Sunday, November 18, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1847 (starts 11/19/18)

    This week's show features the fewest individual tracks ever for Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. The reason for this is that each segment contains one really long piece that ends up dominating the segment. Well, maybe not so much in the first hour, since the Beach Boys section is actually only eight minutes long and the Black Sabbath segment also features a Buffalo Springfield artists' set, but the second hour....whew!

Artist:    Chocolate Watch Band
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Writer:    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watch Band. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in fact the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In), a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watch Band's first album, is one of those few. Ironically, the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album. According to legend, the band actually showed up at the movie studio without any songs prepared for the film, and learned to play and sing Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) right there on the set. This, combined with the story of their first visit to a recording studio the previous year (a story for another time) shows one of the Watch Band's greatest strengths: the ability to pick up and perfect new material faster than anyone else. It also shows their overall disinterest in the recording process. This was a band that wanted nothing more than to play live, often outperforming the big name bands they opened for.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Paint It Black
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins/Jagger/Richards
Label:    Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    One of the highlights of the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 was the onstage debut of Eric Burdon's new Animals, a group much more in tune with the psychedelic happenings of the summer of love than its working class predecessor. The showstopper for the band's set was an extended version of the Rolling Stone's classic Paint It, Black. That summer saw the release of the group's first full LP, Winds Of Change, which included a studio version of Paint It, Black.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Heroes And Villains/Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)
Source:    Mono LP: The Smile Sessions
Writer(s):    Wilson/Parks
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    With the 1966 hit Good Vibrations, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys developed a "modular" approach to producing a recorded work. Rather than record a performance in one take, he would tape each segment separately, often in different studios, and later assemble the pieces in the order he wanted them. The problem with such an approach became evident, however, with his next project, an album to be called Smile. Wilson soon found that the vast number of ways that multiple segments could be put together was overwhelming him to the point where he couldn't make a final decision. As a result, Smile was shelved indefinitely in May of 1967. By then, however, several segments had been recorded for the album, including many intended for Smile's centerpiece, Heroes And Villains. Wilson ended up hastily putting together a version of Heroes And Villains that, according to fellow band member Al Jardine, fell far short of Wilson's original vision, releasing it as the first single on the band's new Brother Records label. In the years that followed, several other versions of the song (different ways of assembling the existing pieces, actually) were released, the most recent being the version heard on The Smile Sessions, released in 2013. By most accounts, this is the closest version we will ever hear to what Brian Wilson originally intended (in fact, Wilson served as a consultant on The Smile Sessions). On the album, Heroes And Villains segues into a piece called Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock), which incorporates some of the musical themes from Heroes And Villains itself, creating a seamless piece of music that runs over eight minutes in length. \

Artist:    Who
Title:    I Can See For Miles
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer:    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
     I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK for the Who and was their biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. The song is preceeded by a series of jingles produced for Radio London, a pirate radio station operating off the coast with offices in London. One of those (Roto Sound Strings) was actually performed by the Who. The others were made by the same Texas company that supplied jingles to many US top 40 stations.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic quasi-surf instrumental that fades out after just a few seconds.

Artist:      Opus 1
Title:     Back Seat '38 Dodge
Source:      Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Christensen/Becker/Becker/Parker
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mustang)
Year:     1966
     Long Beach, California was home to Opus 1, who released the high-powered surf-tinged Back Seat '38 Dodge on L.A.'s Mustang label in 1966. The title refers to a controversial sculpture that suburbanites were talking about at the time.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    CD: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Buffalo Springfield (revised version))
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound). And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was turning into a major hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound), making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

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

Artist:     Buffalo Springfield
Title:     Bluebird
Source:     CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer:     Stephen Stills
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 and Richie Furay were just starting to hit their respective strides as songwriters, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    A Bit Of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward/Dunbar/Dmochowski/Hickling/Moorshead
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    According to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, the band's debut LP was recorded in one day, in a marathon 12-hour session, and mixed the following day. Most of the tracks, including the 14-minute long Warning, were done in one take with no overdubs. The tune itself is listed on the US album cover as three separate tracks, even though it is the same continuous piece that appeared on the original UK version of the album. Not only that, but all three are listed as being composed by the members of Black Sabbath, despite the fact that Warning was a cover of a 1968 LP track by the Ainsley Dunbar Retaliation.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Janis
Source:    LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    It is not well-known (yet hardly a secret, either) that in early 1967, Country Joe McDonald and Janis Joplin had a live-in relationship. As might be expected given the strong personalities involved, the affair didn't last long, but apparently had a profound enough effect on McDonald that he wrote a song about it. That song, Janis, appears on the second Country Joe And The Fish LP, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die.
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    Mono LP: You Really Got Me
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964
    You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those points

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Alligator/Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)
Source:    CD: Anthem Of The Sun
Writer(s):    Lesh/McKernan/Hunter/Garcia/Kreutzmann/Weir
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1968
    After a debut album that took about a week to record (and that the band was unanimously unhappy with) the Grateful Dead took their time on their second effort, Anthem Of The Sun. After spending a considerable amount of time in three different studios on two coasts and not getting the sound they wanted (and shedding their original producer along the way) the Dead came to the conclusion that the only way to make an album that sounded anywhere near what the band sounded like onstage was to use actual recordings of their performances and combine them with the studio tracks they had been working on. Side two of the album, which includes the classic Alligator and the more experimental Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks), is basically an enhanced live performance, with new vocal tracks added in the studio. Alligator itself is notable as the first Grateful Dead composition to feature the lyrics of Robert Hunter, who would become Jerry Garcia's main collaborator for many many years. Anthem Of The Sun was remixed by Phil Lesh in 1972, and the new mix was used on all subsequent pressings of the LP, and later, CD.

Artist:     Nazz
Title:     Open My Eyes
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Nazz)
Writer:     Todd Rundgren
Label:     Rhino (original label: SGC)
Year:     1968
     Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a newly recorded version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).

