Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2013 (starts 3/23/20)



    This one has it all: sets from particular years, artists' sets, and progressions through the years, including one particularly long set that stretches all the way from 1964 to 1970! That enough hype for you?

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    George Harrison had already written several songs that had appeared on various Beatles albums (and an occasional B side) through 1968, but his first acknowledged classic was While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which appeared on The Beatles (aka the White Album). The recording features Harrison's close friend, guitarist Eric Clapton, who at that time was enjoying superstar status as a member of Cream.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them are considered improvements over Dylan's original versions. Probably the most celebrated of these is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.

Artist:     Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:     Really
Source:     LP: Super Session
Writer:     Bloomfield/Kooper
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1968
     Al Kooper and Michael Bloomfield first met in 1965, when Kooper sat in on sessions for the classic Highway 61 Revisited album and later performed as a member of Dylan's band at the Newport Folk Festival, where Kooper's organ was physically assaulted by angry folk purists. After a stint with seminal jam band The Blues Project, Kooper became a staff producer for Columbia Records in New York, where he came up with the idea of an album made up entirely of studio jams. He recruited Bloomfield, who had in the intervening years played with the Butterfield Blues Band and the Electric Flag, along with bassist Harvey Brooks (also from Butterfield's band) and studio drummer Eddie Hoh and came up with the surprise hit album of 1968, Super Session. Although Bloomfield bowed out of the project halfway through, he plays on all the tracks on side one of the album, including Really, which utilizes a classic blues progression.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Walking By Myself
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Jimmy Rogers
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    When the name Jimmy Rogers comes up, almost invariably confusion comes immediately after. This is because, in addition to the legendary bluesman Jimmy Rogers, there were also not one, but two other singers named Jimmie Rodgers. The Jimmy Rogers we're concerned with here was born Jay Arthur Lane in Ruleville, Mississippi on June 3, 1924, about three years before country legend Jimmie Rodgers began his recording career, and about nine years before 50s pop star Jimmie Rodgers was born. Rogers first started recording in the late 1940s as a sideman for Muddy Waters and Little Walter, staying with that band, sometimes known as the Headhunters, until 1954. In the mid-1950s Rogers had several successful singles released under his own name, the most notable being Walking By Myself. He left the music business altogether for nearly the entire 1960s, resurfacing after his Chicago clothing store burned down in the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the reasons for his successful comeback was Canned Heat recording's of Walking By Myself on their 1968 LP Living The Blues, which generated interest in Rogers the songwriter. By the early 1980s Rogers had reestablished himself as a solo act, and was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1995, two years before his death.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from their record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Other Half
Title:    Mr. Pharmacist
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jeff Nowlen
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
    The Other Half was one of the many bands that could be found playing the local L.A. clubs when the infamous Riot On Sunset Strip happened in 1966. They are also the only other band I know of besides the Seeds that recorded for the GNP Crescendo label. The guitar solo is provided by Randy Holden, who would end up briefly replacing Leigh Stephens in Blue Cheer a few years later.

Artist:    Del-Vetts
Title:    Last Time Around
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dennis Dahlquist
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, considering the song's subject matter (and overall loudness), Last Time Around may well be the very first death metal rock song ever recorded.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the Chocolate Watchband's debut album, No Way Out. Although Psychedelic Trip was a creation of the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole writing credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:    Sonny & Cher
Title:    You Don't Love Me
Source:    LP: Look At Us
Writer(s):    Willie Cobbs
Label:    Atco
Year:    1965
    When I Got You Babe became a surprise hit in the summer of 1965, Sonny Bono immediately booked studio time and got to work on producing the first full-length Sonny & Cher album, Look At Us. The album was rush-released less than a month after I Got You Babe first hit the charts; in fact the single was still climbing toward its eventual #1 spot when Look At Us came out. As a result the album was a huge hit as well, going all the way to the #2 spot on the Billboard album chart. As was the norm for 1965, the LP was made up mostly of cover songs, many of which were recent pop hits. One of the more unusual covers was a remake of You Don't Love Me, itself a reworking and retitling of a 1955 Bo Diddley B side, which had been a regional hit in Memphis for Willie Cobbs in 1960. Unlike later versions of the tune, such as the Allman Brothers Band's live performance at the Fillmore East, Sonny & Cher's rendition of You Don't Love Me follows Cobbs' original fairly closely.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Dark Side
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Rogers/Sohns
Label:    Dunwich
Year:    1966
    Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?

Artist:    Teddy And His Patches
Title:    Haight-Ashbury
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Flores/Pearson
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Chance)
Year:    1967
    Following up on their local #1 hit Suzy Creamcheese, San Jose, California band Teddy And His Patches released another punk classic called Haight-Ashbury in June of 1967. Pure madness.
           
Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Hold Me Tight
Source:    British import CD: Ten Years After (bonus track originally released on LP: Alvin Lee And Company)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1972
    A couple months after releasing their debut LP in late October of 1967, Ten Years After returned to the studio to begin working on tracks for a second LP. Among the first songs recorded (on January 5, 1968) was an Alvin Lee original called Hold Me Tight. As the year went on, however, it was decided that the band would be better served by recording a live performance at a local London club, and the already finished studio tracks were shelved for the time being. After TYA signed a new contract with Columbia Records in the early 1970s, their original label, Deram, issued a compilation album called Alvin Lee And Company that included Hold Me Tight as well as other previously unreleased tracks, several of which are now available as bonus tracks on the British CD version of the first Ten Years After album.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, that the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit. Although progressive FM stations often played the longer LP version, it was the mono single edit heard here that was most familiar to listeners of top 40 radio.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Bang Bang
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer:     Sonny Bono
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Vanilla Fudge made their reputation by taking popular hit songs, such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On, and extensively re-arranging them, giving the songs an almost classical feel. In fact, some of their arrangements incorporated (uncredited) snippets of actual classical pieces. One glaring example is the Vanilla Fudge arrangement of Cher's biggest solo hit of the 60s, Bang Bang (written by her then-husband Sonny Bono). Unfortunately, although I recognize the classical piece the band uses for an intro to Bang Bang, I can't seem to remember what it's called or who wrote it. Anyone out there able to help? I think it may have been used in a 1950s movie like The King And I or Attack of the Killer Women from Planet X.

Artist:          Vanilla Fudge
Title:        Come By Day, Come By Night
Source:    45 RPM B side
Writer(s):    Mark Stein
Label:     Atco
Year:        1968
       The Vanilla Fudge version of  the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On was first released as a single in 1967, but tanked before it could hit the top 60. In 1968 the song was re-released with a different B side and made the top 20. That B side, Come By Day, Come By Night, was written by keyboardist Mark Stein, and was never released on a Vanilla Fudge album. The song is now available on a CD called The Complete Atco Singles.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It Black
Source:    Mono CD: Aftermath
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs, Paint It Black was not included on the original UK release of the 1966 Aftermath album. This was because of the British custom of not including songs on LPs that were also available as 45 RPM singles (which, unlike their American counterparts, remained available for sale indefinitely) or extended play 45s (which had no US counterpart). In the US, however, Paint It Black was used to open the album, giving the entire LP a different feel from the British version (it had a different cover as well). Paint It Black is also the only song on Aftermath that was mixed only in mono, although US stereo pressings used an electronic rechannelling process to create a fake stereo sound. Luckily for everyone's ears, modern CDs use the unenhanced mono mix of the tune.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    So Mystifying
Source:    Mono LP: You Really Got Me
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964
    So Mystifying is one of the earliest Ray Davies songs to be recorded by the Kinks. The song first appeared on their 1964 debut LP (entitled The Kinks in the UK and issued as You Really Got Me in the US). As such, it should be listened to for its historic value as much as for any aesthetic pleasure it might bring.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Lather
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    One of Grace Slick's most memorable tunes was Lather from Jefferson Airplane's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation. Featuring an eerie instrumental bridge played on a tissue-paper covered comb (at least that's what I think it was), the song was reportedly about drummer Spencer Dryden, the band's oldest member, who had turned 30 while the album was being recorded. A popular phrase of the time was "don't trust anyone over 30", making it an unfortunate time to have that particular birthday.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Mexico
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    The B side of the last Jefferson Airplane single to include founding member (and original leader) Marty Balin was Mexico, a scathing response by Grace Slick to President Richard Nixon's attempts to eradicate the marijuana trade between the US and Mexico. The song was slated to be included on the next Airplane album, Long John Silver, but Balin's departure necessitated a change in plans, and Mexico did not appear on an LP until Early Flight was released in 1974.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The House At Pooniel Corners
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Kantner/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    Jefferson Airplane was just starting to get political when they released their Crown Of Creation album in September of 1968. Two months later they, at the suggestion of Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Goddard, set up their equipment on a Manhattan rooftop without getting a permit and performed their most political song from the album, The House At Pooniel Corners. It should be noted that this guerilla performance happened two months before the more famous Beatles rooftop performance in London that was included in the Let It Be movie. The Airplane filmed the gig, but it was not released for several years. The full performance is now available on a DVD called Fly Jefferson Airplane.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Mr. Soul
Source:    LP: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Executives at Atco Records originally considered Neil Young's voice "too weird" to be recorded. As a result many of Young's early tunes (including the band's debut single Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing), were sung by Richie Furay. By the time the band's second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, was released, the band had enough clout to make sure Young was allowed to sing his own songs. In fact, the album starts with a Young vocal on the classic Mr. Soul.

