Monday, April 23, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1817 [B17] (starts 4/25/18)



    This week we go kind of heavy on the British stuff, with artists' sets from the Beatles and the Who, among other things. Not that there is a lack of American material as well. Just take a look...

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    Blind Willie Johnson
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    One lasting legacy of the British Invasion was the re-introduction to the US record-buying public to the songs of early Rhythm and Blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson. This emphasis on classic blues in particular would lead to the formation of electric blues-based US bands such as the Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project. Unlike the Butterfields, who made a conscious effort to remain true to their Chicago-style blues roots, the Blues Project was always looking for new ground to cover, which ultimately led to them developing an improvisational style that would be emulated by west coast bands such as the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, and by Project member Al Kooper, who conceived and produced the first rock jam LP ever, Super Session, in 1968. As the opening track to their second (and generally considered best) LP Projections, I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes served notice that this was a new kind of blues, louder and brasher than what had come before, yet tempered with Kooper's melodic vocal style. An added twist was the use during the song's instrumental bridge of an experimental synthesizer known among band members as the "Kooperphone", probably the first use of any type of synthesizer in a blues record.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     Sand And Foam
Source:     Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:     1967
     When Donovan Leitch, a young singer from Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland, first came to prominence, he was hailed as Britain's answer to Bob Dylan. By 1966 he was recognized as the most popular folk singer in the UK. But Donovan was already starting to stretch beyond the boundaries of folk music, and in the fall of that year he released his first major US hit, Sunshine Superman. From that point on he was no longer Donovan the folk singer; he was now Donovan the singer-songwriter. Donovan continued to expand his musical horizons in 1967 with the release of the Mellow Yellow album and singles such as There Is A Mountain. The B side of There Is A Mountain was Sand And Foam, an acoustic number from the Mellow Yellow album.

Artist:    Moles
Title:    We Are The Moles-Pt. 1
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Moles
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes success carries it own baggage. Take the case of Britain's Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group was formed by a trio of Scottish brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Peter O'Flaherty, Eric Hine and Tony Ransley in the Portsmouth area, going through a variety of band names before settling on Simon Dupree And The Big Sound in 1966. The group was originally known for its spot-on covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. By 1967, however, audience tastes were rapidly changing, and psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd and the Creation were drawing crowds away from the R&B bands. Under pressure from both their management and record label the band recorded a song called Kites, a psychedelic piece that became their biggest hit and placed the group firmly in the minds of record buyers as a flower-power band. But, like most fads, flower-power was itself out of style by 1968, but Simon Dupree And The Big Sound were stuck with a reputation that didn't even fit the members' own musical preferences (which still ran to R&B). To try to break free of this unwanted rep, the group released a rather bizarre single called We Are The Moles in 1968. The record was shrouded in mystery, with writing credits going to "the Moles", and production credit to George Martin (leading some to believe it was actually a Beatles outtake). The ploy almost worked, as the possible Beatles connection led to increased interest in the record, but that interest quickly dissipated when it was revealed (by Syd Barrett, of all people) that the record was indeed the work of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The band continued on for a few more months, until lead vocalist Derek Shulman announced his retirement in 1969, saying he was tired of being Simon Dupree. He would rejoin his brothers the following year for their new venture, an experimental rock band called Gentle Giant.

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

Artist:    Paraphernalia
Title:    Watch Out
Source:    CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Zanniel/Sirio
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: St. George International)
Year:    1968
    Virtually nothing is known about the band called Paraphernalia other than the fact that they released a single called Watch Out on the St. George International label in 1968. The song itself features some killer guitar work from the band that is rumored to be from somewhere in New England.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Never
Source:    LP: Grape Jam
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    For their second album, Moby Grape decided to do something different. In addition to the LP Wow, there was a second disc called Grape Jam included at no extra charge. For the most part Grape Jam is exactly what you'd expect: a collection of after-hours jam sessions with guest guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bloomfield. The opening track of Grape Jam, however, is actually a composition by Bob Mosley. The song features Mosley on bass and vocals, Jerry Miller and Skip Spence and guitars and Don Stevenson on drums, all of whom were actual members of Moby Grape.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    It's No Secret
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer:    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane song to get played on the radio was not Somebody To Love. Rather, it was It's No Secret, from the album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, that got extensive airplay, albeit only in the San Francisco Bay area. Still, the song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    I Looked At You
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors album took about a week to make, and was made up of songs that the band had been performing live as the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in the summer of 1966, including the dance floor friendly I Looked At You. Unlike later Doors albums, which were mixed and released exclusively in stereo, the debut Doors album also had a unique monoraul version with different mixes that was deleted from the Elektra catalogue soon after its release. Like all the songs on the first few Doors albums, I Looked At You is credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Ian Anderson has often said that he disagreed with record company executives who characterized Jethro Tull as a blues band when the band's first LP, This Was, was released. Yet one of the most traditional sounding blues tunes on that LP was written by Anderson himself. Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You sounds like it could easily have come from the pen of Jimmy Reed. Speaking of record labels, This Was, like all the early Tull albums, was originally released in the US on the Reprise label. Reprise had a policy (instituted by its founder and original owner, Frank Sinatra) of allowing its artists to retain ownership of the recordings released on the label, which is why most of the material released on Reprise in the late 60s has been reissued on other labels.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Disguises
Source:    Mono CD: Magic Bus (originally released in UK on EP: Ready Steady Who)
Writer:    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    After a successful appearance on the British TV show Ready Steady Go (the UK's answer to American Bandstand), the Who released an EP featuring mostly cover songs such as Bucket T and the Batman theme. Two tracks on the record, however, were Who originals: a new version of Circles (a song that originally appeared on the My Generation album) and Disguises, which made its debut as the lead track of the EP. The song did not appear in the US until the Magic Bus album, released in 1968. When MCA issued a remastered version of A Quick One in the 1990s, the entire contents of the EP (except Circles) were included as bonus tracks on the CD.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Tattoo
Source:    LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    Starting in 1966, the Who wrote songs about things no other rock group had even considered writing songs about. Happy Jack, for instance, was about a guy who would hang out on the beach and let the local kids tease (but not faze) him. I'm A Boy was about a guy whose mother insisted on dressing him the same as his sisters. And I'm not even getting into the subject matter of Pictures Of Lily. The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967, continued this trend with songs like Tattoo, about an adolescent and his brother who go out and get (without their parents' permission) their first tattoos. The song is accompanied by a jingle for Radio London, the most successful of the British pirate radio stations that operated from studios in London but utilized illegal transmitters floating on platforms off the coast (the BBC having a monopoly on broadcasting at the time).

