Monday, June 11, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1824 (starts 6/13/18)



Once again we go cruisin' through the years, and have a pretty smooth time of it, too, until it all goes out of control...

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Taxman
Source:    European import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney, whose own style had a harder edge (and considerably less finesse) than Harrison's.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Heinz Baked Beans/Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands
Source:    LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Entwistle/Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    No, it's not a previously undiscovered collaboration between the Who's Pete Townshend and John Eric Entwistle. Rather, it's two separate songs that, thanks to some radio jingles (both real and fake) run continuously on side one of the Who's third LP, The Who Sell Out. The jingles were put there to create the illusion of listening to Britain's top pirate radio station, Radio London. I have to admit that, although I had never actually heard Radio London itself, I was fooled the first time I heard the album, especially when I heard what sounded like an actual commercial (Entwistle's Heinz Baked Beans) followed by a "more music" jingle I was familiar with from US radio stations that actually used it and then another song (Townshend's Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands). Rumor has it that the Texas company that created the jingles at one point threatened the Who with a lawsuit over their unauthorized use of the spots, but as far as I know nothing ever came of it.

Artist:    Eire Apparent
Title:    Yes I Need Someone
Source:    CD: Sunrise (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Lutton/Graham/Cox
Label:    Flawed Gems (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1968
    Formed in Belfast in 1965 as The People, Eire Apparent became quite popular in their native Ireland in 1967 after adding guitarist Henry McCulloch to the lineup. Later that same year the band relocated to London, where they were signed by Chas Chandler and Mike Jeffery to a one-off contract with the Track label, releasing one single in early 1968. Despite their lack of recorded material, Eire Apparent was soon touring with big name acts such as the Animals, the Soft Machine and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In October they went to work on the album Sunrise, produced by Hendrix. Before the year was out Yes I Need Someone (with Hendrix on guitar) was released as a single on the Buddah label, with the album following in early 1969. Despite the advantage of appearing on the bill with the hottest rock act in the world (Hendrix), Eire Apparent was never able to develop a following of their own, and disbanded in 1970. McCulloch went on to join Joe Cocker's band in the early 1970s, and later was an early member of Paul McCartney's Wings, leaving just as sessions for the Band On The Run album were getting under way.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat And Tears
Title:    More And More (live version)
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat And Tears (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Vee/Juan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Blood, Sweat and Tears founder Al Kooper left the band after their first album, Child Is Father To The Man. Several people at Columbia Records were keen to see the band continue and a new vocalist, David Clayton Thomas, was recruited to front the band. The result was the Grammy Award winner for album of the year. The LP, entitled simply Blood, Sweat and Tears, boasted three top 5 singles and at least as many memorable album tracks, including the energetic R&B-flavored More and More.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    969 (The Oldest Man)
Source:    CD: American Woman
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    Although Burton Cummings was known primarily for his role as the Guess Who's lead vocalist, he got a chance to strut his stuff instrumentally as a flautist on 969 (The Oldest Man), an instrumental by Randy Bachman. Bachman himself showed a glimpse of the guitar prowess that he would become known for with his next band, Bachman Turner Overdrive, in the mid-1970s on the track.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic, although it took the better part of two years to catch on. Originally released in 1965 as Your Pushin' Too Hard, the song was virtually ignored by local Los Angeles radio stations until a second single, Can't Seem To Make You Mine, started getting some attention. After being included on the Seeds' debut LP in 1966, Pushin' Too Hard was rereleased and soon was being heard all over the L.A. airwaves. By the end of the year stations in other markets were starting to spin the record, and the song hit its peak of popularity in early 1967.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Some Other Drum
Source:    British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Unlike most of the L.A. bands playing the strip in the mid-60s, the Music Machine played an eclectic mix of original material, all composed by bandleader Sean Bonniwell. Whereas some songs, such as the energetic Talk Talk, were prototypical punk-rock, others, such as Some Other Drum, had a softer feel reminiscent of the Lovin' Spoonful without sounding at all derivative.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular B sides ever released, The Crystal Ship is a slow moody piece with vivid lyrical images. The mono mix of the song sounds a bit different from the more commonly-heard stereo version. Not only is the mix itself a bit hotter, it is also a touch faster. This is due to an error in the mastering of the stereo version of the first Doors LP that resulted in the entire album running at a 3.5% slower speed than it was originally recorded. This discrepancy went unnoticed for over 40 years, until a college professor pointed out that every recorded live performance of Light My Fire was in a key that was about half a step higher than the stereo studio version.