Artist:    Velvet Illusions
Title:    Acid Head
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weed/Radford
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tell, also released on Metromedia Records)
Year:    1967
    Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut this lone single, Acid Head, before calling it quits.

Artist:    Spanky And Our Gang
Title:    Sunday Mornin'
Source:    "Cut down" from LP: Like To Get To Know You (edited to match single version)
Writer(s):    Margo Guryan
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Despite peaking no higher than the #30 spot on the Hot 100 chart, Margo Guryan's Sunday Mornin' was listed by BMI as one of the 102 most performed songs of 1968. In addition to the most successful version of the song by Spanky And Our Gang (released in December of 1967 and appearing, in extended form, on the 1968 LP Like To Get To Know You), Sunday Mornin' appeared on albums by Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell, the Baja Marimba Band, Julie London, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and others, as well as appearing as a 1969 single by Oliver. Guryan herself included a version of the tune on her critically acclaimed LP Take A Picture.
   
Artist:    Who
Title:    Rael 1
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer:    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who Sell Out, released in December 1967, was the last album by the group before their 1969 rock-opera Tommy. The last track on the LP, Rael, is itself a mini-opera that tells the story of a wealthy man who has taken on the role of a crusader, out to free his ancestral homeland from its current occupiers. He tells the captain of his ship to come back for him on Christmas Day to see if he is ready to return. If not, he tells the captain, the boat is yours. Of course the captain has no intention of returning, as he declares soon after putting back out to sea. The piece then goes into an instrumental passage that would be copied pretty much note for note on the Tommy album as part of the Underture. The track ends with a repeat of the owner's instructions to the captain. The events surrounding the recording of Rael have become the stuff of legend. The band spent an entire day recording and mixing the song, and were apparently so exhausted at the end of the session that they left without securing the multi-track master in a safe place. The cleaning woman came in the next morning and tossed the tape into the waste basket. She then emptied the ashtrays and other trash into the same waste basket. When the band came in around noon the recording engineer who had found the tape had the unenviable task of telling them what had happened. Pete Townsend was in a rage, and the engineer tried to placate him by saying "these things happen". Townshend then proceeded to throw a chair through the glass wall separating the studio from the control room, informing the engineer that "these things happen".

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Rosalyn
Source:    Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Duncan/Farley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1964
    At a time when the length of one's hair was a defining characteristic of "hipness", London's Pretty Things were reputed to have the longest hair in the UK. Formed in 1962 by vocalist Phil May and original Rolling Stones bassist Dick Taylor on guitar, the Pretty Things were heavily influenced by American blues artists Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. In fact, their first single, Rosalyn, although written by their producers, Jimmy Duncan and Bill Farley, had a distinctive Bo Diddley sound to it, albeit even louder and more brash than any of Diddley's own records. The song was a modest hit in the UK, but did not chart at all in the States. Although the Pretty Things never caught on in the US, they had considerable success with their next two singles in their native Britain, as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. Numerous personnel changes over the years, however, led to the group being perceived as not having a distinctive sound, and they were never able to duplicate the success of their early years.
   
Artist:      Turtles
Title:     Wanderin' Kind
Source:      Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:     1966
     White Whale Records, being a typical L.A. label, insisted on using professional songwriters for all the Turtles' A sides. The band was allowed to write its own material for the B sides, however. One of the earliest was Wanderin' Kind, which had already been released as the opening track on the Turtles' 1965 debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. The song was written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, who was then still in his teens. Kaylan would end up co-writing many more Turtles tracks, as well as most of Flo & Eddie's material a few years later.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Trouble
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material, with the exception of a slow version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on (and before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved. To hear Turn On The Music Machine the way Bonniwell intended it to be heard program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, Trouble is restored to its rightful place as the second song on the disc (following Talk Talk) and a fairly decent album is transformed into a work that is equal to the best albums of 1966.

Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Heaven And Hell
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was the Easybeats, often called the Australian Beatles. Although their early material sounded like slightly dated British Invasion music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British immigrants), by late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch immigrant members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Born Under A Bad Sign
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:    Jones/Bell
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were pretty much considered the cream of the crop of the British blues scene in the mid 1960s, so it came as no surprise when they decided to call their new band Cream. Although the trio would go on to record several memorable non-blues tunes such as I Feel Free and White Room, they never completely abandoned the blues. Born Under A Bad Sign, originally recorded by Albert King  for the Stax label and written by labelmates William Bell and Booker T. Jones, is one of the better known tracks from Cream's double-LP Wheels Of Fire, the last album released while the band was still together.

Artist:    Aorta
Title:    Heart Attack
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Aorta0
Writer(s):    Donliger/Nyeholt
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Record companies are notorious for promoting bands they have signed as being "the next big thing." Sometimes they even sign multiple groups and promote them as "the next big sound". Such was the case in 1969 when Columbia's Clive Davis simultaneously released albums by four bands from the Chicago area (including one that, ironically, had actually started off calling itself The Big Thing). All four of these "Chicago sound" bands were included on a German LP called Underground '70, a sampler album pressed on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light (yeah, I had a black light back then). Unlike many sampler albums, Underground '70 actually used the strongest tracks from the various bands' respective albums, including Heart Attack from a band called Aorta. Although Aorta's actual album was a commercial flop, Heart Attack is actually a pretty decent tune.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers/Rhino
Year:    1970
    While feedback-laden bands like Blue Cheer are often credited with laying the foundations of what would come to be called heavy metal, Black Sabbath is generally considered to be the first actual heavy metal band. Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward didn't set out to create a whole new genre. They simply wanted to be the heaviest blues-rock band around. After seeing a movie marquee for an old Boris Karloff film called Black Sabbath and deciding that would make a good name for a band, however, the group soon began modifying their sound to more closely match their new name. The result was a debut album that would change the face of rock music forever. Probably the best known track on the Black Sabbath album is N.I.B., which closes out the LP's first side. Contrary to popular belief, N.I.B. is not a set of initials at all, but just the word nib done in capital letters with periods after each letter. According to Geezer Butler, who wrote the lyrics for N.I.B. "Originally it was Nib, which was Bill's beard. When I wrote N.I.B., I couldn't think of a title for the song, so I just called it Nib, after Bill's beard. To make it more intriguing I put punctuation marks in there to make it N.I.B. By the time it got to America, they translated it to Nativity In Black." On the album the song is preceded by a short bass solo from Butler, which in turn segues directly out of the previous track, Behind The Wall Of Sleep. For some reason (possibly to garner the group more royalties) Warner Brothers Records added extra song titles to the two tracks on the album cover and label to make them look like four separate pieces. The original British release, however, lists them as Behind The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B.

Artist:    Dixie Cups
Title:    Iko Iko
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hawkins/Hawkins/Johnson
Label:    Red Bird
Year:    1965
    In the mid-1960s my dad would occasionally take me to the base exchange (BX) with him when he went to pick up various items. I would immediately head for the record section and pick up a "grab bag", a set of four 45 RPM singles in a plain brown paper bag. Of course there was no way of knowing what records I was getting at the time, but at a price of about 50 cents for four never before played records, it was worth taking a chance on. As it turned out, there was a ton of variety in those little bags. There were folk singles, country singles, jazz singles and occasionally, a genuine pop hit. The best of the latter category I ever got was a song  that I immediately fell in love with called Iko Iko by a girl group called the Dixie Cups. I played that record until the grooves were worn out on my cheap little portable record player with a sapphire needle (notorious for wearing out quickly and ruining every record they played). As I got older I would hear the song from time to time, particularly on oldies stations, but it wasn't until 2019 that I finally bit the bullet and ordered a replacement copy of the original single. IMO Iko Iko is truly a song one never gets tired of hearing.
   

