Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1314 (starts 4/4/13)

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source:    LP: Live At Town Hall
Writer(s):    Blind Willie Johnson
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    Sometime in mid-1967 a new Blues Project LP was released. The album was titled Live At Town Hall, despite the fact that only half of the tracks on the album were in fact recorded live, and only one of those was actually recorded at Howard K. Solomon's Town Hall. To add insult to injury, the liner notes heavily emphasized the talents of keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper, who had in fact quit the group shortly before the album was released, reportedly over musical differences with guitarist Danny Kalb over whether or not the band should add a horn section. Although I have not been able to determine exactly which track was recorded where, it seems likely that the album's opening recording, an energetic performance of I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes featuring some of Kalb's best guitar work, is the Town Hall performance, as it is a notably higher fidelity recording than the album's other live tracks.

Artist:    Balloon Farm
Title:    A Question Of Temperature
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Appel/Schnug/Henny
Label:    Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:    1967
    Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to have greater success as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Get Off My Cloud
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1965
    Early British Invasion bands generally fell into one of two camps. On the one hand there were the relatively clean-cut Merseybeat bands such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits and of course the Beatles themselves, who were the overwhelming favorites of teenage girls all across America. Then there were the so-called "bad boy" bands such as Them and the Animals who tended to favor a raunchier interpretation of rock and roll than their Merseybeat counterparts and had more male than female fans. Chief among these were London's Rolling Stones. While the Beatles were still cranking out love songs throughout 1965, the Stones were shouting their defiance at the world with songs like Get Off My Cloud. 

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Why Can't You Give Me What I Want
Source:    Mono LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer(s):    Dawes/Friedland
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The Cyrkle was originally a frat-rock band from Easton, Pennsylvania called the Rhondells consisting of Don Danneman on guitar, Tom Dawes on bass, Marty Freid on drums and Earl Pickens on keyboards. In 1965, while playing gigs in Atlantic City they hooked up with a new manager, Brian Epstein, who promptly renamed them the Cyrkle (the odd spelling provided by John Lennon, a member of another band managed by Epstein). Under the new name and management, the band soon found themselves opening for the Beatles (on their last North American tour) and scoring a top 5 hit with Red Rubber Ball in the summer of 1966. The hit single was soon followed by an album of the same name that included a mix of cover tunes and Cyrkle originals such as Why Can't You Give Me What I Want. It was a volatile time in the pop music world, however, and the Cyrkle soon found themselves sounding a bit dated, and by late 1967, after one more LP and a series of singles, each of which did successively worse than the previous one, the band decided to throw in the towel.

Artist:    Lyme And Cybelle
Title:    Follow Me
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Zevon/Santagelo
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1966
    Before coming to the realization that he could become famous using his own name, Warren Zevon (along with Violet Santangelo) recorded a single called Follow Me as Lyme and Cybelle. They also wrote the song using their real names, presumably because nobody wants to see their potential royalties diverted to a fictitious stage name.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Long Time Gone
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    In addition to showcasing some of the most popular bands of 1969, the Woodstock festival helped several relatively new acts attain stardom as well. Among these newer artists were Santana, Ten Years After and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The biggest Woodstock success story, however, was Crosby, Stills and Nash, who appearance at the event was only their second live performance. In addition to the group's live performance, the movie and soundtrack album of the event included the original studio recording of Long Time Gone from the debut Crosby, Stills and Nash LP.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Superlungs My Supergirl
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Barabajabal)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    Donovan originally recorded a song called Supergirl for his 1966 album Sunshine Superman album, but ultimately chose not to use the track. Over two years later he recorded an entirely new version of the song, retitling it Superlungs My Supergirl for the 1969 Barabajagal album.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Belda Beast
Source:    LP: Ball
Writer(s):    Erik Brann
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Although his tenure as guitarist for the band was relatively short, Erik Brann is generally regarded as THE Iron Butterfly guitarist. This is probably because the two albums he recorded with the band, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Ball, are by far their best-known work. Brann, along with bassist Lee Dorman, joined keyboardist/vocalist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy after the original band split up shortly after the release of their first LP, Heavy. He quickly integrated himself into the band, co-writing several tunes with primary songwriter Ingle, and even providing one (Belda Beast from the Ball album) without any help from Ingle.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    If You Feel
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Blackman/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    Although Marty Balin's contributions as a songwriter to Jefferson Airplane's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, were minimal (he co-wrote one song), he was back in full force on the band's next LP, Crown Of Creation. One of his lesser-known songs on the album is If You Feel, co-written with non-member Gary Blackman, which opened side two of the LP.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Two Heads
Source:     CD: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:     1967
     The third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, saw the group moving in increasingly experimental directions, as Grace Slick's two contributions to the LP attest. The more accessible of the two was Two Heads, which was the first part of the fifth "suite" on the album.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Ice Cream Phoenix
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer:    Kaukonen/Cockery
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    By 1968, the various songwriting members of Jefferson Airplane were developing divergent styles, although still keeping their songs within the band's established sound. This is evident throughout the band's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation, with songs like Jorma Kaukonen's Ice Cream Phoenix. Parts of the song, such as the opening verse, almost sound like they could be on a Hot Tuna album, yet others, such as the bridge section, are pure Airplane.

