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.

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