Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1504 (starts 1/21/15)

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Mr. Soul
Source:    CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Executives at Atco Records originally considered Neil Young's voice "too weird" to be recorded. As a result many of Young's early tunes (including the band's debut single Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing), were sung by Richie Furay. By the time the band's second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, was released, the band had enough clout to make sure Young was allowed to sing his own songs. In fact, the album starts with a Young vocal on the classic Mr. Soul.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    51st Anniversary
Source:    Mono CD: Are You Experienced? (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Track)
Year:    1967
    The first Jimi Hendrix Experience single of 1967 (and the first for Track Records) was the classic Purple Haze, released on March 17, 1967. For the B side, the band chose one of producer Chas Chandler's favorite tracks, 51st Anniversary. The song expressed Hendrix's views on marraige by looking at it first from 51 years after the wedding, and then working his way back through the years. The first half, in Hendrix's words, was "just saying the good things about marraige, or maybe the usual things about marraige. The second part of the record tells about the parts of marraige which I've seen." Hendrix's own parents got married when his mother was just 17, just like the girl in the song. Musically, 51st Anniversary is unique in that it is the only Hendrix song ever released that did not have a guitar solo, although the recording does feature five guitar overdubs linked together throughout the track.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Daily Planet
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    The closest Love ever got to a stable lineup was in early 1967, when the group consisted of multi-instrumentalist and band leader Arthur Lee, lead guitarist Johnny Echols, rhythm guitarist Bryan MacLean, bassist Ken Forssi and drummer Michael Stuart. This group, along with "Snoopy" Pfisterer on keyboards and Tjay Cantrelli on flute and saxophone, had completed the De Capo album in late 1966 and were firmly entrenched as the top-drawing band on the Sunset Strip. There were drawbacks, however. Then, as now, Los Angeles was the party capitol of the world, and the members of Love, as kings of the Strip, had easy access to every vice they could imagine. This became a serious problem when it was time to begin working on the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Both Lee and MacLean had new material ready to be recorded, but getting the other members into the studio was proving to be impossible, so the two songwriters decided to take matters into their own hands and brought in some of L.A.'s top studio musicians to begin work on the album. The move turned out to be a wake up call for the rest of the band, who were able to get their act together in time to finish the album themselves. Lee and MacLean, however, chose to keep the two tracks that they had completed using studio musicians. One of those was a Lee composition, The Daily Planet. Ken Forssi later claimed that bassist Carol Kaye was having problems with the song and Forssi himself ended up playing on the track, but there is no way now to verify Forssi's claim.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    The Sun Is Burning
Source:    LP: Wednesday Morning 3AM
Writer(s):    Ian Campbell
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1964
    The "great folk music scare" (to quote Martin Mull) of the early 60s was centered, for the most part, on traditional American ballads and original compositions by American artists. There was, however, a British folk revival going on at the same time, albeit a bit more underground than its US counterpart. At the forefront of the British folk revival was the Ian Campbell Folk Group, who were well-known for their numerous appearances at various festivals as well as frequent visits to the BBC radio and TV studios. American folk artists Simon And Garfunkel (particularly Simon) were fans of the British folk scene, and so it was no surprise that the duo included Campbell's The Sun Is Burning on their own debut LP, Wednesday Morning 3AM, in 1964. In fact, when the album initially failed to generate much interest in the US, Paul Simon relocated to London, recording a solo album there before returning to the States in 1966 and reuniting with Art Garfunkel.

