Monday, December 5, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1649 (starts 12/7/16)


This week we range far in wide in seach of deep tracks, including a set of album tracks from the Kinks, controlled chaos from Red Crayola and seldom heard tunes from people like Pink Floyd and the Blues Magoos. Enjoy!

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    CD: Beggars Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio.

Artist:    Public Nuisance
Title:    America
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: Gotta Survive)
Writer(s):    David Houston
Label:    Rhino (original label: Frantic)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2003
    Looking and sounding a lot like the Ramones would in the late 70s, Public Nuisance found itself the victim of unusual circumstances that led to the cancellation of their only LP in 1968. Producer Terry Melcher, who had risen to fame as producer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, had made the mistake of rejecting tapes sent to him by a wannabe rock star named Charles Manson. When Manson achieved the fame and notoriety that had eluded him as a musician (by killing a bunch of people), Melcher felt it prudent to go into hiding, shelving the Public Nuisance project in the process. The album was finally released 35 years later on the independent Frantic label.

Artist:    Factory
Title:    Path Through The Forest
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rollings
Label:    Rhino (original label: MGM)
Year:    1968
    Originally known as the Souvenier Badge Factory, the Factory was a British power trio who released their first of two singles, Path Through The Forest, while the band members (Jack Brand, Ian Oates and Bill MacLeod) were still in their teens. When a second single failed to chart the following year the group faded off into obscurity.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Where Have All The Good Times Gone
Source:    Mono LP: The Kink Kontroversy
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The third Kinks album, The Kink Kontroversy, occupies a unique place in the band's history. The group was still enjoying the success of their early hits like You Really Got Me, yet was beginning to make the transition to the more mature themes heard on songs like A Well Respected Man. The Kink Kontroversy captures the band right in the middle of this transition, with songs like Till The End Of The Day co-existing with tracks like The World Keeps Going Round. In fact, the lead single from the album (actually released in advance of The Kink Kontroversy) encapsulates this transition all by itself, with the aformentioned Till The End Of The Day on the A side, and a song called Where Have All The Good Times Gone occupying the flip side. The band's tour manager once referred to the song as one that a 40-year-old would write. Davies later said that he had been taking inspiration by listening to older people around him voicing their various concerns about life in general. This direction would continue over the next several years, ultimately contributing to the band's longevity.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Holiday In Waikiki
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Ray Davies's original idea for the Kinks' 1966 album Face To Face was to tie all the songs together through the use of sound effects to create one continuous audio track. The band's UK record company vetoed the idea, however, and for the most part the sound effects were left on the cutting room floor. One exception to this was Holiday In Waikiki, which retains its oceanic intro.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Gotta Get The First Plane Home
Source:    Mono LP: The Kink Kontroversy
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    1965 saw the Kinks' Ray Davies begin to blossom as a songwriter, particularly on the LP The Kinks Kontroversy. Whereas previous albums had contained several cover tunes, Kontroversy was made up entirely of Davies compositions such as Gotta Get The First Plane Home. Although Davies was still experimenting with writing in different styles at this point he would soon settle into a groove as rock's most wry commentator on modern British society.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Yes, I'm Experienced
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     A grand tradition dating back to the early Rhythm and Blues recordings was something called the "answer song". Someone would record a song (Hound Dog, for example), that would become popular. In turn, another artist (often a friend of the original one), would then come up with a song that answered the original tune (Bear Cat, in our example earlier). This idea was picked up on by white artists in the late 50s (Hey Paula answered by Hey Paul). True to the tradition, Eric Burdon answered his friend Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced with Yes, I'm Experienced from the Winds Of Change album in 1967. The song, credited to Eric Burdon And The Animals, was done in a style similar to another Hendrix tune, Manic Depression.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Chapter 24
Source:    CD: An Introduction To Syd Barrett (originally released on LP: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    One of the first tracks recorded for the debut Pink Floyd album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Chapter 24 is a Syd Barrett composition based on chapter 24 of the I Ching (the ancient Chinese Book of Changes). The tune itself is somewhat of a drone, and was considered for the band's greatest hits package Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd, despite never being released as a single.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     How Suite It Is
Source:     LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s):     Kantner/Cassidy/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1967
     The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Cassidy's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Cassidy's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    LP released 1967, single edit released 1968
    Time Has Come Today has one of the most convoluted histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Ritual # 2
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    There's a reason music like that of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band is sometimes called Acid Rock, and Ritual #2, from the band's last album for Reprise, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, is as good an example as you'll find. Best listened to with headphones on.

Artist:    The Moon
Title:    Mothers And Fathers
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Without Earth)
Writer(s):    Matthew Moore
Label:    Rhino (original label: Imperial)
Year:    1968
    The Moon was formed by pianist/songwriter Matthew Moore, working with various former members of bands such as the Bel-Aires, Davie Allan And The Arrows and even the Beach Boys (David Marks had taken Al Jardine's place when Jardine had served in the military in the band's early days). The band had a pleasant, light-psychedelic sound, as can be heard on tracks such as Mothers And Fathers, a single taken from their first LP, Without Earth.The group received little support from their label, however, and after a second LP failed to chart the band decided to call it a day as the 1960s drew to a close.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and a "dreamy" bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:        Yardbirds
Title:        Shapes Of Things
Source:   45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:        Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:        Epic
Year:        1966
        The earliest Yardbirds singles were either covers of blues classics or new tunes written by outside songwriters such as Graham Gouldman. The first hit song for the group that was actually composed by band members was Shapes Of Things, which made the top 5 in the UK and the top 10 stateside. The song was officially credited to vocalist Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, who later said that Jeff Beck deserved a songwriting credit as well for his distinctive lead guitar solo that was a major factor in the record's success.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Source:    Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist
Writer(s):    Marsden/Chadwick/Maguire/Marsden
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2005
    The first incarnation of the Chocolate Watchband was formed in 1965 by Ned Torney and Mark Loomis, students at Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills, California (part of the area now known as Silicon Valley). The two guitarists, who had played together in a band called the Chaparells the previous year in nearby Cupertino, recruited bassist Rich Young, organist Jo Kemling and vocalist Danny Phay for their new band. Also joining was drummer Pete Curry, who was soon replaced by Cupertino High School jazz band star Gary Andrijasevich. It was around this time that the group got its name; according to Torney, he and a couple friends were discussing the latest trend in band names from San Francisco: combining two seemingly unrelated words like Jefferson and Airplane. They started throwing out random words of their own and came up with Chocolate Watchband. That fall they cut their first demo tape at Action Recorders in San Mateo. Their choice of material for the session, however, was somewhat odd. The band had already shown a fondness for blues-based British rock bands like the Animals and the Rolling Stones, yet picked a soft Gerry And The Pacemakers hit,
Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying, for their demo tape. This incarnation of the band only lasted until November of 1965, when Torney, Kemling and Phay all left to form a new group called the Otherside. Of course this was only the beginning for the Chocolate Watchband, but that's a story for another time.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Come On In
Source:    CD: Turn On (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    It only cost a total of $150 for the Music Machine to record both sides of their debut single at RCA Studios in Los Angeles, thanks to the band having been performing the songs live for several months. The band then took the tapes to Original Sound, who issued Talk Talk and Come On In on their own label. Although Talk Talk was the obvious hit, Come On In had perhaps a greater influence on later bands such as the Doors and Iron Butterfly.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    War Sucks
Source:    Mono LP: The Parable Of Arable Lands
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967
    New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson, leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.

