Sunday, September 8, 2019
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1937 (starts 9/9/19)
This week we have a verrrry interesting show, especially in the second hour. How so? Well, there's the Advanced Psych segment with the new track from Vertacyn Arc Simulator, not to mention the back to back artists sets from Jefferson Airplane and Deep Purple. As far as the rest goes, read on...
Title: Don't Bring Me Down
Source: CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is reportedly one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually liked. The song was one of the last hit singles recorded by the original Animals before they disbanded in late 1966.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Lady Jane
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Aftermath)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It Black). The policy at the time was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated separately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8).
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Sweet Young Thing
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Uptown)
There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the flavor of how the Chocolate Watchband actually sounded when left to their own devices, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb. One of the few recordings that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is Sweet Young Thing, the first single released under the band's real name (Blues Theme, an instrumental Watchband recording credited to the Hoggs, had been released in 1966 by Hanna-Barbera records).
Title: (Roamin' Thro' the Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: CD: Traffic
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
In its original run, Traffic only released two full albums (and a third that consisted of non-LP singles, studio outtakes and live tracks). The second of these, simply titled Traffic, featured several memorable tunes, including (Roamin' Through the Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, a Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi collaboration.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: My Sunday Feeling
Source: CD: This Was
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
For years my only copy of Jethro Tull's first LP, This Was, was a cassette copy I had made myself. In fact, the two sides of the album were actually on two different tapes (don't ask why). When I labelled the tapes I neglected to specify which tape had which side of the album; as a result I was under the impression that My Sunday Feeling was the opening track on the album. It turns out it was actually the first track on side two, but I still tend to think of it as the "first" Jethro Tull song, despite the fact that the band had actually released a single, Sunshine Day, the previous year for a different label.
Artist: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Source: CD: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Label: Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was unusual for their time in that they were much more theatrical than most of their contemporaries, who were generally more into audio experimentation than visual. I have a video of Fire being performed (or maybe just lip-synched). In it, all the members are wearing some sort of mask, and Brown himself is wearing special headgear that was literally on fire. There is no doubt that The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown sowed the seeds of what was to become the glitter-rock movement in the early to mid 70s.
Title: Revelation (conclusion)
Source: CD: Da Capo
The undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip in the mid-1960s were the members of Love. Led by Arthur Lee, the band held down the position of house band at the Strip's most famous club, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, throughout 1966 and much of 1967, even as the club scene itself was being squeezed out of existence by restrictive new city ordinances. Love liked being the top dog in L.A., so much so that they decided to forego touring to promote their records in favor of maintaining their presence at the Whiskey. In the long run this cost them, as many of their contemporaries (including one band that Love itself had discovered and introduced to Elektra producer Paul Rothchild: the Doors) went on to greater fame while Love remained a cult band throughout their existence. One of the highlights of their stage performances was a 19-minute jam called Revelation, a piece originally called John Hooker that served to give each band member a chance to show off with a solo. Although the band had been playing Revelation throughout 1966, inspiring the Rolling Stones to do a similar number on one of their own albums, they did not get around to recording a studio version of Revelation until 1967, prompting some critics to assume that Love had ripped off the Stones rather than the other way around. By that point they had added two new members, Tjay Cantrelli (sax) and Michael Stuart (drums), whose solos take up the last six minutes or so of the recorded version of the tune. The Harpsichord solo at the end of Revelation is played by "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who had switched from drums to keyboards when Stuart joined the group, and would soon leave the band completely.
Title: I Couldn't Get High
Source: CD: The Fugs First Album (originally titled The Village Fugs Sing Ballads Of Contemporary Protest, Points Of View, And General Dissatisfaction)
Writer(s): Ken Weaver
Label: Fantasy (original labels: Broadside & ESP)
Formed in 1964, the Fugs were the first (in their own words) "anarcho-socialist" street band of the rock era. Most of their songs contained language that was forbidden on the radio. Those that did not contain forbidden language had drug references, which essentially had the same result as far as getting top 40 airplay went. Not that anything by the Fugs would have ever been played on top 40 radio anyway. It was too raw, too sloppy, and too, well, uncommercial to ever get heard by the masses. Nonetheless, the Fugs managed to achieve legendary status over the years, serving as inspiration to groups like David Peel and the Lower East Side, the Ramones and the Patti Smith Group, among others. A fairly representative track that can be played without incurring any FCC sanctions is I Couldn't Get High, from the Fugs First Album. The album itself originally appeared in 1965 as The Village Fugs Sing Ballads Of Contemporary Protest, Points Of View, And General Dissatisfaction on the independent Broadside label. The following year the album was remixed and re-released on the ESP label as the Fugs First Album, and was digitally remastered and committed to CD by Fantasy Records in 1994.
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: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: If You Want This Love
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer: Baker Knight
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The first West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album, Volume One, had a limited print run on Fifa, a small independent label based in Los Angeles. After landing a contract with Reprise, the band recut many of the songs (most of which were cover tunes) from Volume One and called the new album Part One. If You Want This Love, a song written and originally recorded by L.A. local legend Baker Knight, is one of those recut tracks.
