Sunday, July 5, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2028 (starts 7/6/20)



    This week's show literally features A Cast Of Thousands. In this case, that's the name of a band from Syracuse, NY, that is featured as part of an expanded Advanced Psych segment that runs a full thirty minutes in our second hour. As for the other 90 minutes or so, we have progressions through the years, a Rolling Stones set, and some rather long extended pieces toward the end of the show. We start off in Los Angeles, where the action is.

Artist:     Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     Action
Source:     LP: Just Like Us
Writer:     Boyce/Venet
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Paul Revere and the Raiders were formed in the early 60s in Boise, Idaho. After temporarily disbanding due to Revere's stint in the Army, the group reformed in time to be the first band to record Richard Berry's Louie Louie in 1963. After establishing a reputation as one of the most polished bands on the Pacific Northwest scene, the group caught the eye (and ear) of Dick Clark, who signed them up to be the host band for his new daytime music show, Where The Action Is. The group relocated to Los Angeles, becoming the first rock band signed to Columbia Records in the process. One of their early recordings for the label was the theme song used on the TV show itself, which appeared as the last track on the 1966 LP Just Like Us.  A longer version of Action was released as a single by Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon and got considerably more airplay than the Raiders' version.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Salvation
Title:    Think Twice
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Salvation)
Writer(s):    Joe Tate
Label:    Rhino (original label: ABC)
Year:    1968
    If there is any one band that typifies the San Francisco music scene of 1968 it would have to be Salvation. Originally known as the Salvation Army Banned, the group came to the attention of ABC Records after a series of successful gigs at Golden Gate Park. The band was often seen cruising the streets of San Francisco in a converted bus and often found themselves sharing the playbill with acts like Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane and the Doors. After recording their debut LP, Salvation, the group did a coast to coast promotional tour "from the Golden Gate to the Village Gate", only to find themselves stranded on the east coast when their management team absconded with the band's advance money. The band's fate was sealed when they, to quote keyboardist Art Resnick, "acted so incredibly wild at the main offices of ABC In in NYC when going there to meet all the top execs. It was totally insane! Wilder than any rock movie I've ever seen."

Artist:    Open Mind
Title:    Magic Potion
Source:    CD Nuggets II (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brancaccio
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1969
    Originally known as the Drag Set, the Open Mind adopted their new name in late 1967. Not long after the change they signed a deal with Philips Records and recorded an album with producer Johnny Franz in 1968. Their greatest achievement, however, came the following year, when they released Magic Potion as a single. By that time, unfortunately, British psychedelia had run its course, and Open Mind soon closed up shop.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Wish Me Up
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    March/Saxon
Label:    Sundazed/M-G-M
Year:    1970
    By the time the 60s had come to an end, the Seeds, who had spearheaded the flower power movement in the middle of the decade, were on their last legs. Only Sky Saxon and Daryl Hooper were left from the original group, and they had lost their contract with GNP Crescendo. Their manager was able to secure a contract to record a pair of singles for M-G-M, but, as can be heard on the B side of the first single, Wish Me Up, the old energy just wasn't there anymore.

Artist:    Michaelangelo
Title:    One Voice Many
Source:    LP: One Voice Many
Writer(s):    Angel
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    I don't know what the issues were between electronic music producer Rachel Elking and Columbia Records president Clive Davis were in the early 1970s, nor do I particularly care. As with nearly all conflicts in the world of Big Business, however, there were innocent victims of this clash. In this case those victims were Angel Petersen, Steve Bohn, Robert Gorman and Michael John Hackett of the band Michaelangelo. The group was built around the virtuoso electric autoharp playing of Angel (some consider her to be the finest autoharp player ever) who had already named her instrument Michaelangelo before forming the band (hey, it was the psychedelic era, after all). In addition to playing autoharp, Angel wrote all of the band's material and shared lead vocals with lead guitarist Bohn, whose clean style managed to complement Angel's playing rather than compete with it. Gorman on bass and Hackett on drums were equally proficient on their instruments, giving the group a highly professional sound. Michaelangelo was signed to Columbia in 1971 by Elking and her partner, Walter (later Wendy) Carlos, who co-produced the album One Voice Many. Davis, however, for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the band, made sure Columbia did not support or promote the album, and it was soon deleted from the label's catalog. Since the group's disbandment not long after, the album has become a highly sought after collector's item, and was finally issued on CD (in the UK) in 2009.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    A Well Respected Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.

