The English duo Chad & Jeremy arrived in the United States in the early 1960s, and their timing could not have been more fortuitous. They benefited both from the British Invasion and by a burgeoning interest in the folk scene. With their witty, smart and insightful folk-pop songs, the duo had a string of top 40 hits, including “Yesterday’s Gone” and “A Summer Song.”
In 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, and again, The Beatles had significantly altered the sonic landscape. The same year, Chad & Jeremy released Of Cabbages and Kings, an ambitious pysch-folk project, but the album’s departure from the group’s earlier work alienated much of its fan base, and was a commercial failure.
The following year, the duo released their final album, The Ark (they would intermittently reunite in later years). It is a sprawling work heavily influenced by the psychedelic style they were experimenting with, tinged with a kind of tripping-out baroque sensibility, and packed with a wide-ranging combination of styles that showcased the songwriting acumen of Jeremy Clyde and Chad Stuart’s talent for arrangement. It’s not always the most cohesive album, and it veers at times into pretension, but it is all the more endearing for its flaws and the fits of brilliance in between.