Monday, October 16, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1742 (starts 10/18/17)


This week we have the return of an old phase from our pre-syndication days: "It's Coltrane Time!" Lots of fun stuff, including sets from Cream and the Airplane, and, of course, a John Coltrane classic.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now. Nor can I imagine the band agreeing to it.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    I've Got Something On My Mind
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Cameron/Martin/Brown
Label:    Sundazed/Smash
Year:    1967
    I'll never understand the thought processes that went into deciding to name an album after not one, but two of the songs on that album (with a slash no less), but that's exactly what Smash Records did with the first and only Left Banke LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina. Despite what seems to be nothing less than cheap exploitation, the album actually has some nice sounding (if somewhat light) tracks, such as I've Got Something On My Mind.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Your Mother Should Know
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Here's a trivia question for you: what song were the Beatles working on the last time manager Brian Epstein attended one of the band's recording sessions? If your answer was Paul McCartney's Your Mother Should Know, you'd be absolutely right (what, you thought it was a trick question?). EMI's Abbey Road studios were unavailable on August 22nd and 23rd of 1967, so the band used Chappell Recording Studios instead, recording late into the night. Epstein dropped in to see how things were going before heading home. He was found dead on August 27th of that year. Could that be the real reason Paul McCartney wore a black carnation when the Beatles performed the number as part of their Magical Mystery Tour telefilm? Of course at the time the rumor mill took it as one of the many hints that Paul had died and been replaced by a lookalike.

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
    Like most college towns, Ithaca, NY (home of both Ithaca College and Cornell University) has always had a thriving local music scene. In the mid-1960s that scene was dominated by bands doing mostly covers of current top 40 hits. Bassist Frank Van Nostrand and organist John Sweeney, however, wanted to do something different. The two Ithaca College juniors were fans of the more rebellious bands like the Animals, Kinks and especially the Rolling Stones, who were already establishing themselves as the bad boys of British rock. As their fellow students began to stream in to register for the upcoming school year, Sweeney and Van Nostrand were camped out at their own table, looking to recruit like-minded musicians to form a new band that would soon come to be known as the Huns. By the time the school year was over, the Huns had racked up a total of 51 gigs at a combination of local clubs, frat houses and parties. They even made an appearance on a mock TV show produced by fellow student Lynn Cates as a class project. Although the video of that performance is long gone, the audio dub survived for over 50 years, and has been made into a CD called The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966. Recorded on March 10, the album captures the Huns at the peak of their popularity, before hassles with the college dean over hair length (among other things) led to the dismissal of both Sweeney and Van Nostrand and the subsequent breakup of the band itself. The opening track of the CD, Love Is Gone, shows a band pretty far removed from what was popular in the Eastern US at the time; in fact it feels more like the cutting edge bands populating the club scene in Los Angeles at the time.

Artist:    "E" Types
Title:    Put The Clock Back On The Wall
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    The E-Types were originally from Salinas, California, which at the time was known for its distinct odor of sulfer noticed by travelers along US 101. As many people from Salinas apparently went to "nearby" San Jose (about 60 miles to the north) as often as possible, the E-Types became regulars on the local scene there, eventually landing a contract with Tower Records and Ed Cobb, who also produced the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband. The Bonner/Gordon songwriting team were just a couple months away from getting huge royalty checks from the Turtles' Happy Together when Put The Clock Back On The Wall was released in early 1967. The song takes its title from a popular phrase of the time. After a day or two of losing all awareness of time (and sometimes space) it was time to put the clock back on the wall, or get back to reality if you prefer.

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Piece Of My Heart
Source:     CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer:     Ragovoy/Burns
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
     By 1968 Big Brother and the Holding Company, with their charismatic vocalist from Texas, Janis Joplin, had become as popular as fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Somehow, though, they were still without a major label record deal. That all changed with the release of Cheap Thrills, with cover art by the legendary underground comix artist R. Crumb. The album itself was a curious mixture of live performances and studio tracks, the latter being led by the band's powerful cover of the 1966 Barbara Lynn tune Piece Of My Heart. The song propelled the band, and Joplin, to stardom. That stardom would be short-lived for most of the band members, however, as well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed advice-givers convinced Joplin that Big Brother was holding her back. The reality was that the band was uniquely suited to support her better than anyone she would ever work with again.

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     Undun
Source:     Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Randy Bachman
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1969
     Following the release of the Wheatfield Soul album (and the hit single These Eyes), RCA tied the Guess Who down to a long-term contract. One of the stipulations of that contract was that the band would make subsequent recordings at RCA's own studios. After recording the tracks for their follow-up album, Canned Wheat, the band members felt that the sound at RCA was inferior to that of A&R studios, where they had recorded Wheatfield Soul, and secretly re-recorded a pair of tunes at A&R and submitted dubs of the tapes to RCA. The tunes, Laughing and Undun, were issued as a double-sided single in 1969, with both sides getting a decent amount of airplay. Once word got out that the songs had been recorded in a non-RCA studio, the label realized the error of their ways and relaxed the exclusivity policy, although not in time for the band to re-record the rest of the album.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Sugar The Road
Source:    CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    Ten Years After's fourth LP, Cricklewood Green, was the band's first release following their appearance at Woodstock, and by all accounts they made the best of the situation with what is generally considered to be their best studio album. In addition to progressive FM radio favorites Love Like A Man and 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain, the album contains several tunes that show the group's diversity, such as Sugar The Road, which opens side one of the LP.
       
Artist:      Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Astro Man
Source:      LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1971
     A little known fact about Jimi Hendrix is that he was a comic book fan. Astro Man, from the 1971 LP The Cry Of Love, reflects that aspect of the man. The track, recorded in 1970, features Billy Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Juma Sultan on additional percussion.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears (picture disc, if anyone cares)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Clapton and Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock." Yeah, I write this stuff myself.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    SWLABR
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and poet Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    We're Going Wrong
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer:    Jack Bruce
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Ginger Baker put away his drumsticks in favor of mallets for the recording, giving the song an otherworldly feel.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Stephanie Knows Who
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Following up on a strong, if not spectacular debut LP followed by a national hit record (7&7 Is), Love went into the studio with two new members to record their second album, Da Capo. By this point Love had established itself as the most popular band on the Sunset Strip, and the music on Da Capo is a fair representation of what the group was doing onstage (including the 17 minute Revelation, which takes up the entire second side of the LP). The opening track, Stephanie Knows Who, is hard proto-punk, showcasing the band's tightness with abrupt changes in tempo throughout the song. The tune also features the harpsichord playing of "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who switched over from drums to keyboards for the LP, making way for Michael Stewart, who stayed with the band for their next LP, Forever Changes.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Words
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1967
    The Monkees made a video of the Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart song Words that shows each member in the role that they were best at as musicians: Mickey Dolenz on lead vocals, Peter Tork on guitar, Michael Nesmith on bass and Davy Jones on drums. This was not the way they were usually portrayed on their TV show, however. Neither was it the configuration on the recording itself, which had Nesmith on guitar, Tork on Hammond organ, producer Chip Douglas on bass and studio ace Eddie Hoh on drums. The song appeared on the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD as well as being released as the B side of Pleasant Valley Sunday. Even as a B side, the song was a legitimate hit, peaking at #11 in 1967.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    For his second post-Buffalo Springfield LP, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Neil Young found a local Los Angeles band called the Rockets and convinced guitarist Danny Whitten, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina to join him, renaming them Crazy Horse in the process. One member of the Rockets that was not part of Crazy Horse was violinist Bobby Notkoff, whose eerie style gave the band a distinctive sound. Notkoff can be heard on one track of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Running Dry, which is subtitled Requiem For The Rockets as a tribute to the original band. The Rockets themselves had previously recorded one self-titled LP, but only 5000 copies were ever pressed.

