Sunday, January 13, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1903 (starts 1/14/19)



    This time around we have several progressions through the years, a 1967 set and an entire half hour of 1968 tracks, including Procol Harum's landmark progressive psychedelic piece In Held Twas In I, from their Shine On Brightly album. We also have another Advanced Psych segment featuring, once again, a track from the new Ace Of Cups album. This time, though, it's a tune featuring several guest musicians, including a guy named Bob Weir who provides lead vocals and guitar for a tune penned by the Ace Of Cups. It all starts, appropriately enough, with the 1964 demo of a song that would eventually sum up the entire San Francisco scene.

Artist:    Dino Valenti
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer(s):    Chet Powers (Dino Valenti)
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1964, released 2007
    At first glance this version of Let's Get Together could be mistaken for a cover tune. In reality, though, Dino Valenti was one of several aliases used by the guy who was born Chester Powers. Perhaps this was brought on by his several encounters with the law, most of which led to jail time. By all accounts, Valenti was one of the more bombastic characters on the San Francisco scene. The song was first commercially recorded by Jefferson Airplane in 1966, but it wasn't until 1969, when the 1967 Youngbloods version was re-released with the title shortened to Get Together, that the song became a major hit.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using some of the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and the rest is history.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    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 from their record label, 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 the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Velvet Illusions
Title:    Acid Head
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weed/Radford
Label:    Rhino (original label: Metromedia, also released on Tell Records)
Year:    1967
    Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut this lone single, Acid Head, before calling it quits.

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Down On Me
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Joplin In Concert)
Writer:     Trad. Arr. Joplin
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1968
     Big Brother And The Holding Company's first album, featuring the single Down On Me, was recorded in 1967 at the studios of Mainstream Records, a medium-sized Chicago label known for its jazz recordings. At the time, Mainstream's engineers had no experience with a rock band, particularly a loud one like Big Brother, and vainly attempted to clean up the band's sound as best they could. The result was an album full of bland recordings sucked dry of the energy that made Big Brother and the Holding Company one of the top live attractions of its time. Luckily we have this live recording made in early 1968 and released in 1972 that captures the band at their peak, before powerful people with questionable motives convinced singer Janis Joplin that the rest of the group was (ahem) holding her back.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    The Windmills Of Your Mind
Source:    LP: Rock And Roll (mono promo copy)
Writer(s):    Bergman/Bergman/Legrand
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Vanilla Fudge all but abandoned their early practice of slowing down and psychedelicizing pop tunes after their first LP, but by their fifth album, Rock and Roll, they were at it again, as this revisioning of The Windmills Of Your Mind (a US hit for Dusty Springfield and an even bigger UK hit for Noel Harrison) shows.

Artist:    Bloodrock
Title:    Castle Of Thoughts
Source:    CD: Bloodrock
Writer(s):    Rutledge/Pickens
Label:    One Way/Cema Special Markets (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    Formed in Fort Worth, Texas in 1963 as the naturals, Bloodrock went through several personnel and at least one name change (to Crowd+1) before being discovered by Grand Funk Railroad producer Terry Knight in 1969. Knight (who came up with hte name Bloodrock) signed the band to Capitol Records, releasing their first self-titled LP in 1970. Although seldom singled out by reviewers, Castle Of Thoughts, the second track on that album, found its way onto the B side of two different singles in 1972, including a reissue of Bloodrock's best-known song, D.O.A.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    One Of These Days
Source:    CD: Meddle)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Gilmour/Mason
Label:    Pink Floyd Records (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1971
    In their early years Pink Floyd was a band that was talked about more than heard, at least in the US. That began to change with the release of their 1971 LP Meddle and its opening track, One Of These Days, which got a significant amount of airplay on progressive FM radio stations.
   
Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: More Of The Monkees
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    Everyone associated with the Monkees project in 1966 agreed that one of their top priorities was to get a lot of songs recorded for use on the TV show, which was set to premier in September of that year. A dozen of these songs were then selected for inclusion on the first Monkees album, released on the heels of the hit single Last Train To Clarksville. Two more songs that had not been included on the LP were picked for the next single, I'm A Believer. At this point everyone was still on the same page, but that was about to change. The Monkees had been told that they were be making the second Monkees LP themselves as a band, but early in 1967 a new album appeared on the racks: More Of The Monkees. The band, however, which had been touring to promote the first album and TV show, were unaware of the existence of More Of The Monkees until after it had been released. They were understandably unhappy with the album, which was made up of tracks recorded for the TV show, but not intended for release on vinyl. This was the beginning of the end for musical director Don Kirshner's association with the group (he would be fired when he tried to pull the same crap with the band's third single). Nonetheless, the album was a huge hit, and did include a pair of songs written and produced by the band's de facto leader, Michael Nesmith. One of the two songs was Mary Mary, a tune recorded in July of 1966 featuring Mickey Dolenz on lead vocals. That same month, the Butterfield Blues Band also recorded Mary Mary, releasing it on their landmark album East-West in August of 1966. No songwriting credits were included on East-West, leading Butterfield fans to believe the Monkees' version was a cover, when in reality it was one of their few original compositions to appear under Kirshner's supervision. Incidentally, the lead guitar part on the Monkees version of Mary Mary was not played by Nesmith or the band's other guitarist, Peter Tork. Rather, it is the work of one of L.A.'s top studio musicians, Glen Campbell, who would become a major star as a solo artist in the 1970s.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    The Drifter
Source:    Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft: H. P. Lovecraft/H. P. Lovecraft II (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft)
Writer(s):    Travis Edmonson
Label:    Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Markets (original label: Philips)
Year:    1967
    Everyone acknowledges Chicago as the home of electric blues, but few realize that they also had an underground psychedelic scene in the late 1960s as well. Perhaps the most successful band to emerge from this scene was H.P. Lovecraft, named for the early 20th century author. The band itself was one of the most eclectic bands of the psychedelic era, a trait that probably prevented them from attaining any major commercial success. Still, their two albums, released in 1967 and 1968, are now considered classics. The first LP was made up mostly of cover versions of folk-rock songs like The Drifter, written by Travis Edmonson (half of the duo of Bud & Travis). The Lovecraft version of The Drifter features harmony vocals from guitarist George Edwards (himself a veteran solo artist, having recorded a cover of Norwegian Wood for the Dunwich label) and classically-trained keyboardist Dave Michaels. Another notable member of H.P. Lovecraft was rhythm guitarist Jerry McGeorge, who had been a member of the Shadows Of Knight.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Levitation
Source:    British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The first album by the 13th Floor Elevators has long been considered a milestone, in that it was one of the first truly psychedelic albums ever released (and the first to actually use the word "psychedelic" in the title). For their followup LP, the group decided to take their time, going through some personnel changes in the process. Still, the core membership of Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall and Stacy Sutherland held it together long enough to complete Easter Everywhere, releasing the album in 1967. The idea behind the album was to present a spiritual vision that combined both Eastern and Western religious concepts in a rock context. For the most part, such as on tracks like Levitation, it succeeds remarkably well, considering the strife the band was going through at the time.
    
