Sunday, August 25, 2019
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1935 (starts 8/25/19)
Good news for Vanilla Fudge fans. The second hour of this week's show features nearly 30 minutes' worth of classic Fudge material from their first two albums, including two Beatles covers. Speaking of the Beatles, we also have a portion of the classic Abbey Road medley in the show's first segment. Also of note: a 1968 set that ended up filling an entire half-hour long segment and over half a dozen tracks making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut. Read on...
Title: Love Is Only Sleeping
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single.
Title: The Crystal Ship
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: The Doors
One of the most popular B sides ever released, The Crystal Ship is a slow moody piece with vivid lyrical images. The mono mix of the song sounds a bit different from the more commonly-heard stereo version. Not only is the mix itself a bit hotter, it is also a touch faster. This is due to an error in the mastering of the stereo version of the first Doors LP that resulted in the entire album running at a 3.5% slower speed than it was originally recorded. This discrepancy went unnoticed for over 40 years, until a college professor pointed out that every recorded live performance of Light My Fire was in a key that was about half a step higher than the stereo studio version.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Naked If I Want To
Source: LP: Great Grape
Writer: Jerry Miller
Although guitarist Jerry Miller's name appears in the credits for nearly half the material on the first Moby Grape album, more than any other band member, there was only one song credited to Miller as the sole songwriter. Ironically, Naked If I Want To was also the shortest track on the album, with a running time of less than a minute. A longer version of the song appeared on Moby Grape's second LP, Wow.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Good Times
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: BGO (original label: M-G-M)
By the end of the original Animals' run they were having greater chart success with their singles in the US than in their native UK. That trend continued with the formation of the "new" Animals in 1967 and their first single, When I Was Young. Shortly after the first LP by the band now known as Eric Burdon And The Animals came out, M-G-M decided to release the song San Franciscan Nights as a single to take advantage of the massive youth migration to the city that summer. Meanwhile the band's British label decided to instead issue Good Times, (an autobiographical song which was released in the US as the B side to San Franciscan Nights) as a single, and the band ended up with one of their biggest UK hits ever. Riding the wave of success of Good Times, San Franciscan Nights eventually did get released in the UK and was a hit there as well.
Title: Big Black Smoke
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
The Kinks had some of the best B sides of the 60s. Case in point: Big Black Smoke, which appeared as the flip of Dead End Street in early 1967. The song deals with a familiar phenomenon of the 20th century: the small town girl that gets a rude awakening after moving to the big city. In this case the city was London, known colloquially as "the Smoke".
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Out Of Time
Source: LP: Aftermath (British version)
Label: Abkco (original UK label: Decca)
The history of the Rolling Stones' Out Of Time is actually somewhat convoluted. Originally released only in the UK as a five and a half minute track on the Aftermath LP (the US version of the album having a different song lineup), the tune was soon covered by British singer Chris Farlowe, whose Mick Jagger-produced single went to the top of the UK charts in July of 1966. A shorter alternative mix of the Stones version was then released on the Flowers album, a US-only compilation of singles, B sides and unreleased tracks compiled by London Records. Finally, in 1975 a third version of the song, using the backing tracks from the Farlowe version and Mick Jagger's vocals, appeared on an album called Metamorphosis, which was a compilation of unreleased tracks that were owned by record mogul Allen Klein.
Artist: Fleur De Lys
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: Rhino (original label: Immediate)
Circles was a song by the Who that was originally slated to be released in the UK on the Brunswick label as a follow-up to the highly successful My Generation. A dispute between the band and the label and their producer, Shel Talmy, led to the Who switching labels and releasing another song, Substitute, in its place, with Circles (retitled Instant Party) on the B side of the record. When Talmy slapped the band with a legal injunction, the single was withdrawn, and another band, the Fleur De Lys, took advantage of the situation, recording their own version of Circles and releasing it on the Immediate label. Just to make things more confusing Brunswick issued the Who's version of Circles as the B side of A Legal Matter later the same month.
