Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Art of the Cover - The Free Design's "Cosmic Peekaboo" (2001)

A gorgeous cover adorns this mighty comeback album from this sadly neglected group.

Welcome to the realm of glorious, idiosyncratic, lush harmony, sunshine pop music!

The Free Design was a Delevan, New York-based vocal group that played beautiful idiosyncratic jazzy pop music. 

Their music can be described as sunshine pop or baroque pop.

The influential vocal group that recorded seven hugely influential albums for Enoch Light's famed Audiophile label between 1967 & 1973.

Many years later, The Free Design would become hugely influential on  bands like Stereolab, Cornelius, Pizzicato Five, Beck and The High Llamas.

The members were all members of the Dedrick family: Chris Dedrick, (who wrote most of the songs), sister Sandy Dedrick and brother Bruce Dedrick were the original lineup. 

Younger sister Ellen joined the group later, and youngest sister Stefanie, joined near the end of their initial career. 

The group disbanded in 1972. 

In 2000 the band re-grouped, after a nearly 30-year retirement, to record the song "Endless Harmony" on the Beach Boys tribute album Caroline Now. 

This experience convinced them to record a new full-length album, 2001's Cosmic Peekaboo, which featured the original lineup (Chris, Sandy and Bruce) 

Chris Dedrick died on August 6, 2010, from cancer, aged 62. 

During their career, The Free Design never gained the commercial success they, and their small fan-base, felt they deserved. This plight was noted lyrically in their 1969 song "2002 - A Hit Song" (included in this collection) in which they describe how to create a hit, then continue, "there's just one fact that we can't quite shirk - we did all this last time, and it did not work.

They remained in obscurity after disbanding in 1972. 

However, starting in the mid-90s, however, interest in them began to grow as part of a general resurgence of interest in easy listening and sunshine pop from the 60s and 70s. 

In 1994, Japanese musician Cornelius reissued the Free Design catalog on his "Trattoria" label. In 1997, the band Tomorrow's World covered their song "Kites Are Fun", and in 1998, the Spanish "Siesta" label put out four compilation albums of their music. 

Stereolab, whose lounge-inspired music clearly showed a Free Design influence, named a 1999 single "The Free Design" (though the song itself had no direct connection to the band). The Free Design song "Bubbles" was covered by Dressy Bessy on the 2000 Powerpuff Girls soundtrack.


Peekaboo 2:48
Younger Son 2:47
McCarran Airport 3:14
Destiny 3:12
Springtime 3:56
Listen 3:29
The Hook 3:28
Music Room 2:16
The Only Treasure 3:40
Day Breaks 5:21
Perfect Love 4:38

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