Monday, September 18, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1738 (starts 9/20/17)


Quite a few good tunes this time around, including a set from the first Doors album and the full-length album version of the Chambers Brothers' Time Has Come Today.

Artist:    Barry McGuire
Title:    Eve Of Destruction
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    P F Sloan
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    One of the top folk-rock hits of 1965, Eve of Destruction was actually written by professional songwriter P.F. Sloane, who also wrote tunes for the Turtles, among others, and later teamed up with Steve Barri to produce (and write songs for) the Grass Roots.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Over Under Sideways Down
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
     The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and Jimmy Page).

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:    Cream
Title:    White Room
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    United Artists (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of the Cream classic White Room, clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Singing Cowboy
Source:    CD: Love Story
Writer(s):    Lee/Donnellan
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1969
    Love's Arthur Lee wrote mostly by himself. His musical vision was such that working with a collaborator would only have served to stifle his creativity. There were exceptions, however. The 1969 version of Love was enhanced by the presence of guitarist Jay Donnellan, who brought a jazz background to the group that had been previously lacking. Donnelan wrote the music for Singing Cowboy, while Lee added lyrics.

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

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     A Girl I Knew
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Kay/Cavett
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Some artists tend to branch out into a variety of styles as their career progresses. Others, like Steppenwolf, move in the opposite direction, finding out early what works best then concentrating on continuing in that vein. A Girl I Knew (co-written by bandleader John Kay) is an example of a type of song that was tried early on, but then abandoned in favor of a harder rock sound on subsequent albums.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Summer Is The Man
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Following up on their successful debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos released Electric Comic Book in March of 1967. Unfortunately the first single from the album had two equally strong songs, one of which was favored by the producers and the other by the band. Radio stations were unsure which song to push, and as a result, neither made the top 40, which in turn had a negative effect on album sales. Most of the remaining tracks on the album were written by the band members, including Summer Is The Man, a song with an interesting chord structure, a catchy melody and somewhat existential lyrics.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    You Can't Do That
Source:    Mono CD: A Hard Days Night (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1964
    Originally recorded to be used in the final concert scene of the film A Hard Days Night (but left on the cutting room floor), You Can't Do That was the B side of the Beatles' 5th (6th in the US) single, Can't Buy Me Love. The record was actually released four days earlier in the US than in England in March of 1964. You Can't Do That was the first in a series of jealousy-themed songs written by John Lennon. The song's distinctive guitar riff at the beginning and end of the song was written by George Harrison (who later said he was just standing there thinking "I've got to do something!"), while the lead guitar solo in the main body of the song was performed by Lennon.

Artist:    Mamas And The Papas
Title:    California Dreamin'
Source:    LP: If You Believe Your Eyes And Ears (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Phillips
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1965
    California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John Phillips, who along with his wife Michelle was living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.

Artist:     Otherside
Title:     Streetcar
Source:     Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Battey/Graham
Label:     Rhino (original label: Brent)
Year:     1966
     Although not as popular as the Chocolate Watchband or Count Five, the Otherside had its share of fans in the San Jose, California area. Enough, in fact, to land a deal with Brent Records. Their single, Streetcar, got some airplay on local radio stations, but failed to match the success of other area bands.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Animal Zoo
Source:    CD: Best Of Spirit
Writer:    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    The last album by the original lineup of Spirit was The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970. The album was originally going to be produced by Neil Young, but due to other commitments Young had to bow out, recommending David Briggs, who had already produced Young's first album with Crazy Horse, as a replacement. The first song to be released as a single was Animal Zoo, but the tune barely cracked the top 100 charts. The album itself did better on progressive FM stations and has since come to be regarded as a classic. Shortly after the release of Twelve Dreams, Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    If We Only Had The Time
Source:    German import CD: Turtle Soup (bonus track originally released on EP: Shell Shock)
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Volman/Nichol/Pons/Seiter
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Rhino)
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1985
    The relationship between the Turtles and their label, White Whale, was always a rocky one. On the one hand, the Turtles were, by far, the most successful act on the label. It was, however, the 1960s, and, with only one or two exceptions, when it came to making records the labels (and by extension, record producers) were in control of the entire process. When the Turtles made their first attempt at producing themselves, for instance, the label simply refused to issue any of the recordings the band submitted. The band retaliated by giving the label exactly what they wanted: a hit single (which in fact was meant to be a parody of a hit single, but that got taken seriously by both the label and the record buying public). Things finally came to a head when the band refused to complete an album called Shell Shock in 1969. The label then issued a song from the Turtles' 1965 debut LP that barely made it into the top 100 (it in fact peaked in the #100 spot). The Turtles then played their trump card: they disbanded. White Whale went out of business not long after. Meanwhile, the tracks intended for Shell Shock, including If We Only Had The Time, went unissued for several years, finally surfacing on an EP issued by Rhino Records in the mid-1980s.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Dharma For One
Source:     LP: This Was
Writer:     Anderson/Bunker
Label:     Chrysalis
Year:     1968
     By 1968 it was almost considered mandatory that a rock band would include a drum solo on at least one album, thanks to Ginger Baker's Toad (on Cream's Wheels Of Fire) and Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Jethro Tull's contribution to the trend was Dharma For One, the only Tull song to give a writing credit to drummer Clive Bunker. Compared to most drum solos, Bunker's is fairly short (less than two minutes) and somewhat quirky, almost resembling a Spike Jones recording in places.

Artist:    Who
Title:    The Ox
Source:    Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer(s):    Townshend/Entwhistle/Moon/Hopkins
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    In the mid 1960s, US labels had a habit of reordering the song order on albums that had originally been released in the UK by British rock bands. In most cases, the American versions of the albums ended up being inferior to the original British releases. One noticable example is the Who's My Generation album, which was not only reordered, but retitled as well. Probably the most unforgivable move was to take the album's final track and move to the middle of the LP's second side. Folks, there is a reason The Ox was put at the end of the album. It is basically an in studio jam session with Nicky Hopkins sitting in on piano and lead vocalist Roger Daltry sitting the whole thing out. It is, in many ways, a complete throwaway track, included more for the pure fun of it than for any other reason. To put it between two other songs is to interrupt the flow of the album itself. But then, American record companies didn't really consider LPs to be anything more than supplemental income, with the real money coming from hit singles. Sounds a lot like the way things are today, doesn't it?

Artist:    Sonics
Title:    Strychnine
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Here Are The Sonics)
Writer:    Gerry Roslie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year:    1965
    From 1965 we have a band that maintains a cult following to this day: the legendary Sonics, generally considered one of the foundation stones of the Seattle music scene. Although the majority of the songs on their albums were cover tunes, virtually all of their originals are now considered punk classics; indeed, the Sonics are often cited as the first true punk rock band.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Twentieth Century Fox
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    There's no getting around it: there are no bad songs on the first two Doors albums. Pick one at random, say Twentieth Century Fox. Great song. They all are.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Take It As It Comes
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band on the Elektra label (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Fire
Source:    Simulate stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original British label: Track)
Year:    1967
    Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Although never released as a single, Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener.
   
