Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1627 (starts 7/6/16)
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Purple Haze
Source: LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Following up on the success of their first UK single Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released Purple Haze in early 1967. The popularity of the two singles (originally released only in Europe) led to a deal with Reprise Records to start releasing the band's material in the US. By then, however, the Experience had already released their first LP, Are You Experienced, without either of the two hit singles on it. Reprise, hedging their bets, included both singles (but not their B sides), as well as a third UK single The Wind Cries Mary, deleting several tracks from the original version of Are You Experienced to make room for them.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: CD: Valleys Of Neptune
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2010
One of Cream's biggest hits, Sunshine Of Your Love was dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. In return, the Jimi Hendrix Experience often performed their own instrumental version of the song, adding an extended improvisational section to the piece. On February 16, 1969 the group recorded this studio version of the tune, which runs nearly seven minutes.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Stone Free
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Smash Hits
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Whether or not Stone Free was the first song ever written by Jimi Hendrix, there is no doubt it was his first original composition to be recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In fact, it is the only song written by Hendrix to be released in 1966, albeit only in Europe and the UK as the B side to Hey Joe. The first time the song was released in the US was on the Smash Hits anthology album that was put out by Reprise Records in 1969. A newer version was recorded, but not released, that same year under the title Stone Free Again.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Incense And Peppermints
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (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: Third Bardo
Title: I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).
Title: No Presents For Me
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: CBS)
Originally formed in 1964 as the Pandas, Pandamonium released three singles over a period of two years. The second of these was No Presents For Me, released in 1967. The song presents a libertarian message ("there ain't no such thing as a free lunch") against a psychedelic backdrop. The resulting song failed to chart, as did the band's previous single, a cover of Donovan's Season Of The Witch, and after a final failed single in 1968 Pandamonium decided to call it quits.
Title: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
By early 1967 there was a building resentment among musicians and rock press alike concerning the instant (and in some eyes unearned) success of the Monkees. One notable expression of this resentment was the Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star, which takes a somewhat sarcastic look at what it takes to succeed in the music business. Unfortunately, much of what they talk about in the song continues to apply today (although the guitar has been somewhat supplanted by the computer as the instrument of choice).
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 Dukes 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: Jethro Tull
Title: Cat's Squirrel
Source: LP: This Was
Writer: trad. Arr. Abrahams
Probably the Jethro Tull recording with the least Ian Anderson influence, Cat's Squirrel was recorded at the insistence of record company people, who felt the song was most representative of the band's live sound. The traditional tune was arranged by guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left the band due to creative differences with Anderson shortly thereafter. Cat's Squirrel became a live staple of Abrahams's next band, Blodwyn Pig.
Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Two Of A Kind
Source: Australian import CD: Evolutions
Originally called the Premiers, the Human Beingz were a popular attraction in their native Youngstown, Ohio, releasing at least one single locally before signing with Capitol Records in 1967. Unfortunately for the band, the label misspelled the band's name on the label of their first single, leaving out the "g". They promised the group they would fix the problem if the record flopped, but in fact the song, Nobody But Me, was a top 10 national hit. As a result, the group was known as the Human Beinz for the rest of their existence. Although they did not score any more hits on the US charts, their next two singles went to #1 in Japan. This led to the band being held onto by the label long enough to record two LPs, the second of which was the relatively experimental Evolutions, released in 1968. One of the more unusual tunes on Evolutions was Two Of A Kind, which is actually one of the earliest examples of what would come to be known as country-rock in the mid-1970s.
Artist: Mad River
Title: High All The Time
Source: LP: Mad River
Writer(s): Lawrence Hammond
Label: Sundazed/EMI (original label: Capitol)
When Mad River's debut LP was released, the San Francisco rock press hailed it as "taking rock music as far as it could go." Indeed, songs like High All The Time certainly pushed the envelope in 1968, when bubble gum was king of top 40 radio and progressive FM stations were still in the process of finding an audience. One thing that helped was the band members' friendship with avant-garde poet Richard Brautigan, who pulled whatever strings he could to get attention for his favorite local band. Still, the time was not yet right for such a band as Mad River, who had quietly faded away by the early 1970s.
