Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1532 (starts 8/5/15)
Title: Over Under Sideways Down
Source: 45 RPM single
The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and Jimmy Page).
Title: Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
Source: Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Raven (original label: Epic)
Following the release of the 1966 LP The Yardbirds (aka Roger The Engineer), bassist Paul Samwell-Smith decided to leave the band to pursue a career as a record producer. The group recruited studio guitar whiz Jimmy Page as his replacement, with Page joining Jeff Beck as co-lead guitarists and Chris Dreja switching from rhythm guitar to bass. The first recording by the new lineup was a single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago. Dreja, however, was not yet comfortable on bass, so a colleague of Page's, John Paul Jones, was brought in for the sessions, with Dreja playing rhythm guitar. Despite the wealth of talent on the recording, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago was not a major hit, peaking at # 30 on the US charts. It did even worse in the UK, where it only made it to the # 43 spot. Beck and Page would play together on two more Yardbirds recordings before Beck left the group under somewhat mysterious circumstances.
Title: Jeff's Boogie
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Wrapping up our Yardbirds set we have 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: Canned Heat
Title: Sandy's Blues
Source: British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s): Bob Hite
Label: BGO (original US label: Liberty)
Generally considered the high point of Canned Heat's career, the 1968 double-LP Living The Blues is best known for the inclusion of Refried Boogie, the centerpiece of the band's live performances. In addition to the 41-minute track, that takes up two entire sides of the album, there were several studio tracks as well, such as Sandy's Blues, a melancholy blues progression written by vocalist Robert (the Bear) Hite.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer(s): McKinley Morganfield
Label: United Artists (original label: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Johnny Winter's first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, was originally released in 1968 on the Texas-based Sonobeat label. A ctitical success, it was picked up and reissued on the Imperial label a year later. Most of the songs on the album are covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'.
Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title: Gold And Silver
Source: CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service
There are differing opinions on just how serious legendary San Francisco singer/songwriter and all-around iconoclast Dino Valenti was being when, at a jam session with guitarist John Cippolina one night, he suggested that the two of them form a band. Since Valenti was busted for drugs the very next day (and ended up spending the next two years in jail), we'll never know for sure. Cippolina, however, was motivated enough to begin finding members for the new band, including bassist David Freiberg (later to join Starship) and drummer Skip Spence. When Marty Balin stole Spence away to join his own new band (Jefferson Airplane), he tried to make up for it by introducing Cippolina to vocalist/guitarist Gary Duncan and drummer Greg Elmore, whose own band, the Brogues, had recently disbanded. Taking the name Quicksilver Messenger Service (so named for all the member's astrological connections with the planet Mercury), the new band soon became a fixture on the San Francisco scene. Inspired by the Blues Project, Cippolina and Duncan quickly established a reputation for their dual guitar improvisational abilities on songs like Gold And Silver. Unlike other San Francisco bands such as the Airplane, Moby Grape and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service did not jump at their first offer from a major record label, preferring to hold out for the best deal. This meant their debut album did not come out until 1968, missing out on the initial buzz surrounding the summer of love.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: At The Zoo
Source: LP: Bookends (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Simon and Garfunkel did not release any new albums in 1967, instead concentrating on their live performances. They did, however, issue several singles over the course of the year, most of which ended up being included on 1968's Bookends LP. At The Zoo was one of the first of those 1967 singles. It's B side ended up being a hit as well, but by Harper's Bizarre, which took The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) to the top 10 early in the year.
