Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1611 (starts 3-9-16)
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the record. The song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Singer Not The Song
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: Decca)
Several Rolling Stones singles, especially in the early years, were issued with different B sides in the US than in their native England. Sometimes it was because of topical references that only made sense in one country (The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man, for instance). Other times it was because a song had already appeared in one country on an album, but not in the other one. Sometimes there didn't seem to be any apparent reason at all. Such is the case with Get Off My Cloud, a hit single in both countries. The US A side was a tune called I'm Free, while in the UK Decca issued The Singer Not The Song. Both tracks were from September 1965 sessions at RCA studios in Hollywood, making the choices even more of a mystery.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Surprise Surprise
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: Decca)
Year: Recorded 1964, released1970
The Rolling Stones' Street Fighting Man, from their Beggar's Banquet album, was released in the US as a followup single to Jumpin' Jack Flash in August of 1968, depsite the fact that was actually recorded first. In the UK, however, the song was not released until July of 1970, a year after Honky Tonk Women. For the UK B side, Decca went back to the group's 1964 sessions at Chicago's Chess Studios for Surprise Surprise, a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards composition that had been sitting on the shelf for six years.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Milk Cow Blues
Source: Mono CD: No Way Out (bonus track)
Writer(s): Kokomo Arnold
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1994
The members of the Chocolate Watchband had a clear set of priorities, and spending time in a recording studio was nowhere near the top of their list. Nonetheless, once they were signed to Tower Records they were obligated to at least make an effort at recording an album, even though they would much rather have been upstaging the various big name acts that they opened for. The result was that their producer, Ed Cobb, found it easier just to hire studio musicians to record tracks that were then included on the first two Chocolate Watchband albums. Even when the band itself did record the songs, Cobb would, on occasion, bring in studio vocalist Don Bennett to record his own lead vocals, replacing those of Dave Aguilar, whom Cobb felt sounded like a Mick Jagger impersonator (he was right, but Aguilar was damn good at it). There are a few recordings, however, that capture the true sound of the Watchband. Among those is their cover of Kokomo Arnold's Milk Cow Blues, using an arrangement similar to that of the Kinks on their Kink Kontroversy album. The song remained unreleased until the 1994 CD reissue of the band's first album, No Way Out.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: You Didn't Have To Be So Nice
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: John Sebastian
Label: Buddah (original label: Kama Sutra)
The second single released by the Lovin' Spoonful proved to be just as popular as their first one and helped establish the band as one of the premier acts of the folk-rock movement. Unlike the West Coast folk rock artists such as the Byrds and Barry McGuire, who focused on the socio-political issues of the day, John Sebastian tended to write happy songs with catchy melodies such as You Didn't Have To Be So Nice. As a result, the Lovin' Spoonful for a while rivaled the Beatles in popularity while still managing to maintain some street credit due mainly to their Greenwich Village roots.
Title: The Fool On the Hill
Source: CD: Magical Mystery Tour
1967 was a schizophrenic year for the fab four, starting off the with immensly successful double A sided single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, continuing with the landmark album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and finishing with their first major flop, the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm. The soundtrack album from that film came out in very different forms in the UK and the US. The British version was a double EP set featuring the six songs from the film, while the US version was a full-length LP that added the band's five singles from 1967 as the second side of the album. The songs themselves were far better received than the telefilm itself. Although none of them were released as singles, tunes like The Fool On The Hill still got plenty of airplay, both in their original form and as covers by such artists as Sergio Mendez and Brazil '66.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Eighteen Is Over The Hill
Source: CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
The contributions of guitarist Ron Morgan to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band are often overlooked, possibly due to the fact that Morgan himself often tried to distance himself from the band. Nonetheless, he did write some of the group's most memorable tunes, including their best-known song, Smell Of Incense (covered by the Texas band Southwest F.O.B.) and the opening track of what is generally considered their best album, A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, a tune called Eighteen Is Over The Hill. Unfortunately, the somewhat senseless lyrics added by Bob Markley detract from what is actually a very tasty piece of music.
Title: Born On The Wrong Side Of Time
Source: British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Taste)
Writer(s): Rory Gallagher
Label: Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Formed in Cork, Northern Ireland, in 1966, Taste, led by guitarist/vocalist Rory Gallagher, quickly established themselves as the area's premier power trio. By 1967 the group, which by then consisted of Gallagher, drummer John Wilson, and bassist Richard McCracken, was one of the hottest bands in the UK, opening for such bands as Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Cream (including Cream's farewell appearances at Royal Albert Hall in 1968). The group released their debut LP in 1969, supporting the album by opening for Blind Faith on their US tour. The band released one more LP before Gallagher decided to pursue a solo career in the 1970s.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Burning of the Midnight Lamp
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Burning of the Midnight Lamp was the fourth, and at the time most sophisticated single released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, coming out in mid-1967 between Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love. By this time, Reprise had changed its policy and ended up releasing the Axis album with the same song lineup as the UK original, which left Midnight Lamp a kind of orphan. Hendrix, though, having put a lot of work into the song, was not content to let the mono single release be the last word on the cut, and created a new stereo mix from the original tapes for inclusion on Electric Ladyland the following year.
