With “Lady Of The Lake”, Strawberry Alarm Clock closes out side 1 of its 1968 LP The World In A Sea Shell with its second Carole King-penned song (with Toni Stern), another ditty featuring a tasty melody but with an overall inconsequential effect. The most interesting thing about the track is the repetitive trumpet, blaring an insistent single note over the singers and giving the song just enough edge to fit in SAC’s canon.
Unfortunately, the trumpet that points to an interesting, even psychedelic, approach by the band and its producers to this song does not actually see its promise realized: the vocal melody is just too cute in places, and the lyrics strive for a playful mysticism but wind up just being silly:
“When I was a boy
I knew the lady of the lake
And I was her favorite child”
Carole King’s “Going Back”, as recorded by the Byrds in 1968, was a more successful and resonant look back at childhood than this, and Roger McGuinn and his band played it with considerable more panache than Strawberry Alarm Clock showed here. “Lady Of The Lake” belongs on The World In A Sea Shell all right, but wouldn’t make it to our list of the band’s best. It just lumbers along too ponderously and the band can’t summon an infectious enough rapport with the track to sell it.