Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1349 (starts 12/4/13)

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Eleanor Rigby
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' Revolver album is usually cited as the beginning of the British psychedelic era, and with good reason. Although the band still had one last tour in them in 1966, they were already far more focused on their studio work than on their live performances, and thus turned out an album full of short masterpieces such as Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. As always, the song was credited to both McCartney and John Lennon, but in reality the only Beatle to appear on the recording was McCartney himself, and then only in a vocal capacity. The instrumentation consisted of simply a string quartet, arranged and conducted by producer George Martin. Released as a double-A-sided single, along with Yellow Submarine, the song shot to the upper echelons of the charts in nearly every country in the western world and remains one of the band's most popular and recognizable tunes.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now. Nor can I imagine the band agreeing to it.

Artist:    Eire Apparent
Title:    Here I Go Again
Source:    Swedish import CD: Sunrise (bonus track originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lutton/Graham/McCulloch/Stewart
Label:    Flawed Gems (original label: Track)
Year:    1968
    Eire Apparent was originally part of the same Northern Ireland music scene that produced Van Morrison and Them a few years earlier. The band was first signed to Track Records, where they released one UK-only single with Here I Go Again as the B side. This led to a spot opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and an album, Sunrise, that was produced by Hendrix himself. After the album failed to catch on, the group quietly disbanded.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    For years I've been trying to find a DVD copy of a video I saw on YouTube. It was the Blues Magoos, complete with electric suits and smoke generators, performing Tobacco Road on a Bob Hope TV special. The performance itself was a vintage piece of psychedelia, but the true appeal of the video is in Hope's reaction to the band immediately following the song. You can practically hear him thinking "Well, that's one act I'm not taking with me on my next USO tour."

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    While not as commercially successful as the Airplane or as long-lived as the Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Take Off
Source:    British import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    As was becoming more and more common in 1968, the final track of Gun's debut LP was an extended jam piece designed to showcase each of the band members' individual talents as well as their improvisational ability as a group. What makes Take Off a bit unusual is the addition of horns to the mix, something that Al Kooper was experimenting with in the US at around the same time, as can be heard on the Super Session album.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Wind Chimes
Source:    Mono CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    For many years there were conflicting rumors concerning the fate of the original tapes made by Brian Wilson for his aborted Beach Boys album, Smile. Most people thought the tapes had long since been destroyed, yet there was growing evidence that there were still copies of at least some of the tracks, albeit in generally unfinished states. Finally, in 1993, Capitol Records unveiled several of these rough tracks as part of the four disc box set Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys. As was the case with the Pet Sounds album, Wilson used several different recording studios for the Smile project and often used splicing and cross-fading to mix the various segments into a cohesive whole. In the case of Wind Chimes, the splice is not quite clean, creating a jarring silence for a fraction of a second about two-thirds of the way through. With Wilson's reputation as a perfectionist I would imagine he found the track to be unacceptable in this state, but never got around to doing anything about it.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Dark White
Source:    CD: Ignition
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2003
    One of the final recordings by Sean Bonniwell using the name Music Machine, Dark White is also one of the most sophisticated, both lyrically and musically. And since Bonniwell's music was by far the most sophisticated to get labeled "garage rock", that is really saying a lot. The song is best described as a cat and mouse love dance (but that really falls short of the mark as well). Best just to take a listen and decide for yourself. Although the liner notes for the Ignition CD (released in 2003) show the song as not being an unreleased track, I have not been able to find any evidence of the song ever appearing anywhere else.

