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Strawberry Alarm Clock: meaningful nouns

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UnwindWithSAC.com is an exhaustive collection of information about Strawberry Alarm Clock's music and career. Every album and every song has its very own dedicated page. This is where you learn about the band, leave comments, buy new/used CDs and vinyl LPs, and download MP3s.

Strawberry Alarm Clock had a #1 hit for one week in 1967 with "Incense And Peppermints", and that song is how most people remember the band today. Which is a shame; it's a good song but the band was more than one fluke hit. Strawberry Alarm Clock released four albums and several singles, including a bunch of sides as Thee Sixpence before changing their name to SAC. On all these records, lost classics abound.

The band's first album, Incense And Peppermints, is awash in the floating mid-1967 California feeling that permeates the best music of the era. Flutes and harpsichords enhance an often dark and unsettlingly surreal world. The next album was Wake Up... It's Tomorrow, where SAC increased the gentle wistfulness on some tracks and plumbed further depths of darkness and weirdness on others. The World In A Sea Shell (1968) followed, adding dense orchestration to a grab bag of hammy Tin Pan Alley schmaltz and inspired band originals. Good Morning Starshine was full of stripped-down blues boogie alongside some classic SAC ethereality.

Strawberry Alarm Clock released their first new music in 2012, the album Wake Up Where You Are. So now is a great time to take a closer look at the band on UnwindWithSAC.com.

"Strawberry Alarm Clock": Nouns? Yes. Meaningless? Never!

Strawberry Alarm Clock vinyl

The World In A Sea Shell LPs

Buy a CD or vinyl LP copy of The World In A Sea Shell here new or used. We list several different copies for sale, including the Japanese obi version of the CD (and sometimes the LP), so you can get SAC's third album however you want. Take a look at the current The World In A Sea Shell selection below; if you see the item you want in an acceptable price range, grab it; this selection changes often. Enjoy the groovy cover art, whichever version you buy

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Changes vinyl

To buy the 1971 Strawberry Alarm Clock compilation album Changes, keep a watch on this section of UnwindWithSAC.com. The album, which featured mostly latter-day Clock singles and album songs, is now pretty hard to find, and often not available at all here. Interested buyers may need to be diligent when waiting for a copy to show up. Changes is named for a single from the Good Morning Starshine album. The cover of Changes is really nice, and is one of the main reasons that many want a copy for themselves. The album was never released on CD, which is perhaps just as well: the tracks themselves have all been digitized and released in one form or another. For displaying in your house or music room, Changes is highly recommended and should be LP-sized; who needs a Changes CD?! Read more about the Strawberry Alarm Clock Changes compilation album here

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Thee Sixpence vinyl

Buy your copy of Thee Sixpence records here. We mostly list Step By Step for sale, though there are occasionally some rare original 45 rpm singles from All-American for sale too. If you are just looking to hear the band, though, and are not a serious collector, the Step By Step compilation album is the way to go. It was originally released on vinyl in 1998, and this is still the most commonly available format. Some CD copies were also made, and are generally higher-priced but certainly within the realm of possibility and budget

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Strawberry Alarm Clock CDs

Incense & Peppermints (1990) CDs/cassettes

Buy the 1990 MCA compilation album Incense & Peppermints here. This best-of Strawberry Alarm Clock album is the most widely available SAC album these days, in both CD and cassette form. Note that this is not the same as the band's 1967 debut album, which had a different cover design and is often distinguished by its use of And in the title rather than &. There are better compilations than this 1990 Incense & Peppermints (re-released in 2004 with different, more colorful artwork), but this one is easy to find if you want a very cheap, basic introduction to the band

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Strawberries Mean Love CDs

Buying the compilation Strawberries Mean Love is a pretty good way to get into Strawberry Alarm Clock if you're new to the band; the CD version in particular, with its eight extra tracks over the vinyl, is a good introduction to the band if you don't want all the original albums for some reason. If you prefer vinyl (maybe for the nice cover art!) there are usually a few copies floating around this section for LP buyers as well. Take a look, and if you don't see what you want exactly, keep checking back because this list is ever-changing

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Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology CDs

For such a decent SAC compilation CD, the Anthology can be hard to find. Most people opt for the Strawberries Mean Love disc instead, as it has much the same songs and is much more widely available. If you are looking to complete a collection though, there are sometimes copies of the Anthology CD in this section. (It was never released on vinyl.)

