Sunday, November 3, 2019
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1945 (starts 11/4/19)
After last week's All Hallows Eve show, I figured I'd best get back to basics this time around, with 31 tracks from 30 artists. The duplication is from the Rolling Stones, who kick off a rather strange and unusual mini Advanced Psych segment in the second hour. I guess some of that Halloween spirit stayed with me after all.
Title: Happy Jack
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Pete Townshend
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.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Richard Cory
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s): Paul Simon
My ultra-cool 9th-grade English teacher brought in a copy of Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album one day. As a class, we deconstructed the lyrics of two of the songs on that album: A Most Peculiar Man and Richard Cory. Both songs deal with suicide, but under vastly different circumstances. Whereas A Most Peculiar Man is about a lonely man who lives an isolated existence as an anonymous resident of a boarding house, Richard Cory deals with a character who is a pillar of society, known and envied by many. Too bad most high school English classes weren't that interesting.
Title: She Said She Said
Source: CD: Revolver
The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the original members of the Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." The song itself took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Perhaps not all that coincidentally, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.
Title: Last Time Around
Source: Simulate stereo LP: The Dunwich Records Story (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Dennis Dahlquist
Label: Voxx (original label: Dunwich)
Dunhill Records was a small indepent label in Chicago that got national distribution through a deal with Atlantic Records. Their biggest act was the Shadows of Knight, who topped the charts with their cover of Van Morrison's Gloria in 1966. One of the most successful other bands on the label was the Del-Vetts, from Chicago's affluent North Side (band members would show up to gigs in matching white Corvettes, hence the name). Last Time Around, sounding a lot like the Yardbirds, was their only nationally charted song, although they did get airplay in the midwest with other songs as well.
Title: Surfer Dan
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: The Turtles
Label: White Whale
In 1968 the Turtles decided to self-produce four recordings without the knowledge of their record label, White Whale. When company executives heard the tapes they rejected all but one of the recordings. That lone exception was Surfer Dan, which was included on the band's 1968 concept album Battle of the Bands. The idea was that each track (or band, as the divisions on LPs were sometimes called) would sound like it was recorded by a different group. As the Turtles had originally evolved out of a surf band called the Crossfires, that name was the obvious choice for the Surfer Dan track. The song was also chosen to be the B side of Elenore, the Turtles biggest hit of 1968.
Title: Toward The Skies
Source: British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in UK on LP: Genesis)
Writer(s): Joe Konas
Label: Zonophone (original label: Columbia)
It was probably pretty pretentious for a band to call themselves the Gods, but when you consider that, at various times, the band's lineup included Greg Lake and Mick Taylor (both future rock gods), as well as two future members of Uriah Heep, the claim somehow doesn't seem quite so outrageous. By the time their first album, Genesis, came out in 1968 both Taylor and Lake had moved on, but between guitarist/keyboardist Ken Hensley, drummer Lee Kerslake (the two aforementioned Heepsters), bassist John Glascock (who would eventually serve as Jethro Tull's bassist until his untimely death in 1979) and guitarist Joe Konas, who wrote the album's opening track, Toward The Skies, the Gods had talent to spare.
Artist: Fever Tree
Title: San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native)
Source: LP: Fever Tree
A minor trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) was the single from that album, peaking in the lower reaches of the Hot 100 charts.
Title: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Label: United Artists
Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Can You See Me
Source: Mono LP: Are You Experienced (UK version) (original US release: LP: Smash Hits)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original US label: Reprise)
Year: 1967 (US 1969)
Before releasing the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, in the US, Reprise Records decided to make some changes to the track lineup, adding three songs that had been released as non-album singles in the UK. To make room for these, three songs were cut from the original UK version of the LP. The most popular of these three tracks was Can You See Me, a song that was included in the band's US debut set at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. Despite the audience's positive response to the song, the band apparently dropped Can You See Me from their live set shortly after Monterey. The song was originally slated to be released as the B side of The Wind Cries Mary, but instead was used as an album track.
Artist: Velvet Underground
Title: There She Goes Again
Source: CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer(s): Lou Reed
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve)
When the Velvet Underground first appeared, their fame was pretty much limited to the New York art crowd, among which their sponsor and primary financial backer Andy Warhol was a superstar in his own right. With talent like Lou Reed and John Cale in the band, however, the VU eventually attained legendary punk status of their own, albeit long after the band ceased to exist. One of the best tracks on the group's debut LP was There She Goes Again, a song that starts off sounding like the Rolling Stones' cover of Marvin Gaye's Hitch Hike, but soon moves into unexplored territory, especially in its subject matter (prostitution as a lifestyle choice).
