Monday, March 26, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1813 (starts 3/28/18)



    It's hard not to talk about this week's presentation of the entire second side of the 1968 debut album by It's A Beautiful Day. Still, there are all kinds of other good things going on this week as well, including a Doors set and my own personal favorite Young Rascals song (more on that below).

Artist:    Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs
Title:    Wooly Bully
Source:    Mono CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll HIts 1965 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Domingo Samudio
Label:    Rhino (original label: XL)
Year:    1964
    Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs were pioneers of what has come to be called Tex-Mex, a style that can best described as straight ahead rock and roll seasoned with traditional Mexican forms such as salsa and ranchero. The Pharaohs were already a popular band in their native Texas when they recorded Wooly Bully for the regional XL label in 1964. The song proved so popular that it (and the band's contract) was bought outright by M-G-M Records, at the time one of the largest labels in the country. Wooly Bully was re-released nationally on M-G-M in 1965 and ended up among the top 10 records of the year.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     Pushin' Too Hard
Source:     Simulated stereo CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:     Sky Saxon
Label:     Priority (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:     1965
     Pushin' Too Hard was originally released to the L.A. market as a single in late 1965 and included on side one of the first Seeds album the following year. After being re-released as a single the song did well enough to go national in early 1967, peaking at #36 in February.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    N.S.U.
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Although most of Jack Bruce's Cream songs were co-written with lyricist Pete Brown, there were some exceptions. One of the most notable of these is N.S.U. from Cream's debut LP. The song has proven popular enough to be included in the band's repertoire when they reunited for a three-day stint at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.

Artist:    Third Bardo
Title:    I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Evans/Pike
Label:    Rhino (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1967
    The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    The Prophet
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Wright
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    The Beacon Street Union had already relocated to New York from their native Boston by the time their first LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, appeared in early 1968. Unfortunately, they were grouped together with other Boston bands such as Ultimate Spinach by M-G-M Records as part of a fictional "Boss-Town Sound", which ultimately hurt the band's chances far more than it helped them. The album itself is actually one of the better psychedelic albums of the time, with tracks like The Prophet, which closes out side two of the original LP, combining somewhat esoteric music and lyrics effectively.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Ain't No Tellin'
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Possibly the closest thing to a traditional R&B style song in JImi Hendrix's repertoire, Ain't No Tellin' was also, at one minute and 47 seconds, one of the shortest tracks ever recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The tune appeared on the Axis: Bold As Love album in 1967.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Fakin' It
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Fakin' It, originally released as a single in 1967, was a bit of a departure for Simon And Garfunkel, sounding more like British psychedelic music than American folk-rock. The track starts with an intro that is similar to the false ending to the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever; midway through the record the tempo changes drastically for a short spoken word section that makes a reference to a "Mr. Leitch" (the last name of the Scottish folksinger turned psychedelic pioneer Donovan). The stereo mix of Fakin' It was first released on the 1968 LP Bookends.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Baby, You're A Rich Man
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Baby, You're A Rich Man was one of the last collaborations between John Lennon and Paul McCartney and addresses the Beatles' longtime manager Brian Epstein, although not by name.  Lennon came up with the basic question "how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" (a popular term for the young and hip in late 60s London), which became the basis for the song's verses, which were combined with an existing, but unfinished, Paul McCartney chorus (Baby, You're A Rich Man, too). The finished piece was issued as the B side of the Beatles' second single of 1967, All You Need Is Love, and later remixed in stereo and included on the US-only LP version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Abba Zaba
Source:    45 RPM single (also included on LP: Safe As Milk)
Writer(s):    Don Van Vliet
Label:    Sundazed/Buddah
Year:    1967
    After an aborted recording career with A&M Records, future avant-garde rock superstar Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) signed a contract with the newly formed Buddah record label. The first record ever released by Buddah was the album Safe As Milk, which included the single Yellow Brick Road, backed with Abba Zaba. Although the Captain's music was at that time still somewhat blues-based, the album was not a commercial success, and Buddah cut Beefheart and his Magic Band from the label in favor of more pop oriented groups like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Captain Beefheart then moved to yet another fledgling label, Blue Thumb, before finding a more permanent home with his old high school classmate Frank Zappa's Bizarre Records, where he released the classic Trout Mask Replica. More recently, Sundazed has re-released the Buddah single, but with Abba Zaba as the A side.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She's My Girl
Source:    Mono French import CD: Happy Together (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Magic (original US 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 an East Coast band called the Magicians) and recorded their most successful single, Happy Together, in 1967. They dipped into the same well for another major hit, She's My Girl, later the same year.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Hello, I Love You
Source:    LP: 13 (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    I have to admit, when I first heard Hello, I Love You I hated it, considering it only a half step away from the bubble gum hits like 1,2,3 Red Light and Chewy Chewy that were dominating the top 40 charts in 1968. It turns out that the song was originally recorded in 1965 as a demo by Rick And The Ravens (basically a Doors predecessor) using the title Hello, I Love You (Won't You Tell Me Your Name). The single pressing of the song is notable for being one of the first rock songs to be released as a stereo 45 RPM record. The song went to the top of the charts in the US and Canada and became the first Doors song to break into the British top 20 as well.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Spanish Caravan
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    The third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun, was somewhat of a departure from the first two, covering a greater variety of styles than their previous efforts. A prime example is Spanish Caravan, which starts with a flamenco solo from guitarist Robbie Kreiger and continues in a highly Spanish (not Mexican) flavored musical vein.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire
Source:    LP: 13 (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Not long after that I heard the full-length version of the song from the first Doors album and was blown away all over again. To this day I have a tendency to crank up the volume whenever I hear it.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    Simulated Stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Priority (origina label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
     After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the band turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song. The song was never mixed in true stereo, forcing the band's record label to use a simulated stereo mix on stereo copies of the LP. Once monoraul albums were phased out in the late 1960s, this "fake" stereo version remained the only one available for many years, appearing on various compilations before a mid-1990s remaster of the Turn! Turn! Turn! album used the original mono mix.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Pay The Price
Source:    LP: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Long before the term "country-rock" came into being, Stephen Stills was writing and recording songs like Pay The Price. The track, from Buffalo Springfield's 1966 debut LP, is one of the earliest examples of the sub-genre.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    One of the first British acid-rock bands was a group called Deep Feeling, which included drummer Jim Capaldi and woodwind player Chris Wood. At the same time Deep Feeling was experimenting with psychedelia, another, more commercially oriented band, the Spencer Davis Group, was tearing up the British top 40 charts with hits like Keep On Running, Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man. The undisputed star of the Spencer Davis Group was a teenaged guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist named Steve Winwood, who was also beginning to make his mark as a songwriter. Along with guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who had worked with Capaldi in earlier bands, they formed Traffic in the spring of 1967, releasing their first single, Paper Sun, in May of that year. Capaldi and Winwood had actually written the tune while Winwood was still in the Spencer Davis Group, and the song was an immediate hit in the UK. This was followed quickly by an album, Mr. Fantasy, that, as was the common practice at the time in the UK, did not include Paper Sun. When the album was picked up by United Artists Records for US release in early 1968, however, Paper Sun was included as the LP's opening track. The US version of the album was originally titled Heaven Is In Your Mind, but was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy to match the original British title (although the alterations in track listing stayed).

