Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1237 (starts 9/13/12)

    This week's show comes in two parts. In the first hour each set is from a particular year and contains two songs with something obvious in common, while the other selection tends to stick out like a sore thumb (or some such metaphor). The second hour, on the other hand, is made up of long progressions through the years (although there are some sore thumbs in those as well).

    In the first set we have two bands from the UK (I'm pretty sure Belfast qualifies), with a band from Texas thrown in, all from 1965.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Here Comes The Night
Source:    Mono LP: Them
Writer(s):    Bert Berns
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1965
    Them's first album was originally released in the UK as The Angry Young Them, and did not include their first US hit single, Here Comes The Night. Originally recorded by Lulu (of To Sir With Love"fame) and the Luvvers, this track was not only added to the US version of the LP (entitled simply Them), it was given the coveted opening slot. The guitar leads on Here Comes The Night were provided by a young studio guitarist named Jimmy Page.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    Tell Her No
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1965
    Rod Argent was responsible for writing four well-known hit songs, which were spread out over a period of eight years (and two bands). The second of these was Tell Her No, released in 1965. The song got mixed reviews from critics, all of which measured the tune against Beatle songs of the same period.

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. Mouse and the Traps, in fact, got quite a bit of airplay in that part of the state with a series of singles issued in the mid-60s. A Public Execution is unique among those singles in that the artist on the label was listed simply as Mouse.

    Our 1966 set includes two New York City-based acts mixed with one from Massachusettes (don't let any Red Sox fans know).

Artist:    Teddy And His Pandas
Title:    We Can't Go On This Way
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 4-Pop part one (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stone
Label:    Rhino (original label: Musicor)
Year:    1966
    Not to be confused with San Jose's Teddy And His Patches, Teddy And His Pandas were a band originally from Beverly, Mass. who managed to record several singles over a period of about three years, including We Can't Go On This Way, a Beatle-inspired tune recorded in Cleveland in 1966.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    I Am A Rock
Source:    Collected Works
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The success of I Am A Rock, when released as a single in 1966, showed that the first Simon And Garfunkel hit, The Sound Of Silence, was no fluke. The two songs served as bookends to a very successful LP, Sounds Of Silence, and would lead to several more hit records before the two singers went their separate ways in 1970. This was actually the second time I Am A Rock had been issued as a single. An earlier version, from the Paul Simon Songbook, had been released in 1965. Both the single and the LP were only available for a short time and only in the UK.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Two Trains Running
Source:    LP: Special Disc Jockey Record (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    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.

    The next set's contrast is a bit more subtle, as all three songs are from the same band, Love. One of them, however, is written by Bryan MacLean and appears on their third album, Forever Changes, as opposed to the other two being Arthur Lee songs from their second LP, Da Capo.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Stephanie Knows Who
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Following up on a strong, if not spectacular debut LP followed by a national hit record (7&7 Is), Love went into the studio with two new members to record their second album, Da Capo. By this point the band had established themselves as the most popular band on the Sunset Strip, and the music on Da Capo is a fair representation of what the group was doing onstage (including the 17 minute Revelation, which takes up the entire second side of the LP). The opening track, Stephanie Knows Who, is hard proto-punk, showcasing the band's tightness with abrupt changes in tempo throughout the song. The tune also features the harpsichord playing of "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who switched over from drums to keyboards for the LP, making way for Michael Stewart, who stayed with the band for their next LP, Forever Changes.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Alone Again Or
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version either.

Artist:    Love
Title:    She Comes In Colors
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Arthur Lee was a bit of an enigma. His band, Love, was generally accepted as the top band on the Strip in L.A., yet Lee himself was a bit of a recluse living up on the hill overlooking the scene. With one notable exception, his songs were not hits, yet he was critically acknowledged (especially in the UK) as a musical genius on a par with his friend Jimi Hendrix. Stylistically, his songs varied from intensely hard rock (Stephanie Knows Who, 7&7 Is), to softer, almost jazzy tunes such as She Comes In Colors.

