Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1528 (starts 7/8/15)
Title: Just Can't Go To Sleep
Source: Mono LP: You Really Got Me
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Even on their first LP, You Really Got Me, Kinks songwriter Ray Davies demonstrated that he was capable of writing more than just three-chord rockers (as good as they were). Although Just Can't Go To Sleep does not have the sophistication of later Kinks songs, it is a fairly well crafted pop song on a par with much of what was making the charts in 1964.
Title: Words Enough To Tell You
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Sweden as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Decca)
Beatlemania was not limited to Britain and the U.S. The Fab Four had a sizable following just about everywhere in the world, even penetrating the iron curtain in places. Of course this led to local bands that sounded a lot like the Beatles filling clubs from Paris to Stockholm. In the latter case, the most popular of the bunch was the Mascots, who, starting in 1965, recorded a series of well-produced Beatles homages for the Swedish Decca label. The best of these was Words Enough To Tell You, which was first released as a flexi-disc in 1965 and then as a single the following year. By that point the group had evolved from their 1964 Beatles sound to a more diversified British Beat style, which sustained them for the rest of the decade.
Title: Bye Bye Bye
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
The Tikis were another one of those early San Francisco bands that drew their inspiration more from the Beatles than from the emerging counter-culture. Led by Ted Templeton and Dick Scoppetone (both of whom would end up with careers in the music business), the group featured tight harmonies and catchy melodies. They found greater success in 1967 as Harper's Bizarre with their cover of Simon And Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Beat It On Down the Line
Source: CD: Grateful Dead
Writer(s): Jesse Fuller
Label: Warner Brothers
Beat It On Down the Line, from the first Grateful Dead album, is fairly typical of the band's sound in the early days, having only recently gotten off the (Kesey) bus and established themselves as crowd favorites around the various San Francisco ballrooms and auditoriums.
Artist: Hearts And Flowers
Title: Rock And Roll Gypsies
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women)
Writer(s): Roger Tillison
Label: Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
Led by singer/songwriters Larry Murray and Dave Dawson, Hearts And Flowers is best known for launching the career of guitarist/vocalist Bernie Leadon, who joined the group for their second LP and would later go on to co-found the Eagles (he is now a producer in Nashville). That second album, Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women, is generally considered the most accessible of the group's three albums, and included the song Rock And Roll Gypsies, which was included on the Homer movie soundtrack album in 1970.
Artist: Southwest F.O.B.
Title: Bells Of Baytown/One More Thing
Source: LP: Smell Of Incense
Southwest F.O.B. was a group of high school students from Dallas who made a name for themselves as the opening act for some of the biggest names in rock. They took their own name from a local shipping company (the F.O.B. standing for Freight On Board), and were led by two guys who would go on to become one of the top duos of the 1970s: England Dan and John Ford Coley, who wrote virtually all of the band's material, including the folk-rocker Bells Of Baytown and the extended jam One More Thing, that together take up the last fifteen minutes of the group's only LP, Smell Of Incense. England Dan would eventually go on to even greater success as a country artist in the 1980s, using his birth name, Dan Seals.
Title: Hurdy Gurdy Man
Source: CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Hurdy Gurdy Man)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
In early 1968 Donovan Leitch decided to try his hand at producing another band, Hurdy Gurdy, which included his old friend bassist Mac MacLeod. However, creative differences with the band led to Donovan recording the song himself and releasing it as a single in May of that year. The song is done in a harder rock style than most of Donovan's recordings, and features some of London's top studio musicians, including Clem Cattini on drums, Alan Parker on guitar and future Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones on bass. It has long been rumoured that Jimmy Page and John Bonham also participated on the recording, but their presence is disputed. Donovan reportedly wanted to use Jimi Hendrix on the recording, but the guitarist was unavailable.
Artist: Jason Crest
Title: Teagarden Lane
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2013
The first thing to keep in mind about Jason Crest is that is was the name of the band itself, rather than any particular member of said band. The second thing is that, for some unknown reason, their label, Philips, chose not to released Teagarden Lane, which by all accounts was one of the best tracks the quintet ever recorded. Instead, Philips released five nondescript singles by the band over an 18 month period, none of which went anywhere. Eventually the track was discovered a belately released in the UK by Grapefruit Records as part of their Love, Poetry And Revolution three-disc anthology of late 60s British psychedelic music.
