Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Playlist 9/24-26/2010

Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Song Title: Kicks
Source: CD: Greatest Hits
Release Year: 1966
It was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit song, 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: Jefferson Airplane
Song Title: Don’t Slip Away
Source: LP: Takes Off
Release Year: 1966
From the mono pressing of the Airplane's debut album, this Paul Kantner/Skip Spence tune could probably have been a hit if it had been released as a single.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Song Title: The Last Time
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years
Release Year: 1965
Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.

Artist: Outsiders
Song Title: You Gotta Look
Source: single B side
Release Year: 1966
The song Help Me Girl was handicapped by having two versions out at the same time; one by the Outsiders and the other by Eric Burdon and the Animals. As a result, neither song made much of a splash on the charts, making this B side even more obscure than it should have been. An interesting footnote is that the song was arranged and conducted by a 26-year-old Chuck Mangione, then a member of Art Blakey's band and later to become one of the most popular jazz musicians in the world.

Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Song Title: Hoedown
Source: LP: Marrying Maiden
Release Year: 1970
In what was probably a case of rampant speculative buying, It's A Beautiful Day's second album sold more copies than the first on the strength of the song White Bird, which was on the first album. Marrying Maiden itself did not have any songs that got significant airplay and the band's fortunes went downhill from there.

Artist: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Song Title: The Blimp
Source: CD: Trout Mask Replica
Release Year: 1969
Wherein the good captain plugs his upcoming hit single. Ah, if only real advertising could be this entertaining...

Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Song Title: Expo 2000
Source: CD: No Way Out
Release Year: 1967
If you ignore the fact that this track is performed by uncredited studio musicians and thus is a complete misrepresentation, it's really a pretty decent instrumental. Too bad we'll never know who actually performed it. We do know, however, that it was written by Richard Podolor.

Artist: Monkees
Song Title: Love Is Only Sleeping (4-track mix)
Source: CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Release Year: 1967
The advent of 8-track recording made it practical to use two tracks for a stereo drum mix. Beyond that, the more tracks used in a recording, the further that recording is removed from being an honest recording of musicians doing their thing. A listen to almost any hit record since the mid-1070s proves it. Yeah, that's my opinion, but hey! Isn't that what blogs are all about? Unprovable opinions?

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Song Title: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source: LP: Electric Music For the Mind and Body
Release Year: 1967
The expanded DVD of the Monterey International Pop Festival has a bonus disc with the live version of this song on it. Despite its technical flaws (microphones not turned up, etc.) I find it to be the most repeatedly listenable performance of the entire festival, and that includes all the stuff by Hendrix, the Who, the Airplane and Janis Joplin. Sadly, that same magic isn't there on the band's Woodstock recordings.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Song Title: It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry
Source: CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Release Year: 1965
East of Albuquerque, NM, there is a trail that is about three miles long. At the end of that trail you at Sandia Crest, which overlooks the city from about a mile above. Continuing eastward, after a short plateau you enter the eastern foothills, traveling many miles up and down hills, each one just a little lower
than the one before it. Bob Dylan's career is like that: an incredibly fast rise to an unbelievable height, and then a slow downhill descent from there. The Highway 61 Revisited album is his Sandia Peak.

Artist: Count Five
Song Title: They're Gonna Get You
Source: single B side
Release Year: 1966
It's been said that Psychotic Reaction was two and a half minutes of an American garage band sounding more like the Yardbirds than the Yardbirds themselves. This B side is that same American garage band sounding more like what they probably sounded like the rest of the time.

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Song Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock
Release Year: 1967
When Rhino decided to revive the Nuggets concept in the 80s with a series of LPs, they really didn't do much documentation on stuff like what album the song was from or what year the song came out. Normally that's not a problem. This song, however, was included on two consecutive albums, one on a small indy label in 1966 and the other on Reprise in 1967, with a slightly longer running time. Since the running time of this track seems closer to the Reprise version, I'm assuming that's what it's from.

Artist: Steppenwolf
Song Title: Desperation
Source: CD: Born To Be Wild/A Retrospective
Release Year: 1968
One of many memorable tracks from the first Steppenwolf album.

Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Song Title: Roller Coaster
Source: CD:The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators
Release Year: 1966
A favorite trick of dance club bands in the late 60s was to start a song off slow, then slowly build up to a frenzy, all the while sneaking looks at the teenage girls gyrating on the dance floor. As most of the band members were still in their teens themselves, this isn't as creepy as it sounds.

Artist: Mothers of Invention
Song Title: Who Are the Brain Police?
Source: LP: Freak Out!
Release Year: 1966
The Question of the Week.

Artist: Manfred Mann
Song Title: Do Wah Diddy Diddy
Source: single
Release Year: 1964
Eric Clapton's decision to leave the Yardbirds due to concerns with creeping commercialism doesn't seem quite so far-fetched when you consider that this band was originally called the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers and had come from the same British blues scene as the Yardbirds themselves.

Artist: Music Machine
Song Title: Double Yellow Line
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Release Year: 1967
Sean Bonniwell was an early champion of playing your own original material as opposed to covering the hits of the day. His band, the Music Machine, deliberately played tight, segued sets of originals so that nobody in the crowd would have time to yell out "Cherish" or "Last Train to Clarksville" or whatever else was popular on local radio stations at the time. Imagine his chagrin when he learned that his record label, Original Sound (!), had substituted a set of cover tunes that the Music Machine had recorded for a TV show for four of Bonniwell's originals on the album Turn On. This is one of the tunes that got cut. It, along with the others, eventually got released on the album Bonniwell Music Machine, along with tracks recorded by a newer version of the band.

