Sunday, November 10, 2019
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1946 (starts 11/11/19)
This time around it's mostly sets from specific years, covering pretty much the entire psychedelic era. Toward the end of the show we have a set from the Kinks, and we finish it up with an entire album side from Eric Burdon And The Animals.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: We Love You
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
We Love You was, upon its release in the summer of 1967, the most expensive Rolling Stones record ever produced (as well as the last Rolling Stones record to be produced by Andrew Loog Oldham), and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. We Love You did well in the UK, reaching the # 8 spot on the charts, but it was the other side of the record, Dandelion, that ended up being a hit in the US. The song was dismissed at the time by John Lennon, who referred to it as the Stones' answer to All We Need Is Love, but in retrospect the song is now seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to the ongoing harassment of the band by law enforcement authorities at the time.
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Walks Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Bold As Love
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
When working on the song Bold As Love for the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album in 1967, Jimi reportedly asked engineer Eddie Kramer if he could make a guitar sound like it was under water. Kramer's answer was to use a techique called phasing, which is what happens when two identical sound sources are played simultaneously, but slightly (as in microseconds) out of synch with each other. The technique, first used in 1958 but seldom tried in stereo, somewhat resembles the sound of a jet plane flying by. This is not to be confused with chorusing (sometimes called reverse phasing), a technique used often by the Beatles which electronically splits a single signal into two identical signals then delays one to create the illusion of being separate tracks.
Title: Ginza Strip
Source: Mono British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Roy and Tony Carr
Label: Uncut (original label: Columbia)
The Executives were one of the many British beat bands that decided to try their hand at psychedelia in 1967. They had previously been tied closely to the Mod movement however (in fact producer/bandleader Tony Carr had written the 1964 hit March Of The Mods) and, despite the fact that Ginza Strip is a fine slice of psychedelia, were unable to shed their Mod image enough to gain credibility as a psychedelic band.
Title: For Your Love
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's fist US hit, peaking at the # 6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at # 3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.
Title: My Little Red Book
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.
Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Mickey Newbury
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
In 1968, former New Christy Minstrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote (and sang lead on) most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the group, thanks to the fact that one of the two songs he sang lead on, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), became a huge top 40 hit. It wasn't long before the official name of the band was changed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status, leaving the First Edition far behind.
Artist: Jason Crest
Title: Teagarden Lane
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2013
The first thing to keep in mind about Jason Crest is that is was the name of the band itself, rather than any particular member of said band. The second thing is that, for some unknown reason, their label, Philips, chose not to release Teagarden Lane, which by all accounts was one of the best tracks the quintet ever recorded. Instead, Philips released five nondescript singles by the band over an 18 month period, none of which went anywhere. Eventually the track was discovered and belatedly released in the UK by Grapefruit Records as part of their Love, Poetry And Revolution three-disc anthology of late 60s British psychedelic music.
Title: Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight
Source: CD: Abbey Road
The rise of automated radio stations in the 1970s brought about some unusual side effects. Occasionally a station would ask the tape service to provide them with something that didn't actually exist, such as an edit of the Beatles' Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight that did not segue directly into The End, as it did on the Abbey Road album, instead fading out at just past the three minute mark. As to which company actually created this particular edit (there are several possibilities), your guess is good as mine. My copy comes from Westwood One, who probably got it from another source.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Soul Experience
Source: LP: Ball
Following up on the success of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly released the Ball album in 1969. It was an immediate commercial success, despite none of its tracks getting extensive airplay on either top 40 AM or progressive FM stations. Subsequent LPs were not able to match the sales of either album and after several personnel changes the band called it quits.
