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The Robbs

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Audio CD, January 4, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Although the Robbs quartet was founded by three siblings, none of them was named Robb. They were actually David Donaldson, Robert Donaldson, and George Donaldson. Prior to garnering the attention of teen music mogul Dick Clark, the trio added percussionist Craig Krampf. Under Clark's supervision, the Robbs were featured in a few high-profile television appearances and secured a short-lived deal with Mercury Records.This initially yielded a handful of 45s in 1966, which were slightly augmented and issued as their self-titled (and only) long-player. The Robbs' sound centered around lighter affairs such as the nimble "Cynthia Loves" and tightly packed Hollies-esque vocal harmonies on "Next Time You See Me." Similarly, "Girls, Girls" is a slice of carefree sunshine pop, hinting at the Association and the Turtles, while the pensive "Rapid Transit" is reminiscent of the Left Banke and the Strawberry Alarm Clock's more Baroque approach. The Robbs also show off a penchant for folk-rock on a superior reading of Eric Andersen's "Violets of Dawn," the original composition "Race With the Wind," and an adaptation of "Jolly Miller," the latter adopting a garage feel thanks to the propulsive bassline and omnipresent timekeeping tambourine. The album's initial release barely made it into the Top 200, which may have had something to do with the fact that all but two of the selections had already been available as 7" singles. [In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music re-released The Robbs on CD after several decades relegated to cutout bins and online auctions.] ~ Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide

1. Violets of Dawn
2. Race With the Wind
3. Cynthia Loves
4. Next Time You See Me
5. Girls, Girls
6. Bittersweet
7. See Jane Run
8. In a Funny Sort of Way
9. Rapid Transit
10. Jolly Miller

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 4, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • ASIN: B0002LO7D8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,528 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Doherty on June 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I can only agree with the other reviewers who wrote about this CD. Almost every cut is a fantastic encapsulation of the whole feeling of the era, and especially being young during that era. (I can still remember being on a family vacation in Wisconsin with my parents, and the exact stretch of country road we were driving on while "Race with the Wind" was on the AM car radio.) And talk about variety... although there is a consistent Robbs sound throughout the CD, each song offers something a little different - a new rhythm, surprising instrumentation, cool harmonies. "Race with the Wind" is one of THE finest overlooked classic '60's songs. This CD will only get better the more you play it. HOWEVER, let it be known that although the original LP was issued in stereo, this CD reissue is in MONO. As the stereo mixes did offer a little more clarity to the different instruments, this is unfortunate, but still should not deter you from getting this great CD.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By IJEFF on March 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I was extremely pleased to see this CD finally available. I grew up with a lot of these songs living in Wisconsin. Hard to believe they never broke out nationally because the bulk of these songs are as good as a lot of what their contemporaries like the Grass Roots were putting out at the same time. Might be more a reflection on the poor marketing often times associated with Mercury records (i.e., see Graham Parker). As other reviewers have pointed out, "Race With the Wind" is an outright masterpiece. Other excellent songs include Violets of Dawn, Rapid Transit, Cynthia Loves It and of course, Bittersweet which I believe was the closest The Robbs ever got to a national hit. Interestingly, when I first heard Rapid Transit way back when, I thought it was Roger McGuinn and The Byrds. The final song, Jolly Miller is quite a departure from their sunny pop style, but is also quite good. Sound quality is overall decent though nothing exceptional. Just a really nice little nugget from the late 60's of well crafted pop music that somehow never found its way to the top of the charts. Now if we could get an official cd release from the post-Robbs band Cherokee which was made up of most of the same musicians and features the lost classic song "Girl I've Got News For You".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Bell on February 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This album is an absolute trip back in time, when music from one of the best bands out of Milwaukee rose to the top! My brother Dick introduced me to them when I was about 11 years old. He was the bass player in another Milwaukee band called "Rob, Roy and the Rest". Together with The Robbs, they traveled the Milwaukee-Madison-Chicago circuit with the likes of the Ricochettes, the Skunks, and about 25 other local bands. This is music when things like girls, heartbreak, cars and the early exploration of the anti-war sentiment came out of the garages of the Midwest through music that was simple but able to be played live in ways today's artists could only dream of. This is music without synthesizers, before we lost the innocence of Viet Nam, when piling your friends in the back seat of your 65 Impala and heading to the drive-in was cool.

Race with the Wind is an airwave dream heard in a thousand high schools and local pavilions. An absolutely superb 60's song. Cynthia Loves Me may be classified as bubble gum, but you have to remember that this was when times were much simpler and music didn't have to be filled with obscenities and screams.

Get this album and regain your innocence!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on May 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The blitz of reissues wrought by the CD revolution leaves one to wonder if there really are undiscovered gems still in the vaults. The reissue of this mid-West folk-rock-psych-pop-bubblegum band's one and only LP emphatically proves the answer to be Yes! Though their singles, first for an assortment of indies, later for Mercury, Atlantic, Dunhill and ABC barely scraped the bubbling-under section of Billboard's charts, they left behind a legacy of outstanding pop music that neatly fuses folk-rock, psychedelic/garage and bubblegum.

Originally formed in Wisconsin, the Robbs landed a spot as Dick Clark's house band for "Where the Action Is" and a contract with Mercury. Their singles added up to this 1967 album, supplemented by a pair of non-single tracks, and touched #200 on the Billboard LP chart for but a single week. The release then disappeared (except, perhaps, for baby-boomers who had the pleasure to dance to The Robbs at Midwest shows) until Collectors' Choice thankfully rescued it from its undeserved obscurity.

Though the band created a few superb covers, including the sunshine-harmony of Eric Anderson's "Violets of Dawn," the polished garage pop of Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan's "Bittersweet," and a Byrds-styled rock arrangement of the chilling folk standard "Jolly Miller," their seven originals are perhaps even better. The rolling drums of "Cynthia Loves" bring to mind Tommy Roe, with a melody and sunshine harmonies that are just waiting for Rooney to take a dip. "Rapid Transit" borrows the vocal stutter from The Five Americans' "Western Union" to fine effect, and a Revolver-era backwards guitar permeates "Next Time You See Me." Whether or not The Robbs created these innovations, they played them out for all they were worth.
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