Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1733 (starts 8/16/17)


This week's show includes the first part of an interview with Country Joe McDonald, as we continue our summer long song by song showcase of the album 50. Lots of other good stuff, too, including side two of Eric Burdon and the Animals The Twain Shall Meet and a rare Jimi Hendrix jam.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Salesman
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Craig Smith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    The first song on the Monkees' fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. was also the most controversial. Michael Nesmith, as a side project, had been producing songs for a group led by Craig Vincent Smith called the Penny Arkade. One song in particular, Salesman, impressed Nesmith so much that he decided to produce a Monkees version of the song as well. The track was then used in a Monkees TV episode called The Devil And Peter Tork. NBC-TV at first refused to air the episode, claiming that the line "Salesman with your secret goods that you push while you talk" was a veiled drug reference (although producer Bert Schnieder was convinced the real reason was the liberal use of the word "hell" in the show's script).

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    It's Wonderful
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Once Upon A Dream)
Writer:    Cavaliere/Brigati
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1967
    Psychedelic rock is generally considered to have begun on the West Coast (although Austin, Texas has a legitimate claim as well). By the time of the Summer of Love, however, psychedelic rock was a national trend. New York had always been one of the major centers of the music industry, so it's not surprising that on the East Coast 1967 was the year of the psychedelic single. One of the most popular New York bands of the time was the Young Rascals, generally considered to be the greatest blue-eyed soul band of the era, if not of all time. Still, the times being what they were, the Rascals departed from their usual style more than once in '67, first with the smash hit How Can I Be Sure, and then with their own psychedelic single, It's Wonderful, released in November of the same year.

Artist:    Superfine Dandelion
Title:    Crazy Town (Move On Little Children)
Source:    CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Collins/Musel
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    The Mile Ends were a Phoenix, Arizona band that were regulars at a local teen club called the Fifth Estate, which was run by a guy named Jim Musil. Musil became the group's manager, booking studio time to record a drinking song called Bottle Up And Go in 1966. Not long after that the group, now consisting of guitarists Mike McFadden and Ed Black, along with drummer Mike Collins, began calling themselves the Superfine Dandelion for a studio project sponsored by Musil. The group recorded an album's worth of material that came to the attention of Bob Shad, who was looking for material to issue on his Mainstream label. Shad bought the tapes, releasing the album in November of 1967. Shad chose Crazy Town (Move On Little Children) as a single, but a lack of interest by both radio and the record buying public brought the story of the Superfine Dandelion to a close by mid-1968.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Purple Haze
Source:     LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK as a single, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced?, they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. The song next appeared on the Smash Hits album, which in Europe was on the Polydor label. This was the way things stayed until the early 1990s, when MCA (now Universal) acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced? with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced? is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that the song has now been released by all three of the currently existing major record companies.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Jam 292
Source:    CD: Blues
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    1969
    Jam 292 is basically a blues jam recorded at the Record Plant in New York in May of 1969. If you listen real close you can hear the occasional tinkling of piano keys played by Sharon Layne. Really, though, this one's all about the guitar solos.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with the A sides of the three singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK, which were then added to the album, replacing three of the original tracks. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967. The tune opens up side two of the American LP.

Artist:    Del-Vetts
Title:    Last Time Around
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dennis Dahlquist
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, considering the song's subject matter, Last Time Around may well be the very first death metal rock song ever recorded.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK only on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 25 seconds or so from the original recording.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    Bunnell/Bartek
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    The song Incense And Peppermints was originally a B side released in 1967 on the regional All-American label in southern California. DJs began flipping the record over, however, and the song soon attracted the interest of the people at MCA, who reissued the record on their Uni label. The song was such a huge national hit that Uni gave the band the go ahead to record an entire album. That album, also titled Incense And Peppermints, contained several fine songs, including Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. This unsung psychedelic classic opens with a flute solo from Steve Bartek, who co-wrote Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. Strange as it may seem, Bartek was not considered a member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, although he co-wrote (with bass player George Bunnell) four of the album's 12 tracks and plays on most of them.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Pow R. Toc H.
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Barrett/Waters/Wright/Mason
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    British psychedelic music was always more avant-garde than its US counterpart, and Pink Floyd was at the forefront of  the British psychedelic scene. Pow R. Toc H., one of the few tracks on their first LP that was written by the entire group (most of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was written by Syd Barrett), was a hint of things to come.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Fixing A Hole
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    The first Beatle album to appear with the same tracks in the same order on both US and UK versions was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The only differences between the two were a lack of spaces in the vinyl (called "banding") on the UK version and a bit of gobbledygook heard at the end of the record (but only if you did not have a turntable that automatically lifted the needle out of the groove after the last track). The main consequence of this is that disc jockeys in the US had an easier time cueing up tracks like Fixing A Hole in the days before the album came out on CD.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You're Lookin' Fine
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    One of the earliest recordings included on the Kinks' 1966 album Face To Face, You're Lookin' Fine is also the least tied into the album's loose theme of sardonic looks at social issues. In fact, You're Lookin' Fine is actually a pretty straightforward rock song, which by late 1965 (when it was recorded) was becoming somewhat of a rarity for songwriter Ray Davies.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     D.C.B.A.-25
Source:     Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer:     Paul Kantner
Label:     Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1967
     D.C.B.A.-25 was named for the chords used in the song. As for the "25"...it was 1967. In San Francisco. Paul Kantner wrote it. Figure it out.

Artist:    People
Title:    I Love You
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chris White
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 the major labels had signed just about every San Francisco band with any perceived potential. Capitol, having had some success with the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose on its Tower subsidiary, decided to sign another south bay band, People, to the parent label. The most successful single for the band was a new recording of an obscure Zombies B side. I Love You ended up hitting the top 20 nationally, despite the active efforts of two of the most powerful men in the music industry, who set out to squash the song as a way of punishing the record's producer for something having nothing to do with the song or the band itself.

Artist:    Inner Light
Title:    Temptation
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Dick Steffes
Label:    Arf! Arf!
Year:    1969
    You probably wouldn't expect a recording by a band from a farming community named Page, North Dakota, to be very psychedelic, even if the band's name was the Inner Light. And indeed, if you only heard the A side of this band's only single, you'd be absolutely right. The B side, however, the fuzztone flavored Temptation, is another story altogether. The record was one of the few freestanding releases by the Century Custom Recording Service, which usually released made to order records by school orchestras and church groups.

Artist:     Dave Clark Five
Title:    Glad All Over
Source:     Mono CD: 5 By Five (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clark/Smith
Label:    Hollywood (original label: Epic)
Year:     1963
     The Dave Clark Five were originally formed as a way of raising money for Clark's football (soccer) team. Toward the end of 1963 they scored a number one hit in England with Glad All Over, which was released to an enthusiastic US audience a few months later. For a while they even rivaled the Beatles in popularity.

