Monday, June 19, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1725 (starts 6/21/17)


The big one this week is the Grateful Dead's performance of Dark Star at Woodstock, which, for one reason or another, remained unreleased until 40 years after the fact. Of course, there are 23 other tracks as well...


Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Baby Blue
Source:    Mono British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Uptown)
Year:    1967
    Many artists have covered Bob Dylan songs over the years, but few managed to do it with as much attitude as the Chocolate Watchband on their version of It's All Over Now Baby Blue. The song appeared in late 1966 as the B side of the Watchband's first "official" single, Sweet Young Thing. As good a track as Sweet Young Thing was (and it is indeed a good one), Baby Blue, being a bit more recognizable, may have been a better choice for a potential hit single. We'll never know.
      
Artist:     Buffalo Springfield
Title:     Broken Arrow
Source:     CD: Retrospective-The Best Of Buffalo Springfield (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer:     Neil Young
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
    The most experimental track ever to appear on a Buffalo Springfield album, Broken Arrow is basically a Neil Young solo piece arranged and co-produced by Jack Nitzsche. The track uses extensive editing and studio effects to highlight Young's highly personal lyrics.

Artist:    Savage Resurrection
Title:    Thing In "E"
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Palmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1968
    Like many areas across the US during the mid-1960s, Contra Costa County, California (say that a few times fast) was home to a thriving local music scene, particularly in the city of Richmond. In 1967 members of several local bands got together to form a sort of garage supergroup, calling themselves Savage Resurrection. The band, consisting of lead vocalist Bill Harper, lead guitarist Randy Hammon, rhythm guitarist John Palmer, bassist Steve Lage and drummer Jeff Myer, was quite popular locally despite the relative youth of its members (Hammon, for instance, was all of 16 years old), and soon signed a management contract with Matthew Katz, who also managed such well-known San Francisco bands as Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape and It's A Beautiful Day. Katz got the band a contract with Mercury records, and their first and only LP came out in 1968. Thing In "E" was the single from that album, which is still considered one of the best examples of psychedelic garage rock ever recorded. Touring soon took its toll, however, and Harper and Lage left the band soon after the album was released. The rest of the band continued with new members for a few months, but by the end of 1968 Savage Resurrection was little more than a footnote to the San Francisco music story.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Murder In My Heart For The Judge
Source:    LP: Great Grape (originally released on LP: Wow)
Writer(s):     Don Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Moby Grape was one of those bands that probably should have been more successful than they were, but were thrown off-track by a series of bad decisions by their own support personnel. First, Columbia damaged their reputation by simultaneously releasing five singles from their debut LP in 1967, leading to accusations that the band was nothing but hype. Then their producer, David Rubinson, decided to add horns and strings to many of the tracks on their second album, Wow, alienating much of the band's core audience in the process. Still, Wow did have its share of fine tunes, including drummer Don Stevenson's Murder In My Heart For The Judge, probably the most popular song on the album. The song proved popular enough to warrant cover versions by such diverse talents as Lee Michaels, Chrissy Hynde and Three Dog Night.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Still Raining, Still Dreaming, from the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album Electric Ladyland, is the second half of a live studio recording featuring guest drummer Buddy Miles, who would later join Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox to form Band Of Gypsys. The recording also features Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on tenor sax and Larry Faucett on congas, as well as Experience member Noel Redding on bass.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     Pearly Queen
Source:     CD: Traffic
Writer:     Winwood/Capaldi
Label:     Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:     1968
     The second Traffic LP was less overtly psychedelic than the Mr. Fantasy album, with songs like Pearly Queen taking the band in a more funky direction. When the band reformed in 1970 without Dave Mason (who had provided the most psychedelic elements) the songwriting team of Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi, who had written Pearly Queen, continued the trend.

Artist:     Who
Title:    Magic Bus (alternate version)
Source:      Simulated stereo LP: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1968
     Magic Bus was originally released as a single in 1968 and ran about three and a half minutes. At the time it was recorded an alternate take was also made that ran almost four and a half minutes. This alternate version was electronically rechanneled for stereo and included on the 1971 album Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy. When the album was reissued on CD in the 1980s it was discovered that there were no unaltered copies left of the longer version, so rather than to put a "fake stereo" version on the CD, the shorter mono single version was used. This is that longer version, never issued on CD.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Valleri
Source:    Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees)
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    The last Monkees top 10 single was also Michael Nesmith's least favorite Monkees song. Valleri was a Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart composition that the group had first recorded for the first season of their TV show in 1966. Apparently nobody was happy with the recording, however, and the song was never issed on vinyl. Two years later the song was re-recorded for the album The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees and subsequently released as a single. The flamenco-style guitar on the intro (and repeated throughout the song) was played by studio guitarist Louie Shelton, after Nesmith refused to participate in the recording.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.T.Tatman III
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence, even after relocating to the Laurel Canyon area near Los Angeles in 1968. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. An edited version of Boogie Music, also from Living the Blues, was issued as the B side of that single. This is a stereo mix of that version, featured on a United Artists anthology album released in 1969.

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Inside Looking Out
Source:     Mono LP: Animalization
Writer:     Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1966
     One of the last songs recorded by the Animals before their first breakup, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was covered a few years later by Grand Funk Railroad, who made it one of their concert staples. This has always been one of my all-time favorite rock songs, no matter who recorded it.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, a popular L.A. club band that boasted two talented songwriters, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. On the heels of their first album, which included the single My Little Red Book and one of the first recordings of the fast version of Hey Joe, came their most successful single, the manic 7&7 Is, released in July of 1966.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    A Well Respected Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Released 1965, charted 1966
    The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man (actually released in late 1965) amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Nothing Is The Same
Source:    CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    Grand Funk Railroad's fans continued to defy the rock press by buying copies of the band's albums throughout 1970, despite universally negative reviews. In fact, the band was awarded no less than three gold records that year, including their third studio LP, Closer To Home. The album includes some of their best recordings, including Nothing Is The Same, a hard rocker that includes both tempo and key changes, as well as some of Mark Farner's best lead vocals.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Fire Engine
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland/Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    In the summer of 1971 the band I was in, Sunn, did a cover of Black Sabbath's War Pigs as part of our regular repertoire. For the siren effect at the beginning of the song we used our voices, which always elicited smiles from some of the more perceptive members of the audience. Listening to Fire Engine, from The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, has the same effect on me, for pretty much the same reason. The main difference is that the Elevators actually did it with the tape rolling on one of their own original songs, something Sunn never got the opportunity to do.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    When I was a teenager I would occasionally hear some adult make a comment about how rock and roll was the "Devil's music." This only got more ridiculous in 1968, when the Rolling Stones released Sympathy For The Devil as the opening track on their Beggar's Banquet album. Mick Jagger, who wrote the lyrics, was actually somewhat mystified by such reactions, as it was, after all, only one song on an album that also included such tunes as Prodigal Son (based on a Bible story) and Salt Of The Earth, a celebration of the common man. There is no doubting, however, that Sympathy For The Devil itself is a classic, and has been a staple of the band's live sets since the late 1980s.

