Despite their name, the Blokes were not at all British; they were from Los Angeles, and their major influence seemed to be the Byrds. Around the beginning of 1967, the Blokes picked up a female vocalist named Diana Di Rose, and after a false start as Giant Sunflower in a Grass Roots-like move, they were going to assume the identity of a studio group which had released a song called "February Sunshine" wound up with another suitable-for-landscaping name. Brian Stone and Charlie Greene, whose York/Pala company had gotten record deals for Buffalo Springfield and Mac "Dr John" Rebennack, took them under their collective wing and sent the band into the studio. "Next Plane to London", the story of a singer who walks out on a relationship in search of career development, was written by Kenny Gist, Jr. Powered by Di Rose's distinctive somewhere-below-alto vocals, it climbed into the Top 20 late in the year, and an album (Atco 33-225), with Diana and guitarist Jim Groshong splitting the vocal chores, appeared shortly thereafter. Among the LP's ten tracks were two Byrds covers, a remake of Dylan's "She Belongs to Me", and a version of "February Sunshine". The Rose Garden toured in support of the album, but failed to score a second hit (there was one more single, "Here's Today", not on the LP) and broke up within a year. Songwriter Gist, in the meantime, recorded a solo hit, "Beautiful People", as "Kenny O'Dell", a name he took with him to Nashville. The Rose Garden itself, however, has lain fallow ever since.
Where can I get this on CD?
Eric Records' sweep through the Warner Bros. and Atlantic archives, Hard to Find 45s on CD, Vol. 5: Sixties Pop Classics (11509) is easily findable; the one and only Rose Garden album can be had from Collectors' Choice Music (CCM 359).
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