Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1805 (starts 1/31/18)

    Once Again it's time to take a trip on the old Magical Mystery Tour bus. It's a trip that will take you 2000 Light Years From Home...and that's just the beginning.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Magical Mystery Tour
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 had been a great year for the Beatles, starting with their double-sided hit single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and their late summer hit All You Need Is Love, with its worldwide TV debut (one of the few events of the time to utilize satellite technology). The next project, however, did not go over quite so well. It had been over two years since the group's last major movie (HELP!), and the band decided that their next film would be an exclusive for broadcast on BBC-TV. Unlike the previous two films, this new project would not follow traditional filmmaking procedures. Instead it would be a more experimental piece; a series of loosely related songs and comedy vignettes connected by a loose plot about a bus trip to the countryside. Magical Mystery Tour made its debut in early December of 1967 to overwhelmingly negative reaction by viewers and critics alike (partially because the film was shown in black and white on the tradition minded BBC-1 network; a later rebroadcast in color on BBC-2 went over much better). The songs used in the film, however, were quite popular. Since there were only six of them, far too few for a regular LP, it was decided to issue the album as a pair of 45 RPM EPs, complete with lyric sheets and booklet recounting the story from the film. The original EPs were available in both stereo and mono versions in Europe and the UK. In the US, where the six tunes were supplemented by the band's five remaining single sides from 1967 to create an LP, Magical Mystery Tour was only available in stereo. Although both the EP and LP versions have different song orders than the telefilm, all three open the same way, with the film's title song. As it turns out, it's a particularly good way to start off this week's show as well.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    2000 Light Years From Home
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more noticable than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) made the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Ballroom
Title:    Baby, Please Don't Go
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe Williams
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    This rather unusual arrangement of Joe Williams classic Baby, Please Don't Go was the creation of producer/vocalist Curt Boettcher. Boettcher had previously worked with the Association, co-writing their first hit Along Comes Mary. While working on the Ballroom project for Our Productions in 1966 he came to the attention of Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. Usher was so impressed with Boettcher's creativity in the studio that he convinced his own bosses at Columbia Records to buy out Boettcher's contract from Our Productions. As a result, much of Boettcher's Ballroom project became part of Usher's own Sagittarius project, with only Baby, Please Don't Go (and its B side) released under the Ballroom name. Boettcher turned out to be so prolific that it was sometimes said that the giant "CBS" logo on the side of the building stood for Curt Boettcher's Studios.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    This Hammer
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: The Second Album)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/York/Davis
Label:    Island (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1965
    I could swear I've heard This Hammer before. I didn't know it was written by the members of the Spencer Davis Group, though.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becoming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear on the FM dial in major markets as well. Ironically, most of those stations are now playing 80s oldies.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Trampoline (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side and in US on LP:Gimme Some Lovin')
Writer:    Steve Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The Spencer Davis Group had a series of R&B flavored hit singles in the UK during the mid-1960s, but did not break in the US until 1967, the year that both keyboardist Steve Winwood and his brother, bassist Muff Winwood, left the band. Most of the band's first US LP, Gimme Some Lovin' was made up of those British singles, including Trampoline, which was originally issued as a B side in 1966.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Dupree's Diamond Blues
Source:    LP: Aoxomoxoa
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The third Grateful Dead LP, Aoxomoxoa, was one of the first albums to be recorded using state-of-the-art sixteen track equipment, and the band, in the words of guitarist Jerry Garcia, "tended to put too much on everything...A lot of the music was just lost in the mix, a lot of what was really there." Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh would return to the master tapes in 1971, remixing the entire album for the version that has appeared on vinyl and CD ever since then. Recently, however, Warner Brothers and Rhino have released a limited edition pressing of the original mix on vinyl. All of the music on the LP, including Dupree's Diamond Blues (which was also released as a single) is credited to guitarist Jerry Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh, with lyrics by poet Robert Hunter.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Red House
Source:    CD: Live At Woodstock
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    1969
    Just about every time Jimi Hendrix made a live appearance he played his signature blues song, Red House. This is the version performed at Woodstock, using the band he was calling Gypsy, Sun And Rainbows at the time, although he also was heard to say "We're just a Band Of Gypsys" during his set.
Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Mr. Farmer
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles A's and B's (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: A Web Of Sound)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
    With two tracks (Can't Seem To Make You Mine and Pushin' Too Hard) from their first album getting decent airplay on L.A. radio stations in 1966 the Seeds headed back to the studio to record a second LP, A Web Of Sound. The first single released from the album was Mr. Farmer, a song that once again did well locally. The single mix differs a bit from the album version, with the keyboards a bit more prominent in the mix. The song has a slightly different ending as well.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Dino Valenti
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Although Dino Valenti recorded a demo version of his song Let's Get Together in 1964, it wasn't until two years later that the song made its first appearance on vinyl as a track on Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The Airplane version of the song is unique in that the lead vocals alternate between Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and Marty Balin, with each one taking a verse and all of them singing on the chorus.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Black Hearted Woman
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released on Tower LP: Why Pick On Me
Writer(s):    Houlo/McMahon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    The Standells rose to prominence (and immortality) with the 1966 hit Dirty Water, which has gone on to become Boston's unofficial theme song (despite the fact that none of the Standells had ever been to Boston at the time the song was released). The band had actually been around since 1962, when they were formed as the Standels, a name derived from their habit of standing around booking offices hoping to find work. Their first recording was released on the Linda label in 1964 (as Larry Tamblyn and the Standells). New lead vocalist and drummer Dick Dodd, a former mouseketeer and member of the Bel-Airs (who had a hit with the instrumental Mr. Moto), joined shortly after the band signed with Liberty Records in 1964. The group bounced around from label to label over the next couple of years, eventually signing with Tower. Following the success of Dirty Water they recorded the album Why Pick On Me (sometimes known as Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White). One of the strongest tracks from that album was Black Hearted Woman, a song that shows the Standells at the peak of their powers. The Standells also appeared in several B movies, including the 1967 cult classic Riot On Sunset Strip. Dodd left the Standells in 1968. The group continued on without him for a while, but never was able to duplicate their earlier success.
Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Flying High
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Any guesses to what a song called Flying High from an album called Electric Music For The Mind And Body by Country Joe And The Fish released in 1967 might be about? I thought not.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Soul Kitchen
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Every time I hear the opening notes of the Doors' Soul Kitchen, from their first album, I think it's When The Music's Over, from their second LP. I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    There were several notable differences between the US and UK versions of the first Traffic album. For one thing they had different titles. In the US the album was called Heaven Is In Your Mind when it was released in early 1968 in the hope that the single of the same name would be a hit. When it became evident that the song wasn't going anywhere on the US top 40 charts the album was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy, matching the original 1967 UK album. There were differences in the tracks on the album as well. One of the most notable changes was the inclusion of Paper Sun, a non-LP single that had been a British hit in late 1967. The version on the US album, however, was slightly different from its UK counterpart in that the song fades out quite a bit earlier than on the original version, with the deleted portion showing up at the end of the album.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Summertime Blues
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Vincebus Eruptum)
Writer(s):    Cochrane/Capehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    If 1967 was the summer of love, then 1968 was the summer of violence. Framed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, both major anti-establishment movements of the time (civil rights and anti-war) became increasing radicalized and more violent. The hippies gave way to the Yippies, LSD gave way to crystal meth, and there were riots in the streets of several US cities. Against this backdrop Blue Cheer released one of the loudest and angriest recordings ever to grace the top 40: the proto-metal arrangement of Eddie Cochrane's 1958 classic Summertime Blues. It was the perfect soundtrack of its time.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Chicken Little Was Right
Source:    CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
Writer:    The Turtles
Label:    Sundazed (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1968
    Like many of the bands of the time, the Turtles usually recorded songs from professional songwriters for their A sides and provided their own material for the B sides. In the Turtles' case, however, these B sides were often psychedelic masterpieces that contrasted strongly with their hits. Chicken Little Was Right, the B side of She's My Girl, at first sounds like something you'd hear at a hootenanny, but then switches keys for a chorus featuring the Turtles' trademark harmonies, with a little bit of Peter And The Wolf thrown in for good measure. This capacity for self-parody would come to serve band members Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan well a few years later, first as members of the Mothers (performing Happy Together live at the Fillmore East) and then as the Phorescent Leach and Eddie (later shortened to Flo And Eddie). The version of Chicken Little Was Right that appears on the 1968 album The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands differs a bit from the original single version of the song. In fact, it may be a new recording, although I have not been able to verify whether or not that is the case. The LP version does not have sitar in it, and has more of a bluegrass sound that the 1967 original.

