The Turtles' White Whale albums to be released on vinyl

The Turtles' White Whale albums are back on vinyl as expanded double-LP sets, due June 26 on Manifesto.
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The Turtles, publicity photo

The Turtles, publicity photo

LOS ANGELES, Calif. —Formed in Westchester, Calif. by high school friends Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, along with Don Murray, Al Nichol, Chuck Portz, and Jim Tucker, the Turtles racked up nine Top 40 hits, including the unforgettable “Happy Together,” during their original run from 1965-1970. While the band may be best known for that and a few other chart-toppers, each of their six studio albums offers unique gems and unsung treasures, featuring unforgettable harmonies and sardonic wit. At long last, those albums are being reissued as they were meant to be heard — on vinyl — on June 26, 2020 by Manifesto Records.

Originally released on the Los Angeles-based White Whale label, the long out of print albums were reissued on CD in 2016, but now, for the first time in more than a decade, they’re back on vinyl, digitally remastered from the original tapes.

And purists won’t have to struggle with the old mono vs. stereo conundrum. The band’s first three albums — It Ain’t Me Babe, You Baby, and Happy Together — will be issued in high-quality gatefold jackets as two-record sets with both the mono and stereo versions, so you’ll get the best of both worlds. The later three albums — Battle of the Bands, Turtle Soup, and Wooden Head— will also be released in gatefolds as two-record sets with the original album, plus a second disc featuring rare bonus material, including previously unreleased recordings.

It Ain't Me Babe, the Turtles’ 1965 full-length debut, includes the Top 10 hit cover of the classic Bob Dylan tune that served as the album’s title track, and renditions of Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” as well as a take on P.F. Sloan’s “Eve of Destruction.” The album also features several Kaylan originals that show his evolution as a songwriting force.

You Baby, the band’s 1966 sophomore set, also features a mix of covers and originals, including the Top 20 hit title track, penned by Sloan and Steve Barri, whose “Can I Get to Know You Better” closes out the album. Another Sloan cover from the album, “Let Me Be,” was also released as a single and cracked the Top 30 prior to the album’s release.

With 1967’s Happy Together, the Turtles reached their peak, both chart-wise (#25 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart) and artistically. It features the band’s two highest-charting singles: the #1 title track as well as “She’d Rather Be With Me” (#3), both written by the songwriting team of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon. A third song written by the duo, “You Know What I Mean,” reached #12. Also notable are the Kaylan/Volman co-write “Think I’ll Run Away,” and “Like the Seasons,” composed by a young Warren Zevon.

On 1968’s The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, the group broke out of their, er, shell with a concept album in which the band adopted the personas of 11 fictitious acts, including the Atomic Enchilada and Chief Kamanawanalea and His Royal Macadamia Nuts. It included the band’s most original material to date, plus the title track, written by Harry Nilsson and producer Chip Douglas, and “You Showed Me,” penned by the Byrds' Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark, which became the Turtles’ final Top 10 hit. “Elenore,” credited to Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim and Al on the album, also cracked the Top 10.

Although 1969's Turtle Soup failed to spawn a hit single, and stalled at No. 117 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, it’s notable as the full-album production debut of the Kinks’ Ray Davies, who likely felt a kinship to a group that seemed the American pop cousins of the British band. With 1970's Wooden Head, the Turtles collected B-sides and other rarities, including an alternate version of “The Wanderin’ Kind,” which goes back full circle, as the original version was the opening track on the band’s first album, 1965’s It Ain’t Me Babe.

Turles albums

It Ain’t Me Babe (MFO 48041)

Record One - MONO

Side A

1. Wanderin' Kind

2. It Was A Very Good Year

3. Your Maw Said You Cried

4. Eve of Destruction

5. Glitter and Gold

6. Let Me Be

Side B

1. Let the Cold Winds Blow

2. It Ain’t Me Babe

3. A Walk in the Sun

4. Last Laugh

5. Love Minus Zero

6. Like A Rolling Stone

Record Two - STEREO

Side C

1. Wanderin' Kind

2. It Was A Very Good Year

3. Your Maw Said You Cried

4. Eve of Destruction

5. Glitter and Gold

6. Let Me Be

Side D

1. Let the Cold Winds Blow

2. It Ain’t Me Babe

3. A Walk in the Sun

4. Last Laugh

5. Love Minus Zero

6. Like A Rolling Stone

You Baby (MFO 48042)

