Title - 'Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind – The Lost LP'
Artist - Polly Niles
For those not in the know, Polly Niles, who later appeared in the film 'Super Fly' (1972), was a singer/songwriter from New York married to folk revival star, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
She signed with the London-based Ember label in 1969 and recorded an album that blended her songwriting with cuts by Stephen Stills, Goffin/King, John Barry and Bob Dylan.
Producers of Polly’s album included Beau Ray Fleming, whose CV included work for Dean Courtney, Jon Lucien and Mandrill. Arrangements and conducting were by the legendary Bert DeCoteaux, later a key figure in soul/funk/disco, working with Sister Sledge, Peter Nero, Zulema, Linda Lewis and Martha Reeves.
Amazingly, only one track from Polly’s album was ever released at the time – the gently psychedelic ‘Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind’ on an Ember sampler release, Future Star Explosion – New Faces Of The '70s, in 1970.
However, the song was also recorded by fellow Ember artist Milly Scott and covered in 2012 by indie band The Primitives. Indeed, over the last decade, six tracks from Polly’s Ember sessions have emerged on various compilations.
In 1970, two Polly Niles singles made it to acetate stage before being cancelled: ‘Since I Lost You Baby’/‘The Milk Of The Tree’ and ‘Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind’/‘Get High On Jesus’. Another, ‘If I Let You’/‘East Virginia’, was cancelled prior to any manufacturing.
Ergo, the 1970 Ember Records album by actress/model/singer/songwriter Polly Niles, was for many years the stuff of internet rumor and legend, said to exist only in test pressing form.
Now, it is finally released via Cherry Red Records (UK) as a newly remastered 2CD so that all her album can finally be heard, as originally intended.
This delightful 2CD set entitled Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind – The Lost Album consists of twelve titles, but has been expanded to over twice its original length. Also included are cancelled mono singles, alternative mixes, works in progress, and some new 2019 mixes made from the original multi-tracks.
1. 'I Am a Child'
2. 'East Virginia'
3. 'Bang Bang'
4. 'I Shall Be Released'
5. 'If I Let You'
6. 'I Walk the Line'
7. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow'
8. 'Since I Lost You Baby'
9. 'The Milk of the Tree'
10. 'For What It's Worth'
11. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind'
12. 'Get High on Jesus'
13. 'Since I Lost You Baby' (Mono Unreleased Single)
14. 'The Milk of the Tree' (Mono Unreleased Single)
15. 'If I Let You' (Mono Mix)
16. 'East Virginia' (Mono Mix)
17. 'I Am a Child' (Mono Mix)
18. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' (Mono Mix)
The newly-discovered and remastered album kicks off in fine style with the delicious tambourine-led 'I Am a Child' and backs that up seamlessly with the guitar twangin', finger-snappin' funk of 'East Virginia,' the lo-fi, way drifting of 'Bang Bang' (later a hit for Cher), the mid-tempo pop sensibility of 'I Shall Be Released,' and then both the upbeat R&B of 'If I Let You' and the '70s violin fun of Johnny Cash's 'I Walk the Line.'
A cover of The Shirelles' 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' rings true to Motown here, and that's backed by the heartbreak storytelling of 'Since I Lost You Baby' (which sounds like Poly's vocals have been sped up, in truth), and then both the laid back 'The Milk of the Tree' and a stirring cover of Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth.'
The magnificently sunny title track, 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' is up next and is followed by the final track on the original album, the hands to the sky 'Get High on Jesus.'
This first disc then rounds out with a batch of Mono tracks and mixes, such as the Mono Unreleased Singles 'Since I Lost You Baby' and 'The Milk of the Tree,' alongside Mono Mixes of 'If I Let You,' 'East Virginia,' 'I Am a Child,' and 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow.'
1. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (First Version)
2. 'East Virginia' (First Version)
3. 'If I Let You' (Final Mix from 16-Track)
4. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (4-Track Vocal Experiment from Unmixed Rhythm Track)
5. 'East Virginia' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
6. 'I Am a Child' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
7. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
8. 'Get High on Jesus' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
9. 'Since I Lost You Baby' (2019 Mix)
10. 'The Milk of the Tree' (2019 Mix)
11. 'For What It's Worth' (2019 Mix)
12. 'I Walk the Line' (2019 Mix)
13. 'I Shall Be Released' (2019 Mix)
14. 'Bang Bang' (2019 Mix)
15. 'For What It's Worth' (Mono Mix)
16. 'I Walk the Line' (Mono Mix)
17. 'I Shall Be Released' (Mono Mix)
18. 'Bang Bang' (Mono Mix)
What we get with this second disc, that might well be construed as overkill to an album that we have now since enjoyed to its fullest on the first disc, is a bunch different Mixes and Versions.
Noticeably out the gate is a stereo speaker, back and forth vocal sound to opening track 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (First Version) and a slightly longer instrumental introduction to 'East Virginia' (First Version).
In truth, tracks such as 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (4-Track Vocal Experiment from Unmixed Rhythm Track), and the Final Mix from 8-Track cuts such as both 'East Virginia' and 'I Am a Child,' etc. all sound much like their original counterparts.
That said, the slew of 2019 Mixes sound fresh and uplifted and have definitely benefited from their new studio remastered enhancements.
This is an artist-approved release, with Polly on board as a consultant. And for the first time, Polly’s story is told in a 3000-word liner essay by journalist, Charles Donovan.
Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind has been assembled with luxurious, period-appropriate design work, with top flight remastering. The album is illustrated by Ember-era photographs from Polly’s own archives.
It follows a limited edition vinyl reissue of the original, unreleased Polly Niles album on Record Collector magazine’s label.
Official 2CD Purchase Link