Artist:    Mar-Keys
Title:    Last Night
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mar-Keys
Label:    Satellite
Year:    1961
    The first major hit to come from Memphis's Stax Records was Last Night, an instrumental from the Mar-Keys that made the top 10 in 1961. The Mar-Keys  included future soul music impressario Isaac Hayes, as well as the entire membership of what would become Booker T. and the MGs. The song was originally released on the Satellite label out of Memphis, Tennessee. As Last Night was climbing the charts, a California label called Satellite Records threatened legal action over the use of the name, and the Memphis label quickly changed its name to Stax, reissuing the single with the same catalog number. Stax would soon become a major presence on the R&B charts, with acts like Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and the aforementioned Booker T and the MGs scoring several hits for the label over the next decade.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    I'm Crying
Source:    Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Price/Burdon
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1964
    Like most groups in the early 1960s, the Animals started their studio career by recording a mixture of songs provided to their producer by professional songwriters and covers of tunes previously recorded by other artists. Their first self-penned single was I'm Crying, a tune by vocalist Eric Burdon and organist Alan Price which was released in September of 1964. The song made the top 10 in Canada and the UK, but stalled out in the lower reaches of the top 40 in the US, falling far short of their previous international hit, House Of The Rising Sun. Producer Mickie Most decided from then on that songs written by the band itself would only be released as album tracks and B sides, a policy that stayed in effect until the Animals changed producers in 1966.

Artist:     Wailers
Title:     Out Of Our Tree
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Gardner/Morrill/Ormsby
Label:     Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year:     1965
     The Pacific Northwest was, and is, home to a louder, harder-rocking and generally raunchier style of rock and roll than most other regions of the country. It's never been explained exactly why this is, but Kurt Cobain may have touched on it when he said that because the weather is such that it discourages outdoor activities (i.e, it rains a lot), there really isn't much else to do but go to places where live music is played. Another reason for the scene developing the way it did might be these guys, who practically invented raunch and roll. The Wailers were formed in 1958, doing mostly instrumental versions of songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard and other early rock and roll/R&B artists. One of the hallmarks of the Wailers was that they played hard and loud, influencing later bands such as the Sonics to do the same. This meant that in order to be heard over the instruments, a vocalist had to basically scream out the lyrics. Etiquette Records, which was started by the Wailers themselves, was one of the first labels to release records with a healthy amount of distortion built in. This may have been due to budget limitations or it could have been a deliberate aesthetical choice. The result was garage-rock classics such as Out Of Our Tree, the echoes of which can be heard in the Grunge movement of the early 1990s.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    By 1966, Ray Davies' songwriting had matured considerably from his power chord driven love songs You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night. Like many of the songs on the Kinks' 1966 and 1967 LPs, Most Exclusive Residence For Sale tells a story; in this case the story of a man who achieved great success, bought an expensive house and then found himself forced to sell it when his fortunes took a downward turn.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Albert Common Is Dead
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    The second Blues Magoos LP, Electric Comic Book, was much in the same vein as their 1966 debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, with a mix of fast and slow originals and a couple of cover songs, one of which was done in an extended rave-up style. The second side opener, Albert Common Is Dead, is a fast rocker (with a slowed down final chorus) about an average guy's decision to take to the road, leaving his former life behind. As many young people were doing exactly that during the summer of 1967, you might expect such a song to become somewhat of a soundtrack of its times, but with so many other songs filling that role, Albert Common Is Dead was largely overlooked by the listening public.

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (UK)
Title:    A Dream For Julie
Source:    Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Daltry/Pumer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1968
    There were two different bands simultaneously using the name Kaleidoscope in the late 1960s, one in the US and one in the UK. The American Kaleidoscope, like many other West Coast bands, was basically electrified jug band music. The British band of the same name, like many other English groups, established their psychedelic credentials through the use of fantasy-oriented lyrics like "Strawberry monkeys are smiling for Julie, with small button eyes that reflect velvet flowers." Holy Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Batman!

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Had To Cry Today
Source:    LP: 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 with a 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.

Artist:    Taste
Title:    Born On The Wrong Side Of Time
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Taste)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    Formed in Cork, Northern Ireland, in 1966, Taste, led by guitarist/vocalist Rory Gallagher, quickly established themselves as the area's premier power trio. By 1967 the group, which by then consisted of Gallagher, drummer John Wilson, and bassist Richard McCracken, was one of the hottest bands in the UK, opening for such bands as Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Cream (including Cream's farewell appearances at Royal Albert Hall in 1968). The group released their debut LP in 1969, supporting the album by opening for Blind Faith on their US tour. The band released one more LP before Gallagher decided to pursue a solo career in the 1970s.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Brave New World
Source:    LP: Homer soundtrack (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    It took the Steve Miller Band half a dozen albums (plus appearances on a couple of movie soundtracks) to achieve star status in the early 1970s. Along the way they developed a cult following that added new members with each successive album. The fourth Miller album was Brave New World, the title track of which was used in the film Homer, a 1970 film that is better remembered for its soundtrack than for the film itself.

