Monday, September 25, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1739 (starts 9/27/17)

This week we get invaded by Huns. The Huns, that is, a mid-60s frat/party rock band from Ithaca, NY. We have an interview with two of the band members, as well as three tracks from the new CD The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.

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:    Love
Title:    The Daily Planet
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    The closest Love ever got to a stable lineup was in early 1967, when the group consisted of multi-instrumentalist and band leader Arthur Lee, lead guitarist Johnny Echols, rhythm guitarist Bryan MacLean, bassist Ken Forssi and drummer Michael Stuart. This group, along with "Snoopy" Pfisterer on keyboards and Tjay Cantrelli on flute and saxophone, had completed the De Capo album in late 1966 and were firmly entrenched as the top-drawing band on the Sunset Strip. There were drawbacks, however. Then, as now, Los Angeles was the party capitol of the world, and the members of Love, as kings of the Strip, had easy access to every vice they could imagine. This became a serious problem when it was time to begin working on the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Both Lee and MacLean had new material ready to be recorded, but getting the other members into the studio was proving to be impossible, so the two songwriters decided to take matters into their own hands and brought in some of L.A.'s top studio musicians to begin work on the album. The move turned out to be a wake up call for the rest of the band, who were able to get their act together in time to finish the album themselves. Lee and MacLean, however, chose to keep the two tracks that they had completed using studio musicians. One of those was a Lee composition, The Daily Planet. Ken Forssi later claimed that bassist Carol Kaye was having problems with the song and Forssi himself ended up playing on the track, but there is no way now to verify Forssi's claim.

Artist:    Balloon Farm
Title:    A Question Of Temperature
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Appel/Schnug/Henny
Label:    Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:    1967
    It's not entirely clear whether the Balloon Farm was an actual band or simply an East Coast studio concoction. Regardless, they did manage to successfully cross bubble gum and punk with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to have greater success as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    Why
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    EMI
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1998
    One of the most overlooked bands on the British psychedelic scene was a group called Tomorrow. The group was formed in 1966 when vocalist Keith West and guitarist Steve Howe joined forces with bassist Junior Wood and drummer Twink Adler. One of the highlights of the band's stage performances was their cover of the Byrds' Why, which often featured extended solos by Howe. A studio version of Why was recorded, but was not released while the band was still together. In fact, the tape was misplaced for many years, finally surfacing in time to be included on EMI's Psychedelia At Abbey Road collection in 1998. By then Howe had become a major rock star as the guitarist for Yes during their most popular period.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Hey Grandma
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Miller/Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    One of the most talked-about albums to come from the San Francisco music scene in 1967 was Moby Grape's debut album. Unfortunately a lot of that talk was from Columbia Records itself, which resulted in the band getting a reputation for being overly hyped, much to the detriment of the band's future efforts. Still, that first album did have some outstanding tracks, including Hey Grandma, which opens side one of the LP.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    By early 1967 there was a building resentment among musicians and rock press alike concerning the instant (and in some eyes unearned) success of the Monkees. One notable expression of this resentment was the Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star, which takes a somewhat sarcastic look at what it takes to succeed in the music business. Unfortunately, much of what they talk about in the song continues to apply today (although the guitar has been somewhat supplanted by the computer as the instrument of choice).

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Like A Rolling Stone
Source:     CD: Live At Monterey (originally released on LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival)
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former member of the US Army and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind, aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
            Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most  closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's Dear Mr. Fantasy from Traffic's 1967 debut LP Mr. Fantasy. The album was originally released in a modified version in the US in early 1968 under the title Heaven Is In Your Mind, but later editions of the LP, while retaining the US track order and running time, were renamed to match the original British title.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     No Face, No Name, No Number
Source:     CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer:     Winwood/Capaldi
Label:     Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:     1967
     When the first Best of Traffic album was issued in 1969 (after the group first disbanded) it included No Face, No Name, No Number, a non-hit album track. Later Traffic anthologies tended to focus on the group's post-reformation material and the song was out of print for many years until the first Traffic album was reissued on CD. The song itself is a good example of Winwood's softer material.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Pearly Queen
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic LP was less overtly psychedelic than the Mr. Fantasy album, with songs like Pearly Queen taking the band in a more funky direction. When the band reformed in 1970 without Dave Mason (who had provided the most psychedelic elements) the songwriting team of Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi, who had written Pearly Queen, continued the trend.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Inside Looking Out
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last songs recorded by the Animals before their first breakup, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was covered a few years later by Grand Funk Railroad, who made it one of their concert staples. This has always been one of my all-time favorite rock songs.