Artist:    Senators
Title:    Psychedelic Senate
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Les Baxter
Label:    Captain High (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    If I had to pick the most unlikely person to record something psychedelic that actually did record something psychedelic, that person would have to be Les Baxter. Born in 1922, Baxter became well-known in the 1940s as a composer and arranger for various swing bands. By the 50s he was leading his own orchestra, recording his own brand of what came to be known as "exotica", easy-listening music flavored with elements taken from non-Western musical traditions. In the 1960s he scored dozens of movie soundtracks, including many for the relatively low-budget American International Pictures, working with people like Roger Corman on films like The Raven, The Pit  And The Pendulum and House Of Usher, as well as teen exploitation films like Beach Blanket Bingo. It was through this association that he got involved with a film called Wild In The Streets in 1968. Although much of the film's soundtrack was made up of songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and performed by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers, there were a few Baxter pieces included as well, including Psychedelic Senate, a bit of incidental music written to underscore a scene wherein the entire US Senate gets dosed on LSD.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Rock And Soul Music
Source:    LP: Woodstock
Writer(s):    McDonald/Melton/Cohen/Barthol/Hirsch
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1969
    Country Joe and the Fish actually performed Rock and Soul Music twice at Woodstock. The first instance was a short intro that led directly into the next song. This is the piece used on the original Woodstock soundtrack album, which, through the magic of tape editing, leads directly into...

Artist:     Arlo Guthrie
Title:     Coming Into Los Angeles
Source:     LP: Woodstock (originally released on LP: Running Down The Road)
Writer:     Arlo Guthrie
Label:     Cotillion (original label: Rising Son)
Year:     1969
     As seen in the Woodstock movie, Arlo Guthrie performed Coming Into Los Angeles at the Woodstock Arts and Music Festival in 1969. The original Woodstock soundtrack album, however, subsituted this studio version for the live performance of the song. This was probably done at Guthrie's request, as several of the performers expressed dissatisfaction with the recordings made at the festival, either due to problems with the sound system or, in some cases, the performances themselves. This is understandable given the adverse conditions many of them had to deal with (rain, audio problems, lack of sleep, etc.).

Artist:    Bloodrock
Title:    Timepiece
Source:    CD: Bloodrock
Writer(s):    Cobb/Grundy/Hill/Pickens/Rutledge
Label:    One Way (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    Bloodrock started off as a Fort Worth, Texas band called the Naturals. Formed in 1963, the group released their first single in 1965 on the local Rebel label. The band changed their name to Crowd+1 later the same year, a name they kept until 1969, when they hooked up with Grand Funk Railroad manager Terry Knight, who rechristened them Bloodrock. Bloodrock's style varied from straight ahead hard rock to what can best be described as "macabre rock," as can be heard on Timepiece, from their 1970 self-titled debut LP, produced by Knight

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Try It
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Levine/Bellack
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded Try It, a tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat, which should have garnered it at least a 65 rating on American Bandstand.

Artist:    Move
Title:    (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    The most successful British band of the psychedelic era not to have a US hit was the Move, a band that featured Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, among other notables. The band was already well established in the UK by 1967, when their single Flowers In The Rain was picked to be the first record played on the new BBC Radio One. The B side of that record was the equally-catchy (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree. Both songs were written by Wood, although he only sang lead vocals on the B side.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Old Man
Source:    Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    An often overlooked fact about the L.A. band Love is that they had not one, but two quality singer/songwriters in the group. Although Arthur Lee wrote the bulk of the band's material, it was Bryan McLean who wrote and sang one of the group's best-known songs, the haunting Alone Again Or, which opens their classic Forever Changes album. A second McLean song, Old Man, was actually one of the first tracks recorded for Forever Changes. At the time, the band's rhythm section was more into sex and drugs than rock and roll, and McLean and Lee arranged to have studio musicians play on Old Man, as well as on one of Lee's songs. The rest of the group was so stunned by this development that they were able to temporarily get their act together long enough to complete the album. Nonetheless, the two tunes with studio musicians were left as is, although reportedly Ken Forssi did step in to show Carol Kaye how the bass part should be played (ironic, since Kaye is estimated to have played on over 10,000 recordings in her long career as a studio musician).

Artist:            Blues Magoos
Title:        Queen of My Nights
Source:       LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    D. Blue
Label:     Mercury
Year:        1967
        When I moved to a new town (actually a converted Panzer barracks being used as a housing complex for US military dependents in Mainz-Kastel, Germany) in the summer of '67 I was given a crash course in what was cool and what wasn't. For those living off-post (known as living "on the economy") 45 RPM records were the cool thing (albums still being something of a rarity in German stores at the time), especially anything by the Who. As far as albums went, the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop (featuring songs like Queen Of My Nights), along with the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, topped the cool list. Unfortunately, I arrived on the scene with more albums by the Monkees than any other group (I had two), which pretty much marked me as uncool, at least until I learned to play guitar myself.

Artist:      Woolies  
Title:     Who Do You Love
Source:      CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Elias McDaniel
Label:     Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1966
     Lansing, Michigan was home to the Woolies, who scored a big hit covering Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love, thanks in large part to the song being issued on Lou Adler's Dunhill Records, which was at that time one of the hottest new labels around.

Artist:     Harbinger Complex
Title:     I Think I'm Down
Source:     CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Writer:     Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:     Rhino (original label: Brent)
Year:     1966
     Most garage/club bands never made it beyond a single or two for a relatively small independent label. The Harbinger Complex, from Freemont, California, however, benefitted from a talent search conducted by Bob Shad, owner of Mainstream Records. The band was one of about half a dozen acts from the Bay Area to be signed by Shad in July of 1966, with their first single, I Think I'm Down, appearing on the Brent label later that year.

