Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1623 (starts 5-31-16)

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Gloria)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    For some reason I don't quite understand, I never paid much attention to current trends in popular entertainment other than as an outside observer. For example, when everyone else in my generation was tuned into the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, I was happily watching Car 54 Where Are You on a rival network. The same applies to the radio stations I listened to. KIMN was, by far, Denver's most popular top 40 station, yet I always managed to find myself listening to their rivals: first KDAB (until a flood took them off the air permanently), and then KBTR. For a short time in late 1966, however, KIMN had no rivals (KBTR had switched to an all-news format and KLZ-FM was still spending most of its broadcast day simulcasting the programming of its middle-of-the-road AM station). As a result, I found myself following KIMN's New Year's countdown of the year's top songs, which included a handful of tunes that I had never heard before. The highest ranked of these unfamiliar songs was one that immediately grabbed me: Gloria, as recorded by a Chicago area band called the Shadows Of Knight. It would be years before I even knew that this was actually a cover version of a song that had been released by Van Morrison's band, Them, but that had been banned in most US markets the previous year. All I knew is that it was a cool tune that would be one of the first songs I learned to play when I switched from violin to guitar the follwing summer.

Artist:    Del Shannon
Title:    The House Where Nobody Lives
Source:    British import CD: The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover (bonus track originally released on CD: The Liberty Years)
Writer(s):    Del Shannon
Label:    BGO (original label: EMI)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1991
    Del Shannon teamed up with producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart for a handful of recordings in 1966. Some of those recordings, including The House Where Nobody Lives, did not get released until a year after Shannon's death, when they appeared on a collection called The Liberty Years. The song is instantly recognizable as a Shannon composition in the vein of Runaway or Hats Off To Larry, yet also shows the influence of the Boyce/Hart production style that would dominate the first Monkees album later in the year.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Masculine Intuition
Source:    CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    If you take out the cover songs that Original Sound Records added to the album without the band's knowledge or approval, Turn On The Music Machine has to be considered one of the best LPs of 1966. Not that the covers were badly done, but they were intended to be used for lip synching on a local TV show and were included without the knowledge or approval of the band, and that's never a good thing. Every one of the Sean Bonniwell originals on the other hand, combines strong musical structure and intelligent lyrics with musicianship far surpassing the average garage band. This is especially true in the case of Masculine Intuition, which was also issued as the B side of the band's second single.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Good Times, Bad Times
Source:    Mono LP:More Hot Rocks (Big Hits And Fazed Cookies) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1964
    It may be hard to imagine now, but the first Rolling Stones US tour was less than a complete success. In order to salvage something positive about the trip abroad, producer Andrew Loog Oldham arranged for the band to book time at Chicago's Chess Records studio, where many of the band's idols had recorded for the past decade. One of the songs from those sessions was Good Times, Bad Times. The song was only the second Jagger/Richards composition to be recorded by the Stones, and the first to be released on 45 RPM vinyl. Since 45s outsold LPs by a factor of at least five to one in 1964, this was an important distinction (and helped the band financially, since royalties were paid out equally to the writers of both sides of singles at the time, regardless of airplay).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    You've Got To Hied Your Love Away
Source:    CD: Help!
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1965
    Written at home by John Lennon during what he later described as his "Dylan period", You've Got To Hide Your Love Away is featured in the second Beatles movie, Help! The recording uses a sparse arrangement, with Lennon's acoustic guitar and vocals dominating the mix. George Harrison provided additional guitar, while the flute parts were played by John Scott. The song's lyrics (concerning romantic feelings that the protagonist can't express) are sometimes thought to be a veiled reference to the band's manager Brian Epstein, whose homosexuality was known only to a few close friends (times being what they were). Lennon, however, never divulged just what he had in mind. One of the song's most famous lines, "two foot small" was actually an accident. Lennon had written it as the more conventional "two-foot tall", but flubbed the line when he first sang the song to his songwriting partner, Paul McCartney. In my mind I can see the two of them having a good laugh over it and then deciding that "two-foot small" was just too cool not to use.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Wake Me, Shake Me
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    After losing their original lead vocalist, Tommy Flanders, in early 1966, the remaining members of the Blues Project decided to concentrate on their improvisational and songwriting skills, splitting vocal duties between them. Rather than trying to rework the same songs they had been performing with Flanders, they instead began to work up new material, including keyboardist Al Kooper's rock and roll arrangement of an old gospel song, Wake Me, Shake Me. It was this arrangement that appeared on the group's next LP, Projections.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The War Is Over
Source:    LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer:    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane's third album, After Bathing At Baxters' had a unique structure. The dozen or so songs were grouped into five suites, three on one side of the album and two on the other. The shortest of these was The War Is Over, which was comprised of two Paul Kantner songs, Martha and Wild Thyme. A short film of Martha, similar to those accompanying the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane earlier in the year, was shown on a Perry Como special in the fall of '67.

