Monday, December 11, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1750 (starts 12/13/17)


Frank Zappa fans rejoice! Just three weeks after a side of We're Only In It For The Money we have side two of Absolutely Free, The M.O.I. American Pageant, including Brown Shoes Don't Make It.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those.
       
Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Just Like Me
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Dey/Brown
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1965
    Just Like Me was the first top 10 single from Paul Revere And The Raiders, a band that deserves much more credit than they are generally given. The group started in the early part of the decade in Boise, Idaho, when Revere (his real name) hooked up with saxophonist Mark Lindsay. Like most bands at the time, the Raiders' repertoire consisted mostly of instrumentals, as PA systems were a luxury that required more space than was generally allotted to a small town band. It wasn't long before the Raiders relocated to Portland, Oregon, where they became a popular attraction at various clubs. After a hiatus caused by Revere's stint in the military, the band resumed its place as one of the founding bands of the Portland music scene. They soon made their first visit to a recording studio, recording Richard Berry's Louie Louie at around the same time as another popular Portland band, the Kingsmen. Due as much to superior promotion efforts from Wand Records as anything else, the Kingsmen's version ended up being a huge hit while the Raiders' version was virtually ignored. Undeterred, the band continued to grow in popularity, recording another single in 1964 (Like Long Hair) and going on tour. It was while playing in Hawaii that the band was noticed by none other than Dick Clark, who hired them to be the house band on his new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is. He also got them a contract with Columbia Records, at the time the second-largest record company in the world. The Raiders were Columbia's first rock band, and they paired the band up with their hippest young producer, Terry Melcher. It was a partnership that would lead to a string of hits, starting with Steppin' Out in 1965. The next record, Just Like Me, was the first of a string of top 10 singles that would last until early 1967, when rapidly changing public tastes made the band seem antiquated compared to up and coming groups like Jefferson Airplane. Just Like Me, despite some rather cheesy lyrics, still holds up well after all these years. Much of the credit for that has to go to Drake Levin, whose innovative double-tracked guitar solo rocked out harder than anything else on top 40 radio at the time (with the possible exception of a couple of well-known Kinks songs).

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth. And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in December. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was becoming a breakout hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock
Source:    CD: Part One
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Ya gotta hand it to these guys. It takes cojones to record a cover of a Frank Zappa tune, especially within a year of the original Mothers of Invention version coming out. To top it off, the W.C.P.A.E.B. even released Help, I'm A Rock as a single, although the longer LP version is far superior.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Are You Happy
Source:    CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Besides the title track itself, probably the best known song on Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album is a Doug Ingle tune called Are You Happy. Opening with a distinctive drum pattern followed by a shouted "are you happy?", the song is one of the most upbeat tunes on the entire album, and was fittingly placed at the end of the LP's first side.

Artist:    Fat Mattress
Title:    Walking Through A Garden
Source:    Mono LP: Fat Mattress (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Noel Redding
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Despite being a member of one of the most popular, and highly respected bands in the world, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Noel Redding always felt a bit stifled by the dominance of Hendrix himself in the band, and wanted a chance to write and play his own material. Prior to hooking up with Hendrix in late 1966 Redding, as a guitarist, had been part of the early 1960s British group scene. In 1968, while the Experience was still together, Redding, along with vocalist Neil Landon, bass guitarist Jim Leverton and drummer Eric Dillon, formed the band Fat Mattress as a kind of side project. They eventually released two albums before disbanding in 1970. The songwriting chores for the band were split roughly evenly between Redding, Landon and Leverton, with Redding tending to work alone. Walking Through A Garden, from the first album, is a fairly typical Redding composition, with an emphasis on melody and lyrics rather than performance.

Artist:    Syd Barrett
Title:    Here I Go
Source:    CD: An Introduction To Syd Barrett (originally released on LP: The Madcap Laughs)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1970
    Pink Floyd's original bandleader, Syd Barrett, began showing signs of mental illness as early as 1967. By 1968, his state of mind had deteriorated to the point that the rest of the band decided to continue on without him. Meanwhile, Barrett, after attempting to record a handful of solo tracks, found himself in psychiatric care at Cambridge. The following year, somewhat recovered, Barrett got to work on his first solo LP, which eventually became The Madcap Laughs. One of the better tracks recorded around that time was Here I Go. Unlike many of Barrett's songs from the period, Here I Go had been written in a matter of minutes, and was recorded almost as quickly, requiring no overdubs. Among the backing musicians on the tune were members of Joker's Wild and Humble Pie. The track was produced by Mick Jones.

Artist:      Allman Brothers Band
Title:     Don't Want You No More/It's Not My Cross To Bear
Source:      CD: Beginnings (originally released on LP: The Allman Brothers Band)
Writer(s):    Davis/Hardin/Allman
Label:    Polydor (original label: Capricorn)
Year:     1969
     The first Allman Brothers band album sold poorly outside of the southeastern US and was pulled from the shelves within a year. Meanwhile, the second album, Idlewild South, did a bit better and the third album, recorded live at the Fillmore East, was a breakout hit. This prompted Capricorn, which in the meantime had morphed from a production house to a full-blown label, to reissue the first two albums as a 2-record set for the price of one. "Don't Want You No More is an instrumental (co-written by Steve Winwood) that serves as an introduction to both the band and the first album, and segues directly into the Gregg Allman tune "It's Not My Cross To Bear".

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Marrakesh Express
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    The first time I ever heard of Crosby, Stills And Nash was on Europe's powerhouse AM station Radio Luxembourg, which broadcast in an American-style top 40 format during the evening and into the early morning hours. As was common on top 40 stations, Radio Luxembourg had a "pick hit of the week", a newly-released song that the station's DJs felt was bound to be a big hit. One night in July of 1969 I tuned in and heard the premier of the station's latest pick hit: Marrakesh Express, by Crosby, Stills And Nash. Sure enough, the song climbed the British charts rather quickly, peaking at #17 (20 positions higher than in the US). The song itself was based on real events that Graham Nash experienced on a train ride in Morocco while still a member of the Hollies. Nash had been riding first class when he got bored and decided to check out what was happening in the other cars. He was so impressed by the sheer variety of what he saw (including ducks and chickens on the train itself) that he decided to write a song about it. The other members of the Hollies were not particularly impressed with the song, however, and its rejection was one of the factors that led to Nash leaving the band and moving to the US, where he hooked up with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Crosby and Stills liked the song, and it became the trio's first single.

Artist:      Them
Title:     Black Widow Spider
Source:      CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Tower)
Year:     1968
     Usually when a band used outside songwriters it's because their producer forced them into it, and almost always was a sore point with the band members. The liner notes for Them's second album for Tower, on the other hand, included a thank you note from the band to Tom Lane and Sharon Pulley, who wrote nearly every song on Time Out! Time In! For Them.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Unwind With The Clock
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    King/Weitz
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    After Incense And Peppermints became a huge international hit, the band was given the opportunity to record a full album, also titled Incense And Peppermints. The final track on the album, Unwind With The Clock, is a mostly instrumental piece with a jazzy feel to it that sounds like it was written specifically to be a set closer. The vocals that come in toward the end of the piece only reinforce that idea.

Artist:     Bobby Fuller Four
Title:     Baby My Heart
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer:     Sonny Curtis
Label:     Rhino
Year:     Recorded 1966; released 2009.
     The Bobby Fuller Four perfected their blend of rock and roll and Tex-Mex in their native El Paso before migrating out to L.A. After scoring a huge hit with I Fought The Law, Fuller was found dead in his hotel room of unnatural causes. Baby My Heart, unreleased until 2009, is an indication of what might have been had Fuller lived long enough to establish himself further.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Lady Jane
Source:    CD: Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (London)
Year:    1966
    One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated separately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8). Both tunes were also included on the 1967 LP Flowers.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    San Franciscan Nights
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals, keeping only drummer Barry Jenkins from the previous lineup. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, the band fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.