Artist:     Lovin' Spoonful
Title:     Coconut Grove
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s): Sebastian/Yanovsky
Label:     Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:     1966
    The 1966 album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful was an attempt by the band to play in a variety of styles, as if it were being recorded by several different bands. By most accounts they succeeded, as can be heard by comparing the two biggest hits from the LP, Summer In The City and Nashville Cats. One of the quieter, acoustic numbers is a song called Coconut Grove, that manages to evoke images of the South Pacific without devolving into Rogers and Hart territory.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Paint Box
Source:    CD: Relics (originally released in UK and Europe as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Rick Wright
Label:    Capitol (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    On Pink Floyd's earliest records, the songwriter of record was usually Syd Barrett. After Barrett's mental issues forced him out of the band the other members stepped up to fill the gap. But even before Barrett left, drummer Rick Wright's name began to show up on songwriting credits, such as on Paintbox, a 1967 B side that came out between the band's first two LPs. Wright also provided lead vocals for the tune.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Withering Tree
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Last Exit)
Writer:    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    One of Traffic's best-known songs is Feelin' Alright from their eponymous second LP. When the song was issued as a single in 1968, a brand-new song, Withering Tree, was included as a B side. The stereo version of Withering Tree would not be heard until 1969, when it was included on the post-breakup Traffic LP Last Exit.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones' answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    CD: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    Although credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Ruby Tuesday was actually written without any input from Jagger. In fact, according to Marianne Faithful, it was Brian Jones who came up with the song's original melody, which was then modified by Richards, who also wrote the song's lyrics. According to Richards, those lyrics were inspired by Linda Keith, who dated Richards in the mid-60s and is rumored to be the inspiration for Jimi Hendrix's Red House as well.

Artist:    Rolling Stones (also released as Bill Wyman)
Title:    In Another Land
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Bill Wyman
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    In Another Land was the first Rolling Stones song written and sung by bassist Bill Wyman, and was even released in the US as a Wyman single. The song originally appeared on the Stones' most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, in late 1967.

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     America
Source:     45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Year:     1968/1972
     Four years after the release of the album Bookends (and two years after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel), Columbia decided to release the song For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, as a single, to coincide with the release of their Greatest Hits album. For the B side, they went even further back, pulling out the original tapes for the song America. The tracks on the Bookends album were deliberately overlapped to form a continuous audio montage, making this the first standalone version of America to be released by the duo.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Termination
Source:    CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Brann/Dorman
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although most Iron Butterfly songs were written by keyboardist/vocalist Doug Ingle, there were a few exceptions. One of those is Termination, from the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album, which was written by guitarist Erik Brann and bassist Lee Dorman. From a 21st century perspective Termination sounds less dated than most of Ingle's material.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Need Love
Source:     Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Stein/Bogart/Martell/Appice
Label:     Real Gone/Rhino (original label: Atco
Year: 1969
     Possibly the hardest rocking original ever recorded by Vanilla Fudge, Need Love was the lead single from Rock & Roll, the final album released prior to the band's initial breakup in 1970. Guitarist Vinnie Martell provided the lead vocals on the song.

Artist:    A Cast Of Thousands
Title:    Roundabout
Source:    CD: The Fifth
Writer(s):    Beth Beer
Label:    Record
Year:    2017   
    Despite the implications of their name, A Cast Of Thousands is actually three people: Terry Cuddy (guitar), Beth Beer (bass) and Jim Andrews (drums). All are from Auburn, NY, where the band was formed in 2010. A Cast Of Thousands is truly an alternative band, with a surprisingly eclectic mix of songs on the 2017 album The Fifth, such as Roundabout, which manages to project a definite punk aesthetic without devolving into snarling rage.
       
