Monday, June 20, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1626 (starts 6/22/16)
Artist: Electric Prunes
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released on LP: Underground and as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
After the moderately successful first Electric Prunes album, producer David Hassinger loosened the reins a bit for the followup, Underground. Among the original tunes on Underground was Hideaway, a song that got relegated to the B side of a novelty record called Dr. Feelgood written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, who had also written the band's first hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). Personally, I think Hideaway should have been the A side.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Get Me To The World On Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
With I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) climbing the charts in early 1967, the Electric Prunes turned to songwriter Annette Tucker for two more tracks to include on their debut LP. One of those, Get Me To The World On Time (co-written by lyricist Jill Jones) was selected to be the follow up single to Dream. Although not as big a hit, the song still did respectably on the charts (and was actually the first Electric Prunes song I ever heard on FM radio).
Artist: Electric Prunes
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Perhaps as a bit of overcompensation for his lack of control over the Grateful Dead, producer David Hassinger kept a tight rein on L.A.'s Electric Prunes, providing them with most of the material they recorded (from professional songwriters). A rare exception is Luvin', from the first Prunes LP, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).
Artist: Limey And The Yanks
Title: Guaranteed Love
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Star-Burst)
Limey and the Yanks were an Orange County, California band that boasted an honest-to-dog British lead vocalist. Despite being kind of Zelig-like on the L.A. scene, they only recorded two singles. The first one, Guaranteed Love, was co-written by Gary Paxton, best known for his involvement in various novelty records, including the Hollywood Argyles' Alley Oop, which he co-wrote with Kim Fowley, and Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash, which was released on Paxton's own Garpax label.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Lucifer Sam
Source: Mono CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt the original driving force behind Pink Floyd was the legendary Syd Barrett. Not only did he front the band during their rise to fame, he also wrote their first two singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, as well as most of their first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. In fact it could be argued that one of the songs on that album, Lucifer Sam, could have just as easily been issued as a single, as it is stylistically similar to the first two songs. Sadly, Barrett's mental health deteriorated quickly over the next year and his participation in the making of the band's next LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was minimal. He soon left the group altogether, never to return (although several of his former bandmates did participate in the making of his 1970 solo album, The Madcap Laughs).
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Hey Joe
Source: LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
My first impression of Deep Purple was that they were Britain's answer to the Vanilla Fudge. After all, both bands had a big hit in 1968 with a rearranged version of someone else's song from 1967 (Vanilla Fudge with the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On and Deep Purple with Billy Joe Royal's Hush). Additionally, both groups included a Beatles cover on their debut LP (Fudge: Ticket To Ride, Purple: Help). Finally, both albums included a depressing Cher cover song. In the Vanilla Fudge case it was one of her biggest hits, Bang Bang. Deep Purple, on the other hand, went with a song that was actually more closely associated with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (although Cher did record it as well): Hey Joe. The Deep Purple version of the Billy Roberts classic (originally credited to the band on the label itself), is probably the most elaborate of the dozens of recorded versions of the song (which is up there with Louie Louie in terms of quantity), incorporating sections of the Miller's Dance (by Italian classical composer Manuel de Falla), as well as an extended instrumental section, making the finished track over seven and a half minutes long.
Artist: Red Squares
Title: You Can Be My Baby
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Denmark as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Originally formed in Boston, England, in 1964, the Red Squares relocated to Denmark in 1966 and soon became massively popular. For the most part the band's sound was similar to the Hollies, as can be heard on the original LP version of You Can Be My Baby. The single version of the song heard here, however, cranks up the energy levels to something approaching the early Who records.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Expo 2000
Source: CD: No Way Out
Writer(s): Richie Podolor
Label: Sundazed (original label: Tower)
If you ignore the fact that Expo 2000, from the first Chocolate Watchband album, No Way Out, is performed by uncredited studio musicians and thus is a complete misrepresentation, it's really a pretty decent instrumental. Too bad we'll never know who actually performed it. We do know, however, that it was written by Richard Podolor.