Artist: Sons Of Champlin
Title: Get High
Source: British import CD: Loosen Up Naturally
Writer(s): Bill Champlin
Label: BGO (original label: Capitol)
While still in high school in Mill Valley, California, in 1965, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bill Champlin hooked up with a band called the Opposite Six, one of the few blue-eyed soul bands on the West Coast. The group did pretty well until both the drummer and the bass player were drafted by the US Army, causing the Opposite Six to fall apart. Champlin, along with saxophone player Tim Cain, soon formed a new band, which after a brief flirtation with the name Masterbeats became the first incarnation of the Sons Of Champlin. The Opposite Six had always featured a horn section, a practice that Champlin continued with his new band. The group signed to Trident Records in 1967, recording an album that remained unreleased until 1999. The following year they got a deal with Capitol Records, and recorded their first album locally at Golden State Recorders. One of the highlights of the double-LP, Loosen Up Naturally, was a tune called Get High, which is fairly representative of the band's sound. The album did well enough to allow the band to record several more albums before Champlin left to replace Terry Kath in Chicago. Following his departure from that band a few years back, Champlin formed a new Sons Of Champlin band that is still performing regularly.
Title: Hung Up Down
Source: British import CD: Family Entertainment
Label: See For Miles (original label: Reprise)
Family is one of those bands that was highly respected among their peers, but, outside the UK, relatively unknown to the public at large. In fact, the band is probably best remembered for providing the bass player/violinist for one of rock's first supergroups: Blind Faith. Formed in 1962 as the Farinas, the group got the name Family from the legendary Kim Fowley, who said they looked like members of the Mafia in their double-breasted suits. By 1967 the band had changed their look, as well as their music, and had become favorites of the London underground crowd. After releasing a single on Liberty in late '67 that created a lot of buzz, but didn't get much airplay, Family signed with Reprise in early 1968, releasing the critically acclaimed Music In A Doll's House later that year. They followed it up with perhaps their best album, Family Entertainment, in 1969. Among the many outstanding tracks on that album is a tune called Hung Up Down, written by lead guitarist (and co-founder of the Farinas) John Whitney and lead vocalist Roger Chapman. Unfortunately, just as the band was about to go on a US tour (supporting Ten Years After), bassist/violinist/cellist Rich Grech announced that he was leaving Family to join Blind Faith, which was the beginning of a series of setbacks that culminated in a disastrous gig at the Fillmore West. The band was eventually able to recover from this run of bad luck, and actually ended up having their greatest successes in the early 1970s before finally disbanding in October of 1973.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: We've Got A Groovey Thing Going
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovey Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovey Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and quickly recorded a new album, Sounds Of Silence. Many of the tracks on Sounds Of Silence had been previously recorded by Simon and released on an album called The Paul Simon Songbook, which was only available in the UK. Also included on Sounds Of Silence was a new stereo mix of We've Got A Groovey Thing Going. By the way, this is the only place I know of that the word "groovy" is spelled "groovey".
Title: Tropical Fish: Selene
Source: European import CD: Camembert Electrique (originally released on LP in France)
Writer(s): Daevid Allen
Label: Charly/Snapper (original label: BYG Actuel)
It's almost impossible to describe Gong. They had their roots in British psychedelia, founder Daevid Allen having been a member of Soft Machine, but are also known as pioneers of space-rock. The Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, from 1973-74, is considered a landmark of the genre, telling the story of such characters as Zero the Hero and the Pot Head Pixies from Planet Gong. The groundwork for the trilogy was actually laid in 1971, when the album Camembert Electrique was recorded (and released) in France on the BYG Actuel label. The final full-length track on that album, Tropical Fish: Selene, is fairly indicative of the state of Gong at that time.
Source: German import CD: Psychedelic Underground 8 (originally released on LP: Variety)
Label: Garden Of Delights (original label: Menga)
Although generally considered a forerunner of Kraut Rock, Think was actually formed by members of the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra while on tour in Germany. The group only existed long enough to complete one album's worth of material in the studios of Menga Records before heading back to Hungary, which was on the other side of the so-called Iron Curtain at that time.
