Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1614 (starts 3/30/16)
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
By mid-1966 there was a population explosion of teenage rock bands popping up in garages and basements all across the US, the majority of which were doing their best to emulate the grungy sound of their heroes, the Rolling Stones. The Stones themselves responded by ramping up the grunge factor to a previously unheard of degree with their last single of the year, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? It was the most feedback-laden record ever to make the top 40 at that point in time, and it inspired America's garage bands to buy even more powerful amps and crank up the volume (driving their parents to drink in the process).
Title: Ferris Wheel
Source: LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
In the fall of 1966 the career of Scottish folk singer Donovan Leitch took an odd turn. Up until that point in time he had a run of successful records in the UK but got very little airplay in the US. Two events, however, combined to turn the entire situation around 180 degrees. First, Donovan had just signed a contract with Epic Records in the US, a major step up from the poorly distributed and even more poorly promoted Hickory label. At the same time contract negotiations between the singer/songwriter and his British label, Pye, had come to an impasse. As a result Donovan's next LP, Sunshine Superman, was released only in the US, making songs like Ferris Wheel unavailable to his oldest fans. His popularity in the UK suffered greatly from lack of any new recordings over the next year, while it exploded in the US with consecutive top 10 singles Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow in 1966. From that point on Donovan would have his greatest success in North America, even after securing a new record contract in the UK in late 1967.
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).
Title: I Am The Walrus
Source: LP: Rarities (composite made from UK EP and US single version)
There were actually three different versions of the Beatles' I Am The Walrus released in late 1967, all of which were made from the same basic tracks. The first was a mono single version that was issued as the B side of the Hello Goodbye single in late November. This version features a four-beat intro and has an extra bar of music immediately preceding the words "yellow matter custard" in the middle of the song. The second version was the stereo version featured on the US-only Magical Mystery Tour album. This version is basically the same as the mono version, but does not contain the extra bar in the middle. The third version appeared in early December in Europe and the UK on the stereo version of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack EP. This version features a six beat intro, but is otherwise identical to the US stereo version. In the early 1980s engineers at Capitol Records created a fourth version of I Am The Walrus that uses the six beat intro from the UK stereo version and includes the extra bar in the middle of the song from the US single version. This fourth version was included on the Beatles' Rarities album, and has, to my knowledge, never been issued on CD.
Title: Revolution 1
Source: CD: The Beatles
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Apple)
The Beatles' Revolution has a somewhat convoluted history. The song, as originally recorded, was over eight minutes long and included what eventually became Revolution 1 and part of Revolution 9. The song's writer, John Lennon, at some point decided to separate the sections into two distinct tracks, both of which ended up on the Beatles self-titled double LP (aka the White Album). Lennon wanted to release Revolution 1 as a single, but was voted down by both George Harrison and Paul McCartney on the grounds that the song's tempo was too slow. Lennon then came up with a faster version of the song, which ended up being released a few weeks before the album came out as the B side to the band's 1968 single Hey Jude. As a result, many of the band's fans erroneously assumed that Revolution 1 was the newer version of the song.
Title: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
Source: Mono LP: Rarities (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Basically a studio concoction assembled by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was originally intended to be released as a 1969 single by the Plastic Ono Band. The track was the result of four separate recording sessions dating back to 1967 and originally ran over six minutes long. The instrumental tracks were recorded around the same time the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in Spring of 1967. Brian Jones added a saxophone part on June 8th of that year. In April of 1969 Lennon and McCartney added vocals, while Lennon edited the entire track down to slightly over four minutes. The single was readied for a November release, but at the last minute was withdrawn. The recording was instead released as the B side of the Let It Be single the following year.
Title: I'm So Glad
Source: Mono LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Skip James
Unlike later albums, which featured psychedelic cover art and several Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaborations that had a decidedly psychedelic sound, Fresh Cream was marketed as the first album by a British blues supergroup, and featured a greater number of blues standards than subsequent releases. One of those covers that became a concert staple for the band was the old Skip James tune I'm So Glad. The song has become so strongly associated with Cream that the group used it as the opening number for all three performances when they staged a series of reunion concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004.
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: Plastic People
Source: Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): F. Colli
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Magnum)
Stockton, California's Wildwood only released two singles, both in 1968. The first of these, Plastic People, takes a somewhat cynical view of the Flower Power movement, which had by 1968 pretty much run its course. Musically the track owes much to Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine.
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Had To Cry Today
Source: CD: Blind Faith
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
One of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 1969 was Blind Faith, the self-titled debut album of a group consisting of Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, Steve Winwood from Traffic and Rich Grech, who had played bass with a band called Family. The buzz about this new band was such that the rock press had to coin a brand-new term to describe it: supergroup. On release, the album shot up to the number one spot on the charts in record time. Of course, as subsequent supergroups have shown, such bands seldom stick around very long, and Blind Faith set the pattern early on by splitting up after just one LP and a short tour to promote it. The opening track of the album, Had To Cry Today, was a pure Winwood piece that showcases both Winwood and Clapton on separate simultaneous guitar tracks.