Artist:    Fabulous Farquahr
Title:    Sister Theresa's East River Orphanage
Source:    LP: The Fabulous Farquahr
Writer(s):    Barnswallow Farquahr
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1968
    The Fabulous Farquahr was, for lack of a better term, a hippy band from Branford, Connecticut who were quite popular among the locals in the mid to late 60s. According to the back cover of their only album, they were all members of British nobility, the Farquahr family, which somehow had been mysteriously left off the official peerage list. Each band member's first name was a species of songbird, such as leader Barnswallow Farquahr, who wrote Sister Theresa's East River Orphanage. The band's visual image was similar to San Francisco's Charlatans, and indeed, they seemed to have a similar fondness for the jug band style of music as well. Like their west coast counterparts, the Farquahr's good-time approach to music found them getting increasingly out of step with their counter-culture audience, which itself was becoming more radicalized as the decade wore on.
Artist:    Tales Of Justine
Title:    Monday Morning
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    David Daltrey
Label:    EMI (original label: His Master's Voice)
Year:    1967
    Tales Of Justine started off in 1965 as the Court Jesters, an instrumental trio consisting of Paul Myerson on guitar, Chris Woodisse on bass, and Paul Hurford on drums. The lineup was completed with the addition of multi-instrumentalist David Daltrey, a cousin of the Who's Roger Daltrey, on lead vocals. Two years later the band signed with EMI, largely due to support from trainee producer Tim Rice and arranger Andrew Lloyd Webber, who helped the band with their debut single. Rice soon departed company with EMI and the band did not release any more records. Rice and Webber, however, went on to greater fame with their rock musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph And The AmazingTechnicolor Dreamcoat, the second of which starred Daltrey himself.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Softly To Me
Source:     Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer:     Bryan McLean
Label:     Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:     1966
     Before the signing of Love in 1966, Elektra was a folk and ethnic music label whose closest thing to a rock band was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which was at that time very much into creating as authentic Chicago blues sound as possible for a band from New York. Love, on the other hand, was a bona-fide rock band that was packing the clubs on the Sunset Strip nightly. To underscore the significance of the signing, Elektra started a whole new numbering series for Love's debut album. Bryan McLean's role as a songwriter in Love was similar to George Harrison's as a Beatle. He didn't have many songs on any particular album, but those songs were often among the best tracks on the album. The first of these was Softly To Me from the band's debut LP. 

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Oh Those Eyes
Source:    LP: I Can't Get A Friend 1965-1968 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gerald Storch
Label:    Light In The Attic (original label: Southern Sound)
Year:    1965
    The first Vagrants single, Oh Those Eyes, was released on the semi-professional Southern Sound label in 1965. The single came to the attention of Vince Scarza and Douglas Hickox, who were directing a teensploitation flick called Disk-o-Tek Holiday (hey I don't make these things up, really). The movie featured several bands performing a song or two apiece, and the Vagrants performance of Oh Those Eyes is considered a highlight of the film. The band then released a single on the Vanguard label before being discovered by Cream producer Felix Pappalardi, who got them a contract with Atco Records. Throughout their existence the Vagrants remained a popular club band, appearing alonside the likes of the Young Rascals and Vanilla Fudge (who "borrowed" many elements of the Vagrants' style when developing their own sound). Lead guitarist Leslie Weinstein would later shorten his last name to West and form Mountain with Pappalardi.

Artist:    Huns
Title:    I Gotta Move
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Rich La Bonte
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017
    In 1965, most bands in the upstate New York area were inspired mainly by the Beatles, and made their living doing cover songs of various British Invasion bands, particularly those with hits on the charts. And then along came the Huns, a group formed in Ithaca, NY by longtime schoolmates Frank Van Nostrand (bass) and John Sweeney (organ). The first member recruited for the new band was vocalist Rich La Bonte, who brought a Mick Jagger like swagger and his own material, including I Gotta Move. Filling out the band were Buz Warmkessel and drummer Dick Headley. The Huns, who by then had replaced Headley with Steve Dworetz and added rhythm guitarist Keith Ginsberg, made their only studio recordings on March 10, 1966 at Ithaca College's experimental TV studios in downtown Ithaca. Less than three months later the Huns were history, thanks in large part to Van Nostrand and Sweeney being asked by the college dean to pursue their academic careers elsewhere.
Artist:     Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     There's Always Tomorrow
Source:     LP: Midnight Ride
Writer:     Levin/Smith
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     We move now to sunny Los Angeles, circa 1966, where we find a band from Boise, Idaho starring in Dick Clark's daily national dance show, Where The Action Is. Paul Revere and the Raiders were one of the many bands of the early 1960s that helped lay the groundwork for the temporary democratization of American popular music later in the decade (for more on that click the "era" button at hermitradio.com). After honing their craft for years in the clubs of the Pacific Northwest the Raiders caught the attention of Clark, who called them the most versatile rock band he had ever seen. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, which in turn led to Paul Revere and the Raiders being the first rock band ever signed to industry giant Columbia Records, at that time the second largest record company in the country. In addition to organist Revere the band featured Mark Lindsay on lead vocals and saxophone, Phil "Fang" Volker on bass, Drake Levin on lead guitar and Mike "Smitty" Smith on drums. Occassional someone other than Lindsay would get the opportunity to sing a lead vocal part, as Smitty does on There's Always Tomorrow, a song he co-wrote with Levin shortly before the guitarist quit to join the National Guard. Seriously, the guy who played the double-tracked lead guitars on Just Like Me quit the hottest band in the US at the peak of their popularity to voluntarily join the military. I'd say there was a good chance he was not one of the guys burning their draft cards that year.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Leave
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Although Buffalo Springfield are generally acknowldeged to among the pioneers of a softer rock sound that would gain popularity in the 70s with bands like the Eagles, Poco and Crosby, Stills and Nash, they did occasionally rock out a bit harder on tracks like Leave. Of particular note is lead guitarist Neil Young doing blues licks on Leave, a Stephen Stills tune from the first Buffalo Springfield album, released in 1966.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1805 (starts 1/31/18)

    Rock music has it roots in the blues, and, to a lesser degree, the country and western music of the late 1940s. While rock was developing, however, there were other musical forms dominating record sales, among them classical (for the highbrow buyer) and, by far the most popular at the time, jazz. For the most part these forms remained separate from rock until the 1970s, when rock musicians decided to take their art a little more seriously. This week we feature a selection of tracks reflecting the influence of these older forms, from the unusual time and key changes of Crack The Sky to the slow blues of the J. Geils Band's classic 1976 B side, Magic's Mood.

Artist:    Crack The Sky
Title:    Ice
Source:    LP: Crack The Sky
Writer(s):    John Palumbo
Label:    Lifesong
Year:    1975
    Once in a while you buy an album based on hearing only one song from said album. Such was the case in the late 1970s, when I was doing shows for Albuquerque's KUNM-FM at the University of New Mexico. The song Ice, from the first Crack The Sky album, grabbed me that much. Apparently it grabbed someone at Rolling Stone magazine as well, as they declared Crack The Sky to be the "debut album of the year" for 1975.

Artist:    Renaissance
Title:    Ashes Are Burning
Source:    LP: Live At Carnegie Hall
Writer(s):    Dunford/Thatcher
Label:    Sire
Year:    1976
    Of all the art-rock bands in the 1970s, Renaissance was probably the most closely aligned with traditional classical music, especially that of the Romantic period. Beginning with their Ashes Are Burning album in 1973, the band was often accompanied by a full orchestra, complementing Annie Haslam's multi-octave vocal range. By 1976 the group was at the peak of its popularity, and released the album Live At Carnegie Hall. The longest track on the album (taking up an entire LP side) was the live version of Ashes Are Burning itself. The popularity of the entire art-rock movement, and Renaissance in particular, was about to crash, however, with the advent of the punk-rock movement of the late 1970s, which viewed art-rock bands as pretentious and in direct opposition to the spirit of rock itself.

