Monday, March 5, 2018
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era #1810 (starts 3/7/18)
This week we have a most peculiar show. It keeps going off on tangents. The Advanced Psych segment is a twofer. The only other artists' set is at the very end of the show itself. Peculiar...
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Most Peculiar Man
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer: Paul Simon
You would think that a high school on a US military facility would be inclined to use the most staunchly traditional teaching methods known to man. Surprisingly, though, this was not the case at General H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany. In fact, the English department was teaching some sort of new system that dispensed with terms such as verb and noun and replaced them with a more conceptual approach to language. What I best remember about my Freshman English class is the day that my rather Bohemian teacher (he wore sandals to class!), actually brought in a copy of the Sounds Of Silence and had us dissect two songs from the album, Richard Cory and A Most Peculiar Man. We spent several classes discussing the similarities (they both deal with a suicide by someone representing a particular archetype) and differences (the methods used and the archetypes themselves) between the songs. I have forgotten everything else about that class and its so-called revolutionary approach, but those two songs have stayed with me my entire life. I guess that teacher (whose name I have forgotten) was on to something.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: I Haven't Got The Nerve
Source: LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
The first thought I had when seeing the title of Left Banke's 1967 debut LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, was "if they had to name the album after the band's two hit singles, the rest of the songs must really suck", so I never gave it another thought. It turns out I was totally wrong, as the album is actually filled with fine tracks such as I Haven't Got The Nerve, which was originally the B side of the Walk Away Renee single in late 1966. I still think it's an annoying name for an album, though.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: The Flute Thing
Source: Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s): Al Kooper
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix (Band Of Gypsys)
Title: Power Of Soul
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1970, released 2013
1969 was a strange year for Jimi Hendrix. For one thing, he did not release any new recordings that year, yet he remained the top money maker in rock music. One reason for the lack of new material was an ongoing dispute with Capitol Records over a contract he had signed in 1965. By the end of the year an agreement was reached for Hendrix to provide Capitol with one album's worth of new material. At this point Hendrix had not released any live albums, so it was decided to tape his New Year's performances at the Fillmore East with his new Band Of Gypsys (with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox), playing songs that had never been released in studio form. As it turns out, however, studio versions of many of the songs on that album did indeed exist, but were not issued until after Hendrix's death, when producer Alan Douglas put out a pair of LPs (Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning), that had some of the original drum and bass tracks (and even some guitar tracks) re-recorded by musicians that had never actually worked with Hendrix. One of those songs is Power Of Soul, which has finally been released in its original Band Of Gypsys studio version, with background vocals provided by Cox and Miles.
Artist: Donovan/Jeff Beck Group
Title: Barabajabal (Love Is Hot)
Source: CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Barabajagal)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Donovan Leitch enlisted the Jeff Beck Group as collaborators for Barabajabal (Love Is Hot), a track from his 1969 Barabajal album. Sometimes the song itself is erroreously referred to as Goo Goo Barabajabal, but I'm going with what's on the original 45 RPM label.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Wish Me Well
Source: LP: Shine On Brightly
The second Procol Harum album, Shine On Brightly, saw the group moving in an increasingly progressive direction, incorporating elements of a variety of styles, including Indian, classical and even gospel music. An example of the latter is Wish Me Well, which finishes out side one of the LP. Gary Brooker's gospel-styled piano work on the track is enhanced by some tasty fills from guitarist Robin Trower.
Title: She's My Girl
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
A favorite among the Turtles' members themselves, She's My Girl is full of hidden studio tricks that are barely (if at all) audible on the final recording. Written by the same team as Happy Together, the song is a worthy follow up to that monster hit.