Artist:    Country Joe McDonald
Title:    Era Of Guns (includes comments from artist)
Source:    CD: 50
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rag Baby
Year:    2017
    Country Joe McDonald's latest album, 50, contains several tunes that address topics like the environment, racism, the current political climate and other relevant issues. Era Of Guns addresses the proliferation of violence in modern times, repeating the world weary phrase "Just another day in the era of guns."

Artist:    Liquid Scene
Title:    Which Side Of Time Are You On
Source:    CD: Revolutions
Writer(s):    Becki diGregorio
Label:    Ziglain
Year:    2014
    My favorite new band (by a long shot), Liquid Scene was formed by a group of San Francisco Bay area musicians that shared a love of 60s psychedelic music. Led by multi-instrumentalist Becki diGregorio, the band also includes guitarist Tom Ayers, bassist Endre Tarczy (who also provides some keyboard parts) and drummer Trey Sabatelli. Liquid Scene's first album, Revolutions, was released in late 2014. All nine tracks, including Which Side Of Time Are You On, are worth repeated listenings. I'm looking forward to their next effort.
      
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night))
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in late 1966 and hitting the charts in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on both the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation and Rhino's first Nuggets LP.

Artist:            Easybeats
Title:        Friday On My Mind
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Rhino (original label: United Artists)
Year:        1966
       Considered by many to be the "greatest Australian song" ever recorded, the Easybeats' Friday On My Mind, released in late 1966, certainly was the first (and for many years only) major international hit to emerge from the island continent. Rhythm guitarist George Young, who co-wrote Friday On My Mind, would go on to produce another Australian band featuring his two younger brothers, Angus and Malcolm.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Just Like A Woman
Source:    LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     The Twain Shall Meet (side two)
Source:     LP: The Twain Shall Meet
Writer(s):     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1968
     The Twain Shall Meet was the second album from Eric Burdon and the Animals, the new group formed in early 1967 after Eric Burdon changed his mind about embarking on a solo career. Produced by Tom Wilson (who had also produced Bob Dylan's first electric recordings and the Blues Project's Projections album), The Twain Shall Meet was an ambitious work that shows a band often reaching beyond its grasp, despite having its heart in the right place. For the most part, though, side two of the album works fairly well, starting with the anti-war classic Sky Pilot and continuing into the instrumental We Love You Lil. The final section, All Is One, is a unique blend of standard rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards) combined with strings, horns, sitar, bagpipes, oboe, flute, studio effects, and drone vocals that builds to a frenetic climax, followed by a spoken line by Burdon to end the album.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Pamela
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer:    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967   
    Trying to take in the entire first Ultimate Spinach album (or even just one side of it) can be a bit overwhelming. Taken individually, however, songs like Pamela, which closes the album, are actually quite listenable.
   
Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Iron Butterfly Theme
Source:    CD: Heavy
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1733 (starts 8/16/17)


This week we are into geography, with visits to the Land of the Midnight Sun, Raging River of Fear, and Land of 1000 Nights (among other things). We end up Asleep in the Desert.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Everything's Gonna Be Alright
Source:    CD: Woodstock 2
Writer(s):    Walter Jacobs
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    The Butterfield Blues Band had already gone through several personnel changes by the time they played the Woodstock festival in August of 1969. They had also evolved stylistically, adding a horn section and, for the most part, moving away from the long improvisational jams that had characterized their landmark 1966 LP East-West. Those elements were not entirely gone, however, as their nearly nine minute long performance of Walter Jacobs' Everything's Gonna Be Alright amply demontrates. In addition to a Butterfield harmonica solo to start things off, the piece showcases the talents of new guitarist Buzzy Feiten.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Why Didn't Rosemary
Source:    LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Lord/Blackmore/Evans/Paice/Simper
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1969
    Deep Purple's self-titled third LP was plagued with problems not of the band's own making. Most of these can be traced to the fact that their American label, Tetragrammaton, was in deep (no pun intended) financial trouble. This meant virtually no promotion budget for the album, and problems with distribution as well. Actually, the company went bankrupt not long after the album was released, making Deep Purple (the album) almost impossible to find on the record racks. Their were internal problems brewing as well; this would be the last Deep Purple album to feature original lead vocalist Rod Evans and bassist Nicky Simper, who were dismissed to make room for Ian Gillan and and Roger Glover. The shame of it all is that Deep Purple was actually a pretty good album, covering a lot of musical ground. One of the tracks, Why Didn't Rosemary, is about as good as British blues-rock gets. Apparently the band's new label thought so as well, as Why Didn't Rosemary, as well as most of the rest of the tracks from Deep Purple, was included on a double-LP anthology album called Purple Passages that collected the best of the band's Tetragrammaton material.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Her Madly
Source:    LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971   
    The first single released from L.A. Woman, the final Doors album to feature vocalist Jim Morrison, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.

Artist:     Flower Travellin' Band
Title:     Satori (part 1)
Source:     CD: Satori
Writer:     Flower Travellin' Band
Label:     Phoenix (original label: GRT)
Year:     1971
     The Flower Travellin' Band was arguably the first Japanese heavy metal band. Their first album, released in 1968, consisted entirely of cover songs of the hardest rocking US and UK bands. It wasn't until 1971 that the group finally cut an album of original material. The album was called Satori and consisted of five tracks (called Satori parts one through five). Satori is now hailed as one of the earliest (and best) examples of Japanese heavy metal.

Artist:    Al DiMeola
Title:    Land Of The Midnight Sun
Source:    LP: Land Of The Midnight Sun
Writer(s):    Al DiMeola
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1976
    One of the finest guitarists to emerge from the jazz-rock fusion movement of the early 1970s was Al DiMeola, who came to prominence as a member of Chick Corea's band, Return To Forever. For his first album released under his own name, DiMeola called upon fellow jazzmen Barry Miles (electric piano, Mini-Moog synthesizer) Anthony Jackson (bass),  Lenny White (drums) and  Mingo Lewis (percussion) to record Land Of The Midnight Sun. The album, released in 1976, shows DiMeola's talents as both a composer and instrumentalist, as can be plainly (and effectively) heard on the album's title track.


Artist:    Mahogany Rush
Title:    Land Of 1000 Nights
Source:    Canadian import CD: Strange Universe
Writer(s):    Frank Marino
Label:    Just A Minute (original label: 20th Century)
Year:    1975
    Formed in Montreal in 1970, Mahogany Rush was, in its early days, a power trio led by guitarist Frank Marino, along with bassist Paul Harwood and drummer Jimmy Ayoub. Marino's style has often been compared to that of Jimi Hendrix, whom Marino cites as a major influence. Perhaps their most successful album was Strange Universe, recorded in Montreal and released on the 20th Century label in 1975. Later in the decade the trio was joined by Marino's brother Vince on rhythm guitar and began touring as Frank Marino And Mahogany Rush.

