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The Wind in the Willows

This seven-member, late-'60s New York group is almost exclusively remembered because one of their two female vocalists was a dark-haired Deborah Harry, nearly a decade before she became a star with Blondie.
The Wind in the Willows' music could not have been much more different than Blondie's. It was twee folk-psych-rock, largely comprised of original material, though none of it was penned by Harry. The range of tunes was fairly diverse, getting into slightly spacy sunshine pop, bad vaudeville rock, covers of songs by the Everly Brothers and Roger Miller, an eight-minute reading (titled "There Is But One Truth, Daddy") from Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows with muted ambient psychedelic backing, and pastoral ballads with echoes of the Mamas & the Papas and Donovan. Yet the songwriting was not strong and the attitude way too precious. Harry, an almost unrecognizable brunette on the cover photos, took a very subdued role.
Although the album was thought of as quite a rarity (and priced accordingly) after Harry became famous in Blondie, it did in fact make the charts by barely getting to number 195. That's not high, but it's a lot higher than hundreds of other psychedelic-era rarities got. The record became much easier to hear after it was reissued on CD. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi


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