Artist:    Rainbow Ffolly
Title:    Sun Sing
Source:    CD: Insane Times (originally released on LP: Sallies Fforth)
Writer(s):    Dunsterville
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Some records can only be described as "magical". Such is the case with Sun Sing, from the only Rainbow Ffolly album, Sallies Fforth. The album itself is essentially a bunch of demo tapes made by a group of High Wycombe (a city of about 100,000 about 30 miles from London) art students led by the Dunsterville brothers, Jonathan and Richard. The tapes were made at a local studio in Rickmansworth during off hours and are characterized by the unorthodox approach to record-making used by the group. At the suggestion of the studio owners, the group added various jingles and sound effects between the songs (similar to the approach used on The Who Sell Out) and sold the project as a "sound package" to EMI, which issued it on its Parlophone label in 1968.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes/Extension On One Chord/I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes Medley
Source:    CD: Undead (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Johnson/Lee/Lyons/Churchill/Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2002
    Although not a major hit in the US, the first Ten Years After album, released in 1967, was heard and liked by at least one highly influential person: Bill Graham, owner of the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Graham was so impressed, in fact, that he invited the band to come play at his soon-to-be-opened Fillmore East in New York. The problem was that the band wanted to have a new record to promote when they made their US debut, and there wasn't enough time to record a proper studio LP (although attempts were made). Finally, in order to meet the deadline, it was decided that the band's second LP would be a live album, something generally not done by bands in 1968 (although it had been more common earlier in the decade). Not all of the live material was used on the new album, however. One notable track was a live extended version of the Blind Willie Johnson tune I Can't Keep From Crying Sometime. The reasons this track was not included on the Undead album probably were a combination of the track's length (17 minutes) and the fact that a studio version of the song had been included on the first Ten Years After LP (erroneously credited to Al Kooper, who had arranged the song for the 1966 album Projections by the Blues Project).

Artist:     Cream
Title:        White Room
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:        1968
        Musically almost a rewriting of Eric Clapton's Tales of Brave Ulysses (from Cream's Disraeli Gears album), White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition from the Wheels Of Fire album, is arguably the most popular song ever to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal prominently.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year:    1968
    Johnny Winter's first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, was originally released in 1968 on the Texas-based Sonobeat label. A ctitical success, it was picked up and reissued on the Imperial label a year later. Most of the songs on the album are covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1847 (starts 11/19/18)

    This week's show is broken up into two distinct sets. The first, mostly from 1972, is singles oriented, including the rare second single released from Jethro Tull's Passion Play. The second set is pretty much all 1969, although one track, Proud Mary, was (according to some sources) released as a single in December of 1968, and the Mountain song, Theme From An Imaginary Western, was included in the band's Woodstock set, though the studio version wasn't released until early 1970.

Artist:    Norman Rose/Melissa Manchester
Title:    Deteriorata
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits Of The National Lampoon (originally released on LP: Radio Dinner)
Writer(s):    Hendra/Guest
Label:    Uproar (original label: Blue Thumb)
Year:    1972
    National Lampoon was a product of its time. Originally a magazine, NatLamp (as it was often referred to) grew to include a weekly radio show, a series of albums, and eventually, a series of movies. Some of the best bits from the radio show were assembled in 1972 on an album called National Lampoon's Radio Dinner. The opening track of this album was a piece written by Tony Hendra (with music by Christopher Guest) that parodied a 1971 spoken word recording by Les Crane of an early 20th century poem by Max Ehrmann called Desirata. The Lampoon piece, Deteriorata, was narrated by Norman Rose, with Melissa Manchester singing.

Artist:    Graham Nash/David Crosby
Title:    Immigration Man
Source:    LP: Graham Nash David Crosby
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    A frustrating experience with a US Customs agent was the inspiration for what might well be the best song Graham Nash ever wrote. Immigration Man, from the album Graham Nash David Crosby, was released in March of 1972, and became the duo's only top 40 hit. The song has taken on new relevance in recent years, with immigration becoming a divisive political issue, not only in the US but in several European nations as well.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Passion Play (Edit #10)
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    My very first "radio" gig was at a closed-circuit station serving various locations at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. Even though most radio stations got lots of free promo copies of current songs, the Voice Of Holloman was pretty much ignored by the major record labels, with one notable exception: Warner Brothers (and it's associated labels such as Reprise and Chrysalis). Since the Voice Of Holloman was pretty middle of the road, they didn't play Jethro Tull, and I got to snag a copy of the second Tull single taken from A Passion Play. Unlike Edit #8, which got enough airplay to warrant inclusion in Jethro Tull's "M.U" The Best Of Jethro Tull collection, Edit #10 was pretty much dead in the water as soon as it was released. In fact, I have never actually seen a regular copy of the single. My original promo copy is long gone, but I did manage to find one from a reliable source in 2018. Unfortunately, 1973 was the year of the great vinyl shortage (one of the reasons the Voice Of Holloman wasn't getting stuff from most labels), and the promo used poor quality vinyl. Still, it is, to my knowledge, the only source available for this rare edit, so here it is, noise and all.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown
Year:    1972
    One of the longest songs ever to get played on top 40 radio, Papa Was A Rolling Stone was in many ways a climactic recording. It was the last big Temptations hit, and one of the last songs produced by the team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the so-called "psychedelic soul" producers, before Whitfield left Motown to form his own production company. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it was the last major hit to feature the Funk Brothers, the (mostly uncredited) instrumentalists who had played on virtually every Motown record in the 60s but had been largely supplanted by studio musicians working out of Los Angeles, where the label had relocated its corporate headquarters to, in the early 70s. And on Papa Was A Rolling Stone the Funk Brothers finally got to shine as soloists, with an intro on the LP version that lasted more than four minutes and a long extended instrumental section in the middle of the piece as well. Papa Was A Rolling Stone has been called the last great Motown record. I tend to agree with that assessment.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    Freddie's Dead
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Curtom
Year:    1972
    The 1971 movie Shaft launched an entire genre of films sometimes known as "blacksploitation" movies. One of the most successful of these was the 1972 film Super Fly. The soundtrack music for Super Fly was provided by former Impressions frontman Curtis Mayfield, and released on his own Curtom label. The single Freddie's Dead, adding vocals to the film's instrumental theme, was released ahead of the film and went into the top 5 on both the Hot 100 and Billboard R&B charts. It was also nominated for a Grammy award, but lost out to the Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong piece Papa Was A Rolling Stone, sung by the Temptations.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Mean Mistreater
Source:    British import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s):    James Gordon
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Most of Johnny Winter's first album for Columbia featured the same musicians, Tommy Shannon and Uncle John Turner, that had appeared on Winter's debut LP, The Progressive Blues Experiment. One track, though, featured guest Willie Dixon on upright bass. That tune, Mean Mistreater, was written by James Gordon and also features Walter "Shakey" Horton on harmonica.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    I Can't Quit You/How Many More Times
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Dixon/Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own. Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.
Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Proud Mary
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    Fun fact: Creedence Clearwater Revival never had a #1 hit. They did, however, manage to hit the #2 spot...five times. The first of these #2 hits was Proud Mary, written a week after John Fogerty's discharge from the National Guard. The song updates Mark Twain's portrait of life on a riverboat for the 20th century, a portrait that resonated well with a generation that was just reaching the age where the prospect of spending one's life "working for the man every night and day" was begining to look unavoidable. The song was released at the tail end of 1968 (according to some, early 1969), a year that had seen the idyllic hippie lifestyle of the summer of love give way to the radical politics of groups like the SDS and the Black Panthers, who advocated violence as a response to the continued intractability of the Establishment. The fact that hallucinogenics like LSD and mescaline were being replaced by harsher (and cheaper) drugs like speed and various narcotics was not lost on the members of CCR either, who, according to Fogerty, made a promise to themselves on the floor of the Fillmore that they would be a drug-free band, choosing to "get high on the music" instead. It's likely that the single was prepared separately from the album it appeared on, Bayou Country, since the LP itself uses an electronically rechanneled mono version of the song rather than a true stereo mix.

