Monday, February 20, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1708 (starts 2/22/17)


When working on the notes for this week's show I realized that a lot of these songs haven't been played on the show since 2013. The I realized there were almost as many that had never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era at all (including a couple that have appeared on our sister show, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion. I guess it keeps things from getting too predictable.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive
Source:    LP: 13 (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    Underdog
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Whole New Thing)
Writer(s):    Sylvester Stewart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Sly and the Family Stone were a showstopper at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but their story starts years before that historic performance. Sylvester Stewart was a popular DJ and record producer in mid-60s San Francisco, responsible for the first recordings of the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead) and the Great! Society, among others. During that time he became acquainted with a wealth of talent, including bassist Larry Graham. In 1967, with Autumn Records having been sold to and closed down by Warner Brothers, he decided to form his own band. Anchored by Graham, Sly and the Family Stone's first LP, A Whole New Thing, was possibly the very first pure funk album ever released.

Artist:    The Light
Title:    Back Up
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Anglin/Samson
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    The San Bernadino/Riverside area of southern California is probably better known to racing fans than to music afficionados, yet the area did have its share of local bands filling up various venues in the area in the late 60s. Among those bands was the Light, who released one single on the A&M label in 1967. Back Up, an energetic garage-rocker, was the B side of that single.

Artist:    Lemon Drops
Title:    I Live In The Springtime
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
Writer(s):    Roger Weiss
Label:    Rhino (original label: Rembrandt)
Year:    1967
    Sometimes it's all about being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately for the Lemon Drops, that place and time was not the Chicago suburbs in early 1967. Otherwise they might have had a hit record with I Live In The Springtime, a rather nice piece of psychedelia. It probably didn't help that their label, Rembrandt, was not able to put together the same kind of national distribution deal that another Chicago label, Dunwich, had been able to the previous year with the Shadows Of Knight's version of Gloria. Another, somewhat unique, problem was that there were two different pressings of the single, one with no drums and the other with the guitar almost lost in the mix. It is thought that the original mix was in stereo (with the drums on one side and the guitar on the other) and the two pressings each used only one channel from that mix. The version heard here is the one without drums.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Relax
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who Sell Out stands apart from other Who albums in a number of ways. First off, the cover features individual photographs of each of the
band members in ridiculous ad parodies. The front cover is split between Pete Townshend using a gigantic can of Odorono deodorant and Roger Daltry sitting cross-legged covered in Heinz Baked Beans. In the back cover, John Entwhistle is using an oversized tube of Medac on a blemish that covers half his face, while Keith Moon strikes a muscleman pose with a beautiful model in a bikini (advertising for the Charles Atlas fitness course). Each of the photos is accompanied by tongue-in-cheek ad text. The album itself contains several excellent songs (in fact, many critics consider it the Who's best album of their career) interspersed with faux radio commercials and actual jingles from pirate station Radio London (the jingles having been produced by PAMS Productions of Dallas, Texas, the company that provided jingles for many US top 40 stations as well). Most of these songs were never performed live. One exception was Relax, which was part of the band's stage repertoire for a short time in 1968. This lack of promotion (and the growing sense of rock music being SERIOUS ART), hampered the album's commercial success, although it still managed to climb to the #13 spot in the UK and #48 in the US. The Who itself would turn SERIOUS with their next new studio work, a double-LP called Tommy.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    Mono LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Get Out Of My Life Woman
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Alan Toussaint
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The second Butterfield Blues Band album, East-West, released in 1966, is best known for the outstanding guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. One often overlooked member of the group was keyboardist Mark Naftalin, who, along with Butterfield and Bishop, was a founding member of the band. Naftalin's keyboard work is the highlight of the band's cover of Alan Toussaint's Get Out Of My Life Woman, which was a hit for Lee Dorsey the same year.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Ain't It Hard
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tillison/Tillison
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes got their big break in 1966 when a real estate saleswoman heard them playing in a garage in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and told her friend Dave Hassinger about them. Hassinger was a successful studio engineer (having just finished the Rolling Stones' Aftermath album) who was looking to become a record producer. The Prunes were his first clients, and Hassinger's production style is evident on their debut single. Ain't It Hard had already been recorded by the Gypsy Trips, and the Electric Prunes would move into more psychedelic territory with their next release, the iconic I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Drifting
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:   
    Recording during July and August of 1970, Drifting was first released on the 1971 album The Cry Of Love six months after the death of Jimi Hendrix. The song features Hendrix on guitar and vocal, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass. Buzzy Linhart makes a guest appearance on the tune, playing vibraphone.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Long Hot Summer Night
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    With such classics as Voodoo Chile, Crosstown Traffic and Still Raining Still Dreaming on the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, it's easy to overlook a song like Long Hot Summer Night. Once you hear it, however, you realize just how strong Jimi Hendrix's songwriting had become by 1968. Keyboardist Al Kooper, himself in the process of making rock history with his Super Session album, makes a guest appearance on piano.

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

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The Last Wall Of The Castle
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    BMG Heritage/RCA
Year:    1967
    Following the massive success of the Surrealistic Pillow album with its two top 10 singles (Somebody To Love and White Rabbit) the members of Jefferson Airplane made a conscious choice to put artistic goals above commercial ones for their next LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The result was an album that defines the term "acid rock" in more ways than one. One of the few songs on the album that does not cross-fade into or out of another song is this tune from Jorma Kaukonen, his first non-acoustic song to be recorded by the band.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Amphetamine Gazelle
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Mad River)
Writer:    Lawrence Hammond
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 acid was no longer the drug of choice on the streets of San Francisco. In its place, crystal meth was beginning to dominate the scene, with a corresponding increase in ripoffs and burns. The local musicians often reflected this change, with some, such as Canned Heat, declaring that Speed Kills and moving south to Laurel Canyon. Others, such as Mad River (originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, but Bay Area residents since early 1967), attempted to use ridicule to combat the problem, but with no appreciable success (speed freaks not being known for their sense of humor, or any other kind of sense for that matter).

Artist:    Changin' Tymes
Title:    Hark The Child
Source:    British import CD: Feeling High-The Psychedelic Sounds Of Memphis
Writer(s):    Barham/Ferrer/Frazier/Moore/Warner
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1969, released  2012
    Memphis, Tennessee, is a town known for its music. In particular, it is known for its vibrant blues scene, its classic R&B roots (as the home of Stax Records) and of course for some guy named Elvis. What Memphis is not particularly known for, however, is a psychedelic club scene. Nonetheless, like many other US cities in the late 1960s, Memphis did indeed boast a handful of truly psychedelic bands. One of the best of these was the Changin' Tymes, who recorded a pair of tracks for producer James Parks. One of these was later released on a single under the auspices of the Memphis Underground Music Association; the other, more overtly psychedelic track, was a tune called Hark The Child, which remained unreleased until 2012, when it appeared on a British CD dedicated to the Memphis psych scene. Enjoy!

