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
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."
Title: Glass Onion
Source: LP: The Beatles
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
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
Source: CD: I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night) (original title: The Electric Prunes)
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
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.
Title: Happy Together
Source: French import CD: Happy Together (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Magic (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: Iron Butterfly
Title: My Mirage
Source: LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
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
Label: Warner Brothers
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.
Title: Lover Of The Bayou
Source: LP: (untitled)
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
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
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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.
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)
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
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)
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.
Title: Too Many People (remake)
Source: CD: Hey Joe
Label: One Way (original label: Mira)
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
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)
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
Source: LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
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)
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
Label: Double Shot
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
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.
Title: A House Is Not A Motel
Source: CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer: Arthur Lee
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)
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)
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.
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Deram)
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
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
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.