Monday, May 22, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era #1721 (starts 5/24/17)

Beatles! Stones! More Beatles! More Stones! Even more Beatles! Even more Stones! Yeah, there's actually a whole lot of other stuff, too, including a Doors set and, believe it or not, the 1910 Fruitgum Company!

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side 2.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Mandrake Root
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans/Lord
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple was formed in early 1968 by former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, who recruited organist Jon Lord and guitarist Richie Blackmore, then left to go do something else. Blackmore and Lord added bassist Nick Simper and drummer Ian Paice, as well as frontman Rod Evans, to complete the band's first lineup. The group's debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was recorded in three days in May of 1968. One of the four original compositions on the album was a song called Mandrake Root, which was also the name of the band that Blackmore had been trying to put together in Germany before hooking up with Deep Purple. The song started off as an instrumental, but Evans added lyrics to the tune during rehearsals just prior to the band going into the studio to record.
Artist:     Eire Apparent with Jimi Hendrix
Title:     The Clown
Source:     Swedish import CD: Sunrise
Writer(s):     Chris Stewart
Label:     Flawed Gems (original US label: Buddah)
Year:     1969
     Eire Apparent was a band from Northern Ireland that got the attention of Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals in late 1967. Chandler had been managing Jimi Hendrix since he had discovered him playing in a club in New York a year before, bringing him back to England and introducing him to Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, who along with Hendrix would become the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite Eire Apparent having almost no recording experience, Chandler put them on the bill as the opening act for the touring Experience. This led to Hendrix producing the band's first and only album, Sunrise, in 1968, playing on at least three tracks, including The Clown.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Soul Kitchen
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Every time I hear the opening notes of the Doors' Soul Kitchen, from their first album, I think it's When The Music's Over, from their second LP. I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Twentieth Century Fox
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    There's no getting around it: there are no bad songs on the first two Doors albums. Pick one at random, say Twentieth Century Fox. Great song. They all are.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Just Wan't To Make Love To You
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    London
Year:    1964
    Like most British bands in the early 60s, the Rolling Stones recorded a lot of blues cover songs, including most of their early UK singles. The first original tune from the band to chart was Tell Me (Your Coming Back Again), which was also their first  release to crack the US top 40. The Stones weren't quite done with blues covers however. The flip side of Tell Me was an old Willie Dixon classic, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Don't Want To Spoil The Party
Source:    CD: Beatles For Sale (released in US on LP: Beatles VI)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    UK: 1964, US: 1965
    As early as 1964 the Beatles were starting to incorporate acoustic guitars into their music to supplement their basic electric sound. One example of this is I Don't Want To Spoil The Party from their LP Beatles For Sale. In the US the song appeared on the 1965 LP Beatles VI.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Last Time
Source:    Out Of Our Heads
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
     Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Wait
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The oldest song on the Rubber Soul album, Wait was originally recorded for the Help album, but did not make the final cut. Six months later, when the band was putting the finishing touches on Rubber Soul, they realized they would not be able to come up with enough new material in time for a Christmas release, so they added some overdubs to Wait and included it on the new album. The song itself was a collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the two sharing vocals throughout the tune.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Please Go Home
Source:    CD: Flowers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    It was common practice in the 1960s for American record labels to change the track lineup on British albums before releasing them in the US. There were several reasons for this, including the fact that British albums generally had longer running times than American ones, and seldom included tracks that had been issued as singles. Since albums in the US almost always did include hit singles (to help spur album sales), this meant that several songs from the original UK versions of LPs did not appear on the US version. In many cases those tracks, combined with other unreleased songs such as those that had appeared on EPs (a format not supported by American record buyers) would eventually appear on albums that were only released in the US. One such album was the Rolling Stones' Flowers LP, which appeared in 1967 a few months after the release of Between The Buttons. One of the tracks on Flowers that had appeared on the British version of Between The Buttons was Please Go Home, a Bo Diddly styled rocker with a few psychedelic touches added. The track also features an oscillator, played by Brian Jones.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Think For Yourself
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer:    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing two songs per Beatle album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Do You Believe In Magic
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1965
    Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    It's No Secret
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1966
     Released in March of 1966, It's No Secret was an instant hit on San Francisco Bay area radio stations. This version differs from the album version released six months later in that it has a fade out ending and is thus a few seconds shorter. The song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She's My Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    A favorite among the Turtles' members themselves, She's My Girl is full of hidden studio tricks that are barely (if at all) audible on the final recording. Written by the same team as Happy Together, the song is a worthy follow up to that monster hit.

Artist:        Randy Newman
Title:        Last Night I Had A Dream
Source:      Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Randy Newman
Label:        Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:        1968
        Randy Newman has, over the course of the past fifty-plus years, established himself as a Great American Writer of Songs. His work includes dozens of hit singles (over half of which were performed by other artists), nearly two dozen movie scores and eleven albums as a solo artist. Newman has won five Grammys, as well as two Oscars and Three Emmys. Last Night I Had A Dream was Newman's second single for the Reprise label  (his third overall), coming out the same year as his first LP, which did not include the song.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    In The Time Of Our Lives
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Ingle/Bushy
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    The lead track on Ball, Iron Butterfly's highly-anticipated 1969 follow-up LP to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was In The Time Of Our Lives. It was also chosen to be released as a single. Although some labels were starting to issue stereo 45s, Atco was not one of them, and In The Time Of Our Lives became one of only two songs from Ball with an alternate monoraul mix (the other being the B side of the single, It Must Be Love).

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source:    LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy is perhaps recognizable from a TV commercial from a few years back (don't ask me who the ad was for, as I tend to ignore such things). The song was originally the opening track from the 1965 album Kinda Kinks, which, like most British albums of the time, had a different song lineup on its US release than the original UK version. In this case, it also had entirely different cover art, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Laughing Stock
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1968
    The last record by the classic Love lineup was a single released in June of 1968. While Your Mind And We Belong Together is one of the band's most overlooked and underrated tracks, the B side of that single comes across as a sardonic epitaph for the group, with it's intro reminiscent of one of their best tunes, Alone Again Or and sly references to their first hit, My Little Red Book. Lee would soon fire the entire band, reemerging with an entirely new lineup the following year, but he was never able to duplicate the magic of the original Love.
Artist:      Them
Title:     Black Widow Spider
Source:      CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Tower)
Year:     1968
     Usually when a band used outside songwriters it's because their producer forced them into it, and almost always was a sore point with the band members. The liner notes for Them's second album for Tower, on the other hand, included a thank you note from the band to Tom Lane and Sharon Pulley, who wrote nearly every song on Time Out! Time In! For Them.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    I Got A Line On You
Source:    European import CD: Pure....Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Family That Plays Together)
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Although not an instant hit by any measure, I Got A Line On You, from Spirit's second album, The Family That Plays Together, has proven to be the band's most popular song. Released in October of 1968, the song lingered below the top 100 for several weeks before college radio stations began playing it in late November. The tune finally peaked at #25 on March 15, 1969.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Stealin'
Source:    Mono CD: Birth Of The Dead (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gus Cannon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Scorpio)
Year:    1966
    The first Grateful Dead record was actually a limited edition single on San Francisco's Scorpio label, released in 1966. The band had already cut a few tracks in 1965 when they were still known as the Warlocks, but none of those had been released. Both sides of the Scorpio single were cover songs featuring Jerry Garcia on vocals. The A side was a Gus Cannon tune called Stealin', which is a fairly good indication of what the band was doing in 1966 (before seeing the Blues Project perform at the Fillmore inspired them to develop their own improvisational skills).