Artist:    Mamas And The Papas
Title:    California Dreamin'
Source:    LP: If You Believe Your Eyes And Ears (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John and Michelle Phillips
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1965
    California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John and Michelle Phillips, who were living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Four Until Late
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Robert Johnson
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    By the time Cream was formed, guitarist Eric Clapton had already established himself as one of the best guitarists in the world. He had not, however, done much singing, as the bands he had worked with all had strong vocalists: Keith Relf with the Yardbirds and John Mayall with the Bluesbreakers. With Cream, however, Clapton finally got a chance to do some vocals of his own. Most of these are duets with bassist Jack Bruce, who handled the bulk of Cream's lead vocals. Clapton did get to sing lead on a few Cream songs, however. One of the earliest ones was the band's updated version of Robert Johnson's Four Until Late, from the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Riot On Sunset Strip
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released on LP: Riot On Sunset Strip soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Valentino/Fleck
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Anyone who doubts just how much influence bands like the Standells had on the punk-rock movement of the late 1970s need only listen to the 1967 title track from the movie Riot On Sunset Strip. The track sounds like it could have been an early Ramones recording. The song itself (and the movie) were based on a real life event. Local L.A. business owners had been complaining about the unruliness and rampant drug usage among the teens hanging out in front of the various underage clubs that had been springing up on Sunset Strip in the wake of the success of the Whisky-A-Go-Go, and in late 1966 the Los Angeles Police Department was called in to do something about the problem. What followed was a full-blown riot which ultimately led to local laws being passed that put many of the clubs out of business and severely curtailed the ability of the rest to make a profit. By 1968 the entire scene was a thing of the past, with the few remaining clubs converting to a more traditional over-21 approach.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Introduction
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released in US on LP: Chicago Transit Authority)
Writer(s):    Terry Kath
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    When living in Germany in 1969 I bought a copy of an album called Underground '70 in a local record store. The album itself was on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light and featured a variety of artists that had recently released albums in the US on the Columbia label (since the name Columbia was trademarked by EMI in Europe and the UK, US albums from the American Columbia label were released on the CBS label instead). The opening track of the album was appropriately called Introduction and was also the opening track of the first Chicago (Transit Authority) album. Written by guitarist Terry Kath, the piece effectively showcases the strengths of the band, both as an extremely tight ensemble and as individual soloists, with no one member dominating the song. Finally, in 2018, I couldn't resist the urge to track down a copy of Underground '70, purple vinyl and all. Thank you Internet.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Colour My World
Source:    CD: Chicago
Writer(s):    James Pankow
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    It may come as a surprise, but Colour My World, one of the most popular songs in the Chicago catalog, was never released as a single. The song originally appeared as part of Ballet For A Girl In Buchanon, a multi-part suite written by James Pankow and appearing on Chicago's self-titled second album in 1970. The first single from that album was Make Me Smile, the opening portion of the same suite, with Colour My World as the B side. Thanks in part to jukebox play, the song became a popular slow dance song and was often heard at weddings in the 1970s. It has also become a staple of various "lite" radio formats such as Adult Contemporary and Music Of Your Life. Vocals on the song were provided by guitarist Terry Kath.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Eleanor Rigby
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' Revolver album is usually cited as the beginning of the British psychedelic era, and with good reason. Although the band still had one last tour in them in 1966, they were already far more focused on their studio work than on their live performances, and thus turned out an album full of short masterpieces such as Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. As always, the song was credited to both McCartney and John Lennon, but in reality the only Beatle to appear on the recording was McCartney himself, and then only in a vocal capacity. The instrumentation consisted of simply a string quartet, arranged and conducted by producer George Martin. Released as a double-A-sided single, along with Yellow Submarine, the song shot to the upper echelons of the charts in nearly every country in the western world and remains one of the band's most popular and recognizable tunes.

Artist:    Ace Of Cups, featuring Bob Weir
Title:    The Well
Source:    CD: Ace Of Cups
Writer(s):    Kaufman/Mercy/Vitalich/Shae
Label:    High Moon
Year:    2018
    The Well actually dates back to the earliest days of Ace Of Cups, when it was, in the words of Denise Kaufman, "a holding place for a few lines we loved singing. They were like mantras, and the band would sing them over and over, harmonize them, explore different grooves-just playing." When Kaufman's old compatriot from the Merry Prankster days, Bob Weir, agreed to make a guest appearance on the 2018 Ace Of Cups album, The Well was dusted off and rearranged for him to not only sing, but also play lead guitar on. Indeed, the song sounds as if it was written with him in mind all along.

Artist:    Disreputable Few
Title:    Peace Pipe
Source:    CD: Ain't Who I Was
Writer(s):    Disreputable Few
Label:    Colonel
Year:    2017
    Credit for Peace Pipe, from the Disreputable Few CD Ain't Who I Was, has to go to our Associate Producer, Greg Cotterill. Greg's contacts in the music business, which far exceed my own, include Dennis McNally, who is closely associated with the Grateful Dead and their own circle of friends. Among that circle is a band called the Disreputable Few, which consists of Mark Tremalgia (guitar, slide guitar, dobro, vocals), Randy Ray Mitchell (guitar, slide guitar, keys, vocals), Paul Ill (bass, upright bass, keys, vocals) and Dan Potruch (drums, precussion). A few months ago I played Farmer Brown, a track recommended by Dennis himself. This time around I'm going with Peace Pipe, the track that most grabbed me the first time I listened to the entire album.

Artist:    Country Joe McDonald
Title:    Silent Rage
Source:    CD: 50
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rag Baby
Year:    2017
    Although it was originally intended to be released in 2015, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Country Joe McDonald's first recording, the album 50 ended up taking over two years to complete. As can be heard on tracks like Silent Rage, it was worth taking the extra time on. Like many of the tracks on 50, Silent Rage features the talents of the legendary Tubes drummer Prarie Prince, along with guitarist James DePrato, vocalist Diana Mangano and bassist Blair Hardman (who accompanied McDonald on his first recording, The Goodbye Blues, of which only a dozen or so copies were originally pressed).

Artist:    Mouse And The Traps
Title:    A Public Execution
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Henderson/Weiss
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Year:    1965
    It's easy to imagine some kid somewhere in Texas inviting his friends over to hear the new Bob Dylan record, only to reveal afterwards that it wasn't Dylan at all, but this band he heard while visiting his cousins down in Tyler. Speaking of cousins, A Public Execution was inspired by a misunderstanding concerning a cousin and a motorcycle ride. According to Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss, his fiancee actually broke up with him after getting word that Mouse had been seen giving an attractive girl a ride. It turned out the attractive girl in question was his cousin from across the state who had come for a visit, but by the time the truth came out Weiss and his band had their first of many regional hit records.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, a popular L.A. club band that boasted two talented songwriters, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. On the heels of their first album, which included the single My Little Red Book and one of the first recordings of the fast version of Hey Joe, came their most successful single, the manic 7&7 Is, released in July of 1966.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    3rd Stone From The Sun
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles Album (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for this classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced album. Many of the sounds heard on 3rd Stone From The Sun were made by superimposing a slowed down recording of the following conversation between Hendrix and producer Chas Chandler over the music:
    Hendrix :   Star fleet to scout ship, please give your position. Over.
    Chandler : I am in orbit around the third planet of star known as sun. Over.
    Hendrix :   May this be Earth? Over.
    Chandler : Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over.
    Hendrix :   I think we should take a look (Jimi then makes vocal spaceship noises).
    One of the more notable spoken lines that plays at normal speed on the recording, "To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again", was Hendrix's reaction to the news that famed surf guitarist Dick Dale had been diagnosed with a possible terminal case of colon cancer and was meant to encourage his friend's recovery. As heard on the 2007 album The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1966–1967, Hendrix's original overdub included two more sentences "That sounds like a lie to me. Come on, man; let's go home." that were not used on the final recording. As of 2018, Dick Dale was still alive and kicking and finally getting the recognition he deserves as the "King of the Surf Guitar." The train sequence at the end of 3rd Stone From The Sun, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Hoochie Coochie Man
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    A major driving force behind the renewed interest in the blues in the 1960s was the updating and re-recording of classic blues tunes by contempory rock musicians. This trend started in England, with bands like the Yardbirds and the Animals in the early part of the decade. By the end of the 60s a growing number of US bands were playing songs such as Hoochie Coochie Man, a tune originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954. Like Cream's Spoonful and Led Zeppelin's You Shook Me, Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willie Dixon. The 1968 Steppenwolf version of the song slows the tempo down a touch from the original version and features exquisite sustained guitar work from Michael Monarch.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Prodigal Son
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Robert Wilkins
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones always had a fondness for American roots music, but by 1967 had largely abandoned the genre in favor of more modern sounds such as pychedelia. The 1968 album Beggar's Banquet, however, marked a return to the band's own roots and included such tunes as Prodigal Son, which at first was credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In reality the song was written by the Reverend Robert Wilkins, and has since been acknowledged as such.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    In Held Twas In I
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer:    Brooker/Fisher/Reid
Label:    A&M/Rebound
Year:    1968
    Although the idea of grouping songs together as "suites" was first tried by Jefferson Airplane on their 1967 album After Bathing At Baxter's, Procol Harum's 17-minute long In Held Twas I, from their 1968 album Shine On Brightly, is usually cited as the first progressive rock suite. The title comes from the first word of each section of the piece that contains vocals (several sections are purely instrumental). The work contains some of the best early work from guitarist Robin Trower, who would leave the group a few years later for a solo career. Shine On Brightly was the last Procol Harum album to include organist Matthew Fisher, who came up with the famous opening riff for the group's first hit, A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1903 (starts 1/14/19)