Artist: Amboy Dukes
Song Title: Journey To the Center of the Mind
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s
Release Year: 1968
Although Ted Nugent's original band, the Amboy Dukes, had some success with a cover of Baby Please Don't Go, it's this track that they are best remembered for.

Artist: Mountain
Song Title: Blood of the Sun
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On-Back To Yasgur's Farm
Release Year: 1969
Mountain didn't like the way this recording sounded, so they recorded a substitute live take for the album Woodstock 2. In 2009 Rhino issued the actual Woodstock performance heard here.

Artist: Bert Sommers
Song Title: Jennifer
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On-Back To Yasgur's Farm
Release Year: 1969
Perhaps the producers of the first Woodstock soundtrack album felt that what they released already was overly loaded with acoustic material, but the fact of the matter is that almost all of the first day's performances at the festival were by acoustic artists. This is because of difficulties in getting all the electronic equipment to the site, due to the massive traffic tie-ups. Still, it was obvious that the record-buying public of the time wanted loud electric rock, and that's what dominates the album. The result of all this is that several of the first day's artists' performances did not get released until 2009, when Rhino deliberately set out to release a set of discs that were truly representative of what festival attendees actually heard.

Artist: Traffic
Song Title: Shanghai Noodle Factory
Source: LP: Last Exit
Release Year: 1969
After Traffic split up (for the first time), Island Records decided to milk one more album out of one their most popular groups. To do so they took studio outtakes, singles that had not been included on previous albums and even an entire side of live performances. This particular track was originally released in late 1968 as the B side of Medicated Goo.

Artist: Yardbirds
Song Title: Jeff's Boogie
Source: single B side
Release Year: 1966
Speaking of B sides, this is one of the last Yardbirds releases featuring Jeff Beck on guitar, and he certainly struts his stuff on it. The A side was Over, Under, Sideways Down, in case you're interested.

Artist: Byrds
Song Title: C.T.A.-102
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Release Year: 1967
The Byrds were rock's advocates of the existence of extra-terrestrial life. C.T.A.-102 is a quasar that was discovered to be emitting high concentrations of radio waves, leading some scientists of the time to theorize that it was a sign of intelligent life beyond earth. Me, I'm still looking for signs of intelligent life ON earth.

Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Song Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies
Release Year: 1967
The movie The Big Chill used this track as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becomming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Most of them are now playing 80s oldies, by the way.

Artist: Grateful Dead
Song Title: The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Release Year: 1967
The Grateful Dead's debut single actually sold pretty well in the bay area, where it got airplay on top 40 stations from San Francisco to San Jose. Around the rest of the country, not so much, but the Dead would soon prove that there was more to survival than having a hit record.

Artist: People
Song Title: I Love You
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Release Year: 1968
In 1968 San Jose was still a relatively small city, overshadowed by all the hype surrounding the Haight-Ashbury district of the city at the other end of the bay. In spite of this, they had no less that three different groups scoring top 20 hits over a two-year period. This was the last of those three.

Artist: Renaissance
Song Title: Innocence
Source: LP: Renaissance
Release Year: 1969
Many people remember Renaissance as the progressive rock band of the 70s that featured Annie Haslam on vocals and borrowed heavily from classical music, particularly of the Romantic period. What's not as well known, however, is that the band was originally formed by former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty and had an entirely different lineup. Nonetheless, it is technically the same band, and much of the classical influence they were famous for is present on this first album.

Artist: Peter Green
Song Title: Descending Scale
Source: LP: The End of the Game
Release Year: 1970
Peter Green was the founder of Fleetwood Mac. He was also the first member to leave (not counting bassist Bob Brunning, who considered himself a kind of "place sitter" until John McVie could be convinced to join), having recurring mental health problems made worse by experimentation with LSD. In 1970, shortly after leaving the band, he recorded a jam session and released edited portions of it under the title The End of the Game. This in one of those tracks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playlist 9/17-19/10

A lot of variety this week, including a Beatles set and quite a few songs with unusual release histories.

Song Title: "Gloria"
Source: LP: NUGGETS VOL. 1-THE HITS (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: GLORIA
Release Year: 1966
The primary prerequisite to being in a garage band was to know the chords to "Gloria". All three of them. If you knew all the words (or could make up titilatingly suggestive alternate lyrics) you were made the lead singer. If you could play the 2-string-3-note sequence at the end of each verse, you were made the lead guitarist. This worked fine until "Somebody To Love" came out.

Song Title: "Somebody To Love"
Source: CD: SURREALISTIC PILLOW (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1967
Over 40 years after the fact, it's hard to imagine just how big an impact this song had on the garage band scene. Whereas before "Somebody To Love" came out you could just dismiss hard-to-cover songs as being "lame" anyway, here was a tune that was undeniably cool, and yet virtually impossible for anyone but the Airplane to play well (and even they were unable to get it to sound quite the same when they performed it live). Although garage bands would continue to exist (and still do), there would never be another "Gloria".

