Sunday, August 12, 2018
This week we have four sequences that start in one year and then work their way backwards through the years one at a time. The first one is a set of album tracks (and one B side) running from 1970 to 1966. From there we have a short second down featuring tracks from 1970-1968 from bands that were desperately hanging on, despite the fact that their best days were long behind them. Between downs we have a special artist's set from the Blues Project, taken from their 1966 Projections album, followed by a third down of singles from 1968-1966. A quick little tune from the Kinks (that hasn't been played on the show since 2010) sets up our longest down, running from 1971 to 1964, and featuring several tracks never heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before this week. That still leaves us with half an hour to fill, though, forcing us to fudge things up a bit. Well, actually Vanilla Fudge, to be specific, with a set of seldom heard tracks from 1968. With just a few minutes left in the show, we go to the favorites stack for the final three songs of the week.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: Mercedes Benz
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: Recorded 1970, released 1971
Mercedes Benz was the last song recorded by Janis Joplin in October of 1970. After laying down this vocal track she went home and OD'd on Heroin.
Source: CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Four Sail)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Following the release of Forever Changes, the classic Love lineup made only one more trip to the studio, recording a single that was released in 1968. Not long after that the group disbanded, with a new incarnation of the band making its vinyl debut the following year. Arthur Lee was contractually obligated to provide Elektra Records with one more Love LP even as he began working on tracks for the band's first album for Blue Thumb. As a result, Elektra got the first pick of the songs Lee was working on with his new lineup, including August, which features, in addition to Lee, guitarist Jay Donnellan, bassist Frank Fayad and drummer George Suranovich on what is arguably the hardest rocking tune ever released by a band called Love.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Boysenberry Jam
Source: LP: Grape Jam
For their second album, San Francisco's Moby Grape decided to throw in something extra. Instead of a single LP at the standard price, the group added a second album for just a dollar more. This second album, packaged in its own cover, was made up of a series of jam sessions featuring various band members, with a couple of guest artists thrown in. One of the hardest rocking of these was Boysenberry Jam, which features guitarist Jerry Miller, drummer Don Stevenson and bassist Bob Mosley on their usual instruments, along with Skip Spence playing the piano. This was really not all that much of a stretch, given that Spence, normally a guitarist, had been the original drummer of Jefferson Airplane, proving his versatility.
Title: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source: 45 RPM single B side
By 1967 the Yardbirds had moved far away from their blues roots and were on their fourth lead guitarist, studio whiz Jimmy Page. The band had recently picked up a new producer, Mickey Most, known mostly for his work with Herman's Hermits and the original Animals. Most had a tendency to concentrate solely on the band's single A sides, leaving Page an opportunity to develop his own songwriting and production skills on songs such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, a track that also shows signs of Page's innovative guitar style (including an instrumental break played with a violin bow) that would help define 70s rock.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Love Seems Doomed
Source: CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Unlike most of the tracks on the Blues Magoos' 1966 Debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, Love Seems Doomed is a slow, moody piece with a message. Along with the Paul Revere and the Raiders hit Kicks from earlier that year, Love Seems Doomed is one of the first songs by a rock band to carry a decidedly anti-drug message. While Kicks warned of the addictive qualities of drugs (particularly the phenomenon of the need larger doses of a drug to achieve the same effect over time), Love Seems Doomed focused more on how addiction affects the user's relationships, particularly those of a romantic nature. Love Seems Doomed is also a more subtle song than Kicks, which tends to hit the listener over the head with its message.
Title: Did He Die
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Of the four songs recorded for and released on the M-G-M label by the Seeds in 1970, the B side of the band's final single was arguably the best of the bunch. Did He Die is an anti-war song credited entirely to Sky Saxon, due more, I suspect, to his in your face lyrics than any actual musical contribution he may have made to the song. Still, the record does have flashes of the old Seeds magic, and serves as a fitting epitaph for one of the most iconic bands of the psychedelic era.
Title: Easy When I'm Dead
Source: CD: The Charlatans
Writer(s): Darrell DeVore
Label: One Way (original label: Philips)
1969 was not a great year for the Charlatans, a legendary San Francisco band that had been formed in 1964 and is often credited with creating the so-called San Francisco sound (and being the first band to take LSD prior to a performance when it was still legal). Only two of the original members, guitarist Mike Wilhelm and bassist Richard Olson, were still in the group at this point, and the band's sound was no longer considered anywhere near the cutting edge. Nonetheless, 1969 was the year the group finally got to record their only LP, entitled simply The Charlatans, for Mercury's subsidiary label Philips, which was also home to one of San Francisco's hardest rocking bands, Blue Cheer. Arguably the strongest material on the album was provided by one of the band's new members, keyboardist Darrell DeVore, who wrote Easy When I'm Dead. Predictably, the record was not a commercial success, and after a brief reunion of the original members later in the year, the Charlatans finally called it quits shortly before the beginning of the new decade.
Title: We've All Agreed To Help
Source: British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Label: Rev-Ola (original US label: tower)
Following the departure of Van Morrison, the remaining members of Them returned temporarily to Northern Ireland to recruit a new lead vocalist, Kenny McDowell, before "permanently" relocating to Los Angeles, California. Once in the Golden State, Them recorded a pair of psychedelically oriented LPs for the Tower label, both released in 1968. The second of these, Time Out! Time In! For Them, primarilly featured songs written by Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, but there were a few exceptions, such as We've All Agreed To Help, which were credited to the entire band. To be honest,I think the Pulley/Lane tracks are stronger than the band's own material, but I thought you might want to take a listen for yourself.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Wake Me, Shake Me
Source: LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer(s): arr. Al Kooper
Label: Verve Forecast
After losing their original lead vocalist, Tommy Flanders, in early 1966, the remaining members of the Blues Project decided to concentrate on their improvisational and songwriting skills, splitting vocal duties between them. Rather than trying to rework the same songs they had been performing with Flanders, they instead began to work up new material, including keyboardist Al Kooper's rock and roll arrangement of an old gospel song, Wake Me, Shake Me. It was this arrangement that appeared on the group's next LP, Projections.
rtist: Blues Project
Title: The Flute Thing
Source: Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s): Al Kooper
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Fly Away
Source: LP:Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer: Al Kooper
Label: Verve Forecast
Al Kooper was a guitarist with some talent (but no professional experience) on keyboards who was already sufficiently connected enough to be allowed in the studio when Bob Dylan was recording his Highway 61 Revisited album. Not content to be merely a spectator (Mike Bloomfield was already there as a guitarist), Kooper noticed that there was an organ in the studio and immediately sat down and started playing on the sessions. Dylan was impressed enough with Kooper's playing to not only include him on the album, but to invite him to perform with him at the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival as well. The gig became probably Dylan's most notorious moment in his career, as several folk purists voiced their displeasure with Dylan's use of electric instruments. Some of them even stormed the stage, knocking over Kooper's keyboards in the process. After the gig Kooper became an in-demand studio musician. It was in this capacity (brought in to play piano by producer Tom Wilson) that he first met Danny Kalb, Andy Kuhlberg, Tommy Flanders, Roy Blumenthal and Steve Katz, who had recently formed the Blues Project and were auditioning for Columbia Records at their New York studios. Kooper had been looking for an opportunity to improve his skills on the keyboards (most of his gigs as a studio musician were for producers hoping to cash in on the "Dylan sound", which he found limiting), and soon joined the band as their full-time keyboardist. In addition to his instrumental contributions to the band, he provided some of their best original material as well. One such tune is Fly Away, from the Projections album (generally considered to be the apex of the Blues Project's studio career).