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:    Rolling Stones
Title:    No Expectations
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    The Highwayman
Source:    CD: There But For Fortune (originally released on LP: I Ain't Marching Anymore)
Writer(s):    Noyes/Ochs
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1965
    Phil Ochs switched from journalism to songwriting just in time to be at the forefront of the anti-Vietnam war movement. His hit single, I Ain't Marching Anymore, became an anthem of the movement in 1965. Ochs followed the song up with an album of the same name. Included on that album were songs that, although coming from a similar political direction as I Ain't Marching Anymore, actually cover a broader range of subjects. The Highwayman, for example, resembles nothing more than a traditional English folk song, with its themes of romance and tragic death. Not long after the album was released, Ochs decided to move out to the West Coast, which in turn signalled a shift in his music to a more experimental style that added elements of jazz and classical music to his folk-based compositions.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    5D
Source:    LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    Roger McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The second single from the Byrds' third LP, Fifth Dimension, suffered from the same problem as its predecessor. Both 5D and Eight Miles High were branded as drug songs by people who had no clue as to what the songs were really about, which had the effect of discouraging the more conservative radio programmers from playing the songs. In the case of 5D, the song was, according to songwriter Roger McGuinn, an attempt to explain Einstein's theory of relativity in layman's terms. In a 1966 interview McGuinn had this to say about the song: "It's sort of weird but...what I'm talking about is the whole universe, the fifth dimension, which is height, width, depth, time and something else. But there definitely are more dimensions than five. It's infinite. The fifth dimension is the threshold of scientific knowledge." Despite McGuinn's attempts to explain the song, many people insisted on believing it was about an LSD trip, and the single died quickly after being released in late 1966.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    I once ranked over 5000 recordings from the 1920s through the 1990s based on how many times I could listen to each track without getting sick of hearing it. My original intention was to continue the project until I had ranked every recording in my collection, but after about ten years of near-continuous listening to 90-minute cassette tapes that I would update weekly I finally decided that I needed a break, and never went back to it. As a result, many of my favorite recordings (especially album tracks) never got ranked. Of those that did, every song on the top 10 was from the years 1966-69, with the top five all being from 1967. Although I never returned to the project itself, the results I did get convinced me that I was indeed stuck in the psychedelic era, and within five years I had created a radio show inspired by the project. Not surprisingly, the number one recording on my list was I Am The Walrus, a track from the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour that is often considered the apex of British psychedelia.

Artist:    Five Americans
Title:    Peace And Love
Source:    LP: Now And Then
Writer(s):    Michael Rabon
Label:    Abnak
Year:    1969
    Formed as the Mutineers in Durant, Oklahoma in 1962, the Five Americans are best known for their 1967 hit Western Union. Their first single (as the Mutineers) was released in 1963, an instrumental called Jackin' Around. With the advent of the British invasion, the group began adding vocals to their repertoire, and, perhaps more importantly, acquired a Vox Continental electric organ. By then the band had relocated to Dallas, playing regularly at a club called the Pirate's Nook. It was there that they came to the attention of John Abdnor, who signed them to his Abnak label. Now known as the Five Americans, the band had their first national hit in 1966 with I Saw The Light, a song that was originally released in 1965. The group charted even higher with Western Union, following it up with a few more charted singles over the next year or so. Throughout this period Abdnor had control of the band's finances, a situation that did not favor the band members themselves. By 1969 it was all falling apart, and after a final double LP called Now And Then (which included several tracks that had previously appeared as singles) the Five Americans were no more. One of the more interesting tracks on Now And Then (which was actually billed as Mike Rabon and the Five Americans, after the band's lead guitarist and front man) is a song called Peace And Love that may actually qualify as the most psychedelic song the band ever recorded.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     Dark Star
Source:     Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer:     Hunter/Garcia
Label:     Rhino
Year:     Recorded 1969, released 2009
     The most legendary of all the songs in the Grateful Dead performing repertoire was Dark Star. The extended jam often ran for a full hour or more. Thanks to the band's policy of allowing (even encouraging) fans to bring their own recording equipment to the band's concerts, there are literally hundreds of recordings of Dark Star being performed over the years, some of them taped directly from the band's own sound board. The band's performance of Dark Star at Woodstock was marred by technical difficulties, and at the request of the band members remained unreleased for 40 years.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1725 (starts 6/21/17)


This time around we have 11 tracks from some of the greatests artists in rock history, including a 14-minute long version of the Who's My Generation, from the Live At Leeds album. Good stuff!

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    The Loner
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Neil Young)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The Loner could easily have been passed off as a Buffalo Springfield song. In addition to singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, the tune features Springfield members  Jim Messina on bass and George Grantham on drums. Since Buffalo Springfield was functionally defunct by the time the song was ready for release, however, it instead became Young's first single as a solo artist. The song first appeared, in a longer form, on Young's first solo album in late 1968, with the single appearing three months later. The subject of The Loner has long been rumored to be Young's bandmate Stephen Stills, or possibly Young himself. As usual, Neil Young ain't sayin'.

Artist:    Taste
Title:    Born On The Wrong Side Of Time
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Taste)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    Formed in Cork, Northern Ireland, in 1966, Taste, led by guitarist/vocalist Rory Gallagher, quickly established themselves as the area's premier power trio. By 1967 the group, which by then consisted of Gallagher, drummer John Wilson, and bassist Richard McCracken, was one of the hottest bands in the UK, opening for such bands as Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Cream (including Cream's farewell appearances at Royal Albert Hall in 1968). The group released their debut LP in 1969, supporting the album by opening for Blind Faith on their US tour. The band released one more LP before Gallagher decided to pursue a solo career in the 1970s.

Artist:    Who
Title:    My Generation
Source:    LP: Live At Leeds
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1970
    The official title of the track was My Generation, but this fourteen and a half minute long performance from the Who's Live At Leeds album incorporates excerpts from many more Pete Townshend compositions, including the Seeker and several of the tunes from the rock opera Tommy. The album itself has cited by many critics as the best live rock recording of all time.

Artist:    Free
Title:    Be My Friend
Source:    CD: All Right Now-The Collection (originally released on LP: Highway)
Writer(s):    Fraser/Rodgers
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    Free was at the peak of their popularity when they went into the studio to record their fourth LP, Highway. This proved to be a mixed blessing, however, as lead guitarist Paul Kossoff found the band's newfound fame (brought on by the success of their single All Right Now) difficult to deal with. Calling All Right Now "frivolous", Kossoff later said he much preferred the more serious and weighty songs like Be My Friend that characterized Highway. Unfortunately, the record buying public on both sides of the Atlantic saw things differently, and the lack of commercial success for the album exacerbated Kossoff's drug-related problems, causing tension within the band itself. The lack of success also led to a rift between the band's two principal songwriters, Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers, which in turn led to the band's eventual demise.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Tumbling Dice
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1972
    The lead single from what is sometimes cited as the Rolling Stones' greatest album, Exile On Main Street, Tumbling Dice was a top 10 single on both sides of the Atlantic, hitting #5 in the UK and #7 in the US. The song started off as a piece called Good Time Woman, but was reworked on August 4, 1971, with a new intro riff and a bass track played by Mick Taylor (Bill Wyman being away from the studio at the time the track was recorded).

