Sunday, July 21, 2019
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1930 (starts 7/22/19)
This week we have a unique Advanced Psych segment featuring a 21st century recording of an iconic late 60s Southern California psychedelic era band covering an equally iconic tune from another late 60s Southern California psychedelic era band, a popular British band from the 1980s recording under an assumed name and outselling themselves in the process, and one of the giants of the 60s music scene re-recording his most cherished classic nearly 40 years later. Oh, and we also close out the show with three tracks never played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Bookends Theme/Save The Life Of My Child/America
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
An early example of a concept album (or at least half an album) was Simon And Garfunkel's fourth LP, Bookends. The side starts and ends with the Bookends theme. In between they go through a sort of life cycle of tracks, from Save The Life Of My Child (featuring a synthesizer opening programmed by Robert Moog himself), into America, a song that is very much in the sprit of Jack Kerouak's On The Road. One of these days I'll play the rest of the side, which takes us right into the age that many of us who bought the original LP are now approaching.
Title: P.S. (Prognosis Stegnoisis)
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jose Sanchez
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Warner Brothers)
The truth about Truth is that nobody seems to know the truth about Truth. What is known is: 1)Truth recorded a single for Warner Brothers and released it in 1968. 2)The A side of that single was a song written by Jose Sanchez called P.S. (Prognosis Stegnoisis). 3)The record was produced by Dave Hassinger, engineer of the Rolling Stones' recordings made at RCA studios in Hollywood and producer of the first couple of Grateful Dead albums as well as the Electric Prunes. 4) The song P.S. (Prognosis Stegnoisis) is a nice example of acid rock. Enjoy!
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Gentle As It May Seem
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Personnel changes were pretty much a regular occurrence with Iron Butterfly. After the first album, Heavy, everyone except keyboardist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy left the band. This was accompanied by a drastic change in style as well, as Ingle, who had already been carrying the lion's share of lead vocals, became the group's primary songwriter as well. Gentle As It Seems, written by Daryl DeLoach and lead guitarist Danny Weis, is a good example of the band's original sound, back when they were scrounging for gigs in a rapidly shrinking L.A. all-ages club scene.
Artist: Ace Of Cups
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: It's Bad For You But Buy It)
Writer(s): Denise Kaufman
Label: Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2003
The Ace Of Cups were a pioneering all-female rock band from San Francisco that included Denise Kaufman, immortalized by Ken Kesey as Mary Microgram in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Koolaid Acid Test. As one of the major Merry Pranksters, Kaufman's irreverent attitude is in full evidence on the track Glue, which features a bit of guerilla theater parodying the standard TV commercials of the time. Lead vocals are by Mary Gannon, who came up with the idea of a rock band made up entirely of women in the first place.
Title: Heart Full Of Soul
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, who was then a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and would later be a founding member of 10cc.
Artist: Music Machine
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Sean Bonniwell was a member of the mainstream (i.e. lots of appearances on TV variety shows hosted by people like Perry Como and Bob Hope) folk group the Lamplighters in the early 60s. By 1966 he had morphed into one of the more mysterious figures on the LA music scene, leading a proto-punk band dressed entirely in black. Bonniwell himself wore a single black glove (Michael Jackson was about seven years old at the time), and was one of the most prolific songwriters of the day. His recordings, often featuring the distinctive Farfisa organ sound, were a primary influence on later L.A. bands such as Iron Butterfly and the Doors. A classic example of the Music Machine sound was the song Wrong, which was issued as the B side of the group's most successful single, Talk Talk.
Title: Thoughts And Words
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Chris Hillman
In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through Thoughts And Words.
