Nov., 14, 1995
01. Bottom of the Soul
02. Absolutely Positively
03. Soul Love
04. Somethin Hurtin on Me
05. Affirmative No
06. The Trap
07. The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly
08. No Girl Gonna Cry
09. Me, Myself, and I
10. To The Light
11. Tin Can beach
12. Time Out (For a Daydream)
13. Astrologically Incompatable
15. Talk Me Down
16. I've Loved You
17. You'll Love Me Again
18. In My Neighborhood
19. Double Yellow Line
20. The Day Today
Sean Bonniwell/Harry Garfield
Sean Bonniwell / Keith Olsen
"A sweetness of sorrow I had never known enclosed me: Love washing my thoughts from the place of my spirit, into the home of my soul."
- Sean Bonniwell
PRODUCED BY>> Sundazed
- Vic Anesini: Digital Remastering, Mastering, Mixing
- Bob Irwin: Digital Remastering, Mastering, Mixing, Producer, Reissue Producer
- Janet Atkins: Project Assistant
- Clark Besch: Photo Courtesy, Photography
- Steve Besch: Photo Courtesy, Photography
- The Bonniwell Music Machine: Primary Artist
- Sean Bonniwell: Audio Production, Composer, Digital Remastering, Guitar, Liner Notes, Mastering, Member of Attributed Artist, Mixing, Photo Courtesy, Photography, Primary Artist, Producer, Reissue Producer, Vocals
- Bex Brownell: Project Assistant
- Jud Cost: Liner Notes, Project Assistant
- Ron Edgar: Drums, Member of Attributed Artist
- Harry Garfield: Member of Attributed Artist, Organ
- Harry Garfield: Composer, Organ
- Jerry Harris: Drums, Member of Attributed Artist
- Jerry Harris: Drums
- Eddie Jones: Guitar (Bass), Member of Attributed Artist
- Eddie Jones: Bass, Unknown Contributor Role
- Mark Landon: Guitar, Member of Attributed Artist
- Mark Landon: Guitar
- The Music Machine: Primary Artist
- Keith Olsen: Bass, Composer, Guitar (Bass), Member of Attributed Artist
- Doug Rhodes: Member of Attributed Artist, Organ
- Doug Rhodes: Organ
- Brian Ross: Audio Production
- Brian Ross: Producer
- Jeff Smith: Package Design
- Kip Smith: Project Assistant
- Mike Stax: Liner Notes
- Guile Wisdom: Guitar, Member of Attributed Artist
REVIEW>> by Richie Unterberger
Although the material the Music Machine recorded for Warner Bros. (released under the name Bonniwell Music Machine) is little-known, it's almost up to the high standards of their Original Sound sides. It's also been extremely hard to find, until this excellent 20-track reissue. This contains the entire contents of the 1968 Bonniwell's Music Machine album (some of which had actually been released on the Music Machine's 1967 singles for Original Sound), plus various rare singles, and a couple of unreleased tunes.
Though a bit erratic, the best of this is thrilling stuff, as exciting as experimental garage rock ever got. "Bottom of the Soul," "The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly," "Talk Me Down," and "Double Yellow Line" all count among their toughest pop-psych punkers. Tracks like "Tin Can Beach," "The Trap," and "Discrepancy" also show songwriter and lead singer Sean Bonniwell expanding from the pounding guitar-organ prototype into more eclectic, but equally compelling, directions, with touches of folk and orchestration. Inventive studio arrangements and lyrical wordplay are constants throughout. You won't find Bonniwell's name mentioned in many standard rock reference books, but this CD further bolsters his credentials as one of the most underappreciated innovators of late-'60s rock.
REVIEW>> by Gary Burns, Popular Music and Society, Winter 1997
The Music Machine's "Talk Talk" was probably the most uncompromising single heard on Top 40 radio in 1966. Lead singer and songwriter Sean Bonniwell growls like a misfit from Mars. The chord change leading into the bridge is audacious and unheard-of. The entire song is pure, ugly wallop. Unfortunately, "Talk Talk" was only a minor hit nationally. Worse still, the Music Machine became a one-hit wonder, which means that relatively few people have heard the marvelous body of work that fleshes out the promise of "Talk Talk."