Artist:    Captain Beyond
Title:    Raging River Of Fear
Source:    LP: Captain Beyond
Writer(s):    Caldwell/Evans
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1972
    No band has ever impressed me during a live performance more than Captain Beyond did in 1972. Some friends and I had made the trip from Alamogordo to El Paso to catch a concert. Back in those days a typical rock concert featured three bands: one headliner, a middle band that had an album or two under their belt but had not yet achieved headliner status, and an opening act that was generally either a new band promoting their debut LP or a popular local band. I honestly don't remember who the headliner was on this particular night, but they were obviously enough of a draw to get the bunch of us to drive the 85 miles of two-lane blacktop across the Texas-New Mexico line to come see them. As it turns out, it didn't matter, because the opening act (whom none of us had ever heard of) totally blew both the other bands off the stage. The thing I was most impressed by was how big of a sound they had on songs like Raging River Of Fear, considering they had only one guitar, along with bass, drums and vocals. Later that week I discovered the second most impressive thing about Captain Beyond: their concert performance sounded exactly like their album, which I bought as soon as I found a copy on the racks. Once I had a copy of the album I realized that I was already familiar with the work of some of the band members, including Lee Dorman and Rhino (both from Iron Butterfly) and Rod Evans (the original Deep Purple vocalist). Drummer Bobby Caldwell's name was unfamiliar, but he certainly left an impression with his power and precision, a combination that fit the band quite well.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    Take A Pebble
Source:    CD: Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Writer(s):    Greg Lake
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1970   
    From the flamboyant piano of Jerry Lee Lewis to the cheesy Farfisa sound of ? and the Mysterians, keyboards were an integral part of rock music right from the start. Nonetheless, the electric guitar was still the instrument of choice for most rock musicians. A new development in the late 1960s, however, would forever change the balance between guitar and keyboards: the invention of the Moog synthesizer (and subsequent electronic keyboard instruments). One of the first rock musicians to experiment with the new technology was Keith Emerson, keyboardist for the Nice. In 1970 Emerson teamed up with bassist Greg Lake and drummer Carl Palmer to form a new band that, shockingly, had no electric guitars at all (although Lake did occassionally play an acoustic guitar). The new band's self-titled debut album was a surprise hit, thanks in large part to the tune Lucky Man, which managed to get airplay on both AM and FM radio. The Lake composition Take A Pebble, at twelve and a half minutes, was way too long for AM airplay, but did get considerable exposure on the album-oriented rock stations that were starting to show up on the FM band. Emerson, Lake and Palmer would continue to have success throughout the 70s, particularly in Italy, where they were the number one band in the country for several years.

Artist:    ZZ Top
Title:    Asleep In The Desert
Source:    LP: Tejas
Writer(s):    Billy Gibbons
Label:    London
Year:    1976
    Guitarist Billy Gibbons takes center stage for the final track on ZZ Top's 1976 LP Tejas, a low-key instrumental called Asleep In The Desert. Warning: this one will stick in your head.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1732 (starts 8/9/17)


First we go up, then we go down. Then we go up again and we go down again...through the years, that is. Then, it's time for another track from the new Country Joe McDonald album before resuming our roller coaster ride.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    LP released 1967, single edit released 1968
    Time Has Come Today has one of the most convoluted histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Born On The Bayou
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    If there is any single song that sums up what Creedence Clearwater Revival was all about, it could very well be Born On The Bayou, the opening track of CCR's second LP, Bayou Country. The song, which was written by John Fogerty late at night, became the opening for nearly every Creedence concert over the next few years, and is considered by many to be the band's signature song. Oddly enough, John Fogerty had never set foot on a bayou in his life when he wrote the song, but had always been a fan of the movie Swamp Fever, as well as having a fascination with "every other bit of southern bayou information that had entered my imagination from the time I was born."

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Sweet Dream
Source:    LP: Living in the Past
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1969
    Jethro Tull released several singles that were not originally available on their LPs. Among the best of these was Sweet Dream, a 1969 track that was released in the UK and continental Europe, as well as selected Middle Eastern countries, but not in the US or Canada. The song finally appeared in North America on the Living In The Past album in 1973, and is now available as a bonus track on the Stand Up CD.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Good Good Lovin'
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stein/Bogert/Martell/Appice
Label:    Real Gone/Rhino
Year:    1969
    Originally recorded for the album Near The Beginning, the Vanilla Fudge original Good Good Lovin' instead appeared as the B side of the band's hard-driving cover of Jr. Walker's Shotgun. As a general rule, the Fudge were better at arranging other people's material than in composing their own, but Good Good Lovin' is actually a pretty powerful piece musically, with some antiwar lyrics thrown in for good measure.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Overs
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Originally written for (but not used in) the film The Graduate, Overs is the middle part of a series of songs on side one of the Bookends album that follow the cycle of life from childhood to old age. The song deals with a long relationship that is coming to an end after years of slow stagnation. Musically the tune is quiet and contemplative, with a loose structure that has more in common with the cool jazz of Miles Davis than either folk or rock.
   
Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP Are You Experienced?)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    The Bells Of Rhymney
Source:    LP: The Byrds' Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Davies/Seeger
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    It's hard to argue with the fact that the Byrds, on the early albums, did a lot of Bob Dylan covers. In fact, their first hit, Mr. Tambourine Man, was written by Dylan, as were three other tracks on their first LP. Dylan was not the only artist covered by the Byrds, however. Their second #1 hit, Turn Turn Turn, was written by Pete Seeger, as was The Bells Of Rhymney, a track on their first LP. The song was adapted by Seeger from a lyric by Welsh poet Idris Davies, and tells the story of a coal mining disaster in Wales. The Byrds began performing the song during their time as the house band at Ciro's, a club on Los Angeles's Sunset Strip, and it quickly became an audience favorite. George Harrison was reportedly influenced by Roger McGuinn's guitar riff for The Bells Of Rhymney when writing his own If I Needed Someone for the Rubber Soul album.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Dino Valenti
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Although Dino Valenti recorded a demo version of his song Let's Get Together in 1964, it wasn't until two years later that the song made its first appearance on vinyl as a track on Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The Airplane version of the song is unique in that the lead vocals alternate between Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and Marty Balin, with each one taking a verse and all of them singing on the chorus.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Pay You Back With Interest
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Hollies
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    Cema Special Products (original label: Imperial)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Hollies had actually achieved a level of popularity in the US that allowed them to issue singles that were not available in their native UK. One of these was Pay You Back With Interest, which made the US top 20 in 1967. The tune was written by the Hollies' usual songwriting partnership of Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash, who left the group the following year, citing creative differences with the rest of the band members.