Artist:    John Coltrane
Title:    Blue Train-Part I
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    John Coltrane
Label:    Silver Spotlight
Year:    1957
    Since I'm playing a track from way before the psychedelic era (possibly before the word "psychedelic" even existed and certainly before it came into common use), I thought it would be appropriate to talk briefly about the early history of this show. First off, it was not originally called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era; in fact, it was not specifically about the psychedelic era at all. The show made its debut in the summer of 2000 as a 90 minute weekly Adult Album Alternative music show called That Show You Hear On Thursday Night on WEOS in Geneva, NY. I had been working fairly steadily in commercial radio for a number of years and during that time had acquired hundreds of records and CDs, many of which were promo copies of songs sent out to, but not used by, radio stations I had worked at. Some of them were actually quite good, but not appropriate for the format of the station that they were given to; these, mixed with classic rock tracks and oldies from my collection, were to be the foundation of the new show. About a year after the show made its debut WEOS began carrying local City Council meetings once a month on Wednesday nights. This was an issue for "Nobody", the creator/host of the annual Homelessness Radio Telethon (Radiothon?), who at the time also had a weekly talk show on WEOS on Wednesday nights and did not want to be pre-empted on a regular basis. The solution was for the two of us to trade nights, as his show had been on the air long enough to build up a following, especially among listeners in nearby Ithaca. By then I had already started calling the show Stuck in the 20th Century, as I had made a conscious decision not to include any current releases on the playlist. One thing I did almost every week in those days was to play a track featuring jazz great John Coltrane, either fronting his own group or working with Miles Davis. I would always start the set with the words "It's Coltrane time." Not much of a catchphrase, I know, but there are still some people out there that remember it. So for those of you who have been along for the ride since Y2K...it's Coltrane Time, as we feature the mono single mix of part one of the title track of Coltrane's 1957 Blue Train album.

    And now for you completists out there we have the rest of the story: The show continued to be called Stuck in the 20th Century throughout 2002. That year New Year's Day happened to fall on a Wednesday night, and I decided to do something special to celebrate. I had always had fond memories of another New Year's show that I had heard just a few days after becoming a volunteer at KUNM in Albuquerque, NM in late 1975. It was my first gig at a noncommercial station, and, after hearing the set of songs I had put together for an on-air audition the program director instructed me to spend a week listening to the station to get an idea of where it was at musically. Thus I happened to be tuned in on New Year's Eve for a special locally-produced "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" show that featured bands like the Yardbirds, Electric Prunes, Blues Magoos, Standells, Kinks, Chocolate Watchband, Shadows of Knight, Amboy Dukes...essentially everything that was on Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets double album with a little British rock thrown in. Remembering how much I enjoyed hearing that show I decided to do something similar, and for that week only, changed the name of the show to Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. After 90 minutes I realized that there were tons of songs I had wanted to play but didn't get to for lack of time, so I decided to continue the idea the following week, and then came up with some other excuse to extend it yet another week. By then it became obvious even to me that this was the show I wanted to do, so I made it permanent. Eventually Stuck in the Psychedelic Era moved to Saturday nights, expanding to two hours in the process. On Memorial Day weekend 2010 Stuck in the Psychedelic Era began its run as a syndicated show, and was joined by the hour long Rockin' in the Days of Confusion in the summer of 2016.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    John Riley (instrumental version 1)
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Gibson/Neff
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    While working on the song John Riley for their Fifth Dimension album, the Byrds decided to play around a bit between takes. Using the same basic chord structure, they changed the tempo and beat for this instrumental recording of the traditional English folk ballad.

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 (which is rather ironic, considering that they were actually based in Berkeley on the other side of the bay and rarely visited the city itself, except to play gigs). 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:    Canned Heat
Title:    On The Road Again
Source:    LP: Boogie With Canned Heat
Writer(s):    Jones/Wilson
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed by a group of blues record collectors in San Francisco. Although their first album consisted entirely of cover songs, by 1968 they were starting to compose their own material, albeit in a style that remained consistent with their blues roots. On The Road Again is based on an old Floyd Jones tune that was reworked by guitarist Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson into something that is purely Canned Heat.

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (UK band)
Title:    Faintly Blowing
Source:    British import CD: Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: Faintly Blowing)
Writer(s):    Daltrey/Pumer
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1969
    Kaleidoscope was one of those bands that were victims of their own bad timing. In this particular case it was being a pyschedelically-tinged soft rock band at a time when rock in general was taking a turn for the harder and moving away from psychedelia. Although their label, Fontana, had enough confidence in the band to finance two LPs and a number of singles, the group was never able to achieve commercial success. In retrospect, tracks like Faintly Blowing, the title track of their second album, would have had a much better chance had they been released during the Summer of Love rather than 18 months later.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Friends/Celebration Day
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Jones
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Following a year of almost constant touring to promote the first two Led Zeppelin albums, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page decided to take a break in early 1970, moving to a Welsh cottage with no electricity and concentrating on their songwriting skills. The result was an album, Led Zeppelin III, that differed markedly from its predecessors. Many of the songs on the album, such as Friends, were almost entirely acoustical, while others, like Celebration Day, were, if possible, more intense than anything on the band's first two albums. Once much of the material for the new album had been written, Page and Plant were joined by John Bonham and John Paul Jones at a place called Headley Grange, where the band rehearsed the new material, adding a few more songs in the process. The album itself caught the band's fans by surprise, and suffered commercially as a result, but has since come to be regarded as a milestone for the band.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1742 (starts 10/18/17)


Once again the emphasis is on album tracks, as we go deep into such classic LPs as Grand Funk's We're An American Band, the first Black Sabbath album and Traffic's Welcome To The Canteen, among others.

Artist:     King Crimson
Title:     21st Century Schizoid Man
Source:     CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Writer:     Fripp/McDonald/Lake/Giles/Sinfield
Label:     Discipline Global Mobile (original label: Atlantic)
Year:     1969
     There are several bands with a legitimate claim to starting the art-rock movement of the mid-70s. The one most other musicians cite as the one that started it all, however, is King Crimson. Led by Robert Fripp, the band went through several personnel changes over the years. Many of the members went on to greater commercial success as members of other bands, including guitarist/keyboardist Ian McDonald (Foreigner), and lead vocalist/bassist Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) from the original lineup heard on In The Court Of The Crimson King. Additionally, poet Peter Sinfield, who wrote all King Crimson's early lyrics, would go on to perform a similar function for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, including their magnum opus Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends. Other original members included Michael Giles on drums and Fripp himself on guitar. 21st Century Schizoid Man, as the first song on the first album by King Crimson, can quite literally be cited as the song that got the whole thing started. Enjoy!

