Apologies for the late posting this week. Before getting into this week's playlist I thought it might be time to once again explain the mono/stereo thing in the "source" category. Simply put, LPs and CDs used for Stuck in the Psychedelic Era are in stereo unless otherwise noted. 45s, on the other hand, are mono unless otherwise noted. This is because, until the early 1970s virtually all 45s were only available in mono. Hope that's not too confusing.
Artist: Otis Redding
Source: Mono CD: The Very Best Of Otis Redding (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Otis Redding
Label: Rhino (original label: Volt)
Although there have been literally hundreds of cover songs recorded over the years, relatively few have held up under comparison to the original versions. Even rarer are covers that actually surpass the originals. Most unique, however, is the song with not one, but two truly outstanding recordings by different artists. Such is the case with Otis Redding's Respect. Aretha Franklin's 1967 version of the song is rightly considered to be one of the most important recordings ever made, both as a rallying cry for the women's movement and as the recording that established Franklin as the undisputed queen of soul. But Otis Redding's original 1965 version of Respect, judged strictly on its own merits, has to be considered one of the best Rhythm and Blues records ever made. In addition to Redding's outstanding vocals, the track features the classic Memphis Group rhythm section (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Phil Jackson and Booker T. Jones) along with the Bar-Kays on horns.
Title: Look Through Any Window
Source: 45 RPM single
Although the Hollies were far more popular in their native England than in the US, they did have their fair share of North American hits. The first Hollies tune to crack the US top 40 was Look Through Any Window, released in December of 1965 and peaking at #33 in early 1966. The song did even better in Canada, going all the way to the #3 spot.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Let's Spend The Night Together
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Most people today can't even imagine how much power Ed Sullivan had in the early to mid 1960s. Case in point. The Rolling Stones were scheduled to make an appearance on Sullivan's Sunday Evening variety show in early 1967. The band's current hit at the time was Let's Spend The Night Together. Sullivan, however, objected to the song's title and asked Mick Jagger to change the lyrics to "Let's Spend Some Time Together." Jagger complied with Sullivan's request. Can you imagine anyone telling Jagger to change his lyrics now?
Artist: Love Sculpture
Title: Blues Helping
Source: British import CD: Blues Helping
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
When the name Dave Edmunds comes up, it is usually in association with an early 70s remake of the classic Fats Domino tune I Hear You Knockin'. What many people are not aware of, however, is that Edmunds was a major force on the late 60s British blues scene with his band Love Sculpture. The title track of that band's debut LP, Blues Helping, showcases Edmunds's prowess as a guitarist (as does the rest of the album).
Artist: Bubble Puppy
Title: Hot Smoke And Sassafras
Source: European import CD: A Gathering Of Promises
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
Bubble Puppy was a band from San Antonio, Texas that relocated to nearby Austin and signed a contract with International Artists, a label already known as the home of legendary Texas psychedelic bands 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola. The group hit the national top 20 with Hot Smoke and Sassafras, a song that was originally intended to be a B side, in 1969. Not long after the release of their first LP, A Gathering Or Promises, the band relocated to California and changed their name to Demian, at least in part to disassociate themselves with the then-popular "bubble gum" style (but also because of problems with International Artists).
Artist: Wet Paint
Title: Glass Road
Source: CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Wet Paint
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Onyx)
Although most of the bands recording in the state of Massachusetts used studios in Boston, there were some exceptions. One such case was a band called Wet Paint, who recorded at Eastern Sounds Recordings in Metheun. Eastern even had its own in-house record label, Onyx, which is where Glass Road was released in 1968.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Darby Slick
Label: RCA Victor
Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love is, of course, the monster hit that put the San Francisco Bay area on the musical map in early 1967, touching off an exodus of young hippie wannabees from all over the country that converged on the city's Haight-Ashbury district that summer. Interestingly enough, Somebody To Love was not the first single released from the band's Surrealistic Pillow album. That honor goes to My Best Friend, a song written by the band's former drummer Skip Spence.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: May This Be Love
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
The original UK version of Are You Experienced featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one.