Song Title: "Rollin' and Tumblin'"
Release Year: 1968
By 1968, the blues was making a resurgence in the US, thanks in no small part to the British blues scene that included the Yardbirds, Cream and to a lesser degree, the Animals and the Rolling Stones. From deep in the heart of Texas (Austin, to be exact) came Johnny Winter, a guy who looked like a hippy and played a mean slide guitar.

Song Title: "I Want To Take You Higher"
Source: CD: THE BEST OF 60s PSYCHEDELIC ROCK (originally released on LP: STAND!)
Release Year: 1969
Sylvester Stone was already a fixture in the San Francisco Bay area by the time the rest of the nation began to notice what was going on in Haight-Ashbury. A popular local DJ and producer for Autumn Records, the regions top label, he was responsible for producing the first recordings by the Warlocks (who would soon be known as the Grateful Dead) among others. He was thus in a position to recruit the best musicians around for his new band, which he called the Family Stone. Interestingly enough, the generational anthem "I Want To Take You Higher" was originally relegated to being the B side of the song "Stand" when first released in 1969, but following the band's successful set at Woodstock the single was reissued with the sides reversed.

Artist: WHO
Song Title: "The Magic Bus"
Source: LP: MEATY, BEATY, BIG AND BOUNCY (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1968/1971
"The Magic Bus" was originally released as a single in 1968 and ran about three and a half minutes. At the time it was recorded an alternate take was also made that ran almost four and a half minutes. This alternate version was electronically rechanneled for stereo and included on the 1971 album Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy. When the album was reissued on CD in the 1980s it was discovered that there were no unaltered copies left of the longer version, so rather than to put a "fake stereo" version on the CD, the shorter mono single version was used. This is that longer version, never issued on CD.

Song Title: "28"
Release Year: 1968
A common practice in the sixties was for the record's producer to choose what songs an artist would record, especially with newly-signed acts. Somehow, despite Steppenwolf's massive success with "Born To Be Wild", producer Gabriel Mekler managed to get this song onto the band's second album, even to the point of making it the lead track of side two. To be honest, if I wasn't telling you this, you wouldn't even know it was Steppenwolf when you heard it.

Song Title: "America"
Source: CD: LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING: SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-70 (originally released on LP: GOTTA SURVIVE)
Release Year: 2002 (recorded 1968)
The 80s rap group Public Nuisance can be forgiven for not realizing the name had already been used by this Sacramento band. After all, the band's only album was never issued, at least until Frantic Records put out the Gotta Survive album in 2002.

Song Title: "Come Down"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS: L.A. NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
I have a gut feeling that the name of this band was chosen after the song was recorded. In reality, it was not a band at all. Bill Rinehart had established himself on the L.A. scene as lead guitarist for the Leaves (and was one of the first guitarists to use a fuzz-tone in the recording studio with the fast version of "Hey Joe"). After leaving the Leaves he ran into Sonny Bono, who got him a contract with Atco Records. This song, essentially a solo project utilizing studio musicians as backup, was the result.

Song Title: "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round"
Release Year: 1967
Once the Monkees had asserted creative control of their recordings and issued the Headquarters album, on which they played nearly all the instruments themselves, the group decided to once again start using studio musicians. Additionally, all the songs on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD. were chosen by the band members themselves. This one was co-written by an old friend of Mike Nesmith's, a guy named Michael Martin Murphy, who at the time was using the pen name Travis Lewis, along with Owens Castleman, who was calling himself Boomer Clark. Lewis and Clark. Get it?

Song Title: "I'm a Man"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1967
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring brothers Steve and Muff Winwood on organ/guitar and bass respectively, had a series of hit records in the UK. The last two singles that the Winwoods played on both charted in the US as well. This is the second of those two records.

Song Title: "Why Do I Cry"
Source: CD: NUGGETS BOX SET (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1965
Predating the "Boss-Town Sound" by two years (and the band Boston by over 10 years), we have this gem from Boston garage band the Remains.

Artist: SEEDS
Song Title: "Pictures and Designs"
Source: LP: A WEB OF SOUND (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
Last week I mentioned that there were only a handful of albums rescued from the lost WEOS archives at Hobart and William Smith Colleges last year that made the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era "A" list. Both Seeds albums from 1966 are in that group.

Artist: OTHERS
Song Title: "Revenge"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS: L.A. NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
Garage bands were by no means limited to the big cities. In fact, the great majority of them were out in the suburbs like Glendale, Ca., which gave us the "Revenge" of the Others.

Song Title: "Psychotic Reaction"
Release Year: 1966
Although San Jose, Ca. is a rather large city in its own right (the 10th-largest city in the US in fact), it has always had a kind of suburban status, thanks to being within the same media market as San Francisco. Nonetheless, San Jose had its own very active music scene, and Count Five was, for a time, at the top of the heap.

Song Title: "Summertime"
Release Year: 1968
It only seems appropriate to end the first hour of the last show of the summer with this classic. Janis here sounds like she was born to sing this song. Maybe she was.

Song Title: "Signs"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1970
Everybody has at least one song they have fond memories of hearing on the radio while riding around in a friend's car on a hot summer evening. This is one of mine.

Song Title: "Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)"
Source: CD: SHINE ON BRIGHTLY (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
Most people outside the UK have no idea that there was a British record label called Regal Zonophone or that Procol Harum's earliest releases were on that label. Perhaps that explains why most people see this song title and get a puzzled look on their faces. Then they hear the song and the look is still there. At least there is symmetry in that.