    This week we do a bit of cherry picking from past shows, resulting in an episode of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion that flat out rocks.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Green-Eyed Lady
Source:    LP: Sugarloaf
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Phillips/Riordan
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1970
    The unwritten rules of radio, particularly those concerning song length, were in transition in 1970. Take Sugarloaf's Green-Eyed Lady, for example. When first released as a single the 45 was virtually identical to the album version except that it faded out just short of the six-minute mark. This was about twice the allowed length under the old rules and it was soon replaced with an edited version that left out all the instrumental solos, coming in at just under three minutes. The label soon realized, however, that part of the original song's appeal (as heard on FM rock radio) was its organ solo, and a third single edit with that solo restored became the final, and most popular, version of Green-Eyed Lady. Meanwhile, though all of this, FM rock jocks continued to play the original album version heard here. Smart move on their part.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers/Rhino
Year:    1970
    While feedback-laden bands like Blue Cheer are often credited with laying the foundations of what would come to be called heavy metal, Black Sabbath is generally considered to be the first actual heavy metal band. Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward didn't set out to create a whole new genre. They simply wanted to be the heaviest blues-rock band around. After seeing a movie marquee for an old Boris Karloff film called Black Sabbath and deciding that would make a good name for a band, however, the group soon began modifying their sound to more closely match their new name. The result was a debut album that would change the face of rock music forever. Probably the best known track on the Black Sabbath album is N.I.B., which closes out the LP's first side. Contrary to popular belief, N.I.B. is not a set of initials at all, but just the word nib done in capital letters with periods after each letter. According to Geezer Butler, who wrote the lyrics for N.I.B. "Originally it was Nib, which was Bill's beard. When I wrote N.I.B., I couldn't think of a title for the song, so I just called it Nib, after Bill's beard. To make it more intriguing I put punctuation marks in there to make it N.I.B. By the time it got to America, they translated it to Nativity In Black." On the album the song is preceded by a short bass solo from Butler, which in turn segues directly out of the previous track, Behind The Wall Of Sleep. For some reason (possibly to garner the group more royalties) Warner Brothers Records added extra song titles to the two tracks on the album cover and label to make them look like four separate pieces. The original British release, however, lists them as Behind The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    When You Dance I Can Really Love
Source:    CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Neil Young's first solo LP, released in 1968, was made up mostly of acoustic pieces, showcasing his songwriting abilities. His second LP, with Crazy Horse, emphasized Young's rockier side, with classics like Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl In The Sand and Down By The River. His third release, After The Gold Rush, attempted to strike a balance between the two. Probably the hardest-rocking tune of the album was When You Dance I Can Really Love, which was also released as a single, barely scraping the bottom reaches of the Hot 100. For some unknown reason, when After The Gold Rush was first issued on CD, the song was mistitled When You Dance You Can Really Love on the back cover, in the booklet and on the disc itself.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Wooden Ships
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s):    Crosby/Stills/Kantner
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Among the various legendary characters on the late 60s San Francisco music scene, none is more reviled than Matthew Katz. His mistreatment of It's A Beautiful Day is legendary. Just about every band he managed was desperate to get out of their contract with him, including Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane. In fact, it was because of the Airplane's fight to get out from under Katz's thumb that Paul Kantner did not get a writing credit for Wooden Ships on the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. David Crosby had this to say on the matter: "Paul called me up and said that he was having this major duke-out with this horrible guy who was managing the band, and he was freezing everything their names were on. 'He might injunct the release of your record,' he told me. So we didn’t put Paul’s name on it for a while. In later versions, we made it very certain that he wrote it with us. Of course, we evened things up with him with a whole mess of cash when the record went huge." Although Jefferson Airplane eventually won their battle with Katz, others weren't so fortunate. Katz's San Francisco Sound still owns the rights to recordings by Moby Grape and It's A Beautiful Day, which explains why it's so hard to find quality copies of those recordings these days. Anyone want to take a guess how much the surviving members of those bands receive in royalties from the CD reissues of their albums? (Hint: at least one member of Moby Grape was known to have been living under a bridge at one point).

Artist:    Yes
Title:    We Are Heaven/South Side Of The Sky
Source:    CD: Fragile
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    The fourth Yes album, Fragile, introduced the "classic" Yes lineup of John Anderson (vocals), Bill Bruford (drums), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass) and Rick Wakemen (keyboards), and features some of the band's best known songs. Four of the album's songs, including South Side Of The Sky, feature the entire band, while the remaining five tracks were contributed by the individual members. We Have Heaven, a multi-tracked Anderson solo piece, leads directly into South Side Of The Sky, and has a lyrical connection to the longer piece, as both songs address matters of mortality. South Side, according to new liner notes, is about a polar expedition that ends with the death of the entire party, with somewhat metaphorical references to mountain climbing as well. Anderson says the inspiration for the song's lyrics came from an article he read in which sleep was referred to as Death's little sister (of course Neil Gaiman fans know that Sleep is actually Death's little brother, not sister). Although the song is credited to Anderson and Squire, the basic guitar riff actually came from a composition played by Howe's previous band, Bodast, while the repeating piano arpeggio in the middle of the piece was provided by Wakeman.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Take Me To The Sunrise
Source:    LP: Blues Image
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Formed in Tampa, Florida, in 1966, Blues Image originally consisted of singer-guitarist Mike Pinera, singer-drummer Manuel "Manny" Bertematti, singer-percussionist Joe Lala, keyboardist Emilio Garcia, and bassist Malcolm Jones. They were later joined by keyboardist Frank "Skip" Konte when Emilio Garcia left the band to become a pilot. The band relocated to Miami in 1968, where they became the house band at the legendary club Thee Image. While performing at Thee Image, the members of Blues Image became friends with members of several bands that played there, including Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead. It was Hendrix that convinced them that a move to Los Angeles would be to their benefit, and sure enough the Blues Image landed a contract with Atco shortly after their arrival there. Their debut album, which starts off with the track Take Me To The Sunrise, was released in February of 1969. After two more albums and one hit single (Ride Captain Ride), Blues Image split up in 1970, although several of the band's members stayed active for many years. Joe Lala, for instance, got into acting, and was a regular on TV's Miami Vice.

Artist:    Aerosmith
Title:    Walking The Dog
Source:    CD: Aerosmith
Writer(s):    Rufus Thomas
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1973
    The last track on Aerosmith's eponymous debut LP is a cover of Rufus Thomas's biggest hit, Walking The Dog. Probably not coincidentally, the song was also covered by Aerosmith's idols, the Rolling Stones, on their own debut album.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Blind Eye
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Wishbone Ash
Label:    Decca
Year:    1970
    One of the first bands to feature two lead guitarists working in tandem, Wishbone Ash rose to fame as the opening act for Deep Purple in early 1970. After guitarist Andy Powell sat in with Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore during a sound check, Blackmore referred Wishbone Ash to MCA, the parent company of the US Decca label. The band's first LP came out in December of 1970, with Blind Eye becoming the band's first single. Although Wishbone Ash went on to become one of Britain's top rock bands of the 1970s, they were never as successful in the US, despite relocating to the states in 1973.

Artist:    Crow
Title:    Busy Day
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Weigand
Label:    Amaret
Year:    1969
    Crow started off as a Minneapolis band called South 40, a name they used until they began releasing records nationally in 1969. Their first LP, Crow Music, was released in 1969 and did fairly well on the charts, thanks in large part to the success of the song Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me), which made the top 20. The follow-up single, Cottage Cheese, was released in advance of their second album, Crow By Crow, in 1970. As no other tracks from that LP were available for the B side, a tune from Crow Music, Busy Day, that had been originally issued as the band's first single in 1969, was included instead. The song was written by bassist Larry Weigand, who had been listed as co-writer on both A sides.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Please Don't Worry
Source:    CD: Grand Funk
Writer(s):    Farner/Brewer
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Grand Funk Railroad bridged the gap from garage rock to heavy metal, almost single-handedly creating arena rock in the process. Their sound was as raw and unpolished as any garage band (at least at first) and the rock press universally detested them. Nonetheless, Mark Farner, Mel Schacher and Don Brewer struck a (power) chord with the concertgoing/record-buying public and was the first band to consistently play to sellout crowds at large-scale venues such as sports arenas. Grand Funk played loud; so loud, in fact, that it was impossible to hear anything but the band itself when they were playing (even your own screaming). Please Don't Worry, from Grand Funk Railroad's self-title second album (often referred to as the red album), is as typical an early Grand Funk song as you're going to find, with its driving power chords and screaming lead guitar solo and Mark Farner's distinctive barely-on-key vocals.