It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Lovin' Cup
Source: Mono LP: What's Shakin'
Writer(s): Paul Butterfield
Label: Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
The path to the first Butterfield Blues Band album was anything but an easy one. The band made its first attempt at recording in the studio in 1964, but nobody was happy with the results and the tapes were shelved. The band then tried recording a live performance at a local New York City club, but, although the gig did wonders for the band's reputation the band was still not satisfied with the recording, and that, too, was scrapped. Finally, in early 1965, the group went back into the studio to record what became the album called The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Meanwhile, Elektra Records president Jac Holzman had released an anthology album called Folk Song '65 that included one of the songs from the first Butterfield studio sessions. The success of Folk Song '65 (due in large part to the inclusion of the Butterfield track) prompted Holzman to create a follow-up LP, What's Shakin', that was more blues oriented than the first anthology. What's Shakin' included five more Butterfield tracks from the 1964 sessions, including a Paul Butterfield original composition called Lovin' Cup.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: She's Coming Home
Source: CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Generally speaking, cheatin' songs in 1966 were considered the province of country music. The few exceptions, such as Paul Revere and the Raiders' Steppin' Out, were all told from the victim's point of view. The Blues Magoos, however, turned the entire thing upside down with She's Coming Home, a song about having to break up with one's new girlfriend in the face of the old one returning from...(prison, military duty? The lyrics never make that clear). The unusual nature of the song is in keeping
with the cutting edge image of a band that was among the first to use the word psychedelic in an album title and almost certainly was the first to wear electric suits onstage.
Artist: Chris And Craig
Source: Mono import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Chris Ducey
Label: Zonophone UK (original US label: Capitol)
Before the Monkees, there were the Happeners...almost. In 1965, college student Chris Ducey and singer/songwriter Craig Smith were chosen to play a folk-rock duo on a TV show. Although the show itself never made it past pre-production, the two did record a single for Capitol Records, the Ducey-penned Isha, before going their separate ways. Craig Smith auditioned for yet another TV show the following year, but was not one of the four young men chosen to become the Monkees. He did, however, strike up a friendship with fellow applicant Michael Nesmith, who would end up recording one of Smith's songs, Salesman, and later produce Smith's new band, Penny Arkade. Ducey, meanwhile, became a bizarre early victim of identity theft. Folk singer Bobby Jameson, for reasons unknown, recorded an entire album using not only Ducey's name, but his song titles as well. The real Ducey hasn't been heard from since.
Artist: Mother Earth
Title: Ruler Of My Heart
Source: LP: Satisfied
Writer(s): N. Levell
Despite never being a major commercial success, the band Mother Earth, led by vocalist/guitarist Tracy Nelson, was highly regarded by musicians and progressive FM radio people alike, resulting in the band getting just enough airplay to keep recording albums throughout the late 60s and early 70s. Ruler Of My Heart, from the 1970 LP Satisfied, is fairly typical of the Mother Earth approach to the blues.
Artist: Norman Greenbaum
Title: Spirit In The Sky
Source: CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1970 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Spirit In The Sky)
Writer(s): Norman Greenbaum
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
I spent most of the 1990s working at commercial radio stations, most of which had a weekly oldies show (and in one case played nothing but oldies). At that time "oldies" included rock and roll and rhythm and blues hits from about the mid-1950s through the early 1970s. One of the most valuable resources for the oldies format was a series of 10-song CDs from Rhino showcasing the top songs of each year. The criteria for inclusion on each disc was based on when a song hit its peak on the top 40 charts. As it turns out, four of the ten songs on the 1970 disc were actually released in 1969. Among those four songs was Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In The Sky, a song that took seven months to fully catch on following its release in September of 1969.
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 few seconds). It was inserted because, according to Seger, radio stations were "afraid of dead air".
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Twain Shall Meet)
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: M-G-M)
One of the first appearances of the New Animals on stage was at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The experience so impressed the group that they wrote a song about it. The song was issued both as a single and on the LP The Twain Shall Meet. The single used a mono mix; the LP version, while in stereo, was overlapped at both the beginning and end by adjoining tracks, and was missing the first few seconds of the single version. The version used here was created by splicing the mono intro onto the stereo main portion of the song, fading out at the end a bit early to avoid the overlap from the LP. This process (called making a "cut down") was first done by a company called Drake-Chenault, which supplied tapes to radio stations using the most pristine stereo versions of songs available. Whether Polydor used the Drake-Chenault version or did the cut down itself, the version is the same.