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2013 (starts 3/23/20)



    This time around we have a long journey through the early 70s, one year at a time, that includes a track from the mostly instrumental first Journey album, a track by the Band featuring a guest appearance from Bob Dylan, and a seldom heard Firesign Theatre bit from 1974. First, though, an often overlooked Marvin Gaye classic...

Artist:    Marvin Gaye
Title:    Trouble Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Marvin Gaye
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1972
    Marvin Gaye played drums and piano, as well as providing all of the vocals, for the song Trouble Man. Released in November of 1972, the song was featured in a film of the same name. Gaye himself called it one of the most honest recordings he ever made. Gaye continued to perform the song for the rest of his life. Trouble Man was also the title of Marvin Gaye's biography.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Bredon/Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    It is the nature of folk music that a song often gets credited to one writer when in fact it is the work of another. This is due to the fact that folk singers tend to share their material liberally with other folk singers, who often make significant changes to the work before passing it along to others. Such is the case with Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, which was originally conceived by EC-Berkeley student Anne Johannsen in the late 1950s and performed live on KPFA radio in 1960. Another performer on the same show, Janet Smith, developed the song further and performed it at Oberlin College, where it was heard by audience member Joan Baez. Baez asked Smith for a tape of her songs and began performing the song herself.  Baez used it as the opening track on her album, Joan Baez In Concert, Part One, but it was credited as "traditional", presumably because Baez herself had no knowledge of who had actually written the song. Baez eventually discovered the true origins of the tune, and later pressings gave credit to Anne Bredon, who had divorced her first husband, Lee Johannsen and married Glen Bredon since writing the song. Jimmy Page had an early pressing of the Baez album, so when he reworked the song for inclusion on the first Led Zeppelin album, he went with "traditional, arranged Page" as the writer. Robert Plant, who worked with Page on the arrangement, was not originally given credits for contractual reasons, although later editions of the album give credit to Page, Plant and Bredon.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Teacher
Source:    LP: Living In The Past (originally released on LP: Benefit)
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    LPs released by British Groups often had different song lineups in the US and the UK. One of the reasons for this is that British labels generally did not include songs that had been released as singles on LPs. In the US, however, running times were 5-10 minutes shorter per LP, and songs that had been included on British LPs would end up being dropped in favor of the latest hit single by the same artist. Jethro Tull, however, was generally an exception to this practice. Both of their first two LPs had exactly the same song lineup on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, the only notable exception was the song Teacher, which was released as a single before the UK version of the group's third LP, Benefit. The US version of Benefit has a longer version of Teacher on it, replacing Just Trying To Be, which would not be issued in the US until the Living In The Past album (which included the US mix of Teacher as well).

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Can't Believe It's True
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Rory Gallagher)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    In addition to his obvious prowess on guitar, Rory Gallagher was an accomplished saxophonist, although he largely abandoned the instrument in the mid-1970s. This can be heard on Can't Believe It's True, the final and longest track on Gallagher's first solo album, recorded in 1971. Accompanying Gallagher on the album were drummer Wilgar Campbell and bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy. Gallagher had set up practice sessions with Campbell and McAvoy, as well as former Jimi Hendrix Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding following the breakup of his original band, Taste, but ultimately decided to form a power trio with the two Belfast natives for his solo debut.
     
Artist:    The Band, w/ Bob Dylan
Title:    Don't Ya Tell Henry
Source:    CD: Rock Of Ages (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Capitol
Year:    Recorded December 31, 1971, released 2000
    Fans who showed up for the Band's New Year's Eve concert at New York's Academy Of Music (as it was still known in 1971), got a surpise treat when Bob Dylan made a guest appearance, performing  songs like Don't Ya Tell Henry, a song that dated back to the "basement tapes" years. This particular performance features Dylan singing a duet with Levon Helm, and was the only time Dylan ever performed the song in front of an audience.
   
Artist:    Stevie Wonder
Title:    Higher Ground
Source:    LP: Innervisions
Writer(s):    Stevie Wonder
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1973
    Written and recorded in just under three hours, Higher Ground was the lead single from Innervisions, the 16th studio album by Stevie Wonder. A true solo effort, Higher Ground features Wonder playing Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass and tambourine, as well as providing handclaps and all of the vocals for the track. Innervisions is considered one of Wonder's greatest achievements, and often appears on all-time best album lists.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    The Fool And Me
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Guitarist Robin Trower's breakthrough album, Bridge Of Sighs, featured vocals by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote a couple of the songs on the LP. The best of these was The Fool And Me, which closes out side one of the original LP. Drummer Reg Isidore completed the trio.

Artist:    Journey
Title:    Kohoutek
Source:    LP: Journey
Writer(s):    Schon/Rolie
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1975
    Formed in San Francisdo as the Golden Gate Rhythm Section in 1973, Journey was originally made up of former members of Santana (keyboardist Greg Rolie and guitarist Neil Schon) and Frumious Bandersnatch (bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner) along with Tubes drummer Prarie Prince. The group developed a jazz-rock style similar to that heard on Santana's 1972 LP Caravanserai, the last to feature Rolie and Schon as members of the band. Not long after making their stage debut at the Winterland Ballroom on December 3, 1973 Journey recorded their first demo tapes. After Prarie Prince decided to rejoin the Tubes, Journey recorded their self-titled debut LP with new drummer Ainsley Dunbar, who had just finished a stint working with Frank Zappa. The LP was not a commercial success, although it did get positive reviews for the band's superb musicianship on tracks like Kohoutek.
   
Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Bear Whiz Beer/Channel 6 Happy Hour News
Source:    LP: Everything You Know Is Wrong
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1974
    The 1974 Firesign Theatre album Everything You Know Is Wrong takes on several trends of the mid-1970s, including the UFO craze, the "happy talk" TV news style, Evel Knievel (voiced by Phil Austin) and even Howard Cosell (Peter Bergman). Much of this can be heard in the final five minutes of the album's first side, including the infamous Bear Whiz Beer commercial.

Artist:    Heart
Title:    Dreamboat Annie
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ann and Nancy Wilson
Label:    Mushroom
Year:    1975
    If you look at the label of Heart's Dreamboat Annie album you will notice that there are actually three tracks bearing the name Dreamboat
Annie. This single, however, is not the same as any of them. It is, in fact, a patchwork piece made by splicing the intro from Crazy On You (which was edited out of the single version of that song) onto the two-minute long Dreamboat Annie track that closes out side one of the LP. This new version of Dreamboat Annie (technically the fourth) was then issued as the band's third single. Although it barely missed the top 40 (peaking at #42) it was the first Heart single to hit the Adult Contemporary charts, making it to the #17 spot.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Wrapcity In English/Fred
Source:    CD: Yer' Album
Writer:    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    The only rock record to ever be released on the Bluesway label was Yer' Album, the debut LP by Cleveland's James Gang. Featuring Joe Walsh on Guitar, Tom Criss (who would leave the band after this album) on bass and Dale Peters on drums, the group was one of the first "power trios" of the 70s. Unlike the group's later efforts, Yer' Album included cover tunes written by such diverse composers as Stephen Stills, Jerry Ragavoy and Jeff Beck, as well as a smattering of original compositions. One of those originals was Fred, a Walsh song that was described in the liner notes as "and it's straaaaaaaange." It is preceded by a short fully orchestrated Walsh instrumental called Wrapcity In English that tracks directly into Fred. In the 1980s I found a brand new copy of Yer' Album at a local department store and, of course, snatched it right up. Unfortunately, it was a Pickwick reissue that was missing several tracks, including (you guessed it) Wrapcity In English and Fred.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Dirty Work
Source:    CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1972
    When Walter Becker and Donald Fagen first formed Steely Dan their hope was that they could be a successful studio band in the mold of the post-1966 Beatles, without having to actually make any live appearances. Their record label, however, saw things differently, and insisted that the band begin making plans for touring before even finishing their first LP, Can't Buy A Thrill. This brought to the fore an issue that Fagen in particular had hoped would not become an issue: his own stage fright. Such was his fear of public performance as a vocalist that a second lead singer, David Palmer, was brought in to be the band's front man for live appearances. He ended up singing lead on three of the album's ten tracks as well. Of these, Dirty Work is probably the best known. Fagen, of course, soon got over his stage fright, and Palmer and the band parted company.