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)
Year:    1968
    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:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and a "dreamy" bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Janey's Blues
Source:    LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    Following the success of her first hit single, Society's Child, singer/songwriter/poet Janis Ian released her self-titled debut LP in early 1967, follwing it up with two more albums, For All The Seasons Of Your Mind and The Secret Life Of J. Eddy Fink, over the next year or so. Although there were singles released from each of these, none of them got much chart action. Finally, in late 1968, her label decided to go back to her debut LP for her fifth single, Janey's Blues. I suspect the song's length (nearly five minutes) automatically kept many AM radio DJs from playing the song, which is a shame, as Janey's Blues is one of the undiscovered gems of the late 1960s.

Artist:    Outsiders (Dutch band)
Title:    Touch
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tax/Splinter
Label:    Rhino (original label: Relax)
Year:    1966
    The Outsiders were formed in Holland in 1964 by vocalist Wally Tax and guitarist Ronald Splinter. Although most of the band members were only 15, they managed to get a four night a week gig at a local club, and by 1966 had become one of the top bands in the country. Touch was the fifth of many hit singles for the band, which split up in 1969.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Do You Believe In Magic
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1965
    Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.
     
Artist:     Blues Image
Title:     Ride Captain Ride
Source:     CD: Open
Writer:     Blues Image
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:     1970
     After having mild commercial success with their self-titled debut album in 1969, Blues Image deliberately set out to write a hit song for their second LP, Open. The result was Ride Captain Ride, which made the top 40 in 1970. The album itself, however, did not do as well as its predecessor, and was the last one issued by the band's original lineup.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Top Of The Pops
Source:    Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
            For reasons that now really don't make a whole lot of sense, the Kinks were blacklisted by the American Federation of Musicians from 1965 through 1969, meaning they couldn't perform in the US. This, in turn, had a negative effect on the group's record sales, as they were unable to promote their new music through touring. As a result, the Kinks suffered a dearth of hits in the US throughout the late 1960s. As soon as the ban was lifted, the Kinks arranged a US tour, but illnesses suffered by various band members forced cancellation of all but a handful of the scheduled gigs. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it gave Ray Davies plenty of time to work on new material. The result was the 1970 album Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, featuring the song Lola, which was their most successful single since the 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon. The album itself is a concept album taking a somewhat skewed look at the music industry itself. One obvious example is the song Top Of The Pops, which was also the name of a popular weekly British TV show that showcased the top songs of the day.

Artist:    Country Joe McDonald
Title:    Daughter Of England
Source:    CD: 50
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rag Baby
Year:    2017
    Country Joe McDonald's new album, 50, has been described as "a contemporary survey of current topics". That label certainly applies to Daughter Of England, a song about the current state of affairs in what was once the crown jewel of the British colonial empire and has now become the most powerful (and some say most dangerous) nation on Earth.

Artist:    Mumphries
Title:    Living In A Drug Zone
Source:    CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s):    Schwar/Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1989
    The Mumphries evolved out of an earlier Albuquerque band called the Soft Corp. Unlike the Mumphries, the Soft Corps had a somewhat fluid membership, with some members taking the stage while others sat out particular numbers. The drummer for the Soft Corps was Jim Schwar, who is currently active on the Albuquerque jazz scene. Schwar provided most of the lyrics for Living In A Drug Zone, a somewhat sardonic look at what was left of the 60s/70s counterculture as the 1980s were coming to a close (Albuquerque being famously ten years behind the times). The song was one of bassist Quincy Adams's favorites, so it became part of the Mumphries repertoire as well. For those paying close attention to the lyrics, Cabin Lance was (and probably still is) a busker who was regularly seen hanging out in the area of the University of New Mexico, playing what he calls "Kentucky reggae".

Artist:    Gandalf
Title:    Can You Travel In The Dark Alone
Source:    LP: Gandalf
Writer(s):    Peter Sando
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    What's in a name? Well, when You're a rock band and your name is the Rhagoos, apparently not enough to keep the producers happy. The name the producers suggested, however, was even worse. I mean, you really can't blame the band members for hating a name like the Knockrockers, right? It took a while, but after throwing around several possibilities, the band decided to go with Gandalf And The Wizards, a name suggested by drummer Davy Bauer that was later shortened to just Gandalf. Gandalf only recorded one album, which was released on the Capitol label in 1969. Most of the tracks on that album were cover songs, with only two originals, both of which were provided by guitarist Peter Sando. Of those, Can You Travel In The Dark Alone is the more notable. For the completists among you, the other two members of this New York band were Bob Muller (bass) and Frank Hubach (keyboards). I'm not sure who provided the vocals, although my guess would be Sando.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Supplicio/Can You Dig It
Source:    LP: Head
Writer(s):    Peter Tork
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    Peter Tork only received two solo writing credits for Monkees recordings. The first, and most familiar, was For Pete's Sake, which was released on the Headquarters album in 1967 and used as the closing theme for the second season of their TV series. The second Tork solo piece was the more experimental Can You Dig It used in the movie Head and included on the 1968 movie soundtrack album. Not long after Head was completed, Tork left the group, not to return until the 1980s, when MTV ran a Monkees TV series marathon, introducing the band to a whole new generation and prompting a reunion tour and album. Supplicio, which precedes Can You Dig It on the LP, is a short bit of uncredited electronics effects that lead into the Tork tune.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Uni)
Year:    1967
    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:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Flowers)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 there was a population explosion of teenage rock bands popping up in garages and basements all across the US, the majority of which were doing their best to emulate the grungy sound of their heroes, the Rolling Stones. The Stones themselves responded by ramping up the grunge factor to a previously unheard of degree with their last single of the year, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? It was the most feedback-laden record ever to make the top 40 at that point in time, and it inspired America's garage bands to buy even more powerful amps and crank up the volume (driving their parents to drink in the process).

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Steve's Song
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Steve Katz
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    The members of the Blues Project came from a variety of backgrounds, including jazz, rock, classical and of course, blues. Guitarist Steve Katz had the strongest connection to the Greenwich Village folk scene and was the lead vocalist on the Project's recording of Donovan's Catch The Wind on their first LP. For their second album Katz wrote his own song, entitled simply Steve's Song. The tune starts with a very old-English style repeated motif that gets increasing complicated as it repeats itself before segueing into a more conventional mode with Katz on the lead vocal. Katz would write and sing similarly-styled tunes, such as Sometimes In Winter, during his tenure as guitarist for Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Sometimes I Think About
Source:    LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Theilheim/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    Although it sounds like it could have been a remake of an old blues tune, Sometimes I Think About is actually a Blues Magoos original. The song, from their debut Psychedelic Lollipop album, is slow and moody, yet actually rocks out pretty hard, a pattern that would become somewhat of a hard rock cliche in the 1970s (think Grand Funk Railroad's Heartbreaker).