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    House Of Jansch
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    One of the most respected names in British folk music during the 1960s was Bert Jansch. House Of Jansch, from the Mellow Yellow album, was Donovan's way of acknowledging Jansch's influence on his own music.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Politician
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown are best known for providing Cream with its more psychedelic songs such as White Room and Swlabr, they did occasionally come up with bluesier numbers such as Politician from the Wheels Of Fire album. The song quickly became a staple of Cream's live performances.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    One Good Man
Source:    LP: I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Janis Joplin's first solo album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama, got a lukewarm reception, both from the rock press and from fans of the singer who had been listening to her since her days with Big Brother And The Holding Company. The main problem seems to be that, while musically more proficient than the members of Big Brother, Joplin's new group (sometimes called the Kozmic Blues Band) never seemed to gel as a group. The fact that all but two of the tracks on the LP were cover songs didn't help matters, either. The two Joplin originals, however, are among the album's best tracks. I suspect that a few more tracks like One Good Man and a few fewer tracks like the cover of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody would have helped the album immensely.

Title:    Somethin' Goin' On
Source:    LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    After leaving the Blues Project just prior to the band's appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival, Al Kooper volunteered his services to the festival promoters as part of the stage crew and hastily put together a band of his own to make a one-off appearance at the festival itself. Following that, Kooper returned to New York to do studio work, becoming a staff producer at Columbia Records. While there, he conceived the idea of combining rock and jazz in a new band to be called Blood, Sweat & Tears. The group's first LP, Child Is Father To The Man, featured Kooper on both keyboards and vocals on several new tunes, most of which were written by Kooper himself. Among these new tunes was Somethin' Goin' On, a powerful blues-based piece that helped establish the new group's distinct sound. Kooper would leave BS&T following the release of Child Is Father To The Man. The band itself would go on to even greater success with the addition of vocalist David Clayton Thomas, while Kooper would soon embark on what is considered by many to be the greatest jam album of all time: Super Session.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Feelin' Alright
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    Although Traffic is generally known as an early underground rock band heard mostly on progressive FM stations in the US, the band had its share of hit singles in its native England as well. Many of these early hits were written by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who would leave the band in 1968, only to return for the live Welcome To The Canteen album before leaving again, this time for good. One of Mason's most memorable songs was Feelin' Alright, from Traffic's self-titled second LP. The song very quickly became a rock standard when Joe Cocker sped it up and made it his own signature song. Grand Funk Railroad slowed it back down and scored a hit with their version in 1971, and Mason himself got some airplay with a new solo recording of the song later in the decade. Even comedian John Belushi got into the act with his dead-on cover of Cocker's version of the song on the Saturday Night Live TV show.

Artist:    Family
Title:    Peace Of Mind/Voyage/The Breeze
Source:    British import CD: Music In A Doll's House
Writer(s):    Whitney/Chapman
Label:    See For Miles (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    One of the most original and musically accomplished bands to appear on the late 60s British music scene, Family got its name from the Zelig-like Kim Fowley, who spent much of the decade flittering back and forth between London and Los Angeles. Fowley saw the band performing in their stage attire of matching double-breasted suits and remarked how they resembled a Mafia crime family. Musically, Family was unique in several ways, including the fact that their bass player, Rick Grech, also played violin. Lead vocalist Roger Chapman had one of the most unusual voices on the scene as well. Finally, the band's material was far more sophisticated than that of most of their contemporaries (Pink Floyd being a notable exception), predating the progressive rock movement by at least a year. Some of the tracks on their first album, Music In A Doll's House, drew comparisons to Traffic. This was probably inevitable, since both groups were produced by Jimmy Miller, with Traffic's Dave Mason serving as co-producer on two tracks, Peace Of Mind and The Breeze on Music In A Doll's House. Family's fortunes took a downward turn in 1969, however, when Grech left the group to become a member of Blind Faith.

Artist:    1910 Fruitgum Company
Title:    In The Beginning/The Thing
Source:    LP: Hard Ride
Writer(s):    Soriano/Christopher/Gomez/Casazza/Roth/Cohen/Gutkowski/Gutkowski
Label:    Buddah
Year:    1969
    When it comes to the subject of bubble gum rock, the first name that comes to mind is the 1910 Fruitgum Company. With songs like Simon Says and 1,2,3 Red Light, they were as big a name as any in genre, which by 1969 had become yesterday's news. In an effort to change with the times the band released the album Hard Road that year. As can be heard on the combined tracks In The Beginning (a bunch of spacy feedback credited to the band itself) and The Thing (a faux R&B instrumental), they really never stood a chance of being taken seriously.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1721 (starts 5/24/17)

No matter how you look at it, this week's show is dominated by one track: Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (or more specifically, side one of Tubular Bells), one continuous 25 minute plus piece of music. The other nine songs ain't too shabby either.

Artist:    Cactus
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    CD: Cactus
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Wounded Bird (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    I know of at least three versions of Mose Allison's Parchman Farm that came out in the years 1968-70. The first was the feedback-laden Blue Cheer version from their Vincebus Eruptum LP. Next was the jazzy Blues Image version from their 1970 LP Open. By far the most energetic, though, was the frenetically-paced version that opened the first (and best) Cactus album. Although the best-known members of Cactus were bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, it was former Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim McCarty that steals the show on this three-minute track. Vocals on the song were provided by former Amboy Dukes member Rusty Day.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Gallows Pole
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Traditional, arr. Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Following a year of intensive touring to promote their first two albums, Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page decided to take some time off, cloistering themselves in a small Welsh cottage known as Bron-Yr-Aur for several weeks. The place had no electricity, and the pair used the time to write and/or adapt acoustic material for the band to record for their third LP. One of the best of these "new" songs was Gallows Pole, which Page adapted from a 1962 recording by Fred Gerlach, although the song's roots go back several centuries.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Find The Cost Of Freedom
Source:    CD: Carry On (promo excerpt disc) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    One of the most celebrated songs in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young catalog is Neil Young's Ohio. Written in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, the song was quickly recorded and rush released in 1971. Often overlooked, however, is the powerful B side of the single. Find The Cost Of Freedom is a simple song by Stephen Stills, consisting of a guitar intro followed by a two-line verse, with the entire sequence repeated. Although both songs were included on the 1971 live album 4-Way Street, the studio versions remained available only on monoraul 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits collection, So Far, was released in 1974. Since 45s in the US generally went out of print within six months of their release, Ohio/Find The Cost Of Freedom was considered a collector's item for several years.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Come Together
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Johnny Winter And)
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    Athough best known as a solo Rick Derringer hit, Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo was originally recorded in 1970 by Johnny Winter for the album Johnny Winter And when Derringer was a member of Winter's band (also known as Johnny Winter And at that time). As can be heard here the arrangement on the earlier version is nearly identical to the hit version, the main differences being Winter's lead vocals and the presence of two lead guitarists in the band.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Driving Song
Source:    Lebanese import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the presence of "underground" FM radio stations in most major US cities playing what would come to be called album rock was making it possible for an artist to be considered successful without having the benefit of a top 40 hit record. This was not the case in the UK, where top 40 itself was considered an underground format heard on illegal AM pirate stations broadcasting from offshore transmitters. This meant that British bands such as Jethro Tull were continuing to put out singles that were either only available as album cuts or not released at all in the US. Driving Song was originally released as the B side of Living In the Past in 1969; neither song appeared in the US until the Living In the Past LP was released in 1973.

