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Mamas and Papas

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If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears

Mamas and the Papas became the model for other dysfunctionally self-involved groups like Fleetwood Mac. But none of that is evident on their 1966 debut, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears; rather, it's the quartet's dreamy vocal interaction that is the highlight here. "California Dreamin'" is a touching honeymoon of a song; and its follow-up, "Monday Monday," is much the same--though it comes this close to overwhelming sappiness. "Spanish Harlem," "In Crowd," and Mama Cass Elliott's lead on the Beatles' "I Call Your Name" are just as enjoyable. Though the accompanying music on this album was not the focus, it's every bit as strong as the vocal arrangements, with Larry Knetchel, Joe Osborne, and Hal Blaine handling the chores here. --Randy Silver


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