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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasure from the past
Yep, this is a pop album--but what a great pop album it is! If you turn up your nose at such things, this CD is not for you. If flawless arrangements, great vocals and beautiful performances are what you seek, look no further--this will fulfill the longing that I see on young and old faces nowadays for well-crafted music.

Growing up in the 60s, I was familiar...
Published on June 18, 2006 by John Jordan

versus
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This groups entry into the Psychodelic Era, late 1960's
In my opinion, this album, when released in the Spring of 1968, was the Association's attempt to shed their 'Pop' ("...everyone knows its Windy") image and follow in the direction that the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" and Rolling Stones "Satanic Majesty's " albums had done only a few months before. (Check out the 'psychodelic' collage cover on...
Published on July 16, 1999


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasure from the past, June 18, 2006
By 
John Jordan (Cincinnati, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
Yep, this is a pop album--but what a great pop album it is! If you turn up your nose at such things, this CD is not for you. If flawless arrangements, great vocals and beautiful performances are what you seek, look no further--this will fulfill the longing that I see on young and old faces nowadays for well-crafted music.

Growing up in the 60s, I was familiar with The Association but mainly just their hits such as Cherish, Never My Love, Windy etc. A few years back, the only CD you could find was their greatest hits release. Once I bought that CD, I became hooked. I started seeking out the vinyl versions of their other albums, "Birthday" being one of them. William B. Rue wrote above "who knew" and he was right on. How could the 60s pass on this and promote all the other twaddle that is in heavy rotation today? The album is just beautiful. "Toymaker" "Barefoot Gentlemen" and "Birthday Morning" (Mr. Rue is right again about that one too. It also takes me back to 1968 and reminds me of how wonderful those times were despite some of the confusion in the world). "Rose Petals, Incense and A Kitten" is also in heavy play here. Of all the music I've bought recently, I am MOST grateful that The Association albums have been re-released. It's been like rediscovering treasure.

I'm not sure how helpful my review is to you, but I would buy "Birthday" if it were released today over anything the labels have promoted in the last 10-15 years. It's one of the most played CDs of the many I own.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Birthday, Association!, October 28, 2004
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
It was 1968, and The Association, hot off the success of their third album, "Insight Out," and it's monster hit single, "Windy," went back into the studio and recorded their fourth album, "Birthday." Once again, this classy sextet deliver some of the best flower-power pop-rock ever made. These catchy, melodic songs are truly awesome, highlighted by the band's expert musical chemistry and vocal harmonies. The album includes more Association classics as "Like Always," "Everything That Touches You," "Time For Livin'," and "Time It Is Today," but also such great buried treasures like the punchy "Come On In," the beautiful "Rose Petals, Incense And A Kitten" (a silly title, I know, but the song is truly gorgeous), the equally exquisite "Toymaker," the haunting "Barefoot Gentleman," and the excellent "Bus Song," featuring a great bit of barbershop vocalising in the middle. When it comes to pop-rock, The Association were (and are) true geniuses. "Birthday" is a brilliant album, one of the band's best.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Association at their peak, October 31, 2000
By 
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
For those of you who love the Association's hit singles ("Cherish", "Along Comes Mary", "Windy", "Never My Love" etc.) and want to delve deeper into the band's catalog, might I suggest BIRTHDAY-- an album that shows just what this group was capable of doing when in the hands of a top-notch producer (in this case Bones Howe, who cut his teeth with the Fifth Dimension and also worked with such groups as the Monkees and later Tom Waits).
Highlighted by three hit singles-- the top-10 "Everything That Touches You" and two top-40's in "The Time It Is Today" and "Time for Living"-- this album also contains a variety of interesting lp "filler" that is really much more than that. Jim Yester in particular really shines on BIRTHDAY, contributing the heartfelt Pacific Coast ballad "Rose Petals, Incense and a Kitten" (highlighted by session pro Tommy Tedesco's sensitive nylon-string guitar fills), the Spectoresque "Barefoot Gentleman" with its thunderous wall-of-sound climax, and the luscious album closer "Birthday Morning", which was inspired by a poem by C.G. Jung. Yester's associates Terry Kirkman ("Everything That Touches You", "the Bus Song") and Russ Giguere ("the Time It Is Today") also turn in significant contributions, while drummer Ted Bluechel and replacement vocalist Larry Ramos manage one decent contribution each. All the instrumental tracks on BIRTHDAY are performed by a powerhouse Wrecking Crew line-up of Hal Blaine, Larry Knechel, Ray Pohlman, Mike Deasy and others. Overall there are no weak songs on this album, and it routinely rises to a level of artistic competance any vocal group this side of the Beach Boys would be hard pressed to match. The Japanese re-issue of BIRTHDAY sold here also includes yet another top-40 single, the tough "Six Man Band". Get it!
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Album...Who Knew?, January 21, 2005
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
When I was about 5 years old "Windy" by the Association was my favorite song. Whenever it came on the radio I would run into my bedroom and manically jump up and down on the bed and shout out --and most likely completely mangle--the lyrics. My older sister whose bedroom was just down the hall would be doing her homework while listening to Jimi Hendrix or the "Hair" soundtrack would shake her head and slam her door shut. Goony kid brother.

