This article originally appeared in issue three of
Magazine in March 1966.
“That good-time music…now it‘s back on the radio!” sang John Sebastian last summer. He was ahead of his time. But what was wishful thinking in June has become fact in February: good-time music is back on the radio and John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful have put it there.
“Daydream” is a whistling, hiccuppy, happy-go-lucky song, plucked out of the old jug band tradition and given almost ad-lib words by Sebastian. The accompaniment is sort of like a hopscotch game, or maybe a skip rope contest; it’s the sort of thing that could get tiring and repetitious, but doesn’t. They’ve got a fiddle or something in there that does delightful things at precisely the right times, and when John feels he’s talked enough he whistles a while.
“Daydream” sounds like the theme for a Charlie Chaplin movie; Yanovsky’s guitar walks through the song in the best silent movie style. The words are marvelous; they make me happy, which I think is a fine achievement. Sebastian has a versatile, pleasant voice, and the production job on this (and all the Spoonful records) is done very well indeed.
At a time when music people are so excited about the advent of current folk songwriting and electric blues on the Top 40 scene, the Spoonful is practically the only pop group that is working out of the real traditional folk music, the stuff the purists dig. They’ve done much more than simply plug in and electrify the jug band; they’re really traditional folk musicians who’ve found new instruments to work with, new sounds to enjoy. This is folk music stealing from r ‘n’ r, rather than vice versa (although there really is no such thing as theft when you’re talking about music), and the cool thing is not just that it’s so good but also that it turns so many people on. This has to be another Top 10 hit for the Spoonful…and after all, third time’s the charm!