Sunday, February 3, 2019
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1906 (starts 2/4/19)
This week we are once again featuring new music from Ace Of Cups from their self-titled debut album, released in late 2018. This time around it's the longest track on the album. Medley, as the title implies, is actually made up of several shorter pieces featuring several guest musicians (detailed in the individual track listing below). Other than that we have 30 tracks from 30 different artists, including a 1970 Jimi Hendrix recording that has somehow managed to never get played on the show before now. It all starts with a wild tune from 1966...
Title: Wild Thing
Source: Mono CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1968 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Chip Taylor
Label: Rhino (original label: Fontana)
I have a DVD copy of a music video (although back then they were called promotional films) for the Troggs' Wild Thing in which the members of the band are walking through what looks like a train station while being mobbed by girls at every turn. Every time I watch it I imagine singer Reg Presley saying giggity-giggity as he bobs his head from side to side.
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
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 Walks Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and 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.
Title: Father's Name Was Dad
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Dave Lambert
Label: Rhino (original label: Decca)
As any fan of the Austin Powers movies can tell you, London in the mid-1960s was home to the Mods, a group (or movement) of young people distinguished by the colorful fashions they wore, most of which came from shops on Carnaby Street. The Mods had their own music as well, usually referred to as "freakbeat" or sometimes just "beat", although not all of the bands playing that kind of music identified with the Mods themselves. Most of the early beat bands were also in the first wave of the British invasion of the US; in fact the Beatles themselves (prior to the release of Rubber Soul) were usually considered the top beat band of all. By 1966, however, the US audience was already getting into other things (Motown, garage rock, Memphis soul and the beginnings of bubble gum). In Europe and the UK, however, beat bands were still on top, with newer groups like the Move, the Small Faces and the Who (in their pre-Tommy days) riding high on the charts. Among these newer beat groups was a trio called Friday's Chyld. After changing their name to the Fire, they got a contract with the British Decca label and a publishing deal with the Beatles' Apple organization. After hearing a demo of Father's Name Was Dad, Paul McCartney made a few production suggestions and the group added backing vocals and double-tracked guitar for the final released version of the song. Although Father's Name Was Dad was not a hit, it did serve as the recording debut of lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Lambert, who would go on to have some success in the 70s as a founding member of a band called Strawbs. Most people that have heard both the original and the "McCartney-ized" versions of Father's Name Was Dad have stated a preference for the earlier recording heard here.
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. Or was it really not entirely new? When you listen to it on headphones much of the track sounds like an "electronically rechanneled for stereo" recording (the Sunshine Superman sessions were originally mixed only in mono), with only the background vocals toward the end of the piece actually being mixed in true stereo.
Artist: Janis Ian
Title: Janey's Blues
Source: LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Following the success of her first hit single, Society's Child, singer/songwriter/poet Janis Ian released her self-titled debut LP in early 1967, follwing it up with two more albums, For All The Seasons Of Your Mind and The Secret Life Of J. Eddy Fink, over the next year or so. Although there were singles released from each of these, none of them got much chart action. Finally, in late 1968, her label decided to go back to her debut LP for her fifth single, Janey's Blues. I suspect the song's length (nearly five minutes) automatically kept many AM radio DJs from playing the song, which is a shame, as Janey's Blues is one of the undiscovered gems of the late 1960s.
Artist: Circus Maximus
Source: CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.
Title: Happy Together
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
The Turtles got off to a strong start with their cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, which hit the top 20 in 1965. By early 1967, however, the band had fallen on hard times and was looking for a way to return to the charts. They found that way with Happy Together, a song written by Gary Bonner and Mark Gordon, both members of an east coast band called the Magicians. Happy Together was the Turtles' first international hit, going all the way to the top of the charts in several countries and becoming one of the most recognizable songs in popular music history.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Hitch Hike
Source: Mono CD: Out of Our Heads
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones' early albums consisted of about a 50/50 mix of cover tunes and original tunes from the band members, primarily Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Marvin Gaye's Hitch Hike was one of the cover songs on the album Out of Our Heads, the same album that featured the #1 hit of 1965, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.