Artist: Palace Guard
Title: Falling Sugar
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Orange-Empire and Verve)
Whereas most garage bands favored a Rolling Stones approach to rock 'n' roll, the Palace Guard tried hard to emulate the Beatles. Unfortunately, they didn't have the talent to really pull it off, despite the presence of drummer Emmet Rhodes, who would soon leave the Guard to front his own band, the Merry-Go-Round, then embark on a moderately successful solo career.
Artist: Johnny Rivers
Title: Walkin' The Dog
Source: LP: Johnny Rivers At The Whisky a Go Go
Writer(s): Rufus Thomas
Although not exactly a psychedelic album, Johnny Rivers At The Whisky-A-Go-Go is nonetheless an important milestone in the history of psychedelic music in America. Released in 1964, it was the first album recorded at what was then a brand new venue on Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard (in fact, Rivers was the club's first headliner). Although Rivers himself would go on to become part of the music industry establishment (starting Soul City Records in 1966), the Whisky soon became the epicenter of L.A.'s own underground rock scene, with such notables as Gypsy, Love and the Doors serving as house band at various times. Rivers, in the early part of his career, was a rock and roll purist, reviving such notable songs as Chuck Berry's Memphis. Another classic from the album was Rivers' cover of Rufus Thomas's signature song, Walkin' The Dog. Unlike later versions such as the early 70s Aerosmith cover of the song, Rivers's version of Walkin' The Dog is faithful to the original.
Title: Hey Bulldog
Source: CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road
Fans of Uriah Heep may recognize the names Ken Hensley, Joe Konas, John Glascock and Lee Kerslake as members of the legendary 70s British rock band at various phases of its existence. What they may not realize is that these four members had already been bandmates since early 1968 as members of the Gods. The band made it's recording debut with a song called Baby's Rich, which led to a concept album called Genesis. 1969 saw the release of a powerful cover of the Beatles' Hey Bulldog, along with a second album, before the group morphed into a band called Toe Fat, with Hensley soon departing to form Uriah Heep.
Title: Magic Carpet Ride
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 60s.
Artist: Serpent Power
Title: Up And Down
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: The Serpent Power)
Writer: David Meltzer
Label: Rhino (original label: Vanguard)
David Meltzer was a beat poet who by the late 60s had already spent several years in the San Francisco Bay area, recording a spoken word album in 1959. For reasons having something to do with yoga, Meltzer and his wife Tina decided to form a band in 1967, calling it the Serpent Power. The group cut one LP for Vanguard. Up and Down is one of the shorter tracks from that album.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.
Artist: Grass Roots
Title: Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and quickly recorded a new album, Sounds Of Silence. Many of the tracks on Sounds Of Silence had been previously recorded by Simon and released on an album called The Paul Simon Songbook, which was only available in the UK. Also included on Sounds Of Silence was a new stereo mix of We've Got A Groovy Thing Going.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Fly Away
Source: LP: special DJ record (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer: Al Kooper
Label: Verve Forecast
Al Kooper was a guitarist with some talent (but no professional experience) on keyboards who was already sufficiently connected enough to be allowed in the studio when Bob Dylan was recording his Highway 61 Revisited album. Not content to be merely a spectator (Mike Bloomfield was already there as a guitarist), Kooper noticed that there was an organ in the studio and immediately sat down and started playing on the sessions. Dylan was impressed enough with Kooper's playing to not only include him on the album, but to invite him to perform with him at the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival as well. The gig became probably Dylan's most notorious moment in his career, as several folk purists voiced their displeasure with Dylan's use of electric instruments. Some of them even stormed the stage, knocking over Kooper's keyboards in the process. After the gig Kooper became an in-demand studio musician. It was in this capacity (brought in to play piano by producer Tom Wilson) that he first met Danny Kalb, Andy Kuhlberg, Tommy Flanders, Roy Blumenthal and Steve Katz, who had recently formed the Blues Project and were making their first recordings for Columbia Records at their New York studios. Kooper had been looking for an opportunity to improve his skills on the keyboards (most of his gigs as a studio musician were for producers hoping to cash in on the "Dylan sound", which he found limiting), and soon joined the band as their full-time keyboardist. In addition to his instrumental contributions to the band, he provided some of their best original material as well. One such tune is Fly Away, from the Projections album (generally considered to be the apex of the Blues Project's career).
