Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1616 (starts 4/13/16)
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: We Love You
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
After the less than stellar chart performance of the LP Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones decided to pull out all the stops with a double 'A' sided single. We Love You was their most expensive production ever (as well as the last Rolling Stones record produced by Andrew Loog Oldham), and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. We Love You did well in the UK, reaching the # 8 spot on the charts, but it was the other side of the record, Dandelion, that ended up being a hit in the US.
Title: Everybody's Been Burned
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): David Crosby
There is a common misconception that David Crosby's songwriting skills didn't fully develop until he began working with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. A listen to Everybody's Been Burned from the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, however, puts the lie to that theory in a hurry. The track has all the hallmarks of a classic Crosby song: a strong melody, intelligent lyrics and an innovative chord structure. It's also my personal favorite tune from what is arguably the Byrds' best LP.
Artist: Circus Maximus
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.
Title: Sunny Afternoon
Source: Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Face To Face)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
1966 was the year that Ray Davies's songwriting began to take a sardonic turn. Sunny Afternoon, using a first person perspective, manages to lampoon the idle rich through mock sympathy. Good stuff, and the Kinks' last song to make US top 40 charts until 1970, when the international hit Lola gave the band a much needed career boost.
Title: Boris The Spider
Source: LP: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (originally released on LP: Happy Jack)
Writer: John Entwhistle
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
For many years, Boris the Spider was bassist John Entwhistle's signature song. Eventually Entwhistle got sick of singing it and wrote another one. Truth is, he wrote a lot of songs, but like the Beatles's George Harrison, did not always get the recognition as a songwriter that more prolific bandmate Pete Townshend got. This was one of the first album tracks I ever heard played on an FM station (KLZ-FM in Denver, the first FM in the area to play something besides classical, jazz or elevator music).
Title: Walking Down The Road
Source: CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Al Shackman
Label: Big Beat (original label: Brent)
San Jose, California was at the center of the most vibrant and dynamic local music scenes in the country in the mid-1960s. By the end of 1966 both the Syndicate Of Sound and Count Five had cracked the national charts, while bands such as the Chocolate Watchband were just beginning to make their mark. There was a lot of movement of musicians between bands as well, with groups like the Topsiders counting Sean Tolby (Watchband) and Skip Spence (Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape) among their early members. A move by the Topsiders to recruit Watchband guitarist/organist Ned Torney in 1966 resulted in an entirely new group, the Otherside, being formed. They soon had established enough of a reputation to get the attention of Golden State Recorders, who were auditioning acts for Mainstream Records owner Bob Shad. Shad signed the group immediately to his Brent label, releasing Walking Down The Road in early autumn. The stereo mix of Walking Down The Road was included on the compilation album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers on Shad's Mainstream label in late 1967, but by then the group had morphed into a band called Bogus Thunder, which would eventually become known as Gladstone, releasing a single on the A&M label in 1969.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: South End Incident (I'm Afraid)
Source: LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s): Wayne Ulaky
The Beacon Street Union's South End Incident (I'm Afraid) was reportedly based on a real incident. According to the story, bassist Wayne Ulaky witnessed a mugging in one of Boston's seedier neighborhoods and spent the rest of that evening looking over his shoulder, worried that the muggers might have seen him. He then wrote a song about it that got recorded by the band and released on their debut LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Jazz Thing
Source: LP: Behold And See
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
Although the second Ultimate Spinach album, Behold And See, is generally considered inferior to the group's debut effort, there are a few high points that are among the best tracks the band ever recorded. Perhaps the strongest track on the album is Jazz Thing, which almost sounds like a Bob Bruno Circus Maximus track.
Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Title: Girl With No Eyes
Source: CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer(s): Linda and David LaFlamme
Label: San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
The truth of the adage that adversity fuels creativity is nowhere more evident than on the 1969 debut album of San Francisco's It's A Beautiful Day. The band had spent much of the previous year in Seattle, Washington in a tiny room above the San Francisco Sound, a less-than-popular club owned by their manager, Matthew Katz. As the house band at the club, It's A Beautiful Day ostensibly got a percentage of the door, but as the place always had poor attendance the band was pretty much broke the entire time they spent there, making them virtual prisoners. During this time the husband and wife team of David and Linda LaFlamme concentrated on their songwriting, coming up with the material that eventually became the group's first album. The best of these tracks were collaborations between the two, including the band's signature song, White Bird, and the gentle Girl With No Eyes, which closes out side one of the original LP. Ironically, once the group was successful the LaFlammes split up, with Linda leaving the band altogether. Although It's A Beautiful Day continued on with a new keyboardist, David LaFlamme's solo material was not as strong as his collaborations with Linda and the group eventually disbanded.