Title: Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/A Day In The Life
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
One of the great accidents of record production was the splice that turned the chicken at the end of Good Morning Good Morning into a guitar, starting off Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) and ultimately leading into A Day In The Life, with it's slowly dissolving orchestral chord that brings the number one album of 1967 to a close.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooniel (live long version)
Source: CD: After Bathing At Baxter's (bonus track)
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
Jefferson Airplane's original plan for their third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, was to open the LP with a live, eleven-minute version of The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooniel. Plans changed, and a shorter studio version of the track was instead included as part of the first of six suites that made up the final album. This is the original live recording of the song, included as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of After Bathing At Baxter's.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Someone Like Me
Source: Mono CD: Gloria (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
The last single released by the Shadows Of Knight on the Dunwich label (possibly the last single released on the Dunwich label by anyone) was a power punk song called Someone Like Me that foreshadows the direction the band (or at least vocalist Jim Sohns) would take over the next year or two, as they fell under the influence of bubble gum oriented Kavenitz/Katz Productions. Unlike previous releases, Someone Like Me features a horn section, and probably other studio musicians as well. Honestly, I don't know if, besides Sohns, any actual band members appear on this track at all.
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Only a handful of songs can truly be described as "iconic". Sunshine Of Your Love, with its often-imitated signature riff, the line-by-line trading off of lead vocals by Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton and one of the best-known lead guitar solos in rock history, certainly qualifies.
Title: Coffee Cup
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
The Wildflower was somewhat typical of the San Francisco brand of folk-rock; less political in the lyrics and less jangly on the instrumental side. Although Coffee Cup was recorded in 1965, it did not get released until the summer of love two years later, on a collection of recordings by a variety of artists on Bob Shad's Mainstream label.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Label: RCA Victor
Landlocked Boulder, Colorado would seem an unlikely place for a surf music band. Nonetheless, the Astonauts were just that, and a pretty successful one at that. That success, however, came from an equally unlikely place. After being together for about three years and having only one charted single in the US (Baja, which spent one week on the chart in 1963, peaking in the #94 spot), the band discovered that their records were doing quite well in Japan, where the mostly-instrumental Astronauts were actually outselling the Beach Boys. The group soon began touring extensively in the Far East and when all was said and done had released nine albums and a dozen singles over a period of less than 10 years. Razzamatazz is the instrumental B side to the Astronauts' 1965 recording of Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, a US-only single that sought to tie the Astronauts to the wave of self-contained American bands that were popping up in response to the previous year's British Invasion. Razzamatazz itself is basically the instrumental track for Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day with some harmonica added.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: British import LP: Artifact
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
When the Electric Prunes reunited to record their first album of the 21st century they decided to stick mostly to original compositions. There were a couple exceptions, however, including an inventive cover of Arthur Lee's 7&7 Is. Although slower in tempo than Love's 1966 original recording, the Prunes' version of the tune is no less intense, albeit in a more subtle fashion.
Artist: Dukes Of Stratosphear (aka XTC)
Title: Vanishing Girl
Source: CD: Chips From The Chocolate Factory (originally released in UK on LP: Psionic Psunspot)
Writer(s): Colin Moulding
Label: Caroline (original label: Virgin)
Andy Partridge of XTC had always been a fan of psychedelic era music, but for various reasons had kept that pretty much to himself. That began to change, however, in 1979, when guitarist Dick Gregory joined the band. It turned out that Gregory shared a fondness for psychedelic music, and the two began to discuss the possibility of sometime recording their own psychedelically-oriented tunes. Schedules were too full to accomodate additional projects at the time, however, and the idea went on the back burner for several years. Finally, in November of 1984, a month after the release of XTC's The Big Express, Partridge found himself with some unexpected free time and invited Gregory and XTC bassist Colin Moulding, along with Gregory's brother Ian (a drummer) to a small English recording studio to record what would become 25 O'Clock, an EP from a group called the Dukes Of Stratosphear. The EP was released on April 1, 1985 exclusively in the UK, where it outsold The Big Express by a 2-to-1 margin, even before word got out that the Dukes of Stratosphear were acually XTC in disguise. The liner notes of XTC's next LP, Skylarking, mention the Dukes of Stratosphear, thanking them for the use of their guitars. In August 1987, after a bit of hemming and hawing on Partridge's part, the Dukes released their first and only full-length LP, Psionic Psunspot. Once again, the Dukes outsold the current XTC album (Skylarking). At the suggestion of the people at Virgin Records, the original planned running order of Psionic Psunspot was modified to make Colin Moulding's Vanishing Girl the album's opening track.
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.