   

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2012 (starts 3/16/20)


   
    Pretty much by accident we have what is probably the most tightly-formatted edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era that we'll ever see. Every set after the first one is exactly three songs long. And, with the exception of our Advanced Psych segment, every set (including our two artists' sets) is made up of songs from a particular year. Don't expect something like this to ever happen again.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Red Rubber Ball (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Red Rubber Ball)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets
Writer:    Simon/Woodley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon moved to London in early 1965, after his latest album with Art Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning 3 AM, had been deleted from the Columbia Records catalog after just a few weeks due to poor sales. While in the UK Simon found himself performing on the same bill as the Seekers, an Australian band that had achieved some international success with folky pop songs like A World Of Our Own. Needing cash, Simon wrote (with Seekers guitarist/vocalist Bruce Woodley) Red Rubber Ball, selling the song to the group for about 100 pounds. After returning to the US and reuniting with Garfunkel, Simon offered the song to the Cyrkle, who took the song all the way to the #4 spot on the charts.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    I Haven't Got The Nerve
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Cameron/Martin
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    The first thought I had when seeing the title of Left Banke's 1967 debut LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, was "if they had to name the album after the band's two hit singles, the rest of the songs must really suck", so I never gave it another thought. It turns out I was totally wrong, as the album is actually filled with fine tracks such as I Haven't Got The Nerve, which was originally the B side of the Walk Away Renee single in late 1966. I still think it's an annoying name for an album, though.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    Mono British import CD: The UltimateTurn On (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit with Talk Talk in 1966.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    The Behemoth
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    H. Pye
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    When it comes to garage-punk bands of the sixties there are two that are generally considered to be at the top of the heap. Unlike the Standells, who started off as a bar band and only embraced the punk ethic when they hooked up with writer/producer Ed Cobb, the Shadows of Knight were the real deal. Coming from the Chicago suburbs, they literally got their start practicing in the garage, slowly graduating to parties and high school dances, getting banned from at least one high school campus in the process (something having to do with a female student getting knocked up, rumor has it). The Shadows (as they were originally known) cited the British blues bands as their main influence, with a dose of Chicago blues thrown in for good measure. The Behemoth, an instrumental track from their second album, Back Door Men, was chosen for a 1967 B side as well.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that the band had participated in at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.
   
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    White Rabbit
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Martha (mono single version)
Source:    Mono CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane made no secret of their residence at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco. In fact, the place was a known hangout for various freaks, acid-heads and hippy types. One the hangers-on, a young heiress, was the inspiration for Martha, a song from the band's third LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The song was also released as the B side to Watch Her Ride and used in a promotional film shown on a Perry Como special in 1967. The film, showing the band members cavorting  in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, uses various editing techniques to make the individual members appear, disappear and jump from place to place as well as speed up and slow down, making it one of the first true rock videos.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Don't Know Why (aka Don't Know Why I Love You)
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wonder/Riser/Hunter/Hardaway
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1969
    In 1969 Stevie Wonder released a single called Don't Know Why I Love You. Before the record could take off, however, several radio stations decided to instead play the B side of the record, a balled called My Cherie Amour. The song became, to that point, Wonder's biggest hit, and Don't Know Why I Love You quietly faded off into obscurity. Or rather it would have, if not for the fact that the Rolling Stones recorded their own version of the tune (retitling it I Don't Know Why) around the same time the Stevie Wonder version was released. The Stones, however, did not release the recording immediately. In fact, by the time the record was released (in 1975), the band was no longer associated with either London Records, which issued the recording, or Allen Klein, who had managed to gain control of all of the Stones' London era recordings; needless to say, the band itself did not authorize the single to be released.

Artist:    Cardboard Box
Title:    Come On Baby
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jack Lorenzo
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Regime)
Year:    1969
    The Ethics were formed in Pottstown, Pa., about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The band, which included guitarist Barry Berger, bassist Eric Kissinger, drummer Dave Dudas and keyboardist/vocalist Jack Lorenzo (who also managed the group), released a single on the Up Tight label in 1967 before changing their name to the Cardboard Box. Playing mostly at parties and high school dances, the band had a repertoire that was, according a Berger, a cross between funk and Iron Butterfly with a few late-era Beatles covers thrown in for good measure, and included their own light show. In 1969 they made a trip to an Allentown studio to record a pair of tunes written by Lorenzo, including Come On Baby, which was released as the A side of their only single for the Regime label.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source:    LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    An early version of Country Joe And The Fish first recorded the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag in 1965 for an audio insert to Country Joe McDonald's Rag Baby underground magazine. The band's permanent lineup recorded a new studio version of the song for their debut LP in 1967, but their producer refused to include it on the album, fearing repercussions over its strong criticism of President Lyndon Johnson's Viet-Nam policies.  Another song that did make the album, Superbird, was also critical of Johnson, but in a more lighthearted, satirical way. When that song did not cause any major backlash it was decided to go ahead and use the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag as the title track of the band's second LP. On the album itself the song is preceded by The Fish Cheer, which was famously spelled a bit differently when the band performed it live, leading Ed Sullivan to cancel the band's scheduled 1968 appearance on his weekly TV show.
   
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    45 RPM Single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     A Girl I Knew
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Kay/Cavett
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1967
     Some artists tend to branch out into a variety of styles as their career progresses. Others, like Steppenwolf, move in the opposite direction, finding out early what works best then concentrating on continuing in that vein. A Girl I Knew (co-written by bandleader John Kay) is an example of a type of song that was tried early on, but then abandoned in favor of a harder rock sound on subsequent albums. The song was originally released as a single in late 1967, but failed to chart. The following year Born To Be Wild was released, and the rest is history.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    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 retiring from public life.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    House Burning Down
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    The Great Canyon Fire In General
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Among other things, Southern California is known for its periodic wildfires, which, fueled by hot Santa Ana winds, destroy everything in their path before they can be brought under control. In the summer of 1967, while the members of Spirit were living in L.A.'s Topanga Canyon and working on their first album, one of these wildfires took out about half of the canyon. Although the house the band was living in was spared, the entire area was evacuated and the members of Spirit (and their family) had to spend a week camped out at the beach. Now that's what I call roughing it!

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Do You Believe In Magic
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1965
    Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Everybody's Everything
Source:    LP: Santana (III)
Writer(s):    Santana/Moss/Brown
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third album, released in 1971, was called simply Santana. The problem is, their first album was also called Santana. The guitar solo on Everybody's Everything, by the way, is not by Carlos Santana. Rather it was performed by the then 17-year-old Neal Schon, who, along with keyboardist Greg Rolie would leave the band the following year to form Journey.
    
Artist:    McFadden's Parachute
Title:    Black Fuzz
Source:    CD: Psolipsystic Psychedelic Pslyces Of McFadden's Parachute
Writer(s):    Darren Brennessel
Label:    PeterFonda
Year:    2003
    Although the psychedelic era itself officially covers only a few years in the late 1960s, for many the spirit of the era's music lives on. One such person is Darren Brennessel of Rochester, NY, who is the mastermind behind over two dozen McFadden's Parachute albums. Brennessel has been playing professionally since 1989, when he was the drummer for a band called the Purple Flashes, conceiving and recording the first McFadden's Parachute album as a side project. In the years since, in addition to playing multiple instruments on McFadden's Parachute albums then Brennessel has continued to play drums with a variety of bands, including Sky Saxon's Green Forests, which recorded an as-yet unreleased album in 2004. A few years back Darren sent me a special sampler collection of McFadden's Parachute tracks recorded mostly in the 1990s and early 2000s. One of my favorites of these is a tune called Black Fuzz, recorded in 2003.

Artist:    Splinter Fish
Title:    Milo's Sunset
Source:    LP: Splinter Fish
Writer(s):    Chuck Hawley
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    Albuquerque, NM, like most medium-sized cities, has had a vibrant club scene throughout the rock and roll era, with many of these clubs featuring live music. Until the late 1980s, however, very few bands were able to find gigs performing their own material. This began to change, however, with the emergence of alternative bands such as Jerry's Kidz and F.O.R., and underground venues such as the Club REC and the refurbished El Rey theater. One of the best bands to emerge at this time was Splinter Fish. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Chuck Hawley in 1988, the band also featured Jeff Bracey on bass, former F.O.R. member Deb-O on vocals, and the prolific Zoom Crespin on drums. The group released one self-titled LP in 1989, which featured a strong set of tunes, including Milo's Sunset, a song somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows.

