Two for Tuesday: The Association

When I got tired of playing songs like “The Volga Boatman’s Song,” “The Old Folks at Home,” and the ever-popular “Etude #3” from Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method, Book 1, I asked my guitar teacher if I could please play something a little more modern. He said fine and told me to bring in a song that I wanted to do. I was back the following week with the sheet music for “Windy” by The Association. I’m not sure if I really wanted to play it, but it was either that or “Etude #4” by Mel Bay. (Note to parents: if your child wants to take guitar lessons and his or her prospective guitar teacher says “get a copy of Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method, Book 1,” find someone else.)

The Association were squeaky-clean, nicely dressed, and played catchy Top 40 music. And they even had a recorder player! (Wonder if he learned from Mel Bay’s Modern Recorder Method, Book 1?) Even our parents liked them. They grew out of a 13-piece folk-rock ensemble called The Men, who at one time was the house band at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. Their first hit, “Along Comes Mary,” our first song today, was issued in 1966 and rose to #7 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the Cash Box survey. Their next hit, “Cherish,” went all the way to #1 on both surveys. In 1967, Warner Brothers bought their record label; their first single for them, the aforementioned “Windy,” our second song, rose to #1 on both the Hot 100 and Cash Box. Their next hit, “Never My Love,” was their last big hit, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on Cash Box.

Original members Jules Alexander and Jim Yester have managed to keep the group alive, and, as their website tells us, performs year-round “as schedules permit.” There’s plenty more music on YouTube, including several complete albums.

The Association, your Two for Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

5 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: The Association

  1. Ah, yes, the old Mel Bay guitar books. I did a stint with a guitar teacher and we used that program as well. I never kept up with guitar playing and now can only strum a few chords. I should have been more persistent.

    I just about wore out my copy of And Then Along Comes The Association–a great album by a great group.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I’m not sure that the problem was old Mel… probably more the teacher I had, who as far as I could tell couldn’t play the guitar himself. Then the material becomes a crutch. I got through Book 3, the third one on my own.

      Like I said, it’s a shame we didn’t hear more of them. They did so much more than the 4 Top 40 hits they’re known for.

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    1. They said that “Cherish” was a tough song to do, because it was so intense, yet quiet, with a lot of crescendoes. Beautiful song. They had four hits, the two in the post, “Cherish,” and “Never My Love,” but an incredible repertoire, enough to fill several albums, and it was good music. It’s a shame they didn’t make it bigger. They could have been a supergroup.

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