Flash forward about 10 years. "Birthday" by the Association was a mainstay of the cut-out bin at my local record store/head shop (Krapopkin records on New York Avenue, Huntington LI in case you were wondering....) I would always pull it from the stack and marvel at its cover and think to myself "maybe I ought to pick this up--I mean...the cover alone". After all, I DID love their "hit songs",--even the glee-clubbish and corny-beyond-words "Cherish". That cover! With its face composite mandela and cut and paste pop-art portraits of the band members. The guy holding the camera...the dude holding up his hand...and who does the serious looking guy with the glasses and the hula hoop over his arm think he is...Ray Manzarek? So GROOVY! I'd flip the cover over and check for any liner notes. Nope, no liner notes--just some very geeky looking guys with bad haircuts and even worse fashions smiling back at me--their faces bathed in some sort of pseudo-lysergic glow (the pooled glow of thousands of little birthday candles perhaps?). Not recognizing any of the song titles, and having only enough money to walk out of the record store (krapopkins, remember?) with either ONE current release, or three cut-outs, I'd drop "Birthday" back in the $1 bin and go back to thumbing through the stores selection of Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath albums. OH LOOK--"A Passion Play" for $2.99!!! Get it Get it!!

Okay. Now it gets a little more interesting I promise. A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of this album on eBay for $2 and have not stopped listening to it. I guess falling in love with Brian Wilson's "Smile" sent me back to listening to things like, well, ...late Capitol period Beach Boys, the Millenium (I have a promotional release of "Begin"), and of course The Association's Greatest Hits--an album I bought while in college ONLY for the super make out tune "Never My Love" and yes, lo and behold--ranking a 10 on the guilty pleasure meter-- "Windy". And yes it's true...I still jump up on the couch and hop up and down like a psilocybin fueled pogo stuck run amock. I am older now and can't flail my arms as wildly as I used to...just ask my neighbor Jim, he'll tell you!

Anyway. I LOVE "Birthday" by the Association. I wish I had bought it back in 1974. Or even another time 10 years ago when I found a used LP in a record store in Montreal for $3 Canadian. I think my wife put the kabosh on that purchase..."The Association? Are you nuts!? They are soooooo lame--here, buy "Monster" by Steppenwolf!" (yuck...)

My point is DO NOT PASS UP AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADD THIS MUSIC TO YOUR LIFE.

I have 22 month old twin boys and we listen to this wonderful wonderful record every morning while I feed them their breakfast. The album begins with "Come on in" which is a bouncy upbeat and swinging opener. Great drumming and bass playing (courtesy of LA's "Wrecking Crew" I gather from reading other posts on this thread). The next song is "Rose Petals, Incence, and a Kitten". Absolutely gorgeous. Okay--next time you find yourself falling in love with someone play this song. I am serious. You must play this song. Here's how: just make sure you are kissing this person for the first time as this song is playing. You will thank me if you do. You're leaning toward each other. The wine fills your head (it's a cab franc). The candlelight. Her eyes. You stand up awkwardly--momentarily breaking the moment--to change the CD. Don't worry. DO it. Play this song. Again. You will thank me! And she will too ( in time ). I guess you can tell I've thought about this.

Okay...I'll skip ahead to "Toymaker". You probably know all the other songs. Their all on the greatest hits album. Okay. This song has some of the most interesting key/chord changes I've ever heard. Lovely song. Intriguing. And incidentally He BEST SONGS on this album are the ones NOT on the (venerable) 1968 greatest hits collection. I think four songs on this album made it onto that album...

"Barefoot Gentleman" opens side 2. My vinyl is really crackly so I don't catch all the lyrics on this one. This tune is really powerful and haunting and trippy. Some great drum rolls (Hal Blaine?) and a very stirring fade out. Unlike anything I've ever heard. Strange song, but compelling. I have no idea why. Maybe if I had a CLUE as to what the guy is singing I'd like it less. I don't know. It's mysterious. You will find yourself playing this one again and again. I know I do. Next song (not on the greatest hits compilation) is "Here in Hear" (or is it "Hear in Here"? --I fergit...) which (I gather from other posters) is sung by the drummer. This song gets me doing the swim, the hully-gully, the frug and the watusi all at the same time!! The singer (Ted Bluechel) sounds a little...I don't know...'Nasally' or something but this song is just totally groovy. My twins dig it, big time! So do I....and YOU WILL TOO!!

