Lies – The Fabulous Knickerbockers
Though they would come to be known as the Knickerbockers, in 1966 when they released their best album, they were indeed Fabulous. “Lies” was the hit, and it was about as close as any early American garage band came to replicating the early Beatles. “Just One Girl” also does a nice Beatles imitation. But the Knickerbockers could do passable versions of lots of other successful ‘60s pop acts.
“I Can Do It Better” combines the harmonies of vocal groups like the Four Seasons while still maintaining a harder rock edge. “Can’t You See I’m Trying” could be the Byrds if the Byrds dropped a horn into the mix. They get their most psychedelic on “I Believe in Her,” a languid ballad that works far better than it should. Then there is the pure jazz of “Harlem Nocturne” featuring Buddy Randell’s sax.
The Knickerbockers – whether fabulous or not – recorded lots of covers, trying to ride the coattails of modern hits by the Beatles and the Kinks. (They even did a Rodgers and Hammerstein standard on their debut album – “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is admittedly one of the strangest decisions the band ever made.) Those tracks generally sounded like a decent college act. When they did their own slightly weirder eclectic material, they produced some really solid early rock & roll.