Artist: Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Title: Lonely Leaf
Source: CD: The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy (original LP: The Great Conspiracy)
Writer(s): John Merrill
Label: Collectables (original label: Columbia)
For their second Columbia LP, The Great Conspiracy, the members of L.A.'s Peanut Butter Conspiracy were given greater artistic freedom by producer Gary Usher, who was already working on his own Millennium project at this point. The biggest change was the fact that there were no studio musicians used on the album, which resulted in a record much more in sync with the band's live sound. The album is full of strong tracks such as Lonely Leaf, which, like about half the songs on the LP, was written by lead guitarist John Merrill.
Title: Eight Miles High
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the Gavin Report advising stations not to play this "drug song", Eight Miles High managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying, especially long intercontinental trips, that in part led to his leaving the Byrds.
Source: CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Jack Bruce
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Although most of Jack Bruce's Cream songs were co-written with lyricist Pete Brown, there were some exceptions. Among the most notable of these is N.S.U. from Cream's debut LP, which features Bruce's own lyrics. The song, also released as a B side, has proven popular enough to be included on several Cream retrospective collections and was part of the band's repertoire when they reunited for a three-day stint at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.
Title: I Can Take You To The Sun
Source: Before The Dream Faded
Label: Cherry Red
The story of the legendary band the Misunderstood actually started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most of the bands at the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock and roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, an Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were eventually joined by Ravencroft himself, who changed his name to John Peel and became arguably the most famous DJ in the history of British rock radio. Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. Problems having nothing to do with music soon derailed the Misunderstood, who found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the second follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.
Artist: Chocolate Watch Band
Title: No Way Out
Source: CD: No Way Out
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Sundazed (original label: Tower)
The Chocolate Watch Band, from the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area (specifically Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills), was fairly typical of the South Bay music scene, centered in San Jose. Although they were generally known for lead vocalist Dave Aguilar's ability to channel Mick Jagger with uncanny accuracy, producer Ed Cobb gave them a more psychedelic sound in the studio with the use of studio effects and other enhancements (including additional songs on their albums that were performed entire by studio musicians). The title track of No Way Out, released as the band's debut LP in 1967, is credited to Cobb, but in reality is a fleshing out of a jam the band had previously recorded, but had not released. That original jam, known as Psychedelic Trip, is now available as a mono bonus track on the No Way Out CD and as a limited edition Record Store Day single B side.
Title: Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
Source: Mono LP: The Doors
1967 was a breakthrough year for Elektra Records, which had only signed its first full-fledged rock band (Love) the previous year. Between Love's second and third albums and the first two Doors LPs, Elektra had by the end of the year established itself as a player. Although never released as a single, Alabama Song, a reworking of the song from the 1927 play Little Mahogonny, managed to make it onto the Best of the Doors album and has been a classic rock staple for years.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sing This All Together/Citadel
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
From the opening piano chord of the first song, Sing This All Together (played by Nicky Hopkins), it is obvious that the late-1967 LP Their Satanic Majesties Request is unlike any Rolling Stones album made before or since. For one thing, the Stones produced the album themselves at a time when their personal and professional lives were spinning out of control. There was also a perceived need to somehow outdo the Beatles, who were, at the time, riding high with their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. In fact, there are several parallels between the two albums, including similar styled covers, an opening theme song that is repeated later on the album, and a general feel of psychedelic excess. Brian Jones, in particular, plays several instruments on Sing This All Together alone, including brass, saxophone and mellotron (a keyboard instrument that utilized tape loops to produce the desired sounds). In contrast, Citadel, which, like With A Little Help From My Friends, flows directly out of its predecessor, is built around a series of power chords from Keith Richards, and conceivably could have been released as a single in its own right. Although it immediately shot up the album charts, Their Satanic Majesties Request quickly wore out its welcome and has since been all but disavowed by the surviving members of the band.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Honky Tonk Women
Source: LP: Through The Past, Darkly
After revitalizing their career with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man in 1968, the Stones delivered the coup-de-grace in 1969 with one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded: the classic Honky Tonk Women. The song was the band's first single without Brian Jones, who had been found dead in his swimming pool shortly after leaving the group. Jones's replacement, Mick Taylor (fresh from a stint with blues legend John Mayall), plays slide guitar on the track.
Title: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Described by one prominent indy musician as "loose, belligerent, violent...a real stick in the eye of everything conventionally tasteful in 1976 America", the Residents unique version of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction was not widely available when it was originally released. In fact, there were only 200 numbered copies pressed of the original single. Two years later, another 30,000 copies were pressed on translucent gold-colored vinyl. The Residents would later gain a cult following after their videos were featured prominently on the fledgling MTV in the early 1980s.
