Sunday, July 15, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1829 (starts 7/18/18)


    This week we have running hot and cool tunes to beat the heat, including sets from Cream and the Rolling Stones. First up: the Seeds.

 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:    Beatles
Title:    For No One
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    With the predominance of the keyboards and french horn in the mix, For No One (essentially a Paul McCartney solo number) shows just how far the Beatles had moved away from their original image as a "guitar band" by the time they recorded the Revolver album in 1966.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    She May Call You Up Tonight
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash
Year:    1967
    Unlike their first two singles, Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina, the Left Banke's third single, She May Call You Up Tonight, failed to chart, possibly due to the release two months earlier of a song called Ivy Ivy, written by keyboardist Michael Brown and shown on the label as being by the Left Banke. Ivy Ivy was in reality performed entirely by session musicians, including lead vocals by Bert Sommer, who would be one of the acoustic acts on the opening afternoon of the Woodstock festival a couple years later. The resulting fued between Brown and the rest of the band left a large number of radio stations gun shy when came to any record with the name Left Banke on the label, and She May Call You Up Tonight tanked.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native) (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop
Writer(s):    Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    A minor, but notable trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) was the single from that album, peaking in the lower reaches of the Hot 100 charts.

Artist:    Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Title:    Konekuf
Source:    LP: Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Writer(s):    Manfred Mann
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1969
    In 1969, following a series of highly successful singles in the UK (including the international smashes Do Wah Diddy Diddy and The Mighty Quinn), keyboardist Manfred Mann decided to disband the group that shared his name and move in a new, more progressive musical direction. The new group, called Manfred Mann Chapter Three showed strong jazz influences, especially on the freeflowing,yet low key Konekuf, one of the few instrumentals on the LP.  Although Manfred Mann Chapter Three was not a major commercial success, it did set the stage for Mann's next group, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, which had a major hit in 1975 with Blinded By The Light.

Artist:     Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Sin's A Good Man's Brother
Source:     CD: Closer To Home
Writer:     Mark Farner
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1970
     Flint, Michigan, in the mid-1960s was home to a popular local band called Terry Knight and the Pack. In 1969 pack guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer hooked up with Mel Schacher, former bassist for ? and the Mysterians to form Grand Funk Railroad, with Terry Knight himself managing and producing the new band. With a raw, garage-like sound played at record high volume, Grand Funk immediately earned the condemnation of virtually every rock critic in existence. Undeterred by bad reviews, the band took their act to the road, foregoing the older venues such as ballrooms and concert halls and booking entire sports arenas for their concerts. In the process they almost single-handedly created a business model that continues to be the industry standard. Grand Funk Railroad consistently sold out all of their performances for the next two years, earning no less than three gold records in 1970 alone. The third of these was Closer To Home, which opens with Sin's A Good Man's Brother, a Farner composition.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Round And Round (It Won't Be Long)
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Round And Round, from Neil Young's 1969 album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, was actually written while Young was still a member of Buffalo Springfield. The song features guest vocalist Robin Lane, as well as the members of Crazy Horse.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Outside Woman Blues
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Arthur Reynolds
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Although Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, is best known for its psychedelic cover art and original songs such as Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses, the LP did have one notable blues cover on it. Outside Woman Blues was originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929 and has since been covered by a variety of artists including Van Halen, Johnny Winters, Jimi Hendrix and even the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Crossroads
Source:    CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer:    Robert Johnson
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Robert Johnson's Crossroads has come to be regarded as a signature song for Eric Clapton, who's live version (recorded at the Fillmore East) was first released on the Cream album Wheels Of Fire.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The album Fresh Cream was perhaps the first LP from a rock supergroup, although at the time a more accurate description would have been British blues supergroup. Much of the album was reworking of blues standards by the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, all of whom had established their credentials with various British blues bands. With Disraeli Gears, however, Cream showed a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown.

Artist:    Love
Title:    No. Fourteen
Source:    Mono CD: Love Story (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    With a title that is an obvious joke, No. 14 is among the most obscure of the original Love's recordings, having appeared on vinyl only as a B side to the 1966 single 7&7 Is and on a 1973 compilation album that was only released in Europe. At less than two minutes long, it would seem that the track's main objective was to make sure that disc jockeys didn't accidentally play the wrong side of the record.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     The Door Into Summer
Source:     LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Douglas/Martin
Label:     Colgems
Year:     1967
     After playing nearly all the instrumental tracks on their third album themselves, the Monkees came to the painful conclusion that they would not be able to repeat the effort and still have time to tape a weekly TV show. As a result, the fourth Monkees LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD., used studio musicians extensively, albeit under the creative supervision of the Monkees themselves. The group also had the final say over what songs ended up on the album, including The Door Into Summer. The tune was written by Bill Martin, a friend of band leader Michael Nesmith. For reasons that are too complicated to get into here (and probably wouldn't make much sense anyway), co-credit was given to the band's producer, Chip Douglas.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Blue Avenue
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    One of Boston's most popular bands, the Beacon Street Union, had already migrated to New York City by the time their first album, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union (produced by the legendary Tom Wilson), made its debut in February of 1968. The band itself was made up of Boston University dropouts John Lincoln Wright (lead vocals), Paul Tartachny (guitar, vocals), Robert Rhodes (keyboards, brass), Richard Weisberg (drums), and Wayne Ulaky (bass). Ulaky wrote what was probably the band's best-known song, Blue Avenue. The tune was particular popular in the UK, where it was often heard on John Peel's Top Gear program. The Beacon Street Union, however, fell victim to hype; in this case the ill-advised attempt on the part of M-G-M records to market several disparate bands as being part of the "boss-town sound". After a second LP, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (produced by future Partridge Family impressario Wes Farrell) failed to equal the somewhat limited success of their debut LP, the Beacon Street Union decided to call it quits.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Kozmic Blues
Source:    LP: I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama
Writer(s):    Joplin/Mekler
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    After she parted company with Big Brother and the Holding Company following the Cheap Thrills album, Janis Joplin got to work forming a new band that would come to be known as the Kozmic Blues Band. Unlike Big Brother, this new band included a horn section, and leaned more toward R&B than the earlier band's hard rocking sound. Joplin released only one studio album with the Kozmic Blues Band, 1969's I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama. Although the album sold well, it was savaged by the rock press. Still, there were some standout tracks on the album, including the title tune (of sorts), Kozmic Blues. Joplin made several live appearances with this group, including the Woodstock performing arts festival, before disbanding the unit in favor of a smaller group, the Full-Tilt Boogie Band.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Fool
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Yoder/Grelecki
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1970
    Following the departure of Randy Holden, who had himself replaced founding member Leigh Stephens, Blue Cheer decided to forego the power trio configuration of their first two and a half albums and instead go with a more melodic sound and shorter songs. To accomplish this, Bruce Stephens (no relation to Leigh) was brought in for one side of the third Blue Cheer album, The New Improved Blue Cheer. Stephens stayed with the band long enough to record the group's self-titled fourth LP, but even on that album his replacement, former Oxford Circle guitarist/vocalist Gary Lee Yoder, whose own band Kak was already disintegrating, made a guest appearance as a songwriter on two of the album's tracks. Cementing his relationship with the band even further, Yoder added a new lead vocal track to the single version of the album's opening track, Fool (which, being co-written by his Kak cohort Gary Grelecki, was probably intended to be recorded by Kak, had that band stayed together long enough to issue a second LP), making it considerably different (and much harder to find) than the original LP track. Yoder would officially replace Stephens as Blue Cheer's guitarist by the time sessions began for the band's fifth album.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Desperado
Source:    LP: Killer
Writer(s):    Cooper/Bruce
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Alice Cooper (the singer, not the band) has made conflicting statements concerning the inspiration/subject matter of Desperado, from the Killer album. In the liner notes of Fistful Of Alice (and elsewhere) the flamboyant vocalist said the song was written about his friend Jim Morrison, who died in 1971, the same year Killer was released. However, he has also said (in a radio interview) that the song was inspired by Robert Vaughn's character in the film The Magnificent Seven. Whatever the song's origins, Desperado has proved to be one of the band's most popular numbers, appearing on various greatest hits compilations over the years.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Masculine Intuition
Source:    CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    If you take out the cover songs that Original Sound Records added to the album without the band's knowledge or approval, Turn On The Music Machine has to be considered one of the best LPs of 1966. Not that the covers were badly done, but they were intended to be used for lip synching on a local TV show and were included without the knowledge or approval of the band, and that's never a good thing. Every one of the Sean Bonniwell originals on the other hand, combines strong musical structure and intelligent lyrics with musicianship far surpassing the average garage band. This is especially true in the case of Masculine Intuition, which was also issued as the B side of the band's second single.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Jigsaw Puzzle
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Jigsaw Puzzle, the longest track on the Beggar's Banquet album, comes across as a wry look at the inner workings of a rock and roll band like, say, the Rolling Stones. Founder Brian Jones's only contribution to the recording is some soaring mellotron work toward the end of the song. Not long after the track was recorded, Jones was fired from the band.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Connection
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Often dismissed as the beginning of a departure from their blues roots, the Rolling Stones first LP of 1967, Between The Buttons, actually has a lot of good tunes on it, such as Connection, a song with multiple meanings. Most studios at that time only had four tracks available and would use two tape machines to mix the first tracks recorded on one machine (usually the instrumental tracks) down to a single track on the other machine, freeing up the remaining tracks for overdubs. This process, known as "bouncing", sometimes happened two or three times on a single recording if extra overdubs were needed. Unfortunately each pass resulted in a loss of quality on the bounced tracks, especially if the equipment was not properly maintained. This is particularly noticeable on Connection, as the final mix seems to have lost most of its high and low frequencies, resulting in an unintentionally "lo-fi" recording.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Salt of the Earth
Source:     CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1968
     After scathing critical reviews and disappointing sales for their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones took a few months off to regroup. They returned to the studio with a new producer (Jimmy Miller, who had previously worked with Steve Winwood) and a back-to-basics approach that resulted in a new single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, followed by the release of the Beggar's Banquet album. The closing track of that album was Salt of the Earth, a song that started off sounding like a drinking song, gradually building up to a gospel-inflected fadeout.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original US 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, who now uses Hendrix's arrangement exclusively when he performs the song.