Title: Hey Mr. Policeman/See Through Windows/Variations On A Theme Of Me My Friend
Source: British import CD: Music In A Doll's House
Label: See For Miles (original label: Reprise)
The second single released by Family was a tune called See My Friends. The B side was a song called Hey Mr. Policeman. Both songs were taken from the group's debut LP, Music In A Doll's House, which was released two weeks after the single. The versions of both songs are slightly different from the single in that each one leads into another track that is actually a variation on a theme from the other side of the single. In the case of Hey Mr. Policeman there is actually a third unrelated song that separates the two, a softer tune called See Through Windows. The band followed up Music In A Doll's House with a second LP, Family Entertainment, before losing one of its key members, bassist/violinist Rich Grech, who left to join Blind Faith in 1969.
Artist: Holy Mackerel
Source: CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released on LP: Holy Mackerel)
Writer(s): Robert Harvey
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
The Holy Mackerel was formed by Paul Williams, who had been encouraged to form his own band by producer Richard Perry, who had been impressed by a demo tape Williams had submitted of a song he wrote for Tiny Tim. Although ultimately known for his songwriting skills, it was Williams's voice that is the highlight of the band's self-titled LP that appeared on the Reprise label in late 1968, as can be heard on Wildflowers. Williams would go on to win an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe award for the song Evergreen that he wrote for Barbra Streisand in the 1970s. I still see him in my mind as the villain in the first Kiss made-for-TV movie.
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: The Lobster
Source: British import CD: Fairport Convention
The recording history of the premier English folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, can be more than a little confusing. A large part of the problem was caused by A&M Records, who had the rights to release the band's material in the US, starting with the band's second LP. Rather than go with the original album title, What We Did On Our Holidays, A&M retitled the album Fairport Convention, releasing it in 1970. The problem is that the band's first album, released in the UK on Polydor in 1968, was also titled Fairport Convention. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the lineup on the 1968 Polydor LP differs from that of every other Fairport album, most notably in the absence of the band's most visible member, vocalist Sandy Denny. Fairport Convention (the band) was formed in 1967, and was consciously following in the footsteps of Jefferson Airplane, albeit from a British perspective. Like the Airplane, the original Fairport lineup had a wealth of talent, including Martin Lamble on violin, Simon Nicol on guitars, Judy Dibble on autoharp, recorder and piano, Richard Thompson on guitar and mandolin, Ashley Hutchings (then known as Tyger Hutchings) on bass and Ian MacDonald (who later changed his name to Ian Matthews), who shared lead vocals with Dyble. Musically the band was far more rock-oriented than on later LPs, even dabbling with jazz and progressive rock on tracks like Sun Shade & The Lobster, respectively. This can be attributed, at least in part, to a general disdain among the youth of Britain for the traditional English folk music that was taught to every schoolchild in the country (whether they wanted it or not). Later albums would find Fairport Convention doing more and more traditional folk, eventually becoming the world's most popular practicioners of the art, although they never entirely abandoned rock.
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Billy Roberts
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin, who had recently replaced founding member Bill Rinehart on lead guitar, came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Street Fighting Man
Source: LP: Beggar's Banquet
The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's follow-up single, Street Fighting Man, a song that was almost as anthemic as Jumpin' Jack Flash itself and went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Lantern
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Factory Girl
Source: LP: Beggar's Banquet
One of the more overlooked tunes in the Rolling Stones catalog, Factory Girl features an odd assortment of instruments (including Tabla, Violin, Congo and Mellotron) on what is essentially an Appalachian kind of song. Guest musicians include Rick Grech on violin and Dave Mason on either guitar or mellotron (simulating a mandolin).
Title: Ticket To Ride
Source: CD: Help!
