Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1438 (B9) (Starts 9/17/14)

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Outside Woman Blues
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Arthur Reynolds
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Although Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, is best known for its psychedelic cover art and original songs such as Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses, the LP did have one notable blues cover on it. Outside Woman Blues was originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929 and has since been covered by a variety of artists including Van Halen, Johnny Winters, Jimi Hendrix and even the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 4-6 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    World Of Pain
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Whereas the first Cream LP was made up of mostly blues-oriented material, Disraeli Gears took a much more psychedelic turn, due in large part to the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. The Bruce/Brown team was not, however, the only source of material for the band. Both Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker made contributions, as did Cream's unofficial fourth member, keyboardist/producer Felix Pappalardi, who, along with his wife Janet Collins, provided World Of Pain.

Artist:    Peacepipe
Title:    The Sun Won't Shine Forever
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as stereo 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jon Uzonyi
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Accent)
Year:    1969
    Peacepipe was a Southern California band led by guitarist John Uzonyi, who wrote both sides of the band's only single, The Sun Won't Shine Forever b/w Lazy River Blues, released in 1969. The following year Peacepipe recorded an entier album's worth of material that went unreleased until 1995. The 1995 CD Rockadelic, which collects all that unreleased material, does not include either side of the single.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Now I Taste The Tears
Source:    LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer:    Clifford
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    The second LP from the Beacon Street Union, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens, was a departure from the sound of the band's first album. If anything, it featured an even more eclectic mix of songs than The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, including the humorous King of the Jungle and the spacy spoken word piece Can I Light Your Cigarette. The band took an R&B turn with Now I Taste The Tears, which features a horn section that was probably brought in at the insistence of producer Wes Farrell, who would go on to produce the Partridge Family a couple years later.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    2000 Light Years From Home
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more noticable than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) made the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Caravelles
Title:    Lovin' Just My Style
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Caravelles (original label: Onacrest)
Label:    BFD
Year:    1966
    In the mid-1960s it seemed like every local music scene had one guy who could do a dead-on impression of the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. In Phoenix, Arizona, that guy was John Fitzgerald, although, as can be heard on the Caravelles' Lovin' Just My Style, there was more than a touch of the Yardbirds' Keith Relf in his approach as well. The band itself was managed and produced by Hadley Murrell, a local DJ who is better known for the many Phoenix soul bands he produced. Although more than one member of the Caravelles went on to become associated with more famous bands such as Alice Cooper and the Tubes, it is unclear whether any them were members of the group in 1966, when Lovin' Just My Style was recorded.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Rush Hour
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Daking/Theilhelm/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    One of the best examples of music and subject matter supporting each other ever recorded is the Blues Magoos' Rush Hour from their Electric Comic Book album. From the overdriven opening chord through the crash and burn ending, the track maintains a frantic pace that resembles nothing more than a musical traffic jam. Rush Hour is also the only Blues Magoos track I know of to include writing credits for the entire band, including drummer Geoff Daking's only official songwriting credit.