Artist:    Graham Nash
Title:    Prison Song
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Graham Nash's Prison Song is one of those songs that by all rights should have been a huge hit. It was by a name artist. It had a catchy opening harmonica riff and a haunting melody. I can only surmise that once again Bill Drake (the man who controlled top 40 radio in the 60s and early 70s) decided that the lyrics were too controversial for AM radio and had the song blacklisted, much as he had done with the Byrds Eight Miles High a few years earlier. Those lyrics center on a subject that is unfortunately still relevant today: the utter absurdity of drug laws and the unequal sentences for violation of those laws in the US and its various states.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Speed King
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The live version of Speed King, a song that originally appeared on the album Deep Purple In Rock, was taken from a 1970 performance on the BBC series In Concert. The album Deep Purple In Concert itself was not released until 1980, but an edited version of Speed King was issued as the B side of the Black Night single in the US in 1970. The song's lyrics, the first written for Deep Purple by vocalist Ian Gillan, reference several Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley songs.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Queen Of Torture
Source:    CD: The Collection (originally released on LP: Wishbone Ash)
Writer:    Upton/Turner/Turner/Powell
Label:    Spectrum/Universal (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    One of the first bands to use dual lead guitars was Wishbone Ash. When Glen Turner, the band's original guitarist, had to leave, auditions were held, but the remaining members and their manager couldn't decide between the two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner, so they kept both of them. Queen Of Torture, from their 1969 debut album, shows just how well the two guitars meshed.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:     Cobra
Source:     British import CD: Just For Love
Writer:     John Cipollina
Label:     BGO (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1970
     Quicksilver Messenger Service was able to do something in 1970 that no other band had been able to accomplish. It managed to sign up the world's most famous session man, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, as a full member. If that wasn't enough, they also rounded up former early member Dino Valenti, newly released from jail in time to participate in the recording of the band's most successful album, Just For Love. Valenti, for various reasons, was fond of using an alias; in fact "Dino Valenti" itself was one, Valenti's birth name actually being Chet Powers. For the Just For Love album, Valenti created yet another alias, Jesse Oris Farrow. Most of the songs on the album are credited to Farrow, although there are a pair of tracks by Valenti under his own name as well. One of those two is Cobra, a collaboration with founding member and co-lead guitarist John Cipollina. The entire album, incidentally, was recorded in Hawaii. Maybe that's how they managed to entice Hopkins to join them.

Artist:    Black Sheep
Title:    Payin' Yer Dues
Source:    LP: Black Sheep
Writer(s):    Grammatico/Mancuso/Crozier/Rocco
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1975
    Black Sheep was a Rochester, NY band that released a pair of album on the Capitol label in the mid-1970s. The group was fronted by Louis Grammitico, who went on to greater fame after shortening his name to Lou Graham. Payin' Yer Dues, from the first Black Sheep album, is a good example of the band's sound. Guitarist Don Mancuso has more recently been performing as a member of the Lou Gramm Band.

Artist:    Tommy Bolin
Title:    Lotus
Source:    Japanese import CD: Teaser
Writer(s):    Tesar/Bolin
Label:    Sony (original label: Nemporer)
Year:    1975
    Tommy Bolin's debut solo LP, Teaser, was released at around the same time as his first album as a member of Deep Purple, Come Taste The Band. Because of touring commitments with Deep Purple, Bolin was unable to effectively promote Teaser, and sales suffered. The album did get good reviews, with critics praising Bolin's versatility on tracks like Lotus, which closes out the LP.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era $ 1724 (starts 6/14/17)


Following a 1969 opening set, we have a lot of 1966 and 1967 this week, as well as a Who set and a rather long track from the first incarnation of Renaissance, back when they were fronted by ex-Yardbird Keith Relf.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the recording, which closes out the Let It Bleed album. An edited version of the song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Lalena
Source:    LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1969
    In their original incarnation Deep Purple was known mostly for their restyling of other artists' songs, such as Joe South's Hush and Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Indeed, their first LP only had three original songs on it, and only one of those, Mandrake Root, got any kind of airplay. Their eponymous third LP, however, released in 1969, was made up almost entirely of original material. The lone exception was a cover of Donovan's Lalena, which the band said was done in a way that they thought Donovan himself would have liked.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Love In The City
Source:    CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Turtle Soup and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Volman/Nichol/Pons/Seiter
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1969
    One of the most overlooked songs in the Turtles catalog, Love In The City was the last single released from the album Turtle Soup in 1969. At this point the band had gone through various personnel changes, although the group's creative core of Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman and Al Nichol remained intact. Still, as good as Love In The City was, it had become clear that the Turtles had run their last race. After releasing one more single (a rather forgettable balled called Lady-O), the band called it quits. Kaylan and Volman would end up joining the Mothers of Invention, appearing on the legendary Live At Fillmore East album before striking out on their own as the Phlorescent Leech (later shortened to Flo) And Eddie.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     One Rainy Wish
Source:     LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     In the summer of 1967 my dad (who was a Sergeant in the Air Force), got transferred to Lindsay Air Station in Weisbaden, Germany. The housing situation there being what it was, it was several weeks before the rest of us could join him, and during that time he went out and bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder that a fellow GI had picked up in Japan. The Akai had small speakers built into it, but the best way to listen to it was through headphones. It would be another year before he would pick up a turntable, so I started buying pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. Two of the first three tapes I bought were Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, both by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As I was forced to share a bedroom with my little brother I made it a habit to sleep on the couch instead, usually with the headphones on listening to Axis: Bold As Love. I was blown away by the stereo effects on the album, which I attributed (somewhat correctly) to Hendrix, although I would find out years later that much of the credit belongs to engineer Eddie Kramer as well. One Rainy Wish, for example, starts off with all the instruments in the center channel (essentially a mono mix). After a few seconds of slow spacy intro the song gets into gear with vocals isolated all the way over to the left, with a guitar overdub on the opposite side to balance it out. As the song continues, things move back and forth from side to side, fading in and out at the same time. It was a hell of a way to drift off to sleep every night.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Dark Side Of The Mushroom
Source:    CD: No Way Out
Writer(s):    Cooper/Podolor
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Just who played on Dark Side Of The Mushroom is lost to history. What is certain, however, is that it is not the Chocolate Watchband, despite its inclusion on that band's debut LP. Producer Ed Cobb apparently had his own agenda when it came to the Watchband, which included making them sound much more psychedelic on vinyl than when they performed onstage (in fact it is doubtful that Cobb ever actually attended any of the band's live gigs). To accomplish his goal, Cobb enlisted the help of songwriter/musician Richie Podolor, who would later go on to produce Three Dog Night's records. Podolor put together the group of anonymous studio musicians that recorded Dark Side Of The Mushroom, which, despite its shady history, is a decent slice of instrumental psychedelia.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Penny Lane
Source:    LP: Rarities (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    Here's a little known fact: the true stereo recording of the Beatles' Penny Lane was not released in the US until 1980, when the song appeared on an album called Rarities. The original 1967 single was mono only, while the version used on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP was created using Capitol's infamous Duophonic process. A true stereo mix that had previously been available only in Germany was used on Rarities, but modified to include a series of trumpet notes at the end of the song that had previously only appeared on promo copies of the single sent to radio stations in the US and Canada.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Hope I Never Find Me There
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (originally released in UK on LP: Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Island
Year:    1967
     Traffic is usually thought of as Steve Winwood's band, as he was the lead vocalist for most of the band's recordings. In the early days of the group, however, he shared the spotlight with singer/songwriter Dave Mason, who wrote several of the song's on the band's 1967 debut LP, Mr. Fantasy. When the album came out in the US in early 1968  however (under the title of Heaven Is In Your Mind), two of Mason's songs were left off the LP to make room for a pair of tunes that had been issued as singles in the UK, but not included on the European version of Mr. Fantasy. One of those deleted songs was Hope I Never Find Me There, which is now included on the CD reissue of Heaven Is In Your Mind as a bonus track.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Papa Gene's Blues (alternate mix)
Source:    CD: The Monkees
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2006
    Despite the best efforts of Don Kirschner and others to exclude the four members of the Monkees from the actual process of making records (other than to provide vocal overdubs for the finished instrumental tracks), Michael Nesmith was able to use what little clout he had to insist on producing at least a couple tracks for use on the group's first LP. One of those tracks was Papa Gene's Blues, a Nesmith composition that stands as one of the earliest examples of what would come to be called country-rock. The original tracks were laid down on July 7, 1966, and featured an array of studio musicians, including band member Peter Tork on guitar. Nesmith handled the lead vocals, with all four of the Monkees providing backup vocals.
The tracks were mixed on July 16th, but Kirschner insisted that the backup vocals be recut on July 31st, using only Mickey Dolenz. The original mix sat on the shelf until 2006, when it was included as a bonus track on the CD reissue of The Monkees.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     I See You
Source:     LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer:     McGuinn/Crosby
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     The Byrds third LP, Fifth Dimension, was the first without founding member Gene Clark. As Clark was the group's primary songwriter, this left a gap that was soon filled by both David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn, who collaborated on songs like I See You.