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers/Rhino
Year:    1970
    While feedback-laden bands like Blue Cheer are often credited with laying the foundations of what would come to be called heavy metal, Black Sabbath is generally considered to be the first actual heavy metal band. Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward didn't set out to create a whole new genre. They simply wanted to be the heaviest blues-rock band around. After seeing a movie marquee for an old Boris Karloff film called Black Sabbath and deciding that would make a good name for a band, however, the group soon began modifying their sound to more closely match their new name. The result was a debut album that would change the face of rock music forever. Probably the best known track on the Black Sabbath album is N.I.B., which closes out the LP's first side. Contrary to popular belief, N.I.B. is not a set of initials at all, but just the word nib done in capital letters with periods after each letter. According to Geezer Butler, who wrote the lyrics for N.I.B. "Originally it was Nib, which was Bill's beard. When I wrote N.I.B., I couldn't think of a title for the song, so I just called it Nib, after Bill's beard. To make it more intriguing I put punctuation marks in there to make it N.I.B. By the time it got to America, they translated it to Nativity In Black." On the album the song is preceded by a short bass solo from Butler, which in turn segues directly out of the previous track, Behind The Wall Of Sleep. For some reason (possibly to garner the group more royalties) Warner Brothers Records added extra song titles to the two tracks on the album cover and label to make them look like four separate pieces. The original British release, however, lists them as Behind The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B.

Artist:    Foghat
Title:    A Hole To Hide In
Source:    LP: Foghat (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Hole/Price/Peverett
Label:    Bearsville
Year:    1972
    When commercially recorded music first became available for public consumption there were two methods of delivery: disc records and cylinder records. Cylinder records, invented by Thomas Edison, were the first to hit the market, and were the main consumer format from the late 1880s until around 1910, when the disc format overtook cylinders in total sales. Edison's cylinders held one song apiece, which made it easy to measure the popularity of individual songs. Discs, however, were usually two-sided, with both songs on a record getting equal consideration. It wasn't until the 1950s that record companies began promoting one side (the A side) of a record over the other. This was mostly a result of general entertainment programs migrating from radio to TV, forcing radio stations to rely more on recorded music, which in turn led to the rise of top 40 radio. With the competition for airplay getting more intense as more records got made, B sides, as a general rule, were ignored by radio programmers, although there were exceptions, most notably on singles by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In the late 1960s, however, a new kind of radio station began to appear on the previously neglected FM band. These "underground" stations were not being run for profit (indeed, many were being used as a tax writeoff) and thus were more inclined to play B sides and album tracks. This trend continued into the mid-1970s, when FM became available to a larger number of consumers, and stations began to compete directly with their AM counterparts. These days, of course, there are no B sides, since most new music is available as downloads from the internet, one song at a time. Still, in the golden age of FM rock radio we got to hear songs like A Hole To Hide In, which was both an album track and the B side of Foghat's first hit, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Creepin'
Source:    CD: We're An American Band (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1973
    Sometimes, as good as a record's A side was, the B side was even better. And let's face it: Grand Funk's We're An American Band, while undisputably one of the biggest rock hits of all time, has been played to death over the years by classic rock stations. So let's hear it for Creepin', the highly-underrated B side of that single.

Artist:     It's A Beautiful Day
Title:     White Bird
Source:     CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer:     David and Linda LaFlamme
Label:     San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1968
     It's A Beautiful Day is a good illustration of how a band can be a part of a trend without intending to be or even realizing that they are. In their case, they were actually tied to two different trends. The first one was a positive thing: it was now possible for a band to be considered successful without a top 40 hit, as long as their album sales were healthy. The second trend was not such a good thing; as was true for way too many bands, It's A Beautiful Day was sorely mistreated by its own management, in this case one Matthew Katz. Katz already represented both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape when he signed up It's A Beautiful Day in 1967. What the members of It's A Beautiful Day did not know at the time was that both of the aforementioned bands were trying to get out of their contracts with Katz. The first thing Katz did after signing It's A Beautiful Day was to ship the band off to Seattle to become house band at a club Katz owned called the San Francisco Sound. Unfortunately for the band, Seattle already had a sound of its own and attendance at their gigs was sparse. Feeling downtrodden and caged (and having no means of transportation to boot) classically-trained 5-string violinist and lead vocalist David LaFlamme and his keyboardist wife Linda LaFlamme translated those feelings into a song that is at once sad and beautiful: the classic White Bird. As an aside, Linda LaFlamme was not the female vocalist heard on White Bird. Credit for those goes to one Pattie Santos, the other female band member. To this day Katz owns the rights to It's A Beautiful Day's recordings, which have been reissued on CD on Katz's San Francisco Sound label.

Artist:    Mighty Baby
Title:    A Friend You Know But Never See
Source:    British import CD: Mighty Baby
Writer(s):    Powell/Whiteman/Stone/Evans/King
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Head)
Year:    1969
    Mighty Baby is one of the many bands that were better known in the UK than in the US. In fact, they were probably even better known under their previous name, The Action, than as Mighty Baby. Formed in 1964 as the Boys, the changed their name to the Action in 1965 when they signed with the Parlophone label. They released several singles for the label, but were unable to score a major hit, and were dropped from the Parlophone roster in late 1967. After a couple of personnel changes, the re-emerged as Mighty Baby, releasing their first album on the Head label in 1969. The album itself is one of the better examples of the progressive rock movement that was picking up steam in the UK at the time, as can be heard on tracks like A Friend You Know But Never See. As is the case with all the tracks on the album, A Friend You Know But Never See was written primarily by keyboardist Ian Whiteman but credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Faces
Title:    Flying
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: First Step)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Wood/Lane
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Although credited to the Small Faces in North America, First Step was actually the debut album of Faces, a group combining the talents of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood (from the Jeff Beck group) with what was left of the Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan) following the departure of bandleader Steve Marriott. Unlike later Faces albums, First Step featured songwriting contributions from all five band members, including Stewart, Wood and Lane collaborating on the album's centerpiece, Flying.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    LP: Welcome To The Canteen
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1971
    By 1971 Traffic had undergone a sort of reversal in fortunes. Whereas in their first year of existence they had been extremely popular in the UK, with three top 10 singles and an album in the top 20, they went largely unnoticed in the US, where none of their singles charted and their first LP topped out at #88. The live album Welcome To The Canteen, however, released in 1971, did not even make the British album charts, while it went to #26 in the US. The nearly nine minute version of Gimme Some Lovin', which had previously been a hit for the Spencer Davis Group, was released as a single (split into two parts) in both countries, but only charted in the US. This trend would continue for several more years, as Traffic would not return to the British charts until 1974, when their final album, When The Eagle Flies made it to #31 (it hit #9 in the US).