Artist: Orange Wedge
Title: From The Womb To The Tomb
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Blue Flat Ownsley Memorial)
Recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, From The Womb To The Tomb was the B side of the only single from Orange Wedge, a forerunner of more famous Michigan bands such as the Stooges and the MC5.
Title: I Looked At You
Source: Mono LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
The first Doors album took about a week to make, and was made up of songs that the band had been performing live as the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in the summer of 1966, including the dance floor friendly I Looked At You. Unlike later Doors albums, which were mixed and released exclusively in stereo, the debut Doors album also had a unique monoraul version with different mixes that was deleted from the Elektra catalogue soon after its release. Like all the songs on the first few Doors albums, I Looked At You is credited to the entire band.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)
Source: CD: Easter Everywhere
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
There was so much going on with the 13th Floor Elevators in the months leading up to the release of their second LP, Easter Everywhere, that a book could easily be written about it all. The group returned to Texas following a successful California tour in late 1966 and were hailed as returning heroes, largely thanks to the success of their first single, You're Gonna Miss Me. Soon, however, things started to go wrong. The band was under considerable pressure to begin sessions for a new album, but the band members themselves were divided on whether to stay in Texas and work on studio projects or return to California, where the population was much more receptive to the psychedelic sounds the Elevators themselves had helped pioneer. The issue was finally decided when lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland, the one undecided member, got his probation revoked and was not allowed to leave the state. The band's rhythm section, Ronnie Leatherman and John Walton, went to California anyway, leaving Sutherland, guitarist/vocalist Roky Erickson and electric jug player Tommy Hall looking for replacements. Easter Anywhere was conceived as a major spiritual statement, meant to tie together elements of eastern and western religion with mind-expansion elements of LSD; an ambitious project, to be sure. Unfortunately, by the time the new bassist and drummer, Danny Galindo and Danny Thomas, arrived at the rural hunting cabin the rest of the band was hiding out in, Hall and Erickson were so deeply into the project (and LSD), that they were unable to effectively communicate their ideas to the new guys. As a result the group spent an excessive amount of time in the studio with little to show for it. Eventually, when time and money ran out the album was declared finished and Easter Anywhere was released in November of 1967.
Title: Foreign Policy
Source: LP: The Buckinghams' Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Time And Charges)
Writer(s): James William Guercio
The name James William Guercio is not as well-known as Peter Cetera or David Clayton-Thomas, yet if it weren't for Guercio, neither of the other two would have had the careers that made them famous in the first place. For that matter, if not for Guercio's intervention, the Buckinghams, who had a #1 hit in early 1967 with the song Kind Of A Drag, would have quickly faded off into obscurity as a one-hit wonder band. Born in Chicago in 1945, Guercio moved out to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, becoming a session musician and songwriter, and was even briefly a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention. In late 1966, after returning to his native Chicago he was introduced to the members of the Buckinghams, and soon became their producer, releasing the album Time And Charges on the Columbia label in 1967. The album included two top 10 singles, as well as more experimental tracks such as Foreign Policy, which Guercio wrote for the band. The following year Guercio was approached by an old college friend, Walter Parazaider, who invited him to come hear his new band, the Big Thing. Guercio became that band's manager and producer, convincing them to move to Los Angeles and change their name to the Chicago Transit Authority, which later was shortened to Chicago. During sessions for the first Chicago album, Guercio was asked by the people at Columbia to produce the second Blood, Sweat & Tears album, featuring that band's new vocalist, David Clayton-Thomas. Although the album was a huge success, Guercio stayed with Chicago, producing a total of 11 albums and 17 top 25 singles over the next few years, making a star of vocalist/bassist Peter Cetera in the process. Since parting company with Chicago in 1978, Guercio has been involved in various enterprises, including founding a popular recording studio in Colorado that burned down in 1985 called the Caribou Ranch, and for a while was owner of the Country Music Television cable network.
Title: Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)
Source: 45 RPM single
Minneapolis has always had a more active local music scene than one might expect from a medium-sized city in the heart of the snow belt. Many of the city's artists have risen to national prominence, including a band called Crow, who's 1969 single Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me), hit close to the top of the charts in early 1970. The band had been formed in 1967 as South 40, changing its name to Crow right around the same time they signed to Amaret Records in 1969.
Artist: Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Title: El Dorado
Source: LP: Tasting The Sea
Writer(s): Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Label: 10 GeV
The city of San Francisco seems to produce more than its share of bands that go out of their way to maintain their anonymity. In the early 1970s the Residents even recorded an album called Not Available, intending to not release it until all of the band members had forgotten about its existence (it eventually got released in 1978 during a creative dry spell). These days the San Francisco anonymous band torch is carried by Vertacyn Arc Materializer, a band that is just as hard to describe as the Residents themselves. Their second LP, Tasting The Sea, is only available on Vinyl, and it's packaging is nothing less than spectacular. The front cover is the famous Rolling Stones "mouth" logo dissected by an actual zipper, mimicking the Stones' own Sticky Fingers cover, against a stark white background. Opening the zipper reveals a "circle c" copyright symbol. The back cover featuring "portraits" of each of the four band members: the Starbucks logo (bass, guitar), the US $20 bill version of President Andrew Jackson (drums, trumpet), Marilyn (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Homeland Security, represented by a snarling wolf (vocals, keyboards, guitar). There's even more fun stuff on the inside of the gatefold cover, but I'll let you find your own copy to check it out yourself (if you can find one; apparently there were only 500 pressed). Musically, Tasting The Sea is harder to describe; I'd put it with bands like Killing Joke and Nine Inch Nails, with a little Pere Ubu thrown in, but even that comparison falls short of the reality of Vertacyn Arc Materializer. Perhaps the most accessible track on the album is El Dorado, that has a bit of an early Pink Floyd vibe to it. Enjoy!