Artist:    Jigsaw Seen
Title:    We Women
Source:    CD: Old Man Reverb
Writer(s):    Dennis Davison
Label:    Vibro-Phonic
Year:    2014
    The Jigsaw Seen is an indy band based in Los Angeles that has been around since the 1980s. Their latest album, Old Man Reverb, covers a lot of ground musically, including a couple of tunes, Madame Whirligig and Hercules And Slyvia, that sound a bit like vintage British psychedelia. Perhaps that is because the album itself was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios in London.
       
Artist:     Animals
Title:     Inside Looking Out
Source:     Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
Writer:     Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1966
     One of the last songs recorded by the Animals before their first breakup, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was covered a few years later by Grand Funk Railroad, who made it one of their concert staples. This has always been one of my all-time favorite rock songs, no matter who recorded it.

Artist:    We The People
Title:    Mirror Of Your Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Thomas Talton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:    1966
    We The People were formed when an Orlando, Florida newspaper reporter talked members of two local bands to combine into a garage/punk supergroup. The result was one of the most successful regional bands in Florida history. After their first recording got airplay on a local station, they were signed to record in Nashville for Challenge Records (a label actually based in Los Angeles) and cranked out several regional hits over the next few years. The first of these was Mirror Of Your Mind. Written by lead vocalist Tom Talton, the song is an in-your-face rocker that got played on a number of local stations and has been covered by several bands since.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    The first Neil Young song I ever heard was Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, which was issued as the B side of For What It's Worth in 1967. I had bought the single and, as always, after my first listen flipped the record over to hear what was on the other side. (Years later I was shocked to learn that there were actually people who never listened to the B side of records they bought. I've never been able to understand that.) Anyway, at the time I didn't know who Neil Young was, or the fact that although Young was a member of Buffalo Springfield it was actually Richie Furay singing the song on the record. Now I realize that may seem a bit naive on my part, but I was 14 at the time, so what do you expect? At least I had the good taste to buy a copy of For What It's Worth in the first place (along with the Doors' Light My Fire and the Spencer Davis Group's I'm A Man if I remember correctly). Where I got the money to buy three current records at the same time at age 14 is beyond me, though.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hello, Goodbye
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 was unquestionably a good year for the Beatles. Their first release was a double A sided single, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, both sides of which were major hits. They followed that up with the #1 album of the year, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and another hit single, All You Need Is Love. To finish out the year they released yet another major hit single, Hello Goodbye. The only downside to the year was the cool reception that was afforded their December telefilm, Magical Mystery Tour, although the songs themselves were well-received when released in the UK as a double-EP set (complete with full color booklet containing stills from the film, as well as lyric sheets). As EPs were not considered a viable format in the US, Capitol Records put together an LP that included all six tracks from the telefilm on one side of the album and the five single sides (Hello Goodbye had used I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour as a B side) on the other. In the mid-1980s it was decided to use the British LPs as the model for all CD issues of Beatles material. The sole exception was Magical Mystery Tour, which used the US song lineup.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    According to principal songwriter John Lennon, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was inspired by a turn of the century circus poster that the Beatles ran across while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Most of the lyrics refer to items on the poster itself, such as the Hendersons and Henry the Horse.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Penny Lane
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Here's a little known fact: the true stereo recording of the Beatles' Penny Lane was not released in the US until 1980, when the song appeared on an album called Rarities. The original 1967 single was mono only, while the version used on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP was created using Capitol's infamous Duophonic process. A true stereo mix that had previously been available only in Germany was used on Rarities, but modified to include a series of trumpet notes at the end of the song that had previously only appeared on promo copies of the single sent to radio stations in the US and Canada. The "official" stereo version of the song heard here was not released until the late 1980s, when the US version of Magical Mystery Tour, featuring true stereo mixes of all of the band's 1967 singles, was issued on CD.

Artist:    Skip Spence
Title:    War In Peace
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Oar)
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Skip Spence was one of the most tragic figures of the psychedelic era. Immensely talented, Spence was nonetheless plagued by mental health and drug abuse issues that he could never overcome. In 1966, after a short stint as rhythm guitarist with a band called the Other Side, Spence was invited by Marty Balin to be the drummer in a new group he was putting together to be the house band at a club he managed called the Matrix. That band was Jefferson Airplane, and Spence stayed with the group long enough to play on their first LP. Not long after that, Spence was fired for taking a trip to Mexico without letting the other band members know he was going. He then returned to playing guitar to co-found Moby Grape in 1967. The band's first album was a critical and commercial success, but that success was somewhat undercut by their label's decision to release five singles from the album  simultaneously, causing the band to be perceived as being overly hyped. To add to the problems, their producer made the band come to New York to record their second LP so that he could be closer to his family. Unfortunately this meant the band members would be thousands of miles away from their own families, and Spence fell in with a bad crowd and started using drugs heavily. This led to a bizarre incident in which he took a fire ax to a hotel door and attempted to assault two of his bandmates, which in turn led to a six-month long stay at Belleview hospital. During this stay he wrote several new songs, including War In Peace, and upon his release headed to Nashville to record the album Oar, playing all the instruments himself. The album, recorded in seven days, was a total commercial failure, but has since come to be considered, in the words of one critic, "one of the most harrowing documents of pain and confusion ever made". Over the next three decades Spence struggled with heroin and cocaine addiction and died of lung cancer two days short of his 53rd birthday in 1999.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Whole Lotta Love
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones/Dixon
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    If any one song can be considered the bridge between psychedelic rock and heavy metal, it would have to be Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Released in 1969 as the lead track to their second LP, the song became their biggest hit single. Whole Lotta Love was originally credited to the four band members. In recent years, however, co-credit has been given to Willie Dixon, whose lyrics to the 50s song You Need Love are almost identical to Robert Plant's.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    The Boxer
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bridge Over Troubled Water)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    The only Simon And Garfunkel record released in 1969, The Boxer was one of the duo's most successful singles, making the top 10 in nine countries, including the US, where it made it to the #7 spot. The track, which runs more than five minutes, was later included on the 1970 LP Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    Hurricane Fighter Plane
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM single (2011 remix)
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967
    Houston's Red Crayola went out of their way to make sure that their debut LP, Parable Of Arable Land, got as little airplay as possible, thus insuring the album's cult status. The way they did this was to invite about 50 extra people into the studio to use whatever they could find to make as much noise as they could generate. These "free-form freakouts" were then interspersed throughout the album, fading in and out over the beginnings and endings of the songs themselves. This resulted in each album side playing as a continuous track, much of which was unintelligible noise. In 2011, International Artists Records, now owned by the British Charly label, issued a special "sonic boom remix" of Hurricane Fighter Pilot, the first actual song on the album, as a Record Store Day single. The track has long been rumored to have a guest appearance from Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators playing organ.
       

Rockin' in the Days Of Confusion # 2012 (starts 3/16/20)



    This week, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion is back in (free)-form, as we abandon all semblance of structure in favor of letting the songs flow into each other. How well that works is a matter of perception: Yours.

Artist:    Free
Title:    Wishing Well
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single (from LP: Heartbreaker)
Writer(s):    Rodgers/Kirke/Yamauchi/Bundrick/Kossoff
Label:    Island
Year:    1972
    The final album from Free featured a somewhat altered lineup from their previous albums. Bassist (and one of the band's primary songwriters) Andy Fraser had already left the band, while guitarist/keyboardist Paul Kossoff was often incapacitated due to his Quaalude addiction. As a result, several guest musicians, as well as a couple of more permanent replacement members, make an appearance on Heartbreaker. With Fraser gone, lead vocalist Paul Rodgers took on the bulk of the band's songwriting duties, although the official writing credit on several tracks, including the single Wishing Well, went to the entire band membership. Following a US tour (without Kossoff), the band finally called it quits, with Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke remaining together to form a new band, Bad Company.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Winter And My Soul
Source:    CD: Grand Funk
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
     It was 1969, and there were only three bands in the entire world recording the kind of music that would come to be called heavy metal. Two of those groups, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, were British. The third was Grand Funk Railroad. Hailing from Flint, Michigan, GFR had evolved out of popular local band Terry Knight And The Pack. Unlike the Pack, Grand Funk Railroad was built around the song ideas of guitarist/vocalist Mark Farner and, to a lesser degree in the early days, drummer Don Brewer. The power trio was completed by bassist Mel Shacher, the only member of the group that had not been a member of the Pack (although he, being younger than Farner and Brewer, had been an enthusiastic fan of the earlier band). Terry Knight himself was the band's producer, and together they made rock history, almost single-handedly creating the arena-rock phenomenon. Grand Funk (aka the Red Album) the group's second LP in six months, was recorded in a week, with all of the songs well rehearsed before the band even entered the studio. Winter In My Soul, which opens the LP's second side, is an excellent example of this. The song starts with a strong guitar riff which is quickly taken up by bass and drums before giving way to the tune's first vocal section, in which Mark Farner sings a somewhat bluesy riff in harmony with his guitar (no mean feat, considering it was done "live in the studio"). From there the song goes through several tempo and time signature changes before ending up rocking out hard and fast.
   