Artist:    Roy Buchanan
Title:    Wayfaring Pilgrim
Source:    CD: The Best Of Roy Buchanan (originally released on LP: In The Beginning)
Writer(s):    Buchanan/Freeman
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1974
    When it comes to pure technique, very few guitarists can claim to be in the same class as Roy Buchanan. Born in Ozark, Arkansas, in 1939, Buchanan made his recording debut as a sideman for Dale Hawkins in 1958, releasing his first single as a solo artist in 1961. Throughout his career he was known for being a master of the Fender Telecaster guitar, and was considered a major influence by many younger guitarists over the years, including Robbie Robertson (whom he tutored when they were both members of Ronnie Hawkins's Hawks) Jeff Beck and Jerry Garcia. Buchanan's greatest commercial success, however, came in the 1970s after signing the the Polydor label, which was looking for talent to fill out the roster of its newly-formed US division. Buchanan recorded five albums for Polydor, including In The Beginning, which was released in the UK as Rescue Me. Buchanan's arrangement of Wayfaring Pilgrim from that album also features the talents of Neil Larsen on piano.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cowgirl In The Sand
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    It has been said that adverse conditions are conducive to good art. Certainly that truism applies to Neil Young's Cowgirl In The Sand, written while Young was running a 102 degree fever. Almost makes you wish you could be that sick sometime.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Elijah
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer:    John Locke
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Since the mid-1960s many bands have had one long piece that they play in concert that is specifically designed to allow individual band members to strut their stuff. In a few cases, such as Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida or Lynnard Skynnard's Freebird, it becomes their best-known song. In most cases, though, a studio version of the piece gets put on an early album and never gets heard on the radio. Such is the case with Spirit's show-stopper Elijah, which was reportedly never played the same way twice. Elijah, written by keyboardist John Locke, starts with a hard-rockin' main theme that is followed by a jazzier second theme that showcases one of the lead instruments (guitar, keyboards). The piece then comes to a dead stop while one of the members has a solo section of their own devising. This is followed by the main theme, repeating several times until every member has had their own solo section. The piece ends with a return to the main theme followed by a classic power rock ending.

Artist:    J. Geils Band
Title:    Magic's Mood
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Juke Joint Jimmy
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1976
    My two favorite J. Geils Band tracks are both B sides featuring the harmonica playing of Magic Dick. Both Magic's Mood, from 1976, and 1971's Whammer Jammer are credited to Juke Joint Jimmy. Of course, this writing credit got me curious, so I did a little research and found out that Juke Joint Jimmy is actually a pseudonym created specifically for songs written by the entire band. So now I guess I can put Juke Joint Jimmy in the same class as Nanker Phelge and McGannahan Skjellyfetti.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1804 (starts 1/24/18)

    This week our Advanced Psych segment returns with a track from the new album by the Disreputable Few, Ain't Who I Was. We also have another half dozen songs making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut this week.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Norwegian Wood
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The first Beatle song to feature a sitar, Norwegian Wood, perhaps more than any other song, has come to typify the new direction songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney began to take with the release of the Rubber Soul album in December of 1965. Whereas their earlier material was written to be performed as well as recorded, songs like Norwegian Wood were first and foremost studio creations. The song itself was reportedly based on a true story and was no doubt a contributing factor to the disintegration of Lennon's first marraige.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    My Eyes Have Seen You
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    It's strange. Some reviewers seem to think that the album Strange Days is inferior to the first Doors album. They justify this view by citing the fact that almost all the songs on both albums were already in the band's repertoire when they signed their record contract with Elektra. The implication is that the band naturally selected the best material for the first album, making Strange Days a collection of sloppy seconds. There is one small problem with this theory however. Pick a song at random from Strange Days and listen to it and in all likelihood it will sound every bit as good as a song randomly picked from the first album (and probably better than one picked from either of the Doors' next two LPs). In fact, I'll pick one for you: My Eyes Have Seen You. See what I mean?

Artist:     Iron Butterfly
Title:     Termination
Source:     LP: Evolution-The Best Of Iron Butterfly (originally released on LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida)
Writer:     Brann/Dorman
Label:     Atco
Year:     1968
     Termination is unusual in that it was not written by Doug Ingle, the band's primary songwriter. Instead it was composed by guitarist Erik Brann and bassist Lee Dorman. After one more album (Ball) Brann would depart the band for a mostly-unsuccessful solo career. Dorman stayed around for another year, but would eventually leave (along with Brann's replacement, El Rhino) to join Deep Purple's Rod Evans and drummer Bobby Caldwell to form Captain Beyond.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Love Grows
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Daffern/Morgan/Fleck
Label:    Real gone/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    By 1969, the only thing left of the Electric Prunes was their name (which was actually owned by their manager, Lenny Poncher). Even their producer, Dave Hassinger, had lost interest in the band, allowing them to pretty much record their final album, Just Good Old Rock And Roll, with minimal interference. The album had the most original material of any Prunes album, albeit from an entirely different lineup than had recorded the band's first two LPs. One of the new members was former West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band guitarist Ron Morgan, who would soon move on to become an early member of Three Dog Night before returning to his native Denver, Colorado. Morgan is listed as a co-writer on the group's final single, Love Grows.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Softly To Me
Source:     LP: Love
Writer:     Bryan McLean
Label:     Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:     1966
     Bryan McLean's role as a songwriter in Love was similar to George Harrison's as a Beatle. He didn't have more than one or two songs on any particular LP, but those songs were often among the best tracks on the album. The first of these was Softly To Me from the band's debut LP. 

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    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:    Love
Title:    And More
Source:    Mono LP: Love
Writer:    Lee/MacLean
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Although the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was already recording for Elektra, the first genuine rock band to be signed to the label was L.A.'s Love. The band had originally planned to call itself the Grass Roots, but soon discovered that the songwriting team of Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan had already locked up the name. Jan Holzman, owner of Elektra, was so high on Love that he created a whole new numbering series for their first album (the same series that later included the first few Doors LPs). Most of Love's songs were written by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Arthur Lee, with a handful of tunes provided by rhythm guitarist/vocalist Bryan MacLean. The two seldom collaborated however, despite the fact that they often hung out together, with MacLean often walking the few blocks to Lee's home in the Hollywood hills. One of the few songs they did collaborate on was And More, a tune from the first album that shows the two songwriters' interest in folk-rock as popularized by fellow L.A. band the Byrds.

Artist:    The Ban
Title:    Place Of Sin
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers
Writer(s):    Tony McGuire
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2010
    The Ban was a garage band from Lompoc, California, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Tony McGuire, organist Oilver McKinney, bassist Frank Strait and drummer Randy Gordon. They made a handful of recordings for the Brent label in 1965, with the song Bye Bye being released as a single. Among the other McGuire compositions the Ban recorded was Place Of Sin, a song that was probably too far ahead of its time to be released in 1965. Unfortunately, before the Ban could generate interest in their single, McGuire was drafted, and the Ban moved to San Bernadino, adding a new member and changing their name to the Now. Later, they relocated to San Francisco, where they were snagged by the infamous Matthew Katz, who renamed them the Tripsichord Music Box.