Artist:    Foghat
Title:    A Hole To Hide In
Source:    LP: Foghat (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Hole/Price/Peverett
Label:    Bearsville
Year:    1972
    When commercially recorded music first became available for public consumption there were two methods of delivery: disc records and cylinder records. Cylinder records, invented by Thomas Edison, were the first to hit the market, and were the main consumer format from the late 1880s until around 1910, when the disc format overtook cylinders in total sales. Edison's cylinders held one song apiece, which made it easy to measure the popularity of individual songs. Discs, however, were usually two-sided, with both songs on a record getting equal consideration. It wasn't until the 1950s that record companies began promoting one side (the A side) of a record over the other. This was mostly a result of general entertainment programs migrating from radio to TV, forcing radio stations to rely more on recorded music, which in turn led to the rise of top 40 radio. With the competition for airplay getting more intense as more records got made, B sides, as a general rule, were ignored by radio programmers, although there were exceptions, most notably on singles by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In the late 1960s, however, a new kind of radio station began to appear on the previously neglected FM band. These "underground" stations were not being run for profit (indeed, many were being used as a tax writeoff) and thus were more inclined to play B sides and album tracks. This trend continued into the mid-1970s, when FM became available to a larger number of consumers, and stations began to compete directly with their AM counterparts. These days, of course, there are no B sides, since most new music is available as downloads from the internet, one song at a time. Still, in the golden age of FM rock radio we got to hear songs like A Hole To Hide In, which was both an album track and the B side of Foghat's first hit, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1902 (starts 1/7/19)



    This week we have only one new song, and it is literally a brand new studio track from Ace Of Cups, the legendary all-female band that never made any studio recordings during the psychedelic era, despite being an essential element of the San Francisco music scene. The song Feel Good kicks off an all-Bay Area Advanced Psych segment in our second hour. Among the 28 other tracks on the show we have a Traffic set and quite a few tunes from 1968 that got squeezed out of our 1968 special a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:    Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the single version of the song) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock". Yeah, I write this stuff myself.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell, disheartened, dissillusioned and/or disgusted, eventually quit the music business altogether.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Daily Nightly
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.)
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock songs to feature a Moog synthesizer was the Monkees' Daily Nightly from the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD. Micky Dolenz, who had a reputation for nailing it on the first take but being unable to duplicate his success in subsequent attempts, was at the controls of the new technology for this recording of Michael Nesmith's most psychedelic song (he also sang lead on it). The Moog itself had been programmed by electronic music pioneer Paul Beaver especially for this recording.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Reverberation
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland/Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    From the original liner notes of The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators: "Reverberation is the root of all inability to cope with environment. Doubt causes negative emotions which reverberate and hamper all constructive thought. If a person learns and organizes his knowledge in the right way---with perfect cross-reference---he need not experience doubt or hesitation." Pretty heady stuff for the year that brought us the Monkees.

Artist:    Ban
Title:    Bye Bye
Source:    Mono British import CD: A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tony McGuire
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Brent)
Year:    1965
    One of the first garage bands signed to Bob Shad's Brent label was The Ban. Based in Lompoc, California, the Ban was led by guitarist/vocalist Tony McGuire, who also wrote the band's original material. The group released their first single, Bye Bye in late 1965, and for a while it looked like the Ban had a legitimate shot at fame. In early 1966, however, it all came crashing down when McGuire received his draft notice. The remainder of the band regrouped, first in Hollywood as the Now and later (after moving to San Francisco) the Tripsichord Music Box.
    
Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Coloured Rain
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Traffic, in its early days, was a band with an almost schizophrenic identity. On the one hand there was Steve Winwood, who was equally adept at guitar, keyboards and vocals and was generally seen as the band's leader, despite being its youngest member. His opposite number in the band was Dave Mason, an early example of the type of singer/songwriter that would be a major force in popular music in the mid-1970s. The remaining members of the band, drummer/vocalist Jim Capaldi and flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood, tended to fall somewhere between the two, although they more often sided with Winwood in his frequent creative disputes with Mason. One of these disputes involved the choice of the band's second single. Mason wanted to follow up the successful Paper Sun with his own composition, Hole In My Shoe, while the rest of the band preferred the group composition, Coloured Rain. Mason won that battle, but would end up leaving the band before the release 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:      Traffic
Title:     (Roamin' Through the Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:      CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:     1968
     In its original run, Traffic only released two full albums (and a third that consisted of non-LP singles, studio outtakes and live tracks). The second of these, simply titled Traffic, featured several memorable tunes, including (Roamin' Through the Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, a  Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi collaboration.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Heaven Is In Your Mind
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    For a time in the mid-1960s recording artists would actually make two mixes of each song on their albums, one in monoraul and one in stereo. Often the monoraul mix would have a brighter sound, as those mixes were usually made with AM radio's technical limitations in mind. In rare cases, the differences would be even more pronounced. Such is the case with Traffic's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. The two versions of Heaven Is In Your Mind differ not only in their mix but in the actual recording, as the mono mix features an entirely different guitar solo than the more familiar stereo mix heard here.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Season Of The Witch (2002 remix w/o horns)
Source:    CD: Super Session
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
            In 1968 Al Kooper, formerly of the Blues Project, formed a new group he called Blood, Sweat and Tears. Then, after recording one album with the new group, he promptly quit the band. He then booked studio time and called in his friend Michael Bloomfield (who had just left own his new band the Electric Flag) for a recorded jam session. Due to his chronic insomnia and inclination to use heroin to deal with said insomnia, Bloomfield was unable to record an entire album's worth of material, and Kooper called in another friend, Stephen Stills (who had recently left the Buffalo Springfield) to complete the project. The result was the Super Session album, which surprisingly (considering that it was the first album of its kind), made the top 10 album chart. One of the most popular tracks on Super Session was an extended version of Donovan's "Season of the Witch." Kooper initially felt that the basic tracks needed some sweetening, so he brought in a horn section to record additional overdubs. In 2003, Kooper revisited the original multi-track master tapes and created a new mix that restored the original performance. This is that mix.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Gypsy Eyes
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Among the many ways that Jimi Hendrix was an innovator was in his approach to studio recordings. Whereas previous artists had concentrated on their mono mixes, with the stereo versions often done almost as an afterthought, Hendrix instead saw stereo mixing as fertile ground for creative experimentation. By the time of Electric Ladyland he was doing only stereo mixes; the mono mix heard here is what is known as a "fold-down", a simple recombining of the two channels rather than a separate dedicated mix. It sounds kind of weird to me.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Beggar's Farm
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Parallels can be drawn between the early recordings of Jethro Tull and the American band Spirit. Both showed jazz influences that would for the most part disappear from later albums, but that helped both bands stand out from the pack on their respective debut albums. An example of this can be heard on the track Beggar's Farm, an Ian Anderson tune from the first Jethro Tull album This Was.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Source:    CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    If there was ever a band that illustrated just how bizarre the late 60s could be, it was the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Formed at a party (hosted by the ubiquitous Kim Fowley) by the sons of a noted orchestra conductor and a borderline pedophile with lots of money to burn, the band also included a talented but troubled lead guitarist from Denver and a multi-instrumentalist who would go on to become a highly successful record producer. As would be expected with such a disparate group, several members ended up quitting during the band's run; strangely enough, they all ended up returning to the band at one time or another. Their music was just as strange as their story, as the title track of their fourth album, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, illustrates vividly. Musically the song is powerful, almost anthemic, creating a mood that is immediately destroyed by a spoken bit (I hesitate to use the term "poetry") by the aforementioned borderline pedophile, Bob Markley, against a backdrop of a more subdued musical bed with background vocals somewhat resembling Gregorian chant. And just what words of wisdom does Markley have to share with us? Let me give you a small sample: "a vampire bat will suck blood from our hands, a dog with rabies will bite us, rats will run up your legs, but nothing will matter." Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the whole thing is that the piece was created without benefit of drugs, as all the members of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (except for lead guitarist Ron Morgan) were notoriously drug-free, itself the exception rather than the rule in late 60s Hollywood. Oddly enough, in spite of this (or maybe because of it), the track is actually quite fun to listen to. Besides, it only lasts two minutes and twenty seconds.

Artist:    Gods
Title:    Toward The Skies
Source:    British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in UK on LP: Genesis)
Writer(s):    Joe Konas
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    It was probably pretty pretentious for a band to call themselves the Gods, but when you consider that, at various times, the band's lineup included Greg Lake and  Mick Taylor (both future rock gods), as well as two future members of Uriah Heep, the claim somehow doesn't seem quite so outrageous. By the time their first album, Genesis, came out in 1968 both Taylor and Lake had moved on, but between guitarist/keyboardist Ken Hensley, drummer Lee Kerslake (the two aforementioned Heepsters), bassist John Glascock (who would eventually serve as Jethro Tull's bassist until his untimely death in 1979) and guitarist Joe Konas, who wrote the album's opening track, Toward The Skies, the Gods had talent to spare.

Artist:    Rockin' Ramrods
Title:    She Lied
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Linnane/Campisi
Label:    BFD (original label: Bon Bon)
Year:    1964
    The Rockin' Ramrods were one of Boston most popular bands in the mid-1960s. They were also among the most prolific, cutting several singles for various labels over a period of years. One of their most memorable tracks was She Lied, released in 1964. Ronn Campisi, who co-wrote She Lied, went on to have a moderately successful career as a professional songwriter.