Artist:    Kevin Coyne
Title:    Evil Island Home
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released on LP: Case History)
Writer(s):    Kevin Coyne
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Dandelion)
Year:    1972
    Sometimes known as the "anti-star", Kevin Coyne had one of the most distinctive, yet somehow disturbing, voices on the British blues scene. He was also known for his advocacy for rights of the mentally ill, whom he had dealt with as a social therapist and psychiatric nurse from 1965-68 and later as a drug counselor. His first album, Case History, reflects that background, as can be heard on the track Evil Island Home. One of the last LPs released on John Peel's Dandelion label, the album soon disappeared off the racks when the label went out of business. Coyne went on to have a prolific career, releasing around three dozen more albums before his death in 2004.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1741 (starts 10/11/17)


Whoot! From the Beatles to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, this one has all kinds of good stuff, including one of Jeff Beck's first Yardbirds recordings.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Drive My Car
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965 (not released in US until 1966)
    Capitol Records repeatedly got the ire of the Beatles by omitting, adding and rearranging songs on the US versions of their LPs, especially in 1966, when the band was starting to put considerable time and effort into presenting the albums as a coherent package. At the root of the problem were two facts: albums in the UK had longer running times than US albums, and thus more songs, and UK singles stayed in print longer than their US counterparts and were generally not included on albums at all. This resulted in albums like Yesterday and Today that didn't even have a British counterpart. Drive My Car, for example, was released in the US in 1966 on the Yesterday...And Today LP. It had appeared six months earlier in the UK as the opening track of the Rubber Soul album. Oddly enough, despite being one of the group's most recognizable songs, Drive My Car was never issued as a single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    There's A Place
Source:    LP: Rarities (originally released in US on LP: Introducing...The Beatles and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
Label:    Capitol/EMI (original labels: VeeJay and  Tollie)
Year:    1963
    After Please Please Me became a hit single in England, producer George Martin rushed the group back into the Abbey Road studios to record an entire album. Since the band hadn't really had the time to plan out an entire album it was decided to simply run through their usual set at the Cavern Club, recording most of the new album in one take. This resulted in an album that was made up of an even mix of cover songs and originals by John Lennon and Paul McCartney such as There's A Place and Misery. The album itself was called Please Please Me to take advantage of the popularity of the single. In the US, however, EMI's Capitol subsidiary chose not to release the album at all. This led to all kinds of weirdness that resulted in the album being issued (with a couple songs missing) on the VeeJay label as Introducing...The Beatles just one week before Capitol's Meet The Beatles came out in January of 1964. Legal battles ensued, eventually leading to most of the songs being released on Capitol's 1965 LP The Early Beatles. One of the songs that was not included on The Early Beatles was There's A Place, which had also been issued on VeeJay's Tollie subsidiary as the B side of Twist And Shout in 1964. That song did not get released on the Capitol label until 1980, when it, along with Misery, was included on the Rarities album.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Word
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The original concept for the album Rubber Soul was to show the group stretching out into 60s Rhythm and Blues (known at the time as "soul" music) territory. The US version of the album, however, deleted several of the more soulful numbers in favor of more folk-rock sounding songs (including a pair held over from the band's previous British LP, Help). This was done by Capitol records mainly to cash in on the sudden popularity of the genre in 1965. Not all of the more R&B flavored songs were deleted, however. John Lennon's The Word appeared on both US and UK versions of Rubber Soul.

Artist:    Move
Title:    Flowers In The Rain
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Roy Wood
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    The Move was one of Britain's most popular acts in the mid to late 1960s. That popularity, however, did not extend to North America, where the band failed to chart even a single hit. The closest they came was Flowers In The Rain, a song that made it to the # 2 spot in England and was the very first record played on BBC Radio One (the first legal top 40 station in the UK). Eventually Roy Wood would depart to form his own band, Roy Wood's Wizzard, and the remaining members would evolve into the Electric Light Orchestra.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Everybody Knows You're Not In Love
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
     The Electric Prunes had greater creative control over their second album than they did over their first. That control continued into early 1968, when Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, a single penned by band members Mark Tulin and James Lowe, was released. Unfortunately, the record didn't sell well and the next album, David Axelrod's Mass In F Minor, was played almost entirely by studio musicians. The original group broke up during the recording of Mass and did not play together again until the 21st century.

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     No Time
Source:     CD: American Woman
Writer(s):     Bachman/Cummings
Label:     Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1970
     The Guess Who hit their creative and commercial peak with their 1970 album American Woman. The first of three hit singles from the album was No Time, which was already climbing the charts when the LP was released. After American Woman the band's two main songwriters, guitarist Randy Bachman and vocalist Burton Cummings, would move in increasingly divergent directions, with Bachman eventually leaving the band to form the hard-rocking Bachman-Turner Overdrive, while Cummings continued to helm an increasingly light pop flavored Guess Who.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Rod Argent
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.

Artist:     Left Banke
Title:     Pretty Ballerina
Source:     Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:     Michael Brown
Label:     Smash
Year:     1967
     The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist:    Cat Stevens
Title:    The Tramp
Source:    LP: Very Early And Young Songs (originally released on LP: Matthew And Son)
Writer(s):    Cat Stevens
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    Most Americans know Cat Stevens as the sensitive singer/songwriter of the 1970s that penned songs like Peace Train, Moonshadow and Oh, Very Young. The British, however, got to know an entirely different side of Stevens in the late 1960s, when he was an up and coming pop star. His first LP, Matthew And Son, contains hints of his future direction, however, as can be heard on The Tramp, which was later reissued on a collection called Very Early And Young Songs.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Bright Light Lover
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Keyboardist Bob Bruno's contributions as a songwriter to Circus Maximus tended to favor jazz arrangements. On Bright Light Lover, however, from the band's first album, he proves that he could rock out with the raunchiest of the garage bands when the mood hit.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Such A Shame
Source:    Mono 45 RPM EP: Kwyet Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary/BMG (original UK label: Pye)
Year:    1965
    The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the B side of A Well Respected Man in 1966. It doesn't get much better than this. Such A Shame was originally released in 1965 in the UK on a four-song EP called Kwyet Kinks that has only recently been reissued on vinyl in the US.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    I Am A Rock
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The success of I Am A Rock, when released as a single in 1966, showed that the first Simon And Garfunkel hit, The Sound Of Silence, was no fluke. The two songs served as bookends to a very successful LP, Sounds Of Silence, and would lead to several more hit records before the two singers went their separate ways in 1970. This was actually the second time I Am A Rock had been issued as a single. An earlier version, from the Paul Simon Songbook, had been released in 1965. Both the single and the LP were only available for a short time and only in the UK, and were deleted at Simon's request.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Enchanted Gypsy
Source:    LP: A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch began to move beyond his folk roots and into psychedelia with the 1966 album Sunshine Superman, which was followed in early 1967 by the similarly styled Mellow Yellow LP. The following December saw the release of Donovan's most ambitious project to date: a two record album box set entitled A Gift From A Flower To A Garden. Each record was also released as a separate album. The first disc, entitled Wear Your Love Like Heaven, was a pop-oriented collection of the same type of songs he had released as singles throughout the year. The second disc, For Little Ones, was a mostly acoustic album called For Little Ones that was aimed toward what he called "the dawning generation". Personally I favor the second disc, with songs like The Enchanted Gypsy serving to spotlight Donovan's strengths as both a guitarist and vocalist.

