Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1443 (starts 10/22/14)

    Well, it looks like things are settling back into a routine following seven weeks of backup shows followed by three weeks of shows with no vinyl sources. Last week's show went a bit overboard on the vinyl side (my fault), but this week's proportions are back to the usual 60/40 split between CDs and vinyl sources (out of 25 total tracks, ten are from LP or 45 RPM vinyl sources, while 15 are from CD sources).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It Black
Source:    CD: Aftermath
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs, Paint It Black was not included on the original UK release of the 1966 Aftermath album. This was because of the British custom of not including songs on LPs that were also available as 45 RPM singles (which, unlike their American counterparts, remained available for sale indefinitely) or extended play 45s (which had no US counterpart). In the US, however, Paint It Black was used to open the album, giving the entire LP a different feel from the British version (it had a different cover as well). Paint It Black is also the only song on Aftermath that was mixed only in mono, although US stereo pressings used an electronic rechannelling process to create a fake stereo sound. Luckily for everyone's ears, modern CDs use the unenhanced mono mix of the tune.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sittin' On A Fence
Source:    CD: Flowers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    Not all the songs from the Rolling Stones' recording sessions for the album Aftermath were included on either the British or American version of the final LP. One of the songs that was left off the album was Sittin' On A Fence, a country flavored tune that finally surfaced in 1967 on the US-only LP Flowers.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Under My Thumb
Source:    CD: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    With the exception of certain Beatle tracks, pretty much every well-known song from the beginning of recorded music through the year 1966 had been released as a single either on 45 or 78 RPM records (and for a while in the 1950s, on both). With Under My Thumb, from the Aftermath album, the Rolling Stones proved that someone besides the fab four could record a classic that was available only as a 33 1/3 RPM LP track. In a sense, then, Aftermath can be considered the very foundation of album rock, as more and groups put their most creative energy into making albums rather than singles in the ensuing years. Thanks, Stones.

Artist:    Octopus
Title:    Rainchild
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK on LP: Restless Night)
Writer(s):    Paul Griggs
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Penny Farthing)
Year:    1971
    Originally known as the Cortinas, Octopus was one of the more obscure British bands of the late psychedelic era. Their only album, Restless Night, only sold a few hundred copies and already sounded a bit dated when it appeared in 1971. Two of the band's members, however, found greater success after Octopus disbanded. Paul Griggs, who wrote the song Rainchild, spent nearly a decade with the band Guys 'n' Dolls, while his brother Nigel went down under and joined Split Enz in 1977.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Machine Gun
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    In 1965 Jimi Hendrix sat in on a recording session with R&B vocalist Curtis Knight, signing what he thought was a standard release contract relinquishing any future claim to royalties on the recordings. Three years later, after Hendrix had released a pair of successful albums on the Reprise label with his new band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Capitol records issued the Knight sessions as an LP called Get That Feeling, giving Hendrix equal billing with Knight. Additionally, Capitol claimed that  the guitarist was under contract to them. Eventually the matter was settled by Hendrix promising to provide Capitol with an album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, although it was not specified whether the album be made up of studio or live recordings. While all this was going on, the Experience disbanded, leaving Hendrix bandless and under pressure to come up with new material for his regular label, Reprise, as well as the Capitol album. The solution was to record a set of concerts at the Fillmore East on December 31st, 1969 and January 1st, 1970, and release the best of these recordings as a live album on the Capitol label, freeing Hendrix up to concentrate on a new studio album for Reprise. The live album, Band Of Gypsys, ended up being the last album of new material to be released during the guitarist's lifetime. It features bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles on Hendrix originals such as Machine Gun, as well as material written by Miles.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Ooh Mama Ooh
Source:    LP: Moby Grape '69
Writer(s):    Stevenson/Milller
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Hard core Moby Grape fans did not quite know what to make of the band's third LP, Moby Grape '69. For one thing, one of the group's most visible members, guitarist Skip Spence, had gone awol from the band and was only heard on the album's final track. For another, MG 69 had more than a dash of country-rock at a time when the term country-rock had not yet been invented. Finally, the entire album had a kind of unfinished feel to it. This may have been the result of a deliberate attempt to avoid the production excesses of their second LP, Wow. It's also possible that the Grape audience was not quite ready for the incorporation of 50s doo-wop vocals on the album's opening track, Ooh Mama Ooh. Whatever the reason, the album stalled out at # 113 on the Billboard charts, although in more recent years it has come to be seen as a precursor to the so-called California Sound of bands like Poco and the Eagles.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    Priority (original label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    The band with the most charted singles in the UK is not the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. It is, in fact, Status Quo, quite possibly the nearest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap. Except for Pictures of Matchstick Men, the group has never had a hit in the US. On the other hand, they remain popular in Scandanavia, playing to sellout crowds on a regular basis (yes, they are still together).