Artist: We The People
Title: You Burn Me Up And Down
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Thomas Talton
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
We The People was kind of a regional supergroup in the Orlando, Florida area, as it was made up of musicians from various local garage bands. The departure of lead guitarist Wayne Proctor in early 1967 and the band's other main songwriter Tommy Talton a year later led to the group's demise, despite having landed a contract with RCA Victor, at the time the world's largest record label. Before splitting up, however, they recorded a handful of garage-rock classics such as You Burn Me Up And Down, which was released as a B side in 1966.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Rush Hour
Source: CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
One of the best examples of music and subject matter supporting each other ever recorded is the Blues Magoos' Rush Hour from their Electric Comic Book album. From the overdriven opening chord through the crash and burn ending, the track maintains a frantic pace that resembles nothing more than a musical traffic jam. Rush Hour is also the only Blues Magoos track I know of to include writing credits for the entire band, including drummer Geoff Daking's only official songwriting credit.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.
Artist: Beach Boys
Source: Mono CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1993
After spending several months perfecting his masterpiece single Good Vibrations, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys set out to create an entire album using the same production style, recording segments of each piece separately, often at entirely different studios, then assembling them into coherent finished tracks and adding vocal overdubs. One of the first pieces recorded for this new album (to be called Smile), was Wonderful, recorded on September 1st of 1966. Although Smile was eventually scrapped in favor of the much less complex Smiley Smile album, released in late 1967, many of the original Smile tracks were preserved in the Capitol Records vaults, with bootleg copies occasionally making the rounds among collectors. Finally, in 1993, some of these tracks (including Wonderful) were released on the box set Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Chapter 24
Source: CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
One of the first tracks recorded for the debut Pink Floyd album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Chapter 24 is a Syd Barrett composition based on chapter 24 of the I Ching (the ancient Chinese Book of Changes). The tune itself is somewhat of a drone, and was considered for the band's greatest hits package Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd, despite never being released as a single.
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
Source: CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
Label: Charly (original label: Immediate)
By spring of 1968 the Small Faces, from London' East End, had already established themselves on the UK charts with the kind of catchy pop tunes that were the meat of the mid-60s British music scene. After having a falling out with industry giant Decca Records in 1967, they signed to Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham's newly formed Immediate Records. After a decent, but somewhat hurried first album for the new label the band (whose name came from the fact that they were all short), took their time with a follow-up. The result was Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, generally regarded as one of the few LPs to actually rise to the challenge laid down by the Beatles the previous year with the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album opens with an instrumental title track, setting the tone for the rest of the LP.
Artist: Moody Blues
Title: In The Beginning/Lovely To See You
Source: CD: On The Threshold Of A Dream
If there is any one band known for their concept albums, it's the Moody Blues. Starting with the 1967 LP Days Of Future Past, every Moody Blues album has been a concept album (except for their live albums, of course). 1969 saw two of these albums being released by the group. The first was On The Threshold Of A Dream, which explores dreams and the inner psyche. The opening track, In The Beginning, consists of a dialogue between Justin Hayward (as a man attempting to define himself as a human being), Graeham Edge (as the voice of technology attempting to usurp the role of humanity) and Michael Pinder (as the inner voice of the original speaker), set against a background of electronic effects created by Edge. Heady stuff, but that's pretty much what the Moody Blues were about in 1969.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Source: CD: déjà vu
Writer(s): Neil Young
Many of the songs on the second Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album, Deja Vu, sound as if they could have been on solo albums by the various band members, particularly Neil Young, whose style really didn't mesh well with the others. A prime example of this is Helpless. Despite this (or maybe because of it) Helpless got more radio airplay than most of the other songs on the album.
Title: Love Her Madly
Source: LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s): The Doors
The first single released from L.A. Woman, the final Doors album to feature vocalist Jim Morrison, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.