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock
Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Heard (later known as the Bob Seger System), the anarchistic MC5, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Source: LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock
The story of the Strawberry Alarm Clock almost seems like a "best of" (or maybe "worst of") collection of things that could have happened to a band during the psychedelic era. Signed with a local label: check. Released single: check. Started getting airplay on local radio stations: check. Record picked up by major label for national distribution: check. Record becomes hit: check. Band gets to record an entire album: check. Album does reasonably well on charts, mostly due to popularity of single: check. Band gets to record second album, but with more creative freedom, thanks to previous successes: check. Single from second album does OK, but nowhere near as OK as first hit single: check. Second album fails to chart: check. Second single from second album charts lower than either previous single. Band soldiers on for a while longer, but never manages to duplicate success of first single: check. Band disbands: check. In the case of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the hit single was huge. Incense And Peppermints is still one of the best known songs of 1967. The second single, Tomorrow, not so much, although it did indeed make the top 40, peaking at #23. Not that it's a bad song, by any means. But, to be honest, it's no Incense And Peppermints, either.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: You Didn't Have To Be So Nice
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: John Sebastian
Label: Buddah (original label: Kama Sutra)
People who advocate for monoraul versions of recordings from the 1960s often cite the unnatural sounding separation between vocals and instruments on stereo recordings. Generally, I don't mind such separation myself, as I am usually sitting equally distant from the speakers and kind of like the illusion of things coming from different points in the stereo field. In the case of the Lovin' Spoonful's second single, You Didn't Have To Be So Nice, I have to side with the mono guys. The main reason is that the mix itself puts more emphasis on the backup vocals than it does on the lead vocals. In fact, the lead vocals are at times barely audible at all. Too bad George Martin didn't get the chance to do a remix on this one when he did the mid-period Beatles albums back in the 1980s.
Title: Harry Rag
Source: CD: Something Else By The Kinks
Writer: Ray Davies
By 1967 the Kinks were starting to feel the effects of a four-year ban on performing in the United States imposed in 1965 by the American Federation of Musicians due to their rowdy onstage behavior. Their last major US hit had been Sunny Afternoon the previous summer, although they continued to have success in their native England. Their 1967 album Something Else was their first LP to be released in stereo, but went virtually unnoticed in the US. The album was produced by Ray Davies, and included a wide variety of songs, including Harry Rag, a tune that could easily have been passed off as an English sea chanty. The Kinks would continue to struggle in the US until 1970, when the international hit Lola put them once again in the spotlight.
Artist: David Bowie
Source: CD: Sound+Vision Sampler (originally released as bonus track on CD reissue of Hunky Dory)
Writer: David Bowie
Year: Recorded 1971, released 1990
When CDs fist started coming out in the mid 1980s, the track lineups were the same as the album versions. One of the first companies to include bonus tracks was Ryko with its Sound+Vision series of remastered David Bowie albums in 1990. Bombers was a 1971 recording that appeared for the first time on the remastered Hunky Dory CD.
Title: Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Abraxas)
Writer(s): Mike Carabello
Label: Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Mike Carabello, one of the three Santana percussionists, only had one solo songwriting credit on the three LPs he played on. It was a good one, though. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts is the opening track of the second Santana LP, Abraxas. The tune flows so naturally into the next track that it is sometimes considered a long intro to Black Magic Woman, despite the fact that Singing Winds, Crying Beasts is nearly five minutes long.
Title: Torn Between Temptations
Source: German import CD: Turtle Soup
Label: Repertoire (original US label: White Whale)
By 1969 the Turtles, as the only money-making act on While Whale Records, had enough clout to dictate to the label who would produce theirlatest album. They chose Ray Davies of the Kinks, who had recently released an album called The Village Green Preservation Society that the members of the Turtles admired. Davies and the band, however, had entirely different ideas about how the album should sound. When the band members heard Davies first mix they were dismayed to hear almost all of the band's instrumental work buried underneath layers of strings and horns, and insisted that the album be remixed to sound more like, well, the Turtles. As a result, some songs, such as Torn Between Temptations, sound slightly unfinished. The piece itself is a hybrid of styles. On the surface Torn Between Temptations sounds more like a country song than a rock tune. The underlying structure, though, is similar to that of ranchero music, with a change of key between verse and chorus. Lyrically, something seems to be missing, but I can't quite put my finger on what, even after finding a web site with the lyrics written out for me.
Artist: Jade Hexagram
Title: Crushed Purple
Source: British import CD: Love, Poetry and Revolution
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2009
Although perhaps not as well publicized as that of San Francisco or Los Angeles, London had a thriving underground music scene in the late 1960s that was at least the equal of any other similar scene anywhere. In addition to bands that would eventually become major acts (Pink Floyd, T-Rex, Soft Machine and others) there were several other talented groups that never got the break they deserved. One such band was Jade Hexagram. Formed in South Wales, the Hexagram made their share of club appearances before finally getting a chance to cut a demo of original material, including a tune called Crushed Purple, at London's Marquee Studios in early 1968. They were unable to land a record deal, however, and by the end of the year had called it quits.
Title: The Fool On The Hill
Source: British import stereo 45 RPM Extended Play album: Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles only came up with six new songs for their 1967 telefilm Magical Mystery Tour, enough to fill up only one side of an LP. Rather than use outtakes and B sides to complete the album (which they had done in 1965 for the Help album), the band chose to release the six songs on a two-record 45 RPM Extended Play set, complete with a booklet that included the storyline, lyric sheets and several still photographs from the film itself. Magical Mystery Tour appeared in this form in both the UK and in Europe, while in the US and Canada, Capitol Records instead issued the album in standard LP format, using the band's 1967 singles and B sides to fill up side two. None of the songs from the telefilm were issued as singles, although one, I Am The Walrus, was used as the B side to the Hello Goodbye single. Another song, Fool On The Hill, was covered by Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66, making the US charts in early 1968. By the 1980s, however, the only version of the song still played on the radio was the original Beatles version, with the footage from the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm used as a video on early music TV channels.
Title: Shut Up
Source: German import CD: Black Monk time
Label: Repertoire (original label: Polydor International)
There are a lot of contenders for the title of "first punk rock band". Detroit's MC5 get mentioned often, as do Chicago's Shadows Of Knight. Some give credit to L.A.'s Standells, while others cite Pacific Northwest bands such as the Wailers and the Sonics as being the first true punks. Serious consideration has to be given, however, to a group of five members of the US Army stationed in Frankfurt Germany, who decided to augment their GI haircuts by shaving the centers of their heads and calling themselves the Monks. Vocalist/guitarist Gary Burger, organist Larry Clarke, drummer Roger Johnston, bassist Eddie Shaw and banjoist Dave Day began hitting the trinkhauses (combination bars and dance halls) around the area in 1965, moving up to more visible venues the following year after their Army stint was over (apparently they had all been drafted at around the same time). Their style, unlike other bands of the time, was loud, harsh and direct, with lyrics about death, war and hate rather than the usual love ballads made popular by British bands like the Beatles and Herman's Hermits. This, combined with surprisingly strong musicianship, got them a contract with the German branch of Polydor Records. They released their first single, Complication, early in the year, following it up with an LP, Black Monk Time, that summer. In retrospect, the Monks were too far ahead of their time to be a commercial success, but have come to be highly regarded as forerunners of British punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Shut Up, from Black Monk Time, is just a small sample of what the Monks were all about.
