Monday, August 29, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1635 (starts 8/31/16)
Once again the audio link for Rockin' in the Days of Confusion is included here. Next week, however, it will be added to the playlist for that show, while this show's link goes back to its original two-hour length.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) 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 (of course the fact that they were on Mercury Records, one of the "big six" labels of the time, didn't hurt). 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: Capes Of Good Hope
Title: Lady Margaret
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Round)
Unlike modern top 40 stations, which have almost identical playlists no matter where they are geographically located, 60s stations tended to spice up their playlists with local talent. Nowhere was this trend more noticable than in the Chicago area, where bands like the Buckinghams, SRC and the oddly-named Capes Of Good Hope were able to hear themselves on the radio. In a few cases like the Capes' Lady Margaret, band members such as Dick Toops and Joel Cory could even tell their friends "I wrote that!"
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: I Am Waiting
Source: British import LP: Aftermath
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Aftermath album was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. For one thing, it was their first album recorded entirely in the US, and at a much more leisurely pace than their previous albums. This afforded the band the opportunity to spend more time working on their arrangements before committing songs to tape. It also gave Brian Jones a chance to experiment with instruments not normally associated with rock and roll music, such as sitar, dulcimer, marimbas, and koto. Aftermath was also the first Rolling Stones album made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, including the semi-acoustical I Am Waiting.
Title: Can't Explain
Source: Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
Love's original lineup consisted of bandleader Arthur Lee on vocals, Johnny Echols on lead guitar, John Fleckenstein on bass and Don Conka on drums, with Lee, a prolific songwriter, providing the band's original material. They were soon joined by singer/songwriter/guitarist Bryan MacLean, who gave up his traveling gig as a roadie for the Byrds. Before they completed their first album, however, Fleckenstein and Conka had been replaced by Ken Forssi and Snoopy Pfisterer, although Lee himself provided most of the drums and some of the bass tracks on the LP. Two of the tracks on the album, however, are rumored to have been performed by the original five members, although this has never been verified. One of those tracks is Can't Explain, on which Fleckenstein has a writing credit. The song is certainly one of the band's earliest recordings and captures Love's hard-edged "L.A.-in" take on folk-rock.
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer: Jack Bruce
The first Cream album starts off the with powerful one-two punch of I Feel Free and N.S.U. Although I Feel Free was a purely studio creation that never got performed live, N.S.U. became a staple of the band's concert performances, and was even performed by various other bands that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce was a member of over the years.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Pet Sounds
Source: Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s): Brian Wilson
Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew.
Title: Blue Jay Way
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s): George Harrison
The Beatles' psychedelic period hit its peak with the late 1967 release of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. As originally conceived there were only six songs on the album, too few for a standard LP. The British solution was to present Magical Mystery Tour as two Extended Play (EP) 45 RPM records in a gatefold sleeve with a 23 page booklet featuring lyrics and scenes from the telefilm of the same name (as well as the general storyline in prose form). As EPs were out of vogue in the US, Capitol Records, against the band's wishes, added five songs that had been issued as single A or B sides in 1967 to create a standard LP. The actual Magical Mystery Tour material made up side one of the LP, while the single sides were on side two. The lone George Harrison contribution to the project was Blue Jay Way, named for a street in the Hollywood Hills that Harrison had rented that summer. As all five of the extra tracks were credited to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team, this meant that each of the band's 1967 albums had only one Harrison composition on them. This became a point of contention within the band, and on the Beatles' next album (the white album), Harrison's share of the songwriting had doubled.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Quite Rightly So
Source: CD: Shine On Brightly
In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually awake enough to do that.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: The Windmills Of Your Mind
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino
Vanilla Fudge all but abandoned their early practice of slowing down and psychedelicizing pop tunes after their first LP, but by their fifth album, Rock and Roll, they were at it again, as this revisioning of The Windmills Of Your Mind (a US hit for Dusty Springfield and an even bigger UK hit for Noel Harrison) shows. Although not audible on the recording itself, drummer Carmine Appice later said he liked the melody of the song so much that he was lying on the floor of the studio singing along with Mark Stein as the song was being taped.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Nashville Cats
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s): John B. Sebastian
Label: Cotillion (original label: Kama Sutra)
After the success of their debut LP, Do You Believe In Magic, The Lovin' Spoonful deliberately set out to make a followup album that sounded like it was recorded by several different bands, as a way of showcasing their versatility. With Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1966, they did just that. Songs on the album ranged from the folky Darlin' Be Home Soon to the rockin' psychedelic classic Summer In The City, with a liberal dose of what would come to be called country rock a few years later. The best example of the latter was Nashville Cats, a song that surprisingly went into the top 40 (but did not receive any airplay from country stations) and became a staple of progressive FM radio in the early 70s.
