Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1422 (starts 5/28/14)

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
     Season Of The Witch has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring tracks on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the album was not released in the UK until late 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. Like all tracks from both Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, Season Of The Witch was only available in a mono mix until 1969, when a new stereo mix was created from the original multi-track masters for the singer/songwriter's first greatest hits compilation. Season of the Witch has since been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Tower/Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the Chocolate Watchband's debut album, No Way Out. Although Psychedelic Trip is credited to the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Fly Away
Source:     LP: special DJ record (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer:     Al Kooper
Label:     Verve Forecast
Year:     1966
     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 studio career).

Artist:    Masada
Title:    A Hundred Days And Nights
Source:    CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Paul Brissetts
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Sadbird)
Year:    1968
    The only thing known about the single A Hundred Days And Nights by a band called Masada is that the record was a product of Metcalf Recording Studios in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It's a good sounding record, though. If anyone has any information about this band, feel free to share it with me.

Artist:    Si-Dells
Title:    Watch Out Mother
Source:    CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Hubert Deans
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: East Coast Sound)
Year:    1968
    Although Durham, North Carolina, is not particularly known as a psychedelic hotspot, the bull city was home to the Si-Dells, whose Watch Out Mother, although relegated to the B side of one of the group's two singles, has come to be regarded as a bit of a psych classic, thanks to its inclusion on the legendary Tobacco A Go Go (volume 1) anthology.

Artist:    Tea Company
Title:    Come And Have Some Tea With Me
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released on LP: Don't Make Waves and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Carr/Lossandro
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Smash)
Year:    1968
    Formed in 1967, the Tea Company started off in New York as the Naturals, but soon changed their name to the Lip-Tin Tea Company, shortening it when they signed a contract with Mercury's subsidiary Smash label in 1968. They recorded an album, Don't Make Waves, that included a song called Come And Have Some Tea With Me. An edited version of the track was issued as a B side as well.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Summertime
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Gershwin/Heyward
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Since this show is originally airing shortly after Memorial Day weekend, I figured its about time to play the Big Brother and the Holding Company version of Summertime (featuring Janis Joplin) once again. Which reminds me, Stuck in the Psychedelic Era's first syndicated show was on Memorial Day weekend of 2010. Since then we have played 6195 tracks, not including the yearly Yule and year end shows. Happy birthday to us!

Artist:     Love
Title:     Softly To Me
Source:     Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer:     Bryan McLean
Label:     Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:     1966
     Before the signing of Love in 1966, Elektra was a folk and ethnic music label whose closest thing to a rock band was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which was at that time very much into creating as authentic Chicago blues sound as possible for a band from New York. Love, on the other hand, was a bona-fide rock band that was packing the clubs on the Sunset Strip nightly. To underscore the significance of the signing, Elektra started a whole new numbering series for Love's debut album. Bryan McLean's role as a songwriter in Love was similar to George Harrison's as a Beatle. He didn't have many songs on any particular album, but those songs were often among the best tracks on the album. The first of these was Softly To Me from the band's debut LP. 

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Fool On The Hill
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The Beatles only came up with six new songs for their 1967 telefilm Magical Mystery Tour, enough to fill up only one side of an LP. Rather than use outtakes and B sides to complete the album (which they had done in 1965 for the Help album), the band chose to release the six songs on a two-record 45 RPM Extended Play set, complete with a booklet that included the storyline, lyric sheets and several still photographs from the film itself. Magical Mystery Tour appeared in this form in both the UK and in Europe, while in the US and Canada, Capitol Records instead issued the album in standard LP format, using the band's 1967 singles and B sides to fill up side two. None of the songs from the telefilm were issued as singles, although one, I Am The Walrus, was used as the B side to the Hello Goodbye single. Another song, Fool On The Hill, was covered by Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66, making the US charts in early 1968. By the 1980s, however, the only version of the song still played on the radio was the original Beatles version, with the footage from the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm used as a video on early music TV channels.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Source:    CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    I think there is a law on the books somewhere that says I need to play the full version of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida every so often, so here it is.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
Source:    CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    There are actually three versions of the Chicago song Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is, all taken from the same original recording on the band's debut LP. The most well-known is the second edited version that has appeared on all the band's anthology albums. That version starts with a horn intro section in a staggered rhythm followed by a short Robert Lamm's piano section in 5/8 time that leads directly into the main body of the song. An earlier single edit leaves out the entire intro of the song, starting in rather abruptly with the familiar two-chord pattern and trumpet riff that leads into the first verse of the song. The orginal album version heard here, however, has a long free-form piano section that sets the stage for the entire song, transforming it in the process.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I Wish You Would
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    B.B. Arnold
Label:    Raven (original label: Epic)
Year:    1964
    The first Yardbirds record ever released was, predictably, a cover of an old blues song. I Wish You Would had originally been written and recorded by Billy Boy Arnold. Arnold's original version, released in 1955 on the Vee Jay label, featured a Bo-Diddley style beat; indeed, the song had originally been intended for Diddley himself and would have been his second single if not for the fact that Arnold got it into his head that Leonard Chess, whose Chess label Diddley recorded for, did not like him, so he ended up taking the song to Vee Jay and recording it himself. The Yardbirds version of the song, released in 1964, is missing the Bo Diddley beat, and is reportedly a much shorter version than the band performed live at the time.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Everybody's Been Burned
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    There is a common misconception that David Crosby's songwriting skills didn't fully develop until he began working with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. A listen to Everybody's Been Burned from the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, however, puts the lie to that theory in a hurry. The track has all the hallmarks of a classic Crosby song: a strong melody, intelligent lyrics and an innovative chord structure. It's also my personal favorite tune from what is arguably the Byrds' best LP.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    My Back Pages
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    One of the items of contention between David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the latter's insistence on continuing to record covers of Bob Dylan songs when the band members themselves had a wealth of their own material available. Indeed, it was reportedly an argument over whether or not to include Crosby's Triad on the next album that resulted in Crosby being fired from the band in October of 1967. Nonetheless, the last Dylan cover with Crosby still in the band was perhaps their best as well. Although not as big a hit as Mr. Tambourine Man, My Back Pages from the Younger Than Yesterday album did respectably well on the charts, becoming one of the Byrds' last top 40 hits.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Lady Friend
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    One of the least-known Byrds recordings is David Crosby's Lady Friend. The song was released as a non-album single in 1967, after Younger Than Yesterday was on the racks but before Crosby's falling out with the other members of the band during the recording of The Notorious Byrd Brothers. The single did not chart, and with Crosby no longer a member of the Byrds by 1968, it is not surprising that Lady Friend was not included on any subsequent Byrds albums or greatest hits anthologies. The song is now available as a bonus track on the remastered version of Younger Than Yesterday.