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Quite Rightly So
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually awake enough to do that.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Mr. Pitiful
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Redding/Cropper
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1965
    Otis Redding got his first big break when he recorded These Arms Of Mine in late 1962. The song took off on the R&B charts the following year, eventually selling over 800,000 copies. Redding followed the song up with a series of R&B hits in the same slow soulful style, leading one music critic to dub him Mr. Pitiful. Redding, always one to recognize an opportunity, took the title and, along with co-writer Steve Cropper, came up with his first up-tempo hit in 1965. By the time of his death in late 1967 Redding had established himself as one of the top R&B acts in the country, and, thanks to a electrifying set at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967, was well on the way to becoming a major star on top 40 radio as well.
   
Artist:    It's A Beautiful Day
Title:    Bombay Calling/Bulgaria/Time Is
Source:    CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer:    LaFlamme/Wallace
Label:    San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    The story of It's A Beautiful Day shows a dark side of late 60s San Francisco. In mid 1967 It's A Beautiful Day, formed by former Utah Symphony violinist David LaFlamme and his wife, keyboardist Linda LaFlamme, caught the attention of Matthew Katz, who was managing both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. The LaFlammes were not aware of the fact that both of the other bands were trying desperately to get out of their contracts with Katz, and were more than happy to sign a contract with him. Katz immediately shipped It's A Beautiful Day off to Seattle, where they became the house band at a club called the San Francisco Sound that was owned by Katz himself. The band lived upstairs from the club and had no transportation; their only money was a meager food allowance provided by Katz. It was in this environment, during the rainy Seattle winter, that the band composed the music that would become their first LP. Side one was highlighted by the songs White Bird and Hot Summer Day, while the second side was a continuous piece of music that was banded as three separate tracks, Bombay Calling, Bulgaria and Time Is (probably to increase royalties). Deep Purple used the opening riff from Bombay Calling for Child In Time on their 1970 album Deep Purple In Rock. Conversely, It's A Beautiful Day "borrowed" the main riff and much of the arrangement of Deep Purple's Hard Road (from their 1968 LP The Book Of Taleisyn) for Don And Dewey, the opening track of their own 1970 LP, Marrying Maiden.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source:    LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that band had participated in in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    Find Somebody
Source:    CD: Groovin'
Writer(s):    Cavaleire/Brigati
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1967
    Back in the early 1980s I made myself a mix tape from various albums that I had found at the studios of KUNM, the University Of New Mexico radio station, where I was doing a couple of weekly shifts as a student/volunteer. I still have that tape somewhere, but somewhere along the way I lost track of just what the sources were for the various songs I recorded. Among those "mystery songs" was a tune I really liked a lot called (presumably) Find Somebody. The problem was that I had no clue who the band was. I thought it might be the Young Rascals; if it was it was hands down the coolest Young Rascals song I had ever heard. I spent the next 30 years or so trying to find out where the song had originally appeared, as the cassette tape was too worn out to use over the air. Finally, in 2017, I found a copy of the third Young Rascals album, Groovin', and there it was. So here it is: Find Somebody by the Young Rascals, featuring vocals by Eddie Brigati. I hope you enjoy hearing it as much as I do.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Gomper
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco
Year:    1967
    Probably the most overtly psychedelic track ever recorded by the Rolling Stones, Gomper might best be described as a hippy love song with its references to nature, innocence and, of course, pyschedelic substances. Brian Jones makes one of his last significant contributions as a member of the band he founded, playing the dulcimer, as well as tablas, organ, pan flutes and various percussion instruments on the song.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Poem By The Sea/Paint It, Black
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:    BGO (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    One of the highlights of the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 was the onstage debut of Eric Burdon's new Animals, a group much more in tune with the psychedelic happenings of the summer of love than its working class predecessor. The showstopper for the band's set was an extended version of the Rolling Stone's classic Paint It, Black. That summer saw the release of the group's first full LP, Winds Of Change, which included a studio version of Paint It, Black preceded by a slow piece called Poem By The Sea.

Artist:    Rutles
Title:    Piggy In The Middle
Source:    CD: The Rutles
Writer(s):    Neil Innes
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1978
    In 1978, Eric Idle of Monty Python's Flying Circus produced a TV film called All You Need Is Cash, a documentary about the rise and fall of England's "prefab four" The Rutles. The clever Beatles parody featured music written by Neil Innes, sometimes called the "seventh Python" and the primary songwriter of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, who had performed Death Cab For Cutie in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour telefilm eleven years earlier. Innes recruited two former Timebox members, Guitarist/singer Ollie Halsall and drummer John Halsey, along with Rikki Fataar, a multi-instrumentalist who had become a member of the Beach Boys in the early 1970s. One of the highlights of All You Need Is Cash, and of the album itself, is the brilliant Piggy In The Middle, a parody of I Am The Walrus that includes the same kind of production techniques used by George Martin for the Magical Mystery Tour album.

Artist:    Ars Nova
Title:    General Clover Wins A War
Source:    CD: Ars Nova
Writer(s):    Copeland/Day
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1968
    Ars Nova was formed by guitarist/keyboardist Wyatt Day and trombonist Jon Pierson in 1967. The two had known each other in Spain and found themselves attending Mannes College in New York City, where they met drummer Maury Baker, the third core member of the band. Baker in turn introduced the others to lead guitarist Jonathan Raskin and bassist Johnny Papalia, who took over lead guitar duties upon Raskin's departure. With the addition of new bassist Bill Folwell, the lineup was set for the group's first LP, which was produced by Paul Rothchild. Following the release of the LP, Ars Nova found themselves booked as the second opening act for the Doors at the Fillmore East, a gig that was a total disaster, due in part to the first band overstaying their welcome, leading to Ars Nova being booed off the stage before playing a single note. This led to the band losing its contract with Elektra, which in turn led to several personnel changes, a second album for a different label and the eventual demise of Ars Nova. Of course, with songs like General Clover Wins A War, Ar Nova already had an uphill battle building a following among serious rock fans anyway.
 

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1813 (starts 3/28/18)



This week we take in several rock sub-genres, including folk-rock, jazz-rock, country-rock (sort of), blues-rock, hard rock and even some early heavy metal. And we do it all in an hour.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
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. Hush 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 Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) 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 before fading from public view.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    European import CD: Ten Years After
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    The late 1960s saw the rise of a British blues-rock scene that brought fame to Peter Green, Dave Edmunds and other talented guitarists. One of the first bands to release an album in this sub-genre was Ten Years After, led by Alvin Lee. Their debut LP, released in 1967, included several cover tunes, including Spoonful, which had been recorded the previous year by Cream (in studio form), and would gain popularity as a live track in 1968.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Barry Goldberg/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Stop
Source:    CD: Super Session
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Shuman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Keyboardist Al Kooper was quite familiar with the talents of guitarist Mike Bloomfield, but felt that Bloomfield had never had the chance to really shine in the recording studio. When, in 1968, Kooper became a staff producer for Columbia Records in New York, one of his first projects was to rectify that situation. To help facilitate the project, two of Bloomfield's former bandmates, bassist Harvey Brooks (Butterfield Blues Band) and pianist Barry Goldberg (Electric Flag), along with studio drummer Eddie Hoh, were brought in. Although Bloomfield himself dropped out halfway through the sessions, necessitating the addition of guitarist Stephen Stills for the LP's second side, the resulting album, Super Session, was the surprise hit of 1968, setting off a wave of similar projects by other musicians. Goldberg only played on a couple of tracks, including the instrumental version of Stop, a Jerry Ragovoy/Doc Shuman composition that was an R&B hit for Howard Tate that same year.