Title: Abbey Road Medley #2
Source: Abbey Road
The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys (although some rock historians treat it as one long medley). The second one consists of three songs credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Golden Slumbers is vintage McCartney, while Carry That Weight has more of a Lennon feel to it. The final section,The End, probably should have been credited to the entire band, as it contains the only Ringo Starr drum solo on (a Beatle) record as well as three sets of alternating lead guitar solos (eight beats each) from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon (in that order).
Artist: Paul Jones
Title: The Dog Presides
Source: British import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Paul Jones
Label: Zonophone (original UK label: Columbia)
Like many frontmen in the mid-60s Manfred Mann's Paul Jones decided to leave the group for a solo career right at the height of the band's success in 1966. Also like many former frontmen, Jones's solo career was less than stellar. Most of Jones's records were done in an almost lounge lizard style. One notable exception is The Dog Presides, a bit of psychedelic insanity that was credited to Jones himself, but in all likelihood was co-created by some friends of Jones's who participated in the after-hours recording, which appeared as the B side of the (deservedly) obscure single And The Sun Will Shine in 1968. In addition to Jones on vocals and harmonica, The Dog Presides features guitarist Jeff Beck and bassist Paul-Samwell Smith, both formerly of the Yardbirds and some guy named Paul McCartney on drums.
Title: We've All Agreed To Help
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Following the departure of Van Morrison, the remaining members of Them returned temporarily to Northern Ireland to recruit a new lead vocalist, Kenny McDowell, before "permanently" relocating to Los Angeles, California. Once in the Golden State, Them recorded a pair of psychedelically oriented LPs for the Tower label, both released in 1968. The second of these, Time Out! Time In! For Them, primarilly featured songs written by Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, but there were a few exceptions, such as We've All Agreed To Help, which were credited to the entire band. To be honest,I think the Pulley/Lane tracks are stronger than the band's own material, but I thought you might want to take a listen for yourself.
Title: Don't Say No
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single).
Writer(s): Ruthann Friedmann
Label: Rhino (original label: Verve Forecast)
Before the days of arena rock, with two or three bands touring together and putting on virtually the same show night after night, headliner bands often looked to local talent for their opening act, making each stop on the tour a unique event. Sometimes the local opening band made enough of an impression to create a path to stardom for themselves as well, or at least to get a record contract. Take the case of a Lake Charles, Lousiana band known locally as the Great Society. Although they had not made any records, they had developed enough of a reputation to be able to score gigs across the state line in East Texas. One of those gigs was opening for the Music Machine in mid 1967. The Music Machine, at this point, was experiencing the frustration of being unable to score a successful follow up to their 1966 hit Talk Talk and was on the verge of dissolving, with the various individual members starting to explore other options. Among those members was bassist Keith Olsen, who liked Great Society enough to convince them to come out to Los Angeles and let Olsen produce them. Things did not go exactly as planned, however, as a bad acid trip left the band in no shape to cut a record. Olsen, however, working with co-producer Curt Boettcher, did get the group to provide vocals for a studio project the two of them were working on, a Ruthann Friedmann song called Don't Say No. As there had already been a band in California called Great! Society as recently as 1966, it was decided to rename the group the Oracle for the release of Don't Say No on the Verve Forecast label in 1968. Although the record was not a hit, it did help open doors for Olsen, who would go on to discover and produce the duo known as Buckingham Nicks, along with their breakthrough album as members of Fleetwood Mac. Since then Olsen has become one of the top producers in the history of rock music, working with such well known artists as the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, Eddie Money, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rick Springfield, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Heart, Joe Walsh, Starship, Santana, Kim Carnes, Jethro Tull, The Babys, Ozzy Osbourne, the Scorpions, .38 Special, Bad Company, Sammy Hagar, Russ Ballard, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Sheena Easton, Journey, Loverboy, and Lou Gramm. Not bad for a bass player from a one-hit wonder band.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Kyrie Eleison
Source: CD: Mass In F Minor
Writer: David Axelrod
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
After the commercial disappointment of the Electric Prunes second LP, Underground, producer David Hassinger decided to use the band in an experiment. David Axelrod had written a rock-mass and was looking for a band to record it. It soon became apparent, however, that Axelrod's arrangements were beyond the technical skills of the Prunes, and studio musicians were brought in to complete the project. The result was Mass In F Minor, which with its royal purple cover stood out on the record racks but did not sell any better than the previous Prunes LP. Before fading off into obscurity the album was immortalized by having its opening track, Kyrie Eleison (one of three tracks to feature all five members of the band itself), included in the film Easy Rider and its best-selling soundtrack album.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Seger
Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. The first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, a powerful anti-Vietnam War tune that was later included on his first LP for the label. The mono single version of the song heard here has a guitar chord near the end of the track that was not on the original recording (on which the song simply stops cold for a few seconds). It was inserted because, according to Seger, radio stations were "afraid of dead air".