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SAC albums

Strawberry Alarm Clock released four studio albums between 1967 and 1969 — Incense And Peppermints, Wake Up... It's Tomorrow, The World In A Sea Shell, and finally Good Morning Starshine. Also during this original period, SAC contributed some songs to the 1968 soundtrack album for the movie Psych-Out (albeit with no non-album songs) and two new songs to the 1970 cult classic movie Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Since that time, there have been many Strawberry Alarm Clock compilation albums (not to mention billions of 'Various Artists' 60s comps, most with the track "Incense And Peppermints" included). Some of these have been released on vinyl only (The Best Of Strawberry Alarm Clock Vol. 1 from the 1980s, most significantly), while others have been released on CD only. (Examples are 1971's Changes, which had two new songs with singer Paul Marshall on it, The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology and the confusingly-titled 1990 compilation Incense & Peppermints.) And of course others...

Psych-Out soundtrack

The soundtrack LP of the 1968 movie Psych-Out features Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Seeds, Boenzee Cryque, and the Storybook performing a nice selection of psychedelic pop songs. Strawberry Alarm Clock has no otherwise unavailable songs here, except for a shorter edit of "The World's On Fire". The album is a great collector's piece but not strictly necessary apart from that.Although there are only two SAC songs on the Psych-Out soundtrack album, "The World's On Fire" (in two forms) and "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow", a third song by the band, the sparklingly excellent "Pretty Song From Psych-Out", is on it, but performed by the Storybook instead of the Clock. This version is not bad — in fact, it's basically a note-for-note copy of Strawberry Alarm Clock's version, which is found on the Wake Up... It's Tomorrow LP — but of course not as great as the original.The StorybookThe Psych-Out soundtrack album is usually described as a Strawberry Alarm Clock/Seeds album, but that is a bit of historical revisionism reflecting the greater reknown of those groups; the album in fact focuses on the Storybook, who are mostly unknown otherwise and who have some really great psychedelic music here. The movie may be a psychsploitation flick enabling the producers to make a fast buck, but the music is high quality nonetheless. From such dull origins come great things.AvailabilityApparently never released as a CD, original vinyl copies are the only way to hear the Psych-Out soundtrack. They are not particularly common, but it is usually not too difficult to find a copy if you really want one. I actually recommend it, if for the hilariously blatant (but legally a-ok) "Purple Haze" ripoff called "Ashbury Wednesday" by Boenzee Cryque that is played in the movie by Jack Nicholson's psychedelic band.Track listingSide 1"Pretty Song From Psych-Out" - The Storybook"Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow" - 3:03 Strawberry Alarm Clock"Two Fingers Pointing On You" - The Seeds"Ashbury Wednesday" - Boenzee

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Incense & Peppermints (1990)

Incense & Peppermints (note the ampersand in the title — this is different than the 1967 album Incense And Peppermints) is a Strawberry Alarm Clock compilation released by MCA in 1990. It mostly collects some of the band's hits and a few assorted album tracks. Most interestingly, it included the rare (at the time of this compilation's release, anyway) single-only track "Starting Out The Day" from 1969, although this is now available on several other, more worthwhile releases (particularly the Japanese bonus track CD version of Good Morning Starshine).This compilation has been superseded by other compilations, such as 1992's Strawberries Mean Love and 1993's The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology; that fact, and the maddening confusion that has arisen over the years between this compilation and the band's actual first album from 1967, make it rather unfortunate (or disappointing, or infuriating... take your pick) that this compilation is so widely available now — it is, for example, the only SAC release (compilation or otherwise) whose tracks are all downloadable on MP3 from sources like iTunes and Amazon, for example. Most of these sources don't mention the actual 1967 Incense And Peppermints at all.So while it isn't the band's best compilation, it is easy to find for cheap in a variety of formats, so for anyone looking for a general overview of SAC can pick this up for a few dollars.Collectables reissued the Incense & Peppermints compilation in 2004 with a different (and very tacky) cover. This one is actually called Incense And Peppermints, further muddying the waters. Ignore all but the 1967 original!Not the 1967 album!Although this album has been confused in many people's minds — including Amazon.com — note that it is not the same as Strawberry Alarm Clock's debut album, which is recommended unreservedly while this compilation isn't recommended at all. When buying, check the cover! The 1967 album has a green border on the bottom and sides.Track

