Title: High On Love
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
High On Love, the Knickerbockers' third single for the Challenge label, was co-written by Annette Tucker before she began teaming up with the likes of Nancy Mantz and Jill Jones on songs like I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and Get Me To The World On Time, both recorded by the Electric Prunes. The band thought it would be a good idea to record the tune because in 1966 everybody seemed to be high on something, so why not love?
Title: She's Leaving Home
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
One of the striking things about the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the sheer variety of songs on the album. Never before had a rock band gone so far beyond its roots in so many directions at once. One of Paul McCartney's most poignant songs on the album was She's Leaving Home. The song tells the story of a young girl who has decided that her stable homelife is just too unfulling to bear and heads for the big city. Giving the song added depth is the somewhat clueless response of her parents, who can't seem to understand what went wrong.
Title: The Last Thing I Remember, The First Thing I Knew
Source: 12" 45 RPM Picture Disc: Turtles 1968
Writer: The Turtles
Year: Recorded 1968, released 1978
In 1968 the Turtles rebelled against their record company. They did not attempt to break the contract or go on strike, though. Instead, they simply went into the studio and produced four songs that they themselves wrote and chose to record. The record company, in turn, chose not to issue any of the self-produced recordings (although one, Surfer Dan, did end up on their Battle of the Bands album a few months later). Finally, in the late 1970s a small independent label known for issuing oddball recordings by the likes of Barnes and Barnes (Fish Heads) and professional wrestler Fred Blassie (Pencil-Neck Geek) put out a 12-inch picture disc featuring the four tunes. That label also began reissuing old Turtles albums, starting it on a path that has since become the stock in trade for Rhino Records.
Artist: Van Der Graaf Generator
Title: People You Were Going To (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source: Mono British import CD: Spirit Of Joy
Writer(s): Peter Hammill
One of the rarest records ever released was Van Der Graff's debut single, People You Were Going To. The record was released on the UK Polydor label in January of 1969, but was almost immediately withdrawn due to the fact that the band's leader, Peter Hammill, had signed a contract with Mercury Records the previous year. The Mercury contract was so bad, however, that the rest of the band members refused to sign it, and for a while it looked like Van Der Graaf Generator would be little more than a footnote in the history of British Rock. Later that year, however, Hammill began work on a solo album that appeared under the name Van Der Graaf Generator, but only in the US. Nonetheless, it was enough to fulfill the terms of his Mercury contract, freeing Hammill up to reform the band and sign with the Charisma label, where they established themselves as one of the top progressive rock bands of the 1970s.
Artist: Blues Image
Title: Ride Captain Ride
Source: LP: Open
Writer(s): Blues Image
After having mild commercial success with their self-titled debut album in 1969, Blues Image deliberately set out to write a hit song for their second LP, Open. The result was Ride Captain Ride, which made the top 40 in 1970. The album itself, however, did not do as well as its predecessor, and was the last one issued by the band's original lineup.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Tobacco Road
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
For years I've been trying to find a DVD copy of a video I saw on YouTube. It was the Blues Magoos, complete with electric suits and smoke generators, performing Tobacco Road on a Bob Hope TV special. The performance itself was a vintage piece of psychedelia, but the true appeal of the video is in Hope's reaction to the band immediately following the song. You can practically hear him thinking "Well, that's one act I'm not taking with me on the next USO tour."
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question Of Temperature
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
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: Orange Wedge
Title: From The Womb To The Tomb
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Blue Flat Ownsley Memorial)
Recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, From The Womb To The Tomb was the only single from Orange Wedge, a forerunner of more famous Michigan bands such as the Stooges and the MC5.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): Grace Slick
For many the definitive song of the psychedelic era, White Rabbit, released as a single after getting extensive airplay on "underground" FM stations, was the second (and final) top 10 hit for the Airplane in the summer of '67. In 1987 RCA released a special stereo reissue of the single on white vinyl to accompany the 2400 Fulton Street box set.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: Mono LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s): Skip Spence
As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Turtle Blues
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s): Janis Joplin
Sometimes I do play favorites. Turtle Blues, from the Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, is certainly one of them. Besides vocalist Janis Joplin, who wrote the tune, the only other band member heard on the track is guitarist Peter Albin. Legendary producer John Simon provides the piano playing.
