I wrote a really long intro for this week's show. Unfortunately, it was way too long to use, so I put it in a separate post a few days ago. Scroll down if you prefer to read it before we get to the songs themselves.
Title: Dead End Street
Source: CD: Face To Face (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original labels: Pye [UK], Reprise [US])
The Kinks were one of the first British Invasion bands to score big on the US charts, with songs like You Really Got Me, Set Me Free and Tired of Waiting For You. After their 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon the Davies brothers and company hit a dry spell in the US, although they continued to chart consistently in the UK. The first of these British-only hits was Dead End Street, a decidedly British take on living in poverty. The first time I heard it I thought it was a great song. I'm happy to say that after well over 40 years my opinion of the song hasn't changed.
Title: I'm Only Sleeping
Source: LP: Yesterday…and Today
This version of I'm Only Sleeping predates the official UK release of the song by about two months. The electronically rechanneled for stereo mix was created from a preliminary mono mix of the song obtained by Capitol Records. The Beatles and producer George Martin made a few changes (such as the placement of the backwards guitar tracks) before doing the final mono and stereo mixes heard on the British LP.
Artist: Limey and the Yanks
Title: Guaranteed Love
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Star Burst)
Limey and the Yanks were an Orange County, California band that boasted an honest-to-dog British lead vocalist. Despite being kind of Zelig-like on the L.A. scene, they only recorded two singles. The first one, Guaranteed Love, was co-written by Gary Paxton, best known for his involvement in various novelty records, including the Hollywood Argyles' Alley Oop, which he co-wrote with Kim Fowley, and Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash, which was released on Paxton's own Garpax label.
Title: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.
Title: Back On The Avenue
Source: CD: Hey Joe
Label: One Way (original label: Mira)
The Leaves were one of the more popular local L.A. bands in the mid-sixties. Like fellow Sunset Strip band Love, they chose not to do extensive national touring, instead prefering to play to the home crowd and make cameo appearances in B movies. After two LPs, the Leaves fell apart, with drummer Jim Pons moving over to the Turtles in 1967. Back On The Avenue, from their first album, is typical of the occassional instrumental heard up and down the strip.
Title: Alone Again Or
Source: CD: Forever Changes
Writer: Bryan McLean
Speaking of Love, we have an alternate mix of the opening track for their Forever Changes album, generally considered to be their best studio work and a surprisingly popular album in England, despite Love never having played there. Bryan McLean once said that he was unhappy with the released mix of Alone Again Or, due to the producer's decision to give Arthur Lee's harmony line a greater prominence in the mix than McLean's lead vocal. This was probably done for consistency's sake, as Lee was the lead vocalist on an overwhelming majority of Love recordings. This mono alternate mix uses a different balance of vocals, although McLean's part is still not as prominent as McLean would have preferred.
Artist: Eire Apparent with Jimi Hendrix
Title: The Clown
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Belfast)
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label unknown)
Eire Apparent was a band from Northern Ireland that got the attention of Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals in late 1967. Chandler had been managing Jimi Hendrix since he had discovered him playing in a club in New York a year before, bringing him back to England and introducing him to Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, who along with Hendrix would become the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite Eire Apparent having almost no recording experience, Chandler put them on the bill as the opening act for the touring Experience. This led to Hendrix producing the band's first and only album, Belfast, in 1968, playing on at least three tracks, including The Clown.
Artist: Graham Nash
Title: Prison Song
Writer: Graham Nash
I got very positive response when I played this song a few weeks ago. If the song had come out a few years earlier than it did, it probably would have been a hit, but by 1973 the social consciousness of the 60s was giving way to the self-indulgence that would characterize the 70s.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Full Measure
Source: LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Label: Kama Sutra
The album Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful was a deliberate attempt by the band to play in a variety of styles. It contained two of the band's best-known songs, Nashville Cats and Summer In The City, as well as several lesser-known songs featuring other band members on lead vocals. One of those tracks is Full Measure featuring bassist Steve Boone.
Artist: Mystery Trend
Title: Carl Street
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer: Ron Nagle
Label: Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year: recorded 1967, released 1999
Production notes for the final recording sessions of the Mystery Trend describe the band as neurotic and up-tight. Indeed, despite the band being one of the first and most talented bands on the San Francisco scene, they always seemed to be their own worst enemy. Still, they recorded some outstanding tracks, the last of which was Carl Street, which sat on a shelf for over 20 years before finally being released in 1999.
Title: Shelly In Camp
Source: LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer: Les Baxter
Les Baxter is one of those names that sounds vaguely familiar to anyone who was alive in the 50s and 60s, but doesn't seem to be associated with anything in particular. That might be because Baxter was the guy that movie producers went to when they needed something done at the last minute. I seem to recall seeing some Les Baxter albums at a small town radio station I worked at in the early 70s that alternated between country, soft pop and lounge lizard records; Baxter's were in the third pile.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Thank You
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin II
Like most early Led Zeppelin tunes, Thank You bears a resemblance to an earlier song by another artist; in this case Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy. Not only do the two songs share the same basic three-chord structure made famous by Van Morrison's Gloria, but they also have similar enough tempos that you can actually sing the melody of one while listening to the other. The difference is in the bridges of the two tunes, which go in entirely different directions, as well as in the basic melody of each song.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Who Will Stop The Rain
Source: CD: Chronicles
Writer: John Fogerty
By 1970, CCR's popularity was such that every single that got released was a double-sided hit. At that time Billboard was going purely by record sales and was no longer charting the sides of a single separately, so Who Will Stop The Rain was officially listed as a B side. The reality was that it was just as popular as Up Around The Bend (the official A side), if not more so.
