We have already encountered Berkeley, California’s The Answer thanks to their collaboration with Denise Kaufman on the utterly brilliant Denise and Company single ‘Boy, What’ll You Do Then’ from January 1966.
A couple of months before – in November 1965 – the band, who had formed at Berkeley High School, had released a 45 of their own on White Whale Records. The deal with the label apparently came about because The Answer had befriended Westchester, CA popsters The Turtles (who recorded for White Whale of course) during a visit they made to Berkeley.
The Answer’s singer Todd Anderson had a hand in writing both sides of the single, composing ‘Why You Smile’ and co-writing the flip with guitarist Chip Wright. The recording of ‘Why You Smile’ was overseen by famed producer Dayton “Bones” Howe. Initially the vocals seems a little wayward but it soon settles down into a brooding garage ballad with a memorable chorus, enlivened by some powerful harmonica and tasteful keyboards.
‘Why You Smile’
The flip ‘I’ll Be In’ is the superior side in my opinion. This is an effervescent rocker with an insistent fuzz guitar riff, pounding drums and a far more confident vocal performance from Todd, with strong backing vocals to boot. A version was again produced by Bones Howe but was deemed to be too slick (he did make his name with the likes of The Association and The 5th Dimension after all), so a rawer demo that had been cut at Coast Recorders was used instead.
‘I’ll Be In’
The band later resurfaced as The Drongos and released another single on White Whale in July 1966, featuring a reasonable cover of The Stones’ ‘Under My Thumb’ backed by the ballad ‘If You Want to Know’.
Reissues: Both sides are on Garage Beat ’66 Volume 3. ‘Why You Smile’ is also on Sixties Rebellion Volume 3, and ‘I’ll Be In’ on Teenage Shutdown Volume 9.