Artist:    Del Shannon
Title:    Silver Birch/I Think I Love You
Source:    British import CD: The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover
Writer(s):    Shannon/Perkins
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes called Del Shannon's most consistent album (and certainly his most psychedelic), The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover was released in early 1968, long after Shannon's run at the top of the charts with songs like Runaway and Keep On Searching. The album was a departure from Shannon's usual style, with songs like Silver Birch (about a girl whose wedding plans came to nothing) replacing the usual "I'm the victim here" types of songs Shannon was famous for. Westover (Shannon's birth name) takes a more subdued, yet rich, vocal approach on songs like the self-penned I Think I Love You, resulting in one of the most underrated (and unheard) tracks of the psychedelic era.

Artist:      Rolling Stones
Title:     The Last Time
Source:      Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1965
     Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Hey Gyp
Source:     LP: The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals-Vol II (originally released on US-only LP: Animalism)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1966
     Shortly before the original Animals disbanded in 1966, M-G-M Records collected several songs that had yet to be issued in the US and put out an album called Animalism (not to be confused with Animalisms, a UK album from earlier that year). One of the more outstanding tracks on that album was Hey Gyp, a cover of a Donovan tune that almost seems like it was written with Eric Burdon's voice in mind.

Artist:     Procol Harum
Title:     A Whiter Shade of Pale (alternate take)
Source:     British import CD: Procol Harum (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    Esoteric
Year:     1967
     Often credited as the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. The song itself hold the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves of the past 70 years. This version is much longer than the original recording, with a total running time of just over six minutes. It was sent in by a listener, so I really have no way to confirm this, but I believe it to be an early take of the song, issued as a bonus track on the 2015 remastered version of the album on the Esoteric label.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    Blue Jack Of Diamonds
Source:    Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft: H. P. Lovecraft/H. P. Lovecraft II
Writer(s):    Jeff Boyan
Label:    Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Products (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    New member Jeff Boyan took the spotlight on Blue Jack Of Diamonds, his only songwriting credit with H.P. Lovecraft. Boyan had replaced Former Shadows Of Knight bassist Jerry McGeorge prior to the recording of H.P. Lovecraft II, which was released in 1968. A lack of commercial success caused the band to call it quits the following year.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Before The Beginning
Source:    CD: Then Play On
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Fleetwood Mac's third album, Then Play On, was the first Fleetwood Mac album to include guitarist Danny Kirwan, and was the second to feature a guest appearance by keyboardist Christine Perfect, who would eventually marry bassist John McVie and become a full-time member of the band. Perhaps more importantly, however, Then Play On was also the final album to include the band's founder, guitarist Peter Green. Nearly half the songs on the album were written by Green, including the haunting final track, Before The Beginning.

Artist:    Syd Barrett
Title:    No Good Trying
Source:    British import CD: Insane Times (originally released on LP: The Madcap Laughs)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    After parting company with Pink Floyd in 1968, Syd Barrett made an aborted attempt at recording a solo album. After spending several months in psychiatric care, Barrett resumed work on the project in April of 1969, recording the basic tracks for songs such as It's No Good Trying with producer Malcolm Jones. In May of 1969 Barrett brought in three members of the Soft Machine to record overdubs for several songs, including No Good Trying (the "It's" having mysteriously disappeared from the song title). Barrett then added some backwards guitar, and the final track appeared on his 1970 LP The Madcap Laughs.

Artist:    Arthur Conley
Title:    Sweet Soul Music
Source:    Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974 Volume 6 1966-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Redding/Conley
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Arthur Conley began performing professionally while still in his teens, but had his greatest success at the age of 21, when he and fellow Georgia native Otis Redding reworked Sam Cooke's Yeah Man (which had been released posthumously) into a song they called Sweet Soul Music. The upbeat tune, which became an instant staple of cover bands, namechecks several R&B stars of the time, including Lou Rawls, James Brown and Redding himself. Sweet Sould music was Conley's greatest success, going to the #2 spot on both the top 40 and Soul charts in the US and making the top 10 in the UK as well. In the 1980s Conley moved to the Netherlands and finished out his career as Lee Roberts. He died in 2003.

Artist:      Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Astro Man
Source:      CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: The Cry Of Love)
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1971
     A little known fact about Jimi Hendrix is that he was a comic book fan. Astro Man, from the 1971 LP The Cry Of Love, reflects that aspect of the man. The track, recorded in 1970, features Billy Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Juma Sultan on additional percussion.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Fire
Source:    Simulated stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original British label: Track)
Year:    1967
    Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Although never released as a single, Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener.
   