Artist:    Who
Title:    I Can't Reach You
Source:    CD: Magic Bus-The Who On Tour (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    One day during my freshman year of high school my friend Bill invited a bunch of us over to his place to listen to the new console stereo his family had bought recently. Like most console stereos, this one had a wooden top that could be lifted up to operate the turntable and radio, then closed to make it look more like a piece of furniture. When we arrived there was already music playing on the stereo, and Bill soon had us convinced that this new stereo was somehow picking up the British pirate radio station Radio London. This was pretty amazing since we were in Weisbaden, Germany, several hundred miles from England or its coastal waters that Radio London broadcast from. Even more amazing was the fact that the broadcast itself seemed to be in stereo, and Radio London was an AM station. Yet there it was, coming in more clearly than the much closer Radio Luxembourg, the powerhouse station that we listened to every evening, when they broadcast in a British top 40 format. Although a couple of us were a bit suspicious about what was going on, even we skeptics were convinced when we heard jingles, stingers, and even commercials for stuff like the Charles Atlas bodybuilding course interspersed with songs we had never heard, such as I Can't Reach You, that were every bit as good as any song being played on Radio Luxembourg. Well, as it turned out, we were indeed being hoaxed by Bill and his older brother, who had put on his brand new copy of The Who Sell Out when he saw us approaching the apartment building they lived in. I eventually picked up a copy of the album for myself, and still consider it one of the best Who albums ever made.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Within You Without You
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    George Harrison began to take an interest in the Sitar as early as 1965. By 1966 he had become proficient enough on the Indian instrument to compose and record Love You To for the Revolver album. He followed that up with perhaps his most popular sitar-based track, Within You Without You, which opens side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Harrison would record one more similarly-styled song, The Inner Light, in 1968, before deciding that he was never going to be in the same league as Ravi Shankar, whom Harrison had become friends with by that time. For the remainder of his time with the Beatles Harrison would concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting skills, resulting in classic songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Little Child
Source:     Mono CD: With The Beatles
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:     1963
     The Beatles second album, With The Beatles, followed pretty much the same formula as their debut album, with a mixture of cover tunes and Lennon/McCartney originals. One of those original songs was Little Child, which also was included on the US version of the album (Meet The Beatles, their first LP on the Capitol label).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Fixing A Hole
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    The first Beatle album to appear with the same tracks in the same order on both US and UK versions was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The only differences between the two were a lack of spaces in the vinyl (called "banding") on the UK version and a bit of gobbledygook heard at the end of the record (but only if you did not have a turntable that automatically lifted the needle out of the groove after the last track). The main consequence of this is that disc jockeys in the US had an easier time cueing up tracks like Fixing A Hole in the days before the album came out on CD.

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

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

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sweet Wine
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Baker/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was formed, both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had new music for the band to record (guitarist Eric Clapton having chosen to shut up and play his guitar for the most part). Most of these new songs, however, did not yet have words to go with the music. To remedy the situation, both musicians brought in outside lyricists. Baker chose poet Pete Brown, while Bruce chose to bring in his wife, Janet Godfrey. After a short time it became apparent that Bruce and Brown had a natural affinity for each other's material, and formed a partnership that would last years. Baker, meanwhile, tried working with Godfrey, but the two only came up with one song together, Sweet Wine, which was included on the band's debut LP, Fresh Cream.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

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)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    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:    Ronnie Burns with the Bee Gees
Title:    Exit Stage Right
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Spin)
Year:    1967
    Prior to relocating to London in early 1967, the Bee Gees completed several demo recordings for producer Ossie Byrne in Hurstville, Australia. Byrne, in addition to producing the Bee Gees' Australian recordings, had a singer named Ronnie Burns under contract as well. Burns had first achieved popularity as vocalist with the Australian beat group known as the Flies, but had left the band in 1965 to pursue a solo career. Byrne had Burns add new vocals over the Bee Gees demos, including Exit Stage Right. It turned out to be a winning combination, as Exit Stage Right became a sizable hit when released as a single on Australia's Spin label.

Artist:    Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
Title:    Break Out
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bernstein/Knight
Label:    Eric (original label: New Voice)
Year:    1966
    Break Out was the fourth single by Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels, released in 1966. Although not as successful as their previous singles, it did become the title track for their second LP, which included what was to become their biggest hit, Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Positively 4th Street
Source:    CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Recorded during the same 1965 sessions that produced the classic Highway 61 Revisited album, Positively 4th Street was deliberately held back for release as a single later that year. The stereo mix would not appear on an LP until the first Dylan Greatest Hits album was released in 1967.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Priority (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.

Artist:     Lovin' Spoonful
Title:     Full Measure
Source:     LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Writer:     Sebastian/Boone
Label:     Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:     1966
     The album Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful was a deliberate attempt by the band to play in a variety of styles. It contained two of the band's best-known songs, Nashville Cats and Summer In The City, as well as several lesser-known songs featuring other band members on lead vocals. One of those tracks is Full Measure featuring bassist Steve Boone. The song was also released as the B side of Nashville Cats, getting enough airplay to hit the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     No Face, No Name, No Number
Source:     CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer:     Winwood/Capaldi
Label:     Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:     1967
     When the first Best of Traffic album was issued in 1969 (after the group first disbanded) it included No Face, No Name, No Number, a non-hit album track. Later Traffic anthologies tended to focus on the group's post-reformation material and the song was out of print for many years until the first Traffic album was reissued on CD. The song itself is a good example of Winwood's softer material.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Ball And Chain
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Willie Mae Thornton
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Big Brother And The Holding Company electrified the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 with their performance of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain. The rest of the world, however, would have to wait until the following year to hear Janis Joplin's version of the old blues tune, when a live performance recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium was included on the LP Cheap Thrills.

Artist:    Lighthouse
Title:    Life Can Be So Simple
Source:    LP: Lighthouse
Writer(s):    Prokop/Devereaux
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
     Lighthouse was formed in Toronto in 1968 by vocalist/drummer Skip Prokop (formerly of the Paupers) and keyboardist/arranger Paul Hoffert. The idea was to combine a rock rhythm section with R&B-style horns and classical-style strings. The first move they made was to recruit guitarist Ralph Cole, whom the Paupers had shared a bill with in New York. The three of them then went about gathering an assortment of friends, studio musicians and members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, making a demo tape and submitting it to M-G-M records, who immediately offered Lighthouse a contract. The band's manager, however, was able to get a better contract from RCA, and the group set about recording their first album, making their stage debut in Toronto in May of 1969. Among the original 13 members of the band were lead vocalist Vic "Pinky" Davin and saxophonist Howard Shore (who would become the leader of the house band for NBC's Saturday Night Live when that TV show made its debut in 1975). The group managed to record two albums that year, their eponymous debut album and the follow-up Suite Feeling. Both albums were recorded at Toronto's Eastern Sound Studio and released on the RCA Victor label in 1969. Although the group scored a couple of minor hits in their native Canada, they were not able to achieve commercial success in the US, and, after a third LP for RCA, changed labels to GRT, where (after several personnel changes, including lead vocals) they managed to chart two top 40 singles in 1971 and 1972. Life Can Be So Simple is from Lighthouse's eponymous debut LP, featuring the group's original lineup.