Artist: Mouse And The Traps
Title: I Satisfy
Source: Mono British import CD: The Fraternity Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Fraternity)
Mouse And The Traps recorded singles in a variety of styles, ranging from grungy garage rock to sweet pop songs over a period of about three years. One of their last efforts, I Satisfy, was also their most psychedelic tune. The song, released in October of 1968, showed the influence of bands like Vanilla Fudge and the group itself went full mod, with Nehru shirts and granny glasses, to promote it. Sadly, I Satisfy didn't catch on and, until it was included on a Mouse And The Traps anthology from the British Big Beat label, was nearly impossible to find a copy of. Personally, I think it's one of the best things they ever released, but then I have a biased view of such things.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Long Hot Summer Night
Source: CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
When Chas Chandler first discovered Jimi Hendrix playing at a club in New York's Greenwich Village in 1966, he knew that he had found one seriously talented guitarist. Within two years Hendrix would prove to be an outstanding songwriter, vocalist and producer as well. This was fortunate for Hendrix, as Chandler would part company with Hendrix during the making of the Electric Ladyland album, leaving Hendrix as sole producer. Chandler's main issue was the slow pace Hendrix maintained in the studio, often reworking songs while the tape was rolling, recording multiple takes until he got exactly what he wanted. Adding to the general level of chaos was Hendrix's propensity for inviting just about anyone he felt like to join him in the studio. Among all these extra people were some of the best musicians around, including keyboardist Al Kooper, whose work can be heard on Long Hot Summer Night.
Artist: Max Frost And The Troopers
Title: Shape Of Things To Come
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts. "Wild in the Streets" starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's drummer/political activist Stanley X. Shape Of Things To Come was a surprise hit single taken from the film, and was probably recorded by studio musicians, possibly members of Davie Allan And The Arrows, with vocals likely provided by Paul Wibier.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Black Magic Woman
Source: European import CD: The Essential Fleetwood Mac (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Peter Green
Label: Columbia/Sony Music (original label: Blue Horizon)
The original version of Black Magic Woman was the third single released by Fleetwood Mac. Written by the band's founder, Peter Green, the song has become a classic rock standard thanks to the 1970 cover of the song released by Santana on the album Abraxas. Many blues-rock purists, however, prefer the Fleetwood Mac original.
