Sunday, August 26, 2018
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1835 (starts 8/29/18)
This week we have not one, but two entire album sides, both in the second hour. The first is the second side of the 1968 Eric Burdon and the Animals LP The Twain Shall Meet, featuring one of the best antiwar songs ever penned, Sky Pilot. Then we have the original 1968 mix of the Grateful Dead's Anthem Of The Sun, with its unique (for the time) mix of live and studio recordings into one continuous piece. As far as the first hour goes, we have sets from 1966 and 1967, followed by a long progression from 1964-1969, plus a bonus 1966 track.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
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.
Source: LP: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s): Roger McGuinn
The second single from the Byrds' third LP, Fifth Dimension, suffered from the same problem as its predecessor. Both 5D and Eight Miles High were branded as drug songs by people who had no clue as to what the songs were really about, which had the effect of discouraging the more conservative radio programmers from playing the songs. In the case of 5D, the song was, according to songwriter Roger McGuinn, an attempt to explain Einstein's theory of relativity in layman's terms. In a 1966 interview McGuinn had this to say about the song: "It's sort of weird but...what I'm talking about is the whole universe, the fifth dimension, which is height, width, depth, time and something else. But there definitely are more dimensions than five. It's infinite. The fifth dimension is the threshold of scientific knowledge." Despite McGuinn's attempts to explain the song, many people insisted on believing it was about an LSD trip, and the single died quickly after being released in late 1966.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer: Paul Simon
Year: 1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Flying High
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Any guesses to what a song called Flying High from an album called Electric Music For The Mind And Body by Country Joe And The Fish released in 1967 might be about? I thought not.
Title: I Can See For Miles
Source: CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer: Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was their biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. The song is preceeded by a series of jingles produced for Radio London, a pirate radio station operating off the coast with offices in London. One of those (Roto Sound Strings) was actually performed by the Who. The others were made by the same Texas company that supplied jingles to most US top 40 stations.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Antique Doll
Source: CD: Underground)
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Sometimes there is no comprehending what goes on in the mind of record company people. Take the Electric Prunes, for example. Their second single, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), put them right at the front of the pack of the psychedelic rock movement in early 1967. Their follow up single, Get Me To The World On Time, was a solid hit as well, which should have guaranteed them a good run. But even with that second single, problems with management's decision making were becoming apparent. For one thing, the song chosen as the second single's B side, Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less), had the potential to be a hit in its own right, but being put on a B side killed that idea entirely. It only got worse from there. The next single chosen was a novelty number from the band's second LP, Underground, called Dr. Do-Good. The tune was written by the same team of Annette Tucker and Nanci Mantz that had come up with both Dream and Lovin' Me More, but was played for laughs by the band. The choice of such a weird track is a complete puzzle, as there were several more commercial tunes on the LP, including one written by Tucker and Mantz themselves called Antique Doll. Unfortunately, the song was not even picked to be a B side, and has remained virtually unknown ever since. Rather than own up to their own mistakes, however, the band's management blamed the musicians themselves for their lack of commercial success, and eventually replaced the entire lineup of the original group (who had signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes early on). Of course, the new lineups were even less successful than the original crew, but really, what else would you expect?
Title: Back Door Man
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.
Artist: Velvet Illusions
Title: Acid Head
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Metromedia, also released on Tell Records)
Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut this lone single, Acid Head, before calling it quits.
Artist: Beau Brummels
Title: Laugh Laugh
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ron Elliott
Label: Rhino (original label: Autumn)
It was difficult for an American band to get a hit record in 1964. Some, such as San Francisco's Beau Brummels, decided the best way was to beat the Brits at their own game. Laugh Laugh, their debut single, was released in December of that year as one of the first singles on popular local DJ Tom Donahue's Autumn label. Ultimately, the decision to emulate British rock worked against the Brummels, as they were never considered part of the blossoming San Francisco music scene.
Source: CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: Epic/Legacy (original label: Hickory)
Having been introduced to Donovan's music through exposure to Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow and later songs, I was always a bit puzzled by references to the Scottish singer/soingwriter as Britain's poor Bob Dylan knockoff. Then I heard Colours and all was made clear. Donovan himself, however, credits Derroll Adams, a songwriter from the Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger school, as the song's direct influence.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Here Today
Source: Mono CD: Pet Sounds
Apparently there is a conversation about cameras going on in the background of the instrumental break of Here Today on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album. I never noticed it. I guess I'll have to listen more closely next time.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Yeah, I know I played this on last week's show. So sue me.
Artist: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title: Come And Buy/Time/Confusion (original unissued mono mix)
Source: Mono British import CD: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown was one of many LPs that I borrowed from friends as soon as they bought it, inviting them to come over and enjoy my dad's superior stereo system while I taped the album on his Akai reel to reel tape recorder. I spent many a night listening to the album's expansive stereo mix through a pair of Koss headphones, getting to know the entire album intimately. That said, what you are hearing on this week's show is radically different than what I heard back then. For one thing, this is a mono mix. More importantly, the songs are edited entirely differently, with entire sections moved from one place to another. It turns out that this is actually an early mix presented to the band's American record label (Atlantic), before the album was released. Although the people at Atlantic liked what they heard, they felt that the drums were a bit off. Since the original recordings had been made on four-track equipment, the drum tracks had been mixed with other instruments and "bounced" to an unused track to make room for overdubs, making it impossible to re-record the drums without also re-recording other instruments. Atlantic instead dubbed the mix over to state-of-the-art eight-track equipment and, working with some of the band members, added extensive orchestration that served to cover up the drum tracks for the most part. This new mix was then used for both stereo and mono pressings of the LP (although the only version available in the US was the stereo one). Needless to say, when the drummer heard the new mix he was furious. Anyway, here is that original mono mix of Come And Buy/Time/Confusion from side one of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Personally I don't hear anything wrong with the drums.