Artist:    Ace Of Cups
Title:    Feel Good
Source:    LP: Ace Of Cups
Writer(s):    Kaufman/Shae
Label:    High Moon
Year:    2018
    Not every important band in late 60s San Francisco ended up being signed to a major record label. One of the most notable of these was Ace Of Cups, one of the first rock bands to have an all-female lineup. Like Quicksilver Messenger Service, whom they shared management with, Ace Of Cups had offers from labels as early as 1967, but wanted to hold out for the best deal. By 1968, however, they had decided that the touring schedule associated with a major record deal would be too disruptive of their personal lives, and one by one the original five members left the group to raise families. Now, over 50 years later, four of the members of Ace Of Cups have reunited to record their first studio album, a self-titled two disc set on the High Moon label. The opening track (and lead single) from the album is Feel Good, a song that had been in the band's repertoire as early as 1969, when the opened for Jefferson Airplane at the Seattle Civic Center. Written and sung by former Merry Prankster Denise Kaufman (known to the Pranksters as Mary Microgram), the tune also features lead guitar work from Mary Simpson, and drums by Diane Vitalich, with backup vocals by all the group members. Although Kaufman is the band's regular bassist, Feel Good features a guest appearance by the Airplane's Jack Casady, as well as organ work by Pete Sears.

Artist:    Romeo Void
Title:    I Mean It
Source:    LP: itsacondition
Writer(s):    Iyall/Zincavage/Woods/Bossi
Label:    415
Year:    1981
    Formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Deborah Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage, Romeo Void also included saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, guitarist Peter Woods, and a (shades of Spinal Tap!) succession of drummers. Their first LP, Itsacondition (sometimes referred to as It's A Condition) was released in 1981. I first ran across this album while doing a contemporary alternative rock show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque in the early 1980s. Although most of the album was fast-paced and punkish in nature, it was I Mean It, the haunting closing track from side one, that stood out from just about everything else that was happening musically at the time.

Artist:    Liquid Scene
Title:    Letterbox
Source:    CD: Revolutions
Writer(s):    Becki diGregorio
Label:    Ziglain
Year:    2014
    Letterbox comes from the San Francisco Bay area's Liquid Scene, led by multi-instrumentalist Bodhi (Becki diGregorio). What it comes down to is that their Revolutions CD is full of excellent tracks, so you can expect to hear more of this album on future editions of Advanced Psych on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Paperback Writer
Source:    CD: Past Masters Volume Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1966
    Following a successful 1965 that culminated with their classic Rubber Soul album, the Beatles' first single release of 1966 was the equally classic Paperback Writer. The song was as influential as it was popular, to the point that the coda at the end of the song inspired Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to write what would become the Monkees' first number one hit: Last Train To Clarksville.

Artist:    Who
Title:    I Can't Reach You
Source:    LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    One day during my freshman year of high school my friend Bill invited a bunch of us over to his place to listen to the new console stereo his family had bought recently. Like most console stereos, this one had a wooden top that could be lifted up to operate the turntable and radio, then closed to make it look more like a piece of furniture. When we arrived there was already music playing on the stereo, and Bill soon had us convinced that this new stereo was somehow picking up the British pirate radio station Radio London. This was pretty amazing since we were in Weisbaden, Germany, several hundred miles from England or its coastal waters that Radio London broadcast from. Even more amazing was the fact that the broadcast itself seemed to be in stereo, and Radio London was an AM station. Yet there it was, coming in more clearly than the much closer Radio Luxembourg, the powerhouse station that we listened to every evening, when they broadcast in a British top 40 format. Although a couple of us were a bit suspicious about what was going on, even we skeptics were convinced when we heard jingles, stingers, and even commercials for stuff like the Charles Atlas bodybuilding course interspersed with songs we had never heard, such as I Can't Reach You, that were every bit as good as any song being played on Radio Luxembourg. Well, as it turned out, we were indeed being hoaxed by Bill and his older brother, who had put on his brand new copy of The Who Sell Out when he saw us approaching the apartment building they lived in. I eventually picked up a copy of the album for myself, and still consider it one of the best Who albums ever made.

Artist:    Box Tops
Title:    Cry Like A Baby
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Penn/Oldham
Label:    Priority (original label: Mala)
Year:    1968
    The Box Tops' second top 5 single, Cry Like A Baby, was the result of an all-night songwriting session. The band's producer, Dan Penn, was under pressure from the record company to come up with a follow up hit to The Letter, and asked his friend Spooner Oldham for help writing a song. The session, though long, was unproductive, and the two decided to call it a night and have breakfast at a cafe across the street. During the course of the conversation, Oldham expressed his frustration, saying "I could just cry like a baby." Penn decided then and there that Cry Like A Baby would be the title of the song and by the time the left the restaurant they had the first verse written. When Box Tops vocalist Alex Chilton showed up later that morning the two songwriters played him a demo of the new tune that they had made and the rest is history.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    CD: Chronicle (originally released on LP: Willy And The Poor Boys and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Not bad for a song that was initially neglected by many radio stations in favor of its flip side, Down On The Corner.

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

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Remember A Day
Source:    CD: A Saucerful Of Secrets
Writer(s):    Rick Wright
Label:    EMI (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Trivia question: Which Pink Floyd album never made the US album charts? The answer:  A Saucerful Of Secrets, the band's second LP. Like the band's debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, A Saucerful Of Secrets was released on Capitol's tax-writeoff Tower subsidiary and received virtually no promotion from the label. By 1968 it was becoming increasingly clear that Syd Barrett was going off the deep end due to ongoing mental health issues exacerbated by heavy use of hallucinogenics and it's reasonable to assume the label expected to band to soon dissolve. After one performance where Barrett did nothing but stand and strum a single chord for the entire set the rest of the band made a decision to bring in Barrett's childhood friend David Gilmour as their new guitarist. In all likelihood this decision saved the band itself, as A Saucerful Of Secrets ended up being the only Pink Floyd album to include both Barrett and Gilmour. Meanwhile, other band members were stepping up their own contributions, Rick Wright's Remember A Day being a prime example.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft
Source:    CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Hutchings/Thompson
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Cotillion)
Year:    1968
    Fairport Convention has long been known for being an important part of the British folk music revival that came to prominence in the early 70s. Originally, however, the band was modeled after the folk-rock bands that had risen to prominence on the US West Coast from 1965-66. Their first LP was released in June of 1968, and drew favorable reviews from the UK rock press, which saw them as Britain's answer to Jefferson Airplane. One of the LP's highlights is It's Alright, It's Only Witchcraft, which features electric guitar work by Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol that rivals that of Jorma Kaukonen. This album was not initially released in the US. Two years later, following the success of Fairport Convention's later albums with vocalist Sandy Denny on the A&M label, the band's first LP (with Judy Dyble, known as much for her habit of knitting sweaters onstage as for her vocals) was given a limited release on Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary. This album should not be confused with the first Fairport Convention LP released in the US in 1969, which was actually a retitling of the band's second British album, What We Did On Our Holidays.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Bruton Town
Source:    LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    trad., arr. Cox/Jansch/McShee/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Sometimes the same term can mean entirely different things, depending on where you are. For example, in the US folk music of the 1960s brings to mind images of beatniks in coffee houses or maybe a group of friends singing around a campfire. In the UK, however, the primary image associated with folk music was that of being forced to learn a bunch of songs in school that were old when your grandparents were born. As a result, there was a certain resistance to folk music in general among British youth that took a bit of doing to overcome. Scotland's Donovan Leitch managed to do it by following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan, ignoring traditional tunes in favor of writing his own more socially-conscious material. A few others performed a mix of traditional folk and modern jazz with rock overtones and were moderately successful at it. In 1968 five of these modern traditionalists got together to form a folk/jazz/rock supergroup. Somehow, despite the massive amount of talent that John Renbourne, Burt Jansch, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Richard Thompson had between them, they managed to stay together for several years without letting their egos get in the way of the music. The result was a series of outstanding albums starting with their 1968 self-titled debut, which included their own arrangement of Bruton Town, a (you guessed it) traditional British folk tune.

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

Artist:     Bobby Fuller Four
Title:     Baby My Heart
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer:     Sonny Curtis
Label:     Rhino
Year:     Recorded 1966; released 2009.
     The Bobby Fuller Four perfected their blend of rock and roll and Tex-Mex in their native El Paso before migrating out to L.A. After scoring a huge hit with I Fought The Law, Fuller was found dead in his hotel room of unnatural causes. Baby My Heart, unreleased until 2009, is an indication of what might have been had Fuller lived long enough to establish himself further.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Cheryl's Going Home
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer(s):    Bob Lind
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    It's kind of odd to hear a cover of a Bob Lind B side on an album by a band known for its progressive approach to the blues, but that's exactly what Cheryl's Going Home is. They did a pretty nice job with it, too.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1902 (starts 1/7/19)



    This week we go to the show, sort of. We start off with a song that later became the title of a movie, followed by a song that, in its way, is a movie, and then catch a play. A little later we check out a tune from yet another movie before moving on to other things.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Song Remains The Same
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    The Song Remains The Same was originally meant to be an instrumental overture to open the band's fifth album, Houses Of The Holy. Vocalist Robert Plant, however, had different ideas, and added what has been called his tribute to world music, expressing a belief in music as a universal language. A couple of the track's original elements survived, however. The song still serves as the opening track for the album, and is still followed immediately by The Rain Song. The two were often performed in sequence at the band's concerts as well. The Song Remains The Same is also the name of Led Zeppelin's legendary concert film as well.

