33. THE MAMAS & the PAPAS - Strange Young Girls

THE MAMAS & the PAPAS - 'Strange Young Girls' (RCA Victor RD-7834) September 1966

The Mamas & the Papas were the commercial face of the Los Angeles male/female vocal outfits and popularized the harmony folk rock and sunshine pop sounds from that region. Their popularity has probably meant that many underground 60s aficionado's have snobbishly overlooked their greatness because songs like 'Monday Monday' and 'California Dreamin' are probably fixtures on Oldies Radio (I'm guessing this is so because I've never listened to the radio since the mid 80s)

Take the sublime psychedelic folk of 'Strange Young Girls' for instance. It's a brilliant observation of the sights, sounds and LSD on the Sunset Strip in 1966 and it would surely garner plaudits had it been recorded by more hip male/female vocal groups....too many to mention but you'll all know where it's at.

Check out these lyrics:

"Walking the strip
Sweet, soft and placid
Offering their youth
On the altar of acid."

"Colors surround them
Bejeweling their hair;
Visions astound them,
Demanding their share."

'Strange Young Girls' can be found on The Mamas & the Papas second studio album recorded during the Summer of  '66. Instrumentation was provided by Hollywood's elite session musicians. Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Knechtel (organ) and Joe Osborne (bass).

MAMAS and the PAPAS - Strange Young Girls

picture taken from the John Phillips appreciation Facebook page


  1. There are a lot of great tracks by these guys; Safe In My Garden, Look Through My Window, No Salt On her Tail... I've known about how out there John Phillips was for a long time but can't deny the huge talent. More like a 'stairway to hell' from all I've heard over the years, and they all sure paid for it!

  2. Once again Colin, you have chosen a fabulous gem, this has always been my favourite of theirs, ever since John Peel played this in 1968Tell Rebecca to listen to 12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon), which compliments her fine selection well.

  3. Colin, you DO have very refined taste! ... "Strange Young Girls" is, without a doubt, one of the Mamas/Papas most original and subtly powerful tracks -- not to mention poignant, haunting and prescient. John Phillips in early 1966 painted an unmatched and vivid musical/lyric portrait of a world still in its emerging stages. This song IS an accurate slice of the quiet, entrancing, yet desperately wished-for ideals that marked the early phases of the West Coast psychedelic movement. And Phillips was quite right to note the melancholy and pathos just barely below the surface; the group of young people who had chosen to loosen their moorings to conventional America had taken a risky and dangerous path -- and most of them knew it on some level. "Strange Young Girls" has never received its just due as a chronicle of its age.


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