Artist:    Association
Title:    Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Renaissance)
Writer(s):    Gary Alexander
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Valiant)
Year:    1966
    Following up on their monster hit Cherish, the Association released their most overtly psychedelic track, Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies, in late 1966, in advance of their second LP, Renaissance. The group had wanted to be more involved in the production process, and provided their own instrumental tracks for the tune, written by band member Gary Alexander. Unfortunately for the band, the single barely made the top 40, peaking at # 35, which ultimately led to the band relying more on outside songwriters and studio musicians for their later recordings such as Never My Love and Windy.

Artist:     Turtles
Song:     She's My Girl
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    White Whale
Year:     1967
     After a moderate amount of success in 1965 with a series of singles starting with a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, the Turtles found themselves running out of steam by the end of 1966. Rather than throw in the towel, they enlisted the services of the Bonner/Gordon songwriting team (from a New York band called the Magicians) and recorded their most successful single, Happy Together, in 1967. They dipped into the same well for She's My Girl later the same year.

Artist:    Timebox
Title:    Gone Is The Sadman
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    McCarthy/Halsall
Label:    Rhino (original label: Deram)
Year:    1968
    Timebox is one of those bands that by all rights should have had much more success than they were able to achieve. Why this should be is a mystery. They had plenty of talent, good press and were signed to a major label (Deram). Yet none of their singles were able to make a connection with the record buying public. Originally formed in Southport in 1965 as Take Five, the band relocated to London the following year, changing their name to Timebox at the same time. After releasing a pair of singles on the small Picadilly label, the band added a couple of new members, including future Rutles drummer John Halsey. Within a few months they were signed to the Deram label, and released several singles over the next few years. One of their best tunes, Gone Is The Sandman, was actually released as a B side in late 1968.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, its local success predating that of the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Wake Me, Shake Me
Source:    LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer(s):    arr. Al Kooper
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:     1967
           The Blues Project was one of the most influential, yet volatile bands in rock history. Their original lead vocalist, Tommy Flanders, left the group before their first album was released, leaving the other members to take up the slack on subsequent releases. Al Kooper, in particular, became the group's most prominent vocalist, as well as their most prolific songwriter and arranger. Kooper, however, would be the next to leave the group, splitting just in time to form his own pick up band to appear at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967, a festival that also included the Blues Project on the playbill. The group's record label, Verve Forecast, cobbled together one last album from a handful of live tracks and singles that had been previously unavailable on LPs. The album, Live At Town Hall, was released after Kooper's departure from the group, although all the songs, including an eight and a half minute version of Wake Me, Shake Me, featured Kooper's playing (and in most cases singing). The album itself has long been criticized for its use of canned applause to give the impression that the studio tracks on the LP were recorded live, as well as the fact that only one of the live tracks was actually recorded at Town Hall itself (the others were from other venues). It seems likely that Wake Me, Shake Me, is, in fact, the one track recorded "live at Town Hall", but even that is difficult to prove, as very little documentation has survived over the years.
Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Heaven And Hell
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was the Easybeats, often called the Australian Beatles. Although their early material sounded like slightly dated British Invasion music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British immigrants), by late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch immigrant members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    This Will Be Our Year
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Chris White
Label:    Varese Vintage (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1968
    The Zombies second (and final) album, Odyssey And Oracle, was made pretty much under duress. The band had secured a contract with the British CBS label, but because of budget and time constraints, the recordings were done quickly, with no outtakes or unused songs from the sessions. Like many songs recorded at Abbey Road Studios at the time, This Will Be Our Year was first mixed monoraully, with horns added during the mixing process. As a result, the stereo version of the album contained a fake stereo mix made from the mono master. Since mono pressings were being phased out in the US, only the fake stereo version was available to American record buyers. Recently, Varese Vintage has included the original mono mix as the B side of a single made for a recent Record Store Day event.

Artist:     Country Weather
Title:     Fly To New York
Source:     Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released only to radio stations, later included on Swiss CD: Country Weather)
Writer:     Baron/Carter/Derr/Douglass
Label:     Rhino (original label: RD)
Year:     Recorded 1969, released 2005
     Country Weather started off as a popular dance band in Contra Costa County, California. In 1968 they took the name Country Weather and began gigging on the San Francisco side of the bay. In 1969, still without a record contract, they recorded an album side's worth of material, made a few one-sided test copies and circulated them to local radio stations. Those tracks, including Fly To New York, were eventually released on CD in 2005 by the Swedish label RD Records.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Wanna Be Your Man
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Decca (UK), London (US)
Year:    1963
    Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have written so many classic songs together that it's hard to imagine a time when they had yet to pen their first hit. That was precisely the case, however, in the early days of the Rolling Stones, when they were barely scratching the bottom of the British charts with covers of blues songs from the 1950s. A chance meeting with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, however, resulted in the Stones being given a song called I Wanna Be Your Man which became the band's first top 20 hit in the UK. The song was later released as the B side to the Stones' first US charted single, Not Fade Away.

Artist:    Disreputable Few
Title:    Farmer Brian
Source:    CD: Ain't Who I Was
Writer(s):    Disreputable Few
Label:    Colonel
Year:    2017
    Credit for Farmer Brian, from the Disreputable Few CD Ain't Who I Was, has to go to our Associate Producer, Greg Cotterill. Greg's contact in the music business, which far exceed my own, include Dennis McNally, who is closely associated with the Grateful Dead and their own circle of friends. Among that circle is a band called the Disreputable Few, which consists of Mark Tremalgia (guitar, slide guitar, dobro, vocals), Randy Ray Mitchell (guitar, slide guitar, keys, vocals), Paul Ill (bass, upright bass, keys, vocals) and Dan Potruch (drums, precussion). Dennis made it a point to circle Farmer Brian (with the one word notation "hermit") on the flyer that came with the CD, so here it is, in all its Allman Brothers inspired glory.

Artist:    Dada
Title:    Puzzle
Source:    CD: Puzzle
Writer(s):    Calio, Gurney, Leavitt
Label:    IRS
Year:    1992
    My favorite album of the 1990s was Puzzle, the debut album of the California based Dada. The band, made up of Michael Gurley (guitar/co-lead vocals), Joie Calio (bass/co-lead vocals) and Phil Leavitt (drums), first came to national prominence with the release of the album Puzzle, featuring the hit single Dizz Knee Land, in 1992. I wish I could say I was impressed by the song's clever lyrics and sarcastic tone, but to be honest, I didn't much like it when I heard it on the radio. Luckily, however, there was an Adult Alternative Album station out of Virginia Beach that we could pick up out in the wilds of northeastern North Carolina, that started playing the album's opening track, Dorina. That one I liked so much that I went out a bought a copy of the CD. Upon playing it, I discovered that Puzzle was a truly outstanding album, with only one or two tracks that I couldn't listen to repeatedly (and even Dizz Knee Land started sounding a little better once I heard it without all the processing that radio stations add). One of my favorite tunes on the album is the title track itself, which has a similar structure to Dorina, yet sounds entirely different. It also has some really nice guitar work from Gurley (I wonder if he is any relation to James Gurley from Big Brother and the Holding Company?).