Artist:    Larry Coryell
Title:    Treat's Style
Source:    LP: Lady Coryell
Writer(s):    Jim Garrison
Label:    Vanguard Apostolic
Year:    1968
    Most of Larry Coryell's first album was recorded using the same musicians that Coryell had been working with as a member of the early jazz-rock fusion group Free Spirits. For one track, however, he endlisted the services of a pair of veteran jazzmen. Treat's Style was written by Jim Garrison, who also plays double-bass on the track. Garrison was best known for his work as a member of the John Coltrane's quartet from 1961-67. The drummer on Treat's Style is Elvin Jones, himself a legend in the jazz world.

Artist:     Led Zeppelin
Title:     Bron Y-Aur Stomp
Source:     CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer:     Page/Plant/Jones
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1970
     Although often regarded as the fathers of Heavy Metal, Led Zeppelin was actually capable of playing in a variety of styles. Evolving out of the standard-bearing band of the London blues scene (the Yardbirds), Led Zeppelin soon moved into uncharted territory, recording music that incorporated elements of both American and British folk music as well as rock. Much of the group's third LP (Bron Y-Aur Stomp in particular) sounds like it could have been written and performed in the heart of Appalachia.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Welcome To The Canteen
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1971
    The live version of (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, from the 1971 album Welcome To The Canteen, is considerably longer than the original studio version of the tune heard on Traffic's self-titled second LP, giving Chris Wood, in particular, more time to show his stuff on flute.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Mr Door Is Open
Source:    LP: Straight Shooter
Writer(s):    Troiano/Kenner
Label:    ABC
Year:    1972
    One of the most interesting rock and roll histories of the early 1970s was that of the James Gang. Originally consisting of drummer Jim Fox, bassist Tom Criss and guitarist Joe Walsh, the Cleveland-based band first appeared on vinyl on 1969's Yer Album. After replacing Criss with Dale Peters, the group released James Gang Rides Again, which, thanks to tracks like Funk #49 made them stars. Following one more album with this lineup, Walsh left the group for a solo career. At around this same time, labelmates Bush decided to disband after one unsuccessful LP, and Fox and Peters recruited vocalist Roy Kenner and guitarist Dominic Troiano from Bush to continue James Gang. The first album with this new lineup was Straight Shooter, released in 1972. Unfortunately, the inevitable comparisons to the band's earlier material made it difficult for this incarnation of the James Gang to achieve a great amount of commercial success, despite the quality of tracks like My Door Is Open, which was written by Kenner and Troiano. After one more album, Troiano left the group to replace Randy Bachman in the Guess Who, and the James Gang recruited Tommy Bolin, whose outstanding guitar work once again put the band in the national spotlight. But that's a story for another time.

Artist:    Grand Funk
Title:    The Railroad
Source:    CD: We're An American Band
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1973
    After six albums working with producer Terry Knight, Grand Funk Railroad switched tracks in 1973, turning to Todd Rundgren, who had received critical acclaim for Something/Anything, a self-produced double LP solo effort from the previous year. The result was We're An American Band, which revitalized the band's career and spawned two hit singles, the title track and Walk Like A Man, both of which were sung by drummer Don Brewer. This was a major departure for the band, as guitarist Mark Farner had previously written and sung all of the band's singles. Farner still wrote and sang much of the material on the LP, however, including The Railroad (ironically the only use of the word "railroad" anywhere on the album, as the band had officially, albeit temporarily, shortened its name to Grand Funk prior to the album's release).

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

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    The Loner
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Neil Young)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The Loner could easily have been passed off as a Buffalo Springfield song. In addition to singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, the tune features Springfield members  Jim Messina on bass and George Grantham on drums. Since Buffalo Springfield was functionally defunct by the time the song was ready for release, however, it instead became Young's first single as a solo artist. The song first appeared, in a longer form, on Young's first solo album in late 1968, with the single appearing three months later. The subject of The Loner has long been rumored to be Young's bandmate Stephen Stills, or possibly Young himself. As usual, Neil Young ain't sayin'.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1812 (starts 3/21/18)



    This week we do things strictly by the year...until the entire show weirds out at the end. It starts with a (Foxy) lady and ends with a (Tangerine) dream.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original UK label: Track)
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side two of the original LP. The song was also released as a US-only single in 1967, but did not chart. Eventually a European single version of the song was released as well, albeit posthumously, warranting its inclusion on the Singles double-LP, released in Europe in the early 1980s.

Artist:    Fingers
Title:    Circus With A Female Clown
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Robin/Mills/Ducky
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the first British bands to label themselves as "psychedelic", the Fingers included as part of their stage show a monkey named Freak Out, whom the band members claimed produced "psychotic" odors. The band only released two singles, however. The second of these had the truly strange Circus With A Female Clown on its B side. The somewhat more conventional A side failed to chart, however, and the group broke up soon after the record was released.
       
Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Bright Light Lover
Source:    LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Keyboardist Bob Bruno's contributions as a songwriter to Circus Maximus tended to favor jazz arrangements. On Bright Light Lover, however, from the band's first album, he proves that he could rock out with the raunchiest of the garage bands when the mood hit.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    She Has Funny Cars
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Kaukonen/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    She Has Funny Cars, the opening track of Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was a reference to some unusual possessions belonging to new drummer Spencer Dryden's girlfriend. As was the case with many of the early Airplane tracks, the title has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song itself. The song was also released as the B side to the band's first top 10 single, Somebody To Love. The mono mix used for the single has noticably less reverb than the more familiar stereo version of the song.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    You Still Believe In Me
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Although they were one of the first self-contained US rock bands, by 1966 the Beach Boys were using studio musicians almost exclusively on their recordings. At the same time Brian Wilson, who by then was writing all the band's music, had retired from performing with the band onstage. These factors combined to give Wilson the freedom to create the album that is often considered his and the band's artistic peak, Pet Sounds. Much of the material on the album, such as You Still Believe In Me, was written with the help of lyricist Tony Asher. Like many of the songs on Pet Sounds, You Still Believe In Me includes unusual instrumentation such as a theramin and even a bicycle bell.

Artist:    Frantics
Title:    Human Monkey
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Miller/Stevenson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Action)
Year:    1966
    The Frantics were a popular cover band in Tacoma, Washington in the early 60s. Guitarist Jerry Miller, however, had greater ambitions and eventually relocated to San Francisco, taking the band's name and two of its members, keyboardist Chuck "Steaks" Schoning and drummer Don Stevenson, with him. After recruiting bassist Bob Mosely the Frantics cut their only single, an early Motown-style dance number called the Human Monkey, in 1966. The group would soon shed Schoning and pick up two new members, changing their name to Moby Grape in the process.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Big Black Smoke
Source:    Mono CD: Face To Face (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Kinks had some of the best non-album sides of the 60s. Case in point: Big Black Smoke, which appeared as the B side of Dead End Street in November of 1966. The song deals with a familiar phenomenon of the 20th century: the small town girl that gets a rude awakening after moving to the big city. In this case the city was London, known colloquially as "the Smoke".

