Along Comes The Association: Beyond Folk Rock and Three-Piece Suits | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 27th, 2023  

Russ Giguere and Ashley Wren Collins

Along Comes The Association: Beyond Folk Rock and Three-Piece Suits

Published by Rare Bird Books

Mar 27, 2020 Bookmark and Share

As memoirs seem to increasingly dominate the music book landscape, it’s nice to see someone like Russ Giguere throw his hat into the ring. Founding member of the six- and sometimes seven-member ‘60s vocal group The Association, Giguere saw his band thrust into fame and fortune with complex multi-person harmony-filled hits such as “Along Comes Mary,” “Windy,” and über-ballads “Cherish” and “Never My Love.”

With co-writer Ashley Wren Collins, Giguere documents The Association’s history from its early-‘60s formation out of the 13-person folk group/chorus, The Men, and through the band’s dissolution, reformation, and time on the oldies circuit in the ‘80s, ‘90s, and beyond.

The first 70-some pages of Along Comes The Association reads as a bit of a hodgepodge. Giguere plots his story as one of The Association and not so much of himself specifically, so there is not a whole lot of childhood history here. After a brief first chapter, the tale begins a few years pre-Association, but it takes Giguere a little while to get his footing. Case in point: the amount of time devoted to the derivations of band members’ particular three-part nicknames.

However, once Giguere gets into the meat of his story-the birth of his band and its extensive career-things pick up. The text is augmented by newsprint articles, interviews, and reviews from the time, which flesh out the story with more of an as-it’s-happening historical perspective rather than looking back reverie.

It’s interesting to read Giguere fiercely defending his group’s position of prominence even as the popular music scene of the late ‘60s moved away from his band’s intricate pop styling and toward the more rock and roll heft of artists like The Who and Jimmy Hendrix. But revisiting The Association’s music even today proves him to be correct, at least in the sense that The Association was above style and fad in terms of musicianship and glorious harmony. The full story has been a long time coming.


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