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Strawberries Mean Love

Strawberries Mean Love is the title of a compilation album originally released on vinyl LP in 1987 with 13 tracks. It was released on CD in 1992 with a total of 21 tracks, and it is arguably the best Clock compilation available. The collection takes its name from a song on the band's first LP Incense And Peppermints (1967).The 1987 vinyl versionThe original 1987 vinyl version of Strawberries Mean Love was made up almost entirely of tracks from the band's first two albums, Incense And Peppermints and Wake Up... It's Tomorrow, along with one song each from the third album The World In A Sea Shell and SAC's final LP Good Morning Starshine. The non-LP b-side of "Incense And Peppermints", the garage-rock "The Birdman Of Alkatrash", is also present, and was the only real inclusion of note at the time.The song selection is very good, even including the dark and distressing "They Saw The Fat One Coming". A strike against Strawberries Mean Love is the obviously poor idea of splitting up the "Black Butter" trilogy from the end of Wake Up... It's Tomorrow: "Black Butter, Present" is included while "Past" and "Future" are not. One shakes ones head. (Then again, if you have to do this, "Present" is probably the way to go.)The 1992 CD versionWhen Strawberries Mean Love was released on compact disc in 1992, it kept the original songs from the vinyl version and added a further eight — a total of 21. These include the excellent "Desireé", the thrice-released b-side "Three", and the earnest, optimistic "I Climbed The Mountain", none of which had appeared on any of the four original SAC albums. Also added to the CD were two more songs each from Incense And Peppermints and The World In A Sea Shell, and one more from Good Morning Starshine, "(You Put Me On) Stand By".If you are absolutely intent on getting a compilation, as opposed to the original four Strawberry Alarm Clock albums, Strawberries Mean Love is easy to find and is a very good overview of the band. Note that all the band's

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SAC songs

Strawberry Alarm Clock's oldest song could be considered to be "Long Days Flight", which was the a-side of the first single released by the band's original carnation, Thee Sixpence. That band released a half-dozen songs, and the lineup was virtually the same as SAC. The first Strawberry Alarm Clock songs proper were the two from the single "Incense And Peppermints" b/w "The Birdman Of Alkatrash"; the band's first album Incense And Peppermints contained several more band originals. Wake Up... It's Tomorrow, considered by some to be the band's high point, was full of more great SAC originals. The band's third album, The World In A Sea Shell, featured several tracks written for the band by outside writers as well as several originals; the final LP Good Morning Starshine featured all original Strawberry Alarm Clock songs except the title song. After that final LP, the band released several non-LP singles with both Jim Pitman and Paul Marshall on vocals. They also contributed two songs...

"Barefoot In Baltimore"