Artist: Deepest Blue
Title: Pretty Little Thing
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Blue Fin)
Los Angeles, California has long been known for its urban sprawl, and in the mid-1960s it seemed like every one of its dozens of suburbs had at least one semi-professional garage band playing at various parties, bowling alleys, teen clubs and of course, high school gymnasiums. One such band was Deepest Blue, from Pomona, a suburb on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County best known for its race car track. Led by vocalist Earl Shackleford and guitarist Russell Johnson, the group performed locally as the Doves, but for reasons now forgotten recorded first under the name Egyptian Candy and then as Deepest Blue. Both records were released on labels that are considered obscure even by garage-rock standards, and by the end of the decade, the Doves/Egyptian Candy/Deepest Blue were naught but a footnote in L.A. music history.
Title: Eight Miles High
Source: CD: Fifth Dimension
By all rights, the Byrds' Eight Miles High should have been a huge hit. Unfortunately, Bill Drake, the most influential man in the history of Top 40 radio, got it into his head that this was a drug song, despite the band's insistence that it was about a transatlantic plane trip. The band's version actually makes sense, as Gene Clark had just quit the group due to his fear of flying (he is listed as a co-writer of the song), and the subject was probably a hot topic of discussion among the remaining members. Despite all this Eight Miles High still managed to crack the top 20 in late 1966.
Artist: Masters Apprentices
Title: War Or Hands Of Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Mick Bower
Label: Rhino (original label: Astor)
Formed in 1963 as the Mustangs, Masters Apprentices started off the same way as many local bands of the time, playing mostly instrumental versions of popular rock and roll songs. In 1964, no doubt influenced by such British bands as the Animals and Rolling Stones, the adopted their new name, explaining that they considered themselves disciples of such first wave rock and roll stars as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Thanks to rhythm guitarist Mike Bower, the band soon developed a sound of their own, and by 1966 were ready to record a demo tape and submit it to the local Astor label. The people at Astor were so impressed they issued the tapes in their raw form as the group's first single, Undecided. By early 1967 Undecided was on all the Australian top 10 lists, with the B side, an antiwar song called War Or The Hands Of Time, getting its share of attention as well. Things were looking good for the band, with two more hit singles and an album, before Bower suffered a nervous breakdown and dropped out of music altogether. The group continued on until 1972, but never had the same magic as the original lineup.
Title: Drive My Car
Source: CD: Rubber Soul (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year: 1965 (not released in US until 1966)
Capitol Records repeatedly got the ire of the Beatles by omitting, adding and rearranging songs on the US versions of their albums, especially in 1966, when the band was starting to put considerable time and effort into presenting the songs as a coherent package. At the root of the problem were two facts: albums in the UK had longer running times than US albums, and thus more songs, and UK singles stayed in print longer than their US counterparts and were generally not included on albums at all. This resulted in albums like Yesterday and Today that didn't even have a British counterpart. Drive My Car, for example, was released in the US in 1966 on the Yesterday...And Today LP. It had appeared six months earlier in the UK as the opening track of the Rubber Soul album. Oddly enough, despite being one of the group's most recognizable songs, Drive My Car was never issued as a single.
Title: Blue Jay Way
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s): George Harrison
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.
Title: Norwegian Wood
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
The first Beatle song to feature a sitar, Norwegian Wood, perhaps more than any other song, has come to typify the new direction songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney began to take with the release of the Rubber Soul album in December of 1965. Whereas their earlier material was written to be performed as well as recorded, songs like Norwegian Wood were first and foremost studio creations. The song itself was reportedly based on a true story and was no doubt a contributing factor to the disintegration of Lennon's first marraige.
Artist: Southwest F.O.B.
Title: Downtown Woman/Nadine
Source: LP: Smell of Incense
The members of Dallas-based Southwest F.O.B. had already gained enough of a local following to open for bands like the Who and Led Zeppelin when they recorded their debut LP, Smell Of Incense, in 1968. What's even more amazing is that all of the members of Southwest F.O.B. (which stands for Freight On Board), were still in high school when the album was released. Although the album itself was definitely in the psychedelic vein, as evidenced by tracks such as Downtown Woman paired with Chuck Berry's Nadine, it also showed the beginnings of the soft-rock sound that would make stars out of members England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley in the early 1970s. Seals, whose brother Jim was half of Seals and Crofts, would himself become one of the top country acts of the 1980s, with several # 1 country hits to his credit.