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.
Title: Drive My Car
Source: CD: Rubber Soul (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
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.
Title: There's A Place
Source: LP: Rarities (originally released in US on LP: Introducing...The Beatles and as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Capitol/EMI (original labels: VeeJay and Tollie)
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.
Title: The Word
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
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.
Title: Flowers In The Rain
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Roy Wood
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)
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
Label: Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
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.
Title: She's Not There
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: Rod Argent
Label: London (original label: Parrot)
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
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
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
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.
Title: Such A Shame
Source: Mono 45 RPM EP: Kwyet Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary/BMG (original UK label: Pye)
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
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.
Title: The Enchanted Gypsy
Source: LP: A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
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)
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
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).
Title: I'm Not Talking
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Great Hits (originally released on LP: For Your Love)
Writer(s): Mose Allison
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.
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)
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Philips)
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.
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)
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
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.
Title: (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Label: United Artists
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.