Artist:      Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Earth Blues
Source:      CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1971
    Earth Blues was first recorded in December of 1969 by Band of Gypsys (Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox and Buddy Miles), but Hendrix was not satisfied with the recording, and returned to it the following year, adding guitar and vocal overdubs and a new drum track from Mitch Mitchell. Hendrix was unable to complete a master mix of the song, however, and it remained unfinished upon his death. In early 1971 engineers Eddie Kramer and John Jansen would finally create a master mix of Earth Blues for inclusion on the Rainbow Bridge LP.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Stoned Woman/Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Source:    LP: Ssssh!
Writer(s):    Lee/Williamson
Label:    Deram
Year:    1969
    Alvin Lee's band Ten Years After already had three albums out by the time they made a huge splash at Woodstock in 1969. Their fourth LP, Ssssh! was released that same year, and was soon climbing the album charts, despite getting little airplay on US radio stations. The best known track was a hard rocking version of the Sonny Boy Williamson blues classic Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, which had already been covered by several rock bands. Unlike previous versions, the TYA Schoolgirl was built around a driving repeated bass line and featured an extended instrumental section that stayed on the main chord rather than following the song's regular progression. The first power trio I played bass in (as a Junior in high school) covered this tune. Dave the guitarist always looked right at his girlfriend Jeannie as he sang the line " I wanna baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal you" over and over. Ah, the memories of youth.Good Morning Little Schoolgirl is preceeded on the LP by a Lee composition, Stoned Woman, with some strange little percussion (or maybe electronic) effects connecting the two.

Artist:    Kak
Title:    Bryte 'N' Clear Day
Source:    British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Writer(s):    Yoder/Grelecki
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    The origins of the band called Kak are a bit on the strange side. Gary Lee Yoder's popular Oxford Circle had just broken up when a guy named Gary Grelecki walked up to the singer/songwriter/guitarist and introduced himself, telling him how much he liked the Oxford Circle and adding that he could get him a record deal with CBS. Yoder, somewhat naively, gave Grelecki his phone number, and a couple months later received a call from Grelecki saying he had landed him a contract with the Epic label. Yoder, not quite knowing whether the offer was for real or not, nonetheless recruited his former bandmate Dehner Patton to play lead guitar. Patton, in turn, brought in percussionist Chris Lockheed, who already knew Yoder from doing some TV production work. In early 1968 they recruited drummer Joe-Dave Damrell, and Kak was born (the name coming from college professor Dan Phillips, who had come up with the concept of Kak as being something like a joker in a deck of cards that could mean anything you want it to. Around this time Yoder learned that Grelecki's father was in the CIA, and actually did have contacts at Columbia Records, using record distribution outlets in the Far East as fronts for various covert activities. The new band got to work on their debut LP, releasing it in 1969. Yoder wrote all the band's material, mostly by himself, but sometimes in collaboration with Grelecki on songs such as Bryte 'N' Clear, a tune that sounds like it could have come from a 70s Texas boogie band like ZZ Top.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    How Many More Times
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:     Leigh Stephens
Title:     Drifting
Source:     LP: Red Weather
Writer:     Leigh Stephens
Label:     Philips
Year:     1969
     After two albums lead guitarist Leigh Stephens left Blue Cheer to work on solo projects. The resulting album, Red Weather, was recorded in England and included some of the UK's top session players such as Nicky Hopkins. Drifting, a semi-acoustic instrumental piece, is stylistically worlds away from the proto-metal sound of Blue Cheer. To my knowledge Red Weather has never been issued on CD (at least not in the US).

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Street Worm
Source:    CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1970
    Spirit guitarist Randy California got an opportunity to channel one of his personal heroes, saxophonist John Coltrane, on Jay Ferguson's Street Worm on the 1970 album Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus. It is particularly noticable on the arpeggios at the end of the track.

Artist:     Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title:     You Don't Have To Cry
Source:     CD: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Writer:    Stephen Stills
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1969
     After the breakup of Buffalo Springfield in 1968, Stephen Stills spent some time in the studio cutting demo tapes as well as pitching in to help his friend Al Kooper complete the Super Session album when guitarist Mike Bloomfield became incapacitated by his heroin addiction. He then started hanging out at David Crosby's place in Laurel Canyon. Joined by Graham Nash, who had recently left the Hollies, they recorded the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. Several of the tunes Stills had penned since the Springfield breakup were included on the album, including You Don't Have To Cry. The song addresses his own breakup with singer Judy Collins.