Title: Find The Hidden Door
Source: British Import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK on LP: Before The Dream Faded)
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Cherry Red)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1982
One of London's most legendary psychedelic bands was actually from California. The story of the Misunderstood started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most West Coast bands of the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock 'n' roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes, including the addition of lead vocalist Rick Brown. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, an Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were joined by a local guitarist, Tony Hill. Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. In addition to that single, the band recorded a handful of outstanding tracks that remained unreleased until the 1980s. Among those unreleased tracks was a masterpiece called Find The Hidden Door, written (as were most of the songs the band recorded in London) by Brown and Hill. Problems with their work visas derailed the Misunderstood, and the band members soon found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: You Didn't Have To Be So Nice
Source: LP: The John Sebastian Songbook (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Daydream)
Writer: John Sebastian
Label: Kama Sutra
The second single released by the Lovin' Spoonful proved to be just as popular as their first one and helped establish the band as one of the premier acts of the folk-rock movement. Unlike the West Coast folk rock artists such as the Byrds and Barry McGuire, who focused on the socio-political issues of the day, John Sebastian tended to write happy songs with catchy melodies such as You Didn't Have To Be So Nice. As a result, the Lovin' Spoonful for a while rivaled the Beatles in popularity while still managing to maintain some street cred due mainly to their Greenwich Village roots.
Title: End Of The Night
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer: The Doors
Sometimes you run across a song that seems to encapsulate what a band is all about. End Of The Night, from the first Doors album, is one of those songs. Apparently the band members felt the same way, as it was included on the anthology album Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, despite never being released as a single.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Miss Amanda Jones
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
The only thing I have to say about Miss Amanda Jones is that it is one of my favorite tracks on the 1967 Rolling Stones album Between The Buttons. Come to think of it, that kind of says it all, anyway.
Artist: Red Crayola
Title: War Sucks
Source: Mono LP: The Parable Of Arable Lands
Label: International Artists
New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson, leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.
Title: I'm So Glad
Source: Mono LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Skip James
Unlike later albums, which featured psychedelic cover art and several Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaborations that had a decidedly psychedelic sound, Fresh Cream was marketed as the first album by a British blues supergroup, and featured a greater number of blues standards than subsequent releases. One of those covers that became a concert staple for the band was the old Skip James tune I'm So Glad. The song has become so strongly associated with Cream that the group used it as the opening number for all three performances when they staged a series of reunion concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): Marty Balin
Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.
Title: (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Label: United Artists
The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: As Kind As Summer
Source: CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
The first time I heard As Kind As Summer from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil I jumped up to see what was wrong with my turntable. A real gotcha moment.
Artist: Liquid Scene
Title: Hey Moondog (See The God Of Odin Come)/In My Water Room
Source: CD: Revolutions
Writer(s): Becki diGregorio
As the final track on the Liquid Scene's debut album, Revolutions, In My Water Room is an elaborate production that showcases the talents of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bodhi (becki diGregorio), guitarist Tom Ayers, bassist/keyboardist Endre Tarczy and drummer/percussionist Trey Sabatelli. The track that precedes it on the album, Hey Moondog (See The God Of Odin Come), was played on our very first Advanced Psych segment back in April of 2015. This week we combine the two into twelve and a half minutes of pure Liquid Scene (and I'm still waiting for word on the new album guys).
Artist: George Harrison
Title: Party Seacombe
Source: LP: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s): George Harrison
Party Seacombe, a track from George Harrison's 1968 movie soundtrack album Wonderwall Music, bears more than a slight resemblance to the Beatles track Flying from Magical Mystery Tour. Considering how short Flying is, that's a good thing, especially when you consider what Harrison does with it. Thanks to Bodhi (from Liquid Scene) for making this track available to me.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: A Girl Named Sandoz
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
The original Animals officially disbanded at the end of 1966, but before long a new group, Eric Burdon And The Animals, had arrived to take its place. Unlike the original Animals, this new band wrote nearly all their own material, with credits going to the entire membership on every song. The first single from this new band was a song called When I Was Young, a semi-autobiographical piece with lyrics by Burdon that performed decently, if not spectacularly, on the charts in both the US and the UK. It was the B side of that record, however, a tune called A Girl Named Sandoz, that truly indicated what this new band was about. Sandoz was the name of the laboratory that originally developed and manufactured LSD, and the song itself is a thinly-veiled tribute to the mind-expanding properties of the wonder drug. It would soon become apparent that whereas the original Animals were solidly rooted in American R&B (with the emphasis on the B), this new group was pure acid-rock.