Title: Heaven And Hell
Source: Mono LP: Who's Missing (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): John Entwhistle
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Although by 1970 the Who had successfully transitioned from being mainly a singles-oriented band to being staples of album-oriented radio, the group released singles on a regular basis, many of which included songs that were not available in any other format. As often as not, the B sides of the Who's singles were written by bassist John Alec Entwhistle, who had the reputation of coming up with songs that were just a bit off-kilter (Boris The Spider being a prime example). When the group decided to release a studio version of Eddie Cochrane's Summertime Blues, they included an Entwhistle tune called Heaven And Hell on the flip side of the record. The song soon became a concert staple for the band, but was not issued on LP vinyl until the 1980s, when it appeared on a collection of Who rarities called Who's Missing. The studio recording is currently available only on the Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B boxed set, though there are several live versions of the song still in print.
Title: Soul Sacrifice
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Santana)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Of all the bands formed in the late 1960s, very few achieved any degree of popularity outside of their local community. Fewer still could be considered an influence on future stars. Most rare of all are those who managed to be both popular and influential while maintaining a degree of artistic integrity. One name that comes immediately to mind is Santana (both the band and the man). It might be surprising, then, to hear that the first Santana album, released in 1969, was savaged by the rock press, particularly the San Francisco based Rolling Stone magazine, who called it boring and repetitious. It wasn't until the band performed Soul Sacrifice (heard here in its original studio version) at Woodstock that Santana became major players on the rock scene.
Artist: 13th Power
Title: Free Lovin'
Source: LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
One of the most intriguing mysteries in rock 'n' roll history concerns a band called the 13th Power. At the core of this mystery is the fact that nobody knows for sure whether there even was a band called the 13th Power. The first time I saw the name was on the 1968 soundtrack album from the movie Wild In The Streets. On that LP, all the songs that had been "performed" in the movie by Max Frost And The Troopers were credited to the 13th Power. However, the hit single from the movie, Shape Of Things To Come, listed Max Frost And The Troopers as the artist. To make things even more confusing, Tower Records, in the wake of the success of the single, released an entire album by Max Frost And The Troopers called (you guessed it) Shape Of Things To Come. Two tracks from that LP were subsequently released as a single on Mike Curb's Sidewalk label, with the 13th Power shown as the artist of record (sorry). The writing credits on those two tracks (and indeed, on most of the tracks on the Shape Of Things To Come album itself) included Paul Wibier, Dale Beckner, Stewart Martin, G. McClain and Barney Hector, all of which had been involved in writing songs for other soundtrack albums for Curb. (Just to confuse the matter even further some of those earlier songs were credited to a band called Mom's Boys.) Muddying the waters even further is a 13th Power single that came out in October of 1967 on the Sidewalk label, several months before the Wild In The Streets soundtrack album was released. The A side of that single was written by Wibier and Hector, while the B side is credited to Wibier/ McClain/ Martin/ Beckner and Hector. As a general rule, rock songs credited to five people are the work of an entire band, making this the likely lineup of the 13th Power, if indeed such a band actually existed. There is also a persistent rumor that the Max Frost And Troopers tracks on both albums were actually the work of Davie Allen And The Arrows, a moderately successful instrumental group that was best known for a tune called Blues Theme (from a 1966 movie called The Wild Ones). According to this rumor, the vocalist on Free Lovin' and other songs from the film was either Christopher Jones (who starred in the film) or possibly Paul Wibier. If anyone has any more information on the 13th Power, feel free to contact me through the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era web page (www.hermitradio.com).
Source: LP: Splinterfish
Writer(s): Chuck Hawley
Albuquerque, New Mexico is in a unique position when it comes to music. Being 400 miles in any direction away from the next major city, it has managed to develop a strong local alternative music scene, starting in the early 1980s with the emergence of bands like the Philisteens, the Cosmic Grackles and Kor-Phu, just to name a few. As the decade progressed, the scene developed in several directions at once, from hard-core punk (Jerry's Kidz being the most prominent), to so-called "hippy" bands like Illegal Aliens and neo-psychedelic groups like the Crawling Walls. By the end of the decade there were several new venues opening up for hard-to-classify bands like A Murder Of Crows, the Mumphries and this week's featured Advanced Psych band Splinterfish. Led by guitarist/vocalist Chuch Hawley, Splinterfish released only one self-titled LP in 1989, but is still fondly remembered as one of the best bands ever to emerge from the Duke city. July, a melodic track from the album, combines an unusual chord structure with whimsical lyrics to create a truly catchy, yet unique, piece.
