Sunday, October 14, 2018
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1842 (starts 10/15/18)
This week, rather than dig up songs that have never been featured on the show before, we are pulling out a bunch of tracks that haven't been heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic in over a year. In a couple of cases, they haven't been played in over seven years. Just to balance things out a bit, we do finish out with a song that is in contention for "most played song of 2018" on the show, but, hey, it's a great song that deserves to be heard.
Title: Superlungs (My Supergirl)
Source: CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Barabajabal)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Donovan originally recorded a song called Supergirl for his 1966 album Sunshine Superman album, but ultimately chose not to use the track. Over two years later he recorded an entirely new version of the song, retitling it Superlungs (My Supergirl) for the 1969 Barabajagal album.
Title: Open My Eyes
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Nazz)
Writer: Todd Rundgren
Label: Rhino (original label: SGC)
The Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. The Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).
Artist: Quiet Jungle
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Mark Taylor
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Yorkshire)
Musically speaking, 1967 was a busy year in the US, with the Summer of Love in San Francisco, the aftermath of the Sunset Strip crackdown on teenagers in Los Angeles, Andy Warhol's unveiling of the Velvet Underground in New York, and of course, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band casting its shadow over everything. It's easy to see, then, how happenings in neighboring Canada pretty much went under the radar, with bands like the Guess Who cranking out hit after hit without getting any attention whatsoever south of the border. That all changed in 1969 for that band, but other groups, such as Toronto's Quiet Jungle, were never successful outside of Canada itself. That did not stop Yorkshire Records from putting out plenty of singles, however, including Everything, a 1967 tune from the aforementioned Quiet Jungle.
Artist: Great! Society
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Conspicuous Only In Its Absence)
Writer(s): Darby Slick
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1968
One of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era (and of the so-called San Francisco sound) is Somebody To Love, released by Jefferson Airplane in 1967 on their Surrealistic Pillow album. Somebody To Love was written by Darby Slick, guitarist for another San Francisco band, Great! Society. The Society had released the song, featuring Slick's sister-in-law Grace on lead vocals, as a single in early 1966 but was unable to get any local airplay for the record. In June the group played the Matrix, a club managed by Marty Balin, leader of Jefferson Airplane. The entire gig was recorded (probably by legendary Grateful Dead soundman Owsley Stanley, whose board recordings usually isolated the vocals in one channel and the instruments in the other to provide the band with a tape they could use to critique their own performance) and eventually released on an album called Conspicuous Only In Its Absence two years after Great! Society disbanded. Within a few weeks of this performance Grace Slick would leave the group to join Jefferson Airplane, taking the song with her. This whole set of circumstances can't help but raise the question of whether Balin was using the Society's gig at the Matrix as a kind of sideways audition for Slick.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Source: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer: Bob Dylan
Although Bob Dylan is not usually thought of as a psychedelic artist, he was the first major folk artist to go electric and was instrumental in introducing several of his fellow musicians to mind-expanding substances. 1965's Highway 61 Revisited album is generally regarded as being among the most influential of Dylan's albums, thanks to tracks like Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Bad Luck And Trouble
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer: Johnny Winter
Label: United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Johnny Winter first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who gravitated to rock music, Johnny Winter remained primarily a blues musician throughout his career.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer: Joe South
Label: K-Tel (original label: Tetragrammaton)
British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the Deep Purple version of the tune was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Shades Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album, The Book Of Taleisyn, the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including the addition of new lead vocalist Ian Gillian (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album), before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Title: Death Row
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Bob Seger
I like to play Bob Seger's Death Row, written from the perspective of a convicted murderer waiting to be executed, for fans of the Silver Bullet Band who think that Turn the Page is about as intense as it gets. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled across this rare single at a radio station I used to work for. Even better, the station had no desire to keep the record, as the A side, the equally intense anti-war song 2+2=?, never charted.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Originally written for (but not used in) the film The Graduate, Overs is the middle part of a series of songs on side one of the Bookends album that follow the cycle of life from childhood to old age. The song deals with a long relationship that is coming to an end after years of slow stagnation. Musically the tune is quiet and contemplative, with a loose structure that has more in common with the cool jazz of Miles Davis than either folk or rock.
Artist: George Harrison
Source: CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s): George Harrison
Starting in 1966 George Harrison showed an intense interest in the music of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and in Indian classical music in general, even to the point of learning to play the sitar himself. His first composition along those lines was Love You To, from the Revolver album, followed in 1967 by Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1968 Harrison took it a step further by composing and performing music for the soundtrack of a film by director Joe Massot called called Wonderwall. The film itself dealt with a wall separating two apartments occupied by individuals from extremely different backgrounds (a lonely college professor and a Vogue model), and a small gap in the wall itself creating a bridge between the two. Harrison used the film as a springboard to fuse music from Eastern (Indian classical) and Western (rock) traditions, introducing Western audiences to various Indian instruments in the process. The album, Wonderwall Music, was Harrison's first solo project as well as the first album released on the Apple label (predating the White album by several weeks). The album featured several guest musicians, including Eric Clapton, who is probably the lead guitarist on Ski-ing, the shortest track on the album. Although Wonderwall Music was not a commercial success at the time of its release, it has since come to be highly regarded as a forerunner of both electronica and world music.