Artist: James Gang
Title: Introduction/Take A Look Around
Source: CD: Yer' Album
Writer(s): Joe Walsh
Label: MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Like the Big Bands of the 30s and 40s, the James Gang went through several lineup changes over the years. The one common element of the band was drummer/founder Jim Fox, who teamed with bassist Tom Kriss and vocalist/guitarist Joe Walsh for the group's recording debut in 1969. Unlike most band leaders, Fox was content to let other members such as Walsh take center stage, both as performers and songwriters. The result was a band that was able to rock as hard as any of their contemporaries with tracks like The Bomber and Funk #49, but that could also showcase Walsh's more melodic side with songs such as Take A Look Around. For some unknown reason, ABC Records decided to issue Yer Album on its Bluesway subsidiary; it was the only rock album ever released on that label (subsequent James Gang albums were on the parent ABC label).
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Eighteen Is Over The Hill
Source: LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
The contributions of guitarist Ron Morgan to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band are often overlooked, possibly due to the fact that Morgan himself often tried to distance himself from the band. Nonetheless, he did write some of the group's most memorable tunes, including their best-known song, Smell Of Incense (covered by the Texas band Southwest F.O.B.) and the opening track of what is generally considered their best album, A Child's Guide To Good And Evil. Unfortunately, the somewhat senseless lyrics on Eighteen Is Over The Hill added by Bob Markley detract from what is actually a very tasty piece of music.
Title: Waterloo Sunset
Source: CD: Something Else
Writer: Ray Davies
One of the most beautiful tunes ever recorded by the Kinks is Waterloo Sunset, a song that was a hit single in the UK, but was totally ignored by US radio stations. The reason for this neglect of such a stong song is a mystery, however it may have been due to the fear that American audiences would not be able to relate to all the references to places in and around London in the song's lyrics. The fact that the American Federation Of Musicians refused to issue permits for the Kinks to play concerts in the US between 1965 and 1969 probably had something to do with it as well.
Title: My Little Red Book
Source: Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
My Little Red Book was a song originally composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the soundtrack of the movie What's New Pussycat and performed by Manfred Mann. It didn't sound anything like Love's version (the first rock single issued on the Elektra label), which is acknowledged as one of the first true punk classics.
Title: A Faded Picture
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
The Seeds second LP showed a much greater range than the first. A Faded Picture, perhaps the nearest thing to a ballad the Seeds ever recorded, has a slower tempo than most of the other songs in the Seeds repertoire and, at over five minutes in length, a longer running time as well.
Artist: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title: Little Girl
Source: Mono British import 45 RPM EP: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton
Writer(s): John Mayall
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2016
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers included several talented musicians over the years, many of whom went on to become stars in their own right. Not every Bluesbreakers lineup saw the inside of a recording studio, however. In fact, the only known recording of Mayall's Little Girl, which includes Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Hughie Flint on drums, is from a live radio broadcast in 1966 (possibly on one of the many pirate radio stations operating off the coast of England at the time). The recording sat on the shelf for 50 years, suffering some degradation before finally being released on a four song EP in the UK in 2016.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound). And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in December. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was becoming a breakout hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable. According to the song's composer, Stephen Stills, the piece got its rather unusual title when he told Atlantic/Atco chief Ahmet Ertegun "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it."
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Writer: Bob Dylan
Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.
Artist: Janis Joplin/Full Tilt Boogie Band
Title: Move Over (unreleased mono single version)
Source: 45 RPM box set: Move Over
Writer(s): Janis Joplin
In 1970, while sessions for what would become Janis Joplin's last album, Pearl, a single pairing Joplin's own Move Over with a cover of Garnet Mimms's My Baby was prepared, but not released. Both tracks are earlier versions of songs that ended up on the Pearl LP. This version of Move Over is actually much longer than the LP version, clocking in at about four and a half minutes (the album version is 3:39), with additional vocals and an entirely different guitar solo by John Till of the Full Tilt Boogie Band.
Title: Mother Samwell
Source: CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original labels: Delcrest & Hip)
Formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1967, the Waters released two singles on three labels before disbanding in 1969. The second of these, the Hendrix-inspired Mother Samwell, was first released on the Delcrest label in January of 1969 and then re-released by Hip in April of the same year.
Artist: World Column
Title: Lantern Gospel
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Atco)
World Column was actually an R&B band from the midwest that, for some unknown reason, decided to change styles and record a song which has since become a psychedelic classic. Lantern Gospel, released in the summer of 1968, appeared on a dozen bootleg compilation albums before finally being officially released on the Rhino Handmade CD My Mind Goes High, which is now available in the UK through Warner Strategic Marketing.