Artist:    Ken And The Fourth Dimension
Title:    See If I Care
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ken Johnson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Star-Burst)
Year:    1966
    There was never a band called Ken And The Fourth Dimension in Nashville West, aka Bakersfield, California, aka Buck Owens territory. What Bakersfield did have, however, was the Johnson brothers, whose father was involved with the record business in Los Angeles, about two hours south of Bakersfield. Don Johnson was the bass player for a popular Bakersfield band known as the Trippers. When brother Ken talked Dad into getting his friend Gary Paxton to produce a record for him, he used most of brother Don's band, re-naming them the Fourth Dimension for just this one project. See If I Care was released in 1966 on the Star-Burst label, one of many small labels operating out of L.A. at the time.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Prelude/Nightmare
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Writer(s):    Arthur Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    One of rock's first "theatrical" performers, Arthur Brown first began to get noticed in Paris, where he spent a year developing his stage show and unique vocal style with his band the Arthur Brown Set, which was formed in 1965. On his return to England he joined up with keyboardist Vincent Crane. By 1967 the Vincent Crane Combo had changed its name to The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and was becoming a major force on London's underground music scene. In late 1967 the band went to work on their self-titled debut LP, which was released in the UK on the Track label in June of 1968. Spurred by the success of the single Fire, the album was picked up for American distribution by Atlantic Records that same year. The people at Atlantic, however, felt that the drums were a bit off and insisted on adding horns and strings to cover the deficiency. The result can be heard on tracks like Prelude/Nightmare, which opens the album.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    LP: Get Your Ya-Yas Out
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1970
    The Rolling Stones made no secret of the fact that they were highly displeased with the album Got Live If You Want It. They claimed that their producer Andrew Loog Oldham had released the album without the band's knowledge and consent and that the album itself was inferior in several ways. In 1970, having parted company with Oldham, the band decided to put out a live album that was more to their liking. The result was Get Your Ya-Yas Out, generally considered to be one of the best live albums ever recorded. The album opens with an electrifying version of Sympathy For The Devil that features outstanding guitar work from Mick Taylor, who had left John Mayall's band to replace Brian Jones the previous year.

Artist:    Pink Fairies
Title:    Right On, Fight On
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: What A Bunch Of Sweeties)
Writer(s):    Pink Fairies
Label:    Polydor (UK import)
Year:    1972
    While most rock musicians in the early 1970s were dreaming of becoming rich and famous, there were a few notable exceptions on both sides of the Atlantic. Among those were Detroit's MC5, whose radical politics were at the forefront of everything they did, and the New York City street band David Peel and the Lower East Side, who were more a musical guerrilla theater group than an actual rock band. In the UK, it was the Pink Fairies bucking the establishment, performing such anarchic acts as giving free concerts outside the gates of places where other bands were playing for pay, such as the 1970 Isle Of Wight music festival. Formed from the ashes of another anarchic band, the Social Deviants, the Pink Fairies recorded three albums from 1971-73, finally cutting a single for Stiff Records in 1976 before splitting up. The group has reformed several times since.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Dead End Street
Source:     Mono British import CD: Face To Face (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1966
     The last big US hit for the Kinks in the 60s was Sunny Afternoon in late 1966. The follow-up, Deadend Street, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success (although it was a hit in the UK). The Kinks would not have another major US hit until Lola in 1970.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Tired Of Waiting For You
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Priority (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Sunny Afternoon
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    My family got its first real stereo (a GE AM/FM console with a reel-to-reel recorder instead a turntable that is still sitting in the living room at my mother's house nearly 50 years later) just in time for me to catch the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off).

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    In The Morning
Source:    LP: Early Flight
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    Grunt
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    One of the earliest and best collections of previously unreleased material from a major rock band was the Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Among the rarities on the LP is In The Morning, a blues jam with Jorma Kaukonen on vocals and lead guitar that runs over six minutes long. The length itself precluded the track being included on the band's debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, despite the obvious quality of the performance. The song has since been included as a bonus track on the CD version of JATO.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Turn My Life Down
Source:    CD: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1969
    The fifth Jefferson Airplane studio album has a reputation of being their most political album. While that may be true, Volunteers is also the album that most showcases the growing diversity of writing styles among band members. In particular Jorma Kaukonen's contributions, such as Turn My Life Down, serve as a preview of the style that he and Jack Casady would adopt when they formed Hot Tuna the following year.

Artist:    Balloon Farm
Title:    A Question Of Temperature
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Appel/Schnug/Henny
Label:    Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:    1967
    Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to have greater success as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Across The Universe
Source:    CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released on charity album for the World Wildlife Fund)
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1969
    Across The Universe was recorded in 1968 and was in serious contention for release as a single that year (ultimately Lady Madonna was chosen instead). The recording sat in the vaults until 1969, when it was included on a charity album for the World Wildlife Fund (hence the sounds of flapping wings at the beginning and end of the track). Phil Spector would eventually get his hands on the master tape, slowing it down and adding strings and including it on the Let It Be album. Personally I prefer this relatively untampered-with version.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Redding/Cropper
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    We end this week's show with an undisputed classic: Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay. The song, co-written by legendary MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was released shortly after the plane crash that took the lives of not only Redding, but several members of the Bar-Kays as well. Shortly after recording the song Redding played it for his wife, who reacted by saying "Otis, you're changing." Redding's reply was "maybe I need to."