Artist:    Five Man Electrical Band
Title:    Signs
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Les Emerson
Label:    Lionel
Year:    1971
    Everybody has at least one song they have fond memories of hearing on the radio while riding around in a friend's car on a hot summer evening. Signs, from Canada's Five Man Electrical Band, is one of mine.

Artist:    David Peel And The Lower East Side
Title:    The Pledge Of Allegiance/Legalize Marijuana
Source:    LP: The American Revolution
Writer(s):    David Peel
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1970
    If there was any one band that could be called a Yippie band, it was David Peel and the Lower East Side. As much street theater as rock and roll, the group consisted of three core members: David Peel (guitar, vocals), Billy Joe White (guitar, vocals), and Harold C. Black (tambourine, vocals), plus just about anyone who wanted to play and/or sing along. The group's first album was Have A Marijuana, recorded live at New York's Washington Square at a cost of around $4,000. The album was a surprise cult hit, netting Elektra nearly a million dollars. The band's priorities, however, were more about social issues than musical (or financial) ones, and the group did not get around to recording another album until 1970. By then the Yippie movement had run its course, and the decision was made to abandon the street theater aspect of the group and concentrate instead on making a studio album. To do this, they enlisted several new semi-official members to record The American Revolution, arguably the first true punk-rock LP ever recorded. The songs covered a variety of topical issues, including sex (Girls, Girls, Girls), religion (God), and the still-raging Vietnam War (I Want To Kill You and Hey, Mr. Draftboard). Still, there was one issue near and dear to the band above all others, as a listen to Peel's unique take on The Pledge Of Allegiance and its follow-up track, Legalize Marijuana, makes obvious.

Artist:    Second Helping
Title:    Hard Times
Source:    Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kenny Loggins
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Year:    1968
    Second Helping was a local L.A. band led by a 19-year-old Kenny Loggins that was signed to Snuff Garrett's Viva Records in 1968. Hard Times, the B side of one of the band's three singles for the label, has more in common with garage bands than with the 70s soft-rock that Loggins would eventually become known for.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Greasy Heart
Source:    CD: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1968
    The Jefferson Airplane released their fourth LP, Crown of Creation, in the summer of '68. Greasy Heart, a Grace Slick composition, was chosen for single release to AM top 40 radio, but by then the group was getting far more airplay on album-oriented FM stations with tunes like Lather and Triad and the mysteriously named House at Pooniel Corners. As a result, Greasy Heart, despite being a more commercial tune, is far less familiar to most people than any of those other songs.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Serenade To A Cuckoo
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Roland Kirk
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull did not, as a general rule, record cover tunes. The most notable exception is Roland Kirk's classic jazz piece Serenade To A Cuckoo, which was included on their first LP, This Was.

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:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Garden Club
Title:    Little Girl Lost-And-Found
Source:    CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Walsh/Almer
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    Garden Club was in reality Ruthann Friedman (who wrote the Association hit Windy) on vocals with a bunch of studio musicians performing a song co-written by Tandyn Almer (co-writer of the Association hit Along Comes Mary and inventor of the dual-chamber bong). Oddly enough, the track reminds me somehow of Suzanne Vega.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Set Me Free
Source:    45 RPM single
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:    Seeds
Title:    Mr. Farmer
Source:    CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: A Web Of Sound)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1966
    With two tracks (Can't Seem To Make You Mine and Pushin' Too Hard) from their first album getting decent airplay on L.A. radio stations in 1966 the Seeds headed back to the studio to record a second LP, A Web Of Sound. The first single released from the album was Mr. Farmer, a song that once again did well locally. The only national hit for the Seeds came when Pushin' Too Hard was re-released in December of 1966, hitting its national peak the following spring.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     If You Want This Love
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer:     Baker Knight
Label:     Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The first West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album, Volume One, had a limited print run on, Fifa, a small independent label in L.A. After landing a contract with Reprise, the band recut many of the songs (most of which were cover tunes) from Volume One and called the new album Part One. If You Want This Love, a song written and originally recorded by L.A. local legend Baker Knight, is one of those recut tracks.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Feelin' Alright
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    Although Traffic is generally known as an early underground rock band heard mostly on progressive FM stations in the US, the band had its share of hit singles in its native England as well. Many of these early hits were written by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who would leave the band in 1968, only to return for the live Welcome To The Canteen album before leaving again, this time for good. One of Mason's most memorable songs was Feelin' Alright, from Traffic's self-titled second LP. The song very quickly became a rock standard when Joe Cocker sped it up and made it his own signature song. Grand Funk Railroad slowed it back down and scored a hit with their version in 1971, and Mason himself got some airplay with a new solo recording of the song later in the decade. Even comedian John Belushi got into the act with his dead-on cover of Cocker's version of the song on the Saturday Night Live TV show.

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