Artist:    Move
Title:    Tonight
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    United Artists (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1971 (reissued 1973)
    One of the first records to feature a Jeff Lynne lead vocal (on the third verse), Tonight is a non-album single by the Move from 1971 that was reissued on another label two years later, after the Move had disbanded. Written by Roy Wood, the song was the first to be issued on the Harvest label in the UK, going to the #11 spot on the charts there. The song was also released on Capitol in the US, but like every previous Move record, failed to make any chart appearances. Both Wood and Lynne, however, were already more interested in the new band concept they had come up with that would involve extensive overdubbing of classical instruments, as opposed to the Move's more traditional rock instrumentation. The Move's manager had just gotten the band a new three-album deal with Harvest, however, and the record company insisted that at least the first of these would be credited to the Move. The album, Message From The Country, was released in October of 1971 on Harvest in the UK and Capitol in the US. At the same time Message To The Country was being recorded, Wood and Lynne were simultaneously working on the first album by their new band, now known as the Electric Light Orchestra. Although the first two ELO albums were released in the UK on Harvest, fulfilling the terms of their contract, they did not appear on Capitol in the US. Instead, all ELO releases in the US appeared on the United Artists label. To make things even more confusing, when Tonight was reissued in the US in early 1973 (to capitalize on the popularity of ELO, no doubt), it appeared on United Artists as well.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Not Fade Away
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hardin/Petty
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    The Rolling Stones' first top 5 hit in the UK was an updated version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. The Stones put a greater emphasis on the Bo Diddley beat than Holly did and ended up with their first charted single in the US as well, establishing the Rolling Stones as the Yang of the British Invasion to the Beatles' Ying. It was a role that fit the top band from the city they call "The Smoke" well.

Artist:    Motions
Title:    For Another Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rob Van Leeuwen
Label:    Rhino (original label: Havoc)
Year:    1965
    By 1965 the popularity of British beat music had spread to continental Europe, with local bands springing up in every major urban center. Most of these bands made their living playing covers of British hits, but many, especially in places like the Hague, Netherlands, were able to land recording contracts of their own, either with international branches of major labels or, in the case of the Motions, with smaller local labels such as Havoc Records. The third single by the Motions, For Another Man, was very much in the British beat vein, with jangly guitar and catchy vocal harmonies. Like all the Motions' singles, For Another Man was written by guitarist Rob Van Leeuwen, who eventually left the Motions to form Shocking Blue.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Volt
Year:    1966
    Some may have questioned the appearance of a "soul" band like Sly and the Family Stone at what was essentially a rock festival at Woodstock, but there was precedent: Otis Redding had stolen the show at the first of the great rock festivals at Monterey two years earlier. One of the songs he electrified the crowd with was a hard-driving version of the Rolling Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, heard here in its 1966 studio version, featuring the MGs and the Bar-Kays backing up the "big O".

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Uni
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Quite Rightly So
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually awake enough to do that.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Sweet Sir Galahad
Source:    CD: Woodstock Two
Writer(s):    Joan Baez
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    Joan Baez was always known as an interpreter, rather than a writer, of songs. In fact, her first solo composition was not performed until 1969. Sweet Sir Galahad made its debut on a March 1969 episode of the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour, and became well known after Baez performed it at Woodstock. A studio version was released as a single later that same year, and was included on the 1970 album One Day At A Time.

Artist:    Flock
Title:    Green Slice/Big Bird
Source:    British import CD: Dinosaur Swamps
Writer(s):    The Flock
Label:    BGO (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    The Flock's Dinosaur Swamps is one of those rare albums that can never truly be defined. Is it jazz? Rock? Novelty? Gospel? I honestly can't say. The album cover itself is one of the coolest ever printed: a gatefold sleeve that you have to open up and turn 90 degrees to look at. Every song title refers to something on the cover (or on the inside of the gatefold sleeve). Green Slice, for instance, refers to the album title itself, which is printed in curved block letters on a green background shaped like an arch above the actual album cover art. The first thing that (hopefully not literally) jumps out at you on the cover itself is a huge pterodactyl flying toward you: a Big Bird indeed.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Glad/Freedom Rider
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: John Barleycorn Must Die)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Following the breakup of Blind Faith in early 1970, Steve Winwood got to work on his first solo LP, to be called Mad Shadows. After completing a couple of tracks Winwood found that he preferred to work within the band format and invited Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi to join him on the project, which became the fourth Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die. Unlike earlier Traffic studio recordings, John Barleycorn Must Die contained longer, improvisational pieces incorporating jazz elements, as can be heard on the album's opening tracks, Glad (an instrumental) and Freedom Rider. The new approach worked, as John Barleycorn Must Die became Traffic's first album to go gold.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Coloured Rain
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Traffic, in its early days, was a band with an almost schizophrenic identity. On the one hand there was Steve Winwood, who was equally adept at guitar, keyboards and vocals and was generally seen as the band's leader, despite being its youngest member. His opposite number in the band was Dave Mason, an early example of the type of singer/songwriter that would be a major force in popular music in the mid-1970s. The remaining members of the band, drummer/vocalist Jim Capaldi and flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood, tended to fall somewhere between the two, although they more often sided with Winwood in his frequent creative disputes with Mason. One of these disputes involved the choice of the band's second single. Mason wanted to follow up the successful Paper Sun with his own composition, Hole In My Shoe, while the rest of the band preferred the group composition, Coloured Rain. Mason won that battle, but would end up leaving the band before the release of the group's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. This in turn led to the album being revised considerably for its US release, which was issued under a completely different title, Heaven Is In Your Mind, with most of Mason's contributions, along with his picture, being excised from the album (although, oddly enough, Hole In My Shoe, which was not on the original LP, was included on the US album). One final example of the band's schizophrenic nature was in the way the group was marketed. In the US, Traffic was, from the beginning, perceived as a serious rock band along the lines of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In their native land, however, they were, thanks in part to the top 40 success of both Paper Sun and Hole In My Shoe as well as Winwood's fame as lead vocalist for the Spencer Davis Group, dismissed as a mere pop group. Mason would rejoin and leave the group a couple more times before achieving solo success in the mid-70s with the hit We Just Disagree, while Traffic would go on to become a staple of progressive FM rock radio in the US.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     Pushin' Too Hard
Source:     Simulated stereo CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:     Sky Saxon
Label:     Priority (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:     1965
     Pushin' Too Hard was originally released to the L.A. market as a single in late 1965 and included on side one of the first Seeds album the following year. After being re-released as a single the song did well enough to go national in early 1967, hitting its peak in February.