Artist:    Czar
Title:    Ritual Fire Dance
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s):    de Falla/arr. Hodges
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    1970
    After a series of unsuccessful singles for various labels from 1965-1969, Tuesday's Children decided to abandon light pop for a more progressive sound, changing their name to Czar in the process. Czar's debut LP came out in May of 1970, but it was missing one track due to difficulties over publishing rights: an adaptation of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's Ritual Fire Dance that the group had recorded in February of that year, about a month after their first gig using their new name.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1817 [B17] (starts 4/25/18)



    This week we shorten up the tracks a bit in order to fit in a dozen tunes, including a 1970 set that is musically all over the place and a pair from Peter Gabriel, both with and without Genesis.

Artist:    Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Title:    Seeds And Stems (again)
Source:    LP: Lost In The Ozone
Writer(s):    Farlowe/Frayne
Label:    Paramount
Year:    1971
    Okay, so Seeds And Stems (again), from the first album by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Lost In The Ozone, may not officially be recognized as the ultimate country song, but it should be. I mean, the guy's woman leaves him, his home gets repossessed and his dog dies...how can you get more country than that? By finding yourself down to Seeds and Stems (Again), that's how.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Nothing Is The Same
Source:    45 RPM single B side (promo)
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    Grand Funk Railroad's fans continued to defy the rock press by buying copies of the band's albums throughout 1970, despite universally negative reviews. In fact, the band was awarded no less than three gold records that year, including their third studio LP, Closer To Home. The album includes some of their best recordings, including Nothing Is The Same, a hard rocker that includes both tempo and key changes, as well as some of Mark Farner's best lead vocals.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    John Barleycorn
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: John Barleycorn Must Die)
Writer(s):    Traditional
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Following the breakup of Blind Faith in late 1969, Steve Winwood began work on what was to be his first solo LP. After completing one track on which he played all the instruments himself, Winwood decided to ask former Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi to help him out with the project. After the second track was completed, Winwood invited yet another former Traffic member, Chris Wood, to add woodwinds. It soon became obvious that what they were working on was, in fact, a new Traffic album, which came to be called John Barleycorn must die. In addition to the blues/R&B tinged rock that the group was already well known for, the new album incorporated elements from traditional British folk music, which was enjoying a renaissance thanks to groups such as Fairport Convention and the Pentangle. The best example of this new direction was the title track of the album itself, which traces its origins back to the days when England was more agrarian in nature.

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

Artist:    Santana
Title:    El Nicoya
Source:    LP: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Chepito Areas
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    El Nicoya is a short instrumental piece from Santana's celebrated second LP, Abraxas. Following the album's third single, the hard-rocking Hope You're Feeling Better, to close out the album, El Nicoya is a return to the latino-flavored style that dominated the band's 1969 debut LP.

Artist:    Focus
Title:    Hocus Pocus
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Moving Waves)
Writer(s):    van Leer/Akkerman
Label:    Polydor UK (original US label: Sire)
Year:    1971
    Although it was not a hit until 1973, Hocus Pocus, by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus, has the type of simple structure coupled with high energy that was characteristic of many of the garage bands of the mid to late 60s. The song was originally released on the band's second LP, known alternately as Focus II and Moving Waves, in 1971. Both guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist/vocalist/flautist Thijs van Leer have gone on to have successful careers, with van Leer continuing to use to the Focus name as recently as 2006.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    Spider Woman
Source:    LP: The Magician's Birthday
Writer(s):    Box/Byron/Kerslake/Thain
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1972
    Although Uriah Heep was known as an album-oriented band in the US and their native UK, they did have some top 40 success in Scandanavia and Northern Europe, especially in Germany, where they scored three top 20 hits from 1970-72. The last of these was Spider Woman, from the Magician's Birthday album, which went to the #14 spot on the German charts.

Artist:    Brownsville Station
Title:    Smokin' In The Boys' Room
Source:    CD: Electric Seventies
Writer(s):    Koda/Lutz
Label:    JCI/Warner Special Products
Year:    1973
    No list of one-hit wonders would be complete without including Brownsville Station, whose Smokin' In The Boys Room became a sort of unofficial high school anthem in 1973. I didn't have very high expectations when I went to see them as the opening act for Joe Cocker and Foghat a couple of years later, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at their overall performance (basically blowing both headliners off the stage). I had assumed from their name that they were a Texas band, but it turns out they were actually from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Lover Man
Source:    CD: Valleys Of Neptune
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2010
    Valleys Of Neptune is a collection of unreleased tracks featuring (mostly) members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Nearly all the tracks, including Lover Man, are credited to Hendrix, although there are a couple of blues covers on the disc as well. Although Valleys Of Neptune contains an album's worth of material, it all sounds like jams that were not intended to be heard by the general public. Whether some of these tracks may have developed into actual compositions is a question that will probably never be answered, as the group split up not long after these recordings were made and Hendrix himself changed musical directions over the next year.

Artist:    Who
Title:    We're Not Gonna Take It
Source:    LP: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1968
    One of the best-known songs from the Who's rock opera Tommy, is We're Not Gonna Take It, with its famous "See Me, Feel Me" section. The track serves as the grand finale for the album and was the only part of the Who's performance of Tommy at Woodstock to be included in D.A. Pennebacker's film of the festival.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Watcher Of The Skies
Source:    CD: Foxtrot
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1972
    The opening song for most of Genesis's live performances throughout the mid-1970s was also the opening track of their 1972 album Foxtrot. Watcher Of The Skies was inspired by the works of science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End) and legendary comic book writer Stan Lee (the Watcher series), although the title itself reportedly was taken from an 1817 poem by John Keats. The two alternating chords at the beginning of the piece were actually the result of the limitations of a Mellotron MKII that keyboardist had just bought from King Crimson. According to Banks "There were these two chords that sounded really good on that instrument. There are some chords you can't play on that instrument because they'd be so out of tune. These chords created an incredible atmosphere. That's why it's just an incredible intro number. It never sounded so good on the later Mellotron."