Let's jump ahead to Terry Kirkman's "The Bus Song"...a very folky...weird song that has an interesting middle bit with 'barbershop' style singing(!). "You're world shrinks down to the kitchen and den" (I'm a stay-at-home dad so the lyrics are rather poignant). It's got a (dare I say it) ... Bacharach/David feel to it. It's bouncy; the vocals--Ash Grovey folksy. The guitar riff that slides up to the tonic note. da DAAAA....da DAAAA...bop bop bop bop de bop bop bop bop de bop...."the gentleman is staring...at the bus...that passed him by... it blew his day".

Blew my mind is more like it!

And then...the album closer. "Birthday Morning"...one of the most ethereal and gorgeous things I have ever ever heard in my long long life of doing little but listen to music. I hear this song and I am transported to an unusually warm spring morning...it is 1968 and I am watching my sister play lacrosse. My family has driven up to Dobbs Ferry to watch the American Women's lacrosse team play against the English team. (this really really happened). We are having a picnic on the grass. The magnolia trees are in full bloom. I am wearing khakis and a madras jacket. The sun is warm and the bright grass is still cool. I just saw my first butterfly of the year--a lone white cabbage butterfly. A referee blows a whistle and the click click of wooden lacrosse sticks hitting against each other. Girls in tartan skirts run up and down the field. Bright sunshine. A week earlier Martin Luther king had been shot in Memphis. We still have the cream colored Buick special station wagon. This song is playing in my brain.

Glorious. "God bless this morning, the birthday morning". AHHHHHHhhhhhhh. Those voices. The harpsicord.

It's strange. This album was released in 1968 a time of incredible social turbulence. I can understand --in a way-- why it didn't catch on and how the Association became less and less relevant with each subsequent release after this one. We again find ourselves mired in an ugly, unjustified war. Our nation hasn't been more divided than since the time of this album's release.

My recommendation: buy "Birthday" and listen to it frequently. You will feel so good.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Those Were the Days, December 9, 2001
By 
Major Carol Fan (Ventura, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
Ah yes, 1968! Touring the Berkshires in my '64 Impala SS,
with the 8-track player maxing out the four-inch speakers.
Having seen the Association perform at Tanglewood the
previous summer,I bought "Birthday" in a heartbeat.
The bouncy "Come On In", which I had heard live, is one of
my personal favorites. "Time for Living" is a lively,
optimstic, wake up and smell the roses tune, and Jim Yester's
crystal-clear tenor, backed by the group's harmonies,
is well represented on "Birthday Morning".
"Everything That Touches You" remains as one of the best
examples of the Association's hallmark ethereal vocal blends.
The tight harmonies perfectly compliment Terry Kirkman's
softly plaintive and unique lyrical stylings.
If you own only one selection by this group, you can't go
too wrong with this.
Whether you are a baby boomer like myself, glad to have our
oldies available on cd, or a younger person exploring ancient
rock history, these guys should be on your "get it" list.
The Association is perhaps best known for their clear,
multi-layered harmonies, tightly woven around lead vocals
shared by the band members. Buy it, and feel good!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THEIR BEST ALBUM, January 4, 2005
By 
A music fan (Shrewsbury, Ma. United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
I think some of the other reviewers have missed the point with this album. A couple of the other fans seem to place a negative spin on the consistency of this project. The lack of divergent material is EXACTLY what makes this the Assoiation's best album. This is their only five star studio CD, outside of compilation releases

The Association was one of the best and most underated West Coast bands of the late 60s-early 70s. They are defined by their hit singles but fans who do not delve deeper are really missing the boat. I have lived with and appreciated this album since it came out in 1968 and the only other Association album that comes close to it is their self-titled release from a year or so later.

The other reason this album is such a delight is the superlative backing of many of the same session players that Brian Wilson used for much of the Beach Boys studio material. Although their excellent live album attests to the fact that the band were more than capable players these studio musicians were among the best in the business. Among the uncredited performances is the most incredible bass payer ever to record, Joe Osbourne. The accoustic guitar solo on "Rose Petals... by Tommy Tedesco is one of the greatest session solos I have ever heard. Larry Knechtels keybords and Hal Blaine's drumming are top-notch throughout.