Artist:    Zipps
Title:    Kicks And Chicks
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nuyten/Katerberg
Label:    Rhino (original label: Relax)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 various people in the US music industry were obsessed with what they called "drug songs" such as the Byrds' classic Eight Miles High. In reality, the real drug song action was in the Netherlands, where the Zipps (from a place called Dordrecht) were handing out publicity stickers that read "Be Stoned: Dig Zipps: Psychedelic Sound" and performing a song called LSD-25 on national television. The group was formed in 1965 by members of the Beattown Skifflers and the Moving Strings and quickly caught on with the local Beat crowd and early hippies. Their second single, Kicks And Chicks, was a documentation of the band's own way of life, with lines like "I read only books of Jack Kerouac, he's the only priest in my life" cementing the group's beat credentials. Although the Zipps never recorded a full-length LP, they remained a popular band on the local underground scene until they disbanded in 1971.
       
Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s. Their first two releases were floppy inserts included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Finch
Title:    Nothing In The Sun
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wylde Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    D. Dougherty
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Montage)
Year:    1968
    From Milwaukee we have a band called Finch, with a tune called Nothing In The Sun, which was released as a single in 1968. And that's pretty much all I know about this one, except that it definitely rocks.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1708 (starts 2/22/17(


We're going deep this week, with only one hit single nestled among a whole bunch of LP tracks, including tunes from Savoy Brown, Genesis, Gypsy and even a Grace Slick solo piece.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys)
Writer(s):    Jim Capaldi
Label:    Island
Year:    1971
    Although drummer Jim Capaldi shared writing credits with Steve Winwood on most of Traffic's material, it was Winwood who provided the lead vocals for nearly all of those collaborations. In fact, Capaldi only took center stage on three original Traffic studio tracks, two of which were on the band's fifth album, The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. Indeed, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone was not only sung by Capaldi, it was written without input from Winwood, a true rarity for Traffic (Dave Mason's contributions notwithstanding).

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    All I Can Do
Source:    LP: Street Corner Talking
Writer(s):    Davis/Fuqua/Gordy
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1971
    Following the departure of three of the four members of Savoy Brown to form Foghat, remaining member (and founder) Kim Simmonds recruited members of a band called Chicken Shack, which had fallen apart following the departure of vocalist Christine Perfect, who had left that band to become a member of Fleetwood Mac (becoming Christine McVie around the same time). The first album by the new Savoy Brown lineup was Street Corner Talking, which featured a mixture of Simmonds originals and cover songs from various sources. One of the most notable of the latter group was All I Can Do, which came from the Motown stable of writers.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Harold The Barrel
Source:    CD: Nursery Cryme
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    Nursery Cryme was the third Genesis album, and the first to feature the band's classic lineup of frontman Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, guitarist Steve Hackett, bassist Mike Rutherford and drummer Phil Collins. Although the album is best known for its lengthy compositions The Musical Box and Return Of The Giant Hogweed, shorter songs such as Harold The Barrel have their own charms as well.

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, had new lyrics and a "dreamy" bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Living In The Past
Source:    CD: Stand Up (bonus track) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    By the end of the 1960s most UK labels had abandoned the British tradition of not including singles on LPs. One notable exception was Island Records, who continued to issue mutually exclusive Jethro Tull albums, singles and EPs into the early 1970s. Among those non-LP tracks was the 1969 single Living In The Past, which would not be included on an album until 1972, when the song became the title track of a double LP Jethro Tull retrospective. The song then became a hit all over again, including in the US, where the original single had failed to chart.

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

Artist:     Gypsy
Title:     As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)
Source:     LP: In The Garden
Writer:     Enrico Rosenbaum
Label:     Metromedia
Year:     1971
     From late 1969 to mid 1970 Gypsy was the house band at L.A's Whisky-A-Go-Go. During that period they released their first album, featuring the song Gypsy Queen. By the time the band's second LP, In The Garden, was released the group had gone through several personnel changes, with only keyboardist James Walsh, guitarist James Johnson and bandleader Enrico Rosenbaum, who played guitar and sang lead vocals, remaining from the lineup that had recorded the first LP. The new members included Bill Lordan (who would go on record several albums with Robin Trower) on drums and the legendary Willie Weeks on bass.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire
Source:    LP: For The Roses (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1972
    After releasing several albums for Reprise, Joni Mitchell signed with David Geffen's Asylum label in 1972. Her first album for the label was For The Roses, which includes one of her first forays into jazz-folk fusion, Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire, a powerful portrait of a heroin addict's life. Alone among Mitchell's albums, For The Roses was selected by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry in 2007.

Artist:    Grace Slick
Title:    ¿Come Again? Toucan
Source:    LP: Manhole
Writer(s):    Slick/Freiberg
Label:    Grunt
Year:    1973
    Grace Slick's first solo album, Manhole, was conceived as a soundtrack for a movie that never existed. If you think that sounds a bit strange, you should hear the album itself. ¿Come Again? Toucan was the only single released from the album, although it did not chart. The album itself only got as far as the #127 spot on the Billboard 200.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1707 (starts 2/15/17)


Lots of tunes from 1968 this week, but not until after we've heard from Cream, Buffalo Springfield, and a few others that may surprise you.

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:    1966
    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 December. 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:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Buffalo Springfield Again
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

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

Artist:    Starfires
Title:    I Never Loved Her
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Freddie Fields
Label:    BFD (original label: G.I.)
Year:    1965
    The name Starfires has long been associated with rock 'n' roll, albeit with a number of different bands over the years. The name was probably first used in the late 1950s by a band from Long Beach, California, and was also the original name of the Cleveland, Ohio, band that became famous as the Outsiders. But the most revered of the various Starfires may well be the mid-60s Los Angeles garage band released three singles before disbanding. One of these, I Never Loved Her, has long been sought after by collectors, and copies of the record have been known to sell for over a thousand dollars apiece. Luckily, the song has been included on various collections over the years, including both the LP and CD versions of Pebbles, Volume 8.

