There have always been sets of songs on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era that I refer to as "progressions through the years." Generally there are three or four of these types of sets each week, mixed with other types of sets such as artist sets or groups of songs from a particular year. This week, however, every single set is a progression through the years.
Title: Liar Liar
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Soma)
The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.
Artist: Mouse And The Traps
Title: Maid Of Sugar-Maid Of Spice
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Mouse (Ronnie Weiss) was, for a time, the most popular guy in Tyler, Texas, at least among the local youth. His band, Mouse and the traps, had a series of regional hits that garnered airplay at stations all across the state (and a rather large state at that). Although Mouse's first big hit, A Public Execution, had a strong Dylan feel to it, subsequent releases, such as the 1966 single Maid Of Sugar-Maid Of Spice, were pure garage-rock.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Foxy Lady
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side 2.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Seger
Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. The first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, a powerful anti-Vietnam War tune that was later included on his first LP for the label. The mono single version of the song heard here has a guitar chord near the end of the track that was not on the original recording (on which the song simply stops cold for a second). It was inserted because, according to Seger, radio stations were "afraid of dead air".
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Deep Purple)
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
The original Deep Purple lineup, which included vocalist Rod Evans, recorded three albums that were released in the US on the Tetragrammaton label. Unfortunately, the label went out of business within days of the last of these three, and album entitled simply Deep Purple. After the band hit the big time in the early 70s with a new vocalist their new label, Warner Brothers, decided to issue a compilation of their earlier material with Evans. Included on the double LP Purple Passages was nearly the entire Deep Purple album, including Emmeretta, a song that shows a heavy Jimi Hendrix influence.
Title: Too Many People
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
The Leaves scored their first Los Angeles regional hit with the song Too Many People, released on the Mira label in 1965. When a later single, Hey Joe, became a national hit, the band re-recorded Too Many People for their debut album, released in 1966. Although the newer recording is cleaner (and in stereo), it lacks the raw garage-rock energy of the original
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: In The Morning
Source: LP: Early Flight
Writer(s): Jorma Kaukonen
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1974
One of the earliest and best collections of previously released material from a major rock band was the Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Among the rarities on the LP is In The Morning, and blues jam with Jorma Kaukonen on vocals and lead guitar that runs over six minutes long. The length itself precluded the track being included on the band's debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, despite the obvious quality of the performance. The song has since been included as a bonus track on the CD version of JATO.
Title: Old Man
Source: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s): Bryan MacLean
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
An often overlooked fact about the L.A. band Love is that they had not one, but two quality singer/songwriters in the group. Although Arthur Lee wrote the bulk of the band's material, it was Bryan McLean who wrote and sang one of the group's best-known songs, the haunting Alone Again Or, which opens their classic Forever Changes album. A second McLean song, Old Man, was actually one of the first tracks recorded for Forever Changes. At the time, the band's rhythm section was more into sex and drugs than rock and roll, and McLean and Lee arranged to have studio musicians play on Old Man, as well as on one of Lee's songs. The rest of the group was so stunned by this development that they were able to temporarily get their act together long enough to complete the album. Nonetheless, the two tunes with studio musicians were left as is, although reportedly Ken Forssi did step in to show Carol Kaye how the bass part should be played (ironic, since Kaye is estimated to have played on over 10,000 recordings in her long career as a studio musician).
Title: Rollin' Machine
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: GNP Crescendo
Is there anyone out there that really thinks this is a song about a car? I thought not.
Title: Alabama Bound
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer: trad., arr. The Charlatans
Label: Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1996
Despite being one of the most important bands on the San Francisco scene, the Charlatans did not have much luck in the recording studio. Their first sessions were aborted, the planned LP for Kama Sutra was shelved by the label itself, and the band was overruled in their choice of songs to be released on their first (and only) single issued from the Kama Sutra sessions. In 1967, however, they did manage to get some decent tracks recorded. Unfortunately, those tracks were not released until 1996, and then only in the UK. The centerpiece of the 1967 sessions was this six-and-a-half minute recording of a traditional tune that is considered by many to be the Charlatans' signature song: Alabama Bound.