Artist:    Idle Race
Title:    Hurry Up John
Source:    British import CD: Insane times (originally released on LP: Idle Race)
Writer(s):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1969
    Virtually unknown in the US, the Idle Race released three LPs in the UK before frontman Jeff Lynne departed the group to join up with Roy Wood's band, the Move. Hurry Up John, a 1969 album track from the second Idle Race LP, is a classic sample of Britain's underground music scene.

Artist:    Action
Title:    Bustbin Full Of Rubbish
Source:    British import CD: Mighty Baby (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Ian Whiteman
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1993
    Although popular with the Mod crowd, the Action was never able to convert that popularity into chart success, despite releasing a series of singles on the Parlophone label from 1965-67. The band began going through changes in 1967, including the loss of lead vocalist Reg King and the addition of keyboardist/composer Ian Whiteman in 1967. After being dropped by Parlophone, the Action recorded a series of demos for Georgio Gomelski, who was in the process of setting up his new Marmalade label in 1968, but were unable to find any takers among the labels that existed at the time, and the recordings remained unreleased until the 1990s. Meanwhile, the Action finally changed its name to Mighty Baby in 1969, signing with the new Head label. Unfortunately, Head Records went belly up in 1970, and after releasing a second LP on the Blue Horizon label in 1971, the Action/Mighty Baby finally called it a day.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     Carte Blanche
Source:     LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     The liner notes on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's second album for Reprise included a line from band leader Bob Markley stating that the album was done exactly the way the band wanted it to be done, with no interference from the label. This is not difficult to believe when listening to Carte Blanche.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in 1967 by guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker in New York's Greenwich Village. The group, originally called the Lost Sea Dreamers, combined elements of folk, rock, jazz and country to create their own unique brand of psychedelic music. Their self-title debut album contained rock songs from both songwriters, with Walker's tunes leaning more toward folk and country while Bruno's contained elements of jazz, as can be heard on You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go. The band released a second album in early 1968 before splitting up, with Walker becoming a successful songwriter and Bruno hooking up with various jazz musicians over the next few years. Bassist Gary White also had some success as a songwriter, penning Linda Ronstadt's first solo hit, Long, Long Time.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     How Suite It Is
Source:     LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s): Kantner/Casady/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1967
     The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Casady's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Casady's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Expecting To Fly
Source:    CD: Retrospective-The Best Of Buffalo Springfield (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    The second Buffalo Springfield album saw the individual members of the band moving in different directions, sometimes even recording without their bandmates. This was particularly true for Neil Young, whose Expecting To Fly is essentially an orchestral piece arranged and co-produced by Jack Nitzsche that was originally intended for release as a Young single.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Summertime Blues/Shakin' All Over
Source:    LP: Live At Leeds
Writer(s):    Cochrane/Capehart/Kidd
Label:    Decca
Year:    1970
    The Who's 1970 LP Live At Leeds has been called the greatest rock concert album ever released. Although I'm not a great fan of live albums from the 1970s (due to poor recording quality), I have to admit that Live At Leeds certainly lives up to its hype. Maybe it's because most of the songs are unique to the album itself, such as Summertime Blues and Shakin' All Over, which close out the LP's first side. Both are cover songs that are transformed by the Who into something truly their own (in fact Summertime Blues was even released as a single).

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1829 (starts 7-18-18)



    It's the hottest month of the year for most of us, and what better way to open this week's show than with the Uriah Heep classic July Morning? From there we keep on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion until we finnaly end up going off to A Better Land with Brian Augur's Oblivion Express.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    July Morning
Source:    LP: Look At Yourself
Writer:    Hensley/Byron
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1971
    Fans of the British rock group Uriah Heep have an ongoing argument over which is the best Heep album; Demons And Wizards, featuring the band's biggest hit single, Easy Livin', or its immediate predecessor, Look At Yourself, which includes the 10 and a half minute long classic July Morning. Both albums feature strong vocals by David Byron and songwriting by keyboardist Ken Hensley, as well as tasty guitar licks from Mick Box. Rather than takes sides on this one, I'm just going to keep on playing tracks from all six early Uriah Heep albums.

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:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Handy
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    One of the first bands to feature two lead guitarists working in tandem, Wishbone Ash rose to fame as the opening act for Deep Purple in early 1970. After guitarist Andy Powell sat in with Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore during a sound check, Blackmore referred Wishbone Ash to MCA, the parent company of the US Decca label. The band's first LP came out in December of 1970, with several extended-length tracks like Handy showcasing the band's strengths. Although Wishbone Ash went on to become one of Britain's top rock bands of the 1970s, they were never as successful in the US, despite actually relocating to the States in 1973.

