Sunday, September 2, 2018
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1836 (starts 9/5/18)
This week it's mostly artists' sets and progressions though the years until our final segment, where we change things up a bit. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Title: Got To Get You Into My Life
Source: European import LP: Revolver
One of the best known songs on the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver is Paul McCartney's Got To Get You Into My Life. The song was not released as a single until 1976, when it became the last original Beatles song to hit the top 10 (Free As A Bird, a fleshing out of a John Lennon demo recording by the three living members of the band, made the top 10 nearly 20 years later). McCartney later revealed that the song was an ode to pot, saying "'Got to Get You into My Life' was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot ... So [it's] really a song about that, it's not to a person." John Lennon called Got to Get You into My Life one of Paul's best songs.
Title: Strange Days
Source: CD: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.
Title: Sitting On Top Of The World
Source: CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer: Vinson/Chatmon (original) Chester Burnett (modern version)
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Throughout their existence British blues supergroup Cream recorded covers of blues classics. One of the best of these is Sitting On Top Of The World from the album Wheels Of Fire, which in its earliest form was written by Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon and recorded by the Mississippi Shieks in 1930. Cream's version uses the lyrics from the 1957 rewrite of the song by Chester Burnett, better known as Howlin' Wolf.
Title: Electric Sailor
Source: British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Label: Big Beat (original US label: Epic)
Lead guitarist Dehner Patten takes center stage on Electric Sailor, from the album Kak, both as lead vocalist and as the song's primary songwriter, although he insisted that the entire band get credit for their contributions to the tune. Members of Paul Revere and the Raiders, who happened to be in the studio when the members of Kak were listening to the playback of Electric Sailor, expressed an interest in covering the song, but to my knowledge never actually recorded it themselves.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sympathy For The Devil
Source: CD: Beggars Banquet
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio.
Artist: Rolling Stones (Bill Wyman)
Title: In Another Land
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s): Bill Wyman
During recording sessions for the late 1967 Rolling Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request bassist Bill Wyman made a forty-five minute drive to the studio one evening only to find out that the session had been cancelled. The band's manager and producer, Andrew Loog Oldham, managed to salvage the moment by asking Wyman if he had any song ideas he'd like to work on while he was there. As it turned out, Wyman had just come up with a song called In Another Land, about waking up from a dream only to discover you are actually still dreaming. Utilizing the talents of various people on hand, including Steve Marriott, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins, Wyman recorded a rough demo of his new tune. When Mick Jagger and Keith Richards heard the song they liked it so much that they added background vocals and insisted the track be used on the album and released as a single by Bill Wyman (with another track from the LP on the B side credited to the entire band). They even went so far as to give Wyman solo artist credit on the label of the LP itself (the label reads: Their Satanic Majesties Request by the Rolling Stones*, with the next line reading *by Bill Wyman), with an asterisk preceeding the song title in the track listing. Wyman reportedly hated the sound of his own voice on the song, and insisted that a tremelo effect be added to it in the final mix. The snoring at the end of the track is Wyman himself, as captured in the studio by Mick and Keith.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: No Expectations
Source: CD: Beggar's Banquet
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).
Title: Pictures Of Lily
Source: Mono CD: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Pictures of Lily was the first single released by the Who in 1967. It hit the #4 spot on the British charts, but only made it to #51 in the US. This was nothing new for the Who, as several of their early singles, including Substitute, I Can't Explain and even My Generation hit the British top 10 without getting any US airplay (or chart action) at all.
Title: Armenia City In The Sky
Source: CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s): John Keene
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Pete Townshend has always been a prolific songwriter. John Entwistle, while not as prolific as Townshend, has nonetheless written a number of quality tunes. It is a bit surprising, then, that the opening track of The Who Sell Out did not come from the pens of either of the band's songwriters. Instead, Armenia City In The Sky was written by one of the band's roadies, John "Speedy" Keene. Although not a household name, Keene was the lead vocalist for Thunderclap Newman (named for the band's recording engineer), who had a huge hit in 1969 with Keene's Something In The Air, which was produced by Townshend.
