Works - The Other Projects
In 1968 Jimmy Curtiss founded his own production company Perception. Ever since he produced bands and/or wrote songs for them. A 7"45 "Artificial Rose" by the Lost Souls from North Dakota appeared in 1968 on a tiny label called Dawn Records. The song was co-written by Curtiss and his old partner Ernie Maresca. Two examples for a pure bubble-gum period in Jimmy C.'s career are the singles "Love, Anyway You Want It" by The Sweet Bippies (ca. 1969) and "Da-Da-Da-Da", The Changing Colours (ca. 1969).
Almost at the same time Jimmy Curtiss and Steve Kanyon produced the only album by a New York psychedelic folk/rock group called Velvet Night. Besides strangely arranged cover versions of two Tim Hardin and a Donovan song, plus a Cream medley, there are songs written by Curtiss and Kanyon plus one credited to the band's organ player Vinnie Nisi. The record has a rather weird US underground psychedelic sound. Donovan's "Season Of The Witch" certainly comes less menacing than Vanilla Fudge's version, but still much heavier than the original. The Cream medley is rather strange. And Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter" sounds spherically esoteric. When Lynn Boccumini sings lead vocals, the band even sounds a bit like Jefferson Airplane. Of substantial interest are only the songs we do not know already in other and better interpretations. Again it becomes clear, that Jimmy Curtiss was able to sense atmosphere and specifics of a musical style in a unique way.
And Curtiss always found a way to include his own compositions on the records he produced for others. So he did with The Jon Bartel Thing, a band from California, whose lone album was released by Capitol Records in 1969. A great record full of brass dominated, jazz influenced psychedelic pop. Co-producer here was Terry Philips, who worked on many projects of Curtiss. This album by The Jon Bartel Thing reminds in some ways a lot of the first Blood, Sweat & Tears LP. An interesting fact by the way, J.C.'s partners Terry Philips and Jerry Vance used to write songs together with Lou Reed for the Pickwick company in the early sixties. "Why Don't You Smile Now" was one of these.