Artist:    Caravelles
Title:    Lovin' Just My Style
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Caravelles (original label: Onacrest)
Label:    BFD
Year:    1966
    In the mid-1960s it seemed like every local music scene had one guy who could do a dead-on impression of the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. In Phoenix, Arizona, that guy was John Fitzgerald, although, as can be heard on the Caravelles' Lovin' Just My Style, there was more than a touch of the Yardbirds' Keith Relf in his approach as well. The band itself was managed and produced by Hadley Murrell, a local DJ who is better known for the many Phoenix soul bands he produced. Although more than one member of the Caravelles went on to become associated with more famous bands such as Alice Cooper and the Tubes, it is unclear whether any them were members of the group in 1966, when Lovin' Just My Style was recorded.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Sunny Afternoon
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    My family got its first real stereo just in time for me to catch this song at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio through decent speakers for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off). Unfortunately, Denver's first FM rock station was still a few months off, so the decent speakers were handicapped by being fed an AM radio signal.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    It's My Pride
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Quality)
Year:    1967
    The Guess Who were formed in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as Chad Allen and the Reflections, changing their name to Chad Allen and the Expression in 1964. The group recorded a cover of a Johnny Kidd song, Shakin' All Over, in 1965. The record was not released under the band's actual name, however; in a bid to get more airplay for the song, the record was credited to "Guess Who?". This was during the peak of the British Invasion, and the producers hoped that DJs might assume it was some well-known British band and give the record a shot. Of course, such a thing could never happen these days, as commercial radio DJs are not allowed to choose what music to play. The ploy worked so well (the song was a hit in both the US and Canada) that the band decided to keep the name Guess Who, and continued to crank out hit after hit in their native Canada, although they would not hit the US charts again until 1969. In 1966 the group picked up a second vocalist, Burton Cummings, and within a few months founder Allen left the band, leaving Cummings as the group's front man. One of their better songs was It's My Pride, a B side written by guitarist Randy Bachman and released as a single in 1967. Bachman would soon team up with Cummings to write a string of hits, including These Eyes and American Woman, before leaving the Guess Who in the early 70s to form his own band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Artist:    Action
Title:    Favourite Days
Source:    British import CD: Mighty Baby
Writer(s):    Ian Whiteman
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Head)
Year:    1968
    The Action was one of the more popular bands on the London scene during the heydey of the Mods, but by 1968 they found themselves being left behind by the more progressive bands that were coming into vogue. Adding to the confusion, original lead vocalist and primary songwriter Reg King had left the band at the end of 1967, leaving multi-instrumentalist Ian Whiteman to take over both roles. Whiteman soon developed his own sound, as can be heard on Favourite Days. The Action would eventually change their name to Mighty Baby, releasing their only LP in 1969. Favourite Days, as well as the other 1968 Action demo tapes, are now available as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the Mighty Baby album.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Ashes The Rain And I
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    For their second LP, James Gang Rides Again, the band decided to devote the entire second of the LP to some new acoustic tunes that guitarist Joe Walsh had been working on. The grand finale of the album was Ashes The Rain And I, a tune that embellishes Walsh's guitar and vocals with strings tastefully arranged by Jack Nitzsche.

Artist:     Pink Floyd
Title:     Arnold Layne
Source:     CD: Cre/ation-The Early Years 1967-1972 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Syd Barrett
Label:     Columbia (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     The very first record released by Pink Floyd was Arnold Layne, a song about a guy with a particular brand of deviance. Like all early Floyd recordings, the song was written and sung by the mercurial Syd Barrett.

Artist:     Who
Title:     The Kids Are Alright
Source:     Mono CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released on LP: The Who Sings My Generation)
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1966
     When the Who Sings My Generation album came out in the US in 1966, it featured several songs that had originally been issued as singles in the UK, including this early Pete Townshend number. Probably the most Beatle-sounding of all Who songs, the song was one of the group's first charted hits in 1965.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Rael 1
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer:    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who Sell Out, released in December 1967, was the last album by the group before their 1969 rock-opera Tommy. The last track on the LP, Rael, is itself a mini-opera that tells the story of a wealthy man who has taken on the role of a crusader, out to free his ancestral homeland from its current occupiers. He tells the captain of his ship to come back for him on Christmas Day to see if he is ready to return. If not, he tells the captain, the boat is yours. Of course the captain has no intention of returning, as he declares soon after putting back out to sea. The piece then goes into an instrumental passage that would be copied pretty much note for note on the Tommy album as part of the Underture. The track ends with a repeat of the owner's instructions to the captain. The events surrounding the recording of Rael have become the stuff of legend. The band spent an entire day recording and mixing the song, and were apparently so exhausted at the end of the session that they left without securing the multi-track master in a safe place. The cleaning woman came in the next morning and tossed the tape into the waste basket. She then emptied the ashtrays and other trash into the same waste basket. When the band came in around noon the recording engineer who had found the tape had the unenviable task of telling them what had happened. Pete Townsend was in a rage, and the engineer tried to placate him by saying "these things happen". Townshend then proceeded to throw a chair through the glass wall separating the studio from the control room, informing the engineer that "these things happen".