Artist:    Merrell Fankhauser And (His Trusty) HMS Bounty
Title:    A Visit With Ayshia
Source:    CD: Things
Writer(s):    Merrell Fankhauser
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Shamley)
Year:    1968
    Merrill Fankhauser first started playing guitar shortly after moving to San Luis Obispo, California in his teens. By 1960 he had become proficient enough to join a local band, the Impacts, as lead guitarist. In 1962 the Impacts got what they thought was a lucky break, but that turned out to be a classic example of people in the music business taking advantage of young, naive musicians. Following a successful gig at a place called the Rose Garden Ballroom they were approached by a guy named Norman Knowles, who played saxophone with a band called the Revels. Knowles convinced the Impacts to record an album's worth of material at Tony Hilder at Hilder's backyard studio in the Hollywood area. The two of them then took the recordings to Bob Keene, who issued them on his own Del-Fi label. It is not known how much money Knowles and Hilder made on the deal, but the Impacts never saw a penny of it, having signed a contract giving the band the grand total of one US dollar. Not long after the incident Fankhauser left the Impacts to move to Lancaster, Calfornia, where he formed a new band, the Exiles, in 1964. The Exiles had some regional success with a song called Can't We Get Along before breaking up, with Fankhauser returning to the coast to form his own band, Merrell and the Xiles. This band had a minor hit with a song called Tomorrow's Girl in 1967, leading to an album issued under the name Fapardokly (a mashup of band members' Fankhauser, Parrish, Dodd and Lee's last names). Fankhauser and Dodd then formed another band called Merrell Fankhauser And (His Trusty) HMS Bounty, which landed a contract with Uni Records (the label that would became MCA), issuing a self-titled album in 1968. This album was even more psychedelic than Farardokly, as can be heard on A Visit With Ayshia. Fankhauser has been involved with several other projects since then, including a band called Mu in the early 1970s and, more recently the Fankhauser Cassidy band with drummer Ed Cassidy from Spirit. His latest project is an MP3 album called Signals From Malibu, released in 2015.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Beginnings
Source:    CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: War Heroes)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1972
    Throughout 1970, whenever Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox would find themselves stuck in a rut trying to work out ideas in the recording studio they would break into a jam based on a musical pattern they called Beginnings just to relax. Hendrix had been developing the tune since his days at his Shokan, NY summer retreat the previous year and had performed it, under the title Jam Back At The House, at Woodstock. This particular version of Beginnings was recorded on July 1, 1970, with a new lead guitar overdub added a couple months later. The finished track was first issued as a flexible insert in a 1971 issue of Guitar Player magazine and later included on the 1972 album War Heroes. 

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    South Saturn Delta
Source:    CD: South Saturn Delta
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1997
    Recorded during the 1968 sessions for the Electric Ladyland, South Saturn Delta mixes rock, jazz, and funk in a way that had never been tried before. The Jimi Hendrix Experience had first tried to work out the tune during sessions for the 1967 Axis: Bold As Love, but had never arrived at a final version of the song. Hendrix revived the concept at New York's Record Plant during a jam session on May 2, 1968, with overdubs (including horns) added the following month. Instead of his usual Fender Stratocaster, Hendrix used a Les Paul Junior guitar fed through a Fender amp for the overdub session.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix
Title:     In From The Storm
Source:     CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: The Cry Of Love)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1970
     Although nobody knows for sure what the final track lineup would have been for Jimi Hendrix's first studio album since 1968's Electric Ladyland, most everyone associated with him agrees that it would have been a double LP and that In From The Storm would have been included on it. The song was first released on The Cry Of Love, the first posthumus Hendrix album, and subsequently was included on Voodoo Soup, Alan Douglas's first attempt at recreating that legendary fourth album. The song also appears on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, the CD that has replaced Voodoo Soup in the Hendrix catalog. The recording features Hendrix on guitar, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Hendrix's old army buddy Billy Cox on bass.

Artist:     Procol Harum
Title:     Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)
Source:     CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer:     Brooker/Reid
Label:     A&M
Year:     1968
      The last 16 months (more or less) I lived in Germany my family was given use of a basement room in the apartment building we lived in on Ramstein Air force Base. Such rooms were known as "maid's rooms," and ours became my bedroom, giving me a degree of privacy and freedom unknown to most 16-year-olds. I had one of those record players that would shut itself off when it got to the end of the record and I would always put an album on, turn off the light and let the music lull me into dreamland. My favorite album at that time was Procol Harum's Shine On Brightly, and I would usually put on side two of the LP, which opens with Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone). At the time I didn't realize that the song title was a reference to the British record label Procol Harum recorded for, Regal Zonophone, since my copy was released in Germany on the Polydor label. I still have that copy, although it is far too thrashed to play over the radio.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Lucky Man/Gangster Of Love/ You're So Fine
Source:    CD: Sailor
Writer(s):    Peterman/Watson/Reed
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    The Steve Miller Band's second album, Sailor, was the last to feature original members Jim Peterman and Boz Scaggs. The album is less overtly psychedelic than its predecessor, Children Of The Future, instead shifting the focus to more of a blues-rock sound. This can be heard on the medley of tunes heard on side two of the album. Lucky Man is a Peterman original, while Gangster Of Love came from Johnny "Guitar" Watson. The final part of the trilogy was Jimmy Reed's You're So Fine. Miller made an in-song reference to Gangster Of Love a few years later in his hit tune The Joker.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Days
Source:    Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    As the sixties wound down, the Kinks were busy proving that if a band could weather the bad times they would eventually re-emerge even stronger than before. The worst of those times for the band was 1968, when they had trouble scoring hits even on the UK charts where they had always had their greatest success. One of the singles released was Days, which shows a band still transitioning from the straight ahead rock of their early years to the sometimes biting satire that would characterize their later work.