Artist:    Larry Coryell
Title:    You Don't Know What Love Is
Source:    LP: Lady Coryell
Writer(s):    DePaul/Raye
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1966
    One of the pioneers of jazz-rock fusion, guitarist Larry Coryell had already recorded two albums with vibraphonist Gary Burton and one as leader of the Free Spirits when he released his first solo album, Lady Coryell, in 1968. Most of the album features Coryell's electric guitar work; his version of the jazz standard You Don't Know What Love Is, however, is purely acoustic.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Because
Source:    CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1969
    Take Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Turn a few notes around, add some variations and write some lyrics. Add the Beatles' trademark multi-part harmonies and you have John Lennon's Because, from the Abbey Road album. A simply beautiful recording.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1649 (starts 12/7/16)



This week: A set from the Netherlands, a Steely Dan set and some hard rockin', both live and in the studio. Not bad for a one-hour show!

Artist:    Focus
Title:    Hocus Pocus
Source:    LP: Moving Waves
Writer(s):    van Leer/Akkerman
Label:    Sire
Year:    1971
    Although it was not a hit until 1973, Hocus Pocus by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus has the type of simple structure coupled with high energy that was characteristic of many of the garage bands of the mid to late 60s. The song was originally released on the band's second LP, known alternately as Focus II and Moving Waves, in 1971. Both guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist/vocalist/flautist Thijs Van Leer have gone on to have successful careers, with Van Leer continuing to use to Focus name as recently as 2006.

Artist:    Golden Earring
Title:    Radar Love
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Kooymans/Hay
Label:    Track
Year:    1973
    Formed in The Hague in 1961, the Golden Earrings (they dropped the plural in 1969) released 25 studio albums and took nearly 30 songs into the top 10 over a period of nearly 30 years...in their native Holland. They were completely unknown in the US, however, until 1973, when Radar Love became an international hit. They returned to the US charts in 1982 with Twilight Zone, and had a final international hit in 1984 with When The Lady Smiles, although that song did not do as well in the US.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Razor Boy
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Countdown To Ecstasy is the second Steely Dan album and the first to feature Donald Fagen as the group's sole lead vocalist. It is also the first of a trilogy of albums by the band that expose the seamy underside of Southern California culture in the 1970s. Razor Boy, for instance, targets the twin vices of materialism and complacency, asking the question: "Will you still have a song to sing when the razor boy comes and takes your fancy things away?" The album was not initially a major commercial success, but proved durable enough to attain gold status over a period of years. 

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    The Fez
Source:    CD: The Royal Scam
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen/Griffin
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1976
    By 1976 Steely Dan was no longer making live appearances. In fact, the group itself at this point was essentially the duo of Donald Fagen on keyboards and vocals and Walter Becker on guitar, supplemented by an array of studio musicians. Although the band had usually done their recording in Los Angeles, they relocated to New York to lay down the basic tracks for their fifth LP, The Royal Scam, returning with the raw tapes to L.A. for final mixing. The Fez, a popular single from the album, features Becker on lead guitar (he had played bass back when Steely Dan was still a performing unit). The Fez, as well as several other tracks from The Royal Scam, got heavy airplay on FM rock radio, which was still trailing AM top 40 in the ratings. Within five years top 40 radio itself would shift to the FM band, and FM rock radio would give way to the Album Oriented Rock format, while bands like Steely Dan would give way to more formulaic groups like Journey and Foreigner. Steely Dan would officially disband in 1981, not to return until 1993.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Show Biz Kids
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Steely Dan's second LP, 1973's Countdown To Ecstasy, did not sell as well as their 1972 debut LP. The reason usually cited for this dropoff in sales is the lack of a hit single, although at least two singles were released from the album. The second of these was Show Biz Kids, a song that sums up the entire Los Angeles lifestyle, a theme that the group would continue to explore for the rest of the decade.

Artist:    Aerosmith
Title:    Write Me A Letter
Source:    CD: Aerosmith
Writer(s):    Steven Tyler
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1973
    Some songs seem to take forever to write, while others almost write themselves. Write Me A Letter, from the debut Aerosmith album, is definitely a case of the former. The song, written by Steven Tyler, was originally called Bite Me, but, according to Tyler, "just didn't make it" until drummer Joey Kramer came up with an unusual rhythmic pattern for the song. Write Me A Letter is notable for being the first Aerosmith song to feature a harmonica.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Nothing Is Easy
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Stand Up)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Not long after the release of the first Jethro Tull album, guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was a blues enthusiast, left the group due to musical differences with lead vocalist/flautist Ian Anderson, who favored a more eclectic approach to songwriting. Abrahams's replacement was Martin Barre, who remains a member of the group to this day. One of the first songs recorded with Barre is Nothing Is Easy, a blues rocker that opens side two of the band's second LP, Stand Up. More than any other track on Stand Up, Nothing Is Easy sounds like it could have been an outtake from This Was, the band's debut LP.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Questions 67 & 68
Source:    CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Originally calling themselves The Big Thing, The Chicago Transit Authority moved to Los Angeles in 1968, changing their name in the process. After a year of touring the band headed to New York to record their first album in early 1969. The first single released from that album was Questions 67 & 68, which was released as a nearly five-minute long single in July. The song stalled out at the #71 spot, but two years later an edited version of the song made it to #24. By then the group had shortened its name to Chicago. The rest, as they say, is history.

Artist:    Rod Stewart and Faces
Title:    (I Know) I'm Losing You
Source:    45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Holland/Grant
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1971
    In addition to his role as lead vocalist for the Faces (formerly the Small Faces), singer Rod Stewart had a solo career going at the same time. This made for some awkward situations, since Stewart's solo work appeared on the Mercury label, while the Faces were under contract to Warner Brothers. For one thing, none of the band members received credit on any of Stewart's albums, including Every Picture Tells A Story, which was in essence a Faces album in all but name. Still, it is not entirely clear if the entire band was present for the recording of (I Know) I'm Losing You, a Motown classic originally recorded by the Temptations.

Artist:    Humble Pie
Title:    Rolling Stone
Source:    CD: Performance-Rockin' The Fillmore
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    Some people just seem to have more success with their live recordings than with their studio work. Probably the best example of this is a guitarist named Peter Frampton. His studio albums, both as a solo artist and with his band Peter Frampton's Camel, were, at best, modest successes, enough to keep him under contract to A&M records, at any rate. He did not become a household name, however, until the 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive, which is one of the best -selling live albums of all time. This was actually history repeating itself, however. In the early 1970s Frampton was a member of Humble Pie, a band whose greatest success was an album called Performance-Rockin' The Fillmore. Both Frampton and lead vocalist Steve Marriott (formerly of the Small Faces) had a chance to shine on this fifteen-plus minute version of the Muddy Waters classic Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1648 (starts 11/30/16)


Starting this week I'm adding a short introductory note to each playlist. I'm doing this thanks to a recent change at Facebook, where my weekly links to the blog page now include the first few lines of text from the blog itself. For the past couple weeks this has been the artist, song title and partial source of the first song on the playlist, which really bothers me because it's, well, ugly. I tried using more photos of album covers, but the ugly text is still there beneath the photos. So, I'm replacing the ugly text with useless drivel like this instead. 

