Recording information: Tower Recording, Hollywood, CA.
Oliver's recording career covered a lot of ground, from the cosmic bubblegum of "Good Morning Starshine" to serious, socially conscious folk-pop and country-rock. His rendition of Rod McKuen's love-and-nature ballad "Jean" fit into yet another category altogether, and gave Oliver his biggest hit. As a result, this survey of Oliver's career reveals him to be a restless character reaching for artistic and professional direction after two defining but unrepresentative singles. Oliver's own compositions, such as "Young Birds Fly" and "Buddy," show the kind of music he wanted to create: complex, orchestrated, sometimes dramatic adult folk-pop similar to that of Bob Lind. Good Morning Starshine: The Best of Oliver features a dozen recordings from 1969-1971 that originally appeared on the Jubilee, Crewe, and United Artists labels, including all of his charting pop and easy listening hits. A lush remake of the Fleetwoods' "Come Softly to Me" credited to Billy 'n Sue is actually a pseudonymous duet between Oliver and Lesley Gore. The last two cuts on the anthology are taken from Oliver's third album, Prisms, and find him playing appealing countrified material that should have produced a commercial revival in his recording career. This anthology is the first to compile Oliver's original hits and exemplifies Taragon's usual high standards of audio fidelity. ~ Greg Adams