Artist: Liquid Scene
Source: CD: Revolutions
Writer(s): Becki diGregorio
Letterbox is yet another track from the San Francisco Bay area's Liquid Scene, led by multi-instrumentalist Bodhi (Becki diGregorio). What it comes down to is that their Revolutions CD is full of excellent tracks, so you can expect to hear more of this album on future editions of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: 3rd Stone From The Sun
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
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 (apparently it worked, as Dick Dale is still going strong as of 2016). 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
Source: CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Track)
It was common in the 1960s for artists to include "filler" material on their albums, with their best stuff being saved for single releases. Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience made making the best albums a priority, there was still material on their first LP that Hendrix himself considered filler. One of these was Remember, which was also one of three tracks deleted from the US version of the LP to make room for three UK singles that were not on the UK version of Are You Experienced. Still, filler for Jimi Hendrix is as good as or better than 99% of many other artists' best material, as can be heard here.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Long Hot Summer Night
Source: CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
When Chas Chandler first discovered Jimi Hendrix playing at a club in New York's Greenwich Village in 1966, he knew that he had found one seriously talented guitarist. Within two years Hendrix would prove to be an outstanding songwriter, vocalist and producer as well. This was fortunate for Hendrix, as Chandler would part company with Hendrix during the making of the Electric Ladyland album, leaving Hendrix as sole producer. Chandler's main issue was the slow pace Hendrix maintained in the studio, often reworking songs while the tape was rolling, recording multiple takes until he got exactly what he wanted. Adding to the general level of chaos was Hendrix's propensity for inviting just about anyone he felt like to join him in the studio. Among all these extra people were some of the best musicians around, including keyboardist Al Kooper, whose work can be heard on Long Hot Summer Night.
Title: Still, I'm Sad
Source: Mono LP: Great Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
The most influential Yardbirds song on US garage bands, as well as their biggest US hit, was their grunged out version of Bo Diddley's I'm A Man, which hit the top 10 in 1965. The B side of that record was Still I'm Sad, possibly the first rock song to incorporate Gregorian chant. Interestingly enough, Still I'm Sad was released in the UK on the exact same day as in the US, but as the B side to an entirely different tune, Evil Hearted You.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source: 45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer: Paul Simon
Originally released as a single in 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs intended for the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used in the movie was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Incense And Peppermints (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source: Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.
Artist: Scarlet Letter
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
One of the Detroit music scene's most overlooked bands, the Scarlet Letter released three singles for Bob Shad's Mainstream label. The best of these was a tune called Mary Maiden, with the equally strong Timekeeper on the flip side. The group also released a single on the Time label (a subsidiary of Mainstream) using the name Paraphernalia in 1968.
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Itchycoo Park
Source: British import CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Charly (original label: Immediate)
Led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, the Small Faces got their name from the fact that all the members of the band were somewhat vertically challenged. The group was quite popular with the London mod crowd, and was sometimes referred to as the East End's answer to the Who. Although quite successful in the UK, the group only managed to score one hit in the US, the iconic Itchycoo Park, which was released in late 1967. Following the departure of Marriott the group shortened their name to Faces, and recruited a new lead vocalist named Rod Stewart. Needless to say, the new version of the band did much better in the US than their previous incarnation.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in fact the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Young Love
Source: British import CD: The Amboy Dukes
Detroit native Ted Nugent was still in his teens when he formed the Amboy Dukes in the mid-1960s. His family had just moved to Chicago, and Nugent, who had been playing guitar since age nine, wasted no time in finding local talent for his new band. The original lineup consisting of vocalist John Drake, guitarist Steve Farmer, bassist Bill White, keyboardist Rick Lober and drummer Dave Palmer soon relocated to Detroit, becoming an important part of a music scene that included Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the MC5 and Bob Seger's Last Heard (soon to become the Bob Seger System). In 1967 the group signed with Bob Shad's Mainstream label, releasing their self-titled debut later in the year. The album itself was a mix of hard rocking arrangements of cover tunes and original songs from Nugent and Farmer such as Young Love.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Darby Slick
Over 40 years after the fact, it's hard to imagine just how big an impact Somebody To Love had on the garage band scene. Whereas before Somebody To Love came out you could just dismiss hard-to-cover songs as being "lame" anyway, here was a tune that was undeniably cool, and yet virtually impossible for anyone but the Airplane to play well (and even they were unable to get it to sound quite the same when they performed it live). Although garage bands would continue to exist (and still do), the days when a group of kids from the suburbs could form a band, play a handful of parties, maybe win a battle of the bands and write and record a hit record with virtually no prior experience were gone forever.
Artist: Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
Title: I Never Had It Better
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Bob Crewe
Label: New Voice
The first major act to come out of the Detroit music scene was probably Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels, who stormed the top 40 charts in 1966 with their own unique hybrid of 50s rock and 60s R&B. Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly, Little Latin Lupe Lu and Jenny Take A Ride all got significant national airplay, as did their 1967 release of Sock It To Me-Baby, a phrase that was soon associated with the TV show Laugh-In. The B side of that single showed another side of Ryder. Written by producer/record mogul Bob Crewe, I Never Had It Better is a stripped down Randy Newman kind of song that I actually find more appealing than the more famous hit side of the record.