Artist:    Roger Nichols Trio
Title:    Montage Mirror
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer(s):    Nichols/Roberds
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    The Parade was an L.A. studio group made up of actors and studio musicians that had a top 20 hit with Sunshine Girl in early 1967. This track, recorded later the same year is pretty much the same group but credited to the Roger Nichols Trio instead. An attempt to subvert an unpleasant contract with another label perhaps? I guess we'll never know, as the song sat on the shelf for 41(!) years before being included on a Parade anthology.

Artist:    Butch Engle And The Styx
Title:    Hey, I'm Lost
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elliott/Durand
Label:    Rhino (original label: Onyx)
Year:    1967
    In 1966 a local San Francisco department store held a battle of the bands at the Cow Palace. Unlike most events in the city that year, this one did not tie in to the emerging hippy culture. Rather, the event drew bands that were in their element when playing high school dances and teen clubs (although the Charlatans did make an appearance). The winners of that battle were Butch Engle and the Styx. Eighteen months later, their only single appeared on the Onyx label and was distributed throughout the bay area.

Artist:    Lemon Pipers
Title:    Green Tambourine
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Green Tambourine)
Writer(s):    Leka/Pinz
Label:    Priority (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1967
    Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit. Making it even worse is the fact that, although the Lemon Pipers themselves were a real band, they ended up being grouped in with several "bands" who were in fact studio creations by the Kazenetz/Katz production team that supplied Buddah with a steady stream of bubble-gum hits throughout 1968.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Going Up The Country
Source:    Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Alan Wilson
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1969
    Toward the beginning of the Woodstock movie, you hear a bit of stage banter from Robert (the Bear) Hite, lead vocalist of Canned Heat, followed by a somewhat enhanced version of their studio recording of "Going Up the Country." When the movie soundtrack album was released, the actual performance of the song was included, but not Hite's spoken intro. Finally, with the release of the Rhino box set, we get to hear it as the audience heard it, intro and all. I wonder if he ever found a place?

Artist:    Lollipop Shoppe (aka The Weeds)
Title:    You Must Be A Witch
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Fred Cole
Label:    BFD (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    The Weeds were formed in Las Vegas in 1965 by vocalist Fred Cole, who at age 16 was already a recording studio veteran. They showed up at the Fillmore to open for the Yardbirds in 1966 only to find out that their manager had lied to them about being on the playbill (in fact Bill Graham had never even heard of them). Disenchanted with their management and fearing the Draft, the entire band decided to head for Canada, but ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon. They soon landed a regular gig at a club called the Folk Singer (where Cole met his future wife Toody) and after relocating to Southern California in 1968 attracted the attention of Seeds' manager Lord Tim, who got them a contract with MCA Records (now Universal). They recorded one album for MCA's Uni label (discovering after the fact that Lord Tim had changed their name to the Lollipop Shoppe) which included the single You Must Be A Witch. Fred Cole has since become an icon of indy rock, co-leading the band Dead Moon (with wife Toody) from 1987-2006. Fred and Toody currently co-lead the band Pierced Arrows.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Watch Yourself
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Robert Yeazel
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing many of the songs on that album.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Codine
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer:    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1968
    Buffy St. Marie's Codine was a popular favorite among the club crowd in mid-60s California. In 1967, L.A. band The Leaves included it on their second LP. Around the same time, up the coast in San Francisco, the Charlatans selected it to be their debut single. The suits at Kama-Sutra Records, however, balked at the choice, and instead released a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows. The novelty-flavored Shadow bombed so bad that the label decided not to release any more Charlatans tracks, thus leaving their version of Codine gathering dust in the vaults until the mid 1990s, when the entire Kama-Sutra sessions were released on CD. Meanwhile, back in 1968, Quicksilver Messenger Service were still without a record contract, despite pulling decent crowds at various Bay Area venues, including a credible appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. Despite this, the producers of the quasi-documentary film Revolution decided to include footage of the band playing Codine, and commissioned this studio recording of the song for the soundtrack album.

