Monday, September 17, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1838 (starts 9/17/18)



    Not many "new" tracks this week. We do, however, have sets from 1966, 67, 68, and 70 (sorry, no 69 this time), plus a couple of artists' sets. Enjoy!

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the most powerful man in top 40 radio, Bill Drake, advising stations not to play this "drug song", the song managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying that in part led to his leaving the Byrds.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1966
    In the early 1960s the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California (sometimes known as the Inland Empire), was home to a pair of rival top 40 stations, KFXM and KMEN. The newer of the two, KMEN, had a staff that included Ron Jacobs, who would go on to co-create the Boss Radio format (more music, less talk!), and Brian Lord, one of the first American DJs to champion British Rock (even going so far as to have copies of Beatle albums shipped from record shops in London before they were released in the US), and the man responsible for setting up the Rolling Stones' first US gig (in San Bernardino). From 1965-67 Lord took a break from KMEN, moving north to the San Jose area. While there, he heard a local band playing in a small teen club and invited them to use his garage as a practice space. The band was Count Five, and, with Lord's help, they got a contract with L.A.'s Double Shot label, recording and releasing the classic Psychotic Reaction in 1966. Lord later claimed that this was the origin of the term "garage rock".

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Polydor
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1997
    Autumn of 1965 was a busy, and quite productive, time for the Greenwich Village based Blues Project. The band had added keyboardist Al Kooper in mid-October. At around that same time they signed with MGM's Verve Forecast label and got a steady gig at Howard Solomon's Cafe Au Go Go, on Bleeker Street in the Village. By early November they were playing to a full house every night, prompting Solomon to organize a Thanksgiving weekend bash to be called the Blues Bag. In addition to the Blues Project, the playbill included John Lee Hooker, Son House, Bukka White, Geoff Muldaur, Eric Anderson and several electric bands, including Buzzy Linhart's Seventh Sons. Solomon managed to get Verve Folkways to not only record the Blues Project's portion of the show, but to finance the entire weekend gig. The tracks recorded at the Blues Bag were to be used for the Blues Project's debut LP, but in January a huge problem caused everyone involved to rethink their plans. Lead vocalist Tommy Flanders had a girlfriend who convinced him that he was the band's big star and as such, should get special treatment from pretty much everyone. When the rest of the band took exception to this idea Flanders walked out, never to return. For obvious reasons, nobody wanted to release an album featuring a lead vocalist who was no longer a member of the band; the solution was to set up another live recording session, again at the Cafe Au Go Go. Ultimately, some of the tracks with Flanders were used on the album, with the remaining tracks remaining unreleased until 1997, when  the Blues Project Anthology was released. Among those unreleased tracks was the band's take on the old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    Cool It Down
Source:    LP: Loaded
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    The final Velvet Underground album to feature Lou Reed, Loaded was a deliberate attempt by the band to move away from Andy Warhol's avant-garde leanings and become a commercial success. All 10 songs on the LP were edited down for their maximum commercial impact, including Cool It Down. VU drummer Maureen Tucker was pregnant at the time the album was recorded, and does not play on any of the tracks, although she does appear in the credits. Multi-instrumentalist Doug Yule was a major creative force on the album, singing lead on four tracks, as well as playing all the bass, piano and organ parts. Lou Reed, who sang lead on the remaining six tracks, including Cool It Down (which, incidentally features a guitar solo by Yule), wrote all the songs on the album, although originally the entire band was given songwriting credits. Reed was unhappy with the finished album, however, and left the band three months before it was released.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And War
Title:    Spill The Wine
Source:    LP: Eric Burdon Declares War
Writer(s):    Burdon/Miller/Scott/Dickerson/Jordan/Brown/Allen/Oskar
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1970
    After the second version of the Animals disbanded in late 1969, vocalist Eric Burdon, who was by then living in California, decided to pursue his interest in American soul music by hooking up with an L.A. band called War. He released his first album with the group, Eric Burdon Declares War, in 1970. The album included Spill The Wine, which would be the first of several hits for War in the 1970s. The song was inspired by keyboardist Lonnie Jordan's accidentally spilling wine on a mixing board, although the lyrics are far more fanciful, with Burdon referring to himself as an "overfed long-haired gnome" in the song's opening monologue. The song turned out to be a major hit, going into the top 5 in both the US and Canada.

Artist:      Blues Image
Title:     Pay My Dues
Source:      CD: Open
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:     1970
     When I first heard Blues Image's Ride Captain Ride on the radio I wasn't all that impressed with it. Then the local club I hung out at got it on the jukebox and people started playing the B side, a song called Pay My Dues. Then I went out and bought the album, Open. Yes, Pay My Dues is that good. As it turns out, so is the rest of the album. Even Ride Captain Ride sounds better now. Shows the latent power of a B side, doesn't it?

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Marty Balin says he came up with the title of the opening track of side two of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album by combining a couple of random phrases from the sports section of a newspaper. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds works out to 216 MPH, by the way.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    Mono British import 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:     Moby Grape
Title:     Someday
Source:     LP: Great Grape
Writer:     Miller/Stevenson/Spence
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1967
     Moby Grape was a talented band that unfortunately was the victim of their own hype (or more accurately, that of Columbia Records, who issued five singles from their first album simultaneously). They were never able, however, to live up to that hype, despite some fine tunes like Someday, which was included on their first LP.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Strawberry Fields Forever
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    The first song recorded for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, John Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever was instead issued as a single (along with Paul McCartney's Penny Lane) a few months before the album came out. The song went into the top 10, but was not released on an album until December of 1967, when it was included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Me Two Times
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Although the second Doors album is sometimes dismissed as being full of tracks that didn't make the cut on the debut LP, the fact is that Strange Days contains some of the Doors best-known tunes. One of those is Love Me Two Times, which was the second single released from the album. The song continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    It's About Time
Source:    Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft II)
Writer(s):    Terry Callier
Label:    Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Markets (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    The second H.P. Lovecraft album, coming after a series of gigs opening for such acts as Pink Floyd, Donovan and Jefferson Airplane, was even more psychedelic than their first effort. Like the early Airplane, Lovecraft were at their best doing psychedelic arrangements of folks tunes from lesser-known songwriters such as Terrier Callier, whose fan base, according to rock critic Richie Unterberger, was small enough to make Fred Neil's seem huge by comparison. Lovecraft's treatment of Callier's It's About Time certainly has the same sort of vocal harmonies that characterized the San Francisco take on folk-rock, despite the fact that H.P. Lovecraft was actually from Chicago, a city not particularly known for its psychedelic scene.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Kaleidoscope
Title:    Flight From Ashiya
Source:    Mono British import CD: Further Reflections (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Daltry/Pumer
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1967
    Although they did not have any hit singles, London's Kaleidoscope had enough staying power to record two album's worth of material for the Fontana label before disbanding. The group's first release was Flight From Ashiya, a single released in September of 1967. Describing a bad plane trip with a stoned pilot, the song is filled with chaotic images, making the song's story a bit hard to follow. Still, it's certainly worth a listen.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and the rest is history.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Fakin' It
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Fakin' It, originally released as a single in 1967, was a bit of a departure for Simon And Garfunkel, sounding more like British psychedelic music than American folk-rock. The track starts with an intro that is similar to the false ending to the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever; midway through the record the tempo changes drastically for a short spoken word section (name-dropping Mr. [Donovan] Leitch) that is reminiscent of the bridge in Traffic's Hole In My Shoe. The song was later included on the 1968 LP Bookends.