Artist:    Stealer's Wheel
Title:    Next To Me
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Egan/Rafferty
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Stealer's Wheel was a Scottish folk-rock band co-led by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. They had one huge hit with Stuck In The Middle With You, from their 1972 debut LP. Also from that LP was a song called Next To Me, which was also released as a B side in 1973. Although Egan was the more prolific songwriter of the group, it was Rafferty that went on the greater fame as a solo artist with his late-70s hit Baker Street.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    The Way Love Used To Be
Source:    French import 33 1/3 RPM 7" EP from the soundtrack of the film Percy
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    BMG
Year:    1971
    Although their record sales were a bit down in the early 1970s the Kinks were still able to stay gainfully employed by providing soundtracks for various British movies, including a comedy called Percy that came out in 1971. Songs from that film were released in the UK and Europe as a 7" Extended Play record, a format that was not commonly used in the US at that time. Recently a French import version of that EP appeared as part of the annual Record Store Day promotion. The EP includes The Way Love Used To Be, a song that was previously available in the US on a 1973 release called The Great Lost Kinks Album.

Artist:    Mike Oldfield
Title:    Tubular Bells
Source:    LP: Tubular Bells
Writer(s):    Mike Oldfield
Label:    Virgin
Year:    1973
    So you probably immediately recognize this piece as the theme from The Exorcist. But have you ever heard the entire album-length version of the piece, entitled Tubular Bells? Well, you're hearing the first half of it now. A bit of trivia: Tubular Bells was the first album ever released by Virgin Records. Several sequels have been recorded in the years since the album's original 1973 release, including Tubular Bells II and III and The Millenium Bell (released in 1999).

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    Bits And Pieces
Source:    LP: While You're Down There
Writer(s):    Timmy Dulane
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    Originally called Aphrodite, Stray Dog started off in Texas, but soon migrated to Denver, Colorado, where they soon became one of the area's most popular bands. A move to London in 1973 led to the band signing with Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Manticore label in 1973. A change in personnel brought guitarist/vocalist Timmy Dulane into the band. Dulane ended up writing most of the material for the band's second LP, While You're Down There, including Bits And Pieces. Stray Dog split up in 1976.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1720 (starts 5/17/17)

This one is pretty much year to year, with an overview to get things started, then mostly single-year sets the rest of the way.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Gazing
Source:    LP: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    L.A's Sunset Strip blossomed as a hangout for teenaged baby boomers in the mid-1960s, with clubs like Ciro's and the Whisky-A-Go-Go pulling in capacity crowds on a regular basis. These clubs had learned early on that the best way to draw a crowd was to hire a live band, which gave rise to a thriving local music scene. Among the many bands playing the strip, perhaps the most popular was Love, the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. Led by multi-instrumentalist Arthur Lee and boasting not one, but two songwriters (Lee and guitarist Bryan MacLean), Love made history in 1966 by being the first rock band signed to Elektra Records. Lee, a recent convert to the then-popular folk-rock style popularized by the Byrds (for whom MacLean had been a roadie) had come from an R&B background and counted a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix among his musician friends. Songs like Gazing, from Love's debut LP, gave an early indication that Lee, even while writing in the folk-rock idiom, had a powerful musical vision that was all his own.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    There She Goes
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Theilhelm/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    You have to give the Blues Magoos credit for persistence. After their double A sided single from the album Electric Comic Book bombed (possibly due to confusion among radio programmers over which side of the record to play), the group went back into the studio and turned out three more singles before getting to work on their next LP, Basic Blues Magoos. The second of these three, There She Goes, was released in November of 1967 and, at least to my ears, sounds like it is trying just a bit too hard to be a top 40 hit. Maybe it was because everyone was saying that psychedelic music had already peaked (a premature pronouncement, in my opinion), or maybe it was just the general direction the top 40 was heading in as 1968 approached, but There She Goes has a bit of a bubblegum feel to it, compared to the band's earlier (and later) work.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    As You Said
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
     Cream started off as a British blues supergroup, but soon found themselves putting out some of the finest psychedelic tunes east of the Atlantic. Much of the credit for this goes to the songwriting team of bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown was originally brought in as a songwriting partner for Ginger Baker, but soon found a better synergy with Bruce. The two went on to write some of Cream's most memorable songs, including Tales of Brave Ulysses, Deserted Cities of the Heart and White Room. As You Said, from Cream's third LP, Wheel's Of Fire, is somewhat unusual in that it features acoustical instruments exclusively (including Ginger Baker setting aside his drumsticks in favor of brushes).

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (UK)
Title:    Faintly Blowing
Source:    British import CD: Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: Faintly Blowing)
Writer(s):    Daltrey/Pumer
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1969
    Kaleidoscope was one of those bands that were victims of their own bad timing. In this particular case it was being a pyschedelically-tinged soft rock band at a time when rock in general was taking a turn for the harder and moving away from psychedelia. Although their label, Fontana, had enough confidence in the band to finance two LPs and a number of singles, the group was never able to achieve commercial success. In retrospect, tracks like Faintly Blowing, the title track of their second album, would have had a much better chance had they been released during the Summer of Love rather than 18 months later.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Good Vibrations
Source:    Mono CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Although I had originally discovered top 40 radio in 1963 (when I had received a small Sony transistor radio for my birthday), it wasn't until 1966 that I really got into it in a big way. This way due to a combination of a couple of things: first, my dad bought a console stereo, and second, my junior high school went onto split sessions, meaning that I was home by one o'clock every day. This gave me unprecedented access to Denver's two big top 40 AM stations, as well as an FM station that was experimenting with a Top 100 format for a few hours each day. At first I was content to just listen to the music, but soon realized that the DJs were making a point of mentioning each song's chart position just about every time that song would play. Naturally I began writing all this stuff down in my notebook (when I was supposed to be doing my homework), until I realized that both KIMN and KBTR actually published weekly charts, which I began to diligently hunt down at various local stores. In addition to the songs occupying numbered positions on the charts, both stations included songs at the bottom of the list that they called "pick hits". These were new releases that had not been around long enough to achieve a chart position. The one that most stands out in my memory was the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, a song I liked so much that I went out and bought it the afternoon I heard it. Within a few weeks Good Vibrations had gone all the way to the top of the charts, and I always felt that some of the credit should go to me for buying the record when it first came out. Over the next couple of years I bought plenty more singles, but to this day Good Vibrations stands out as the most important record purchase I ever made (at least in my own mind).