Artist:    Peter Gabriel
Title:    Solsbury Hill
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Peter Gabriel
Label:    Atco
Year:    1977
    Vocalist Peter Gabriel's first single after leaving Genesis was Solsbury Hill, a song inspired by a spiritual experience Gabriel had atop Little Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England. Gabriel said of the song:  "It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go." The song hit the top 20 in the UK and shows up from time to time in various TV and movie soundtracks.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1816 [B16] (starts 4/18/18)



    This week's show, recorded in late 2015 but never broadcast, features artists' sets from Eric Burdon And The Animals and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, plus the usual mix of tunes from the late 60s.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    By 1966, Ray Davies' songwriting had matured considerably from his power chord driven love songs You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night. Like many of the songs on the Kinks' 1966 and 1967 LPs, Most Exclusive Residence For Sale tells a story; in this case the story of a man who achieved great success, bought an expensive house and then found himself forced to sell it when his fortunes took a downward turn. The track appeared on the 1966 LP Face To Face, the last Kinks album to not be mixed in stereo.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Citadel
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    One of the most underrated songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Citadel is the second track on Their Satanic Majesties Request, an album often dismissed as being an ill-fated attempt to keep up with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As the song is preceeded on the album by the overture-like Sing This All Together with no break between the two, Citadel was almost impossible to play as a separate track from the original vinyl. It's a little easier to play from the CD, but due to sloppiness on the part of whoever mastered the 80s Abkco discs, the start of the song does not quite match up with the start of the CD track. Maybe one of these days I'll get a copy of the remastered version that came out more recently and see if they did a better job with it. In the meantime sit back and enjoy this hard-rockin' piece of psychedelia.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Mabel
Source:    British import CD: Procol Harum
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Salvo/Fly (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Mabel (Please Get Off The Kitchen Table) is one of the shortest tracks on Procol Harum's 1967 debut LP. The song shows the influence of American songwriter John Sebastian, whose band, the Lovin' Spoonful, was quite popular in the UK when Gary Brooker and Keith Reid began writing songs together in 1966.

Artist:    Mandrake Paddle Steamer
Title:    Strange Walking Man
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Briley/Engle
Label:    EMI (originally label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Mandrake Paddle Steamer was the brainchild of art school students Martin Briley and Brian Engle, who, with producer Robert Finnis, were among the first to take advantage of EMI's new 8-track recording equipment at their Abbey Road studios. The result was Strange Walking Man, a single released in 1969. The track includes a coda created by Finnis by splicing a tape of studio musicians playing a cover version of an Incredible String Band tune, Maybe Someday.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    D.C.B.A.-25
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was this highly listenable tune from Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner says the title simply refers to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here]

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Bass Strings
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    A lot of songs released in 1966 and 1967 got labeled as drug songs by influential people in the music industry. In many cases, those labels were inaccurate, at least according to the artists who recorded those songs. On the other hand, you have songs like Bass Strings by Country Joe and the Fish that really can't be about anything else.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Bang Bang
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer:     Sonny Bono
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Vanilla Fudge made their reputation by taking popular hit songs, such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On, and extensively re-arranging them, giving the songs an almost classical feel. In fact, some of their arrangements incorporated (uncredited) snippets of actual classical pieces. One glaring example is the Vanilla Fudge arrangement of Cher's biggest solo hit of the 60s, Bang Bang (written by her then-husband Sonny Bono). Unfortunately, although I recognize the classical piece the band uses for an intro to Bang Bang, I can't seem to remember what it's called or who wrote it. Anyone out there able to help? I think it may have been used in a 1950s movie like The King And I or Attack of the Killer Women from Planet X.

Artist:    Gong
Title:    Tropical Fish: Selene/Gnome The Second
Source:    European import CD: Camembert Electrique (originally released on LP in France)
Writer(s):    Daevid Allen
Label:    Charly/Snapper (original label: BYG Actuel)
Year:    1971
    It's almost impossible to describe Gong. They had their roots in British psychedelia, founder Daevid Allen having been a member of Soft Machine, but are also known as pioneers of space-rock. The Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, from 1973-74, is considered a landmark of the genre, telling the story of such characters as Zero the Hero and the Pot Head Pixies from Planet Gong. The groundwork for the trilogy was actually laid in 1971, when the album Camembert Electrique was recorded (and released) in France on the BYG Actuel label. The final full-length track on that album, Tropical Fish: Selene, is fairly indicative of the state of Gong at that time.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.

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

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Manic Depression
Source:     LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     My dad bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder when we moved to Ramstein, Germany in early 1968. It was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. One of my first purchases was a pre-recorded reel to reel tape of Are You Experienced. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?
   
Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    LP: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top of the charts
five years later.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Within You Without You
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/Apple (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    George Harrison began to take an interest in the sitar as early as 1965. By 1966 he had become proficient enough on the Indian instrument to compose and record Love You To for the Revolver album. He followed that up with perhaps his most popular sitar-based track, Within You Without You, which opens side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Harrison would record one more similarly-styled song, The Inner Light, in 1968, before deciding that he was never going to be in the same league as Ravi Shankar, whom Harrison had become friends with by that time. For the remainder of his time with the Beatles Harrison would concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting skills, resulting in classic songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Rock Me Baby
Source:    Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    King/Josea
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    The first Blue Cheer LP, Vincebus Eruptum, is cited by some as the first heavy metal album, while others refer to it as proto metal. However you want to look at it, the album is dominated by the feedback-laden guitar of Leigh Stephens, as can be plainly heard on their version of B.B. King's classic Rock Me Baby. Although there seem to be very few people still around who actually heard Blue Cheer perform live, the power trio has the reputation of being one of the loudest bands in the history of rock music. 

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sweet Wine
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Godfrey/Baker
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    When Cream was formed, both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had new music for the band to record (guitarist Eric Clapton having chosen to shut up and play his guitar for the most part). Most of these new songs, however, did not yet have words to go with the music. To remedy the situation, both musicians brought in outside lyricists. Baker chose poet Pete Brown, while Bruce chose to bring in his wife, Janet Godfrey. After a short time it became apparent that Bruce and Brown had a natural affinity for each other's material, and formed a partnership that would last years. Baker, meanwhile, tried working with Godfrey, but the two only came up with one song together, Sweet Wine, which was included on the band's debut LP, Fresh Cream.

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

Artist:    Mamas And The Papas
Title:    For The Love Of Ivy
Source:    LP: 20 Golden Hits (originally released on LP: The Papas and the Mamas and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Phillips/Doherty
Label:    ABC (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    The Mamas And The Papas reportedly spent an entire month at the state-of-the-art eight-track recording facilities at the Bel-Air home of John and Michell Phillips trying to perfect the vocal tracks for the song For The Love Of Ivy. Apparently it wasn't enough to guarantee the song's success, however, as the single version of the song only made it to the #81 spot on the Billboard charts. The song originally appeared on the last Mamas and Papas album released before their 1968 breakup, entitled, appropriately enough, The Papas and the Mamas.
   
Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.T.Tatman III
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence, even after relocating to the Laurel Canyon area near Los Angeles in 1968. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of that single was another track from Living The Blues that actually had a longer running time on the single than on the album version. Although the single uses the same basic recording of Boogie Music as the album, it includes a short low-fidelity instrumental tacked onto the end of the song that sounds suspiciously like a 1920s recording of someone playing a melody similar to Going Up The Country on a fiddle. The only time this unique version of the song appeared in stereo was on a 1969 United Artists compilation called Progressive Heavies that also featured tracks from Johnny Winter, Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and others.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Think About It
Source:    Mono British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Relf/McCarty/Page
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    The last Yardbirds single, Good Night Josephine, was slated for March of 1968, but ended up being released only in the US, where it barely cracked the top 100. More notable was the song's B side, Think About It, which shows a side of guitarist Jimmy Page that would soon come to be identified with one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, Led Zeppelin.