Artist:    Humble Pie
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    CD: Rock On
Writer(s):    Humble Pie (lyrics by Steve Marriott)
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    People who only know Humble Pie for the song 30 Days In The Hole might be surprised to learn that Peter Frampton was the band's original lead guitarist, who had left the band following the release of their fourth LP, Rock On. Frampton's work is on display on Rock On's longest track, a blues-rock piece called Strange Days that pointed the direction the band was moving in. Writing credits for Strange Days (no relation to the Doors song of the same name) are a bit unusual, in that the music is credited to the entire band as a single unit, but that the lyrics are credited solely to Steve Marriott, who, in addition to lead vocals would take on lead guitar duties with their next album, Smokin'.

Artist:    Nektar
Title:    A Tab In The Ocean
Source:    LP: A Tab In The Ocean
Writer(s):    Nektar
Label:    Passport (original German label: Bellaphon)
Year:    1972 (US release: 1976)
    On the surface it seems like a story you've heard before: a group of young British musicians go to Hamburg, Germany to hone their craft, building up a cult following in the process. But this story is not about the Beatles. It is about Nektar, formed in 1969 by Roye Albrighton on guitars and vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums, and Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and special effects. Nektar's early style is well represented on the title track of their second LP, A Tab In The Ocean, which takes up the entire first side of the album. The LP was originally released in Germany in 1972 on the Bellaphon label. Nektar would eventually become closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the early to mid 1970s, thanks in large part to A Tab In The Ocean finally being released in the US in 1976. Like fellow prog-rockers Genesis and Gentle Giant, Nektar began to commercialize their sound with shorter songs containing fewer time and key changes as the decade wore on; unlike those other bands, however, Nektar did not become more popular because of the changes. Indeed, by 1978, the band had decided to call it quits, although two of the members reformed the band briefly the following year, releasing one album in 1980 before disbanding again in 1982.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Spaceship Earth
Source:    LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer(s):    Robert Yeazel
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1971
    Although Denver's Sugarloaf (named for a nearby mountain and ski resort) was more of a blues-rock band than a psychedelic one, they did move into pretty interesting territory with the title track of their second album, Spaceship Earth. The tune, written by the band's newest member, guitarist Robert Yeazel, moves from a decidedly spacey opening through a slow buildup to a smooth jazz-rock instrumental showcasing the band's dual lead guitars from Yeazel and Bob Webber, as well as Jerry Corbetta's strong keyboards.

Artist:    Brian Auger's Oblivion Express
Title:    A Better Land
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: A Better Land)
Writer(s):    Gorrie/Mullen
Label:    Polydor (original US label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1971
    Brian Auger first started getting attention as a member of the legendary British R&B band Steampacket, which featured vocalists Julie Driscoll, Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry. Auger had already been known in jazz circles for his piano work, but in 1964 he decided to form his own rock band, Trinity, with guitarist John McLaughlin. The reuniting of Auger and Driscoll following the demise of Steampacket in 1966 led to the Brian Auger Trinity being one of the first band's signed to the Marmalade label in 1967. Driscoll stayed with the Trinity until 1969; the Trinity itself lasted another year before Auger decided to return to his jazz roots with his new band, Oblivion Express, in 1971. Brian Auger's Oblivion Express was one of the first bands to combine jazz and rock, as can be heard on the title track of their first album, A Better Land. The growing popularity of jazz-rock fusion in the mid-1970s prompted  Auger to relocate to the US, where he continues to record and perform.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1828 (starts 7/11/18)


A whole lotta tunes ranging from 1963 to 1970 from a whole lotta artists this week, including sets from the Beatles, Stones and Hendrix.    

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Little Child
Source:     Mono CD: With The Beatles (released in US on LP: Meet The Beatles)
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Apple/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:    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1968
    When Paul McCartney wrote the self-referential Silly Love Songs in the mid-1970s, he must have been thinking of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da from the White Album. It really doesn't get much sillier than this.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    All My Loving
Source:    CD: With The Beatles (released in US on LP: Meet The Beatles)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1963
    For some, the Beatles' making an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was proof enough that the Fab 4 had made it in the US. Still, it could be argued that Ed regularly featured second and even third tier acts on his show, so maybe that claim isn't quite strong enough. However, playing All My Loving, an album track, on the Ed Sullivan show in a time when singles ruled the airwaves, should convince even the most jaded skeptic that the Beatles had indeed "made it".

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Homeward Bound
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Following the success of Sounds Of Silence, Paul Simon And Art Garfunkel set about making an album of all new material (Sounds Of Silence had featured several re-recorded versions of tunes from the 1965 British album The Paul Simon Songbook). The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, one of the finest folk-rock albums ever recorded. The album contained several successful singles, including Homeward Bound.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Trip
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sundazed/Epic
Year:    1966
    Donovan had already established a reputation in his native Scotland as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, but had not had much success in the US, where his records were being released on the low-distribution Hickory label. That all changed in 1966, however, when he began to move beyond his folk roots and embrace a more electric sound. Unlike Dylan, who basically kept the same style as his acoustic songs, simply adding electic instruments, Donovan took a more holistic approach. The result was a body of music with a much broader range of sounds. The first of these new electric tunes was Sunshine Superman, sometimes cited as the first top 10 psychedelic hit. The B side of Sunshine Superman was a song called The Trip, which managed to be even more psychedelic than its A side. Both songs soon appeared on Donovan's major US label debut, an album that was not even released in the UK due to a contractual dispute between the singer/songwriter and Pye Records.

Artist:    Blues Proect
Title:    Alberta (alternate take)
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology
Writer(s):    traditional
Label:    Polydor
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1997
    Alberta is an old song, even by blues standards. In 1944 Mary Wheeler recorded the song, which she said was collected by Gabriel "Uncle Gabe" Hester as part of a group of songs dating back to the steamboat era. The Blues Project recorded their own version of the song on two different nights for their 1966 album Live At Cafe Au Go Go. The version heard here, featuring guitarist Danny Kalb on vocals, is the one not used on the original LP.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Mr. Webster
Source:     CD: Headquarters
Writer:     Boyce/Hart
Label:     Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:     1967
     After scathing criticism from the rock press for not playing their own instruments, the Monkees were determined to show that they could do it themselves with their third LP, Headquarters. One of the better, yet often overlooked tracks is Mr. Webster, a folk-rock song about an underappreciated bank security guard who decides to determine his own retirement bonus. Although their musicianship was nowhere near being on a level with the studio musicians who had played on their first two albums, the Monkees, in the words of Peter Tork, finally felt like a "real band". Unfortunately the damage to their reputations was already past the point of redemption, and subsequent LPs all used studio musicians, albeit under the direct supervision of the Monkees themselves.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    A Girl Like You
Source:    CD: Groovin'
Writer(s):    Cavaliere/Brigati
Label:    1967
Year:    Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
    A Girl Like You is the second of three songs on the Young Rascals' 1967 album Groovin' to make the top 10. Released on July 3, 1967, nearly a month ahead of the album itself, A Girl Like You peaked at #10 later that summer.