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Sea Of Joy
Source:    CD: Blind Faith
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    At the time Blind Faith was formed there is no question that the biggest names in the band were guitarist Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, having just come off a successful three-year run with Cream. Yet the true architect of the Blind Faith sound was actually Steve Winwood, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group and, more recently, Traffic. Not only did Winwood handle most of the lead vocals for the group, he also wrote more songs on the band's only album than any other member. Among the Winwood tunes on that album is Sea Of Joy, which opens side two of the LP.

Artist:      David Bowie
Title:     Space Oddity
Source:      45 RPM single (originally released on LP: David Bowie)
Writer:    David Bowie
Label:     RCA Victor (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1969
     When David Jones first started his recording career he was a fairly conventional folk singer. With his second self-titled album (later retitled Space Oddity) he truly became the David Bowie we all know, and the rock world was never quite the same.
Artist:     Mountain
Title:     Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source:     European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Windfall)
Year:     1970
     Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1846 (starts 11/12/18)

    There's a whole lot going on this week, including some really freaky opening tracks, sets from 1966 and 1968, three artists' sets, and trips up and down through the years.

Artist:    Magic Mushrooms
Title:    It's-A-Happening
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Casella/Rice
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1966
    It's not known whether or not the Magic Mushrooms heard any of the tracks from the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out when they recorded It's-A-Happening. Still, it's hard to imagine this bit of inspired weirdness being created in a vacuum. Besides this one single, nobody seems to have any knowledge whatsoever of the group known as the Magic Mushrooms, other than the fact that they hailed from Philadelphia, Pa., and, along with Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band, may well have been the reason that A&M Records shied away from signing any more psychedelic rock bands for the next few years. (Well, there was Joe Cocker, but his stuff was recorded for a British label and reissued in the US by A&M, so it doesn't count).

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:    Fourth Way
Title:    The Far Side Of Your Moon
Source:    CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single A side)
Writer(s):    Graves/Venet
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Soul City)
Year:    1968
    Although the title suggests something out of an 80s comic strip, The Far Side Of Your Moon is a genuine slice of psychedelia from 1968 that appeared as a single on the Soul City label, owned at the time by singer Johnny Rivers. Virtually nothing is known about the band itself (if Fourth Way was even a band at all). The song was co-written by Steve Venet, whose production credits include songs by the Astronauts and the Monkees.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Five To One
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Despite the fact that it was the Doors' only album to hit the top of the charts, Waiting For The Sun was actually a disappointment for many of the band's fans, who felt that the material lacked the edginess of the first two Doors LPs. One notable exception was the album's closing track, Five To One, which features one of Jim Morrison's most famous lines: "No one here gets out alive".

Artist:    Frijid Pink
Title:    Crying Shame
Source:    British import CD: Frijid Pink (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Mike Valvano
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1968
    With the possible exception of the Pacific Northwest, no region of the US has produced grittier rock 'n' roll than the Detroit area of Michigan. From 1966 to 1970 the region was home to such bands as Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels, The Heard (later known as the Bob Seger System), the Amboy Dukes (featuring guitarist Ted Nugent) and (from nearby Flint) Terry Knight and the Pack, which would evolve into Grand Funk Railroad. One often overlooked group from the area (and the era) is Frijid Pink, whose loud version of House Of The Rising Sun was a huge hit in 1970. Originally formed in 1967 when two members of popular cover band the Detroit Vibrations, drummer Richard Stevers and bassist Tom Harris, were joined by lead singer Tom Beaudry (aka Kelly Green) and guitarist Gary Ray Thompson, Frijid Pink released their first single in late 1968. The B side of that single, Crying Shame, was included on the band's debut LP in 1970.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers
Title:    Shape Of Things To Come
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wild In The Streets (soundtrack))
Writer(s):    Mann/Weill
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts. "Wild in the Streets" starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's hook-handed drummer/political activist Stanley X. The band itself, Max Frost And The Troopers, was actually either a group called the 13th Power (as credited on the label) or Davie Allen And The Arrows, an instrumental group that was often called on to provide music for teen-oriented B movie soundtracks.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (original album title: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You Never Had It Better
Source:    Mono CD: Underground (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher
Label:    Collector's Choice
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 before getting their record contract, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger, working with composer David Axelrod, 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 or not they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Try Me On For Size
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (original album title: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Jones
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Songwriter Annette Tucker struck gold when producer David Hassinger selected I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), a song she had co-written with Nancie Mantz, to be the new single by the Electric Prunes. The song was so successful that Hassinger picked up half a dozen more Tucker songs to be included on the Prunes' debut LP for Reprise. Most of those were co-written by Mantz, but a couple, including the band's next single, Get Me To The World On Time, carried a Jill Jones co-writing credit. The other Tucker/Jones collaboration on the album was a song called Try Me On For Size, a track that could be interpreted as an invitation to the kinds of activities rock musicians would become famous for during backstage parties in the next decade.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Tomorrow Never Knows
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    A few years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was Tomorrow Never Knows. The recording is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking on the lead guitar track and has been hailed as a studio masterpiece.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Here Comes The Sun
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' development as a studio band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the top five on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song, written while Harrison, tired of dealing with the business aspects of Apple Corp., was hiding out at his friend Eric Clapton's place, has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.