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:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.

Artist:    John Mayall
Title:    Cancelling Out
Source:    LP: The Blues Alone
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    After three consecutive top 10 albums in the UK with his band the Bluesbreakers, John Mayall decided to experiment with multi-track technology for The Blues Alone, released in late 1967. Unlike the previous albums, which tended to put the emphasis on the outstanding guitarists (first Eric Clapton, then Peter Green) in the Bluesbreakers, The Blues Alone was (with the exception of Keef Hartley's drumming) a true solo effort, with Mayall playing all the instruments and providing all the vocals. Although there were a few cover songs on the album, the best tracks were Mayall originals such as Cancelling Out.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    San Franciscan Nights
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    BGO (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, the band fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    Good Times
Source:    CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    By the end of the original Animals' run they were having greater chart success with their singles in the US than in their native UK. That trend continued with the formation of the "new" Animals in 1967 and their first single, When I Was Young. Shortly after the first LP by the band now known as Eric Burdon And The Animals came out, M-G-M decided to release the song San Franciscan Nights as a single to take advantage of the massive youth migration to the city that summer. Meanwhile the band's British label decided to instead issue Good Times (an autobiographical song which was released in the US as the B side to San Franciscan Nights) as a single, and the band ended up with one of their biggest UK hits ever. Riding the wave of success of Good Times, San Franciscan Nights eventually did get released in the UK and was a hit there as well.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Winds Of Change
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    BGO (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    In late 1966 the original Animals disbanded, and Eric Burdon began working on a new solo album called Eric Is Here. Unsatisfied with the results of the project, Burdon set about creating a new version of the Animals, which was at first known as the New Animals but would soon come to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals. The new band's first LP was Winds of Change, an ambitious album that gave writing credit to all five band members for all the tracks on the album (with the exception of a cover version of the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black). The album's title track, which opens the LP, is basically Eric Burdon paying tribute to all his musical heroes, and it's quite an impressive list, including jazz and blues greats as well as some of the most important names in the annals of rock and roll.

Artist:     Stephen Stills
Title:     Love the One You're With
Source:     Promo CD: Carry On sampler (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic
Year:    1971
     Depending on your point of view Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) have either split up several times over the years or have never actually split up at all. It was during one of these maybe split-ups that Stills recorded Love the One You're With, one of his most popular tunes. Presumably he and singer Judy Collins were no longer an item at that point.

Artist:    Frijid Pink
Title:    Sing A Song For Freedom
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Beaudry/Thompson/Stevers
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1970
    Frijid Pink was formed in Detroit in 1967 by singer Tom Beaudry, guitarist Gary Ray Thompson, bassist Tom Harris, and drummer Richard Stevers. After a couple of years playing various venues in the southeast Michigan area, the band signed with London subsidiary Parrot Records, releasing a pair of singles in 1969. They scored an international hit with a fuzz-laden rendition of House OfThe Rising Sun in 1970, which was soon followed by a self-titled LP. Their second LP, Defrosted, featuring the single Sing A Song For Freedom, was released in summer of 1970, but a change in personnel brought on by ego issues led to the band's swift decline.
   
Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    Hummingbird
Source:    LP: Indianola Mississippi Seeds
Writer(s):    Leon Russell
Label:    ABC
Year:    1970
    B.B. King once called his 18th studio album, 1970's Indianola Mississippi Seeds, "the best album that I've done artistically." The LP, produced by Bill Szymczyk, features an array of talented sidemen, including Leon Russell (who wrote the album's second single, Hummingbird), Joe Walsh, Bryan Garofalo, Russ Kunkel, and  the "Angelic chorus" of Sherlie Matthews, Merry Clayton, Clydie King and Venetta Fields.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    One Good Man
Source:    LP: I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Janis Joplin's first solo album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama, got a lukewarm reception, both from the rock press and from fans of the singer who had been listening to her since her days with Big Brother And The Holding Company. The main problem seems to be that, while musically more proficient than the members of Big Brother, Joplin's new group (sometimes called the Kozmic Blues Band) never seemed to gel as a group. The fact that all but two of the tracks on the LP were cover songs didn't help matters, either. The two Joplin originals, however, are among the album's best tracks. I suspect that a few more tracks like One Good Man and a few fewer tracks like the cover of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody would have helped the album immensely.

   

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1816 [B16] (starts (4/18/18)



    The focus this week is on music that's designed to be played loud, so get ready to crank it up.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Me And My Baby
Source:    CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    Cricklewood Green, the fourth studio LP from Ten Years After, is generally considered to be the British blues rockers' best. All the tracks were written by guitarist/vocalist Alvin Lee, including Me And My Baby, which showcases the band's ability to emulate a Wes Montgomery-like 1950s jazz style. The track opens side two of the original LP.

Artist:    Zephyr
Title:    Boom-Ba-Boom/Somebody Listen
Source:    CD: Zephyr
Writer(s):    Givens/Givens/Bolin/Faris
Label:    MCA/One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
Year:    1969
    Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Zephyr was a blues rock band that was formed in 1968 by members of various local bands. In the early days the focus was on vocalist Candy Givens, who had a range of several octaves and could easily have performed without a microphone. Once the band had recorded their self-titled debut LP, the attention began to shift to Tommy Bolin, a self-taught guitarist who would go on to become a member of the James Gang, and then Deep Purple, as well as pursuing a solo career. In addition to Bolin and Givens, the band included Candy's husband David Givens on bass, John Faris on keyboards, and Robbie Chamberlin on drums. Many of the tracks on the first Zephyr album were credited to the full membership of the band, although Boom-Ba-Boom, which segues into Somebody Listen, came from David Givens.

Artist:     Jo Jo Gunne
Title:     99 Days
Source:     LP: Jo Jo Gunne
Writer:     Jay Ferguson
Label:     Asylum
Year:     1972
     After the commercial disappointment of The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus in 1971, vocalist Jay Ferguson and bass player Mark Andes left Spirit to form a new band, Jo Jo Gunne. Lead guitarist Matt Andes provided a much heavier rock sound than Spirit's Randy California, who had strong jazz roots. The result was a band that sometimes sounded like a heavier version of Spirit, which was natural, since Ferguson had served as Spirit's primary songwriter throughout his tenure with the band. 99 Days, which opens side two of Jo Jo Gunne's first album, was selected as a follow up single to Run Run Run. Both songs got a decent amount of airplay on FM rock radio, which at the time had a more or less free-form format and did not report their playlists (which varied from station to station and even from DJ to DJ) to the national charts.