Artist:    United States Of America
Title:    Do You Follow Me
Source:    Mono CD: The United States Of America (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Kenneth Edwards
Label:    Sundazed/Sony Music
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2004
    The United States Of America was an outgrowth of the experimental audio work of Joseph Byrd, who had moved to Los Angeles from New York in the early 1960s after studying with avant-garde composers Morton Feldman and John Cage. With lyricist/vocalist Dorothy Moskowitz, he founded The United States Of America in 1967 as a way of integrating performance art, electronic music and rock, with more than a little leftist political philosophy thrown into the mix. The band only released one album in early 1968, with internal problems leading to Byrd's departure not long after the album's release. Moskowitz, along with producer David Rubinson, attempted to keep the band going with a new lineup, but abandoned the effort after recording a few demos, including Do You Follow Me.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Love March
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on LP: Woodstock soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Gene Dinwiddie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    The Butterfield Blues band that appeared at Woodstock was a far cry from the group that recorded the classic East-West album in 1966. Both Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop had moved on to other things, and the new lineup was much more jazz/R&B oriented than previous incarnations of the band. Tenor saxophonist Gene Dinwiddie provided the melody for Love March, a tune that also appeared as a studio track that year.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Title:    Carry On
Source:    CD: Déjà Vu
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Carry On, the opening track from the Crosby, Still, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, is a Stephen Stills song that incorporates lyrics from an earlier piece, Questions, which appeared on the third Buffalo Springfield album, Last Time Around. The song was the fourth single released from Déjà Vu, but failed to make the top 40 (which only reinforces my belief that top 40 radio had outlived its usefulness by 1970).

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I'm Not Talking
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Great Hits (originally released on LP: For Your Love)
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    Although the Yardbirds only recorded one actual studio album, their US label, Epic (with more than a little help from the band's manager/producer Giorgio Gomelsky), managed to get at least three LPs worth of material out of the band over a two-year period by combining singles, B sides, unreleased tracks and even early live recordings that had not been released in the US before. The first of these albums, For Your Love, included the first three recordings (among them a cover of Mose Allison's I'm Not Talking) made by the group with new guitarist Jeff Beck, who had replaced Eric Clapton shortly after the album's title track had been released.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Baby, Please Don't Go
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Backtrackin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe Williams
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1965
    Belfast, Northern Ireland was home to one of the first bands that could be legitimately described as punk rock. Them, led by the fiery Van Morrison, quickly got a reputation for being rude and obnoxious, particularly to members of the English press (although it was actually a fellow Irishman who labeled them as "boorish"). Their first single was what has come to be considered the definitive version of the 1923 Joe Williams tune Baby, Please Don't Go. Despite its UK success, the song did not appear on any of the band's original US albums. Finally, in 1974, London Records included Baby, Please Don't Go on a collection of UK singles and album tracks that had not been previously released in the US. Oddly enough, the song's B side ended up being the song most people associate with Them: the classic Gloria, which was released as Them's US debut single in 1965 but promptly found itself banned on most US radio stations due to suggestive lyrics. Them's recording of Baby, Please Don't Go enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980s when it was used in the hit movie Good Morning Vietnam.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Midnight To Six Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Taylor/May
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1965
    Once upon a time in London there was a band called Little Boy Blue And The Blue Boys. Well, it wasn't really so much a band as a bunch of schoolkids jamming in guitarist Dick Taylor's parents' garage on a semi-regular basis. In addition to Taylor, the group included classmate Mick Jagger and eventually another guitarist by the name of Keith Richards. When yet another guitarist, Brian Jones, entered the picture, the band, which was still an amateur outfit, began calling itself the Rollin' Stones. Taylor switched from guitar to bass to accomodate Jones, but when the Stones decided to go pro in late 1962, Taylor opted to stay in school. It wasn't long, however, before Taylor, now back on guitar, showed up on the scene with a new band called the Pretty Things. Fronted by vocalist Phil May, the Things were rock and roll bad boys like the Stones, except more so. Their fifth single, Midnight To Six Man, sums up the band's attitude and habits. Unfortunately, the song barely made the British top 50 and was totally unheard in the US.           
       
Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Embryonic Journey
Source:    CD: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1967
    Jorma Kaukonen originally considered Embryonic Journey to be little more than a practice exercise. Other members of Jefferson Airplane insisted he record it, however, and it has since come to be identified as a kind of signature song for the guitarist, who played the tune live when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Reality Does Not Inspire
Source:    LP: Blues Image
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Formed in 1967, Blues Image cited Greenwich Village's Blues Project as their primary inspiration, and is generally acknowledged to be Florida's first jam band. They were also one of the few bands to open their own club, the legendary Thee Image, and played host to many big name acts during the club's short run. Among the Blues Images fans was Jimi Hendrix, who once told them they did great arrangements of other people's material, but their own stuff was relatively weak. The band responded by temporarily putting their original material on the shelf, pulling it out later and giving it the same treatment they would any other cover song. This approach seemed to work well, as Reality Does Not Inspire, the nine minute "showcase" track for their debut LP demonstrates.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    When I was a teenager I would occasionally hear some adult make a comment about how rock and roll was the "Devil's music." This only got more ridiculous in 1968, when the Rolling Stones released Sympathy For The Devil as the opening track on their Beggar's Banquet album. Mick Jagger, who wrote the lyrics, was actually somewhat mystified by such reactions, as it was, after all, only one song on an album that also included such tunes as Prodigal Son (based on a Bible story) and Salt Of The Earth, a celebration of the common man. There is no doubting, however, that Sympathy For The Devil itself is a classic, and has been a staple of the band's live sets since the late 1980s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Voodoo Chile
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Midway through the making of the Electric Ladyland album, producer Chas Chandler parted ways with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. At first this may seem to be a mystery, but consider the situation: Hendrix, by this time, had considerable clout in the studio. This allowed him to invite pretty much anyone he damn well pleased to hang out while he was making records, including several fellow musicians. It also allowed him the luxury of using the studio itself as a kind of incubator for new ideas, often developing those ideas while the tape machine was in "record" mode. Chandler, on the other hand, had learned virtually everything he knew about producing records from Mickie Most, one of Britain's most successful producers. As such, Chandler tended to take a more professional approach to recording, finding Hendrix's endless jamming to be a waste of valuable studio time. Whether you side with Chandler or Hendrix over the issue, there is one thing that can't be disputed: the Hendrix approach resulted in some of the most memorable rock recordings ever made. Case in point: Voodoo Chile, a fourteen and a half minute studio jam featuring Jack Cassidy (Jefferson Airplane) on bass and Steve Winwood (Traffic) on keyboards, as well as regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Can You See Me
Source:     LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
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. Among the songs the Experience performed at Monterey was a Hendrix composition called Can You See Me. The song had appeared on the band's first LP in the UK, but had been left off the US version of Are You Experienced. An early concert favorite, Can You See Me seems to have been permanently dropped from the band's setlist after the Monterey performance.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although not released in the US as a single, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), has become a staple of classic rock radio over the years. The song was originally an outgrowth of a jam session at New York's Record Plant, which itself takes up most of side one of the Electric Ladyland LP. This more familiar studio reworking of the piece has been covered by a variety of artists over the years.

Artist:    Public Nuisance
Title:    America
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: Gotta Survive)
Writer(s):    David Houston
Label:    Rhino (original label: Frantic)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2003
    Looking and sounding a lot like the Ramones would in the late 70s, Public Nuisance found itself the victim of unusual circumstances that led to the cancellation of their only LP in 1968. Producer Terry Melcher, who had risen to fame as producer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, had made the mistake of rejecting tapes sent to him by a wannabe rock star named Charles Manson. When Manson achieved the fame and notoriety that had eluded him as a musician (by killing a bunch of people), Melcher felt it prudent to go into hiding, shelving the Public Nuisance project in the process. The album was finally released 35 years later on the independent Frantic label.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1741 (starts 1011/17)


Wow. We've got some good stuff this time around (well, we always have good stuff around here, right?). It starts off with the first all-female band to release an album on a major label and ends with the first band to be labelled a supergroup.

