After spending the bulk of last week's show in the years 1968-70 I thought it might be a good idea to get centered with a set from 1967, the core year of the psychedelic era.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Beat It On Down the Line
Source: CD: Grateful Dead
This track from the first Dead album is fairly typical of the band's sound in the early days, having only recently gotten off the (Kesey) bus and established themselves as crowd favorites around the various San Francisco ballrooms and auditoriums.
Title: Horse Latitudes
Source: LP: Strange Days
Although credited to the entire band (as were all the tracks on the Doors early albums), Horse Latitudes is obviously a piece of Jim Morrison poetry set against a audio soundscape background and can be seen as a precursor to the band's most ambitious project, the legendary Celebration of the Lizard.
Artist: Beau Brummels
Title: Two Days 'Til Tomorrow
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
For a short time in 1965 San Francisco was seen as America's Liverpool, with bands like We Five and the Beau Brummels sounding more British than some of the British Invasion bands themselves. By 1967 the city had established an altogether different musical reputation. The Brummels, however, continued to record in a more British-influenced style, as this single for Warner Brothers demonstrates.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: A Whiter Shade of Pale
Source: 45 RPM single
Often credited as the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. The song itself hold the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves of the past 70 years.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Beggar's Farm
Source: LP: This Was
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.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: No Amount Of Loving
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was one of a handful of groups to play at both Monterey and Woodstock, albeit with a considerably different lineup by 1969. Gone were both Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, yet new guitarist Buzzy Feiten was more than capable of holding his own in the legendary band. Unfortunately, technical problems prevented the audience from hearing Bloomfield's vocals.
Title: Baby Let Me Take You Home (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Source: CD: Best of the Animals
This debut single by the Animals was not a major hit on either side of the Atlantic, but it did establish the boys from Newcastle as R&B purists. The band would continue this approach through 1966, when the original group disbanded, to be replaced by a more psychedelic "New Animals" (known officially as Eric Burdon and the Animals).
This week's second segment begins with a progression through the years 1966-70, followed by a shorter progression through the show's core years 1966-68.
Artist: Herman's Hermits
Title: Dandy (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Source: CD: Their Greatest Hits
A few weeks ago I played the British hit version of this tune by the Kinks. This time around it's the version of Candy that was released as a single in the US, but not in the UK, despite Herman's Hermits being a British Invasion band. This was probably because the Kinks were much more commercially viable in their native land than in America, while Herman's Hermits were targeted more toward the US market.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Carte Blanche
Source: LP: Volume 2
The liner notes on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's second album for Reprise included a line from band leader Bob Markley stating that the album was done exactly the way the band wanted it to be done, with no interference from the label. This is not difficult to believe when listening to this track.
Title: A Girl I Knew
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Some artists tend to branch out into a variety of styles as their career progresses. Others, like Steppenwolf, move in the opposite direction, finding out early what works best then concentrating on continuing in that vein. A Girl I Knew (co-written by bandleader John Kay) is an example of a type of song that was tried early on, but then abandoned in favor of a harder rock sound on subsequent albums.
Title: Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then this was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along.
Title: Mr. Skin
Source: CD: Best of Spirit
This track, originally released on the album The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, shows just how far Spirit had moved away from the jazz influences heard on their first LP in the space of only a couple of years.
Title: You I'll Be Following
Source: CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Love)
When the Byrds decided to tour heavily to support their early hits Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, Arthur Lee's band Love was more than happy to fill the void left on the L.A. club scene. The group quickly established itself as the top band on the strip, a title it would hold until the scene itself died out in 1968. From Lee's perspective, the secret to keeping that title was staying close to home, a policy that would prevent them from achieving any kind of major national success. Ironically, Love ultimately had their greatest success in the UK, where they managed to build an ever-growing following despite never having played there.
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question of Temperature
Source: LP: Nuggets vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the Balloon Farm with this 1967 classic, originally released on the Laurie label. Band member Mike Appel went on to greater fame as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Rollin' and Tumblin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Johnny Winter's first album was originally released in 1968 on the Texas-based Sonobeat label. A ctitical success, it was picked up and reissued on the Imperial label a year later.
Our third segment of the night starts with a nine-minute track from....
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
After the success of their second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, the Airplane had the clout to take an entirely different approach for their next album. Instead of a series of short unrelated songs, the band chose to put together a series of five suites, with the songs within each suite overlapping to form a continuous barrage of sound. The result was After Bathing At Baxter's, generally considered to be the most psychedelic of all their albums.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Source: LP: Meddle
If you were to ask several Americans in the sixties to name a psychedelic band you probably would receive several answers. If you asked several Englishmen during the same era you likely would have gotten the same answer from all of them: Pink Floyd. By 1971 the band was well on the way to establishing the sound that would define them throughout the decade. Fearless, from Meddle, is typical of that sound.
Artist: Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Title: Lucky Man
Source: CD: Emerson, Lake and Palmer
By 1970 a trend was developing in rock music that continues to this day. That trend was for musicians to leave their original bands after a couple years and form new "supergroups" with other like-minded musicians. One example was Emerson, Lake and Palmer, made up of former members of the Nice, King Crimson and Atomic Rooster. Their biggest hit was Lucky Man, written by bassist and lead vocalist Greg Lake.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
This early Rolling Stones B side was one of the first Jagger-Richards compositions to be released on 45 RPM vinyl. The A side was Time Is On My Side, the first Stones song to hit the US top ten.
Source: LP: Fat
Urban legend has it that RCA Victor released only 400 copies of this Boston band's only LP. Somehow, we managed to get hold of a copy.
Tonight's final segment consists of a set from 1966 and a set from 1968. Along with 1967 (which we started the show with a set from) these years represent the heart of the psychedelic era.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
Source: LP: Midnight Ride
Predating the Monkees version by about six months, this track was almost chosen for release as a single. If it had we probably would be talking about the big four from the Raiders instead of the big three (Just Like Me, Hungry and Kicks) hits released during the peak of their popularity.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever recorded.
Title: Rollin' Machine
Source: LP: A Web of Sound
Sky Saxon had one of the most distinctive voices ever recorded, and wrote nearly all the Seeds' material to boot. This track from the band's second album show's his sly sense of humor.
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era
In 1964 a group of American GIs stationed in Germany decided to get together and form a rock band. After their respective tours of duty ended they decided to stay in the country and in 1966 recorded this single for Polydor. Knowing that a large segment of their audience had a rudimentary grasp of English at best, they deliberately crafted a tune that would be easy to comprehend with clear, almost chanted lyrics. To take the chanting concept a step further they all had square patches shaved off the top of their heads and dressed in brown robes.
Title: Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde
Source: CD: Magic Bus: The Who On Tour
The Who were blessed with not one, but two top-notch songwriters: Pete Townshend and John Entwhistle. Whereas Townsend's songs ranged from tight pop songs to more serious works such as Tommy, Entwistle's tunes had a slightly twisted outlook, dealing with such topics as crawly critters (Boris the Spider), imaginary friends (Whiskey Man) and even outright perversion (Fiddle About). Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde was originally released in the US as the B side to Call Me Lightning. Both songs were included on the Magic Bus album.
Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title: I Need a Man To Love
Source: Cheap Thrills
Big Brother and the Holding Company's most successful album, Cheap Thrills, was a mixture of live and studio tracks. I Need A Man To Love, written by band members Janis Joplin and Sam Houston Andrew III, was recorded at the Fillmore West.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To the Center of the Mind
Source: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s
We finish out the night with one of the signature songs of the psychedelic era from Ted Nugent's band the Amboy Dukes. After over forty years the song holds up amazingly well.