This week's first hour is mostly spent catching up on tunes that haven't been heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era in a while, although there are a few "new" tunes as well as a couple of old favorites thrown in. Among the never-before heard tracks are the opening sequence of The American Metaphysical Circus, a rather unique album from Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies and a very short instrumental piece from the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Our second hour includes artists' sets from Steppenwolf and the Beatles, and, as a special treat, the seldom-heard original British version of the Spencer Davis Group's classic Gimme Some Lovin'.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Get Off My Cloud
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Early British Invasion bands generally fell into one of two camps. On the one hand there were the relatively clean-cut Merseybeat bands such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits and of course the Beatles themselves, who were the overwhelming favorites of teenage girls all across America. Then there were the so-called "bad boy" bands such as Them and the Animals who tended to favor a raunchier interpretation of rock and roll than their Merseybeat counterparts and had more male than female fans. Chief among these were London's Rolling Stones. While the Beatles were still cranking out love songs through most of 1965, the Stones were shouting their defiance at the world with songs like Get Off My Cloud.
Title: Mr. Nobody
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Larry Tamblyn
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
The third Standells single of 1966, Why Pick On Me, was probably also their weakest, but it did sport a decent B side. Mr. Nobody, written by Larry Tamblyn (brother of Russ, I believe), is yet another example of why the Standells are sometimes considered the first punk rock band (although it could also be argued that they were actually the first posers).
Title: Paper Sun
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
One of the first British acid-rock bands was a group called Deep Feeling, which included drummer Jim Capaldi and woodwind player Chris Wood. At the same time Deep Feeling was experimenting with psychedelia, another, more commercially oriented band, the Spencer Davis Group, was tearing up the British top 40 charts with hits like Keep On Running, Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man. The undisputed star of the Spencer Davis Group was a teenaged guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist named Steve Winwood, who was also beginning to make his mark as a songwriter. Along with guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who had worked with Capaldi in earlier bands, they formed Traffic in the spring of 1967, releasing their first single, Paper Sun, in May of that year. Capaldi and Winwood had actually written the tune while Winwood was still in the Spencer Davis Group, and the song was an immediate hit in the UK. This was followed quickly by an album, Mr. Fantasy, that, as was the common practice at the time in the UK, did not include Paper Sun. When the album was picked up by United Artists Records for US release in early 1968, however, Paper Sun was included as the LP's opening track. The US version of the album was originally titled Heaven Is In Your Mind, but was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy to match the original British title (although the alterations in track listing stayed).
Title: Land Of Diana
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf!
Although the so-called Boss-Town Sound turned out to be little more than record company hype, the city itself did harbor some talented musicians, such as the members of the Freeborne, who released an album called Peak Impressions on the local Monitor label in 1968. Land Of Diana was the single taken from that album, heard here in an alternate mono mix.
Artist: Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies
Title: The Sub-Sylvian Litanies
Source: LP: The American Metaphysical Circus
Writer(s): Joseph Byrd
Following his departure from the United States Of America, avant-garde composer/artist Joseph Byrd got to work on an album called the American Metaphysical Circus. For the album he put together a group of Los Angeles based musicians, giving them the name Field Hippies. The group included Tom Scott, who would gain fame as the leader of the L.A. Express; the reclusive guitarist Ted Greene in one of his few recorded appearances; Meyer Hirsch, a member of the Buddy Rich Big Band and an experimental composer in his own right; Victoria Bond, who went on to have a prominent career as a classical composer, conductor and vocalist; and Fred Selden, a student of Byrd's at UCLA, who joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (led by Byrd's partner in the UCLA New Music Workshop), received a Grammy nomination, and later returned to UCLA to receive his Ph.D. The album, released on Columbia's Masterworks label, remained in the label's catalogue for 20 years, and is considered a landmark album for its use of synthesizers and other electronic effects. The album opens with the Sub-Sylvian Litanies, which has been described as "an entire acid trip in 11 minutes". There are three parts to the The Sub-Sylvian Litanies. The first is Kalyani, an collage of electronic sounds much in the same veing as George Harrison's Wonderwall Music or early Tangerine Dream that segues into You Can't Ever Come Down, a rocking piece with vocals by Susan de Lange that is stylistically similar to Byrd's compositions for the United States Of America. This in turn segues into Moonsong: Pelog, an electronic flower pop piece with vocals by de Lange. I have personally found that the best way to listen to The Sub-Sylvian Litanies is with headphones on to get the full effect of Byrd's creativity.