Artist: Young Rascals
Title: In The Midnight Hour
Source: CD: Time Peace-The Rascals' Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: The Young Rascals)
The Rascals were the premier blue-eyed soul band of the 1960s (in fact, the term blue-eyed soul was coined specifically to describe the Rascals). Originally from New Jersey, the group changed its name to the Young Rascals at the behest of Atlantic Records for reasons that are lost to history before releasing their debut LP. In addition to the hit single Good Lovin', the album boasted several R&B cover songs. The best-known of these was Wilson Pickett's In The Midnight Hour, which was popular enough to be included on the Rascal's Greatest Hits album.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Let Me In
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Jefferson Airplane was the brainchild of vocalist and club manager Marty Balin, who hand-picked the band's original lineup. Among those charter members was Paul Kantner, who Balin had asked to join the band without ever having heard him sing or play. Balin said later that he just knew that Kantner was someone he wanted for his new band. Kantner very quickly developed into a strong singer/songwriter in his own right, starting with the song Let Me In (co-written by Balin), Kantner's first recorded lead vocal for the band.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: The Flute Thing
Source: Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s): Al Kooper
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.
Title: Like The Seasons
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Warren Zevon
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Although by far the most successful, the Turtles were by no means the only act signed to the White Whale label in the mid-1960s. Among their labelmates were a duo calling themselves lyme and cybelle (the lack of capitalization was deliberate), whose real names were Warren Zevon and Voilet Santangelo. Although not particularly successful as a recording artist at that time, Zevon did write several tunes for the Turtles to record, including Like The Seasons, which first appeared as the B side of a song called Outside Chance in late 1966. The following year it again appeared as a B side, this time paired with the band's most successful single, Happy Together..
Artist: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title: Abba Zaba
Source: 45 RPM single (originally issued as B side and included on LP: Safe As Milk)
Writer(s): Don Van Vliet
After an aborted recording career with A&M Records, future avant-garde rock superstar Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) signed a contract with the newly formed Buddah record label. The first record ever released by Buddah was the album Safe As Milk, which included the single Yellow Brick Road, backed with Abba Zaba. Although the Captain's music was at that time still somewhat blues-based, the album was not a commercial success, and Buddah cut Beefheart and his Magic Band from the label in favor of more pop oriented groups like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Captain Beefheart then moved to yet another fledgling label, Blue Thumb, before finding a more permanent home with his old high school classmate Frank Zappa's Bizarre Records, where he released the classic Trout Mask Replica. More recently, Sundazed has re-released the Buddah single, but with Abba Zaba as the A side.
Artist: Full Treatment
Title: Just Can't Wait
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Buzz Clifford
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
In the fall of 1966 Brian Wilson produced the classic Beach Boys single Good Vibrations, which sent vibrations of its own throughout the L.A. studio scene. Suddenly producers were stumbling all over themselves to follow in Wilson's footsteps with mini-symphonies of their own. Buzz Clifford and Dan Moore, calling themselves the Full Treatment, created Just Can't Wait in 1967 and quickly sold the master tape to A&M Records. Despite enthusiam for the recording at the label, the song was mostly ignored by radio stations and the Full Treatment was never heard from again.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Yesterday's Papers
Source: CD: Between The Buttons
Label: Abkco (original label:London)
Between The Buttons was the Rolling Stones first album of 1967 and included their first forays into psychedelic music, a trend that would dominate their next LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The opening track of Between The Buttons was Yesterday's Papers, a song written in the wake of Mick Jagger's breakup with his girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton (who, after the album was released, tried to commit suicide). The impact of the somewhat cynical song was considerably less in the US, where it was moved to the # 2 slot on side one to make room for Let's Spend The Night Together, a song that had only been released as a single in the band's native UK.
Title: Think For Yourself
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
Writer: George Harrison
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing two songs per Beatle album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting skills at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.
Title: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
Source: Mono LP: Rarities (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Basically a studio concoction assembled by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was originally intended to be released as a 1969 single by the Plastic Ono Band. The track was the result of four separate recording sessions dating back to 1967 and originally ran over six minutes long. The instrumental tracks were recorded around the same time the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in Spring of 1967. Brian Jones added a saxophone part on June 8th of that year. In April of 1969 Lennon and McCartney added vocals, while Lennon edited the entire track down to slightly over four minutes. The single was readied for a November release, but at the last minute was withdrawn. The recording was instead released as the B side of the Let It Be single the following year. The US pressing of the single gives the title as You Know My Name (Look Up My Number), as does the 1980 LP Rarities. This, however, was a mistake. Leave it to Capitol to not correct that mistake, even ten years after the fact.