Artist: Ace Of Cups
Source: CD: Ace Of Cups
Label: High Moon
Medley is the longest track on the 2018 Ace Of Cups album. It is also the track that features the most guest musicians. According to Mary Gannon, who founded the band in 1966, "the lyrics and harmonies, the sitar, the guitars, the different colors and textures in this peice reflect our '60s journey." Medley starts with The Hermit, which started as a poem written the band's first manager, Ambrose Hollingsworth, with music by Denise Kaufman, who provides lead vocals on the song. When Hollingsworth was sidelined by an accident that left him in a wheelchair, Ace Of Cups soon hooked up with the same manager as Quicksilver Messenger Service, often opening for them and appearing (as the Angel Chorus) on The Fool, a track on the first Quicksilver album in 1968. Quicksilver's David Freiberg returns the favor on The Hermit, providing harmony vocals and "one man choir". The Hermit segues into a short instrumental called The Flame Still Burns, which serves as a showcase for the stylish drum work of Diane Vitalich, supplemented by a lead guitar solo from Terry Haggerty of the Sons Of Champlin. A sitar intro by Norman Mayell leds into Gold And Green, a piece that features Mary Simpson (Mercy) on lead vocals and all guitar parts, and includes some tasty vibraphone work from Geoffrey Palmer. Medley wraps up with another Mercy piece, Living In The Country, which features Vitalich on lead vocals.
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic quasi-surf instrumental that fades out after just a few seconds.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Get Me To The World On Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
With I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) climbing the charts in early 1967, the Electric Prunes turned to songwriter Annette Tucker for several more tracks to include on their debut LP. One of those, Get Me To The World On Time (co-written by lyricist Jill Jones) was selected to be the follow up single to Dream. Although not as big a hit, the song still did respectably on the charts (and was actually the first Electric Prunes song I ever heard on FM radio).
Title: Girl In Your Eye
Source: CD: Spirit
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Spirit was born in 1965 when drummer Ed Cassidy left the Rising Sons after breaking his arm and settled down with his new wife, who had a teenaged son named Randy. It wasn't long before Ed and Randy (who played guitar) formed a new band called the Red Roosters. The group lasted until the spring of 1966, when the family moved to New York for a few months, and Randy met an up and coming guitarist named James Marshall Hendrix. Hendrix was impressed with the teenaged Cassidy (whom he nicknamed Randy California) and invited him to become a member of his band, Jimmy James And The Blue Flames, that was performing regularly in Greenwich Village that summer. After being denied permission to accompany Hendrix to London that fall, Randy returned with his family to California, where he soon ran into two of his Red Roosters bandmates, singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes. The three of them decided to form a new band with Ed Cassidy and keyboardist John Locke. Both Cassidy and Locke had played in jazz bands, and the new band, Spirit, incorporated both rock and jazz elements into their sound. Most of the songs of the band's 1968 debut album were written by Ferguson, who tended to favor a softer sound on tracks like Girl In Your Eye. On later albums Randy California would take a greater share in the songwriting, eventually becoming the de facto leader of Spirit.
Artist: Mandrake Paddle Steamer
Title: Strange Walking Man
Source: Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: EMI (originally label: Columbia)
Mandrake Paddle Steamer was the brainchild of art school students Martin Briley and Brian Engle, who, with producer Robert Finnis, were among the first to take advantage of EMI's new 8-track recording equipment at their Abbey Road studios. The result was Strange Walking Man, a single released in 1969. The track includes a coda created by Finnis by splicing a tape of studio musicians playing a cover version of an Incredible String Band tune, Maybe Someday.
Title: Pictures And Designs
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
The first Seeds album was somewhat unusual for its time in that all the songs on the album (including both singles from the album) were written by members of the band itself. Unfortunately this resulted in a sort of formulaic sameness from one track to the next, with many tunes sounding like attempts to recapture the magic of their most famous song, Pushin' Too Hard. The second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, also was made up of (mostly) original material, but this time Sky Saxon and company made an effort to expand beyond the formula with tracks like Pictures And Designs, which starts off sounding a bit like the Yardbirds, but soon becomes a snarling punk drone that manages to break new ground for the band while maintaining the distinctive Seeds sound.
Artist: John's Children
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Marc Bolan
Label: Rhino (original label: Track)
After a pair of failed singles, the Ashtead, Surrey band known as John's Children brought in a new lead guitarist, Marc Bolan, who wrote their third release, Desdemona. Although Desdemona was indeed a much stronger song than the band's earlier efforts, it found itself banned by the BBC for the line "lift up your skirt and fly". Since by the BBC-1 was the only legal top 40 station left operating in the UK (Radio Luxembourg being on the continent), the song did not get heard by most British listeners. Bolan soon left the group to form his own psychedelic folk band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, with percussionist Steve Peregrine Took.
Artist: Colder Children
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Danny Felton
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Boutique)
I know virtually nothing about the Long Island band known as Colder Children. How about you? If you are familiar with them, clue me in, OK?