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    2000 Light Years From Home
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more noticable than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) made the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Van Morrison
Title:    Madame George
Source:    Simulated stereo European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: T.B. Sheets)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Bang)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1972
    Following his departure from Them to embark on a solo career, Van Morrison recorded one album for the Bang label, Blowin' Your Mind, before beginning a long association with Warner Brothers Records. Before leaving Bang, however, Morrison recorded several tracks that remained unreleased until 1972, when Bang put out an album called T.B. Sheets, which also included selected tracks from Blowin' Your Mind. Among the "new" material on T. B. Sheets was an early version of one the highlights of his Warner Brothers debut album, a song called Madame George. This earlier version of Madame George is considerably more upbeat (and about half as long) than the Astral Weeks recording, which runs about ten minutes in length. T.B. Sheets is officially listed as an "unauthorized" album, and has been out of print for several years.

Artist:    MC Squared
Title:    My Mind Goes High
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Claugh/Crawly
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    MC2 (pronounced "em see squared") only released one single, the folk-pop tinged My Mind Goes High on the Reprise label in 1967, before disbanding following a dispute with their producer, Lenny Waronker. One member, however, drummer Jim Keltner, went on to make a name for himself playing on John Lennon's albums in the early 70s and doing studio work for a variety of well-known acts. He also toured as a member of Booker T & the MGs in the 1990s, appearing onstage backing up Neil Young.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Someone Like Me
Source:    Mono CD: Gloria (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Novak/McDowell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1967
    The last single released by the Shadows Of Knight on the Dunwich label (possibly the last single released on the Dunwich label by anyone) was a power punk song called Someone Like Me that foreshadows the direction the band (or at least vocalist Jim Sohns) would take over the next year or two, as they fell under the influence of bubble gum oriented Kavenitz/Katz Productions. Unlike previous releases, Someone Like Me features a horn section, and probably other studio musicians as well. Honestly, I don't know if, besides Sohns, any actual band members appear on this track at all.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    CD: Time Has Come Today
Source:    The Time Has Come
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    The Chambers Brothers were an eclectic band with a gospel music background that dated back to the mid-50s, when oldest brother George finished his tour of duty with the US Army and settled down in the L.A. area. His three brothers soon followed him out to the coast from their native Mississippi, and began playing the Southern California gospel circuit before going after a more secular audience in the early 60s. Their best-known recording was Time Has Come Today, considered to be one of the defining tracks of the psychedelic era. The song, written by brothers Joe and Willie Chambers, was originally recorded in 1966 and released as a single, but went largely unnoticed by radio and the record-buying public. In 1967 the band recorded a new, eleven-minute version of Time Has Come Today for their album The Time Has Come. This version got considerable airplay on the handful of so-called "underground" FM stations that were starting to pop up across the US in college towns and major metropolitan areas, but was considered too long for most commercial stations. The following year an edited version of the track was released, getting enough airplay to make the top 40; as a result the full-length version has become somewhat of a rarity on the radio since the shorter version was made available in stereo. This week Stuck in the Psychedelic Era presents the full-length version of Time Has Come Today. Enjoy!

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     "Everybody must get stoned." 'Nuff said.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Motherly Love
Source:    CD: Freak Out!
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Ryko (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    In addition to his high regard for avant-garde jazz and classical music, Frank Zappa had a fondness for late-1950s Doo-Wop music, as evidenced by songs such as Motherly Love from the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out!  According to the liner notes, the song is a body commercial for the band, advertising the delights to be had from social contact with the band members.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    House In The Country
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The Kinks 1966 LP Face To Face is sometimes considered an early concept album, dealing as it does with the subject of modern life, particulary in the band's native England. Then again, nearly all their material from 1966 deals with the same theme, so whether Face To Face is a true concept album along the lines of their later album Arthur is debatable. Regardless, Face To Face is indeed full of topical songs such as House In The Country (something most modern city dwellers dream of at least occasionally).

Artist:     Ultimate Spinach
Title:     Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos
Source:     LP: Behold and See
Writer:    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1968
     Finishing out this week's show we have Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos, the opening track from the second Ultimate Spinach album, Behold And See. The song was written by Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the material on the first two Ultimate Spinach albums before leaving the band in early 1969.  Although the group would continue after Bruce-Douglas's departure, they were essentially an entirely different band stylistically, with almost all new personnel as well.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1738 (starts 9/20/17)


Wow. A whole lot of good stuff this week, including Yes's most ambitious piece ever: the eighteen and a half minute long Close To The Edge. And the rest is even better.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    LP: Demons And Wizards
Writer:    Hensley/Clarke
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1972
    Although Uriah Heep had been around since 1969, they didn't get much attention in the US until their Demons And Wizards album in 1972, which included their biggest hit, Easy Livin'. The Wizard, which opens the album, was the first of two singles released from the album. The song itself is a semi-acoustic tune about a wizard whose name is never given, but is thought to be either Merlin or Gandalf.

Artist:    Queen
Title:    White Man
Source:    LP: A Day At The Races
Writer(s):    Brian May
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1976
    Following up on the success of their 1975 album A Night At The Opera, Queen borrowed yet another Marx Brothers title for their fifth LP, A Day At The Races. As was the case with their previous album, the liner notes proudly proclaimed that no synthesizers were used in the making of A Day At The Races. Although the album did not have a mega-hit along the lines of Bohemian Rhapsody, it did follow the pattern set on the previous album of alternating songs from Freddie Mercury and Brian May. One of May's best tracks on the album, White Man, takes a look at the European colonization of the North American continent from the point of view of the native population. The song became a concert favorite that included both vocal and guitar solos on various tours.

Artist:      Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Sin's a Good Man's Brother (edit)
Source:      Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:     1970
     A rare promo pressing of Sin's A Good Man's Brother, the opening track from Grand Funk Railroad's third album, Closer To Home. This edited version cuts the original running time of 4:35 down to slightly over three minutes in length.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Close To The Edge
Source:    LP: Close To The Edge
Writer(s):    Anderson/Howe
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Close To The Edge, the title track that takes up the entire third side of Yes's fifth studio album, was, among other things, the straw that broke Bill Brufords's camel's back. Like many bands in the early 1970s, Yes tended to do its arranging (and even some composing) in the studio itself, often recording dozens of takes until they were satisfied with the results. From a drummer's point of view, such a process is boring and repetitive (not to mention physically draining), and following the album's completion Bruford left Yes to join King Crimson.