Artist:    Fanny
Title:    Blind Alley
Source:    LP: Fanny Hill
Writer(s):    Barclay/DeBuhr
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1972
    The first all-female rock band to release an album on a major label, Fanny consisted of sisters June and Jean Millington, along with Alice de Buhr and Nickey Barclay. Originally known as Wild Honey, the band took the name Fanny after signing with Reprise Records in 1969. Richard Perry, who had gotten the band their contract with Reprise, produced the group's first three albums, the third of which was the 1972 release Fanny Hill, which includes the song Blind Alley, featuring some nice guitar work from June Millington. Although not a major commercial success, Fanny is considered by many to be one of the most underrated and overlooked bands in rock history. One of their greatest fans, David Bowie, had this to say about Fanny: "They were extraordinary... they're as important as anybody else who's ever been, ever; it just wasn't their time."

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Rainmaker
Source:    LP: The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island
Year:    1971
    Rainmaker, the final tune from Traffic's fifth studio album, The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys, is often overlooked by the critics when they compile "best of" lists. It is, however, a decent track that deserves to be heard much more often than it actually is. So....

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    The Supermen
Source:    CD: The Man Who Sold The World
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    David Bowie takes a look at ancient gods on The Supermen, from his 1970 album The Man Who Sold The World, and comes to the conclusion that to be immortal and insanely powerful can be as much a curse as it is a blessing. Having never been neither insanely powerful or immortal myself, I'll just have to take his word for it.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Quicksilver Girl
Source:    CD: Sailor
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Steve Miller moved to San Francisco from Chicago and was reportedly struck by what he saw as a much lower standard of musicianship in the bay area than in the windy city. Miller's response was to form a band that would conform to Chicago standards. The result was the Steve Miller Band, one of the most successful of the San Francisco bands, although much of that success would not come until the mid-1970s, after several personnel changes. One feature of the Miller band is that it featured multiple lead vocalists, depending on who wrote the song. Miller himself wrote and sings on Quicksilver Girl, from the band's second LP, Sailor.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Pentangling
Source:    LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    Cos/Jansch/McShea/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Once in a while an album comes along that is so consistently good that it's impossible to single out one specific track for airplay. Such is the case with the debut Pentangle album from 1968. The group, consisting of guitarists John Renbourne and Bert Jansch, vocalist Jacqui McShea, bassist Terry Cox, and drummer Danny Thompson, had more talent than nearly any band in history from any genre, yet never succumbed to the clash of egos that characterize most supergroups. Enjoy all seven minutes of Pentangling.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Trad. Arr. Page
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    It is the nature of folk music that a song often gets credited to one writer when in fact it is the work of another. This is due to the fact that folk singers tend to share their material liberally with other folk singers, who often make significant changes to the work before passing it along to others. Such is the case with Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, which was originally conceived by EC-Berkeley student Anne Johannsen in the late 1950s and performed live on KPFA radio in 1960. Another performer on the same show, Janet Smith, developed the song further and performed it at Oberlin College, where it was heard by audience member Joan Baez. Baez asked Smith for a tape of her songs and began performing the song herself.  Baez used it as the opening track on her album, Joan Baez In Concert, Part One, but it was credited as "traditional", presumably because Baez herself had no knowledge of who had actually written the song. Baez eventually discovered the true origins of the tune, and later pressings gave credit to Anne Bredon, who had divorced her first husband, Lee Johannsen and married Glen Bredon since writing the song. Jimmy Page had an early pressing of the Baez album, so when he reworked the song for inclusion on the first Led Zeppelin album, he went with "traditional, arranged Page" as the writer. Robert Plant, who worked with Page on the arrangement, was not originally given credits for contractual reasons, although later editions of the album give credit to Page, Plant and Bredon.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    I Need A Man To Love
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Joplin/Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound good. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage at the Fillmore West. As a result, when Cheap Thrills was released, four of the seven tracks were live recordings, including the Janis Joplin/Peter Albin collaboration I Need A Man To Love.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Who Scared You
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    The Doors only released two non-album tracks while Jim Morrison was alive. The first of these was Who Scared You, which appeared as the B side of Wishful Sinful, a minor hit from the 1969 album The Soft Parade. Unlike the songs on that album, Who Scared You is credited to the entire band, rather than one or more of its individual members. The song made its album debut in 1972, when it was included in the double-LP compilation Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    The Incredible Gnome Meets Jaxman
Source:    LP: Getting To The Point
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    Savoy Brown, perhaps more than any other band in rock history (except Fleetwood Mac), was famous for its constantly changing lineup. Besides founder and bandleader Kim Simmonds on lead guitar, only one musician (pianist Bob Hall) that played on the first Savoy Brown LP, Shake Down, was around for the group's sophomore effort, 1968's Getting To The Point. New members included Chris Youlden (vocals), Dave Peverett (guitar), Rivers Jobe (bass) and Roger Earl (drums). With the change in lineup came a change in focus as well. While Shake Down was made up almost entirely of blues covers, Getting To The Point had seven originals, including the instrumental The Incredible Gnome Meets Jaxman.

Artist:    Climax Blues Band
Title:    Reap What I've Sowed
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo
Writer(s):    Climax Blues Band
Label:    Sire
Year:    1970
    The Climax Chicago Blues Band was a band steeped in confusion pretty much from the start. Formed in Stafford, England in 1967, the group originally consisted of  vocalist/harmonica player Colin Cooper, guitarist/vocalist Pete Haycock , guitarist Derek Holt, bassist/keyboardist Richard Jones, drummer George Newsome, and keyboardist Arthur Wood. Originally part of the British blues-rock scene of the late 1960s, the band found itself continually adapting to a changing musical landscape throughout its existence, racking up a total of 17 albums over the years. After releasing two LPs on EMI's Parlophone label, the band switched over to EMI's progressive rock oriented label, Harvest, releasing their third album, A Lot Of Bottle, in 1970. By this time there was more than a little confusion over the band's name, which, on the British release of A Lot Of Bottle, was still the Climax Chicago Blues Band. In the US, however, the name of the album itself was The Climax Blues Band. To make things even more confusing, the band's next two studio albums were credited to the Climax Blues Band in North America, but appeared under the name Climax Chicago in the rest of the world. This confusion over the band's name may be part of the reason they were never a major success, although they did manage a couple hit singles over the years (Couldn't Get It Right in 1977 and I Love You in 1981). The band's first US single, 1971's Reap What I've Sowed, was only issued to radio stations, with the notation that it was from the "forthcoming" album, The Climax Blues Band, which had actually been released the previous year in the UK. As I said, steeped in confusion.

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Had To Cry Today
Source:    CD: Blind Faith
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    One of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 1969 was Blind Faith, the self-titled debut album of a group consisting of Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, Steve Winwood from Traffic and Rich Grech, who had played bass and violin with the band called Family. The buzz about this new band was such that the rock press had to coin a brand-new term to describe it: supergroup. On release, the album shot up to the number one spot on the charts in record time. Of course, as subsequent supergroups have shown, such bands seldom stick around very long, and Blind Faith set the pattern early on by splitting up after just one LP and a short tour to promote it. The opening track of the album was a pure Winwood piece that showcases both Winwood and Clapton on separate simultaneous guitar tracks.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1740 (starts 10/4/17)


32 songs this time around, including Artists' sets from the Leaves, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

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:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Little Olive
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    James Lowe
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Allowing a band to compose its own B side was a fairly common practice in the mid-1960s, as it saved the producer from having to pay for the rights to a composition by professional songwriters and funneled some of the royalty money to the band members. As a result, many B sides were actually a better indication of what a band was really about, since most A sides were picked by the record's producer, rather than the band. Such is the case with Little Olive, a song written by the Electric Prunes' Jim Lowe and released as the B side of their debut single in 1966.