Title: Little Miss Queen Of Darkness
Source: Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
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.
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)
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.
Title: Ship Of Fools
Source: CD: Morrison Hotel
1969 was, if nothing else, a turbulent year for the Doors. The band had made headlines for a March 1st performance in Miami that resulted in lead vocalist Jim Morrison's arrest for indecent exposure. In July, the group released their fourth album, The Soft Parade, which was heavily criticized for its use of strings and horns and an overall more commercial sound that the band had previously exhibited. That same month Morrison gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine in which he stressed the importance of country and blues to American culture. It was not a big surprise then, that the band's next album, Morrison Hotel, featured a more stripped down sound, perhaps even more so than their first LP. Side one of the album, subtitled Hard Rock Cafe, starts off strong with one of the band's most iconic songs, Roadhouse Blues, and ends on a similar note with Ship Of Fools. The group would continue in this direction and even improve on it on their next LP, L.A. Woman. Sadly, it would be the last Doors studio album before Morrison's death.
Artist: Undisputed Truth
Title: You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth
Source: 45 RPM single
Starting in 1969 with the Temptations Psychedelic Shack, producers/songwriters Norm Whitfield and Barrett Strong carved out their own little slice of psychedelia from the huge Motown pie. The songs produced by the duo, recorded mostly by the post-Eddie Kendrick Temptations and the Undisputed Truth, gave the celebrated Motown rhythm section a chance to stretch beyond the limitations of the standard Motown formula. You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth was issued in 1972 as a follow up to the Undisputed Truth's first and biggest hit, Smiling Faces Sometimes. The song only did moderately well, stalling out in the lower regions of Billboard's Hot 100 (although it did do better on the R&B charts). When Whitfield left Motown a couple years later to form his own company he brought the Undisputed Truth along with him.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Pet Sounds
Source: LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s): Brian Wilson
Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians.
Title: Wishing And Wondering
Source: CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s): Stephen R Webb
The last Mumphries track to be completed was Wishing And Wondering, a song about man's mistreatment of his home planet. The song was intended to be submitted to various environmentalist organizations, but somehow that never happened. If you know of anyone interested, however....
Artist: Crawling Walls
Title: Inner Limits
Source: LP: Inner Limits
Writer(s): Bob Fountain
The first band to record at Albuquerque's Bottom Line Studios was the Crawling Walls, led by vocalist/keyboardist Bob Fountain (using a vintage Vox organ) and featuring guitarist Larry Otis, formerly of the Philisteens, along with bassist Nancy Martinez and drummer Richard Perez. One of the first 80s bands to truly emulate the classic 60s West Coast psychedelic sound (as defined by bands like the Seeds), the Crawling Walls released one LP, Inner Limits, in 1985 on the local Voxx label. The album was also reissued in France on the Lolita label, where it became a cult favorite.
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)
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: Circus Maximus
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.
Title: I Can't Reach You
Source: LP: Magic Bus-The Who On Tour (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
One day during my freshman year of high school my friend Bill invited a bunch of us over to his place to listen to the new console stereo his family had bought recently. Like most console stereos, this one had a wooden top that could be lifted up to operate the turntable and radio, then closed to make it look more like a piece of furniture. When we arrived there was already music playing on the stereo, and Bill soon had us convinced that this new stereo was somehow picking up the British pirate radio station Radio London. This was pretty amazing since we were in Weisbaden, Germany, several hundred miles from England or its coastal waters that Radio London broadcast from. Even more amazing was the fact that the broadcast itself seemed to be in stereo, and Radio London was an AM station. Yet there it was, coming in more clearly than the much closer Radio Luxembourg, the powerhouse station that we listened to every evening, when they broadcast in a British top 40 format. Although a couple of us were a bit suspicious about what was going on, even we skeptics were convinced when we heard jingles, stingers, and even commercials for stuff like the Charles Atlas bodybuilding course interspersed with songs we had never heard, such as I Can't Reach You, that were every bit as good as any song being played on Radio Luxembourg. Well, as it turned out, we were indeed being hoaxed by Bill and his older brother, who had put on his brand new copy of The Who Sell Out when he saw us approaching the apartment building they lived in. I eventually picked up a copy of the album for myself, and still consider it one of the best Who albums ever made.