Artist:    Seatrain
Title:    Flute Thing
Source:    LP: Watch
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    By 1973, Seatrain was approaching the end of the line. At this point the band consisted of Julio Coronado (drums, percussion), Bill Elliot (keyboards) Lloyd Baskin (keyboards, vocals) Andy Kulberg (bass, flute, vocals) and Peter Walsh (guitar), with only Kulberg remaining from the band's original lineup. Prior to beginning sessions for their final album, Watch, Seatrain lost two key members, Peter Rowan and Richard Greene, who left to form a band called Muleskinner. This led to an increased use of studio musicians on Watch, which in retrospect was not the best idea, considering that the early 70s were a time when album buyers prized the musicianship of individual band members above all other considerations. The one track that did focus on musicianship was actually a cover song. Al Kooper had originally written the Flute Thing as a showcase for the talents of Andy Kulberg when they were both members of the Blues Project. This updated version of the song has a faster tempo, giving it more of a bop jazz feel.

Artist:    Roy Buchanan
Title:    Wayfaring Pilgrim
Source:    CD: The Best Of Roy Buchanan (originally released on LP: In The Beginning)
Writer(s):    Buchanan/Freeman
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1974
    When it comes to pure technique, very few guitarists can claim to be in the same class as Roy Buchanan. Born in Ozark, Arkansas, in 1939, Buchanan made his recording debut as a sideman for Dale Hawkins in 1958, releasing his first single as a solo artist in 1961. Throughout his career he was known for being a master of the Fender Telecaster guitar, and was considered a major influence by many younger guitarists over the years, including Robbie Robertson (whom he tutored when they were both members of Ronnie Hawkins's Hawks) Jeff Beck and Jerry Garcia. Buchanan's greatest commercial success, however, came in the 1970s after signing the the Polydor label, which was looking for talent to fill out the roster of its newly-formed US division. Buchanan recorded five albums for Polydor, including In The Beginning, which was released in the UK as Rescue Me. Buchanan's arrangement of Wayfaring Pilgrim from that album also features the talents of Neil Larsen on piano.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    Southern Man
Source:    CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Neil Young stirred up a bit of controversy with the release of the album After The Gold Rush, mostly due to the inclusion of Southern Man, a scathingly critical look at racism in the American South. The song inspired the members of Lynnard Skynnard to write Sweet Home Alabama in response, although reportedly Young and the members of Skynnard actually thought highly of each other. There was even an attempt to get Young to make a surprise appearance at a Skynnard concert and sing the (modified) line "Southern Man don't need me around", but they were never able to coordinate their schedules enough to pull it off.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    That's The Way
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    I read somewhere that Jimmy Page came up with The Rain Song (from the album Houses Of The Holy) in response to someone asking him why Led Zeppelin hadn't recorded any ballads. Apparently that person had never heard That's The Way, from the album Led Zeppelin III.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1737 (starts 9/13/17)


This week we lull you into a sense of false security with familiar stuff, only to hit you with totally obscure tracks that seem to come out of nowhere...repeatedly.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Strawberry Fields Forever
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The first song recorded for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, Strawberry Fields Forever was instead issued as a single (along with Penny Lane) a few months before the album came out. The song went into the top 10, but was not released on an album until December of 1967, when it was included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    White Rabbit
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Mr. Second Class
Source:    CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hardin/Davis
Label:    1967
Year:    Grapefruit (original label: United Artists)
            The Spencer Davis Group managed to survive the departure of their star member, Steve Winwood (and his bass playing brother Muff) in 1967, and with new members Eddie Hardin (vocals) and Phil Sawyer (guitar) managed to get a couple more singles on the chart over the next year or so. The last of these was Mr. Second Class, a surprisingly strong composition from Hardin and Davis.
       
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Lady Jane
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Aftermath)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: 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 Billboard Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8).

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Bus Stop
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1966
    The Hollies already had a string of British hit singles when they recorded Bus Stop in 1966. The song, written by Graham Gouldman (later of 10cc), was their first song to make the US top 10, peaking at #5. Gouldman later said the idea for the song came to him as he was riding on a bus. His father, playwrite Hyme Gouldman, provided the song's opening line "Bus stop, wet day, she's there, I say please share my umbrella" and Graham built the rest of the song around it.

Artist:    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title:    Tears In My Eyes
Source:    Mono British import 45 RPM EP
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    R&B
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2016
    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers included several talented musicians over the years, many of whom went on to become stars in their own right. Not every Bluesbreakers lineup saw the inside of a recording studio, however. In fact, the only known recording of Mayall'sTears In My Eyes, which includes Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Hughie Flint on drums, is from a live radio broadcast in 1966 (presumably for the BBC since they were the only legal radio broadcaster in the UK at the time). The recording sat on the shelf for 50 years before finally being released on a four song EP in the UK.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Signed D.C.
Source:    Mono LP: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The only acoustic track on the first Love album was Signed D.C., a slow ballad in the tradition of House of the Rising Sun. The song takes the form of a letter penned by a heroin addict, and the imagery is both stark and disturbing. Although Lee was known to occasionally say otherwise, the song title probably refers to Love's original drummer Don Conka, who left the band before their first recording sessions.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Fly Away
Source:     LP:Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer:     Al Kooper
Label:     Verve Forecast
Year:     1966
     Al Kooper was a guitarist with some talent (but no professional experience) on keyboards who was already sufficiently connected enough to be allowed in the studio when Bob Dylan was recording his Highway 61 Revisited album. Not content to be merely a spectator (Mike Bloomfield was already there as a guitarist), Kooper noticed that there was an organ in the studio and immediately sat down and started playing on the sessions. Dylan was impressed enough with Kooper's playing to not only include him on the album, but to invite him to perform with him at the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival as well. The gig became probably Dylan's most notorious moment in his career, as several folk purists voiced their displeasure with Dylan's use of electric instruments. Some of them even stormed the stage, knocking over Kooper's keyboards in the process. After the gig Kooper became an in-demand studio musician. It was in this capacity (brought in to play piano by producer Tom Wilson) that he first met Danny Kalb, Andy Kuhlberg, Tommy Flanders, Roy Blumenthal and Steve Katz, who had recently formed the Blues Project and were auditioning for Columbia Records at their New York studios. Kooper had been looking for an opportunity to improve his skills on the keyboards (most of his gigs as a studio musician were for producers hoping to cash in on the "Dylan sound", which he found limiting), and soon joined the band as their full-time keyboardist. In addition to his instrumental contributions to the band, he provided some of their best original material as well. One such tune is Fly Away, from the Projections album (generally considered to be the apex of the Blues Project's studio career).