Artist:    Zakary Thaks
Title:    Bad Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gerniottis/Stinson/Moore/Gregory/Lopez
Label:    Rhino (originally labels: J-Beck and Mercury)
Year:    1966
    Carl Becker, owner of the J-Beck and Cee Bee record labels in Corpus Christie, Texas, discovered the Zakary Thaks blowing away the competition in early 1966 at a battle of the bands at a local hangout known as the Carousel Club. At the time the lead vocalist, Chris Gerniottis, was all of fifteen years old; in fact, the oldest member of the band was only seventeen. Becker took the band into the studio in nearby McAllen to cut a pair of sides for J-Beck: a hot cover of the Kinks' I Need You and the Thaks' own composition, Bad Girl. Bad Girl became a big enough hit around South Texas to get picked up by Mercury for national distribution, becoming the first of half a dozen singles for the band.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    In their early days Jefferson Airplane, like most of their contemporaries, included several cover tunes in their repertoire. Unlike many other bands, however, the Airplane managed to stamp all of their covers with their own unmistakeable sound. One solid example is Tobacco Road, a song by John D. Loudermilk that had been a hit for the British invasion band Nashville Teens in 1964. The Airplane version, which appears on their debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, takes an entirely different approach than the Teens' rendition (or the similarly styled Blues Magoos version recorded around the same time as the Airplane's), laying off the power chords in favor of a jazzier approach more in tune with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's style.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Go To Her
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow (bonus track originally released on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Kantner/Estes
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage (original label: Grunt)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Let Me In
Source:     LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer:     Balin/Kantner
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1966
     Wrapping up our 1966 Airplane set we have a song from the group's first LP. At this early point in the band's career they were led by vocalist Marty Balin, who had hand-picked the original members. Among those charter members was Paul Kantner, who Balin had asked to join the band without ever having heard him sing or play. Balin said later that he just knew that Kantner was someone he wanted for his new band. Kantner very quickly developed into a strong singer/songwriter in his own right, starting with the song Let Me In (co-written by Balin), Kantner's first recorded lead vocal for the band.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
Source:    Mono CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1970
    Basically a studio concoction assembled by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was originally intended to be released as a 1969 single by the Plastic Ono Band. The track was the result of four separate recording sessions dating back to 1967 and originally ran over six minutes long. The instrumental tracks were recorded around the same time the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in Spring of 1967. Brian Jones added a saxophone part on June 8th of that year. In April of 1969 Lennon and McCartney added vocals, while Lennon edited the entire track down to slightly over four minutes. The single was readied for a November release, but at the last minute was withdrawn. The recording was instead released as the B side of the Let It Be single the following year.

Artist:     Country Weather
Title:     Fly To New York
Source:     Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released only to radio stations, later included on Swiss CD: Country Weather)
Writer:     Baron/Carter/Derr/Douglas
Label:     Rhino (original label: RD)
Year:     Recorded 1969, released 2005
     Country Weather started off as a popular dance band in Contra Costa County, California. In 1968 they took the name Country Weather and began gigging on the San Francisco side of the bay. In 1969, still without a record contract, they recorded an album side's worth of material, made a few one-sided test copies and circulated them to local radio stations. Those tracks, including Fly To New York, were eventually released on CD in 2005 by the Swedish label RD Records.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Medicated Goo
Source:    Last Exit
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    Island
Year:    1968
    Originally released as a single in 1968, Medicated Goo was one of the last songs released by Traffic before the group disbanded in the wake of Steve Winwood's decision to join Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech to form Blind Faith. After the group had split up, producer Jimmy MIller was able to cobble together enough material to complete a third Traffic album, Last Exit, in 1969. Medicated Goo, a legitimate hit single, was chosen to lead off the LP.
Artist:    Drag Set
Title:    Day And Night
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Schindler/Brancaccio
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Go)
Year:    1967
    For every British band to find international success in the mid-60s there were at least a dozen more that were never heard of outside their native land. Some of these bands (such as the Move and the Small Faces) were actually quite popular on their home turf, while others were barely able to scratch out a living and are for the most part long-forgotten. In between were the bands that had enough going for them to score a contract with one of the many new labels popping up, but were never able to get a record on the charts. Among those "in-betweeners" were a band called the Drag Set. They played gigs at the most popular London clubs in 1965 and 1966, which in turn led to them hooking up with Lionel Segal, who owned the Go label. The Drag Set released Day And Night in March of 1967, but the record went nowhere and the by the end of the year the band had renamed itself The Open Mind.

