Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1933 (starts 8/12/19)

    This week we have a special Advanced Psych segment featuring three relatively new tracks from one of the truly legendary bands of the psychedelic era: The Electric Prunes. Also on the docket: a set of Beatles tunes (including their longest single song) and lots of familiar and not-so-familiar nuggets from 1965-1969.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Set Me Free
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After scoring international success with a series of R&B influenced rockers in 1964, the Kinks started to mellow a bit in 1965, releasing more melodic songs such as Set Me Free. The band would continue to evolve throughout the decade, eventually becoming one of the first groups to release a concept album, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), in 1969.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Who's Driving Your Plane
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side (mistitled on the US version as Who's Driving My Plane) of their loudest single to date, the feedback-drenched Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.

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

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Acapulco Gold And Silver
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Duncan/Schuster
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: Capitol)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2011
    One of the highlights of the first Quicksilver Messenger Service album was Gold And Silver, a six minute long instrumental which has drawn comparisons with Dave Brubeck's Take Five. This shorter version of the tune, entitled Acapulco Gold And Silver, was included on the 2011 CD reissue of the album.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    By early 1967 there was a building resentment among musicians and rock press alike concerning the instant (and in many eyes unearned) success of the Monkees. One notable expression of this resentment was the Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star, which takes a somewhat sarcastic look at what it takes to succeed in the music business. Unfortunately, much of what they talk about in the song continues to apply today (although the guitar has been somewhat supplanted by the computer as the instrument of choice).
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)
Year:    1967
    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 50 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    My White Bicycle
Source:    British CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road-1965-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Along with Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine, Tomorrow was among the most influential of the British psychedelic bands that popped up in the wake of the Beatles' Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's albums. Evolving out of the In Crowd, a popular British R&B group in the mold of the Spencer Davis Group and the early Who, Tomorrow featured a young Steve Howe (who go on to stardom as a member of Yes) on lead guitar and Keith West on vocals. The group was slated to appear in the film Blow-Up, but ultimately lost out to the Yardbirds, who had just recruited Jimmy Page as a second lead guitarist. Unfazed, Tomorrow went into Abbey Road studios and cut My White Bicycle, a song inspired by the practice in Amsterdam of providing free bicycles to anyone who wanted to use one as long as they left it for someone else to use when they were done with it.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Love Or Confusion
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. It's actually kind of fun to listen to with headphones on, as I did when I bought my first copy of the album on reel-to-reel tape.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Pressed Rat And Warthog
Source:     CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:     Baker/Taylor
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Pressed Rat And Warthog, from Cream's third LP, Wheels Of Fire, is one of those songs you either love or hate. I loved it the first time I heard it but had several friends that absolutely detested it. As near as I can tell, drummer Ginger Baker actually talks that way. Come to think of it, all the members of Cream had pretty heavy accents.
Artist:    Turtles (recording as The Atomic Enchilada)
Title:    The Last Thing I Remember
Source:    CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1968
    The Turtles hit their commercial peak in 1967 with their Happy Together album, which included two top 10 singles. Later that year they scored two more top 20 hits. By 1968, however, things were starting the change. Neither of their two non-album singles that year were able to crack the top 40, and the band itself was feeling creatively stifled by the pressure from their record label (which had no commercially viable acts other than the Turtles) to record "another Happy Together". Instead, they went the opposite direction, writing and producing a set of psychedelic tunes which were, or course, rejected by the label. Not long after that the band was reunited with producer Chip Douglas, who had briefly played bass for the Turtles before being persuaded to help the Monkees make the transition from a studio creation to an actual band. Working with Douglas, the Turtles came up with a concept album called The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands. Each song on the LP was produced and performed as if it were by an entirely different group. For example, The Last Thing I Remember (a reworking of one of their self-produced tracks) was credited to The Atomic Enchilada. As it turned out, the album contained the last two Turtles songs to make the top 10, and by 1970 the group, tired of the constant fights with their label, chose to disband.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Girl In Your Eye
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    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:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Magic Carpet Ride
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Writer(s):    Moreve/Kay
Label:    Priority (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 60s.

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     America
Source:     45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Year:     1968/1972
     Four years after the release of the album Bookends (and two years after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel), Columbia decided to release the song For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, as a single, to coincide with the release of their Greatest Hits album. For the B side, they went even further back, pulling out the original tapes for the song America. The tracks on the Bookends album were deliberately overlapped to form a continuous audio montage, making this the first standalone version of America to be released by the duo.