Source: CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Atco)
In the spring of 1967 my dad, a career military man, got word that he was being transferred from Denver, Colorado to Weisbaden, Germany. By the end of summer, our entire family had relocated to a converted WWII Panzer barracks called Kastel that was serving as a housing area for married US military personnel and their families. It was probably the smallest housing area in all of Europe, consisting of only eight buildings. Needless to say, there were not many other American kids my age living there, which actually ended up working to my advantage. You see, in Denver I had been playing first chair violin in the Smiley Junior High School orchestra; a position that looked good to the adults in the room but was the kiss of death to a 14-year-old trying desperately to fit in with his peers. So, naturally, as one of only half a dozen or so teenaged boys in the Kastel Housing Area, I jumped at the chance to learn how to play the guitar (a much cooler instrument than the violin to a 14-year-old). There were two guys at Kastel who a) had a guitar and b) were willing to put up with an obnoxious Freshman long enough to teach him a few chords. The first was was a Sophomore named Darrell Combs, who went by the nickname Butch (his older sister Darlene being responsible for that one). The other was a Junior named Mike Davenport, who had been in Germany longer than the rest of us and had his own amp. Mike also had a collection of records that had been popular on Radio Luxembourg, the US-styled top 40 station that was aimed at a British audience and played mostly songs from the UK charts. Among those records were several singles by the Who, including their chart-topping 1966 UK hit Substitute. Mike and Butch had been trying to figure out the chords to Substitute, but had not been able to get beyond the intro of the song. After listening to the record once or twice (yes, I'm bragging) I was able to figure out the rest of the song. Not long after that I was able to talk my parents into buying me a guitar and a small amp as an early Christmas present (that ended up doubling as my 15th birthday present as well). With three guitarists, two amps, and a drummer named Zachary Long in our arsenal, we formed a band called The Abundance Of Love (hey, it was 1967, OK?), which soon got changed to the Haze And Shades Of Yesterday and finally just The Shades. One of the first songs we learned to play was (you guessed it), Substitute by the Who. The Shades ended up lasting until the summer of 1968, at which time my dad got transferred again, this time to Ramstein AFB, Germany.
Title: Glitter And Gold
Source: Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Label: White Whale
The Turtles' 1965 debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe, was very much a cross section of what was popular among Southern California teenagers in mid-1965. This was to be expected, since the Turtles were themselves Southern California teenagers at the time they recorded the album (in fact, being underage, they had to get their parents to sign permission slips to be able to record the LP). The songs were taken from a variety of songwriters, including Bob Dylan (including the hit single title track), P.F. Sloan (still in his political phase before teaming up with Steve Barri) and even Turtles lead vocalist Howard Kaylan. One selection that frankly puzzles me is Glitter And Gold. From what I can tell, the Turtles were the first band to record the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil tune, but the song did not appear as a single until 1966, wne several artists released the song (the most successful being Keith Allison). Stylistically, Glitter And Gold doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album, either, which is generally a bit more in the "angry young men" vein.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Come On In
Source: CD: Turn On (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
It only cost a total of $150 for the Music Machine to record both sides of their debut single at RCA Studios in Los Angeles, thanks to the band having been performing the songs live for several months. The band then took the tapes to Original Sound, who issued Talk Talk and Come On In on their own label. Although Talk Talk was the obvious hit, Come On In had perhaps a greater influence on later bands such as the Doors and Iron Butterfly.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source: CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Prelude: Happiness/I'm So Glad
Source: LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Deep Purple was originally the brainchild of vocalist Chris Curtis, whose idea was to have a band called Roundabout that utilized a rotating cast of musicians onstage, with only Curtis himself being up there for the entire gig. The first two musicians recruited were organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, both of whom came aboard in late 1967. Curtis soon lost interest in the project, and Lord and Blackmore decided to stay together and form what would become Deep Purple. After a few false starts the lineup stabilized with the addition of bassist Nicky Simper, drummer Ian Paice and vocalist Rod Evans. The group worked up a songlist and used their various connections to get a record deal with a new American record label, Tetragrammaton, which was partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. This in turn led to a deal to release the band's recordings in England on EMI's Parlophone label as well, although Tetragrammaton had first rights to all the band's material, including the classically-influenced Prelude: Happiness, which leads directly into a cover of the Skip James classic I'm So Glad. The band's first LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was released in the US in July of 1968 and in the UK in September of the same year. The album was a major success in the US, where the single Hush made it into the top five. In the UK, however, it was panned by the rock press and failed to make the charts. This would prove to be the pattern the band would follow throughout its early years; it was only after Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover that the band would find success in their native land. Both editions of Deep Purple can be heard regularly on our sister show, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion.
Source: CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in West Germany as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Telefunken)
Formed in Berlin in 1965, the Boots were one of the more adventurous bands operating on the European mainland. While most bands in Germany tended to emulate the Beatles, the Boots took a more underground approach, growing their hair out just a bit longer than their contemporaries and appealing to a more Bohemian type of crowd. Lead guitarist Jurg "Jockel" Schulte-Eckle was known for doing strange things to his guitar onstage using screwdrivers, beer bottles and the like to create previously unheard of sounds. On vinyl the band comes off as being just a bit ahead of its time, as can be heard clearly on the original group's final single, Gaby, a song written by singer Werner Krabbe and bassist Bob Bresser. Not long after Gaby's release, Krabbe left the band. Although the Boots continued on with various configurations until 1969, they were never able to recapture the magic generated by the original lineup.