Song Title: "Soul Searchin'"
Release Year: 1968
The Electric Flag only released two albums, both in 1968, before founding guitarist Mike Bloomfield got restless (as was his habit), and moved on to other things. That didn't stop Columbia from releasing a "Best of" album, though. At least there's no doubt what year this song was originally released.

Artist: BYRDS
Song Title: "Triad"
Source: CD: THE NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS (song originally released on LP: NEVER BEFORE)
Release Year: 1987
Recorded in 1967, this tune almost was included on the Notorious Byrd Brothers album, but was vetoed by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, who felt the subject material was too controversial. Instead, they chose to include the Gerry Goffin/Carole King tune "Goin' Back", which angered David Crosby, the writer of "Triad", who felt that there was no need to record a song by Brill building songwriters with three capable composers in the band. McGuinn and Hillman responded by kicking Crosby out of the band. These days "Goin' Back" (played on the show a few weeks ago) is largely forgotten, while "Triad" which was recorded the following year by Jefferson Airplane and included on the Crown of Creation album, is considered a classic.

Song Title: "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"
Release Year: 1967
Kenny Rogers still hates this song, which is reason enough to play it.

Artist: LOVE
Song Title: "Keep On Shining"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1970
By 1970 the original Love was gone. Arthur Lee, however, continued to use the name. Unfortunately this song just doesn't measure up to anything on the band's first three albums, despite being co-arranged by Jimi Hendrix.

Song Title: "Fatback"
Source: CD: BLOODROCK (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
Bloodrock had the mixed blessing of putting out one of the most notorious songs of the year 1970 when they recorded "D.O.A.". The song was a huge hit, making them a household name overnight, but soon became an albatross after the novelty wore off. This track from their first album shows that Bloodrock was about much more than just one song.

Song Title: "Drive My Car"
Release Year: 1966
Capitol Records repeatedly got the ire of the Beatles by omitting, adding and rearranging songs on the US versions of their albums, especially in 1966, when the band was starting to put considerable time and effort into presenting the songs as a coherent package. At the root of the problem were two facts: albums in the UK had longer running times than US albums, and thus more songs, and UK singles stayed in print longer than their US counterparts and were generally not included on albums at all. This resulted in albums like Yesterday and Today that didn't even have a British counterpart. "Drive My Car", for example, was on the UK version of Rubber Soul, but was left off the US version entirely, appearing instead as the opening track of Yesterday and Today.

Song Title: "Tell Me What You See"
Source: CD: HELP! (reissue of UK album)
Release Year: 1965
This, on the other hand, is a tune that appeared on both British and American versions of the Help! album, although not in the movie itself.

Song Title: "I'm Only Sleeping"
Release Year: 1966
One of the oddest things about Yesterday and Today is that it included a handful of songs that had not been released yet in the UK. Making it even stranger is the fact that Capitol did not have stereo masters of any of those songs and ended up creating fake stereo versions of the songs that have never been released anywhere else. "I'm Only Sleeping", which was slated to be on the Revolver album later that year, is one of these.

Song Title: "Act Naturally"
Source: CD: HELP! (reissue of UK album)
Release Year: 1965
This song, featuring Ringo on lead vocals, was a country hit for Buck Owens. It is also one of the songs left off the US version of the Help! album and included on Yesterday and Today instead.

Song Title: "And Your Bird Can Sing"
Release Year: 1965
Another one of the fake stereo versions of a song that would be released on the UK version of Revolver.

Song Title: "Words"
Release Year: 2009
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were really hoping to be selected for the new band that Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures was putting together to star in a new weekly TV series. It didn't work out for them, but several of the songs they wrote appeared on the Monkees albums, including this one, heard here in its previously unreleased 1965 demo form.

Song Title: "Take A Giant Step"
Release Year: 2009
The Rising Sons were blessed with the talents of not one, but two guys that are now among the most respected musicians in America: Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. At the time, however, Columbia Records had no clue how to market an interracial blues-based band. In an effort to sound more commercial they recorded this Goffin-King tune, but Columbia sat on it. The Monkees then released a version that appeared on the B side of "Last Train To Clarksville". Taj Mahal re-recorded the song for his 1969 album Giant Step.

Artist: HARUMI
Song Title: Talk About It!
Source: LP: HARUMI (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
I really don't know a lot about this guy, other than the fact that he moved to New York from his native Japan and recorded an album for Verve Forecast. Remember how last week I talked about the largest pile of records from the lost WEOS vinyl archives being kind of marginal? This is one of them.

Artist: DOORS
Song Title: "Strange Days"
Source: CD: STRANGE DAYS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
At the end of the year I plan on doing a recount of what songs got played the most on the show and feature them in a kind of "best of" show. I wanted to make sure this song made the list.

Playlist 9/10-12/10

I don't know how it happened, but last week's playlist didn't get posted yet. Oops.
Picking up where we left off last week, we progress through the years with a set starting in 1965.

Artist: McCOYS
Song Title: "Fever"
Source: CD: ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAME VOL VII (Originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1965
The McCoys were originally from Indiana, but are best remembered as being an Ohio band. In fact their biggest hit, "Hang On Sloopy" is the unofficial state song there. The follow-up to Sloopy, a cover of the Peggy Lee classic "Fever" was done in much the same style as Sloopy. In the long run this similarity probably hurt the band more than it helped, as the McCoys are generally considered to be a one-hit wonder.