Artist:    Gants
Title:    I Wonder
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sid Herring
Label:    BFD (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
    The Gants hailed from Greenwood, Mississippi, and had a string of regional hits that led to their signing with Liberty Records in 1965. The group, however, was handicapped by having half the members still in high school and the other half in college (and unwilling to drop out due to their being of draftable age during the height of the Viet Nam war). The band's most successful single for the label was I Wonder, which, like all of the Gants' recordings, shows a strong Beatle influence.

Artist:            Amboy Dukes
Title:        Journey to the Center of the Mind
Source:      Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:     Big Beat (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:        1968
        From Detroit, the one and only Ted Nugent! Originally released as a single on Mainstream Records, the same label that released the first Big Brother & the Holding Company album. After butchering Big Brother's debut, Mainstream's engineers must have taken a crash course in rock engineering as they did a much better job on Journey to the Center of the Mind just a few months later.

Artist:    Joe Cocker
Title:    Delta Lady
Source:    LP: Joe Cocker!
Writer(s):    Leon Russell
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    Joe Cocker! (the exclamation point being the only way to distinguish it from a later album called Joe Cocker), was the singer's second LP, released in 1969. It was also his last album with the Grease Band, who backed him up at Woodstock that same year. Like Cocker's 1968 debut album, Joe Cocker! is made up mostly of cover songs, including one that would later become one of his best known tunes. Delta Lady was composed by Leon Russell, who would help Cocker organize (and essentially lead) his new band, Mad Dogs And Englishmen.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Empty Pages
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Traffic was formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, after ending his association with the Spencer Davis Group. The original group, also featuring Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, put out two and a half albums before disbanding in early 1969. Shortly thereafter, following a successful live reunion album, Welcome to the Canteen, Winwood got to work on what was intended to be his first solo LP. For support Winwood called in Capaldi and Wood to back him up on the project. It soon became apparent, however, that what they were working on was actually a new Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die. Although Empty Pages was released as a single (with a mono mix heard here), it got most of its airplay on progressive FM stations, and as those stations were replaced by (or became) album rock stations, the song continued to get extensive airplay for many years.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the recording, which closes out the Let It Bleed album. An edited version of the song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Superlungs (My Supergirl)
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Barabajabal)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    Donovan originally recorded a song called Supergirl for his 1966 album Sunshine Superman album, but ultimately chose not to use the track. Over two years later he recorded an entirely new version of the song, retitling it Superlungs (My Supergirl) for the 1969 Barabajagal album.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Gypsy Eyes
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Electric Ladyland, the last album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was a double LP mixture of studio recordings and live jams in the studio with an array of guest musicians. Gypsy Eyes is a good example of Hendrix's prowess at the mixing board as well as on guitar.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Crosstown Traffic
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The last of these was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several anthologies over the years.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Blowin' In The Wind
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1963
    Generally acknowledged as Bob Dylan's first true classic, Blowin' In The Wind first appeared on the 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The song was popularized the following year by Peter, Paul and Mary and soon was the single most played song around campfires from coast to coast. For all I know it still is. (Do people still sing around campfires? Maybe they should.)

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Eve Of Destruction
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    Like most 1965 albums by American rock bands, The Turtles' It Ain't Me Babe is made up mostly of cover songs of then-current hits. Among those is P.F. Sloan's Eve Of Destruction, which was a huge hit for Barry McGuire that year. The Turtles themselves were all underage at the time, and had to get their parents' written permission to record the album.

Artist:    Mystery Trend
Title:    Johnny Was A Good Boy
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nagle/Cuff
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve)
Year:    1967
    The Mystery Trend was a bit of an anomaly. Contemporaries of bands such as the Great! Society and the Charlatans, the Trend always stood a bit apart from the rest of the crowd, playing to an audience that was both a bit more affluent and a bit more "adult" (they were reportedly the house band at a Sausalito strip club). Although they played in the city itself as early as 1965, they did not release their first record until early 1967. The song, Johnny Was A Good Boy, tells the story of a seemingly normal middle-class kid who turns out to be a monster, surprising friends, family and neighbors. A similar theme would be used by XTC in the early 1980s in the song No Thugs In Our House, one of the standout tracks from their landmark English Settlement album.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Such A Shame
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record, thus giving them an equal share of the royalties. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the B side of A Well Respected Man in 1966. It doesn't get much better than this.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mr. Spaceman
Source:    LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    Jim McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Both Jim (now Roger) McGuinn and David Crosby were science fiction fans, which became evident with the release of the Byrds' third album, Fifth Dimension. The third single released from that album, Mr. Spaceman, was in fact, a deliberate attempt to contact extra-terrestrials through the medium of AM radio. It was McGuinn's hope that ETs monitoring Earth's airwaves would hear the song and in some way respond to it, perhaps even contacting the band members themselves. Of course McGuinn didn't realize at the time that AM radio waves tend to disperse as they travel away from the Earth, making it unlikely that the signals would be picked up at all. Now if someone wants to upload this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era to a satellite...

Artist:    Love
Title:    Live And Let Live
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    In late spring of 1967 L.A.'s most popular local band, Love, was falling apart, mostly due to constant partying on the part of some of the band members. This became a real issue for producer Bruce Botnick when it came time to begin sessions for the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Botnick had already lost his co-producer on the project, Neil Young, when Young's own band, Buffalo Springfield, found themselves hugely popular in the wake of the success of the single For What It's Worth, and Botnick was now faced with a heavier-than-expected workload. Botnick's solution to the problem became evident when the band entered Sunset Sound Recorders on June 9th, only to find a group of studio musicians already set up and ready to record. Two new Arthur Lee songs were recorded that day, and the rest of the band was literally shocked in sobriety, returning to the studio the next day to record overdubs on the tracks to make them sound more like the work of the band itself. After two month's worth of intensive practice, the band was ready to return to the studio, recording the first track for the album performed entirely by the band itself, Live And Let Live. The unusual first line of the song was reportedly the result of Lee falling asleep in a chair with his nose running during practice sessions.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water (live version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2014
    In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, whom the Standells recorded for. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Codine
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Buffy St. Marie's Codine was a popular favorite among the club crowd in mid-60s California. In 1967, L.A.'s Leaves included it on their second LP. Around the same time, up the coast in San Francisco, the Charlatans selected it to be their own debut single. The suits at Kama-Sutra Records, however, balked at the idea of releasing a "drug song" as a single (despite the song's decidedly anti-drug stance), and instead released a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows. The novelty-flavored record bombed so bad that the label decided not to release any more Charlatans tracks, thus leaving their version of Codine gathering dust in the vaults until the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, back in 1968, Quicksilver Messenger Service was still without a record contract, despite being known as one of the "big three" San Francisco bands (the others being Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead). The producers of the quasi-documentary film Revolution took advantage of the situation, using footage of Quicksilver performing Codine in the film. With the film itself in post-production, the producers commissioned the band to record a studio version of Codine for inclusion on the soundtrack album.