Artist:    Them
Title:    But It's Alright
Source:    Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jackson/Tubbs
Label:    Rev-Ola (original US label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Following the departure of original founding member and front man Van Morrison, the remaining members of Them, with new vocalist Kenny McDowell, decided to relocate to the US and make a go of it there. Unfortunately, rather than to forge a whole new identity of their own, they chose to remain Them, which, as it turned out, was actually more of a hindrance than a help when it came to establishing a consistent sound. Their first LP, Now And Them, while containing some good music, reflects this lack of direction. Before embarking on a second LP the group cut a cover of JJ Jackson's R&B hit But It's Alright, mostly to satisfy their label's demand for a new single. Them's version of the tune used a similar arrangement to Jackson's original, but with fuzz guitar and a more snarling vocal track. Although the record was not a hit, it did give an indication of where the band was headed as they began work on their next studio album, Time Out! Time In! For Them.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Happy Jack (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    Happy Jack was originally released as a single in the UK in late 1966. It did not hit the US airwaves, however, until the early months of 1967. (I heard it for the first time on KLZ-FM, a Denver station whose format was a forerunner of progressive rock. KLZ-FM didn't call themselves a rock station. They instead marketed themselves as playing the top 100, as opposed to the top 60 played on KIMN, the dominant AM station in the city.) Although the song was not intended to be on an album, Decca Records quickly rearranged the track order of the Who's second album, A Quick One, to make room for the song, changing the name of the album itself to Happy Jack in the process. This rechanneled stereo mix of the song (using a much more realistic process than Capitol used with the Beach Boys' records) came out on the LP Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy in the early 1970s, but when the album was reissued on CD the original mono master was used instead.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune. The record label itself credits Rowberry as the songwriter, rather than Rainey, perhaps because the Animals' arrangement was so radically different from various earlier recordings of the song, such as the #1 R&B hit by Chuck Willis and LaVerne Baker's early 60s version..
Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    The Standells were not from Boston (they were a Los Angeles club band). Ed Cobb, who wrote and produced Dirty Water, was. The rest is history.

Artist:     Procol Harum
Title:     Lime Street Blues
Source:     Mono LP: Best of Procol Harum (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Brooker/Reid
Label:     A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:     1967
     Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Innerlight Transcendence
Source:    CD: Feedback
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2006
    Over 30 years after moving on to other things, the original core members of the Electric Prunes began making records again in the new millenium, releasing three CDs in the first decade of the 21st century. The third of these, Feedback, is generally considered the hardest rocking of the three, although it does contain spacier tracks such as Innerlight Transcendence, which features guest guitarist Peter Lewis (Moby Grape) on 12-string.
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Left In Blue
Source:    CD: California 66   
Writer(s):    D'Agostino/Lamb
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2009
    In 2009, the Electric Prunes, Love, and the Sky Saxon of the Seeds, were planning a combined tourn of the US East Coast when word arrived of Saxon's passing. The tour was cancelled, however, a special tour CD featuring all three acts had already been prepared and was subsequently released under the planned tour's name, California 66. One of the Electric Prunes tracks, Left In Blue, is a moody piece that showcases the band's strengths.
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Hollywood Hype
Source:    CD: WaS
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2014
    After the passing of bassist/keyboardist Mark Tulin in 2011, the Electric Prunes went on hiatus, returning to touring in 2013. The following year they released WaS, an album of new material featuring the last recordings made with Tulin. Among those tunes is Hollywood Hype, a high energy rocker that ventures into territory only hinted at in the Eagles' Life In The Fast Lane.
Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Caroline No
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    According to lyricist Peter Asher, Caroline No was written because Brian Wilson was "saddened to see how sweet little girls turned out to be kind of bitchy, hardened adults". Though the song was originally included on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, it ended up being the only single ever released by Capitol credited to Brian Wilson as a solo artist.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    It's Not True
Source:    German import CD: The Amboy Dukes
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    In the  mid-1960s a lot of American bands were covering early Who songs. This is only natural, since the Who, despite having several charted singles in their native UK, did not hit the US charts until 1967, when Happy Jack made it to the #24 spot. Still, It's Not True was kind of an odd choice for Ted Nugent's band, the Amboy Dukes, to include on their first album. For one thing, the song was not particularly known for its guitar parts. More importantly, it was never released as a single and was considered to be little more than filler material on the Who's first LP, My Generation, and album that the Who themselves considered rushed and not representative of their true sound.