rtist:    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:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    So-Lo
Source:    CD: Heavy
Writer(s):    Ingle/DeLoach
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    The band that came to be known as Iron Butterfly traces its roots to two local San Diego cover bands: the Palace Pages, which included organist Doug Ingle and guitarist Danny Weis, and the Voxmen, which included bassist Jerry Penrod and drummer Ron Bushy. In 1966 Ingle and Weis decided to move north to Los Angeles and form a new band, which they called Iron Butterfly. The original bassist and drummer didn't work out, and Ingle and Weis persuaded Penrod and Bushy to join them, along with vocalist Daryl DeLoach. After a slow start the band started to build a following on the Sunset Strip, and in 1967 landed a contract with Atco, recording their first album, Heavy. Although DeLoach's role with the band was limited to vocals, tambourine and percussion, he actually sang lead on only four of the album's ten tracks, among them the opening track of the second side of the LP, a tune he and Ingle co-wrote called So-Lo. Before the album was released, the band temporarily split up, and it was not until the new lineup of Ingle, Bushy, guitarist Erik Braunn and bassist Lee Dorman hit the stage in early 1968 that Atco decided to release Heavy. That lineup would go on to record two more Iron Butterfly albums, including the iconic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Artist:    Thor's Hammer
Title:    My Life
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on British EP: Umbarumbamba for export to Iceland)
Writer(s):    Thordarson/Ostlund
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1966
    Originally formed in 1964 in Keflavik, Iceland, Hljomar, led by Gunnar Thordarson quickly became one of the most popular teen-oriented bands on the island nation, commencing to record locally in their native language in 1965. It soon became evident, however, that for the band to increase their audience base they would have to start recording in English, and by the end of the year had travelled to England to record songs under the name Thor's Hammer for an upcoming movie starring the band. Both the movie itself and a four-song EP featuring tunes from the film were released in late 1966, both bearing the name Umbarumbamba. Neither the movie or the EP did particularly well, however, despite strong tunes such as My Life, and, after a final attempt at an English language single in 1967, the band returned to Iceland, becoming Hljomar once more for the remainder of their existence.

Artist:     Johnny Winter
Title:     Bad Luck And Trouble
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer:     Johnny Winter
Label:     United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year:     1968
     Johnny Winter first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who gravitated to rock music, Johnny Winter has remained primarily a blues musician throughout his career.

Artist:    J. Geils Band
Title:    Whammer Jammer
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Juke Box Jimmie
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    First they were a Boston bar band called Snoopy and the Sopwith Camel. Then they became the J. Geils Blues Band. Finally they dropped the "blues" from the name and became famous. Whammer Jammer, an early B side showcasing "Magic Dick" Salwitz on lead harmonica, shows why the "blues" part was there in the first place.

Artist:     Johnny Rivers
Title:     Secret Agent Man
Source:     45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:     Sloan/Barri
Label:     Imperial
Year:     1966
     The sixties were a decade of fads and trends in the US, many of them imported from England. One of the most popular was the spy craze. Inspired by cold war politics and the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, TV producers began cranking out shows like I-Spy and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. One of the earliest of these shows was a British production called Danger Man, aired in the US under the name Secret Agent. The show starred Darrin McGavin as a (surprise) secret agent for a fictional version of MI6, the British intelligence agency, and enjoyed a successful run on both sides of the Atlantic. After a few seasons McGavin got tired of doing the show and Danger Man/Secret Agent was cancelled. Before that happened, however, Johnny Rivers scored a huge hit with the theme song written by Steve Barri and PF Sloan especially for the US airings of the show. McGavin would make another series called the Prisoner about a former secret agent that had been "retired" to a closed village in order to protect the secret knowledge he had accumulated over the years. Although it was never explicitly stated, it was assumed that his character (who had indeed been given a number and had his name taken away) was the same one he had played in the earlier show.

Artist:    Flock
Title:    Introduction
Source:    CD: The Flock
Writer(s):    The Flock
Label:    BGO (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Rock bands from the city of Chicago, starting with the Buckinghams, are known for their horn sections; in fact the most successful of these "horn bands" actually ended up renaming itself after the city itself. One of these bands, however, managed to find a member whose presence actually made the horns almost unnoticable. That member was violinist Jerry Goodman, who is heard prominently on the opening track of the first Flock album, appropriately titled Introduction. Goodman would go on to be a charter member of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 1970s.

Artist:    People
Title:    I Love You
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chris White
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 the major labels had signed just about every San Francisco band with any perceived potential. Capitol, having had some success with the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose on its Tower subsidiary, decided to sign another south bay band, People, to the parent label. The most successful single for the band was a new recording of an obscure Zombies B side. I Love You ended up hitting the top 20 nationally, despite the active efforts of two of the most powerful men in the music industry, who set out to squash the song as a way of punishing the record's producer for something having nothing to do with the song or the band itself.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:    Red Squares
Title:    You Can Be My Baby
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Denmark as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Martin/Bell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Originally formed in Boston, England, in 1964, the Red Squares relocated to Denmark in 1966 and soon became massively popular. For the most part the band's sound was similar to the Hollies, as can be heard on the original LP version of You Can Be My Baby. The single version of the song heard here, however, cranks up the energy levels to something approaching the early Who records.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Just Like Us
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first rock band signed by the label, predating the Byrds by about a year. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.

