Introducing The Poppy Family (Sunshine Pop #9)

Exploring the music of many bands that flourished in the late ’60s, I realized that I often get drawn to those songs that have ornate horn and string orchestration, textured and catchy vocal harmonies, and slightly progressive arrangements–not the typical four-on-the-floor rhythm and beats. However, having become eclectic, I fancy also those groups that had incorporated into their music Psychedelic Rock sensibilities–characterized by the use of guitar reverbs and mild distortion as well as incorporation of Hindustani music (sitar, tabla), of which The Beatles was a pioneer.

That is why it is really difficult to categorize bands under a singular description. I just decided to use Sunshine Pop as a default term to give all these wonderful bands a common home, but I deliberately included those whose music had also been described as Bubblegum Pop, Merseybeat, and Psychedelic Pop.

One of such bands from the late-’60s batch whose music is a mix of Sunshine Pop and Psychedelic Folk with a stroke of Country sensibilities was The Poppy Family.

Formed in 1967, in British Columbia, Canada, The Poppy Family consisted of the then wife-and-husband Susan Pesklevitz-Jacks (vocals, percussion) and Terry Jacks (rhythm guitar, vocals), Craig McCaw (lead guitar, sitar), and Satwant Singh (tabla, drums, percussion). The quartet released their debut album, Which Way You Goin’, Billy?, in 1969. However, two years after their second and last album, 1971’s Poppy Seeds, The Poppy Family broke up–so did Susan and Terry’s marriage.

Susan resumed her solo singing career, resulting in five albums–from 1973’s I Thought of You Again… to 1982’s Forever–but that’s for another story.

Recommended tracks are “Happy Island,” “There’s No Blood in Bone,” “For Running Wild,” “Good Friends?,” “Where Evil Grows,” and “Remember the Rain.”