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the greatest garage-rock album of all is the second Shadows Of Knight LP, Back Door Men. Released in 1966, the album features virtually the same lineup as their debut LP, Gloria. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Shadows were capable of varying their style somewhat, going from their trademark Chicago blues-influenced punk to what can only be described as early hard rock with ease. Like many bands of the time, they recorded a fast version of Billy Roberts' Hey Joe (although they credited it to Chet Powers on the label). The Shadows version, however, is a bit longer than the rest, featuring an extended guitar break by Joe Kelley, who had switched from bass to lead guitar midway through the recording of the Gloria album, replacing Warren Rogers, when it was discovered that Kelley was by far the more talented guitarist (Rogers was moved over to bass). Incidentally, despite the album's title and the Shadows' penchant for recording classic blues tunes, the band did not record a version of Howlin' Wolf's Back Door Man. The Blues Project and the Doors, however, did.

Artist:    Jury
Title:    Who Dat?
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bill Ivaniuk
Label:    Rhino (original label: Quality)
Year:    1966
    Formed by members of two Winnipeg bands, the Chord-U-Roys and the Phantoms, in 1964, the Jury released three Beatles-inspired singles on the Canadian London label in 1965 before switching to the locally-owned Quality label the following year. Their only single for Quality was Who Dat?, a savage piece of garage rock that got enough regional airplay to pique the interest of a small American label, Port, which promptly reissued the single in the US.  Nonetheless, the group disbanded before 1966 was over.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Handy
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    One of the first bands to feature two lead guitarists working in tandem, Wishbone Ash rose to fame as the opening act for Deep Purple in early 1970. After guitarist Andy Powell sat in with Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore during a sound check, Blackmore referred Wishbone Ash to MCA, the parent company of the US Decca label. The band's first LP came out in December of 1970, with several extended-length tracks like Handy showcasing the band's strengths. Although Wishbone Ash went on to become one of Britain's top rock bands of the 1970s, they were never as successful in the US, despite relocating to the states in 1973.

Artist:    Sound Apparatus
Title:    Travel Agent Man
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wylde Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Dee/Harris
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Black & Blue)
Year:    1969
    Not a whole is known about the South Jersey band known as Sound Apparatus. Their only single was released by the Camden based Black & Blue label in 1969, and only five copies of the record are known to exist. I've never heard the A side of that record, but the flip, a tune called Travel Agent Man is a classic piece of psychedelia.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    It's Breaking Me Up
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson made no secret of the fact that he wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically, It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

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

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1804 (starts 1/24/18)

This time around we've got two sets of half a dozen tunes each, proving once again that Rockin' in the Days of Confusion features more music than the average (dancing) bear.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    I'm Coming On
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    The rock press had generally unfavorable things to say about the 1970 Ten Years After album Watt. Personally, I liked the album from the first time I played it. I suspect that the critics' negative reaction had more to do with their own changing tastes and expectations than with the actual quality of the album itself. I'm Coming On, the LP's opening track, is a solid rocker with a catchy opening riff. Granted, the lyrics are not particularly memorable, but then, Alvin Lee was basically a guitarist first and vocalist second, so it only stands to reason that his compositions would favor the musical side of things over the lyrics. Hey, if you want poetry, check out Bob Dylan, right?

Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    Lucky Man
Source:    CD: Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Writer(s):    Greg Lake
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1970
    By 1970 a trend was developing in rock music that continues to this day. That trend was for musicians to leave their original bands after a couple years and form new "supergroups" with other like-minded musicians. One example was Emerson, Lake and Palmer, made up of former members of the Nice, King Crimson and Atomic Rooster. Their first, and most recognizable, hit was Lucky Man, written by lead vocalist Greg Lake, who also played acoustic guitar on the song.

Artist:    Neil Young/Graham Nash
Title:    War Song
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1972
    Around the same time that Neil Young was working on his Harvest LP he recorded War Song with Graham Nash and the Stray Gators. It was never released on an LP, although it did appear on CD many years later on one of the various anthologies that have been issued over the years.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Thanks
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    Following up on an album that had relied heavily on cover tunes, the James Gang went almost totally original for their second LP, James Gang Rides Again. The 1970 album features several acoustic numbers written by guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, including Thanks, which features backing from the entire band, including electric slide guitar fills from Walsh himself. Lyrically, the song has a bit of a cynical edge, as evidenced by the rhyme "that's the way the world is, get just what you can; wake up in the morning a little lesser man."

Artist:    Little Feat
Title:    Easy To Slip
Source:    CD: Sailin' Shoes
Writer(s):    George/Martin
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Little Feat's second album, Sailin' Shoes, was an album of firsts. It was the first Feat album to feature cover art by Neon Park. It was also the first album to show an obvious New Orleans influence. Finally, it was the first album to feature the songwriting team of Lowell George and Martin Kibbee (using the name Fred Martin), on songs like Easy To Slip, which opened the first side of the LP. Sailin' Shoes was also the last album to feature original bassist Roy Estrada, who had accompanied George after the latter had been fired from Frank Zappa's band, the Mothers, over the overt drug references in the song Willin' (which also appears on Sailin' Shoes).

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Time Was
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    The most popular of Wishbone Ash's albums, Argus was the band's third effort, released in 1972. The album is full of medieval references on songs such as Time Was, the nine-minute opus that opens the LP. The album has proved so popular with the band's fans that Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash released a new studio recording of it in 2008, accompanied by a live Argus tour. Another former band member, Andy Powell, has since followed suit, with both groups performing Argus in its entirety as part of their stage repertoire.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    End Of The Night
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The Doors first big break came when they opened for Love at L.A.'s most famous club, the Whisky-A-Go-Go, and became friends with the members of the more established popular local band. Love was already recording for Elektra Records, and enthusiastically recommended that the label sign the Doors as well. Elektra did, and the Doors went on to become one of the most successful and influential bands in rock history. Although not as well-known as Light My Fire or The End, the dark and moody End Of The Night is a classic early Doors tune, from the opening bent chords from guitarist Robby Krieger to the spooky keyboard work of Ray Manzarek and of course Jim Morrison's distinctive vocals, all backed up by John Densmore's tastefully understated drumming.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Creepin'
Source:    LP: 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:    Temptations
Title:    Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown
Year:    1972
    One of the longest songs ever to get played on top 40 radio, Papa Was A Rolling Stone was in many ways a climactic recording. It was the last big Temptations hit, and one of the last songs produced by the team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the so-called "psychedelic soul" producers, before Whitfield left Motown to form his own production company. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it was the last major hit to feature the Funk Brothers, the (mostly uncredited) instrumentalists who had played on virtually every Motown record in the 60s but had been largely supplanted by studio musicians working out of Los Angeles, where the label had relocated its corporate headquarters to, in the early 70s. And on Papa Was A Rolling Stone the Funk Brothers finally got to shine as soloists, with an intro on the LP version that lasted more than four minutes and a long extended instrumental section in the middle of the piece as well. Papa Was A Rolling Stone has been called the last great Motown record. I tend to agree with that assessment.