Artist:    David Axelrod
Title:    Urizen
Source:    CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Song Of Innocence)
Writer(s):    David Axelrod
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    One of the more unique talents of the psychedelic era was a man named David Axelrod. Originally known as a jazz producer, working with such artists as Lou Reed and Cannonball Adderly, Axelrod came to the attention of the rock world when he scored an entire Catholic Mass for a rock band, the Electric Prunes' Mass In F Minor, in 1968. The piece was sung entirely in Latin and featured mostly studio musicians playing the complicated score. The same year, Axelrod released Song Of Innocence, setting the words of poet William Blake to modern music. The opening track of Song Of Innocence is Urizen, named for one of Blake's key characters.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Sitting On Top Of The World
Source:    LP: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Jacobs/Carter
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1967
    Most versions of Sitting On Top Of The World (such as the one by Cream) have a slow, melancholy tempo that emphasizes the irony of the lyrics. The Grateful Dead version, on the other hand, goes at about twice the speed and has lyrics I have never heard on any other version. I suspect this is because, like most of the songs on the first Dead album, the tune was part of their early live repertoire; a repertoire that called for a lot of upbeat songs to keep the crowd on their feet. Is this Rob "Pig Pen" McKernon on the vocals? I think so, but am open to any corrections you might want to send along (just use the contact button on the www.hermitradio.com website).

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:    Beatles
Title:    Blue Jay Way
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    The Beatles' psychedelic period hit its peak with the late 1967 release of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. As originally conceived there were only six songs on the album, too few for a standard LP. The band's solution was to present Magical Mystery Tour as two Extended Play (EP) 45 RPM records in a gatefold sleeve with a 23 page booklet featuring lyrics and scenes from the telefilm of the same name (as well as the general storyline in prose form).  As EPs were out of vogue in the US, Capitol Records, against the band's wishes, added five songs that had been issued as single A or B sides in 1967 to create a standard LP. The actual Magical Mystery Tour material made up side one of the LP, while the single sides were on side two. The lone George Harrison contribution to the project was Blue Jay Way, named for a street in the Hollywood Hills that Harrison had rented that summer.  As all five of the extra tracks were credited to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team, this meant that each of the band's 1967 albums had only one Harrison composition on them. This became a point of contention within the band, and on the Beatles' next album (the white album), Harrison's share of the songwriting had doubled.

Artist:    Roy Orbison
Title:    Oh, Pretty Woman
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Orbison/Dees
Label:    Monument
Year:    1964
    Although the vast majority of Roy Orbison's hits were love ballads such as It's Over and Blue Bayou, his best-known song is the classic rocker Oh, Pretty Woman. The song managed to work its way to the top of both US and British charts during the height of the British Invasion. Orbison, in fact, was even more successful in the UK than in his native US, scoring two number hits on the British charts in 1964, the only American artist to do so.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Ooby-Dooby
Source:    LP: Cosmos Factory
Writer(s):    Moore/Penner
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1970
    Ooby-Dooby was originally recorded by Roy Orbison for Sun Records in the 1950s and was a minor hit at the time. The Creedence version follows the original fairly faithfully, albeit with better production quality.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Train For Tomorrow
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin/Williams/Spagnola/Ritter
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although the bulk of material on the Electric Prunes' first LP was from outside sources, there were a few exceptions. One of the more notable ones was Train For Tomorrow, an innovative piece credited to the entire band that shows what this group could have done if allowed more artistic freedom.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Hideaway
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Underground)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After the moderately successful first Electric Prunes album, producer David Hassinger loosened the reigns a bit for the followup, Underground. Among the original tunes on Underground was Hideaway, a song that probably would have been a better choice as a single than what actually got released: a novelty tune called Dr. Feelgood written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, who had also written the band's first hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).

Artist:     Electric Prunes
Title:     Bangles
Source:     CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer:     Tucker/Mantz
Label:     Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Producer Dave Hassinger gave the Prunes a lot of songs to record by the songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, especially on their first LP,I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). This was probably to be expected, given the success of the Tucker/Mantz title track as a single. Bangles is notable for it's rather abrupt time changes and fuzz guitar opening.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Bass Strings
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    A lot of songs released in 1966 and 1967 got labeled as drug songs by influential people in the music industry. In many cases, those labels were inaccurate, at least according to the artists who recorded those songs. On the other hand, you have songs like Bass Strings by Country Joe and the Fish that really can't be about anything else.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Renaissance Fair
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Crosby/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Younger Than Yesterday was David Crosby's last official album with the Byrds (he was fired midway through the recording of The Notorious Byrd Brothers) and the last one containing any collaborations between Crosby and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn. Renaissance Fair is one of those collaborations.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Bang Bang
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer:     Sonny Bono
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Vanilla Fudge made their reputation by taking popular hit songs, such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On, and extensively re-arranging them, giving the songs an almost classical feel. In fact, some of their arrangements incorporated (uncredited) snippets of actually classical pieces. One glaring example is the Vanilla Fudge arrangement of Cher's biggest solo hit of the 60s, Bang Bang (written by her then-husband Sonny Bono). Unfortunately, although I recognize the classical piece the band uses for an intro to Bang Bang, I can't seem to remember what it's called or who wrote it. Anyone out there able to help? I think it may have been used in a 1950s movie, if that helps.
Year:    1967

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