song "Sha-La Love You" to the Lancelot Link crew when they were looking for a potential hit single. That song was originally a demo for the Grass Roots written by Harvey 'Michael' Price and Dan Walsh, who wrote "Temptation Eyes" and many other hits for the Roots. The Grass Roots turned the song down, and Barri ended up producing the final version for Lancelot Link, with Steve Hoffman doing the vocals.

And most of the studio musicians on the track were the same ones that played on the Grass Roots sessions - so it was practically a Grass Roots record except for the vocals. Pretty much the rest of the album was co-written by Steve Hoffman, with one more Price/Walsh song appearing on it.


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