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

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Like A Rolling Stone
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Bob Dylan incurred the wrath of folk purists when he decided to use electric instruments for his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. The opening track on the album is the six-minute Like A Rolling Stone, a song that was also selected to be the first single released from the new album. After the single was pressed, the shirts at Columbia Records decided to cancel the release due to its length. An acetate copy of the record, however, made it to a local New York club, where, by audience request, the record was played over and over until it was worn out (acetate copies not being as durable as their vinyl counterparts). When Columbia started getting calls from local radio stations demanding copies of the song the next morning they decided to release the single after all. Like A Rolling Stone ended up going all the way to the number two spot on the US charts, doing quite well in several other countries as well.

Artist:    Huns
Title:    I've Got You On My Mind
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Steven Dworetz
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017
    Ithaca, NY, is famous for being the home of Cornell University, one of the nation's top Ivy League schools. What a lot of people are unaware of, however, is that there is a second large institute of higher learning in the area. Ithaca College, like Cornell, has its own radio station, as well as television facilities that date back to the 1960s. It was at these facilities, in their original downtown location, that the Huns, a short-lived but phenomenally popular local band, made their only studio recordings in May of 1966. Those recordings, made on monoraul equipment, sat unreleased for over 50 years before finally being made public on a 2017 CD called The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966. The band was founded by bassist Frank Van Nostrand and organist John Sweeney in the fall of 1965. By the end of the year their lineup included vocalist Rich La Bonte, guitarists Carl "Buz" Warmkessel and Keith Ginsberg and drummer Steven Dworetz, who wrote I've Got You On My Mind. Despite being new on the scene, the Huns found plenty of places to play, racking up a total of 51 gigs over a nine month period, while the members themselves attended classes at Ithaca College during the daytime (when they weren't being harrassed by department heads over the length of their hair). Although popular with the student crowd the members of the Huns were not well-liked by officials at the college itself. In fact, the Huns' existence came to an end when the founding members were "encouraged to pursue their academic careers elsewhere". Shades of Animal House!

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Earthquake
Source:    Mono British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    Although the second 13th Floor Elevators LP, Easter Everywhere, is generally a more quietly intense album than their 1966 debut, it did have a few higher-energy rockers such as Earthquake on it to spice up the mix. The band attempted to use a huge sheet of steel to produce the sound of thunder for the recording, but ultimately had to abandon the idea as unworkable. The album itself was awarded a special "merit pick" by Billboard magazine, which described the effort as "intellectual rock". Easter Everywhere was not a major seller, but has since come to be regarded as one of the hidden gems of the psychedelic era.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Beggar's Banquet)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's follow-up single, Street Fighting Man, a song that was almost as anthemic as Jumpin' Jack Flash itself and went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to.

Artist:    Gods
Title:    Hey Bulldog
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Fans of Uriah Heep may recognize the names Ken Hensley, Joe Konas, John Glascock and Lee Kerslake as members of the legendary British rock band at various phases of its existence. What they may not realize is that these four members had already been bandmates since early 1968 as members of the Gods. The band made it's recording debut with a song called Baby's Rich, which led to a concept album called Genesis. 1969 saw the release of a powerful cover of the Beatles' Hey Bulldog, along with a second album, before the group morphed into a band called Toe Fat, with Hensley soon departing to form Uriah Heep.

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

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Antique Doll
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released on LP: Underground)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    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?

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You've Never Had It Better
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums (and several singles) before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band have reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Hot Bright Lights
Source:    LP: Feelings
Writer(s):    Entner/Grill/Bratton
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1968
    The battle between the desires of recording artists for more creative freedom and record company people for more hit records is about as old as the music industry itself. As recorded music became more popular in the 1960s the battle intensified. Sometimes the artists won. More often it was the record companies. On occasion, the artist would have a brief window of opportunity to show they could succeed doing it their own way, only to have the door shut on them when things didn't work out as well as planned. So it was with the Grass Roots. The most famous incarnation of the band actually started off as a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor. When the first Grass Roots lineup balked at the demands made on them by their producers and left town, those producers, P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, promptly went out and hired the 13th Floor to become the new Grass Roots. After some success in 1967 with the hit song Let's Live For Today and a couple of lesser hits, the band demanded, and got, the opportunity to do an album their own way. The result was Feelings, which featured several songs such as Hot Bright Lights that were written by the band member themselves. Unfortunately for the band, Feelings did not perform well commercially, and from that point on the Grass Roots did things the Sloan-Barri way. As it turns out, the Sloan-Barri way led to lots and lots of hit singles, but little respect within the rock community itself.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Shine On Brightly
Source:    LP: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    Although it was never released as a single, the title track of Procol Harum's second album, Shine On Brightly, is probably their most commercially viable song on the album. Opening with power chords from organist Matthew Fischer and augmented by guitarist Robin Trower, the song quickly moves into psychedelic territory with some of Keith Reid's trippiest lyrics ever, including the refrain "my befuddled brain shines on brightly, quite insane." One of their best tracks ever.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (originally released on LP: A Saucerful Of Secrets)
Source:    CD: Works
Writer:    Roger Waters
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    With mental illness pretty much taking Sid Barrett out of the Pink Floyd equation by 1968, other members stepped up their own songwriting game for the band's second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, a Roger Waters composition, is the only Pink Floyd recording to have both Barrett and his replacement, David Gilmour, playing guitar parts and was considered strong enough to be included on the Works compilation album in the early 80s. A Saucerful Of Secrets is the only Pink Floyd album that failed to chart in the US, due in part to it being released on Capitol's Tower subsidiary, which was generally regarded as a second-rate label. 
   