Artist:    Who
Title:    Substitute
Source:    CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    In the spring of 1967 my dad, a career military man, got word that he was being transferred from Denver, Colorado to Weisbaden, Germany. By the end of  summer, our entire family had relocated to a converted WWII Panzer barracks called Kastel that was serving as a housing area for married US military personnel and their families. It was probably the smallest housing area in all of Europe, consisting of only eight buildings. Needless to say, there were not many other American kids my age living there, which actually ended up working to my advantage. You see, in Denver I had been playing first chair violin in the Smiley Junior High School orchestra; a position that looked good to the adults in the room but was the kiss of death to a 14-year-old trying desperately to fit in with his peers. So, naturally, as one of only half a dozen or so teenaged boys in the Kastel Housing Area, I jumped at the chance to learn how to play the guitar (a much cooler instrument than the violin to a 14-year-old). There were two guys at Kastel who a) had a guitar and b) were willing to put up with an obnoxious Freshman long enough to teach him a few chords. The first was was a Sophomore named Darrell Combs, who went by the nickname Butch (his older sister Darlene being responsible for that one). The other was a Junior named Mike Davenport, who had been in Germany longer than the rest of us and had his own amp. Mike also had a collection of records that had been popular on Radio Luxembourg, the US-styled top 40 station that was aimed at a British audience and played mostly songs from the UK charts. Among those records were several singles by the Who, including their chart-topping 1966 UK hit Substitute. Mike and Butch had been trying to figure out the chords to Substitute, but had not been able to get beyond the intro of the song. After listening to the record once or twice (yes, I'm bragging) I was able to figure out the rest of the song. Not long after that I was able to talk my parents into buying me a guitar and a small amp as an early Christmas present (that ended up doubling as my 15th birthday present as well). With three guitarists, two amps, and a drummer named Zachary Long in our arsenal, we formed a band called The Abundance Of Love (hey, it was 1967, OK?), which soon got changed to the Haze And Shades Of Yesterday and finally just The Shades. One of the first songs we learned to play was (you guessed it), Substitute by the Who. The Shades ended up lasting until the summer of 1968, at which time my dad got transferred again, this time to Ramstein AFB, Germany.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dreaming
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were relatively few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals. Dreaming is also one of the shortest Cream songs on record, clocking in at one second under two minutes in length.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    There Is A Mountain
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    1967 was a year that saw Donovan continue to shed the "folk singer" image, forcing the media to look for a new term to describe someone like him. As you may have already guessed, that term was "singer-songwriter." On There Is A Mountain, a hit single from 1967, Donovan applies Eastern philosophy and tonality to pop music, with the result being one of those songs that sticks in your head for days.

Artist:    Bohemian Vendetta
Title:    Riddles And Fairytales
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Camp/Cooke
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Originally formed as the Bohemians in 1966, the Bohemian Vendetta hailed from New York's Long Island. Like their fellow Long Islanders Vanilla Fudge and the Vagrants, the Bohemians were known for doing heavy versions of popular songs like (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and House Of The Rising Sun, both of which appeared on their self-titled album in 1968. The band, consisting of Brian Cooke (organ, lead vocals), Nick Manzi (lead guitar), Randy Pollock (rhythm guitar), Victor Muglia (bass) and Chuck Monica (drums), released their first single, a one-off called Enough, on the United Artists label in 1967. The following year they signed with Bob Shad's Mainstream label, releasing a single ahead of the album. The B side of that single, Riddles And Fairytales, got some airplay on the East Coast, but Mainstream's reputation as a cheap exploitation label kept the album itself from being taken seriously.

Artist:      Renaissance
Title:     Innocence
Source:      LP: Renaissance
Writer(s):    Relf/McCarty/Hawken/Cennamo
Label:    Elektra
Year:     1969
 Many people remember Renaissance as the progressive rock band of the 70s that featured Annie Haslam on vocals and borrowed heavily from classical music, particularly of the Romantic period. What's not as well known, however, is that the band was originally formed by former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty and had an entirely different lineup. Nonetheless, it is technically the same band, and much of the classical influence they were famous for is present on this first album.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that band had participated in in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.

Artist:    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title:    I Can't Quit You Baby
Source:    LP: Crusade
Writer(s):    Dixon/Rush
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    I Can't Quit You Baby is one of many blues classics written by legendary songwriter/producer/arranger Willie Dixon. Dixon wrote the song specifically for Otis Rush to record as his debut single for the Cobra label in 1956 (Dixon later said that Rush was in a "preoccupied" relationship at the time). As was common among blues artists at the time, Rush would record the song many times over the subsequent years. The most significant of these recordings was for a compilation album called Chicago|The Blues|Today! Vol. 2, which came out on the Vanguard label in 1966. On this version Rush added an extra chord after each turnaround, half a step above the original chord itself, creating a kind of climbing effect after each line. It was this arrangement that Led Zeppelin famously used on their own debut album in 1969. Two years before Led Zeppelin recorded the song, however, British bluesmaster John Mayall recorded the tune, using the same basic arrangement, on the album Crusade. This album, credited officially to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, was the recording debut of a then teenaged guitarist by the name of Mick Taylor. Taylor, of course, would go on to replace Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones for what many consider that band's peak period.

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:    First Crew To The Moon
Title:    The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind
Source:    Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jerry Milstein
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1967
    Originally known as the Back Door Men, and later the Bootleggers, Brooklyn, NY's First Crew To The Moon signed with the Roulette label on the recommendation of legendary songwriter Doc Pomus. Unfortunately for the band, their only record for Roulette, a song called Spend Your Life With Me, was released just as the label's entire promotional budget was being spent on the latest single by labelmates Tommy James And The Shondells, a tune called I think We're Alone Now. To add insult to injury, Roulette misspelled the band's name on both sides of the record, inadvertantly rechristening them First Crow To The Moon, a name that actually fits the record's B side, a psychedelic masterpiece called The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind, quite well. As it turned out, none of this really mattered, as the band soon disbanded following the death of lead guitarist Alan Avick of leukemia. Perhaps the group's greatest legacy, however, was to serve as inspiration to their friend Chris Stein, who several years later would team up with Deborah Harry to form a group called Blondie.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Revelation (excerpt)
Source:     CD: Da Capo
Writer:     Lee/MacLean/Echols/Forsi
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip were Love. Led by Arthur Lee, the band held down the position of house band at the Strip's most famous club, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, throughout 1966 and much of 1967, even as the club scene itself was starting to die off. Love liked being the top dog in L.A., so much so that they decided to forego touring to promote their records in favor of maintaining their presence at the Whiskey. In the long run this cost them, as many of their contemporaries (including one band that Love itself had discovered and introduced to Elektra producer Paul Rothchild: the Doors) went on to greater fame while Love remained a cult band throughout their existence. One of the highlights of their stage performances was a 19-minute jam called Revelation, a piece originally called John Hooker that served to give each band member a chance to show off with a solo. Although the band had been playing Revelation throughout 1966 (inspiring the Rolling Stones to do a similar number on one of their own albums), they did not get around to recording a studio version of Revelation until 1967. By that point they had added two new members, Tjay Cantrelli (sax) and Michael Stuart (drums), whose solos take up the last six minutes or so of the recorded version of the tune. The Harpsichord solo at the end of Revelation is played by "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who had switched from drums to keyboards when Stuart joined the group.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1724 (starts 6/14/17)



Somehow I managed to squeeze 13 songs in this week. Not sure how, though, since no less than four of them hit the five minute mark. Still, here they are. Enjoy!

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Fresh Garbage
Source:    CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a fairly hard rocker and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.