Artist: Crescent Six
Title: And Then
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Gregory Ferrera
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Rust)
One of the earliest psychedelic tracks was a single called And Then by New Jersey's Crescent Six. Virtually nothing else is known about the record, which was released on New York's Rust Records label.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: The Sun Is Burning
Source: LP: Wednesday Morning 3AM
Writer(s): Ian Campbell
The "great folk music scare" (to quote Martin Mull) of the early 60s was centered, for the most part, on traditional American ballads and original compositions by American artists. There was, however, a British folk revival going on at the same time, albeit a bit more underground than its US counterpart. At the forefront of the British folk revival was the Ian Campbell Folk Group, who were well-known for their numerous appearances at various festivals as well as frequent visits to the BBC radio and TV studios. American folk artists Simon And Garfunkel (particularly Simon) were fans of the British folk scene, and so it was surprise that the duo included Campbell's The Sun Is Burning on their own debut LP, Wednesday Morning 3AM, in 1964. In fact, when the album initially failed to generate much interest in the US, Paul Simon relocated to London, recording a solo album there before returning to the States in 1966 and reuniting with Art Garfunkel.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: The Sky Cried/When I Was A Boy
Source: LP: Renaissance
The first Vanilla Fudge LP, released in 1967, was filled with psychedelicized versions of established hits such as Cher's Bang Bang, the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby and of course, the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. For their second LP the group went with a concept album built around Sonny and Cher's The Beat Goes On. The group's third LP, Renaissance, finally revealed the band members' abilities as songwriters (although there were still a pair of cover songs on the album). The opening track on the album, The Sky Cried/When I Was A Boy, was written by bassist Tim Bogert and organist/vocalist Mark Stein.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Come By Day, Come By Night
Source: 45 RPM B side
Writer(s): Mark Stein
The Vanilla Fudge version of the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On was first released as a single in 1967, but tanked before it could hit the top 60. In 1968 the song was re-released with a different B side and made the top 20. That B side, Come By Day, Come By Night, was written by keyboardist Mark Stein, and was never released on a Vanilla Fudge album. The song is now available on a CD called The Complete Atco Singles.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Season of the Witch
Source: LP: Renaissance
Writer: Donovan Leitch
The Vanilla Fudge are generally best remembered for their acid rock rearrangements of hit songs such as You Keep Me Hangin' On, Ticket To Ride and Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). Their third album, Renaissance, while actually featuring more original material that their previous albums, still included a couple of these cover songs. The best-known of these was this rather spooky (and a little over-the-top) version of Donovan's Season Of The Witch, a song that was also covered by Al Kooper and Stephen Stills the same year on the first Super Session album.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
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)
Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound). And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in 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: Human Expression
Title: Optical Sound
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Accent)
One thing Los Angeles had become known for by the mid-1960s was its urban sprawl. Made possible by one of the world's most extensive regional freeway systems, the city had become surrounded by suburbs on all sides (except for the oceanfront). Many of these suburbs were (and are) in Orange County, home to Anaheim stadium, Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. The O.C. was also home to the Human Expression, a band that recorded a trio of well-regarded singles for the Accent label. The second of these was Optical Sound. True to its name, the song utilized the latest technology available to achieve a decidedly psychedelic sound.
Title: Fresh Garbage
Source: CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Label: Epic (original label: Ode)
Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a fairly hard rocker and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.
This time around I decided to just take things one year at a time and see where it led. I also wanted to "bookend" the show with tunes from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but modified it a bit by just featuring half the group at the beginning of the show. From there, I took it from 1968 to 1973, then followed up with a 1969 set before finishing with CSN&Y. Hope you enjoy the show.
Artist: Graham Nash/David Crosby
Title: Immigration Man
Source: LP: Graham Nash David Crosby
Writer(s): Graham Nash
A frustrating experience with a US Customs agent was the inspiration for what might well be the best song Graham Nash ever wrote. Immigration Man, from the album Graham Nash David Crosby, was released in March of 1972, and became the duo's only top 40 hit. The song has taken on new relevance in recent years, with immigration becoming a divisive political issue, not only in the US but in several European nations as well.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Oh, Sweet Mary
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
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: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Oh Well
Source: Mono LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Then Play On)
Writer(s): Peter Green
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in Europe in 1969, and Oh Well soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Message To Love
Source: CD: Voodoo Soup (originally released on LP: Crash Landing)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1970, released 1975
Voodoo Soup, released in 1995, was Alan Douglas's attempt to approximate what would have been the fourth Jimi Hendrix studio album had the guitarist lived to complete it. Two years later the Hendrix family, who had gained control of the Jimi Hendrix catalog, released their own version of the album, which they called First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. One of the handful of tracks that appeared on Voodoo Soup, but was left off First Rays, was an early 1970 recording of Message To Love, a song that had been premiered just a couple of weeks earlier at a series of concerts at the Fillmore East that were used for the Band Of Gypsys live album. This recording, originally released on the 1975 LP Crash Landing, features Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.
Title: The Witch Queen Of New Orleans
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Message From A Drum)
Writer(s): Pat and Lolly Vegas
Label: Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Citing part-Cherokee Jimi Hendrix as an inspiration, brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas, already veteran performers who had appeared several times on ABC-TV's Shindig, among other places, decided to form an all Native American band in 1969. Their first hit single was The Witch Queen Of New Orleans, from the 1971 LP Message From A Drum. Redbone recorded a total of six albums for the Epic label in the early 1970s, and are known for being the opening act at the first Earth Day event.
Artist: Little Feat
Title: Got No Shadow
Source: CD: Sailin' Shoes
Writer(s): Bill Payne
Label: Warner Brothers
Besides Lowell George, the member of Little Feat with the most songwriting credits is keyboardist Bill Payne. One of his earliest contributions is Got No Shadow, from the band's second LP, Sailin' Shoes. The tune, sung by George, features Payne's trademark barrelhouse piano style.
Title: The Cinema Show/Aisle Of Plenty
Source: CD: Selling England By The Pound
Label: Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
As early as 1973 there were concerns in the UK about the Americanization of British culture, and Genesis took inspiration from a recent Labour Party slogan, Selling England By The Pound, for their next album title. The album itself is considered one of the group's best, thanks to songs like The Cinema Show (about Juliet and Romeo each preparing for their movie date) and Aisle Of Plenty, which takes place in an American-style supermarket. Selling England By The Pound was the fifth Genesis album, and the second to feature the group's "classic" lineup of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: I Can't Quit You
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Be Careful With A Fool
Source: British import CD: Johnny Winter
Label: Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Johnny Winter's first album for Columbia (his second overall) is nothing less than a blues masterpiece. Accompanied by bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner, Winter pours his soul into classics like B.B. King's Be Careful With A Fool, maybe even improving on the original (if such a thing is possible).
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Can't Find My Way Home
Source: CD: Blind Faith
Writer: Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Blind Faith was the result of some 1969 jam sessions in guitarist Eric Clapton's basement with keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, whose own band, Traffic, had disbanded earlier in the year. Drummer Ginger Baker, who had been Clapton's bandmate in Cream for the previous three years, showed up one day, and Winwood eventually convinced Clapton to form a band with the three of them and bassist Rick Grech. Clapton, however, did not want another Cream, and even before Blind Faith's only album was released was ready to move on to something that felt less like a supergroup. As a result, Winwood took more of a dominant role in Blind Faith, even to the point of including one track, Can't Find My Way Home, that was practically a Winwood solo piece. Blind Faith disbanded shortly after the album was released, with the various band members moving on to other projects. Winwood, who soon reformed Traffic, is still active as one of rock's elder statesmen, and still performs Can't Find My Way Home in his concert appearances.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title: Find The Cost Of Freedom
Source: CD: Carry On (promo excerpt disc) (originally released on LP: 4-Way Street)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
One of the most celebrated songs in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young catalog is Neil Young's Ohio. Written in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, the song was quickly recorded and rush released in 1971. Often overlooked, however, is the powerful B side of the single. Find The Cost Of Freedom is a simple song by Stephen Stills, consisting of a guitar intro followed by a two-line verse, with the entire sequence repeated. Although both songs were included on the 1971 live album 4-Way Street, the studio versions remained available only on monoraul 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits collection, So Far, was released in 1974. Since 45s in the US generally went out of print within six months of their release, Ohio/Find The Cost Of Freedom was considered a collector's item for several years.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
This week we pillage the basket of obscurity to bring you 31 songs; over half a dozen of these have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, while several more, including our opening Turtles tune, haven't made an appearance on the show in years. To balance it out we do have a handful of songs that are more familiar to regular listeners, plus a three-song Advanced Psych segment that includes a track from last year's new Country Joe McDonald album, 50, and a Mumphries song that hasn't been heard since 2015. Enjoy!