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1838 (starts 9/17/18)



    This week's show could be called "how to get from David Bowie to Spirit in ten simple steps when the stpes themselves come in all shapes and sizes." That may not make a whole lot of sense, but it's a pretty accurate assessment nonetheless.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Changes
Source:    CD: Sound + Vision Sampler (originally released on LP: Hunky Dory)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1971
    Sometimes a seemingly innocous little song will turn out to be something far more than it started out to be. Such is the case with Changes, one of the most recognizable songs of the 20th century. Originally appearing on the 1971 album Hunky Dory and released as a single in 1972, Changes, according to Bowie, started off as a parody of a nightclub song, "a kind of throwaway", that featured Bowie himself on saxophone, with strings provided by Mick Ronson. Rick Wakeman's keyboards also feature prominently in the recording. The song was Bowie's first North American release on the RCA Victor label (although Mercury had released The Man Who Sold The World two years previously, the record had gone nowhere at the time). Changes is often taken as a statement of artistic intent, as Bowie was constantly reinventing himself throughout his career. Oddly enough, the song did not make the British charts until its re-release following Bowie's death in 2016.

Artist:    Gong
Title:    Tried So Hard
Source:    British import CD: Camembert Electrique (originally released in France)
Writer(s):    Christian Tritsch
Label:    Charly (original label BYG Actuel)
Year:    1971
    It's almost impossible to describe Gong. They had their roots in British psychedelia, founder Daevid Allen having been a member of Soft Machine, but are also known as pioneers of space-rock. The Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, from 1973-74, is considered a landmark of the genre, telling the story of such characters as Zero the Hero and the Pot Head Pixies from Planet Gong. The groundwork for the trilogy was actually laid in 1971, when the album Camembert Electrique was recorded (and released) in France on the BYG Actuel label. The album itself ranges from the experimental (and even somewhat humorous) Radio Gnome tracks to the spacier cuts like Tropical Fish: Selene, and on occasion even rocks out hard on tracks like Tried So Hard, written by the group's bassist, Christian Tritsch.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Love Me Please
Source:    LP: Lion's Share
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1972
    Despite being released on the heels of their highest charting LP Hellbound Train, Savoy Borwn's 1972 LP Lion's Share did surprisingly poorly on the charts, never climbing above the # 151 spot. Perhaps the band's frequent lineup changes were finally taking their toll, as Savoy Brown is a contender for the all-time record for having the most former members of any band in rock history. Regardless, Lion's Share, in a ddition to having pretty cool cover art, contains some tasty tunes, such as the low-key Love Me Please, written and sung by the band's founder (and only permanent member) Kim Simmonds.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    The Band With No Name
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    A deliberate play on words by guitarist Alvin Lee, The Band With No Name opens side two of the 1970 Ten Years After LP Watt. The term "band" was used in the early days of LP records to refer to the individual songs on an album, which, looked at from above, looked like a series of circular bands separated by the spaces between the songs. The term had largely fallen out of usage by 1970 (giving way to the more popular "track" or sometimes "cut"), which makes sense, given that self-contained groups (like Ten Years After) were generally referred to as bands by that point in time. The "band" itself is a short instrumental piece done in the style of 1960s Spaghetti Western themes.

Artist:    Renaissance
Title:    Running Hard
Source:    LP: Turn Of The Cards
Writer(s):    Dunford/Thatcher
Label:    Sire
Year:    1974
    Formed in 1969 by former Yardbirds Jim McCarty and Keith Relf, Renaissance was one of the first bands to merge rock, classical and jazz into a coherent whole. The group went through several lineup changes in its early years. In fact none of the original members were still in the band as of the third Renaissance album Prologue. By 1974 the band was incorporating excerpts from classical pieces (mostly from the Romantic period) into what was otherwise progressive rock, with very few jazz elements remaining. The focus of the group had also changed, with a greater emphasis being placed on the vocals of Annie Haslam, who had joined Renaissance after the departure of Jane Relf in the early 1970s. Running Hard, which opens the band's fifth LP, Turn Of The Cards, is one of the group's better known tunes, as it also was featured on their 1976 album Live At Carnegie Hall.

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

Artist:    Who
Title:    Naked Eye
Source:    British import CD (Spirit Of Joy) (originally released on LP: Odds And Sods)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1974
    While touring to promote the Tommy album, the Who began developing several new songs as part of their live act. Many of these appeared, at least in part, on the Live At Leeds album in 1970. One of those songs, Naked Eye, was partially recorded in the studio around the same time, but remained unfinished when the 1971 album Who's Next was released. Over the next couple of years several bootlegs of the Who's live performances were in circulation, prompting bassist John Entwhistle to compile a new album of outtakes and unreleased tracks in 1974. The album Odds And Sods, included the completed version of Naked Eye.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Little Rain
Source:    CD: Anthology (originally released on LP: Blues Project)
Writer(s):    Reed/Abner
Label:    Polydor (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1972
    In 1971 former Blues Project guitarist Danny Kalb and Roy Blumenfeld, along with bassist Don Kretmar recorded an album called Lazarus, credited to the Blues Project. The following year the three added David Cohen (of Country Joe and the Fish) on piano and Bill Lussenden on second guitar to record a self-titled final Blues Project LP. Original lead vocalist Tommy Flanders was also a member of this version of the band, although Danny Kalb handled the lead vocals on a couple of tracks, including the old Jimmy Reed tune Little Rain.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Time/The Great Gig In The Sky
Source:    The Dark Side Of The Moon
Writer(s):    Mason/Waters/Gilmour/Wright/Torry
Label:    Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1973
    There are very few albums in rock history that have achieved the iconic status of Pink Floyd's Dark side Of The Moon. Listening to the last two tracks on side one, it's easy to see why this album makes the grade. In case you're wondering, the "Torry" in the songwriting credits is Clare Torry, who does all that wordless vocalizing throughout The Great Gig In The Sky. Her name did not originally appear in the credits, but then lawyers got involved...
   
Artist:    Spirit
Title:    So Little Time To Fly
Source:    LP: Spirit (double LP re-release of Spirit and Clear)
Writer(s):    California/Locke
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1969
    I've always felt that Spirit should have achieved greater success than they actually did. That belief is based on my familiarity with their first and fourth albums, both of which are excellent. Unfortunately, having recently listened to their third LP, Clear, I now understand why greater fame escaped such a talented band. The LP itself isn't really bad; it just lacks the magic of their 1968 debut or the classic Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus. So Little Time To Fly is one of the better tracks from Clear. Judge for yourself.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1837 (starts 9/10/18)



    This week's show is actually a series of progressions through the years, broken up by artists' sets (from Cream, Love and the Byrds) and an Advanced Psych segment in which I sneak one of my own tunes in.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Just Like Us
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first rock band signed by the label, predating the Byrds by about a year. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Leave
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Although Buffalo Springfield are generally acknowldeged to be among the pioneers of a softer rock sound that would gain popularity in the 70s with bands like the Eagles, Poco and Crosby, Stills and Nash, they did occasionally rock out a bit harder on tracks like Leave. Of particular note is lead guitarist Neil Young doing blues licks on Leave, a Stephen Stills tune from the first Buffalo Springfield album, released in 1966.

