One Track Mind: The Second Helping, “Floating Downstream On An Inflatable Rubber Raft” (1968)

Operating out of Alhambra, California, the Second Helping signed on the dotted line with the local Viva label, where they issued three singles during their livelihood. None of these discs troubled the charts, but they were quite good and makes one wish the band would have pursued their craft a bit longer so they would have recorded a whole album.

Although fame and fortune was not in the cards, the Second Helping’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Kenny Loggins, eventually achieved major stardom. Hooking up with former Buffalo Springfield member, Jim Messina, and calling themselves Loggins and Messina, the duo struck gold, silver and platinum in the name of commercially viable folk pop. Kenny later launched a solo career, where such success was repeated.

Here on the Second Helping’s sophomore effort, the band courts psychedelic experimentation with charming conviction. A wiggy raga rock influence snakes through the track, sketched of dazed but delirious verse prompted either by a drug trip or simply a fertile imagination. The loopy lyrics reflect the sort of fairy dusted dictation found in Strawberry Alarm Clock songs, while the euphoric choruses flicker and flutter to a Beatlesque vibe all the way. Radiant melodies further flood the tune, resulting in a pleasantly pretty piece of flower pop.

Similar to the Second Helping’s first single, “Let Me In/Hard Times,” the flipside of “Floating Downstream In An Inflatable Rubber Raft” takes on a grizzlier and grittier demeanor. Sizzling with acid punk inclinations, “On Friday” crackles to the sound of a punishing snarl, choppy guitars, sputtering breaks and wheezing keyboard passages. Rough around the edges but trembling with determination, the anxiety-ridden anthem is bound to win the seal of approval by fans of garage rock greats like the Electric Prunes and the Chocolate Watch Band.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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