01. 96 Tears
02. Absolutely Positively
03. Advise and Consent
04. Cherry Cherry
05. Citizen Fear
06. Come On In
08. Double Yellow Line
09. Everything is Everything
10. Hey Joe
11. I've Loved You
12. Masculine Intuition
13. Mother Nature/Father Earth
14. See See Rider
15. Smoke & Water
16. Some Other Drum
17. Talk Talk
19. The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly
20. The People In Me
24. You'll Love Me Again
Sean Bonniwelll/Paul Buff
Billy Roberts/Willian Roberts
"I saw myself as a visitor on a planet who longed to leave, knowingly remorseful that such a leaving was not mine to appoint."
- Sean Bonniwell
PRODUECED BY>> Rhino
- The Music Machine: Primary Artist
REVIEW>> by Richie Unterberger
Most famous for "Talk Talk," a Top 20 single from 1966 that was one of the most manic '60s garage-punk hits, the Music Machine had much more depth and songwriting talent than the typical one-hit wonders of the day. Lead singer and songwriter Sean Bonniwell's strangled lyrics and dark, verbose vision paced the group's wiry psychedelic guitar lines and ominous, minor-key Farfisa organ. The San Jose, California-born Bonniwell had been inspired to form his first group in high school in the late '50s after hearing "Only You" by the Platters. He later moved into folk music, and was a guitarist with such early-'60s folk outfits as the Noblemen and the Wayfarers (who'd enjoyed a recording contract with RCA Victor). But by the mid-'60s, with the folk revival boom over (along with the Wayfarers Trio, the British Invasion cresting, and folk-rock on the edge of exploding around him) Bonniwell formed the Ragamuffins in tandem with bassist Keith Olsen and drummer Ron Edgar (late of the folk-pop combo the Goldebriars).
The trio later expanded to a quintet with organist/pianist Doug Rhodes, and second guitarist Mark Landon joining. By 1966, they'd taken on the somewhat more extreme versions of the requisite Beatles haircut, topping an image dominated by black outfits (and Bonniwell's trademarked single black leather glove), and renamed themselves far more distinctively as the Music Machine. Bonniwell was the dominant personality in the group, as a songwriter of exceptional ability and also a serious taskmaster; he'd been very serious about his playing, and also about the recording process, coming off of three LPs with the Wayfarers, and in contrast to most of their rivals of the period, pushed the group into many hours of rehearsals. Even more important, he got them to perfect their sound without getting stale in the process, and the playing by all of the members was first-rate; Rhodes' Farfisa organ and Olsen's attack on the bass were perfectly matched to Bonniwell's intense, brooding vocals. The result was a sound -- as demonstrated on their best singles and the best moments of their one and only LP -- that combined an edgy garage punk attack with playing that was studio- and radio-friendly.
They were signed up by producer Brian Ross, who got their debut single, "Talk Talk," released on Original Sound. That record, a piercing one minute-and-fifty-six-second garage-punk explosion released at the end of 1966, made it to number 15 on the charts and propelled the Music Machine to national prominence (including upward of a dozen appearances on American Bandstand, according to Bonniwell). They were never able to follow it up adequately. Only one album was released with the original lineup, and the group's ferocious energy was diluted on subsequent recordings. Despite chalking up only one more minor hit single ("The People in Me"), the Music Machine recorded quite a few excellent, imaginatively produced singles and album tracks that found them exploring the darker side of psychedelia with compelling intensity and imagination.
Poor management and some incredibly bad decision-making led to their dissolution at the time, but Bonniwell is still something of a musical legend in the 21st century, and "Talk Talk" is regarded as a garage punk classic. Keith Olsen subsequently moved into production, and worked in that capacity with Emitt Rhodes and others before striking a multi-platinum vein with the mid-'70s incarnation (or reincarnation) of Fleetwood Mac on their self-titled 1975 album. Mark Landon seems to have vanished from music after working with Bonniwell and company, but Doug Rhodes and Ron Edgar both moved in and out of the orbit of renowned producer Curt Boettcher (also an ex-member of the Goldebriars) through groups such as Sagittarius and the Millennium, and Edgar also played drums with Bread on their self-titled album.
REVIEW>> by Sleeve notes: The Best of the Music Machine
'It gives us great pleasure to finally make available a consummate package by one of the best rock bands to emerge from the mid 1960s. Because of their aggressive attack and dress-all black, including dyed hair and black glove on one hand only-the group was placed in the vanguard of the punk rock boom. But the Music Machine was much more than that.
'Songwriter Sean Bonniwell assumed various provocative stances and propelled his men through a series of successful experiments, unusual approaches to tuning, use of cymbals, bass emphasis, electronic guitar sounds, an early version of the fuzz box created by bassist (now producer) Keith Olsen, all aided by the production team consisting of Brian Ross, the producer, and Paul Buff the recording engineer. The latter, an electronic genius, invented a 10-track recording machine during a time when most other advanced studios were struggling with four tracks. The records of the Music Machine just might have been the most state-of-the-art of their day.