Artist:        Doors
Title:        End Of The Night
Source:      45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:        Elektra
Year:        1967
        End Of The Night is one of those songs that seems to define a band's sound. In the case of the Doors, that sound was dark and menacing. No wonder, then, that End Of The Night was chosen to be the B side of the band's first single in early 1967.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Hoochie Coochie Man
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    A major driving force behind the renewed interest in the blues in the 1960s was the updating and re-recording of classic blues tunes by contempory rock musicians. This trend started in England, with bands like the Yardbirds and the Animals in the early part of the decade. By the end of the 60s a growing number of US bands were playing songs such as Hoochie Coochie Man, a tune originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954. Like Cream's Spoonful and Led Zeppelin's You Shook Me, Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willie Dixon. The 1968 Steppenwolf version of the song slows the tempo down a touch from the original version and features exquisite sustained guitar work from Michael Monarch.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    10 Minutes Before The Worm
Source:    European import CD: Pretties For You
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Rhino/Bizarre/Straight
Year:    1969
    The band known as Alice Cooper was still in its pre-commercial underground phase as part of Frank Zappa's collection of misfits recording for Bizarre Productions when they released the album Pretties For You on Zappa's Straight label in 1969. Like the rest of the album, 10 Minutes Before The Worm is a somewhat experimental piece from the band that had formed a few years earlier in Phoenix, Arizona. Zappa would eventually sell Straight to Warner Brothers, and Alice Cooper would become the world's first major shock-rock band in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. It was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 and went all the way to the # 3 spot on the British top 40. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. Although Rose always claimed that Hey Joe was a traditional folk song, the song was actually copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts. By the time Hendrix recorded Hey Joe several American bands had recorded a fast version of the song, with the Leaves hitting the US top 40 with it in early 1966.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    Underdog
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Whole New Thing)
Writer(s):    Sylvester Stewart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Sly and the Family Stone were a showstopper at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but their story starts years before that historic performance. Sylvester Stewart was a popular DJ and record producer in mid-60s San Francisco, responsible for the first recordings of the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead) and the Great! Society, among others. During that time he became acquainted with a wealth of talent, including bassist Larry Graham. In 1967, with Autumn Records having been sold to and closed down by Warner Brothers, he decided to form his own band. Anchored by Graham, Sly and the Family Stone's first LP, A Whole New Thing, was possibly the very first pure funk album ever released.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers
Title:    Shape Of Things To Come
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Captain High (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts except for the "cheapie" part. Wild in the Streets starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's drummer/political activist Stanley X. The most prominent song from the film was Shape Of Things To Come, writen by the Brill Building husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had written several hit songs over the years, including Kicks and Hungry for Paul Revere And The Raiders. Shape Of Things To Come ended up being a hit as well, leading to an entire album being released by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers. Although who the musicians who actually played on the song is not known for sure, most people who know anything about it believe it to be the work of Davie Allan and the Arrows, who were doing a lot of movie soundtracks for Mike Curb in the mid to late 1960s.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Cymbaline
Source:    British import LP: Soundtrack From The Film "More"
Writer(s):    Roger Waters
Label:    Columbia/EMI
Year:    1969
    Following the release of their second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd, now completely without founding member Syd Barrett, got to work on Soundtrack From The Film "More". The album saw the group moving more into the avant-garde experimentalism that would characterize the band for the next several years, with tracks like Cymbaline taking on a more somber quality than Pink Floyd's earlier work. More was also the first Pink Floyd album to feature David Gilmour as the only lead vocalist on the LP. This would not happen again until 1989.

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 their second album, Disraeli Gears, 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:    Cream
Title:    SWLABR
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and poet Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Take It Back
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:     1967
     After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorder. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    As Tears Go By
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards/Oldham
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
            As Tears Go By is sometimes referred to as the Rolling Stones' answer to the Beatles' Yesterday. The problem with this theory, however, is that As Tears Go By was written a year before Yesterday was released, and in fact was a top 10 UK single for Marianne Faithful in 1964. The story of the song's genesis is that producer/manager Andrew Oldham locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the kitchen until they came up with an original song. The original title was As Time Goes By, but, not wanting anyone to confuse it with the famous song used in the film Casablanca, Oldham changed Time to Tears, and got a writing credit for his trouble. Since the Stones were not at that time known for soft ballads, Oldham gave the song to Marianne Faithful, launching a successful recording career for the singer in 1964. The following year the Stones included their own version of the song on the album December's Children (And Everybody's), using a string arrangement that may indeed have been inspired by the Beatles' Yesterday, which was holding down the # 1 spot on the charts at the time the Rolling Stones were recording As Tears Go By. After American disc jockeys began playing As Tears Go By as an album track, London Records released the song as a US-only single, which ended up making the top 10 in 1965.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Love Me, I'm A Liberal
Source:    CD: There But For Fortune (originally released on LP: Phil Ochs In Concert)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Phil Ochs could have been a big star on the folk scene of the 1960s, except for on small flaw: he was too honest, even with himself. By 1966 Ochs was already well-established on the scene, both as a songwriter and a folk singer with a hit single (I Ain't Marching Anymore) to his credit. Ochs, though, thought of himself as more of a musical journalist chronicling a tumultuous decade, and he wasn't afraid to step on toes, even those of his fans. The left-leaning folk movement of the early 1960s had been enthusiastically supported by the more liberal members of mainstream society, but Ochs couldn't resist pointing out their hypocrisy with Love Me, I'm A Liberal, a song included on his 1966 LP Phil Ochs In Concert. Not long after the album was released, Ochs left the Greenwich Village area for California, switching from the New York based folk-oriented Elektra Records to the hip Hollywood label A&M (co-owned by trumpeter Herb Alpert, whose Tijuana Brass was one of the hottest acts on the coast at the time). Ochs's music became more introspective and less accessible over the next few years. Ochs eventually returned to New York, where he made an appearance at the 1975 War Is Over rally in Central Park, an event that marked the end of the movement that had brought Ochs to prominence so many years before. Always the observer, Ochs finally decided that he could no longer be a part of the world around him and took his own life on April 9, 1976.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Barterers And Their Wives
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Feher
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke made a huge impact with their debut single, Walk Away Renee, in late 1966. All of a sudden the rock press (such as it was in 1966) was all abuzz with talk of "baroque pop" and how it was the latest, greatest thing. The band soon released a follow-up single, Pretty Ballerina, which made the top 10 as well, which led to an album entitled (naturally enough) Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, which featured several more songs in the same vein, such as Barterers And Their Wives, which was also released as a B side later that year. An unfortunate misstep by keyboardist Michael Brown, however, led to the Left Banke's early demise, and baroque pop soon went the way of other sixties fads.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    The title track of the second Amboy Dukes album, Journey To The Center Of The Mind, is by far their best known recording, going all the way to the #16 spot on the top 40 in 1968. The song features the lead guitar work of Ted Nugent, who co-wrote the song with guitarist/vocalist Steve Farmer. Journey To The Center Of The Mind would be the last album to feature lead vocalist John Drake, who left the band for creative reasons shortly after the album's release.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Joe Hill
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on LP: Woodstock)
Writer:    Robinson/Hayes
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    Joe Hill, written as a poem in the early part of the 20th century and set to music a few years later, was a highlight of Joan Baez's Woodstock performance. The song was inspired by the struggles of one of the martyrs of the labor movement of the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     Mono CD: Roger The Engineer
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Great American Music (original US label: Epic)
Year:     1966
     We start off our second hour this week with one of the hottest B sides ever issued: the instrumental Jeff's Boogie, which appeared as the flip side of Over, Under, Sideways Down in 1966 and was included on an LP with the same name (that LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art, sketched by rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja). Although credited to the entire band, the song is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding lead guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:     McKendree Spring
Title:     Down By The River
Source:     LP: McKendree Spring 3
Writer:     Neil Young
Label:     Decca
Year:     1972
     Decca Records was considered one of the "big six" record companies of the 50s-60s, and one of the three based in New York. Unlike RCA Victor and Columbia, which had offices and studios on both coasts, Decca remained primarily an East Coast label, with a generous helping of imports supplementing the local talent, until it was folded into MCA in the early 1970s. One of the last acts signed by the label was McKendree Spring, from Glens Falls, NY. Best described as a progressive folk-rock band, the group supplemented its basic rock instrumentation with violin, viola and synthesizers, all provided by Dr. Michael Dreyfuss. Their third album, released in 1972, starts off with a powerful version of the Neil Young classic Down By The River.