Artist:    Rising Sons
Title:    Take A Giant Step
Source:    CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD:The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1992
    Popular Los Angeles club band The Rising Sons were blessed with the talents of not one, but three musicians that would go on to become highly respected in the music business: vocalist Taj Mahal, guitarist Ry Cooder, and singer/songwriter Jesse Lee Kincaid. At the time, however, Columbia Records had no clue how to market an interracial country-blues/rock band. After an early single bombed the band attempted a more commercial sounding tune, the Gerry Goffin/ Carole King penned Take A Giant Step, but Columbia sat on it, as well as over an album's worth of other material. The song itself became well known when the Monkees released it as the B side of their debut single, Last Train To Clarksville. Taj Mahal, who liked the lyrics but not the fast tempo of the original version, re-recorded the song at a slower pace for his 1969 album Giant Step, making it one of his signature songs in the process.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission)
Source:    LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon's sense of humor is on full display on A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission). The song first appeared, with slightly different lyrics on Simon's 1965 LP The Paul Simon Songbook, which was released only in the UK after Simon and Garfunkel had split following the disappointing sales of their first Columbia LP, Wednesday Morning 3AM. When the duo got back together following the surprise success of an electrified version of The Sound Of Silence, the re-recorded the tune, releasing it on their third Columbia LP, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. The song is a deliberate parody/tribute to Bob Dylan, written in a style similar to It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), and is full of sly references to various well-known personages of the time as well as lesser-known acquaintances of Simon himself.

Artist:    John Kay (Sparrow)
Title:    Twisted
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Columbia)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1969
    Toronto's Yorkville Village had a thriving music scene in the mid-1960s that included such future stars as Joni Mitchell, David Clayton-Thomas, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfood and Rick James, among others. Also on the scene was a young singer who had spent most of his formative years in the area before his family had relocated to Buffalo, and later, Los Angeles. John Kay eventually found his way back to Toronto, where he joined a band called Sparrow. Not long after Kay joined the band, they decided to relocate to New York, where they managed to record a few tracks at the Columbia Records studios in 1966. Among those tracks was a Kay song called Twisted. The recordings remained unreleased until 1969, when Columbia, in the wake of the band's success under their new name, Steppenwolf, released an album called John Kay and Sparrow. The label also released a single from the album that featured Twisted as the B side. The song is now available on the double-CD Steppenwolf anthology Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective.

Artist:    Music Explosion
Title:    Little Bit O' Soul
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Lewis/Carter
Label:    Laurie
Year:    1967
    Mansfield, Ohio, was home to the Music Explosion who made their mark as one-hit wonders in early 1967 with Little Bit O' Soul. The song was an early forerunner of the bubble-gum movement that would dominate the top 40 charts over a year later.

    The next twenty minutes of the show is an interview with two members of the Huns, a popular mid-60s band based in Ithaca, NY, whose recordings have just been released on a CD called The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966. Interspersed with interview segments are three songs from the CD itself:

Artist:    Huns
Title:    Route 66
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Bobby Troup
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017

Artist:    Huns
Title:    Love Is Gone
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Steve Dworetz
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017

Artist:    Huns
Title:    Long Way Around
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Buz Warmkessel
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017   
    Anything I could say about these tracks would be superflous, since John and Frank had plenty to say about each of them in the interview itself.
All these songs will eventually get played again on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, however, so you can expect additional commentary when they do.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Mother's Little Helper
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    By 1966 the Rolling Stones had already had a few brushes with the law over their use of illegal drugs. Mother's Little Helper, released in spring of 1966, is a scathing criticism of the parents of the Stones' fans for their habitual abuse of "legal" prescription drugs while simultaneously persecuting those same fans (and the band itself) for smoking pot. Perhaps more than any other song that year, Mother's Little Helper illustrates the increasingly hostile generation gap that had sprung up between the young baby boomers and the previous generation.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    What Do You Want
Source:    CD: Roger The Engineer (originally released in US as Over Under Sideways Down)
Writer(s):    Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label:    Great American Music (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 the Yardbirds went into the studio to record their first (and only) full-length album of original material. The album was titled simply The Yardbirds, although outside of the UK it was issued as Over Under Sideways Down with an altered song lineup. The original UK cover featured a caricature of studio engineer Roger Cameron drawn by the band's rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, and eventually the album itself came to be known unofficially as Roger The Engineer. The most recent CD issue of the album has made that the official title. All the tracks on the album are credited to the entire band, including What Do You Want, which was included on all versions of the original LP.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    It's No Secret
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer:    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane song to get played on the radio was not Somebody To Love. Rather, it was It's No Secret, from the album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, that got extensive airplay, albeit only in the San Francisco Bay area. Still, the song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Somebody To Love
Source:     CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer:     Darby Slick
Label:     RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:     1967
     Jefferson Airplane's version of Somebody To Love (a song that had been previously recorded by Grace Slick's former band, the Great! Society) put the San Francisco Bay area on the musical map in early 1967. Somebody To Love was actually the second single released from Surrealistic Pillow, the first being My Best Friend, a song written by the Airplane's original drummer, Skip Spence.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Come Up The Years
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    One of the most overused motifs in pop music is the "You're too young for me" song. This probably reflects, to a certain degree, a lifestyle that goes back to the beginnings of rock and roll (Chuck Berry did jail time for transporting a minor across state lines, Jerry Lee Lewis saw his career get derailed by his marraige to his 13-year-old cousin, etc.). Generally, the song's protagonist comes to a decision to put a stop to the relationship before it gets too serious. The Marty Balin/Paul Kantner tune Come Up The Years takes a more sophisticated look at the subject, although it still comes to the same conclusion (I can't do this because you're jailbait). In fact, the only rock songwriter I know of that came to any other conclusion on the matter was Bob Markley of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and that's what ultimately got him in trouble with the law.