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

Artist:    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:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Chess Game
Source:    LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was driven by the dual creative talents of keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker. Although Walker went on to have the greatest success, it was Bruno's more jazz-influenced songwriting on songs like Chess Game that defined the band's sound.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Hey Grandma
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Miller/Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    One of the most talked-about albums to come from the San Francisco music scene in 1967 was Moby Grape's debut album. Unfortunately a lot of that talk was from Columbia Records itself, which resulted in the band getting a reputation for being overly hyped, much to the detriment of the band's future efforts. Still, that first album did have some outstanding tracks, including Hey Grandma, which opens side one of the LP.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Who Will You Be Tomorrow
Source:    LP: Feelings
Writer(s):    Entner/Grill
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1968
    In the mid-1960s an entire generation rebelled against the strict conformity that had characterized the previous decade. In fact, for a while there the only way to be considered cool was to be a non-conformist. I of course, as a high school underclassman, didn't see the irony in this until years later, being too busy trying to conform to the non-conformist image at the time. Two members of the Grass Roots however, guitarist Warren Entner and vocalist/bassist Rob Grill, did see the irony and in fact wrote a song about it. Who Will You Be Tomorrow appeared on the band's third LP, Feelings, and was chosen as the B side for their biggest hit, Midnight Confessions. Despite this, the song remains among the least known tracks recorded by the Grass Roots, possibly because Feelings did not yield any hit singles for the band and the album itself did not do well on the charts (in fact, it prompted their producer to wrest creative control from the band permanently and turn them into a light pop hit machine).

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:     Procol Harum
Title:     Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)
Source:     CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer:     Brooker/Reid
Label:     A&M
Year:     1968
      The last 16 months (more or less) I lived in Germany my family was given use of a basement room in the apartment building we lived in on Ramstein Air force Base. Such rooms were known as "maid's rooms," and ours became my bedroom, giving me a degree of privacy and freedom unknown to most 16-year-olds. I had one of those record players that would shut itself off when it got to the end of the record and I would always put an album on, turn off the light and let the music lull me into dreamland. My favorite album at that time was Procol Harum's Shine On Brightly, and I would usually put on side two of the LP, which opens with Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone). At the time I didn't realize that the song title was a reference to the British record label Procol Harum recorded for, Regal Zonophone, since my copy was released in Germany on the Polydor label. I still have that copy, although it is far too thrashed to play over the radio.

Artist:     Spirit
Title:     Straight Arrow
Source:     LP: Spirit
Writer:     Jay Ferguson
Label:     Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:     1968
     Spirit was born when high school students and garage rockers Randy California, Jay Ferguson, Mark Andes and John Locke started jamming with California's stepfather, jazz drummer Ed Cassidy. The result was one of the earliest examples of jazz-rock, although the jazz element would be toned down for later albums. Unlike the later fusion bands, Spirit's early songs tended to be sectional, with a main section that was straight rock often leading into a more late bop styled instrumental section reminiscent of Wes Montgomery's recordings. Vocalist Jay Ferguson wrote most of the band's early material, such as Straight Arrow from their 1968 debut album.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Ah Feel Like Ahcid
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Strictly Personal)
Writer(s):    Don Van Vliet
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Blue Thumb)
Year:    1968
    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band did a bit of label hopping before finally settling down with Frank Zappa's Straight Records in 1969. After cutting a few tracks for A&M in 1966 (only two of which were released), the band recorded Safe As Milk, the first LP to be issued on the new Buddah label in 1967. After Buddah passed on the band's next recordings, another new label, Blue Thumb, signed the group, issuing the album Strictly Personal in 1968. The band was still transitioning from its early slightly twisted take on the blues to its later avant-garde phase that the Captain and company would become famous for. Ah Feel Like Ahcid is a solid example of that transitional sound.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Big City Lights
Source:    LP: Getting To The Point
Writer(s):    Hall/Youlden
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    Savoy Brown's second LP, Getting To The Point, was a major departure from the band's 1967 debut album. Much of the credit for this change goes to new vocalist Chris Youlden, who co-wrote half of the songs on Getting To The Point, including Big City Lights, on which he collaborated with Bob Hall, the legendary boogie-woogie pianist that had also recently joined Savoy Brown as a full-time member(he had played on only three tracks on the band's first LP). Youlden would remain a member of Savoy Brown until 1970.

Artist:    Dave Clark Five
Title:    I Need Love
Source:    LP: The Dave Clark Five (originally released on LP: I Like It Like That)
Writer(s):    Dave Clark
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
    I have to admit that I was never a big Dave Clark Five fan. That said, there are a handful of DC5 tunes that really grab me. Among the best of those is I Need Love, a track from the 1966 album I Like It Like That. The song has more of a garage feel than the average DC5 song, which is probably why I like it so much.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    One of the most durable songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Ruby Tuesday was originally intended to be the B side of their 1967 single Let's Spend The Night Together. Many stations, however, balked at the subject matter of the A side and began playing Ruby Tuesday instead, which is somewhat ironic considering speculations as to the subject matter of the song (usually considered to be about a groupie of the band's acquaintance, although Mick Jagger has said it was about Keith Richards' ex-girlfriend).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    19th Nervous Breakdown
Source:    Mono CD: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    19th Nervous Breakdown is one of the Rolling Stones' best known songs from their first decade. Recorded in 1965 and released in early 1966, it was their first single of what would be one of their best years. The song starts with a signature guitar riff from Keith Richards and is known for Billy Wyman's repeated descending bass line near the end of the song. At nearly four minutes in length, 19th Nervous Breakdown brazenly exceeded the three and a half minute limit that was unofficially in effect for top 40 radio of the time. Stephen King made the song part of his "19" mystique in the last few books in his Dark Tower series, as one major character hears the song played on a transistor radio on the streets of New York City in the moments leading up to his "death".

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words of Let's Spend The Night Together to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now.

Artist:     Music Machine
Title:     Talk Me Down
Source:     CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer:     Sean Bonniwell
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:     1967
     Talk Me Down was, according to composer Sean Bonniwell, quite possibly the first punk rock song ever conceived. The tune was one of four songs recorded on a demo at Original Sound when the Music Machine still called itself the Ragamuffins. This re-recording of the tune was cut in 1967 by the band's original lineup, but not released until Warner Brothers issued an album called Bonniwell Music Machine in early 1968. By the time of the album's release, all the members of the original band except Bonniwell had moved on to other things. Bassist Keith Olsen went on to produce over 100 albums over the next 30 years for literally dozens of major rock artists, including Ozzy Osborne, the Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Pat Benatar and Fleetwood Mac (he was instrumental in launching the careers of Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks).

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Passing The Time
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Baker/Taylor
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although Jack Bruce is generally acknowledged as the member of Cream that provided the most psychedelic material that the band recorded, drummer Ginger Baker gave him a run for his money on the studio half of their third LP, Wheels Of Fire. Perhaps the best of these was Passing The Time, which alternates between a slow, dreamlike section notable for its use of a calliope and a fast section that rocks out as hard as anything the band performed live in concert.

Artist:     Who
Title:    Magic Bus (alternate version)
Source:      CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1968
     Magic Bus was originally released as a single in 1968 and ran about three and a half minutes. At the time it was recorded an alternate take was also made that ran almost four and a half minutes. This alternate version was electronically rechanneled for stereo and included on the 1971 album Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy. When the album was reissued on CD in the 1980s it was discovered that there were no unaltered copies left of the longer version, so rather than to put a "fake stereo" version on the CD, a true stereo mix of the shorter single version was used.