Artist:    13th Power (aka Max Frost And The Troopers)
Title:    Free Lovin'
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Wibier/Hemrick
Label:    Captain High (original label:Tower)
Year:    1968
    One of the most intriguing mysteries in rock 'n' roll history concerns a band called the 13th Power. At the core of this mystery is the fact that nobody knows for sure whether there even was a band called the 13th Power. The first time I saw the name was on the 1968 soundtrack album from the movie Wild In The Streets. On that LP, all the songs that had been "performed" in the movie by Max Frost And The Troopers were credited to the 13th Power. However, the hit single from the movie, Shape Of Things To Come, listed Max Frost And The Troopers as the artist. To make things even more confusing, Tower Records, in the wake of the success of the single, released an entire album by Max Frost And The Troopers called (you guessed it) Shape Of Things To Come. Two tracks from that LP were subsequently released as a single on Mike Curb's Sidewalk label, with the 13th Power shown as the artist of record (sorry). The writing credits on those two tracks (and indeed, on most of the tracks on the Shape Of Things To Come album itself) included Paul Wibier, Dale Beckner, Stewart Martin, G. McClain and Barney Hector, all of which had been involved in writing songs for other soundtrack albums for Curb. (Just to confuse the matter even further some of those earlier songs were credited to a band called Mom's Boys.) Muddying the waters even further is a 13th Power single that came out in October of 1967 on the Sidewalk label, several months before the Wild In The Streets soundtrack album was released. The A side of that single was written by Wibier and Hector, while the B side is credited to Wibier/ McClain/ Martin/ Beckner and Hector. As a general rule, rock songs credited to five people are the work of an entire band, making this the likely lineup of the 13th Power, if indeed such a band actually existed. There is also a persistent rumor that the Max Frost And Troopers tracks on both albums were actually the work of Davie Allen And The Arrows, a moderately successful instrumental group that was best known for a tune called Blues Theme (from a 1966 movie called The Wild Ones). According to this rumor, the vocalist on Free Lovin' and other songs from the film was either Christopher Jones (who starred in the film) or possibly Paul Wibier. If anyone has any more information on the 13th Power, feel free to contact me through the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era web page (www.hermitradio.com).

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Discrepancy
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    Discrepancy, one of Sean Bonniwell's most sophisticated recordings with his band the Music Machine, features two simultaneous vocal lines. The main one, sung by Bonniwell (in the left channel) as a single melody line, tells the story of a deteriorating relationship. In the opposite channel we hear a breathy multi-part vocal line that tells the same story from the perspective of the subconscious. The two come together lyrically from time to time to express key concepts such as the line "now I know I'm losing you", only to once again diverge onto their separate tracks. The bridge serves to further unite the two divergent lines with the repeating plea to "tell me what to do". Discrepancy is one of the few tracks recorded by the original Music Machine lineup that was never released on Original Sound Records, either as an LP track or on a 45 RPM single. Instead, the song was included on the LP Bonniwell Music Machine, released by Warner Brothers in 1967.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Taxman
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney, whose own style had a harder edge than Harrison's. Harrison, on the other hand, reportedly played bass (McCartney's usual instrument) on the track. This made the song difficult to perform live, but, as the world would soon know, the group had already decided to retire from live performing altogether in order to concentrate on perfecting their studio work.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Dream Scene
Source:    CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Here's one for trivia buffs: What was the first LP released on the Apple label? If you answered The Beatles (White Album) you'd be close, but not quite on the money. The actual first Apple album was something called Wonderwall Music from a film called (what else?) Wonderwall. The album itself was quite avant garde, with virtually no commercial potential. One of the most notable tracks on the album is Dream Scene, an audio collage that predates John Lennon's Revolution 9 by several months.

Artist:    Scrugg
Title:    I Wish I Was Five
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    John Kongos
Label:    Rhino (original label: Pye)
Year:    1968
    Johnny Kongos And The Beat Men were a highly successful band in South Africa, releasing several hit singles from 1962 through 1966, when Kongo decided to relocate to London. He soon formed Floribunda Rose with several other relocated South Africans, releasing one single in 1967. By 1968 the group had renamed itself Scrugg and signed with the Pye label. Before disbanding in 1969, Scrugg released three singles. The B side of their first single for Pye was the wistful I Wish I Was Five, released in April of 1967.
       
Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Mystic Mourning
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg/Rhodes
Label:    See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    If I had to choose one single recording that represents the psychedelic era, my choice would be Mystic Mourning, from the album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union. Everything about the tune screams (whispers? purrs?) psychedelic, starting with a short spacy intro of electric piano over cymbals, leading into a raga beat with a solo bass line that builds up to a repeating riff that ends up getting played at various times by guitar, bass, and/or piano. The lyrics are appropriately existential, and both guitar and piano get a chance to show their stuff over the course of the nearly six-minute track.

Artist:     Frumious Bandersnatch
Title:     Hearts To Cry
Source:     British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on self-titled EP)
Writer:     Jack King
Label:     Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Year:     1968
     Rock music and the real estate business have something in common: location can make all the difference. Take the San Francisco Bay Area. You have one of the world's great Cosmopolitan cities at the north end of a peninsula. South of the city, along the peninsula itself you have mostly redwood forest land interspersed with fairly affluent communities along the way to Silicon Valley and the city of San Jose at the south end of the bay. The eastern side of the bay, on the other hand, spans a socio-economic range from blue collar to ghetto and is politically conservative; not exactly the most receptive environment for a hippy band calling itself Frumious Bandersnatch, which is a shame, since they had at least as much talent as any other band in the area. Unable to develop much of a following, they are one of the great "should have beens" of the psychedelic era, as evidenced by Hearts To Cry, the lead track of their 1968 untitled EP.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dreaming
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were a few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals. Dreaming is also one of the shortest Cream songs on record, clocking in at one second under two minutes in length.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sweet Wine
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Godfrey/Baker
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    When Cream was formed, both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had new music for the band to record (guitarist Eric Clapton having chosen to shut up and play his guitar for the most part). Most of these new songs, however, did not yet have words to go with the music. To remedy the situation, both musicians brought in outside lyricists. Baker chose poet Pete Brown, while Bruce chose to bring in his wife, Janet Godfrey. After a short time it became apparent that Bruce and Brown had a natural affinity for each other's material, and formed a partnership that would last years. Baker, meanwhile, tried working with Godfrey, but the two only came up with one song together, Sweet Wine, which was included on the band's debut LP, Fresh Cream.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    N.S.U.
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Although most of Jack Bruce's Cream songs were co-written with lyricist Pete Brown, there were some exceptions. One of the most notable of these is N.S.U. from Cream's debut LP. The song has proven popular enough to be included in the band's repertoire when they reunited for a three-day stint at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.

Artist:      Mothers of Invention
Title:     The M.O.I. American Pageant
Source:       CD: Absolutely Free
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:     Ryko (original label: Verve)
Year:     1967
     Following up on their debut double-LP Freak Out, the Mothers came up with one of the first concept albums with Absolutely Free, which consisted of two "rock oratorios", each taking up one side of the album. Included in the M.O.I. American Pageant is Brown Shoes Don't Make It, which composer Frank Zappa described as a two-hour musical in condensed form (it runs slightly less than 7 minutes). The Pageant starts with Status Back Baby, which leads into Uncle Bernie's Farm, followed by Son Of Suzy Creamcheese before getting into Brown Shoes Don't Make It. As a coda, the piece ends with American Drinks And Goes Home. The entire oratoria runs about 19 minutes total.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    The Black Angel's Death Song
Source:    CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer(s):    Reed/Cale
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve)
Year:    1967
    The Black Angel's Death Song was one of the more infamous early Velvet Underground songs. The song was written by John Cale and Lou Reed, who later said "The idea here was to string words together for the sheer fun of their sound, not any particular meaning." The band performed it at the Cafe Bizarre in Greenwich Village in 1965, prompting the club's manager to tell them not to play the song again. Of course the Velvets responded by playing it again "with a vengeance", resulting in them being fired. The studio version of The Black Angel's Death Song was recorded in 1966, features Cale's viola prominently throughout the track. Both Reed and Sterling Morrison detuned their guitars a full step for the recording.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1750 (starts 12/13/17)


This week we pause to catch our breath before diving into next week's Holidays of Confusion special. Not that this week's tunes aren't pretty special themselves.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    When I Turn Out The Living Room Light
Source:    Mono LP: The Big Ball
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1973
    Between 1966 and 1970 the Kinks recorded several songs that were written for television and/or motion picture soundtracks. When the band signed with RCA Records in 1970, some of these tracks were turned over to Reprise, the Kinks' previous US label, as collateral (I'm not exactly sure what that means in this context, but that's the term bandleader Ray Davies used). Around this same time, Warner Brothers Records (Reprise's parent label) was in the process of issuing a series of budget LPs collectively known as the "loss leaders" that were only available through mail order forms printed on the innersleeves of Warner/Reprise releases. One of these LPs, The Big Ball, included When I Turn Out The Living Room Light, a tune written for a British TV show. For a couple of years this was the only place the song was available, until it was included on The Great Lost Kinks Album, issued in 1973. The Kinks themselves were unaware of the album's existence until it was already on the charts, and were not happy about it at all. As a result, the album was soon discontinued, and When I Turn Out The Living Room Light remained somewhat of a rarity until the 21st century, when it was finally "officially" released on a CD called BBC Sessions 1964–1977 in 2001.