Artist:    John Hammond
Title:    Key To The Highway
Source:    LP: Mirrors
Writer(s):    Bronzy/Segar
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    John Paul Hammond (sometimes referred to as John Hammond Jr.) is the son of record producer (and talent scout) John Henry Hammond. Although the younger Hammond did not have much contact with his father during his growing up years, he did manage to acquire his father's fondness for black music, particularly the blues. By his early 20s he was a fixture on the Greenwich Village scene, performing in coffee houses and small clubs with a variety of musicians (including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, who were both members of Hammond's band at the same time for five days). Hammond, whose first album came out in 1962, records mostly cover songs, such as Big Bill Bronzy's Key To The Highway on his 1967 album Mirrors.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    The Boxer
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bridge Over Troubled Water)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    The only Simon And Garfunkel record released in 1969, The Boxer was one of the duo's most successful singles, making the top 10 in nine countries, including the US, where it made it to the #7 spot. The track, which runs more than five minutes, was later included on the 1970 LP Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    All Day And All Of The Night
Source:    Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Tired Of Waiting For You
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Set Me Free
Source:    Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After scoring international success with a series of R&B influenced rockers in 1964, the Kinks started to mellow a bit in 1965, releasing more melodic songs such as Set Me Free. The band would continue to evolve throughout the decade, eventually becoming one of the first groups to release a concept album, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), in 1969.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer:    Osborne/Iommi/Butler/Ward
Label:    Creative Sounds (original 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:     Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     Action
Source:     LP: Just Like Us
Writer:     Boyce/Venet
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1965
     Paul Revere and the Raiders were formed in the early 60s in Boise, Idaho. After temporarily disbanding due to Revere's stint in the Army, the group reformed in time to be the first band to record Richard Berry's Louie Louie in 1963. After establishing a reputation as one of the most polished bands on the Pacific Northwest scene, the group caught the eye (and ear) of Dick Clark, who signed them up to be the host band for his new daytime music show, Where The Action Is. The group relocated to Los Angeles, becoming the first rock band signed to Columbia Records in the process. One of their early recordings for the label was the theme song used on the TV show itself, although a longer version by Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon was released as a single and got considerably more airplay than the Raiders' version.

Artist:    Dukes Of Stratosphear (aka XTC)
Title:    You're My Drug
Source:    CD: Chips From The Chocolate Factory (originally released on LP: Psionic Psunspot)
Writer(s):    Andy Partridge
Label:    Caroline (original label: Virgin)
Year:    1987
    Formed in 1984 by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory and Ian Gregory, the Dukes Of Stratosphear, were an offshoot of 80s pop-rock band XTC, although at first they purported to be a "mysterious new act". Ironically, at least in their native UK, the Dukes releases actually outsold the current XTC albums of the time. The first of those releases was a mini-album called 25 O'Clock that came out in 1985. Two years later the Dukes released a full-length album, Psionic Psunspot. About half of the material on each album was composed by Andy Partridge, including You're My Drug, a catchy little number from Psionic Psunspot. Since then there have been several individual tracks credited to the Dukes, most of which are available on the CD Chips From The Chocolate Factory.

Artist:    Strawberry Zots
Title:    Doin' It All For You
Source:    LP: Cars, Flowers, Telephones
Writer(s):    Strawberry Zots
Label:    StreetSound/Acid Test
Year:    1989
    Albuquerque's Strawberry Zots were led by Mark Andrews, who wrote (or co-wrote with the rest of the Zots, in the case of Doin' It All For You) all of the band's original material. Their only LP, Cars, Flowers, Telephones, was released locally on the StreetSound label and reissued on CD the following year by RCA records.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source:    CD: Ten Years After
Writer(s):    Blind Willie Johnson, arr. Al Kooper
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    The first Ten Years After album had several cover tunes on it, including one that was actually a cover of a cover. Al Kooper of the Blues Project had initially reworked Blind Willie Johnson's I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes for inclusion on a blues sampler album for Elektra Records called What's Shakin', while at the same time working up a harder-edged version of the song for the Blues Project, which became the opening track for their Projections LP. Alvin Lee based his own interpretation of the tune on Kooper's solo arrangement, taking an even quieter approach to the song.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Square Room
Source:    Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Armstrong/Harley/Henderson/McDowell
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Sully)
Year:    1967
      After Van Morrison left Them to try his luck as a solo artist, the rest of the band returned to their native Ireland to recruit a new vocalist, Kenny McDowell, before relocating to California. Their first record with the new lineup was a single on the Sully label of a song called Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of 16). The B side of the single was a piece called Square Room, that would end up being re-recorded in a much longer version for their LP debut on Tower Records the following year.

Artist:    Wild Flowers
Title:    More Than Me
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Wildflowers
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Aster)
Year:    1967
    Phoenix, Arizona, was home to the Wild Flowers, a band that included bassist Michael Bruce, who would go on to become a founding member of Alice Cooper. The Wild Flowers only released a couple of singles on the local Aster label, the second of which was More Than Me, released in 1967.

Artist:    Things To Come
Title:    Come Alive
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Russ Ward
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Long Beach, California was home to a band known as Things To Come, which featured drummer Russ Ward, who, as Russ Kunkel, would go on to become one of L.A.'s hottest studio drummers. Come Alive is a solid piece of garage rock written by Ward/Kunkel.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    In My Neighborhood
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1995
    Sean Bonniwell has been quoted as saying that he had overproduced the original version of In My Neighborhood, due to having too much idle time in the studio. As a result, he chose not to release the song at all. Years later, Bonniwell and Bob Irwin remixed the track for release on the anthology CD Beyond The Garage.

Artist:            Mothers Of Invention
Title:        Holiday In Berlin, Full Blown/Aybe Sea
Source:     LP: Burnt Weenie Sandwich
Writer:    Frank Zappa
Label:    Reprise
Year:        1970
        The back to back instrumentals Holiday In Berlin, Full Blown and Aybe Sea on the Burnt Weenie Sandwich album are fairly typical of Zappa's work following his move from Verve to Reprise, where he was initially given the freedom to pretty much do whatever he wanted to. Sometimes called avant garde jazz, these compositions probably are more akin to 20th century classical music than anything else, reflecting the influence of Edgard Varese, Zappa's avowed musical hero.

Artist:    Mandala
Title:    Mellow Carmello
Source:    CD: Soul Crusade
Writer(s):    Troiano/Glan/Eliot
Label:    Wounded Bird
Year:    1968
    When it comes to blue-eyed soul, the first place that comes to mind is New York, home of the Vagrants and the (Young) Rascals. One might also be inclined to think of Detroit, with bands such as Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels leading the pack. One place that does not immediately come to mind is Toronto, Canada, yet Mandala was certainly firmly placed within the genre, as can be heard on Mellow Carmello, from Mandala's 1968 album Soul Crusade. Two members of Mandala, vocalist Roy Kenner and guitarist Dominic Troiano, went on to replace Joe Walsh in the James Gang, with Troiano eventually replacing Randy Bachman in another Canadian band, the Guess Who.

Artist:      Count Five
Title:     They're Gonna Get You
Source:      LP: Psychotic Reaction (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Sean Byrne
Label:     Bicycle (original label: Double Shot)
Year:     1966
     It's been said that Count Five's Psychotic Reaction was two and a half minutes of an American garage band sounding more like the Yardbirds than the Yardbirds themselves. The B side of Psychotic Reaction is that same American garage band sounding more like what they probably sounded like the rest of the time.