Title: What Am I Doing Hangin' Round
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
The writing credits on the album label show this song as being written by Lewis and Clarke. These were actually psuedonyms for Michael Martin Murphy and Owen Castleman. I have no idea what happened to Castleman, but Murphy scored a huge hit in the mid 70s with Wildfire and went on to have a successful career in country music.
Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock
Writer: Mickey Newbury
Speaking of people that went on to have a career in country music, we have the only hit record sung by Kenny Rogers that wasn't a country song. I'm sure he squirms uncomfortably every time this song gets played on the radio, so I will continue to play it often.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
With five solid studio albums coming out from the years 1966-69, I don't often get the chance to play a live track from the Airplane. With just a few minutes left in the first hour it seemed like a good time to do so.
Artist: Guess Who
Title: American Woman
Source: American Woman
Label: RCA Victor
We start out the second hour with the most political song ever recorded by the Guess Who, a generally non-political Canadian band. My dad had by then been transferred from Weisbaden to Ramstein AFB, which was and is a huge base with enough Canadian personnel stationed there to justify their own on-base school. I found myself hanging out with mostly Canadian kids when I lived there and I gotta tell you, they absolutely loved this song. They also loved to throw it in my face as often as possible.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: It Ain't Me Babe
Source: CD: Best of the Original Mono Recordings
Writer: Bob Dylan
In tonight's Rock Poetry title bout we have, from Minnesota by way of New York, the reigning heavyweight Rock Poet champion of the world, Bob Dylan, with the original mono mix of a song that would become the Turtles' first hit the following year.
Title: The Soft Parade
Source: CD: The Soft Parade
Writer: Jim Morrison
And in the challenger's corner, the military brat who conquered Southern California, the Lizard King himself, Jim Morrison. You can not petition the Lord with prayer indeed!
Artist: Mouse and the Traps
Title: A Public Execution
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Finally our dark horse candidate, from Tyler, Texas, sounding more like Dylan than Dylan himself, the Mouse with attitude, Ronnie Weiss. Come on and take a two-wheel pony ride.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Two Trains Running
Source: LP: radio promo sampler (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer: McKinley Morganfield
Label: Verve Forecast
My first two years as a student at the University of New Mexico were spent living off-campus in a large house shared by five other people (a varying number of which were also students). One day while rummaging through the basement I ran across a couple boxes full of reel-to-reel tapes. As I was the only person living there with a reel-to-reel machine and nobody seemed to know where the tapes had come from, I appropriated them for my own use. Unfortunately, many of the tapes were unlabeled, so all I could do was make a guess as to artists and titles of the music on them. One of those unknown tracks was this 1966 recording by the Blues Project. A few years later I ran across a nearly pristine cut-out copy of the album Projections at a thrift shop. As I had remembered being intrigued by the cover back when I couldn't afford albums I immediately snapped it up and took it home for a listen. I still have that copy of Projections, as well as a promo sampler I got from the WEOS archives in 2009 that I used for tonight's show.
Source: LP: Renaissance
One of the many bands of the mid-70s that incorporated classical and jazz influences, Renaissance is best known for songs such as Northern Lights and Mother Russia. What most people are not aware of, however, is that Renaissance was originally formed by former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty. Although Relf never played guitar onstage with the Yardbirds (understandable given the presence of the like of Clapton, Beck and Page), with Renaissance he showed that he had learned a thing or two from his talented former bandmates. Renaissance in its original incarnation also boasted the presence of an outstanding keyboardist, John Hawken (formerly of the Nashville Teens) and a virtuoso bassist (Louis Cennamo), whose skill on the instrument was on a par with Jefferson Airplane's Jack Cassidy.
Title: Empty Pages
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: John Barleycorn Must Die)
Traffic was formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, after ending his association with the Spencer Davis Group. The original group, also featuring Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, put out two and a half albums before disbanding in early 1969. A successful live album, Welcome to the Canteen, prompted the band to reform (without Mason), releasing the album John Barleycorn Must Die in 1970. Although Empty Pages was released as a single, it got most of its airplay on progressive FM stations, and as those stations were replaced by (or became) album rock stations, the song continued to get extensive airplay for many years.
Title: Let Me Try
Source: LP: Back In The USA
Probably the most political band of the psychedelic era was Detroit's MC5. Hailing from nearby Lincoln Park, the band was involved in various left-wing causes, and gained notoriety for being the only band to show up to play at the demonstrations at the park across the street from the 1968 Democratic convention, remaining onstage for several hours. Their second LP, Back In The USA, was their most slickly-produced of their three albums, and the band's own least favorite. Let Me Try reminds me of the kind of song you wait for at a high school sock hop when you're in the mood for a slow dance.