Artist:    Bee Gees
Title:    Holiday
Source:    CD: Bee Gees 1st
Writer(s):    Barry and Robin Gibb
Label:    Reprise (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Prior to 1967 the Bee Gees were virtually unknown beyond Australia and New Zealand. That all changed in a big way when the three Gibb brothers, Barry, Robin and Maurice, relocated to London and signed new recording contracts with Polydor in the UK and Atco in the US. The first album to come out on these labels (entitled Bee Gees 1st, despite it actually being their third LP) had no less than three hit singles on it in the US, and two in the UK. The song that was only released as a single in North America was Holiday, a slow, heavily orchestrated tune that was described by one music critic as "elegantly schlocky". The Bee Gees would continue to make records in a similar vein into the early 1970s, before transforming themselves into poster children for disco music later in the decade.

Artist:      Blue Cheer
Title:     Summertime Blues
Source:      Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    Cochrane/Capehart
Label:    Philips
Year:     1968
     European electronics giant Philips had its own record label in the 1960s. In the US, the label was distributed by Mercury Records, and was known primarily for a long string of hits by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 1968 the label surprised everyone by signing the loudest band in San Francisco, Blue Cheer. Their cover of the 50s Eddie Cochrane hit Summertime Blues was all over both the AM and FM airwaves that summer.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Soul Sacrifice
Source:    LP: Santana
Writer(s):    Brown/Malone/Rolie/Santana
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Of all the bands formed in the late 1960s, very few achieved any degree of popularity outside of their local community. Fewer still could be considered an influence on future stars. Most rare of all are those who managed to be both popular and influential while maintaining a degree of artistic integrity. One name that comes immediately to mind is Santana (both the band and the man). It might be surprising, then, to hear that the first Santana album, released in 1969, was savaged by the rock press, particularly the San Francisco based Rolling Stone magazine, who called it boring and repetitious. It wasn't until the band performed Soul Sacrifice (heard here in its original studio version) at Woodstock that Santana became major players on the rock scene.

Artist:    Morning Dew
Title:    Crusader's Smile
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US on LP: Morning Dew)
Writer(s):    Mal Robinson
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1970
    In the late 1960s Roulette Records was pretty much wholly supported by one act: Tommy James And The Shondells, who had cranked out a string of hit records starting with Hanky Panky in 1966 (the song had actually, however, been released in 1964). There were other artists recording for the label, however, but for the most part their efforts went unnoticed by the record buying public. This is a bit of a shame, as some of those artists, such as Morning Dew, were actually pretty good. The Topeka, Kansas band took its name from the Tim Rose song made famous by the Grateful Dead, and on most tracks sounded pretty much exactly as one would expect. The group's only LP, released in 1970, started off on a bit more energetic note with the song Crusader's Smile, which was written by band leader Mal Robinson.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1732 (starts 8/9/17)


This time around we revisit a couple of old favorites from Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before breaking into some classic progressive rock with Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Genesis. From there it's more old favorites from some pretty familiar names.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Are You Experienced?
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Before the release of Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience the emphasis in rock music (then generally known as pop music) was on the 45 RPM single, with albums seen as a luxury item that supplemented an artist's career rather than defined it. Are You Experience helped change all that. The album was not only highly influential, it was also a major seller, despite getting virtually no airplay on US top 40 radio. The grand finale of the LP was the title track, which features an array of studio effects, including backwards masked guitar and tape loops. Interestingly enough, the album was originally issued only in a mono version in the UK, with European pressings using a simulated stereo mix. After Reprise bought the rights to release the LP in the US the label hired its own engineers to create stereo mixes of the songs from the four-track master tapes.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Rock Me Baby
Source:    Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    King/Josea
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    The first Blue Cheer LP, Vincebus Eruptum, is cited by some as the first heavy metal album, while others refer to it as proto metal. However you want to look at it, the album is dominated by the feedback-laden guitar of Leigh Stephens, as can be plainly heard on their version of B.B. King's classic Rock Me Baby. Although there seem to be very few people still around who actually heard Blue Cheer perform live, the power trio has the reputation of being one of the loudest bands in the history of rock music. 

Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    Aquatarkus
Source:    LP: Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends-Ladies And Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Writer(s):    Keith Emerson
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    We don't often think of a keyboardist as a front man, but there have been a few notable examples throughout the history of rock and roll, starting with Jerry Lee Lewis, who was as much a showman as any of his contemporaries. Another example is Keith Emerson, whose presence dominated his first successful band, the Nice. This sense of showmanship developed further with his next group, Emerson, Lake And Palmer. What makes Emerson's case unusual is the fact that he did not sing. But somehow he managed to stay in the spotlight with his boundless energy resembling nothing more than a modern Mozart or Liszt. Usually energy like this does not translate well into recorded media, but in the case of Aquatarkus, from the 1974 live album Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends-Ladies And Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake And Palmer, that energy comes through loud and clear. The piece itself is the grand finale of Tarkus, a multi-part masterpiece that took up an entire side of an album when recorded in the studio.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Musical Box
Source:    CD: Nursery Cryme
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    In a sense, the story of the rock band known as Genesis gets underway with the release of the 1971 album Nursery Cryme. Technically it was the third Genesis album. However, the first two albums, From Genesis To Revelation and Trespass, were not really rock albums at all. It was only after the departure of original guitarist Anthony Phillips and his replacement by Steve Hackett, along with the addition of drummer Phil Collins, that Genesis became a true electric rock band, albeit one with a heavy element of British folk music. Although Genesis sounded nothing like harder British progressive rock bands like Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer, their music was every bit as innovative and complex, as plainly can be heard on the ten minute long opening track from Nursery Cryme, The Musical Box. The lyrics of the song are based on a fairy tale by Peter Gabriel about two children in a country house, one of which (a girl) kills the other by beheading him with a croquet mallet. From there, it only gets weirder (and more adult). The Musical Box is still considered one of Genesis' most influential works, and has even inspired a group of young musicians to call themselves The Musical Box.

Artist:     Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     I Can Feel Him In The Morning
Source:     CD: Survival
Writer:     Farner/Brewer
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1971
     In the late 1980s I met a woman from L.A who had been in high school the year Grand Funk Railroad's fourth studio LP came out. When she discovered that I still had my original copy of Survival she told me how an 8-track copy of that album got her through the summer of '71 when she was living with her mother in an apartment overlooking one of the hookers' corners on Hollywood Blvd. She said that whenever she was feeling overwhelmed by life she would draw inspiration from the song I Can Feel Him In The Morning. The tune, with its flowing beat and spiritual lyrics, was a departure from the loud, raw sound the band from Flint was known for.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Living In The Past
Source:    LP: Living In The Past (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    By the end of the 1960s most UK labels had abandoned the British tradition of not including singles on LPs. One notable exception was Island Records, who continued to issue mutually exclusive Jethro Tull albums, singles and EPs into the early 1970s. Among those non-LP tracks was the 1969 single Living In The Past, which would not be included on an LP until 1972, when the song became the title track of a double LP Jethro Tull retrospective. The song then became a hit all over again, including in the US, where the original single had failed to chart.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Changes
Source:    CD: Hunky Dory
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1971
    Sometimes a seemingly innocous little song will turn out to be something far more than it started out to be. Such is the case with Changes, one of the most recognizable songs of the 20th century. Originally appearing on the 1971 album Hunky Dory and released as a single in 1972, Changes, according to Bowie, started off as a parody of a nightclub song, "a kind of throwaway", that featured Bowie himself on saxophone, with strings provided by Mick Ronson. Rick Wakeman's keyboards also feature prominently in the recording. The song was Bowie's first North American release on the RCA Victor label (although Mercury had released The Man Who Sold The World two years previously, the record had gone nowhere at the time). Changes is often taken as a statement of artistic intent, as Bowie was constantly reinventing himself throughout his career. Oddly enough, the song did not make the British charts until its re-release following Bowie's death in 2016.