Artist:    Brenda Lee
Title:    Coming On Strong
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    David Wilkins
Label:    Decca
Year:    1966
    In the mid 1970s a band called Golden Earring scored a huge hit with a song called Radar Love. One of the most memorable lines of the song was a reference to a "forgotten song" by Brenda Lee called Coming On Strong. Oddly enough, I just happened to have a copy of the original 45 RPM single from 1966, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Artist:    Mike Stuart Span
Title:    Second Production
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s):    Murphy/Bennett
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2013
    Like many British psychedelic bands, the Mike Stuart Span started off as part of the Mod scene, cutting a couple of British R&B flavored singles before changing directions in 1967. In October of that year, they recorded a demo of a tune called Second Production for the British Decca label, but the song went unreleased until the next century, when it was included on a CD collection called Love, Poetry And Revolution. The group ended up releasing a couple more singles before changing their name to Leviathan.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     Sookie Sookie
Source:     LP: The ABC Collection (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):     Covay/Cropper
Label:     ABC (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Not every song on the first Steppenwolf album was an original composition. In fact, some of the best songs on the LP were covers, from Hoyt Axton's The Pusher to Willie Dixon's Hoochie Coochie Man. A third cover, Sookie Sookie, was actually released as a follow-up single to Born To Be Wild, but failed to chart. The song had been an R&B hit a couple years earlier for Don Covay and was co-written by the legendary MG's guitarist Steve Cropper.

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

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I Feel Free
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    In Europe Tales Of Brave Ulysses was released as the B side of Strange Brew. Both songs were taken from Cream's second LP, Disraeli Gears. Cream was one of the first bands to break tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because hit singles tended to stay in print indefinitely overseas, unlike in the US, where a 45 RPM single usually had a shelf life of around 2-3 months and then disappeared forever.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Dimples
Source:    Mono LP: On Tour
Writer(s):    Hooker/Bracken
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    Of all the bands to come out of England as part of the British invasion of the mid-1960s, none were bigger fans of US blues and R&B artists than the Animals, from Newcastle. The group reportedly spent all of their spare time checking out independent record stores looking for obscure old records while on the first US tour, and upon returning to the UK set about recording their own versions of several of these songs. Among the tracks recorded was Dimples, a John Lee Hooker tune that was included on the Animals second US LP, On Tour. A different version of Dimples was included on the album The Animals.

Artist:    Rising Sons
Title:    By And By (Poor Me)
Source:    CD: The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder
Writer(s):    Charley Hutton
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1992
    Although they were, for a short time in 1966, one of the most talked about bands on L.A.'s Sunset Strip, the Rising Sons were never able to translate that into a successful recording career. This is attributable in part to the fact that there had never been a band like the Rising Sons (at least on the West Coast), and the people at Columbia Records just didn't have a clue what to do with them. For one thing, the group itself was conceived on the East Coast, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when a young folk-blues performer by the name of Taj Mahal met up with 12-string guitarist Jesse Lee Kincaid. Kincaid was himself a transplant from the West Coast, having moved east to learn what he could from the Reverend Gary Davis. Mahal soon convinced Kincaid to return to L.A. in order to hook up with Mahal's teenaged friend Ryland Cooder. Both Kincaid and Cooder had studied under Kincaid's uncle Fred Gerlach, and it wasn't look before the three of them decided to form a band together. With the addition of bassist Gary Marker and drummer Ed Cassidy, both of whom had experience in jazz bands, the lineup was complete. Cassidy was soon replaced by Kevin Kelley, who had more of a rock orientation, and the band found itself signing with Columbia in 1965. Columbia assigned Terry Melcher (who was also working with Paul Revere and the Raiders) to produce the band, but Melcher was not able to find a way to achieve a cohesive sound from such a varied group of musicians, and the recordings, including a tasty version of blues legend Charley Hutton's Poor Me, retitled By And By, remained unreleased until 1992.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Homeward Bound
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Following the success of Sounds Of Silence, Paul Simon And Art Garfunkel set about making an album of all new material (Sounds Of Silence had featured several re-recorded versions of tunes from the 1965 British album The Paul Simon Songbook). The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, one of the finest folk-rock albums ever recorded. The album contained several successful singles, including Homeward Bound.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Red Rubber Ball
Source:    LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer:    Simon/Woodley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon moved to London in early 1965, after his latest album with Art Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning 3 AM, had been deleted from the Columbia Records catalog after just a few weeks due to poor sales. While in the UK Simon found himself performing on the same bill as the Seekers, an Australian band that had achieved some international success with folky pop songs like A World Of Our Own. Needing cash, Simon wrote (with Seekers guitarist/vocalist Bruce Woodley) Red Rubber Ball, selling the song to the group for about 100 pounds. After returning to the US and reuniting with Garfunkel, Simon offered the song to the Cyrkle, who took the song all the way to the #4 spot on the charts.

Artist:    Los Bravos
Title:    Black Is Black
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Grainger/Hayes/Wadey
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    The first band from Spain to have a major pop hit was Los Bravos, who took Black Is Black to the top 10 in several countries, including the US, in late 1966. Interestingly, the band's lead vocalist, Michael Kogel, was actually a German national.

Artist:    Seatrain
Title:    Home To You
Source:    British import CD: Seatrain
Writer(s):    Peter Rowan
Label:    BGO (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    The second incarnation of Seatrain, consisting of Andy Kuhlberg, Richard Greene, Peter Rowan, Lloyd Baskin and Larry Atamaniuk, along with lyricist Jim Roberts, recorded two albums for the Capitol label, starting with the album Seatrain in 1970. Rowan had been a member of the Boston-based Earth Opera, and brought one of that band's best-known songs, Home To You, with him.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    8:15
Source:    LP: American Woman
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1970
    The most successful album for the Guess Who was American Woman, released in 1970. In additional to the three top 10 singles on the album (No Time, No Sugar Tonight and the title track), the album featured many strong tracks, including 8:15, which midway through the song breaks into (in the words of lead vocalist Burton Cummings) "some real percussive spice where it's sorely needed", courtesy of drummer Garry Peterson.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    My dad bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder when we moved to Ramstein, Germany in early 1968. It was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. One of my first purchases was a pre-recorded reel to reel tape of Are You Experienced. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    No Time To Live
Source:    CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Although half of the songs on Traffic's self-titled second LP were written by Dave Mason, the guitarist/vocalist had very little to do with the remaining tracks. He did, however, play Hammond organ on the haunting No Time To Live. The song also features Steve Winwood on lead vocals, piano and bass, Chris Wood on soprano saxophone and Jim Capaldi on drums.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    It is by now a well-known fact that very few of the songs on the 1968 double-LP The Beatles (aka the White Album) actually featured the entire group. One of those few (and reportedly both Paul McCartney's and George Harrison's favorite song on the album) was Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Written by John Lennon, the piece is actually a pastiche of three song fragments, each of which is radically different from the others. The opening lines (uncredited) were contributed by Derek Taylor, a London promoter who was instrumental in bringing the Jimi Hendrix Experience to America to perform at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. The track, one of the most musically challenging in the entire Beatles catalog, took three days to record, and was produced by Chris Thomas, who was filling in for a vacationing George Martin at the time.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album, The Book Of Taleisyn, the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    L T Tatman III
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of Going Up The Country was a tune called Boogie Music. The song is credited to L T Tatman III, which may be a pseudonym for the entire band, much as Nanker Phelge was for the Rolling Stones. Unusually, the single version of the song is actually longer than the album version heard here, thanks to a short coda made to sound like an archive recording from the 1920s.