Artist: Brian Wilson
Title: Good Vibrations
Source: CD: Brian Wilson Presents Smile
Rock history is full of stories about albums that were started with the best of intentions, but for one reason or another ended up on the shelf, sometimes indefinitely. Perhaps the most famous of these was the Beach Boys' follow up album to their critically acclaimed Pet Sounds LP. The album was to be called Smile, and the priviledged few who had heard the work in progress all agreed it was to be Brian Wilson's masterpiece, both as writer and producer. However, a series of problems, including internal disputes among the band members and Wilson's own mental state, kept pushing back the album's completion date. Finally the whole thing was scrapped, and a far less ambitious LP called Smiley Smile was hastily recorded in its place. The legend of the original Smile continued to grow over the years, however, with occasional fragments of the original tapes (which had first thought to have been destroyed) surfacing from time to time. Finally, in the early 2000s, Wilson decided to start the entire project over from scratch, working purely from his own creative vision and memory of what he originally had in mind. The result was Brian Wilson Presents Smile, released in 2004. Unlike the original Smile tapes, the new recording was done entirely in stereo (no small feat considering Wilson is deaf in one ear). There were other, more significant changes as well, such as new lyrics for one of Wilson's best known songs, Good Vibrations. Personally I find it a bit jarring to hear unexpected words on a familiar tune, but I leave it up to you to decide whether the new lyrics enhance or detract from the beauty of the song.
Artist: Liquid Scene
Title: In My Water Room
Source: CD: Revolutions
Writer(s): Becki diGregorio
As the final track on the Liquid Scene's 2014 debut album, Revolutions, In My Water Room is an elaborate production that showcases the talents of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bodhi (becki digregorio), guitarist Tom Ayers, bassist/keyboardist Endre Tarczy and drummer/percussionist Trey Sabatelli.
Artist: Dukes Of Stratosphear (aka XTC)
Title: The Affiliated
Source: CD: Chips From The Chocolate Fireball (originally released on LP: Psionic Psunspot)
Writer(s): Colin Moulding
Formed in 1984 by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory and Ian Gregory, the Dukes Of Stratosphear were an offshoot of 80s pop-rock band XTC, although at first they purported to be a "mysterious new act". Ironically, at least in their native UK, the Dukes releases actually outsold the current XTC albums of the time. The first of those releases was a mini-album called 25 O'Clock that came out in 1985. Two years later the Dukes released a full-length album, Psionic Psunspot. About half of the material on each album was composed by Moulding, including the shortest track on Psionic Psunspot, a tune called The Affiliated. Since then there have been several individual tracks credited to the Dukes, most of which are available on the CD Chips From The Chocolate Factory.
Title: Last Time Around
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Dennis Dahlquist
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, considering the song's subject matter, Last Time Around may well be the very first death metal rock song ever recorded.
Title: Flower King Of Flies
Source: CD: The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
Label: Fuel 2000 (original label: Immediate
The Nice, the first band to fuse rock, jazz and classical music, creating a totally new genre in the process, had rather unique origins. In 1966 Ike and Tina Turner did a tour of England, with their backup vocal group, the Ikettes, in tow. One of the Ikettes, P.P. Arnold, made such a strong impression on both Mick Jagger and his manager/producer, Andrew Loog Oldham, that they convinced her to stay in London and embark on a solo career. Starting in April of 1967, Oldham, who was in the process of setting up his own record label, set about putting together a band to back her up. Oldham's first recruit was bassist Lee Jackson of the local R&B group Gary Farr and the T-Bones. Jackson soon brought in former fellow T-Bone Keith Emerson, who was already getting a reputation as the London club circuit's hottest Hammond organ player. The two of them soon recruited guitarist Davy O'List and drummer Brian Davison to complete the new band, which Oldham had already decided would be called the Nice. To save money, Oldham, instead of hiring an opening act, let the Nice do a short warmup set before being joined by Arnold onstage. Since Arnold herself performed a fairly standard mix of R&B and soul songs, the Nice were encouraged to create something different for their own set. That "something different" ended up being a mix of jazz, classical and psychedelic rock that had never been heard before. It wasn't long before the Nice, with their new "progressive rock" sound, became a bigger attraction than Arnold herself, and by the end of the year the Nice had signed with Oldham's new label, Immediate Records. In December of 1967 The Thoughts Of Everlist Davjack (the title being an amalgamation of the members' last names) was released. Early releases of the album gave shared songwriting credits to the entire band. The CD reissue of The Thoughts Of Everlist Davjack, however, is more specific, with Emerson and Jackson sharing writing credit on tracks like Flower King Of Flies, which opens the album.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Beggar's Farm
Source: LP: This Was
Although Jethro Tull would eventually come to be considered almost a backup band for flautist/vocalist/songwriter Ian Anderson, in the early days the group was much more democratically inclined, at least until the departure of guitarist and co-founder Mick Abrahams. In addition to providing a more blues-based orientation for the band, Abrahams shared songwriting duties with Anderson as well, including collaborations such as Beggar's Farm from the band's 1968 debut LP, This Was.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: It Must Be Love
Source: LP: Ball
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
Although it did not contain anything like the monster hit In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the third Iron Butterfly LP, Ball, was probably a better album overall. The first single released from the album was In The Time Of Our Lives, backed with It Must Be Love, a tune that features some nice guitar work from Eric Brann, who would soon be leaving the band for an unsuccessful solo career.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: On The Way Home
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Last Time Around)
Writer(s): Neil Young
Things fell apart for Buffalo Springfield following the drug bust and deportation of bassist Bruce Palmer in January of 1968. Neil Young stopped showing up for gigs, forcing Stephen Stills to carry all lead guitar duties for the band. By March, the band was defunct in everything but name. However, the group was still contractually obligated to provide Atco Records with one more album, so Richie Furay, along with replacement bassist Jim Messina, set about compiling a final Buffalo Springfield album from various studio tapes that the band members had made. None of these tapes featured the entire lineup of the band, although Neil Young's On The Way Home, which was chosen to open the album, came close, as it featured Furay on lead vocals, Stills on guitar and backup vocals, and Palmer on bass as well as Young himself on lead guitar and backup vocals.