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Three For Love
Source: Mono CD: Dark Sides (originally released on LP: Back Door Men)
Writer(s): Joe Kelley
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
The Shadows Of Knight moved way out of their garage/punk comfort zone for the song Three For Love, a folk-rock piece laden with harmony vocals. The tune, from the second LP, Back Door Men, is the only Shadows song I know of written by guitarist Joe Kelley. Kelley himself had started out as the band's bass player, but midway through sessions for the band's first LP, Gloria, it became obvious that he was a much better guitarist than Warren Rogers. As a result, the two traded roles, with Kelley handling all the leads on Back Door Men. Kelly, however, did not sing the lead vocals on Three For Love, despite being the song's composer. That task fell to rhythm guitarist Jerry McGeorge, who would later join H.P. Lovecraft. It was his only credit as lead vocalist on the album.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Six O'Clock
Source: LP: The John Sebastian Songbook, vol. 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Sebastian
Label: Kama Sutra
The last top 20 hit for the Lovin' Spoonful was Six O'Clock, released in 1967. Shortly after the record came out John Sebastian left the group. The remaining members tried to carry on without him for a while, but were never able to duplicate the success of the Sebastian years.
Artist: Max Frost And The Troopers
Title: Lonely Man
Source: CD: Shape Of Things To Come
Writer(s): Paul Wibier
Label: Captain High (original label: Tower)
The first thing you need to know about Max Frost And The Troopers is that they were a fictional rock band featured in the film Wild In The Streets. Sort of. You see, in the movie itself the band is never actually named, although Max (played by Christopher Jones) does refer to his followers as his "troops" throughout the film. The next thing you need to know is that Shape Of Things To Come was a song used in the film that became a hit record in 1968. The song itself was written by the Brill building songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (whose writing credits included We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Kicks and many other hits) and was recorded by studio musicians, with vocals by Paul Wibier. The song, along with several other Barry/Weil tunes used in the film, was credited not to Max Frost and the Troopers, but to the 13th Power on the film's soundtrack LP, which was released on Capitol's Tower subsidiary label. After Shape Of Things To Come (the song) became a hit, producer Mike Curb commissioned an entire album by Max Frost And The Troopers called, naturally, Shape Of Things To Come. The band on this album was actually Davie Allan And The Arrows (who had for several years been recording mostly instrumental tunes for Curb for use on movie soundtracks) fronted by vocalist Paul Wibier (yeah, him again). This album was also released in 1968 on the Tower label, and featured mostly songs written (or co-written) by Wibier himself, such as Lonely Man. It seems obvious that Wibier had, at some point, heard a copy of an obscure British single called Father's Name Was Dad by a group called The Fire (heard in the first hour of this week's show), as the opening riff of the two songs is virtually identical.
Artist: Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies
Title: Leisure World-pt. 1
Source: LP: The American Metaphysical Circus
After leaving the United States Of America (the band, not the country), avant-garde composer released a 1969 album called The American Metaphysical Circus. The album was even more experimental than his earlier effort, and even included humorous tracks like Leisure World, the first part of which is heard here. It is probably not too great a stretch to consider the possibility that Leisure World was an inspiration for the people at National Lampoon, whose short-lived National Lampoon Radio Hour in the early 1970s was made up almost entirely of these kinds of bits. The American Metaphysical Circus, credited to Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies, was originally released on Columbia's Masterworks classical label, resulting in the album remaining in the active catalog far longer than the earlier United States Of America LP.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Hey Baby (New Rising sun)
Source: CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1970, released 1971
Recorded on July 1, 1970, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) was one of the few 1970 studio tracks by Jimi Hendrix to have been performed live several times before it was recorded in the studio. As a result, the song has a much more finished feel to it than some of the other tracks that were released on the 1971 album Rainbow Bridge. Unfortunately, Hendrix had only recorded a "scratch" vocal track for the song before his untimely death in October of 1970.
Artist: James Gang
Title: Walk Away
Source: LP: Thirds
Writer: Joe Walsh
The third James Gang album was the last for Joe Walsh, who left the band to pursue a solo career for a few years before hooking up with the Eagles. One of his best known songs, Walk Away, leads off the album. The recording uses multi-tracking extensively toward the end of the song, with multiple guitar parts cascading into what Walsh himself called a "train wreck".