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Little Miss Queen Of Darkness
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Although the Kinks were putting out some of their most classic recordings in 1966 (A Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon), the band was beset with problems not entirely of their own making, such as being denied visas to perform in the US and having issues with their UK label, Pye Records. Among those issues was the cover of their LP Face To Face, which bandleader Ray Davies reportedly hated, as the flower power theme was not at all representative of the band's music. There were internal problems as well, with bassist Peter Quaife even quitting the band for about a month during the recording of Face To Face. Although a replacement for Quaife, John Dalton, was brought in, the only track he is confirmed to have played on was a Ray Davies tune called Little Miss Queen Of Darkness.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Night Owl Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Butler/Boone/Yanovsky/Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra/Sundazed
Year:    1965/2011
    Night Owl Blues was first released on the Lovin Spoonful's first album, Do You Believe In Magic, making an encore appearance as the B side of their 1966 hit Daydream. The original recording was edited down to less than three minutes on both releases. In 2011 Sundazed issued a previously unreleased recording of the Spoonful's high energy cover of the Hollywood Argyles hit Alley Oop on 45 RPM vinyl, backed with a longer, less edited version of Night Owl Blues made from the same original 1965 recording as the earlier release. The track features blues harp from John Sebastian and a rare electric guitar solo from Zal Yanovsky.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    I Can't Let Go
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Hollies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Taylor/Gorgoni
Label:    Cema Special Markets (original label: Imperial)
Year:    1966
    Of all the early Hollies hits, it is the 1966 hit I Can't Let Go that most showcases the voice of Graham Nash, singing a high counterpoint that Paul McCartney reportedly mistook for a trumpet part the first time he heard the song.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)
Source:    Mono British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP No Way Out)
Writer(s):    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    It is generally accepted that the Chocolate Watchband, perhaps more than any other band of the psychedelic era, were misrepresented on their albums, with studio musicians (even vocalists) playing on over half the material on the band's first two LPs. While this is undoubtably true, there is some evidence that much of the blame for this falls on the band itself. It is well-known that the members of the Watchband were far more interested in blowing the competition of the stage (which they did quite regularly) than they were in making records. This attitude apparently extended to their movie appearances as well. According to bassist Bill Flores, the band knew six months in advance they would be doing a fim called The Love-In, yet nobody made a serious effort to write any songs for it. As soon as they stepped off the plane in L.A. they had to rush over to the recording studio and call up Don Bennett and Ethan McElroy, studio singers who often worked with the band's manager, Ed Cobb. The two quickly worked up the song Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In), which the band recorded that same day. The tune ended up being released as the band's next single (their first for the Tower label) and was included on their debut album, No Way Out, as well.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Living In The U.S.A.
Source:    CD: Sailor
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Although generally considered a San Francisco act, the Steve Miller Band, in truth, was never really confined to a single geographical area. Miller himself was originally from Chicago, and had cut his musical teeth in Texas. The first Miller Band album was recorded in London, while their second effort, Sailor, was made in Los Angeles. Appropriately enough, the best-known track from Sailor, and the first Steve Miller Band song to get significant national radio exposure, was Living In The U.S.A., a song that is still heard often on classic rock radio stations.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    For Pete's Sake
Source:    CD: Headquarters
Writer(s):    Tork/Richards