Artist:     Blood, Sweat and Tears
Title:     So Much Love/Underture
Source:     LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer(s):    Goffin/King/Kooper
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
     After leaving the Blues Project in early 1967, keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper made an appearance at Monterey with a pickup band then reunited with BP bandmate Steve Katz to form Blood, Sweat and Tears. Although Kooper wrote much of the material, there were also songs written by outside songwriters such as Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and the husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who wrote So Much Love.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square
Source:    CD: Stand Up
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Jethro Tull incorporated traditional Indian instruments on Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square, one of a pair of tunes named for future Tull bassist Jeffrey Hammond by the band's primary songwriter, Ian Anderson.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    With the exception of John Lennon's 1968 audio collage Revolution 9, the longest Beatle song ever recorded was I Want You (She's So Heavy), from the Abbey Road album. The track alternates between two distinct sections: the jazz-like I Want You, which contains most of the song's lyrical content, and the primal-scream based She's So Heavy, which repeats the same phrase endlessly in 6/8 time while an increasingly loud wall of white noise eventually leads to an abrupt cut-off at 7:47.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/A Day In The Life
Source:     LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Capitol/EMI
Year:     1967
     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:    Beatles
Title:    Come Together
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Who Scared You
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Morrison/Krieger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Recorded during sessions for the Doors' fourth album, The Soft Parade, Who Scared You was issued as the B side of a Jim Morrison/Robby Krieger collaboration called Wishful Sinful in March of 1969. Wishful Sinful, however, performed poorly on the charts and was quickly taken out of circulation. When The Soft Parade was finally released in July of that year, Wishful Sinful was included on the album. Who Scared You, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found, at least until 1972, when it appeared on the double-LP compilation Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine. Given its unique history, it's no wonder that Who Scared You is often considered the most obscure Doors track released during Morrison's tenure with the group.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1933 (starts 8/12/19)

    This week the focus is on the beginning of the decade, with multiple tracks from 1969, 1970 and 1971, including a mix of singles, album tracks and even an alternate recording of a well-known Allman Brothers classic.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    One Of These Days
Source:    LP: A Collection Of Great Dance Songs (originally released on LP: Meddle)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Gilmour/Mason
Label:    Columbia (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1971
    In their early years Pink Floyd was a band that was talked about more than heard, at least in the US. That began to change with the release of their 1971 LP Meddle and its opening track, One Of These Days, which got a significant amount of airplay on FM rock radio.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Sweet Leaf
Source:    LP: Master Of Reality
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Composed pretty much entirely in the recording studio, Sweet Leaf is Black Sabbath's unapologetic ode to marijuana. The title was inspired by writing on the inside lid of a pack of Irish cigarettes that contained the words "it's the sweetest leaf that gives you the taste". The coughing at the beginning of the track was provided by Tony Iommi, who was caught by surprise at the potency of a joint handed to him by Ozzy Osbourne. And yes, the entire band was stoned when they recorded Sweet Leaf.
Artist:    Cheech And Chong
Title:    Vietnam
Source:    LP: Cheech & Chong
Writer(s):    Marin/Chong
Label:    Ode
Year:    1971
    Forget Platoon and Apocalypse Now. Cheech And Chong recorded, by far, the most accurate chronicle of what life in Vietnam was really about for the typical American GI on their first album. "As a matter of fact, the whole platoon is wiped out"!
Artist:     Led Zeppelin
Title:     Bron Y-Aur Stomp
Source:     German import LP: Led Zeppelin III
Writer:     Page/Plant/Jones
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1970
     Although often regarded as the fathers of Heavy Metal, Led Zeppelin was actually capable of playing in a variety of styles. Evolving out of the standard-bearing band of the London blues scene (the Yardbirds), Led Zeppelin soon moved into uncharted territory, recording music that incorporated elements of both American and British folk music as well as rock. Much of the group's third LP (Bron Y-Aur Stomp in particular) sounds like it could have been written and performed in the heart of Appalachia.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
Source:    CD: American Woman
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings
Label:    Buddha/BMG
Year:    1970
    Randy Bachman's No Sugar Tonight was not intended to be a hit single. In fact, when he first unveiled the song he was told by his bandmates that it was too short. So, to flesh it out he and Burton Cummings combined No Sugar Tonight with a Cummings tune, New Mother Nature, that was still a work in progress. The resulting medley was included on the 1970 LP American Woman. Additionally, No Sugar Tonight itself, in its short form, was also released as the B side of the American Woman single. It proved so popular that it made the top 40 in its own right. Meanwhile, FM rock stations began playing the full medley, and the shorter single version was soon abandoned by top 40 stations as well. Bachman says the song itself was inspired by an incident that transpired on a California street in which a "tough looking biker" type got publicly dressed down by a five foot tall woman for neglecting his household chores to hang out with his friends. The last words heard before they drove off in her car were "and one more thing, you ain't getting no sugar tonight".