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:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    White Rabbit
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1824 (starts 6/13/18)



    This week's show can be looked at as a series of blocks. The first four songs have been played at least once on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion (although none of them have appeared on our sister show, Stuck in the Psychedelic Era). The next five tracks are making their HermitRadio debut, while the final four have been played on one show or the other over the years. As to which is which here's a clue: the last three have never been played on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    déjà vu
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    One of the biggest selling albums in the history of rock music, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young's déjà vu was also one of the most difficult and time-consuming albums ever made. It is estimated that the album, which to date has sold over 8 million copies, took around 800 hours of studio time to record. Most of the tracks were recorded as solo tracks by their respective songwriters, with the other members making whatever contributions were called for. The album also features several guest musicians (including John Sebastian, who plays harmonica on the title track), as well as drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves, whose names appear in slightly smaller font on the front cover of the album.

Artist:    Paul McCartney And Wings
Title:    Jet
Source:    CD: Wings Greatest (originally released on LP: Band On The Run)
Writer(s):    Paul and Linda McCartney
Label:    Capitol (original label: Apple)
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:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Sometime World
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    Guitarist Andy Powell shines on Sometime World from the third Wishbone Ash album, Argus. The song, about missed opportunities and second chances, starts quietly, building slowly to become a powerful rocker over the course of nearly seven minutes. Although the song was seldom performed live, Powell has since stated that Sometime World is his favorite track on Argus.

Artist:    Rare Bird
Title:    Birdman-Part One (Title #1 Again)
Source:    45 RPM promo (stereo side)
Writer(s):    Kaffinetti/Karos/Curtis/Kelly/Gould
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1972
    The appropriately named Rare Bird was never very popular in their native England. None of their albums charted there, and they only had one charted single that went to the #27 spot in 1969. They were much more successful in continental Europe, however. That same single, Sympathy, was an international hit, selling a million copies worldwide and hitting the #1 spot in both France and Italy. By the time the Rare Bird's third LP, Epic Forest, was released, the band had gone through several personnel changes, including the loss of the group's founder, keyboardist Graham Field. In the US the band got some airplay on college radio stations, but was virtually ignored by mainstream US listeners. I did manage to find a copy of Birdman-Part One (Title #1 Again), the single from the Epic Forest album in a thrift store many years ago. It's really quite listenable.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title:    Brain Salad Surgery
Source:    Stereo European import 7" 33 1/3 RPM one-sided EP (on clear vinyl yet!) (originally released in UK as flexi-disc magazine insert)
Writer(s):    Emerson/Lake/Sinfield
Label:    BMG (original label NME)
Year:    1973
    Sometimes things don't go quite as planned. In 1973 Emerson, Lake & Palmer set out to make their fourth studio LP. They decided to call it Brain Salad Surgery, and recorded a song of the same name to use as a title track. Then came Karn Evil 9, a massive three-part piece running nearly 30 minutes in length that became the album's showpiece. That left very little room for other tunes, and the title track itself was cut from the song lineup. That wasn't the end of the story, however. Around the same time the album was released, the song appeared as a one-sided flexi-disc insert in the latest issue of New Music Express, a British trade magazine. The following year it was released as a promotional single (with Still...You Turn Me On as a B side) to US radio stations on the Atlantic label. The song did not get an official release, however, until 1977, when it appeared on the album Works, volume 2, and as the B side of Fanfare Of The Common Man. 

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    Gypsy
Source:    LP: Uriah Heep
Writer(s):    Byron/Box
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1970
    Gypsy, the first track on the first Uriah Heep album was also the first Heep song I ever heard. Apparently the rock press hated the song, the album, and the band itself, but it turns out that 1970 was a good year to be hated by the rock press. Just look at how things turned out for Grand Funk Railroad. For that matter, Uriah Heep didn't do too badly over the next few years, either. Maybe that's why Rolling Stone magazine turned to politics: much easier to get away with being totally wrong about something, and when you're right everybody praises you for your journalistic integrity.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Super Trouper
Source:    Japanese import CD: Who Do We Think We Are
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Super Trouper is the shortest track on Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are. It is also one of their most obscure songs. Enjoy.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Hot Water
Source:    LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Yeazel
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1970
    Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Robert Yeazel joined Sugarloaf right after their first album was released, strengthening an already solid lineup. He contributed to many of the tracks on the band's second LP, Spaceship Earth, among them Hot Water, which he co-wrote with keyboardist (and band leader) Jerry Corbetta.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Prodigal Son
Source:    Austrian import CD: Johnny Winter And
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Following the release of the 1969 album Second Winter, guitarist/vocalsit Johnny Winter disbanded his group in favor of a whole new lineup, retaining only his brother Edgar on keyboards for the album Johnny Winter And. Prodigal Son, a Winter original, shows the band gravitating more toward hard rock, a direction Edgar (and second guitarist Rick Derringer) would continue in when Johnny returned to his blues roots an album or two down the line.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Lady Love
Source:    LP: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    It says a lot about the quality of an album like Robin Trower's Bridge Of Sighs that even one of the weaker tracks like Lady Love is worth listening to. Like many hot guitarists, Trower did not do his own singing on the album. Vocals were provided by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote Lady Love.