Song Title: "My Obsession"
Source: LP: BETWEEN THE BUTTONS (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
With hits like "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" on it, Between the Buttons was one of the Stones top selling albums. It was album tracks like this one, though, that showed where the band was really at in 1966.

Song Title: "Viola Lee Blues"
Source: CD: GRATEFUL DEAD (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
The Grateful Dead established a reputation over the years for playing long extended jams. The first of these to be released on vinyl was "Viola Lee Blues", clocking in at about 10 minutes. Compared to some of the later performances of "Dark Star" or "St. Stephen", ten minutes does not seem very long, but the track does show flashes of the interplay between band members that would become the stuff of legends.

My original plan for the first part of the show was to continue progressing up through 1969, but, as is often the case, the show took on a life of its own and insisted I make an extended stopover in 1968. As it turns out, the last set of the second hour also ends with a 1968 set, so I guess something was in the air.

Artist: THEM
Song Title: "Market Place"
Source: LP: TIME OUT, TIME IN, FOR THEM (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
I've often mentioned the lost WEOS vinyl archives that were found in a storage room on the Hobart & William Smith Colleges campus last year. Of the thousands of albums we found I ended up keeping about 200. Of those nearly half were unusable, mostly due to their condition. The remainder I divided into three piles. The largest of these piles were the marginal albums that may have one or two songs that might be worked into the show once in a while. The next pile was mostly duplicates of albums I already had on CD, although there were a few cases of stereo albums I had mono copies of, or vice versa. Only a handful of albums made the third pile, but these were the real gems of the bunch: genuine relics of the psychedelic era in playable condition that I didn't already have. Of these, two of the most valuable finds (for my purposes at any rate) were the two post-Van Morrison Them albums released by Tower Records in 1968. This track is from one of them.

Artist: SPIRIT
Song Title: "Taurus"
Source: CD: SPIRIT (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
After the release of Spirit's debut album they went on tour, with a new band, Led Zeppelin, opening for them. I mention this just in case you happen to notice any similarity between the opening acoustic guitar riff on this song and the one on "Stairway To Heaven", which was released three or four years later. And you thought Jimmy Page only ripped off blues legends like Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon.

Song Title: "It's Breaking Me Up"
Source: CD: THIS WAS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular style. Ironically this tune, rooted solidly in the British blues style, is an Anderson composition.

We finally continue our progression through the years to 1969, but first a quick L.A. stopover in the fall of 1966.

Artist: SEEDS
Song Title: "Tripmaker"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS: L.A. NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on LP: A WEB OF SOUND)
Release Year: 1966
A rare mono version of a tune from the second Seeds album. Although the album came out in both stereo and mono versions, there are very few copies of the mono version in existence, let alone playable condition. Apparently Rhino Records has access to one of them, showing the advantages of being a record label that started off as a record store.

Artist: TURTLES:
Song Title: "Wanderin' Kind"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1966
White Whale Records, being a typical L.A. label, insisted on using professional songwriters for all the Turtles' A sides. The band was allowed to write its own material for the B sides, however. Here we have one written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, who would end up co-writing most of Flo & Eddie's material a few years later. That's OK, though, since Kaylan is Eddie (fellow Turtle Mark Volman is Flo).

Song Title: "Watch Her Ride / Spare Chaynge"
Source: LP: AFTER BATHING AT BAXTER'S (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
The third Jefferson Airplane album was divided into a group of five suites, each containing two or three songs. The opening suite of side 2 was called "How Suite It Is" and started with a fairly typical Paul Kantner tune of the period, followed by one of the coolest jams ever recorded, featuring guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, drummer Spencer Dryden and bassist Jack Cassidy. It's Cassidy's bass solo that is the real highlight of the nine-minute jam, a testament to the then-21-year-old's prowess and creativity on an instrument that had previously been relegated to a purely support role.

Song Title: "Quicksilver Girl"
Source: CD: SAILOR (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
One of the most successful bands to come out of the San Francisco scene was the Steve Miller Band. "Quicksilver Girl" from the band's second album Sailor, shows why.

Artist: GLAD
Song Title: "Pickin' Up the Pieces"
Source: LP: FEELIN' GLAD (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1969
I mentioned earlier how the largest pile of albums I grabbed from the WEOS archives were marginal. This is a good example. The band Glad is significant not for anything they released on their two albums, but for what happened to the band afterwards. One member, Timothy B. Schmidt, went on to replace bassist Randy Meisner in Poco the following year (and the Eagles a few years after that), while the rest of the band eventually changed their name to Redbone and had a hit with "Witch Queen of New Orleans".

Our second hour starts off on a soulful note; several of them actually. After that, this part of the show pretty much follows a yearly progression from 1965 through 1970 (although one song kind of fits in between 1966 and 1967 and counts as both).

Song Title: "Medley: Dance To the Music/Music Lover/I Want To Take You Higher"
Source: CD: WOODSTOCK: 40 YEARS ON: BACK TO YASGUR'S FARM (originally released on the Woodstock movie soundtrack album)
Release Year: 1969
Listening to this release and comparing it to the soundtrack album, reveals that there were a few minor tweaks made for the original release. Overall, though, this was one of the least unaltered recordings used for the original soundtrack album. It's easy to see why. Sly Stone managed to assemble a band that was at the same time tight and chaotic, with an infectious energy that kept the crowd going throughout the entire 17 minute medley. No mean feat, considering the altered mental state of much of the audience that night.