Artist:    David Crosby
Title:    Cowboy Movie
Source:    CD: If Only I Could Remember My Name
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although the plot is probably more suited to an episode of a TV Western than a feature-length film, David Crosby's Cowboy Movie is nonetheless an entertaining story. The song, a first person accounting of a disastrous encounter between a gang of train robbers and a "young Indian  girl", appeared on Crosby's first solo LP, If Only I Could Remember My Name, which was one of four solo albums released by the members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young following the success of the deja vu album.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Passion Play (side two)
Source:    LP: A Passion Play
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    Jethro Tull's fourth LP, Aqualung, was their commercial and critical breakthrough. Fans and critics alike hailed it as a concept album touching on the sensitive topic of religion. The problem was that none of the band members, particularly bandleader Ian Anderson, saw Aqualung as a concept album at all. Anderson's response was to pen Thick As A Brick, which he considered a parody of concept albums. Fans and critics, however, took the whole thing far more seriously than the band did. And that led to the 1973 album A Passion Play. This time Anderson and the band took the whole concept album thing seriously. In fact, they took the album (and themselves) too seriously for many people, and A Passion Play is now seen as the beginning of Jethro Tull's slow decline into the self-indulgent blandness that characterizes the band's later work. Still, listening to it over forty years later, there is a lot to be said in favor of side two of A Passion Play. It is no Thick As A Brick, but it's really not all that bad, either.

Artist:    National Lampoon
Title:    Mission: Improbable
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits Of The National Lampoon (originally released on LP: The Missing White House Tapes)
Writer(s):    Chevy Chase, possibly others as well
Label:    Uproar (original label: Banana/Blue Thumb)
Year:    1974
    The missing White House Tapes was originally released as a single on the Blue Thumb label in 1973. It was then expanded into a full-length album, featuring an array of young talent that would soon be associated with a new TV show called NBC Saturday Night (later retitled Saturday Night Live). Among those new talents was a young man named Chevy Chase, who provided several comedy bits for the album, including Mission: Improbable.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Got No Time For Trouble
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Bolin/Tesar
Label:    Atco
Year:    1974
    In 1974 the James Gang hired their fourth lead guitarist since the band was formed in 1969. That guitarist was Tommy Bolin, who had first come to national attention as a member of the Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr. Bolin co-wrote several of the tracks on his first album with the James Gang, Bang, including Got No Time For Trouble, which also was issued as the B side of the only single taken from Bang. Lead vocals on the song are by Roy Kenner, who had joined the James Gang shortly after the departure of the band's original guitarist/vocalist, Joe Walsh.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    Think
Source:    CD: Superfly
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Rhino (original label: Curtom)
Year:    1972
    Curtis Mayfield, who took over as lead vocalist of the Impressions following the departure of Jerry Butler in 1962, was also an accomplished guitarist with a style that influenced many other aspiring guitarists of the time, including a young Jimi Hendrix. Although Mayfield's 1972 soundtrack album for the film Superfly (an album that actually outperformed the film itself commercially) is mostly made up of the kind of hard funk heard on Freddie's Dead and the album's title track, Mayfield's guitar work is showcased on the slow instrumental Think, the next to last track on the LP.

Artist:    Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina
Title:    House At Pooh Corner
Source:    LP: Sittin' In
Writer(s):    Kenny Loggins
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The most successful duo of the early 1970s was formed pretty much by accident. Jim Messina, following the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, was working as a staff producer for Columbia Records when he met singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins, then recording for the Dunhill label with little commercial success. Messina helped Loggins get signed to Columbia and was slated to produce his first LP for the label. A guitarist himself, Messina ended up contributing heavily to the album, to the point that Loggins decided to call the album Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. Following the release of the album in 1971 Columbia president Clive Davis observed that the two had strong chemistry and advised them to take advantage of the situation and become an official duo. They did, and Loggins And Messina was born. One of the most enduring tracks on that first album was House At Pooh Corner, which was inspired by A.A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh. The tune was one of several Loggins compositions that had appeared the previous year on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's album Uncle Charlie And His Dog Teddy.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Gimme Shelter
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    Following a strong positive reaction, both critically and commercially, to their 1968 album Beggar's Banquet album, the Rolling Stones showed that they were around to stay with the follow up LP, Let It Bleed. The album starts off with Gimme Shelter, an anthemic song on a par with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Woman. In addition to some of the band's most powerful lyrics (including the repeated line "Rape, murder! It's just a shot away! It's just a shot away!") the tune features prominent guest vocals from Merry Clayton, who reported was called in by producer Jack Nitzsche at around midnight to add her part during the mixdown phase. Gimme Shelter was the first Rolling Stone song to feature Keith Richards using open tuning rather than the standard EADGBE tuning.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Castles Made Of Sand
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/MCA
Year:    1967
    When I was a junior in high school I used to fall asleep on the living room couch with the headphones on, usually listening to pre-recorded tapes of either the Beatles' Revolver album or one of the first two albums by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. One song in particular from the second Hendrix album, Axis: Bold As Love, always gave me a chill when I heard it: Castles Made Of Sand. The song serves as a warning not to put too much faith in your dreams, either good or bad.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Love Is The Answer
Source:    CD: Open
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Blues Image started off in Tampa, Florida, but soon relocated to Miami, where they soon became the house band for the legendary club Thee Image. They moved out to Los Angeles in 1969, where they developed a following that included several prominent musicians, including guitarist Jimi Hendrix. It was Hendrix that pointed out to the band that they did great arrangements on other people's material but that their own tunes were lacking a certain flair. The solution, it turned out, was to set their own compositions aside for a time, then revist them, treating them the same way they would someone else's songs. Apparently it worked, as can be heard on songs like Love Is The Answer, the powerful opening track for their second LP, Open.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1901 (starts 12/31/18)



    I recently realized that, between Stuck in the Psychedelic Era and Rockin' in the Days of Confusion, HermitRadio has produced over 1000 hours' worth of shows featuring music covering roughly a dozen years since starting syndication in 2010. An yet, for all that, there are still tons of really good songs from the years 1964-1976 that have yet to make an appearance on either show. In fact, this week alone we have 12 "new" tunes between the two shows, including half a dozen in the second hour of this show. The first half of that second hour, incidentally, is a bit of an experiment. I've always tried to maintain a balance between the familiar and the obscure, between album tracks, singles and B sides and between various genres such as garage-rock, folk-rock, blues-rock, etc. This time around, though, we have an entire seven-song set of obscurities, including two from bands that have never been heard on the show before (followed by two highly recognizable hit singles; I'm not THAT crazy). Let me know how this works for you. First though, a British set, a California set and a trip from 1965 to 1971, one year at a time.


Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Eleanor Rigby
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' Revolver album is usually cited as the beginning of the British psychedelic era, and with good reason. Although the band still had one last tour in them in 1966, they were already far more focused on their studio work than on their live performances, and thus turned out an album full of short masterpieces such as Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. As always, the song was credited to both McCartney and John Lennon, but in reality the only Beatle to appear on the recording was McCartney himself, and then only in a vocal capacity. The instrumentation consisted of simply a string quartet, arranged and conducted by producer George Martin. Released as a double-A-sided single, along with Yellow Submarine, the song shot to the upper echelons of the charts in nearly every country in the western world and remains one of the band's most popular and recognizable tunes.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, Their Satanic Majesties Request was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although Cream's music was generally heard on progressive rock FM radio, they did have a couple of songs that crossed over onto AM top 40 radio as well. The second of these was White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition that leads off the band's third LP, Wheels Of Fire.

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)
Year:    1966
    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:    Byrds
Title:    Thoughts And Words
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
     In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter, including Thoughts And Words, on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.

Artist:        Randy Newman
Title:        Last Night I Had A Dream
Source:      Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Randy Newman
Label:        Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:        1968
        Randy Newman has, over the course of the past fifty-plus years, established himself as a Great American Writer of Songs. His work includes dozens of hit singles (over half of which were performed by other artists), nearly two dozen movie scores and eleven albums as a solo artist. Newman has won five Grammys, as well as two Oscars and Three Emmys. Last Night I Had A Dream was Newman's second single for the Reprise label  (his third overall), coming out the same year as his first LP, which did not include the song.

