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The Folkswingers

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Jim Dickson called the group The Folkswingers and they recorded folk and bluegrass songs to cash-in on the current trends. Basically they kept the name for this 1966 album and tried to tackle another musical trend. It’s interesting to note that World Pacific actually put out a Ravi Shankar sitar album in 1965.
Raga Rock unashamedly cashed in on the success of Ravi Shankar and the emerging use of the sitar in Western pop/rock (Beatles, Stones, Byrds), offering up instrumental versions of the latest cool hit sounds, many with fuzzed guitar, and all topped off with that exotic sound. The more obvious and successful choices for such treatment are here - Paint It Black, a regular on later “exploito” LPs of exotic-psych, Eight Miles High and Shapes Of Things. Also tackled (with varying success) are Norwegian Wood, The Association’s Along Comes Mary, Outsiders’ Time Won’t Let Me, Kicks, Hey Joe, Homeward Bound and The Turtles’ Grim Reaper Of Love. Their own Raga Rock is the finale - although it starts off rather pedestrian, it’s soon spiralling off into Eight Miles High territory, but comes back to earth way too soon.
A couple of the names on the Raga Rock release should also strike a chord - Larry Knechtel (later of Bread) and Hal Blaine were part of the elite corps of L.A. session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew.

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