Artist:    Fat
Title:    Lonely Lady
Source:    LP: Fat
Writer(s):    Peter Newland
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1970
    Many American cities are home to bands that, although never big on the national stage, have managed to become local legends over the years. In Springfield, Massachusetts, that band is Fat. Led by Peter Newland, Fat only recorded one album for a major label, a self-titled LP for RCA Victor in 1970. Newland's Lonely Lady is a fair representation of Fat's sound, and is still being performed by the group, last I heard.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    It's Never Too Late
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released on LP: At Your Birthday Party)
Writer(s):    Kay/St. Nicholas
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1969
    Although not generally known for their slow ballads, Steppenwolf did, on occasion, quiet things down on tracks like It's Never Too Late, from their third LP, At Your Birthday Party. The song was released as a single in 1969, but only reached the #51 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Artist:    Denis Couldry And The Next Collection
Title:    I Am Nearly There
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Couldry/Wills
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    Denis Couldry was a keyboardist and vocalist who joined up with a band called Felius Andromedus to record their only single, Meditations, in late 1967. Although the record (essential a Procol Harum knockoff) was not successful, its producer, Vic Keary, was impressed enough with Couldry to team him up with another band, the Next Collection, for a February 1968 single called James In The Basement. Couldry himself co-wrote the record's B side, a tune called I Am Nearly There. Couldry released one more single with an entirely different band, while the Next Collection ended up changing their name, first to Moving Finger, then to Second Hand, when it was discovered that there was already a band called Moving Finger.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    By early 1967 there was a building resentment among musicians and rock press alike concerning the instant (and in many eyes unearned) success of the Monkees. One notable expression of this resentment was the Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star, which takes a somewhat sarcastic look at what it takes to succeed in the music business. Unfortunately, much of what they talk about in the song continues to apply today (although the guitar has been somewhat supplanted by the computer as the instrument of choice).

Artist:    Gentrys
Title:    Spread It On Thick
Source:    Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilkins/Hurley/Cates
Label:    Era (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1965
    Known by most people as one-hit wonders, the Gentrys, formed in Memphis in 1963, were actually the most popular teen band in the mid-south during the 1960s. After winning the Memphis Battle of the Bands in 1964 the Gentrys were signed to the local Youngstown label. Their second single for Youngstown, Keep On Dancing, released in 1965, was soon picked up for national distribution by M-G-M, eventually reaching the #4 spot on the Billboard charts. This led to several movie and TV appearances, along with touring with the likes of the Beach Boys and Sonny And Cher. Despite all this, their next single, Spread It On Thick, failed to make the top 40. After four more singles (and two LPs) suffered similar fates the group disbanded, only to be reformed several times over the years. One unique feature of the Gentrys' 7-man lineup was the fact that there were two vocalists who did not play any instruments in the band. One of them, Jimmy Hart, went on to become involved in professional wrestling as a manager known as "the Mouth of the South".

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    Tell Her No
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1965
    Rod Argent was responsible for writing four well-known hit songs, which were spread out over a period of eight years (and two bands). The second of these was the Zombies' Tell Her No, released in 1965. The song got mixed reviews from critics, all of which measured the tune against Beatle songs of the same period.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After miraculously surviving being shot point blank in the head (and then bayoneted in the back for good measure) in the Korean War (and receiving a Silver Star), my dad became somewhat of a minor celebrity in the early 50s, appearing on a handful of TV and radio game shows as a kind of poster boy for the Air Force. One result of this series of events was that he was able to indulge his fascination with a new technology that had been developed by the Germans during WWII: magnetic recording tape. He used his prize winnings to buy a Webcor tape recorder, which in turn led to me becoming interested in recording technology at an early age (I distinctly remember being punished for playing with "Daddy's tape recorder" without permission on more than one occasion). He did not receive another overseas assignment until 1967, when he was transferred to Weisbaden, Germany. As was the usual practice at the time, he went there a month or so before the rest of the family, and during his alone time he (on a whim, apparently) went in on a Lotto ticket with a co-worker and won enough to buy an Akai X-355 stereo tape recorder from a fellow serviceman who was being transferred out and did not want to (or couldn't afford to) pay the shipping costs of the rather heavy machine.The Akai 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. Of course all of his old tapes were in storage (along with the old Webcor) back in Denver, so I decided that this would be a good time to start spending my allowance money on pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, the first of which was Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. 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:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    May This Be Love
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The original UK version of Are You Experienced featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one. It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     LP: Smash Hits (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced, released in May of 1967, was significantly different than its UK counterpart, which had come out earlier in the year. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967. The song was then used to open side two of the US version of Are You Experienced.





Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1728 (starts 7/11/18)



    This week we get back to what passes for normal around here, as we start with a 1976 ZZ Top LP track and end with something from The Dark Side Of The Moon. In between we take a trip from 1968 to 1974, one year at a time.

Artist:    ZZ Top
Title:    El Diablo
Source:    LP: Tejas
Writer(s):    Gibbons/Hill/Beard
Label:    London
Year:    1976
    Although often overlooked due to its lack of a major hit single, ZZ Top's fifth album, Tejas, actually has some fine tunes on it, such as El Diablo. Since the 1980s, the original vinyl mix of the LP remained unavailable for several years, and fans of the band were not happy with the "updated" mixes used on the CD version of the album, which attempted to apply 80s studio effects to the original recordings, particularly the drum tracks. The version heard on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion is taken from an original 1976 vinyl copy of the LP.
Yeah, there are a couple pops and ticks here and there, but at least it sounds the way it did when it was released.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Spider In My Web
Source:    CD: Undead
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    Ten Years After was always known more for their live performances than for their studio work. In fact, their biggest break was playing live at Woodstock. It should come as no surprise, then, that they chose to release a live album as their second LP in 1968. The album is basically a showcase for Alvin Lee's guitar pyrotechnics on cover songs, although there are a couple tunes, such as Spider In My Web, that he wrote himself.
   
Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Oh Well
Source:    Mono LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Then Play On)
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1969
    Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in Europe in 1969, and Oh Well soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album.

Artist:    Eric Clapton
Title:    Blues Power
Source:    LP: Eric Clapton
Writer(s):    Clapton/Russell
Label:    Atco
Year:    1970
    Blues Power was the second single released from Eric Clapton's first solo LP. Although the song did not chart, it did get some airplay on FM rock radio in the early 1970s. These days it has pretty much disappeared from the air, however, which, it seems to me, is a good enough reason to play it.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Her Madly
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971   
    The first single released from L.A. Woman, the final Doors album to feature vocalist Jim Morrison, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.

Artist:    Blue Oyster Cult
Title:    Before The Kiss, A Redcap
Source:    LP: Blue Oyster Cult
Writer(s):    Pearlman/Krugman/Lanier/Roesser
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    Before The Kiss, A Redcap, from the first Blue Oyster Cult album, was reportedly inspired by a scene in a singles bar related to the band by their manager/lyricist, Sandy Pearlman, who witnessed a man passing a Redcap (Dalmane) to a woman during a kiss (I'm not exactly sure how you could actually see something like that without prying someone's mouth open, but that's what he said happened). Then again, if you are into British folklore you could consider it a reference to a malevolent goblin known for soaking his cap in the blood of his victims.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title:    Toccata
Source:    CD: Brain Salad Surgery
Writer(s):    Alberto Ginastera (arr. keith Emerson)
Label:    Rhino (original label: Manticore)
Year:    1973
    One of the first pieces to be worked up for the album Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake And Palmer was an adaptation of the 4th movement of Alberto Ginastera's 1962 work Piano Concerto #1. Entitled on the album Toccata, the piece incorporates a new middle section consisting of electronically synthesized drums, the first such work ever recorded. As the album was taking shape, the band realized that they had not secured the rights to the piece; in fact, when they contacted Ginastera's publishers they were at first denied permission to use it, but were told to contact the composer himself. They did, and when Ginastera heard the first few bars of the recording he stopped the tape, exclaiming "diabolic!". It turned out to be a compliment, however, as Ginastera told the band "you have captured the essence of my music like no one else has before."