Artist: Hawkwind Zoo
Title: Hurry On Sundown (demo version)
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s): Dave Brock
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2013
The first single by Hawkwind was a tune called Hurry On Sundown, which was also included on their first LP in 1970. The previous year the band had recorded a demo of the song while they were still calling themselves Hawkwind Zoo. That recording remained unreleased until 2013, when it appeared on the British compilation box set Love, Poetry And Revolution.
Artist: Idle Race
Title: Days Of The Broken Arrows
Source: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969
Writer(s): Jeff Lynne
The Idle Race had already released one LP and four singles when they came out with Days Of The Broken Arrows in early 1969. Leader Jeff Lynne, who wrote the song, was disappointed with the single's performance, and after releasing a second album late in the year he announced that he was leaving the Idle Race to join his friend Roy Wood's band, the Move. Eventually Lynne came to dominate the Move and saw that band evolve into the Electric Light Orchestra. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Idle Race stayed together, finally becoming the Steve Gibbons Band in the early 1970s.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: The Court Of The Crimson King
Source: LP: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Perhaps the most influential progressive rock album of all time was King Crimson's debut LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King. The band, in its original incarnation, included Robert Fripp on guitar, Ian MacDonald on keyboards and woodwinds, Greg Lake on vocals and bass, David Giles on drums and Peter Sinfield as a dedicated lyricist. The title track, which takes up the second half of side two of the LP, features music composed by MacDonald, who would leave the group after their second album, later resurfacing as a founding member of Foreigner. The album's distinctive cover art (posted on the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page) came from a painting by computer programmer Barry Godber, who died of a heart attack less than a year after the album was released. According to Fripp, the artwork on the inside is a portrait of the Crimson King, whose manic smile is in direct contrast to his sad eyes. The album, song and artwork were the inspiration for Stephen King's own Crimson King, the insane antagonist of his Dark Tower saga who is out to destroy all of reality, including our own.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Fighting For Madge
Source: CD: Then Play On
Writer(s): Mick Fleetwood
A jam session is defined (by me) as what happens when two or more musicians get together and play whatever they feel like playing. Jazz, rock and blues artists in particular are prone to jamming, sometimes with recording devices running. Sometimes these jams serve as the basis for future compositions, and in some cases (the Jimi Hendrix track Voodoo Chile from side one of Electric Ladyland comes to mind) the jam session itself ends up being released in its original form. Fleetwood Mac, in 1969, included two such jams on their Then Play On LP, although one of the two (Searching For Madge) was shortened from its original 17 minutes to just under seven minutes. The other jam, heard in its entirety on the album, is called Fighting For Madge. Both tracks were named for a female acquaintance of the band, with Mick Fleetwood getting the official writing credit for Fighting and John McVie the credit for Searching, even though everyone contributed equally to both jams.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Lover Man
Source: CD: Valleys Of Neptune
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2010
Valleys Of Neptune is a collection of unreleased tracks featuring (mostly) members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Nearly all the tracks, including Lover Man, are credited to Hendrix, although there are a couple of blues covers on the disc as well. Although Valleys Of Neptune contains an album's worth of material, it all sounds like jams that were not intended to be heard by the general public. Whether some of these tracks may have developed into actual compositions is a question that will probably never be answered, as the group split up not long after these recordings were made and Hendrix himself changed musical directions over the next year.