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.

No comments:

Post a Comment