Artist:    Humble Pie
Title:    Shine On
Source:    CD: Rock On
Writer(s):    Peter Frampton
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    Humble Pie's fourth album, Rock On, was the last to feature guitarist/vocalist Peter Frampton, who wrote the album's lead single, Shine On. The song later became a staple of Frampton's live performances and was included on his most popular solo album, Frampton Comes Alive.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind, aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
            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 Dear Mr. Fantasy from Traffic's 1967 debut LP Mr. Fantasy. The album was originally released in a modified version in the US in early 1968 under the title Heaven Is In Your Mind, but later editions of the LP, while retaining the US track order and running time, were renamed to match the original British title.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Human Condition
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (originally released on CD: Uncanned)
Writer(s):    Canned Heat
Label:    Capitol (original label: EMI)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1994
    Human Condition was the name of Canned Heat's 1978 LP for the Takoma label. By that point only Robert Hite and Fito De La Parra were left from the band's classic lineup, and the album itself went largely unnoticed. This was not the first time that the band had recorded the title track itself, however. In 1994, a 1970 recording of Human Condition surfaced on the band's greatest hits collection Uncanned! The Best Of Canned Heat. Although it's not clear whether Henry Vestine or Harvey Mandel plays guitar on the recording, most of the members of the original band, including Robert Hite and Al Wilson, were present.

Artist:    Frank Zappa
Title:    Stink-Foot
Source:    CD: Apostrophe (')
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1974
    Recorded at the same time as the Mothers' Over-Nite Sensation, Apostrophe (') is one of the most popular albums in the Frank Zappa catalog. Much of this popularity is attributable to a combination of Zappa's prodigious guitar work, along with his unique sense of humor, both of which are in abundance on the final track of the album, Stink-Foot.

Artist:    Miles Davis
Title:    John McLaughlin
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Bitches Brew)
Writer(s):    Miles Davis
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Miles Davis broke just about every rule in the jazz world with his 1970 album Bitches Brew. One of the stranger examples of this is the fact that he doesn't actually play on John McLaughlin, the final track on side three of the double-LP. The track, written by Davis, includes several musicians who would become some of the biggest stars of the jazz fusion movement, including Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham and, of course, John McLaughlin himself.
   
Artist:    Rare Earth
Title:    No. 1 Man
Source:    LP: Ecology
Writer(s):    Tom Baird
Label:    Motown (original label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1971
    Although not as well known as Norman Whitfield, Barret Strong or the Holland brothers, Tom Baird was one of the most prolific staff songwriter/producers at Motown from about 1969 on, which coincided with the rise in popularity of the band Rare Earth. In fact, Baird wrote much of the band's material, including No. 1 Son, from the 1970 LP Ecology. Baird would continue with the label throughout the 1970s, writing hit songs for many of Motown's most popular artists.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    No One To Depend On
Source:    LP: Santana (III)
Writer(s):    Carabella/Escobida/Rolie
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third LP (which like their debut LP was called simply Santana), was the last by the band's original lineup. Among the better-known tracks on the LP was No One To Depend On, featuring a guitar solo by teen phenom Neal Schon (who would go on to co-found Journey).

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Funk #48
Source:    LP: The Best Of The James Gang (originally released on LP: Yer' Album)
Writer(s):    Walsh/Fox/Kriss
Label:    ABC (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    Cleveland's James Gang was one of the original power trios of the seventies. Although generally known as the starting place of Joe Walsh, the band was actually led by Jim Fox, one of the most underrated drummers in the history of rock. Fox, who was the only member to stay with the group through its many personnel changes over the years, sings lead on Funk # 48 from the band's debut album on ABC's Bluesway label. Yer Album, incidentally, was the only rock LP ever issued on Bluesway, a label better known for recordings by B.B. King such as Lucille and The Thrill Is Gone.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
Source:    CD: Nursery Crymes
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    The Return Of The Giant Hogweed, from the 1971 Genesis album Nursery Cryme, is actually based on a true story about an invasive organism brought to England from Russia in the 1800s. Genesis, thanks in large part to the sense of whimsy brought to the band by their new drummer, Phil Collins, deliberately exaggerated the story, making the Giant Hogweed a threat to civilization as we know it. Nursery Crymes itself, although officially the third Genesis album, was in fact the debut of the band's classic lineup of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and new guitarist Steve Hackett, who joined a few months after founding member Anthony Phillips left the group following the release of the Trespass album. This lineup would remain intact until the departure of Gabriel in 1975.

   

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2011 (starts 3/9/20)



    This week's show is just a little bit different. For one thing, there are no artists' sets. For another, there are no Beatles songs. In fact, ten of this week's 32 tracks have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before now. Read on...

Artist:     Who
Title:     The Kids Are Alright
Source:     Mono CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released on LP: The Who Sings My Generation)
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1965
     In 1966, after releasing one album on the British Brunswick label, the Who's manager, Kit Lambert, had a falling out with their producer Shel Talby, which resulted in the Who switching to the new Reaction label. Talby retaliated by releasing A Legal Matter, taken from the 1965 album My Generation, as a single within a week of the debut of the Who's first Reaction single, Subsitute. Substitute, being a brand new song, did considerably better than A Legal Matter, but that did not stop Talmy from trying again a few months later by releasing another My Generation track, The Kids Are Alright, two weeks before Reaction released I'm A Boy. The legal battles between Talmy and the band continued for several years, preventing the CD release of the My Generation album until 2002, when the matter was finally settled. All of the songs referred to so far, however, appeared on the 1968 collection Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy, which is where most Americans heard them for the first time.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Set Me Free
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After scoring international success with a series of R&B influenced rockers in 1964, the Kinks started to mellow a bit in 1965, releasing more melodic songs such as Set Me Free. The band would continue to evolve throughout the decade, eventually becoming one of the first groups to release a concept album, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), in 1969.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Mercy, Mercy
Source:    Mono CD: Out Of Our Heads (manufactured in England for US distribution)
Writer(s):    Covay/Miller
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    One of Jimi Hendrix's first recordings as an R&B sideman was on Don Covay's 1964 recording of his song Mercy, Mercy (sometimes known as Have Mercy). The song was Covay's first breakthrough hit, going to the top of the R&B charts and crossing over into the top 40 charts as well. Possibly more importantly, the song was covered the following year by the Rolling Stones on their Out Of Our Heads album, bringing the song to a much wider worldwide audience. The Stones version of the song follows Covay's arrangement fairly closely, but, in the words of rock critic Richie Unterberger, "really upped the guitar wattage" from the original version. That's right. Keith Richards actually "out-louded" Jimi Hendrix on a recording of the same song. Granted, Hendrix, as a sideman in 1964, was under strict instructions to play it the way he was told to without any embellishments of his own, but still...

Artist:    Glass Family
Title:    Baby's Gone
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Band
Writer(s):    The Glass Family
Label:    Maplewood
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2015
    Known as the "perpetual opening band" for such acts as the Byrds, the Doors and the Grateful Dead, the Glass Family was an important, if somewhat overlooked, piece of the California rock scene in the late 1960s. Formed earlier in the decade in West Los Angeles, the trio of Ralph Parrett (guitar), David Capilouto (keyboards/bass) and Gary Green (drums), performed under several different names before settling on the Glass Family around 1966 or so. By 1967 they had secured a contract with Warner Brothers Records, but their original recordings, produced by Richard Podolor, were rejected by the label. Undaunted, Podolor and the band returned to the studio and came up with another LP's worth of material, this time in a more commercial vein and more slickly produced. It was this second set of tunes that was released in February of 1969 as an album called Electric Band. Meanwhile, the original set of tapes sat in storage for nearly 50 years before being restored to a usable state and included as a second LP on the reissue of Electric Band in 2015. Baby's Gone is one of those long-lost tracks, and is a good example of how the band itself wanted to be presented.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Mr. Blues
Source:    Mono LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Bassist Bob Mosley wrote and sang on Mr. Blues, one of ten songs released simultaneously on 45 RPM vinyl from the first Moby Grape album. It was a marketing disaster that forever tarnished a talented band.
   