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

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Grim Reaper Of Love
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Portz/Nichol
Label:    Magic (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1966
    The Turtles had some early success in 1965 as a folk-rock band, recording the hit version of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe and PF Sloan's Let Me Be. By 1966, however, it was getting harder and harder for the group to get a hit record. One attempt was Grim Reaper Of Love, co-written by Turtles lead guitarist Al Nichol. Personally I think it's a pretty cool tune, but was probably a bit too weird to appeal to the average top 40 radio listener in 1966. Grim Reaper Of Love did manage to make it to the #81 spot on the charts, unlike the band's next two singles that failed to chart at all. It wasn't until the following year, when the Turtles recorded Happy Together, that the band would return to the top 40 charts, making it all the way to the top.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider)
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    arr. McGuinn/Clark/Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    Throughout their existence the Byrds recorded more material than they actually released. This has proven a boon to the folks at Sony BMG, who have been able to include several bonus tracks on every remastered Byrds CD on their Legacy label. This week we have a classic Byrds reworking of an old folk tune, I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider), recorded in 1966, around the same time as their sessions for the Fifth Dimension album.

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

Artist:      Pentangle
Title:     Way Behind the Sun
Source:      LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    arr. Cox/Jansch/McShee/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Reprise
Year:     1968
    Every member of the Pentangle was an established member of the British folk music community, making Pentangle a folk supergroup by definition. Using elements of jazz and rock mixed with traditional folk music, they had a successful run up through the mid 1970s. This track from the first album is an adaptation of Rollin' and Tumblin' with new lyrics and a more sophisticated arrangement than better known versions by Cream and Johnny Winter.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Mystic Mourning
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg/Rhodes
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    If I had to choose one single recording that encapsulates the psychedelic era, my choice would be Mystic Mourning, from the album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union. Everything about the tune screams psychedelic, starting with a short spacy intro of electric piano over cymbals, leading into a raga beat with a solo bass line that builds up to a repeating riff that ends up getting played at various times by guitar, bass, and/or piano. The lyrics are appropriately existential, and both guitar and piano get a chance to show their stuff over the course of the nearly six-minute track.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    My Eyes Have Seen You
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    It's strange. Some reviewers seem to think that the album Strange Days is inferior to the first Doors album. They justify this view by citing the fact that almost all the songs on both albums were already in the band's repertoire when they signed their record contract with Elektra. The implication is that the band naturally selected the best material for the first album, making Strange Days a collection of sloppy seconds. There is one small problem with this theory however. Pick a song at random from Strange Days and listen to it and in all likelihood it will sound every bit as good as a song randomly picked from the first album (and probably better than one picked from either of the Doors' next two LPs). In fact, I'll pick one for you: My Eyes Have Seen You. See what I mean?

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.

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 instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist:    July
Title:    The Way
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Tom Newman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1968
    Although not a commercial success while together, July is now considered an important part of British rock history, due to the subsequent successful careers of several of its members. The band originated in Ealing, London, UK as the Tomcats, which itself was made up of members of an earlier Tomcats combined with members of another group named Second Thoughts. They relocated to Spain in 1966, where they became known as Los Tomcats. At that time they were a fairly typical British R&B outfit, playing cover songs from artists like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, but after returning to London began to take on a more psychedelic flavor. The band officially changed their name to July in 1968, signing with the Major Minor label and releasing two singles and one LP. The B side of the second of these singles was a tune called The Way. Written by guitarist/vocalist Tom Newman, the song has shown up on various compilation albums over the years. July disbanded in 1969, but Newman went on to record several solo LPs before becoming a producer. Among his credits are Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, used in the film The Exorcist. Two other members of July, Tony Duhig and Jon Field, went on to form Jade Warrior, recording several albums for various labels throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    Mono LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    If the release of the first Black Sabbath album in early 1970 marks the birth of heavy metal, then the release of the first Blue Cheer album in 1968 may be considered the point of conception for the form. Certainly, in terms of pure volume, Cheer was unequalled in their live performances (although the Grateful Dead's sound system had more wattage, Owsley Stanley used it judiciously to get the best sound quality as opposed to sheer quantity), and managed to preserve that sense of loudness in the studio. Like Black Sabbath, the members of Blue Cheer had more than a passing familiarity with the blues as well, as evidenced by their inclusion of an old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm, on their debut LP, Vincebus Eruptum (the album included a cover of B.B. King's Rock Me, Baby as well). Contrary to rumors, guitarist Leigh Stephens did not go deaf and kill himself (although he did leave Blue Cheer after the band's second LP, moving to England and releasing a somewhat distortion-free solo album in 1969).

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Oh Well
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Then Play On)
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:     1969
    Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in 1969, and Oh Well soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album.

Artist:    Zoser
Title:    Dark Of The Morning
Source:    CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Daniel Sleen
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Hexagon)
Year:    1970
    Zoser was a project band with a lot of talent but not a whole lot of cash. Warren Kendrick was a producer and studio owner who needed some renovations done on his Audio City Recording Studio in Minneapolis. So, in exchange for the labor needed to get the renovations done within budget Kendrick recorded Zoser's only single, Together, backed with Dark Of The Morning, and pressed 500 copies of the record. In stereo.

Artist:    Lollipop Shoppe (actual name: The Weeds)
Title:    You Must Be A Witch
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Fred Cole
Label:    Rhino (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    The Weeds were formed in Las Vegas in 1965 by vocalist Fred Cole, who at age 16 was already a recording studio veteran. They showed up at the Fillmore to open for the Yardbirds in 1966 only to find out that their manager had lied to them about being on the playbill (in fact Bill Graham had never even heard of them). Disenchanted with their management and fearing the Draft, the entire band decided to head for Canada, but ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon. They soon landed a regular gig at a club called the Folk Singer (where Cole met his future wife Toody) and after relocating to Southern California in 1968 attracted the attention of Seeds' manager Lord Tim, who got them a contract with MCA Records (now Universal). They recorded one album for MCA's Uni label, (discovering after the fact that Lord Tim had changed their name to the Lollipop Shoppe), which included the single You Must Be A Witch. Fred Cole has since become an icon of indy rock, returning to Portland to co-lead the band Dead Moon with his wife Toody from 1987-2006.