Title: Put The Clock Back On The Wall
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
The E-Types were from Salinas, California, which at the time was known among travelers along US 101 mostly for it's sulfiric smell. As many people from Salinas apparently went to nearby San Jose as often as possible, the E-Types became regulars on the local scene in the latter town, eventually landing a contract with Tower Records and Ed Cobb, who also produced the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband. Since the Standells were already known as a garage-rock band (although they were really a bar band), Cobb tried positioning the Watchband as a psychedelic band (they were really more of a garage band) and the E-Types as a pop-rock band (although they were probably the most psychedelic of the three), hooking them up with the same Bonner/Gordon songwriting team that would soon be receiving fat royalty checks from songs like Happy Together and She's My Girl, both hits for the Turtles. Put The Clock Back On The Wall was actually titled after a popular phase of the time. After a day or two of losing all awareness of time (and sometimes space), generally due to the influence of certain mind-altering chemicals, it was time to put the clock back on the wall, or get back to reality if you prefer. The song was originally released in early 1967, shortly before Happy Together hit the charts.
Artist: Janis Ian
Title: Hair Of Spun Gold
Source: LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Janis Ian wrote her first song, Hair Of Spun Gold, when she was 12 years old. The piece first appeared in Broadside, a New York based folk publication. Two years later, in 1966, she recorded the song, which was included on her debut LP, which after much shopping around, finally appeared on the Verve Forecast label in 1967.
Artist: The Band
Title: The W.S. Wallcott Medicine Show
Source: LP: Stage Fright
Writer(s): Robbie Robertson
The third album by the Band, Stage Fright, was the first to be produced by the group itself, and was recorded at the Woodstock Playhouse at their home base of Woodstock, NY. The album is considered darker than the group's previous efforts, although tracks such as The W.S. Wallcott Medicine Show lighten things up somewhat. The album was engineered by Todd Rundgren, who after disbanding the Nazz was not yet established as a solo artist. Although Rundgren mixed the album as well, a second mix prepared in the UK by Glyn Johns was chosen for the album's release on Capitol Records (the Rundgren mix has only been issued once, on a special CD reissue of the album on the DCC Compact Classics label in 1994.)
Title: Strange Ways
Source: British similulated stereo CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s): Peter Dunton
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2013
Please was a British four-piece band formed in 1968 by Peter Dunton when the band he had recently joined, the Flies, decided to call it quits. Dunton had previously led a band called Please, and his new band was, in essence, a continuation of that original group. Please recorded a handful of tunes, including Strange Ways, in 1969, but before any of these recordings could be issued Dunstan left the group to join the Gurvitz brothers in their band Gun. The remaining members of Please tried to make a go of it under the name Bulldog Breed, but nothing ever came of it.
Artist: Tommy James And The Shondells
Title: Mony Mony
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Roulette)
Sometime around 1964, a kid named Tommy James took his band, the Shondells, into a recording studio to record a simple song called Hanky Panky. The song was released on the Roulette label and went absolutely nowhere. Two years later a Pittsburgh DJ, looking for something different to make his show stand out from the crowd, decided to dig out a copy of the record and play it as a sort of on-air audition. The audience loved it, and the DJ soon contacted James, inviting him and the Shondells to make a personal appearance. Unfortunately by this time there were no Shondells, so James hastily put together a new band to promote the record. It wasn't long before the word spread and Hanky Panky was a national hit. James and his new Shondells then commenced to pretty much single-handedly keep Roulette Records afloat for the next three or four years with songs like their 1968 jukebox favorite Mony Mony, one of many top 10 singles for the band.
Artist: Boston Tea Party
Title: My Daze
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Vogue International)
Despite the implications of their name, the Boston Tea Party was actually from Burbank, California. The group cut three singles and one album before disbanding. The best of those singles was My Daze, released on the Vogue International label in 1967.
Title: Biff! Bang! Pow!
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Planet)
The Creation is generally acknowledged as the first major British psychedelic band, predating Pink Floyd by several months. Oddly enough, they are also considered a Mod band in the mold of the Who, thanks in large part to the B side of their second single, released in 1966. Biff! Bang! Pow! had the same sort of driving beat and power chords as many of the songs on the Who's My Generation album, and even included piano work by top session man Nicky Hopkins.