Artist:    It's A Beautiful Day
Title:    Wasted Union Blues
Source:    CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer(s):    David LaFlamme
Label:    San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    It's A Beautiful Day was founded in the mid-60s by classical violinist David LaFlamme. The group had a hard time lining up gigs at first and eventually hooked up with local impressario Matthew Katz, who had similar deals with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. What the members of IABD did not know at the time was that those other bands were desperately trying to sever all ties with Katz due to his heavy-handed management style. LaFlamme and company would soon find out just how bad a deal they had gotten into when Katz shipped them off to Seattle to be the resident band at his own "San Francisco Sound" club from late 1967 through most of 1968. The group was put up in the attic of a house that Katz owned and given a small allowance that barely put food on the table. To make matters worse, attendance at the club was dismal. Still, the adversity did inspire some of LaFlamme's best songwriting, such as Wasted Union Blues from the group's debut LP, released in 1969.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Baroque # 1
Source:    Mono LP: Ultimate Spinach (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    Of the six major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands in the late 1960s. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including the instrumental Baroque # 1.

Artist:    John Mayall
Title:    Blues From Laurel Canyon (part two)
Source:    British import LP: Blues From Laurel Canyon
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    Deram (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The first release following the breakup of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Blues From Laurel Canyon featured a 19-year-old Mick Taylor on guitar, with an even younger Stephen Thompson on bass along with drummer Colin Allen. The album itself is autobiographical, documenting Mayall's L.A. vacation in the summer of '68. The second side of the album starts with a track called The Bear, which describes Mayall's stay with Canned Heat, who by then had relocated from their native San Francisco to Laurel Canyon. The bear that was "rolling in the shade" in the song was of course the legendary Robert Hite, lead vocalist and harmonica player for Canned Heat. This segues into a tune about Mayall's efforts to track down the "strange, elusive" Miss James (reportedly the famous groupie Catherine James). Eventually he finds her quite by accident, leading into an intimate First Time Alone. All good things must come to an end, however, as the lyrics to Long Gone Midnight point out. Just as well, as Mayall has to Fly Tomorrow to get back to London and put together a band to record an album called Blues From Laurel Canyon. Eventually Mayall would return to Laurel Canyon, this time as a resident.
       
Artist:    Sagittarius
Title:    The Truth Is Not Real
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Present Tense)
Writer:    Gary Usher
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    After the success of the first Sagittarius single, My World Fell Down, Gary Usher enlisted the aid of Curt Boettcher, who had been working on a studio project of his own called the Ballroom for another production company. Using many of the same studio musicians they created a follow-up single, The Truth Is Not Real. It's interesting to compare Usher's lyrics with those of In My Room, a Brian Wilson tune that Usher had provided lyrics for in 1965.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1707 (starts 2/15/17)


There's no getting around it. This week's show is dominated by one very long piece: Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick, presented uninterrupted and uncut. Oh, and there are three other songs as well.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Woodstock
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    It's somewhat ironic that the most famous song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival was written by someone who was not even at the event. Joni Mitchell had been advised by her manager that she would be better off appearing on the Dick Cavett show that weekend, so she stayed in her New York City hotel room and watched televised reports of what was going on up at Max Yasgur's farm. Further inspiration came from her then-boyfried Graham Nash, who shared his firsthand experiences of the festival with Mitchell. The song was first released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon, and was made famous the same year when it was chosen to be the first single released from the Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young album déjà vu. The CSNY version peaked just outside of the Billboard top 10.

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

Artist:    Faces
Title:    Flying
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: First Step)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Wood/Lane
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Although credited to the Small Faces in North America, First Step was actually the debut album of Faces, a group combining the talents of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood (from the Jeff Beck group) with what was left of the Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan) following the departure of bandleader Steve Marriott. Unlike later Faces albums, First Step featured songwriting contributions from all five band members, including Stewart, Wood and Lane collaborating on the album's centerpiece, Flying.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Thick As A Brick
Source:    CD: Thick As A Brick
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1972
    By the early 1970s, concept albums from progressive rock bands were becoming a bit of a cliche. In a few cases, such as Jethro Tull's Aqualung, the label was applied without the permission, or even the intention, of the artist making the album. In late 1971 Tull's Ian Anderson decided, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, that if the critics wanted a concept album so badly he would give them the "mother of all concept albums". In the early 1970s a type of humor known as parody was in vogue, thanks to magazines like National Lampoon and television shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus. Anderson, taking his cue from Monty Python in particular, decided that the next Jethro Tull album would combine complex music with wry humor targeting critics, audiences and even the band itself. To begin with, all the album's lyrics were credited to a fictional eight-year-old schoolboy named Gerald Bostock, whose epic poem was stirring up controversy in the small village of St. Cleve. Anderson created an elaborate backstory for the piece, fleshing it out with a 12 page newspaper parody, complete with local news, TV listings, and a sports section (among other things) that folded out when the album cover was opened. Thick As A Brick itself is one continuous musical work consisting of several sections that tie together thematically to lampoon modern life, religion and politics in particular. The piece, which lasts nearly 44 minutes, goes through several tempo and key changes, resembling classical music in terms of sheer complexity. The band also utilized a much greater variety of instruments on Thick As A Brick than they had on previous albums, including harpsichord, xylophone, timpani, violin, lute, trumpet, saxophone, and a string section. Recording took about three weeks in late December, with another month spent putting together the newspaper itself. The entire package was so well presented that many record buyers were under the impression that Gerald Bostock was indeed a real person. Although the album initially received mixed reviews from the rock press, it has since come to be regarded as a progressive rock classic. Indeed, many (including me) feel that Thick As A Brick is Jethro Tull's greatest accomplishment.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1706 (starts 2/8/17)


Just when you think you know where this week's show is going, it up and takes a turn for the unexpected. Actually, I suppose that's the case every week.