Artist:    Little Feat
Title:    Dixie Chicken
Source:    CD: Dixie Chicken
Writer(s):    George/Martin
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    My very first (unpaid) gig as a radio announcer/disc jockey was a daily two-hour slot on a closed circuit station called the Voice of Holloman. The station was only available in a few barracks on Holloman Air Force Base, as well as through the PA system at the base gym. The station itself was only on for about eight hours a day at its peak during the spring of 1973 and was silent on weekends and holidays. How I got the gig is too long a story to get into here, but it was essentially a sort of internship with the station's manager, Sgt. Tim Daniels, who had been moonlighting as a broadcasting instructor. Tim had recently finished a tour in Viet Nam with the Armed Forces Vietnam Network (yes, the same one that Adrian Cronauer had been at a few years earlier) and programmed the Voice of Holloman as an Adult Contemporary station, which basically meant top 40 minus anything resembling the cutting edge of modern music. Back then the major record labels were in the habit of supplying free promotional copies of just about everything they released to radio stations, in the hopes of getting those records played on the air. Although the Voice of Holloman was, strictly speaking, not an actual radio station, we still got a lot of promo singles, especially from the Warner/Reprise group. These included some of the best new music of 1973, including a single by a band none of us had heard of before: Little Feat. That single was Dixie Chicken, one of the finest swamp rock songs ever recorded. Years later I learned that Little Feat was led by Lowell George, who had led his own underground band, the Factory, during the heyday of the Los Angeles club scene, and had later hooked up with Frank Zappa's Straight label, producing the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously). Little Feat continued to record critically acclaimed albums until George's untimely death in 1979, but even if they hadn't, they will always be remembered as the band that gave us Dixie Chicken.

Artist:    Stevie Wonder
Title:    Superstition
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Stevie Wonder
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1972
    Superstition was not originally meant to be a Stevie Wonder hit record. The song was actually written with the intention of giving it to guitarist Jeff Beck, in return for his participation of Wonder's Talking Book album. In fact, it was Beck that came up with the song's opening drum riff, creating, with Wonder, the first demo of the song. The plan was for Beck to release the song first as the lead single from the album Beck, Bogert & Appice. However, that album's release got delayed, and Motown CEO Barry Gordy Jr. insisted that Wonder go ahead and release his own version of the song first, as Barry saw the song as a potential #1 hit. It turned out Gordy was right, and Superstition ended up topping both the pop and soul charts in 1973, doing well in other countries as well.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    South City Midnight Lady
Source:    CD: The Captain And Me
Writer(s):    Patrick Simmons
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    By the early 1970s the San Francisco Bay Area was a totally different place musically than it had been just a few years earlier. Many local favorite artists had departed the area in the wake of national fame, leaving room for newer acts to blossom in their place. One of these newer acts was the Doobie Brothers, a band that had built up a following by playing small clubs throughout the area. Although their 1971 debut album did not provide any major hits, they made up for it the following year with the release of Listen To The Music, from their second LP, Toulouse Street. Their third LP did even better, thanks to the inclusion of their double-sided hit single Long Train Runnin'/Jesus Is Just Alright. By this time Patrick Simmons, the band's "secondary" songwriter, was just beginning to come into his own, as can be heard on South City Midnight Lady (the "South City" in question being San Jose). The following year Simmons would provide the Doobies with their biggest hit yet, Black Water.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island
Year:    1971
    Traffic was formed in 1967 by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Steve Winwood, drummer/vocalist Jim Capaldi, flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Dave Mason. Winwood, at 18 the youngest member of the band, was already an established star as lead vocalist of the Spencer Davis Group, and it was in part his desire for more creative freedom that led to Traffic's formation. From the beginning there was creative tension within the band, and less than two years later the group broke up when Winwood left to join Blind Faith. In early 1970, following the demise of Blind Faith, Winwood began working on a solo album that ended up being a new Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die, instead. This was followed in 1971 by the band's most successful album, The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys. The long title track (eleven minutes' worth) shows a more relaxed sounding band, with Wood, Capaldi, new bassist Rich Grech and percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah creating a moody backdrop for Winwood's interpretation of Capaldi's somewhat cynical lyrics. Despite its length, The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys became a staple of FM rock stations for many years.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Serenade To A Cuckoo
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Roland Kirk
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull did not, as a general rule, record cover tunes. The most notable exception is Roland Kirk's classic jazz piece Serenade To A Cuckoo, which was included on their first LP, This Was. For years, the Kirk version was out of print, making Jethro Tull's cover the only available version of this classic tune throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Audience
Title:    I Put A Spell On You
Source:    CD: The House On The Hill
Writer(s):    Jay Hawkins
Label:    Caroline Blue Plate (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1971
    Audience was formed in 1969 from the remains of a semi-professional British soul band called Lloyd Alexander Real Estate that had issued one single in 1967 for the tiny President label. The band's original lineup, consisting of Howard Werth (nylon-strung electric acoustic guitar and vocals), Keith Gemmell (alto and tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet), Trevor Williams (bass guitar and vocals) and Tony Connor (drums and vocals) released three albums before exhaustion forced Gemmell to leave the group in 1972. The first two of these were not released in the US, making The House On The Hill their American debut album. Audience did have a successful US tour in support of the 1971 LP, appearing on the same bill as Rod Stewart And Faces and the original Cactus. One of the highlights from The House On The Hill is a mostly acoustic cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic I Put A Spell On You. Compared to most versions of the song, which tend to be over the top, the Audience version of I Put A Spell On You is understated, yet soulful, thanks to a strong vocal performance.

Artist:    Styx
Title:    A Day
Source:    LP: Styx II
Writer(s):    John Curlewski
Label:    Wooden Nickel
Year:    1973
    Although Dennis DeYoung was responsible for writing most of Styx's material, there were a few exceptions, including A Day from the album Styx II. A Day is a considerably more dark and moody piece that anything else on the LP, although it does have a faster section in the middle featuring some nice harmony guitar leads.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Baby's House
Source:    LP: Your Saving Grace
Writer(s):    Miller/Hopkins
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    One of the most haunting tunes in the Steve Miller Band catalog, Baby's House is collaborative effort between Miller and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, who briefly joined up with Miller following an appearance onstage with Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock. The song appears on the band's fourth LP, Your Saving Grace, and runs nearly nine minutes.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1749 (starts 12/6/17)


This week it's Four Sides of the Psychedelic Era. It starts with a segment I call '67 Was a Very Good Year. Next, one for Frank and John (you know who you are). Our third segment is the Psychedelic Era In Reverse, as we work our way backwards from 1970 to 1964. Finally, a pair of long studio jams to wrap it all up.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    She May Call You Up Tonight
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash
Year:    1967
    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:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Comin' Back To Me
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967   
    When Marty Balin arrived at the studio with this brand new song, only Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jack Cassidy and Jerry Garcia were on hand to play on the subsequent recording. Balin, Kantner, Garcia and Cassidy all play guitar, while Slick provides the airy recorder track.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    According to principal songwriter John Lennon, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was inspired by a turn of the century circus poster that the Beatles ran across while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Most of the lyrics refer to items on the poster itself, such as Henry the Horse and the Hendersons.