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    It didn't come as a surprise to anyone who knew him that first member of the Monkees to depart the band was Peter Tork. Of all the members of the "pre-fab four" Tork was the most serious about making the group into a real band, and was the most frustrated when things didn't work out that way. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Tork had been a part of the Greenwich Village scene since the early 60s, where he became close friends with Stephen Stills. Both Tork and Stills had relocated to the west coast when Stills auditioned for the Monkees and was asked if he had a "better looking" musician friend that might be interested in the part. Although Tork was, by all accounts, the best guitarist in the Monkees, he found himself cast as the "lovable dummy" bass player on the TV show and had a difficult time being taken seriously as a musician because of that. During the brief period in 1967 when the members of the band did play their own instruments on their recordings, Tork could be heard on guitar, bass, banjo, harpsichord and other keyboard instruments. He also co-wrote For Pete's Sake, a song on the Headquarters album that became the closing theme for the TV show during its second and final season. Since leaving the band Tork has been involved with a variety of projects, including an occasional Monkees reunion.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Fat Angel
Source:    LP: Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    As a general rule, live albums are made up mostly of songs that have already appeared on other albums (or singles) in their studio form. Leave it to Jefferson Airplane, however, to disregard the rules and release a live album with five songs (making up more than half of the album) that had never been released by the band. Among those five songs was Fat Angel, a song that had first appeared on Donovan's groundbreaking Sunshine Superman album. Paul Kantner playfully substitutes the line "fly Jefferson Airplane" for the original "fly Trans-Love Airways" throughout the song, which runs over seven minutes long.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Rock Salt And Nails
Source:    45 RPM promo single B side (originally released on LP: David's Album)
Writer(s):    Bruce Phillips
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1969
    One of the defining characteristics of the late 1960s was the resistance, especially among young people to US involvement in the Vietnamese Civil War. Much of this resistance was because the so-called Baby Boomers were at an age where they were eligible to be drafted into military service and many of them did not relish the idea of dying in a jungle halfway around the world for someone else's political beliefs. Of course much of this resistance was to the draft itself, and it was not limited just to young men of draftable age. Among the most prominent figures in the draft resistance movement was folk singer Joan Baez, who made the issue a focal point of her performance at the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival in the summer of 1969. Earlier that year she had released an LP called David's Album as a gift to her husband, who was about to go to prison for resisting the draft. Among the songs on that album was Rock Salt And Nails, written by Bruce "Utah" Phillips, himself a labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller, poet and self-described anarchist who was sometimes known as the "Golden Voice of the Great Southwest". A promo single pairing Rock Salt And Nails with the album's opening track, If I Knew, was pressed by Baez's label, Vanguard, but it is not known whether the record was ever released commercially.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Getting Better
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Following their 1966 North American tour, the Beatles announced that they were giving up touring to concentrate on their songwriting and studio work. Freed of the responsibilities of the road (and under the influence of mind-expanding substances), the band members found themselves discovering new sonic possibilities as never before (or since), hitting a creative peak with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, often cited as the greatest album ever recorded. The individual Beatles were about to move in separate musical directions, but as of Sgt. Pepper's were still functioning mostly as a single unit, as is heard on the chorus of Getting Better, in which Paul McCartney's opening line, "I have to admit it's getting better", is immediately answered by John Lennon's playfully cynical "can't get no worse". The members continued to experiment with their instrumentation as well, such as George Harrison's use of sitar on the song's bridge, accompanied by Ringo Starr's bongos.