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

Artist:    Q'65
Title:    The Life I Live
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bieler/Nuyens/Roelofs/Vink/Baar
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    The phenomena of rebellious youth in the mid-1960s was not limited to just the English speaking world. In fact, while even the most radical bands in the US and Britain were still wearing hairstyles imitative of the Beatles, Holland's Q'65 had a look that would come to be associated with 70s rock stars, with shoulder-length (or longer) hair and a generally scruffy appearance. Musically, Q'65 started off in the same vein as such British blues bands as the Yardbirds or Rolling Stones, but soon began writing their own material, such as The Life I Live, an autobiographical declaration of a lifestyle that was still considered somewhat immoral (i.e. sex and drugs) in 1966 that became a huge hit in the Netherlands.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    That Ain't Where It's At
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Eric Is Here)
Writer(s):    Martin Siegel
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    In late 1966, following the departure of several key members, the original Animals decided to call it quits. Vocalist Eric Burdon, along with drummer Barry Jenkins, would eventually form a "new Animals" that would soon come to be known as Eric Burdon And The Animals. Along the way, however, things took a strange and unexpected turn. Burdon had long expressed his distaste for the "pop" songs that producer Mickey Most had provided for the Animals to record and release as singles, preferring instead to cover blues and R&B standards by John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and the like. Yet somehow, in early 1967, Burdon (and Jenkins) appeared on an album called Eric Is Here credited to Eric Burdon And The Animals. The album itself was made up entirely of the kinds of songs that Burdon said he hated, and featured a string orchestra led by Horace Ott. Two of the songs from the album were actually released in December of 1966 as an Eric Burdon single. The B side of that single, a Martin Siegel tune called That Ain't Where It's At, was probably the best track on the entire album, and was included on the later M-G-M release The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II.

Artist:    Syndicats
Title:    Crawdaddy Simone
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Williams/Fenwick
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    The Syndicats were formed in Tottenham in 1963 by bassist Kevin Driscoll and guitarist Steve Howe. The band's original manager was Driscoll's mother, who got them an audition with producer Joe Meek, who had made history in 1962 as the producer of the first British single to ever top the US charts, the Tornado's Telstar. Meek, who built his own studio in North London, had proved that Telstar was no fluke when he produced the Honeycombs' Have I The Right in 1964. Meek took an immediate liking to the Syndicats as well and produced three singles for the band, the last of which was a song called On The Horizon. For the B side of that single he told the band to "just go wild" on a tune written by keyboardist Jeff Williams and guitarist Ray Fenwick, who had replaced Howe (who would go on to greater fame as a member of Yes) prior to the recording sessions that resulted in Crawdaddy Simone. Like all of Meek's productions, the song starts off in your face and pretty much stays there for the next three minutes and fourteen seconds.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sunshine Superman
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI
Year:    1966
    Up until the early 1970s there was an unwritten rule that stated that in order to get played on top 40 radio a song could be no more than three and a half minutes long. There were exceptions, of course, such as Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, but as a general rule the policy was strictly adhered to. Sometimes an artist would record a song that exceeded the limit but nonetheless was considered to have commercial potential. In cases like these the usual practice was for the record company (or sometimes the producer of the record) to create an edited version of the master recording for release as a single. Usually in these cases the original unedited version of the song would appear on an album. In the case of Donovan's Sunshine Superman, however, the mono single version was used for the album as well, possibly because the album itself was never issued in stereo. In fact, it wasn't until 1969 that the full-length original recording of Sunshine Superman was made available as a track on Donovan's first Greatest Hits collection. This was also the first time the song had appeared in stereo, having been newly mixed for that album. An even newer mix was made in 1998 and is included on a British anthology album called Psychedelia At Abbey Road. This version takes advantage of digital technology and has a slightly different sound than previous releases of the song.
       
Artist:    Doors
Title:    I Can't See Your Face In My Mind
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the most haunting Doors ever recorded is I Can't See Your Face In My Mind, from their second 1967 LP, Strange Days. It also ranks among the most sadness-evoking song titles I've ever run across. Such is the power of poetry, I guess. Frankly I'm surprised that the Alzheimer's Association hasn't purchased the rights to the song to use on one of their TV fundraising spots. 