Artist:    Patti Smith Group
Title:    Ask The Angels
Source:    LP: Radio Ethiopia
Writer(s):    Smith/Kral
Label:    Arista
Year:    1976
    Patti Smith's second LP, Radio Ethiopia, was, in some ways, a deliberate attempt at commercial success. As such, it received mixed reviews from the rock press for songs such as Ask The Angels, the LP's opening track. The song, which was released as the album's third single, was co-written by bassist Ivan Kral, who was the band member pushing the hardest for commercial success.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Song Remains The Same
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    The Song Remains The Same was originally meant to be an instrumental overture to open the band's fifth album, Houses Of The Holy. Vocalist Robert Plant, however, had different ideas, and added what has been called his tribute to world music, expressing a belief in music as a universal language. A couple of the track's original elements survived, however. The song still serves as the opening track for the album, and is still followed immediately by The Rain Song. The two were often performed in sequence at the band's concerts as well. The Song Remains The Same is also the name of Led Zeppelin's legendary concert film as well.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Leaving My Troubles Behind
Source:    LP: Blues Image
Writer:    Blues Image
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Miami's Blues Image was highly regarded by critics and musicians alike. Unfortunately, they were never able to translate that acclaim into album sales, despite recording a pair of fine albums for Atco. One of the highlights of their self-titled debut LP was a track called Leaving My Troubles Behind. By all rights the song should have become a rock standard, but for some reason never truly caught on. Following the release of the band's second LP, guitarist Mike Pinera left Blues Image to replace Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly, and after one more unsuccessful album the group disbanded.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1731 (starts 8/2/17)


All the electric lights were out when I recorded this, so I went with longer tracks so I wouldn't have to write down as much stuff. Eyestrain, you know.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out (1990 stereo remix)
Source:    CD: The Legend Of Paul Revere (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first true rock band signed by the label. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher, the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Steve's Song
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    Steve Katz
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    The members of the Blues Project came from a variety of backgrounds, including jazz, rock, classical and of course, blues. Guitarist Steve Katz had the strongest connection to the Greenwich Village folk scene and was the lead vocalist on the Project's recording of Donovan's Catch The Wind on their first LP. For their second album Katz wrote his own song, entitled simply Steve's Song. The tune starts with a very old-English style repeated motif that gets increasing complicated as it repeats itself before segueing into a more conventional mode with Katz on the lead vocal. Katz would write and sing simlarly-styled tunes, such as Sometimes In Winter, as a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     Epistle To Dippy
Source:     Mono CD: Mellow Yellow (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:     1967
     Following up on his successful Mellow Yellow album, Donovan released Epistle To Dippy in the spring of 1967. The song, utilizing the same kind of instrumentation as Mellow Yellow, was further proof that the Scottish singer was continuing to move beyond the restrictions of the "folk singer" label and was quickly becoming the model for what would come to be called "singer/songwriters" in the following decade.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Streetmasse
Source:    LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Kantner/Dryden/Blackman/Thompson/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
     After Bathing At Baxter's is generally considered the most pyschedelic of all the Jefferson Airplane albums. For one thing, the members were reportedly all on LSD through most of the creative process and were involved in the entire package, right down to the decision to divide the album up into five suites and press the vinyl in such a way that the spaces normally found between songs were only present between the suites themselves, making it almost impossible to set the needle down at the beginning of the second or third song of a suite (there is a slight overlap between most of the songs as well). The first suite on After Bathing At Baxter's is called Streetmasse. It consists of three compositions: Paul Kantner's The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel; A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly (a free-form jazz piece led by drummer Spencer Dryden); and the Paul Kantner/Marty Balin composition Young Girl Sunday Blues.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     White Rabbit
Source:     CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     BMG/RCA/Buddah
Year:     1967
     The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     How Suite It Is
Source:     LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s):     Kantner/Cassidy/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1967
     The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Cassidy's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Cassidy's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Spy
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Morrison Hotel)
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1970
    As the 1960s drew to a close, the Doors, who had been riding high since 1967, were at a low point. In fact, it could be argued that the last few months of 1969 were the worst in the band's career. Vocalist Jim Morrison had been arrested for indecent exposure for exposing himself onstage in Miami the previous March. This had resulted in the cancellation of over two dozen performances as well as a sizable number of radio stations refusing to play their records. In June, the band released their fourth album, The Soft Parade, which was critically panned for its overuse of horns and strings. The album was also the first to give individual members of the band songwriting credits (previously all songwriting credits were shared by the four band members). This was brought about by Morrison's wish to distance himself from the lyrics of the album's opening track, Tell All The People, which had been written by guitarist Robby Krieger. Adding to the problems, Morrison had been arrested for causing a disturbance on an airplane and charged under a new hijacking law that carried a fine up of to $10,000 and ten years in prison. In November, the Doors started work on their fifth album, to be called Morrison Hotel (with the second side subtitled Hard Rock Cafe). After the poor reception of The Soft Parade the band decided to take a back to basics approach. One thing that did not change, however, was the policy of band members taking individual song credits. Thus, we have songs like The Spy (originally called Spy In The House Of Love), which was inspired by Morrison's fiery relationship with his longtime girlfriend Pamela Coulson. Morrison Hotel would end up being a turning point for the Doors; their next LP, L.A. Woman, is universally considered one of their best.

Artist:    The Doors
Title:    Wild Child
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Although The Soft Parade is generally considered the weakest of all the Jim Morrison era Doors albums, it did have a couple of notable songs on it. Touch Me was a major hit for the band, and its B side, Wild Child, has long been a fan favorite. In fact, the band even made a video for Wild Child, something not commonly done for a B side.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The End
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Prior to recording their first album the Doors' honed their craft at various Sunset Strip clubs, working up live versions of the songs they would soon record, including their show-stopper, The End. Originally written as a breakup song by singer/lyricist Jim Morrison, The End runs nearly twelve minutes and includes a controversial spoken "Oedipus section". My own take on the famous "blue bus" line is that Morrison, being a military brat, was probably familiar with the blue shuttle buses used on military bases for a variety of purposes, including taking kids to school, and simply incorporated his experiences with them into his lyrics.  The End got its greatest exposure in 1979, when Oliver Stone used it in his film Apocalypse Now.

