Vinyl-a-Day 25: Oliver - Good Morning Starshine (Crewe Records, 1969)
As I work on this series, I need to remind myself that there was a time before I could only get my thrills from expensive, original copies of obscure psych albums, a time when the song “Kicks” didn’t actually resonate with this hobby... a time when I was happy returning from the record store with a handful of $6-12 albums from the 60s pop/rock section, each featuring a hit or two, padded out by a bunch of covers by that artist of others’ hits of the day. Today, I’m going to talk about one of those artists and one of those albums: “Oliver!” William Oliver Swofford is what we could call a two-hit wonder, and both of those hits came from this debut album. His cover of “Good Morning Starshine” from the musical “Hair,” peaked at #3 and the album’s other single “Jean,” from the film “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” hit #1. And, as I said, the rest of the album has some enjoyable filler such as a cover of “Who Will Buy,” from the musical - you guessed it - “Oliver,” as well as “Ruby Tuesday,” “In My Life” and the obligatory “Both Sides Now.” To Oliver’s credit, there are a few original songs as well, such as, “Letmekissyouwithadream.” It all feels like a lost jukebox musical. Sadly, Oliver’s strong tenor voice and good looks proved to be a fad, and follow up singles from his 1971 album “Again” barely cracked the Top 100. He passed away of cancer in 2000 at age 54. Anyway, give it a listen in the morning while you’re getting ready, and there’s something wrong with you if “Good Morning Starshine” doesn’t help start the day right: Glibby gloop gloopy, Nibby Nabby Noopy, La La La Lo Lo. Sabba Sibby Sabba, Nooby abba Nabba Le Le Lo Lo. Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba nabba, Early mornin' singin' song."