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Time Won't Let Me
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    King/Kelly
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    One of Cleveland's most popular local bands was a group called Tom King And The Starfires.  Formed in 1959, the band had a series of regional instrumental hits in the early 1960s before adding lead vocalist Sonny Gerachi in 1965 and changing their name to the Outsiders. King, energized by the change, took the band into Cleveland Recording Company's studios to cut demos of the band, which he then shopped around to various national record labels. The group signed a contract with Capitol Records, releasing their first single, Time Won't Let Me, in January of 1966. The song ended up being the band's biggest hit, although it was not their last charted single by any means. Starfires drummer Jimmy Fox, who had temporarily left the group at the time Time Won't Let Me was recorded, returned in time to appear on several of the band's later singles, and would later go on to form his own band, the James Gang, with guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Tom Kriss. Vocalist Sonny Geracci eventually left the Outsiders as well, reappearing a few years later with a band called Climax singing a song called Precious and Few, which is one of the greatest juxtapositions of artist names and song titles ever. King would continue to release records under the Outsiders name using various lineups until 1972 or so. 

Artist:    Zakary Thaks
Title:    Bad Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gerniottis/Stinson/Moore/Gregory/Lopez
Label:    Rhino (originally labels: J-Beck and Mercury)
Year:    1966
    Carl Becker, owner of the J-Beck and Cee Bee record labels in Corpus Christie, Texas, discovered the Zakary Thaks blowing away the competition in early 1966 at a battle of the bands at a local hangout known as the Carousel Club. At the time the lead vocalist, Chris Gerniottis, was all of fifteen years old; in fact, the oldest member of the band was only seventeen. Becker took the band into the studio in nearby McAllen to cut a pair of sides for J-Beck: a hot cover of the Kinks' I Need You and the Thaks' own composition, Bad Girl. Bad Girl became a big enough hit around South Texas to get picked up by Mercury for national distribution, becoming the first of half a dozen singles for the band.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Cross My Heart
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs (originally released on LP: Pleasures Of The Harbor)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    When it comes to 60s singer/songwriters associated with folk music, the two names that come to mind are Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. Both were known for being socially conscious, although Dylan was generally considered to be a bit more on the angry side, while Ochs was more introspective. After Ochs signed with A&M Records in 1967 his music became increasingly darker and more complex musically, moving in an entirely different direction than Dylan. Whereas Dylan incorporated blues-based rock into his late 60s recordings, Ochs experimented more with jazz and classical elements, such as the harpsichord heard on Cross My Heart, from his first (and most popular) A&M album, Pleasures Of The Harbor. As time went on, Ochs's music reflected the artist's growing despair over what was going on in the world. Eventually Ochs's recorded output would decrease almost to nothing as his emotional state deteriorated. On April 6th, 1976, Ochs hanged himself at his sister's house in Far Rockaway, NY at age 35.
Artist:     Merry-Go-Round
Title:     Live
Source:     More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Emitt Rhodes
Label:     Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:     1967
     While San Francisco was basking in the Summer of Love, radio listeners in L.A. were exhorted to Live by local favorites the Merry-Go-Round. 16-year-old drummer Emitt Rhodes had already established himself with the Palace Guard, but took center stage with the Merry-Go-Round. He would later go on to have a moderately successful solo career in the early 70s.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Let's Live For Today
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Julian/Mogull/Shapiro
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1967
    This well-known 1967 hit by the Grass Roots started off as a song by the Italian band the Rokes, Piangi Con Mi, released in 1966. The Rokes themselves were originally from Manchester, England, but had relocated to Italy in 1963. Piangi Con Mi was their biggest hit to date, and it the band decided to re-record the tune in English for release in Britain (ironic, considering that the band originally specialized in translating popular US and UK hits into the Italian language). The original translation didn't sit right with the band's UK label, so a guy from the record company came up with new lyrics and the title Let's Live For Today. The song still didn't do much on the charts, but did get the attention of former Brill building songwriter Jeff Barri, whose current project was writing and producing a studio band known as the Grass Roots with his partner P.F. Sloan. The song became such a big hit that the Grass Roots became a real perfoming band, cranking out several hits over the next couple of years.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    You're Lost Little Girl
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The Doors second LP, Strange Days, was stylistically similar to the first, and served notice to the world that this band was going to be around for awhile. Songwriting credit for You're Lost Little Girl (a haunting number that's always been a personal favorite of mine) was given to the entire band, a practice that would continue until the release of The Soft Parade in 1969.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    I Can't Quit You/How Many More Times
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Dixon/Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own. Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except,for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:    Teddy And His Patches
Title:    Suzy Creamcheese
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Conway
Label:    Rhino (original label: Chance)
Year:    1967
    Teddy And His Patches were a group of high school students who heard the phrase "Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you" from a fellow San Jose, California resident and decided to make a song out of it. Reportedly none of the band members had ever heard the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out, where the phrase had originated. Nonetheless, they managed to turn out a piece of inspired madness worthy of Frank Zappa himself.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    All You Need Is Love
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    So, you're the Beatles, it's mid-1967 and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most popular album in the world. What do you do for an encore? How about setting up the first live worldwide television broadcast in history to premier your new single? That's exactly what happened with All You Need Is Love. Predictably, the song was soon occupying the #1 spot on the singles charts.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Doctor Robert
Source:    CD: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Dr. Robert is one of the few Beatles songs that was released in the US before it was released in the UK. The song was included on the US-only LP Yesterday...And Today, which came out in June of 1966. Most of the tunes on that album were tracks that had either been issued as singles or had appeared on the British versions of the band's two previous albums (Help! and Rubber Soul) but had been left off the US versions of those LPs. Dr. Robert, however, would not be released in the UK until the Revolver album came out in the fall. Concerning the subject matter of the song, John Lennon later claimed that he himself was Dr. Robert, as he was the one who carried the pills for the band in their early days. A likely story.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hello, Goodbye
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 was unquestionably a good year for the Beatles. Their first release was a double A sided single, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, both sides of which were major hits. They followed that up with the #1 album of the year, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and another hit single, All You Need Is Love. To finish out the year they released yet another major hit single, Hello Goodbye. The only downside to the year was the cool reception that was afforded their December telefilm, Magical Mystery Tour, although the songs themselves were well-received when released in the UK as a double-EP set (complete with full color booklet containing stills from the film, as well as lyric sheets). As EPs were not considered a viable format in the US, Capitol Records put together an LP that included all six tracks from the telefilm on one side of the album and the five single sides (Hello Goodbye had used I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour as a B side) on the other. That album has since become the official version of Magical Mystery Tour, although the EP continued to be available in the UK for several years following its initial release.

