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 version
The 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 selection to make — but I say include them all or none of them.)
The 1992 CD version
When Strawberries Mean Love was released on compact disc in 1992, it kept the original songs from the vinyl version and added a further eight. These include the excellent “DesireÃ©”, 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 1969-plus single-only songs (as well as soundtrack songs from 1971’s Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls) except one (“I’m Comin’ Home”) are included on the Japanese CD version of Good Morning Starshine, so this set (indeed, all SAC compilations) is not necessary for collectors of the band’s output, except for completists (or someone who wants to display the becoming cover art).
The front cover
The front cover of Strawberries Mean Love uses the same ol’ photograph of the mid-1967 band members that has been used for many SAC releases since the first album. The overall design of the Strawberries Mean Love compilation is probably the best of all of them, from a design perspective: the gold-on-black background areas and the pink and purple stripes at the top, along with the big clock and even the wavy depiction of the band name, all look pretty sharp and well-balanced. Nicely done, whatever graphic designer did this.
“Incense And Peppermints” – 2:49 (from Incense And Peppermints)
“Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” – 3:06 (from Incense And Peppermints)
“Sit With The Guru” – 2:59 (from Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow)
“Tomorrow” – 2:14 (from Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow)
“Black Butter, Present” – 2:10 (from Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow)
“Love Me Again” – 3:30 (from The World In A Sea Shell)
“Pretty Song From Psych-Out” – 3:15 (from Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow)
“The World’s On Fire” – 8:26 (from Incense And Peppermints)
“Birds In My Tree” – 1:55 (from Incense And Peppermints)
“The Birdman Of Alkatrash” – 2:11 (1967 single b-side)
“Small Package” – 3:57 (from Good Morning Starshine)
“They Saw The Fat One Coming” – 3:25 (from Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow)
“Strawberries Mean Love” – 3:03 (from Incense And Peppermints)
Additional songs on the CD version
“DesireÃ©” – 3:03 (1969 single)
“Barefoot In Baltimore” – 2:23 (from The World In A Sea Shell)
“Paxton’s Back Street Carnival” – 2:05 (from Incense And Peppermints)
“Hummin’ Happy” – 2:26 (from Incense And Peppermints)
“Sea Shell” – 3:06 (from The World In A Sea Shell)
“(You Put Me On) Stand By” – 2:24 (from Good Morning Starshine)
“I Climbed The Mountain” – 3:01 (1970 single)
“Three” – 2:21 (1970 single b-side)