Title: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the Standells' follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source: LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s): Tommy Boyce
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Tommy Boyce actually had a songwriting career separate from his many collaborations with Bobby Hart. One of his early songs was Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, which was first recorded as a single by the Colorado-based Astronauts (which gave producer Steve Venet co-writing credit) before getting included on the first Monkees album. Along the way the song got recorded by a handful of garage bands, including Chicago's Shadows Of Knight, whose version closely parallels the Astronauts' original.
Artist: Music Machine
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer(s): George Harrison
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Original Artists)
Sean Bonniwell's original conception for his band, the Music Machine's first album was a continuous collage of original songs connected by short orchestral pieces. The band's record label, Original Sound, however, had other ideas. The group had recorded a handful of cover songs for use on a local Los Angeles TV dance show that were never intended to be released on vinyl. When Turn On The Music Machine was released, Bonniwell was livid when he discovered that the album had included these covers in additional to his original songs, diluting the impact of Bonniwell's songs considerably. One of the better of these covers was Taxman, a George Harrison composition that had only a short time before been released by the Beatles as the opening track for their Revolver album.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Source: CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Label: Collectables (original label: International Artists)
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: Left Banke
Title: She May Call You Up Tonight
Source: 45 RPM single
Unlike their first two singles, Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina, the Left Banke's third single, She May Call You Up Tonight, failed to chart, possibly due to the release two months earlier of a song called Ivy Ivy, written by keyboardist Michael Brown and shown on the label as being by the Left Banke. Ivy Ivy was in reality performed entirely by session musicians, including lead vocals by Bert Sommer, who would be one of the acoustic acts on the opening afternoon of the Woodstock festival a couple years later. The resulting fued between Brown and the rest of the band left a large number of radio stations gun shy when came to any record with the name Left Banke on the label, and She May Call You Up Tonight tanked.
Artist: Common Cold
Title: Come Down
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Bill Rhinehart
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Bill Rhinehart had established himself on the L.A. scene as lead guitarist for the Leaves (and was in fact one of the first guitarists to use a fuzz-tone in the recording studio, on the Leaves' fast version of Hey Joe). After leaving the Leaves he ran into Sonny Bono, who got him a contract with Atco Records. Come Down, essentially a solo project utilizing studio musicians as backup, was the result. I suspect that Rhinehart didn't actually come up with the name Common Cold for the band until the song was ready to be released.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: The Black Plague
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: BGO (original US label: M-G-M)
One of the most interesting recordings of 1967 was Eric Burdon And The Animals' The Black Plague, which appeared on the Winds Of Change album. The Black Plague is a spoken word piece dealing with life and death in a medieval village during the time of the Black Plague (natch), set to a somewhat gothic piece of music that includes Gregorian style chanting and an occasional voice calling out the words "bring out your dead" in the background. The album itself had a rather distinctive cover, consisting of a stylized album title accompanied by a rather lengthy text piece on a black background, something that has never been done before or since on an album cover.
Title: You Know What I Mean
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: White Whale
1967 was a good year for the Turtles, mainly due to their discovery of the songwriting team of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon. Not only did the former members of the Magicians write the Turtles' biggest hit, Happy Together, they also provided two follow-up songs, She's My Girl and You Know What I Mean, both of which hit the top 20 later in the year.
Title: Sunny Afternoon
Source: Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
My family got its first real stereo (a GE AM/FM console with a reel-to-reel recorder instead a turntable that is still sitting in the living room at my mother's house nearly 50 years later) just in time for me to catch the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off).
Artist: Great! Society
Title: Daydream Nightmare
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: How It Was)
Label: Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1968
Before joining Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick was already making a name for herself in the San Francisco area as a member of the Great! Society. She was not the only talented member of the band, however, as this recording of Daydream Nightmare, recorded in 1966 (probably at Marty Balin's Matrix club) demonstrates.
Title: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source: CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released in US only as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Jim McCarty
Label: Raven (original label: Epic)
By 1967 the Yardbirds had moved far away from the blues roots and were on their fourth lead guitarist, studio whiz Jimmy Page. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor shows signs of Page's innovative guitar style (such as using a violin bow) that would help define 70s rock with his next band, Led Zeppelin.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: Mono LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s): Skip Spence
Skip Spence only wrote two of the songs on Moby Grape's debut LP, but they were among the best tracks on the album. The first, Omaha, was the band's only charted single, while the second, Indifference, was, at over four minutes, the longest track on the album, and was chosen to close out side two of the LP. An edited version of the song was also issued as a B side of another single, but did not chart.
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. Ironically, 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: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title: Autumn's Child
Source: CD: Safe As Milk
Writer(s): Van Vliet/Bermann
Label: Rev-Ola (original label: Buddah)
In 1966 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band found themselves without a record label, having been cut by A&M Records after releasing only one single. A change in the band's management, however, led to them hooking up with Bob Krasnow, whose association with Kama Sutra Records resulted in the Captain and his crew being the first act signed to Kama Sutra's new subsidiary label, Buddah. In fact, Safe As Milk was the first LP issued on the new label in 1967. By this point the band had undergone some lineup changes and now consisted of Jeff Handley on bass, Alex St. Clair on guitar, John French on drums and Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) on various other instruments. Ry Cooder, then a member of the legendary L.A band The Rising Sons, provided additional guitar tracks on the album. Eight of the songs on Safe As Milk, including side two closer Autumn's Child, credit Herb Bermann as co-writer with Van Vliet, which, given Van Vliet's reputation for not using collaborators, was a point of confusion for many years. Eventually, in 2003, Bermann was located and interviewed, and confirmed that 1) he was a real person, and 2) he did indeed co-write those eight songs on Safe As Milk.