Artist:     Frumious Bandersnatch
Title:     Hearts To Cry
Source:     British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on self-titled EP)
Writer:     Jack King
Label:     Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Year:     1968
     Rock music and the real estate business have something in common: location can make all the difference. Take the San Francisco Bay Area. You have one of the world's great Cosmopolitan cities at the north end of a peninsula. South of the city, along the peninsula itself you have mostly redwood forest land interspersed with fairly affluent communities along the way to Silicon Valley and the city of San Jose at the south end of the bay. The eastern side of the bay, on the other hand, spans a socio-economic range from blue collar to ghetto and is politically conservative; not exactly the most receptive environment for a hippy band calling itself Frumious Bandersnatch, which is a shame, since they had at least as much talent as any other band in the area. Unable to develop much of a following, they are one of the great "should have beens" of the psychedelic era, as evidenced by Hearts To Cry, the lead track of their 1968 untitled EP.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Blue Avenue
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    See For Miles (original US label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    Although never issued as a single in the US, Blue Avenue, from The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, was the band's most popular song among UK radio listeners. This is due to the fact that the song was played by England's most influential DJ, John Peel, on his "Top Gear" show. One of the many garage bands I was in learned the song and played it at a failed audition for the Ramstein AFB Airman's club, although all five guys in the audience seemed to get a kick out of seeing and hearing me strum my guitar's strings on the wrong side of the bridge.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Talkin' About The Good Times
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    May/Taylor/Waller
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Although the Pretty Things, co-founded by guitarist Dick Taylor and vocalist Phil May, had started off doing R&B cover tunes (as did their London contemporaries the Who and the Rolling Stones), by late 1967 they had moved into psychedelic territory, with Taylor and May developing their songwriting skills at the same time. Working with producer Norman Smith (who had just finished engineering Pink Floyd's debut LP), the band recorded a pair of sides for EMI's flagship Columbia label at Abbey Road studios in November. The resulting single, Talkin' About The Good Times, was successful enough to give the band the opportunity to record an entire album, the legendary S.F. Sorrow.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    House Burning Down
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Portable People
Source:    CD: Ten Years After (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    Following the release of the 1967 debut LP, Ten Years After got to work on what was to be a followup album. These plans got sidetracked, however, when it was decided that their second LP would be made up of live performances taped at a London club near a recording studio. This left the band with several finished studio recordings, many of which were the same songs that would appear on the live Undead album. Two of the other unused studio tracks became the band's first US single, the A side of which was a tune called Portable People. This song remained unavailable in any other form for several years, finally appearing as a bonus track on the CD version of their first album.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Kentucky Woman
Source:    Something's Burning-Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame-Volume 1 (originally released on LP: The Book Of Taleisyn)
Writer(s):    Neil Diamond
Label:    Legacy (original label: Tetragramatton)
Year:    1968
    The original Deep Purple hit the scene in 1968 with their monster hit version of Joe South's Hush, which had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Later the same year they tried to make lightning strike twice with a similarly styled cover of Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Although not as successful as Hush, the song still did reasonably well on the charts and showed that the band had staying power. After releasing a third LP that was handicapped by the band's US label folding within days of the record's release, the band lost its original lead vocalist Rod Evans, who would soon resurface with a new band called Captain Beyond. Meanwhile, Deep Purple achieved iconic status after recruiting vocalist Ian Gillam (the voice of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) to replace Evans.

Artist:    Shocking Blue
Title:    Venus
Source:    Simulated stereo 45 RPM single (1986 reissue)
Writer(s):    Robbie Van Leeuwin
Label:    21 (original label: Colossus)
Year:    1969
    One of only a handful of songs to top the charts by different artists in different decades, Venus was originally released in 1969 by Dutch group Shocking Blue and went to the #1 spot in several countries, including the US, in early 1970. In the mid-1980s the song was re-recorded by Bananarama and once again hit the top spot. By then Atlantic Records had acquired the rights to the original Shocking Blue recording (the Colossus label having gone out of business in 1971) and reissued it on its 21 Records subsidiary.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square
Source:    CD: Stand Up
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Jethro Tull incorporated traditional Indian instruments on Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square, one of a pair of tunes named for future Tull bassist Jeffrey Hammond by the band's primary songwriter, Ian Anderson.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Cold Wind
Source:    LP: Clear
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1969
    Much of the music on the third Spirit album, clear, is so laid back it can almost be called ambient music. Cold Wind, by vocalist Jay Ferguson, certainly fits that description to a T. Truth to tell, I have a hard time paying attention to it for its entire three minutes and 20 seconds.

Artist:    Wee Four
Title:    Weird
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pilittere/Obi
Label:    Nu Sound
Year:    1966
    Vocalist/drummer Terry Pilittere founded the Dimensions in Rochester, NY in 1962. In 1965, after a couple of personnel changes, the band changed its name to the Wee Four (apparently inspired by the fact that none of them members was over 5'8" tall). In 1966 they released their only single, Weird, on the Nu Sound label. The garage rock classic was written by Pilittere with his friend Jim Obi. After recording a few more unreleased tunes with the Wee Four, Pilittere split with the band to record as a solo artist.

Artist:    Spats
Title:    She Done Moved
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dick And Bud Johnson
Label:    Rhino (original label: ABC)
Year:    1966
    ABC Paramount was a record label specifically formed to release records by artists who appeared on the ABC TV network (which was owned by the Paramount theater chain, which in turn had originally been owned by Paramount Pictures, who had divested themselves of the theater chain as a result of an anti-trust action). By the 60s the label had expanded into a major player in the industry with artists ranging from teen-idol Steve Alaimo to R&B favorites like the Impressions and the Tams. In 1966 they dropped the Paramount from their name and became simply ABC records (using the TV network logo). One of the last singles released before the change was She Done Moved, a middle-class teenager's lament from the Spats, an Orange County, California band led by brothers Dick and Bud Johnson. The song describes the heartbreak of having one's girlfriend suddenly relocate to another town, in this case Kansas City. As a military brat myself, I can relate somewhat.

Artist:      Shadows Of Knight
Title:     Bad Little Woman
Source:      LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Tinsley/Catling/Demick/Armstrong/Rosbotham
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:     1966
    For the opening track of the second LP, Back Door Men, Chicago's Shadows Of Knight cranked up the volume on a cover of a little-known tune called Bad Little Woman that had originally been recorded by a Northern Irish band called the Wheels. And when I say cranked up the volume I mean that literally, as the overall level of the recording jumps several decibels following the first verse. As the mono single version of the song does the exact same thing I'm going to assume it was done during the recording process itself.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1720 (starts 5/17/17)

From Jimi Hendrix to Captain Beyond, this one has lots of guitar. And keyboards. And drums. And vocals. Bottom line is, this one rocks!