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

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

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

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Flashback (The Rhythm Thing)
Source:    CD: All The Good That's Happening
Writer(s):    Arlin/Pons/Beck/Ray
Label:    One Way (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves were already falling as they went to work on their second LP, All The Good That's Happening (their first for a major label). Many of the tracks on the album featured only one or two members of the band, while others, such as Flashback (The Rhythm Thing), were probably just warm-up jams that were done with the tape rolling and used to make up for the lack of actual recorded songs.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    One of the first British acid-rock bands was a group called Deep Feeling, which included drummer Jim Capaldi and woodwind player Chris Wood. At the same time Deep Feeling was experimenting with psychedelia, another, more commercially oriented band, the Spencer Davis Group, was tearing up the British top 40 charts with hits like Keep On Running, Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man. The undisputed star of the Spencer Davis Group was a teenaged guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist named Steve Winwood, who was also beginning to make his mark as a songwriter. Along with guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who had worked with Capaldi in earlier bands, they formed Traffic in the spring of 1967, releasing their first single, Paper Sun, in May of that year. Capaldi and Winwood had actually written the tune while Winwood was still in the Spencer Davis Group, and the song was an immediate hit in the UK. This was followed quickly by an album, Mr. Fantasy, that, as was the common practice at the time in the UK, did not include Paper Sun. When the album was picked up by United Artists Records for US release in early 1968, however, Paper Sun was included as the LP's opening track. The US version of the album was originally titled Heaven Is In Your Mind, but was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy to match the original British title (although the alterations in track listing stayed).

Artist:     4 Seasons
Title:     Idaho
Source:     LP: Genuine Imitation Life Gazette
Writer(s):     Gaudio/Holmes
Label:     Philips
Year:     1969
     One of the few US acts to prosper during the British Invasion was the 4 seasons, a vocal group from the east coast. Working closely with songwriters/producers Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe, the Seasons cranked out hit after hit, including Rag Doll, Walk Like A Man, Sherry and many more. By 1969, however, the record-buying public was looking for something different, and the group responded with an album packaged to look like a newspaper, the Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. Although the album did little to halt the group's slide, it did set an album cover precedent that would be followed more successfully by Jefferson Airplane (Volunteers), John and Yoko (Sometime In New York City) and Jethro Tull (Thick As A Brick).

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Summer In The City
Source:    LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Sebastian/Boone
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful changed gears completely for what would become their biggest hit of 1966: Summer In The City. Inspired by a poem by John Sebastian's brother, the song was recorded for the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. That album was an attempt by the band to deliberately record in a variety of styles; in the case of Summer In The City, it was a rare foray into psychedelic rock for the band. Not coincidentally, Summer In The City is also my favorite Lovin' Spoonful song.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    High Flyin' Bird
Source:    Mono LP: Early Flight
Writer(s):    Billy Edd Wheeler
Label:    Grunt
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1974
    One of the more outstanding performances at the Monterey International Pop Festival was Jefferson Airplane's rendition of High Flyin' Bird, a song usually associated with Buffy St.-Marie. The song had actually been in the band's repertoire almost from the beginning, as this recording from 1965, featuring the original Airplane lineup of Marty Balin and Signe Anderson (vocals), Jorma Kaukonen and Paul Kantner (guitars), Jack Casidy (bass) and Skip Spence (drums), demonstrates.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Sundazed/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    Following the success of Somebody To Love, Jefferson Airplane quickly followed up with their third single from the Surrealistic Pillow album, White Rabbit. Although it didn't get the same amount of top 40 airplay, Marty Balin's Plastic Fantastic Lover, issued as the B side of White Rabbit, has proved just as enduring as the A side. So much so that, when the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special pressing of both songs on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection. More recently, Sundazed has reissued the entire Surrealistic Pillow album in its original mono mix, which differs considerably from the more familiar stereo version.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Ice Cream Phoenix
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer:    Kaukonen/Cockery
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    By 1968, the various songwriting members of Jefferson Airplane were developing divergent styles, although still keeping their songs within the band's established sound. This is evident throughout the band's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation, with songs like Jorma Kaukonen's Ice Cream Phoenix. Parts of the song, such as the opening verse, almost sound like they could be on a Hot Tuna album, yet others, such as the bridge section, are pure Airplane.

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

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Mellow Yellow
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
    Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK, due to his ongoing contract dispute with Pye Records.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Louie, Go Home
Source:    LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Revere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Nobody knows for sure who recorded Louie Louie first: the Kingsmen or Paul Revere And The Raiders. Both bands recorded the song in April of 1963 in the same studio in Portland, Oregon, but nobody seems to remember which band played at which session. Regardless, the Kingsmen ended up with the national hit version of the song, while Paul Revere And The Raiders went on to become one of the most successful American rock band of the mid-1960s, thanks in part to Dick Clark, who discovered them playing in Hawaii and chose them to be the house band on his new show Where The Action Is. By this time the band had been signed to Columbia Records, releasing their first single for the label, Louie-Go Home, in 1964. By 1966 they were riding high on the charts, and re-recorded Louie, Go Home (different punctuation, same song) in stereo for their second of three albums released that year: Midnight Ride.

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Hey Gyp
Source:     CD: Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released on US-only LP: Animalism)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1966
     Shortly before the original Animals disbanded in 1966, M-G-M Records collected several songs that had yet to be issued in the US and put out an album called Animalism (not to be confused with Animalisms, a UK album from earlier that year). One of the more outstanding tracks on that album was this cover of a Donovan tune that almost seems like it was written with Eric Burdon's voice in mind.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Lady Jane
Source:     British import LP: Aftermath (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original US label: London)
Year:     1966
     One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time in the US was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated separately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8).

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:    Everybody I Love You
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stills/Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The last track on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album déjà vu is a Stephen Stills/Neil Young collaboration that sets the stage for the Stills/Young band a couple of years later. Stylistically it's pretty easy to figure out which part of Everybody I Love You was written by Stephen Stills and which part was written by Neil Young. What's interesting is how well the two parts actually fit together. As far as I know this is actually the first songwriting collaboration between the two, despite being bandmates in Buffalo Springfield since 1966 (and knowing each other even longer).

Artist:     Eire Apparent
Title:     The Clown
Source:     CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Sunrise)
Writer:     Chris Stewart
Label:     BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Buddah)
Year:     1969
     Eire Apparent was a band from Northern Ireland that got the attention of Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals in late 1967. Chandler had been managing Jimi Hendrix since he had discovered him playing in a club in New York a year before, bringing him back to England and introducing him to Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, who along with Hendrix would become the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite Eire Apparent having almost no recording experience, Chandler put them on the bill as the opening act for the touring Experience. This led to Hendrix producing the band's first and only album, Sunrise, in 1968, playing on at least three tracks, including, most obviously, The Clown.