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
A lot of people thought this was the Beatles recording under a pseudonym when it came out. It wasn't, and I can't help but wonder why anyone would have thought the Beatles had any need to record under a different name and release a song on a second-rate label in the first place. Is it a Richard Bachman kind of thing?
Title: She's Not There
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: Rod Argent
Label: London (original label: Parrot)
Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.
Title: Overture From Tommy
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
The Who released their third LP, The Who Sell Out, in December of 1967. For the next year, all that would be heard from the band were a couple of singles and a compilation album (Magic Bus) that the band itself did not approve. Meanwhile, several other bands, including the Beatles, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, released double LP sets that sold quite well. Little did anyone know that the mysteriously absent Who was in fact working on a project that would make rock history. In early 1969 the Who finally released their own double LP set: the world's first rock-opera, Tommy. That summer the band performed Tommy in its entirety at the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival in upstate New York. The final part of that performance was included in the documentary film and soundtrack album from the festival the following year. The group's US label, Decca, responded by releasing the end portion of the last track on the studio version of Tommy, We're Not Gonna Take It, as a single called See Me Feel Me. For the B side, Decca chose the first four minutes of the Overture that opens the LP, adding the words "From Tommy" for those record buyers who might have been living on another planet for the past year.
Artist: Grass Roots
Title: Bella Linda
Source: CD: Temptation Eyes (originally released on LP: Golden Grass and as 45 RPM single)
Label: MCA Special Products (original label: Dunhill)
By the 1980s it was common practice for a record label to include one new song on a greatest hits compilation. This practice can be traced back to bands like the Grass Roots, whose Golden Grass LP included a tune called Bella Linda. The song, which incorporates strings arranged by Jimmie Haskell, is generally acknowledged to mark the end of the Roots' psychedelic period, with their later recordings taking on more of an R&B flavor.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Watch Yourself
Source: CD: Volume 3-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer: Robert Yeazel
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing much of the material on that album.
Title: Born To Be Wild
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s): Mars Bonfire
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Born To Be Wild's status as a counter-cultural anthem was cemented when it was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider. The popularity of both the song and the movie resulted in Steppenwolf becoming the all-time favorite band of bikers all over the world.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).
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.
Title: My Back Pages
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
One of the items of contention between David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the latter's insistence on continuing to record covers of Bob Dylan songs when the band members themselves had a wealth of their own material available. Indeed, it was reportedly an argument over whether or not to include Crosby's Triad on the next album that resulted in Crosby being fired from the band in October of 1967. Nonetheless, the last Dylan cover with Crosby still in the band was perhaps their best as well. Although not as big a hit as Mr. Tambourine Man, My Back Pages from the Younger Than Yesterday album did respectably well on the charts, becoming one of the Byrds' last top 40 hits.
Title: Dirty Water (live version)
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2014
In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, whom the Standells recorded for. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Mono LP: Love
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
There are contradictory stories of the origins of the song Hey Joe. Some say it's a traditional folk song, while others have attributed it to various songwriters, including Tim Rose and Dino Valenti (under his birth name Chet Powers). As near as I've been able to determine the song was actually written by an obscure California folk singer named Billy Roberts, who reportedly was performing the song as early as 1958. The song circulated among West Coast musicians over the years and eventually caught the attention of the Byrds' David Crosby. Crosby was unable to convince his bandmates to record the song, although they did include it in their live sets at Ciro's on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. One of the Byrds' roadies, Bryan Maclean, joined up with Arthur Lee's new band, Love, and brought Crosby's version of the song (which had slightly different lyrics than other, more popular versions) with him. In 1966 Love included Hey Joe on their debut album, with Maclean doing the vocals. Meanwhile another L.A. band, the Leaves, recorded their own version of Hey Joe (reportedly using misremembered lyrics acquired from Love's Johnny Echols) in 1965, but had little success with it. In 1966 they recorded a new version of the song, adding screaming fuzz-drenched lead guitar parts by Bobby Arlin, and Hey Joe finally became a national hit. With two other L.A. bands (and Chicago's Shadows Of Knight) having recorded a song that David Crosby had come to regard as his own, the Byrds finally committed their own version of Hey Joe to vinyl in late 1966 on the Fifth Dimension album, but even Crosby eventually admitted that recording the song was a mistake. Up to this point the song had always been recorded at a fast tempo, but two L.A. songwriters, Sean Bonniwell (of the Music Machine) and folk singer Tim Rose, came up with the idea of slowing the song down. Both the Music Machine and Tim Rose versions of the songs were released on albums in 1966. Jimi Hendrix heard the Rose recording and used it as the basis for his own embellished version of the song, which was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 (although it did not come out in the US until the release of the Are You Experienced album in 1967). Yet another variation on the slow version of Hey Joe was released by Cher in early 1967, which seems to have finally killed the song, as I don't know of any major subsequent recordings of the tune (unless you count the Mothers Of Invention's parody of the song, Flower Punk, which appeared on the album We're Only In It For The Money in 1968).