Title: The Story Of Rock And Roll
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Harry Nilsson
Label: White Whale
Harry Nilsson was still an up and coming, but not yet arrived, young singer/songwriter when he penned The Story Of Rock And Roll. The Turtles, always in a struggle with their record label, White Whale, over whether to record their own material or rely on professional songwriters, were the first to record the tune, releasing it as a single in 1968. Although it was not a major hit, the song did set the stage for Nilsson's later successes.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Special Care
Source: LP: Last Time Around
Writer: Stephen Stills
Released after Buffalo Springfield had already split up, 1968's Last Time Around is an uneven album that nonetheless includes some tasty tracks that have been largely overlooked. A prime example is Stephen Stills's Special Care, sounding as much like early Crosby, Stills And Nash as it does Buffalo Springfield.
Artist: Bee Gees
Title: Lemons Never Forget
Source: 45 RPM Extended Play promo (taken from LP: Horizontal)
Writer(s): Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb
Following up on the international success of the album Bee Gees 1st (actually their third album, but we won't get into that), the
Gibb brothers, along with guitarist Vince Melouney and drummer Colin Peterson got to work on their next LP, Horizontal. The album included a song called World that, although a huge international hit, was never released as a single in the US. Their US label, Atco, did send out a promo EP to radio stations that included mono mixes of World and three other tracks from Horizontal. One of those other three tracks was Lemons Never Forget. Like much of the Bee Gees material from that time, it has an innovative arrangement with suitably psychedelic lyrics.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Little Bird
Source: CD: Good Vibrations-30 Years Of The Beach Boys (originally released on LP: Friends)
By 1968 the Beach Boys had been deemed irrelevant by much of the record buying public, although they still held the respect of the rock press. Brian Wilson, who had until then been the band's main songwriter, was showing signs of the mental health issues that would sideline him for much of the 1970s, and the band had just come off a disastrous tour with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that had to be cancelled midway due to lack of ticket sales. Amid all this, the rest of the band stepped up to produce the first true Beach Boys group effort since their early days, the 1968 LP Friends. Although the album did not sell well, it was well-received by the rock press and the band's hardcore fans, who consider it the Beach Boys' "TM album". Friends was the first Beach Boys LP to feature songwriting contributions from Dennis Wilson, who co-wrote Little Bird with poet Stephen Kalinich. The track, as released, includes a musical phrase from the then-unreleased Child Is Father To The Man, from the legendary Smile sessions.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Punky's Dilemma
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Originally written specifically for the 1967 soundtrack of the movie The Graduate but rejected by the producers, Punky's Dilemma sat on the shelf until the following year, when it became the only track on side two of Simon And Garfunkel's Bookends LP that had not been previously released. The lyrics are about as psychedelic as Simon And Garfunkel ever got.
Artist: Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title: His Holy Modal Majesty
Source: CD: Super Session
One of the earliest electronic keyboard instruments was a device that came to be known as the Kooperphone, thanks to its use by Al Kooper as early as 1966, when he was a member of the Blues Project. The instrument could not play chords, only single notes, and Kooper used it extensively on tracks like His Holy Modal Majesty on the 1968 album Super Session. If that were all there was to the track it might be remembered as little more than a curiosity piece. Thanks to the outstanding improvisational abilities of Kooper, guitarist Michael Bloomfield, bassist Harvey Brooks and drummer Eddie Hoh however, the piece soars, changing style and tempo with a fluidity rarely found outside of jazz circles.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: I Need A Man To Love
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound good. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage at the Fillmore West. As a result, when Cheap Thrills was released, four of the seven tracks were live recordings, including the Janis Joplin/Peter Albin collaboration I Need A Man To Love.
Artist: Young Rascals
Title: Love Is A Beautiful Thing
Source: Mono LP: Collections
One of the strongest tracks on the 1967 Young Rascals album Collections was actually released as a B side in 1966, six months before the album actually came out. Love Is A Beautiful Thing, which was paired with the non-album track You Better Run, was written by organist Felix Cavaliere and drummer Eddie Brigati (although early pressings of the single credit bassist Gene Cornish as co-writer rather than Brigati). To this day I associate Love Is A Beautiful Thing with one of the most popular local cover bands in Weisbaden, Germany when I was a freshman in high school. The band, made up entirely of sons of American servicemen, called itself the Collections, and played virtually every song on the album, as well as tunes by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and other popular R&B artists.
Artist: Cuby And The Blizzards
Title: Your Body Not Your Soul
Source: CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Desolation)
Label: Rhino (original label: Philips)
In the Netherlands it was a given that if you wanted to hear some live blues you needed to check out Cuby And The Blizzards. Led by vocalist Harry "Cuby" Muskee and lead guitarist Eelco Gelling, C+B, as they were known to their fans, had been in a couple of local bands as early as 1962, but had made a decision to abandon rock 'n' roll for a more blues/R&B approach in 1964. After cutting a single for the small CNR label in 1965, C+B signed a long-term contract with Philips the following year. Your Body Not Your Soul, the B side of their first single for the label, shows the influence of British blues/R&B bands such as the Pretty Things and the Animals. The group hit the Dutch top 40 nine times between 1967 and 1971, and released several well received albums as well.
Artist: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title: Diddy Wah Diddy
Source: Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa knew each other in high school in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles, but did not stay in close contact after graduation. While Zappa was developing an interest in early 20th century avant-garde classical music, Van Vliet established a reputation as one of the best white blues singers around. When the opportunity came to record a few tracks for A&M records in 1965, Van Vliet, who by then was calling himself Captain Beefheart, chose several vintage R&B tunes to showcase his vocal talents. A&M only released four of the tracks, however, the first being Bo Diddly's Diddy Wah Diddy, which became Captain Beefheart's debut single in 1966. Beefheart's first full-length album, Safe As Milk, was recorded and released the following year as the first LP issued by the new Buddah label. Later he would again hook up with his old cohort Zappa and develop into one of rock's premier avant-garde composers.
Title: Shapes Of Things
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Epic)
Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: And I Like It
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Jorma Kaukonen was giving guitar lessons when he was approached by Marty Balin about joining a new band that Balin was forming. Kaukonen said yes and became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane. The two seldom collaborated on songwriting, though. One of the few examples of a Balin/Kaukonen composition is And I Like It from the band's first album. The song sounds to me like what Hot Tuna would sound like but with Balin's vocals instead of Kaukonen's.
Artist: Music Machine
Source: Mono British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material (with the exception of a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on (before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. (This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved.) The best way to listen to Turn On The Music Machine, then, is to program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, this track becomes the second song on the disc, following the classic Talk Talk.
Title: Twentieth Century Fox
Source: Mono LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
There's no getting around it: there are no bad songs on the first two Doors albums. Pick one at random, say Twentieth Century Fox. Great song. They all are.
Artist: Yellow Balloon
Title: Yellow Balloon
Source: Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: The Yellow Balloon)
Writer(s): Zeckley/St. John/Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Canterbury)
After Jan Berry's near-fatal car wreck in April of 1966, partner Dean Torrance turned to songwriter Gary Zeckley for material for a new album. Zeckley responded by writing the song Yellow Balloon, but was unhappy with Jan and Dean's recording of the song and decided to cut his own version. The resulting recording, utilizing studio musicians for the instrumental tracks, was released in May of 1967 on the Canterbury label and was a moderately successful hit, peaking at #25 (Jan and Dean's version stalled out at #111).
Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Nobody But Me
Source: Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ron, Rudy and O'Kelley Isley
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
The Human Beinz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol misspelled their name on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: In The Midnight Hour
Source: CD: The Time Has Come
When you think about it, the term "recording artist" is actually grossly inaccurate in most cases. Making a record takes a whole lot of people, from the songwriter to the mastering engineer and everyone in between. Nonetheless, we use the term "artist" as kind of a shorthand for whoever's name is on the label. That said, there are several different kinds of artists. You have your Entertainers (Elvis Presley being a good example), who are more into showing the audience a good time than trying to make any kind of artistic statement, which is the province of the Artist (people like Joseph Byrd that most people have never heard of). Most artists, of course, fall in between these two extremes, or even incorporate elements of both (like Prince and Michael Jackson). There is a third category, however, that is often overlooked, yet is much larger than either of the others. These are the studio musicians, the professional songwriters, the engineers and other technicians, whose job it is to make the artist of record sound as good as possible. I call them, for lack of a better word, the Craftsmen (and women). Sometimes an entire band is made up of Craftsmen. These are the working bands, that may or may not ever get a shot at the Big Time, and even if they do, often end up as one-hit-wonders. The Chambers Brothers began performing together in the 1950s, yet did not release their first LP, The Time Has Come, until 1967. Even then, the record looked like it was going nowhere until college radio stations began playing the LP's showcase track, the 10 minute long Time Has Come Today. The thing is, Time Has Come Today sounded nothing like the rest of the band's repertoire, which can be heard by randomly choosing any other track on the album. More typical of what you would hear the Chambers Brothers performing in a club is In The Midnight Hour, a 1966 hit for Wilson Pickett and one of the most covered songs of the mid 1960s.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Lucifer Sam
Source: Mono CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt the original driving force behind Pink Floyd was the legendary Syd Barrett. Not only did he front the band during their rise to fame, he also wrote their first two singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, as well as most of their first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. In fact it could be argued that one of the songs on that album, Lucifer Sam, could have just as easily been issued as a single, as it is stylistically similar to the first two songs. Sadly, Barrett's mental health deteriorated quickly over the next year and his participation in the making of the band's next LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was minimal. He soon left the group altogether, never to return (although several of his former bandmates did participate in the making of his 1970 solo album, The Madcap Laughs).
Artist: Country Joe McDonald
Title: Sadness And Pain
Source: CD: 50
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rag Baby
50 years after the Summer Of Love Country Joe McDonald released an album called 50. The songs, while recorded up to modern production standards, reflect the same sort of social awareness and activism that have always characterized McDonald's work. Case in point: Sadness And Pain, which carries a timeless message.
Artist: Tears For Fears
Title: Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Source: British import CD single
Although generally not considered a psychedelic band, Tears For Fears managed to effectively channel George Martin's Magical Mystery Tour production techniques (e.g. I Am The Walrus) on their most political recording, 1989's Sowing The Seeds Of Love. Written in response to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party's winning of a third consecutive term in office in June of 1987, the track reflects Roland Orzabal's working-class sensibilities with lines like "Politician granny with your high ideals, have you no idea how the majority feels?"
Title: Bad Dream
Source: CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s): Stephen R Webb
One of the more unusual bands on the Albuquerque, NM scene in the late 1980s was a group called the Soft Corps. With a membership that varied depending on the needs of a particular song, the group's on-stage antics included a guitar being leaned on its amp, causing massive feedback while members traded instruments and the band's leader walked off the stage to watch the show. In mid-1988 the Soft Corps officially disbanded, with three of the members, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Quincy Adams, guitarist/keyboardist Suzan Hagler and guitarist/bassist/vocalist StephenR Webb joining up with drummer John Henry Smith to form The Mumphries. Bad Dream, recorded in 1989, features Webb on lead guitar and vocals, Hagler on keyboards, Adams on bass and Smith on drums.
Title: Because (isolated vocal tracks)
Source: CD: Anthology 3 (promo EP)
The Beatles took full advantage of the new 8-track technology to record Because for the Abbey Road album. In addition to the instruments, the recording has three separate vocal tracks, each with John, Paul & George singing three-part harmony, making a total of nine voices. Here are those vocal tracks, presented without backing instruments on the 1996 Anthology 3 collection.
Artist: B.B. King
Title: Until I Found You
Source: British import CD: Blues On Top Of Blues
Writer(s): Riley King
Label: BGO (original US label: Bluesway)
Riley King first got the nickname Beale Streeet Blues Boy when working as a singer and DJ at a Memphis radio station in the late 1940s. That nickname soon got shortened to Blues Boy, and later B.B. King. By the time of his death in 2016, B.B. King had recorded dozens of albums and had become the most famous blues musician in history. In the liner notes for his 1968 album Blues On Top Of Blues, B.B. King stated that "My ambition is to be one of the greatest blues singers there have ever been." King's vocals, in particular, are on display on the song Until I Found You, which utilizes horns arranged by Johnny Pate.
Title: One Rainy Day
Source: Mono LP: Magic People
Label: Verve Forecast
The Paupers were formed in Toronto in 1965, but did not really catch fire until Scottish immigrant Adam Mitchell became the group's lead vocalist and (with drummer Skip Prokop) primary songwriter. He made his debut with the band on August 14th; within a month the group had signed a contract with M-G-M Records, at the time one of the major US labels. In early 1967 the group came under the guidance of Albert Grossman, who was already well-known as Bob Dylan's manager. Grossman quickly re-negotiated the contract with M-G-M and got the band signed to its associate label, Verve Forecast, releasing a single, If I Call You By Some Name. The band quickly established a reputation for its live performances, reportedly upstaging the Jefferson Airplane on that band's first trip to New York. For some reason the band was unable, however, to create the same kind of excitement in the studio that characterized their live performances. Their debut LP, Magic People, barely cracked the Billboard top 200 album charts and none of their singles charted at all. The band started experiencing personnel changes, although they continued to play high-profile gigs, such as opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Soft Machine in February of 1968. A second album and corresponding tour followed, but by then drummer Skip Prokop was getting interested in doing session work (appearing on Peter Paul And Mary's I Dig Rock And Roll Music, among others), and by 1969 the Paupers were history and Prokop was back in Toronto forming a new band, Lighthouse.
Artist: Uriah Heep
Source: LP: Uriah Heep
Gypsy, the first track on the first Uriah Heep album was also the first Heep song I ever heard. Apparently the rock press hated the song, the album, and the band itself, but it turns out that 1970 was a good year to be hated by the rock press. Just look at how things turned out for Grand Funk Railroad. For that matter, Uriah Heep didn't do too badly over the next few years, either. Maybe that's why Rolling Stone magazine turned to politics: much easier to get away with being totally wrong about something, and when you're right everybody praises you for your journalistic integrity.
Title: Dual Carraigeway Pain
Source: British import CD: Taste
Writer(s): Rory Gallagher
Label: Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Guitarist Rory Gallagher cuts loose on Dual Carraigeway Pain, from the first Taste album. One thing, though. What exactly is a "dual carraigeway? Some sort of divided highway?
Artist: Catfish Knight And The Blue Express
Source: CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): J. Knight
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Verve)
A fairly common practice in the mid-1960s was for a producer to sign a new band and assign them to record a song of his own choosing. In fact, the producer often already had the song in mind before finding a band to record it. That song would then be issued as a single, with the band itself being allowed to choose and record the B side. Such is the likely case with Deathwish, a truly manic B side from a group called Catfish Knight And The Blue Express. Virtually nothing is known about the band itself, and the A side of the record, from what I have heard, was pretty flacid in comparison to Deathwish.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: EXP/Up From The Skies
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
The second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, is very much a studio creation. Hendrix had been taking a growing interest in what could be done with multiple tracks to work with, and came up with a masterpiece. What makes the achievement even more remarkable is the fact that he actually only had four tracks to work with (compared to the virtually unlimited number available with modern digital equipment). EXP, which opens the album, is an exercise in creative feedback, using volume and panning to create the illusion of circular motion. The intro to the piece is a faux interview of a slowed-down Hendrix (posing as his friend Paul Caruso) by bassist Noel Redding. The track leads directly into Up From The Skies, the only song on the album to be issued as a single in the US. Up From The Skies features Hendrix's extensive use of a wah-wah pedal, with vocals and guitar panning back and forth from speaker to speaker over the jazz-styled brushes of drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Title: I Want You
Source: Mono British import CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Spectrum (original label: Fontana)
The Troggs are best known in the US for their 1966 hit Wild Thing, a song that is still recognizable to most Americans today. In reality, though, the Troggs were one of England's most successful and long-lived bands, charting several hit records and remaining active until the death of lead vocalist Reg Presley in 2013. Among their most popular songs in the UK was I Want You, which was released as the B side of With A Girl Like You, the follow up to Wild Thing and the Troggs' only #1 record in the UK. (Wild Thing stalled out at #2 in the UK, although it did top the US charts).