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    The Finale
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1967   
    Your're A Big Boy Now was a 1966 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola about a young man coming to grips with adulthood in a changing world. What made this movie different was that it embraced the emerging counter-culture of the times as no film had before, laying the groundwork for such classic films as Easy Rider and the Graduate. The soundtrack album from 1967 featured the Lovin' Spoonful performing the title track and their hit single Darlin' Be Home Soon, as well as other tunes. Among those other tunes was The Finale, which was also issued as the B side of Six O'Clock that same year.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1966
     The second half of our Yardbirds instrumental pair is one of the hottest rock B sides ever issued: Jeff's Boogie, which appeared as the flip side of Over, Under, Sideways Down in 1966 and was included on an LP with the same name (that LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art). Although credited to the entire band, the song is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:    Boots
Title:    But You'll Never Do It Babe
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in West Berlin as 45 RPM single and on LP: Here Are The Boots)
Writer(s):    Smith/Fox
Label:    Rhino (original label: Telefunken)
Year:    1965
    Formed in Berlin in 1965, the Boots were one of the more adventurous bands operating on the European mainland. While most bands in Germany tended to emulate the Beatles, the Boots took a more underground approach, growing their hair out just a bit longer than their contemporaries and appealing to a more Bohemian type of crowd. Lead guitarist Jurg "Jockel" Schulte-Eckle was known for doing strange things to his guitar onstage using screwdrivers, beer bottles and the like to create previously unheard of sounds. The band's first single, But You'll Never Do It Babe, was originally recorded by a British band, Cops 'n' Robbers, but the Boots took the song to its greatest heights.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dreaming
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were relatively few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals. Dreaming is also one of the shortest Cream songs on record, clocking in at one second under two minutes in length.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    The Girl I Knew Somewhere (original version)
Source:    Mono CD: Headquarters (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    Although both Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork had participated in a few of the studio sessions for what became the first two Monkees albums (with Nesmith producing), the Monkees did not record as an actual band until January 16, 1967, when they taped the first version of Nesmith's The Girl I Knew Somewhere. Nesmith himself handled the lead vocals and guitar work, while Tork, perhaps the best musician in the group, played harpsichord. Mickey Dolenz, who would take over lead vocals on the final version of the song, played drums and Davy Jones added the tambourine part. The discordant note at the end of Tork's instrumental break was actually an accident that the band liked so much they decided to keep it. This version of the song, which was never mixed in stereo, sat on a shelf until 1995, when it appeared on the Rhino CD reissue of the Headquarters album.

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:    Albert King
Title:    Lonely Man
Source:    LP: Years Gone By
Writer(s):    Milton Campbell
Label:    Stax
Year:    1969
    Although his performing career started in the 1940s as a drummer for Jimmy Reed, bluesman Albert King had his greatest success as a guitarist after he signed with the Memphis-based Stax label in 1966. He recorded a series of singles for the label using Booker T & the MGs as a backup band which were then collected on an LP called Born Under A Bad Sign. The 1967 album brought mainstream success to the 44-year-old guitarist, leading to several appearances at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium, where he became known for using his trademark Gibson "Flying V" that he called Lucy. At 6'3" (some say 6'7"), he made an imposing figure, although, according to Graham, he was always relaxed and congenial onstage and related to the public well. After a landmark live album Live Wire/Blues Power, King returned to the studio to record Years Gone By, which featured a mixture of original and cover tunes such as Lonely Man. Albert King continued to remain active until his death from a heart attack in 1992.

Artist:     Knickerbockers
Title:     One Track Mind
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Linda and Keith Colley
Label:     Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:     1966
     After successfully fooling many people into thinking that they were the Beatles recording under a different name with their 1965 hit Lies, the Los Angeles-based Knickerbockers went with a more R&B flavored rocker, One Track Mind, for their 1966 follow up single.
Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Mr. Farmer
Source:    LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
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 song has long been rumored to be a subtly-disguised drug song but songwriter/bandleader Sky Saxon would never either confirm or deny the possibility.