Artist: Phil Ochs
Title: Power And The Glory
Source: CD: There But For Fortune (originally released on LP: All The News That Fits)
Writer(s): Phil Ochs
Taking his cue from one of his heroes, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs composed the song Power And The Glory for his debut LP, All The News That Fits. At first the song seems to be a praise of America in the same vein as Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land, but, being written and sung by Phil Ochs in 1964, the song takes a momentary dark turn toward the end, pointing out that the benefits of living in the USA are not distributed equally among all its citizens, before returning to the its quasi-patriotic theme.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Ticket To Ride
Source: LP: Vanilla Fudge
The late 1940s saw the beginning of a revolution in the way people consumed recorded music. For decades, the only available recorded media had been the brittle 78 RPM (revolutions per minute) discs made of a material known as shellac. These discs, officially known as gramophone records, generally came in three sizes: 7" (for children's records), 12" (used mostly for classical recordings) and the standard 10" discs, which held about three minutes' worth of material per side. The high revolution speed meant that even the 12" discs could only hold a maximum of five minutes' worth of music per side, making it necessary to spread out longer pieces such as operas and symphonies over several discs, severely disrupting the listening experience. Following the end of World War II the two largest record companies, RCA Victor and Columbia, each separately began working on replacements for the 78 RPM discs. RCA's replacement was pretty much one on one; the 10" 78s were replaced by the 7" 45 RPM singles with about the same running time. Columbia, on the other hand, concentrated their efforts on long playing 12" records that, revolving at 33 1/3 RPM, could contain over 20 minutes' worth of music per side. Naturally, the LPs were far more expensive than 45s, and were marketed to a more affluent class of consumer than their shorter counterparts. This in turn led to popular music being dominated by 45 RPM singles, especially among American teenagers, while albums tended to be favored by fans of jazz and classical music. This dichotomy persisted well into the 1960s, with relatively few pop stars, such as Elvis Presley and later, the Beatles, selling a signficant number of LPs. By 1967, however, teenagers were buying enough LPs to make it feasable to a youth-oriented act to be considered a success without the aid of a hit single. One of the first of these new types of rock bands was Vanilla Fudge, whose debut LP did not contain any hit singles when it was first released. It did, however, contain a pair of Beatles covers, including the album's opening track, Ticket To Ride. A year later, another cover song from the album, You Keep Me Hangin' On, which had been a hit for the Supremes around the same time that the Vanilla Fudge album first came out, began to get significant airplay and was re-released as a single.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Voices In Time
Source: LP: The Beat Goes On
Writer(s): Audio montage compiled by Shadow Morton
Following the success of their debut LP (it hit #6 on the Billboard LP charts in September of 1967), the members of Vanilla Fudge concentrated their efforts on a pair of tunes that were released as a single in January of 1968. Meanwhile their producer, Shadow Morton, was working on a concept album without a whole lot of input from the band itself based around a recent Sonny And Cher hit single. The Beat Goes On was released in February of 1968. Each of the album four phases was centered around a different interpretation of Sonny Bono's composition. Phase Three, Voices In Time, is an eight-minute long compilation of spoken word excerpts from historical figures such as Nevill Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt that includes a minimal amount of actual music from the band itself. Nonetheless, it is interesting to listen to over 50 years later.
rtist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source: LP: Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.
Artist: Ten Years After
Title: 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain
Source: CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer: Alvin Lee
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Alvin Lee mentions going to every planet in the solar system in 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain, a nearly eight-minute track from the 1970 Ten Years After album, Cricklewood Green. The album itself was the band's most successful until they changed labels and released A Space In Time, the LP that included their best known song, I'd Love To Change The World.
Title: HCO 97658
Source: British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Epic)
Some songs sort of float around in a songwriter's head for months, or even years, before taking their final form. Others are created spontaneously in the recording studio. The opening track on the 1969 album Kak is an example of the latter. HCO 97658 was actually the studio session ID number.
Source: British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original label: Epic)
The final track on Donovan's 1968 LP The Hurdy Gurdy Man is a wistful tune about noticing changes in one's self. The setting for the song is a vacation spot on the English coast during the off-season. As was the case with most of Donovan's late 1960s albums, there are no musicians' credits on the cover, making it difficult to figure out who participated on the recording.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Country Joe McDonald liked to write songs that were inspired by women he knew. Being Country Joe McDonald these included some women who would end up becoming quite famous as part of the San Francisco scene. One of the most famous of those was Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, who inspired the final track on the first Country Joe And The Fish LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. Who would have guessed?
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Chauffeur Blues (alternate version)
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s): Lester Melrose (disputed, may have been Lizzie Douglas)
Label: RCA Victor
Jefferson Airplane's original female vocalist was Signe Toly Anderson. Unlike Grace Slick, who basically shared lead vocals with founder Marty Balin, Anderson mostly functioned as a backup singer. The only Airplane recording to feature Anderson as a lead vocalist was Chauffeur Blues, a cover of an old Memphis Minnie tune. The song was featured on the band's first LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. This alternate version is a touch longer and puts a bit more emphasis on Jorma Kaukonen's lead guitar.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Source: Mono LP: Midnight Ride (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top in both countries five years later.