Title: She Comes In Colors
Source: CD: Da Capo
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Arthur Lee was an enigma. His band, Love, was generally acknowledge to be the top band on the Strip in L.A., yet Lee himself was a bit of a recluse living up on the hill overlooking the scene. With one notable exception, his songs were not hits, yet he was critically acknowledged (especially in the UK) as a musical genius on a par with his friend Jimi Hendrix. Stylistically, his songs varied from intensely hard rock (Stephanie Knows Who, 7&7 Is), to softer, almost jazzy tunes such as She Comes In Colors, the latter of which caused some critics to compare Lee to Johnny Mathis.
Title: Evil Hoodoo
Source: LP: The Seeds
Label: GNP Crescendo
With a title like Evil Hoodoo, one might expect a rather spooky track. Indeed, the song does start off that way, but soon moves into standard Seeds territory (as does most everything on the band's debut album). Luckily, Sky Saxon and company would turn out to be a bit more adventurous on their second LP.
Source: Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released on LP: The Animals On Tour)
Label: Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Of all the bands to come out of England as part of the British invasion of the mid-1960s, none were bigger fans of US blues and R&B artists than the Animals, from the city of Newcastle. The group reportedly spent all of their spare time checking out independent record stores looking for obscure old records while on their first US tour, and upon returning to the UK set about recording their own versions of several of these songs. Among the tracks recorded was Dimples, a John Lee Hooker tune that was included on the Animals second US LP, On Tour. A different version of Dimples was included on the band's first UK album.
Artist: Liquid Scene
Title: Leave Me Here
Source: CD: Revolutions
Writer(s): Becki diGregorio
Although I mentioned on the air that this was the first time I had played Liquid Scene's Leave Me Here from the Revolutions album, it turns out I was mistaken. I actually played this tune on the first show of 2016. Still, like all Liquid Scene songs, it's worth multiple listens, so enjoy!
Artist: Psychedelic Furs
Title: Sister Europe
Source: LP: The Psychedelic Furs
Writer(s): Psychedelic Furs
Initially consisting of Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass guitar), Duncan Kilburn (saxophone), Paul Wilson (drums) and Roger Morris (guitars), the Psychedelic Furs were formed in 1977 under the name RKO. They soon began calling themselves Radio, then did gigs under two different names, the Europeans and the Psychedelic Furs. By 1979 they had settled on the latter name and expanded to a sextet, adding guitarist John Ashton and replacing Wilson with Vince Ely on drums. The Furs' self-titled debut album, released in 1980, was an immediate hit in Europe and the UK, but airplay in the US was limited mostly to college radio and "alternative" rock stations. The second single released from the album was Sister Europe, a tune that was also the band's concert opener in the early days of their existence. The Psychedelic Furs' greatest claim to fame, however, is probably the song Pretty In Pink. Originally released on their second album, Talk Talk Talk, in 1981, the song was re-recorded for the John Hughes film of the same name in 1986.
Title: She Done Moved
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Dick And Bud Johnson
Label: Rhino (original label: ABC)
ABC Paramount was a record label specifically formed to release records by artists who appeared on the ABC TV network (which was owned by the Paramount theater chain, which in turn had originally been owned by Paramount Pictures, who had divested themselves of the theater chain as a result of an anti-trust action). By the 60s the label had expanded into a major player in the industry with artists ranging from teen-idol Steve Alaimo to R&B favorites like the Impressions and the Tams. In 1966 they dropped the Paramount from their name and became simply ABC records (using the TV network logo). One of the last singles released before the change was She Done Moved, a middle-class teenager's lament from the Spats, an Orange County, California band led by brothers Dick and Bud Johnson. The song describes the heartbreak of having one's girlfriend suddenly relocate to another town, in this case Kansas City. As a military brat myself, I can relate somewhat.
Artist: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title: Oh, Pretty Woman
Source: LP: Crusade
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers were, in one sense, a training ground some for Britain's most talented blues musicians, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Mick Taylor and Keef Hartley, all of which went on to greater fame as either members of popular bands (Cream, Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones) or as leaders of their own groups. Following the departure of Clapton, the band recruited Taylor to take over lead guitar duties for the 1967 album Crusade, which also featured McVie on bass and Hartley on drums. This lineup would only last for one album, as the next incarnation of the band would feature Fleetwood on drums and Green on guitar.