Artist:    Chesterfield Kings
Title:    Time Will Tell
Source:    LP: Don't Open Till Doomsday
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Mirror
Year:    1987
    By the time their 1987 LP, Don't Open Till Doomsday, was released, Rochester, NY's Chesterfield Kings had largely abandoned the 60s garage-rock covers that characterized their early recordings in favor of original material. There were a few exceptions, however. One of the more interesting ones is Time Will Tell, based on an unfinished Kinks recording from 1966 that was briefly available on a bonus disc accompanying a 1983 Kinks compilation album.

Artist:    Smithereens
Title:    Behind The Wall Of Sleep
Source:    CD: Blown To Smithereens (originally released on LP: Especially For You)
Writer(s):    Pat DiNizio
Label:    Capitol (original label: Enigma)
Year:    1986           
                In 1986 I was the host of a show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque, NM. Once a month we would feature an entire album from up and coming bands such as R.E.M., Killing Joke, Skinny Puppy and other groups that would come to be labeled "alternative rock", but at that time were part of a new musical underground. Among the albums that most impressed me was an LP called Especially For You from a band from New Jersey calling themselves the Smithereens. The album, produced by Don Dixon, had a decidedly 60s retro feel to it, especially on side two, which started off with Behind The Wall Of Sleep. The song eventually was released as the album's third single, doing particularly well in the UK.

Artist:    Pheremones
Title:    Dream States
Source:    unreleased
Writer(s):    Mitchell/Carlberg
Label:    n/a
Year:    1987
    The Pheremones were formed in late 1986 by vocalist Cole Mitchell and guitarist Duane Muncy, and included lead guitarist Ed Carlberg, drummer John Henry Smith and bassist Stephen R Webb. Although Mitchell and Muncy wrote most of the band's material, both Carlberg and Webb made contributions to the repertoire as well. The band members, in an interview for a local music scene paper, described their sound, which combined influences from early rock and roll, southern rock and country, as "Trailer Park Rock and Roll". Their most psychedelic tune, however, was a Carlberg composition with lyrics by Mitchell called Dream States. This recording, from February of 1987, is of the band performing live at Bottom Line Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico directly onto 8-track tape with no overdubs, although various studio enhancements such as reverb and compression were added during the stereo mixdown.

Artist:    Beyond From Within
Title:    Soul Traveler
Source:    CD: Beyond From Within
Writer(s):    Steve Andrews
Label:    self-released
Year:    2015
    Beyond From Within is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Steve Andrews. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the band also includes producer Dino Pandolfo, who also provides bass, keyboards and backup vocals, and drummer Nick Spagnolo. Their self-titled (and self-released) album is full of quality original garage/psych tracks such as Soul Traveler, which closes out the 14-song CD.

Artist:    Stephen R Webb
Title:    Jeremy Johnson
Source:    CD: The Electric Dream Project
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1987
    Ever lay awake at night, trying not to think of things that scare the crap out of you, but of course thinking of nothing else? When that happens to a songwriter it can result in something like Jeremy Johnson. The scary thought in this instance was actually a question: what if some Jimmy Jones type got hold of a thermonuclear device and decided that if mass suicide was good enough for his own followers it would be even better for massive numbers of people, like the population of a large American city? I then started thinking about the followers of Charles Manson and came up with the idea of Sarah Lee Winston, a girl from a moderately wealthy, but emotionally lacking, family that is so devoted to Jeremy Johnson that she will commit any act, no matter how horrific, to please him. The ominous, slightly discordant music flowed naturally from the concept of the lyrics, and the song was first performed by the band Civilian Joe in 1986. The studio version of Jeremy Johnson, featuring Civilian Joe's Suzan Hagler on rhythm guitar and me on everything else, was recorded at Bottom Line as part of the Electric Dream Project in 1987. I hope it scares the crap out of you, too.

Artist:    Crawling Walls
Title:    She's So Wild
Source:    LP: Inner Limits
Writer(s):    Bob Fountain
Label:    Voxx
Year:    1985
    The first band to record at Albuquerque's Bottom Line Studios was the Crawling Walls, led by vocalist/keyboardist Bob Fountain (using a vintage Vox organ) and featuring guitarist Larry Otis, formerly of the Philisteens, along with bassist Nancy Martinez and drummer Richard Perez. One of the first 80s bands to truly emulate the classic 60s West Coast psychedelic sound (as defined by bands like the Seeds), the Crawling Walls released one LP, Inner Limits, in 1985 on the local Voxx label. The album was also reissued in France on the Lolita label, where it became a cult favorite. She's So Wild is kind of like a mini acid trip, starting off kinda quiet and moody then turning frantic on you when you least expect it.