Artist: Lazy Nickels
Title: 35 Design
Source: CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Slug)
Not much is known about Lazy Nickels, who released 35 Design as their only single in 1970. The recording uses various tape effects to enhance what was probably a pretty accurate representation of this Michigan-based band's live sound.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Can You See Me (live version)
Source: CD: Live At Monterey (originally released on LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: UMe/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former R&B sideman (and US Army vet) and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970. Among the songs the Experience performed at Monterey was a Hendrix composition called Can You See Me. The studio version of the song had appeared on the band's first LP in the UK, but had been left off the US version of Are You Experienced. An early concert favorite, Can You See Me seems to have been permanently dropped from the band's setlist after the Monterey performance.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Pass The Time With The SAC
Source: LP: Incense And Peppermints
Credited to the entire membership of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Pass The Time With The SAC, from the LP Incense And Peppermints, sounds like it was written specifically to be a break song at the end of a live set. The instrumental is the shortest track on the album, "clocking" in at a minute and a quarter.
Artist: Ronnie Burns with the Bee Gees
Title: Exit Stage Right
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb
Label: Rhino (original label: Spin)
Prior to relocating to London in early 1967, the Bee Gees completed several demo recordings for producer Ossie Byrne in Hurstville, Australia. Byrne, in addition to producing the Bee Gees' Australian recordings, had a singer named Ronnie Burns under contract as well. Burns had first achieved popularity as vocalist with the Australian beat group known as the Flies, but had left the band in 1965 to pursue a solo career. Byrne had Burns add new vocals over the Bee Gees demos, including Exit Stage Right. It turned out to be a winning combination, as Exit Stage Right became a sizable hit when released as a single on Australia's Spin label.
Title: I've Got That Feeling
Source: Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released in UK on EP: Kinksize Session)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Reprise (original UK label: Pye)
Year: 1964 (US release: 1965)
Kinksize Session was the Kinks' first EP, released in the UK a month after their first LP and featuring all new recordings of mostly original tunes. All four songs from Kinksize Sessions, including I've Got That Feeling, were featured on the band's second American LP, Kinks-Size, along with an assortment of hit singles, B sides and album tracks that had not yet appeared in the US. Kinks-Size ended up being the band's second-highest charting 60s LP in the US, surpassed only by a greatest hits compilation album.
Title: Tired Of Waiting For You
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Priority (original label: Reprise)
After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.
Title: All Day And All Of The Night
Source: Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Year: 1964 (LP released 1965)
Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.
Artist: Thor's Hammer (Hljomar)
Title: My Life
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on British EP: Umbarumbamba for export to Iceland)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Originally formed in 1964 in Keflavik, Iceland, Hljomar, led by Gunnar Thordarson quickly became one of the most popular teen-oriented bands on the island nation, commencing to record locally in their native language in 1965. It soon became evident, however, that for the band to increase their audience base they would have to start recording in English, and by the end of the year had travelled to England to record songs under the name Thor's Hammer for an upcoming movie starring the band. Both the movie itself and a four-song EP featuring tunes from the film were released in late 1966, both bearing the name Umbarumbamba. Neither the movie or the EP did particularly well, however, despite strong tunes such as My Life, and, after a final attempt at an English language single in 1967, the band returned to Iceland, becoming Hljomar once more for the remainder of their existence.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s): Joe and Willie Chambers
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Source: LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
While the first Beacon Street Union album is considered a psychedelic masterpiece, the followup LP, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens, has a decidedly different feel to it. Some of this is attributable to a change in producer from Tom Wilson, whose work with Bob Dylan, the Mothers of Invention and others is legendary, to Wes Farrell, whose greatest success would come producing the Partridge Family in the early 1970s. Farrell used strings extensively to create a noticably more middle-of-the-road sound, as can be heard on the album's title track.
