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.
Title: Set Me Free
Source: Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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)
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)
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.
Title: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source: Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
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)
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.
Title: My White Bicycle
Source: British CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road-1965-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
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)
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.
Title: Pressed Rat And Warthog
Source: CD: Wheels Of Fire
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
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)
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.
Title: Girl In Your Eye
Source: CD: Spirit
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Spirit was born in 1965 when drummer Ed Cassidy left the Rising Sons after breaking his arm and settled down with his new wife, who had a teenaged son named Randy. It wasn't long before Ed and Randy (who played guitar) formed a new band called the Red Roosters. The group lasted until the spring of 1966, when the family moved to New York for a few months, and Randy met an up and coming guitarist named James Marshall Hendrix. Hendrix was impressed with the teenaged Cassidy (whom he nicknamed Randy California) and invited him to become a member of his band, Jimmy James And The Blue Flames, that was performing regularly in Greenwich Village that summer. After being denied permission to accompany Hendrix to London that fall, Randy returned with his family to California, where he soon ran into two of his Red Roosters bandmates, singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes. The three of them decided to form a new band with Ed Cassidy and keyboardist John Locke. Both Cassidy and Locke had played in jazz bands, and the new band, Spirit, incorporated both rock and jazz elements into their sound. Most of the songs of the band's 1968 debut album were written by Ferguson, who tended to favor a softer sound on tracks like Girl In Your Eye. On later albums Randy California would take a greater share in the songwriting, eventually becoming the de facto leader of Spirit.
Title: Magic Carpet Ride
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Label: Priority (original label: Dunhill)
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
Source: 45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
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.
Title: But It's Alright
Source: Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rev-Ola (original US label: Tower)
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.
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)
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.
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
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..
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)
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)
Label: A&M (original label: Deram)
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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)
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.
Title: I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Source: LP: Abbey Road
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.
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
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.
Title: Come Together
Source: LP: Abbey Road
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.
Title: Who Scared You
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
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.