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Bridge Of Sighs/In This Place
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    One of the most celebrated guitar albums of all time, Bridge Of Sighs was Robin Trower's second solo LP following his departure from Procol Harum. Released in 1974, the LP spent 31 weeks on the Billboard album charts, peaking at #7. Bridge of Sighs has served as a template for later guitar-oriented albums, especially those of Warren Haines and Gov't Mule. The title track of the album, which continues into the next song, In This Place, was the most played track on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion for the year 2017, incidentally.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Breathe/Speak To Me/On The Run
Source:    The Dark Side Of The Moon
Writer(s):    Mason/Waters/Gilmour/Wright
Label:    Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1973
    Is there really anything I can say about Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon that hasn't been said a hundred times already? Probably not, so let's just kick back and enjoy the album's opening tracks, Breathe/Speak To Me and On The Run.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1827 (starts 7/4/18)



    Once again we have reached the halfway point of the year, and, for Americans, that means it's 4th of July week. We start off, appropriately enough, with our national anthem.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Star-Spangled Banner
Source:     CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    John Stafford Smith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:     1969
     When the Woodstock film and soundtrack album was released, right-wingers across the nation decried the disrespect inherent in the Jimi Hendrix interpretation of the Star-Spangled Banner. Looking at it another way, however, it was a US Army veteran playing his country's national anthem on guitar in the style he was famous for. Is that any less patriotic than Whitney Houston singing that same anthem in her own style years later?

Artist:     Nice
Title:     America
Source:     LP: Elegy
Writer:     Bernstein/Sondheim
Label:     Charisma
Year:     1971
     Before Emerson, Lake And Palmer became one of the hottest acts on the progressive rock scene, there was a band called the Nice that featured Keith Emerson on keyboards. The group released several singles and albums, including a hard rocking instrumental version of Leonard Bernstein's America (from West Side Story) in 1968. Emerson famously burned a US flag during the performance of the piece at a charity performance at the Royal Albert Hall in July of that year. As a result, the Nice was permanently banned from that venue. By 1970 Emerson had left the Nice to join up with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer. This did not stop Mercury Records from issuing, in 1971, an album called Elegy (credited to Keith Emerson and the Nice) that included a live version of America.

Artist:     Yes
Title:     America
Source:     CD: Yesterdays (originally released in UK on LP: The New Age of Atlantic)
Writer:     Paul Simon
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1972
     Following the success of the Fragile album and the hit single Roundabout, Yes went into the studio to cut a ten and a half minute cover of Paul Simon's America for a UK-only sampler album called The New Age Of Atlantic. The track was then edited down for single release in the US as a followup to Roundabout. The original unedited track was finally released in the US on the 1974 album Yesterdays, which also included several tracks from two earlier Yes albums that featured an earlier lineup of the band that included guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Paul Simon's America was, in fact, the only track on Yesterdays that featured the classic Yes lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squires, Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman.

Artist:    Graham Nash/David Crosby
Title:    Immigration Man
Source:    LP: Graham Nash David Crosby
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Anything I could say here would only detract from the point of this song, and the reason I'm playing it.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Immigrant Song
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Although the third Led Zeppelin album is known mostly for its surprising turn toward a more acoustic sound than its predecessors, the first single from that album actually rocked out as hard, if not harder, than any previous Zeppelin track. In fact, it could be argued that Immigrant Song rocks out harder than anything on top 40 radio before or since. Starting with a tape echo deliberately feeding on itself the song breaks into a basic riff built on two notes an octave apart, with Robert Plant's wailing vocals sounding almost like a siren call. Guitarist Jimmy Page soon breaks into a series of power chords that continue to build in intensity for the next two minutes, until the song abruptly stops cold. The lyrics of Immigrant Song were inspired by the band's trip to Iceland in 1970.

Artist:    Who
Title:    We're Not Gonna Take It
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    The final track of the Who's landmark rock-opera Tommy is We're Not Gonna Take It. The track actually has two distinct parts, with the more famous "See Me Feel Me" section leading into a repeated chorus that slowly fades out. This week, though, we present the first half of the track, where Tommy's followers finally say enough is enough and refuse to follow his ridiculous directives any longer. Seems to me we could use a bit of that right now ourselves.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Politician
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Despite its title, Cream's Politician, from the Wheels Of fire album, is really not the kind of scathing indictment you might expect from a track from 1968. Indeed, the song's lyrics are actually gentle satire rather than overt criticism. Eric Clapton's guitar work, however, is always a treat, and on Politician he knocks out not one, but two overdubbed solos at the same time, along with his basic guitar track. Controlled chaos at its best!

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    War Pigs
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Originally titled Walpurgis, Black Sabbath's War Pigs, the opening track on their second LP, Paranoid, started off being about the Witches' Sabbath (Walpurgis being the Satanists' analog to Christmas). As Bill Butler's lyrics developed, however, the song ended up being more about how the rich and powerful declare the wars, but send the poor off to die in them. Either way, it's about evil people doing evil things and the rest of us suffering for it. I guess some things never change.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    It Better End Soon
Source:    CD: Chicago
Writer(s):    Lamm/Parazaider/Kath
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    It may come as a surprise to those familiar with the many "safe" hits cranked out by Chicago from the mid-70s  through the late 80s, that Chicago was originally one of the most political (and hard rocking) bands on the national rock scene. For example, most of the fourth side of the second Chicago LP, released in 1970, is taken up by the hard-hitting It Better End Soon. Written by keyboardist Robert Lamm, the four-movement continuous piece features vocals by guitarist Terry Kath (who shares writing credit on the third movement), and includes an outstanding flute solo from Walter Parazaider, earning him a co-writing credit on the piece's second movement. The lyrics of It Better End Soon appeared on the inner gatefold cover of the double-LP' along with a "Producer's note", stating "This endeavor should be experienced sequentially", and a declaration written by Robert Lamm: "With this album, we dedicate ourselves, our futures and our energies to the people of the revolution. And the revolution in all of its forms."




Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1827 (starts 7/4/18)



    It's the first week of the second half of the year, which, in America, means it's the fourth of July, the anniversary of the official beginning of a rebellion that shook the world. This week on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era we celebrate the musical rebellion that helped define the 1960s in America, starting with a brief history of protest songs. We open with a hit cover version of a Pete Seeger song...

Artist:    Kingston Trio
Title:    Where Have All The Flowers Gone
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1961
    Protest songs did not start in the 1960s. Indeed, two of the genre's torchbearers, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, had been around since the 1930s. But McCarthyism in the early 1950s had squelched virtually all non-conformist voices in the US, and it wasn't until late 1961, when the clean-cut Kingston Trio recorded their own version of Seeger's Where Have All The Flowers Gone, that a protest song received enough national exposure to become a genuine hit, going to the #21 spot on the top 40 charts in early 1962. Peter, Paul And Mary included their own version of the song on their chart-topping (five weeks at #1) debut LP later that year.