Artist:    Foghat
Title:    Highway (Killing Me)
Source:    LP: Foghat
Writer(s):    Price/Peverett
Label:    Bearsville
Year:    1972
    When bandleader Kim Simmonds decided to take Savoy Brown in a new direction following the Looking In album, he encountered resistance from the other band members, guitarist/vocalist Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl, who were happy with the band's sound and didn't want to mess with success. Undaunted, Simmonds fired the lot of them and put together a new lineup for the next Savoy Brown album. Meanwhile, the three former members found a new lead guitarist, Rod Price, whose own band, Black Cat Bones, had recently disbanded. Calling their new band Foghat, they released their debut LP in 1972. Most of the material on the album was written by band members, including Highway (Killing Me), a tune that helped establish the new band's sound. Foghat would go on to become one of the top concert draws of the 1970s.

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    I Would
Source:    LP: While You're Down There
Writer(s):    Roberts/Sampson
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    Originally called Aphrodite, Stray Dog started off in Texas, but soon migrated to Denver, Colorado, where they became one of the area's most popular bands. A move to London in 1973 led to the band signing with Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Manticore label. A change in personnel following their first album brought guitarist/vocalist Timmy Dulane and keyboardist Luis Cabaza into the band in time for the band's second LP,  While You're Down There. The new members brought a more commercial sound to the band, although I Would, written by bassist Alan Roberts and drummer Leslie Sampson, is more consistent with the band's original style.
   
Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Tired Angels (For J.M.H.)
Source:    LP: Nantucket Sleighride
Writer(s):    Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Windfall
Year:    1971
    Throughout the history of popular music there have been artists whose influence on their fellow musicians outstripped their popularity with the general public. In a few cases, though, these "musicians' musicians" have managed to become popular themselves, while retaining the qualities that have earned them the respect of their fellow artists. One such artist, arguably the greatest of the psychedelic era, was James Marshall Hendrix, who revolutionalized the role of the lead guitarist in rock music. His death at the age of 27 in September of 1970 had a profound effect on his fellow musicians, especially those who were among the guitarist's own circle of friends. This circle included Felix Pappalardi, producer of Cream's 1967 album Disraeli Gears and later a member of Mountain, who, with his wife Janet Collins, wrote and sang lead on Tired Angels (For J.M.H.), a tune from the second Mountain LP, Nantucket Sleighride.

Artist:    Paul McCartney And Wings
Title:    Jet
Source:    Eupopean import LP: Band On The Run
Writer(s):    Paul and Linda McCartney
Label:    MPL
Year:    1973
    Jet was the first single from the 1973 Paul McCartney And Wings LP Band On The Run. The song, which reached the top 10 in several countries, including the US and Britain, was reportedly named after a black labrador puppy. Band On The Run ended up being McCartney's most successful album as a solo artist, both commercially and critically.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Wind Up
Source:    CD: Aqualung
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    The first three Jethro Tull albums saw the group transition from a blues base to a more eclectic sound, defined by the songwriting of vocalist/flautist/acoustic guitarist Ian Anderson. The real breakthrough for the band, however, was their fourth LP, Aqualung, which for a while was the most-played album on progressive rock radio in the US. The second side of the album is a scathing condemnation of the hypocrisy of modern organized religion. The final track, Wind Up, takes its title from the closing line of the album: "I don't believe you, you've got the whole damn thing all wrong. He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sunday."

Artist:    Queen
Title:    Jesus
Source:    LP: Queen
Writer(s):    Freddie Mercury
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1973
    One of the most powerful songs on Queen's 1973 debut album, Jesus tells part of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The song was written by Freddie Mercury, who was a devout Parsi Zoroastrian. Guitarist Brian May provided effects toward the end of the song that are reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix at his most creative.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    No One Came
Source:    LP: Fireball
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    The second album by the popular Deep Purple "Mk II" lineup (Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice), Fireball was an instant hit on both sides of the Atlantic, going to the top of the British charts and garnering significant airplay on FM rock radio stations in the US. One of the highlights of the album is the closing track, No One Came. Vocalist Gillan has said of Fireball that "The reason I liked that so much was because I thought, from a writing point of view, it was really the beginning of tremendous possibilities of expression. And some of the tracks on that album are really, really inventive." Deep Purple would release two more albums before once again undergoing a lineup change.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Perpetual Change
Source:    The Yes Album
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire
Label:    Elektra/Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1971
    Although Yes had already recorded two albums by 1971, The Yes Album marks the beginning of the band's most successful period. Probably the biggest reason for this newfound success was the addition of Steve Howe on guitar to a lineup that already included vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford, as well as keyboardist Tony Kaye (who would soon be replaced by Rick Wakeman). Another factor in the album's success was the fact that all the tracks were written by members of the band, including Perpetual Change, which closes out side two of the LP.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1815 [B 15] (starts 4/11/18)



This week: a backup show recorded in 2015 and held back for an event like me breaking my right arm and being unable to record any new shows for awhile. Guess that makes me a bit of a prophet, eh?

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I Feel Free
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live.

Artist:    Davie Allan And The Arrows
Title:    Blue's Theme
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Wild Ones-soundtrack and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Curb/Allan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    It is entirely possible that the Chocolate Watchband (or more accurately, the unknown producers of their first single) were indirectly responsible for giving the guitarist his biggest hit single. In 1966, movie producer Roger Corman hired Mike Curb to comeup with soundtrack music for his 1966 film The Wild Ones. Curb in turn contacted his longtime friend (and frequent collaborator) Allan to actually record the soundtrack with his band, the Arrows. The film was released in July of 1966, with the soundtrack album appearing soon after. The obvious high point of the album was the instrumental track Blue's Theme (which technically should have been Blues's Theme, since the film's main character, played by Peter Fonda, was named Heavenly Blues), but at first there were reportedly no plans to release the son as a single. However, late in the year the Chocolate Watchband were making their very first visit to a recording studio, and were asked to knock out a quick cover of Blues Theme, which was released (sans apostrophe) on the HBR label, credited to The Hogs. Curb must have heard about this as it was being prepared for release, as he managed to put out a single release of the original Davie Allan version of Blue's Theme before the HBR single hit the racks. Either that, or the HBR producers simply had bad info about Curb's intentions in the first place.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder
Source:    LP: Freak Out!
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Verve
Year:    1966
    Frank Zappa showed his fondness for 50s doo-wop early on with songs like Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder, from the 1966 Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out! Two years later he would release Cruising with Ruben & the Jets as part of a four-album project called No Commercial Potential (the other three albums being Lumpy Gravy, We're Only in It for the Money and Uncle Meat).