Artist:    Other Half
Title:    Mr. Pharmacist
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jeff Nowlen
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
    The Other Half was one of the many bands that could be found playing the local L.A. clubs when the infamous Riot On Sunset Strip happened in 1966. They are also the only other band I know of besides the Seeds that recorded for the GNP Crescendo label. The guitar solo is provided by Randy Holden, who would end up replacing Leigh Stephens in Blue Cheer a few years later.

Artist:    Tears For Fears
Title:    Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Source:    British import CD single
Writer(s):    Orzabal/Smith
Label:    Fontana
Year:    1989
    Although generally not considered a psychedelic band, Tears For Fears managed to effectively channel George Martin's Magical Mystery Tour production techniques (e.g. I Am The Walrus) on their most political recording, 1989's Sowing The Seeds Of Love. Written in response to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party's winning of a third consecutive term in office in June of 1987, the track reflects Roland Orzabal's working-class sensibilities with lines like "Politician granny with your high ideals, have you no idea how the majority feels?"

Artist:    Squires Of The Subterrain
Title:    Falling Star
Source:    CD: Strawberries On Sunday
Writer(s):    Chris Zajkowski
Label:    Rocket Racket
Year:    2003
    I recently acquired four CDs from Squires Of The Subterrain, also known as Chris Earl of Rochester, NY. I didn't choose to check them out in any particular order, yet have found that I like each one I've heard even more than the one before it, even when they are not chronologically sequential. I'm just lucky that way, I guess. This time around we have Falling Star, a track from the 2003 release Strawberries On Sunday. Good stuff.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Reverberation
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland/Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    From the original liner notes of The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators: "Reverberation is the root of all inability to cope with environment. Doubt causes negative emotions which reverberate and hamper all constructive thought. If a person learns and organizes his knowledge in the right way---with perfect cross-reference---he need not experience doubt or hesitation." Pretty heady stuff for the year that brought us the Monkees.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    You're Gonna Miss Me
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators)
Writer(s):    Roky Erickson
Label:    Rhino (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    If anyplace outside of California has a legitimate claim to being the birthplace of the psychedelic era, it's Austin, Texas. That's mainly due to the presence of the 13th Floor Elevators, a local band led by Roky Erickson that had the audacity to use an electric jug (played by Tommy Hall) onstage. Their debut album was the first to use the word psychedelic in the title (predating the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop by mere weeks). Musically, their leanings were more toward garage-rock than acid-rock, at least on their first album (they got rather metaphysical on their follow-up album, Easter Everywhere).

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Fire Engine
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland/Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    In the summer of 1971 the band I was in, Sunn, did a cover of Black Sabbath's War Pigs as part of our regular repertoire. For the siren effect at the beginning of the song we used our voices, which always elicited smiles from some of the more perceptive members of the audience. Listening to Fire Engine, from The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, has the same effect on me, for pretty much the same reason. The main difference is that the Elevators actually did it with the tape rolling, something Sunn never got the opportunity to do.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of a tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    No Way Out
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    The Chocolate Watchband, from the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area (specifically Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills), were fairly typical of the South Bay music scene, centered in San Jose. Although they were generally known for lead vocalist Dave Aguilar's ability to channel Mick Jagger with uncanny accuracy (and a propensity for blowing better known acts off the stage), producer Ed Cobb gave them a more psychedelic sound in the studio with the use of studio effects and other enhancements (including adding tracks to their albums that were performed entire by studio musicians). The title track of No Way Out is credited to Cobb, but in reality is a fleshing out of a jam the band had previously recorded, but never released.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Whipping Post
Source:    LP: At Fillmore East
Writer(s):    Gregg Allman
Label:    Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
Year:    1971
    Rolling Stone magazine once called the Allman Brothers Band's live recording of Whipping Post on the album At Fillmore East "the finest live rock performance ever committed to vinyl." 'nuff said.

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Love Song
Source:    LP: Tumbleweed Connection
Writer(s):    Lesley Duncan
Label:    Uni
Year:    1970
    One thing that's more rare than an Elton John song that he didn't write himself (usually with Bernie Taupin) is an Elton John appearance on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. In fact, Love Song, from Tumbleweed Connection is indeed the first Elton John track ever played on the show (and quite possibly the last as well). British singer Lesley Duncan not only wrote Love Song, she also played guitar and shared lead vocals on the track.

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