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

Song Title: "Diddy Wah Diddy"
Source: LP: THE LEGENDARY A&M SESSIONS (first vinyl release)
Release Year: 1983 (recorded in 1965)
Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa knew each other in high school in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles, but did not stay in close contact after graduation. While Zappa was developing an interest in early 20th century avant-garde classical music, Van Vliet established a reputation as one of the best white blues singers around. When the opportunity came to record a few tracks for A&M records in 1965, Van Vliet, who by then was calling himself Captain Beefheart, chose this Bo Diddly tune to showcase his vocal talents. A&M chose not to release the tracks, and Beefheart would finally make his vinyk debut in 1967, recording for the new Buddah label. Later he would again hook up with his old cohort Zappa and develop into one of rock's premier avant-garde composers.

Song Title: "Bad Little Woman"
Source: CD: NUGGETS BOX SET (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: GLORIA)
Release Year: 1966
Reprising a track I played a couple weeks ago, the Shadows' follow-up to their huge 1966 hit "Gloria".

Song Title: "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet"
Source: CD: MORE NUGGETS (originally released on LP: PSYCHEDELIC LOLLIPOP)
Release Year: 1966 (charted 1967)
Although technically released in 1966, this song is best remembered as one of the first psychedelic hits of 1967, hitting its peak in February of that year. Thus, I am counting it as both years. The Magoos would go on to record a few more albums and release a few more singles, but were fated never to repeat the success of this monster hit.

Artist: DOORS
Song Title: "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind"
Source: LP: STRANGE DAYS (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
One thing about both 1967 albums released by the Doors: every song is worth listening to. This means both albums come up a lot on the show. Last week I played "When the Music's Over". This week it's the song just before it on the album. Next week, who knows?

Song Title: "Feelings"
Source: LP: NUGGETS VOL 9-ACID ROCK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
The Grass Roots had the origins as the San Francisco band the Bedoins, but by 1968 had lost all but one of the original members and were pretty much a vehicle for the songwriting team of Jeff Barri and P.F. Sloane. They released three singles in 1968, the third of which was "Midnight Confessions" the group's only certified gold record. The song immediately preceeding it was "Feelings" which for some unknown reason failed to chart. Of course that means that I will play "Feelings" fairly regularly. "MIdnight Confessions"? Not at all.

Song Title: "Don't Want You No More/It's Not My Cross To Bear"
Source: CD: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1969
The first Allman Brothers band album sold poorly outside of the southeastern US and was pulled from the shelves within a year. Meanwhile, the second album, Idlewild South, did a bit better and the third album, recorded live at the Fillmore East, was a breakout hit. This prompted Capricorn, which in the meantime had morphed from a production house to a full-blown label, to reissue the first two albums as a 2-record set for the price of one. "Don't Want You No More is an instrumental (co-written by Steve Winwood) that serves as an introduction to both the band and the first album, and segues directly into the Gregg Allman tune "It's Not My Cross To Bear".

Song Title: "Engine Number 9"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1970
Wilson Pickett was one of the stars of the southern soul movement of the late 60s. Unlike it's northern counterpart in Motown, the Stax-Volt group of labels was less interested in producing crossover hits designed to make the pop charts than it was putting out energetic gospel-flavored R&B designed to get played on the growing number of black-oriented radio stations of the time.

To finish out the night, a set representing the growing diversity among recorded music in 1968.

Song Title: "Julia Dream"
Source: CD: RELICS (reissue of original album) (song orginally released in UK on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968 (UK)
With Sid Barrett becoming increasingly unreliable, the other members of Pink Floyd decided to invite guitarist David Gilmour into the band. One of the earliest recordings with Gilmour was this B side released in 1968 and included a few years later when the album Relics came out.

Song Title: "Journey To the Center of the Mind"
Source: LP: NUGGETS, VOL 1-THE HITS (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with this psychedelic classic.

Song Title: "Provincetown Jug Band"
Source: LP: THE FABULOUS FARQUAHR (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Farquahr was, for lack of a better term, a hippy band from Branford, Connecticut who were quite popular among the locals in the mid to late 60s. According to the back cover of this album, they were all members of British nobility, the Farquahr family, which somehow had been mysteriously left off the official peerage list. Each band member's first name was a species of songbird, such as leader Barnswallow Farquahr, who wrote "Provincetown Jug Band". The band's visual image was similar to San Francisco's Charlatans, and indeed, they seemed to have a similar fondness for the jug band style of music as well. Like their west coast counterparts, the Farquahr's good-time approach to music found them getting increasingly out of step with their counter-culture audience, which itself was becoming more radicalized as the decade wore on.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just a quick note to say hello and welcome to listeners of WRUR 88.5 FM in Rochester, NY, which will be carrying Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Saturday nights from 10-midnight (right after the Grateful Dead Hour). Glad to have you aboard!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Playlist 1015

The word of the week is "progress" as we have several sets that progress through the years and even a few tunes from some of the more progressive rock bands of the early 70s. First, though, a set from the year top 40 radio hit its zenith, 1966.