Artist:    Association
Title:    Along Comes Mary
Source:    LP: And Then...Along Comes The Association
Writer:    Tandyn Almer
Label:    Valiant
Year:    1966
    The Association are best known for a series of love ballads and light pop songs such as Cherish, Never My Love and Windy. Many of these records were a product of the L.A. studio scene and featured several members of the Wrecking Crew, the studio musicians who played on dozens of records in the late 60s and early 70s. The first major Association hit, however, featured the band members playing all the instruments themselves. Produced by Curt Boettcher, who would soon join Gary Usher's studio project Sagittarius, Along Comes Mary shows that the Association was quite capable of recording a classic without any help from studio musicians.

Artist:    Scott McKenzie
Title:    San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair
Source:    LP: The Voice Of Scott McKenzie
Writer(s):    John Phillips
Label:    Ode
Year:    1967
    Some people are of the opinion that Scott McKenzie's 1967 hit San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair was one of the primary factors that led to the decline of the San Francisco counter-culture, thanks to a massive influx of people into the area inspired by the song. I wasn't there, so I really can't say how much truth there is to it.

Artist:    Gods
Title:    Toward The Skies
Source:    British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in UK on LP: Genesis)
Writer(s):    Joe Konas
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    It was probably pretty pretentious for a band to call themselves the Gods, but when you consider that, at various times, the band's lineup included Greg Lake and  Mick Taylor (both future rock gods), as well as two future members of Uriah Heep, the claim somehow doesn't seem quite so outrageous. By the time their first album, Genesis, came out in 1968 both Taylor and Lake had moved on, but between guitarist/keyboardist Ken Hensley, drummer Lee Kerslake (the two aforementioned Heepsters), bassist John Glascock (who would eventually serve as Jethro Tull's bassist until his untimely death in 1979) and guitarist Joe Konas, who wrote the album's opening track, Toward The Skies, the Gods had talent to spare.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1737 (starts 9/13/17)


A lot of symmetry this week. 10 artists. 10 tracks, five of which have never been played on either Rockin' in the Days of Confusion or Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Five songs from 1970, with the other five covering each year from 1972 to 1976. See?

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     American Woman
Source:     CD: American Woman
Writer:     Bachman/Cummings/Peterson/Kale
Label:     Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1970
     From 1968-1970 I was living on Ramstein AFB, which was and is a huge base in Germany with enough Canadian personnel stationed there to justify their own on-base school. For much of the time I lived there I found myself hanging out with a bunch of Canadian kids and I gotta tell you, they absolutely loved everything by the Guess Who, who were, after all, the most successful Canadian rock band in history. In particular, they all loved the band's most political (and controversial) hit, the 1970 tune American Woman. I rather liked it myself, and immediately went out and bought a copy of the album, one of the first to be pressed on RCA's Dynaflex vinyl.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     Truckin'
Source:     CD: Skeletons From the Closet (originally released on LP: American Beauty)
Writer:     Garcia/Weir/Hunter/Lesh
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1970
     After two performance-oriented albums that mixed live and studio material and one double live LP, the Grateful Dead decided to shift their focus in the studio to their songwriting skills. The result was Workingman's Dead, the band's most commercially successful album up to that point. Five months later the followup album,  American Beauty defined the Grateful Dead's sound for all but the most dedicated of concertgoers (the legendary Deadheads), thanks to songs like Truckin', which would be the band's most popular single until the mid-1980s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    We Gotta Live Together
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Buddy Miles
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    In October of 1969, guitarist Jimi Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox (who had been performing with Hendrix since the original Experience disbanded in June of 1969) began working with drummer Buddy Miles in a group that would come to be known as Band Of Gypsys. For various reasons, Hendrix had not come up with any marketable studio recordings that year, and, thanks to a lawsuit, was under pressure to record an album for the Capitol label, even though he was still under contract to Reprise. The solution was for the trio to record a series of concerts at Madison Square Gardens over the New Year's holiday, compiling the best of these into a live album called Band Of Gypsys. Not all of the material came from Hendrix, however. The final track on the album, We Gotta Live Together, is credited to Miles, although Hendrix does quite a bit of improvisation throughout the piece.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    On The Limb
Source:    European import CD: Johnny Winter And
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    After three albums' worth of what Johnny Winter called "progressive blues", the Texas guitarist used an entirely different lineup for his 1970 album Johnny Winter And. The new band included guitarist Rick Derringer, bassist Randy Hobbs and drummer Randy Z, all of who had all been members of the McCoys, known for the 1965 hit single Hang On Sloopy (even though only Derringer had actually played and sung on the record). The music of Johnny Winter And reflected a subtle shift in emphasis from rock-flavored blues to blues-favored rock. This shift was particularly noticable on the handful of songs written by Derringer, such as On The Limb.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Space Intro/Fly Like An Eagle/Wild Mountain Honey
Source:    LP: Fly Like An Eagle
Writer(s):    Miller/McCarty
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1976
    Perhaps more than any other rock group, the Steve Miller Band exemplifies the changes in album rock from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. Their first couple of albums were firmly rooted in the San Francisco music scene, and had a strong psychedelic element. Their early 70s albums showed a maturing style, yet retained an experimental edge as well. By the middle of the decade the Miller band had taken a decidedly more commercial turn with the hit single The Joker in 1975. They followed it up with their most commercial album to date, Fly Like An Eagle, in 1976. The first three tracks on the album, Space Intro/Fly Like An Eagle/Wild Mountain Honey, play as one continuous piece, and were usually presented that way on FM rock stations at the time. These days, of course, classic rock stations only play the middle part of the song cycle.

Artist:    Pavlov's Dog
Title:    Julia
Source:    LP: Pampered Menial
Writer(s):    Davic Surkamp
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1975
    During my first couple of years living in Albuquerque, NM, I met quite an assortment of strange and unusual people. Among them were a guy who would eventually come to be known as Carlos the Ragman and his roommate, Clint. Clint was, as near as I can tell, possessed of a genius IQ, enhanced by far too many acid trips. He seemed to be in possession of some sort of telepathic powers as well, as was made apparent on more than one occasion. In addition to (or maybe because of) all these things, Clint had somewhat unusual tastes in music. I remember him showing up one evening with an album he had just bought called Pampered Menial, by a band from St. Louis, Mo. called Pavlov's Dog. The opening track, Julia, was truly like nothing I had ever heard before, probably due to the unique vocals of David Surkamp, the writer of Julia. In addition to Surkamp, the band included Steve Scorfina, Mike Safron, Rick Stockton, David Hamilton, Doug Rayburn and Siegfried Carver.