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Masculine Intuition
Source: Mono British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Following the success of Talk Talk, Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, picked The People In Me, a track from their debut LP, as a followup single. The B side of that single was another track from the album called Masculine Intuition, which, in typical Sean Bonniwell fashion, takes a common concept and turns it inside out. Unfortunately the single itself tanked, thanks in no small part to mismanagement on the part of both Original Sound Records and the band's own manager.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Love Or Confusion
Source: Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. In recent years engineer Eddie Kramer has recreated the original mono mix (and track lineup) of the UK edition of Are You Experienced.
Title: Dance The Night Away
Source: Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: Lilith (original label: Atco)
With the album Disraeli Gears, Cream established itself as having a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material was from the team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown, such as Dance the Night Away.
Title: Too Many People
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native L.A.ins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song to record as a single by their producer (Love Minus Zero) and allowed to write their own B side. In this case that B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and guitarist Bill Rhinehart. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.
Title: Why Do I Cry
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Barry Tashian
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Predating the "Boss-Town Sound" by two years (and the band Boston by over 10 years), we have the 1965 single Why Do I Cry from Boston garage band the Remains.
Artist: Harbinger Complex
Title: My Dear And Kind Sir
Source: British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Brent)
Fremont, California was home to Harbinger Complex, one of several Bay Area bands signed to Bob Shad's Chicago-based Mainstream label. The Complex had already released one single in April of 1966 on the local Amber label when Shad signed them to record four more sides for his Brent label on August 12th. The B side of one of those singles was My Dear And Kind Sir, a song that could be considered a precurser to the country-rock sound pioneered by Buffalo Springfield later that same year.
Title: I Unseen
Source: British import CD: Before The Dream Faded (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Nazim Hikmet
Label: Cherry Red (original label: Fontana)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1969
The Misunderstood were quite possibly Southern California's first true psychedelic band, having been formed in 1963 as a garage band in Riverside. Their move into psychedelia came with the addition of Glenn Ross Campbell on steel guitar in 1965. They soon came to the attention of local DJ John Ravenscroft, an expatriot Britisher who would eventually return to London and become a legend of British radio using the name John Peel. Ravenscroft became a kind of mentor to the band, helping them to get gigs and time at Hollywood's Gold Star studios, where they cut an acetate that remained unreleased for many years. In June of 1966 Ravenscroft suggested the band relocate to London, where their unique sound stood a greater chance of being accepted than in the relatively conservative Riverside area. Not long after their arrival co-founder Greg Treadway was forced to return to the US to serve in the military; his replacement was Britisher Tony Shields. They soon got a deal with Fontana Records and recorded half a dozen songs that summer, releasing their debut single for the label in December of 1966. Shortly after the release of that record lead vocalist Rick Brown became the band's second victim of the Draft, while the remaining members experienced problems with their work visas, and the Misunderstood were no more. In 1969 Fontana released a second single by the band, taken from the summer 1966 sessions; I Unseen was the B side of that single.