Artist:    Focus
Title:    House Of The King
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Jan Akkerman
Label:    Sire
Year:    1970
    Dutch band Focus released House of the King as a single in 1970, between their first and second albums. After getting considerable airplay in Europe and the UK, the song was added to later pressings of their debut LP, Focus Plays Focus (alternatively known as In And Out Of Focus). The song finally appeared on a US LP when Focus 3 was released three years later. Contrary to popular belief, the song was not re-recorded for the 1973 album.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Statesboro Blues
Source:    CD: Fillmore East February 1970
Writer(s):    Willie McTell
Label:    Bear's Sonic Journals
Year:    1970
    The Allman Brothers Band is generally accepted as the original Southern Rock band. Much of this reputation, however, is based on the group's second phase, following the death of founder Duane Allman. In the beginning, however, the Allman Brothers Band was first and foremost a blues-rock group, perhaps even the best American blues-rock band of its time. This is evidenced by the fact that their breakthrough album, At Fillmore East, starts with their electrifying arrangement of a Blind Willie McTell blues classic, Statesboro Blues. McTell originally recorded the tune in 1928. Forty years later Taj Mahal recorded a blues-rock version that inspired Duane Allman to take up the slide guitar. This particular recording of Statesboro Blues, made by Owsley "Bear" Stanley at the Fillmore East in 1970 specifically for the band's use, features a slightly different arrangement than the 1971 version of the tune.    
Artist:     Jo Jo Gunne
Title:     Run Run Run
Source:     LP: Jo Jo Gunne
Writer:     Ferguson/Andes
Label:     Asylum
Year:     1972
     After Spirit called it quits following the disappointing sales of the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, lead vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes hooked up with Andes's brother Matt and William "Curly" Smith to form Jo Jo Gunne. Their best known song was Run Run Run, which hit the British top 10 and the US top 30 in 1972, receiving considerable amount of airplay on progressive rock stations as well.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Abraxas)
Writer(s):    Mike Carabello
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    Mike Carabello, one of the three Santana percussionists, only had one solo songwriting credit on the three LPs he played on. It was a good one, though. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts is the opening track of the second Santana LP, Abraxas. The tune flows so naturally into the next track that it is sometimes considered a long intro to Black Magic Woman, despite the fact that Singing Winds, Crying Beasts (heard here as a separate track) is nearly five minutes long.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Nothing Is Easy
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Stand Up)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Not long after the release of the first Jethro Tull album, guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was a blues enthusiast, left the group due to musical differences with lead vocalist/flautist Ian Anderson, who favored a more eclectic approach to songwriting. Abrahams's replacement was Martin Barre, who remains a member of the group to this day. One of the first songs recorded with Barre is Nothing Is Easy, a blues rocker that opens side two of the band's second LP, Stand Up. More than any other track on Stand Up, Nothing Is Easy sounds like it could have been an outtake from This Was, the band's debut LP.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Bird Has Flown
Source:    LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Evans/Blackmore/Lord
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1969
    Much of the music on the first two Deep Purple albums (including the singles Hush and Kentucky Woman) was made up of extensively rearranged cover songs, leading some critics to consider the band England's answer to Vanilla Fudge. Although the band was doing well enough in the US, they were virtually ignored at home, and in early 1969 set out to do something about the latter. The most important change was to focus on original material. Their next single was a pair of songs composed by the band, with the more experimental of the two, a song called The Bird Has Flown, appearing as the B side of the US release of the record (a song from their second LP was chosen for the British B side). Feeling that the song was deserving of greater exposure, the band recorded a new version (retitled Bird Has Flown) for their self-titled third LP. Unfortunately, the band's US label, Tetragrammaton, was having serious financial problems, resulting in a delayed release of the album with virtually no promotion from the label itself. Tetragrammaton went bankrupt not long after the LP hit the stands, making it by far the most obscure Deep Purple album ever released.

Artist:    Spooky Tooth
Title:    All Sewn Up
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Jones/Wright
Label:    Island
Year:    1973
    Spooky Tooth probably went through more significant lineup changes than any other band during its short history. Formed in 1968, the original lineup only lasted through their second album, at which time bassist Greg Ridley left to join Humble Pie. Following their third LP, primary songwriter Gary Wright also left, and the remaining members disbanded a few months later. Wright, along with vocalist Mike Harrison, formed a new version of Spooky Tooth in 1972 that included future Foreigner guitarist Mike Jones. It was this lineup that recorded the album Witness, with it's single All Sewn Up, in 1973. After a couple more personnel changes, Spooky Tooth called it quits on November of 1974.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Life's One Act Play
Source:    British import CD: A Step Further
Writer(s):    Chris Youlden
Label:    Deram (original US label: Parrot)
Year:    1969
    Like many British blues bands, Savoy Brown had almost as many lineup changes as they did albums. In fact, it wasn't until their fourth LP, A Step Further, released in 1969, that the same group of musicians appeared on two consecutive albums. This would, however, be the last Savoy Brown album to include lead vocalist and frontman Chris Youlden, who wrote several songs on the album, including Life's One Act Play. The band is supplemented on the track by a rather large string and horn section that would be absent from the group's next LP, Looking In.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1932 (starts 8/5/19)

    This week we feature a long Jimi Hendrix set that includes a whole bunch of guest musicians. We also have another 23 songs from 23 artists. Sounds like some sort of conspiracy to me.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Born On The Bayou
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    If there is any single song that sums up what Creedence Clearwater Revival was all about, it could very well be Born On The Bayou, the opening track of CCR's second LP, Bayou Country. The song, which was written by John Fogerty late at night, became the opening for nearly every Creedence concert over the next few years, and is considered by many to be the band's signature song. Oddly enough, John Fogerty had never set foot on a bayou in his life when he wrote the song, but had always been a fan of the movie Swamp Fever, as well as having a fascination with "every other bit of southern bayou information that had entered my imagination from the time I was born."

