Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1544 (starts 10/28/15)

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    May This Be Love
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The original UK version of Are You Experienced featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one. It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    3rd Stone From The Sun
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles Album (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for this classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced album. Many of the sounds heard on 3rd Stone From The Sun were made by superimposing a slowed down recording of the following conversation between Hendrix and producer Chas Chandler over the music:
    Hendrix :   Star fleet to scout ship, please give your position. Over.
    Chandler : I am in orbit around the third planet of star known as sun. Over.
    Hendrix :   May this be Earth? Over.
    Chandler : Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over.
    Hendrix :   I think we should take a look (Jimi then makes vocal spaceship noises).
    One of the more notable spoken lines that plays at normal speed on the recording, "To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again", was Hendrix's reaction to the news that famed surf guitarist Dick Dale had been diagnosed with a possible terminal case of colon cancer and was meant to encourage his friend's recovery. As heard on the 2007 album The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1966–1967, Hendrix's original overdub included two more sentences "That sounds like a lie to me. Come on, man; let's go home." that were not used on the final recording. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Are You Experienced?
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Until the release of Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience the emphasis in rock music (then called pop) was on the 45 RPM single, with albums seen as a luxury item that supplemented an artist's career rather than defined it. Are You Experience helped change all that. The album was not only highly influential, it was a major seller, despite getting virtually no airplay on top 40 radio. The grand finale of the LP was the title track, which features an array of studio effects, including backwards masking and tape loops. Interestingly enough, the album was originally issued only in a mono version in the UK, with European pressings using a simulated stereo mix. After Reprise bought the rights to release the LP in the US it hired its own engineers to create stereo mixes of the songs from the four-track master tapes.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Unhappy Girl
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played on the jukebox at a neighborhood gasthaus known as the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base (which is where I was spending most of my evenings that autumn).

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Mandrake Root
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans/Lord
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple was formed in early 1968 by former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, who recruited organist Jon Lord and guitarist Richie Blackmore, then left to go do something else. Blackmore and Lord added bassist Nick Simper and drummer Ian Paice, as well as frontman Rod Evans, to complete the band's first lineup. The group's debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was recorded in three days in May of 1968. One of the four original compositions on the album was a song called Mandrake Root, which was also the name of the band that Blackmore had been trying to put together in Germany before hooking up with Deep Purple. The song started off as an instrumental, but Evans added lyrics to the tune during rehearsals just prior to the band going into the studio to record.
Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Sweet Dream
Source:    CD: Stand Up (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1969
    Jethro Tull released several singles that were not originally available on their LPs. Among the best of these was Sweet Dream, a 1969 track that was released in the UK and continental Europe, as well as selected Middle Eastern countries, but not in the US or Canada. The song finally appeared in North America on the Living In The Past album in 1973, and is now available as a bonus track on the Stand Up CD.       
Artist:     Who
Title:     The Kids Are Alright
Source:     Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1966
     When the Who Sings My Generation album came out in the US in 1966, it featured several songs that had originally been issued as singles in the UK, including this early Pete Townshend number. Probably the most Beatle-sounding of all Who songs, the song was one of the group's first charted hits in 1965.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I'm Free
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK on LP: Out Of Our Heads and in US as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: December's Children)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    My 1965 the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards was in high gear, cranking out hit after hit with tunes like The Last Time and Satisfaction. The follow-up to Satisfaction was Get Off My Cloud, which included an excellent B side, I'm Free, that had already appeared in the UK as the last track on Out Of Our Heads. The song was left off the US version of the album, and would later appear on a US-only LP called December's Children (And Everybody's).

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

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Bass Strings
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    A lot of songs released in 1966 and 1967 got labeled as drug songs by influential people in the music industry. In many cases, those labels were inaccurate, at least according to the artists who recorded those songs. On the other hand, you have songs like Bass Strings by Country Joe and the Fish that really can't be about anything else.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Super Bird
Source:    CD: 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:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Porpoise Mouth
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    The songs on the first Country Joe And The Fish album ranged from silly satire (Super Bird) to downright spacey. One of the spaciest tracks on the album is Porpoise Mouth, both lyrically and musically.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Rack My Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Roger The Engineer (original US title: Over Under Sideways Down)
Writer(s):    Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label:    Great American (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
            It may come as a surprise to some, but, despite their status as one of the most influential bands in rock history, the Yardbirds actually only recorded one studio album. The album, released in 1966, was originally titled The Yardbirds, but has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer, thanks to the distinctive cover drawn by band member Chris Dreja. In the US, the album was released under a different title (Over Under Sideways Down) and had an entirely different cover as well. To add to the confusion, a compilation of British singles and EP tracks had been released in the US under the title Having A Rave Up the previous year. Roger The Engineer was co-produced by Simon Napier-Bell and Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, and was made up entirely of original songs such as Rack My Mind. Samwell-Smith would leave the band to become a full-time producer not long after the album's release; his replacement would be a guitarist named Jimmy Page.
Artist:    Mojo Men
Title:    She's My Baby
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Alaimo/Curcio
Label:    Rhino (original label: Autumn)
Year:    1966
    Although generally considered to be one of the early San Francisco bands, the Mojo Men actually originated in Rochester, NY. After spending most of the early 60s in Florida playing to fraternities, the band moved out the West Coast in 1965, soon falling in with Autumn Records producer Sylvester Stewart (Sly Stone), for a time becoming his backup band. Stewart produced several singles for the Mojo Men, including She's My Baby, a song that had originally been recorded in 1962 as a song to do the mashed potato (an early 60s dance) to by Steve Alaimo, brother of Mojo Men bassist/lead vocalist Jim Alaimo and co-host (with Paul Revere and the Raiders) of the nationally distributed dance show Where The Action Is. The Mojo Men version of She's My Baby has more of a blues/garage-rock sound than the Steve Alaimo original, prompting its inclusion on several compilation albums over the past forty years.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: The Times They Are A-Changin')
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1964
    I vaguely remember seeing a movie back in the 80s (I think it may have been called The Wanderers) about a late-50s gang from an Italian-American neighborhood somewhere in New York City. I really don't remember much about the plot of the film, but I do remember the film's end, where the main character walks down a street in Greenwich Village and hears the sound of Bob Dylan coming from a coffee house singing The Times They Are A-Changin'. I've often thought of that scene and how it symbolized the shift from the conformist culture of the late 50s (represented by the peer pressure-driven gang life) giving way to the turbulence that would characterize the 1960s.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Sportin' Life
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Beacon Street Union
Label:    See For Miles
Year:    1968
            Although writing credits on Sportin' Life were given to the entire band, there is evidence that the Beacon Street Union actually got the song from the Lovin' Spoonful. It always sounded to me like an old Hoagy Carmichael song. Anybody have any more info on this one?
Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sitting On Top Of The World
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Chester Burnett
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Throughout their existence British blues supergroup Cream recorded covers of blues classics. One of the best of these is Sitting On Top Of The World from the album Wheels Of Fire, which in its earliest form was written by Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon and recorded by the Mississippi Shieks in 1930. Cream's version uses the lyrics from the 1957 rewrite of the song by Chester Burnett, better know as Howlin' Wolf.

