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Dotti Holmberg | Sometimes Happy Times (Sundazed)
A stylistic assessment of 'Sometimes Happy Times' would merely state that it is a fairly American-sounding singer-song writer, female lead, late sixties folk rock collection. But it is also a rather odd record. My little daughter asked me if it was a 'Teletubbies' album and a friend asked if the aptly named Miss Dotti was fond of inhaling helium.I am very fond of the Sundazed label. It's possibly my favourite label but there is sometimes a feeling that a few of the artists have sprung forth from a Star Trek episode. You know, the Enterprise has returned to 1967 to a far, far away planet where everything, including a swinging pop scene, is exactly the same as Earth. Well...almost. Like a malevolent genie granted you your wish to visit a past pop paradise but instead dropped you in the Twilight Zone. On first listen some sound like pale imitations of rather more famous and talented artists. On further listens one may see things a little differently for most of these musical anomalies. Notably, in the case of Dotti Holmberg. If she inhabits a Twilight Zone it's really a nice place to visit from time to time.
Dotti Holmberg was part of Curt Boetcher's scene, playing in a mid-sixties folk-pop (if you will) group with him and then later, when he'd played on Good Vibrations, got real famous through the Association and become an all round big shot, singing backing vocals for him on tons of records. The majority of the tracks on this album were intended for release on Curt's Our Productions label but unfortunately never saw the light of day as the label quickly went under. Her vocals do tend to the sharp from time to time and thus one may uncynically suggest her place be in the backing section. Then again they may raise more curiosity than mirth in the any thing-is-possible world of today. It is one of those voices hard to ignore...Kate Bush perhaps but more towards a milder, less demonstrative, little girl Melanie.
The playing is great. Really tight bass, sensual piano and some great, inventive, male harmonies. The album is no classic, she is no Joni Mitchell, no Mama Cass. She is, however, an original talent who will take you somewhere else. From something that was faintly irksome this is honestly something I would replace if I lost it.