Artist:    Blossom Toes
Title:    When The Alarm Clock Rings
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: We Are Ever So Clean)
Writer(s):    Jim Cregan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    Originally known as the Ingoes, Blossom Toes were discovered playing in Paris (where they had released an EP) by Giorgio Gomelsky, manager of the Yardbirds, who signed them to his own label, Marmalade, in 1967. Everyone on the British music scene was talking about (and listening to) the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, trying to figure out how to apply the album's advanced production techniques to their own material, including Gomelsky and Blossom Toes. The result was an album called We Are Ever So Clean, one of the first post-Sgt. Pepper albums to be released in the UK. When The Alarm Clock Rings shows just how strong the Sgt. Pepper's influence was in late 1967.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     If You Want This Love
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer:     Baker Knight
Label:     Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The first West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album, Volume One, had a limited print run on Fifa, a small independent label based in Los Angeles. After landing a contract with Reprise, the band recut many of the songs (most of which were cover tunes) from Volume One and called the new album Part One. If You Want This Love, a song written and originally recorded by L.A. local legend Baker Knight, is one of those recut tracks.

Artist:    Adam
Title:    Eve
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Taylor/London/Dawson/Schnug
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Malo)
Year:    1966
    Obviously a one-note gimmick, Adam consisted of Adam Taylor, Adam London, Adam Dawson and Adam Schnug, releasing one single called Eve in 1966. The following year a band called the Balloon Farm released A Question Of Temperature. It has long been suspected that they were both the same band. My own theory is that both tracks are the work of New York studio musicians having a little after-hours fun, similar to what was going on in Los Angeles with projects such as Sagittarius and the Ballroom.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    One of the most covered of Bob Dylan's tunes, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue originally appeared on the LP: Bringing It All Back Home in March of 1965. There has been much speculation over the years as to the identity of the titular Baby Blue, with guesses ranging from Joan Baez to Dylan's own folk music phase. The album Bringing It All Back Home is known for Dylan's first use of electric instruments on his recordings, although the song It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, features only Dylan himself on vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica, accompanied by bassist William E. Lee.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Errors Of My Way
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Powell/Upton
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    Wishbone Ash was one of the first bands to feature dual lead guitars. This came about almost by accident, as the group had been looking for a lead guitarist but couldn't choose between the two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner. They decided to go with both, and, after Powell sat in with Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore during a soundcheck, the group was signed to MCA Records. Their debut LP (which was issued on MCA's Decca label in 1970) was an immediate success, and Wishbone Ash became one of the most popular hard rock bands of the early 1970s. Unlike many bands with two lead guitarists, Wishbone Ash emphasized harmony leads over individual solos, as can be heard on tracks like Errors Of My Way.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1846 (starts 11/12/18)

This week's show kind of resembles last week's show. There are ten tracks, only three of which have been played on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before, just like last week. However, they are entirely different songs by entirely different artists than last week (with one exception), so I guess that's where the similarity ends.

Artist:    Stealer's Wheel
Title:    Stuck In The Middle With You
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo promo copy)
Writer(s):    Egan/Rafferty
Label:    A&M
Year:    1973
    Stealer's Wheel was formed in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland by former schoolmates Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty in 1972. By the time their first album was released, however, Rafferty had already left the group for a solo career. The single Stuck In The Middle With You was such as success, however, that Rafferty was persuaded to rejoin the group. They were never able to duplicate the success of that first single, however, and by 1975 Stealer's Wheel had ceased to exist. Rafferty, once again a solo artist, would have a huge hit in 1978 with the song Baker Street.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Black Sabbath
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    This track has to hold some kind of record for "firsts". Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath, from the album Black Sabbath is, after all, the first song from the first album by the first true heavy metal band. The track starts off by immediately setting the mood with the sound of church bells in a rainstorm leading into the song's famous tri-tone (often referred to as the "devil's chord") intro, deliberately constructed to evoke the mood of classic Hollywood horror movies. Ozzy Osborne's vocals only add to the effect. Even the faster-paced final portion of the song has a certain dissonance that had never been heard in rock music before, in part thanks to Black Sabbath's deliberate use of a lower pitch in their basic tuning. The result is something that has sometimes been compared to a bad acid trip, but is unquestionably the foundation of what came to be called heavy metal.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Aqualung
Source:    CD: Aqualung
Writer(s):    Ian & Jennie Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    Arguably Jethro's Tull most popular song, Aqualung was the title track from the band's fourth LP and lifted the group into the ranks of rock royalty. Like nearly all of Tull's catalog, Aqualung was written by vocalist/flautist Ian Anderson, who also played acoustic guitar on the track. The lyrics of the song were inspired by photographs of homeless men taken by Anderson's then-wife Jennie, who received co-writing credits on the piece.

Artist:    Richie Havens
Title:    Handsome Johnny
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side included with LP: Richie Havens On Stage
Writer:    Gossett/Gossett/Havens
Label:    Stormy Forest
Year:    1969
    When it became obvious that the amplifiers needed by the various rock bands that were scheduled to perform on the opening Friday afternoon at Woodstock would not be ready in time, singer/songwriter Richie Havens came to the rescue, performing for several hours as the new opening act. One of the highlights of Havens' performance was Handsome Johnny, a song that he had co-written with Lou Gossett and Lou Gossett, Jr. and released on his debut album. A new live recording of the song (along with Freedom, another Woodstock highlight) was included as a bonus single with the 1972 LP Richie Havens On Stage.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Desperado
Source:    LP: Their Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Desperado)
Writer(s):    Henley/Frey
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1973
    The most popular Eagles song not to be released as a single, Desperado is the title track of the band's second LP. Well, that's not entirely true. Johnny Rodriguez released the song as a single in 1976, taking it into the top 5 on the country charts. Diana Krall also released the song as a single in the 1990s, taking it into the top 5 on the jazz charts. Linda Ronstadt's 1973 cover of Desperado was originally the more popular version of the tune, getting all kinds of airplay at the time. Eventually, though, the Eagles original, sung by Don Henley, came to be considered the definitive version of the tune.