Artist:    Flick
Title:    The End
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Oran & Trevor Thornton
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1998
    Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, quite an unusual occurence in the 1990s.

Artist:    Beyond From Within
Title:    Forever Road/Lovely Penny
Source:    CD: Beyond From Within
Writer(s):    Steve Andrews
Label:    independently released
Year:    2015
          Back when I began running the Advanced Psych segment in 2015 I asked for bands to submit material that might fit into the show. One of the results of this "talent search" is Beyond From Within, a project from Steve Andrews of Pittsburgh, Pa. One of the more notable tracks from the independently distributed CD is a tune (or two) called Forever Road/Lovely Penny. If you like what you hear let me know and I'll be happy to put you in touch with Mr. Andrews.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Slip Inside This House
Source:    CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The 13th Floor Elevators returned from their only California tour in time to celebrate Christmas of 1966 in their native Texas. Not long after that things began to fall apart for the band. Much of this can be attributed to bad management, but at least some of the problems were internal in nature. Lead guitarist Stacy Southerland was caught with marijuana in the trunk of his car, thus causing his probation to be revoked, which in turn meant he was not allowed to leave the Lone Star state. This in turn caused the entire rhythm section to head off for San Francisco, leaving Southerland, along with Tommy Hall and Roky Erickson, to find replacement members in time to start work on the band's second album, Easter Everywhere. Despite this, the album itself came out remarkably well, and is now considered a high point of the psychedelic era. Unlike the first 13th Floor Elevators album, Easter Everywhere was designed to be a primarily spiritual work. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album's opening track, the eight-minute epic Slip Inside This House. Written primarily by Hall, Slip Inside This House was intended to "establish the syncretic concepts behind Western and Eastern religions, science and mysticism, and consolidate them into one body of work that would help redefine the divine essence". Whether he succeeded or not is a matter of opinion; the track itself is certainly worth hearing for yourself. Enjoy.

Artist:    Fumin' Humins
Title:    Relative Distance
Source:    CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    B. Cardoza
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: The Angry Record Company)
Year:    1967
    I guess you could call the Fumin' Humins pioneers of indy rock. The band, made up of students at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massuchusetts, recorded a pair of tunes at a homemade studio, pressed 500 copies, and released them on their own Angry Record Company label in 1967. Technically, Relative Distance was the B side of the record, but with its heavy use of feedback, loud guitar and general chaos, it fits the "Angry Record" label far better than Queen, a folk-rock tune with lots of flute that occupied the A side.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Yellow Brick Road
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Van Vliet/Bermann
Label:    Buddah/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Following a pair of singles for Herb Alpert's A&M that garnered modest airplay on a handful of Los Angeles area radio stations, Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band set out to record a set of heavily R&B flavored demos. The label, however, didn't like what they heard and soon dropped the band from their lineup. Undeterred, the group soon signed with Kama Sutra's brand new subsidiary label, Buddah. The resulting album, Safe As Milk, was the first LP to be released on the new label. Among the more experimental tracks on the album was Yellow Brick Road, a mono mix of which has recently been reissued as the B side of a single. Also of note is the presence of 20-year-old Ry Cooder on slide guitar.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    On February 22, 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience played what was possibly their worst gig, which culminated in Hendrix's white Stratocaster being stolen before it was fully paid for. Later that night the band made an appearance at a press reception at which Hendrix, in the words of manager/producer Chas Chandler, sounded like a manic depressive. Inspired by Chandler's observation, Hendrix wrote a song on the subject, which he taught to the band and recorded the next day. Hendrix later referred to Manic Depression as "ugly times music", calling it a "today's type of blues."

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.

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

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Samba Pa Ti
Source:    CD: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Carlos Santana
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    One of the most enduring tracks from Santana's second LP, Abraxas, Samba Pa Ti starts off as a slow instrumental, slowly picking up the pace and adding percussion to give it a decidedly latin flavor. As far as I know, Carlos Santana still includes Samba Pa Ti in his concert repertoire.

Artist:    Collectors
Title:    Sheep On The Hillside
Source:    LP: Grass And Wild Strawberries
Writer(s):    The Collectors
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The Collectors made their debut in 1961 as the C-FUN Classics, the house band for CFUN radio in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1966 they changed their name to the Collectors and released a single, Looking At A Baby, on the Valiant label. This was followed by a self-titled album for Warner Brothers in 1967. Around this time the group was hired to provide the instrumental backing for the Electric Prunes album Mass In F Minor (after producer Dave Hassinger decided that the music written for the album by David Axelrod was too complex for the Prunes themselves to play). In 1969 the Collectors collaborated with Canadian playwrite George Ryga to create music for his play Grass And Wild Strawberries. The songs, including Sheep On The Hillside, were released on an album of the same name in 1969. Not long after Grass And Wild Strawberries was released, original lead vocalist Howie Vickers left the band, which, now fronted by guitarist Bill Henderson, began calling itself Chilliwack.

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:    Cher
Title:    You Better Sit Down Kids
Source:    LP: Cher's Golden Greats (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: With Love, Cher)
Writer(s):    Sonny Bono
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1967
    Cher was never afraid to tackle controversial material on her records, most of which were written by her husband Sonny Bono. One of the most successful of these controversial songs was You Better Sit Down Kids, which made it to the #9 spot in 1967. The song takes the point of view of a father explaining to his kids why he and their mother are splitting up, and admonishing them to obey and respect their mother. Divorce was one of those subjects that "nice" people didn't talk about in those days; because of this, the song got a lot of media attention, which in turn helped the record make it into the top 10. In 1973 Sonny sang the song himself during a live performance. A year later Sonny and Cher split up.

Rockin in the Days of Confusion # 1648 (starts 11/30/16)


Starting this week I'm adding a short introductory note to each playlist. I'm doing this thanks to a recent change at Facebook, where my weekly links to the blog page now include the first few lines of text from the blog itself. For the past couple weeks this has been the artist, song title and partial source of the first song on the playlist, which I find pretty annoying and not particularly useful. Not that what I'm typing right now is any more useful, but at least it consists of complete sentences. Anyway, on to the playlist...

Artist:    Cactus
Title:    You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover
Source:    CD: Cactus
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Wounded Bird (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Cactus was kind of an accidental supergroup formed in 1969, when plans for a new band featuring bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, along with former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, had to be scrapped due to Beck being injured in a car accident. Instead, Bogert and Appice recruited guitarist Jim McCarty, a veteran of Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels who had more recently been working with the Buddy Miles Express, and vocalist Rusty Day from the Amboy Dukes to form Cactus. The group released their self-titled debut LP in 1970. The album featured a mix of originals and high-energy covers of blues classics such as Willie Dixon's You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover, which had originally been recorded by Bo Diddley. The Cactus version of the tune runs six and a half minutes and includes some wailing guitar work from McCarty, who would eventually leave the band over creative differences with the other members.