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Walk Away
Source:     LP: Thirds
Writer:     Joe Walsh
Label:     ABC
Year:     1971
     The third James Gang album was the last for Joe Walsh, who left the band to pursue a solo career for a few years before hooking up with the Eagles. One of his best known songs, Walk Away, leads off the album. The recording uses multi-tracking extensively toward the end of the song, with multiple guitar parts cascading into what Walsh himself described as a "train wreck".

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Marraige
Source:    LP: Marraige On The Rocks/Rock Bottom
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1970
    Whatever you may think of Ted Nugent as a person, there is no denying his talent as a guitarist. He first came to national attention with a blistering cover of the Joe Williams classic Baby, Please Don't Go, which appeared on the Amboy Dukes' 1967 debut LP (and was later included on Lenny Kaye's first Nuggets anthology album). The Dukes had an even bigger hit single the following year with Journey To The Center Of The Mind, which Nugent co-wrote with fellow guitarist Steve Farmer. By 1970 Nugent was in firm control of the band, and was the sole songwriter on all but one of the tracks on the LP Marraige On The Rocks/Rock Bottom. The opening track, Marraige, consists of three parts that play as one continuous piece: Man, Woman and Music.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Oh Well
Source:    Mono CD: Then Play On
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:     1969
    Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in 1969, and Oh Well (part one) soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album. The editing job was done so well that it has been left that way ever since.

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Piece Of My Heart
Source:     LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer:     Ragovoy/Burns
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
     By 1968 Big Brother and the Holding Company, with their charismatic vocalist from Texas, Janis Joplin, had become as popular as fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Somehow, though, they were still without a major label record deal. That all changed with the release of Cheap Thrills, with cover art by the legendary underground comix artist R. Crumb. The album itself was a curious mixture of live performances and studio tracks, the latter being led by the band's powerful cover of the 1966 Barbara Lynn tune Piece Of My Heart. The song propelled the band, and Joplin, to stardom. That stardom would be short-lived for most of the band members, however, as well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed advice-givers convinced Joplin that Big Brother was holding her back. The reality was that the band was uniquely suited to support her better than anyone she would ever work with again.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2028 (starts 7/6/20)



    This week we present the first chapter of the six-part Firesign Theatre Sherlock Holmes parody, the Case of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, which will continue for the next several weeks on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion. Of course, the chapter itself is only eight and a half minutes long, leaving plenty of time for a vaguely relevant opening set, a progression from 1968 to 1972, and a bit of European progressive rock to finish things out.