Artist:    Premiati Forneria Marconi (PFM)
Title:    Is My Face On Straight
Source:    Italian import CD: The World Became The World
Writer(s):    Premoli/Mussida/Sinfield
Label:    Sony Music/RCA (original US label: Manticore
Year:    1974
    Progressive rock (sometimes referred to as "art-rock") was far more popular in Europe than it was in the US. This was especially true in Italy, where Emerson, Lake And Palmer was the most popular band in the country. They were followed closely by the homegrown Premiati Forneria Marconi (The Award Winning Marconi Bakery). Their popularity in their native Italy was such that Peter Sinfield, the poet who had provided lyrics for King Crimson's debut LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King), as well as Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Karn-Evil 9 (from the Brain Salad Surgery album), was brought in to write English lyrics for some of PFM's original material. These newly recorded tracks were then released in the US on ELP's Manticore label. One of the most popular PFM album's released in the US was The World Became The World, which hit the stands in 1974. Is My Face On Straight showcases the marraige of PFM's Italian brand of prog-rock and Sinfield's always cynical (or is that sardonic? Ask an English major) lyrics.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    Pictures At An Exhibition-part two
Source:    LP: Pictures At An Exhibition
Writer(s):    Mussorgsky/Emerson/Lake/Palmer
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1971
    After releasing a popular debut LP, you might expect a band to follow it up with a similar sounding album. If were a band led by someone other than Keith Emerson, that might indeed have been the case. But Emerson, Lake And Palmer instead took a more daring route, much to the displeasure of their UK label, Island Records. They insisted that their second album be a live performance of the band's adaptation of Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, a piece originally written for piano and then adapted for full orchestra. ELP's version of the suite differs radically from the original, especially the Baba Yaga sections, which are laden with feedback and electronic effects. Island, however, was frankly scared of the album, so much so that they insisted on releasing it on their classical subsidiary rather than the parent label. The band, however, felt that having the album appear on a classical label would be detrimental to the LP's sales, and withdrew the album entirely, instead releasing a second studio LP, Tarkus. After the success of Tarkus, the label (Island) agreed to release Pictures At An Exhibition on the parent label, but priced as if it were a single, thus exempting it from the UK album charts. The album, of course, sold well at that price and, surprisingly, did all right in the US as well, where it carried a standard sticker price.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Motorboat To Mars/Free
Source:    LP: Chicago III
Writer(s):    Seraphine/Lamm
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Chicago Transit Authority was, to my knowledge, the first debut double-LP released by a rock band. The band, which soon shortrened its name to Chicago, then followed it up with not one, but two more double-LP sets. You might expect a band to feeling a bit burned out by this point, although, at a pace of one album per year, it's really no more than releasing two single LPs per year, which was quite common at the time. Although Chicago III did not have a hit single on a par with Make Me Smile or Colour My World (both from the second album), it did feature some strong material, such as Robert Lamm's Free, which is preceded on the album by a Danny Seraphine drum solo called Motorboat To Mars. The two songs were included, in the same order, on the band's next project, a four-LP set recorded live at Carnegie Hall.

Artist:    Rare Earth
Title:    I Just Want To Celebrate
Source:    British import CD: The Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Zesses/Faharis
Label:    Motown/Spectrum/Universal (original label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1971
    So it's mid-September of 1971 and Sunn has just regrouped after losing our lead guitarist/backup drummer (and primary chick magnet) Dave to the US Air Force (he wanted to get married and needed the money). Luckily, we had three guitarists in the band, which had come in handy when Mike the drummer went to Nebraska to make some college start up money working the harvest and Dave had taken over on the drums (he was no Mike but at least he could keep a beat). But now Mike was back, Dave was gone, and after a monthlong hiatus we had just scored our first gig: a one-shot at a little club in Weatherford, Oklahoma, where DeWayne (the rhythm guitarist) and Mike were enrolled as freshmen at a small liberal-arts college (Southwestern State). We had not practiced at all since losing Dave (and Mike hadn't played with us in almost two months) and were a bit rusty for the first set, but by the end of the third set we were cookin'! During the break the club manager asks us if we would be interested in becoming the house band, to play every Friday night. About that time, the jukebox plays the current Rare Earth hit, I Just Want To Celebrate, and we take to the stage and begin jamming along to the song. The jukebox gets unplugged and we just keep on jamming, a rather impromptu way to start the final set of the night. It could have been a seminal moment in the history of rock and roll if it weren't for the fact that it had already been decided a few days earlier that this was to be Sunn's farewell performance.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    No One To Depend On
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Carabella/Escobida/Rolie
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third LP (which like their debut LP was called simply Santana), was the last by the band's original lineup. Among the better-known tracks on the LP was No One To Depend On, featuring a guitar solo by teen phenom Neal Schon (who would go on to co-found Journey). The version here is a rare mono promo pressing issued as a single in 1972. It is obviously not a true mono mix, but what is known as a "fold-down" mix, made by combining the two stereo channels into one. It sounds to me, though, like one channel (the one with Neil Schon's guitar) got shortchanged in the mix.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1845 (starts 11/5/18)

    A few weeks agao I got an e-mail from a listener suggesting that I do a special Veteran's Day show featuring the most popular songs among soldiers serving in Vietnam during the late 1960s. I thought at the time, and still do, that it is a great idea. Unfortunately, there was just not enough time to do the necessary research to do such a show. There is also the fact to consider that, as one who did not have to go there (my draft number was in the 300s) I didn't really have the personal insight into what made one song more popular in that environment than another, even if the two songs may have had similar chart action back home. I did want to do something special, however, so I pulled out a CD single from 1994 that I have been meaning to play for several years now, but for one reason or another never got to. I think the song Vet, that you'll hear in the second hour of the show, captures the Vietnam experience like no other song I've ever heard. It's followed by the unofficial theme song of US troops serving in Vietnam, the Animals' We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The rest of the show is focused on the years 1966-68, and includes artists' sets by Cream, Jefferson Airplane and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    You Better Run
Source:    CD: Groovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Cavaliere/Brigati
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1966
    The Young Rascals were riding high in 1966, thanks to their second single, Good Lovin', going all the way to the top of the charts early in the year. Rather than to follow up Good Lovin' with another single the band's label, Atlantic, chose to instead release a new album, Collections, on May 10th. This was somewhat unusual for the time, as having a successful single was considered essential to an artist's career, while albums were still viewed as somewhat of a luxury item. Three weeks later, a new non-album single, You Better Run, was released, with a song from Collections, Love Is A Beautiful Thing, as the B side. The stereo version of the song appeared on the 1967 LP Groovin'

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Just Like A Woman
Source:    CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Pet Sounds
Source:    Mono CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew.