Title: Shaman's Blues
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: The Soft Parade)
Writer: Jim Morrison
Often dismissed as the weakest entry in the Doors catalogue, The Soft Parade nonetheless is significant in that for the first time songwriting credits were given to individual band members. Shaman's Blues, in my opinion one of the four redeeming tracks on the album, is Jim Morrison's.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Richard Cory
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on 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 at the center of society, known and envied by many. Too bad most high school English classes weren't that interesting.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: The Great Airplane Strike (originally released on LP: Spirit Of '67 and as 45 RPM single)
Source: CD: Greatest Hits
In 1966 Paul Revere and the Raiders were at the peak of their popularity, scoring major hits that year with Hungry and Kicks. The last single the band released that year was The Great Airplane Strike from the Spirit Of '67 album. Written by band members Revere and Mark Lindsay, along with producer Terry Melcher, The Great Airplane Strike stands out as a classic example of Pacific Northwest rock, a style which would eventually culminate in the grunge movement of the 1990s.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: You're Gonna Miss Me
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators)
Writer(s): Roky Erickson
Label: Rhino (original label: International Artists)
If anyplace outside of California has a legitimate claim to being the birthplace of the psychedelic era, it's Austin, Texas. That's mainly due to the presence of the 13th Floor Elevators, a local band led by Roky Erickson that had the audacity to use an electric jug (played by Tommy Hall) onstage. Their debut album was the first to use the word psychedelic in the title (predating the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop by mere weeks). Musically, their leanings were more toward garage-rock than acid-rock, at least on their first album (they got rather metaphysical on their follow-up album, Easter Everywhere).
Title: Love In A Summer Basket
Source: British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original label: M-G-M)
The final Seeds release was a single called Love In A Summer Basket, credited to the entire band. However, it was an entirely different sounding band than the Seeds of old, with only Sky Saxon and keyboardist Daryl Hooper left from the group's original lineup. The band had not had a hit record since 1967, and had finally parted company with their original label, GNP Crescendo, in 1969. In 1970 they managed to sign a new contract with M-G-M, still considered at the time to be a major label, but found themselves once again without a label following the release of Love In A Summer Basket at the end of the year. Mike Curb had just been made vice president of M-G-M's music division and immediately set out to clean up the label's image by purging both M-G-M and Verve Records of all drug-related artists and material, including the Velvet Underground and the Mothers. It is likely that even if the new Seeds recordings had found an audience, the group's past history as the poster child for L.A.'s drug-fueled underground music scene would have doomed them with Curb anyway.
Artist: Blues Image
Title: Pay My Dues
Source: CD: Open
Writer(s): Blues Image
Label: Sundazed (original label: Atco)
When I first heard Blues Image's Ride Captain Ride on the radio I wasn't all that impressed with it. Then the local club I hung out at got it on the jukebox and people started playing the B side, a song called Pay My Dues. Then I went out and bought the album, Open. Yes, Pay My Dues is that good. As it turns out, so is the rest of the album. Even Ride Captain Ride sounds better now. Shows the latent power of a B side, doesn't it?
Title: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source: CD: 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: Creedence Clearwater Revival (originally released as by the Golliwogs)
Source: Canadian import LP: Creedence Clearwater Revival (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Fogerty
Label: Fantasy (original label: Scorpio)
The last single recorded by San Francisco's Golliwogs was a song called Porterville, released on the Scorpio label in November of 1967. Four months later the same recording using the same catalog number was reissued, this time credited to Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was included on CCR's debut LP later that same year.
Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Nobody But Me
Source: Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ron, Rudy and O'Kelley Isley
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
The Human Beinz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol misspelled their name on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.
Artist: Janis Ian
Title: Hair Of Spun Gold
Source: LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Janis Ian wrote her first song, Hair Of Spun Gold, when she was 12 years old. The piece first appeared as a poem in Broadside, a New York based folk publication. Two years later, in 1966, she recorded the song, which was included on her debut LP, which after much shopping around, finally appeared on the Verve Forecast label in 1967.
Title: Get Together
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: The Youngbloods)
Writer(s): Dino Valenti
Label: Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
The Youngbloods, led by transplanted New Yorker Jesse Colin Young, were the second San Francisco band signed to industry leader RCA Victor Records. Their first album was released in 1967 but was overshadowed by the vinyl debuts of the Grateful Dead and Moby Grape, among others. In fact, the Youngbloods toiled in relative obscurity until 1969, when their own version of Dino Valenti's Let's Get Together (from the 1967 LP) was used in a TV ad promoting world peace. The song was subsequently released (with the title slightly shortened) as a single and ended up being the group's only hit record (as well as Valenti's most famous composition).