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    Hanky Panky
Source:    Mono CD: The Best of Tommy James And The Shondells (orginally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Barry/Greenwich
Label:    Rhino (original label: Snap)
Year:    1964
    Once upon a time there was a girl group called the Summits who released a song called Hanky Panky as the B side of their only single in 1963. The song, which was also released as a B side by Brill building songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich's studio creation The Raindrops a few months later, started getting played by cover bands in the midwesterm US, including a South Bend, Indiana band called the Spinners. A Niles, Michigan high school kid named Tommy Jackson heard the Spinners play the song and taught it to his own band, the Shondells, getting some of the lyrics wrong in the process. In early 1964 the Shondells recorded their own version of Hanky Panky at the studios of WNIL radio, releasing it on their second single for the local Snap label later that year and pressing 2000 copies of the record. It's not entirely clear whether that recording of Hanky-Panky, credited to Jackson, was intended to be an A or B side, but it did get a decent amount of local airplay before fading off into obscurity. The original Shondells broke up in 1965 following graduation from high school, but a local teenager managed to get his hands on several copies of the record, trading them to Ernie's Record Mart in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for store credit. A local DJ, Bob Mack, picked up a copy of the record and began playing it as part of his "dance party". The song became a local hit, but by then Snap Records was out of business, prompting local Pittsburgh entrepeneurs to press new copies of the single. Meanwhile, a search for Tommy Jackson eventually prompted the singer, who by then was calling himself Tommy James, to show up in Pittsburgh...with no band. This led to Tommy hiring a local band called the Racounteurs to become the new Shondells, who soon signed with the New York based Roulette label, which reissued the original Shondells' recording of Hanky Panky in 1966. The song went all the way to the top of the national charts, prompting a series of successful followup singles for Tommy James And The Shondells over the next three years or so. And that, my friends, was how one became a rock star in the mid-1960s.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    For Emily, Whenever I Might Find Her
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Art Garfunkel's vocals were in the spotlight on For Emily, Whenever I Might Find Her, a track from the duo's third LP, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme. Other than the vocals, the only other instrument heard on the track is Paul Simon's guitar. Garfunkel has called the piece, which is still in his solo repertoire, "one of the most challenging" to perform, due to its somewhat free-form structure. A live version of the song was released as a single in 1972, making it to the # 53 spot on the charts. This was actually the second time the song appeared on 7" vinyl, as the studio version was used as the B side for the late 1966 single A Hazy Shade Of Winter.

Artist:    The Bush
Title:    To Die Alone
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Cartwright/Gondos/Henninger/Hoard/Hoard/Fowley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Hiback)
Year:    1966
    Originally known as the Bushmen, the Bush, from Rialto, California, were the most popular local band in the Inland Empire from 1965-66, even opening for their idols, the Rolling Stones, at one of their appearances at San Bernardino's Swing Auditorium. To Die Alone is a classic piece of garage-psych from the Bush, that appeared as the B side of their second single in 1966, with lyrics and song title provided by the Zelig-like Kim Fowley.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    She Has Funny Cars
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Kaukonen/Balin
Label:    Sundazed (original 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.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Come Up The Years
Source:    Mono LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    One of the most overused motifs in pop music is the "You're too young for me" song. This probably reflects, to a certain degree, a lifestyle that goes back to the beginnings of rock and roll (Chuck Berry did jail time for transporting a minor across state lines, Jerry Lee Lewis saw his career get derailed by his marraige to his 13-year-old cousin, etc.). Generally, the song's protagonist comes to a decision to put a stop to the relationship before it gets too serious. The Marty Balin/Paul Kantner tune Come Up The Years takes a more sophisticated look at the subject, although it still comes to the same conclusion (I can't do this because you're jailbait). In fact, the only rock songwriter I know of that came to any other conclusion on the matter was Bob Markley of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and that's what ultimately got him in trouble with the law.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Sundazed/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    Following the success of Somebody To Love, Jefferson Airplane quickly followed up with their third single from the Surrealistic Pillow album, White Rabbit. Although it didn't get the same amount of top 40 airplay, Marty Balin's Plastic Fantastic Lover, issued as the B side of White Rabbit, has proved just as enduring as the A side. So much so that, when the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special pressing of both songs on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection. More recently, Sundazed has reissued the entire Surrealistic Pillow album in its original mono mix, which differs considerably from the more familiar stereo version.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    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:    Donovan
Title:    Museum
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967   
    Museum is a song from one of Donovan's early albums that he re-recorded for his Mellow Yellow LP in 1967. The new arrangement, like many of the tracks on Mellow Yellow, uses electric guitar, violin and hand percussion (bongos, etc.) to supplement Donovan's acoustic guitar.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    (It's All Over Now) Baby Blue
Source:    CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    When the 13th Floor Elevators left their native Texas to do a series of gigs on the West Coast, the local media's reaction was basically "good riddance". After the band's successful California appearances (and a hit record with You're Gonna Miss Me), they returned to a hero's welcome by that same media that had derided the Elevators as a bunch of degenerate drug addicts just weeks before. Buoyed by this new celebrity, the band set out to record its masterpiece, Easter Everywhere. Although much of the album featured original material, there were a couple of cover tunes. Most notable was the inclusion of (It's All Over Now) Baby Blue, a Bob Dylan tune that had been recently recorded by San Jose's Chocolate Watchband.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    2000 Man
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Setting any work of art in the relatively near future is always risky business (remember 1984?), but then again 33 years seems like forever when you yourself are still in your twenties. I mean who, including the Rolling Stones themselves, could have imagined that Mick, Keith, Charlie and company would still be performing well into the 21st century when they recorded 2000 Man for their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request? It's actually kind of interesting to listen to the lyrics now and see just how much of the song turned out to be an accurate prediction of what was to come.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Ever feel like you've discovered something really special that nobody else (among your circle of friends at any rate) knows about? At first you kind of want to keep it to yourself, but soon you find yourself compelled to share it with everyone you know. Such was the case when, in the early summer of 1967, I used my weekly allowance to buy copies of a couple of songs I had heard on the American Forces Network (AFN). As usual, it wasn't long before I was flipping the records over to hear what was on the B sides. I liked the first one well enough (a song by Buffalo Springfield called Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, the B side of For What It's Worth), but it was the second one, the B side of the Doors' Light My Fire, that really got to me. To this day I consider The Crystal Ship to be one of the finest slow rock songs ever recorded.

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

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Because
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    Take Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Turn a few notes around, add some variations and write some lyrics. Add the Beatles' trademark multi-part harmonies and you have John Lennon's Because, from the Abbey Road album. A simply beautiful recording.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Glass Onion
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Dirty Blue Gene
Source:    European import CD: Safe As Milk (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Don Van Vliet
Label:    Rev-Ola
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1999
    After the release of their debut LP for the Buddah label, Safe As Milk, in 1967, Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) and his Magic Band began work on a proposed double-LP to be called It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper. The project was never finished, and the band ended up changing labels before releasing any more material. Among the unfinished pieces is an instrumental track called Dirty Blue Gene that shows the first signs of the experimental direction the band would take after signing with Frank Zappa's Bizarre Productions a couple years later.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She'd Rather Be With Me
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1967
    The Turtles knew a good thing when they found it, and in 1967 that good thing was Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, a pair of New York songwriters who had been members of a band called the Magicians. The first Bonner/Gordon song to be recorded by the Turtles was Happy Together, a huge hit that knocked the Beatles' Penny Lane off the top of the charts. The next Turtles single was another Bonner/Gordon composition called She'd Rather Be With Me. That one peaked at #3. Before the year was over the Turtles would take two more Bonner/Gordon tunes into the top 20.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Tommy Boyce
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Tommy Boyce actually had a songwriting career separate from his many collaborations with Bobby Hart. One of his early songs was Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, which was first recorded as a single by the Colorado-based Astronauts (which gave producer Steve Venet co-writing credit) before getting included on the first Monkees album. Along the way the song got recorded by a handful of garage bands, including Chicago's Shadows Of Knight, whose version closely parallels the Astronauts' original.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    When I Was Young
Source:    Mono LP: The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    After the Animals disbanded in 1966, Eric Burdon set out to form a new band that would be far more psychedelic than the original group. The first release from these "New Animals" was When I Was Young. The song was credited to the entire band, a practice that would continue throughout the entire existence of the group that came to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals.