Artist:    We The People
Title:    Mirror Of Your Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Thomas Talton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:    1966
    We The People were formed when an Orlando, Florida newspaper reporter talked members of two local bands to combine into a garage/punk supergroup. The result was one of the most successful regional bands in Florida history. After their first recording got airplay on a local station, they were signed to record in Nashville for Challenge Records (a label actually based in Los Angeles) and cranked out several regional hits over the next few years. The first of these was Mirror Of Your Mind. Written by lead vocalist Tom Talton, the song is an in-your-face rocker that got played on a number of local stations and has been covered by several bands since.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Dance The Night Away
Source:     LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     With their 1967 album Disraeli Gears, Cream established itself as having a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material was from the team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown, including Dance the Night Away.

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

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Strange Brew
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Collins/Pappalardi
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    During sessions for Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker recorded an instrumental track for an old blues tune, Lawdy Mama. Producer Felix Pappalardi and his wife Janet Collins reworked the melody and lyrics to create an entirely new song, Strange Brew. Clapton provided the lead vocals for the song, which was issued as a single in Europe and the UK, as well as being chosen as the lead track for the album itself.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     No Face, No Name, No Number
Source:     CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Mr. Fantasy, aka Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s): Winwood/Capaldi
Label:     Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:     1967
     When the first Best of Traffic album was issued in 1969 (after the group first disbanded) it included No Face, No Name, No Number, a non-hit album track. Later Traffic anthologies tended to focus on the group's post-reformation material and the song was out of print for many years until the first Traffic album was reissued on CD. The song itself is a good example of Winwood's softer material.

Artist:    Focus Three
Title:    10,000 Years Behind My Mind
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilson/Steele/Strike
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 it seemed like every recording artist in Britain was trying his or her hand at psychedelia, no matter what their original background may have been. Take Focus Three, for instance. The group was a collaboration between three vocalists who were already well established on the soul circuit. Lisa Strike was leader of Lisa And The Jet Set; Larry Steele had been a member of the Soul Brothers, while Tony Wilson had had some success as a solo artist. The three of them wrote and recorded a tune called 10,000 Years Behind My Mind, which was released as a single on EMI's Columbia label in October of 1967. As it turned out, it was the only record they ever released, as the three singers returned to their own individual careers almost immediately after 10,000 Years Behind My Mind hit the record racks.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    Simulated stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as being 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. Fisher initially did not get writing credit for his contributions to the song, but finally, after several lawsuits, began collecting royalties for the song in 2009. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves over the past 70+ years.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Pretty Ballerina
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Sommer/Brown/Lookofsky
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Getting Better
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    Following their 1966 North American tour, the Beatles announced that they were giving up live performances to concentrate on their songwriting and studio work. Freed of the responsibilities of the road (and under the influence of mind-expanding substances), the band members found themselves discovering new sonic possibilities as never before (or since), hitting a creative peak with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, often cited as the greatest album ever recorded. The individual Beatles were about to move in separate musical directions, but as of Sgt. Pepper's were still functioning mostly as a single unit, as is heard on the chorus of Getting Better, in which Paul McCartney's opening line, "I have to admit it's getting better", is immediately answered by John Lennon's playfully cynical "can't get no worse". The members continued to experiment with their instrumentation as well, such as George Harrison's use of sitar on the song's bridge, accompanied by Ringo Starr's bongos.

Artist:      Donovan
Title:     Mellow Yellow
Source:      Mono CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:     Epic/Legacy
Year:     1966
     Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK, due to a contract dispute with Pye Records. Incidentally, electric banana didn't turn out to be a sudden craze after all, and it is not Paul McCartney whispering "quite rightly" on the chorus. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Voodoo In My Basement
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
     With their 1966 LP Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, New York's most popular band set out to make an album on which each song sounded like it was performed by a different band. For the most part they succeeded, with songs like Nashville Cats and Summer In The City having few similarities. One of the more notable tracks on the album is Voodoo In My Basement, which acknowledges the folk-blues scene of New York's Greenwich Village, where the band was formed.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1966
     Jeff's Boogie is an instrumental track from the Yardbirds that originally appeared on the album Over Under Sideways Down in the US. That LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art. The song was also chosen to be the B side of the Over Under Sideways Down single, released in 1966. Although credited to the entire band, the tune is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:    Del-Vetts
Title:    Last Time Around
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dennis Dahlquist
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, considering the song's subject matter (and overall loudness), Last Time Around may well be the very first death metal rock song ever recorded.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:     Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ed Cobb
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1966
     The Standells were probably the most successful band to record for the Tower label (not counting Pink Floyd, whose first LP was issued, in modified form, on the label after being recorded in England). Besides their big hit Dirty Water, they hit the charts with other tunes such as Why Pick On Me, Try It, and the punk classic Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. All but Try It were written by producer Ed Cobb, who has to be considered the most prolific punk-rock songwriter of the 60s, having also written some of the Chocolate Watch Band's best stuff as well.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Back Into My Life Again
Source:    French import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group featuring Stevie Winwood (originally released in UK)
Writer(s):    Edwards/Miller
Label:    Island
Year:    1967
    Back Into My Life Again is one of two tracks on an LP called The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group featuring Stevie Winwood that had never, to my knowledge, been released before that album came out in 1967. The song was co-written by Jackie Edwards, a Jamaican-born reggae/ska singer/songwriter who had been one of the first artists signed to the Island Records label when it was founded in 1962. Edwards actually wrote or co-wrote several songs for the Spencer Davis Group over the years, including one of their biggest UK hits, Keep On Running.