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

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Can't Believe It's True
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Rory Gallagher)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    In addition to his obvious prowess on guitar, Rory Gallagher was an accomplished saxophonist, although he largely abandoned the instrument in the mid-1970s. This can be heard on Can't Believe It's True, the final and longest track on Gallagher's first solo album, recorded in 1971. Accompanying Gallagher on the album were drummer Wilgar Campbell and bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy. Gallagher had set up practice sessions with Campbell and McAvoy, as well as former Jimi Hendrix Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding following the breakup of his original band, Taste, but ultimately decided to form a power trio with the two Belfast natives for his solo debut.

Artist:    Premiati Forneria Marconi
Title:    Celebration
Source:    LP: Cook
Writer(s):    Mussida/Pagani/Sinfield
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1973
    The most popular song in the PFM catalogue, Celebration is a re-recording of a song called E Festa from the band's 1971 debut album, Storia di un minuto. The 1973 Photos Of Ghosts recording of Celebration features all new lyrics by Peter Sinfield, who was also working with Emerson, Lake And Palmer, who had signed PFM to their Manticore label for their US releases. The eight-minute long live version of the song was included on the 1973 album Live In USA, which was released in the US as Cook.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    School's Out (originally released on LP: School's Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Alice Cooper scored their first top 10 hit with the title track of their 1972 album School's Out. According to vocalist Alice Cooper (yes, both the singer and the band were called Alice Cooper) the song was inspired by the question "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" (although I've never actually heard anyone ask that question in any context). The song was remixed by producer Bob Ezrin for the band's first Greatest Hits compilation, much to the consternation of the band's fans.

Artist:    Paul Simon
Title:    Kodachrome
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
    Paul Simon's Kodachrome was actually banned on some stations, but not for copyright infringement (Kodachrome being a registered trademark of Kodak). Rather, it was banned for the first line of the song: "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." Apparently "crap" offended some programmers, to the point that one station (New York's WABC) even edited the offending line to "When I think back it's a wonder I can think at all" when they played the song. Not only does that line not make any sense, I can only imagine how that must have sounded with almost four measures edited out (but with one beat left in, just to totally throw off the rhythm of the song). Apparently, though, this kind of stuff is what used to make America great, if current political thought is to be believed.
Year:   

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    Montana
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1973
    Montana is quite possibly the most recognizable song Frank Zappa ever wrote. The track first appeared on the Mothers album Over-Nite Sensation and quickly became a concert staple. On the original album version Zappa's guitar solo is followed by a series of vocal gymnastics performed by none other than Tina Turner and the Ikettes, who were recording with Turner's husband Ike in an adjacent studio. According to Zappa it took the singers two days to master the complex melody and timing of the section. Reportedly Turner was so pleased with the result that she invited her husband into the control room to hear the finished section, only to have Ike say "What is this shit?" and walk back out.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Day Of The Eagle
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Although Robin Trower's first solo album following his departure from Procol Harum went largely under the radar, his second LP, Bridge Of Sighs, was a huge success, spending 31 weeks on the US charts and peaking at the #7 spot. The opening track, Day Of The Eagle, soon became a concert staple for the guitarist and has been covered by other guitarists, notably Steve Stevens on his album Memory Crash. Other artists who have covered Day Of The Eagle include Tesla and Armored Saint.

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    Worldwinds
Source:    LP: While You're Down There
Writer(s):    Snuffy Walden
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    William Garrett "Snuffy" Walden is best known for the music he has composed over the past thirty years for various TV shows, including Thirtysomething, The Wonder Years, Roseanne, Friday Night Lights and The West Wing (for which he won an Emmy award). Before that, however, he was an accomplished guitarist, working with such notables as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Eric Burdon and filling in for an ailing Paul Kossoff on Free's final album, Heartbreaker. For me his most impressive work, however, was with Stray Dog, a Denver-based band that Walden had started in his native Texas. Stray Dog recorded two albums for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Manticore label, the second of which was While You're Down There. Walden wrote the final track on While You're Down There, an instrumental called Worldwinds that showscases Walden's considerable talent, both as a guitarist and as a composer.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1647 (starts 11/23/16)



Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Me Two Times
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Although the second Doors album is sometimes dismissed as being full of tracks that didn't make the cut on the debut LP, the fact is that Strange Days contains some of the Doors best-known tunes. One of those is Love Me Two Times, which was the second single released from the album. The song continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mind Gardens
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Younger Than Yesterday)
Writer:    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Mind Gardens is a perfect example of what songwriter David Crosby refers to as "one of those weird David Crosby songs". The song is a deliberate attempt at abandoning Western concepts such as chord progressions in favor of a more modal approach favored in Eastern composing. Roger McGuinn's guitar perfectly compliments Crosby's esoteric lyrics and melody on this track from the Younger Than Yesterday album, the last LP to be completed with Crosby as a full member of the Byrds.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Anji
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Davey Graham
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon wrote nearly all the material that he and Art Garfunkel recorded. One notable exception is Davey Graham's instrumental Anji, which Simon played as a solo acoustic piece on the Sounds Of Silence. The song immediately follows a Simon composition, Somewhere They Can't Find Me, that is built around a similar-sounding guitar riff, making Anji sound somewhat like an instrumental reprise of the first tune.

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (US band)
Title:    Minnie The Moocher
Source:    British import CD: Pulsating Dreams (originally released in US on LP: Side Trips)
Writer(s):    Calloway/Mills/Gaskill
Label:    Floating World (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Despite being a product of the same club scene that brought us Love, the Byrds and the Doors, Kaleidoscope had a reputation for being the "eclectic electric" band. A listen to their debut LP, Side Trips, confirms that Kaleidoscope did indeed cover a wide range of musical ground. Perhaps the most unexpected tune on the album is a cover of Cab Calloway's 1931 hit Minnie The Moocher (which was basically a remake of Willie The Weeper, a song that dates back to the early 1900s). The band, which consisted of
David Saul Feldthouse, David Lindley, Fenrus Epp and Chris Darrow (multi-instrumentalists all), along with drummer John Vidican (who also played a little tympani) went on to record three more albums for Epic before splitting up in 1969.