Title: No Me Tomorrow
Source: British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
No Me Tomorrow, the B side of the only single issued on the Mainstream label by the Los Angeles based Euphoria, can best be described as the dark side of folk rock. Most of the song is in a minor key, with almost suicidal lyrics. About 3/4 of the way through, though, it becomes a high energy instrumental that sounds like a cross between Dick Dale and Ginger Baker. Euphoria itself was the creation of multi-instrumentalists Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln, who wrote No Me Tomorrow. At the time Ne Me Tomorrow was recorded, Euphoria also included drummer David Potter (who had been with the group right from the start) and Texans James Harrell (guitar) and Peter Black (bass), both of which had been members of the Houston-based Misfits. Lincoln had already left the group (temporarily it turns out) to get married and move to England. A Euphoria LP appeared in 1969 on the Capitol label that included both Watt and Lincoln, along with several studio musicians.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Alive And Well And Living In
Source: LP: Living In The Past (originally released in UK on LP: Benefit and as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Ian Anderson
Year: 1970 (US release: 1973)
The only Jethro Tull album to have a different track lineup in the UK and the US was Benefit, released in 1970. As it was the custom in Britain not to include singles on LPs, the song Teacher was left off the UK release of Benefit. In the US, however, Teacher was stuck in the middle of side two and the song Inside was moved to side one, replacing Alive And Well And Living In. The deleted song did not get released in the US until the Living In The Past compilation in 1973, which collected various singles, EP tracks and live recordings that had not been previously released in the US, along with one song from each of the band's first four LPs.
Source: CD: Tommy
Writer: Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
One of the great rock instrumentals was the Underture from Tommy. Some of the musical themes used in the piece had appeared on the previous album, The Who Sell Out, as part of the song Rael. Here those themes are fleshed out considerably (the track runs a full ten minutes).
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Source: British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
The first album by the 13th Floor Elevators has long been considered a milestone, in that it was one of the first truly psychedelic albums ever released (and the first to actually use the word "psychedelic" in the title). For their followup LP, the group decided to take their time, going through some personnel changes in the process. Still, the core membership of Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall and Stacy Sutherland held it together long enough to complete Easter Everywhere, releasing the album in 1967. The idea behind the album was to present a spiritual vision that combined both Eastern and Western religious concepts in a rock context. For the most part, such as on tracks like Levitation, it succeeds remarkably well, considering the strife the band was going through at the time.
Artist: Fleur De Lys
Source: CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: Rhino (original label: Immediate)
Circles was a song by the Who that was originally slated to be released in the UK on the Brunswick label as a follow-up to the highly successful My Generation. A dispute between the band and the label and their producer, Shel Talmy, led to the Who switching labels and releasing another song, Substitute, in its place, with Circles (retitled Instant Party) on the B side of the record. When Talmy slapped the band with a legal injunction, the single was withdrawn, and another band, the Fleur De Lys, took advantage of the situation, recording their own version of Circles and releasing it on the Immediate label. Just to make things more confusing Brunswick issued the Who's version of Circles as the B side of A Legal Matter later the same month.
Source: CD: Revolver
Writer(s): George Harrison
The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney.
Title: Glass Onion
Source: LP: The Beatles
John Lennon decided to have a little fun with Beatles fans when he wrote the lyrics to Glass Onion, the third song on the 1968 album The Beatles (aka the White Album). The song contains references to many earlier Beatles tunes, such as Strawberry Fields Forever, The Fool On The Hill and Lady Madonna. Glass Onion even contains a tongue-in-cheek reference to the whole "Paul is dead" rumor with the lines "Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul". The track is notable for being the first song on the album to feature the entire band, as Paul played drums on Back In The USSR and Dear Prudence, which precede Glass Onion on the album's first side.
Title: She Said She Said
Source: CD: Revolver
The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the original Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." The song itself took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Perhaps not all that coincidentally, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.