No real clinkers and incredible production from the great Bones Howe, along with the impeccable playing make this the best Association album outside of compilations to begin with. If you don't like this one you won't like any of them.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This groups entry into the Psychodelic Era, late 1960's, July 16, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
In my opinion, this album, when released in the Spring of 1968, was the Association's attempt to shed their 'Pop' ("...everyone knows its Windy") image and follow in the direction that the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" and Rolling Stones "Satanic Majesty's " albums had done only a few months before. (Check out the 'psychodelic' collage cover on this album!) Music was evolving very rapidly and was an expression of the times rebellious, politically active, experimental culture. Many pop bands with Top 40 singles or albums a few years earlier, now weren't getting much airplay at all. "Hard Rock" was beginning to dominate and shape the music industry, and squeaky clean songs like "Cherish" & "Never My Love", big hits for the Association in 1966 & 1967 weren't going to cut it anymore. On "Birthday", "Everything That Touches You" turned out to be their top hit from this album and today still sounds just as great over 30 years later! With its heavy bass lines, but light haunting flute tracks, it is one my personal favorite songs of all the Association's work. "Time For Livin'" and "Time It Is Today" are very meaningful songs with a 'carpe diem' or 'seize the day' theme. In the Psychodelic Department, "Rose Petals" & "Barefoot Gentleman" sound a little corny and sleepy nowadays; however, "Hear In Here" and "Come On In" are peppier and got a good Sixties beat. "Toymaker" is O.K. and the "Bus Song" is a little weird, with a sort of 1920's sound. "Birthday Morning" & "Like Always" have some good harmonizing in them. The bonus song "Six Man Band" has a crisp, wailing lead electric guitar that dominates the tune. Overall it is a good album and a must for any Association fan. This album was out of print for a very long time (about 25 years!) so I was estatic when I saw it on CD for sale. Also check out the Import versions of their previous works and their 1970's release "Association Live", also re-released.- RJB, 7/17/99.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of the 1960's, May 21, 2010
By 
Patrick (Chicago, Illinois, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
I first heard the Association's Birthday album back in college (1982) and have loved it ever since. It is a perfect blend of psychedelic, folk, and late 60's pop that keeps getting better with age. Every song is great, no filler here. Just go to the Amazon music sampler and listen for yourself. The best songs are: Rose Petals, Incense and a Kitten, Like Always, Toymaker, Barefoot Gentleman, Here in Here, The Time it is Today, and Birthday Morning (which is the whole album practically). Seriously though, if you consider yourself a fan of 1960's music and love the Beatles, Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, etc, then this is a must. The Association can harmonize as good as anyone and the Birthday Album is solid proof of that. In fact, I think Birthday is a better album than The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds", which is saying an awful lot. Rare is an album where each song is beautiful, atmospheric and haunting. I think this album would have been a lot more popular but it was released in March of 1968 and music was becoming more serious and dark. Too many people were expecting more songs like Windy or Cherish (which are great too), which did not suit the rapidly changing musical tastes which were becoming more politcal, more radical. It's too bad because the Birthday album is one of the 1960's finest treaures. So please, do yourself a favor and LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM ON THE AMAZON MUSIC SAMPLER. Then buy this cd immediately. And when you get it in the mail, pop it in your cd player, put on the headphones, and let yourself be transported back to a golden era of music when groups like the Association were making some of the greatest pop music ever made.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday!, February 27, 2009
By 
Ruthcakes (Wisconsin, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
"Birthday" showcases The Association's unsurpassed harmonies, with songs which, for the most part, are reflective and personal. This CD does not sound at all like any other Association CD, as it focuses more on their softer side. Better known songs on the CD include "Everything That Touches You" and "Time For Livin'". Noteworthy for it's beautiful vocal harmonies are "Barefoot Gentleman" and "Birthday Morning". After listening to these songs, you too will feel as I do, that The Association is possibly the most overlooked and underrated groups of all time. It's a shame that The Association did not have an even greater commercial success, as it could've meant more music by them being made available for us to enjoy. Interesting too are the liner notes which describe the "song that got away", "MacArthur Park". They don't make bands-or songs-like this anymore.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just get it, December 25, 2008
By 
This review is from: Birthday (Audio CD)
this album is just an overlooked gem. what were the record buyers thinking in 1968. if it came out a few years latter when fm radio took over this album would have had alot of airplay. just the album cover should make you want to pick it up and give it a listen.great songs like EVERYTHING THAT TOUCHES YOU, COME ON IN, THE TIME IT IS TODAY,also, the song that should have been just as big of a hit as WINDY,the awesome song,TIME FOR LIVIN', and my personal favorite,BAREFOOT GENTLEMAN,put your headphones when you listen to this one to hear everything this song has to offer. like i said before,JUST GET IT, you wont regret it.
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Birthday (Deluxe Mono Edition)
Birthday (Deluxe Mono Edition) by The Association (Audio CD - 2010)
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