Artist:    Gentle Giant
Title:    Playing The Game
Source:    CD: The Power And The Glory
Writer(s):    Shulman/Shulman/Minnear
Label:    Alucard (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1974
    Following the departure of founding member Phil Shulman in 1973, the remaining members of Gentle Giant, after a period of soul-searching, decided to carry on as a five-piece group with the album In A Glass House. Their US label however, decided not to release the album. Despite this, In A Glass House sold well in the US as an import, leading to a new contract with a different label. The first Gentle Giant to be released on Capitol was The Power And The Glory, which hit the racks in 1974. One of the tracks that got a lot of airplay on FM rock radio was Playing The Game, which closes out the first side of the original LP. For those who might be interested in such things, a special edition of The Power And The Glory has been released on the Alucard label which features not only the original album remastered (plus bonus tracks), but a DVD containing animated video versions of every track on the album, all of which enhance the album's original concept concerning how power can corrupt even those with the best of intentions.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone
Source:    CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys (originally released on LP: Carl And The Passions-"So Tough")
Writer(s):    Wilson/Rieley
Label:    Capitol (original label: Brother)
Year:    1972
    1972 saw the Beach Boys going through a period of instability. Brian Wilson had all but relinquished artistic control of the band to his brother Carl while pursuing other interests. Longtime member Bruce Johnston had just quit the band, and Carl had decided to spice up the group's sound with the addition of guitarist Blondie Chaplin. Adding to the band's problems was the fact that drummer Dennis Wilson was temporarily out of commission due to a hand injury, necessitating the addition of Rikki Fataar (who had been Champlin's bandmate in South Africa) as well. The opening track on the album Carl And The Passions-"So Tough" encapsulizes all these elements in one song. Co-written by Brian Wilson, You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone is the only song on the album to be produced by the band's original leader. Vocals on the song, however, are by Carl Wilson, with Fataar on drums and guest musician Douglas Dillard on banjo. In an effort to help sales, Carl And The Passions-"So Tough" was packaged as a double LP, with a reissued Pet Sounds as the second disc. It still was not a major seller and is generally overlooked by Beach Boys afficianados.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    The Loner
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Neil Young)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The Loner could easily have been passed off as a Buffalo Springfield song. In addition to singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, the tune features Springfield members Jim Messina on bass and George Grantham on drums. Since Buffalo Springfield was functionally defunct by the time the song was ready for release, however, it instead became Young's first single as a solo artist. The song first appeared, in a longer form, on Young's first solo album in late 1968, with the single appearing three months later. The subject of The Loner has long been rumored to be Young's bandmate Stephen Stills, or possibly Young himself. As usual, Neil Young ain't sayin'.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Black Cow
Source:    CD: Aja
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1977
    Aja was Steely Dan's all-time best selling studio album, with over five million copies sold worldwide and becoming their first platinum album. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording and received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1978 (the Grammys always being awarded for the previous year's music). Although both Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were from the New York area, the album is generally considered one of the high points of what was then known as adult-oriented rock (or sometimes the California Sound), and spawned three singles that got considerable airplay on FM rock stations at a time when formats long associated with AM radio were migrating en masse to the FM band. One of the songs that did not get a lot of airplay was the album's opening track, Black Cow. Why this should be is probably just an example of the aforementioned migration of AM formats to FM. To remain competitive, many existing FM rock stations were tightening their playlists, only playing the most popular tracks from albums that, a few years before, would have been played in their entirety. In retrospect, that is a shame, as Black Cow contains outstanding guitar work from Larry Carlton, who, as a studio musician, played on all but two of the tracks on Aja.
   
Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Part One: London; Chapter 1: Not Quite The Solution He Expected
Source:    LP: The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra
Writer(s):    Procter/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1974
    Following the release of I Think We're All Bozos On The Bus in 1971, the Firesign Theatre largely abandoned the idea of concept albums, instead concentrating their efforts on live performances, both on stage and on their own weekly radio show. Over the next three years they released Dear Friends, a collection of skits from their radio show, and Not Insane or Anything You Want To, an album drawn largely from their stage performances. In 1974 they returned to long form with The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra, a Sherlock Holmes parody (inspired by a throwaway line from Arthur Conan Doyle's Casebook of Sherlock Holmes) starring Philip Proctor as detective Hemlock Stones and David Ossman as the chronicler of his adventures, Dr. Flotsam. The story itself is broken into six parts, the first of which serves to introduce the main characters and set the events of the tale in motion.
   
Artist:    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Title:    Battle Of New Orleans
Source:    45 RPM promo single (taken from LP: Stars And Stripes Forever)
Writer(s):    Jimmy Driftwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1974
    After struggling for their first few years, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band found their niche with the 1970 LP Uncle Charlie And His Dog Teddy, which featured their hit single version of Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles. The following year they recorded the three-LP set Will The Circle Be Unbroken, featuring collaborations with some of the biggest country and western stars of three generations, releasing the album in 1972. This was followed by the live Stars And Stripes Forever album, the first by the band to enter the country charts, in 1974. The single from that album was a cover of Battle Of New Orleans, which had been a 1959 hit for Johnny Horton. The song had originally been composed by an Arkansas school principal named Jimmy Driftwood, who had written the song earlier in the decade in an attempt to get his students interested in learning history.
   
Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Song For Jeffrey
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull's second single (and first European hit) was A Song For Jeffrey from their debut LP, This Was. The Jeffrey in the song title is Jeffrey Hammond, who, according to the liner notes, was "one of us, though he doesn't play anything". The notes go on to say he "makes bombs and stuff". In fact, Hammond would replace bassist Glen Cornick a few albums later and remain with the group for several years. The song itself proved popular enough that when the band compiled their first Anthology album, Living In The Past, A Song For Jeffrey was chosen to open the album.

Artist:     Chicago
Title:     Listen
Source:     CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer:     Robert Lamm
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1969
     By all accounts, one of the tightest road bands of 1968 was a group called the Chicago Transit Authority. Featuring a solid horn section and three quality lead vocalists, it was no surprise to anyone who had heard them perform that their first LP, released in 1969, was an immediate success. Getting two long-playing discs for the price of one didn't hurt either. Listen, written and sung by keyboardist Robert Lamm, is a fairly representative track from that album that features a memorable bass line from Peter Cetera as well as Terry Kath's distinctive guitar sound.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Love Is The Answer
Source:    CD: Open
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Blues Image started off in Tampa, Florida, but soon relocated to Miami, where they soon became the house band for the legendary club Thee Image. They moved out to Los Angeles in 1969, where they developed a following that included several prominent musicians, including guitarist Jimi Hendrix. It was Hendrix that pointed out to the band that they did great arrangements on other people's material but that their own tunes were lacking a certain flair. The solution, it turned out, was to set their own compositions aside for a time, then revist them, treating them the same way they would someone else's songs. Apparently it worked, as can be heard on songs like Love Is The Answer, the powerful opening track for their second LP, Open.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Solitude
Source:    CD: Master Of Reality
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    I have to admit I'm a sucker for the slow, moody songs that appear as a change of pace on Black Sabbath's early albums. One of my favorites is Solitude, from the band's third LP, Master Of Reality. The song sets a mood that is in sharp contrast with the early heavy metal sound of the rest of the album. Guitarist Tony Iommi also plays piano and flute on the track.

Artist:    Captain Beyond
Title:    Mesmerization Eclipse
Source:    LP: Captain Beyond
Writer(s):    Evans/Caldwell
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1972
    In the early 1970s it was normal for three bands to be on the playbill at a rock concert. Generally the headliner was someone with a hit record currently on the charts, while the middle act was someone on the way up. The opening act was either a popular local band or, in some cases, a brand new group that had just released their first album. It was not entirely uncommon for the second act to actually get a better audience response than the headliner, especially if the headliner turned out to be a one-hit wonder with no staying power. It was extremely rare, however, for the opening act to blow both of the other two bands out of the water. In fact, I can think of only one time that happened when I was in the audience. It was 1972, and I don't even remember who the headliner was. The middle band was Jo Jo Gunne, featuring front man Jay Ferguson, formerly of Spirit. They weren't bad, although the only songs I remember them performing were Run Run Run and 99 Days. The opening act, however, totally blew me away with their outstanding musicianship and strong material. That band was Captain Beyond, formed by former members of Iron Butterfly (bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt), Deep Purple (vocalist Rod Evans) and drummer Bobby Caldwell, who would eventually go on to have a moderately successful solo career. I was so impressed with their set that I went to the record store the very next day and bought their album (which has this really cool 3D cover, by the way). Mesmerization Eclipse, from that debut LP, was written by the entire band, although only Evans and Caldwell got official writing credits on the album, due to Rhino and Dorman still being under contract to Iron Butterfly at the time.
   
Artist:    Nektar
Title:    Cryin' In The Dark/King Of Twilight
Source:    LP: A Tab In The Ocean
Writer(s):    Nektar
Label:    Passport (original German label: Bellaphon)
Year:    1972 (US release: 1976)
    On the surface it seems like a story you've heard before: a group of young British musicians go to Hamburg, Germany to hone their craft, building up a cult following in the process. But this story is not about the Beatles. It is about Nektar, formed in 1969 by Roye Albrighton on guitars and vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums, and Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and special effects. Nektar's early style is well represented on Cryin' In The Dark/King Of Twilight, the closing tracks on their 1972 album A Tab In The Ocean. The LP was originally released in Germany in 1972 on the Bellaphon label, leading many people to assume Nektar was in fact a German band and an early example of "Kraut Rock". Nektar would eventually become closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the early to mid 1970s, thanks in large part to A Tab In The Ocean finally being released in the US in 1976. Like fellow prog-rockers Genesis and Gentle Giant, Nektar began to commercialize their sound with shorter songs containing fewer time and key changes as the decade wore on; unlike those other bands, however, Nektar did not become more popular because of the changes. Indeed, by 1978, the band had decided to call it quits, although two of the members reformed the band briefly the following year, releasing one album in 1980 before disbanding again in 1982.