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Woman
Source:     CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer:     Fox/Peters/Walsh
Label:     MCA
Year:     1970
     During my senior year of high school I often found myself hanging out at this sort of coffee house in Alamogordo, NM, whose name I have long since forgotten. The place had a room with an old console stereo in it, and a stack of half a dozen albums that someone had donated. Side one of James Gang Rides Again must have been played a hundred times on that thing, often over and over when everybody was too stoned to get up to change the record. By the time I graduated I knew every word of Woman, as well as every other song on that side of the album, by heart.

Artist:    Three Dog Night
Title:    Liar
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Russ Ballard
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1971
    Before the Beatles came along a typical pop group consisted of three or more vocalists backed by studio musicians and performing material provided by professional songwriters. In a sense Three Dog Night was a throwback to that earlier model, as the group was formed around a nucleus of three vocalists: Chuck Negron, Cory Wells and Danny Hutton. Unlike the early 60s groups, however, Three Dog Night chose to hire a fixed set of instrumentalists to both play on their records and perform live material (most of which did indeed come from professional songwriters). One of their many hit singles was Liar, a song written by Argent's lead vocalist Russ Ballard and originally released on that group's 1970 debut LP. The Three Dog Night version went into the US top 10 in 1971.

Artist:     Blues Image
Title:     Ride Captain Ride
Source:     CD: Open
Writer:     Blues Image
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:     1970
     After having mild commercial success with their self-titled debut album in 1969, Blues Image deliberately set out to write a hit song for their second LP, Open. The result was Ride Captain Ride, which made the top 40 in 1970. The album itself, however, did not do as well as its predecessor, and was the last one issued by the band's original lineup.
 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1823 (starts 6/6/18)



    This week's show is full of all kinds of interesting possibilities. Really.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those assessments.

Artist:     Brogues
Title:     I Ain't No Miracle Worker
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Tucker/Mantz
Label:     Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:     1965
     Over a year before the Electric Prunes recorded I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), the songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz came up with a song that has come to be regarded as a garage-punk classic. I Ain't No Miracle Worker, recorded by the Merced, California band the Brogues, was a modest regional hit in 1965. Brogues vocalist/guitarist Gary Cole (using the name Gary Duncan) and drummer Greg Elmore would resurface a few months later in San Francisco as founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Try To Understand
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    The Seeds' first recording session of 1966 resulted in the band's third single, Try To Understand. By this point in the band's career lead vocalist Sky Saxon was no longer playing bass in the studio, although he continued to play the instrument onstage. At Saxon's request, Harvey Sharpe of the Beau-Jives, a popular Los Angeles band that occasionally appeared at Gene Norman's Crescendo Club (Norman also being the owner of the GNP Crescendo record label that the Seeds recorded for) joined the group in the studio, along with guitarist Vinnie Fanelli. The song was not able to get much airplay when released as an A side in February of 1966, and subsequently was chosen as the B side of the re-released version of Pushin' Too Hard later the same year, which ended up being the group's biggest hit. The song also appeared as the opening track of side two of the Seeds' debut LP.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Daily Planet
Source:    CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    The closest Love ever got to a stable lineup was in early 1967, when the group consisted of multi-instrumentalist and band leader Arthur Lee, lead guitarist Johnny Echols, rhythm guitarist Bryan MacLean, bassist Ken Forssi and drummer Michael Stuart. This group, along with "Snoopy" Pfisterer on keyboards and Tjay Cantrelli on flute and saxophone, had completed the De Capo album in late 1966 and were firmly entrenched as the top-drawing band on the Sunset Strip. There were drawbacks, however. Then, as now, Los Angeles was the party capitol of the world, and the members of Love, as kings of the Strip, had easy access to every vice they could imagine. This became a serious problem when it was time to begin working on the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Both Lee and MacLean had new material ready to be recorded, but getting the other members into the studio was proving to be impossible, so the two songwriters decided to take matters into their own hands and brought in some of L.A.'s top studio musicians to begin work on the album. The move turned out to be a wake up call for the rest of the band, who were able to get their act together in time to finish the album themselves. Lee and MacLean, however, chose to keep the two tracks that they had completed using studio musicians. One of those was a Lee composition, The Daily Planet. Ken Forssi later claimed that bassist Carol Kaye was having problems with the song and Forssi himself ended up playing on the track, but there is no way now to verify Forssi's claim.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    John's Children
Title:    Desdemona
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Track)
Year:    1967
    After a pair of failed singles, the Ashtead, Surrey band known as John's Children brought in a new lead guitarist, Marc Bolan, who wrote their third release, Desdemona. Although Desdemona was indeed a much stronger song than the band's earlier efforts, it found itself banned by the BBC for the line "lift up your skirt and fly". Since by the BBC-1 was the only legal top 40 station left operating in the UK (Radio Luxembourg being on the continent), the song did not get heard by most British listeners. Bolan soon left the group to form his own psychedelic folk band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, with percussionist Steve Peregrine Took.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    I'm Mad Again
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released on LP: The Animals)
Writer(s):    John Lee Hooker
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1964
    It's no secret that many of the British Invasion bands were fans of American rhythm and blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker. The Animals, in particular, preferred playing blues cover tunes to the hit songs being given to them by producer Mickey Most, both on vinyl and in concert. Their 1964 debut LP included tunes originally recorded by such notables as Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Nappy Brown, among others. One of the best of these was their version of a 1961 John Lee Hooker tune called I'm Mad Again. The song was not a huge hit for Hooker, yet the Animals version was deemed good enough for inclusion on their first greatest hits collection, released in 1965 on the M-G-M label.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:      Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     Kicks
Source:      Simulated stereo LP: Midnight Ride (originally released as 45 RPM single)
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 five years later.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     White Rabbit
Source:     European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     Sony Music (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1967
     The first time I heard Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane. Not that the Airplane ever suffered from lack of exposure...