Artist: SEEDS
Song Title: "Pushin' Too Hard"
Source: CD: NUGGETS-VOLUME 1-THE HITS (originally released on LP: THE SEEDS)
Release Year: 1966
Continuing our recent trend of starting off with a classic we have a song that I tend to play a lot anyway. It is, after all, one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era.

Song Title: "Trouble"
Source: CD: TURN ON THE MUSIC MACHINE (reissue of original vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material (with the exception of a slowed-down version of "Hey Joe" that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on; before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. (This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved.) The best way to listen to Turn On The Music Machine, then, is to program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, this track becomes the second song on the disc, following the classic "Talk Talk."

Song Title: "The Great Airplane Strike" (1990 remix)
Source: CD: LEGEND OF PAUL REVERE (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: SPIRIT OF '67)
Release Year: 1966
Despite having the considerable financial resources of being produced by Terry Melcher, and having a contract with industry giant Columbia Records, not to mention being the stars of a Dick Clark produced TV series, most of the Raider's early singles were mixed only in mono, even though they were recorded on state-of-the-art multi-track equipment. When it came time to do a massive CD anthology in the early 90s, several of those recordings were finally remixed in stereo, including this track. The song itself is a classic that has never gotten the respect it deserves.

Artist: LOVE
Song Title: "7 & 7 Is"
Source: LP: NUGGETS, VOL. 9: ACID ROCK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: DE CAPO)
Release Year: 1966
The first time I heard this song was at a drive-in theater between movies. It blew my mind. Over 40 years later, I still have the urge to crank up the volume whenever I hear it.

Song Title: "I Looked Away"
Source: CD: LAYLA AND OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
It took Eric Clapton many years to get comfortable with the idea of being a rock god. One of his attempts to avoid being the center of attention was to form a band as quietly as possible and just put the music out there for people to hear. Obviously, it didn't work out quite as planned, as both the record company and rock press heralded the Layla album as a Clapton solo project. "I Looked Away" is the opening track from that album.

Our first progression of the night runs from 1967 to 1970 and includes British psychedelia, Motown soul, and even early metal. Of course there is a progressive band in there as well.

Song Title: "Hope I Find Me There"
Source: CD: MR. FANTASY (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
Although Traffic is generally remembered as a Steve Winwood band, in the early days the band had its greatest success (on the UK singles charts) with songs written and sung by Dave Mason). Although this tune was not released as a single, it is a typical Mason song of the time.

Song Title: "Love Child"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1968
Although Motown's primary focus was on making successful pop records, they did manage to occassionally put out songs that had a deeper message. Such is the case with this 1968 Supremes tune, addressing the issue of teen pregnancy, which was reaching epidemic proportions in some segments of society, including a good chunk of Motown's target audience.

Song Title: "A New Day Yesterday"
Source: LP: STAND UP (Chrysalis reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1969
The first of many lineup changes for Jethro Tull saw the departure of guitarist Mick Abrahams and the beginning of a long run by Matin Barre as his replacement. With that change, the band moved away from its blues roots and began a long transition toward becoming one of the world's leading progressive rock bands.

Song Title: "The Wizard"
Source: CD: BLACK SABBATH (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
I left out something in the previous entry. After Abrahams left Tull but before Barre joined, another guitarist sat in with the band, and was with them when they taped their appearance on the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus TV special in late 1968. The guitarist's name? Tony Iommi, who would the following year co-found Black Sabbath.

The peak year of the psychedelic era is of course 1967. Hardly a week goes by without at least one set taken from that eventful year. Tonight's 1967 set focuses on the City of Angels.

Artist: BYRDS
Song Title: "Change Is Now"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS: L.A. NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. "Change Is Now" was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

Song Title: "Tracy Had a Hard Day Sunday"
Source: LP: VOLUME 2 (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
I know I play a lot of these guys, but they were rather prolific, releasing five albums over a four-year period. Only Jefferson Airplane equalled their output over the same period. This song features some nice licks toward the end by guitarist Michael Lloyd.

Artist: DOORS
Song Title: "When the Music's Over"
Source: CD: STRANGE DAYS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
I remember the first time I heard this track. My girlfriend's older brother had it on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

A couple tunes I've played before (both from 1968) finish out the first hour of this week's show.
Song Title: "Pictures of Matchstick Men"
Source: CD: PSYCHEDELIC POP (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968

Song Title: "Born To Be Wild"
Source: CD: NEW GOLD ON CD 11/3/97 (bonus track) (originally released on LP: STEPPENWOLF)
Release Year: 1968

The second hour starts with our longest progression of the night, starting in 1966 and ending up 1970. It's immediately followed by a shorter progression from 1968-70. Hey, we aim to please.

Artist: WHO
Song Title: "Boris the Spider"
Source: CD: MEATY, BEATY, BIG AND BOUNCY (originally released on UK LP: A QUICK ONE. US version of album retitled HAPPY JACK)
Release Year: 1966
For many years, "Boris the Spider" was bassist John Entwhistle's signature song. Eventually Entwhistle got sick of singing it and wrote another one. Truth is, he wrote a lot of songs, but like the Beatles's George Harrison, did not always get the recognition as a songwriter that more prolific bandmate Pete Townshend got. This was one of the first rock songs I ever heard played on an FM station (KLZ-FM in Denver, the first FM in the area to play something besides classical, jazz or elevator music).

Song Title: "Let's Spend The Night Together"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL (stereo reissue)
Release Year: 1967
I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now.