'The group's very first single, "Talk Talk", provides a good example. An intense whirlwind of disillusion, the song is based on a series of stops and starts that Sean refers to as 'Chinese Jazz'. The only time the title is mentioned is at the four beats at the very end. Right off the group forged its own identity, characterised by fuzz guitar and Farfisa organ, swathed in an aura of mystery. Sean sang and played guitar and wrote the songs. The rest of the band consisted of Olsen, Mark London, lead guitar, Ron Edgar, drums, Doug Rhodes, organ. This is the line-up that played on the Music Machine's better known recordings. Although the group was popular in its native Los Angeles, and while various singles achieved regional recognition, save for "Talk Talk" the band's gems have been long waited to be rediscovered. That time has finally arrived.'
REVIEW>> by THE RAW SOUNDS OF PROTOPUNK, 01/13/1985
Los Angeles Times, TERRY ATKINSON
Caught up in the swirling excitement of soon-to-peak psychedelia, various American "garage bands"-several from Los Angeles-began to experiment in late '66 and early '67 with a brash, raw sound that would later be termed "protopunk." Among them: Seeds, Standells and Music Machine.
Inspired by English bands like the Yardbirds and the Who, these U.S. outfits discharged what might be called aggressive confusion, swinging their chief weapon-the chain-saw buzz of fuzztone guitar-at enemies both real and imagined. "Talk Talk" was Music Machine 's only big hit, but one that expressed the raging style with a fury exceeded at the time perhaps only by Love's "Seven and Seven Is." The band's subsequent recordings for the Original Sound and Bell labels achieved little more than regional success. There was only one album, "Turn On."
In late '67, members began to drop out, including Olsen, who began a production career that led to albums with Fleetwood Mac and Pat Benatar. Bonniwell kept MM going two more years, then tried a solo turn with little luck. Sound: Psycho-rock at its finest and progenitor of such modern songs as "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies, "Talk Talk" has a charged-up, manic urgency that still delivers a punch. It's hard to believe that a band able to wax something that powerful faded, but this smart compilation of singles, album cuts and four unreleased tracks shows that Bonniwell was never able to write anything quite comparable. Rockers like "Absolutely Positively" and "The People in Me" skillfully emit neurotic vibes but fall short of the hit's musical drive and vocal tautness. Still, several songs have a semi-naive, garage-psychedelic charm and considerable energy, and the album ends with two unreleased cuts from 1969 that indicate the group was getting the knack for newly evocative, moody material just before it broke up.
PERSONAL NOTE>> by Sean Bonniwell
TERMS & CONDITIONS | Site by:
Copyright © 2012 Uncle Helmet's Music, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
TALK TALK… is about the intense trauma of going to high school. This song's one minute and fifty-six seconds of unrelentless force never let us down. The Magic was always there, for The Music Machine and for the screaming, faceless, crowds that never heard more than the first two chords.
THE PEOPLE IN ME…doesn't endorse multiple personalties, but it does propose that we would like to believe that there is someone in us immune to manipulation.
MASCULINE INTUITION…was way ahead of the feminist movement, still is. (Sorry Helen, I wasn't reddy.)
TROUBLE... is what you're in for if you're convinced that it's inevitable. It is, but you can't be happy without it.
COME ON IN…paints mind pictures with the colors of intellectual seduction, romantically and spiritually.
THE EAGLE NEVER HUNTS THE FLY…admonishes the American idealist to keep regarding famine and war as unnatural, and features a duck call, and a terrific soul scream that has nothing as it's object except to prove that I could do one.
DOUBLE YELLOW LINE…was written in the car on the way to record it. Writing the lyrics with one hand and steering with the other gave me the title.
ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY…was the first neurotic, "me" song, sung by an occasional neurotic, me. It challenges the secular humanist's creed that there "is no such thing as an absolute"….which is an absolute statement.
EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING…is what the fool on the hill used to say. It isn't and all the consuming fire and comedy of human love proves it.
MOTHER NATURE, FATHER EARTH…turns a jaundiced prophetic eye on pollution, man made and manufactured. (Is there any other kind?)
ADVISE AND CONSENT…philosophically stands aside and stares at the necessary conflict of opposite extremes. The sudden change from 4/4 time to 3/4 is meant to underscore the dilemma.
YOU"LL LOVE ME AGAIN…is nothing so much as a desperate scream against the unfathomable female mind. It might help to remember that most women want what they can't have, and after they get it, they don't want it anymore.
BLACK SNOW…is an account of what I think it must be like to be blind, physically, and to God.
DARK WHITE…is deeply seductive, and suggests that there are mental virgins in the world.
As the creator-singer/songwriter, I'd like to assure you that as far as I'm concerned this is the best of the Music Machine. Sean Bonniwell Rhino Records 1984