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

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Hotel Hell
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     The first album by the New Animals (generally known as Eric Burdon and the Animals) was Winds of Change, issued in mid-1967. Although the album was not particularly well-received at the time, it has, in more recent years, come to be regarded as a classic. Hotel Hell is a moody piece that showcases Eric Burdon's darker side.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    I'm A King Bee
Source:    CD: Birth Of The Dead (originally released as part of CD box set: The Golden Road 1965-1973)
Writer(s):    James Moore
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2001
    In 2001 Rhino released an ambitious Grateful Dead box set, The Golden Road 1965-1973, that compiled virtually all of the band's commercially released material. The first two discs in the set, however, were early recordings that had never been made available except through bootlegs. Less than two years after the box set was released, those two discs were released separately as Birth Of The Dead. The second disc consists of some of the band's earliest live recordings made directly from the sound board by Owsley Stanley. As Stanley's intent was to provide the band with something they could use to critique their own performance, the stereo mix puts the vocals in one channel and everything else in the other (although there is enough bleedthrough on the vocal mikes to create a phantom center channel). One of the most enjoyable of these early recordings is the Dead's cover of James Moore's I'm A King Bee, a blues classic that was also performed by John Belushi on an early episode of Saturday Night Live (in full bee regalia, even).

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    You Can't Be Trusted
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    Sky Saxon is at his snarling punkiest on You Can't Be Trusted, a track from the first Seeds album that shows that the group's "flower power" image was more of a marketing ploy on the part of their manager, the infamous Lord Tim,  than any actual association with the peace and love crowd.

Artist:    The Mickey Finn
Title:    Garden Of My Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Waller/Marks
Label:    Rhino (original label: Direction)
Year:    1967
    Not every band in the world makes a living performing their own original material. In fact, the majority of working musicians are members of cover bands, playing a variety of venues all over the world. Most of these bands will never see the inside of a recording studio. There have been times and places, however, when even cover bands could get recording contracts, especially if they had a sizable local following. One such time and place was London in the mid-1960s, where bands like Mickey Finn And The Blue Men found steady work playing ska and R&B covers for the Mod crowd. They recorded a series of singles for several different local labels, one of which was Garden Of My Mind, a freakbeat tune written by guitarist Mickey Waller and vocalist Alan Marks and released on the Direction label. As the decade wore on and the Mod fad began to die out, the Mickey Finn (as they were then known) found itself playing more and more on the European continent, eventually calling it a day (or night) in 1971.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Stoned Woman/Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Source:    LP: Ssssh!
Writer(s):    Lee/Williamson
Label:    Deram
Year:    1969
    Alvin Lee's band Ten Years After already had three albums out by the time they made a huge splash at Woodstock in 1969. Their fourth LP, Ssssh! was released that same year, and was soon climbing the album charts, despite getting little airplay on US radio stations. The best known track was a hard rocking version of the Sonny Boy Williamson blues classic Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, which had already been covered by several rock bands. Unlike previous versions, the TYA Schoolgirl was built around a driving repeated bass line and featured an extended instrumental section that stayed on the main chord rather than following the song's regular progression. The track was preceeded on the LP by a Lee composition, Stoned Woman, which leads into Schoolgirl without a break between songs.

Artist:    Isley Brothers
Title:    Twist And Shout
Source:    Mono Canadian CD: Reelin' & Rockin'
Writer(s):    Medley/Berns
Label:    Happy Days Of Rock n' Roll
Year:    1962
    In 1931, About a year after being hired by Atlantic Records as a staff producer, Phil Spector was asked to produce a song called Shake It Up, Baby for a new vocal group, the Top Notes. Spector had not yet developed his famous "wall of sound" technique, and the recording, according to the song's co-writer, Bert Burns, lacked the energy of the group's live performances. Feeling that Spector had ruined the song, Berns set out to show him how it should have been done and produced a new version of the song in 1962 by a group called the Isley Brothers, who after three years were still looking for a follow-up to their first hit, Shout. The Isley recording was originally intended to be a B side, but it soon became obvious that the song, retitled Twist And Shout, was a major hit in its own right. By the time the record had run its course, the Isley's had their first top 20 mainstream hit, vindicating Berns in the process. The song also peaked at # 2 on the R&B charts.

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