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Glass Onion
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    John Lennon decided to have a little fun with Beatles fans when he wrote the lyrics to Glass Onion, the third song on the 1968 album The Beatles (aka the White Album). The song contains references to many earlier Beatles tunes, such as Strawberry Fields Forever, The Fool On The Hill and Lady Madonna. Glass Onion even contains a tongue-in-cheek reference to the whole "Paul is dead" rumor with the lines "Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul". The track is notable for being the first song on the album to feature the entire band, as Paul played drums on Back In The USSR and Dear Prudence, which precede Glass Onion on the album's first side.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
     Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, bassist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Andrew providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Luvin'
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night) (original title: The Electric Prunes)
Writer:    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Perhaps as a bit of overcompensation for his lack of control over the Grateful Dead, producer David Hassinger kept a tight rein on L.A.'s Electric Prunes, providing them with most of the material they recorded (from professional songwriters). A rare exception is Luvin', the B side of the Prunes' hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), that was also included on the band's first LP.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Happy Together
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Magic (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    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:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    My Mirage
Source:    LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    One thing about Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. That's a bit of a shame, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there, such as My Mirage, a Doug Ingle composition that helped lay the groundwork for the progressive rock movement of the 1970s.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    St. Stephen
Source:    CD: Aoxomoxoa
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    One of the Grateful Dead's most recognizable tunes is St. Stephen. The song first appeared on the 1969 album Aoxomoxoa, and was a regular part of the band's live performances (usually combined with The Eleven) for the next few years. From the mid-1970s on the song was only occasionally played in concert, and was considered a special treat by Deadheads.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Lover Of The Bayou
Source:    LP: (untitled)
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Levy
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    By 1970 the band called the Byrds bore little resemblance to the group that had taken the world by storm with its electrified covers of Bob Dylan songs in 1965. The band had gone through several personnel changes, with only Roger (nee Jim) McGuinn left from the original lineup. The band's sound had changed as well, having emerged from its psychedelic phase of 1966-68 to become one of the world's premier country-rock bands. The band's live performances had improved as well; indeed, the 1970 lineup is considered by many to be the group's best in that regard. No wonder, then, that half of the 1970 double album (untitled) was made up of live tracks. All of these elements can be heard on the album's opening track, Lover Of The Bayou, a song that was originally written (with Broadway producer Jacques Levy) as part of a proposed stage production called Gene Tryp that would have seen the Peer Gynt story updated and set in the mid-1800s American Southwest.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Mono LP: Gimme Some Lovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The 1980s movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becomming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Most of them are now playing 80s and even 90s oldies, by the way.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It Black
Source:    Mono CD: Aftermath
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs, Paint It Black was not included on the original UK release of the 1966 Aftermath album. This was because of the British custom of not including songs on LPs that were also available as 45 RPM singles (which, unlike their American counterparts, remained available for sale indefinitely) or extended play 45s (which had no US counterpart). In the US, however, Paint It Black was used to open the album, giving the entire LP a different feel from the British version (it had a different cover as well). Paint It Black is also the only song on Aftermath that was mixed only in mono, although US stereo pressings used an electronic rechannelling process to create a fake stereo sound. Luckily for everyone's ears, modern CDs use the unenhanced mono mix of the tune.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Dead End Street
Source:     Mono British import CD: Face To Face (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1966
     The last big US hit for the Kinks in the 60s was Sunny Afternoon in late 1966. The follow-up, Deadend Street, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success (although it was a hit in the UK). The Kinks would not have another major US hit until Lola in 1970.

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     Somewhere They Can't Find Me
Source:     CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer:     Paul Simon
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
    Simon and Garfunkel's success as a folk-rock duo was actually due to the unauthorized actions of producer John Simon, who, after working on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album, got Dylan's band to add new tracks to the song Sound of Silence. The song had been recorded as an acoustic number for the album Wednesday Morning 3AM, which had, by 1966, been deleted from the Columbia catalog. The new version of the song was sent out to select radio stations, and got such positive response that it was released as a single, eventually making the top 10. Meanwhile, Paul Simon, who had since moved to London and recorded an album called the Paul Simon Songbook, found himself returning to the US and reuniting with Art Garfunkel. Armed with an array of quality studio musicians they set about making their first electric album, Sounds of Silence. The song Somewhere They Can't Find Me was one of the new songs recorded for that album. From a lyrical standpoint, the song is actually a reworking of the title track of Wednesday Morning 3AM. Musically, the song shows a strong influence from British folk guitarist Bert Jansch, whom Simon greatly admired.