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Last Time
Source: Mono LP: Out Of Our Heads
Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.
Artist: Sons Of Champlin
Title: Terry's Tune
Source: British import CD: Loosen Up Naturally/The Sons/Follow Your Heart (originally released on LP: The Sons)
Writer(s): The Sons
Label: BGO (original US label: Capitol)
Despite the implications of the band's name, the Sons Of Champlin was formed as a cooperative, with all band members equal partners in the venture. Still, as front man, Bill Champlin inevitably became the focus of the band in the eyes of both the public and their record label. This did not sit too well with the other band members, and steps were taken on their second album to rectify the situation. Most obviously, the album cover itself proclaimed that the band was now called The Sons. Less obvious, but just as important, all songwriting credits were given to the entire band, regardless of who actually wrote the song. Finally, Champlin himself did not sing lead vocals on every song, as he had on the first album. Terry's Tune, for instance, was actually written and sung by guitarist Terry Haggerty. The album did not do well, and, due to various reasons, the band split up soon after.
This week we have another free-form excursion into the world of early 70s FM rock radio. Highlights include a couple tracks with dual lead guitars from Wishbone Ash and the Allman Brothers, a couple bands known for their horn section (Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears), and a pair of tunes with unusual (but seriously cool) drum patterns from Deep Purple and Spirit. Framing it all we have album tracks from the Beatles and Jethro Tull.
Title: Here Comes The Sun
Source: CD: Abbey Road
Writer: George Harrison
In a way, George Harrison's development as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' "second career" as a studio band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the #1 spot on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: The Shield
Source: LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: The Book Of Taliesyn
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
The story of the original Deep Purple lineup is, in a way, two entirely different stories. At home the band was virtually ignored by audiences and press alike, and struggled to even get their records released. In the US, however, they were overnight sensations, thanks in large part to the success of the single Hush in the spring of 1968. A North American tour was set up, scheduled to begin in October of that year, but their American label, Tetragrammaton, wanted a second album from the band to be on the racks before the tour opened. This meant that the group was in the studio only two months after releasing Shades of Deep Purple, working on what would become The Book Of Taleisyn, despite the fact that Shades of Deep Purple had not even been released yet in the UK. The first song recorded for the new LP was The Shield, an imaginative piece incorporating unusual drum patterns from Ian Paice and appropriately mystical lyrics from Rod Evans, along with some nice guitar and organ work from Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. Although The Book Of Taleisyn was not as big a seller in the US as Shades Of Deep Purple, the tour itself was a huge success. Still, the band still was not getting any respect at home. In fact, The Book Of Taleisyn did not even come out in the UK until mid-1969, by which time Evans and bassist Nicky Simper were no longer members of Deep Purple.
Title: Uncle Jack
Source: CD: Spirit
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Despite nearly universal positive reviews by the rock press, the first Spirit album never really caught the imagination of the record buying public. Why this is the case is still a bit of a mystery, as the album is full of outstanding tracks such as Uncle Jack. Perhaps the album, and indeed the band itself, was just a bit ahead of its time.
Artist: Wishbone Ash
Title: Time Was
Source: LP: Argus
The most popular of Wishbone Ash's albums, Argus was the band's third effort, released in 1972. The album is full of medieval references on songs such as Time Was, the nine-minute opus that opens the LP. The album has proved so popular with the band's fans that Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash released a new studio re-recording of it in 2008, accompanied by a live Argus tour. Another former band member, Andy Powell, has since followed suit, with both groups performing Argus in its entirety as part of their stage repertoire.
Title: South California Purples
Source: CD: Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s): Robert Lamm
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Chicago never considered themselves a jazz-rock band, despite all the hype from the rock press and the publicity people at Columbia Records. Rather, the defined themselves as a rock band with a horn section. Songs like Robert Lamm's South California Purples, which is basically a blues progression, lend credence to this view. The track, which showcases the guitar work of Terry Kath, was one of the most popular songs on the band's debut album and continued to be a concert staple until Kath's death in 1978.
Artist: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title: Blues-Part II/Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie
Source: CD: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Writer(s): Blood, Sweat & Tears
Although it was the brainchild of keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper, the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears had its greatest success after Kooper left the band following the release of their debut LP, Child Is Father To The Man. The group's self-titled second LP, featuring new lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, yielded no less than three top 5 singles: You Made Me So Very Happy, And When I Die and Spinning Wheel. For me, however, the outstanding track on the album was the thirteen and a half minute Blues-Part II, which takes up most of side two of the original LP. I first heard this track on a show that ran late at night on AFN in Germany. I had already heard the band's first two hit singles and was not particularly impressed with them, but after hearing Blues-Part II I went out and bought a copy of the LP. Luckily, it was not the only track on the album that I found more appealing than the singles (God Bless The Child in particular stands out), but after all these years, Blues-Part II is still my favorite BS&T recording.
Artist: Allman Brothers Band
Title: In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Source: LP: At Fillmore East
Writer(s): Dicky Betts
Label: Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
One of the greatest instrumentals in rock history, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed was written by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dicky Betts. The song got it's name from a headstone that Betts saw at the Rose Hill Cemetary in Macon, Georgia. That same cemetary is where band members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are now buried. The version of the song heard on the 1971 album At Fillmore East was recorded live on March 13, 1971 and contains no edits or overdubs. Yes, they were that good.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Sea Lion
Source: LP: War Child
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Jethro Tull's 1974 album War Child was a return to shorter songs following back-to-back albums made up of one continous piece each (Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play). The album was not, however, a critical success (although it did well enough on the charts to make the reviews somewhat irrelevant). I usually don't give much credence to the rock press, but I had to chuckle at a quote from the Rolling Stone review, which reminded us that "Tull rhymes with dull". In the case of side one of the War Child LP, I have to agree. In fact, the only track on that side of the album that even comes close to the quality of material on 1971's Aqualung album is the final track on the side, Sea Lion, which actually sounds like it could have been a Passion Play outtake. Side two of the original LP, by the way, is much better, with several strong tracks. Why Ian Anderson and the gang chose to put their weakest material up front is anyone's guess, but the band never did regain its earlier popularity, despite an occasional strong tune here and there over the next several years.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
This week's show is all about sets. We have a set of tracks released on the Columbia label in 1966, a set of album tracks from 1967, a killer "B"s set (bands whose name start with the letter B) from 1966, a West Coast love set, a Moby Grape set, a late 60s regression set, a gritty 1966 set and a short trip from '66 to '68 set. Oh, and we have two or three free-standing songs as well. Enjoy!