Song: One Two Brown Eyes
Source: Mono LP: Them
Writer(s): Van Morrison
Van Morrison's One Tow Brown Eyes was first released in the UK in late 1964 as the B side of Them's first single. It was included on the US version of Them's first album, but not on the version released in the UK.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Lady Jane
Source: CD: Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (London)
One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated seperately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8). Both tunes were also included on the 1967 LP Flowers.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source: 45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Label: A&M (original label: Deram)
Often credited as being the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. Fisher initially did not get writing credit for his contributions to the song, but finally, after several lawsuits, began collecting royalties for the song in 2009. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves of the past 70 years.
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic. Porpoise Song, a Gerry Goffin/Carole King composition used as the theme for Head, was also a departure in style for the Monkees, yet managed to retain a decidedly Monkees sound due to the distinctive lead vocals of Mickey Dolenz.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Source: CD: Aoxomoxoa
Label: Warner Brothers
Aoxomoxoa is the third Grateful Dead album, and the first one to be recorded in the San Francisco area (at two different studios). The band originally began recording using 8-track recording equipment, but when Ampex released the first 16-track recorder the group spent several months learning how to effectively use the new technology before restarting recording sessions for the album. Two years later Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh created a new mix for the album, which has been the official version since 1972. One of the songs left pretty much unaffected by the remix is Rosemary, which (probably not coincidentally) is also the shortest track on the album. Aoxomoxoa was also the first album to utilize the talents of poet Robert Hunter as full-time lyricist (the entire album is credited to Hunter, Garcia and Lesh) and the first to feature keyboardist Tom Constanten.
Artist: Janis Ian
Title: Society's Child
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's experimental label Verve Forecast, a label whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement.
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Jack Bruce
Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were relatively few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals. Dreaming is also one of the shortest Cream songs on record, clocking in at one second under two minutes in length.
Title: Season Of The Witch
Source: Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
At nearly five minutes in length, Season Of The Witch is the longest track on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album, which at least in part explains why it was never released as a single. Nonetheless, the tune is among Donovan's best-known songs, and has been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the Sunshine Superman album was not released in the UK until 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums.
Title: My Mind
Source: Simulated stereo British import CD: Before The Dream Faded
Label: Cherry Red
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1982
The story of the legendary band the Misunderstood actually started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most of the bands at the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock and roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes, including the addition of lead vocalist Rick Brown. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, and Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were joined by a local guitarist, Tony Hill. Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. In addition to that single, the band recorded a handful of outstanding tracks that remained unreleased until the 1980s. Among those unreleased tracks was a masterpiece called My Mind, written (as were most of the songs the band recorded in London) by Brown and Hill. Problems having nothing to do with music soon derailed the Misunderstood, who soon found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.
Artist: Tiffany Shade
Title: An Older Man
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US on LP: Tiffany Shade)
Writer(s): Michael Barnes
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
From 1967 through 1970 Bob Shad's Mainstream label released over two dozen rock albums. Most of these albums were by bands that were known only to audiences in their own hometowns. Indeed, most of these albums were highly forgettable. This was due in large part to the fact that Shad would book the absolute minimum amount of studio time required to get an LP's worth of material recorded. This generally meant using the first take of every recording, even if the band felt they could do better if they had a little more time. As a result, most late 60s Mainstream LPs ended up on the budget rack not long after their release, and, at least in some cases, even the band members themselves considered the whole thing a waste of time and effort. Such is the case with Cleveland's Tiffany Shade, which consisted of guitarist/lead vocalist Mike Barnes, keyboardist Bob Leonard, drummer Tom Schuster and bassist Robb Murphy. The group's manager recommended the group to Shad, who booked two eight-hour sessions for the band at the Cleveland Recording Company. Fortunately, the band was better prepared than most of the Mainstream bands, and actually turned out a halfway decent album, thanks in large part to Barnes's talent as a songwriter, which can be heard on tunes like An Older Man, co-written by Leonard.