Artist: Teddy And His Patches
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Chance)
Following up on their local #1 hit Suzy Creamcheese, San Jose, California band Teddy And His Patches released another punk classic called Haight-Ashbury in June of 1967. Pure madness.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: Shadows Breaking Over My Head
Source: LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Shadows Breaking Over My Head is one of many examples of what has come to be called Baroque Rock as defined by the Left Banke on their 1967 album Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina. Written by lead vocalist Steve Martin and keyboardist Michael Brown, the track utilizes studio musicians extensively, with Brown's keyboard work featured prominently.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: British import CD: The UltimateTurn On (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit with Talk Talk in 1966.
Artist: Third Rail
Title: Run Run Run
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Run Run Run is actually a studio creation issued in 1967 from husband and wife team Artie and Kris Resnick collaborating with Joey Levine, who sings lead vocals on the track. They only performed the song live once (in Cincinatti, of all places) as the Third Rail. All three would find a home as part of the Kasenetz-Katz bubble gum machine that would make Buddah Records a major player in 1968, with Levine himself singing lead for one of the label's most successful groups, the Ohio Express.
Title: Black Widow Spider
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
After Van Morrison left Them for a solo career, the band headed back to Belfast, where they recruited vocalist Kenny McDowell. Them soon relocated permanently to the US west coast, where they landed a contract with Tower Records. After a first album that featured songs from a variety of sources, they hooked up with Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, who wrote an album's worth of material for the band. That album was Time Out! Time In! For Them, an album that has stayed under the radar for over 40 years, despite tunes like Black Widow Spider, which closes out the first side of the LP.
Artist: Lollipop Shoppe
Title: Underground Railroad
Source: German import CD: The Weeds aka The Lollipop Shoppe (originally released on LP: Just Colour)
Label: Way Back (original label: Uni)
The story of the Lollipop Shoppe probably deserves to be made into a movie. First off, the band never actually called themselves the Lollipop Shoppe, although the bulk of their recorded work came out under than name, which was assigned to them by their manager shortly before the release of their first album, Just Colours. The band was actually named the Weeds, and had been both performing and recording under that name since being formed in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1966. By 1967 they had relocated to Portland, Oregon, playing regularly at the newly opened Crystal Ballroom. A trip to Sausalito, California led to them hooking up with Lord Tim Buckley, who was already managing the Seeds at the time. Lord Tim signed them the first time he heard their demo tape, and work began on the group's debut LP. When the band saw the album art they were shocked to discover that Buckley had changed their name, and tried to talk him out of it by suggesting other alternatives such as Underground Railroad (which was the name of the longest track on the album). By 1969 the group had parted company with both Buckley and Uni Records, doing a couple of gigs in 1970/71 using the name Underground Railroad before releasing a final single under the name Weeds, bringing the whole thing full circle. The story does not end there, however. Bandleader Fred Cole has since gone on to become an indy rock icon with his band Dead Moon, co-led by his wife Toody, and continues to record and perform to this day.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Bill Kuhns
Throughout the history of rock and roll there have been bands named after various species of fauna, such as crickets, beetles, hawks, and eagles. In seems inevitable, then, that someone would decide to name themselves after the dominant species on the planet. The Humans were formed in Albion, NY in 1964 by six members of the local high school marching band during summer break. In 1966 they went into Riposo Studios in Syracuse, NY to record their only single, a folk-rocker called Take A Taxi. The B side of that single was Warning, a song that has come to be considered a garage-rock classic. The record was released on the Audition label and was successful enough to get the band gigs in Miami and New York City, opening for such name acts as the Animals and the Hollies. Animals bassist Chas Chandler even invited the band members to go with him to the Cafe Wha in the summer of '66 to see a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames that featured a hot new guitarist that everyone was talking about. That guitarist was Jimi Hendrix, and Chandler was able to talk him into going back to London with him, an event of major significance for the future of rock music. Meanwhile, the Humans were struck by tragedy that September when lead vocalist Danny Long was killed in a car accident, and other band members began receiving draft notices. Finally, in November, the remaining members of the band decided to call it quits, and the Humans were history. Special thanks to Bill Vosteen for sending me a copy of that Humans single.