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.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Mother's Little Helper
Source:    Mono CD: Flowers
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 the Rolling Stones had already had a few brushes with the law over their use of illegal drugs. Mother's Little Helper, released in Spring of '66, is a scathing criticism of the abuse of legal prescription drugs by the parents of the Stones' fans. Perhaps more than any other song of the time, Mother's Little Helper illustrates the increasingly hostile generation gap that had sprung up between the young baby boomers and the previous generation.

Artist:    Hearts And Flowers
Title:    Rock And Roll Gypsies
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women)
Writer(s):    Roger Tillison
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Led by singer/songwriters Larry Murray and Dave Dawson, Hearts And Flowers is best known for launching the career of guitarist/vocalist Bernie Leadon, who joined the group for their second LP and would later go on to co-found the Eagles (he is now a producer in Nashville). That second album, Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women, is generally considered the most accessible of the group's three albums, and included the song Rock And Roll Gypsies, which was included on the Homer movie soundtrack album in 1970.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Dirty Old Man (2nd single version)
Source:    British Import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (bonus track originally released on LP: Now And Them)
Writer(s):    Tom Lane
Label:    Rev-Ola
Year:    1968
    This track puzzles me. The CD booklet that comes with the expanded version of Time Out! Time In! For Them lists the song as Dirty Old Man (2nd single version), yet according to every database I have access to the song was only issued as a single once. Even more confusing is the fact that the first single version of the song (also included on the CD) runs about fifteen seconds longer than this one, and that this version is exactly the same length as the version heard on the LP Now And Them, which was released after the first single version but before Time Out! Time In! For Them. Furthermore, this particular track is in stereo, which was fairly uncommon for singles released in 1968 and totally unprecedented for the Tower label at that time. As there is nothing in the liner notes to indicate otherwise, I'm going to assume that this version is in fact the album version from Now And Them that was perhaps prepared as a single but never released.
       
Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Your Wall's Too High
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Most of the songs on Steppenwolf's first album had been in the group's stage repertoire for a year or more, giving the band plenty of opportunity to work the bugs out of their arrangements. As a result the band sounded tight and well-rehearsed on their debut LP, as is evident on Your Wall's Too High, a tune written by leader John Kay, who also played slide guitar on the tune.

Artist:     Mountain
Title:     Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source:     CD: Woodstock 2
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1969
     Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along. This particular recording, from the Woodstock 2 album, sounds like a different performance than the one heard on the Rhino 40th anniversary box set. The story I heard is that the band was unhappy with the actual Woodstock recording (due to both technical and performance flaws) and provided an alternate live recording to be used on the original LP. The fact that the 40th anniversary version includes a section where the vocals are inaudible that is not is this recording lends credence to that theory.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Pinball Wizard
Source:    Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2009
    Despite being one of Britain's most popular bands from 1966-69, the Who were still mostly unknown in the US, with only a couple 40 hits  to their credit. That all changed with the release of the rock operaTommy and their subsequent performance of the piece at Woodstock in 1969.  Most of that performace remained unreleased until 2009, when several sections of it were included in the box set Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm. Among the newly released selections was Pinball Wizard, the song that had been chosen to be the lead single from the original album in 1969.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Rock And Soul Music
Source:    LP: Woodstock
Writer(s):    McDonald/Melton/Cohen/Barthol/Hirsch
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1969
    Country Joe and the Fish actually performed Rock and Soul Music twice at Woodstock. The first instance was a short intro that led directly into the next song. This is the piece used on the original Woodstock soundtrack album, which, through the magic of tape editing, leads directly into...

Artist:     Arlo Guthrie
Title:     Coming Into Los Angeles
Source:     LP: Woodstock (originally released on LP: Running Down The Road)
Writer:     Arlo Guthrie
Label:     Cotillion (original label: Rising Son)
Year:     1969
     As seen in the Woodstock movie, Arlo Guthrie performed Coming Into Los Angeles at the Woodstock Arts and Music Festival in 1969. The original Woodstock soundtrack album, however, subsituted this studio version for the live performance of the song. This was probably done at Guthrie's request, as several of the performers expressed dissatisfaction with the recordings made at the festival, either due to problems with the sound system or, in some cases, the performances themselves. This is understandable given the adverse conditions many of them had to deal with (rain, audio problems, lack of sleep, etc.).

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Artist:    Poets
Title:    That's The Way It's Gotta Be
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gallacher/Paton/Myles
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    From Glasgow, Scotland, the Poets were discovered by Rolling Stones' manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham while on a trip to Edinburgh to marry his 16-year-old girlfriend. Although Oldham's primary focus remained on the Stones (and presumably his girlfriend), he did stick by the Poets through half a dozen singles from 1964 through 1967. One of the best of these was That's The Way It's Gotta Be, released on the British Decca label in 1965.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon combo had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland group, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the group came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first actual rock band signed by the label. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the group, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the Raiders upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher, the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as being the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. Fisher initially did not get writing credit for his contributions to the song, but finally, after several lawsuits, began collecting royalties for the song in 2009. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves of the past 70 years.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Thoughts And Words
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
     In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter, including Thoughts And Words, on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released the whole concept of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news and the single went nowhere.

Artist:     Electric Prunes
Title:     Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Tucker/Mantz
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.

Artist:    Van Morrison
Title:    Brown Eyed Girl
Source:    LP: Blowin' Your Mind
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Bang
Year:    1967
    It may not be Van Morrison's favorite song, but it is arguably his most popular one. The 1968 single was originally written as Brown Skinned Girl, but, as Morrison later said "That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind. After we'd recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn't even notice that I'd changed the title. I looked at the box where I'd lain it down with my guitar and it said 'Brown Eyed Girl' on the tape box. It's just one of those things that happen." Morrison's contract with Bang Records was fairly typical of the times. Not only did he not receive any royalties from the recording, the song was included on the album Blowin' Your Mind without Morrison's input or knowledge. Brown Eyed girl is, to this day, one of the most played songs in radio history.

Artist:    Tim Hardin
Title:    Red Balloon
Source:    Mono LP: Tim Hardin II
Writer(s):    Tim Hardin
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    There have always been singer/songwriters whose songs are usually associated by the artists who recorded hit cover versions of those songs. Such is the case with Tim Hardin, who wrote If I Were A Carpenter and recorded it for his 1967 LP Tim Hardin II. Bobby Darin covered the song a couple years later, charting one of his biggest hits in the process. A later version by Johnny Cash and June Carter topped the country charts. Another, lesser-known track from Hardin's second LP is Red Balloon, which is written in a similar vein.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    There Is A Mountain
Source:    British import CD: Mellow Yellow (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    1967 was a year that saw Donovan continue to shed the "folk singer" image, forcing the media to look for a new term to describe someone like him. As you may have already guessed, that term was "singer-songwriter." On There Is A Mountain, a hit single from 1967, Donovan applies Eastern philosophy and tonality to pop music, with the result being one of those songs that sticks in your head for days.