Artist:    Adam
Title:    Eve
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Taylor/London/Dawson/Schnug
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Malo)
Year:    1966
    Obviously a one-note gimmick, Adam consisted of Adam Taylor, Adam London, Adam Dawson and Adam Schnug, releasing one single called Eve in 1966. The following year a band called the Balloon Farm released A Question Of Temperature. It has long been suspected that they were both the same band. My own theory is that both tracks are the work of New York studio musicians having a little after-hours fun, similar to what was going on in Los Angeles with projects such as Sagittarius and the Ballroom.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    My Love Is
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    For a time in early 1968 my favorite album was The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, which is in a sense kind of strange, since I didn't own a copy of the LP. I did, however, have access to my dad's Dual turntable and Akai reel-to-reel tape recorder, and used to fall asleep on the couch with the headphones on nearly every night (hey, it beat sharing a room with my 8-year-old brother). So when one of my bandmates invited the rest of us over to hear his new album by this new band from Boston I naturally asked to borrow it long enough to tape a copy for myself.  As it turned out, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union is one of those albums best listened to with headphones on, with all kinds of cool (dare I say groovy?) stereo effects, like the organ and cymbals going back and forth from side to side following the spoken intro (by producer Tom Wilson, it turns out) on the album's first track, My Love Is. Years later I acquired a mono copy of the LP, but it just wasn't the same.

Artist:    Colder Children
Title:    Memories
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Danny Felton
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Boutique)
Year:    1968
    I know virtually nothing about the Long Island band known as Colder Children. How about you? If you are familiar with them, clue me in, OK?

Artist:    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title:    Checking On My Baby
Source:    LP: Crusade
Writer(s):    Alex "Rice" Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Shortly after guitarist Peter Green and drummer Mick Fleetwood left John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to form Fleetwood Mac, the remaining band members, along with newly recruited 18-year-old guitarist Mick Taylor and drummer Keif Hartley got to work on a new Bluesbreakers LP. The album Crusade, featuring both Mayall originals and covers such as the 1960 Sonny Boy Williamson tune Checking On My Baby, was the last to use the Bluesbreakers name for many years. Taylor would stay with Mayall for nearly two years before being recruited by the Rolling Stones to replace Brian Jones in 1969.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Sitting There Standing
Source:    Mono CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: Riot On Sunset Strip)
Writer(s):    Aguilar/Andrijasevich/Flores/Toomis/Tolby
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    The members of the Chocolate Watchband, by their own admission, were far more interested in playing to a live audience than getting anything down on tape. As a result, their studio output is a poor representation of who they were as a band. There are a few tracks, however, that managed to capture the real Chocolate Watchband in their element. One of these, Sitting There Standing, came about almost by accident. The band had been flown down to Los Angeles to appear in the movie Riot On Sunset Strip, but only had one song ready to go, a Dave Aguilar song called Don't Need Your Lovin'.  Faced with the need for a second song, the band quickly came up with Sitting There Standing, which was essentially the Yardbirds' The Nazz Are Blue (one of the Watchband's most popular stage numbers) with improvised new lyrics. The band then performed both numbers live on the Paramount soundstage, with members of the cast and crew serving as an audience. The tapes were then played back with the band faking a performance at a mockup of the legendary L.A. teen club Pandora's Box for use in the film itself. As it turned out, the sequence was the high point of the entire movie.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Super Bird
Source:    Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rhino (original label: Vanguard)
Year:    1967
    Country Joe and the Fish, from Berkeley, California, were one of the first rock bands to incorporate political satire into their music. Their I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag is one of the most famous protest songs ever written. Superbird is even heavier on the satire than the Rag. The song, from the band's debut LP, puts president Lyndon Johnson, whose wife was known as "Ladybird", in the role of a comic book superhero.

Artist:    MC2
Title:    My Mind Goes High
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Claugh/Crawly
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    MC2 (pronounced "em see squared") only released one single, the folk-pop tinged My Mind Goes High on the Reprise label in 1967, before disbanding following a dispute with their producer, Lenny Waronker. One member, however, drummer Jim Keltner, went on to make a name for himself playing on John Lennon's albums in the early 70s and doing studio work for a variety of well-known acts. He also toured with Booker T & the MGs in the 1990s, appearing onstage backing up Neil Young.

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