Title: Money To Burn
Source: LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer(s): Don Dannemann
By late 1966 surf music was pretty much gone from the top 40 charts. The Beach Boys, however, had managed to adapt to changing audience tastes without abandoning the distinctive vocal harmonies that had made them stand out from their early 60s contemporaries. In fact, several other bands had sprung up with similar vocal styles. One of the most successful of these (at least in the short term) was the Cyrkle. Led by vocalist/guitarist Don Dannemann, the group hit the scene with two consecutive top 10 singles, both of which were included on the band's debut LP, Red Rubber Ball. Although manager Brian Epstein had the group recording mostly songs from outside sources, there were a handful of Cyrkle originals on the album, including Danneman's Money To Burn, which was also issued as the B side to the band's third single.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The Dangling Conversation
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The first Simon and Garfunkel album, Wednesday Morning 3AM, originally tanked on the charts, causing Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel to temporarily pursue solo careers. Simon went to England, where he wrote and recorded an album's worth of material. Meanwhile, producer Tom Wilson, fresh from producing Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, went into the studio with the original recording of the song Sound of Silence and added electric instruments to it. The result was a surprise hit that led Paul Simon to return to the US, reuniting with Art Garfunkel and re-recording several of the tunes he had recorded as a solo artist for a new album, Sounds of Silence. The success of that album prompted Columbia to re-release Wednesday Morning, 3AM, which in turn became a bestseller. Meanwhile, Simon and Garfunkel returned to the studio to record an album of all new material. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was yet another success that spawned several hit songs, including The Dangling Conversation, a song Simon described as similar to The Sound Of Silence, but more personal. The song was originally released as a single in fall of 1966, before the album itself came out.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Just Like A Woman
Source: Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio. As a 13-year-old kid I didn't know quite what to make of it.
Title: She's Leaving Home
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
One of the striking things about the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the sheer variety of styles on the album. Never before had a rock band gone so far beyond its roots in so many directions at once. One of Paul McCartney's most poignant songs on the album was She's Leaving Home. The song tells the story of a young girl who has decided that her stable homelife is just too unfulling to bear and heads for the big city. Giving the song added depth is the somewhat clueless response of her parents, who can't seem to understand what went wrong.
Title: Coloured Rain
Source: CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
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 on 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 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: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: I Don't Live Today
Source: LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
I remember a black light poster that choked me up the first time I saw it. It was a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with the caption I Don't Live Today. I don't believe Hendrix was being deliberately prophetic when he wrote and recorded this classic track for the Are You Experienced album, but it occasionally gives me chills to hear it, even now.
Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Two Of A Kind
Source: Australian import CD: Evolutions
Originally called the Premiers, the Human Beingz were a popular attraction in their native Youngstown, Ohio, releasing at least one single locally before signing with Capitol Records in 1967. Unfortunately for the band, the label misspelled the band's name on the label of their first single, leaving out the "g". They promised the group they would fix the problem if the record flopped, but in fact the song, Nobody But Me, was a top 10 national hit. As a result, the group was known as the Human Beinz for the rest of their existence. Although they did not score any more hits on the US charts, their next two singles went to #1 in Japan. This led to the band being held onto by the label long enough to record two LPs, the second of which was the relatively experimental Evolutions, released in 1968. One of the more unusual tunes on Evolutions was Two Of A Kind, which starts off as an early example of what would come to be known as country-rock but turns into a completely unexpected bit of musique concrete for the final minute and a half of the piece.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Two Trains Running
Source: LP: Projections
Writer(s): McKinley Morganfield
Label: Verve Forecast
Possibly the most influential (yet least known outside of musicians' circles) band of the Psychedelic Era was the Blues Project. Formed in 1965 in Greenwich Village, the band worked its way from coast to coast playing mostly college campuses, in the process blazing a path that continues to be followed by underground/progressive/alternative artists. As if founding the whole college circuit wasn't enough, they were arguably the very first jam band, as their version of the Muddy Waters classic Two Trains Running shows. Among those drawing their inspiration from the Blues Project were the Warlocks, a group of young musicians who were traveling with Ken Kesey on the Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test tour bus. The Warlocks would soon change their name to the Grateful Dead and take the jam band concept to a whole new level. Still, they may never have moved in that direction at all if it weren't for the Blues Project.
Title: I See You
Source: CD: Fifth Dimension
The Byrds third LP, Fifth Dimension, was the first without founding member Gene Clark. As Clark was the group's primary songwriter, this left a gap that was soon filled by both David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn, who collaborated on songs like I See You.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Gotta Get Away
Source: LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
As was common with most 1966 LPs, the Blues Magoos debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, included a handful of cover songs, not all of which had been hits for other groups. One of the non-hits was Gotta Get Away, a fairly typical piece of garage rock that opens side two of the LP. The song was also selected as the B side for the group's second (and by far most successful) single, (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet. As the usual practice was to bring in outside songwriters for a new band's early singles and let the band write their own B side, it is possible that Gotta Get Away may have been the intended A side of the single.
Title: A House Is Not A Motel
Source: CD: Forever Changes
Writer: Arthur Lee
Arthur Lee was a bit of a recluse, despite leading the most popular band on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. When the band was not playing at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go Lee was most likely to be found at his home up in the Hollywood Hills, often in the company of fellow band member Bryan McLean. The other members of the band, however, were known to hang out in the most popular clubs, chasing women and doing all kinds of substances. Sometimes they would show up at Lee's house unbidden. Sometimes they would crash there. Sometimes Lee would get annoyed, and probably used the phrase which became the title of the second track on Love's classic Forever Changes album, A House Is Not A Motel.
Title: If I Had A Woman
Source: CD: Spirit (bonus track)
Writer(s): Randy California
Most of the tracks on the first Spirit album were written by vocalist Jay Ferguson, with only one track each contributed by guitarist Randy California and keyboardist John Locke (plus one group composition). A second California tune, If I Had A Woman, was recorded around the same time, but not used on the original LP, finally appearing on the expanded CD version of the album in 1996. Most of the songs on the original LP included abrupt changes in tempo and style, but as a general rule, those transitions were done pretty smoothly. If I Had A Woman also has such changes, but in this case the transitions sound like the band suddenly decided to play an entirely different song without giving any warning.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Somebody To Love (live version)
Source: LP: Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Writer(s): Darby Slick
Label: RCA Victor
The original Great Society arrangement of Darby Slick's Somebody To Love was noticably slower than the well-known Jefferson Airplane version of the song heard on their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow. The Airplane's own live version, as heard on the 1969 LP Bless It's Pointed Little Head, is even faster paced, bordering on the downright frenetic. It does make you wonder just what they were taking for their late 1968 Fillmore concert appearances.
Title: Baby, Please Don't Go (with Robin Williams intro)
Source: Mono 12" single (reissue)
Writer: Joe Williams
Belfast, Northern Ireland was home to one of the first bands that could be legitimately described as punk rock. Led by Van Morrison, the band quickly got a reputation for being rude and obnoxious, particularly to members of the English press (although it was actually a fellow Irishman who labeled them as "boorish"). Their first single was what has come to be considered the definitive rock and roll version of the 1923 Joe Williams tune Baby, Please Don't Go. Despite its UK success, the single was never issued in the US. Oddly enough, the song's B side ended up being the song most people associate with Them: the classic Gloria, which was released as Them's US debut single in 1965 but promptly found itself banned on most US radio stations due to suggestive lyrics. Them's recording of Baby, Please Don't Go gained renewed popularity in the 1980s when it was used in the film Good Morning Vietnam.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Murder In My Heart For The Judge
Source: LP: Great Grape (originally released on LP: Wow)
Writer(s): Don Stevenson
Moby Grape got creatively (and commercially) sabotaged when their producer, David Rubinson, decided to add horns and strings to many of the tracks on their second album, Wow, alienating much of the band's core audience in the process. Still, Wow did have its share of fine tunes, including drummer Don Stevenson's Murder In My Heart For The Judge, probably the most well-known song on the album. The song proved popular enough to warrant cover versions by such diverse talents as Lee Michaels, Chrissy Hynde and Three Dog Night.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Moby Grape)
Writer: Skip Spence
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
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: Moby Grape
Title: Ooh Mama Ooh
Source: LP: Moby Grape '69
Hard core Moby Grape fans did not quite know what to make of the band's third LP, Moby Grape '69. For one thing, one of the group's most visible members, guitarist Skip Spence, had gone awol from the band and was only heard on the album's final track. For another, MG 69 had more than a dash of country-rock at a time when the term country-rock had not yet been invented. Finally, the entire album had a kind of unfinished feel to it. This may have been the result of a deliberate attempt to avoid the production excesses of their second LP, Wow. It's also possible that the Grape audience was not quite ready for the incorporation of 50s doo-wop vocals on the album's opening track, Ooh Mama Ooh. Whatever the reason, the album stalled out at # 113 on the Billboard charts, although in more recent years it has come to be seen as a precursor to the so-called California Sound of bands like Poco and the Eagles.