Title: Revelation (conclusion)
Source: CD: Da Capo
The undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip in the mid-1960s were the members of Love. Led by Arthur Lee, the band held down the position of house band at the Strip's most famous club, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, throughout 1966 and much of 1967, even as the club scene itself was being squeezed out of existence by restrictive new city ordinances. Love liked being the top dog in L.A., so much so that they decided to forego touring to promote their records in favor of maintaining their presence at the Whiskey. In the long run this cost them, as many of their contemporaries (including one band that Love itself had discovered and introduced to Elektra producer Paul Rothchild: the Doors) went on to greater fame while Love remained a cult band throughout their existence. One of the highlights of their stage performances was a 19-minute jam called Revelation, a piece originally called John Hooker that served to give each band member a chance to show off with a solo. Although the band had been playing Revelation throughout 1966 (inspiring the Rolling Stones to do a similar number on one of their own albums), they did not get around to recording a studio version of Revelation until 1967, prompting some critics to assume that Love had ripped off the Stones rather than the reverse. By that point they had added two new members, Tjay Cantrelli (sax) and Michael Stuart (drums), whose solos take up the last six minutes or so of the recorded version of the tune. The Harpsichord solo at the end of Revelation is played by "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who had switched from drums to keyboards when Stuart joined the group, and would soon leave the band completely.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Blues From An Airplane
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first anthology album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well. The song is one of two tunes on Takes Off co-written by lead vocalist Marty Balin and drummer Skip Spence.
Title: You're A Better Man Than I
Source: Mono Canadian import LP: Shapes Of Things (originally released on LP: Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds)
Writer(s): Mike & Brian Hugg
Label: Bomb (original label: Epic)
Perhaps more than any other British Invasion band, the Yardbirds' US and UK catalogs varied considerably. This is because the band only released a pair of LPs in the UK, one of which was a live album, with the bulk of their studio output appearing on 45 RPM singles and EPs. In the US, on the other hand, the group released four (mostly) studio LPs, compiled from the various UK releases. One song, You're A Better Man Than I, actually came out on a US album four months before it was issued as a single B side in February of 1966 in the UK.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Source: LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer: Paul Simon
One of Simon And Garfunkel's most popular songs, The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) originally appeared on their 1966 LP Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme. The recording was never, however, released as a single by the duo (although it did appear as a 1967 B side). When Columbia released a greatest hits compilation album (after the duo had split up), a live acoustic version of the song was included on the album. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) did make the top 40 in 1967, when it was recorded by Harper's Bizarre, a group featuring future Doobie Brothers and Van Halen producer Ted Templeman on lead vocals.
Title: Sunny Afternoon
Source: Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
My family got its first real stereo (a GE AM/FM console with a reel-to-reel recorder instead a turntable that is still sitting in the living room at my mother's house nearly 50 years later) just in time for me to catch the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off).
Title: I'm A Believer
Source: CD: The Monkees' Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: More Of The Monkees)
Writer(s): Neil Diamond
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
If there was ever any such thing as a guaranteed hit record, it was I'm A Believer, a Neil Diamond tune recorded by the Monkees in 1966. Released in November as the Monkees' second single, I'm A Believer hit the #1 spot on the Billboard charts on December 31st, and remained at the top of the charts for all of January and most of February of 1967. It was also included on the album More Of The Monkees, released in January of 1967, as well as being featured on four consecutive episodes of the TV series The Monkees.