Artist: Elephant's Memory
Title: Brief Encounter
Source: CD: Elephant's Memory
Writer(s): Richard Sussman
Label: BMG/Collector's Choice (original label: Buddah)
One of the hardest-to-describe bands of the late 1960s, Elephant's Memory was formed by singer/saxophonist/flautist/clarinetist Stan Bronstein and drummer Rick Frank, along with bassist/trombonist Myron Yules. One early member of the band was vocalist Carly Simon, although by the time the band recorded their debut LP in 1969 she had been replaced by Michal Shapiro. Filling out the band's 1969 lineup were keyboardist Richard Sussman and guitarists John Ward and Chester Ayres. Shapiro's vocals were particularly well suited to the band's jazzier numbers, such as Brief Encounter, which also incorporates elements of latino music.
Artist: Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
Title: Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly
Source: LP: Breakout
When it came down to old-fashioned get-out-on-the-dance-floor blue-collar rock 'n' roll, there was no local scene that could match that of Detroit, and the unquestioned kings of Motor City rock 'n' roll in 1966 were Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Ryder's boys cranked out hit after hit, many of which made the national charts, including Little Latin Lupe Lu, Sock It To Me-Baby!, and their biggest hit of all: Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly. Rock on!
Title: You I'll Be Following
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
When the Byrds decided to tour heavily to support their early hits Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, Arthur Lee's band Love was more than happy to fill the void left on the L.A. club scene. The group quickly established itself as the top band on the strip and caught the attention of Elektra Records, an album-oriented label that had previously specialized in blues and folk music but was looking to move into rock. Love was soon signed to a contract with Elektra and released their self-titled debut LP in 1966. That album featured songs that were primarily in a folk-rock vein, such as You I'll Be Following, although even then there were signs that bandleader Arthur Lee was capable of writing quality tunes that defied easy classification. Love would remain the top band on the strip for the next year and a half, releasing two more albums before the original group dissolved. To maintain their status as local heroes, Love chose to stay close to home. The lack of time spent promoting their records ultimately led to them being supplanted as the star group for Elektra by the Doors, a band that had been recommended to the label by Lee himself.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: The Twain Shall Meet (side two)
Source: LP: The Twain Shall Meet
The Twain Shall Meet was the second album from Eric Burdon and the Animals, the new group formed in early 1967 after Eric Burdon changed his mind about embarking on a solo career. Produced by Tom Wilson (who had also produced Bob Dylan's first electric recordings and the Blues Project's Projections album), The Twain Shall Meet was an ambitious work that shows a band often reaching beyond its grasp, despite having its heart in the right place. For the most part, though, side two of the album works fairly well, starting with the anti-war classic Sky Pilot and continuing into the instrumental We Love You Lil. The final section, All Is One, is a unique blend of standard rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards) combined with strings, horns, sitar, bagpipes, oboe, flute, studio effects, and drone vocals that builds to a frenetic climax, followed by a spoken line by Burdon to end the album.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change/The Twain Shall Meet (originally released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Label: BGO (original label: M-G-M)
The first album by the "new" Eric Burdon And The Animals, Winds Of Change, included three songs that were released as singles, however only one of the three got airplay in both the US and the UK. The US-only single was a song that Eric Burdon has since said was the one he was most proud of writing, a love generation song called Anything. In fact Burdon liked the song well enough to re-record it for a solo album in 1995.
Title: Don't Bring Me Down
Source: CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is reportedly one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually liked. The song was one of the last hit singles recorded by the original Animals before they disbanded in late 1966.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Alligator/Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)
Source: LP: Anthem Of The Sun
Label: Warner Brothers
After a debut album that took about a week to record (and that the band was unanimously unhappy with) the Grateful Dead took their time on their second effort, Anthem Of The Sun. After spending a considerable amount of time in three different studios on two coasts and not getting the sound they wanted (and shedding their original producer along the way) the Dead came to the conclusion that the only way to make an album that sounded anywhere near what the band sounded like onstage was to use actual recordings of their performances and combine them with the studio tracks they had been working on. Side two of the album, which includes the classic Alligator and the more experimental Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks), is basically an enhanced live performance, with new vocal tracks added in the studio. Alligator itself is notable as the first Grateful Dead composition to feature the lyrics of Robert Hunter, who would become Jerry Garcia's main collaborator for many many years. Anthem Of The Sun was remixed by Phil Lesh in 1972, and the new mix was used on all subsequent pressings of the LP. Recently, Rhino records has pressed a new vinyl copy of Anthem Of The Sun using the original 1968 mix of the album, which is what I've used on this week's show.
Source: LP: Santana
Writer(s): Santana (band)
Guitarist Carlos Santana's original band was known to the San Francisco area as a jam band with a decidedly Latino flavor. Promoter Bill Graham convinced the band to write more structured material for their first LP, which was released in 1969. Although not an instant success, the album, buoyed by the group's appearance at Woodstock, eventually reached the # 4 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Treat, a fairly representative example of the group's early style, is indeed structured, yet maintains much of the band's free-flowing energy through several style and tempo changes.