Artist:    Peter, Paul And Mary
Title:    Blowin' In The Wind
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1963
    Just as knowing the chords for Van Morrison's Gloria was pretty much a prerequisite for being in a garage band, being able to play Bob Dylan's Blowing In The Wind was a must for anyone attempting to play folk music at a party in the mid-1960s. If there was more than one of you singing, you most likely used the Peter, Paul and Mary arrangement of the tune, with its three-part harmony. Their version was by far the most popular recording of the song, going all the way to the # 2 spot on the top 40 charts in the summer of '63.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    There But For Fortune
Source:    45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer:    Phil Ochs
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1965
    When I was a kid I used to occasionally pick up something called a grab bag at the local PX (my dad being in the military, I had access to such places). It was literally a sealed brown paper bag with anywhere from four to six 45 rpm records in it. Usually these were "cut-outs", leftover copies of records that hadn't sold as well as expected. Often they were five or six years old (albeit unplayed). Once in a while, though, there would be a real gem among them. My original copy of the Joan Baez recording of Phil Ochs's There But For Fortune was one such gem. I later found a promo copy while working at KUNM in Albuquerque, which is the one I use now, since my original is long since worn out. Not only was this record my first introduction to Joan Baez, it was also the first record I had ever seen on the Vanguard label and the first song written by Phil Ochs I had ever heard. Not bad for twelve and a half cents, especially when you consider that the flip side was Baez doing a Bob Dylan tune.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as EP)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Year:    1965
    A relatively new arrival on the highly politicized Berkeley folk music scene in 1965, Country Joe McDonald had already organized a loose group of musicians to play at "teach-ins" designed to educate the public about what was really going on in Vietnam. He was also attempting to put together a newspaper with a similar focus, but found himself short of usable copy. His solution was to create a "talking issue" by inserting a 7" 33 1/3 RPM record into the paper. His own contribution to the record was the first recorded version of a song that would later become one of the best-known antiwar tunes ever penned: the iconic I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag. The actual makeup of the band called Country Joe And The Fish on this recording is not quite clear, other than the fact that both McDonald and Barry Melton played on it. An early video made of the group performing the song shows several people I don't recognize alternating on the vocals.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Barking Pumpkin (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends (originally released on LP: Pleasures Of The Harbor)
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    In 1964, less than a week after my 11th birthday, an event happened over 2000 miles from where I lived that would have a profound effect on my view of humanity, particularly the portion of it that lived in large cities. Late one night, a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside of her apartment in Queens, NY., in front of witnesses, none of whom came to her defense. One witness late told police that she "didn't want to get involved". After he was apprehended, the killer was asked why he had attacked her in front of witnesses. His chilling reply was that he knew no one would help, because "people never do". That did not ring true to my 11-year-old self. I had been raised by good-hearted people with small-town values. When someone was in trouble, you helped them out. That's just how it was. Yet, that had not happened when Kitty Genovese was attacked. Ever since then I've tried to find empathy for, not only the victims, but those who stand by and do nothing. I've tried to understand why. Although I've made some progress, I still haven't figured it out. Apparently I was not the only one affected by the story. Phil Ochs used it as the starting point for what would turn out to be his most popular song, Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends, from his 1967 LP Pleasures Of The Harbor. I didn't get to hear that song until the late 1970s. It was banned in most radio markets because of the line "smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer", and ended up stalling out a dozen or so spots short of the top 100 when it was released as a single in 1967. In fact, I only heard it after hearing the news that Ochs had committed suicide in 1976, and one of my fellow DJs at KUNM played the song as part of a Phil Ochs memorial segment. Apparently the Genovese story, as well as other events described in the song, affected Ochs profoundly as well.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Piggies
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1968
    Beatle George Harrison had first revealed an anti-establishment side with his song Taxman, released in 1966 on the Revolver album. This particular viewpoint remained dormant until the song Piggies came out on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Although the song was intended to be satirical in tone, at least one Californian, Charles Manson, took it seriously enough to justify "whacking" a few "piggies" of his own. It was not pretty.
   
Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Monster/Suicide/America
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released on LP: Monster)
Writer(s):    Kay/Edmonton/St. Nicholas/Byrom
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1969
    Although they are mostly remembered for hits like Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride, Steppenwolf always had a social/political side as well, as evidenced by songs like The Ostrich and Don't Step On the Grass, Sam, but when it comes to pure political songs, the Monster trilogy is usually the first one that comes to mind. Personally, I consider it to be Steppenwolf's masterpiece. 

Artist:    Crosby, Still, Nash & Young
Title:    Ohio
Source:    CD: Decade (Neil Young anthology)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1970
    One of the most powerful records to come out of the Nixon years, Ohio was written by Neil Young in response to the shooting deaths of four college students by National Guard troops at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Young wrote the lyrics after seeing photos of the incident in Life magazine. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded the song with their new rhythm section of Calvin Samuels and Johnny Barbata on May 21st. The recording was rush released within a few week, becoming a counter-culture anthem and cementing the group's reputation as spokesmen for their generation. Young later referred to the Kent State shootings as "probably the biggest lesson ever learned at an American place of learning," adding that "David Crosby cried when we finished this take." Crosby can be heard ad-libbing "Four, why? Why did they die?" and "How many more?" during the song's fadeout.

    From protest songs we move on to something there was no shortage of during the psychedelic era: youthful rebellion.

Artist:    Who
Title:    My Generation
Source:    Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 the Who released a song that quickly became the anthem of a generation. As a matter of fact it's My Generation. Some of us, including Who drummer Keith Moon, did indeed die before we got old. The rest of us weren't so lucky, but hey, that's life.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Let Me Be
Source:    CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: It Ain't Me Babe and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1965
    The Turtles were nothing if not able to redefine themselves when the need arose. Originally a surf band known as the Crossfires, the band quickly adopted an "angry young men" stance with their first single, Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, and the subsequent album of the same name. For the follow-up single the band chose Let Me Be, a track from their album that, although written by a different writer, had the same general message as It Ain't Me Babe. The band would soon switch over to love songs like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me before taking their whole chameleon bit to its logical extreme with an album called Battle Of The Bands on which each track was meant to sound like it was done by an entirely different group.

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.

    If life was difficult for a typical middle-class teenager in the mid-1960s (as it is for teenagers everywhen), imagine what it must have been like for someone living on the poor side of town.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Animals (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Dead End Street
Source:     Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:     Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The last major Kinks hit in the US was Sunny Afternoon in the summer of 1966. The follow-up Deadend Street, released in November, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success in the US (although it was a top five hit in the UK). The Kinks would not have another major US hit until Lola was released in 1970.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:     Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ed Cobb
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1966
     The Standells were probably the most successful band to record for the Tower label (not counting Pink Floyd, whose first LP was issued, in modified form, on the label after being recorded in England). Besides their big hit Dirty Water, they hit the charts with other tunes such as Why Pick On Me, Try It, and the punk classic Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. All but Try It were written by producer Ed Cobb, who has to be considered the most prolific punk-rock songwriter of the 60s, having also written some of the Chocolate Watch Band's best stuff as well.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child
Source:    Mono CD: Songs Of protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's experimental label Verve Forecast, a label whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement. Ironic, considering that Society's Child ends with the protagonist backing down and giving in to society's rules.

    Even in the psychedelic era, youthful rebellion would often give way to (or sometimes even lead to) War!

Artist:     Edwin Starr
Title:     War
Source:     CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Whitfield/Strong
Label:     Rhino (original label: Gordy)
Year:     1970
     It was 1970, and Motown Records staff producer Norman Whitfield was facing a bit of a dilemma. A track that he and co-producer Barrett Strong had included on the Temptations' LP Psychedelic Shack was starting to get a lot of airplay, and radio programmers were asking for the song to be released as a single. The problem was the song itself. War, co-written by Whitfield and Strong, had a powerful message that resonated with the anti-Vietnam War movement. This, of course, did not sit well with some of the more conservative radio station owners, a fact that Motown president Berry Gordy, Jr. was well aware of. At that particular moment in space and time, the Temptations were Motown's #1 cash cow (Diana Ross having left the Supremes earlier that year), and Berry did not want to take any chances with his top money makers. Eventually a compromise was reached. Whitfield re-recorded the track with second-string artist Edwin Starr, amping up the energy level of the song in the process, and ended up with one of the biggest hit singles of the year (and certainly the biggest of Starr's career).