Artist:     Doors
Title:     People Are Strange
Source:     LP: Strange Days (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     The Doors
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The first single from the second Doors album was People Are Strange. The song quickly dispelled any notion that the Doors might be one-hit wonders and helped establish the band as an international act as opposed to just another band from L.A. The album itself, Strange Days, was a turning point for Elektra Records as well, as it shifted the label's promotional efforts away from their original rock band, Love, to the Doors, who ironically had been recommended to the label by the members of Love.

Artist:     Beach Boys
Title:     Let's Go Away For Awhile
Source:     45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Pet Sounds)
Writer:     Brian Wilson
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1966
     Although the Beach Boys are known primarily as a vocal group, their catalog is sprinkled with occassional instrumental pieces, usually featuring the youngest Wilson brother, Carl, on lead guitar. By 1966, however, the band was using studio musicians extensively on their recordings. This was taken to its extreme on the Pet Sounds album with the tune Let's Go Away For Awhile, which was made without the participation of any of the actual band members (except composer/producer Brian Wilson, who said at the time that the track was the most satisfying piece of music he had ever made). To give the song even greater exposure, Wilson used the track as the B side of the band's next single, Good Vibrations.

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

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Can't Explain
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols/Fleckenstein
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    Love's original lineup consisted of bandleader Arthur Lee on vocals, Johnny Echols on lead guitar, John Fleckenstein on bass and Don Conka on drums, with Lee, a prolific songwriter, providing the band's original material. They soon added Bryan MacLean, a young singer/songwriter/guitarist who gave up his traveling gig as a roadie for the Byrds to join Love. Before they completed their first album, however, Fleckenstein and Conka had been replaced by Ken Forssi and Snoopy Pfisterer, although Lee himself provided most of the drums and some of the bass tracks on the LP. Two of the tracks on the album, however, are rumored to have been performed by the original five members, although this has never been verified. One of those tracks is Can't Explain, on which Fleckenstein has a writing credit. The song is certainly one of the band's earliest recordings and captures Love's hard-edged "L.A.-in" take on folk-rock.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Lazy Day
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Although known mostly for being pioneers of baroque-rock, the Left Banke showed that they could, on occassion, rock out with the best of them on tracks like Lazy Day, which closed out their only LP. The song was also issued as the B side of their second hit, Pretty Ballerina. Incidentally, after the success of their first single, Walk Away Renee, the band formed their own publishing company for their original material, a practice that was fairly common then and now. Interestingly enough, they called that company Lazy Day Music.

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    Mony Mony
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    James/Gentry/Cordell/Bloom
Label:    Priority (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1968
    Sometime around 1964, a high school kid named Tommy James took his band, the Shondells, into a recording studio to record a simple song called Hanky Panky. The song was released on the Roulette label and went absolutely nowhere. Two years later a Pittsburgh DJ, looking for something different to make his show stand out from the crowd, decided to dig out a copy of the record and play it as a sort of on-air audition. The audience loved it, and the DJ soon contacted James, inviting him and the Shondells to make a personal appearance. Unfortunately by this time there were no Shondells, so James hastily put together a new band to promote the record. It wasn't long before the word spread and Hanky Panky was a national hit. James and his new Shondells then commenced to pretty much single-handedly keep Roulette Records afloat for the next three or four years with songs like their 1968 jukebox favorite Mony Mony, one of many top 10 singles for the band.

Artist:      Fairport Convention
Title:     Tam Lin
Source:      LP: Leige and Leaf
Writer(s):    Trad. arr. Swarbuck
Label:     A&M
Year:     1969
     Fairport Convention was hailed as England's answer to Jefferson Airplane when they first appeared. As Tam Lin, from their 1969 album Leige And Lief shows, they soon established a sound all their own. Sandy Denny, heard here on lead vocals, is probably best known to US audiences for her backup vocals on Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore from their fourth LP.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
Source:    CD: Beginnings (originally released on LP: Idlewild South)
Writer(s):    Gregg Allman
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    It's hard to believe now, but it took a while for the Allman Brothers band to become popular outside of the southern US. It wasn't until their second LP, Idlewild South, that rock radio began to take notice of the band, which was at the time based in Macon, Georgia. The album title itself came from an inside joke that the band's house was so busy it was like New York's Idlewild airport (the original name of what is now Kennedy International), but further south. Don't Keep Me Wonderin' is probably the most R&B sounding track the band ever recorded, and in a sense harkens back to Gregg Allman's previous band, the Hour Glass.

Artist:    Full Tilt Boogie Band
Title:    Buried Alive In The Blues
Source:    CD: The Pearl Sessions (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Writer(s):    Nick Gravenites
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Full Tillt Boogie Band was formed in the late 60s as a side project by New York studio guitarist John Till. All the members, including Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson were Canadian citizens, mostly hailing from the province of Ontario. In 1969, Till, along with several other studio musicians, were tapped to become Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band, backing up the vocalist on her solo debut album. Joplin, however, was not entirely comfortable with all the members of this new band, and after the album itself got mostly negative reviews from critics and fans alike, Joplin decided to disband the group, keeping only Till. Till then convinced her to use the Full Tilt Boogie Band (dropped the second "L" in Tillt) for her next album, Pearl. The new combo started touring in the spring of 1970, beginning work on the album itself that September. At the time of Joplin's sudden death on October 4, 1970, the band had completed all the basic tracks for the album; only one song, Buried Alive In The Blues, lacked a usable vocal track. Although Nick Gravenites, the Electric Flag veteran who had written the tune, offered to provide vocals for the track, the band decided to keep it an instrumental instead.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Source:    Mono CD: The Very Best Of Otis Redding (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Redding/Cropper
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Volt)
Year:    1968
    Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, co-written by legendary MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was released shortly after the plane crash that took the lives of not only Redding, but several members of the Bar-Kays as well. Befoe his death Redding played it for his wife, who reacted by saying "Otis, you're changing." Redding's reply was "maybe I need to."

Artist:    Vipers
Title:    Time
Source:    Simulated stereo CD: Lost Souls-Volume 4
Writer(s):    Vipers
Label:    Psych Of The South
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2013
    Imagine an entire band dressed in white leotards and face paint, with diamond shapes sewn into the costumes and teardrops and stars on their face. Sounds like a European predecessor to Kiss, doesn't it? It actually happened in 1967 in St. Louis, Missouri, to a band originally called the Vipers, but recently renamed the Harlequin Vipers. As you can imagine, the concept did not go over well, especially with the band members themselves, who split up the band rather than subject themselves to any more humiliation from their manager. How did this come about? The Vipers themselves had been formed when the members were still in high school in the small community of Mountain Home, Arkansas. By 1965 they were playing various venues in the area when they were discovered by Memphis promoter Chip Moman, who saw them playing a Jaycees Water Carnival show while he was vacationing on Lake Norfolk that summer. He invited the band to come to American Artists Studio in Memphis, but ultimately decided not to record the group. Undaunted, the Vipers returned home and cut their own demo tape using an RCA mixer and a Sears reel to reel tape recorder on February 12, 1966. The song Time was one of the Vipers originals recorded at that time. The band eventually came to the attention of Harold Koplar, owner of an upscale lodge in Ozark, Missouri, where he booked them as the opening act for Guy Lombardo and Frank Sinatra, Jr., among others. Deciding that the band needed a gimmick, he came up with the whole harlequin bit and set them up to host a novelty variety show on his TV station, KPLR in St. Louis, Mo. Before the show got off the ground, the band quit and returned home, performing a few more times before hanging up the leotards for good in early 1968 following a disastrous gig in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Artist:    Vaqueros
Title:    Echo
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Weld/Heath/Corona
Label:    Audition
Year:    1964
    Try as I might, I can't find any info on the Vaqueros other than the fact they were from the Rochester, NY area. They recorded only one single, the instrumental Echo, in 1964.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    A Walk In The Sun
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    Trivia fact: the members of the Turtles had to get their parents to sign permission slips before they could record their debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. Yep, they were that young when they scored their first top 10 single in 1965. With that in mind, it might be come as a surprise that vocalist Howard Kaylan had already written a few songs, including A Walk In The Sun, that were included on the album itself. The band, formed when all the members were still in high school, had been known prior to 1965 as the Crossfires, playing mostly surf music. They were the first, and most successful, artists signed to the Los Angeles based White Whale label.

