John Phillips, Many Mamas, Many Papas

In 1981, ten years after the release of the last album by the original members of The Mamas and The Papas, John Phillips reformed the group with original Papa, Denny Doherty, Spanky McFarlane from Spanky and Our Gang in the Cass Elliot spot, and Mackenzie Phillips, John’s daughter, in the Michelle Phillips spot. Scott McKenzie, for whom John had written “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear A Flower In Your Hair)”, would later join the group, replacing Denny in the mid-80s.

The group recorded over two albums’-worth of new John Phillips songs between 1981 and 1988. The best of these never-before-released studio recordings are featured in this collection.

The Mamas and The Papas was a crucial part of the harmony-rich, pop-group movement that swept Southern California in the ‘60’s. With the group’s mix of male and female voices, astute songwriting and arrangements from John Phillips, and musical contributions from some of Los Angeles’ finest session musicians, The Mamas and The Papas cut some of the most indelible and durable pop records of all time.  These ‘80’s recordings find John Phillips returning to his original role as songwriter, vocal arranger, producer and group leader, after a decade pursuing various solo recording and producing projects, composing and acting in an Andy Warhol-produced off-Broadway musical and film producing and soundtrack work.

This new incarnation of The Mamas and The Papas toured extensively for most of the 80s, playing a variety of The Mamas and The Papas hits, band member solo hits and material from the studio albums then in progress.

The first track, “Go Now”, is a remake of the 1965 hit by The Moody Blues. The track was considered for release as a single, and is the only non-original song in the collection.

The song “Kokomo” is also included, featuring vocals by Denny and Scott together, and is performed the way John and Scott McKenzie originally composed it, before The Beach Boys recorded a version for the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail, with additional music and lyrics by Mike Love and Terry Melcher.

The collection also contains an original version of “Fairy Tale Girl,” another of John’s songs that The Beach Boys revamped and recorded on the Still Cruisin’ album under the name “Somewhere Near Japan.”

The bonus live disc includes a rare performance by John Phillips singing “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair),” the 1967 hit he wrote for Scott McKenzie.

The disc also features The Mamas and The Papas hits and band member solo hits, and will be a CD-only release, not available for digital download.

Track List:
Disc One:

1 Go Now! – Denny Doherty, lead vocal
2 Frankie – Scott McKenzie, lead vocal
3 Chinaman
4 Love Is Coming Back – Spanky McFarlane, lead vocal
5 Yachts
6 I Wish – John Phillips, lead vocal
7 Not Too Cool
8 Kokomo – Denny Doherty & Scott McKenzie, lead vocals
9 Love Song – Mackenzie Phillips, lead vocal
10 She Got She (The Game Of Love) – John Phillips, lead vocal
11 Babies
12 Love Life – John Phillips, lead vocal
13 Crying In The Shower – Mackenzie Phillips, lead vocal
14 Flowers – Spanky McFarlane, lead vocal
15 Fairy Tale Girl (Somewhere Near Japan) – John Phillips, lead vocal
16 Kwella – John Phillips, lead vocal

Disc 2 (Live-bonus CD only disc)
One Day At A Time (TV Theme) – Mackenzie Phillips, lead vocal
Spanky and Our Gang Medley:Lazy Days/I’d Like To Get To Know You/Sunday Will Never Be The Same – Spanky McFarlane, lead vocal
Mississippi – John Phillips, lead vocal
12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon)
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)
Straight Shooter – John Phillips, lead vocal
Creeque Alley

In addition to the above, there are FIVE bonus Digital Only Tracks available on iTunes and

2001 – Scott McKenzie, lead vocal
Mr. Blue – John Phillips, lead vocal
There Is A Place
Zulu Warrior
Flowers – Denny Doherty, lead vocal

John Phillips Catalog Titles:

John Phillips (John, The Wolfking Of L.A.)

John Phillips Pussycat

Official Web Site




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3 Responses to John Phillips, MANY MAMAS, MANY PAPAS

  1. Dear Varese Vintage:

    This press release promises that the second live disc in the “Many Mamas, Many Papas” release will not be available as a digital download, but why is there no mention of the FIVE studio tracks that are available on iTunes but *NOT* available on the CD release?

    I have purchased every single release in the Papa John Phillips Presents catalog. I’ve anxiously awaited every release like a kid at Christmas. This series has been a life-long dream come true for all John Phillips/Mamas & Papas fans. There isn’t enough room in this comments box to tell you how much I’ve loved every disc in the series.

    But the decision to release these extra 5 tracks only on iTunes really really upsets me. Honestly, I’d rather have those 5 studio tracks instead of the live performances on the second disc. I don’t see why those tracks could not have been included on the second disc as bonus tracks.

    I’m not sure how much more of John’s material is left to release, if any at all, but I really hope that any future releases do NOT follow this strategy of only offering some tracks on iTunes.

    What a disappointment.

    —From a longtime loyal, but really upset customer & fan.

    • Cary Mansfield says:

      I’m very sorry that you are upset about the bonus tracks that are only available on iTunes. These tracks were never intended to be part of our album release because they are alternate versions of tracks already released on other John Phillips Varese releases.

      Thank you for being a loyal customer of Varese Vintage.


      Cary E. Mansfield Varese-Sarabande Records

  2. Thanks for the reply, Cary.

    I honestly don’t think too many fans would truly mind the alternate versions of songs that have already been released–most people I’ve talked to enjoy comparing different versions of the same tracks. (There were even two tracks duplicated on the “Jack Of Diamonds” & “Man On The Moon” discs and I didn’t mind that at all.)

    Also, in all fairness, the newly-released versions of ‘Zulu Warrior’ & ‘There Is A Place’ are NOTHING like the previously released versions, which makes them all more appealing to listen to and want to own. (The new versions are amazing, by the way.)

    I’ve already talked with several other fans online who had no idea about the iTunes exclusive tracks and they were also disappointed. They also went straight to iTunes and purchased the additional songs. It just doesn’t seem right to purchase a CD and then have to go someplace else to make an additional purchase to get the complete album.

    If the tracks weren’t planned to be part of the CD release, it’s somewhat bewildering as to why they were even released on iTunes and without any sort of formal announcement.

    If there are any future releases in the John Phillips series, please re-consider any decisions to release the albums this way.

    Thanks much for reading & all the best,
    -Kev J.B.

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