Source: Mono British import LP: Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde
By the time the Byrds released their 7th LP, Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, only one original member, guitarist Roger McGuinn, remained from the band's original lineup. While the band's studio work had continued to move away from the sound that the Byrds had become famous for, the group's live performances continued to improve with each personnel change. Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde itself is, as implied by the title, a curious mixture of psychedelia and country-rock, with most songs favoring one or the other. One tune that combined the two (although favoring the country side) was Candy, a song written by McGuinn and new bassist John York. The tune was one of two songs on the album written for the soundtrack of the 1968 film Candy (the other was a song called Child Of The Universe). Unlike Child Of The Universe, however, the song Candy was not used in the film itself. Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde was not a success in the US, stalling out in the #135 spot on the Billboard charts. It did much better in the UK, however, where it made it all the way to the #15 spot.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Voodoo In My Basement (instrumental backing track)
Source: LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s): John Sebastian
Label: Sundazed/Kama Sutra
With their 1966 LP Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, New York's most popular band set out to make an album on which each song sounded like it was performed by a different group. For the most part they succeeded, with songs like Nashville Cats and Summer In The City having few similarities. One of the more notable tracks on the album is Voodoo In My Basement, which acknowledges the folk-blues scene of New York's Greenwich Village, where the band was formed. The backing track heard here was included as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of the album.
Title: Fixing A Hole
Source: LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The first Beatles album to appear with the same tracks in the same order on both US and UK versions was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The only differences between the two were a lack of spaces in the vinyl (called "banding") on the UK version and a bit of gobbledygook heard at the end of the record (but only if you did not have a turntable that automatically lifted the needle out of the groove after the last track). The main consequence of this is that disc jockeys in the US had an easier time cueing up tracks like Fixing A Hole in the days before the album came out on CD.
Title: Come Together
Source: LP: Abbey Road
After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatles A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.
Title: Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/A Day In The Life
Source: LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
One of the great accidents of record production was the splice that turned the chicken at the end of Good Morning Good Morning into a guitar, starting off Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) and ultimately leading into A Day In The Life, with it's slowly dissolving orchestral chord that brings the number one album of 1967 to a close.
Title: She'll Return It
Source: Simulated stereo LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization and as 45 RPM single B side)
As a general rule the Animals, in their original incarnation, recorded two kinds of songs: hit singles from professional songwriters such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and covers of blues and R&B tunes, the more obscure the better. What they did not record a lot of was original tunes from the band members themselves. This began to change in 1966 when the band began to experience a series of personnel changes that would ultimately lead to what amounted to an entirely new group, Eric Burdon And The Animals, the following year. One of the earliest songs to carry a byline from band members was She'll Return It, an Eric Burdon/Dave Rowberry composition that was erroneously credited to the entire band. She'll Return It was released as the B side of See See Rider in August of 1966 and included on the Animalization album. In retrospect, it is one of the strongest tracks on one of their strongest LPs.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Paul Revere And The Raiders' Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Midnight Ride)
Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a major hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until their version of John D. Loudermilk's Indian Reservation (Lament of the Cherokee Nation) topped the charts five years later.
Title: Too Many People (remake)
Source: CD: Hey Joe
Label: One Way (original label: Mira)
The Leaves scored their first Los Angeles regional hit with the song Too Many People, released on the Mira label in 1965. When a later single, Hey Joe, became a national hit, the band re-recorded Too Many People for their debut album, released in 1966. Although the newer recording is cleaner (and in stereo), it lacks the raw garage-rock energy of the original.
Title: Berry Rides Again
Source: 45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s): John Kay
With almost all of the tracks on the Monster album having, er, monstrous length, Dunhill Records went back to Steppenwolf's debut album for the B side of the 1970 Monster single, which itself was severely edited. Berry Rides Again, as the title implies, is a tribute to rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry, and contains many of Berry's signature lyrics and guitar riffs.
Title: Power Play
Source: CD: Monster
Writer(s): John Kay
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
1969's Monster album is generally considered the most political of Steppenwolf's albums. A listen to Power Play certainly lends credence to that viewpoint.
Source: 45 RPM single
Steppenwolf, even more than most rock bands, was plagued by arguments between various band members, dating back to their pre-Steppenwolf days as the band known as Sparrow. One of the earliest casualties of these arguments was bassist Nick St. Nicholas, whose clashes with bandleader John Kay were a major factor in Sparrow's disbanding in early 1967. The band at that point had relocated from Toronto to San Francisco, and St. Nicholas decided to stay in town and form a new band, T.I.M.E., with guitarist Larry Byrom. John Kay, on the other hand, moved to Los Angeles, taking several Sparrow demo tapes with him in hopes of landing a record contract. This ultimately led to a meeting with producer Gabriel Mekler, who liked what he heard. This in turn led to Kay recruiting two former members of Sparrow, drummer Jerry Edmonton and keyboardist Goldy McJohn, along with new guitarist Michael Monarch to form a new band; with the addition of bassist Rushton Moreve, the new group (tentatively named Sparrow) was complete. When Mekler signed the new band to Dunhill Records, he insisted the band call itself Steppenwolf. This lineup recorded two successful albums before Moreve decided that L.A. was about to fall into the Pacific and left the band to move east. Rather than advertise for a bass player, the group asked St. Nicholas to rejoin his former bandmates; not long after that friction between Kay and Monarch would lead to Byrom joining Steppenwolf as Monarch's replacement. It was this lineup that recorded Steppenwolf's most political album, Monster, featuring the nine-minute title track that was also released, in edited form, as a single in 1969.