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Trying to figure out the Beatles' catalog can be a bit confusing, as Capitol Records, which had the rights to release the band's recordings in the US, had their own ideas about what should be on a Beatles album, which was often at odds with the wishes of the band members themselves. Some US albums, such as Beatles '65, had no British counterpart at all, while others had different track lineups than the original UK versions. Probably the most radically altered of the original LPs was the soundtrack album to the film Help! In the UK, side one of the album contained songs from the film itself, while side two contained a collection of unrelated studio recordings, some of which had been intended for, but not used in, the film. In the US, however, the Help album included incidental orchestral pieces heard throughout the movie interspersed with the songs heard on side one of the UK album. Among the tracks heard on both versions was Ticket To Ride, which was also issued as a single in the US (using one of the songs from side two of the UK Help album as a B side). The tune has gone on to become one of the most recognizable Beatle songs ever.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Ain't It Hard
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes got their big break in 1966 when a real estate saleswoman heard them playing in a garage in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and told her friend Dave Hassinger about them. Hassinger was a successful studio engineer (having just finished the Rolling Stones' Aftermath album) who was looking to become a record producer. The Prunes were his first clients, and Hassinger's production style is evident on their debut single. Ain't It Hard had already been recorded by the Gypsy Trips, and the Electric Prunes would move into more psychedelic territory with their next release, the iconic I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).
Title: Love Is Only Sleeping
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Seger
Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. The first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, a powerful anti-Vietnam War tune that was later included on his first LP for the label. The mono single version of the song heard here has a guitar chord near the end of the track that was not on the original recording (on which the song simply stops cold for a few seconds). It was inserted because, according to Seger, radio stations were "afraid of dead air".
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Dark Star (Excerpt)
Source: LP: Zabriskie Point soundtrack
Writer(s): McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label: 4 Men With Beards (original label: M-G-M)
Zabriskie Point is generally considered by critics to be among the worst films ever made. At the same time the soundtrack album for the film is a cult classic, with an eclectic mix of music from such diverse artists as Pink Floyd, Patti Page, John Fahey and Jerry Garcia, both with and without the rest of the Grateful Dead. Although Garcia's solo tracks were written specifically for the film, it is likely that the short (less than three minutes) excerpt from Dark Star was lifted from the 1969 LP Live Dead, although documentation to prove it is pretty much nonexistent. Still, it sounds like the Live Dead version...
Artist: Jimi Hendrix (Band Of Gypsys)
Title: Power Of Soul
Source: CD: South Saturn Delta
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1970, released 1997
1969 was a strange year for Jimi Hendrix. For one thing, he did not release any new recordings that year, yet he remained the top money maker in rock music. One reason for the lack of new material was an ongoing dispute with Capitol Records over a contract he had signed in 1965. By the end of the year an agreement was reached for Hendrix to provide Capitol with one album's worth of new material. At this point Hendrix had not released any live albums, so it was decided to tape his New Year's performances at the Fillmore East with his new Band Of Gypsys (with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox), playing songs that had never been released in studio form. As it turns out, however, studio versions of many of the songs on that album did indeed exist, but were not issued until after Hendrix's death, when producer Alan Douglas put out a pair of LPs (Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning), that had some of the original drum and bass tracks (and even some guitar tracks) re-recorded by musicians that had never actually worked with Hendrix. One of those songs is Power Of Soul, which has finally been released in its original Band Of Gypsys studio version, with background vocals provided by Cox and Miles.
Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Alice's Restaurant Massacree
Source: LP: Alice's Restaurant
Writer: Arlo Guthrie
Just because everyone expects to hear it at Thanksgiving, we are airing, in July, the original Alice's Restaurant Massacre, released on Arlo Guthrie's debut LP, Alice's Restaurant, in 1967. The record tells the true story of Guthrie's 1965 Thanksgiving adventures in a small town in Massachusetts, and of his subsequent adventures with the draft board a few months later. The story became the basis for a movie and over the years Guthrie has performed the piece hundreds of times, never the same way twice (some performances have reportedly lasted nearly an hour).
Title: The Crystal Ship
Source: LP: The Doors
Writer: The Doors
Ever feel like you've discovered something really special that nobody else (among your circle of friends at any rate) knows about? At first you kind of want to keep it to yourself, but soon you find yourself compelled to share it with everyone you know. Such was the case when, in the early summer of 1967, I used my weekly allowance to buy copies of a couple of songs I had heard on the American Forces Network (AFN). As usual, it wasn't long before I was flipping the records over to hear what was on the B sides. I liked the first one well enough (a song by Buffalo Springfield called Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, the B side of For What It's Worth), but it was the second one, the B side of the Doors' Light My Fire, that really got to me. To this day I consider The Crystal Ship to be one of the finest slow rock songs ever recorded.