Record One - MONO

Side A

1. Flyin' High

2. I Know That You'll Be There

3. House Of Pain

4. Just A Room

5. I Need Someone

6. Let Me Be

Side B

1. Down In Suburbia

2.Give Love A Trial

3. You Baby

4. Ball Bearing, Ball Bearing World

5. All My Problems

6. Almost There

Record Two - STEREO

Side C

1. Flyin' High

2. I Know That You'll Be There

3. House Of Pain

4. Just A Room

5. I Need Someone

6. Let Me Be

Side D

1. Down In Suburbia

2. Give Love A Trial

3. You Baby

4. Ball Bearing, Ball Bearing World

5. All My Problems

6. Almost There

Happy Together (MFO 48043)

Record One - MONO

Side A

1. Makin' My Mind Up

2. Guide For The Married Man

3. Think I'll Run Away

4. The Walking Song

5. Me About You

6. Happy Together

Side B

1. She'd Rather Be With Me

2. Too Young To Be One

3. Person Without A Care

4. Like The Seasons

5. Rugs Of Woods And Flowers

Record Two – STEREO

Side C

1. Makin' My Mind Up

2. Guide For The Married Man

3. Think I'll Run Away

4. The Walking Song

5. Me About You

6. Happy Together

Side D

1. She'd Rather Be With Me

2. Too Young To Be One

3. Person Without A Care

4 .Like The Seasons

5.R ugs Of Woods And Flowers

Battle of the Bands (MFO 48044)

Record One - Stereo

Side A

1. The Opening: The Battle of the Bands

2. The Last Thing I Remember

3. Elenore

4. Too Much Heartsick Feeling

5. Oh Daddy!

6. Buzz Saw

Side B

1. Surfer Dan

2. I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're the Royal Macadamia Nuts)

3. You Showed Me

4. Food

5. Chicken Little Was Right

6. The Closing: Earth Anthem (All)

Record Two - The Bonus Tracks

Side C

1. She's My Girl

2. Chicken Little Was Right (single version-stereo)

3. Sound Asleep

4. Umbassa The Dragon

5. The Story of Rock and Roll

Side D

1. Can't You Hear the Cows

2. The Last Thing I Remember (The First Thing I Knew)

3. The Owl

4. To See the Sun

5. Earth Anthem (alternate version) [previously unreleased]

6. Battle of the Bands Radio Spot

Turtle Soup (MFO 48045)

Record One

Side A

1. Come Over

2 .House on the Hill

3. She Always Leaves Me Laughing

4. How You Love Me

5. Torn Between Temptations

6. Love in the City

Side B

1. Bachelor Mother

2. John & Julie

3. Hot Little Hands

4. Somewhere Friday Night

5. Dance This Dance With Me

6. You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain

Record Two - The Bonus Tracks

Side C

1. Goodbye Surprise

2. Like It Or Not

3. There You Sit Lonely

4. Can I Go On

5.Y ou Want to be A Woman

6 .If We Only Had the Time

Side D

1. Dance This Dance With Me (Demo)

2. Come Over (Demo) [Previously Unreleased]

3. How You Love Me (Demo)

4. Strange Girl (Demo) [Previously Unreleased]

5. Marmendy Mill (Demo)

6. Turtle Soup Radio Spot

Wooden Head (MFO 48046)

Record One

Side A

1. I Can't Stop

2. She'll Come Back

3. Get Away

4. Wrong From The Start

5. I Get Out Of Breath

Side B

1. We'll Meet Again

2. On A Summer's Day

3. Come Back

4. Say Girl

5. Tie Me Down

6. Wanderin' Kind

Record Two - The Bonus Tracks

Side C

1. You Baby (1967 Stereo Mix)

2. So Goes Love

3. Makin' Up My Mind (1966 Version-Stereo)

4. Is It Any Wonder?

5. Let Me Be (1967 Stereo Mix)

6. Grim Reaper Of Love

Side D

1. It Ain't Me Babe (1967 Stereo Mix)

2 .Can I Get To Know You Better

3. Outside Chance

4. You Know What I Mean

5. Cat In The Window

6. We'll Meet Again (Alternative Take) [Previously Unreleased]

7. The Turtles! Golden Hits Radio Spot