Artist:    Tea Company
Title:    Flowers
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released on LP: Come And Have Some Tea With The Tea Company and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carr/Lassando
Label:    Arf! Arf!
Year:    1968
    Nobody seems to know for sure, but the Tea Company apparently came from somewhere in the Northeastern US. What is known is that their only LP for Smash was reportedly about as psychedelic as you can get, using some of the stereo techniques developed by Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Kramer for the Axis: Bold As Love album. The single version of Flowers, unfortunately, is a heavily edited mono remix, which makes me even more curious to hear the actual LP. Anyone got a copy?

Artist:    Chris St. John (Mouse And The Traps)
Title:    I've Got Her Love
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Fraternity Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Barton/Brians
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    1967
    Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss had already established a reputation locally in Tyler Texas as a session musician by the time he had his first regional hit record, the Dylanesque A Public Execution, in 1966. The success of A Public Execution led to the formation of a backing band, the Traps, made up mostly of the same studio musicians who had played on the single. The band didn't take long to build a following, thanks to relentless touring across the southern US from Texas to Virginia. Still, they couldn't seem to get the kind of breakout hit single that would put them on the national map. As an experiment the band even released a 1967 single, I've Got Her Love, under the name Chris St. John, but the record failed to chart. The band continued to release singles with varying degrees of success (even having the number one record in Nashville at one point), but the rigors of touring and a fluctuating lineup eventually led to the Traps being dismantled in 1970.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    The Coffee Song
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream (bonus track originally released in Sweden on LP: Fresh Cream and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Smith/Colton
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1966
    Cream's debut single, Wrapping Paper, appeared in England in 1966. The record did not chart and was soon forgotten. Cream's next single, I Feel Free, was a huge hit in the UK and the band soon got to work on their first LP. The practice in the UK at the time was to not include any songs on an album that had previously been released as singles; Fresh Cream partially broke with this tradition by using I Feel Free's B side, N.S.U., as the opening track.  When a US version of Fresh Cream was released in early 1967, I Feel Free was added to the lineup (replacing the original studio version of Spoonful). Neither side of the band's first single was included on the album...with one notable exception. The German pressing of Fresh Cream used the same track listing as the original UK version, but a Swedish version, manufactured in Germany, had two extra tracks: Wrapping Paper and another unreleased recording, The Coffee Song. Neither song was released anywhere else until the late 1980s, when the first US CD version of Fresh Cream included all the tracks from the various LP pressings of the album. For unknown reasons, subsequent releases of Fresh Cream have not included either Wrapping Paper or The Coffee Song.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK only on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The Kinks can never be accused of resting on their laurels. Despite virtually inventing hard rock with their 1964 singles You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the band, led by Ray Davies, virtually abandoned their own style the following year, moving into more melodic territory with singles like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You, as well as folky material such as Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl, on their LP Kinda Kinks.

Artist:    Dave Davies
Title:    Suzannah's Still Alive
Source:    Mono Canadian CD: Kinks-25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Pye)
Year:    1967
    Although Ray Davies was the leader and primary songwriter for the Kinks, it was brother Dave who first recorded as a solo artist, with Death of a Clown (which received extensive airplay on the 100,000 watt English language semi-pirate station Radio Luxembourg in late 1967), followed by Suzannah's Still Alive in early 1968. After the next two singles flopped, however, Dave returned to the fold and has been a Kink ever since.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Set Me Free
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After scoring international success with a series of R&B influenced rockers in 1964, the Kinks started to mellow a bit in 1965, releasing more melodic songs such as Set Me Free. The band would continue to evolve throughout the decade, eventually becoming one of the first groups to release a concept album, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), in 1969.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Shanghai Noodle Factory
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Last Exit)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    After Traffic split up (for the first time), Island Records decided to milk one more album out of one their most popular groups. To do so they took studio outtakes, singles that had not been included on previous albums and even an entire side of live performances, issuing the entire package in 1969 under the title Last Exit. Shanghai Noodle Factory, a song that was recorded without the participation of guitarist Dave Mason, was originally released in late 1968 as the B side of the Medicated Goo single.

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