Title: Alabama Bound
Source: CD: The Charlatans
Writer(s): Trad, arr. the Charlatans
Label: One Way (original label: Philips)
Although the Charlatans are generally acknowledged as the godfathers of the San Francisco music scene, they put out very little recorded material during their existence. Formed in 1964, the band released their first single in 1966. Unfortunately, Kama Sutra Records went against the band's wishes and issued a cover of an old Coasters song instead of the band's interpretation of Buffy St. Marie's Codine. As anyone not working for a record company would expect, The Shadow Knows went nowhere, and the rest of the band's recordings for the label got shelved. Three years later the Charlatans finally got to record an album, but by then they had lost half of their original members and were basically an anachronism (ironic, since their visual motif had been to dress up in Old West style clothing). One of the more notable tracks on that 1969 album was the group's signature song, a traditional tune called Alabama Bound that dates back at least as far as the Great Depression. The Charlatans had recorded the song a couple times before, but the 1969 version was actually the first to see the light of day.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Alligator/Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)
Source: LP: Anthem Of The Sun
Label: Warner Brothers
After a debut album that took about a week to record (and that the band was unanimously unhappy with) the Grateful Dead took their time on their second effort, Anthem Of The Sun. After spending a considerable amount of time in three different studios on two coasts and not getting the sound they wanted (and shedding their original producer along the way) the Dead came to the conclusion that the only way to make an album that sounded anywhere near what the band sounded like onstage was to use actual recordings of their performances and combine them with the studio tracks they had been working on. Side two of the album, which includes the classic Alligator and the more experimental Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks), is basically an enhanced live performance, with new vocal tracks added in the studio. Alligator itself is notable as the first Grateful Dead composition to feature the lyrics of Robert Hunter, who would become Jerry Garcia's main collaborator for many many years. Anthem Of The Sun, along with other early Dead albums, was remixed by Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh in 1973, and the new mix was used on all subsequent pressings of the LP (and later CD). Recently, Rhino records has pressed a new vinyl copy of Anthem Of The Sun using the original 1968 mix of the album, which is what I've used on this week's show.
Title: Dirty Water (live version)
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2014
In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, whom the Standells recorded for. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!
Title: You Really Got Me
Source: CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: K-Tel (original label: Reprise)
You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Play With Fire
Source: Mono CD: Out Of Our Heads
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Generally when one thinks of the Rolling Stones the first thing that comes to mind is down to earth rock and roll songs such as Satisfaction, Jumpin' Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women. The band has always had a more mellow side, however. In fact, the first Mick Jagger/Keith Richards compositions were of the slower variety, including Heart Of Stone and As Tears Go By. Even after the duo started cranking out faster-paced hits like 19th Nervous Breakdown and The Last Time, they continued to write softer songs such as Play With Fire, which made the charts as a B side in 1965. The lyrics of Play With Fire, with their sneering warning to not mess with the protagonist of the song, helped cement the Stones' image as the bad boys of rock and roll.
Title: What Am I Living For
Source: LP: Animalization
Throughout their existence the original Animals were known for their love of American Blues and R&B music. In fact, hit singles aside, almost everything they recorded was a cover of an R&B hit. Among the covers on their 1966 LP Animalism (released in the US as Animalization) was What Am I Living For, originally recorded by the legendary Chuck Willis. The original version was released shortly after Willis's death from cancer in 1958, and is considered a classic. The Animals, thanks in large part to their obvious respect and admiration for the song, actually managed to improve on the original (as was often the case with their cover songs).
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Label: Priority (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. Clapton and 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: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: House Burning Down
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Bleeding Heart
Source: CD: Blues
Writer(s): Elmore James
Jimi Hendrix was, at his core, a blues guitarist, as his 1969 studio recording (with Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass) of Elmore James's Bleeding Heart amply demonstrates.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: All Along The Watchtower
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them are considered improvements over Dylan's original versions. Probably the most notable exception is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.
Artist: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title: Blues-Part II/Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie
Source: CD: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Writer(s): Blood, Sweat & Tears
Although it was the brainchild of keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper, the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears had its greatest success after Kooper left the band following the release of their debut LP, Child Is Father To The Man. The group's self-titled second LP, featuring new lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, yielded no less than three top 5 singles: You Made Me So Very Happy, Spinning Wheel, and And When I Die. For me, however, the outstanding track on the album was the thirteen and a half minute Blues-Part II, which takes up most of side two of the original LP. I first heard this track on a show that ran late at night on AFN in Germany. I had already heard the band's first two hit singles and was not particularly impressed with them, but after hearing Blues-Part II I went out and bought a copy of the LP. Luckily, it was not the only track on the album that I found more appealing than the singles (God Bless The Child in particular stands out), but it still, after all these years, is my favorite BS&T recording.
Source: LP: The Flock
Writer: The Flock
The Flock's 1969 debut album featured liner notes by British blues guru John Mayall, who called them the best band in America. Despite this stellar recommendation, the Flock (one of two bands with horn sections from the city of Chicago making their recording debut on Columbia Records in 1969) was unable to attract a large audience and disbanded after only two LPs. Violinist Jerry Goodman would go on to be a founding member of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 1970s. The band's unique take on what would come to be called jazz-rock fusion is in full evidence on the seven-and-a-half-minute long Clown, from their debut LP.
Title: Lemonade Kid
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Kak)
Writer(s): Gary Lee Yoder
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Kak was a group from Davis, California that was only around long enough to record one LP for Epic. That self-titled album did not make much of an impression commercially, and was soon out of print. Long after the band had split up, critics began to notice the album, and copies of the original LP are now highly-prized by collectors. Songs like the Lemonade Kid show that Kak had a sound that holds up better today than many of the other artists of the time. In fact, after listening to this track a couple times I went out and ordered a copy of the import CD reissue of the Kak album.