Artist:     Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:     Light Your Windows
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Quicksilver Messenger Service)
Writer:     Duncan/Freiberg
Label:     Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1968
     One of the last of the legendary San Francisco bands that played at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival to get signed to a major label was Quicksilver Messenger Service. Inspired by a conversation between Dino Valenti  and guitarist John Cippolina, there are differing opinions on just how serious Valenti was about forming a new band at that time. Since Valenti was busted for drugs the very next day (and ended up spending the next two years in jail), we'll never know for sure. Cippolina, however, was motivated enough to begin finding members for the new band, including bassist David Freiberg (later to join Starship) and drummer Skip Spence. When Marty Balin stole Spence away to join his own new band (Jefferson Airplane), he tried to make up for it by introducing Cippolina to vocalist/guitarist Gary Duncan and drummer Greg Elmore, whose own band, the Brogues, had recently disbanded. Taking the name Quicksilver Messenger Service (so named for all the member's astrological connections with the planet Mercury), the new band soon became a fixture on the San Francisco scene. Inspired by the Blues Project, Cippolina and Duncan quickly established a reputation for their dual guitar improvisational abilities. Unlike other San Francisco bands such as the Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service did not jump at their first offer from a major record label, preferring to hold out for the best deal. This meant their debut album did not come out until 1968, missing out on the initial buzz surrounding the summer of love.

 Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Darling/Bennett/Bradon
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
            Revolution was a 1968 documentary film following the adventures of a young hippie woman named Daria Halprin in 1967 San Francisco. The movie featured music from several notable Bay Area bands, including the already popular Country Joe And The Fish, the newly formed Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks and the all-female Ace Of Cups. Three unsigned bands (Mother Earth, the Steve Miller Band and Quicksilver Messenger Service) appeared in the film as well, and were included on the movie soundtrack album. Of the three, the most popular was Quicksilver Messenger Service, who had already had offers from major record labels, but were holding out for the best deal (a move that probably backfired, since they were unable to take advantage of the massive media buzz surrounding the summer of love). The band's considerable talents were on display on the song Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You. Quicksilver's arrangement of the tune is considerably different than the 1969 Led Zeppelin version, to the point of sounding like an entirely different song, however, the similarity of the lyrics is pretty hard to miss.
       
Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    And The Address
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Lord
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    And The Address was, by all accounts, the very first Deep Purple song written by members of the band. In fact, the instrumental piece, which appeared as the opening track on the 1968 LP Shades Of Deep Purple, was actually written before Deep Purple itself was formed. Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore had answered an ad placed by Chris Curtis, a local musician who was trying to put together something called Roundabout, which would feature a rotating set of musicians on a circular stage, with Curtis himself fronting each group. The idea soon fell apart, but the first two people he recruited, Blackmore and Lord, decided to keep working together following Curtis's departure, eventually adding vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nicky Simper and drummer Ian Paice to fill out the band's original lineup. After securing a record deal, the band went to work on their debut LP, with And The Address being the first song they started to record. The song became the band's set opener for much of 1968, until it was replaced by another instrumental called Hard Road (Wring That Neck), which appeared on the band's second LP, The Book Of Taliesyn. Since then, And The Address has hardly ever been played live.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although Cream's music was generally heard on progressive rock FM radio, they did have a couple of songs that crossed over onto AM top 40 radio as well. The second of these was White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition that leads off the band's third LP, Wheels Of Fire.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Savoy Truffle
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    EMI/Apple
Year:    1968
    George Harrison's skills as a songwriter continued to develop in 1968. The double-LP The Beatles (aka the White Album) contained four Harrison compositions, including Savoy Truffle, a tongue-in-cheek song about Harrison's friend Eric Clapton's fondness for chocolate. John Lennon did not participate in the recording of Savoy Truffle. The keyboards were probably played by Chris Thomas, who, in addition to playing on all four Harrison songs on the album, served as de facto producer when George Martin decided to take a vacation in the middle of the album's recording sessions. 

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Redding/Cropper
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, co-written by legendary MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was released shortly after the plane crash that took the lives of not only Redding, but several members of the Bar-Kays as well. Shortly after recording the song Redding played it for his wife, who reacted by saying "Otis, you're changing." Redding's reply was "maybe I need to."

Artist:    Them
Title:    Bent Over You
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Them/Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    While not an unlistenable track by any means, the most curious aspect of Bent Over You from Them's 1968 Time Out! Time In! For Them album is probably the fact that the entire band (but not the individual members) shares songwriting credit with Thomas Lane and Sharon Pulley, who in fact wrote most of the songs on the album itself. I have to wonder just how the royalties situation would have worked if the album had actually made any money.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Coo Coo
Source:    CD: Big Brother And The Holding Company (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Peter Albin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Like most of the bands in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s, Big Brother And The Holding Company had members who had already been part of the local folk music scene when they decided to go electric. Peter Albin, in particular, had established himself as a solo artist before joining the band, and, naturally, brought some of his repertoire with him. Perhaps the most popular of these tunes was a song called Coo Coo, that had also been in circulation under the title Jack Of Diamonds. Although there are existing recordings of the song prior to the Big Brother version, Albin took full credit for the tune, possibly due to his providing almost all new lyrics for the track. Coo Coo, recorded in Chicago in 1966, was not included on the group's first LP for Mainstream, instead being issued as a single in early 1968. A reworked version of the tune with yet another set of new lyrics and a new musical bridge appeared later the same year on the band's Cheap Thrills album under the title Oh, Sweet Mary.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Dr. Stone
Source:    CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Hey Joe)
Writer:    Beck/Pons
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves were a solid, if not particularly spectacular, example of a late 60s L.A. club band. They had one big hit (Hey Joe), signed a contract with a major label (Capitol), and even appeared in a Hollywood movie (the Cool Ones). This tune, from their first album for Mira Records, is best described as folk-rock with a Bo Diddly beat.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People (remake)
Source:    CD: Hey Joe
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    One Way (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves scored their first Los Angeles regional hit with the song Too Many People, released on the Mira label in 1965. When a later single, Hey Joe, became a national hit, the band re-recorded Too Many People for their debut album, released in 1966. Although the newer recording is cleaner (and in stereo), it lacks the raw garage-rock energy of the original.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    Lonesome Cowboy Bill
Source:    LP: Loaded
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    Lonesome Cowboy Bill, from Loaded, the last Velvet Underground to feature Lou Reed, is probably the closest thing to a country song the singer/songwriter/cultural icon ever wrote. Strange stuff.

Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    I Want You So Bad
Source:    LP: Live And Well
Writer(s):    B.B. King
Label:    Bluesway
Year:    1969
    B.B. King's 16th studio album was actually only half a studio album. Side one of Live And Well, released in 1969, featured five tracks recorded live at New York's Village Gate, with a stellar lineup of guests. The second side of the album was made up of five tunes recorded at a studio called The Hit Factory (also in New York), utilizing the talents of what producer Bill Szymczyk called "some of the best young blues musicians in the country." The first of these is a King original called I Want You So Bad that finds the guitarist/vocalist at the peak of his powers.