Artist: Fraternity Of Man
Title: Don't Bogart Me
Source: CD: Easy Rider Soundtrack (originally released on LP: Fraternity Of Man)
Writer(s): Fraternity Of Man
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
In the late 60s there was a certain disconnect between rock musicians and their audience on the subject of country music. Whereas the youth culture of the time associated it with rednecks and conservative attitudes, their musical heroes often held the country music tradition in high regard. One of the first songs to bridge the gap was Don't Bogart Me from the Fraternity Of Man. The band itself was made up of former members of the Factory, a popular L.A. club band led by Lowell George, and the Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. Although the band's 1968 LP remains somewhat obscure, Don't Bogart Me itself was made famous by its inclusion in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.
Title: Easy Ride
Source: CD: The Soft Parade
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
Speaking of Easy Rides, we have this unusual tune from the fourth Doors album, The Soft Parade. The album was a bit of a departure for the Doors for several reasons, not the least of which was that for the first time individual members rather than the group were given songwriting credit. The album was more experimental in nature than any other Doors album as well, as Jim Morrison's Easy Ride amply demonstrates.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Richard Cory
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
My ultra-cool 9th-grade English teacher brought in a copy of Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album one day. As a class, we deconstructed the lyrics of two of the songs on that album: A Most Peculiar Man and Richard Cory. Both songs deal with suicide, but under vastly different circumstances. Whereas A Most Peculiar Man is about a lonely man who lives an isolated existence as an anonymouse resident of a boarding house, Richard Cory deals with a character who is at the center of society, known and envied by many. Too bad most high school English classes weren't that interesting.
Artist: Richie Havens
Source: LP: Mixed Bag
Writer(s): Richie Havens
Label: Verve Forecast
Richie Havens is probably best known as the man who heroically took the stage for nearly three hours to get the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival underway when circumstances threatened to delay the festival's opening. Havens' career, however, was much longer and more significant than just that one appearance. Born in Brooklyn, Havens was the eldest of nine children. At age 20 he moved to Greenwich Village and became part of the beatnik movement, reading poetry in the various coffee houses. He also drew portraits and stayed up late listening to folk artists perform, eventually taking up the guitar himself. After a couple records on the independent Douglas label, Havens landed a contract with Verve Forecast and released his first LP, Mixed Bag, featuring songs like Adam, which Havens himself wrote. More LPs followed, and eventually Havens formed his own label, Stormy Forest. More recently Havens was awarded the American Eagle Award by the National Music Council for his achievements, including his role as an environmental educator/activist.
Title: Black Widow Spider
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
After Van Morrison left Them for a solo career, the band headed back to Belfast, where they recruited vocalist Kenny McDowell. Them soon relocated permanently to the US west coast, where they landed a contract with Tower Records. After a first album that featured songs from a variety of sources, they hooked up with Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, who wrote an album's worth of material for the band. That album was Time Out! Time In! For Them, an album that has stayed under the radar for over 40 years. I hope through this show to give this album the recognition it deserves as an undiscovered classic of the psychedelic era.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Source: CD: Chronicles (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Green River)
Writer(s): John Fogerty
Yes, I know Creedence Clearwater Revival is not what you would call a psychedelic band. Nonetheless, they made some of the best rock records of 1969, including Commotion, which was released as the B side to Green River. Personally I think it sounds pretty psychedelic. So there.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: All I Really Need Is You
Source: Mono LP: Midnight Ride
Paul Revere And The Raiders have gotten a bad rap over the years, mostly for dressing funny. During the mid-60s, however, with the British Invasion in full swing, an American band needed every gimmick it could think of, and the Raiders simply took advantage of their band leader's birth name and did the obvious. What's often overlooked, however, is the fact that Paul Revere And The Raiders, co-led by Revere and vocalist/saxophonist Mark Lindsay, were one of the best bands of their time, and the first band from the Pacific Northwest to achieve continuous national chart success. The band members were prolific songwriters as well. In fact, of the twelve songs on their 1966 album Midnight Ride, ten were originals, including All I Really Need Is You, which leads off side two of the LP.
