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The Tangerine Zoo (1968)


Boston psychedelic band the Tangerine Zoo formed in 1967 in nearby Swansea, MA. Guitarist Robert "Benny" Benevides, bassist Tony Taveira, and drummer Donald Smith first collaborated in the Ebb Tides, which the previous year issued "My Baby's Gone" on the Arco label. With the additions of singer/guitarist Wayne Gagnon and keyboardist Ronald Medeiros, the group renamed itself the Flower Pot, abandoning the Ebb Tides' garage rock sound in favor of a more psychedelic approach. In addition to serving as the house band at the local Venus de Milo restaurant, the band also opened for the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Van Morrison, and Deep Purple. Their growing popularity was buoyed by a large fan base in Boston, and in late 1967 signed with the New York City-based Mainstream label. While recording their debut LP, label execs demanded another name change, fearing backlash from the obvious marijuana reference in the Flower Pot moniker; after setting on the Tangerine Zoo, the group released its self-titled debut in early 1968. Taveira exited the lineup prior to recording the follow-up, Outside Looking In. In mid-1969, the Tangerine Zoo was invited to play the Woodstock festival, but were forced to decline due to prior commitments. The band dissolved in 1970, with Gagnon soon resurfacing in Wadsworth Mansion, which scored a Billboard Top Ten hit with 1971's "Sweet Mary." The original Tangerine Zoo lineup reunited in 1988 to play a charity fundraiser, intermittently reconvening during the decades that followed. (amg)

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