Artist:    Tommy Boyce And Bobby Hart
Title:    Words
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2009
    Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were really hoping to be selected for the new band that Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures was putting together to star in a new weekly TV series. To that effect they produced and recorded several of their own songs, using some of L.A's top studio musicians. Most of those recordings ended up on the first two Monkees albums, with re-recorded vocals by the four young men that were officially in the band. This early demo of Words (a song that the Monkees re-recorded in 1967 and took into the top 40 as a B side), shows what the band may have sounded like if Boyce and Hart themselves had made the cut.

Artist:    Woolies
Title:    Who Do You Love
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1966
    Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love had become somewhat of a rock and roll dance standard by the mid-1960s, with several bands recording the tune. Probably the most overtly psychedelic version came from East Lansing, Michigan's Woolies. The group was discovered by Dunhill Records' Lou Adler and were flown out to L.A. to record the song, which was originally considered the B side of their debut single. When some radio stations started flipping the record over to play Who Do You Love, Dunhill was slow to promote the song, and it stalled out in the lower reaches of the charts. Disillusioned by the whole experience, all but one member of the Woolies returned to Michigan, where they formed their own label and recorded a series of moderately successful regional hits.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    A Thing Or Two
Source:    Mono LP: Wild Honey
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Wild Honey was the 13th Beach Boys album. Released in 1967, the album was met with indifference by both critics and the record buying public, resulting in it being the poorest-selling Beach Boys album up to that point in time. More recent reviews have put the album in a more positive light, with some critics finding its simplicity charming. Certainly tracks like A Thing Or Two are indeed quite simple, consisting basically of Brian Wilson singing and playing the piano, with minimal contributions from the rest of the group.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lady Madonna
Source:    CD: 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    1968
    In spring of 1968, following the completion of the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm (and soundtrack album) the Beatles took off for India, where they studied Transcendental Meditation for several weeks along with several other celebrities. Before leaving, the group laid down tracks for their first single of 1968, a Paul McCartney tune called Lady Madonna. Released on March 15th it was, of course, a huge hit, going to #1 in the UK and #4 in the US. The song's success, however, paled when compared with their next release: Hey Jude, which would turn out to be the #1 song of the entire decade.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Flying High
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Any guesses to what a song called Flying High from an album called Electric Music For The Mind And Body by Country Joe And The Fish released in 1967 might be about? I thought not.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s. Their first two releases were floppy inserts included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Porpoise Mouth
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    The songs on the first Country Joe And The Fish album ranged from silly satire (Super Bird) to downright spacey. One of the spaciest tracks on the album is Porpoise Mouth, both lyrically and musically.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1739 (starts 9/27/17)

This week we have 11 tracks, which is only about one more than average. Despite this, nearly all the tracks are under five minutes long. The exceptions, though, are long indeed!

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Eighteen
Source:    CD: Electric Seventies (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Love It To Death
Writer(s):    Cooper/Bruce/Buxton/Dunaway/Smith
Label:    JCI/Warner Special Products (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1970
    Alice Cooper's ultimate teenage anthem Eighteen was kind of a do or die release for the group, who had up to that point been a part of Frank Zappa's Straight Records' stable of oddball artists with little or no commercial potential. In 1970, however, Zappa sold Straight to Warner Brothers, who agreed to release Eighteen that same year, with the stipulation that if the record sold well the group could record an album for the label. The single did indeed do well, propelling Alice Cooper to stardom and allowing them to record Love It To Death, the first in a series of best-selling albums for the band. The song came at a perfect time, as most states were in the process of raising the drinking age to 21 but had not yet lowered the voting age to 18. Furthermore, the military draft was still in effect in 1970, making many 18-year-olds quite nervous, especially those with low lottery numbers.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Freedom
Source:     CD: First Rays of the New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1970
     Jimi Hendrix was working on a new double album when he died, but nobody else seemed to be sure where he was going with it. As there were several tracks that were unfinished at the time, Reprise Records gathered what they could and put them together on an album called The Cry Of Love. Freedom, a nearly finished piece (the unfinished part being a short "placesetter" guitar solo that Hendrix never got around to replacing with a final take), is the opening track from the album. Soon after that, a new Hendrix concert film called Rainbow Bridge was released along with a soundtrack album containing most of the remaining tracks from the intended double album. Finally, in 1997 MCA (with the help of original engineer Eddie Kramer and drummer Mitch Mitchell) pieced together what was essentially an educated guess about what would have been that album and released it under the name First Rays of the New Rising Sun.