Artist:     Mothers of Invention
Title:     Trouble Every Day
Source:     CD: Freak Out
Writer:     Frank Zappa
Label:     Ryko (originally released on Verve)
Year:     1966
     Trouble Every Day, originally released as the opening track of side three of the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! was clearly a personal favorite of Frank Zappa's, as he did not one, but two updated versions over the years and was still performing the song live well into the 1980s. The lyrics, while somewhat topical in that they were inspired by a specific event (the Watts riots), remain relevant today, perhaps in some ways even more than when they were originally written.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People (remake)
Source:    CD: Hey Joe
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    One Way (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves scored their first Los Angeles regional hit with the song Too Many People, released on the Mira label in 1965. When a later single, Hey Joe, became a national hit, the band re-recorded Too Many People for their debut album, released in 1966. Although the newer recording is cleaner (and in stereo), it lacks the raw garage-rock energy of the original.

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

Artist:      Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Rainy Day, Dream Away
Source:      CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1968
     Although officially credited to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Rainy Day, Dream Away actually has several guest musicians appearing on it, including Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles, who would later be a member of Hendrix's short-lived Band of Gypsys and then have some success as leader of his own band. Also featured on the track are Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on tenor sax, and Larry Faucette on congas. It's unclear whether regular Experience bassist Noel Redding or Hendrix himself provided bass parts on the track (or even if there is a bass track, as Finnegan could have been playing a Ray Manzarek style bassline on the keyboards for all I know).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Angel
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    Shortly after the untimely death of Jimi Hendrix in September of 1970, Reprise released the first of many posthumous Hendrix albums, The Cry Of Love. Like millions of other Hendrix fans, I immediately went out and bought a copy. I have to say that there are very few songs that have ever brought tears to my eyes, and even fewer that did so on my very first time hearing them. Of these, Angel, featuring Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass, tops the list.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) from the Electric Ladyland album is the longest work created purely in the studio by Jimi Hendrix, with a running time of over 16 minutes. The piece starts with tape effects that lead into the song's main guitar rift. The vocals and drums join in to tell a science fiction story set in a future world where the human race has had to move underwater in order to survive some unspecified catastrophe. After a couple verses, the piece goes into a long unstructured section made up mostly of guitar effects before returning to the main theme and closing out with more effects that combine volume control and stereo panning to create a circular effect. As is the case with several tracks on Electric Ladyland, 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) features Hendrix on both guitar and bass, with Mitch Mitchell on drums and special guest Chris Wood (from Traffic) on flute.

Artist:    Fantastic Zoo
Title:    Light Show
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Cameron/Karl
Label:    Double Shot
Year:    1967
    The Fantastic Zoo had its origins in Denver, Colorado, with a band called the Fogcutters. When the group disbanded in 1966, main members Don Cameron and Erik Karl relocated to Los Angeles and reformed the group with new members. After signing a deal with local label Double Shot (which had a major hit on the charts at the time with Count Five's Psychotic Reaction), the group rechristened itself Fantastic Zoo, releasing their first single that fall. Early in 1967 the band released their second and final single, Light Show. The song did not get much airplay at the time, but has since become somewhat of a cult favorite.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Bass Strings
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    A lot of songs released in 1966 and 1967 got labeled as drug songs by influential people in the music industry. In many cases, those labels were inaccurate, at least according to the artists who recorded those songs. On the other hand, you have songs like Bass Strings by Country Joe and the Fish that really can't be about anything else.

Artist:    Love
Title:    A House Is Not A Motel
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer:    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Arthur Lee was a bit of a recluse, despite leading the most popular band on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. When the band was not playing at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go Lee was most likely to be found at his home up in the Hollywood Hills, often in the company of fellow band member Bryan McLean. The other members of the band, however, were known to hang out in the most popular clubs, chasing women and doing all kinds of substances. Sometimes they would show up at Lee's house unbidden. Sometimes they would crash there. Sometimes Lee would get annoyed, and probably used the phrase which became the title of the second track on Love's classic Forever Changes album, A House Is Not A Motel.

