Howard Kaylan Dust Bunnies
CD Review by Brian McAlley

August 2007

Track listing
1. Snowblind 2. Easy Street 3. Eloise 4. Love Songs In The Night
5. What's That Got To Do With Me 6. A Young Girl 7. Have I The Right 8. Two By Two
9. Pleasant Street 10. Music

I'm a little late in reviewing this disc because it was released on March 21, 2006, but I found it to be one of the most eclectic and entertaining CDs that I've heard in quite some time. For those who do not know, Howard Kaylan was lead singer of The Turtles, one of the most successful pop bands of the mid-to-late 60s. After racking up an impressive array of Top 40 hits from 1965-1970, the band split and Kaylan, along with fellow Turtles front man Mark Volman, joined Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention then went out on their own as Flo & Eddie. They have been touring consistently ever since and have worked with such luminaries as John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, The Ramones, Blondie, Duran Duran, The Psychedelic Furs, T. Rex, Alice Cooper and dozens more, singing background vocals on over 100 albums.

In 2005, Kaylan expressed an interest in recording a solo disc, but rather than write all original material, he chose to cover some of his all-time personal favorites. Among them were rare b-sides by long-forgotten artists and tunes that were only popular in his own living room (a comment from Kaylan's "Dust Bunnies" liner notes). There is one original number however, entitled "Easy Street," which is a breezy, upbeat tune written by Kaylan and Volman that is reminiscent of the legendary Turtles sound (but then again, you can hear remnants of the Turtles on just about every track). The remaining tunes were penned by notable songwriters like Tim Buckley, Charles Aznavour, John Miles, and The Left Banke's Michael Brown, yet the numbers themselves are quite obscure with the exception of "Have I The Right," which was a Top Ten hit by the British Invasion band The Honeycombs in 1964.

Kaylan is backed by some very capable musicians (Andy Cahan - programming and keyboards, Rick Howard - guitar, Robert "Cricket" Cohen - bass, and David Forman - drums) and the sound is tight and strong with solid production handled by both Kaylan and Cahan (who has worked with The Turtles for many years as a backup musician). In an interview with Goldmine magazine, Kaylan was quoted as saying that he never met the guitar player, bass player or the drummer, because their parts were recorded in New York then shipped out to LA where the album was completed. As it turns out, the finished product is full of great songs and great fun, plus Kaylan's voice still has all the unbridled passion and emotion that was so charismatically displayed throughout his career. Whether crooning on one of the elaborately orchestrated ballads, or letting loose on one of the many steadfast rockers (notably "Snowblind," the butt-kicking leadoff track), Kaylan delivers the goods each and every time. So whether you're and old-time Turtles/Flo & Eddie fan or new to Kaylan's music, "Dust Bunnies" is guaranteed to please and is a sure winner from beginning to end.