Artist:    Stephen R Webb
Title:    Jeremy Johnson
Source:    CD: The Electric Dream Project
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1987
    Ever lay awake at night, trying not to think of things that scare the crap out of you, but of course thinking of nothing else? When that happens to a songwriter it can result in something like Jeremy Johnson. The scary thought in this instance was actually a question: what if some Jimmy Jones type got hold of a thermonuclear device and decided that if mass suicide was good enough for his own followers it would be even better for massive numbers of people, like the population of a large American city? I then started thinking about the followers of Charles Manson and came up with the idea of Sarah Lee Winston, a girl from a moderately wealthy, but emotionally lacking, family that is so devoted to Jeremy Johnson that she will commit any act, no matter how horrific, to please him. The ominous, slightly discordant music flowed naturally from the concept of the lyrics, and the song was first performed by the band Civilian Joe in 1986. The studio version of Jeremy Johnson, featuring Civilian Joe's Suzan Hagler on rhythm guitar and me on everything else, was recorded at Bottom Line as part of the Electric Dream Project in 1987. I hope it scares the crap out of you, too.

Artist:    Romeo Void
Title:    I Mean It
Source:    LP: Itsacondition
Writer(s):    Iyall/Zincavage/Woods/Bossi
Label:    415
Year:    1981
    Formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Deborah Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage, Romeo Void also included saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, guitarist Peter Woods, and a (shades of Spinal Tap!) succession of drummers. Their first LP, Itsacondition (sometimes referred to as It's A Condition) was released in 1981. I first ran across this album while doing a contemporary alternative rock show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque in the early 1980s. Although most of the album was fast-paced and punkish in nature, it was I Mean It, the haunting closing track from side one, that stood out from just about everything else that was happening musically at the time.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Old Man
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    An often overlooked fact about the L.A. band Love is that they had not one, but two quality singer/songwriters in the band. Although Arthur Lee wrote the bulk of the band's material, it was Bryan McLean who wrote and sang one of the group's best-known songs, the haunting Alone Again Or, which opens their classic Forever Changes album. A second McLean song, Old Man, was actually one of the first tracks recorded for Forever Changes. At the time, the band's rhythm section was more into sex and drugs than rock and roll, and McLean and Lee arranged to have studio musicians play on Old Man, as well as on one of Lee's songs. The rest of the group was so stunned by this development that they were able to temporarily get their act together long enough to complete the album. Nonetheless, the two tunes with studio musicians were left as is, although reportedly Ken Forssi did step in to show Carol Kaye how the bass part should be played (ironic, since Kaye is estimated to have played on over 10,000 recordings in her long career as a studio musician).

Artist:    Love
Title:    Que Vida!
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Love album was pretty much garage rock with a touch of folk-rock thrown in. Their second effort, however, showed off the rapidly maturing songwriting skills of both Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. Que Vida! (yes, I know that technically there should be an upside down exclamation point at the beginning of the song title, but my keyboard doesn't speak Spanish) is a good example of Lee moving into territory usually associated with middle-of-the-road singers such as Johnny Mathis. Lee would continue to defy convention throughout his career, leading to a noticable lack of commercial success even as he won the respect of his musical peers.

Artist:     Love
Title:     7&7 Is
Source:     Mono CD: Love Story (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Arthur Lee
Label:     ElektraRhino
Year:     1966
     In the fall of 1966 my parents took by brother and me to a drive-in movie to see The Russians Are Coming and The 10th Victim (don't ask me why I remember that). In an effort to extend their season past the summer months, that particular drive-in was pioneering a new technology that used a low-power radio transmitter (on a locally-unused frequency) to broadcast the audio portion of the films so that people could keep their car windows rolled all the way up (and presumably stay warm) instead of having to roll the window partway down to accomodate the hanging speakers that were attached to posts next to where each car was parked. Before the first movie and between films music was pumped through the speakers (and over the transmitter). Of course, being fascinated by all things radio, I insisted that my dad use the car radio as soon as we got settled in. I was immediately blown away by a song that I had not heard on either of Denver's two top 40 radio stations. That song was Love's 7&7 Is, and it was my first inkling that there were some great songs on the charts that were being ignored by local stations. I finally heard the song again the following spring, when a local FM station (that had been previously used to simulcast a full-service AM station) began running a "top 100" format a few hours a day.