Title: Eye To Eye
Source: CD: The House On The Hill
Label: Caroline Blue Plate (original UK label: Charisma)
Audience was a British progressive rock band with somewhat unusual instrumentation. In addition to drums (provided by Tony Conner) and bass (from Trevor Williams, who was also the groups primary lyricist), the band included Howard Werth, who played an acoustic guitar with nylon strings, but fitted with an electric pickup, and Keith Gemmell on flute, saxophone and clarinet. With no lead guitar or keyboards, Audience concentrated on their songwriting and vocal skills, which are showcased on the song Eye To Eye from the album The House On The Hill. Although The House On The Hill was Audience's third LP, it was the first to be released in the US. Eye To Eye, however, was cut from the US version of the LP to make room for Indian Summer, a non-album single that had been released simultaneously with The House On The Hill in the UK. The original band made only one more album before disbanding in 1972, but reformed 32 years later with a different drummer.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Singing All Day
Source: CD: Benefit (bonus track)
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Singing All Day is one of several tracks recorded during the sessions for the third Jethro Tull LP, Benefit, but not included on the album itself. The song finally got released in 1973 on the Living In The Past album and is now available as a bonus track on the CD version of Benefit.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Chasing Shadows
Source: LP: Deep Purple
As a general rule, recording artists tend to do better on their home ground than anywhere else. Even the Beatles already had a pair of chart-topping British singles (Please Please Me and She Loves You) under their collective belts by the time they touched off the British Invasion of the US with I Want To Hold Your Hand in 1964. There are exceptions, however. One British band that had huge success in the US, yet was unable to buy a hit in its native England, was the original incarnation of a band called Deep Purple. The group had a major US hit right out of the box with their 1968 cover of Joe South's Hush, but the song did not chart at all in the UK. The band's US label, Tetragrammaton, promoted the band heavily and the group's debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was the all-time best selling album in that label's short history. The band followed Shades up with a second LP, The Book Of Taleisyn, that included another hit cover song, Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Still, the British record-buying public was unimpressed, and it was estimated that the group on the average made fifteen to twenty times as much money per gig in the US than they did at home. Unfortunately for the band, Tetragrammaton was badly managed and went belly up just days after the release of the band's self-titled third album. This left the band without a US label and still unsuccessful at home. This, combined with internal conflicts about what direction the band should take musically, led to major personnel changes. Ultimately those changes, particularly the addition of lead vocalist Ian Gillan, proved beneficial, as Deep Purple became one of the top rock bands in the world in the early 1970s. This in turn led to Warner Brothers, the band's new US label, releasing a compilation album of the group's early material called Purple Passages, which included almost the entire third album. Among the outstanding tracks from that album is Chasing Shadows, which utilizes African rhythms from drummer Ian Paice, as well as a strong performance by the band's original vocalist, Rod Evans, who would go on to become the front man for a band called Captain Beyond in the early 1970s.
Title: You Showed Me
Source: CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
In 1964, while still performing as a duo, Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark wrote a song called You Showed Me. After the Beefeaters, as they were then known, added new members David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke, changing their name to the Jet Set in the process, they recorded a demo version of the song. Not long after that You Showed Me was dropped from the band's repertoire and promptly forgotten by almost everyone. One person who didn't forget the song, however, was Chip Douglas, who had seen McGuinn and Clark perform the song in 1964. Four years later, after a stint as bass player for the Turtles, then producer for the Monkees, Douglas met up with his old bandmates and played them his own version of You Showed Me. Douglas's presentation, however, was considerable slower than the original version, due to the fact that he was using a harmonium with a broken bellows and couldn't play the song at its proper speed. The Turtles, however, liked the slower tempo and used it for their own recording of the song, which appeared on the 1968 LP The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands and became the band's last major hit single.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion on Reprise Records, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets compilation, released on the Elektra label in 1972.
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
While Beatlemania was sweeping the northern hemisphere, a similar phenomena known as Easyfever was all the rage down under. Formed in the migrant hostels on the edge of Sydney, the Easybeats signed with Parlophone in 1965, and hit the top of the Australian charts with their second single. From that point on, the Easybeats were the # 1 band in the country, cranking out hit after hit, including Sorry from 1966. Like all the band's Australian hits, Sorry was written by the team of vocalist Stevie Wright and guitarist George Young. The day after Sorry was released as a single, the Easybeats relocated to London. At around the same time lead guitarist Harry Vanda replaced Wright as Young's primary writing partner; together they wrote the international smash Friday On My Mind. The Easybeats continued to record into the early 70s, but with only moderate success. Eventually most of the band members returned to Australia; Wright to embark on a successful solo career and Vanda and Young to form a group called Flash And The Pan. A few years later, George Young helped his younger brothers Angus and Malcolm find success with their own band, AC/DC.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: Fire Engine
Source: CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Label: Collectables (original label: International Artists)
In the summer of 1971 the band I was in, Sunn, did a cover of Black Sabbath's War Pigs as part of our regular repertoire. For the siren effect at the beginning of the song we used our voices, which always elicited smiles from some of the more perceptive members of the audience. Listening to Fire Engine, from The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, has the same effect on me, for pretty much the same reason. The main difference is that the Elevators actually did it with the tape rolling on one of their own original songs, something Sunn never got the opportunity to do.
Title: I Gotta Move
Source: Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s): Rich La Bonte
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2017
In 1965, most bands in the upstate New York area were inspired mainly by the Beatles, and made their living doing cover songs of various British Invasion bands, particularly those with hits on the charts. And then along came the Huns, a group formed in Ithaca, NY by longtime schoolmates Frank Van Nostrand (bass) and John Sweeney (organ). Both Sweeney and Van Nostrand favored the harder-edged British Invasion bands like the Rolling Stones and the Kinks, and set about finding like-minded individuals on the Ithaca College campus. The first member recruited for the new band was vocalist Rich La Bonte, who brought a Mick Jagger like swagger and his own material, including I Gotta Move. Filling out the band were Buz Warmkessel and drummer Dick Headley. The Huns, who by then had replaced Headley with Steve Dworetz and added rhythm guitarist Keith Ginsberg, made their only studio recordings on March 10, 1966 at Ithaca College's experimental TV studios in downtown Ithaca. Less than three months later the Huns were history, thanks in large part to Van Nostrand and Sweeney being asked by the college dean to pursue their academic careers elsewhere.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Flying On The Ground Is Wrong
Source: CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s): Neil Young
It's a fact: the people at Atco Records thought Neil Young's voice was "too weird" to record, and insisted that fellow Buffalo Springfield member Richie Furay sing his songs instead of Young himself. Among the Young tunes sung by Furay on the first Buffalo Springfield album is Flying On The Ground Is Wrong. By the time the band got around to recording a second LP things had changed a bit and Young sang his own material.
Artist: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title: Oh, Pretty Woman
Source: LP: Crusade
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers were, in one sense, a training ground some for Britain's most talented blues musicians, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Mick Taylor and Keef Hartley, all of which went on to greater fame as either members of popular bands (Cream, Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones) or as leaders of their own groups. Following the departure of Clapton, the band recruited Taylor to take over lead guitar duties for the 1967 album Crusade, which also featured McVie on bass and Hartley on drums. This lineup would only last for one album, as the next incarnation of the band would feature Fleetwood on drums and Green on guitar.
Title: The Ostrich
Source: Canadian CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s): John Kay
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Although John Kay's songwriting skills were still a work in progress on the first Steppenwolf album, there were some outstanding Kay songs on that LP, such as The Ostrich, a song that helped define Steppenwolf as one of the most politically savvy rock bands in history.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s): Joe and Willie Chambers
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.