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them are considered improvements over Dylan's original versions. Probably the most notable exception is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Stone Rap/Collage
Source:    CD: Yer' Album
Writer(s):    Walsh/Cullie
Label:    MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    Sometime in early 1969 (more or less) three students from Kent State University (yes, that one!) travelled to New York to record an album at the Hit Factory. Apparently they had been continually confronted by fans who kept asking them "when is yer' album coming out?", so when it came time to come up with a name for the LP, the natural choice was Yer' Album. That LP launched the careers of two legends: first, the band itself, the James Gang, who would (with an ever-changing lineup) release a total on nine studio albums (and one live LP) before finally disbanding in 1976. The second legend was lead guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, who would go on to have a highly successful solo career before becoming an even bigger star as a member of the Eagles. Walsh wrote about half the songs on that first album, including Collage, a collaboration with his friend Patrick Cullie. Although Yer Album was released in 1969, the James Gang had actually been in existence since 1966. Led by drummer Jim Fox, the band's original lineup also included bassist Tom Kriss, who would leave the group after the release of their first LP.

Artist:    Buddy Miles
Title:    Down By The River
Source:    CD: Them Changes
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Miracle/Mercury
Year:    1970
    Buddy Miles is one of those guys who worked his way up to stardom the hard way, paying his dues along the way. Born in 1947, he was playing drums in backup bands for vocal groups like Ruby and the Romantics while still in his teens. In 1966 he joined Wilson Pickett's band. The following year he was invited by guitarist Mike Bloomfield to become a founding member of what was tentatively called the American Music Band, but eventually came to be known as the Electric Flag. When the Flag broke up following the release of their second LP in 1968, Miles formed his own band, the Buddy Miles Express. It was around this time that he began working with Jimi Hendrix, who produced Miles' first two albums, Expressway To Your Skull and Electric Church. Miles also appeared as a guest musician on the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, in 1968. The following year Miles spent a lot of time in the studio working with Hendrix on tracks that would not be released until after Hendrix's death in 1970. Hendrix, Miles and bassist Billy Cox also performed live at Madison Square Garden for a series of New Years' concerts that would appear in early 1970 as the album Band Of Gypsys. Later that year Miles began work on what is generally considered his best work as a solo artist, the album Them Changes. Most of the tracks on Them Changes were actually cover songs done in Miles's own unique style, such as Neil Young's Down By The River, which features Miles on lead guitar, as well as drums and lead vocals.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    What Is And What Should Never Be
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Due to contractual obligations, singer Robert Plant did not received any writing credits for songs on the first Led Zeppelin album. By the time the band's second LP was released, Plant had been able to get out of his previous contract, and his name began appearing as co-writer of songs such as What Is And What Should Never Be. The song itself was based on a true story concerning Plant's attraction to his girlfriend's sister.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Sometime World
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    Guitarist Andy Powell shines on Sometime World from the third Wishbone Ash album, Argus. The song, about missed opportunities and second chances, starts quietly, building slowly to become a powerful rocker over the course of nearly seven minutes. Although the song was seldom performed live, Powell has since stated that Sometime World is his favorite track on Argus.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Razor Boy
Source:    LP: Countdown To Ecstasy
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Countdown To Ecstasy is the second Steely Dan album and the first to feature Donald Fagen as the group's sole lead vocalist. It is also the first of a trilogy of albums by the band that expose the seamy underside of Southern California culture in the 1970s. Razor Boy, for instance, targets the twin vices of materialism and complacency, asking the question: "Will you still have a song to sing when the razor boy comes and takes your fancy things away?" The album was not initially a major commercial success, but proved durable enough to attain gold status over a period of years. 

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Battle Of Epping Forest
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    Although sometimes criticized for making their music overly complicated at times (such as on The Battle Of Epping Forest), there is no doubting the thought and effort (not to mention outstanding musicianship) put forth by Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins on the album Selling England By The Pound. Released in 1973, the LP focuses on the loss of traditional English culture and the increasing "Americanization" of the United Kingdom in the last half of the 20th century. The Battle Of Epping Forest was actually inspired by a newspaper article about gang violence in London's East end that Gabriel had read several years earlier. When Gabriel was unable to locate a copy of the article he created new characters to populate the song (and of course the band's legendary stage show).

Artist:    Stephen Stills/Manassis
Title:    Isn't It About Time
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo) (taken from the LP: Down The Road)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    The critics were not kind to the second (and last) Stephen Stills-Manassis album, Down The Road. The consensus seems to be that the album sounds like it was made for making money, as opposed to for artistic reasons. Personally, I don't know, since I've never had a copy of Down The Road (or known anyone with a copy, for that matter). I do, however, remember hearing the album' single, Isn't It About Time, on the radio and thinking it was a decent enough tune (although apparently not decent enough to inspire me to go out and buy the album). Somehow, though, I've managed to acquire a promo copy of the single, although, to be honest, I have no idea where it came from. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

Artist:    Captain Beyond
Title:    I Can't Feel Nothin'/As The Moon Speaks/Astral Lady
Source:    LP: Captain Beyond
Writer(s):    Caldwell/Evans
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1972
    Occasionally someone will ask me a question along the lines of "Who was the best band you ever saw in concert?". My standard answer is Captain Beyond, which usually gets a blank stare in response. I then explain that Captain Beyond was the opening act (of three) at a concert I went to in El Paso in 1972. They so totally blew away the other bands that I can't even remember for sure who the headliner was. Essentially a power trio plus vocalist, Captain Beyond was made up of two former members of Iron Butterfly, guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman, Deep Purple's original lead vocalist, Rod Evans, and drummer Bobby Caldwell, who was known for his work with Johnny Winter and Rick Derringer, among others. The band was so tight that I went out the very next day and bought a copy of their album, something I had never done before. Sure enough, the album was every bit as good as the band's live performance, which followed the exact same setlist as the album itself. I should mention here that, mostly to save space, I shortened the song titles a bit on the title line above. The actual full titles of the tracks heard on this week's show are as follows:
I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 1)
As the Moon Speaks (to the Waves of the Sea)
Astral Lady
As the Moon Speaks (Return)
I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 2)
Due to contractual issues, neither Dorman or Reinhardt (who were technically still members of Iron Butterfly) were able to receive songwriting credits on the original album label, although Caldwell has since said that Reinhardt actually co-wrote the songs with Caldwell and Evans, with some input from Dorman.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1719 (starts 5/10/17)

Of the 31 songs featured on this week's show, the one that sticks out the most is a tune from the Fugs called Boobs A Lot. (See what I did there?)

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Richard Cory
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    My ultra-cool 9th-grade English teacher brought in a copy of Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album one day. As a class, we deconstructed the lyrics of two of the songs on that album: A Most Peculiar Man and Richard Cory. Both songs deal with suicide, but under vastly different circumstances. Whereas A Most Peculiar Man is about a lonely man who lives an isolated existence as an anonymouse resident of a boarding house, Richard Cory deals with a character who is at the center of society, known and envied by many. Too bad most high school English classes weren't that interesting.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Dark Side
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Rogers/Sohns
Label:    Dunwich
Year:    1966
    Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?