Artist:    Association
Title:    Enter The Young
Source:    LP: And Then  Along Comes...The Association
Writer(s):    Terry Kirkman
Label:    Valiant
Year:    1966
    The Association started off the same way as many Los Angeles club bands in the mid-1960s, playing various venues and trying to get a record deal. Their first few singles, first on the Jubilee label and then the Valiant label, were not commercially successful, although they did allow the group to get a feel for the recording studio. The Association's version of Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings got the attention of producer Curt Boettcher, who gave them their first real hit, Along Comes Mary. This in turn led to the group's first LP, And Then Along Comes...The Association, which Boettcher produced. The opening track on the LP, Enter The Young, was at the time an appropriate way to introduce the group to album buyers, although it does sound a bit dated today. The tune was written by band member Terry Kirkman, who also wrote their next major hit, Cherish.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Minstrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote (and sang lead on) most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the group, thanks to the fact that one of the two songs he sang lead on, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), became a huge top 40 hit. It wasn't long before the official name of the band was changed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status, leaving the First Edition far behind.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Can You Dig It
Source:    LP: Head
Writer(s):    Peter Tork
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    Peter Tork only received two solo writing credits for Monkees recordings. The first, and most familiar, was For Pete's Sake, which was released on the Headquarters album in 1967 and used as the closing theme for the second season of their TV series. The second Tork solo piece was the more experimental Can You Dig It used in the movie Head and included on the 1968 movie soundtrack album. Not long after Head was completed, Tork left the group, not to return until the 1980s, when MTV ran a Monkees TV series marathon, introducing the band to a whole new generation and prompting a reunion tour and album.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    All Together Now
Source:    CD: Yellow Submarine (soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    1969
    Less than a month after completing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the Beatles found themselves in the position of being contractually obligated to provide songs for an animated film inspired by the song Yellow Submarine, which had appeared on the 1966 LP Revolver. The band was physically and emotionally exhausted at that point in time and ended up providing only four previously unreleased tunes for the project. One of those four was All Together Now, a tune written primarily by Paul McCartney, and meant to be in the same lighhearted vein as Yellow Submarine. McCartney later described the song as a "throwaway".

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Tribal Gathering
Source:    The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer(s):    Crosby/Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    In January of 1967 David Crosby attended something called "The Gathering of the Tribes: The Human Be-In" at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Crosby was so impressed by the event and those attending it that he wrote a song about the experience. Tribal Gathering was recorded by the Byrds on August 16, 1967, and included on the 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers, despite the fact that by the time the album was released Crosby had been fired by fellow band members Chris Hillman and Reoger McGuinn. Even more remarkable is the fact that the next track on the album, Dolphin's Smile, was also a Crosby composition. Both tracks have shared songwriting credits between Crosby and Hillman, with McGuinn's name appearing on Dolphin's Smile as well. Since both tracks were recorded on the same day, two months before Crosby left the group, it is possible that the co-writing credits were tacked on during overdub sessions later in the year. It wouldn't be the first time (according to Crosby) that the others took credit for his work.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Everybody's Been Burned
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    There is a common misconception that David Crosby's songwriting skills didn't fully develop until he began working with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. A listen to Everybody's Been Burned from the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, however, puts the lie to that theory in a hurry. The track has all the hallmarks of a classic Crosby song: a strong melody, intelligent lyrics and an innovative chord structure. It's also my personal favorite tune from what is arguably the Byrds' best LP.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     Draft Morning (alt. ending)
Source:     The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer:     Crosby/Hillman/McGuinn
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     Recorded 1967; alternate version released 1997
     Draft Morning is one of the most controversial recordings in the Byrds catalog. The song was originally composed by David Crosby, who was kicked out of the band shortly after they had recorded the instrumental tracks for the tune. Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman then proceded to write new lyrics for the song, and included it on The Notorious Byrd Brothers, released on Jan 3, 1968. This version of the song, first released on the expanded CD edition of The Notorious Byrd Brothers in 1997, was recorded in 1967 and has a different ending (although the same lyrics) as the LP version.

    This week's show is actually a series of progressions through the years, broken up by artists' sets (from Cream, Love and the Byrds) and an Advanced Psych segment in which I sneak one of my own tunes in.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Just Like Us
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first rock band signed by the label, predating the Byrds by about a year. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Leave
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Although Buffalo Springfield are generally acknowldeged to be among the pioneers of a softer rock sound that would gain popularity in the 70s with bands like the Eagles, Poco and Crosby, Stills and Nash, they did occasionally rock out a bit harder on tracks like Leave. Of particular note is lead guitarist Neil Young doing blues licks on Leave, a Stephen Stills tune from the first Buffalo Springfield album, released in 1966.

Artist:        Doors
Title:        End Of The Night
Source:      45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:        Elektra
Year:        1967
        End Of The Night is one of those songs that seems to define a band's sound. In the case of the Doors, that sound was dark and menacing. No wonder, then, that End Of The Night was chosen to be the B side of the band's first single in early 1967.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Hoochie Coochie Man
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    A major driving force behind the renewed interest in the blues in the 1960s was the updating and re-recording of classic blues tunes by contempory rock musicians. This trend started in England, with bands like the Yardbirds and the Animals in the early part of the decade. By the end of the 60s a growing number of US bands were playing songs such as Hoochie Coochie Man, a tune originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954. Like Cream's Spoonful and Led Zeppelin's You Shook Me, Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willie Dixon. The 1968 Steppenwolf version of the song slows the tempo down a touch from the original version and features exquisite sustained guitar work from Michael Monarch.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    10 Minutes Before The Worm
Source:    European import CD: Pretties For You
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Rhino/Bizarre/Straight
Year:    1969
    The band known as Alice Cooper was still in its pre-commercial underground phase as part of Frank Zappa's collection of misfits recording for Bizarre Productions when they released the album Pretties For You on Zappa's Straight label in 1969. Like the rest of the album, 10 Minutes Before The Worm is a somewhat experimental piece from the band that had formed a few years earlier in Phoenix, Arizona. Zappa would eventually sell Straight to Warner Brothers, and Alice Cooper would become the world's first major shock-rock band in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. It was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 and went all the way to the # 3 spot on the British top 40. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. Although Rose always claimed that Hey Joe was a traditional folk song, the song was actually copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts. By the time Hendrix recorded Hey Joe several American bands had recorded a fast version of the song, with the Leaves hitting the US top 40 with it in early 1966.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    Underdog
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Whole New Thing)
Writer(s):    Sylvester Stewart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Sly and the Family Stone were a showstopper at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but their story starts years before that historic performance. Sylvester Stewart was a popular DJ and record producer in mid-60s San Francisco, responsible for the first recordings of the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead) and the Great! Society, among others. During that time he became acquainted with a wealth of talent, including bassist Larry Graham. In 1967, with Autumn Records having been sold to and closed down by Warner Brothers, he decided to form his own band. Anchored by Graham, Sly and the Family Stone's first LP, A Whole New Thing, was possibly the very first pure funk album ever released.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers
Title:    Shape Of Things To Come
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Captain High (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts except for the "cheapie" part. Wild in the Streets starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's drummer/political activist Stanley X. The most prominent song from the film was Shape Of Things To Come, writen by the Brill Building husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had written several hit songs over the years, including Kicks and Hungry for Paul Revere And The Raiders. Shape Of Things To Come ended up being a hit as well, leading to an entire album being released by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers. Although who the musicians who actually played on the song is not known for sure, most people who know anything about it believe it to be the work of Davie Allan and the Arrows, who were doing a lot of movie soundtracks for Mike Curb in the mid to late 1960s.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Cymbaline
Source:    British import LP: Soundtrack From The Film "More"
Writer(s):    Roger Waters
Label:    Columbia/EMI
Year:    1969
    Following the release of their second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd, now completely without founding member Syd Barrett, got to work on Soundtrack From The Film "More". The album saw the group moving more into the avant-garde experimentalism that would characterize the band for the next several years, with tracks like Cymbaline taking on a more somber quality than Pink Floyd's earlier work. More was also the first Pink Floyd album to feature David Gilmour as the only lead vocalist on the LP. This would not happen again until 1989.