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

Artist:    Buckinghams
Title:    And Your Love
Source:    LP: Time And Charges
Writer(s):    James William Guercio
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    The Buckinghams were a Chicago area band that hit the top of the US charts with Kind Of A Drag, released on the local USA label in late 1966. Not long after that the band was introduced to James William Guercio, who immediately saw the potential of a rock band with a strong horn presence. Guercio soon became the band's producer, getting the Buckinhams a contract with Columbia, at the time the second largest record label in the US (behind RCA Victor). Guercio produced the band's second LP, Time And Charges, which included several of Guercio's own compositions such as And Your Love. After creative differences resulted in Guercio and the Buckinghams going their separate ways,  Guercio found a pair of new bands with horn sections in need of a producer: Blood, Sweat & Tears (who had just added David Clayton-Thomas to the lineup) and the Chicago Transit Authority, who would end up shortening their name to Chicago.

Artist:    Freddie And The Dreamers
Title:    Johnny B. Goode
Source:    Mono LP: Freddie And The Dreamers
Writer(s):    Chuck Berry
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1965
    Possibly the tamest version of Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode ever recorded appeared on the 1965 album Freddie And The Dreamers.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1966
    In the early 1960s the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California (sometimes known as the Inland Empire), was home to a pair of rival top 40 stations, KFXM and KMEN. The newer of the two, KMEN, had a staff that included Ron Jacobs, who would go on to co-create the Boss Radio format (more music, less talk!), and Brian Lord, one of the first American DJs to champion British Rock (even going so far as to have copies of Beatle albums shipped from record shops in London before they were released in the US), and the man responsible for setting up the Rolling Stones' first US gig (in San Bernardino). From 1965-67 Lord took a break from KMEN, moving north to the San Jose area. While there, he heard a local band playing in a small teen club and invited them to use his garage as a practice space. The band was Count Five, and, with Lord's help, they got a contract with L.A.'s Double Shot label, recording and releasing the classic Psychotic Reaction in 1966. Lord later claimed that this was the origin of the term "garage rock".

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Higher Love, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the mid-to-late 1980s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    The Prophet
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Wright
Label:    See For Miles (original US label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    The Beacon Street Union had already relocated to New York from their native Boston by the time their first LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, appeared in early 1968. Unfortunately, they were grouped together with other Boston bands such as Ultimate Spinach by M-G-M Records as part of a fictional "Boss-Town Sound", which ultimately hurt the band's chances far more than it helped them. The album itself is actually one of the better psychedelic albums of the time, with tracks like The Prophet, which closes out side two of the original LP, combining somewhat esoteric music and lyrics effectively.

Artist:    Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies
Title:    Patriot's Lullabye/Nightmare Train
Source:    LP: The American Metaphysical Circus
Writer(s):    Joseph Byrd
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Following his departure from the United States Of America, avant-garde composer/artist Joseph Byrd got to work on an album called the American Metaphysical Circus. For the album he put together a group of Los Angeles based musicians, giving them the name Field Hippies. The group included Tom Scott, who would gain fame as the leader of the L.A. Express; the reclusive guitarist Ted Greene in one of his few recorded appearances; Meyer Hirsch, a member of the Buddy Rich Big Band and an experimental composer in his own right; Victoria Bond, who went on to have a prominent career as a classical composer, conductor and vocalist; and Fred Selden, a student of Byrd's at UCLA, who joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (led by Byrd's partner in the UCLA New Music Workshop), received a Grammy nomination, and later returned to UCLA to receive his Ph.D. The album, released on Columbia's Masterworks label, remained in the label's catalogue for 20 years, and is considered a landmark album for its use of synthesizers and other electronic effects. Patriot's Lullabye is a soft, melodic, politically controversial piece sung by Bond that leads directly into Nightmare Train, a loud rocker with Byrd himself on vocals.

Artist:    Tangerine Dream
Title:    Journey Through A Burning Brain
Source:    British import CD: Electronic Meditation (originally released in Germany)
Writer(s):    Schnitzler/Froese/Schultze
Label:    Reactive/Esoteric (original German label: Ohr)
Year:    1970
            Tangerine Dream is generally acknowledged to be the band that started the entire electronic rock genre. Although they became famous for their use of synthesizers, their first LP, Electronic Meditation, was recorded in a rented factory in Berlin in October 1969, using just a two-track Revox tape recorder. It was the only album recorded by the group's original lineup of Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze, and Conrad Schnitzler. The album itself is highly experimental, as can be heard on Journey Through A Burning Brain.
       

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1812 (starts 3/21/18)



After the various oddities of the last few weeks (record high and low numbers of tracks played, for instance), I thought it was time for a "normal" show. Well, as close to normal as Rockin' in the Days of Confusion gets, at any rate. So, we have a total of 10 tracks, five of which are making their HermitRadio debut.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Time Machine
Source:    CD: On Time
Writer:    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Universally panned by the rock press, the first Grand Funk Railroad album, On Time, was at best a moderate success when it was first released. Thanks to the band's extensive touring, however, GFR had built up a sizable following by the time their self-titled follow up LP (aka the Red Album) was released in 1970. That year, Grand Funk Railroad became the first rock band to chalk up four gold albums in the same year, with Closer To Home and their double-LP live album joining the first two studio albums. One of the most popular tracks from On Time was Time Machine, which captures the essence of the band's early years.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
     Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, bassist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Andrew providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Bird Has Flown
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Evans/Blackmore/Lord
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1969
    Much of the music on the first two Deep Purple albums (including the singles Hush and Kentucky Woman) was made up of extensively rearranged cover songs, leading some critics to consider the band England's answer to Vanilla Fudge. Although the band was doing well enough in the US, they were virtually ignored at home, and in early 1969 set out to do something about the latter. The most important change was to focus on original material. Their next single was a pair of songs composed by the band, with the more experimental of the two, a song called The Bird Has Flown, appearing as the B side of the US release of the record (a song from their second LP was chosen for the British B side). Feeling that the song was deserving of greater exposure, the band recorded a new version (retitled Bird Has Flown) for their self-titled third LP. Unfortunately, the band's US label, Tetragrammaton, was having serious financial problems, resulting in a delayed release of the album with virtually no promotion from the label itself. Tetragrammaton went bankrupt not long after the LP hit the stands, making it by far the most obscure Deep Purple album ever released. After the band signed with Warner Brothers and achieved phenomenal success with new lead vocalist Ian Gillan, WB put together a double-LP collection of material from the band's first three albums, including Bird Has Flown, which, for some unknown reason, is listed on the label as The Bird Has Flown, despite being the later album version of the song.

Artist:     Ten Years After
Title:     Circles
Source:     CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer:     Alvin Lee
Label:     Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:     1970
     Cricklewood Green continued the development of Ten Years After away from its blues roots and toward a more progressive rock sound that would ultimately lead them to their only top 40 hit, I'd Love To Change The World. That song, however, was still a couple albums in the future when Cricklewood Green was released in 1970. The seldom-heard Circles is basically an acoustic solo number from Alvin Lee.