Artist:    Groupies
Title:    Primitive
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Cortez/Derosiers/Hendleman/McLaren/Peters/Venet
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    You know, with a name like the Groupies you would expect an all-female band or at least something like the Mothers of Invention. Instead we get a band from New York City that billed itself as "abstract rock." I guess that's using the term abstract in the same sense that scientific journals use it: to distill something complicated down to its basic essence, because these guys were musically exactly what the title of their only single implied: primitive.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Goin' Down Louisiana
Source:     LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP:     Live At The Cafe Au Go Go)
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:     Verve Forecast
Year:     1966
     The first Blues Project LP, Live at the Cafe Au-Go-Go, was a collection of mostly cover tunes recorded over a four-day period in November of 1965 and released in early 1966. Although even at that point the Project was becoming known for its extended jams, the performances were deliberately kept short to placate nervous record company executives. After original lead vocalist Tommy Flanders quit the band unexpectedly before the group's first album was released, an additional live recording session was arranged, with other members such as guitarist Danny Kalb taking the lead vocals on songs like the Muddy Waters classic Goin' Down Louisiana.

Artist:    Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Title:    Eventually
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Spreading From The Ashes)
Writer(s):    Alan Brackett
Label:    Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2005
    The Peanut Butter Conspiracy (or PBC) was one of the more psychedelic of the local L.A. bands playing the various clubs along L.A.'s Sunset Strip during its golden years of 1965-68. As was the case with so many bands of that time and place, they never really got the opportunity to strut their stuff, although they did leave some decent tapes behind, such as Eventually, recorded in 1966 but not released until 2005.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want To Tell You
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The first pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape I ever bought was the Capitol version of the Beatles' Revolver album, which I picked up about a year after the LP was released. Although my Dad's tape recorder had small built-in speakers, his Koss headphones had far superior sound, which led to me sleeping on the couch in the living room with the headphones on. Hearing songs like I Want To Tell You on factory-recorded reel-to-reel tape through a decent pair of headphones gave me an appreciation for just how well-engineered Revolver was, and also inspired me to (eventually) learn my own way around a recording studio. The song itself, by the way, is one of three George Harrison songs on Revolver; the most on any Beatle album up to that point, and a major reason that, when pressed, I almost always end up citing Revolver as my favorite Beatles LP.

Artist:    Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Title:    Ain't It Sad
Source:    LP: Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Writer(s):    Mike Hugg
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1969
    After a successful run as a British pop group with a handful of international hits, the original Manfred Mann group disbanded in 1968. Mann himself was far from done, however, and soon had a new band Manfred Mann Chapter Three, centered around Mann's organ playing and longtime collaborator Mike Hugg's piano work. Hugg's playing dominates the album's shortest track, Ain't It Sad, which clocks in at less than two minutes.

Artist:    Aerovons
Title:    World Of You
Source:    CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hartman
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    Originally from St. Louis, Mo., the Aerovons were such big fans of the Beatles that they moved to England in hopes of meeting their idols. They had enough talent in their own right to get a contract with EMI, recording an album's worth of material at Abbey Road in 1969. Although only two singles from those sessions were originally released (on Parlophone, the same label that the Beatles' records were on), the Aerovons finally got some recognition many years later when an acetate of their unreleased album was discovered and remastered for release on the RPM label. Perhaps more important for the band members, they got to meet the Beatles while recording at Abbey Road.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat And Tears
Title:    And When I Die
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat And Tears
Writer(s):    Laura Nyro
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Following the release of the first Blood, Sweat And Tears LP, Child Is Father To The Man, Bandleader Al Kooper and two other members, Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss, decided to move on to other projects, leaving Steve Katz, Bobby Colomby and the rest to find replacement members. The first, and most important move was to bring in David Clayton-Thomas to take over lead vocals. Three more new additions brought the total membership to nine for the recording of their self-titled second LP. The album was produced by James William Guercio, who had previously produced the Buckinghams for the label and was simultaneously working with another rock band with a brass section called the Chicago Transit Authority. The album Blood, Sweat And Tears was recorded on brand new state of the art 16-track equipment at CBS Recording Studios in New York, and was one of the first albums ever released utilizing 16-track technology. The album produced no less than three top 5 singles, the third of which was their version of Laura Nyro's And When I Die, which had previously been recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Can't Be Too Long
Source:    LP: On Time
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Never has there been a band as univerally hated by the rock press as Grand Funk Railroad (although Uriah Heep in their early years came close). Apparently, someone decided that between Hendrix and Cream, everything good that could possibly be done with a power trio had been done, and there was really no reason for another one to ever exist. Or so it seemed in 1969, when Grand Funk Railroad's first LP, On Time, hit the racks. A funny thing happened, though. The band built a following, despite the critics disdain. In fact, they built a bigger following than any other band had built at that point in time. How big were they? Consider this: In 1970 the first two Grand Funk Railroad albums, which had been released the previous year, achieved gold record status. As did their live album, released in 1970. As did their third studio album, Closer To Home, which was also released in 1970. That's right. Four gold record awards in the same year. That's a pretty big following, especially when you consider just how primitive tracks like Can't Be Too Long, from their first album, really are. But then, that's what rock music is really all about. Primitive, and loud. Really, really loud. Which is how this track should be listened to.

And speaking of power trios...

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1968
     The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     Evil Hoodoo
Source:     LP: The Seeds
Writer:     Saxon/Hooper
Label:     GNP Crescendo
Year:     1966
     With a title like Evil Hoodoo, one might expect a rather spooky track. Indeed, the song does start off that way, but soon moves into standard Seeds territory (as does most everything on the band's debut album). Luckily, Sky Saxon and company would turn out to be a bit more adventurous on their second LP.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    I recently saw a picture of Bob Dylan sitting alone in a theater with the caption "Bob Dylan sitting with everyone that's a better songwriter than he is". While I may not go quite that far, I have to admit that you would have to search far and wide to find any song with lyrics equal to It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding). The song was first performed in October of 1964 and recorded in January of 1965 for inclusion on his album Bringing It All Back Home. Famous lines from the song include "Money doesn't talk, it swears," and "He not busy being born is busy dying." Dylan himself has repeatedly cited the song as one of his songs that means the most to him, and he has continued to perform it throughout his career (an estimated 772 times as of 2015).

Artist:    Fugs
Title:    Boobs A Lot
Source:    CD: The Fugs First Album (originally released as LP: The Village Fugs Sing Ballads Of Contempory Protest, Point Of Views, And General         Dissatisfaction)
Writer(s):    Steve Weber
Label:    Fantasy (original label: Broadside)
Year:    1965
    The Fugs were probably the first underground rock band in existence. The group was formed in 1964 (or 1963; my two sources contradict each other on that one) by two self-published beat poets, Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg, who, after writing over 50 songs together, decided to form a band with Ken Weaver. Since none of them actually played an instrument (although Weaver would eventually become the group's drummer), they decided to recruit two guys from the Holy Modal Rounders, guitarist Steve Weber and fiddler Peter Stampfel, for the opening of Sanders' Peace Eye Bookstore in Greenwich Village. Apparently the performance was a success, and the bunch of them (including a couple other poets who dropped out when they realized that they were actually expected to show up for gigs) decided to start rehearsing on a regular basis at the store. By early 1965, the Fugs were officially a band, playing a handful of gigs around the Village and coming to the attention of Moe Asch, owner of Folkways Records. Asch signed the Fugs to his Broadside label, releasing their first album, The Village Fugs Sing Ballads Of Contempory Protest, Point Of Views, And General Dissatisfaction, in 1965. Among the more memorable tunes on that first album was a rather cute song by Weber called Boobs A Lot, that in all likelihood was already in the Holy Modal Rounders' repertoire before Weber hooked up with the Fugs.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Big Black Smoke
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    The Kinks had some of the best B sides of the 60s. Case in point: Big Black Smoke, which appeared as the flip of Dead End Street in early 1967. The song deals with a familiar phenomenon of the 20th century: the small town girl that gets a rude awakening after moving to the big city. In this case the city was London, known colloquially as "the Smoke".