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 their second album, Disraeli Gears, 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:    Cream
Title:    SWLABR
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and poet Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Take It Back
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:     1967
     After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorder. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    As Tears Go By
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards/Oldham
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
            As Tears Go By is sometimes referred to as the Rolling Stones' answer to the Beatles' Yesterday. The problem with this theory, however, is that As Tears Go By was written a year before Yesterday was released, and in fact was a top 10 UK single for Marianne Faithful in 1964. The story of the song's genesis is that producer/manager Andrew Oldham locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the kitchen until they came up with an original song. The original title was As Time Goes By, but, not wanting anyone to confuse it with the famous song used in the film Casablanca, Oldham changed Time to Tears, and got a writing credit for his trouble. Since the Stones were not at that time known for soft ballads, Oldham gave the song to Marianne Faithful, launching a successful recording career for the singer in 1964. The following year the Stones included their own version of the song on the album December's Children (And Everybody's), using a string arrangement that may indeed have been inspired by the Beatles' Yesterday, which was holding down the # 1 spot on the charts at the time the Rolling Stones were recording As Tears Go By. After American disc jockeys began playing As Tears Go By as an album track, London Records released the song as a US-only single, which ended up making the top 10 in 1965.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Love Me, I'm A Liberal
Source:    CD: There But For Fortune (originally released on LP: Phil Ochs In Concert)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Phil Ochs could have been a big star on the folk scene of the 1960s, except for on small flaw: he was too honest, even with himself. By 1966 Ochs was already well-established on the scene, both as a songwriter and a folk singer with a hit single (I Ain't Marching Anymore) to his credit. Ochs, though, thought of himself as more of a musical journalist chronicling a tumultuous decade, and he wasn't afraid to step on toes, even those of his fans. The left-leaning folk movement of the early 1960s had been enthusiastically supported by the more liberal members of mainstream society, but Ochs couldn't resist pointing out their hypocrisy with Love Me, I'm A Liberal, a song included on his 1966 LP Phil Ochs In Concert. Not long after the album was released, Ochs left the Greenwich Village area for California, switching from the New York based folk-oriented Elektra Records to the hip Hollywood label A&M (co-owned by trumpeter Herb Alpert, whose Tijuana Brass was one of the hottest acts on the coast at the time). Ochs's music became more introspective and less accessible over the next few years. Ochs eventually returned to New York, where he made an appearance at the 1975 War Is Over rally in Central Park, an event that marked the end of the movement that had brought Ochs to prominence so many years before. Always the observer, Ochs finally decided that he could no longer be a part of the world around him and took his own life on April 9, 1976.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Barterers And Their Wives
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Feher
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke made a huge impact with their debut single, Walk Away Renee, in late 1966. All of a sudden the rock press (such as it was in 1966) was all abuzz with talk of "baroque pop" and how it was the latest, greatest thing. The band soon released a follow-up single, Pretty Ballerina, which made the top 10 as well, which led to an album entitled (naturally enough) Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, which featured several more songs in the same vein, such as Barterers And Their Wives, which was also released as a B side later that year. An unfortunate misstep by keyboardist Michael Brown, however, led to the Left Banke's early demise, and baroque pop soon went the way of other sixties fads.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    The title track of the second Amboy Dukes album, Journey To The Center Of The Mind, is by far their best known recording, going all the way to the #16 spot on the top 40 in 1968. The song features the lead guitar work of Ted Nugent, who co-wrote the song with guitarist/vocalist Steve Farmer. Journey To The Center Of The Mind would be the last album to feature lead vocalist John Drake, who left the band for creative reasons shortly after the album's release.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Joe Hill
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on LP: Woodstock)
Writer:    Robinson/Hayes
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    Joe Hill, written as a poem in the early part of the 20th century and set to music a few years later, was a highlight of Joan Baez's Woodstock performance. The song was inspired by the struggles of one of the martyrs of the labor movement of the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     Mono CD: Roger The Engineer
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Great American Music (original US label: Epic)
Year:     1966
     We start off our second hour this week with one of the hottest B sides ever issued: the instrumental Jeff's Boogie, which appeared as the flip side of Over, Under, Sideways Down in 1966 and was included on an LP with the same name (that LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art, sketched by rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja). Although credited to the entire band, the song is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding lead guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:     McKendree Spring
Title:     Down By The River
Source:     LP: McKendree Spring 3
Writer:     Neil Young
Label:     Decca
Year:     1972
     Decca Records was considered one of the "big six" record companies of the 50s-60s, and one of the three based in New York. Unlike RCA Victor and Columbia, which had offices and studios on both coasts, Decca remained primarily an East Coast label, with a generous helping of imports supplementing the local talent, until it was folded into MCA in the early 1970s. One of the last acts signed by the label was McKendree Spring, from Glens Falls, NY. Best described as a progressive folk-rock band, the group supplemented its basic rock instrumentation with violin, viola and synthesizers, all provided by Dr. Michael Dreyfuss. Their third album, released in 1972, starts off with a powerful version of the Neil Young classic Down By The River.

Artist:    Stephen R Webb
Title:    Jeremy Johnson
Source:    CD: The Electric Dream Project
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1987
    Ever lay awake at night, trying not to think of things that scare the crap out of you, but of course thinking of nothing else? When that happens to a songwriter it can result in something like Jeremy Johnson. The scary thought in this instance was actually a question: what if some Jimmy Jones type got hold of a thermonuclear device and decided that if mass suicide was good enough for his own followers it would be even better for massive numbers of people, like the population of a large American city? I then started thinking about the followers of Charles Manson and came up with the idea of Sarah Lee Winston, a girl from a moderately wealthy, but emotionally lacking, family that is so devoted to Jeremy Johnson that she will commit any act, no matter how horrific, to please him. The ominous, slightly discordant music flowed naturally from the concept of the lyrics, and the song was first performed by the band Civilian Joe in 1986. The studio version of Jeremy Johnson, featuring Civilian Joe's Suzan Hagler on rhythm guitar and me on everything else, was recorded at Bottom Line as part of the Electric Dream Project in 1987. I hope it scares the crap out of you, too.

