Classics Reviewed

December 3, 2019

The Left Banke


“I’ve Got Something On My Mind” is a flip-side worth revisiting


“I’ve Got Something On My Mind”

Smash 45 2119; 1967 Mono Single Mix

The Flip-Side to “Desiree”

Written by Michael Brown, Steve Martin, and George Cameron

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE HEAR-ing The Left Banke was circa 1988. My Dad’s choice of radio station was CBS FM 101.1 out of New York (one of the top radio stations responsible for most of my LP and 45 collection). The song was “Walk Away Renee,” and I was blown away by the string and harpsichord introductions which led to the first verse “And When I see the sign that points one way…” Steve Martin Caro’s angelic vocals brought tears to my eyes, and the chorus of “Just Walk Away Renee, You won’t see me follow you back home…” was both heart-breaking and beautiful.

I learned the lyrics word for word, and whenever I heard it broadcast I would sing along. What blew my mind even further was the fact Steve Martin Caro was just the tender age of 17 when he sang lead on it!

Flash forward to the year 1992. I was working for Sam Goody music store in Woodbridge, New Jersey and saw the now out of print release The Left Banke: There’s Gonna Be A Storm – The Complete Recordings 1966-1969. It was a more-than-generous collection of the group’s material during their tenure with the Smash/Mercury label. It included all of the tracks from the group’s LPs Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina and The Left Banke Too.

I immediately snarfed it up using my 20 percent employee discount. The regular price of the CD was an economical $11.99 and with my discount came to less than $10! “Can’t beat that with a stick!” I laughed to myself.

I played the CD day in and day out. I heard the great follow-up singles “Pretty Ballerina” and “She May Call You Up Tonight,” learning the lyrics and singing along with those respectively. The fifth track on the CD, “I’ve Got Something On My Mind” is, if you’ll pardon the pun, SMASH-ing! Although most of the tracks on the CD were remixed in true stereo (including “I’ve Got Something”) and sounded terrific, I started my search for the original single, which would be the original mono mix.

In the early 2000’s I found an original copy of “Desiree”/ “I’ve Got Something On My Mind” —the picture sleeve first, which was, surprisingly, easier to find than the record (and affordable, approximately $8).

I haunted every 45/LP/CD and 45 expo until I found the complete package of the picture sleeve and record in beautiful condition for about $10. Interestingly, the picture sleeve has the flip-side titled “I’ve Got Something.” I was so relieved to find the record because the original mono mix would be on the single version.



When I spun it on my Pro-Ject Music Hall turntable with Ortofon cartridge and diamond stylus, it was like hearing the song for the first time! My goodness, the fidelity and clarity ­— and this is the mono mix??!

It’s a Baroque-Pop-Rock masterpiece as it was intended to be heard.

Mike Brown is flawlessly playing the wonderful harpsichord phrases. The song is basically built around the instrument and heard throughout.

Steve Martin Caro’s lead vocals along with George Cameron’s and Tom Finn’s harmonies are pure magic — especially on the second chorus of “I’ve Got Something on My Mind/it’s no lie I’m telling you why” and “But now I am oh so glad/and my girl you can bet, I will say what’s on my mind, and this time there’ll be no lie.

Paul Lookofsky’s (and friends) string arrangements bring a lush intermission before the drums kick in and return to the baroque pop-symphony. Lookofsky’s strings then bring us to an anticlimactic finale.

With “I’ve Got Something on My Mind,” The Left Banke contributed to the “new music” of the era with the then rarely-heard (on the Billboard Top 100 chart — the single peaked at #98) baroque-pop-rock style. When you listen to this flip-side, “You can Bet” it will be “Something on your mind” to spin again.


  1. I have two of the Left Banke’s 45s in my collection:”Pretty Ballerina” / “Lazy Day” (Smash Records ‎– S-2074) and “Walk Away Renee” / “I Haven’t Got The Nerve”
    (Smash Records ‎– S-2041). I know the latter is Mono but not sure of “Pretty Ballerina.” Enjoyed your write-up on the band and the “I’ve Got Something On My Mind” 45. Will have to search this one out. By the way, the difference between the two of us is that I picked up my two 45s when they were originally released!

  2. Hi martyh! I just saw this comment. Thank you for the kind words about the write-up of The Left Banke and “I’ve Got Something On My Mind”. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. If you bought “Pretty Ballerina”/”Lazy Day” when it was first released it was definitely mono. All of their singles were in mono. I found “Bryant Hotel”/”Give The Man a Hand” on white label promo while window shopping on EBAY a while ago. Again, thank you for the comment and I apologize for my delay in responding!

    All the best,

    Nick Arietano

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