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Doncha Bother Me
Source:    British import LP: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richard
Label:    Abkco (original US label: London)
Year:    1966
    Aftermath was an album of firsts. It was the first Rolling Stones album to consist entirely of original compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It was the first Rolling Stones album released in true stereo. It was the first Rolling Stones album to be recorded entirely in the US. Finally, it was the album that saw Brian Jones emerge as a multi-instrumentalist, leaving Richards to do most of the guitar work. At over 50 minutes, Aftermath was one of the longest albums released by a rock band up to that point, and it features one of the first rock songs to run over 10 minutes in length (Goin' Home). Although Jones (and bassist Bill Wyman) did a lot of experimenting with new (to them) instruments, several of the tracks, such as Doncha Bother Me, are classic Stones material in the vein of the Chicago blues that was such a major influence on the band's style.

Artist:      Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     Kicks
Source:      Mono LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top five years later.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Caroline No
Source:    Mono CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    According to lyricist Peter Asher, Caroline No was written because Brian Wilson was "saddened to see how sweet little girls turned out to be kind of bitchy, hardened adults". Though the song was originally part of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, it ended up being the only single ever released by Capitol credited to Brian Wilson as a solo artist.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Peter Perceival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky/Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source:     LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Tork/Goffin/King
Label:     Colgems
Year:     1967
     The album version of Pleasant Valley Sunday differs from the single version in two ways. First, on the original LP Peter Tork's spoken piece Peter Perceival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky precedes the song on the album and is considered part of the same track. Second, the mix is different, with the background vocals more prominent on the stereo album mix. This is the mix used on most compilation CDs and thus heard on the radio more often. One of these days I'll dig up a copy of the single mix for comparison's sake.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Until The Poorest People Have Money To Spend
Source:    CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
            The final West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album for Reprise, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, is generally considered the group's best album as well, despite the absence of founding member Danny Harris (who would return for their next LP on the Amos label). As always, Bob Markley provided the lyrics for all the band's original songs on the LP, including Until The Poorest People Have Money To Spend, which Shaun Harris wrote the music for. Although the sentiment expressed in the song is a good one, the sincerity of Markley's lyrics is somewhat suspect, according to guitarist Ron Morgan, who said that Markley was notoriously miserly with his own money (of which he had inherited quite a lot).
Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    Gone
Source:    LP: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Writer(s):    Dan Honaker
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Most of Bob Seger's original compositions in the early days were hard rockers such as Ramblin' Gamblin' Man and 2+2=? For the slower material on his first LP he went with outside songwriters such as Dan Honaker, who wrote the song Gone. Elements of Gone can be heard in Seger's own later compositions such as Turn The Page.

Artist:     Lovin' Spoonful
Title:     Coconut Grove
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):     Sebastian/Yanovsky
Label:     Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:     1966
    The 1966 album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful was an attempt by the band to play in a variety of styles, as if it were being recorded by several different bands. By most accounts they succeeded, as can be heard by comparing the two biggest hits from the LP, Summer In The City and Nashville Cats. One of the quieter, acoustic numbers is a song called Coconut Grove, that manages to evoke images of the South Pacific without devolving into Rogers and Hart territory.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becoming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Ironically, most of those stations are now playing 80s oldies.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I Can't Get Enough Of It
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Miller/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    One listen to the B side of the Spencer Davis Group's1967 hit I'm A Man and it's easy to see why the young Stevie Winwood was often compared to Ray Charles by the British music press. I Can't Get Enough Of It, co-written by producer Jimmy Miller, features Winwood on both lead vocal and piano. Winwood would leave the group shortly after the release of this single and resurface with the more psychedelically-tinged Traffic later the same year.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Jelly Bean Bandits
Title:    Tapestries
Source:    British Import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: The Jelly Bean Bandits)
Writer(s):    Buck/Donald/Dougherty/Raab/Scalfari
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Of the various albums released on Bob Shad's Mainstream label from 1966-1969, one of the most fully realized was the first (and only) album by the Jelly Bean Bandits. Formed as the Mirror in 1966, the Bandits built up a following in the native Newburgh, NY and surrounding areas over a period on months. The particularly brash move of tearing pages out of the yellow pages and showing up unannounced at the offices of various record labels led them to a meeting with Shad at Mainstream's New York offices. After listening to the band's demos Shad offered the Jelly Bean Bandits a contract to record three albums, but, sadly, only one was released. One of the highlights of that album was Tapestries, sung by drummer Joe Scalfari. The Bandits immediately got to work on a second album, but a combination of internal and financial difficulties, coupled with lack of promotional support from their label, led to the group's early demise.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Dharma For One
Source:     LP: This Was
Writer:     Anderson/Bunker
Label:     Chrysalis
Year:     1968
     By 1968 it was almost considered mandatory that a rock band would include a drum solo on at least one album, thanks to Ginger Baker's Toad (on Cream's Wheels Of Fire) and Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Jethro Tull's contribution to the trend was Dharma For One, the only Tull song to give a writing credit to drummer Clive Bunker. Compared to most drum solos, Bunker's is fairly short (less than two minutes) and somewhat quirky, almost resembling a Spike Jones recording in places.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Stepping Stone
Source:     CD: First Rays of the New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: War Heroes)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1970
     The last single released by Jimi Hendrix (with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles as Hendrix Band Of Gypsys) during his lifetime was Stepping Stone, recorded in February of 1970 and released two months later. In June, Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell recorded new instrumental parts for inclusion on Hendrix's new double LP, tentatively titled First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. Hendrix's death on Sept 16, 1970 sidetracked the double LP until it was finally finished by Mitchell and engineer Eddie Kramer in 1997 and released on CD. Meanwhile the revised version of Stepping Stone was included on 1972's War Heroes LP, as well as on other collections over the years. 

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Soul Sacrifice
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Santana)
Writer(s):    Brown/Malone/Rolie/Santana
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Of all the bands formed in the late 1960s, very few achieved any degree of popularity outside of their local community. Fewer still could be considered an influence on future stars. Most rare of all are those who managed to be both popular and influential while maintaining a degree of artistic integrity. One name that comes immediately to mind is Santana (both the band and the man). It might be surprising, then, to hear that the first Santana album, released in 1969, was savaged by the rock press, particularly the San Francisco based Rolling Stone magazine, who called it boring and repetitious. It wasn't until the band performed Soul Sacrifice (heard here in its original studio version) at Woodstock that Santana became major players on the rock scene.