Artist:    Moles
Title:    We Are The Moles-Pt. 1
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Moles
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes success carries it own baggage. Take the case of Britain's Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group was formed by a trio of Scottish brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Peter O'Flaherty, Eric Hine and Tony Ransley in the Portsmouth area, going through a variety of band names before settling on Simon Dupree And The Big Sound in 1966. The group was originally known for its spot-on covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. By 1967, however, audience tastes were rapidly changing, and psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd and the Creation were drawing crowds away from the R&B bands. Under pressure from both their management and record label the band recorded a song called Kites, a psychedelic piece that became their biggest hit and placed the group firmly in the minds of record buyers as a flower-power band. But, like most fads, flower-power was itself out of style by 1968, but Simon Dupree And The Big Sound were stuck with a reputation that didn't even fit the members' own musical preferences (which still ran to R&B). To try to break free of this unwanted rep, the group released a rather bizarre single called We Are The Moles in 1968. The record was shrouded in mystery, with writing credits going to "the Moles", and production credit to George Martin (leading some to believe it was actually a Beatles outtake). The ploy almost worked, as the possible Beatles connection led to increased interest in the record, but that interest quickly dissipated when it was revealed (by Syd Barrett, of all people) that the record was indeed the work of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The band continued on for a few more months, until lead vocalist Derek Shulman announced his retirement in 1969, saying he was tired of being Simon Dupree. He would rejoin his brothers the following year for their new venture, an experimental rock band called Gentle Giant.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Waiting
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Santana (band)
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Possibly the most successful (in the long term) of the musicians to emerge from late 60s San Francisco was Carlos Santana, a Mexican-born guitarist who still plays to sellout crowds worldwide. Santana's band originally got lukewarm reviews from the rock press, but after their legendary performance at Woodstock found themselves among rock's royalty. Waiting, from the group's first LP, is an instrumental that was also released as the B side of the band's first single, Evil Ways.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Alive And Well And Living In
Source:     LP: Living In The Past (originally released in UK on LP: Benefit and as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Ian Anderson
Label:     Chrysalis
    Year: 1970 (US release: 1973)
     The only Jethro Tull album to have a different track lineup in the UK and the US was Benefit, released in 1970. As it was the custom in Britain not to include singles on LPs, the song Teacher was not included on the UK release. In the US, however, Teacher was stuck in the middle of side two and the song Inside was moved to side one, replacing Alive And Well And Living In. The deleted song did not get released in the US until the Living In The Past compilation in 1973, which collected various singles, EP tracks and live recordings (along with one song from each of the band's first four LPs) that had not been previously released in the US.

Artist:      Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:     4+20
Source:      LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Year:     1970
     Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were always more a collection of individuals than a true group. 4+20, from the group's second album, déjà vu, is a good illustration of this point. The song features Stephen Stills on acoustic guitar and vocal, with no other voices or instruments on the recording.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Boris The Spider
Source:    LP: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (originally released on LP: Happy Jack)
Writer:    John Entwhistle
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    For many years, Boris the Spider was bassist John Entwhistle's signature song. Eventually Entwhistle got sick of singing it and wrote another one. Truth is, he wrote a lot of songs, but like the Beatles's George Harrison, did not always get the recognition as a songwriter that more prolific bandmate Pete Townshend got. This was one of the first album tracks I ever heard played on an FM station (KLZ-FM in Denver, the first FM in the area to play something besides classical, jazz or elevator music).

Artist:     Velvet Underground
Title:     Venus In Furs
Source:     CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer:    Lou Reed
Label:     Polydor (original label: Verve)
Year:     1967
     Although Andy Warhol was credited as sole producer of the first Velvet Underground album, it is widely believed that all the real production work was done by none other than Tom Wilson. After all, Warhol really didn't know a thing about the recording business, while Wilson had previously worked with Bob Dylan (producing Like A Rolling Stone, among others), the Blues Project (Projections), the Mothers of Invention (Freak Out) and several East Coast acts signed to the Verve label, where Wilson had become a staff producer after leaving Columbia in 1966 (after having turned the careers of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel around by adding electric instruments to The Sound Of Silence). Among the many memorable tracks on The Velvet Underground And Nico is the original version of Venus In Furs, a song Lou Reed would continue performing throughout his career.

Artist:    Them
Title:    You're Just What I Was Looking For Today
Source:    Mono LP: Now And Them
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After the departure of vocalist Van Morrison in late 1966, the remaining members of Them decided to carry on without him, returning to their native Belfast and recruiting Kenny McDowell as Morrison's replacement. After a few gigs the group decided to relocate to the US in early 1967, settling in southern California and recording two album's for Capitol's Tower subsidiary. The first of these albums, Now And Them, is a mixed bag, ranging from the soft pop of You're Just What I Was Looking For Today (written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King) to a grungy cover of John Mayall's I'm Your Witch Doctor.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Ticket To Nowhere
Source:    LP: The First Edition
Writer(s):    Mike Settle
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Although now known mainly as the band that launched Kenny Rogers into stardom, the First Edition started out as a far more egalitarian outfit, with rhythm guitarist Mike Settle as the band's in-house songwriter, responsible for nine of the twelve songs on their first LP. Among those songs is Ticket To Nowhere, a song that reflects the group's roots as members of the New Christy Minstrels, a pop folk band with more TV appearances than hit records.

Artist:      Donovan
Title:     Mellow Yellow
Source:      Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music (original 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 a contract dispute with Pye Records.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:    Saturday's Children
Title:    Tomorrow Is Her Name
Source:    LP: The Dunwich Records Story
Writer(s):    Bryan/Holder
Label:    Tutman
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1990
    Saturday's Children was a Chicago area band formed in 1965 by vocalist/songwriter Geoff Bryan, who also played bass for the band. Other members included Ron Holder (rhythm guitar, vocals), Rich Goettler (organ/vocals), Dave Carter (lead guitar, vocals) and George Paluch (drums, vocals). With so many vocalists in the band, it was inevitable that the band would feature harmonies; with it being 1966 it was probably just as inevitable that these harmonies would be along the same lines as those of various British Invasion bands such as the Searchers, the Zombies and of course the Beatles. The group went into the studio and recorded at least five tracks in August of 1966, issuing two of them on a single in October. Of the remaining songs, one was included on an early 70s sampler album on the Happy Tiger label. Possibly the best of all the songs, however, was a Bryan/Holder original called Tomorrow Is Her Name. The recording remained in the vaults until 1990, when it was included on an album called the Dunwich Records Story on the Tutman label in 1990. It was well worth the wait.

Artist:    Villigers
Title:    I'll Call You
Source:    Mono CD: Lost Souls-Volume 4
Writer(s):    Barkley/Barkley/Hayes
Label:    Psych Of The South
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2013
    The Villigers were formed by guitarist Pat Barkley and drummer Clay Thompson while both were attending North Little Rock High School in 1965. By the following year the group had expanded to seven members, including Barkley's twin sister Pam on guitar, Bill McCumber on bass, Ron Evans on guitar, Norman Snow on vocals and percussion and Billy Hayes on vocals. The group made a demo recording at a local studio of a song called I'll Call You, written by Hayes and the Barkley twins. The song only exists in recorded demo form and was never performed in public. Now that's obscure!