Artist:    Timon
Title:    Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Timon Dogg
Label:    Rhino (original label: Pye)
Year:    1967
    Timon Dogg was a British folk singer that came up with one of the creepiest songs I've ever heard. Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane, with its too-happy music providing a stark contrast to its macabre lyrics, was released as a single on the Pye label in late 1967. The following year Dogg signed with the Beatles' Apple label, but a planned album was never completed. Dogg later could be found working as a street singer in the London Underground, often alongside his close friend John Mellon (who would later change his name to Joe Strummer and form a band called the Clash). Dogg would eventually appear as a guest vocalist on a song he wrote called Lose This Skin on the 1980 Clash album Sandinista.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The album Fresh Cream was perhaps the first LP from a rock supergroup, although at the time a more accurate description would have been British blues supergroup. Much of the album was reworking of blues standards by the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, all of whom had established their credentials with various British blues bands. With Disraeli Gears, however, Cream showed a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side 2. For some reason Reprise Records misspelled the title as Foxey Lady, and continued to do so on posthumous compilations such as The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two.

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:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album with the original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Sadly, Brian Jones was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')
Source:    Mono LP: The Rolling Stones Now!
Writer(s):    Barbara Lynn Ozen
Label:    London
Year:    1965
    There was one song on the US-only compilation album The Rolling Stones Now that had not yet appeared in the band's native England. That song was a cover of Barbara Lynn's Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin'), which would be included on the UK version of their next LP, Out Of Our Heads. The song was written by Barbara Lynn Ozen, whose story is quite remarkable in its own right. For one thing she was a female R&B artist that wrote her own material at a time when the assembly-line produced Motown sound was coming to dominate the soul charts. Even more unusual, Ozen was a guitarist as well as a vocalist. To top it off, she played left-handed! Her best knows song was You'll Lose A Good Thing, which went all the way to the top of the R&B charts and was later covered by the San Francisco band Cold Blood. Using the stage name Barbara Lynn, Ozen remains active in her native Beaumont, Texas.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's follow-up single, Street Fighting Man, a song that was almost as anthemic as Jumpin' Jack Flash itself and went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Party Line
Source:    Mono British import CD: LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray and Dave Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The first Kinks album I ever bought was Face To Face. I saw it in the cutout bin at the Base Exchange in Ramstein Germany sometime in 1968 on sale for half a buck (or maybe even less) and remembered that I had liked the song Sunny Afternoon when it was being played on the radio in the fall of 1966, so I figured why not? At the time I was using a $10 portable Philips record player that I had gotten for my birthday that year (which in the US was sold under the Mercury name for twice that much), so I didn't even notice that the album was not in stereo. It didn't matter anyway, because the first song on the album, Party Line, made me a Kinks fan for life.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    So Mystifying
Source:    Mono LP: You Really Got Me
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964
    So Mystifying is one of the earliest Ray Davies songs to be recorded by the Kinks. The song first appeared on their 1964 debut LP (entitled The Kinks in the UK and issued as You Really Got Me in the US). As such, it should be listened to for its historic value as much as for any aesthetic pleasure it might bring.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Holiday In Waikiki
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Ray Davies's original idea for the Kinks' 1966 album Face To Face was to tie all the songs together through the use of sound effects to create one continuous audio track. The band's UK record company vetoed the idea, however, and for the most part the sound effects were left on the cutting room floor. One exception to this was Holiday In Waikiki, which retains its oceanic intro.

Artist:    W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band
Title:    Hippy Elevator Operator
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Caldwell/Zinner
Label:    Rhino (original label: HBR)
Year:    1966
    Sometime in 1966, Redondo Beach, California band the Bees decided to start calling themselves the W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band. The new name was interesting enough to attract the attention of HBR, also known as Hanna-Barbera Records, a company owned by the TV animation studio that was famous for characters like Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones. Unfortunately for the band, DJs tended to not take records on the label too seriously, and after a short recording career that culminated in a single called Hippy Elevator Operator, the band faded off into obscurity (followed shortly thereafter by HBR itself).

Artist:     Chocolate Watch Band
Title:     Sweet Young Thing
Source:     Mono CD: More Nuggets (CD bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ed Cobb
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
Year:     1967
     There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the actual live sound of the Chocolate Watchband, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb. One of the few records that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is Cobb's Sweet Young Thing. The song was released as the Watchband's first single (under their own name) on the Uptown label in January of 1967. They had previously released a quickie cover version of Davie Allan's Blues Theme as the Hogs on the HBR label in 1966.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was this group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Good Golly Miss Molly
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    Blackwell/Marascallo
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    Although the second Creedence Clearwater Revival album, Bayou Country, contained mostly John Fogerty originals, there was one notable cover song on the LP: a version of Good Golly Miss Molly that was rowdy enough to make Little Richard proud.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Star Collector (alternate mix)
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD. (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    The Monkees were one of the first bands to utilize the Moog synthesizer on a rock record. One of the two tracks that uses the device extensively is Star Collector, a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and sung by the late Davy Jones. Usually Jones was picked to sing the band's love ballads. Star Collector, on the other hand, is a wild, almost humorous look at rock groupies; the type of song that on earlier Monkees albums would have been given to Peter Tork to sing. The synthesizer in Star Collector was programmed and played by Paul Beaver (of Beaver and Krause). Tork later said that he didn't think much of Beaver's performance, saying "he played it like a flute or something" rather than exploit the unique sounds the Moog was capable of producing. This alternate mix of the song has a longer running time and considerably more experimentation on Beaver's part than the released version of the tune, and as far as I'm concerned is far superior to what was originally included on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Samba Pa Ti
Source:    CD: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Carlos Santana
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    One of the most enduring tracks from Santana's second LP, Abraxas, Samba Pa Ti starts off as a slow instrumental, slowly picking up the pace and adding percussion to give it a decidedly latin flavor. As far as I know, Carlos Santana still includes Samba Pa Ti in his concert repertoire.

Artist:    Donovan/Jeff Beck Group
Title:    Barabajabal (Love Is Hot)
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Barabajagal)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Donovan Leitch enlisted the Jeff Beck Group as collaborators for Barabajabal (Love Is Hot), a track from his 1969 Barabajal album. Sometimes the song itself is erroreously referred to as Goo Goo Barabajabal, but I'm going with what's on the original 45 RPM label.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Summertime
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Gershwin/Heyward
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Janis Joplin, on the 1968 Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, sounds like she was born to sing Gershwin's Summertime. Maybe she was.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Colors For Susan
Source:    LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    The second Country Joe And The Fish album, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die, was, like the band's debut LP, made up of equal parts acid-rock, jug band and what would come to be known as "rock and soul" music. The most acid-rock sounding track on the album is the instrumental Colors For Susan, which is kind of like Bass Strings minus the lyrics.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. 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 the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.

Artist:    Primitives
Title:    You Said
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Geoff Tindall
Label:    Rhino (original label: Pye)
Year:    1964
    The Corn Flakes were formed in Oxford, England, but did not get much attention until they changed their name to the highly appropriate Primitives in 1964. Following the name change, the Primitives were able to garner several TV and magazine appearances based on their image alone. As can be heard on their second single, You Said, the band sounded a bit like a cross between the Who and the Rolling Stones. In 1966 the Primitives relocated to Italy, enjoying a much greater degree of chart success than they had been able to drum up in their own country.