Artist:    Love Sculpture
Title:    3 O'Clock Blues
Source:    CD: Blues Helping
Writer(s):    King/Taub
Label:    EMI (original US label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1968
    Founded in Cardiff, Wales in 1966 by guitarist Dave Edmunds, bassist John David and drummer Rob "Congo" Jones, Love Sculpture, a power trio from South Wales, was one of the hottest bands on the British blues-rock scene. Their first album, Blues Helping, consisted mainly of charged up covers of blues classics such as B.B. King's 3 O'Clock Blues. Following the group's breakup in 1970, Edmunds went on to have a successful career, both as a solo artist and as co-founder of the band Rockpile.

Artist:    Kak
Title:    Trieulogy
Source:    British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released in US on LP: Kak)
Writer(s):    Yoder/Grelecki
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    The story of Kak is one of the strangest in rock history. Guitarists Gary Yoder and Dehner Patton had both been members of the Oxford Circle, the legendary East (San Francisco) Bay area band that broke up in early summer of 1967. Not long the breakup Yoder was approached by a guy named Gary Grelecki, who introduced himself as a fan of the band and offered to get Yoder a deal with Columbia, then the second largest record label in the country. Yoder figured that he didn't have anything to lose by saying yes; sure enough, two months later he got a call from Grelecki saying the contract was a done deal. Yoder got into contact with Dehner, who had been playing in a band called Cherry Jam since the Oxford breakup, performing original material in the Davis area. One of the other members of Cherry Jam was percussionist/harpsichordist Chris Lockheed, who had previously played in a band called the Majestics. The lineup was completed with the addition of bassist Joe-Dave Damrill, who had been playing with another Davis band called Group B. It turned out that Grelicki's father was with the CIA and had been using Columbia as a front for agency activities in East Asia, and actually had legitimate contacts at the label. The new band, Kak, was signed to Columbia's Epic subsidiary, releasing their only LP in 1969. Although neither the band (which played fewer than a dozen gigs in its entire existence) or the album was not a commercial success at the time, Kak gained a cult following that exists to this day. The most ambitious track on the album, Trieulogy, is made up of three originally unrelated pieces, Golgotha, Mirage and Rain, that Yoder later said "blended well together", adding that "it's a logical pattern, lyrically and musically."

Artist:        Vanilla Fudge
Title:        Season of the Witch (pt. 1)
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released on LP: Renaissance and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Donovan Leitch
Label:        Real Gone/Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    The Vanilla Fudge are generally best remembered for their acid rock rearrangements of hit songs such as You Keep Me Hangin' On, Ticket To Ride and Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). Their third album, Renaissance, while actually featuring more original material that their previous albums, still included a couple of these cover songs. The best-known of these was this rather spooky (and a little over-the-top) version of Donovan's Season Of The Witch, a song that was also covered by Al Kooper and Stephen Stills the same year on the first Super Session album. A mono single version of the song saw the track broken up into two pieces, one on each side of the 45 RPM record.

Artist:    Move
Title:    Fire Brigade
Source:    Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1968
    The Move scored their fourth consecutive British top 5 single with Fire Brigade, released in January of 1968. It would be the last single released by the group's original lineup.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    C.T.A.-102
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Hippard
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Roger McGuinn of the Byrds always exhibited an interest in the subject of extraterrestrial life. C.T.A.-102, from the Younger Than Yesterday album, addresses this subject from the angle of aliens tuning in to earth broadcasts to learn our language and culture and finding themselves exposed to rock and roll (and apparently liking it).

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    LP: 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:    Music Machine
Title:    Citizen Fear
Source:    Mono CD: Ignition
Writer(s):    Bonniwell/Buff
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2000
    Citizen Fear was one of the final, if not the very last, recording made by Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine. A collaboration between Bonniwell and engineer Paul Buff, the piece utilizes Buff's 10-track recording process to its fullest potential. Before the song could be released, however, the Music Machine had disbanded and Bonniwell had quit the music business in disillusionment, disappointment and/or disgust.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    After releasing a fairly well produced debut solo album utilizing the talents of several well-known studio musicians in late 1968, Neil Young surprised everyone by recruiting an unknown L.A. bar band and rechristening them Crazy Horse for his second effort, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album was raw and unpolished, with Young's lead vocals recorded using a talkback microphone normally used by engineers to communicate with people in the studio from the control room. In spite of, or more likely because of, these limitations, the resulting album has come to be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of rock, with Young sounding far more comfortable, both as a vocalist and guitarist, than on the previous effort. Although the album is best known for three songs he wrote while running a fever (Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl In The Sand, and Down By The River), there are plenty of good other songs on the LP, including the title track heard here.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    The Great Canyon Fire In General
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Among other things, Southern California is known for its periodic wildfires, which, fueled by hot Santa Ana winds, destroy everything in their path before they can be brought under control. In the summer of 1967, while the members of Spirit were living in L.A.'s Topanga Canyon and working on their first album, one of these wildfires took out about half of the canyon. Although the house the band was living in was spared, the entire area was evacuated and the members of Spirit (and their family) had to spend a week camped out at the beach. Now that's what I call roughing it!

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    House For Everyone
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Although Traffic is now known mostly as a Steve Winwood band, many of their earliest songs were the creation of guitarist Dave Mason, whose songs tended to be a bit more psychedelic than Winwood's. One example is House For Everyone from the band's 1967 debut LP, which creatively uses tape edits to simulate a music box being wound up with short snippets of song sneaking through between turns of the key at the beginning of the track.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Everybody's Wrong
Source:    LP: Buffalo Springfield
Writer:    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Buffalo Springfield is one of those rare cases of a band that actually sold more records after disbanding than while they were still an active group. This is due mostly to the fact that several members, including Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay and Jim Messina, went on to greater success in the 1970s, either with new bands or as solo artists. In the early days of Buffalo Springfield Stephen Stills was the group's most successful songwriter. The band's only major hit, For What It's Worth, was a Stills composition that was originally released shortly after the group's debut LP, and was subsequently added to later pressings of the album. Another, earlier, Stills composition from that first album was Everybody's Wrong, a somewhat heavy piece of folk-rock.