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)
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Out Of My Mind
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    There are distinct advantages in having a unique vehicle of your own. Take the case of Neil Young, who had his own hearse. Young had moved to Los Angeles in 1966 in the hope of forming a band with Stephen Stills, whom he had met a few years before in Toronto. Unfortunately, the two were unable to locate each other and Young was on the verge of returning to Canada when Stills and his new bandmates spotted Young's hearse on a busy L.A. boulevard. After hanging a u-turn, the group was able to get Young's attention and Buffalo Springfield was formed. The band recorded its first LP, Buffalo Springfield, that fall, releasing it in time for Christmas. Although Young had made considerable contributions to the album as a songwriter, people at the record company thought his voice was too weird and insisted that Richie Furay provide the lead vocals for the majority of Young's songs. One of the two tracks on the album to actually feature a Young lead vocal is Out Of My Mind, which features backup vocals by both Stills and Furay.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child
Source:    LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's experimental label Verve Folkways (soon to be renamed Verve Forecast), a label whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    She Said She Said
Source:    EU Import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the members of the Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." The song itself took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Ironically, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on both the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation and Rhino's first Nuggets LP.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    CD: Super Session
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
            In 1968 Al Kooper, formerly of the Blues Project, formed a new group he called Blood, Sweat and Tears. Then, after recording one album with the new group, he promptly quit the band. He then booked studio time and called in his friend Michael Bloomfield (who had just left own his new band the Electric Flag) for a recorded jam session. Due to his chronic insomnia and inclination to use heroin to deal with said insomnia, Bloomfield was unable to record an entire album's worth of material, and Kooper called in another friend, Stephen Stills (who had recently left the Buffalo Springfield) to complete the project. The result was the Super Session album, which surprisingly (considering that it was the first album of its kind), made the top 10 album chart. One of the most popular tracks on Super Session was an extended version of Donovan's "Season of the Witch", featuring Stills using a wah-wah pedal (a relatively new invention at the time). Kooper initially felt that the basic tracks needed some sweetening, so he brought in a horn section to record additional overdubs.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Wooden Ships
Source:    CD: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Crosby/Kantner/Stills
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1969
    By 1969 it was becoming more common for rock music to take on more serious themes, both musically and lyrically. The Byrds, in particular, had used science fiction themes on songs like Mr. Spaceman and CTA-102. One of the best science fiction themed song was Wooden Ships, which tells the tale of survivors of a nuclear apocalypse, who are escaping the radiation. The songappeared on two different LPs in 1969: Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers album and the self-titled debut by Crosby, Stills and Nash. The song was co-written by Crosby, Stills and the Airplane's Paul Kantner. Kantner's name was deliberately left off the credits on the Crosby, Stills and Nash version due to issues between Kantner and the Airplane's manager, whom Kantner feared would file an injunction against the release of the CSN album if Kantner's name appeared anywhere on it.
Artist:    Iron Butterfly with Pinera And Rhino
Title:    Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way)
Source:    LP: Evolution (originally released on LP: Metamorphosis)
Writer(s):    Iron Butterfly/Edmonson
Label:    Atco
Year:    1970
    Following the departure of guitarist Erik Brann the remaining members of Iron Butterfly got to work on the band's fourth LP, Metamorphosis, using four studio guitarists. Two of them, Mike Pinera (formerly of Blues Image) and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, would go on to join the band shortly after the album was released. The album was moderately successful, reaching the # 16 spot of the Billboard top 200 album charts, and included the band's highest charting single since In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a tune called Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way).

Artist:    Julie Driscoll
Title:    Break Out
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK on LP: 1969)
Writer(s):    Julie Driscoll
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1971
    Julie Driscoll (now known as Julie Tippetts), became a household name in the UK as a member of Brian Auger and the Trinity, having already been, with Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry, one of three vocalists in the band Steampacket. After leaving the Trinity she recorded her first solo album with the Keith Tippet band backing her up, in 1969 (although the album itself was not released until 1971). One of the highlights from that album (entitled simply 1969), was the song Break Out, which showcases not only her vocal talents, but her willingness to experiment as well.       

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