Artist:    Peter Green
Title:    Hidden Depth/The End Of The Game
Source:    LP: The End Of The Game
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    After leaving the band he founded, Fleetwood Mac, in 1970, guitarist Peter Green recorded what can only be described as an album full of free-form guitar work, accompanied by various backup musicians. The album is divided into six tracks, although some of them track so closely together that they have to get played as a single track. Case in point: Hidden Depth and The End Of The Game, the final two tracks on the LP.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Liberation
Source:    Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    James Pankow
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Liberation, the last track on the Chicago Transit Authority album, was recorded live in the studio in a single take. Yes, they were that good.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1749 (starts 12/6/17)


Got 10 good ones this time around, including my own favorite version of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane (from the Rock N Roll Animal album) and a Uriah Heep track from their second LP, Salisbury.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Do It Again
Source:    CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1972
    Although they first appeared to be a real band, Steely Dan was, in fact, two people: keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen and bassist (and later guitarist) Walter Becker. For their first album they recruited, from various places, guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, drummer Jim Hodder, guitarist Denny Dias, and finally (when they realized they would have to actually perform live, which terrified Fagen) vocalist David Palmer. The first single from the album, Do It Again, was a major hit, going to the #6 spot on the Billboard charts and, more importantly, introducing the world at large to the Steely Dan sound, combining jazz-influenced rock music with slyly cynical lyrics (often sung in the second person). Steely Dan would continue to be an influential force in popular music throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Foghat
Title:    Trouble, Trouble
Source:    LP: Foghat
Writer(s):    Dave Peverett
Label:    Bearsville
Year:    1972
    Foghat was formed when three members of Savoy Brown (guitarist "Lonesome Dave" Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens and drummer Roger Earl) left the group to form their own band in 1970. They were joined in early 1971 by slide guitarist Rod Price, who had been with a band called Black Cat Bones. Their self-titled debut LP came out in 1972, with several songs, including Peverett's Trouble Trouble, getting airplay on FM rock radio in the US. Originally a blues-rock band, Foghat went through several personnel changes throughout the 1970s, gradually increasing their popularity as they went along.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Dancing Days
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    By 1973 Led Zeppelin was already established as the most influential band of the early 1970s. Their fourth album erased any doubts about their staying power, with Stairway To Heaven in particular dominating the FM airwaves. They followed that album up with Houses Of The Holy, releasing the opening track of side two, Dancing Days, as a single in the US. The song was performed often on the band's 1972 tour, but was dropped from their setlist at around the same time the album itself hit the racks.

Artist:    Stories
Title:    Brother Louie
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brown/Wilson
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1973
    There are many examples in rock history of bands actually hating their biggest hit. Sometimes it's because they just get tired of playing it the same way over and over to please audiences. In a few cases, however, the band actually hated the song even before it became a hit. The Strawberry Alarm Clock, for instance, were so disgusted by the lyrics of Incense And Peppermints provided by professional songwriters that they refused to record their own lead vocals for the tune (a member of another band entirely sang on the record). Even worse is the case of one-hit wonders who become forever associated with the song they hated (like Steam with Na-Na-Hey-Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye). Generally, it gives the artist a choice of selling out or quitting the music business altogether. There really is no middle ground. Take the case of a band called Stories. After a few failed singles they hit it big with a cover of Hot Chocolate's Brother Louie, taking it all the way to the top of the US charts. The success of the single actually led to the departure of the band's two founding members, Michael Brown (formerly of the Left Banke) and Ian Lloyd. Although the band did continue on with new members, and even had a minor hit with a song called Mammy Blue later the same year, Stories will be forever known as the band that had a hit with Brother Louie and not much else.

Artist:    Golden Earring
Title:    Are You Receiving Me
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Moontan)
Writer(s):    Kooymans/Hay/Fenton
Label:    MCA/Track
Year:    1973
    Even though they are only known for a couple of songs (Radar Love, Twilight Zone) in the US, Golden Earring is actually one of the world's most successful rock bands. Formed in 1961 in The Hague, The Golden Earrings (as they were then known) released their first single in 1965, going all the way to the #2 spot on the Dutch charts. Over the next few years they released four albums and several singles on the Polydor label before switching over to Kit Lambert's Track label in 1970. Their 1973 album Moontan gave the band their first international success, thanks to the inclusion of the single Radar Love. By then the band was known for their improvisational abilities, as can be heard on another track from Moontan, the nine and a half minute long Are You Receiving Me. With more than fifty years of recording and performing under their belt, Golden Earring continues to enjoy massive popularity in their native Netherlands.

Artist:    Lou Reed
Title:    Intro/Sweet Jane
Source:    CD: Rock N Roll Animal
Writer(s):    Hunter/Reed
Label:    RCA/BMG
Year:    1974
    Lou Reed's career did not exactly take off following his departure from Velvet Underground in 1970. According to Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone magazine, Reed's first live appearance as a solo artist (with a pickup band) was, "tragic in every sense of the word". As a result, it came as a bit of a surprise when his appearance on December 21, 1973, at Howard Stein's Academy of Music in New York City, was a major success, thanks in large part to his new, well-rehearsed band consisting of Pentti Glan (drums) and Prakash John (bass), Ray Colcord (keyboards), and Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars (all of which would eventually become the second incarnation of the Alice Cooper band). The performance was recorded and released on two albums, the first of which was Rock N Roll Animal, released in 1973. The opening track is a perfect example of how the band and Reed himself were equally responsible for the concert's success. The first half is an instrumental Intro written by Hunter that seques smoothly in one of Reed's most popular songs, Sweet Jane. This version has come to be considered the definitive version of Sweet Jane, despite its lack of similarity to the original Velvet Underground recording from the Loaded album.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Midnight Man
Source:    LP: Thirds
Writer(s):    Joe Walsh
Label:    ABC
Year:    1971
    Joe Walsh's final studio album with the James Gang, Thirds, was only moderately successful, leading Walsh to leave the band for a solo career and (eventually) a high-profile gig as a member of the Eagles. Thirds itself has some nice Walsh tunes, including Midnight Man, which opens the album's second side. In addition to Walsh (on guitar and lead vocals), the song features Dale Peters on bass and backup vocals, Jim Fox on drums, Bob Webb on backup vocals and special guest vocalist Mary Sterpka singing lead on the song's third verse.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Nature's Way/Animal Zoo/Love Has Found A Way/Why Can't I Be Free
Source:    LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    California/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    Spirit was one of those bands that consistently scored well with the critics, yet was never truly able to connect with a large segment of the record buying audience at any given time. Perhaps their best album was Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970 to glowing reviews. Despite this, the album actually charted lower than any of their three previous efforts, and would be the last to feature the band's original lineup. In the long haul, however, Twelve Dreams has become the group's top selling album, thanks to steady catalog sales over a period of years. Unlike many more popular records of the time, Twelve Dreams sounds as fresh and original today as when it first appeared, as can be easily heard on the four-song medley that makes up the bulk of the LP's first side. Indeed, despite never having charted as a single, Nature's Way, a Randy California tune which starts the sequence, is one of the best-known songs in the entire Spirit catalog. Additionally, its ecological theme segues naturally into Animal Zoo, a Jay Ferguson tune with a more satirical point of view. Love Has Found A Way, written by vocalist Ferguson and keyboardist John Locke, can best described as psychedelic space jazz, while Why Can't I Be Free is a simple, yet lovely, short coda from guitarist California. Although Spirit, in various incarnations, would continue to record for many years, they would never put out another album as listenable as Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus.

Artist:     Uriah Heep
Title:     The Park
Source:     LP: Salisbury
Writer:     Ken Hensley
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1971
     Uriah Heep's second album, Salisbury, saw the band shifting in a more progressive direction, thanks in large part to the input of keyboardist Ken Hensley, who wrote half the songs on the album. As the band's career progressed, Hensley would become the group's primary songwriter. One of the early Hensley tunes was the Park, a relatively quiet piece that gives David Byron a chance to exercise the higher end of his vocal range.