Artist:    Billy Preston
Title:    Will It Go Round In Circles
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Preston/Fisher
Label:    A&M
Year:    1973
    Although Billy Preston became a household name overnight in 1969, thanks to his guest appearance on the Get Back/Don't Let Me Down single by the Beatles, it wasn't until his seventh solo album that he finally scored a number one hit single on the charts. That song was Will It Go Round In Circles, and the album itself was called Music Is My Life. The song (and album) also features Preston's A&M labelmates the Brothers Johnson.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Statesboro Blues
Source:    LP: At Fillmore East
Writer(s):    Willie McTell
Label:    Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
Year:    1971
    The Allman Brothers Band is generally accepted as the original Southern Rock band. Much of this reputation, however, is based on the group's second phase, following the death of founder Duane Allman. In the beginning, however, the Allman Brothers Band was first and foremost a blues-rock band, perhaps even the best American blues-rock band of its time. This is evidenced by the fact that their breakthrough album, At Fillmore East, starts with their electrifying arrangement of a Blind Willie McTell blues classic, Statesboro Blues. McTell originally recorded the tune in 1928. Forty years later Taj Mahal recorded a blues-rock version that inspired Duane Allman to take up the slide guitar. The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East version of Statesboro Blues is ranked #9 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of all-time greatest guitar songs.    

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo
Source:    European import CD: Johnny Winter And
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Athough best known as a solo Rick Derringer hit, Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo was originally recorded in 1970 by Johnny Winter for the album Johnny Winter And when Derringer was a member of Winter's band (also known as Johnny Winter And at that time). As can be heard here the arrangement on the earlier version is nearly identical to the hit version, the main differences being Winter's lead vocals and the presence of two lead guitarists in the band.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1803 (starts 1/17/18)

    This week's show has its share of ups and downs, no doubt, but maintains a steady high when Johnny Winter takes the stage at Woodstock (supplemented by a track from his 1968 studio debut, The Progressive Blues Experiment).

Artist:      Beatles
Title:     And Your Bird Can Sing
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:     1966
     At the time the Revolver album was being made, the Beatles and their producer, George Martin, worked together on the mono mixes of the songs, which were always done before the stereo mixes. In fact, the stereo mixes were usually done without the participation of the band itself, and generally were less time consuming. This led to a rather odd situation in June of 1966. Final mono mixes had been made for three of the songs on Revolver at this point, and the band's US label, Capitol, was ready to release a new Beatles album. The problem was that they did not have enough new material for an entire album. Their solution was to use their Duophonic fake stereo process on the mono mixes and include them on the album, which was titled Yesterday...And Today. As a result, when Revolver was released in the US in the fall of 1966, it had three fewer songs than the original British version of the album. One of those three songs was And Your Bird Can Sing, which was not available in the US in true stereo until the 1980s.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    My White Bicycle
Source:    Mono British CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road-1965-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Along with Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine, Tomorrow was among the most influential of the British psychedelic bands that popped up in the wake of the Beatles' Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's albums. Evolving out of the In Crowd, a popular British R&B group in the mold of the Spencer Davis Group and the early Who, Tomorrow featured a young Steve Howe (who go on to stardom as a founding member of Yes) on lead guitar and Keith West on vocals. The group was slated to appear in the film Blow-Up, but ultimately lost out to the Yardbirds, who had just recruited Jimmy Page as a second lead guitarist. Unfazed, Tomorrow went into Abbey Road studios and cut My White Bicycle, a song inspired by the practice in Amsterdam of providing free bicycles to anyone who wanted to use one as long as they turned it back in when they were done with it.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Born To Be Wild
Source:    CD: Easy Rider Soundtrack (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):    Mars Bonfire
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Born To Be Wild's status as a counter-cultural anthem was cemented when it was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider. The popularity of both the song and the movie resulted in Steppenwolf becoming the all-time favorite band of bikers all over the world.

Artist:      Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Mr. Limousine Driver
Source:      CD: Grand Funk
Writer:    Mark Farner
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1969
     When Grand Funk Railroad first appeared on the scene they were universally panned by the rock press (much as Kiss would be a few years later). Despite this, they managed to set attendance records across the nation and were instrumental to establishing sports arenas as the venue of choice for 70s rock bands. Although their first album, On Time, was not an instant hit, their popularity took off with the release of their second LP, Grand Funk (also known as the Red Album). One of the many popular tracks on Grand Funk was Mr. Limousine Driver, a song that reflects the same attitude as their later hit We're An American Band.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Move Over
Source:    CD: The Pearl Sessions
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1971
    1970 had been a good year for Janis Joplin. She had disbanded the disappointing Kozmik Blues Band and was nearing completion of a new album (Pearl) with a new group (the Full Tilt Boogie Band) and a new producer (Paul Rothchild), who was entirely supportive of her musical abilities. Unlike previous bands, Joplin's new group spent considerable time in the studio working on material for the album, often developing the arrangements with the tape machines running, much like Jimi Hendrix was known to do. The resulting album was musically far tighter than her previous efforts, with a mixture of cover songs and original material such as the opening track, Move Over, written by Joplin herself. Sadly, Joplin's problems ran deeper than just musical issues and she did not live to see her final album completed.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square
Source:     LP: Stand Up
Writer:     Ian Anderson
Label:     Chrysalis (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1969
     Jethro Tull incorporated traditional Indian instruments on Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square, one of a pair of tunes named for future Tull bassist Jeffrey Hammond by the band's primary songwriter, Ian Anderson.

Artist:     Nazz
Title:     Open My Eyes
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Nazz)
Writer:     Todd Rundgren
Label:     Rhino (original label: SGC)
Year:     1968
     The Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. The Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    No Time Like The Right Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    The Blues Project were ahead of their time. They were the first jam band. They virtually created the college circuit for touring rock bands. Unfortunately, they also existed at a time when having a hit single was the considered a necessity. The closest the Blues Project ever got to a hit single was No Time Like The Right Time, which peaked at # 97 and stayed on the charts for all of two weeks. Personally, I rate it among the top 5 best songs of the psychedelic era.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    No Escape
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Saxon/Savage/Lawrence
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    Following up on their 1965 Los Angeles area hit Can't Seem To Make You Mine, the Seeds released their self-titled debut LP the following year. The album contained what would be the band's biggest (and only national) hit, Pushin' Too Hard, as well as several other tracks such as No Escape that can be considered either as stylistic consistent or blatantly imitative of the big hit record. As Pushin' Too Hard was not yet a well-known song when the album was released, I tend to lean more toward the first interpretation.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Only a handful of tunes make virtually everyone's list of "psychedelic" songs. The Electric Prunes' I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) so well defines the genre that Lenny Kaye himself chose it to be the opening track on the original Nuggets album.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Born Cross-Eyed
Source:    CD: Anthem Of The Sun
Writer(s):    The Grateful Dead
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1968
    After cranking out their first LP in a matter of days, San Francisco's Grateful Dead took a full six months to record, edit and mix the follow-up album, Anthem Of The Sun. Most of the tracks on the album run together and feature an experimental mix of live and studio material. The sole exception is Born Cross-Eyed, which has a running time of barely over two minutes. As near as I can tell, it is also the only actual studio track on the album. Although the song is credited to the entire band, Bob Weir's lyrics are rumoured to be autobiographical in nature.