Artist:    Tim Hardin
Title:    How Can We Hang On To A Dream
Source:    Mono LP: Tim Hardin I
Writer(s):    Tim Hardin
Label:    Verve Folkways
Year:    1966
    One of the forerunners of the singer-songwriter movement of the early 70s was Tim Hardin, who was probably best known for writing If I Were a Carpenter, a hit for Bobby Darin on the pop charts and later for Johnny Cash and June Carter on the country charts. His debut album for Verve Folkways was released in 1966, and was filled with similar songs such as How Can We Hang On To A Dream.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    A Sunny Summer Rain
Source:    Mono LP: I Can't Make A Friend 1965-1968 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sommer/Pappaalardi
Label:    Light In The Attic (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Not many people outside of the New York (city) area ever heard of the Vagrants. This is a shame, since their influence was greater than their fame. The group consisting of Peter Sabatino on vocals, harmonica, and tambourine, Leslie Weinstein on vocals and guitar, his brother Larry on vocals and bass guitar, Jerry Storch (also known as Jay Storch) on organ, and Roger Mansour on drums, were the first to do slowed down, heavier versions of current pop hits, a technique "borrowed" by fellow Long Island band Vanilla Fudge to great success. The Vagrants, however, never recorded an entire album, although they did release a series of singles on the Atco label from 1966 to 1968. The limitations of the single format, however, forced the band to concentrate on shorter, less experimental tracks, although some of them, such as the 1967 release A Sunny Summer Rain, show at least a glimpse of the band's true style. Eventually, though, the group called it quits, although the story does not quite end there. Following the breakup of the Vagrants, guitarist Leslie Weinstein changed his name to Leslie West, and along with the band's producer, Felix Pappalardi, recorded a solo LP for the Windfall label, which led to the formation of Mountain in 1969. Following a well-received appearance at the Woodstock festival, Mountain went on to become one of the more successful bands of the early 1970s.

Artist:    Ohio Express
Title:    Turn To Straw
Source:    LP: Ohio Express
Writer(s):    Jim Pfahler
Label:    Buddah
Year:    1968
    The story of the Ohio Express is one of the most convoluted tales in the history of pop music. It starts with a band called the Rare Breed that recorded a song called Beg, Borrow And Steal for Jerry Kasenetz's and Jeffrey Katz's Super K Productions, releasing it on the Attack label in 1966. The record was not a hit, and after a failed second single the band parted company with Super K, never to record again (at least not as Rare Breed). In August of 1967 Kazenetz and Katz remixed the original recording of Beg, Borrow and Steal and released it on the Cameo label under the name Ohio Express (which was wholly owned by Super K Productions). This time the song was a success, hitting the # 1 spot in Columbus, Ohio in early September. With the song starting to climb the national charts, Super K needed a band called the Ohio Express to promote the song with personal appearances and live performances. They hired a Mansfield, Ohio band called Sir Timothy And The Royals and renamed them Ohio Express (all the while maintaining ownership of the name). As the band was still based in Ohio, Kazenetz and Katz hired studio musicians to record the next Ohio Express single, a cover of the Standells' Try It that barely cracked the top 100. The first official Ohio Express album, Beg, Borrow And Steal, was released on the Cameo label in fall of 1967 that included a handful of songs recorded by the band itself as well as the above-mentioned singles and, oddly enough, a pair of songs actually recorded by a Kent, Ohio band called the Measles that was led by a young guitarist named Joe Walsh. The following year, following the demise of Cameo-Parkway, Kazenetz and Katz moved their entire operation over to Buddah Records, where they had great success as the purveyors of what soon came to be called "bubble gum" music. By then, songwriter Joey Levine had established a working relationship with Super K as both songwriter and vocalist, and from that point on was the lead vocalist on all the Ohio Express single releases, usually backed by studio musicians. The touring band, however, did provide a few tracks for the LPs released under the Ohio Express name, including songs like Turn To Straw, which was written by keyboardist Jim Pfahler and included on the first Ohio Express album for the Buddah label in 1968.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Violent Rose
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Herron/Whetstone
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the original lineup of the Electric Prunes was a distant memory. The band's name, however, was still in use, thanks to the fine print on the original contract that gave the ownership of the name Electric Prunes to the band's manager. A Canadian band called the Collectors was brought in to help with the group's third LP, 1968's Mass In F Minor, when it became clear that the complex David Axelrod score was beyond the abilities of the original Prunes (only one of which could read music), but even that group had moved on (to become Chilliwack) by the time Violent Rose was released as a B side in 1969. One of the more notable musicians appearing on Violent Rose is guitarist Ron Morgan, who by then had severed ties with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.
       
Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    For Your Love
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's fist US hit, peaking at the # 6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at # 3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    Mono European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Kicks may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top five years later.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Too Much On My Mind
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    Face To Face, released in 1966, was the first Kinks album to consist entirely of songs written by Ray Davies. The making of the album was not without difficulties; there were clashes between the band and Pye Records over the format of the album, with the band wanting to use sound effects to bridge the gaps between tracks and the label wanting a more standard banding of each track as a separate entity (the label won) and Davies himself suffered a nervous breakdown just as recording sessions for the album got under way. In addition, bassist Peter Quaife actually quit the band shortly before recording sessions for the album started, but returned in time to play on most of the tracks, including the gentle balled Too Much On My Mind. 

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    D.C.B.A.-25
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was the highly listenable D.C.B.A.-25 from Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner said later that the title simply referred to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here].

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Everybody's Next One
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Kay/Mekler
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    We all knew someone in high school who made no distinction between making love and having sex. We also knew people who would take advantage of that person, usually bragging about it to their friends afterward. Thus was the stage set for the B side of Steppenwolf's 1968 hit single Born To Be Wild. Everybody's Next One, written by Steppenwolf's lead vocalist, John Kay and producer Gabriel Mekler, originally appeared on the band's debut LP.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Cloud Nine
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown Yesteryear (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1968
    Motown's psychedelic soul producers were Barrett Strong (whose song Money (That's What I Want) had provided the start up cash for Motown itself in the early 60s) and his partner Norman Whitfield. When the Temptations started to falter following the departure of vocalist David Ruffin in late 1968, the Whitfield-Stong team took over production for the group. Cloud Nine, a song with a frenetic tempo and a strong (no pun intended) anti-drug message, was released in December, and hit its peak in early 1969. The Whitfield-Strong team would continue to produce the Temptations for several years, cranking out hits like Psychedelic Shack, I Can't Get Next To You and Papa Was A Rolling Stone until Whitfield left Motown to form his own label in 1974.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Jersey Thursday
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Pye History Of Pop Music Vol. 2-Donovan (originally released on LP: Fairytale)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Pye (original label: Hickory)
Year:    1965
    Donovan's earliest albums were originally released in the US on the Hickory label, but did not sell particularly well. After the Scottish singer became more well-known his early material was reissued, first on the Janus label and later on the American wing of his original British label, Pye. Although neither of these labels had major label distribution, they did make songs like Jersey Thursday, from his second LP, Fairytale, available to a wider audience than when they were originally released.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Twitchin'
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Tamblyn
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1963
    One of the earliest Standells recordings was an instrumental called Twitchin'. The song, written by guitarist Larry Tamblyn, was recorded in 1963, but sat on the shelf until 2014, when it was selected to be released as the B side of a newly discovered live version of their greatest hit, Dirty Water.

Artist:     Daily Flash
Title:     Jack Of Diamonds
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Lalor/MacAllistor/Kelihor/Hastings
Label:     Rhino (original label: Parrot)
Year:     1966
     The practice of writing new lyrics to an old tune got turned around for the Seattle-based Daily Flash's feedback-drenched recording of Jack Of Diamonds, which pretty much preserves the lyrics to the old folk song, but is musically pure garage-rock.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Atkinson/Byrne/Chaney/Michalski
Label:    Double Shot
Year:    1966
    In late 1966 five guys from San Jose California managed to sound more like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds that the Yardbirds themselves (a task probably made easier by the fact that by late 1966 Jeff Beck was no longer a member of the Yardbirds). One interesting note about this record is that as late as the mid-1980s the 45 RPM single on the original label was still available in record stores, complete with the original B side. Normally (in the US at least) songs more than a year or two old were only available on anthology LPs or on reissue singles with "back-to-back hits" on them. The complete takeover of the record racks by CDs in the late 1980s changed all that, as all 45s (except for indy releases) soon went the way of the 78 RPM record. The resurgence of vinyl in the 2010s has been almost exclusively limited to LP releases, making it look increasingly unlikely that we'll ever seen 45 RPM singles on the racks ever again.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Purple Haze
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK as a single, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced?, they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. The song next appeared on the Smash Hits album, which in Europe was on the Polydor label. This was the way things stayed until the early 1990s, when MCA acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced? with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced? is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that Purple Haze (heard here in its original mono mix) has now been released by all three of the world's major record companies. That's right. There are only three major record companies left in the entire world, Sony (which owns Columbia and RCA, among others), Warner Brothers (which owns Elektra, Atlantic, Reprise and others) and Universal (which started off as MCA and now, as the world's largest record company, owns far too many current and former labels to list here). Don't you just love out of control corporate consolidation?

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    May This Be Love
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The original UK version of Are You Experienced? featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one. It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.