Artist:    Bob Marley
Title:    No Woman, No Cry
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Vincent Ford
Label:    Island
Year:    1975
    No Woman, No Cry is one of Bob Marley's most famous songs. The live version of the song is ranked #37 on Rolling Stone's list of greatest songs of all time. What many people don't know, however, is who Vincent Ford, who is credited with writing No Woman, No Cry, actually was. He was not a member of the Wailers, nor was he involved with Marley's music in any significant way. How, then, did he manage to get writing credit on one of Marley's most successful songs? The most likely answer is that Marley himself wrote the song, first recording it (with a drum machine) on the 1974 album Natty Dread. He must have known he had a hit on his hands even before it was published, however. As to Vincent Ford, he was a friend of Marley's who ran a soup kitchen that was perpetually underfunded. Marley's idea, so the theory goes, was to give Ford songwriting credit on the potential hit so that he could collect royalties for years to come, allowing him the continue his work running the soup kitchen. Seeing that Ford outlived Marley, I'd have to say it was a sound strategy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1748 (starts 11/29/17)


This week's show starts with sets from 1967 and 1968, but soon becomes a series of journeys covering several years. There's also an Airplane set hidden in there somewhere.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Within You Without You
Source:    British import LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1967
    George Harrison began to take an interest in the Sitar as early as 1965. By 1966 he had become proficient enough on the Indian instrument to compose and record Love You To for the Revolver album. He followed that up with perhaps his most popular sitar-based track, Within You Without You, which opens side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Harrison would record one more similarly-styled song, The Inner Light, in 1968, before deciding that he was never going to be in the same league as Ravi Shankar, whom Harrison had become friends with by that time. For the remainder of his time with the Beatles Harrison would concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting skills, resulting in classic songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Third Stone From The Sun
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for his classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced? album, Third Stone From The Sun. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Look (Song For The Children)/Child Is Father To The Man
Source:    LP: The Smile Sessions
Writer(s):    Wilson/Parks
Label:    Capitol
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2011
    In 2004 Brian Wilson released Smile, the culmination of a project that went back nearly 40 years. Smile had begun as the projected follow up to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, with recording for the new album beginning in 1966. Due to a number of reasons the project was suspended in 1967, and a much less ambitious LP called Smiley Smile appeared in its place. For the rest of the 20th century Smile was little more than a legend, surrounded by rumours concerning the disposition of the material that had been recorded before the project was dropped. In the early 1990s some of the tapes resurfaced and were issued as part of the Beach Boys 30th anniversary box set. Still, these were only fragments, without any real sense of how they were meant to be presented on the original album. Finally, with the release of Brian Wilson's all new recordings of much of the same material, there was a template that could be used as a guideline for assembling the original album. Some elements, such as Carl Wilson's backing vocals on tracks like Child Is Father To The Man were actually recorded after the project itself was cancelled and used on later Beach Boys albums. Nonetheless, The Smile Sessions is probably the closest thing we'll ever hear to the original Smile album.

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:    Flies
Title:    Winter Afternoon
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry & Revolution
Writer(s):    Peter Dunton
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2013
    The Flies were an obscure British pyschedelic band best known for covering the audience with exploding bags of flour at the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream happening in 1967. Toward the end of their run they were joined by vocalist Peter Dunton, who wrote both sides of a failed single for the RCA label in 1968. Later in the year Dunton and the band recorded Winter Afternoon. Although it was quite possibly their best work, it went unreleased until 2013, when it was included on Grapefruit's psychedelic anthology Love, Poetry & Revolution.

Artist:    Aardvarks
Title:    Subconscious Train Of Thought
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Borman/Daley/Newman/Wee
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Arch)
Year:    1968
    Not much is known about the Aardvarks other than they were reportedly from Florissant, Missouri. Their only known single was a track called Subconscious Train Of Thought that was released in 1968 on the St. Louis based Arch Records. Interestingly, the record lists Memphis Group guitarist Steve Cropper as co-producer.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Higher Love, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    45 RPM single B side (European reissue of Japanese single)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular B sides ever released, The Crystal Ship is a slow moody piece with vivid lyrical images. The mono mix of the song sounds a bit different from the more commonly-heard stereo version. Not only is the mix itself a bit hotter, it is also a touch faster. This is due to an error in the mastering of the stereo version of the first Doors LP that resulted in the entire album running at a 3.5% slower speed than it was originally recorded. This discrepancy went unnoticed for over 40 years, until a college professor pointed out that every recorded live performance of Light My Fire was in a key that was about half a step higher than the stereo studio version.

Artist:    Show Stoppers
Title:    If You Want To, Why Don't You
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    W.E. Hjerpe
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    The Show Stoppers were a Rochester, NY based club band that included Don Potter and Bat McGrath, who would go on to release an album together on the Epic label in 1969. The Show Stoppers were discovered by John Hammond in 1967 and signed to the Columbia label, where they released two singles. Although three of the tracks would best be described as danceable pop music, the A side of their second single, If You Want To, Why Don't You, had more of a garage-rock sound, and has appeared on at least one garage-rock compilation. Both Potter and McGrath now reside in Nashville, where Potter became well-known as the creator of the "Judds sound" in the 1980s. Special thanks to Tom at the Bop Shop in Rochester (a record store that specializes in vinyl) for making this record available to me.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Obviously 5 Believers
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    The earliest music recordings were made to be played through a single speaker (well, technically a big horn in the early days). Despite various advances in technology, this remained the case for half a century, until, in the 1950s, various engineers came up with a couple of ways to record in stereo (tape and stereo vinyl). Still, for a good ten years after stereo became commercially available, monoraul was still the industry standard for most recordings, with stereo mixes often created as an afterthought. This was literally the case with the 1966 Bob Dylan album Blonde On Blonde. Producer Bob Johnston says that they worked on the mono mix of the album for three or four days. At some point, one of the engineers reminded Johnston that they also needed to do a stereo mix. It took them about four hours. Nonetheless, for many years the only version of Blonde On Blonde available for sale was the stereo version, with the mono mix finally being reissued on vinyl in 2003. The album itself is considered one of Dylan's best, and has historical significance as the first double-LP to be released by a popular contemporary artist. One of the most overlooked songs on the album is Obviously 5 Believers, which closes out side three of the album. Dylan himself did not feel the need to spend much time on it, calling it "very easy", and the entire track was finished in four takes. Personally, I find it to be one of my favorite Dylan tracks. Oddly enough, Dylan does not play his own harmonica on the piece; it's actually the work of Charlie McCoy, with Robbie Robertson on guitar and Ken Buttrey on drums.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words of Let's Spend The Night Together to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Walking Through My Dreams
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    May/Taylor/Waller
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Like the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things were a product of London's somewhat rough and tumble blue collar neighborhoods, and in their early years played a similar mix of early rock 'n' roll and R&B cover tunes. By 1967, however, the band had embraced psychedelia far more than the Stones, even to the point of rivalling Pink Floyd for the unofficial title of Britain's leading psychedelic band. A case in point is Walking Though My Dreams, released in 1967 as the B side to the equally psychedelic Talkin' About The Good Times. For some reason, however, the Pretty Things never had the success in the US that the Stones (or even Pink Floyd) enjoyed.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Shotgun
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Autry DeWalt
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
           For their fourth LP, Vanilla Fudge returned to the formula that they found their original success with for the album Near The Beginning. Whereas their third LP, Renaissance, contained mostly original material, Near The Beginning was dominated by an extended version of the Junior Walker hit Shotgun. The single version of the song, which the group performed on the Ed Sullivan show, was the group's last song to hit the Billboard top 100, peaking at # 68. According to drummer Carmine Appice, it was the Vanilla Fudge version of Shotgun that convinced Jeff Beck to later form a band with Appice and bassist Tim Bogert.
       
Artist:    Orange Wedge
Title:    From The Womb To The Tomb
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
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:    Procol Harum
Title:    Lime Street Blues
Source:    Mono British import CD: Procol Harum
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Salvo/Fly (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Bringing Me Down
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    One of several singles released mainly to San Francisco Bay area radio stations and record stores, Bringing Me Down is an early collaboration between vocalist Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin had invited Kantner into the band without having heard him play a single note. It turned out to be one of many right-on-the-money decisions by the young bandleader.
   
Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Volunteers
Source:     CD: Volunteers
Writer:     Balin/Kantner
Label:     BMG/RCA
Year:     1969
     By 1969 Jefferson Airplane's music was a staple of progressive FM stations but had all but disappeared from the top 40 charts. Still, the band continued to release singles from their albums, including the title track to their fifth (and final with the classic JA lineup) LP, Volunteers.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    In their early days Jefferson Airplane, like most of their contemporaries, included several cover tunes in their repertoire. Unlike many other bands, however, the Airplane managed to stamp all of their covers with their own unmistakable sound. One excellent example of this is the Airplane's version of Tobacco Road, a song by John D. Loudermilk that had been a hit for the British invasion band Nashville Teens in 1964. The Airplane version, which appears on their debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, takes an entirely different approach than the Teens' rendition (or the similarly styled Blues Magoos version recorded around the same time as the Airplane's), laying off the power chords in favor of a jazzier approach more in tune with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's style of playing.