Artist:    Premiati Forneria Marconi
Title:    The World Became The World
Source:    Italian import CD: The World Became The World
Writer(s):    Mussida/Sinfield/Mogol/Pagani
Label:    Sony Music/RCA
Year:    1974
    Although the genre known as progressive rock (sometimes called art-rock) enjoyed a measure of popularity in the early 1970s, it was never THE most popular genre in rock....except for in one country. Maybe because of a classical music tradition that generally acknowledges it as the birthplace of opera, Italy took to prog rock in a big way. In fact, for a time the most popular band in the country was Emerson, Lake & Palmer, followed closely by Premiati Forneria Marconi, an Italian band whose name translates as the Award Winning Marconi Bakery. PFM (as they were usually known) were the first Italian rock band to have success outside of Italy, releasing five albums with English lyrics from 1973-77. Most of these lyrics were provided by Peter Sinfield, who was also providing lyrics for Emerson, Lake & Palmer on their Brain Salad Surgery album. One of the most popular of these was The World Became The World, released in 1974.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Bringing Home The Bacon
Source:    LP: Grand Hotel
Writer:    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    After the departure of original lead guitarist Robin Trower, the remaining members of Procol Harum continued to record quality albums such as Grand Hotel, although their airplay was limited to sporadic appearances on the more progressive FM stations. One song that probably should have gotten more attention than it did was Bringing Home The Bacon, from the aforementioned Grand Hotel album. The group would experience a brief return to top 40 radio the following year with the release of their live version of Conquistador, a track that originally appeared on the band's 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Sometime World
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    Guitarist Andy Powell shines on Sometime World from the third Wishbone Ash album, Argus. The song, about missed opportunities and second chances, starts quietly, building slowly to become a powerful rocker over the course of nearly seven minutes. Although the song was seldom performed live, Powell has since stated that Sometime World is his favorite track on Argus.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Samba Pa Ti
Source:    LP: 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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1736 (starts 9/6/17)


This week the artists' sets are back in a big way, along with all kinds of odds and ends. It all starts with the Stones...

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    CD: Beggars Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Please Go Home
Source:    CD: Flowers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    It was common practice in the 1960s for American record labels to change the track lineup on British albums before releasing them in the US. There were several reasons for this, including the fact that British albums generally had longer running times than American ones, and seldom included tracks that had been issued as singles. Since albums in the US almost always did include hit singles (to help spur album sales), this meant that several songs from the original UK versions of LPs did not appear on the US version. In many cases those tracks, combined with other unreleased songs such as those that had appeared on EPs (a format not supported by American record buyers) would eventually appear on albums that were only released in the US. One such album was the Rolling Stones' Flowers LP, which appeared in 1967 a few months after the release of Between The Buttons. One of the tracks on Flowers that had appeared on the British version of Between The Buttons was Please Go Home, a Bo Diddly styled rocker with a few psychedelic touches added. The track also features an oscillator, played (operated?) by Brian Jones.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Jigsaw Puzzle
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Jigsaw Puzzle, the longest track on the Beggar's Banquet album, comes across as a wry look at the inner workings of a rock and roll band like, say, the Rolling Stones. Founder Brian Jones's only contribution to the recording is some soaring mellotron work toward the end of the song. Not long after the track was recorded, Jones was fired from the band.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1965
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a 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:            Blues Magoos
Title:        Queen of My Nights
Source:       CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    D. Blue
Label:     Mercury
Year:        1967
        When I moved to a new town (actually a converted Panzer barracks being used as a housing complex for US military dependents in Mainz-Kastel, Germany) in the summer of '67 I was given a crash course in what was cool and what wasn't. For those living off-post (known as living "on the economy") 45 RPM records were the cool thing (albums still being something of a rarity in German stores at the time), especially anything by the Who. As far as albums went, the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop (featuring songs like Queen Of My Nights), along with the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, topped the cool list. Unfortunately, I arrived on the scene with more albums by the Monkees than any other group (I had two), which pretty much marked me as uncool, at least until I learned to play guitar myself.

Artist:    Vistas
Title:    Moon Relay
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Smith/Marrinilli/William/Myhers
Label:    Tuff
Year:    1966
    Rochester, NY's Vistas and their label, Tuff Records, had at least one thing in common: they only released one record. The B side of that record was Moon Relay, written, presumably, by the members of the band itself. The single came out in 1966, which is all I know about either the Vistas or Tuff Records. Anyone with any more info is welcome to share it with me.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Here, There And Everywhere
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    In the early days the Beatles did a lot of doubling up of vocals to achieve a fuller sound. This meant that the lead vocalist (usually John Lennon or Paul McCartney) would have to record a vocal track and then go back and sing in unison with his own recorded voice. The process, which Lennon in particular found tedious, often took several attempts to get right, making for long and exhausting recording sessions. In the spring of 1966 engineer Ken Townsend invented a process he called automatic double tracking that applied a tape delay to a single vocal to create the same effect as manual double tracking. The Beatles used the process for the first time on the Revolver album, on tracks like I'm Only Sleeping and Doctor Robert. Oddly enough, the song that sounds most like it used the ADT system, McCartney's Here, There And Everywhere, was actually two separate vocal tracks, as can be heard toward the end of the last verse when one of the vocals drops down to harmonize a few notes.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Eleanor Rigby
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' Revolver album is usually cited as the beginning of the British psychedelic era, and with good reason. Although the band still had one last tour in them in 1966, they were already far more focused on their studio work than on their live performances, and thus turned out an album full of short masterpieces such as Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. As always, the song was credited to both McCartney and John Lennon, but in reality the only Beatle to appear on the recording was McCartney himself, and then only in a vocal capacity. The instrumentation consisted of simply a string quartet, arranged and conducted by producer George Martin. Released as a double-A-sided single, along with Yellow Submarine, the song shot to the upper echelons of the charts in nearly every country in the western world and remains one of the band's most popular and recognizable tunes.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    For No One
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    With the predominance of the keyboards and french horn in the mix, For No One (essentially a Paul McCartney solo number) shows just how far the Beatles had moved away from their original image as a "guitar band" by the time they recorded the Revolver album in 1966.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovey Thing Going
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to perform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovey Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovey Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and quickly recorded a new album, Sounds Of Silence. The album included a new stereo mix of We've Got A Groovey Thing Going made from the original 4-track master tape. By the way, this is the only instance I know of of the word "groovy" being spelled "groovey".

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Observation
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    Donovan was at first hailed as Britain's answer to Bob Dylan, but by 1967 he was proving that he was much more than that. The Observation, with its distinctive use of an acoustic double-bass, is one of many innovative tunes that helped redefine Donovan from folk singer to singer/songwriter, transforming the entire genre in the process.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Driving Song
Source:    CD: Stand Up (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the presence of "underground" FM radio stations in most major US cities playing what would come to be called album rock was making it possible for an artist to be considered successful without having the benefit of a top 40 hit record. This was not the case in the UK, where top 40 itself had been, until July of 1967, considered an underground format heard on illegal AM pirate stations broadcasting from offshore transmitters. Momentum being what it is, British bands such as Jethro Tull continued to put out singles and EPs that were successful in their native England but difficult to find in the US well into the 1970s. For example, Driving Song was originally released as the B side of Living In the Past in 1969. As was the case with every other early Jethro Tull single, the record, although released in the US failed to make a dent in the charts, and was not heard by most Americans until the Living In the Past LP was released in 1973.