Artist:    Second Time
Title:    Listen To The Music
Source:    LP: Wild In The Streets (soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    The soundtrack album produced by Mike Curb for the 1968 film Wild In The Streets comes from three sources. The first, and most prominent, are recordings made by Max Frost And The Troopers, the fictional band that the movie itself revolves around. On the album itself these songs (most of which are written by the Brill building songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) are credited to the 13th Power, which is in all likelihood the real name of the band. A subsequent album by Max Frost And The Troopers features two songs that were also released as a single by the 13th Power on Curb's Sidewalk label, lending credence to this theory. The second group of songs on the soundtrack are from legendary go-to bandleader Les Baxter. Each one of these is credited to a different "band", although they are all performed by studio musicians. And then there are two songs by a group called the Second Time. One of these, Listen To The Music, was also issued as the B side of one of the aformentioned Lex Baxter tracks (it didn't chart). The only other release I know of by the Second Time is a single released on Mike Curb's Sidewalk label later the same year. My theory is that the two Second Time songs were originally meant to be a single release, but were instead used on the Wild In The Streets soundtrack album as filler, something Curb was known to have done fairly often prior to his becoming head of M-G-M Records in 1969.

Artist:    Sound Sandwich
Title:    Tow Away
Source:    Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (released to radio stations as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Johnny Cole
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Year:    1968
    Sound Sandwich was a young (as in high school age) Los Angeles band that came under the wing of producer Johnny Cole, who wrote both of the band's singles. The second of these, Tow Away, does not show up in the database I usually use, leading me to believe the record was only released as a promo to L.A. area radio stations shortly before Viva Records closed its doors permanently.

Artist:    Timebox
Title:    Gone Is The Sadman
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    McCarthy/Halsall
Label:    Rhino (original label: Deram)
Year:    1968
    Timebox is one of those bands that by all rights should have had much more success than they were able to achieve. Why this should be is a mystery. They had plenty of talent, good press and were signed to a major label (Deram). Yet none of their singles were able to make a connection with the record buying public. Originally formed in Southport in 1965 as Take Five, the band relocated to London the following year, changing their name to Timebox at the same time. After releasing a pair of singles on the small Picadilly label, the band added a couple of new members, including future Rutles drummer John Halsey. Within a few months they were signed to the Deram label, and released several singles over the next few years. One of their best tunes, Gone Is The Sandman, was actually released as a B side in late 1968.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Maggie's Farm
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    On Sunday, July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan literally rocked the crowd at the Newport Folk Festival by performing Maggie's Farm and two other songs with an electric band. The song had been originally recorded on January 15 and released on the album Bringing It All Back Home a couple months later. Dylan's use of electric instruments offended some folk purists, of course, including festival organizer Alan Lomax, who had also objected to the previous day's performance by the Butterfield Blues Band. The song itself is a highly relatable classic, especially to anyone who has had to endure the tedium of working in the service industry, and contains some of Dylan's most memorable lines.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Diddy Wah Diddy
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    McDaniel/Dixon
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1966
    Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa knew each other in high school in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles, but did not stay in close contact after graduation. While Zappa was developing an interest in early 20th century avant-garde classical music, Van Vliet established a reputation as one of the best white blues singers around. When the opportunity came to record a few tracks for A&M records in 1965, Van Vliet, who by then was calling himself Captain Beefheart, chose a Bo Diddly tune, Diddy Wah Diddy, to showcase his vocal talents. The song was a local hit in Los Angeles, but A&M, for reasons unknown, did not retain the Captain on their roster of artists. Beefheart would record for several more labels over the years, with his greatest success being the album Trout Mask Replica, which was released on Zappa's own Straight Records label in 1969.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1932 (starts 8/5/19)

    This week, about half way through the show, we take a break. No, not a psychotic break (at least I don't think so), but instead a comedy break that takes up half of the remaining show. Why, you ask? Because it was 1970, and the Firesign Theatre was very much a part of the rock radio world in 1970. So don't touch that dwarf, hand me the the pliers, OK?

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1974
    You'd think that after writing such legendary classics as (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Jumpin' Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would be pretty much tapped out for the rest of their lives. But, nope. They had to come up yet another iconic song in 1974, It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It). Hell, the title alone probably should be inscribed over the entrance of the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame. The song itself was reportedly written in response to critics who seemed to think that the Stones, Mick and Keith in particular, somehow had a responsibility to be role models, and were not living up to those critics' expectations of how they should be conducting themselves.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Paranoid
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits 1970-1978 (originally released on LP: Paranoid)
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Rhino/Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Although it was the last track recorded for Black Sabbath's second album, Paranoid was actually the first song released from the sessions, appearing as a single about six months after the first LP hit the racks. The song, according to bassist Geezer Butler, was recorded as an afterthought, when the band realized they needed a three minute filler piece for the LP. Tony Iommi came up with the basic riff, which Butler quickly wrote lyrics for. Singer Ozzie Osbourne reportedly sang the lyrics directly from the handwritten lyric sheet. Paranoid turned out to be one of Black Sabbath's most popular tunes, and has shown up on several "best of" lists, including VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs", where it holds the # 1 spot. In Finland, the song has attained near-legendary status, and the phase "Soittakaa Paranoid!" can often be heard being yelled out from a member of the audience at a rock concert there, regardless of what band is actually on stage (much as "Free Bird" was heard at various concerts in the US throughout the 70s and 80s).