Artist:     Barry McGuire
Title:     Eve of Destruction
Source:     CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     P.F. Sloan
Label:     Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1965
     P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Priority (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively  small, pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from San Jose were more than happy to fill.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released the whole concept of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news and the single went nowhere.

Artist:    Tangerine Zoo
Title:    Nature's Children
Source:    CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: Tangerine Zoo)
Writer(s):    Medeiros/Smith
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Many of the acts signed to Bob Shad's Mainstream label are considered by rock historians to be somewhat lacking in one or another categories, such as songwriting, virtuosity or just plain commercial viability. This has resulted in the reputations of the few quality bands appearing on the label to be somewhat unfairly tarnished by association. One of those bands that really deserves a second look is the Tangerine Zoo, from Swansea, Mass., a few miles south of Boston. The band, made up of Tony Taviera (bass), Wayne Gagnon (guitar), Ron Medieros(organ), Bob Benevides (lead vocals) and Donald Smith (drums), recorded two albums for the label, both of which were released in 1968. Tangerine Zoo had actually been approached by no less than two major labels (RCA Victor and Mercury) before deciding to go with Mainstream, the only label to offer them an album contract from the start. Unfortunately internal issues caused the Zoo to close down before they could record a third LP.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     St. Stephen
Source:     CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Aoxomoxoa)
Writer(s):     Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1969
     One of the Grateful Dead's most recognizable tunes is St. Stephen, written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter. The song first appeared on the 1969 album Aoxomoxoa, and remained in the Grateful Dead stage repertoire for pretty much their entire existence.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer:    Osborne/Iommi/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Often cited as the first true heavy metal album, Black Sabbath's debut LP features one of my all-time favorite album covers (check out the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page) as well as several outstanding tracks. One of the best of these is The Wizard, which was reportedly inspired by the Gandalf character from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Stranger In A Strange Land
Source:    CD: Turn! Turn! Turn! (bonus track)
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1996
    One thing David Crosby and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn of the Byrds shared was a love of science fiction. Crosby borrowed the title of Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land for a song that was released by the San Francisco folk-rock duo Blackburn & Snow in 1967. The Byrds themselves had gotten as far as laying down basic instrumental tracks for the song two years earlier, but never got around to recording vocals for the song.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    Rechanneled Stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top of the charts five years later.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Winds Of Change
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (original released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    The new Animals first album was Winds of Change, an ambitious album that gave writing credit to all five band members for all the tracks on the album (with the exception of a cover of Paint It Black). The opening track is basically Eric Burdon paying tribute to all his musical heroes, and it's quite an impressive list, including jazz and blues greats as well as some of the most important names in the annals of rock and roll.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Baroque # 1
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    Of the six major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands in the late 1960s. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including the instrumental Baroque # 1.

Artist:    SRC
Title:    Up All Night
Source:    Mono import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Milestones)
Writer(s):    Clawson/Richardson/Quackenbush/Lyman/Quackenbush
Label:    Zonophone UK (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Stylistic and regional contemporaries of bands such as the MC5 and the Amboy Dukes, SRC were formed in 1965 as the Tremelos, soon changing their name to the Fugitives and releasing four singles and an album on various local Detroit labels. They released their first records under the name SRC in 1967, a pair of singles for the A[squared] label, which led to a contract with Capitol that resulted in one album per year from 1968-70. The most successful of these was the 1969 LP Milestones, which included the single Turn Into Love and its B side, Up All Night. After being dropped from the Capitol roster the group continued on for a couple more years, releasing a final single under the name Blue Scepter for Rare Earth Records in 1972.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    The Priest
Source:    LP: Ladies Of The Canyon
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Joni Mitchell continued to develop her songwriting skills with her third album, Ladies Of The Canyon. The album title refers to southern California's Laurel Canyon, where Mitchell was spending much of her time in 1970. The Priest is one of those songs that I find appealing, but for the life of me I can't pin down why. This week's show starts with sets from 1967 and 1968, but soon becomes a series of journeys covering several years. There's also an Airplane set hidden in there somewhere.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Within You Without You
Source:    British import LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1967
    George Harrison began to take an interest in the Sitar as early as 1965. By 1966 he had become proficient enough on the Indian instrument to compose and record Love You To for the Revolver album. He followed that up with perhaps his most popular sitar-based track, Within You Without You, which opens side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Harrison would record one more similarly-styled song, The Inner Light, in 1968, before deciding that he was never going to be in the same league as Ravi Shankar, whom Harrison had become friends with by that time. For the remainder of his time with the Beatles Harrison would concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting skills, resulting in classic songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Third Stone From The Sun
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for his classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced? album, Third Stone From The Sun. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Look (Song For The Children)/Child Is Father To The Man
Source:    LP: The Smile Sessions
Writer(s):    Wilson/Parks
Label:    Capitol
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2011
    In 2004 Brian Wilson released Smile, the culmination of a project that went back nearly 40 years. Smile had begun as the projected follow up to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, with recording for the new album beginning in 1966. Due to a number of reasons the project was suspended in 1967, and a much less ambitious LP called Smiley Smile appeared in its place. For the rest of the 20th century Smile was little more than a legend, surrounded by rumours concerning the disposition of the material that had been recorded before the project was dropped. In the early 1990s some of the tapes resurfaced and were issued as part of the Beach Boys 30th anniversary box set. Still, these were only fragments, without any real sense of how they were meant to be presented on the original album. Finally, with the release of Brian Wilson's all new recordings of much of the same material, there was a template that could be used as a guideline for assembling the original album. Some elements, such as Carl Wilson's backing vocals on tracks like Child Is Father To The Man were actually recorded after the project itself was cancelled and used on later Beach Boys albums. Nonetheless, The Smile Sessions is probably the closest thing we'll ever hear to the original Smile album.

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:    Flies
Title:    Winter Afternoon
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry & Revolution
Writer(s):    Peter Dunton
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2013
    The Flies were an obscure British pyschedelic band best known for covering the audience with exploding bags of flour at the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream happening in 1967. Toward the end of their run they were joined by vocalist Peter Dunton, who wrote both sides of a failed single for the RCA label in 1968. Later in the year Dunton and the band recorded Winter Afternoon. Although it was quite possibly their best work, it went unreleased until 2013, when it was included on Grapefruit's psychedelic anthology Love, Poetry & Revolution.

Artist:    Aardvarks
Title:    Subconscious Train Of Thought
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Borman/Daley/Newman/Wee
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Arch)
Year:    1968
    Not much is known about the Aardvarks other than they were reportedly from Florissant, Missouri. Their only known single was a track called Subconscious Train Of Thought that was released in 1968 on the St. Louis based Arch Records. Interestingly, the record lists Memphis Group guitarist Steve Cropper as co-producer.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Higher Love, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    45 RPM single B side (European reissue of Japanese single)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular B sides ever released, The Crystal Ship is a slow moody piece with vivid lyrical images. The mono mix of the song sounds a bit different from the more commonly-heard stereo version. Not only is the mix itself a bit hotter, it is also a touch faster. This is due to an error in the mastering of the stereo version of the first Doors LP that resulted in the entire album running at a 3.5% slower speed than it was originally recorded. This discrepancy went unnoticed for over 40 years, until a college professor pointed out that every recorded live performance of Light My Fire was in a key that was about half a step higher than the stereo studio version.

