The Strawberry Alarm Clock* ‎– Incense And Peppermints

UNI Records ‎– 73014
Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Pinckneyville Pressing

Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 The World's On Fire
Written-By – S.A. Clock*
A2 Birds In My Tree
Written-By – G. Bunnell*, S. Bartek*
A3 Lost To Live
Written-By – M. Weitz*, S.A. Clock*
A4 Strawberries Mean Love
Written-By – G. Bunnell*, S. Bartek*, S.A. Clock*
B1 Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow
Written-By – G. Bunnell*, S. Bartek*, S.A. Clock*
B2 Paxton's Back Street Carnival
Written-By – G. Bunnell*, S. Bartek*, S.A. Clock*
B3 Hummin' Happy
Written-By – G. Bunnell*, R. Seol*, S.A. Clock*
B4 Pass Time With Sac (Instrumental)
Written-By – S.A. Clock*
B5 Incense And Peppermints
Written-By – J. Carter*, T. Gilbert*
B6 Unwind With The Clock
Written-By – L. Freeman*, S.A. Clock*

Companies, etc.



Decca Records Pressing Plant, Pinckneyville pressing, indentifiable by etched "2" in runouts and producers' credits centered above title on labels.

Sat Purish provided the clothing that the band members wore for the album cover. Johnny Fairchild helped to get the band into the studio, and continued to give advice throughout the recording process.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Matrix A, on label): US 1026
  • Matrix / Runout (Matrix B, on label): US 1027
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout A etched (Var. 1)): US 1026 - T.13 2
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout B etched (Var. 1)): US 1027 - T - 2 2
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout A etched (Var. 2)): US 1026 - T.13 2
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout B etched (Var. 2)): US 1027 - T.13 2

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July 2, 2016
edited over 2 years ago

The Summer of Love was edgy and fuzz toned, and that was due in large part to groups like Kak, Love, and The Strawberry Alarm Clock, with their hit album Incense and Peppermints. The Strawberry Alarm Clock were a band who at the time were certainly not taken seriously by critics, yet managed to have the nation up and moving with the single “Incense and Peppermints” in December of 1967, a pseudo-psychedelic number that rocketed to the top of the charts, creating an atmosphere that was wholly California in its nature and substance, complete with bluesy jazz rock meanderings, much like what was being done on the east coast by the likes of The Blues Project.

Without a doubt I probably wouldn’t be writing this review if it weren’t for contemporary bands like The Allah Las, along with Karvos Milkshake, bands who’ve embraced what America labeled as bubblegum music, yet with a tight sound, smooth harmonies, multi layered vocals, sensational hooks and magical instrumentation they managed to set a tone and vision that has lasted years ... now inspiring new groups who are looking back with wider and wiser eyes, able to appreciate the writing style and hipness, even if perhaps a bit cheeky with the album name and song title. But those were the times, meaning that there is no way one can claim “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys to be brilliant, without also including “Incense and Peppermints” in the same breath.

Originally recording as Thee Sixpence, in 1966 they issued a not so bad 45 entitled “In The Building,” with the flip-side containing yet another version of “Hey Joe,” a song that nearly every band of the day seemed destined to cover. Oddly enough the writing credits for the track “Incense and Peppermints” where listed as John Carter and Tim Gilbert, both of whom were not members of the band, and it was the sixteen year old lead singer of The Shapes who actually laid down the lead vocals, and was also not a member of the band.

Sadly The Strawberry Alarm Clock changed lineups more times than most of us can count, and were seen live by few, where they delivered sets that were akin to Spirit and Quicksilver Messenger Service, all of whom laid down a California sound with a special take, where on stage they managed to come off far superior to what they appeared to be on the album ... with most people only wanting more in the style of that Summer of Love hit single. Nevertheless, this is an album worth visiting, whether you were there then or not.

*** Consider the hit single:

Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind,
Dead kings, many things I can't define, Nothing understandable about the killing of JFK.
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind, The occasions when one would be under the persuasions of LSD, and the sensory influx, could certainly cause a sensory overload.
Incense and peppermints, the color of time. Incense was often burned to mask the smell of marijuana, and Peppermints masked it on one’s breath. The mid 60’s saw the development and rise of tiny aerosol breath freshener bottles. “The color of time ...” was a reference to the notion that while under the influence, sound had color, and color had sound.

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win, but nothing to lose. It doesn’t really matter what sort of drugs one uses, you don’t gain much by doing or not doing them, a philosophy George Harrison spoke about, though the certainly did his personal fair share.

Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns, Of course the fact that Incense and Peppermints are “meaningless nouns” may have indicated that all of the lyrics are strung together and aren’t intended to mean anything in particular. This was already a way in which Dylan was writing, sort of Scrabbling words together that paint an image, but mean nothing.
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around. "Turn On, Tune In ...” was a line from Timothy Leary promoting LSD, with the song indicating that one should turn around and look at themselves before suggesting or passing judgment.
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah,
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah! A reference the the Beatles’ song “She Loves You,” Yeah Yeah Yeah.

To divide this cockeyed world in two, With the war in Viet Nam, and that in the Middle East, this crazy world seemed to be divided by those who supported war, and those against it.
Throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do. Suggesting that the least people should do is pick a side, and not lose themselves by dropping out. It could also mean that one should shed themselves of useless pride, and it severed no good purpose.
Beatniks and politics, nothing is new Square or Hip, it’s the same old story, generation after generation.
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view. Measuring was useless, we were discovering that emotions and visions, even if drug induced, had a definable effect on our lives.

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win, but nothin' to lose.

Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind,
Dead kings, many things I can't define.
Occasion, persuasions clutter your mind,
Incense and peppermints, the color of time.

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win, but nothin' to lose.

Incense and peppermints
Incense and peppermints

Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la

Review by Jenell Kesler