Artist:    The Doors
Title:    Wild Child
Source:    LP: The Soft Parade
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Although The Soft Parade is generally considered the weakest of all the Jim Morrison era Doors albums, it did have a couple of notable songs on it. Touch Me was a major hit for the band, and its B side, Wild Child, has long been a fan favorite. In fact, the band even made a video for Wild Child, something not commonly done for a B side.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High (RCA Studios version)
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension (bonus track) (originally released on LP: Never Before)
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby/Clark
Label:    Columbia/Legacy (original label: Re-Flyte)
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1987
    In December of 1965, while Turn! Turn! Turn! was the number one song in the nation, the Byrds booked time at RCA Studios in Los Angeles to record a pair of songs, Eight Miles High and Why, which were intended to the be the band's next single. Columbia Records, however, had a policy prohibiting the use of a rival's studios (especially RCA's) and insisted that the Byrds re-record both songs, which were then issued as a single and included on the album Fifth Dimension. Meanwhile, the original recorded version of Eight Miles High remained unreleased until 1987, when it was included on an album of early unreleased Byrds recordings on the Re-Flyte label called Never Before. Both David Crosby and Roger McGuinn have said that they actually prefer the earlier version to the well-known Columbia recording.   

Artist:    Barbarians
Title:    Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ron and Doug Morris
Label:    Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:    1965
    The Barbarians were formed in Boston in 1963, and got their big break when they were picked for a slot on the T.A.M.I. show in 1964. The group was somewhat unusual in that the lead vocalist, Vic "Moulty" Moulton, was also the drummer. The fact that Moulty wore a hook only made the band stand out even more. In 1965 they hit the charts with Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl, a satirical song based on a rather snide question that was often heard coming out of the mouths of conservative types (and greasers) that saw the current trend toward longer hair on boys (inspired by the Beatles) as being a threat to their way of life.
Artist:     Vejtables
Title:     Anything
Source:     CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Bob Bailey
Label:    Rhino (original label: Autumn)
Year: `1965
     As with any music scene, some of the early San Francisco acts fell by the wayside before the scene really took off. Such was the case with the Vejtables, who got a contract with local label Autumn Records and released a single called I Still Love You in 1965. The B side of that record, a tune called Anything, has proved more durable than its flip over the long haul. Lead vocalist and drummer Jan Errico would later join the Mojo Men in time for their 1967 cover of Buffalo Springfield's Sit Down I Think I Love You.

Artist:      Fairport Convention
Title:     Tam Lin
Source:      LP: Leige and Leaf
Writer(s):    Trad. arr. Swarbuck
Label:     A&M
Year:     1969
     Fairport Convention was hailed as England's answer to Jefferson Airplane when they first appeared. As Tam Lin, from their 1969 album Leige And Lief shows, they soon established a sound all their own. Sandy Denny, heard here on lead vocals, is probably best known to US audiences for her backup vocals on Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore from their fourth LP.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Early Morning Cold Taxi
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out (bonus track originally released on CD box set: 30 Years of Maximum R&B)
Writer(s):    Langston/Daltry
Label:    MCA
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1994
    Early Morning Cold Taxi is an outtake from the 1967 sessions for the Who's third LP, The Who Sell Out. The track, co-written by vocalist Roger Daltry, sat on the shelf for years, finally being released as part of the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B box set in 1994.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Leland Mississippi Blues
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2009
    Johnny Winter had just released his first album for Columbia in 1969 when he was invited to play the Woodstock festival. Along with his band, which at that time included his brother Edgar on keyboards, future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, Winter played a set that included Leland Mississippi Blues, one of the three original compositions on his Columbia debut LP.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Black Cat Bone
Source:    LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1968
    Johnny Winter was already a veteran recording artist by the time he released his first LP, The Progressive Blues Experiment, in 1968. His earlier work, however, was much more pop oriented, having an almost Tex-Mex flavor. With his new backing band of Uncle John Turner on drums and Tommy Shannon (later to work with Stevie Ray Vaughan as a member of Double Trouble) on bass, Winter put together an album mixing blues classics and original tunes such as Black Cat Bone. The critical success of the album led to Winter signing a multi-year contract with Columbia Records the following year.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Mean Town Blues
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer:    Johnny Winter
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded: 1969; released: 2009
    1969 was a breakthrough year for Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, driven primarily by live performances at large venues such as the Dallas International Pop Festival and of course the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival, where this ten-plus minute track was recorded.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Go To Her
Source:    LP: Early Flight
Writer(s):    Kantner/Estes
Label:    Grunt
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    For Your Love
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's fist US hit, peaking at the # 6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at # 3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Dark Side
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Rogers/Sohns
Label:    Dunwich
Year:    1966
    Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     You Keep Me Hangin' On (includes Illusions Of My Childhood part one and two)
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):     Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, the the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit. The original album version was considerably longer than the single, however, due in part to the inclusion of something called Illusions Of My Childhood, which was basically a series of short psychedelic instrumental pieces incorporating themes from familiar nursery rhymes such as Farmer In The Dell and Ring Around The Rosie.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Joe South
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The track was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gillan (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar LP) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond, releasing two fine LPs before fading from the public view.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)
Source:    LP: 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:            Easybeats
Title:        Friday On My Mind
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Era (original label: United Artists)
Year:        1966
       Considered by many to be the "greatest Australian song" ever recorded, the Easybeats' Friday On My Mind, released in late 1966, certainly was the first (and for many years only) major international hit to emerge from the island continent. Rhythm guitarist George Young, who co-wrote Friday On My Mind, would go on to produce another Australian band featuring his two younger brothers, Angus and Malcolm.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Double Decker Bus
Source:    Mono LP: Psychotic Reaction
Writer(s):    John Byrne
Label:    Bicycle/Concord
Year:    1966
    With Count Five's single Psychotic Reaction rocketing up the charts in late 1966, Double Shot Records rushed the band into the studio to record a full-length LP, called (naturally) Psychotic Reaction. The key word here is "rushed", as band members later complained that they were not given the time to fully develop their original material, most of which was written by guitarist John "Sean" Byrne. Nonetheless, the album contains nine original tunes (along with two covers of Who songs tossed in as filler), all of which are classic examples of what has come to be called garage rock. Double Decker Bus, which opens the album, is a good example of Byrne's original material. Count Five was never able to duplicate the success of their hit single, however, and after the song's popularity had run its course the group, consisting of Kenn Ellner on lead vocals, tambourine and harmonica, John "Mouse" Michalski on lead guitar, John "Sean" Byrne on rhythm guitar and vocals, Craig "Butch" Atkinson on drums and Roy Chaney on bass guitar, disbanded so that its members could pursue college educations.