Artist: Chesterfield Kings
Title: I Can't Get Nothin'
Source: LP: Don't Open Til Doomsday
Formed in the late 1970s in Rochester, NY, the Chesterfield Kings (named for an old brand of unfiltered cigarettes that my grandfather used to smoke) were instrumental in setting off the garage band revival of the 1980s. Their earliest records were basically a recreation of the mid-60s garage sound, although by the time their 1987 album, Don't Open Til Doomsday, was released they had gone through some personnel changes that resulted in a harder-edged sound on tracks like I Can't Get Nothin'.
Artist: Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Title: Spooky Movie
Source: Australian import CD: Flying In The Dark
Writer(s): Peter Rechter
Label: Secret Deals
Spooky Movie is another track from Australia's Tol-Puddle Martyrs, this time from the 2011 album Flying In The Dark. Led by Peter Rechter, the group was formed in the late 1960s out of the ashes of a band called Peter and the Silhouettes and, after a long hiatus, has returned as a 21st century indy band with a decided psychedelic flavor.
Title: She'll Return It
Source: LP: Animalization
As a general rule the Animals, in their original incarnation, recorded two kinds of songs: hit singles from professional songwriters such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and covers of blues and R&B tunes, the more obscure the better. What they did not record a lot of was original tunes from the band members themselves. This began to change in 1966 when the band began to experience a series of personnel changes that would ultimately lead to what amounted to an entirely new group, Eric Burdon And The Animals, in 1967. One of the earliest songs to be credited to the entire band was She'll Return It, from the Animalization album. In retrospect, it is one of the strongest tracks on one of their strongest LPs.
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: Lilith (original label: Atco)
Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock". Yeah, I write this stuff myself.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
It takes brass for a band to include a Beatles cover on their debut LP, especially if they have chosen to completely rearrange the song, a la Vanilla Fudge. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened on the album Shades Of Deep Purple, which hit the stands in 1968. The Beatles cover song in question is the classic Help! Deep Purple gives it a kind of slow, soft treatment that is both light years away from the original, and, in my opinion, quite an enjoyable listen.
Artist: Shy Limbs
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): John Dickenson
Label: Grapefruit (original label: CBS)
The volatile nature of the late 60s British rock scene is clearly illustrated by a band called Shy Limbs. Formed by songwriter John Dickenson and vocalist Greg Lake, both former members of a band called Shame, the band also included guitarist/bassist Alan Bowery (from a band called the Actress) and drummer Andy McCulloch. The B side of the band's first single, a song called Love, featured guest guitarist Robert Fripp, who was in the process of forming his own band, King Crimson, at the time. Before the single was even released, Lake had left to join Fripp's band, and Shy Limbs released a second single without him before disbanding, at which time McCulloch replaced Michael Giles in King Crimson. By then, however, Lake had left King Crimson to co-found Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Title: Early In The Morning
Source: LP: Nilsson Schmilsson
Label: RCA Victor
Early In The Morning was originally released by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five in 1947. The song was one of the first blues records to incorporate Afro-Cuban instruments and rhythms, and was a huge hit on the so-called "race" charts that year. In the hands of Harry Nilsson, who included his own version of Early In The Morning on his Nilsson Schmilsson album in 1971, the song takes on an even more exotic quality, making it one of the best tracks on the album.
Title: Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight
Source: Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Although Ray Davies and the rest of the Kinks were disappointed with the overall sound of their second studio album, Kinda Kinks is one of the band's strongest earlier efforts. The US version, in particular, benefits from the inclusion of the single Set Me Free, which was released two months after the original UK version of the album. Other singles from Kinda Kinks include the international smash hitTired Of Waiting For You and a song called Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight, which was released (backed with I Need You) in Norway and Sweden in 1966, going to the #7 spot of the Swedish charts.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was this group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).
Title: Try It
Source: CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded Try It, a tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat, which should have garnered it at least a 65 rating on American Bandstand.
Artist: Grass Roots
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Feelings and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
In 1968 the Grass Roots decided to assert themselves and take artistic control of their newest album, Feelings, writing most of the material for the album themselves. Unfortunately for the band, the album, as well as its title track single, fared poorly on the charts. From that point on the Grass Roots were firmly under the control of producers/songwriters Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan, cranking out a series of best-selling hits from outside songwriters such as I'd Wait A Million Years and Midnight Confessions (neither of which get played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, incidentally).
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: How Many More Times
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.
Title: Cross The River
Source: CD: Zephyr
Writer: C. Givens/D. Givens
Label: One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
The Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr featured the vocal talents of Candy Givens, who had an octave range that would not be equalled until Mariah Carey hit the scene years later. Also in the band was lead guitarist Tommy Bolin, who would go on to take over lead guitar duties with first the James Gang and then Deep Purple before embarking on a solo career. Unfortunately that career (and Bolin's life) was permanently derailed by a heroin overdose at age 28. The rest of this talented band consisted of Robbie Chamerlin on drums, John Faris on keyboards and David Givens (who co-wrote Cross The River with his wife Candy) on bass.