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

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Death Don't Have No Mercy
Source:    LP: Live Dead
Writer(s):    Rev. Gary Davis
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    Prior to 1969, the recording quality of live albums was noticably inferior to that of studio recordings by the same artist, particularly among rock bands. The Grateful Dead, however, set out to change all that with their 1969 double LP Live Dead. The band's previous album, had gone way over budget, and the band's label, Warner Brothers, wanted the band itself to help pay for it. By providing a double-LP live album at virtually no additional cost, the Dead would be able to give Warner three discs for the price of onegetting themselves out of debt in the process. The fact that the album itself sold quite well certainly didn't hurt the band's relationship with the label, either. Much of the credit for the album's success was due to the efforts of the band's legendary soundman, Owsley "Bear" Stanley. Bear began by asking electronics designer Ron Wickersham to come up with a microphone splitter that could feed signals to the PA system and the recording console simultaneously without any loss in sound quality. Just as important was the availability of a new state-of-the art Ampex 16-track recorder. Live Dead would be the first live performance ever recorded using 16-track equipment.The album was recorded over a period of about a week at two locations: the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore West. The fourth side of the album, which includes the Dead's version of Rev. Gary Davis's Death Don't Have No Mercy, was recorded on March 2, 1969 at the Fillmore West, the final recording date.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Anji
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Davey Graham
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon wrote nearly all the material that he and Art Garfunkel recorded. One notable exception is Davey Graham's instrumental Anji, which Simon played as a solo acoustic piece on the Sounds Of Silence. The song immediately follows a Simon composition, Somewhere They Can't Find Me, that is built around a similar-sounding guitar riff, making Anji sound somewhat like an instrumental reprise of the first tune.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Angel
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: The Cry Of Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    Shortly after the untimely death of Jimi Hendrix in September of 1970, Reprise released the first of many posthumous Hendrix albums, The Cry Of Love. Like millions of other Hendrix fans, I immediately went out and bought a copy. I have to say that there are very few songs that have ever brought tears to my eyes, and even fewer that did so on my very first time hearing them. Of these, Angel tops the list.
       
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice
Source:    Simulated stereo Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released in Europe and the UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1967
    The fourth single released in Europe and the UK by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was 1967's Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, which appeared in stereo the following year on the album Electric Ladyland. The B side of that single was a strange bit of psychedelia called The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice, which is also known in some circles as STP With LSD. The piece features Hendrix on guitar and vocals, with background sounds provided by a cast of at least dozens. Hendrix's vocals are spoken rather than sung, and resemble nothing more than a cosmic travelogue with Hendrix himself as the tour guide. Unfortunately the only US release of the song is a remix in which the vocal track tends to get buried under everything else. Still, it's a (dare I say it) trippy little number that's fun to listen to.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them have become better known than the original Dylan versions. Probably the most notable of these is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.