Song Title: "Eternal Prison"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS-LA NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Interesting how dark lyrics were starting to get by 1968.

Song Title: "How Can I Live"
Source: LP: FAT MATTRESS (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1969
After the Jimi Hendrix Experience split up, Noel Redding hooked up with this band, playing bass, co-writing songs and occassionally singing. The band's name may have come from a quote by Hendrix at the Experience's Monterey Pop Festival appearance, when he responded to negative comments by critics by saying "...or they say we have fat mattresses or that we wear golden underwear". It could even be that Hendrix got the phrase from Redding himself. Since all three members of the Experience are dead now, I guess we'll never know. Regardless, Fat Mattress failed to make much of an impression on either critics or audiences and Redding's career was effectively over with the band's demise.

Song Title: "Mother's Daughter"
Source: CD: ABRAXIS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
After getting a strong positive reception from the audience at Woodstock and less than positive reviews from Rolling Stone magazine for their first album, Santana took their time and produced a classic with Abraxis, released in 1970. "Mother's Daughter" is just one of the many tracks on that album that remain in Carlos Santana's repertoir forty years later.

Song Title: "Bad Luck and Trouble (edited version)"
Source: LP: PROGRESSIVE HEAVIES (full version originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Release Year: 1968/1969
Johnny Winter's first album came out on the Austin, Tx based Sonobeat label in 1968. Following his appearance at Woodstock and his signing with Columbia in 1969, Imperial Records bought the rights to the album and reissued it on their own label. This edited version was taken from an anthology issued on United Artists Records (which had just bought Imperial).

Song Title: LOVE
Release Year: 2009 (recorded 1969)
By 1969 Country Joe and the Fish, one of the original San Francisco bands, had pretty much faded from the spotlight. Thanks to Woodstock, however, they enjoyed a brief resurgence, due in large part to Country Joe McDonald's solo version of "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag". Still, the band itself performed far more material than was issued on the soundtrack album. Thanks to Rhino Records we can now hear some of that material.

Song Title: "Talisman"
Release Year: 1970
Often dismissed as lightweights, the Guess Who nonetheless put out a classic with the American Woman album. The only track on side one that was not released as a single was "Talisman", a moody ballad running over five minutes long.

I don't often go beyond 1970 on the show, but, just for the fun of it thought I'd depart from the usual fare to play a couple tracks from 1972. Don't expect this to happen often. Hell, with this show it's best not to expect anything.

Song Title: "Trilogy"
Source: CD: TRILOGY (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1972
When you hear the phrase "progressive rock", one of the first names that comes to mind is Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Unlike the garage bands of the psychedelic era, many members of progressive rock bands were classically trained musicians, capable of rendering complex melodies and rhythms that were beyond the abilities of most punk-rockers. Keith Emerson in particular had impeccable classical credentials and the group would eventually record an entire piano concerto he composed on one of their later albums. The title cut of the Trilogy album is a typical an example of the ELP sound.

Song Title: "Conquistador"
Source: LP: BEST OF PROCOL HARUM (originally released on LP: PROCOL HARUM LIVE)
Release Year: 1972
Although the tune was originally recorded for the first Procol Harum in 1967, it was the live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that became the band's second biggest hit (behind "A Whiter Shade of Pale").

Song Title: "A Hazy Shade of Winter"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1966
A timeless classic that somehow seemed to fit right after "Conquistador". By the way, this is probably the only song I use on the annual "Stuck with the Hermit at Christmastime" show that I also play other times of the year.

Artist: CROW
Song Title: "Cottage Cheese"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1970
In late 1970 I found myself living in Alamogordo, NM, which was at the time one of those places that still didn't have an FM station (in fact, the only FM station we could receive was a classical station in Las Cruces, 70 miles away). To make it worse, there were only two AM stations in town, and the only one that played current songs went off the air at sunset. As a result the only way to hear current music at night (besides buying albums without hearing them first) was to "DX" distant AM radio stations. Of these, the one that came in most clearly and consistently was KOMA in Oklahoma City. We spent many a night driving around with KOMA cranked up, fading in and out as long-distant stations always do. One of those nights we were all blown away by this track, which, due to the conservative nature of the local daytime-only station, was not getting any local airplay. Years later I was lucky enough to find a copy in a thrift store in Albuquerque. Here it is.

After all the various progressive stuff I thought it was only fair to end up right back where we started: 1966.

Song Title: "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White"
Source: LP: NUGGETS VOLUME 2: PUNK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
The Standells made a big splash (sorry) with the 1966 hit "Dirty Water". They followed it up with this tune, quite possibly the first punk anthem ever recorded. Between the two the band had established a solid reputation as the quintessential garage-punk band. What nobody at the time seemed to realize, however, is that the Standells were in reality a squeaky-clean club band fronted by former Mousketeer Dicky Dodd (the little blond kid in the middle). See ya real soon!

Song Title: "You Burn Me Up And Down"
Source: CD: NUGGETS BOX SET (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl).
Release Year: 1966
We finish up this week's show with a B side from a band in Orlando, Florida, that was kind of a regional supergroup, as it was made up of musicians from various local garage bands. The departure of lead guitarist Wayne Proctor in early 1967 and the band's other main songwriter Tommy Talton a year later led to the group's demise, despite having landed a contract with RCA Victor, at the time the world's largest record label.