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Unknown Soldier
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    One of the oddest recordings to get played on top 40 radio was the Door's 1968 release, The Unknown Soldier. The song is notable for having it's own promotional film made by keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who had been a film major at UCLA when the Doors were formed. It's not known whether the song was written with the film in mind (or vice versa), but the two have a much greater synergy than your average music video. As for the question of whether the Doors themselves were anti-war, let's just say that vocalist Jim Morrison, who wrote the lyrics to The Unknown Soldier, was pretty much anti-everything.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    2+2=?
Source:    LP: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man (originally released as 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. His first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, one of the most powerful anti-war songs ever recorded. The track was included on Seger's first album, Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, the following year, with one minor difference. Near the end of the song everything stops for a couple of seconds before the song resumes at full speed. Capitol was afraid of how that might go over with top 40 radio programmers (who were notoriously paranoid about "dead air") and had the band add a tone-bending power chord to the single version to cover up the silence. The album version (heard here), has the original silence intact.

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

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    Sky Pilot
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Twain Shall Meet)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    After the original Animals lineup disbanded in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon quickly set out to form a "New Animals" group that would come to be called Eric Burdon and the Animals. The new band was much more rooted in the psychedelic era than its predecessor, with songs like A Girl Named Sandoz (Sandoz being the name of the lab that first developed LSD) appearing as the B side of their first single, and San Franciscan Nights, an invitation to Europeans to hook up with the hippie culture of Haight-Ashbury, making the charts in 1967. Their most memorable release, Sky Pilot, called the religious establishment to task for its tacit endorsement of warfare itself through the practice of including chaplains as part of the military heirarchy. The song, running over seven minutes in length, was spread out over two sides of a 45 RPM single, making it difficult for radio stations to play in its entirety (the album version cross fades into the next track). Nonetheless, Sky Pilot managed to hit a respectable #14 on the charts in 1968.

Artist:      Jethro Tull
Title:     Hymn 43
Source:      CD: Aqualung
Writer:    Ian Adnerson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1971
     Eric Burdon And The Animals proved in 1968, with the song Sky Pilot, that you could now take on the religious establishment in a rock song and end up with a hit record. Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull, soon followed with the release of Christmas Song later that same year. It turned out that Christmas Song was only a hint of what would come three years later. Most (if not all) of the second side of the 1971 LP Aqualung presented a scathing criticism of what Anderson perceived as rampant hypocrisy within the Anglican church. Aqualung still stands as Jethro Tull's best-selling album, with over seven million copies sold worldwide. Hymn 43, a song that focuses more on America's heavy-handed use of religion as a tool, was released as a single, going to the #91 spot on the Billboard charts, despite being effectively banned on AM radio.

    You'd think that war would be the way it ends (and that may yet be the case), although some would argue that religion will get there first. Still, it's probably a good idea to take a step back and consider the state of the Union, both then and now, before coming to a final conclusion.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    By mid-1966 Hollywood's Sunset Strip was being taken over every night by local teenagers, with several underage clubs featuring live music being a major attraction. Many of the businesses in the area, citing traffic problems and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, began to put pressure on city officials to do something about the situation. The city responded by passing new loitering ordinances and imposing a 10PM curfew on the Strip. They also began putting pressure on the clubs, including condemning the popular Pandora's Box for demolition. On November 12, 1966 fliers appeared on the streets inviting people to a demonstration that evening to protest the closing of the club. The demostration continued over a period of days, exascerbated by the city's decision to revoke the permits of a dozen other clubs on the Strip, forcing them to bar anyone under the age of 21 from entering. Stephen Stills, a member of Buffalo Springfield, one of the many bands appearing regularly in these clubs, wrote a new song in response to the situation, and the band quickly booked studio time, recording the still-unnamed track on December 5th. The band had recently released their debut LP, but sales of the album were lackluster due to the lack of a hit single. Stills reportedly presented the new recording to label head Ahmet Ertegun with the words "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Ertegun, sensing that he had a hit on his hands, got the song rush-released two days before Christmas, 1966, using For What It's Worth as the official song title, but sub-titling it Stop, Hey What's That Sound on the label as well. As predicted, For What It's Worth was an instant hit in the L.A. market, and soon went national, where it was taken by most record buyers to be about the general sense of unrest being felt across the nation over issues like racial equality and the Vietnam War (and oddly enough, by some people as being about the Kent State massacre, even though that happened nearly three years after the song was released). As the single moved up the charts, eventually peaking at #7, Atco recalled the Buffalo Springfield LP, reissuing it with a modified song selection that included For What It's Worth as the album's openng track. Needless to say, album sales picked up after that. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of the Buffalo Springfield album without For What It's Worth on it, although I'm sure some of those early pressings must still exist.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Ball Of Confusion
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Rhino (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1970
    By 1970 an interesting situation had developed at Motown Records. Various production teams had achieved a degree of autonomy not usually seen in the record industry, resulting in a variety of styles coming from the label, each of which was identified with a particular team. The psychedelic branch of the label was run by Norm Whitfield and Barrett Strong, whose work mostly appeared on the Gordy label. Their stable of artists included Edwin Starr, the Undisputed Truth and the Temptations, the latter of which had gone through several lineup changes that left them without original lead vocalist David Ruffin. Whitfield and Strong used this situation to their best advantage by splitting the lead vocals among several group members within each song. One of the first songs to take this approach was Ball Of Confusion, released in 1970. A longer version of the song, using a less edited version of the same Funk Brothers instrumental track, was released by the Undisputed Truth as a B side.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966 (stereo version, 1969)
     Season Of The Witch has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring tracks on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the album was not released in the UK until late 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. Like all tracks from both Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, Season Of The Witch was only available in a mono mix until 1969, when a new stereo mix was created from the original multi-track masters for the singer/songwriter's first greatest hits compilation. Season of the Witch has since been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge.

Artist:     Barry McGuire
Title:     Eve of Destruction
Source:     CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     P.F. Sloan
Label:     Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1965
     P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity.

    With the state of the Union being basically a state of confusion, there seemed to be only one appropriate response to it. But of course, there were consequences.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     Don't Step On The Grass, Sam
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer:     John Kay
Label:     MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Never afraid to make his social and political views known, Steppenwolf's John Kay wrote Don't Step On The Grass, Sam for the band's second LP, released in 1968. It's taken nearly 50 years, but it looks like Kay's finally starting to get his wish.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Mexico
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    The last Jefferson Airplane single to include founding member (and original leader) Marty Balin was Mexico, a scathing response by Grace Slick to President Richard Nixon's attempts to eradicate the marijuana trade between the US and Mexico. The song was slated to be included on the next Airplane album, Long John Silver, but Balin's departure necessitated a change in plans, and Mexico did not appear on an LP until Early Flight was released in 1974.

Artist:    Graham Nash
Title:    Prison Song
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Graham Nash's Prison Song is one of those songs that by all rights should have been a huge hit. It was by a name artist. It had a catchy opening harmonica riff and a haunting melody. I can only surmise that once again Bill Drake (the man who controlled top 40 radio in the 60s and early 70s) decided that the lyrics were too controversial for AM radio and had the song blacklisted, much as he had done with the Byrds Eight Miles High a few years earlier. Those lyrics center on a subject that is unfortunately still relevant today: the utter absurdity of drug laws and the unequal sentences for violation of those laws in the US and its various states.