Friday, April 22, 2016

Free Design – "Proper Ornaments" (1967)

What's behind that countenance?
What's behind the lace?
What is in your mind and heart?

(Too many questions!)

The Free Design – a vocal group whose members were siblings – released seven albums between 1967 and 1972.  

The Free Design
Until a few days ago, I had never heard any of their music, and I’m guessing you hadn’t either.  That’s too bad for the Free Design, and it’s too bad for us.

“Proper Ornaments” was released on the group’s first album, Kites Are Fun.  A lot has changed since 1967, as the photos in this post demonstrate.

I’m almost 50 years later to the “Proper Ornaments” party – better late than never, I suppose – and it’s a small miracle I tripped over this astonishing song when I did.  

How did I overlook the Free Design and “Proper Ornaments” for so long?  

Beats me.  

I’ve stumbled upon a lot of great music since I started writing 2 or 3 lines some six and a half years ago.  But I take very little comfort from that because I know that for every great record or group I’ve discovered, then are ten . . . or twenty . . . or maybe even a hundred that of which I remain unblissfully ignorant.

That bothers me, boys and girls.  What would life be without the Association’s “Along Comes Mary,” or “She’s My Girl” by the Turtles, or the Arbors’ cover of “The Letter,” or “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris, or songs like “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains” by the Beach Boys?

“Proper Ornaments” deserves a place on that list.  Like all those records, it is dense and complicated and over the top and utterly beautiful.

I’ll tell you more about the Free Design and their music someday soon.  But I’m very anxious for you to hear this song, so all that will have to wait.

Here’s “Proper Ornaments”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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