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Horse Latitudes/Moonlight Drive
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride, which he wrote even before the band was formed. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band. Horse Latitudes, which leads into Moonlight Ride, was also an obvious Morrison composition, as it is essentially a piece of Morrison poetry with a soundtrack provided by the rest of the band.

Artist:    Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt
Title:    Different Drum
Source:    LP: Evergreen, Vol. 2
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Although released as a single and album track by the Stone Poneys, the hit version of Different Drum is essentially a Linda Ronstadt solo effort, backed by studio musicians. As originally recorded by the Greenbriar Boys in 1966 the song was a slower-paced acoustic ballad written by Michael Nesmith, who performed his own version of the song on an episode of the Monkees TV show that aired in December of that year. In 1967 the Stone Poneys recorded their own version of the song for their second LP, Evergreen Vol. 3, using the same arrangement as the Greenbriar Boys had used, but producer Nick Venet, sensing a potential hit, decided to try a different, more rock-oriented, arrangement using studio musicians, leaving Ronstadt as the only band member actually participating in the final recording. Venet's instincts turned out to be spot on, and Different Drum became the first in a long string of hit singles for Ronstadt, who soon left the Stone Poneys for a successful solo career.
   
Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) willing to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's experimental label Verve Forecast, a label whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     One Rainy Wish
Source:     CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     In the summer of 1967 my dad (who was an Air Force NCO), got transferred to Lindsay Air Station in Weisbaden, Germany. The housing situation there being what it was, it was several weeks before the rest of us could join him, and during that time he went out and bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder that a fellow GI had picked up in Japan. The Akai had small speakers built into it, but the best way to listen to it was through headphones. It would be another year before he would pick up a turntable, so I started buying pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. Two of the first three tapes I bought were Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, both by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As I was forced to share a bedroom with my little brother I made it a habit to sleep on the couch instead, usually with the headphones on listening to Axis: Bold As Love. I was blown away by the stereo effects on the album, which I attributed (somewhat correctly) to Hendrix, although I would find out years later that much of the credit belongs to engineer Eddie Kramer as well. One Rainy Wish, for example, starts off with all the instruments in the center channel (essentially a mono mix). After a few seconds of slow spacy intro the song gets into gear with vocals isolated all the way over to the left, with a guitar overdub on the opposite side to balance it out. As the song continues, things move back and forth from side to side, fading in and out at the same time. It was a hell of a way to drift off to sleep every night.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1966
     Jeff's Boogie is an instrumental track from the Yardbirds that originally appeared on the album Over Under Sideways Down in the US. That LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art. The song was also chosen to be the B side of the Over Under Sideways Down single, released in 1966. Although credited to the entire band, the tune is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    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:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Pride Of Man
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Writer(s):    Hamilton Camp
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Although many major record labels were participating in a signing frenzy in 1967 San Francisco, one of the most popular bands, Quicksilver Messenger Service, held out for the best possible deal. As a result their debut album did not appear on the record racks until May of 1968. By then the excitement surrounding the Bay Area music scene was already starting to die down, and the band never achieved the commercial success of some of their contemporaries. Nonetheless, the album itself was a strong one, starting with its opening track, a cover of folk artist Hamilton Camp's most well-known song, Pride Of Man. Quicksilver's version of the song manages to combine Camp's powerful lyrics with an equally powerful instrumental arrangement.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    I Want To Take You Higher
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Stand and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sly Stone
Label:    Priority (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    Sylvester Stewart was a major presence on the San Francisco music scene for several years, both as a producer for Autumn Records and as a popular local disc jockey. In 1967 he decided to take it to the next level, using his studio connections to put together Sly And The Family Stone. The band featured a solid lineup of musicians, including Larry Graham, whose growling bass line figures prominently in their 1969 recording of I Want To Take You Higher. The song was originally released as a B side, but after the group blew away the crowd at Woodstock the recording was re-released as a single the following year.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Let's Work Together
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilbert Harrison
Label:    Capitol (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1970
    By a rather odd twist of fate Wilbert Harrison, known primarily for his 50s hit Kansas City, decided to reissue one of his lesser-known tunes, Let's Work Together, just a few weeks before a new Canned Heat version of the song was released in 1970. As it turns out, neither version became a major hit, although the Canned Heat version did get some airplay and managed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 that year.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    Although it sometimes seemed like being British was the only way to get a hit single on the American charts in the mid-1960s, there were actually plenty of bands that were successful in the UK, but struggled to be heard in the US. One of these was the Spencer Davis Group, which was signed to Chris Blackwood's Island label. Island was, at the time, a small independent company specializing in bringing Jamaican recordings to a British audience, but was looking to expand into popular music. Since Island's distribution was limited, the Spencer Davis Group recordings were released on the much larger Fontana label. Fontana released only one Spencer Davis Group single, I Can't Stand It, in the US, in late 1964. A year later Island worked out a deal with Ahmet Ertegun's Atco label to release the band's version of Keep On Running in the US, but neither it nor its followup, Somebody Help Me, made a dent on the Billboard charts, despite the fact that both songs had gone all the way to the number one spot in the UK. Finally, in December of 1966, producer Jimmy Miller did an extensive remix of their current British hit, Gimme Some Lovin', adding piano, background vocals and tons of reverb to the original recording, as well as using an entirely different lead vocal track with slightly different lyrics. That version appeared on the United Artists label, becoming the group's first US hit in early 1967. The Miller mix is now accepted as the standard version of the song.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    It's A Hard Life
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    If there was any real weakness in the first Seeds album, it was a certain sameness among the songs on the LP. There were exeptions, however, such as It's A Hard Life, which manages to stay true to the Seeds' style without sounding too much like Pushin' Too Hard.

Artist:    Fleur De Lys
Title:    Circles
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)
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:    Supremes
Title:    You Can't Hurry Love
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1966 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    Rhino (original label: Motown)
Year:    1966
    I've maintained for years that top 40 radio hit its peak in late summer of 1966, when the charts were topped by Donovan's Sunshine Superman and the Lovin' Spoonful's Summer In The City. Another song in the top five that week was the Supremes' You Can't Hurry Love, which was  already at #4 in only its fourth week in the top 100. The song, written by Motown's Holland/Dozier/Holland songwriting team, ended up being one of the label's signature songs and is instantly recognizable to multiple generations.

Artist:    Dada
Title:    Dorina
Source:    CD: Puzzle
Writer(s):    Calio/Gurney
Label:    IRS
Year:    1992
    In the early 1990s I found myself within listening range of a Virginia Beach radio station that called itself The Coast. Unlike other radio stations in the area, each of which had a tight playlist determined by extensive audience research, The Coast was a relatively free-form station that played an eclectic mix of classic, modern and alternative rock. Among the bands that got airplay on The Coast was a new three-piece band from California called Dada. Consisting of guitarist Michael Gurley and bassist Joie Calio (who shared lead vocals) along with drummer Phil Leavitt, Dada made their recording debut with the 1992 album Puzzle. The first single released from the album, Dizz-Knee Land, got a lot of airplay on more mainstream rock stations, but it was the album's opening track, Dorina, that really grabbed my attention when I heard it on The Coast.

Artist:    Claypool/Lennon Delerium
Title:    Oxycontin Girl
Source:    LP: Monolith Of Phobos
Writer(s):    Claypool/Lennon
Label:    Ato
Year:    2016
    Fans of alternative rock are no doubt familiar with a band called Primus, led by bassist Les Claypool. One of the more colorful characters on the modern music scene, Claypool was once rejected by Metallica as being "too good" for them. Claypool himself has said that he thought James Hetfield was just being nice when he told him that, but the fact is that Claypool is indeed one of the most talented bass players (if not the best) in rock history. Sean Lennon is, of course, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Unlike his half-borther Julian, Sean has never had to prove anything to anyone, and, thanks in large part to his mother's influence (and let's be honest here, money), has always felt free to pursue his own artistic path without having to bow to commercial pressures. The two of them met when their respective bands were on tour and they immediately recognized that they had a musical connection. That connection manifested itself in the album Monolith Of Phobos (a title inspired by Arthur Clarke's works), released in 2016. Oxycontin Girl begins with a bass solo that seems impossible to actually play (but of course, Claypool regularly does that) and then hits us with the lyric "She's an Oxycontin girl in a heroin world". It gets even better from there.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    When We Was Fab
Source:    CD: Cloud Nine
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Dark Horse
Year:    1987
    George Harrison recorded two different songs referencing his years as a member of the world's most popular rock band. The first, All Those Years Ago, was done in Harrison's own early 80s style, and was released not long after the death of former bandmate John Lennon. The second, When We Was Fab, was stylistically a throwback to the Beatles' most psychedelic period, with a strong resemblance to Lennon's I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour. The song appeared on Harrison's Cloud Nine album, which was recorded around the same time as the first Traveling Wilburys album, and features guest appearances from some of the other members of that group, including Beatles fans Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Rugs Of Wood And Flowers
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Nichols
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1967
    The Turtles were best known for their big hit records like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me, both of which came from outside songwriters. The band had a weird side, however, that usually showed up on their self-penned B sides and an occasional album track. One example is Rugs Of Wood And Flowers, which appeared as the B side of You Know What I Mean in 1967. The song, written by vocalist Howard Kaylan and guitarist Al Nichol,  features Kaylan using a semi-operatic style that he would revive for his legendary performances with the Mothers at the Fillmore East in 1971.