Artist:    Van Morrison
Title:    Caravan
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Moondance)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Following the lukewarm commercial reception of his Astral Weeks LP, Van Morrison set out to deliberately make a more accessible album. The result was Moondance, the album that established him as a major force in modern music. Among the many tracks on the LP to get airplay on FM rock radio was Caravan, a song that was based on Morrison's memories of living on a country road in Woodstock, NY, where the nearest house was a fair distance away. In the song, which is basically about the gypsy lifestyle, he mentions the radio prominently in the song. As he later explained: "I could hear the radio like it was in the same room. I don't know how to explain it. There was some story about an underground passage under the house I was living in, rumours from kids and stuff and I was beginning to think it was true. How can you hear someone's radio from a mile away, as if it was playing in your own house? So I had to put that into the song, It was a must."

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Grammophone Man
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Ferguson/Locke/California/Andes/Cassidy
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Like most of the tracks on Spirit's 1968 debut LP, Grammophone Man combines rock and jazz in a way that has yet to be duplicated. Rather than create a jazz/rock fusion the group chose to switch gears mid-song. After a couple of minutes of a section that can best described as light rock, the song suddenly shifts into a fast-paced bop instrumental featuring Wes Montgomery style guitar work by Randy California and a short Ed Cassidy drum solo that eventually drops the tempo for a short reprise of the piece's main section.
Artist:    Peter Frampton
Title:    Shine On
Source:    LP: Frampton Comes Alive
Writer(s):    Peter Frampton
Label:    A&M
Year:    1976
    For the first few years following Peter Frampton's departure from Humble Pie, the singer/guitarist had only fair to middling success with has band, Peter Frampton's Camel. His big breakthrough came in 1976 with the release of Frampton Comes Alive, a double-LP that went on to become one of the year's top-selling albums. Among the more popular tracks on Frampton Comes Alive was an updated version of Shine On, the lead single from the Humble Pie album Rock On, which was Frampton's last album as a member of the group.

Artist:    Band
Title:    Life Is A Carnival
Source:    CD: Rock Of Ages
Writer(s):    Helm/Robertson/Danko
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1972
    Although generally overshadowed by the massively popular Last Waltz album, the first live Band album, Rock Of Ages, has a lot going for it, including a solid version of Life Is A Carnival. The song originally appeared on the Band's fourth LP, Cahoots. The musical notation for Life Is A Carnival is printed on a wall behind Levon Helm's grave in Woodstock, NY.

Artist:    McKendree Spring
Title:    My Kind Of Life
Source:    LP: Too Young To Feel This Old
Writer(s):    Chris East
Label:    Pye
Year:    1976
    There really is no other band like McKendree Spring. They have been characterized as a progressive folk-rock band, but that label falls far short of emcompassing the breadth of this unique band from Glens Falls, NY. By 1976 the band had been cut from their original label, Decca (when that label got merged into its MCA parent label), and had recently signed with Pye, a British label that had just opened up a US division. One of the two albums McKendree Spring recorde for Pye was Too Young To Feel This Old. The album is a bit more country-rock oriented than previous efforts, as can be heard on My Kind Of Life.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    I Can't Quit You/How Many More Times
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Dixon/Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own. Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

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

Artist:    Who
Title:    Bargain
Source:    LP: Who's Next
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1971
    The 1971 album Who's Next is generally considered one of the high points of the band's career, thanks to songs like Bargain. Bargain has been described as a love song, but not directed toward God, rather than toward a woman. According to the song's writer, Pete Townshend, Bargain was inspired by the writing of Indian mystic Meher Baba, who taught that the way to be at one with God is to lose all the trappings of the material world.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Lost Woman
Source:    CD: Yer' Album
Writer(s):    Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label:    MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    The first James Gang album was primarily designed to show off the performing talents of guitarist Joe Walsh, bassist Tom Kriss and drummer Jim Fox. As such, most of the album was made up of cover songs such as the Yardbirds' Lost Woman. Like other covers on Yer' Album, Lost Woman turns into a long extended jam, running a total of nine minutes before all is played and done. Subsequent albums would focus more on the songwriting talents of the band members, particularly Walsh.

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.