Artist:    Knack
Title:    Time Waits For No One
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chain/Kaplan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    In 1979 Capitol Records signed a group from Los Angeles called the Knack, promoted them heavily and released a single called My Sharona. It was a huge hit. Twelve years earlier Capitol Records signed a group from Los Angeles called the Knack, promoted them heavily and released a single called Time Waits For No One. It flopped. The strange thing is that Time Waits For No One is every bit as good a song as My Sharona, albeit in an entirely different style. Why one succeeded and the other one failed is one of those mysteries that will probably never be solved.

Artist:    Country Joe McDonald
Title:    Compared To Florence
Source:    CD: 50
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rag Baby
Year:    2017
    A highly personal song, Compared To Florence continues our weekly presentation of tracks from the new Country Joe McDonald album, 50. Nice stuff.

Artist:    Brian Wilson
Title:    Wonderful/Song For The Children/Child Is Father Of The Man/Surf's Up
Source:    CD: Brian Wilson Presents Smile
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love/Asher
Label:    Nonesuch
Year:    2004
    Rock history is full of stories about albums that were started with the best of intentions, but for one reason or another ended up on the shelf, sometimes indefinitely. Perhaps the most famous of these was the Beach Boys' follow up album to their critically acclaimed Pet Sounds LP. The album was to be called Smile, and the priveledged few who had heard the work in progress all agreed it was to be Brian Wilson's masterpiece, both as writer and producer. However, a series of problems, including internal disputes among the band members and Wilson's own mental state, kept pushing back the album's completion date. Finally the whole thing was scrapped, and a far less ambitious LP called Smiley Smile was hastily recorded in its place. The legend of the original Smile continued to grow over the years, however, with occasional fragments of the original tapes (which had first thought to have been destroyed) surfacing from time to time. Throughout this time Wilson had resisted the urge to reopen the Smile project, but in the early 2000s he began to integrate some of the songs into his live concerts, including a 2001 performance of Heroes And Villains at Radio City Music Hall in New York. This led to members of his current band suggesting that he work up the majority of Smile for new performances as a followup to his Pet Sounds Live concerts. Wilson approved the idea, and with the help of band member Darian Sahanaja in particular began updating the material for the 21st century, eventually reuniting with lyricist Van Dyke Parks to finish the project. The newly completed version of Smile was first performed live in February of 2004; the concert was a critical and commercial success, and Wilson's band continued to perform Smile throughout 2004 and 2005. Beginning in April of 2004 Wilson began work on a studio version of Smile, which required substantial reworking from the stage version. Finally, in September, of 2004, Brian Wilson Presents Smile was released. The completed version of Smile is divided into three sections: Americana, Cycle Of Life, and The Elements. The middle section, Cycle Of Life, is also the shortest, consisting of just four songs, Wonderful, Song For The Children, Child Is Father Of The Man, and Surf's Up, all of which date back to the original 1966 Smile sessions.  

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Magic Of Love
Source:    45 RPM single (from box set Move Over)
Writer(s):    M. Spoelstra
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Until 2011, the only available recordings of Magic Of Love by Big Brother And The Holding Company were of live performances in 1967 and 1968. What very few people realized, however, is that the band actually recorded a studio version of Magic Of Love for possible inclusion on their Cheap Thrills album in 1968. Ultimately, though, it was decided that Cheap Thrills would consist mostly of live recordings, and only two (three if you count Turtle Blues) of the studio tracks were used on the album. Thus the studio version of Magic Of Love was put on the shelf for over 40 years, finally surfacing as part of a special box set of four 45 RPM records called Move Over.

Artist:    Orange Wedge
Title:    From The Womb To The Tomb
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.S.P.
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Blue Flat Ownsley Memorial)
Year:    1968
    Recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, From The Womb To The Tomb was the only single from Orange Wedge, a forerunner of more famous Michigan bands such as the Stooges and the MC5.

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Race With The Devil
Source:    Mono German import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    One of the most popular songs on the jukebox at the teen club on Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany in 1969 was a song called Race With The Devil by a band called Gun. The song was so popular, in fact, that at least two local bands covered it (including the one I was in at the time). Nobody seemed to know much about the band at the time, but it turns out that the group was fronted by the Gurvitz brothers, Adrian and Paul (who at the time used the last name Curtis); the two would later be members of the Baker-Gurvitz Army with drummer Ginger Baker. I've also learned recently that Gun spent much of its time touring in Europe, particularly in Germany, where Race With The Devil hit its peak in January of 1969 (it had made the top 10 in the UK in 1968, the year it was released).

Artist:    Corporation
Title:    India
Source:    German import CD: The Corporation
Writer:    John Coltrane
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    A few years back I received an e-mail from a listener who works at WITT-FM near Indianapolis, which has been broadcasting Stuck In The Psychedelic Era since 2010. He mentioned a band he had heard in Chicago in the late 60s called the Corporation, adding that he had recently found a copy of their only album for Capitol on CD. He offered to make me a copy, but, as I am somewhat of a stickler for using legitimate sources for everything I play (i.e. no MP3s or burned copies), I decided to head over to my local music store (Area Records in Geneva, NY) to order my own copy of the CD instead. The track he mentioned in particular was called India, notable for taking up an entire side of the album. I've since learned that they track was also quite popular in discoteques, particularly those in Germany. The song itself was written by jazz legend John Coltrane, and as far as I know has never been attempted by any other rock band.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Inside Out
Source:    LP: People, Hell And Angels
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2013
    Even while sessions for Electric Ladyland were underway, Jimi Hendrix was starting to look beyond the limitations of working within the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This was evident on the album itself, with some tracks featuring guest musicians such as Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and even Buddy Miles. In the latter case, regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell found himself sitting one out so that Miles could provide the drum track for Rainy Day Dream Away (and its "sequel" Still Raining, Still Dreaming). Other songs, such as All Along The Watchtower, featured Hendrix himself providing the bass part, a move that did not sit well with bassist Noel Redding. Not all the recordings made at this time ended up being included on Electric Ladyland, however. One of these, Inside Out, did not get released until 2013, when the album People, Hell And Angels came out. The track, like Watchtower, features Hendrix on guitar, bass and vocals, and Mitchell on drums.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 4-6 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1731 (starts 8/2/17)


This one is a bit hard to describe. It starts with Genesis and ends with Spirit, so I guess that makes it some sort of religious statement, right? Nah...