Artist:    Mamas And The Papas
Title:    My Heart Stood Still
Source:    CD: The Mamas And The Papas
Writer(s):    Rodgers/Hart
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1966
    In the early 1960s American pop artists focused almost exclusively on their single releases and live performances; albums were generally considered "extras" that might add a few dollars to the coffers but had no significant effect on an artist's career. As such, in addition to the artist's current hit, a typical LP was packed with "filler" material such as cover songs and re-recorded versions of previously released singles and B sides. By the middle part of the decade this was beginning to change, thanks in part to the influence of the British recording industry on American record sales. Bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones were not afraid to make some of their best material only available on LP vinyl. This in turn inspired their American counterparts to put a little more thought into what they put on their own albums. Still, there was some reluctance on the part of both artists and labels to go with entirely original material on an album, thus giving rise to oddities like the Mamas & Papas update of an old Rodgers & Hart tune, My Heart Stood Still, on their second LP for Lou Adler's Dunhill label. The song runs a grand total of one minute and 39 seconds, making it the second shortest track on the album.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Blessed
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Possibly the most psychedelic track on Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album, Blessed is a classic example of structured chaos, combining a wall of sound approach with tight harmonies and intelligent lyrics. One of the duo's most overlooked recordings.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Just Let Go
Source:    LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s):    Saxon/Hooper/Savage
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    After listening to Just Let Go, from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, it's easy to see why there were some in Los Angeles that were convinced that the band was actually from another planet. An acid-rock classic.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the most powerful man in top 40 radio, Bill Drake, advising stations not to play this "drug song", the song managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying that in part led to his leaving the Byrds.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Two Trains Running
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the most influential (yet least known outside of musicians' circles) band of the Psychedelic Era was the Blues Project. Formed in 1965 in Greenwich Village, the band worked its way from coast to coast playing mostly college campuses, in the process blazing a path that continues to be followed by underground/progressive/alternative artists. As if founding the whole college circuit wasn't enough, they were arguably the very first jam band, as their version of the Muddy Waters classic Two Trains Running shows. Among those drawing their inspiration from the Blues Project were the Warlocks, a group of young musicians who were traveling with Ken Kesey on the Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test tour bus. The Warlocks would soon change their name to the Grateful Dead and take the jam band concept to a whole new level. Still, they may never have moved in that direction at all if it weren't for the Blues Project.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on. Especially the spoken part in the middle, when Jimi says the words "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want." It sounds like he's inside your head with you.

Artist:    Sam And Dave
Title:    Soul Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hayes/Porter
Label:    Stax
Year:    1967
    There were a lot of talented people involved with the making of Sam And Dave's Soul Man, including guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, and songwriters Isaac Hayes and Darrell Porter, not to mention the Bar-Kays on horns. Although not considered "psychedelic" itself, it was still one of the anthems of the Summer of Love.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Castle
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Considering that both of their first two LPs had cover photos taken against the backdrop of Bela Lugosi's former residence in the Hollywood Hills (known as Dracula's Castle), it is perhaps inevitable that Love would have a track called The Castle on one of these albums. Sure enough, one can be found near the end of the first side of 1967's Da Capo, an album that was all but buried by the attention being given to the debut LP of Love's new labelmates, the Doors, which came out around the same time. The song itself is an indication of the direction that band was moving in, away from the straight folk/garage-rock of their first LP toward the more sophiscated sound of Forever Changes, which would be released later the same year.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)
Source:    LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    As one of the more low-key tracks on Neil Young's second solo LP, Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets) stands in contrast to the album's more well-known tracks such as Cowgirl In The Sand and Cinnamon Girl. Although the song does not rock out as loud as the aforementioned pair, it has its own quiet intensity, and is one of the reasons Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Young's first LP with Crazy Horse), is considered one of the greatest albums in rock history.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The End
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In case I hadn't mentioned it, this week's show was the last episode of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era to be produced (on July 22, 2014, for those of you who follow such things) at the WEOS/WHWS studios in the old house on Hamilton Street in Geneva, NY. In fact, this is the last anything to be recorded at the place, and if you listen closely you can actually hear the sounds of workmen doing renovation work to convert it into student housing (the house is probably already studentially occupied even as you read this in mid-September). As such, it seemed appropriate to end this show with The End, from the first Doors album. It is indeed the end of an era (but not the psychedelic one). Next week's show, if all goes according to plan, will be an all-digital show spotlighting British artists in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the British Invasion. After that, it's back to our usual 60/40 mix of vinyl and CD sources.

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