    For our 1968 set we have a pair of B sides from west coast bands with an album track from a group of Canadians thrown in.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    Lightfoot
Source:    CD: Wheatfield Soul
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings/Matheson
Label:    Iconoclassic (original labels: Nimbus (Canada) and RCA Victor (US))
Year:    1968 (US release: 1969)
    The Guess Who had a long run as one of Canada's most successful bands before hitting it big in the US in 1969 with the release of their Wheatfield Soul album and its hit single These Eyes. The LP had originally been released on Toronto's Nimbus 9 label in 1968 and showcased the band's versatility with songs ranging from pop to blues to pure psychedelia. Among the tracks on the album is a tribute to a fellow Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot, who was still a struggling artist at the time.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.T.Tatman III
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. An edited version of Boogie Music, also from Living the Blues, was issued as the B side of that single. This is a stereo mix of that version, featured on a United Artists anthology album released in 1969.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You Never Had It Better
Source:    Mono CD: Underground (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher
Label:    Collector's Choice
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to Hassinger when they first started working with him, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band have reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.

    To wrap up the hour we have a 1967 set featuring another pair of British bands, this time mixed with a Los Angeles group.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Why
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    The closing track for the Byrds' fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday, was originally recorded in late 1965 at RCA studios and was released as the B side of Eight Miles High in 1966. The Younger Than Yesterday version of Why is actually a re-recording of the song.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Citadel
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    One of the most underrated songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Citadel is the second track on Their Satanic Majesties Request, an album often dismissed as being an ill-fated attempt to keep up with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As the song is preceeded on the album by the overture-like Sing This All Together with no break between the two, Citadel was almost impossible to play as a separate track from the original vinyl. It's a little easier to play from the CD, but due to sloppiness on the part of whoever mastered the 80s Abkco discs, the start of the song does not quite match up with the start of the CD track. Maybe one of these days I'll get a copy of the remastered version that came out more recently and see if they did a better job with it. In the meantime sit back and enjoy this hard-rockin' piece of psychedelia.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sun
Source:    LP: A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    One of the first box sets ever released, Donovan's 1967 A Gift From A Flower To A Garden is actually two albums, each with its own focus. One was specifically targeted to children, and features the kinds of songs that parents used to pass down to their children in the days before recorded music was omnipresent practically from the cradle onward. The other album was more of a continuation of the direction the singer/songwriter had been moving in since signing a contract with major US label Epic the previous year and featured his current hit, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, as well as album tracks such as Sun. The set included a book of lyrics and a wealth of interior artwork.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    The Standells were not from Boston. Their manager/producer Ed Cobb, who wrote Dirty Water, was. The rest is history.

    Following our opening track from the Standells this hour we have a long progression through the years that takes us from Chicago to New York to the west coast and finally ends up in the deep south.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Gloria)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Wind
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    In Time
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Kaukonen/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    1968 was one of the most strife-ridden years in modern history. First civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, then presidential candidate Robert Kennedy were struck down by assassins' bullets. Riots rocked the streets of several US cities. The youth of America had seemingly declared war on its elders and the nation was becoming increasingly polarized over the Vietnam War. It was against this backdrop that Jefferson Airplane released their fourth LP, Crown Of Creation. The cover itself showed distorted images of the band members superimposed on a photograph of a mushroom cloud. The songs, such as the Paul Kantner/Marty Balin collaboration In Time, were darker than those on the band's preceding albums, yet not quite as confrontational as those on their next LP, Volunteers. It was perhaps the perfect album for its time.

Artist:    Glad
Title:    Shape Of Things To Come
Source:    Feelin' Glad
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    ABC
Year:    1969
    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. One of the better Glad tracks is a cover of the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song Shape Of Things To Come, a song that was originally written for the soundtrack of the teensploitation flick Wild In The Streets. Glad's 1969 version, from the album Feelin' Glad, is nearly a minute longer than the 1968 original credited to Max Frost And The Troopers, and as a result sounds much more fleshed out (without sounding padded).

Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    You're Mean
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    King/Jemmott/McCracken/Harris/Lovelle
Label:    Bluesway
Year:    1970
    I can't imagine that anyone reading this has not heard of B.B. King, so all I'll say is that this instrumental jam was included as the B side of King's biggest hit, The Thrill Is Gone, in 1970.

    Our final segment of the week kicks off with another long progression through the years that moves from the garage into territory never before explored on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era (with a visit to the most-played song in UK radio history along the way).

Artist:    Lyrics
Title:    So What!!
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chris Gaylord
Label:    Rhino (original label: Era)
Year:    1965
    In some ways the story of the Lyrics is fairly typical for the mid-1960s. The Carlsbad, California group had already established itself as a competent if somewhat bland cover band when in 1964 they recruited the local cool kid, Chris Gaylord (who was so cool that had his own beat up old limo, plastered on the inside with Rolling Stones memorabilia, of course), to be their frontman. Gaylord provided the band with a healthy dose of attitude, as demonstrated by their 1965 single So What!! The song was written by Gaylord after he had a brief fling with a local rich girl. Gaylord's tenure lasted until mid-1966. Although the band continued without him, they never again saw the inside of a recording studio.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Fake stereo LP: A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    Procol Harum
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    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:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    The Beauty Of Time Is That It's Snowing
Source:    CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Children Of The Future)
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    When the name Steve Miller comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is Fly Like An Eagle, or maybe The Joker or even Living In The USA. In the beginning, though, the Miller band was a bit more eclectic, performing original tunes (by both Miller and fellow band member Boz Scaggs) ranging in style from straight blues to pure psychedelia, such as The Beauty Of Time Is That It's Snowing from their debut LP, Children Of The Future. Although born in Milwaukee, Wisconson, Miller was raised in Texas, where he played in several local bands before relocating to Chicago, where he took an interest in electric blues. After a short return to Texas, Miller moved to San Francisco in 1966, where he met Boz Scaggs and formed the Steve Miller Band. Like fellow San Francisco bands Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mother Earth, Miller's group provided songs for the soundtrack of the documentary film Revolution, but did not sign a contract with a major label until 1968. Oddly enough, their first LP, Children Of The Future, was recorded in England rather than in San Francisco.

Artist:    Aerovons
Title:    World Of You
Source:    CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hartman
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    Originally from St. Louis, Mo., the Aerovons were such big fans of the Beatles that they moved to England in hopes of meeting their idols. They had enough talent in their own right to get a contract with EMI, recording an album's worth of material at Abbey Road in 1969. Although only two singles from those sessions were originally released (on Parlophone, the same label that the Beatles' records were on), the Aerovons finally got some recognition many years later when an acetate of their unreleased album was discovered and remastered for release on the RPM label. Perhaps more important for the band members, they got to meet the Beatles while recording at Abbey Road.

Artist:    Peter Green
Title:    Hidden Depth
Source:    LP: The End Of The Game
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    After leaving the band he founded, Fleetwood Mac, in 1970, guitarist Peter Green recorded what can only be described as an album full of free-form guitar work, accompanied by various backup musicians. The album is divided into six tracks. Hidden Depth is one of those tracks.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Casey Jones
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Workingman's Dead)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    After three albums worth of studio material that the band was not entirely happy with, the Grateful Dead finally achieved their goal with the 1969 release of the double-LP Live Dead. So where do you go when you've finally accomplished your original mission? For the Dead the answer was to concentrate on their songwriting skills. The results of this new direction were heard on their next two studio LP's, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, both released in 1970. One of the highlights of Workingman's Dead was Casey Jones, a song based on an old folk tale (albeit updated a bit for a 1970 audience). Casey Jones was just one of many classic songs written by the team of guitarist Jerry Garcia and poet/lyricist Robert Hunter. Oddly enough, this is the first time this song is being heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.

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