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:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Honey Bee
Source:    LP: Getting To The Point
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    Other than the obvious fact that they were a British blues band, Savoy Brown is a difficult band to describe. Much of the reason for this is the fact that founder Kim Simmonds was always looking to try something new, even if it meant replacing the entire membership of the band itself (himself being the sole exception is some cases). This trend was started early on, when the band's second LP came out. Lead vocalist Chris Youlden made his debut with the band on Getting To The Point, but would only be around for a couple of years. The album itself relied heavily on cover songs, such as Muddy Waters's Honey Bee, which runs a total of six and a half minutes. Another notable cover song on the LP was Willie Dixon's You Need Love, with lyrics that would become the basis of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love the following year. By then, however, Savoy Brown had moved off in an entirely different direction.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    New York Bullseye
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Harry Pye
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    There are two tracks credited to Harry Pye on the second Shadows Of Knight album, Back Door Men. Both are instrumentals. The second of these, New York Bullseye, is basically a blues jam. All this, plus the fact that I can't seem to find any information on "Harry Pye", leads me to believe that Harry Pye was actually a close relative of Nanker Phelge and McGannahan Skjellyfetti, both of which were fictional entities used to secure royalties on recordings created by an entire band (the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead, respectively.)

Artist:    Chantays
Title:    Pipeline
Source:    CD: Surfin' Hits
Writer(s):    Spickard/Carman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Downey)
Year:    1962
    Bob Spickard, Brian Carman, Bob Welch, Warren Waters and Rob Marshall were all students at Santa Ana High School in California who were inspired by a local group called the Rhythm Rockers to form their own rock and roll band. The surf craze was just getting under way on the California coast, and the new group, calling themselves the Chantays, soon found themselves recording for the local Downey label, which was actually owned by a music publishing company. In December of 1962 they recorded and released what would become one of the most popular instrumental surf songs ever committed to vinyl: the classic Pipeline. The song was quickly picked up an re-released on the Dot label in early 1963, eventually going all the way to the #4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chantays have the distinction of being the only rock 'n' roll band to ever perform on TV's Lawrence Welk Show.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Prelude-Nightmare/Fire Poem/Fire
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Writer(s):    Brown/Crane/Finesilver/Ker
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was unusual for their time in that they were much more theatrical than most of their contemporaries, who were generally more into audio experimentation than visual. I have a video of Fire being performed (or maybe just lip-synched). In it, all the members are wearing some sort of mask, and Brown himself is wearing special headgear that was literally on fire. There is no doubt that The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown sowed the seeds of what was to become the glitter-rock movement in the early to mid 70s. This week we have the uncut stereo version of Fire along with Prelude-Nightmare and Fire Poem that precede it on the original album.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Pressed Rat And Warthog
Source:     LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:     Baker/Taylor
Label:     Atco
Year:    1968
     The opening track of side two of Cream's third album, Wheels Of Fire, is one of those songs you either love or hate. Personally I loved Pressed Rat And Warthog the first time I heard it but had several friends that absolutely detested it. As near as I can tell, Ginger Baker actually talks that way. Come to think of it, all the members of Cream had pretty heavy accents.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Scottish Tea
Source:    British import CD: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Between the first two Amboy Dukes albums, the group underwent a couple of personnel changes, with bassist Greg Arama and keyboardist Andy Solomon joining founders John Drake (vocals), Steve Farmer (rhythm guitar), Dave Palmer (drums) and the inimitable Ted Nugent (lead guitar). The second Dukes LP, Journey To The Center Of The Mind, was actually two mini-albums, with songs composed mainly by Nugent on side one and Farmer on side two. One of the Nugent songs was an instrumental named Scottish Tea. While not exactly politically correct, the track is a showcase for Nugent's already prodigious abilities as a guitarist.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Wait Until Tomorrow
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix showed a whimsical side with Wait Until Tomorrow, a track from his second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP, Axis: Bold As Love. The song tells a story of a young man standing outside his girlfriend's window trying to convince her to run away from him. He gets continually rebuffed by the girl, who keeps telling him to Wait Until Tomorrow. Ultimately the girl's father resolves the issue by shooting the young man. The entire story is punctuated by outstanding distortion-free guitar work that showcases just how gifted Hendrix was on his chosen instrument.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Red House
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced (UK version)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original UK label: Track)
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Red House was omitted from the US version of Are You Experienced because, in the words of one recording company executive: "America does not like blues". At the time the song was recorded, Noel Redding was not yet comfortable using a bass guitar, and would work out his bass parts on a slightly-detuned hollow body six-string guitar with the tone controls on their muddiest setting (I learned to play bass the same way myself). The original recording of Red House that was included on the UK version of Are You Experienced features Redding doing exactly that. A second take of the song, with overdubs, was included on the North American version of the 1969 Smash Hits album, but the original mono version heard here was not available in the US until the release of the Blues CD in 1994.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Bold As Love
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When working on the song Bold As Love for the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album in 1967, Jimi reportedly asked engineer Eddie Kramer if he could make a guitar sound like it was under water. Kramer's answer was to use a techique called phasing, which is what happens when two identical sound sources are played simultaneously, but slightly (as in microseconds) out of synch with each other. The technique, first used in 1958 but seldom tried in stereo, somewhat resembles the sound of a jet plane flying by. This is not to be confused with chorusing (sometimes called reverse phasing), a technique used often by the Beatles which electronically splits a single signal into two identical signals then delays one to create the illusion of being separate tracks.

Artist:     Kak
Title:     Lemonade Kid
Source:     British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Writer:     Gary Lee Yoder
Label:     Big Beat (original label: Epic)
Year:     1969
     Kak was a group from Davis, California that was only around long enough to record one LP for Epic. That self-titled album did not make much of an impression commercially, and was soon out of print. Long after the band had split up, critics began to notice the album, and copies of the original LP are now highly-prized by collectors. Songs like the Lemonade Kid show that Kak had a sound that holds up better today than many of the other artists of the time. In fact, after listening to this track a couple times I went out and ordered a copy of the import CD reissue of the Kak album.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    The Bird Has Flown
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Evans/Blackmore/Lord
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1969
    Much of the music on the first two Deep Purple albums (including the singles Hush and Kentucky Woman) was made up of extensively rearranged cover songs, leading some critics to consider the band England's answer to Vanilla Fudge. Although the band was doing well enough in the US, they were virtually ignored at home, and in early 1969 set out to do something about the latter. The most important change was to focus on original material. Their next single was a pair of songs composed by the band, with the more experimental of the two, a song called The Bird Has Flown, appearing as the B side of the US release of the record (a song from their second LP was chosen for the British B side). Feeling that the song was deserving of greater exposure, the band recorded a new version (retitled Bird Has Flown) for their self-titled third LP. Unfortunately, the band's US label, Tetragrammaton, was having serious financial problems, resulting in a delayed release of the album with virtually no promotion from the label itself. Tetragrammaton went bankrupt not long after the LP hit the stands, making it by far the most obscure Deep Purple album ever released. After the band signed with Warner Brothers and achieved phenomenal success with new lead vocalist Ian Gillan, WB put together a double-LP collection of material from the band's first three albums, including Bird Has Flown, which, for some unknown reason, is listed on the label as The Bird Has Flown, despite being the later re-recorded version of the song.