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    Song Of A Baker
Source:    British import CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
Writer(s):    Marriott/Lane
Label:    Charly (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1968
    According to the liner notes for the CD reissue of the 1968 Small Faces album, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, the inspiration for Song Of A Baker came indirectly from the Who's Pete Townshend, who had turned bassist Ronnie Lane onto a book on Sufi beliefs. My own knowledge of Sufi beliefs is limited to a few scenes from the movie Jewel Of The Nile, so all I can do is speculate on how those beliefs actually relate to the song itself.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Honky Tonk Woman
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    After revitalizing their career with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man in 1968, the Stones delivered the coup-de-grace in 1969 with one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded: the classic Honky Tonk Women. The song was the band's first single without Brian Jones, who had been found dead in his swimming pool shortly after leaving the group. Jones's replacement, Mick Taylor (fresh from a stint with blues legend John Mayall), plays slide guitar on the track.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Omaha
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     White Rabbit
Source:     CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     BMG/RCA/Buddah
Year:     1967
     The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in 1967 by guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker in New York's Greenwich Village. The group, originally called the Lost Sea Dreamers, combined elements of folk, rock, jazz and country to create their own unique brand of psychedelic music. Their self-title debut album contained rock songs from both songwriters, with Walker's tunes leaning more toward folk and country while Bruno's contained elements of jazz, as can be heard on You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go. The band released a second album in early 1968 before splitting up, with Walker becoming a successful songwriter and Bruno hooking up with various jazz musicians over the next few years. Bassist Gary White also had some success as a songwriter, penning Linda Ronstadt's first solo hit, Long, Long Time.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Across The Universe
Source:     CD: Let It Be...Naked
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Apple/Capitol
Year:     1970
     Across The Universe was recorded in 1968 and was in serious contention for release as a single that year (ultimately Lady Madonna was chosen instead). The recording sat in the vaults until 1969, when it was included on a charity album for the World Wildlife Fund. Phil Spector would eventually get his hands on the master tape, slowing it down and adding strings and including it on the Let It Be album. Finally, in 2003, Paul McCartney issued the original unedited version of the song on the album Let It Be...Naked.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Julia
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    John Lennon's songwriting continued to take a more personal turn with the 1968 release of The Beatles, also known as the White Album. Perhaps the best example of this is the song Julia. The song was written for Lennon's mother, who had been killed by a drunk driver in 1958, although it also has references to Lennon's future wife Yoko Ono (Yoko translates into English as Ocean Child). Julia is the only 100% solo John Lennon recording to appear on a Beatle album.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Dig A Pony
Source:    CD: Let It Be...Naked
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    1970
    Let It Be evolved from a proposed television show that would have featured the Beatles playing songs from their self-titled 1968 double LP (commonly known as the White Album). This idea was soon abandoned in favor of the band working up an entirely new batch of songs for the project. The group decided it would be even cooler to film their rehearsals of the new songs, allowing the audience an inside look at the creative process. Finally, all the songs would be performed without any overdubs or other studio enhancements, making for a more intimate listening experience. Filming began on Jan 2, 1969, and almost immediately the project began to fall apart. First off, the location used for the shooting was a cavernous film studio that was not in the least bit suited to creating music in. The time of day was all wrong as well. The band had gotten into the habit of recording into the early morning hours; showing up at the studio at 10AM was not their cup of tea. Finally, there were tensions within the group which were only made worse by the uncomfortable working conditions. As a result, the film showed an extremely unhappy band seemingly on the verge of breaking up.
Steps were taken to rectify the situation, including moving the entire project to Apple headquarters in West London and inviting Billy Preston to sit in with the group on keyboards. On January 30th the Beatles staged what was to be their final public performance on the rooftop of Apple, recording several tunes, including Dig A Pony. The Beatles then put the entire Let It Be project on the shelf and got to work on an entirely new album in conjunction with producer George Martin, who had been deliberately excluded from the Let It Be project. That album, Abbey Road, would be the final recording project for the Beatles. Meanwhile, legendary producer Phil Spector had been brought in to see what could be done with the Let It Be tapes. The resulting album, released in 1970, featured heavily orchestrated versions of what had been meant to be deliberately bare-bones recordings. Finally, in 2003, Paul McCartney went back to the original unenhanced tapes to assemble Let It Be...Naked.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Revelation: Revolution 69
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Butler/Finiz
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1969
    After the departure of John Sebastian, the Lovin' Spoonful attempted to continue on as a band, with drummer Joe Butler taking over as lead vocalist. The decision to do so may well have been influenced by the people at Kama Sutra, who really had no other stars on their label and were dependedent on sales of Lovin' Spoonful records for their livlihood. Whatever the reason, it didn't work out, and after Revelation: Revolution 69 failed to chart, the band called it quits. Kama Sutra Records became a subsidiary of Buddah Records, but never had the success they had enjoyed when the Spoonful was at its commercial peak.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Sally Simpson
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    The Who's rock opera Tommy deals with a phenomena that wouldn't actually be named until over a decade later: the cult of personality. In fact, these days the character Tommy might even be referred to as a "rock star" (as the term has come to be used in recent years). This is somewhat ironic, as the members of the Who were themselves rock stars throughout the 70s and 80s.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go
Source:    CD: Curtis Mayfield And The Impressions-The Anthology 1961-1977 (originally released on LP: Curtis)
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    MCA
Year:    1970
    Curtis Mayfield released his first single as a solo artist in 1970, following his separation from the Impressions, a vocal group he had led since the departure of vocalist Jerry Butler in 1958.  (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go was an instant hit with critics in the US, with its recitation from the Book of Revelations and solid bass line. The song was a hit on the R&B charts, but did not cross over to top 40 radio. The song acquired new fans when the extended version appeared on Mayfield's debut solo LP, entitled simply Curtis. At nearly eight minutes in length, the track presaged the extended funk jams that would become fashionable among cutting edge R&B groups like Parliament/Funkadelic in the 1970s.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Filled With Fear
Source:    LP: Ball
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    After the delayed success of their second LP, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly went back to the studio to record their follow-up album, Ball. Although Ball did not have a monster hit on it, it is generally considered a better album overall, with a depth and breadth of songwriting not found on their previous efforts. One of the most memorable tracks on the album is Filled With Fear, a song about paranoia with music that matches the lyrics perfectly.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Iron Butterfly Theme
Source:    LP: Evolution-The Best Of Iron Butterfly (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Real Fright
Source:    LP: Ball
Writer(s):    Ingle/Bushy/Brann
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Real Fright is one of the more memorable tracks on Ball, the last Iron Butterfly album to feature guitarist Eric Brann, who left the band to embark on a totally unremarkable solo career. They never learn.

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

Artist:    Love
Title:    Old Man
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    MacLean/Breadcrust
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
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 band. 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, appears later on the same side of the album.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Sitting On Top Of The World
Source:    CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Jacobs/Carter
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1967
    Most versions of Sitting On Top Of The World (such as the one by Cream) have a slow, melancholy tempo that emphasizes the irony of the lyrics. The Grateful Dead version, on the other hand, goes at about twice the speed and has lyrics I have never heard on any other version. I suspect this is because, like most of the songs on the first Dead album, the tune was part of their early live repertoire; a repertoire that called for a lot of upbeat songs to keep the crowd on their feet. Is this Rob "Pig Pen" McKernon on the vocals? I think so, but am open to any corrections you might want to send along (just use the contact button on the www.hermitradio.com website).

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     American Woman
Source:     European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: American Woman)
Writer:     Bachman/Cummings/Peterson/Kale
Label:     Sony Music (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1970
     American Woman is undoubtably the most political song ever recorded by the Guess Who, a generally non-political Canadian band. My dad had by then been transferred from Weisbaden to Ramstein AFB, which was and is a huge base in Germany with enough Canadian personnel stationed there to justify their own on-base school. I found myself hanging out with mostly Canadian kids when I lived there and I gotta tell you, they absolutely loved this song. They also loved to throw it in my face as often as possible.

Artist:     Led Zeppelin
Title:     Thank You
Source:     CD: Led Zeppelin II
Writer:     Page/Plant
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1969
     Like most early Led Zeppelin tunes, Thank You bears a resemblance to an earlier song by another artist; in this case Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy. Not only do the two songs share the same basic three-chord structure made famous by Van Morrison's Gloria, but they also have similar enough tempos that you can actually sing the melody of one while listening to the other. The difference is in the bridges of the two tunes, which go in entirely different directions, as well as in the basic melody of each song.
  
Artist:    Them
Title:    Black Widow Spider
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After Van Morrison left Them for a solo career, the band headed back to Belfast, where they recruited vocalist Kenny McDowell. Them soon relocated permanently to the US west coast, where they landed a contract with Tower Records. After a first album that featured songs from a variety of sources, they hooked up with Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, who wrote an album's worth of material for the band. That album was Time Out! Time In! For Them, an album that has stayed under the radar for over 40 years, despite tunes like Black Widow Spider, which closes out the first side of the LP.
   
Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    Mono LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the band turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Heart Full Of Soul
Source:     45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:     Graham Gouldman
Label:     Epic
Year:     1965
     The Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, whose own band, the Mockingbirds, was strangely unable to buy a hit on the charts. Gouldman later went on to be a founding member of 10cc, who were quite successful in the 1970s.

