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...
Source: European import LP: Revolver
Writer(s): George Harrison
The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney, whose own style had a harder edge (and considerably less finesse) than Harrison's.
Title: Heinz Baked Beans/Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out
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)
Label: Flawed Gems (original label: Buddah)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
Title: The Crystal Ship
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: The Doors
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
Label: BGO (original label: Liberty)
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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.
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
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
Label: Atlantic (original label: Atco)
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)
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
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)
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)
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!
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.
Title: Bryte 'N' Clear Day
Source: British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Epic)
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)
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
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
Source: LP: Red Weather
Writer: Leigh Stephens
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).
Title: Street Worm
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
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
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)
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)
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.