Lord Sitar: Lord Sitar

LordSitar_LordSitar1968 sitar-pop cash-in

The discovery and popularization of the Indian sitar in Western music, most famously through the recordings of George Harrison with the Beatles, and bolstered by the introduction of Danelectro’s electric sitar, led to numerous hit singles and album tracks sporting sitars. A small subgenre of sitar pop and jazz sprung up and led to full albums that included Vincent Bell’s Pop Goes the Electric Sitar, the Folkswingers’ Raga Rock, Big Jim Sullivan’s Sitar Beat, Gabor Szabo’s Jazz Raga, and this relatively uninspiring entry for EMI/Capitol. Produced by John Hawkins, and with Sullivan manning the sitar, the arrangements aren’t particularly sympathetic to the resonant drone, sounding instead as if they were lifted from one of the instrumental covers albums that clogged job-racked shelves in the late 60s. Unsurprisingly, Harrison’s “Blue Jay Way” works reasonably well, as does the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus.” A horn-heavy arrangement of the Who’s “I Can See for Miles,” with the sitar singing the lead, is schlocky fun, and the closing cover of Los Bravos’ “Black is Black” manages to really take flight mid-song. There are far greater ‘60s cover albums to be found, but if you’re a devotee of pop sitar, this is something you’ll need to add to your collection. [©2013 Hyperbolium]

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