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Lucifer Sam
Source: CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt the original driving force behind Pink Floyd was the legendary Syd Barrett. Not only did he front the band during their rise to fame, he also wrote their first two singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, as well as most of their first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. In fact it could be argued that one of the songs on that album, Lucifer Sam, could have just as easily been issued as a single, as it is stylistically similar to the first two songs. Sadly, Barrett's mental health deteriorated quickly over the next year and his participation in the making of the band's next LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was minimal. He soon left the group altogether, never to return (although several of his former bandmates did participate in the making of his 1970 solo album, The Madcap Laughs).
Artist: Status Quo
Title: Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Francis Rossi
Label: Rhino (original label: Cadet Concept)
The band with the most charted singles in the UK is not the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. It is, in fact, Status Quo, quite possibly the nearest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap currently in existence. Except for Pictures of Matchstick Men, the group has never had a hit in the US. On the other hand, they remain popular in Scandanavia, playing to sellout crowds on a regular basis (yes, they are still together).
Title: A Well Respected Man
Source: Mono British import EP: Kwyet Kinks (reissue)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Pye)
Year: Released 1965, charted 1966
The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man (actually released in late 1965 in the UK on the Kwyet Kinks EP) amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.
Title: I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Source: Mono British import CD: Face To Face (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
One of the most popular songs in the Kinks' catalog, I'm Not Like Everybody Else was originally written for another British band, the Animals. When that group decided not to record the tune, the Kinks did their own version of the song, issuing it as the B side of the 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon. Although written by Ray Davies, it was sung by his brother Dave, who usually handled the lead vocals on only the songs he himself composed. Initially not available on any LPs, the song has in recent years shown up on various collections and as a bonus track on CD reissues of both the Kink Kontroversy and Face To Face albums. Both Davies brothers continue to perform the song in their live appearances.
Title: Don't You Fret
Source: Mono British import EP: Kwyet Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Pye)
The British record market was considerably different than its American counterpart in the mid-1966s. Unlike in the US, where artists were expected to prove themselves with at least two hit singles before being allowed to record an LP, British acts often found themselves recording four or five song EPs as a transition between single and album. Furthermore, British singles were generally not included on British albums. When those albums were released in the US, the American labels often deleted songs that they considered filler from the original LP in favor of hit singles, which were felt to be necessary to generate album sales. This led to a surplus of songs that would appear on US-only LPs made up of material that had been previously released only in the UK. Such is the case with Kinkdom, a collection of singles, B sides, album tracks and the entire Kwyet Kinks EP from 1965. Kwyet Kinks itself was a significant release in that it was the first indication of a change in direction from the early hard-rocking Kinks hits such as You Really Got Me toward a more mellow style that the group would come to favor toward the end of the decade. Songs such as Don't You Fret can be considered a direct precursor to later songs such as A Well Respected Man and Sunny Afternoon.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: Sky Pilot/We Love You Lil/All Is One
Source: LP: The Twain Shall Meet
The Twain Shall Meet was the second album from Eric Burdon and the Animals, the new group formed in early 1967 after Eric Burdon changed his mind about embarking on a solo career. Produced by Tom Wilson (who had also produced Bob Dylan's first electric recordings and the Blues Project's Projections album), The Twain Shall Meet was an ambitious work that shows a band often reaching beyond its grasp, despite having its heart in the right place. For the most part, though, side two of the album works fairly well, starting with the anti-war classic Sky Pilot and continuing into the instrumental We Love You Lil. The final section, All Is One, is a unique blend of standard rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards) combined with strings, horns, sitar, bagpipes, oboe, flute, studio effects, and drone vocals that builds to a frenetic climax, followed by a spoken line by Burdon to end the album.