Artist:    Romeo Void
Title:    I Mean It
Source:    LP: Itsacondition
Writer(s):    Iyall/Zincavage/Woods/Bossi
Label:    415
Year:    1981
    Formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Deborah Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage, Romeo Void also included saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, guitarist Peter Woods, and a (shades of Spinal Tap!) succession of drummers. Their first LP, Itsacondition (sometimes referred to as It's A Condition) was released in 1981. I first ran across this album while doing a contemporary alternative rock show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque in the early 1980s. Although most of the album was fast-paced and punkish in nature, it was I Mean It, the haunting closing track from side one, that stood out from just about everything else that was happening musically at the time.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Old Man
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    An often overlooked fact about the L.A. band Love is that they had not one, but two quality singer/songwriters in the band. Although Arthur Lee wrote the bulk of the band's material, it was Bryan McLean who wrote and sang one of the group's best-known songs, the haunting Alone Again Or, which opens their classic Forever Changes album. A second McLean song, Old Man, was actually one of the first tracks recorded for Forever Changes. At the time, the band's rhythm section was more into sex and drugs than rock and roll, and McLean and Lee arranged to have studio musicians play on Old Man, as well as on one of Lee's songs. The rest of the group was so stunned by this development that they were able to temporarily get their act together long enough to complete the album. Nonetheless, the two tunes with studio musicians were left as is, although reportedly Ken Forssi did step in to show Carol Kaye how the bass part should be played (ironic, since Kaye is estimated to have played on over 10,000 recordings in her long career as a studio musician).

Artist:    Love
Title:    Que Vida!
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Love album was pretty much garage rock with a touch of folk-rock thrown in. Their second effort, however, showed off the rapidly maturing songwriting skills of both Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. Que Vida! (yes, I know that technically there should be an upside down exclamation point at the beginning of the song title, but my keyboard doesn't speak Spanish) is a good example of Lee moving into territory usually associated with middle-of-the-road singers such as Johnny Mathis. Lee would continue to defy convention throughout his career, leading to a noticable lack of commercial success even as he won the respect of his musical peers.

Artist:     Love
Title:     7&7 Is
Source:     Mono CD: Love Story (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Arthur Lee
Label:     ElektraRhino
Year:     1966
     In the fall of 1966 my parents took by brother and me to a drive-in movie to see The Russians Are Coming and The 10th Victim (don't ask me why I remember that). In an effort to extend their season past the summer months, that particular drive-in was pioneering a new technology that used a low-power radio transmitter (on a locally-unused frequency) to broadcast the audio portion of the films so that people could keep their car windows rolled all the way up (and presumably stay warm) instead of having to roll the window partway down to accomodate the hanging speakers that were attached to posts next to where each car was parked. Before the first movie and between films music was pumped through the speakers (and over the transmitter). Of course, being fascinated by all things radio, I insisted that my dad use the car radio as soon as we got settled in. I was immediately blown away by a song that I had not heard on either of Denver's two top 40 radio stations. That song was Love's 7&7 Is, and it was my first inkling that there were some great songs on the charts that were being ignored by local stations. I finally heard the song again the following spring, when a local FM station (that had been previously used to simulcast a full-service AM station) began running a "top 100" format a few hours a day.

Artist:    Association
Title:    Enter The Young
Source:    LP: And Then  Along Comes...The Association
Writer(s):    Terry Kirkman
Label:    Valiant
Year:    1966
    The Association started off the same way as many Los Angeles club bands in the mid-1960s, playing various venues and trying to get a record deal. Their first few singles, first on the Jubilee label and then the Valiant label, were not commercially successful, although they did allow the group to get a feel for the recording studio. The Association's version of Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings got the attention of producer Curt Boettcher, who gave them their first real hit, Along Comes Mary. This in turn led to the group's first LP, And Then Along Comes...The Association, which Boettcher produced. The opening track on the LP, Enter The Young, was at the time an appropriate way to introduce the group to album buyers, although it does sound a bit dated today. The tune was written by band member Terry Kirkman, who also wrote their next major hit, Cherish.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Minstrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote (and sang lead on) most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the group, thanks to the fact that one of the two songs he sang lead on, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), became a huge top 40 hit. It wasn't long before the official name of the band was changed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status, leaving the First Edition far behind.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Can You Dig It
Source:    LP: Head
Writer(s):    Peter Tork
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    Peter Tork only received two solo writing credits for Monkees recordings. The first, and most familiar, was For Pete's Sake, which was released on the Headquarters album in 1967 and used as the closing theme for the second season of their TV series. The second Tork solo piece was the more experimental Can You Dig It used in the movie Head and included on the 1968 movie soundtrack album. Not long after Head was completed, Tork left the group, not to return until the 1980s, when MTV ran a Monkees TV series marathon, introducing the band to a whole new generation and prompting a reunion tour and album.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    All Together Now
Source:    CD: Yellow Submarine (soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    1969
    Less than a month after completing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the Beatles found themselves in the position of being contractually obligated to provide songs for an animated film inspired by the song Yellow Submarine, which had appeared on the 1966 LP Revolver. The band was physically and emotionally exhausted at that point in time and ended up providing only four previously unreleased tunes for the project. One of those four was All Together Now, a tune written primarily by Paul McCartney, and meant to be in the same lighhearted vein as Yellow Submarine. McCartney later described the song as a "throwaway".

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Tribal Gathering
Source:    The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer(s):    Crosby/Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    In January of 1967 David Crosby attended something called "The Gathering of the Tribes: The Human Be-In" at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Crosby was so impressed by the event and those attending it that he wrote a song about the experience. Tribal Gathering was recorded by the Byrds on August 16, 1967, and included on the 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers, despite the fact that by the time the album was released Crosby had been fired by fellow band members Chris Hillman and Reoger McGuinn. Even more remarkable is the fact that the next track on the album, Dolphin's Smile, was also a Crosby composition. Both tracks have shared songwriting credits between Crosby and Hillman, with McGuinn's name appearing on Dolphin's Smile as well. Since both tracks were recorded on the same day, two months before Crosby left the group, it is possible that the co-writing credits were tacked on during overdub sessions later in the year. It wouldn't be the first time (according to Crosby) that the others took credit for his work.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Everybody's Been Burned
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    There is a common misconception that David Crosby's songwriting skills didn't fully develop until he began working with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. A listen to Everybody's Been Burned from the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, however, puts the lie to that theory in a hurry. The track has all the hallmarks of a classic Crosby song: a strong melody, intelligent lyrics and an innovative chord structure. It's also my personal favorite tune from what is arguably the Byrds' best LP.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     Draft Morning (alt. ending)
Source:     The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer:     Crosby/Hillman/McGuinn
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     Recorded 1967; alternate version released 1997
     Draft Morning is one of the most controversial recordings in the Byrds catalog. The song was originally composed by David Crosby, who was kicked out of the band shortly after they had recorded the instrumental tracks for the tune. Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman then proceded to write new lyrics for the song, and included it on The Notorious Byrd Brothers, released on Jan 3, 1968. This version of the song, first released on the expanded CD edition of The Notorious Byrd Brothers in 1997, was recorded in 1967 and has a different ending (although the same lyrics) as the LP version.