Artist:    Humble Pie
Title:    I Don't Need No Doctor
Source:    CD: Performance-Rockin' The Fillmore
Writer(s):    Ashford/Simpson/Armstead
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    Humble Pie, one of the first rock supergroups, was already beginning to fall apart when their double-LP live album Performance-Rockin' The Fillmore was recorded. In fact, guitarist Peter Frampton had already left the group by the time the album was released in 1971, mainly due to clashes with lead vocalist/guitarist Steve Marriott. Regardless, the album was a hit, going to #21 on the US album chart and hitting the top 40 in Britain as well. An edited version of the band's cover of the Ray Charles hit I Don't Need No Doctor was released as a single, becoming the album's best-known track.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Can You Hear The Music
Source:    LP: Goat's Head Soup
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1973
    By 1973 the Rolling Stones had gone from being a simple rock band to being international celebrities, and subtle differences were starting to show in their music. The album Goat's Head Soup, is often considered the end of the Stones' "golden age". The album was recorded in Jamaica, because, as Kieth Richards put it: "Jamaica was one of the few places that would let us all in! " While some of the songs on Goat's Head Soup, particularly the single Angie that preceeded the album's release, are genuine classics, other tunes, such as Can You Hear The Music, seem self-indulgent by comparison.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    The Devil Is Singing Our Song
Source:    LP: Bang
Writer(s):    Bolin/Tesar
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    The James Gang, following the departure of guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, could have just called it quits right then and there. Instead, however, bassist Dale Peters and drummer Jim Fox chose to instead add two new members, Canadians Roy Kenner (vocals) and Dominic Troiano (guitar), and carry on in the same vein as they had been. After a pair of albums that failed to catch on, however, Troiano accepted an offer to replace Randy Bachman in the Guess Who. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the James Gang, however, as the addition of former Zephyr guitarist Tommy Bolin revitalized the band for a time. Bolin had a hand in writing much of the material on the band's next LP, James Gang Bang, including The Devil Is Singing Our Song. With a strong signature riff and a gritty guitar solo, the song has a feel to it that presages Bolin's later solo work on his albums Private Eyes and Teaser.

Artist:    Jean-Luc Ponty
Title:    The Gardens Of Babylon
Source:    LP: Imaginary Voyage
Writer(s):    Jean-Luc Ponty
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1976
    Touted by jazz critics as being "the first jazz violinist to be as exciting as a saxophonist', Jean-Luc Ponty released his first solo album in 1964 at the age of 22. He remained virtually unknown outside of his native France, however, until the early 1970s, when he emigrated to the United States to become a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention. This in turn led to Ponty gaining a crossover audience just as the jazz-rock fusion movement was gaining ground in the US. His 1976 LP, Imaginary Voyage, is considered one of the defining works of the genre, thanks to tracks like The Gardens Of Babylon, the second track on the album. Ponty's style of playing came about almost as an accident. While performing as a member of a classical orchestra in Paris, he joined a local college jazz band as a clarinetist, playing parties. One night after a concert he found himself at a local club with only his violin, and decided to play it in the same style he had been playing his clarinet. His playing has often been compared to saxophonist John Coltrane. He was also among the first violinists to adapt various electronic effects usually associated with electric guitar.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    Fifty-Fifty
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1973
    Frank Zappa was already well-established by the time he recorded Over-Nite Sensation and Apostrophe(') in 1973. The two albums, recorded at the same time but released months apart, were his commercial breakthrough, thanks to radio-friendly tunes like Montana and Don't Eat Yellow Snow. Both albums use the same pool of talented musicians, including keyboardist George Duke and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, both of which would go on to establish themselves as first-tier jazz stars. Fifty-Fifty, from Over-Nite Sensation, features solos from Duke, Ponty and Zappa himself, with lead vocals from Ricky Lancelotti. Powerful stuff.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Trampled Under Foot
Source:    LP: Physical Graffitti
Writer(s):    Jones/Page/Plant
Label:    Swan Song
Year:    1975
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a bet that the majority of people that have heard this track know that it is by Led Zeppelin (that much is pretty obvious), but have no idea that it is called Trampled Under Foot. After all, classic rock radio plays the hell out of it without EVER back-announcing the song. So, I figured I'd do everyone a favor and play it, back-announcing not only the song title, but also the name of the album (Physical Graffitti). Consider it a public service.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1811 (starts 3/14/18)



    Between lots of stuff from 1965, 1966, and 1967 (including an all-British set), three artists' sets and an Advanced Psych segment, we've got a pretty full slate this time around, with a total of 34 tracks spread out over two hours.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out
Source:    Mono LP: All-Time Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first true rock band signed by the label. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher, the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    At nearly five minutes in length, Season Of The Witch is the longest track on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album, which at least in part explains why it was never released as a single. Nonetheless, the tune is among Donovan's best-known songs, and has been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the Sunshine Superman album was not released in the UK until 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Lazy Me
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Such is the quality of the first Moby Grape LP that there are many outstanding tracks that have gotten virtually no airplay in the years since the album was released. Lazy Me, written by bassist Bob Mosley, is one of those tracks. Enjoy.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    L T Tatman III
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout its existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of Going Up The Country was a tune called Boogie Music. The song is credited to L T Tatman III, which may be a pseudonym for the entire band, much as Nanker Phelge was for the Rolling Stones. Unusually, the single version of the song is actually longer than the album version heard here, thanks to a short coda made to sound like an archive recording from the 1920s.

Artist:    Fire Birds
Title:    No Tomorrows
Source:    CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released on LP: Light My Fire)
Writer(s):    Firebirds
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Crown)
Year:    1969
    Throughout the 50s and 60s there were literally hundreds of budget labels that made their fortunes fooling record buyers into thinking they were getting hit records at a discounted price, when in reality they were getting cheap cover versions by uncredited and underpaid studio musicians. One of the most successful of these budget labels was Crown, a label created in 1953 by the Bahari Brothers which specialized in low-priced LPs spotlighting either a specific genre (polka, blues, gospel, etc.) or a particular artist via a tribute album that did not include any recordings by the actual artist. In 1969 Crown released a pair of hard psychedelic LPs: Hair, by 31 Flavors, and Light My Fire, by the Firebirds. In reality, they were both by the same band, rumored to be a local Los Angeles group that was not actually called either the Firebirds or 31 Flavors. Unlike most Crown releases, however, these two albums featured original material such as No Tomorrow that would not have been out of place beside albums by Blue Cheer or early Grand Funk Railroad.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Our Love Was, Is
Source:    CD: Magic Bus (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who's late-1967 album, The Who Sell Out, is best known for its faux commercials and actual jingles lifted from the British pirate station Radio London. Hidden among the commercial hype, however, are some of the band's best tunes, including Our Love Was, a song that was one of the few LP tracks to be included on the Who's Magic Bus compilation album.

Artist:    The Mickey Finn
Title:    Garden Of My Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Waller/Marks
Label:    Rhino (original label: Direction)
Year:    1967
    Not every band in the world makes a living performing their own original material. In fact, the majority of working musicians are members of cover bands, playing a variety of venues all over the world. Most of these bands will never see the inside of a recording studio. There have been times and places, however, when even cover bands could get recording contracts, especially if they had a sizable local following. One such time and place was London in the mid-1960s, where bands like Mickey Finn And The Blue Men found steady work playing ska and R&B covers for the Mod crowd. They recorded a series of singles for several different local labels, one of which was Garden Of My Mind, a freakbeat tune written by guitarist Mickey Waller and vocalist Alan Marks and released on the Direction label. As the decade wore on and the Mod fad began to die out, the Mickey Finn (as they were then known) found itself playing more and more on the European continent, eventually calling it a day (or night) in 1971.