Artist:    Bubble Puppy
Title:    I've Got To Reach You
Source:    British import CD: A Gathering Of Promises
Writer(s):    Potter/Cox
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1969
    The Bubble Puppy came into existence in 1967, when two former members of the legendary Corpus Christie,Texas garage band the Bad Seeds, guitarist Rod Prince and keyboardist/bassist Roy Cox, relocated to San Antonio, recruiting guitarist Todd Potter and drummer Craig Root to form the new band. Success came quickly in the form of the band's very first gig, opening for the Who at the San Antonio Colosseum. After David Fore replaced Root in the band, the group relocated to Austin, where they got a steady gig at the Vulcan Gas Company. By 1968 the Bubble Puppy was traveling all over Texas for gigs, and late in the year got a contract with Houston-based International Artists, a label that had already gained notoriety by signing the 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola. After releasing a surprise top 40 hit, Hot Smoke And Sassafras in December of 1968, the band got to work on a full album, A Gathering Of Promises. International Artists failed to get the album, which was full of fine tunes like I've Got To Reach You, out quickly enough to capitilize of the popularity of Hot Smoke And Sassafras, and further hurt the band's chance of success by refusing to grant licensing rights on the single to Apple Records for European release. By 1970 the band and the label had parted company, with the Bubble Puppy relocating to Los Angeles and changing their name to Demian, in part to disassociate themselves from a genre (bubble gum) that they were actually never a part of to begin with.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Harvey's Tune
Source:    LP: Super Session
Writer(s):    Harvey Brooks
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
    Probably the most overlooked track on the classic Super Session LP is the album's closer, a two-minute instrumental called Harvey's Tune. The piece was written by bassist Harvey Brooks, who, along with Mike Bloomfield, had been a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and later, the Electric Flag.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1736 (starts 9/6/17)


Imagine that it's late in the year 1971, and you're enjoying some of your favorite music on your local underground radio station, from bands like the Beatles, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Ten Years After. Imagine further that you then hear a whole set of current tunes, along with a sneak preview of a new Doobie Brothers cut. Then imagine yourself being transported a few years ahead for a visit with Robin Trower. That's pretty much what this week's show is about.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Rocky Raccoon
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
            I had a friend in high school named Steve Head who was probably a better guitarist/vocalist than any of us realized. Part of the reason for the mystery was because he would only play one song in public: The Beatles' Rocky Raccoon, from the White Album (although if you got him drunk enough you could coax a chorus of Froggy Went A Courtin' out of him as well).

Title:    Down By The River
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Down By The River is one of four songs on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere that Neil Young wrote while running a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 39.5 degrees for people in civilized nations that use the Celsius, aka centrigrade, scale). By some strange coincidence, they are the four best songs on the album. I wish I could have been that sick in my days as a wannabe rock star.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Think About The Times
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    The first Ten Years After I ever bought was Stonedhenge, which I picked up because a) I liked the cover, and b) it was the featured album of the month at the BX, costing a buck and a half instead of the usual $2.50. Not long after that my dad got transferred back to the States, and I somehow missed the release of the next TYA album, Cricklewood Green. A friend of mine had a copy, though, that we spent a lot of time listening to, so when I saw their next album, Watt, on the racks I immediately picked it up. I wore that copy out, and only later learned that the album had gotten mostly negative reviews from the rock press. I think that's when I started to suspect that most rock critics were self-righteous individuals with no talent of their own, because I thought Watt was a good album then and I still think it's a good album. Take a listen to Think About The Times and tell me I'm wrong.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Source:    LP: At Fillmore East
Writer(s):    Dicky Betts
Label:    Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
Year:    1971
    One of the greatest instrumentals in rock history, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed was written by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dicky Betts. The song got it's name from a headstone that Betts saw at the Rose Hill Cemetary in Macon, Georgia. That same cemetary is where band members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were eventually buried. The version of the song heard on the 1971 album At Fillmore East was recorded live on March 13, 1971 and contains no edits or overdubs. Yes, they were that good.

Artist:    Pink Fairies
Title:    War Girl
Source:    CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Neverneverland)
Writer(s):    Twink aka John Charles Edward Alder
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1971
    The Pink Fairies were formed when three members of the Deviants (Paul Rudolph, Duncan Sanderson, and Russell Hunter), who had fired their own band leader during a disastrous North American tour, decided to hook up with Twink (John Charles Edward Alder), the former drummer of Tomorrow and the Pretty Things. Twink had done a one-shot gig with an ad hoc group of musicians under the name Pink Fairies in 1969, and the new group decided that they liked the name and appropriated it for themselves. The band gained immediate notoriety for putting on free concerts, often just outside the gates of places that were charging premium prices for tickets to see more well-known bands. By the end of 1970 the Fairies had secured a contract with Polydor and releasing their first single late in the year. This was followed by a 1971 album called Neverneverland that featured several tracks originally credited to the entire band, such as War Girl, that on later releases are credited to Twink. Although the Pink Fairies split up in 1976, they still get together from time to time to put on a show.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Ride With Me
Source:    45 RPM stereo promo
Writer(s):    Mars Bonfire
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1971
    By 1971 Steppenwolf's best years were already behind them. Looking to rekindle the old magic, the band turned to songwriter (and former band member) Dennis Edmonton, who, under the pseudonym Mars Bonfire, had penned their biggest hit, Born To Be Wild. Although Ride With Me was a solid song, it stalled out in the lower reaches of the top 40 charts while being virtually ignored by more progressive album rock stations.

Artist:    Five Man Electrical Band
Title:    Signs
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Les Emerson
Label:    Lionel
Year:    1971
    Everybody has at least one song they have fond memories of hearing on the radio while riding around in a friend's car on a hot summer evening. Signs, from Canada's Five Man Electrical Band, is one of mine.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    White Sun
Source:    CD: Toulouse Street
Writer(s):    Tom Johnston
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Toulouse Street was the second Doobie Brothers album, and is generally considered their commercial breakthrough. In addition to a pair of hit singles (Rockin' Down The Highway and Jesus Is Just Alright) the album contains many fine tunes, such as the seldom heard White Sun.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Bridge Of Sighs/In This Place
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    One of the most celebrated guitar albums of all time, Bridge Of Sighs was Robin Trower's second solo LP following his departure from Procol Harum. Released in 1974, the LP spent 31 weeks on the Billboard album charts, peaking at #7. Bridge of Sighs has served as a template for later guitar-oriented albums, especially those of Warren Haines and Gov't Mule.