Artist:    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Title:    Color Me Columbuth
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Guitarsville)
Year:    1966
    Not much is known about Monterey Park, California's Johnny Thompson Quintet. The group apparently only released two singles, the first of which was the punkish Color Me Columbus. Rather than come up with another song for the B side, one of the band members recorded a new vocal track doing what sounds like a Daffy Duck impersonation over the original instrumental track, titling it Color Me Columbuth. Strange stuff.

Artist:    Wilson Pickett
Title:    Land Of 1000 Dances
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Chris Kenner
Label:    Atlantic   
Year:    1966
    In the early 90s I did a short stint as program director for a slowly-dying full-service AM station in northeastern North Carolina. The station's music format had been Adult Contemporary since the early 70s, but in recent years had been surpassed in the local ratings by their own FM station. My idea was to get rid of the current stuff and concentrate on the station's fairly extensive library that dated back to the early 60s. One song that I wanted to put into rotation was Wilson Pickett's version of Chris Kenner's Land Of 1000 Dances, which had gotten extensive airplay on both top 40 and R&B stations in 1966. The station's owner and general manager, whose own musical tastes ran to what it known as "beach music" (a kind of soft R&B music that gave rise to a dance called the Shag), objected to my wanting to play the song, saying "That's not soul, it's hard rock."  As he was the guy signing my paycheck I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter, but to this day whenever I hear "1,2,3" followed by the blaring horns of the Bar-Kays and the following buildup by the MGs to Pickett's James Brown-styled vocals I can't help but think of that former boss and his condemnation of the record as "hard rock".

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Atom Heart Mother (live in Montreaux)
Source:    CD: Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972
Writer(s):    Mason/Gilmour/Waters/Wright/Geesin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2016
    Before Dark Side Of The Moon came along, Pink Floyd was in the unique position of being an "underground" band in the US at the same time they were enjoying mainstream success in their native UK. Take the case of the Atom Heart Mother album, released in 1970. In the US the album was decidedly under the radar, with no hit singles and only limited airplay on progressive rock FM radio stations, the latter probably attributable to the fact that the album's strongest track (the title track itself) is nearly 24 minutes long. In the UK, however, the album was a bonafide hit. In fact, Atom Heart Mother was Pink Floyd's first LP to go all the way to the top of the British album charts. In support of the album, the group performed the Atom Heart Mother Suite several times between 1970 and 1972, both in its original form, supported by orchestra and choir, and in a modified version performed by only the band itself. One of the band-only performances has been included on the massive box set The Early Years 1965-1972 as well as a two-disc compilation called Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972. This version of Atom Heart Mother Suite was performed live at Montreaux on November 21, 1970, and runs almost exactly 18 minutes in length.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1965
    The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native L.A.ins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song to record as a single by their producer (Love Minus Zero) and allowed to write their own B side. In this case that B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and  guitarist Bill Rhinehart. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Cheryl's Going Home
Source:     Mono CD: Projections
Writer:     Bob Lind
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year: 1966
     One of the more unlikely songs to appear on an album by one of rock's first jam bands, Cheryl's Going Home was a hit for its writer, Bob Lind, the same year the Blues Project recorded it. It's possible that the band recorded it as a possible single of their own but decided against it when Lind's version hit the charts. Only the band members and producer Tom Wilson know for sure.

Artist:     Chicago
Title:     Listen
Source:     CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer:     Robert Lamm
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1969
     By all accounts, one of the tightest road bands of 1968 was a group called the Chicago Transit Authority. Featuring a solid horn section and three quality lead vocalists, it was no surprise to anyone who had heard them perform that their first LP, released in 1969, was an immediate success. Getting two long-playing discs for the price of one didn't hurt either. Listen, written and sung by keyboardist Robert Lamm, is a fairly representative track from that album that features a memorable bass line from Peter Cetera as well as Terry Kath's distinctive guitar sound.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Barry Goldberg/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Stop!
Source:    LP: Super Session
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Shuman
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
    Al Kooper is one of those people who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, often because he was the one that made those times and places happen in the first place. At a Bob Dylan recording session in 1965, for instance, Kooper took it upon himself to sit in on organ, despite the fact that he was by no means proficient on the instrument at that time. The result was a series of classic tracks that made up the Highway 61 Revisited album. The following year Kooper happened to be in the studio when the Blues Project was auditioning for Columbia Records. Although the label passed on the band, Kooper ended up joining the group, making rock history in the process. In 1968 Kooper formed a new band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, but left them after just one LP. While working as an A&R man for Columbia, Kooper booked two days' worth of studio time later that same year, bringing in guitarist Mike Bloomfield, keyboardist Barry Goldberg, and bassist Harvey Brooks from the Electric Flag, as well as session drummer Eddie Hoh. When Bloomfield failed to show up on the second day, Stephen Stills (who had recently left Buffalo Springfield) was recruited to take his place. The result was an album called Super Session, which surprisingly went all the way to the #12 spot on the Billboard album charts. The popularity of Super Session inspired several more rock stars to make jam albums and gave birth to the idea of the rock supergroup as well. Among the mainly instrumental tracks that feature Bloomfield was a tune called Stop, written by the legendary songwriters Jerry Ragovoy and Doc Shuman.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Death Sound Blues
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth. 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 becoming a breakout 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, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

Artist:    Mustangs
Title:    That's For Sure
Source:    Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wade/Lisonbee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Nero)
Year:    1965
    Riverside, California, had a vibrant local music scene in the 1960s, supported by at least two competing top 40 radio stations that were generally able to hold their own against the more powerful stations like KHJ broadcasting out of Los Angeles, about 60 miles to the west. In the early part of the decade the city had their own local instrumental/surf bands, including the Ressacs and the Ris-Kays. In 1964, influenced by the British Invasion, members of both these bands combined to form the Mustangs (named for a new car from Ford Motor Company), adding vocals in the process. With the help of a local high school teacher, the Mustangs got to record one of their own tunes at a studio in nearby Glendale. That's For Sure, released in 1965 on the Nero, is a classic example of mid-60s garage rock, showing an obvious Rolling Stones influence and attitude. The song was written by drummer Terry Wade and keyboardist Dennis Lisonbee, both of whom sang on the tune.

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:     Cream
Title:     Take It Back
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:     1967
     After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorded. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
     Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, bassist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Andrew providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.