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    Itchycoo Park
Source:    British import CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marriott/Lane
Label:    Charly (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1967
    Led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, the Small Faces got their name from the fact that all the members of the band were somewhat vertically challenged. The group was quite popular with the London mod crowd, and was sometimes referred to as the East End's answer to the Who. Although quite successful in the UK, the group only managed to score one hit in the US, the iconic Itchycoo Park, which was released in late 1967. Following the departure of Marriott the group shortened their name to Faces, and recruited a new lead vocalist named Rod Stewart. Needless to say, the new version of the band did much better in the US than their previous incarnation.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Pressed Rat And Warthog
Source:     LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:     Baker/Taylor
Label:     RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Pressed Rat And Warthog, from Cream's third LP, Wheels Of Fire, is one of those songs you either love or hate. I loved it the first time I heard it but had several friends that absolutely detested it. As near as I can tell, drummer Ginger Baker actually talks that way. Come to think of it, all the members of Cream had pretty heavy accents.

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

Artist:     Cream
Title:     White Room
Source:     Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):     Bruce/Brown
Label:     RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:     1968
     Musically almost a remake of Eric Clapton'sTales of Brave Ulysses (from Cream's Disraeli Gears album), the Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaboration White Room (on the Wheel's Of Fire album) is arguably the most popular song ever to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal prominently.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The Sound Of Silence
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    The Sound Of Silence was originally an acoustic piece that was included on Simon and Garfunkel's 1964 debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album went nowhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia Records catalog. Simon and Garfunkel themselves went their separate ways, with Simon moving to London and recording a solo LP, the Paul Simon Songbook. While Simon was in the UK, producer John Simon, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and got Dylan's band to add electric instruments to the existing recording. The song was released to local radio stations, where it garnered enough interest to get the modified recording released as a single. It turned out to be a huge hit, prompting Paul Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Art Garfunkel.

Artist:            Butterfield Blues Band
Title:       I Got a Mind To Give Up Living
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Traditional
Label:     Elektra
Year:        1966
       The Butterfield Blues band in 1966 had a lot in common with British blues-rock group the Yardbirds.  Both bands were led by harmonica-playing vocalists (Butterfield and Keith Relf), and featured two top-quality lead guitarists (Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page for the Yardbirds, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop for the Butterfields). Whereas the Yardbirds only managed to record three songs with both Beck and Page, the Butterfield outfit with Bloomfield and Bishop recorded an entire album: the classic East-West. Several songs on the album were credited to "traditional", meaning that they were in the public domain. Among these is I Got A Mind To Give Up Living, a song also recorded by B.B. King, although a casual search associates the song mainly with Butterfield.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Just Let Go
Source:    LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s):    Saxon/Hooper/Savage
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    After listening to Just Let Go, from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, it's easy to see why there were some in Los Angeles that were convinced that the band was actually from another planet. An acid-rock classic.

Artist:    Oxford Circle
Title:    Foolish Woman
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Yoder/Patton
Label:    Rhino (original label: World United)
Year:    1966
    The Oxford Circle was one of those bands that had a reputation for being the opening band that blew the headliners off the stage, yet never was able to make it big itself. Originally from Sacramento, California, the group appeared frequently in and around San Francisco in 1965 and 1966, but disbanded before the scene started getting national attention, with many of the members moving on to greater fame with other bands. Drummer Paul Whaley was the first to get national attention as a founding member of Blue Cheer. Oxford Circle leader Gary Lee Yoder would eventually join Blue Cheer as well, after a short stint with his own band, Kak. Also of note was bassist Jim Keylor, who was in an early incarnation of Roxy and went on to form BSU studios, where the Dead Kennedys recorded. For all that, the Oxford Circle made only one single, Foolish Woman, which was released on the independent World United label in 1966.

Artist:    Herbal Mixture
Title:    Please Leave My Mind
Source:    British mono CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Tony McPhee
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Columbia UK)
Year:    1966
    After a stint backing up John Lee Hooker, guitarist T.S. McPhee branched out on his own with a band called Herbal Mixture in 1966. The group only cut two singles for the British Columbia label, the second of which featured a song that McPhee wrote called Please Leave My Mind as its B side. Eventually Tony McPhee would gain greater fame as leader of the Groundhogs in the early 70s.

Artist:    Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs
Title:    Wooly Bully
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Domingo Samudio
Label:    Rhino (original label: XL)
Year:    1964
    Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs were pioneers of what has come to be called Tex-Mex, a style that can best described as straight ahead rock and roll seasoned with traditional Mexican forms such as salsa and ranchero. The Pharaohs were already a popular band in their native Texas when they recorded Wooly Bully for the regional XL label in 1964. The song proved so popular that it (and the band's contract) was bought outright by M-G-M Records, at the time one of the largest labels in the country. Wooly Bully was re-released nationally on M-G-M in 1965 and ended up among the top 10 records of the year.

Artist:    Smithereens
Title:    Behind The Wall Of Sleep
Source:    CD: Blown To Smithereens (originally released on LP: Especially For You)
Writer(s):    Pat DiNizio
Label:    Capitol (original label: Enigma)
Year:    1986           
                In 1986 I was the host of a show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque, NM. Once a month we would feature an entire album from up and coming bands such as R.E.M., Killing Joke, Skinny Puppy and other groups that would come to be labeled "alternative rock", but at that time were part of a new musical underground. Among the albums that most impressed me was an LP called Especially For You from a band from New Jersey calling themselves the Smithereens. The album, produced by Don Dixon, had a decidedly 60s retro feel to it, especially on side two, which started off with Behind The Wall Of Sleep. The song eventually was released as the album's third single, doing particularly well in the UK.

Artist:    Mumphries
Title:    Woman Drivin' Me Crazy
Source:    CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1989
    Sometimes a song can be personal, but not directly so. Such is the case with Woman Drivin' Me Crazy by the Albuquerque, NM band the Mumphries. Written and sung by guitarist Stephen R Webb, the song actually describes, in the first person, a situation being experienced at the time by bassist Quincy Adams. The woman in question was Clara Gardello, the bass player from another Albuquerque band, A Murder Of Crows. Sadly, neither Clara or Quincy are with us anymore, so all we can do is hope they get it together the next time around.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side 2.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Can You See Me
Source:    LP: Smash Hits (originally released in UK on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA
Year:    1967
    Before releasing the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, in the US, Reprise Records decided to make some changes to the track lineup, adding three songs that had been released as non-album singles in the UK. To make room for these, three songs were cut from the original UK version of the LP. The most popular of these three tracks was Can You See Me, a song that was included in the band's set when they made their US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967.  Despite the audience's positive response to the song, the band apparently dropped Can You See Me from their live set shortly after Monterey. The song was originally slated to be released as the B side of The Wind Cries Mary, but instead was used as an album track. Can You See Me finally got released in the US in 1969, on the Smash Hits LP.
 
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Love Or Confusion
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. In recent years engineer Eddie Kramer has recreated the original mono mix (and track lineup) of the UK edition of Are You Experienced, using tube-based analog equipment to get the most authentic sound. 