Artist:    Show Stoppers
Title:    If You Want To, Why Don't You
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    W.E. Hjerpe
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    The Show Stoppers were a Rochester, NY based club band that included Don Potter and Bat McGrath, who would go on to release an album together on the Epic label in 1969. The Show Stoppers were discovered by John Hammond in 1967 and signed to the Columbia label, where they released two singles. Although three of the tracks would best be described as danceable pop music, the A side of their second single, If You Want To, Why Don't You, had more of a garage-rock sound, and has appeared on at least one garage-rock compilation. Both Potter and McGrath now reside in Nashville, where Potter became well-known as the creator of the "Judds sound" in the 1980s. Special thanks to Tom at the Bop Shop in Rochester (a record store that specializes in vinyl) for making this record available to me.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Obviously 5 Believers
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    The earliest music recordings were made to be played through a single speaker (well, technically a big horn in the early days). Despite various advances in technology, this remained the case for half a century, until, in the 1950s, various engineers came up with a couple of ways to record in stereo (tape and stereo vinyl). Still, for a good ten years after stereo became commercially available, monoraul was still the industry standard for most recordings, with stereo mixes often created as an afterthought. This was literally the case with the 1966 Bob Dylan album Blonde On Blonde. Producer Bob Johnston says that they worked on the mono mix of the album for three or four days. At some point, one of the engineers reminded Johnston that they also needed to do a stereo mix. It took them about four hours. Nonetheless, for many years the only version of Blonde On Blonde available for sale was the stereo version, with the mono mix finally being reissued on vinyl in 2003. The album itself is considered one of Dylan's best, and has historical significance as the first double-LP to be released by a popular contemporary artist. One of the most overlooked songs on the album is Obviously 5 Believers, which closes out side three of the album. Dylan himself did not feel the need to spend much time on it, calling it "very easy", and the entire track was finished in four takes. Personally, I find it to be one of my favorite Dylan tracks. Oddly enough, Dylan does not play his own harmonica on the piece; it's actually the work of Charlie McCoy, with Robbie Robertson on guitar and Ken Buttrey on drums.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words of Let's Spend The Night Together to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Walking Through My Dreams
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    May/Taylor/Waller
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Like the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things were a product of London's somewhat rough and tumble blue collar neighborhoods, and in their early years played a similar mix of early rock 'n' roll and R&B cover tunes. By 1967, however, the band had embraced psychedelia far more than the Stones, even to the point of rivalling Pink Floyd for the unofficial title of Britain's leading psychedelic band. A case in point is Walking Though My Dreams, released in 1967 as the B side to the equally psychedelic Talkin' About The Good Times. For some reason, however, the Pretty Things never had the success in the US that the Stones (or even Pink Floyd) enjoyed.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Shotgun
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Autry DeWalt
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
           For their fourth LP, Vanilla Fudge returned to the formula that they found their original success with for the album Near The Beginning. Whereas their third LP, Renaissance, contained mostly original material, Near The Beginning was dominated by an extended version of the Junior Walker hit Shotgun. The single version of the song, which the group performed on the Ed Sullivan show, was the group's last song to hit the Billboard top 100, peaking at # 68. According to drummer Carmine Appice, it was the Vanilla Fudge version of Shotgun that convinced Jeff Beck to later form a band with Appice and bassist Tim Bogert.
       
Artist:    Orange Wedge
Title:    From The Womb To The Tomb
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
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:    Procol Harum
Title:    Lime Street Blues
Source:    Mono British import CD: Procol Harum
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Salvo/Fly (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Bringing Me Down
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    One of several singles released mainly to San Francisco Bay area radio stations and record stores, Bringing Me Down is an early collaboration between vocalist Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin had invited Kantner into the band without having heard him play a single note. It turned out to be one of many right-on-the-money decisions by the young bandleader.
   
Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Volunteers
Source:     CD: Volunteers
Writer:     Balin/Kantner
Label:     BMG/RCA
Year:     1969
     By 1969 Jefferson Airplane's music was a staple of progressive FM stations but had all but disappeared from the top 40 charts. Still, the band continued to release singles from their albums, including the title track to their fifth (and final with the classic JA lineup) LP, Volunteers.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    In their early days Jefferson Airplane, like most of their contemporaries, included several cover tunes in their repertoire. Unlike many other bands, however, the Airplane managed to stamp all of their covers with their own unmistakable sound. One excellent example of this is the Airplane's version of Tobacco Road, a song by John D. Loudermilk that had been a hit for the British invasion band Nashville Teens in 1964. The Airplane version, which appears on their debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, takes an entirely different approach than the Teens' rendition (or the similarly styled Blues Magoos version recorded around the same time as the Airplane's), laying off the power chords in favor of a jazzier approach more in tune with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's style of playing.

Artist:     Barry McGuire
Title:     Eve of Destruction
Source:     CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     P.F. Sloan
Label:     Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1965
     P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Priority (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively  small, pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from San Jose were more than happy to fill.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released the whole concept of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news and the single went nowhere.

Artist:    Tangerine Zoo
Title:    Nature's Children
Source:    CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: Tangerine Zoo)
Writer(s):    Medeiros/Smith
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Many of the acts signed to Bob Shad's Mainstream label are considered by rock historians to be somewhat lacking in one or another categories, such as songwriting, virtuosity or just plain commercial viability. This has resulted in the reputations of the few quality bands appearing on the label to be somewhat unfairly tarnished by association. One of those bands that really deserves a second look is the Tangerine Zoo, from Swansea, Mass., a few miles south of Boston. The band, made up of Tony Taviera (bass), Wayne Gagnon (guitar), Ron Medieros(organ), Bob Benevides (lead vocals) and Donald Smith (drums), recorded two albums for the label, both of which were released in 1968. Tangerine Zoo had actually been approached by no less than two major labels (RCA Victor and Mercury) before deciding to go with Mainstream, the only label to offer them an album contract from the start. Unfortunately internal issues caused the Zoo to close down before they could record a third LP.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     St. Stephen
Source:     CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Aoxomoxoa)
Writer(s):     Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1969
     One of the Grateful Dead's most recognizable tunes is St. Stephen, written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter. The song first appeared on the 1969 album Aoxomoxoa, and remained in the Grateful Dead stage repertoire for pretty much their entire existence.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer:    Osborne/Iommi/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Often cited as the first true heavy metal album, Black Sabbath's debut LP features one of my all-time favorite album covers (check out the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page) as well as several outstanding tracks. One of the best of these is The Wizard, which was reportedly inspired by the Gandalf character from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Stranger In A Strange Land
Source:    CD: Turn! Turn! Turn! (bonus track)
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1996
    One thing David Crosby and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn of the Byrds shared was a love of science fiction. Crosby borrowed the title of Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land for a song that was released by the San Francisco folk-rock duo Blackburn & Snow in 1967. The Byrds themselves had gotten as far as laying down basic instrumental tracks for the song two years earlier, but never got around to recording vocals for the song.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    Rechanneled Stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top of the charts five years later.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Winds Of Change
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (original released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    The new Animals first album was Winds of Change, an ambitious album that gave writing credit to all five band members for all the tracks on the album (with the exception of a cover of Paint It Black). The opening track is basically Eric Burdon paying tribute to all his musical heroes, and it's quite an impressive list, including jazz and blues greats as well as some of the most important names in the annals of rock and roll.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Baroque # 1
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    Of the six major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands in the late 1960s. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including the instrumental Baroque # 1.

Artist:    SRC
Title:    Up All Night
Source:    Mono import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Milestones)
Writer(s):    Clawson/Richardson/Quackenbush/Lyman/Quackenbush
Label:    Zonophone UK (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Stylistic and regional contemporaries of bands such as the MC5 and the Amboy Dukes, SRC were formed in 1965 as the Tremelos, soon changing their name to the Fugitives and releasing four singles and an album on various local Detroit labels. They released their first records under the name SRC in 1967, a pair of singles for the A[squared] label, which led to a contract with Capitol that resulted in one album per year from 1968-70. The most successful of these was the 1969 LP Milestones, which included the single Turn Into Love and its B side, Up All Night. After being dropped from the Capitol roster the group continued on for a couple more years, releasing a final single under the name Blue Scepter for Rare Earth Records in 1972.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    The Priest
Source:    LP: Ladies Of The Canyon
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Joni Mitchell continued to develop her songwriting skills with her third album, Ladies Of The Canyon. The album title refers to southern California's Laurel Canyon, where Mitchell was spending much of her time in 1970. The Priest is one of those songs that I find appealing, but for the life of me I can't pin down why.