Artist:      David Bowie
Title:     Space Oddity
Source:      45 RPM single (originally released on LP: Space Oddity)
Writer:    David Bowie
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1969
     When David Jones first started his recording career he was a fairly conventional folk singer. With Space Oddity he became David Bowie (or maybe Ziggy Stardust) and the rock world was never quite the same.

Artist:    American Dream
Title:    Future's Folly
Source:    CD: The American Dream
Writer(s):    Van Winkle/Jameson/Indelicato
Label:    Ampex
Year:    1970
    OK, I have to admit that I know very little about the album and band called The American Dream, which was included as an unexpected free gift that came along with a vintage vinyl copy of an album I bought online. Here's what I do know. The American Dream was from Philadelphia. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren. In fact, it was his first time producing a group that he himself was not a member of. Finally, these guys were actually pretty good. How good? Well, take a listen to Future's Folly, which is fairly representative of the album itself, and decide for yourself.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Angel
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    Shortly after the untimely death of Jimi Hendrix in September of 1970, Reprise released the first of many posthumous Hendrix albums, The Cry Of Love. Like millions of other Hendrix fans, I immediately went out and bought a copy. I have to say that there are very few songs that have ever brought tears to my eyes, and even fewer that did so on my very first time hearing them. Of these, Angel tops the list.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Peg
Source:    CD: Aja
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1977
    Steely Dan's Peg, from the 1977 album Aja, is a study in perfectionism. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen recorded solos by seven different studio guitarists (including Robben Ford and Larry Carlton) before deciding on the version by Jay Graydon. Although Becker and Fagen have never said specifically who the song is about, it is thought to be inspired by actress Peg Entwistle, who is best known for committing suicide by jumping off the Hollywoodland sign in 1932. The Aja album itself has long been used by audiophiles to test their systems due to its high production standards, and was Steely Dan's best selling album. 

Artist:    Queen
Title:    Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)
Source:    LP: A Day At The Races (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Brian May
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1976
    Just when you thought you had heard everything Queen had to offer, they start singing in Japanese. Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together), from Queen's fifth studio LP, A Day At The Races, was written by Brian May as a tribute to the band's Japanese fans, and was performed live in Tokyo on more than one occasion. May plays piano, plastic piano and harmonium on the song.

Artist:    Patti Smith
Title:    Redondo Beach
Source:    LP: Horses
Writer(s):    Smith/Sohl/Kaye
Label:    Arista
Year:    1975
    Redondo Beach is the second track on the first Patti Smith LP, Horses. It was first published as a poem in Smith's 1972 book "kodak" under the title Radando Beach. The song, set to a reggae beat, tells the story of a young woman who commits suicide by walking into the ocean following an argument with her lover. Smith later said the lyrics were written following a fight with her sister Linda.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Road Angel
Source:    CD: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Writer(s):    Johnston/Hossack/Hartman/Porter
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1974
    Most of the songs on the fourth Doobie Brothers album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, were written by either Tom Johnston or Patrick Simmons, with only a couple of exceptions. One of those was Road Angel, which is credited to the entire band. It is also one of the hardest rocking tracks on the album.

Artist:    Paul Simon
Title:    Loves Me Like A Rock
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1973
    Paul Simon was always one to try new things with his music, even before embarking on a solo career in 1970. One of his more notable experiments was to record Loves Me Like A Rock in 1973 with a genuine gospel group, the Dixie Hummingbirds. Although the lyrics are more secular in nature, the Hummingbirds were reportedly eager to record with Simon, and even released their own version of the song later the same year. Simon's version was a huge hit, barely missing the top spot on the charts, and remaining in the US top 40 for fourteen weeks.

Artist:    Marvin Gaye
Title:    Don't Mess With Mister "T"
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Marvin Gaye
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1972
    1972 was a pivotal year for Motown. It was the year that the label shifted its operations from Detroit to its new Hollwood studios, sometimes known as "Hitsville West". It was also the year that a new contract, negotiated following the success of What's Going On, made Marvin Gaye the highest-paid performer in R&B history up to that point, as well as giving him total artistic freedom. Gaye used that freedom to compose his first and only film soundtrack. Part of the reason for Motown's move to Hollywood was to cash in on the popular "blacksploitation" movie trend started by the film Shaft the previous year. The label secured the rights to the crime thriller Trouble Man, and asked Gaye if he would be interested in writing the music for it. He ended up producing the entire soundtrack for the film as well, recording all the music at Motown's studios. The album was a critical success, and further enhanced Gayes reputation as one of the leading figures on the early 1970s music scene.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    L.A. Woman
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    Ray Manzarek became justifiably famous as the keyboard player for the Doors. Before joining up with Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, however, Manzarek was already making a name for himself as an up-and-coming student filmmaker at UCLA. Although he didn't have much of a need to pursue a career in films once the Doors hit it big, he did end up producing and directing an outstanding video for the title track of the 1971 album L.A. Woman years after the band had split up. I only mention this because, really, what else can I say about a song that you've probably heard a million times or so?

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    For You Blue
Source:    LP: Let It Be
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1970
    I'll be honest here. My least favorite Beatles album has always been Let It Be. I've always felt that Phil Spector's over-the-top production style obscured what was a fairly decent set of tunes. One of the songs on the album that Spector didn't ruin, however, was For You Blue. Perhaps it was because For You Blue is basically a blues number, which is a genre that falls so far from Spector's area of expertise that he probably didn't have a clue what to do with the song and pretty much left it as is.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Into The Sun
Source:    CD: On Time
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    One of my fondest memories of the year I graduated high school was moving to the tiny town of Mangum, Oklahoma for the summer. I was up there to take a shot at rock stardom with a band called Sunn, a group that I had been a founding member of in my junior year of high school. The band had its own road manager, a local guy named Gary Dowdy who was home from college for the summer and drove a red '54 Ford panel truck missing its front grille. In addition to being our main equipment van, "The Glump", as Dowdy called it, was our source of daily transportion around town. It's best feature was an 8-track tape system that Dowdy had installed himself. One of the tapes we listened to most often was Grand Funk Railroad's debut album, On Time. In fact, I don't really recall us listening to any other tapes but that one and the band's second album, Grand Funk. As a result, I pretty much know every song on the album by heart, even though I did not have my own copy of On Time until 2013, when I found a somewhat ratty old copy of the LP at a store in Syracuse, NY, that sells used records. More recently I managed to find a new CD copy of the album, so we get to listen to Into The Sun, the opening track from side two of the original album, without all the ticks and pops.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1723 (starts 6/7/17)


This week's playlist is almost like having four separate shows. First, we have sets from 1966 and 1967. From there it's a progression from 1966 to 1970, followed by no less than three back-to-back artists' sets. We finish things out with a long 1968 set. Fun stuff!