Artist: Lemon Pipers
Title: Green Tambourine
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit.
Title: An Invitation To Cry
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
In the late 1960s Columbia emerged as one of the top rock labels, with bands such as Blood, Sweat & Tears, Moby Grape and Chicago selling millions of copies of their LPs. It may come as a surprise, then, that just two years before the release of the first Moby Grape album, Columbia had not signed a single rock act. Prior to 1965, Columbia had established itself as a leading force in Jazz, Classical, and what had been known as popular music as personified by such middle of the road acts as Mitch Miller, Anita Bryant and Percy Faith. In addition, Columbia had a virtual lock on Broadway show soundtrack albums, but, other than Bob Dylan, who had originally been signed as a pure folk artist, the label had nothing approaching rock and roll. That began to change, however, with the label's signing of Paul Revere and the Raiders on the West coast and a Greenwich Village based band called the Magicians on the East. While the label turned to staff producer Terry Melcher for the Raiders, they instead went with the management/production team of Bob Wyld and Art Polhemus, who would later find success at Mercury Records with the Blues Magoos. The Magicians, however, were not so successful, despite the presence of band members Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, who would go on to write major hits Happy Together and She's My Girl (among others) for the Turtles, as well as songs for other artists. It was Gordon, along with non-member James Woods, that wrote the Magicians' first single, An Invitation To Cry, which was released in November of 1965.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer: Paul Simon
Year: 1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used 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: Blues Project
Title: Mean Old Southern
Source: LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Live At Town Hall)
Writer: public domain
Label: Verve Forecast
The third Blues Project album was also the last to feature keyboardist Al Kooper, who would soon show up as a guest artist on Moby Grape's Grape Jam album and expand the jam band concept to a full-blown Super Session album a few months after that. Although the album title implied that it was made up of live performances, the reality was that half the tracks were actually studio recordings with audience sounds overdubbed to create the illusion of live performances. One of the few actual live tracks on Live At Town Hall was an old song called Mean Old Southern. Apparently nobody with the band or its label could find out who wrote the song, as it is officially credited to "public domain".
Artist: Love Sculpture
Title: Wang Dang Doodle
Source: British import CD: Blues Helping
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
During my first year of college I moved into a house shared by five other people (not all of which were students) near the University of New Mexico. Shortly after moving in I bought an old Philips reel-to-reel machine and began taping various albums from my roommates' collections. Not long after that I discovered a gold mine in the basement. A former resident of the house had left a box of reel-to-reel tapes, some of which were only vaguely labeled, if at all. One of the tapes was labeled simply "Love Sculpture". It turned out that some of the songs on that tape were actually from the Blues Project's Projections album, but others, such as this rather tasty version of Koko Taylor's Wang Dang Doodle, were indeed by a band called Love Sculpture. I was not aware at the time, however, that the song was from an album called Blues Helping, or that Love Sculpture's lead guitarist and vocalist was none other than Dave Edmunds, who I had only known as the guy who did the remake of I Hear You Knockin' in the early 1970s.
Title: Soul Sacrifice
Source: CD:Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Although this is the original recording of Santana performing Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock, it does not sound quite the same as what you may have heard on the Woodstock original movie soundtrack album. That's because they doctored the recording a bit for the original soundtrack album, adding in audience sounds, including the crowd rain chant that seques into the piece on the original LP. More recent copies of the movie itself sound even different because the people doing the remastering of the film decided to record new versions of some of the percussion tracks.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: Cadence And Cascade
Source: LP: In The Wake Of Poseidon
The second King Crimson album, In The Wake Of Poseidon, was stylistically similar to the band's first LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King. This may not seem too unusual until one considers that, with the exception of guitarist Robert Fripp, every member of the band had quit after the first album had been released. Fripp was to entice Greg Lake to record the majority of vocals for the second album, however, by promising to give him King Crimson's PA system. The one exception was a song called Cadence And Cascade, which was sung by Fripp's old friend and high school bandmate Gordon Haskell. Drummer Michael Giles also returned to work on the album, but purely as a session player, bringing his brother Peter in to provide the bass guitar tracks. Also brought in as sessions players were wind player Mel Collins and pianist Keith Tippett, who would continue to contribute to King Crimson's next few albums without ever becoming an official band member. In The Wake Of Poseidon ended up being a successful album, leaving Fripp in the odd position of having a hit record without a band to promote it. Since then Fripp has been the driving force behind many King Crimson albums, nearly all of which have different combinations of musicians playing on them.