Title: Your Mind And We Belong Together
Source: Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
The last record to be released by the classic Love lineup of Arthur Lee, Ken Forssi, Johnny Echols, Bryan MacLean and Michael Stuart was a single, Your Mind And We Belong Together. Although released in 1968, the song is very much the same style as the 1967 album Forever Changes. A bonus track on the Forever Changes CD shows Lee very much in command of the recording sessions, calling for over two dozen takes before getting an acceptable version of the song. The song serves as a fitting close to the story of one of the most influential, yet overlooked, bands in rock history...or would have, if Lee had not tried unsuccessfully to duplicate the band's success with new members several times in the ensuing years.
Title: Enjoy Yourself
Source: CD: A Lethal Dose of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Megaphone)
Dragonfly was an album that came out on Los Angeles' Megaphone label in 1970. It's not entirely clear, however, if Dragonfly was actually the name of the band itself, or just the album, since no other credits are given. The reason for this confusion is that a couple of years earlier the exact same lineup of musicians had recorded a trio of singles for Megaphone as the Legend, including an early version of Enjoy Yourself, a song that is considered one of the highlights of the Dragonfly album. Now if only someone would send me a copy of the Dragonfly LP...
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft
Source: CD: Spirit of Joy (originally released on LP: Fairport Convention)
Label: Polydor (original US label: Cotillion)
Fairport Convention has long been known for being an important part of the British folk music revival that came to prominence in the early 70s. Originally, however, the band was modeled after the folk-rock bands that had risen to prominence on the US West Coast from 1965-66. Their first LP was released in early 1968, and drew favorable reviews from the UK rock press, which saw them at Britain's answer to Jefferson Airplane. One of the LP's highlights is It's Alright, It's Only Witchcraft, which features electric guitar work by Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol that rivals that of Jorma Kaukonen. The album was not initially released in the US. Two years later, following the success of Fairport Convention's later albums with vocalist Sandy Denny on the A&M label, the band's first LP (with Judy Dyble) was given a limited release on Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary.
Title: Love Me Two Times
Source: LP: 13 (originally released on LP: Strange Days and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): The Doors
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.
Title: Me About You
Source: CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Happy Together)
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Despite being, in the words of the Turtles' co-leader Mark Volman, one of the band's best recordings, Me About You was not chosen to be released as a single in 1967. Instead, two other bands, the Mojo Men and the Lovin' Spoonful, took a shot at the song, but neither version charted. Eventually, after the Turtles had split up, White Whale Records did release the song as the group's last single, but by then nobody was interested in hearing the Turtles on the radio and the song stalled out in the 105 spot. Described by Volman as "progressive pop with a pulse beat", Me About You features strings and horns by Jerry Yester, a member of the Modern Folk Quintet who would eventually join the Lovin' Spoonful.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title: Who Knows
Source: LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
The first song you hear on an album may not always be the best song on the album, but it is usually the first one that comes to mind whenever that album is mentioned. Such is the case with Who Knows, which opens the Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys album. The thing is, it really isn't much of a song at all, just a sequence of ten notes repeated over and over with occasional vocals and guitar solos on top. It was, however, a fun song to jam on, as it only took a few seconds to learn the sequence.
Title: Shorty Blackwell
Source: LP: Instant Replay
Writer(s): Mickey Dolenz
The longest track ever released by the Monkees was also the last track on their last original LP, Instant Replay. The Monkees' TV show had finished its original run in March of 1968. Not long after that Peter Tork, no longer obligated as an actor to continue his role, announced his departure from the group. Even before any of that happened, however, Mickey Dolenz had begun work on Shorty Blackwell, a piece that is impossible to categorize. Descriptions from various reviewers include words like "weird", "over-wrought" and "Broadway on acid". Like nearly all the tracks on Instant Replay, the song is essentially a solo piece performed entirely (except for the vocals) by studio musicians, with no participation whatsoever from the other two Monkees.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Sit With The Guru
Source: LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock (originally released on LP: Wake Up...It's Tomorrow and as 45 RPM single)
Sit With The Guru is the second single from the second Strawberry Alarm Clock album, Wake Up...It's Tomorrow. The song addresses the subject of polytheism, which might explain the fact that it only peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100.