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Scarborough Fair/Canticle
Source:    LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    After the reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel following the surprise success of an electrified remix of The Sound Of Silence, the duo quickly recorded an album to support the hit single. Sounds Of Silence was, for the most part, a reworking of material that Simon had recorded for 1965 UK LP the Paul Simon Songbook. The pressure for a new album thus (temporarily) relieved, the duo got to work on their first album of truly new material since their unsuccessful 1964 effort Wednesday Morning 3AM (which had in fact been re-released and was now doing well on the charts). In October the new album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, hit the stands. The title track was a new arrangement of an old English folk ballad, Scarborough Fair, combined with a reworking of a song from the Paul Simon Songbook, The Side Of A Hill, retitled Canticle. The two melodies and sets of lyrics are set in counterpoint to each other, creating one of the most sophisticated folk song arrangements ever recorded. After being featured in the film The Graduate, Scarborough Fair/Canticle was released as a single in early 1968, going on to become one of the duo's most instantly recognizable songs.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Come Up The Years
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    One of the most overused motifs in pop music is the "You're too young for me" song. This probably reflects, to a certain degree, a lifestyle that goes back to the beginnings of rock and roll (Chuck Berry did jail time for transporting a minor across state lines, Jerry Lee Lewis saw his career get derailed by his marraige to his 13-year-old cousin, etc.). The Marty Balin/Paul Kantner tune Come Up The Years takes a more sophisticated look at the subject, although it still comes to the same conclusion (I can't do this because you're jailbait). In fact, the only rock songwriter I know of that came to any other conclusion on the matter was Bob Markley of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and that's what ultimately got him in trouble with the law.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    In The Midnight Hour
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pickett/Cropper
Label:    Tower
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Among the many Chocolate Watchband recordings that were subjected to major changes by producer Ed Cobb was a cover of Wilson Pickett's R&B classic In The Midnight Hour, a song that was also covered by the Young Rascals. The biggest change Cobb made to the recording was to replace Dave Aguilar's original lead vocals with those of studio vocalist Don Bennett. Once Sundazed got the rights to the Watchband's recordings they included both versions on their CD version of the No Way Out album and in 2012 issued the mono mix of the Aguilar version for the first time as a single.

Artist:    Ugly Ducklings
Title:    Nothin'
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Byngham/Mayne
Label:    Rhino (original label: Yorktown)
Year:    1966
    Coming from the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, the Ugly Ducklings made their first appearance in March of 1965 as the Strolling Bones, sounding a lot like their British idols, the...well, you can figure it out. By summer of that year they had changed their name and relocated to Yorkville, the epicenter of Toronto nightlife. In July of 1966 the Ducklings released their first single, Nothin', on the local Yorktown label. Thanks to an appearance at around the same time as the opening act for the Rolling Stones themselves, the Ugly Ducklings found themselves with a huge local hit record. A series of mildly successful singles and one album followed before the band underwent several personnel changes, as well as another name change (to Gnu) before finally disbanding in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    People's Games
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Jerry Jeff Walker
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Although People's Games is far from my favorite Circus Maximus song, it is, according to at least one member of the band, the tune that was most representative of what the band was all about. It is also one of the earliest compositions of Circus Maximus member Jerry Jeff Walker, who went on to greater fame as a songwriter, particularly for the song Mr. Bojangles.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single B side; re-released as A side)
Writer:    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Priority (original label: All-American; reissued nationally on Uni Records)
Year:    1967   
    Incense and Peppermints started off as an instrumental, mostly because the band simply couldn't come up with any lyrics. Their producer decided to bring in professional songwriters to finish the song, and ended up giving them full credit for it. This did not sit well with the band members. In fact, they hated the lyrics so much that their regular vocalist refused to sing on the record. Undaunted, the producer brought in the lead vocalist from another local L.A. band to sing the song, which was then put on the B side of The Birdman Of Alcatrash. Somewhere along the line a local DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Down On Philips Escalator
Source:    German import CD: The Amboy Dukes
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    Ted Nugent made his stage debut as a guitarist at the age of ten and was, in his own words, "a sensation". In the mid-1960s Nugent's family moved to Chicago, where he formed the Amboy Dukes. After moving the band to his native Detroit, Nugent signed with Bob Shad's Mainstream label, releasing the first Amboy Dukes album in 1967. Nugent and keyboardist Steve Farmer wrote most of the band's material, both as collaborators and as individual composers, with Nugent providing the harder rocking songs while Farmer came up with the more psychedelic stuff. As collaborators the music took on aspects of both, becoming something greater than the sum of the two's talents, as can be heard on Down On Philips Escalator, from that 1967 debut LP. I still haven't a clue what the song is actually about, but it's definitely worth a listen.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Billy Roberts
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin, who had recently replaced founding member Bill Rinehart on lead guitar, came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.

Artist:     Procol Harum
Title:     A Whiter Shade of Pale
Source:     unreleased alternate version
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    unknown
Year:     1967
     Often credited as the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. The song itself hold the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves of the past 70 years. This version is much longer than the original recording, with a total running time of just over six minutes. It was sent in by a listener, so I really have no information about when or where it was recorded, or even who played on the track (other than Gary Brooker, who was the heart and soul of the band from day one). It is probably not the same lineup that played on the original version, however, since most of that group was gone by the time the first Procol Harum album was released.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Magic Carpet Ride
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Writer(s):    Moreve/Kay
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 1960s.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Woman Trouble
Source:    CD: Stonedhenge
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1969
    In the late 60s and early 70s it was fashionable for a garage band to use a jazzy-sounding instrumental for its break song. Don't ask me why, it just was. Sunn, the band I was in (in various iterations) from 1969-71, was no exception. Hell, maybe we were the only ones doing it, for all I know. The first incarnation of the band used a piece inspired by Bobby Troup (the writer of Route 66), who appeared in short segments between shows of AFTV, the only English language TV station in Germany at the time. He'd always start the segment with a quick guitar lick and the words "Hi! I'm Bobby Troup". Our guitarist borrowed the rift and came up our first break song, which he called "Dedicated to Bobby Troup". We kept on using that one up through the summer of 1970, when both of our fathers' overseas tours ended. I ended up in New Mexico, while Dave found himself in Oklahoma. In early 1971 Dave hopped on a Greyhound bus, bound for California, but only had enough money ($48.60) for a ticket to Alamogordo, NM, where I was living. By then Dave had already gone through two more incarnations of Sunn, so when we decided to reform the band it was (unofficially) Sunn IV. Late that spring, Dave decided to return to Oklahoma; two weeks later (right after graduation) our other guitarist, Doug, and I followed Dave there to form the fifth and final incarnation of Sunn. It was, by far, the most professional version of the band, once we had settled on a final lineup that included a third guitarist DeWayne, on rhythm (Dave and Doug split the lead guitar duties), and his close friend Mike on drums (I played bass). Rather than revive our old instrumental break song, we decided to use Woman Trouble, a Ten Years After track from the Stonedhenge album, instead. The song was different enough from our hard rock repertoire that it served notice to the audience that something was up. After a verse and chorus I would introduce each band member at the end of their solo (except DeWayne, who, like the guy in the Sultans Of Swing, had no desire to do anything but play chords). We then went back for a repeat of the verse, then took our break. Good times, those.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Let's Work Together
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilbert Harrison
Label:    Capitol (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1970
    By a rather odd twist of fate Wilbert Harrison, known primarily for his 50s hit Kansas City, decided to reissue one of his lesser-known tunes, Let's Work Together, just a few weeks before a new Canned Heat version of the song was released in 1970. As it turns out, neither version became a major hit, although the Canned Heat version did get some airplay and managed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 that year.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    Proper Stranger
Source:    CD: American Woman
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings
Label:    Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    If any one song typifies the sound of the Guess Who around 1970, it's Proper Stranger, from the American Woman album. The song was also chosen as the B side of No Time, the first single released from the album.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    CD: Gloria
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Although most oldies stations now tend to favor the 1965 Them B side version of Gloria, it was Chicago's Shadows Of Knight that made it one of the most popular garage-rock songs in history.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I'm So Tired
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    Somehow I can't help but thinking of the Firesign Theatre's Further Adventures of Nick Danger every time I hear this song. I guess that's better than thinking of Charles Manson's group, which some of the other songs on the "white album" make me do.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Good Day Sunshine
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    When the Beatles' Revolver album came out, radio stations all over the US began playing various non-single album tracks almost immediately. Among the most popular of those was Paul McCartney's Good Day Sunshine. It was in many ways an indication of the direction McCartney's songwriting would continue to take for several years.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Why Don't We Do It In The Road?
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    One of the many songs inspired by events surrounding the Beatles' trip to India, Why Don't We Do It In The Road is one of the shortest, yet most memorable songs on the White Album. Paul McCartney later said he was inspired by a pair of monkeys who were "doing it" right in the middle of the road, and nobody gave it a second glance. I'd hate to see them try that on a freeway.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Sanctus
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released on LP: Mass In F Minor)
Writer(s):    David Axelrod
Label:    Real Gone/Rhino
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of commercial success of the second Electric Prunes album, Underground, producer Dave Hassinger essentially reduced the band's status to that of hired help, enlisted to record a suite of religious pieces collectively called Mass In F Minor. The entire Mass was written in Latin, which, presumably, none of the band members spoke. To add insult to injury, a Canadian group called the Collectors was brought in to record the complex instrumental tracks. One single, Sanctus, was released from the album, but only to radio stations as a promo. The song got virtually no airplay and was never released to the public.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Little Olive
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    James Lowe
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Allowing a band to compose its own B side was a fairly common practice in the mid-1960s, as it saved the producer from having to pay for the rights to a composition by professional songwriters and funneled some of the royalty money to the band members. As a result, many B sides were actually a better indication of what a band was really about, since most A sides were picked by the record's producer, rather than the band. Such is the case with Little Olive, a song written by the Electric Prunes' Jim Lowe and released as the B side of their debut single in 1966.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You Never Had It Better
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band have reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Porpoise Mouth
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    The songs on the first Country Joe And The Fish album ranged from silly satire (Super Bird) to downright spacey. One of the spaciest tracks on the album is Porpoise Mouth, both lyrically and musically.