Title: Smiling Phases
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released in UK as 45 RPM B side and in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind, aka Mr. Fantasy)
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
The standard practice in the UK during the 60s was to not include songs that had been released as singles on LPs. This left several songs, such as the 1967 B side Smiling Phases, only available on 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits anthology was released. In the US the song was more widely circulated, having been included on the American version of Traffic's debut LP. Smiling Phases has since come to be recognized as one of Traffic's most iconic tunes, and has been covered by such bands as Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Title: Sister Marie
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): D. Morrow
Label: Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Well-known as John Lennon's 1970s drinking buddy, singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson first came to prominence in 1969 with the song Everybody's Talking from the movie Midnight Cowboy (the film that brought stardom to actor Dustin Hoffman as well). Although Nilsson is best known as a songwriter (Lennon once called him America's greatest), the B side of his first single, Sister Marie, actually came from an outside source.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Source: CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
Do I really need to say anything about Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida? I didn't think so.
Source: CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Jack Bruce
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were relatively few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals.
Title: (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Roy Wood
The most successful British band of the psychedelic era not to have a US hit was the Move, a band that featured Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, among other notables. The band was already well established in the UK by 1967, when their single Flowers In The Rain was picked to be the first record played on the new BBC Radio One. The B side of that record was the equally-catchy (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree. Both songs were written by Wood, although he only sang lead vocals on the B side.
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.
Artist: London Phogg
Title: The Times To Come
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
In a way it was a typical 60s dream come true. Local group (in this case the locality being Las Vegas) wins a battle of the bands, the prize being a trip to L.A. to record for a major record label (in this case Herb Alpert's A&M Records). Soon, though, the dream becomes a nightmare, as the band is not allowed to do much of anything on their one shot at fame. Studio musicians are brought in to play on a song written by professional songwriters and the record of course is a flop. The band returns home to Las Vegas, never to be heard from again. After this week you can be assured that this track won't be heard again on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era either.
Artist: Allman Brothers Band
Title: Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
Source: CD: Beginnings (originally released on LP: Idlewild South)
Writer(s): Gregg Allman
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
It's hard to believe now, but it took a while for the Allman Brothers band to become popular outside of the southern US. It wasn't until their second LP, Idlewild South, that rock radio began to take notice of the band, which was at the time based in Macon, Georgia. The album title itself came from an inside joke that the band's house was so busy it was like Idlewild airport (the original name of what is now Kennedy International). Don't Keep Me Wonderin' is probably the most R&B sounding track the band ever recorded, and in a sense harkens back to Gregg Allman's previous band, the Hour Glass.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as EP)
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Joe McDonald was already making a name for himself in Berkeley in 1965 as the publisher of an early underground arts and politics-oriented newspaper/magazine known as Rag Baby. As a way of boosting circulation he came up with the idea of a musical insert. The first of these included a song that would later become one of the best-known antiwar tunes ever penned: the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag. The actual makeup of the band called Country Joe And The Fish on this recording is not quite clear, other than the fact that both McDonald and Barry Melton played on it. An early video made of the group performing the song shows several people I don't recognize alternating on the vocals.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
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 to crack the top 40 charts.
Artist: Velvet Underground
Title: There She Goes Again
Source: CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer(s): Lou Reed
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve)
When the Velvet Underground first appeared, their fame was pretty much limited to the New York art crowd, of which their sponsor and primary financial backer Andy Warhol was a superstar in his own right. With talent like Lou Reed and John Cale in the band, however, the VU eventually attained legendary punk status of their own, albeit long after the band ceased to exist. One of the best tracks on the group's debut LP was There She Goes Again, a song that starts off sounding like the Rolling Stones' cover of Marvin Gaye's Hitch Hike, but soon moves into unexplored territory, especially in its subject matter (prostitution as a lifestyle choice).