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    In The Midnight Hour
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pickett/Cropper
Label:    Tower
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Among the many Chocolate Watchband recordings that were subjected to major changes by producer Ed Cobb was a cover of Wilson Pickett's R&B classic In The Midnight Hour, a song that was also covered by the Young Rascals. The biggest change Cobb made to the recording was to replace Dave Aguilar's original lead vocals with those of studio vocalist Don Bennett. Once Sundazed got the rights to the Watchband's recordings they included both versions on their CD version of the No Way Out album and in 2012 issued the mono mix of the Aguilar version for the first time as a single.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Medication
Source:    British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: The Inner Mystique)
Writer(s):    Alton/Ditosti
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    Backing tracks recorded 1968, lead vocals recorded 2005
    By early 1968 the Chocolate Watchband had fallen on hard times. In fact, the original group had disbanded, only to reform at the behest of Tower Records and producer Ed Cobb, who wanted to put out a second Watchband LP. In short order a new group featuring mostly former members of the Watchband was formed. Cobb, however, did not have the time to wait for the new lineup to gel and got to work on the album without them. In fact, the entire first side of The Inner Mystique was performed by studio musicians. Additionally, Cobb pulled out unreleased tapes from the archive to help fill out the album, including the original band's cover of a Standells tune called Medication. Like their earlier track Let's Talk About Girls, Medication featured studio vocalist Don Bennett rather than the band's actual lead vocalist, Dave Aguilar. It's not known for sure why the substitution was made, unless perhaps Cobb was feeling pressure from the rock press, which had dismissed Aguilar as a Mick Jagger wannabe. Finally, in 2005, Aguilar recorded brand new vocals to go with the original 1968 track.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the Chocolate Watchband's debut album, No Way Out. Although Psychedelic Trip was a creation of the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole writing credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Hoochie Coochie Man
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Polydor
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1997
    Featuring the most recognizable riff in blues history, Hoochie Coochie man was first recorded in 1954 by Muddy Waters, becoming his biggest hit. It was also the turning point for songwriter Willie Dixon, who was able to leverage the song's success into a position with Chess Records as the label's chief songwriter. The song has been recorded by dozens of artists over the years, including several rock bands. One of the most unusual versions of Hoochie Coochie Man was recorded by the Blues Project for the 1966 debut LP, Live At The Cafe Au Go Go. The Project's version speeds up the tempo to a frantic pace, pretty much obscuring the song's signature riff in the process. It was one of several tracks that was intended for the LP, but cut when lead vocalist Tommy Flanders abruptly left the group before the album's release.

Artist:    Rising Sons
Title:    The Devil's Got My Woman
Source:    CD: The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Skip James
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    Despite being, at one point, the hottest band on the Sunset Strip, the Rising Sons only released one single in existence. The B side of that single shows just what the problem was. A cover of Skip James tune, The Devil's Got My Woman, the recording seems to not know whether to be a blues song or a pop song, and ends up being neither.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Over Under Sideways Down
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
     The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Between The Buttons and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    When Let's Spend The Night Together was climbing the charts, the Rolling Stones made one of their many appearances on the Ed Sullivan show. The show's producers (or maybe Ed himself) asked Mick Jagger to change the words to "Let's Spend Some Time Together", and he actually complied! I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now (nor can I imagine the band agreeing to it).

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Queen Noimphet
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    To say the motives of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's Bob Markley were questionable was an understatement. The man, by all accounts, was lacking in any kind of musical talent. What he did have, however, was a huge trust fund that he would get a quarterly check from. He used the money to set himself up in a big house in the Hollywood hills, throwing parties for all the local hipsters to attend. It was at one of these parties in 1966 that he was introduced to the Harris brothers, sons of a classical composer who had recently formed their own band but were in need of decent equipment. Markley's friend Kim Fowley (singer of the original Alley Oop and all-around Hollywood hustler) had booked the Yardbirds to play at the party, and Markley was so impressed by the band's ability to attact young ladies that he decided then and there to be a rock star. Fowley introduced the 30-year-old Markley to the teenaged Harris brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed. As time went on it became apparent that the older Markley got, the younger his taste in women was becoming. Markley's lyrics for the song Queen Noimphet, from the album Volume II, are an indication of where his obsession with attracting young girls was taking him. Indeed, he was reportedly arrested in the 70s on sex charges, but was able to use his considerable financial resources to buy his way out of trouble.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Antique Doll
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released on LP: Underground)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Sometimes there is no comprehending what goes on in the mind of record company people. Take the Electric Prunes, for example. Their second single, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), put them right at the front of the pack of the psychedelic rock movement in early 1967. Their follow up single, Get Me To The World On Time, was a solid hit as well, which should have guaranteed them a good run. But even with that second single, problems with management's decision making were becoming apparent. For one thing, the song chosen as the second single's B side, Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less), had the potential to be a hit in its own right, but being put on a B side killed that idea entirely. It only got worse from there. The next single chosen was a novelty number from the band's second LP, Underground, called Dr. Do-Good. The tune was written by the same team of Annette Tucker and Nanci Mantz that had come up with both Dream and Lovin' Me More, but was played for laughs by the band. The choice of such a weird track is a complete puzzle, as there were several more commercial tunes on the LP, including one written by Tucker and Mantz themselves called Antique Doll. Unfortunately, the song was not even picked to be a B side, and has remained virtually unknown ever since. Rather than own up to their own mistakes, however, the band's management blamed the musicians themselves for their lack of commercial success, and eventually replaced the entire lineup of the original group (who had signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes early on). Of course, the new lineups were even less successful than the original crew, but really, what else would you expect?

Artist:    Astronauts
Title:    Razzamatazz
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Venet/Boyce/Allison
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1965
    Landlocked Boulder, Colorado would seem an unlikely place for a surf music band. Nonetheless, the Astonauts were just that, and a pretty successful one at that. That success, however, came from an equally unlikely place. After being together for about three years and having only one charted single in the US (Baja, which spent one week on the chart in 1963, peaking in the #94 spot), the band discovered that their records were doing quite well in Japan, where the mostly-instrumental Astronauts were actually outselling the Beach Boys. The group soon began touring extensively in the Far East and when all was said and done had released nine albums and a dozen singles over a period of less than 10 years. Razzamatazz is the instrumental B side to the Astronauts' 1965 recording of Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, a tune that would appear the next year on the first Monkees album (and on their TV show). Razzamatazz itself is basically the instrumental track for Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day with some harmonica added.
   
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Where Have All The Good Times Gone
Source:    Mono LP: The Kink Kontroversy
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The third Kinks album, The Kink Kontroversy, occupies a unique place in the band's history. The group was still enjoying the success of their early hits like You Really Got Me, yet was beginning to make the transition to the more mature themes heard on songs like A Well Respected Man. The Kink Kontroversy captures the band right in the middle of this transition, with songs like Till The End Of The Day co-existing with tracks like The World Keeps Going Round. In fact, the lead single from the album (actually released in advance of The Kink Kontroversy) encapsulates this transition all by itself, with the aformentioned Till The End Of The Day on the A side, and a song called Where Have All The Good Times Gone occupying the flip side. The band's tour manager once referred to the song as one that a 40-year-old would write. Davies later said that he had been taking inspiration by listening to older people around him voicing their various concerns about life in general. This ability to transcend one's own limited world view would continue over the next several years, ultimately contributing to the band's longevity.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Eve Of Destruction
Source:    Mono CD: All The Single (originally released on LP: It Ain't Me Babe and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    The Turtles originally recorded P.F. Sloan's Eve Of Destruction in 1965, and considered the song for a potential single. Lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, however, expressed concerns that the song might become a big hit, but ultimately lead to the Turtles themselves being one-hit wonders. Accordingly, the band did not issue Eve Of Destruction as a single, instead including it on their debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. That same year, Barry McGuire released Eve Of Destruction as a single and ended up becoming a one-hit wonder. I guess Kaylan was on to something.