Artist:    Vigilantes Of Love
Title:    Vet
Source:    CD single (taken from CD: Welcome To Struggleville)
Writer(s):    Bill Mallonee
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1994
    In the late 1960s most teenage guys didn't get much mail. The bills were all addressed to their parents and their friends were all people that they saw on a regular basis. In fact, aside from an occasional letter from Grandma, the only piece of mail a teenage male was likely to get was a draft notice from Uncle Sam. If you got one of those you had to make a choice. You could up and leave the country, along with all your friends and family, without knowing if and when you might see them again. Or you could refuse to register for the draft and risk going to jail. You could attempt to get conscientious objector status (there were two types; one was difficult to obtain but would keep you from having to serve at all; the other was much easier, but you'd still be in the Army, but you'd be wearing a red cross on your helmet, singifying that you were medical personnel and thus not a target; often, however, the opposite was true). Finally, you could just suck it up, register, get drafted, go through basic training and hope like hell you survived the next three years (there was actually one more option: you could voluntarily join a different branch of the military, but only if you could talk a recruiter into taking you, something they were discouraged from doing with draftees). As a result of all of this, the US Army at that point in time was made up of officers, most of which were academy trained, and enlisted men, most of which were draftees (although there were a few volunteers among their ranks as well). These draftees, despite the fact that they really didn't have much choice in the matter, were nonetheless treated shabbily upon their return to the US, often spit upon and called "baby killers" and things even worse than that. The song Vet, written and sung by Bill Mallonee, who was old enough to have served in Vietnam, was recorded in 1994 by Mallonee's band, the Vigilantes Of Love and included on the album Welcome To Struggleville. I personally think it's the best song of its type ever recorded, surpassing even John Prine's classic Sam Stone.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source:    Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals. This expanded version of the album first appeared on the ABKCO label in 1973, but with the American, rather than the British, version of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. Luckily I have a copy of that LP, which is where this track was taken from. It's not in the best of shape, but it's worth putting up with a few scratches to hear the song the way the troops heard it back in '65.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    May This Be Love
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The original UK version of Are You Experienced featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one. It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Red House
Source:    Mono CD: Blues (originally released in UK on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original UK label: Track)
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Red House was omitted from the US version of Are You Experienced because, in the words of one recording company executive: "America does not like blues". At the time the song was recorded, Noel Redding was not yet comfortable using a bass guitar, and would work out his bass parts on a slightly-detuned hollow body six-string guitar with the tone controls on their muddiest setting (I learned to play bass the same way myself). The original recording of Red House that was included on the UK version of Are You Experienced features Redding doing exactly that. A second take of the song, with overdubs, was included on the 1969 Smash Hits album, but the original mono version heard here was not available in the US until the release of the Blues CD in 1994.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Love Or Confusion
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. It's actually kind of fun to listen to with headphones on, as I did when I bought my first copy of the album on reel-to-reel tape.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Lady Jane
Source:     CD: Aftermath (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1966
     One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time in the US was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated separately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8).

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Mary Mary, from the 1966 Butterfield Blues Band album East-West, would at first seem to a cover of a Monkees song, but technically the song is not a cover tune at all, since it was actually the first version to get recorded. Still, since composer Michael Nesmith was the acknowledged leader of the Monkees, whose version came out in early 1967, the Butterfield version has to be considered a cover of sorts. Adding to the irony is the fact that when the Monkees' version of Mary Mary first came out many Butterfield fans accused the Monkees of being the ones doing the ripping off.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Lather
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    One of Grace Slick's most memorable tunes was Lather from Jefferson Airplane's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation. Featuring an eerie instrumental bridge played on a tissue-paper covered comb (at least that's what I think it was), the song was reportedly about drummer Spencer Dryden, the band's oldest member, who had turned 30 while the album was being recorded. A popular phrase of the time was "don't trust anyone over 30", making it an unfortunate time to have that particular birthday.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Eskimo Blue Day
Source:    CD: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Slick/Kantner
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1969
    Jefferson Airplane's sixth LP, Volunteers, was by far their most socio-political album, from the first track (We Can Be Together, with its famous "up against the wall" refrain) to the last (the song Volunteers itself). One of the more controversial tracks on the 1969 album is Eskimo Blue Day, which describes just how meaningless human concerns are in the greater scheme of things with the repeated use of the phrase "doesn't mean shit to a tree". Eskimo Blue Day was one of two songs from Volunteers performed by the Airplane at Woodstock.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    If You Feel
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Blackman/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    Although Marty Balin's contributions as a songwriter to Jefferson Airplane's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, were minimal (he co-wrote one song), he was back in full force on the band's next LP, Crown Of Creation. One of his lesser-known songs on the album is If You Feel, co-written with non-member Gary Blackman, which opened side two of the LP.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    The Pusher
Source:    CD: Easy Rider Soundtrack (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):    Hoyt Axton
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    While AM radio was all over Born To Be Wild in 1968 (taking the song all the way to the # 2 spot on the top 40 charts), the edgier FM stations were playing heavier tunes from the debut Steppenwolf album. The most controversial (and thus most popular) of these heavier tunes was Hoyt Axton's The Pusher, with it's repeated use of the line "God damn the Pusher." Axton himself did not record the song until 1971, at which point the song was already burned indelibly in the public consciousness as a Steppenwolf tune.

Artist:    Jeff Thomas
Title:    Straight Arrow
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45PM single)
Writer(s):    Jeff Thomas
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    To look at a publicity photo of Jeff Thomas, you'd think you had been transported to the late 1950s. Musically, he was squarely (pun intended) in the middle of the road, with a crooning style that was somewhat out of synch with the times. Somehow, though, he managed to write a tasty piece of psychedelia called Straight Arrow, which was released as his second of three singles in late 1968.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Flower In The Sun
Source:    CD: Live At The Carousel Ballroom-1968 (originally releasd on LP: Joplin In Concert)
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1972
    Sam Houston Andrew III is one of the more overlooked talents of the late 1960s San Francisco music scene. Born in 1941, Andrew was a military brat who, at the age of 17, was the host of his own TV show in Okinawa, Japan, as well as leader of the show's house band. His father was transferred to a base in California shortly after Andrew graduated high school, and Andrew soon became involved with the San Francisco music scene. In 1966 he and Peter Albin formed Big Brother And The Holding Company, a band that would, by the end of the year, include vocalist Janis Joplin. Following the release of the hit album Cheap Thrills in 1968, Andrew and Joplin left Big Brother to form the Kozmic Blues Band. Less than a year later Andrew returned to Big Brother And The Holding Company, becoming the band's musical director until his death in 2015. Andrew was Big Brother's most prolific songwriter (he had written his first song at age 6), contributing songs like Combination Of The Two (the band's usual set opener) and Flower In The Sun, the studio version of which was intended for inclusion on Cheap Thrills but cut when it was decided to include more live performances on the LP. A live recording of Flower In The Sun, recorded on June 23, 1968 at the Carousel Ballroom, was included on the LP Joplin In Concert in 1972. The complete performance of that Carousel Ballroom show, taken directly from Owsley Stanley's sound board, was made available in 2012.