Artist:    Lyrics
Title:    So What!!
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chris Gaylord
Label:    Rhino (original label: Era)
Year:    1965
    In some ways the story of the Lyrics is fairly typical for the mid-1960s. The Carlsbad, California group had already established itself as a competent if somewhat bland cover band when in 1964 they recruited the local cool kid, Chris Gaylord (who was so cool that he had his own beat up old limo, plastered on the inside with Rolling Stones memorabilia, of course), to be their frontman. Gaylord provided the band with a healthy dose of attitude, as demonstrated by their 1965 single So What!! The song was written by Gaylord after he had a brief fling with a local rich girl. Gaylord's tenure lasted until mid-1966. Although the band continued without him, they never again saw the inside of a recording studio.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1706 (starts 2/8/17)


This week's show is basically just three sets; one each from the years 1970, 1974 and 1971. That said, there's some pretty good stuff in those sets. Check it out:

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Everybody's Everything
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Santana/Moss/Brown
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third album, released in 1971, was called simply Santana. The problem is, their first album was also called Santana. The guitar solo on Everybody's Everything, by the way, is not by Carlos Santana. Rather it was performed by the then 17-year-old Neal Schon, who, along with keyboardist Greg Rolie would leave the band the following year to form Journey.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    For Ladies Only
Source:    LP: For Ladies Only
Writer(s):    Edmonton/Henry/Day/McJohn
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1971
    The fifth Steppenwolf album, For Ladies Only, is probably best remembered for its gatefold cover, the center of which was a photo of a full-sized motor vehicle that looked like, well, a giant penis with European plates being pulled over by the cops on a city street. The title track, which opens the album, is a long (over nine minutes) piece with a pro-feminist message. Mixed messages? Maybe, or possibly (from a 1971 perspective) two sides of the same coin.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Bitch
Source:    LP: Sticky Fingers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1971
    The teen club I hung out at during my senior year at Alamogordo Senior High School had a jukebox. The record that got the most play on that jukebox during the second semester of that school year was the latest single from the Rolling Stones. Brown Sugar got a lot of radio airplay that spring, but on the jukebox it was the B side of the record, Bitch, that was heard most often. Both tunes were from the album Sticky Fingers, generally considered to be one of the best Rolling Stones albums ever made.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Lamia
Source:    CD: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Atco)
Year:    1974
    I'm not going to even try to describe how The Lamia fits into the narrative of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, because the plot would be considered bizarre even by European art films of the 1960s standards. Instead I'll mention that The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was Peter Gabriel's final album as a member of Genesis and that he was the one responsible for the lyrics of The Lamia. In Greek mythology, Lamia was one of Zeus's many mistresses. As was often the case, Zeus's wife Hera found out about Lamia and devised a rather nasty punishment: she kills all of Lamia's children and transforms Lamia herself into a monster that hunts and devours the children of others. Apparently Hera didn't give much thought to collateral damage. 

Artist:    Renaissance
Title:    Mother Russia
Source:    LP: Turn Of The Cards
Writer(s):    Dunford/Thatcher
Label:    Sire
Year:    1974
    At first glance you might think that playing a song called Mother Russia is some sort of attempt to curry favor with the current US President. Actually, though, according to Renaissance lead vocalist Annie Haslam, the song is a tribute to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 for daring to speak the truth. The nine minute long piece first appeared as the final track on Turn Of The Cards, quite possibly Renaissance's most popular album, and has been reissued several times since, both in its original studio version and as a live track.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Tell Me What You Want (And I'll Give You What You Need)
Source:    CD: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Writer(s):    Patrick Simmons
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1974
    The fourth Doobie Brothers album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, is one those albums that benefits from the inherit limitations of vinyl, specifically the fact that a vinyl album is divided into two (or more) sides. The first side of the album is just OK, despite the fact that it contains two of the album's three singles, including the band's first #1 hit, Black Water. The second side, however, is where the album really shines, with one strong song after another from start to finish. In the middle of this is Tell Me What You Want (And I'll Give You What You Need), one of the most underrated songs in entire Doobie Brothers catalog. Written by Patrick Simmons, the song shows just how easily the Doobies were able to ease into the 70s California groove usually associated with bands like Poco and the Eagles without losing the edge that made them one of the most popular bands of their time.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Child In Time
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Deep Purple (originally released on LP: Deep Purple In Rock)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    One of the most powerful antiwar songs ever recorded, Child In Time appeared on the LP Deep Purple In Rock. The album is generally considered to be the beginning of the band's "classic" period and features the lineup of Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Ian Paice (drums). The song itself (which runs over ten minutes in length) was a mainstay of early 70s rock radio stations, but is rarely heard on modern classic rock stations. The opening rift was freely borrowed from an earlier track by the San Francisco band It's A Beautiful Day called Bombay Calling. After the first minute or so, however, Child In Time takes off in a completely different direction.

Artist:    Faces
Title:    Flying
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: First Step)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Wood/Lane
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Although credited to the Small Faces in North America, First Step was actually the debut album of Faces, a group combining the talents of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood (from the Jeff Beck group) with what was left of the Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan) following the departure of bandleader Steve Marriott. Unlike later Faces albums, First Step featured songwriting contributions from all five band members, including Stewart, Wood and Lane collaborating on the album's centerpiece, Flying.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Poor Girl
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
     Poor Girl, from the 1970 album Looking In, is probably Savoy Brown's best known recording. Shortly after Looking In was released, the entire band except for leader Kim Simmonds left Savoy Brown to form a new band: Foghat.

Artist:    Free
Title:    The Stealer
Source:    CD: All Right Now-The Collection (originally released on LP: Highway)
Writer(s):    Kossoff/Fraser/Rodgers
Label:    Spectrum/Universal (original label: A&M)
Year:    1970
    Free established themselves as one of Britain's most hard-rocking bands with their international hit All Right Now in 1970. In early 1971 they surprised their fans with a mellower sound on their album Highway. The album was preceded by the late 1970 release of The Stealer as an advance single from the album.    

Artist:    Crosby, Still, Nash & Young
Title:    Ohio
Source:    CD: Decade (Neil Young anthology)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1970
    One of the most powerful records to come out of the Nixon years, Ohio was written by Neil Young in response to shooting deaths of four college students by National Guard troops at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Young wrote the lyrics after seeing photos of the incident in Life Magazine. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded the song with their new rhythm section of Calvin Samuels and Johnny Barbata on May 21st. The recording was rush released within a few week, becoming a counter-culture anthem and cementing the group's reputation as spokesmen for their generation. Young later referred to the Kent State shootings as "probably the biggest lesson ever learned at an American place of learning," adding that "David Crosby cried when we finished this take." Crosby can be heard ad-libbing "Four, why? Why did they die?" and "How many more?" during the song's fadeout.