"Barefoot In Baltimore" is the first song on side 2 (seventh track on the CD) from Strawberry Alarm Clock's 1968 album The World In A Sea Shell. As one of the songs on the LP whose music (but not words) was actually written by the band, it is one of the better and more heartfelt performances on the album, while retaining the gentle and playful air of the album in general.Describing a character named Barefoot and his friends, the song's lyrics have him walking around Baltimore and along the shores of Chesapeake Bay enjoying the street-party vibe (or, the actual street party) of the place. The Clock trots in its trusty xylophone and turns the song into a song that, although rather uninteresting, was seen as good enough by someone to be released as a single (that didn't do very well in the charts).However, "Barefoot In Baltimore", underneath its lightweight veneer, does boast an interesting and unique structure: short, merry verses give quick little descriptions of odd, unconnected scenes (Fun cooks a meal on the stove while Barefoot strolls around town giggling at the sidewalk, for example), and the chorus, repeated throughout, is slower, more dramatic, and very short, barely a chorus at all but a recurring centerpiece of the song:"Barefoot in BaltimoreHeel and toe with yooooou"Nice of the lyricist to incorporate the listener into the scene! The band has complained about the silliness of the lyrics, particularly that line, since the single's release, but I like them. They have a nice sound at that point in the song, though they are truly 'meaningless'."Barefoot In Baltimore" is very short, as are all the album's songs.Appears onHaving been released, advisedly or not, as a single, "Barefoot In Baltimore" is commonly anthologized on Strawberry Alarm Clock's various compilations.The World In A Sea Shell (1969)"Barefoot In Baltimore" b/w "An Angry Young Man" 45 rpm single (Uni 55076) (1969)The Best Of Strawberry Alarm Clock (1970 compilation)Incense & Peppermints (1990 compilation)Strawberries

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"Incense And Peppermints"

"Incense And Peppermints" is Strawberry Alarm Clock's most famous song, the band's only #1 hit, and one of the most well-known classics of the classic 60s psych/pop era. It was recorded when the band was still known as Thee Sixpence and was intended as a b-side to "The Birdman Of Alkatrash" on All American. When the band changed its name to Strawberry Alarm Clock and their new record company Uni released it as an a-side in its own right, the song went to the top of the popular charts and became one of the most recognized songs of the rock era, well known even decades later and by people who were not around for the original release. Its first appearance on an album was the eponymous Incense And Peppermints in 1967. (Note: On its first release on All American as Thee Sixpence, the song title was misspelled "Incense And Pepermints"; this was fixed on later releases as Strawberry Alarm Clock.)Famous for its light, nonsensical lyrics (which themselves poke fun at the song's title as "meaningless nouns"), catchy cowbell clops and piercing organ, "Incense And Peppermints" dares its listeners, in a fit of late 60s Meaning, to "turn your eyes around / Look at yourself".Most intriguingly, and likely the reason for the song's enormous appeal, is its dark underbelly. While the verses chug along amiably enough, there are several moments during the sub-three minute song where the edges curl up in a spooky minor key, sometimes mingling with a distracted, buzzy lead guitar tone. Like the band's own "Lose To Live" from elsewhere on the 1967 LP, "Incense And Peppermints" goes through several musical changes, a mini-suite of ideas. The air of sensual decay is palpable, and comes across as very organic and real.Despite the catchiness and weird appeal of the song, "Incense And Peppermints" is not the best track on its namesake album, and its best ideas are often found elsewhere done more intriguingly. What makes the track a classic is the fact that it retains a sense of newness and wonder

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"Tomorrow"

"Tomorrow" is Strawberry Alarm Clock's second-best known song (after "Incense And Peppermints"), and is the third song on the band's second album Wake Up... It's Tomorrow (1968). The de facto title song of the album (if not technically), "Tomorrow" is classic SAC in that it moves through several different sections, showing off a surprising number of arrangements and instrumental solos in a short time.Unlike past examples of this ("Incense And Peppermints", "Lose To Live") however, "Tomorrow" chugs along with the same basic beat and melody line throughout, grafting its more sparkly moments on top rather than creating a new mood for each. This gives the song a catchier feel and a uniform sound (aided and abetted by the band sounding particularly robust). Keyboards and glimmering electric guitar are present for the basic track throughout, and "Tomorrow" comes off nearly as sunny as "Soft Skies, No Lies" but a little more adventurous, and with a bit of garage-y bluntness left over from Thee Sixpence."Tomorrow" is very short, just over two minutes, and its final few seconds are a loop of the band shouting "Pow!" (or something like it), which is phased as it fades out and leads quite well into the next song on the album, "They Saw The Fat One Coming".Available onWake Up... It's Tomorrow (1968)"Tomorrow" b/w "Birds In My Tree" 45 rpm single (Uni 55046) (1968)The Best Of Strawberry Alarm Clock (1970)Incense & Peppermints (1990 compilation)Strawberries Mean Love (1992 compilation)The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology (1993)

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