Title: White Room
Source: Wheels Of Fire
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
Musically almost a remake of Eric Clapton'sTales of Brave Ulysses (from Cream's Disraeli Gears album), the Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaboration White Room (on the Wheel's Of Fire album) is arguably the most popular song ever to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal prominently.
Title: Baby, Please Don't Go
Source: Mono 12" single (reissue)
Writer: Joe Williams
Belfast, Northern Ireland was home to one of the first bands that could be legitimately described as punk rock. Led by Van Morrison, the band quickly got a reputation for being rude and obnoxious, particularly to members of the English press (although it was actually a fellow Irishman who labeled them as "boorish"). Their first single was what has come to be considered the definitive rock and roll version of the 1923 Joe Williams tune Baby, Please Don't Go. Despite its UK success, the single was never issued in the US. Oddly enough, the song's B side ended up being the song most people associate with Them: the classic Gloria, which was released as Them's US debut single in 1965 but promptly found itself banned on most US radio stations due to suggestive lyrics. Them's recording of Baby, Please Don't Go gained renewed popularity in the 1980s when it was used in the film Good Morning Vietnam.
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.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.
Artist: Second Helping
Title: Floating Downstream On An Inflatable Rubber Raft
Source: Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Kenny Loggins
Label: Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Among the handful of bands recording for Snuff Garrett's Viva label from 1966-68 was a group called the Second Helping. The band is best remembered as the support group for a teenaged Kenny Loggins, who wrote and sang all of the band's material, including Floating Downstream On An Inflatable Rubber Raft, which was released as a B side in 1967.
Artist: Los Chijuas
Title: Changing The Colors Of Life
Source: CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jose and Julian Ganem
Label: Rhino (original label: Musart)
Although it was issued on an American label, Changing The Colors Of Life was actually the product of Los Chijuas, a band from Ciudad Juarez, a city located directly across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Like Tijuana, Juarez was a popular destination for off-duty US military personnel from White Sands Missile Range, Holloman AFB (both in New Mexico) and especially Fort Bliss, located in El Paso itself. The city had a strong local music scene, with bands performing various mixtures of salsa, ranchero, mariachi, rock and soul nightly at the city's many clubs. One band that stood out from the rest was Los Chijuas, who, unlike most of the local groups, was strongly influenced by the folk-rock movement that had stormed the US West Coast just a couple years earlier. Changing The Colors Of Life, written by co-founders Jose and Julian Ganem, was recorded in Juarez, but released on the American Musart label in 1968. The group also had a hit in Mexico that same year with their own version of Bob Dylan's Mighty Quinn, thanks in part to the support of El Paso disc jockey Steve Crosno, who in addition to being the voice of XELO (the bilingual AM top 40 station radiating 100 kilowatts of power from south of the border) was host of a weekly dance show on a local El Paso TV station.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Fakin' It
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Fakin' It, originally released as a single in 1967, was a bit of a departure for Simon And Garfunkel, sounding more like British psychedelic music than American folk-rock. The track starts with an intro that is similar to the false ending to the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever; midway through the record the tempo changes drastically for a short spoken word section that makes a reference to a "Mr. Leitch" (the last name of the Scottish folksinger turned psychedelic pioneer Donovan). The stereo mix of Fakin' It was first released on the 1968 LP Bookends.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The Sound Of Silence (original acoustic version)
Source: LP: Wednesday Morning 3AM
Writer: Paul Simon
The Sound Of Silence was originally an acoustic piece that was included on Simon and Garfunkel's 1964 debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album went nowhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia Records catalog. Simon and Garfunkel themselves went their separate ways, with Simon moving to London and recording a solo LP, the Paul Simon Songbook. While Simon was in the UK, producer John Simon, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and got Dylan's band to add electric instruments to the existing recording. The song was released to local radio stations, where it garnered enough interest to get the modified recording released as a single. It turned out to be a huge hit and prompted Paul Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Art Garfunkel.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Bookends Theme/Save The Life Of My Child/America
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
An early example of a concept album (or at least half an album) was Simon And Garfunkel's fourth LP, Bookends. The side starts and ends with the Bookends theme. In between they go through a sort of life cycle of tracks, from Save The Life Of My Child (featuring a synthesizer opening programmed by Robert Moog himself), into America, a song that is very much in the sprit of Jack Kerouak's On The Road. One of these days I'll play the rest of the side, which takes us right into the age that many of us who bought the original LP are now approaching.