Title: Drive My Car
Source: CD: Rubber Soul (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year: 1965 (not released in US until 1966)
Capitol Records repeatedly got the ire of the Beatles by omitting, adding and rearranging songs on the US versions of their LPs, especially in 1966, when the band was starting to put considerable time and effort into presenting the albums as a coherent package. At the root of the problem were two facts: albums in the UK had longer running times than US albums, and thus more songs, and UK singles stayed in print longer than their US counterparts and were generally not included on albums at all. This resulted in albums like Yesterday and Today that didn't even have a British counterpart. Drive My Car, for example, was released in the US in 1966 on the Yesterday...And Today LP. It had appeared six months earlier in the UK as the opening track of the Rubber Soul album. Oddly enough, despite being one of the group's most recognizable songs, Drive My Car was never issued as a single.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Ego Trip
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
1968 was, among other things, the year of the "Boss-Town Sound", a gimmick used to promote several Boston-based bands signed to the M-G-M label (M-G-M having been asleep at the wheel during the recent band-signing frenzy in San Francisco). Derided in the music press as a crass attempt to manipulate record buyers, the ultimate victims of this fraud were the bands themselves, many of which were actually quite talented. Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the material for the group's first two LPs. When the stigma of being part of the whole boss-town thing became too much to deal with, Bruce-Douglas left the group. Although the Ultimate Spinach name continued to be used, subsequent albums had little in common musically with the two Bruce-Douglas LPs.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: I Can Move A Mountain
Source: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Basic Blues Magoos)
After parting with an increasingly bubble-gum oriented management team, the Blues Magoos set out to reinvent themselves as a more progressive rock band in 1968. The resulting LP, Basic Blues Magoos, was self-produced and self-recorded, and showed a side of the band that had not been heard before. The group was unable to shed their baggage in the eyes of the record-buying public, however, and the album sold poorly.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Ball And Chain
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s): Willie Mae Thornton
Big Brother And The Holding Company electrified the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 with their performance of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain. The rest of the world, however, would have to wait until the following year to hear Janis Joplin's version of the old blues tune, when a live performance recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium was included on the LP Cheap Thrills.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Little Wing
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals. The result was nothing short of a masterpiece.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix (Band Of Gypsys)
Title: Power Of Soul
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1970, released 2013
1969 was a strange year for Jimi Hendrix. For one thing, he did not release any new recordings that year, yet he remained the top money maker in rock music. One reason for the lack of new material was an ongoing dispute with Capitol Records over a contract he had signed in 1965 as a session player. By the end of the year an agreement was reached for Hendrix to provide Capitol with one album's worth of new material. At this point Hendrix had not released any live albums, so it was decided to tape his New Year's performances at the Fillmore East with his new Band Of Gypsys (with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox), playing songs that had never been released in studio form. As it turns out, however, studio versions of many of the songs on that album did indeed exist, but were not issued until after Hendrix's death, when producer Alan Douglas put out a pair of LPs (Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning), that had some of the original drum and bass tracks (and even some guitar tracks) re-recorded by musicians that had never actually worked with Hendrix. One of those songs is Power Of Soul, which has finally been released in its original Band Of Gypsys studio version, with background vocals provided by Cox and Miles.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Source: CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Still Raining, Still Dreaming, from the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, is the second half of a live studio recording featuring guest drummer Buddy Miles, who would later join Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox to form Band Of Gypsys. The recording also features Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on tenor sax and Larry Faucett on congas, as well as Experience member Noel Redding on bass.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
You Keep Me Hangin' On, a hit for the Supremes in 1967, was the first song recorded by Vanilla Fudge, who laid down the seven-minute plus track in a single take. Producer Shadow Morton then used that recording to secure the band a contract with Atco Records (an Atlantic subsidiary) that same year. Rather than to re-record the song for their debut LP, Morton and the band chose to use the original tape, despite the fact that it was never mixed in stereo. For single release the song was cut down considerably, clocking in at around three minutes.
Artist: Velvet Underground
Title: I'm Waiting For The Man
Source: CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer(s): Lou Reed
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve)
The most celebrated of the avant-garde psychedelic bands from New York City, the Velvet Underground, did not sell a lot of records during their existence, despite being closely affiliated with Andy Warhol, at the time the hottest name in the art world. This is probably because their music was not (and still isn't) easily accessible for the masses. In fact, the VU may well be that band that your parents were talking about when they were yelling at you to "turn down that noise!". A listen to Lou Reed's I'm Waiting For The Man from the group's debut LP provides a basis for that particular theory.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Sitting By The Window
Source: Mono LP: Moby Grape
Writer: Peter Lewis
Moby Grape's powerful 1967 debut managed to achieve what few bands have been able to: a coherent sound despite having wildly different writing styles from the individual members. One of Peter Lewis's contributions to the album was Sitting By The Window, one of those rare songs that sounds better every time you hear it.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.