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Starship Trooper
Source:    CD: The Yes Album
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire/Howe
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1971
    Although technically it was the third LP released by the band, The Yes Album was, in many ways, the true beginning of the Yes story. The Yes Album was the first to feature guitarist Steve Howe, whose contributions significantly altered the band's sound. This influence is particularly strong on the third section of Starship Trooper (subtitled Wurm), which Howe had brought with him from his previous band, Bodast. The opening section of the song, Life Seeker, as well as the title of Starship Trooper itself, was inspired in part by the Robert Heinlein novel, with Jon Anderson's lyrics centering on a search for God. The middle section, Disillusion, was provided by bassist Chris Squire, and was actually based on a section of an earlier piece called For Everyone. Starship Trooper, although never released as a single, quickly became a popular (and permanent) part of Yes's stage repertoire.

Artist:    John Lennon
Title:    #9 Dream
Source:    CD: Lennon (box set) (originally released on LP: Walls And Bridges)
Writer(s):    John Lennon
Label:    Capitol (original label: Apple)
Year:    1974
    #9 Dream has the distinction of being John Lennon's last original composition to be released as a single before his five year hiatus from recording (from 1975-80), as well as his last song to hit the top 10 during his lifetime. The tune, from the Walls And Bridges album, is one of the most lavishly produced recordings in the Lennon catalog, featuring string arrangements written by Lennon himself. The song peaked at (coincidentally) the #9 spot on the Billboard charts in the US.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    I Don't Live Today
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    I remember a black light poster that choked me up the first time I saw it. It was a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with the caption I Don't Live Today. I don't believe Hendrix was being deliberately prophetic when he wrote and recorded this classic track for the Are You Experienced album, but it still spooks me a bit to hear it, even now.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers (side two, part one)
Source:    LP: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    The first thing you need to know about the Firesign Theatre is that they were oriented to sound rather than vision. Their use of special effects parallels that of World War II era radio programs, which they often payed tribute to on their albums. They were also pioneers of "concept humor", dedicating an entire album to a single theme, such as the life of George Leroy Tirebiter on the album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers. Released in 1970 the album focuses on Tirebiter (played by David Ossman), a former child actor who spends his time watching his old movies on TV. Those movies include High School Madness (a parody of the Aldrich Family radio show, among other things), and Parallel Hell, a war film set in Korea. These films are interrupted from time to time by commercials and the sound of the channel being changed to such things as game shows and TV preachers, both of which were staples of independent television stations in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960s. The album title itself is somewhat ambiguous: one interpretation is that the "dwarf" is a roach from a marijuana joint and the "pliers" are actually a roach clip. Another view is that the title was inspired by a photograph on the cover of Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde album showing Dylan holding a small picture of a person in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other. Regardless of the title's origins, Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers has been called "the greatest comedy album ever made" by the New Rolling Stone Record Guide, and has been enshrined by the Library Of Congress in their National Recording Registry.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Wish You Were Here
Source:    CD: Wish You Were Here
Writer(s):    Waters/Gilmour
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1975
    I remember how, in the mid-1970s, FM rock stations played just about every track from Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album. Then, a few short years later, The Wall came out, and now the only track you ever hear from Wish You Were Here is Have A Cigar. So, for those of you who missed it, here is the title track from Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here. You're welcome.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Slippery St. Paul
Source:    LP: The Doobie Brothers
Writer(s):    Simmons/Johnston
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    The first Doobie Brothers album failed to make the Billboard album charts when it was originally released in 1971, despite having a number of decent tunes, including Slippery St. Paul. The song itself is a rare collaboration between the band's two main songwriters, Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, who generally worked separately.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Uncle John's Band
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Workingman's Dead)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    For many people who only got their music from commercial radio, Uncle John's Band was the first Grateful Dead song they ever heard. The tune, from the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, was the first Dead song to crack the top 100, peaking at #69, and got significant airplay on FM rock radio stations as well. The close harmonies on the track were reportedly inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose debut album had come out the previous year.

Artist:    Barclay James Harvest
Title:    The Great 1974 Mining Disaster
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Everyone Is Everybody Else)
Writer(s):    John Lees
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1974
    Although they were never as big as other prog-rock bands such as Yes or Emerson, Lake And Palmer, England's Barclay James Harvest nonetheless had a long and productive career. Their 1974 album Everyone Is Everybody Else is generally considered to be their artistic and commercial peak, and was especially successful in continental Europe, as were the band's subsequent LPs. One of the more notable tracks on Everyone Is Everybody Else is The Great 1974 Mining Disaster, a tribute to the Bee Gees first international hit single, New York Mining Disaster 1941.