Artist:    Country Joe and the Fish
Title:    Section 43
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Country Joe and the Fish released their original mono version of an instrumental called Section 43. The song was included on a 7" EP inserted in an underground newspaper called Rag Baby. In 1967 the group recorded an expanded stereo version of Section 43 and included it on their debut LP for Vanguard Records, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. It was this arrangement of the piece that the group performed live at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Prelude/Nightmare
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Writer(s):    Arthur Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    One of rock's first "theatrical" performers, Arthur Brown first began to get noticed in Paris, where he spent a year developing his stage show and unique vocal style with his band the Arthur Brown Set, which was formed in 1965. On his return to England he joined up with keyboardist Vincent Crane. By 1967 the Vincent Crane Combo had changed its name to The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and was becoming a major force on London's underground music scene. In late 1967 the band went to work on their self-titled debut LP, which was released in the UK on the Track label in June of 1968. Spurred by the success of the single Fire, the album was picked up for American distribution by Atlantic Records that same year. The people at Atlantic, however, felt that the drums were a bit off and insisted on adding horns and strings to cover the deficiency. The result can be heard on tracks like Prelude/Nightmare, which opens the album.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Black Widow Spider
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After Van Morrison left Them for a solo career, the band headed back to Belfast, where they recruited vocalist Kenny McDowell. Them soon relocated permanently to the US west coast, where they landed a contract with Tower Records. After a first album that featured songs from a variety of sources, they hooked up with Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, who wrote an album's worth of material for the band. That album was Time Out! Time In! For Them, an album that has stayed under the radar for over 40 years, despite tunes like Black Widow Spider, which closes out the first side of the LP.
   
Artist:    Senators
Title:    Psychedelic Senate
Source:    LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer(s):    Les Baxter
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    If I had to pick the most unlikely person to record something psychedelic that actually did record something psychedelic, that person would have to be Les Baxter. Born in 1922, Baxter became well-known in the 1940s as a composer and arranger for various swing bands. By the 50s he was leading his own orchestra, recording his own brand of what came to be known as "exotica", easy-listening music flavored with elements taken from non-Western musical traditions. In the 1960s he scored dozens of movie soundtracks, including many for the relatively low-budget American International Pictures, working with people like Roger Corman on films like The Raven, The Pit  And The Pendulum and House Of Usher, as well as teen exploitation films like Beach Blanket Bingo. It was through this association that he got involved with a film called Wild In The Streets in 1968. Although much of the film's soundtrack was made up of songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and performed by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers, there were a few Baxter pieces included as well, including Psychedelic Senate, a bit of incidental music written to underscore a scene wherein the entire US Senate gets dosed on LSD.

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Piece Of My Heart
Source:     CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer:     Ragovoy/Burns
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
     By 1968 Big Brother and the Holding Company, with their charismatic vocalist from Texas, Janis Joplin, had become as popular as fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Somehow, though, they were still without a major label record deal. That all changed with the release of Cheap Thrills, with cover art by the legendary underground comix artist R. Crumb. The album itself was a curious mixture of live performances and studio tracks, the latter being led by the band's powerful cover of the 1966 Barbara Lynn tune Piece Of My Heart. The song propelled the band, and Joplin, to stardom. That stardom would be short-lived for most of the band members, however, as well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed advice-givers convinced Joplin that Big Brother was holding her back. The reality was that the band was uniquely suited to support her better than anyone she would ever work with again.

Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    That's Wrong Little Mama
Source:    British import CD: Blues On Top Of Blues
Writer(s):    B.B. King
Label:    BGO (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1968
    The first B.B. King album I ever bought was Blues On Top Of Blues, one of the first album's released on ABC's Bluesway label. The album is somewhat unique in that it includes an organ, in addition to a horn section and, of course, B.B. King's unique guitar work. King stretched a bit beyond what was usually considered blues on the LP, which included songs like That's Wrong Little Mama, an R&B flavored tune that almost sounds like it could have come out of Memphis or Muscle Shoals.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    My first impression of Deep Purple was that they were Britain's answer to the Vanilla Fudge. After all, both bands had a big hit in 1968 with a rearranged version of someone else's song from 1967 (Vanilla Fudge with the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On and Deep Purple with Billy Joe Royal's Hush). Additionally, both groups included a Beatles cover on their debut LP (Fudge: Ticket To Ride, Purple: Help). Finally, both albums included a depressing Cher cover song. In the Vanilla Fudge case it was one of her biggest hits, Bang Bang. Deep Purple, on the other hand, went with a song that was actually more closely associated with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (although Cher did record it as well): Hey Joe. The Deep Purple version of the Billy Roberts classic (originally credited to the band on the label itself), is probably the most elaborate of the dozens of recorded versions of the song (which is up there with Louie Louie in terms of quantity), incorporating sections of the Miller's Dance (by Italian classical composer Manuel de Falla), as well as an extended instrumental section, making the finished track over seven and a half minutes long.