Title: The End
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Oran & Trevor Thornton
Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, quite an unusual occurence in the 1990s.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Circus Freak
Source: CD: California '66 (originally released on CD: Feedback)
James Lowe's lyrics and Mark Tulin's running bass line are the strength of Circus Freak, a track from the 2006 Electric Prunes album Feedback. The album was the last full disc from the band to be released before the death of Tulin in 2011.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Source: LP: Last Time Around
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
It is not all that unusual for a songwriter to re-use parts of an unfinished song when writing a new piece. When that original song has actually been published and even recorded, though, it's another thing entirely. Such is the case with Questions, a Stephen Stills tune that first appeared on the 1968 contractual obligation album Last Time Around, credited to Buffalo Springfield (although only bassist Bruce Palmer from the actual band plays on the track, along with studio drummer Jimmy Karstein). At the time of its release, Last Time Around sank quickly without making much of a splash, mainly due to the fact that by the time the album was released the band itself had ceased to exist. Stills soon found himself hanging out with former Byrds singer/songwriter David Crosby at his Laurel Canyon hideaway, where they began working up material with former Hollies vocalist Graham Nash for the 1969 album Crosby, Stills And Nash. For the group's second album, deja vu, Stills combined Questions with another unfinished song to create Carry On, one of the staples of early 1970s album rock radio.
Title: Change Is Now
Source: CD: The Notorius Byrd Brothers
1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. Change Is Now was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: How Do You Feel
Source: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Tom Mastin
How Do You Feel is one of the few Jefferson Airplane songs that was not written by band members. Truth to tell, I don't know a thing about Tom Mastin, who wrote the tune, other than the fact that he was a friend of Paul Kantner's before the Airplane was formed. I do know that the song was selected to be the B side of their first single from Surrealistic Pillow (the A side being the Skip Spence tune My Best Friend), and that neither tune charted nationally, although they both got airplay on San Francisco area radio stations.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: High Flying Bird
Source: Mono LP: Early Flight
Writer(s): Billy Edd Wheeler
Year: Recorded 1965, released 1974
One of the more outstanding performances at the Monterey International Pop Festival was Jefferson Airplane's rendition of High Flyin' Bird, a song usually associated with Buffy St.-Marie. The song had actually been in the band's repertoire almost from the beginning, as this recording from 1965, featuring the original Airplane lineup of Marty Balin and Signe Anderson (vocals), Jorma Kaukonen and Paul Kantner (guitars), Jack Casidy (bass) and Skip Spence (drums), demonstrates.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Go To Her (version two)
Source: CD: Surrealistic Pillow (bonus track originally released on LP: Early Flight)
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage (original label: Grunt)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1974
Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Prelude: Happiness/I'm So Glad
Source: LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Deep Purple was originally the brainchild of vocalist Chris Curtis, whose idea was to have a band called Roundabout that utilized a rotating cast of musicians onstage, with only Curtis himself being up there for the entire gig. The first two musicians recruited were organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, both of whom came aboard in late 1967. Curtis soon lost interest in the project, and Lord and Blackmore decided to stay together and form what would become Deep Purple. After a few false starts the lineup stabilized with the addition of bassist Nicky Simper, drummer Ian Paice and vocalist Rod Evans. The group worked up a songlist and used their various connections to get a record deal with a new American record label, Tetragrammaton, which was partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. This in turn led to a deal to release the band's recordings in England on EMI's Parlophone label as well, although Tetragrammaton had first rights to all the band's material, including the classically-influenced Prelude: Happiness, which leads directly into a cover of the Skip James classic I'm So Glad. The band's first LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was released in the US in July of 1968 and in the UK in September of the same year. The album was a major success in the US, where the single Hush made it into the top five. In the UK, however, it was panned by the rock press and failed to make the charts. This would prove to be the pattern the band would follow throughout its early years; it was only after Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover that the band would find success in their native land. Both editions of Deep Purple can be heard regularly on our sister show, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
In their original incarnation Deep Purple was known mostly for their restyling of other artists' songs, such as Joe South's Hush and Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Indeed, their first LP only had three original songs on it, and only one of those, Mandrake Root, got any kind of airplay. Their eponymous third LP, however, released in 1969, was made up almost entirely of original material. The lone exception was a cover of Donovan's Lalena, which the band said was done in a way that they thought Donovan himself would have liked.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer: Joe South
Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.