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Dance On A Volcano
Source:    LP: A Trick Of The Tail
Writer(s):    Rutherford/Banks/Hackett/Collins
Label:    Atco
Year:    1976
    Following Peter Gabriel's announcement that he would be leaving Genesis following the completion of their 1974 Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour, the remaining members of the band decided to show that they could still write and produce quality music even without their charismatic frontman. They immediately began working up new material for their next album, A Trick Of The Tail, starting with a song called Dance On A Volcano. Meanwhile, they took out an anonymous ad in the British music newspaper Melody Maker for a "Genesis type" vocalist and got over 400 responses. Phil Collins had already done a handful of lead vocals on previous Genesis albums, and reportedly would have preferred to remain the band's full time drummer, but after recording one song, Squonk, for the new album, was chosen by the rest of the band to be the new Genesis frontman, and ended up doing the lead vocals on the entire album. Although Collins remained the drummer on all the group's recordings, he did personally pick former Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford to appear on stage while Collins was singing (although Collins himself continued to play on the instrumental passages).

Artist:    Starcastle
Title:    Forces
Source:    LP: Starcastle (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Tassler/Luttrell/Strater/Schildt/Stewart/Hagler
Label:    Epic
Year:    1976
    Formed in Champaign, Illinois in 1969, Starcastle was a fixture on the St. Louis music scene (including local radio stations) throughout the 1970s. They were hampered in their bid for national stardom, however, by a percieved similarity to the British band Yes. Lead vocalist Terry Luttrell in particular (who had been the original lead vocalist of REO Speedwagon) was criticized for trying to sound too much like Jon Anderson. I'll leave it to you to decide how much of this criticism is valid as you listen to Forces, from Starcastle's self-titled 1976 debut for the Epic label.

Artist:    Flash
Title:    Black And White
Source:    LP: Flash In The Can
Writer(s):    Banks/Bennett
Label:    Sovereign/Capitol
Year:    1972
    Once upon a time there was a band called Yes. This band had already released a pair of commercially unsuccessful albums and were on the verge of being dropped by their record label (Atlantic). The guitarist for Yes, one Peter Banks, saw what he took to be the writing on the wall and left to form his own band, Flash, in 1971, with vocalist Colin Carter. The lineup was soon filled out by bassist Ray Bennett and drummer Mike Hough. The group soon signed to Capitol Records' Sovereign sub-label and, along with guest keyboardist (and former Yes member) Tony Kaye, released their first LP in 1972. Although Kaye was invited to join Flash as a permanent member, he declined, and the group recorded their second LP, Flash In The Can, as a four-piece group (with Carter providing occasional keyboard parts) later the same year. Among the stronger tracks on that album is the Banks/Bennett collaboration Black And White, which opens side two of the original LP. The following year Capitol, without the band's knowledge or approval, released the group's third LP as "Flash featuring Peter Banks". This understandably caused a bit of friction within the band itself, culminating in the band breaking up rather abruptly in November of 1973 following a performance in Albuquerque, NM. As for Yes, they found another guitarist (Steve Howe) and keyboardist (Rick Wakeman) and didn't get their contract with Atlantic cancelled after all.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Morning Sun
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released on LP: With Their New Faces On)
Writer(s):    Davis/Hardin/Duncan/James
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Following the departure of brothers Steve and Muff Winwood, the Spencer Davis Group attempted to carry on with new members, releasing an album, With Their New Faces On, in mid-1968. The album, however, failed to chart, despite the presence of hard-rocking tunes such as Morning Sun.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    The Fool And Me
Source:    LP Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    Guitarist Robin Trower's breakthrough album, Bridge Of Sighs, featured vocals by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote a couple of the songs on the LP. The better of these was The Fool And Me, which closes out side one of the original LP. Drummer Reg Isidore completed the trio.

Artist:    Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Title:    Roll On Down The Highway
Source:    LP: Not Fragile
Writer(s):    Bachman/Turner
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1974
    Not Fragile was the most successful album from the Canadian band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, being their only LP to hit the #1 spot of the Billboard album chart. It was also the debut of second lead guitarist Blair Thornton, who replaced Tim Bachman in the band originally founded by his brother Randy, former lead guitarist of the Guess Who. A third Bachman brother, Rob, co-wrote (with bassist Fred Turner) the second top 20 single from the album, Roll On Down The Highway. The album title itself, according to Randy Bachman, was actually a parody of Yes's Fragile album title, which Bachman thought was "strange." He said he figured that BTO's music, on the other hand, could be dropped and kicked without breaking; thus the title Not Fragile.

Artist:     Grand Funk
Title:     We're An American Band
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Don Brewer
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1973
     In 1972 I was the bass player/vocalist in a power trio that played a lot of Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath and the like. Shortly after that band split up I started taking broadcasting classes from Tim Daniels, an Air Force Sergeant who had previously worked for the Armed Forces Vietnam Network (the same station that Adrian Cronauer worked at, although at that time nobody outside the military had ever heard of him). That led to my first regular airshift on the "Voice of Holloman" a closed-circuit station that was piped into the gym and bowling alley and some of the barracks at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. One of the hot new records that the station got promo copies of was We're An American Band, pressed on bright yellow translucent vinyl with the stereo version on one side and the mono mix on the other. I snagged one of the extra copies Capitol sent and have somehow managed to hang onto it over the years.

Artist:     Argent
Title:     Closer To Heaven
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Russ Ballard
Label:     Epic
Year:     1972
     After the Zombies split up in 1968 keyboardist Rod Argent set out to form a new band to be known simply as Argent. The new group scored its biggest hit in 1972 with the song Hold Your Head Up. The original single was released on April 11, 1972 and ran 2 minutes and 52 seconds. It was backed with a song called Keep On Rollin', written by Argent and fellow former Zombie Chris White. On May 1st the single was reissued with a longer version of Hold Your Head Up (3:15). For the reissue the B side was replaced with Closer To Heaven, a tune written by guitarist/keyboardist Russ Ballard.

Artist:    Gong
Title:    Tried So Hard
Source:    British import CD: Camembert Electrique (originally released in France)
Writer(s):    Christian Tritsch
Label:    Charly (original label BYG Actuel)
Year:    1971
    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 album itself ranges from the experimental (and even somewhat humorous) Radio Gnome tracks to the spacier cuts like Tropical Fish: Selene, and on occasion even rocks out hard on tracks like Tried So Hard, written by the group's bassist, Christian Tritsch.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Space Child/When I Touch You
Source:    CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    Locke/Ferguson
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1970
    Spirit keyboardist John Locke used a combination of piano, organ and synthesizers (then a still-new technology) to set the mood for the entire Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus recording sessions with his instrumental piece Space Child. The tune starts with a rolling piano riff that gives bassist Mark Andes a rare opportunity to carry the melody line before switching to a jazzier tempo that manages to seamlessly transition from a waltz tempo to straight time without anyone noticing. After a short reprise of the tune's opening riff the track segues into Jay Ferguson's When I Touch You, a song that manages to be light and heavy at the same time.