Artist: Mothers Of Invention
Title: It Can't Happen Here
Source: LP: Mothermania (originally released on LP: Freak Out)
Writer(s): Frank Zappa
Label: Zappa (original label: Verve)
Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version, which also appears in stereo on the 1969 LP Mothermania, removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The People In Me
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
After Talk Talk soared into the upper reaches of the US charts the Music Machine's management made a tactical error. Instead of promoting the follow-up single, The People In Me, to the largest possible audience, the band's manager gave exclusive air rights to a relatively low-rated Burbank station at the far end of the Los Angeles AM radio dial. As local bands like the Music Machine depended on airplay in L.A. as a necessary step to getting national exposure, the move proved disastrous. Without any airplay on influential stations like KHJ and KRLA, The People In Me was unable to get any higher than the # 66 spot on the national charts. Even worse for the band, the big stations remembered the slight when subsequent singles by the Music Machine were released, and by mid-1967 the original lineup had disbanded.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: You're Gonna Miss Me
Source: CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer: Roky Erickson
Label: Collectables (original label: International Artists)
If anyplace outside of California has a legitimate claim to being the birthplace of the psychedelic era, it's Austin, Texas. That's mainly due to the presence of the 13th Floor Elevators, a local band led by Roky Erickson that had the audacity to use an electric jug onstage. Their debut album was the first to actually use the word psychedelic (predating the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop by mere weeks). Musically, their leanings were more toward garage-rock than acid-rock, at least on their first album (they got more metaphysical with their follow-up album, Easter Everywhere).
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: Mono British import 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
It only took the Spencer Davis Group about an hour to write and arrange what would become their biggest hit, Gimme Some Lovin'. It was June of 1966, and the band's most recent single, a Jackie Edwards tune called When I Come Home, had not performed as well as expected on the British charts, and the group was under pressure to come up with a hit. The day before they were scheduled to begin recording, their manager, Chris Blackwell, brought the band to a rehearsal room with instructions to come up with a new song. According to bassist Muff Winwood "We started to mess about with riffs, and it must have been eleven o'clock in the morning. We hadn't been there half an hour, and this idea just came. We thought, bloody hell, this sounds really good. We fitted it all together and by about twelve o'clock, we had the whole song. Steve had been singing 'Gimme, gimme some loving' - you know, just yelling anything, so we decided to call it that. We worked out the middle eight and then went to a cafe that's still on the corner down the road. Blackwell came to see how we were going on, to find our equipment set up and us not there, and he storms into the cafe, absolutely screaming, 'How can you do this?' he screams. Don't worry, we said. We were all really confident. We took him back, and said, how's this for half an hour's work, and we knocked off 'Gimme Some Lovin' and he couldn't believe it. We cut it the following day and everything about it worked." The original British single did not have backup vocals, and Steve Winwood's organ is more prominent in the mix than on the more familiar US version. This version also lacks the reverb that producer Jimmy Miller added for the song's US release to give it more "punch" and, due to a minor error in the mastering process, the first note on the record "bends" upward in pitch. Nearly every reissue of the song uses the US mix, making this British single version of Gimme Some Lovin' a bit of a rarity.
Title: Love Is All Around
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Reg Presley
Label: Sire (original label: Fontana)
Following up on a series of high-energy hits like Wild Thing, With A Girl Like You and I Can't Control Myself, the Troggs decided to take a different approach with their November 1967 release Love Is All Around. The slow, melodic love song was written by lead vocalist Reg Presley and became a top 10 hit in both the UK and US; the song must have been cursed, however, because their fortunes took a nose dive soon afterwards. Their next single, Little Girl, barely made it onto the British top 40, and subsequent releases failed to chart at all. The Troggs are still around, however lead guitarist Chris Britton is the only original member still performing with the band, and his appearances are sporadic.