That is a situation that can now be remedied, thanks to the release of these two CDs, which comprise almost the entire Music Machine catalogue (only a few cuts are missing, and these oversights are avenged by the release of several previously unissued tracks). What is revealed in these recordings is the genius of Sean Bonniwell-a true American original.
Bonniwell has an amazing voice. The closest points of comparison are Eric Burdon, Tom Jones, and Scott McKenzie-as bizarre as that combination may seem. Bonniwell shifts effortlessly from punk screaming to smooth ballad stylings. His pitch range is incredible. He is a brilliant singer.
On top of that, he has a unique personal vision, which guides his songwriting. Beyond the Garage consists entirely of original material and is full of should-have-been hits. Bonniwell's best recordings are almost impossible to describe. "The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly," a favorite of mine, is both chaotic and tightly structured. The arrangement is noisy and unrelenting, but richly textured in its own way. The words are about ecology, predation, and (probably) love, mixed together angrily and sarcastically. This is a frightening, devastating record.
Turn On unfortunately includes five cover versions, which are adequate but much less interesting than Bonniwell's original songs. "Taxman," "See See Rider," and "Hey Joe" are the worthiest covers, with the latter being both slow (a half year before Jimi Hendrix) and operatic (!). Turn On also features "Talk Talk" and its excellent followup, "The People in Me."
"Punk" that he is, Bonniwell is no snot-nosed sniveler. His approach is entirely adult, and his songs are for adults. This may be why commercial success mostly eluded him. You hear that Vox/Farfisa organ sound and expect bubblegum. What you get instead is mature psychodrama. Expecting a nasal, tenor "Come on down to my boat, baby," you get a throaty baritone, singing: "Come on in and show the world the soul you've never had, and tear away from dreams unborn. Shed the cage that makes you sad. Come on in. Don't cry no more. Come on in . .and close the door." (Another interesting comparison is the Monkees' curiously upbeat protest song "Pleasant Valley Sunday" vs. Bonniwell's much darker "In My Neighborhood," which covers the same subject.) The Music Machine had a commercial "sound" but were not juvenile or trivial enough for their own good at the time. That 1960s misfortune makes their work all the more listenable now.
Excellent musicians rounded out the Music Machine, and arrangement and production also shine in these recordings (except that the stereo mixes are generally primitive and often annoying). One odd fact that strikes me as I listen to the Music Machine now is that they knew exactly how to use a tambourine. But that is only the least of their charms. More importantly, the Music Machine pioneered punk rock while remaining a multidimensional band that also excelled at ballads, blue-eyed soul, and even dixieland flavorings. Bonniwell's visions and dreams took him far "beyond the garage" to create a great panorama of American music. His songs deserve to be heard.
The packaging of "Beyond the Garage" lives up to the usual high standards of Sundazed Records, with original liner notes plus several additional pages (including reflections by Bonniwell). Turn On is a barebones reissue with no new songs or liner notes-too bad it was not a Sundazed project.
Bonniwell has also written a touching and fascinating "autobiographical novel," called "Talk Talk". It is available from Christian Vision Publishing, PO. Box 409, Porterville CA 93258.
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"The Music Machine are one of the toughest, meanest, utterly powerful - and intelligent - garage acts of the 1960s."
"... a boss roundup of The Music Machine's rare, post Talk Talk sides and proof that as one-hit wonders go, they had plenty of snort to spare."
"Beyond The Garage documents how the Music Machine injected basic thug-rock with odd-time signatures, complex organ-guitar counterpoint and ominous psychedelia... the bulk of the material remains fresh and brashly distinctive."
"This album was very good when released in its original form on Warner Brothers in 1967; when combined with ultra-rare non-LP single sides and two previously unreleased tracks for this reissue - it's essential."
"This compilation shows two faces of The Music Machine: raw, angry garage rockers but also as a band with a typical well-produced studio sound, yet still interesting and with enough psychy connotations." Scram "Smart writing, gorgeous vocals, a great band... essential." Rock "...thrilling stuff, as exciting as experimental garage rock ever got."
"TWO UNISSUED MUSIC MACHINE SONGS?1?1?1 YES!!! and here they are, courtesy of the mighty Sundazed! These two tunes from '66 are about as psychedelic as it gets...If you buy ONE release outta this whole review section, MAKE IT THIS ONE!!!!! Unless, you're scared that is...Mere mortals like ourselves don't deserve such genius..."