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:    Traffic
Title:    Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood/Mason
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    For many years I was completely oblivious to the existence of a movie called Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush. The Traffic song of the same name, however, has been a favorite of mine for quite some time (I have black and white video footage of the band performing the song on some old British TV show). The song was released as a single in 1967 and was not included on either the US or UK version of the Mr. Fantasy album (originally known in the US as Heaven Is In Your Mind). It is now available, however, as a bonus track on both the mono (Mr. Fantasy) and stereo (Heaven Is In Your Mind) versions of the CD.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Pretty Ballerina
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Sommer/Brown/Lookofsky
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Miss Amanda Jones
Source:    CD: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The only thing I have to say about Miss Amanda Jones is that it is one of my favorite tracks on the 1967 Rolling Stones album Between The Buttons. Come to think of it, that kind of says it all, anyway.

Artist:    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:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Get Me To The World On Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Jones
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    With I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) climbing the charts in early 1967, the Electric Prunes turned to songwriter Annette Tucker for two more tracks to include on their debut LP. One of those, Get Me To The World On Time (co-written by lyricist Jill Jones) was selected to be the follow up single to Dream. Although not as big a hit, the song still did respectably on the charts (and was actually the first Electric Prunes song I ever heard on FM radio).

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    My first impression of Deep Purple was that they were Britain's answer to the Vanilla Fudge. After all, both bands had a big hit in 1968 with a rearranged version of someone else's song from 1967 (Vanilla Fudge with the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On and Deep Purple with Billy Joe Royal's Hush). Additionally, both groups included a Beatles cover on their debut LP (Fudge: Ticket To Ride, Purple: Help). Finally, both albums included a depressing Cher cover song. In the Vanilla Fudge case it was one of her biggest hits, Bang Bang. Deep Purple, on the other hand, went with a song that was actually more closely associated with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (although Cher did record it as well): Hey Joe. The Deep Purple version of the Billy Roberts classic (originally credited to the band on the label itself), is probably the most elaborate of the dozens of recorded versions of the song (which is up there with Louie Louie in terms of quantity), incorporating sections of the Miller's Dance (by Italian classical composer Manuel de Falla), as well as an extended instrumental section, making the finished track over seven and a half minutes long.

Title:    Down By The River
Source:    LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Down By The River is one of four songs on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere that Neil Young wrote while running a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 39.5 degrees for people in civilized nations that use the Celsius, aka centrigrade, scale). By some strange coincidence, they are the four best songs on the album. I wish I could have been that sick in my days as a wannabe rock star.

Artist:    American Dream
Title:    Raspberries
Source:    LP: The American Dream
Writer(s):    Van Winkle/Jameson
Label:    Ampex
Year:    1970
    OK, I have to admit that I know very little about the album and band called The American Dream, which was included as an unexpected free gift that came along with a vintage vinyl copy of an album I bought online. Here's what I do know. The American Dream was from Philadelphia. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren. In fact, it was his first time producing a group that he himself was not a member of. Finally, these guys were actually pretty good. How good? Well, take a listen to the album's final (and longest) track, Raspberries, and decide for yourself.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1823 (starts 6/6/18)


    Once again we only have half a dozen tracks. Interestingly, four of them are under five minutes in length. What does that tell you about the other two?

Artist:    Three Dog Night
Title:    Joy To The World
Source:    Mono CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1971 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hoyt Axton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1970
    Rock and country music have always had a unique relationship. Some of the earliest rock stars either came from a country background (like Elvis Presley) or ended up having a career in country music (such as most of Presley's labelmates at Sun Records). In fact, it could be argued that rock 'n' roll was as much a child of country and western music (as it was then called) as it was of rhythm and blues (called race music in the 40s and early 50s). By the late 1960s, however, rock and country had come to represent opposing sides in a growing generation gap, with country the preferred choice of many older, more conservative Americans, while rock was becoming the music of choice of the anti-establishment youth of the time. This distinction, however, was not as strongly felt among the musicians themselves. In fact, one of the musical trends of the early 1970s was country-rock, pioneered by bands like the Byrds (post David Crosby) and Poco. Many country artists scored hits on the country charts with their own versions of rock hits, and, on occasion, a country song would cross over and become a top 40 hit (Roger Miller's King Of The Road being a prime example). Some artists were themselves hard to define. Hoyt Axton, a folk singer whose style reflected his Oklahoma roots, was popular among the country crowd, yet some of his songs, such as The Pusher, resonated with the underground rock audience as well. His biggest crossover hit, however, was a song he wrote in 1970 called Joy To The World. The Three Dog Night recording of the song was, in fact, the #1 song of the year 1971. Axton would continue to have a successful career as a songwriter for many years, sometimes even as a recording artist, as was the case with Bony Fingers (with Renee Armand), a top 10 country hit in 1974.

