One Track Mind: Teddy and the Pandas, “Once Upon A Time/Out The Window” (1966)

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Here’s one of those singles that, in a perfect world, would have grasped the charts everywhere and transformed Teddy and the Pandas into the big stars they should have been. Thankfully, the disc wasn’t totally rejected, as it did snag a lot of airplay in and around the band’s home base of Beverly, Massachusetts, and was awarded spins on assorted radio stations throughout the country.

Reminiscing and regretting is the theme of “Once Upon A Time” (Coristine Records), which recites the story of a lost love. Buttered with a Beatlesque beauty marked by pristine vocals, fluid harmonies, plump melodies and the heart-tugging twirl of a harpsichord, the gleamingly gorgeous song is clearly modeled after the attentively-crafted textures and tones heard on “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver.” Enterprising and resourceful, the track tells us Teddy and the Pandas were ambitious fellows, capable of writing their own material and adding an extra spark to the proceedings.

The flipside of “Once Upon A Time” is just as great, if not better. Combining rollicking rockabilly rhythms with jingling Byrdsian guitars and a spunky chorus that simply kills, “Out The Window” snaps, crackles and pops with boundless energy and excitement.

Enough exposure was actually given to the disc to the point where the Musicor label picked it up for national distribution. But as stated, global domination did not happen and Teddy and the Pandas continued to tool about the regional circuit. The band did release a few more singles though, and in 1968 they cut a pretty cool album, Basic Magnetism for Tower Records that falls somewhere between high-end garage rock and Monkees-styled psychedelic pop.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

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