Artist:    Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Title:    Ecstasy
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)
Year:    1967
    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 Ecstasy, which, like about half the songs on the LP, was written by lead guitarist John Merrill. Although the PBC would end up recording a third LP a couple years later, they would do it without Merrill, who left shortly after The Great Conspiracy was released.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Scarborough Fair/Canticle
Source:    LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Simon/Garfunkel
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    After the reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel following the surprise success of an electrified remix of The Sound Of Silence, the duo quickly recorded an album to support the hit single. Sounds Of Silence was, for the most part, a reworking of material that Simon had recorded for 1965 UK LP the Paul Simon Songbook. The pressure for a new album thus (temporarily) relieved, the duo got to work on their first album of truly new material since their unsuccessful 1964 effort Wednesday Morning 3AM (which had in fact been re-released and was now doing well on the charts). In October the new album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, hit the stands. The title track was a new arrangement of an old English folk ballad, Scarborough Fair, combined with a reworking of a song from the Paul Simon Songbook, The Side Of A Hill, retitled Canticle. The two melodies and sets of lyrics are set in counterpoint to each other, creating one of the most sophisticated folk song arrangements ever recorded. After being featured in the film The Graduate, Scarborough Fair/Canticle was released as a single in early 1968, going on to become one of the duo's most instantly recognizable songs.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Today
Source:    LP: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    Victor
Year:    1967
    Uncredited guest guitarist Jerry Garcia adds a simple, but memorable recurring fill riff to Today, an early collaboration between rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner and bandleader Marty Balin on Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow.
       
Artist:    Millennium
Title:    I Just Want To Be Your Friend
Source:    LP: Begin
Writer(s):    Curt Boettcher
Label:    Columbia/Sundazed
Year:    1968
    The Millennium's 1968 album Begin can best be described as a cooperative effort by some of L.A.'s most talented studio musicians that ended up being a victim of its own bad timing. Conceived by Curt Boettcher (Sagittarius, the Ballroom) and Keith Olsen (Music Machine), the Millennium also included guitarist Doug Rhodes and drummer Ron Edgar (both from the Music Machine), as well as several other Ballroom and Sagittarius veterans, including guitarist/vocalists Lee Mallory, Joey Stec, Mike Fennelly and Sandy Salisbury. Most of the participants shared songwriting credits, with no one songwriter appearing on more than six of the album's fourteen tracks. Boettcher had three solo writing credits, including I Just Want To Be Your Friend, a tune that sounds like it could easily have appeared on the first Association LP (which Boettcher had produced). The album itself was widely praised by music critics as one of the best sunshine pop albums ever produced. Unfortunately, by July of 1968, when Begin hit the stands, sunshine pop had essentially been replaced by bubblegum rock on top 40 radio, while most of the new FM stations were playing a harder rocking sound favored by the counter-culture, leaving the album in a kind of commercial limbo.
   
Artist:    Tyrannosaurus Rex
Title:    Once Upon The Seas Of Abyssinia
Source:    British import CD: Acid Days
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    Uncut
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2002
    Despite the similarity in names (not to mention the presence of Marc Bolan) Tyrannosaurus Rex and T-Rex were really entirely different groups. The original Tyrannosaurus Rex, formed in 1967. was a psychedelic-folk duo consisting of guitarist/vocalist Bolan and percussionist
Steve Peregrine Took, that released three albums before the two had a falling out. Following the departure of Took a fourth Tyrannosaurus Rex album was released, with Mickey Finn handling percussion duties, in 1969. Sometime that year, probably following the release of the original duo's third LP, they recorded Once Upon The Seas Of Abyssinia, a track that didn't get released until 2002, when it appeared on the Marc Bolan box set 20th Century Superstar.
   
Artist:    American Dream
Title:    Good News
Source:    LP: The American Dream
Writer(s):    Van Winkle/Bowers
Label:    Ampex
Year:    1970
    Following his departure from his band Nazz in 1969 Todd Rundgren went to work for Albert Grossman as a staff producer for the new Ampex label, a joint venture being launched by Grossman (who was a well-known manager of folk artists) and the Ampex tape company. Rundgren's first project for Grossman was producing a band of fellow Philadelphian's known as The American Dream. The album was the first to be released on the Ampex label. The album opens with a recorded phone conversation between (presumably) one of the band members and his grandmother, telling her excitedly that he is in New York. The leads into a song called Good News, a solid rocker that was also issued as the b side of the album's only single. The American Dream was never heard from again after that first album, but Rundgren's career is legendary.

Artist:     Five Americans
Title:     Western Union
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Rabon/Ezell/Durrell
Label:     Abnak
Year:     1967
     One of the biggest hits of 1967 came from a band from Southeastern State College in Durant Oklahoma, although they probably played at least as many gigs in neighboring Texas as in their home state. The Five Americans, having already scored a minor hit with I See The Light the previous year, hit the #5 spot on the national charts with Western Union, featuring a distinctive opening organ riff designed to evoke the sound of a telegraph receiver picking up Morse code.

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    Lazy Sunday
Source:    British import CD: Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake
Writer(s):    Marriott/Lane
Label:    Charly (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1968
    Following up on the creative freedom that came with their switch to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label in 1967 (and their subsequent international hit Itchycoo Park), the Small Faces immediately (sorry) got to work on what would end up being their final full-length LP, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. Before the album was released in the spring of 1968, however, Immediate issued Lazy Sunday, the last track on side one of the LP, as a single, against the wishes of the band. As it turned out the song, inspired by frontman Steve Marriott's ongoing feud with his neighbors, ended up being an even bigger hit than Itchycoo Park in their native Britain, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands. Marriott, however, was frustrated with the band's inability to shed their pop music image and left the group later that year to form Humble Pie.
   
Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Driving Song
Source:    Lebanese import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the presence of "underground" FM radio stations in most major US cities playing what would come to be called album rock was making it possible for an artist to be considered successful without having the benefit of a top 40 hit record. This was not the case in the UK, where top 40 itself had been, until July of 1967, considered an underground format heard on illegal AM pirate stations broadcasting from offshore transmitters. Momentum being what it is, British bands such as Jethro Tull continued to put out singles and EPs that were successful in their native England but difficult to find in the US well into the 1970s. For example, Driving Song was originally released as the B side of Living In the Past in 1969. As was the case with every other early Jethro Tull single, the record, although released in the US failed to make a dent in the charts, and was not heard by most Americans until the Living In the Past LP was released in 1973. Living In The Past/Driving Song also has the distinction of being the only Jethro Tull single ever issued in Lebanon.

Artist:     Edwin Starr
Title:     War
Source:     CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Whitfield/Strong
Label:     Rhino (original label: Gordy)
Year:     1970
     It was 1970, and Motown Records staff producer Norman Whitfield was facing a bit of a dilemma. A track that he and co-producer Barrett Strong had included on the Temptations' LP Psychedelic Shack was starting to get a lot of airplay, and radio programmers were asking for the song to be released as a single. The problem was the song itself. War, co-written by Whitfield and Strong, had a powerful message that resonated with the anti-Vietnam War movement. This, of course, did not sit well with some of the more conservative radio station owners, a fact that Motown president Berry Gordy, Jr. was well aware of. At that particular moment in space and time, the Temptations were Motown's #1 cash cow (Diana Ross having left the Supremes earlier that year), and Berry did not want to take any chances with his top money makers. Eventually a compromise was reached. Whitfield re-recorded the track with second-string artist Edwin Starr, amping up the energy level of the song in the process, and ended up with one of the biggest hit singles of the year (and certainly the biggest of Starr's career).