Artist:    T. Rex
Title:    Bang A Gong (Get It On)
Source:    LP: Electric Warrior
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    My memories of my senior year of high school are somewhat spotty. Some things I remember quite vividly, yet have forgotten the context that those memories reside in. For instance, I clearly remember being at my friend Dave's cheap apartment in early 1971 in Alamogordo, NM, listening to the Tyrannosaurus Rex album Unicorn on an even cheaper stereo. What I don't remember is how I got to Dave's cheap apartment that particular night or whether I crashed there or went back to my parent's house. For that matter, I don't even remember if anyone else was there or not that night, not even Dave's kind-of girlfriend, who came and went as she pleased anyway. I do remember, however, discussing with Dave how strange this psychedelic folk music with fantasy-based lyrics sounded compared to rock bands like the Allman Brothers, Ten Years After and Santana, and in particular how weird the singer's voice sounded to us. To us, it was truly underground stuff along the lines of the Incredible String Band, with no commercial potential. Imagine my surprise when, a few months later, I heard that same weird voice on top 40 radio singing Bang A Gong (Get It On). It turns out that Marc Bolan had originally been a lead guitarist with a psychedelic band called John's Children, but had hooked up with drummer Steve Peregrine Took to form Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967, eschewing electric instruments entirely for three albums' worth of material, the third of which was the aforementioned Unicorn. The two of them had a falling out, however, with Took moving on to other things while a newly re-electrified Bolan added new members and shortened the name of the group to T. Rex. From 1970 to 1973 T. Rex scored 11 consecutive top 10 singles on the British charts, four of them (including Get It On) going to the #1 spot. The actual title of the song, incidentally is Get It On, but, due to a band called Chase having a US hit with a song called Get It On in 1971, it was decided to retitle the tune Bang A Gong (Get It On) for its US release.

Artist:     Blind Faith
Title:     Well, All Right
Source:     CD: Blind Faith
Writer:     Petty/Holly/Allison/Mauldin
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:     1969
     Supergroup Blind Faith was made up of members of Cream (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker), Family (Rick Grech) and Traffic (Steve Winwood). The group only recorded one LP before disbanding, and almost all of the material on that album was written by members of the band. The lone exception was a heavily-modified arrangement of Buddy Holly's Well All Right, which sounds more like a Traffic song than any other track on the LP.

Artist:    Rascals
Title:    Peaceful World
Source:    LP: Peaceful World
Writer(s):    Felix Cavaliere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Young Rascals, in a very real way, ceased to exist with the departure of vocalist Eddie Brigati and guitarist Gene Cornish in 1970. The band had officially shortened its name to the Rascals a couple of years earlier and had been steadily moving away from its trademark blue-eyed soul sound and incorporating elements of jazz, funk and other musical disciplines on its final albums for the Atlantic label. Keyboardist/vocalist Felix Cavaliere, however, still had musical ideas to share, and set about recruiting new members for the eighth Rascals album, Peaceful World, including guitarist Buzz Feiten, who had just finished a stint with the Butterfield Blues Band, and wind player Joe Farrell, who would go on to be a member of Chick Corea's band Return To Forever. Soul music in general was undergoing a transition from the dance-oriented pop hits from Motown and Memphis to a more sophisticated sound, as represented by Marvin Gaye's landmark LP What's Going On and albums from west coast bands like Malo and Tower Of Power. Peaceful World was the first Rascals album not to be released on the Atlantic label. The Columbia release was also the first (and only) double LP by the Rascals, with several extended jams, including the title track, which features two solos each by Cavaliere (one on guitar and one on keyboards) and Farrell (flute and saxophone), and takes up the entire fourth side of the album. Unfortunately, the album did not find a large audience, and after one more LP the Rascals officially disbanded.

Artist:     Pentangle
Title:     Jack Orion
Source:     European import CD: Cruel Sister
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Pentangle
Label:     Castle (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1970
     The showpiece of the 1970 Pentangle album Cruel Sister was this 18 1/2 minute version of the old English folk song Jack Orion. Done in a theme and variations type of format favored by classical composers, this song was first recorded by Pentangle member Bert Jansch on a solo LP.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Friend Of The Devil
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: American Beauty)
Writer(s):    Garcia/Dawson/Hunter
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The Grateful Dead spent three years and four albums trying to capture the energy of their live performances on vinyl. Having finally succeeded with the 1969 Live Dead album the group began to focus more on their songwriting capabilities. The result was two outstanding studio albums, both released in 1970: Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. Of the two, American Beauty is made up almost entirely of songs played on acoustic instruments, including pedal steel guitar, which was played by Jerry Garcia. One of the best-known tracks on American Beauty is Friend Of The Devil, which lyricist Robert Hunter referred to as "the closest we've come to what may be a classic song."