   

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2027 (starts 6/29/20)



    It's the first week of the second half of the year, which, in America, means it's the fourth of July, the anniversary of the official beginning of a rebellion that shook the world. This week on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era we celebrate the musical rebellion that helped define the 1960s in America, starting with a brief history of protest songs, starting with a hit cover version of a Pete Seeger song...

Artist:    Kingston Trio
Title:    Where Have All The Flowers Gone
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1961
    Protest songs did not start in the 1960s. Indeed, two of the genre's torchbearers, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, had been around since the 1930s. But McCarthyism in the early 1950s had squelched virtually all non-conformist voices in the US, and it wasn't until late 1961, when the clean-cut Kingston Trio recorded their own version of Seeger's Where Have All The Flowers Gone, that a protest song received enough national exposure to become a genuine hit, going to the #21 spot on the top 40 charts in early 1962. Peter, Paul And Mary included their own version of the song on their chart-topping (five weeks at #1) debut LP later that year.

Artist:    Peter, Paul And Mary
Title:    Blowin' In The Wind
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1963
    Just as knowing the chords for Van Morrison's Gloria was pretty much a prerequisite for being in a garage band, being able to play Bob Dylan's Blowing In The Wind was a must for anyone attempting to play folk music at a party in the mid-1960s. If there was more than one of you singing, you most likely used the Peter, Paul and Mary arrangement of the tune, with its three-part harmony. Their version was by far the most popular recording of the song, going all the way to the # 2 spot on the top 40 charts in the summer of '63.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    There But For Fortune
Source:    45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer:    Phil Ochs
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1965
    When I was a kid I used to occasionally pick up something called a grab bag at the local PX (my dad being in the military, I had access to such places). It was literally a sealed brown paper bag with anywhere from four to six 45 rpm records in it. Usually these were "cut-outs", leftover copies of records that hadn't sold as well as expected. Often they were five or six years old (albeit unplayed). Once in a while, though, there would be a real gem among them. My original copy of the Joan Baez recording of Phil Ochs's There But For Fortune was one such gem. I later found a promo copy while working at KUNM in Albuquerque, which is the one I use now, since my original is long since worn out. Not only was this record my first introduction to Joan Baez, it was also the first record I had ever seen on the Vanguard label and the first song written by Phil Ochs I had ever heard. Not bad for twelve and a half cents, especially when you consider that the flip side was Baez doing a Bob Dylan tune.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as EP)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Year:    1965
    A relatively new arrival on the highly politicized Berkeley folk music scene in 1965, Country Joe McDonald had already organized a loose group of musicians to play at "teach-ins" designed to educate the public about what was really going on in Vietnam. He was also attempting to put together a newspaper with a similar focus, but found himself short of usable copy. His solution was to create a "talking issue" by inserting a 7" 33 1/3 RPM record into the paper. His own contribution to the record was the first recorded version of a song that would later become one of the best-known antiwar tunes ever penned: the iconic I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag. The actual makeup of the band called Country Joe And The Fish on this recording is not quite clear, other than the fact that both McDonald and Barry Melton played on it. An early video made of the group performing the song shows several people I don't recognize alternating on the vocals.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Barking Pumpkin (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends (originally released on LP: Pleasures Of The Harbor)
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    In 1964, less than a week after my 11th birthday, an event happened over 2000 miles from where I lived that would have a profound effect on my view of humanity, particularly the portion of it that lived in large cities. Late one night, a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside of her apartment in Queens, NY., in front of witnesses, none of whom came to her defense. One witness late told police that she "didn't want to get involved". After he was apprehended, the killer was asked why he had attacked her in front of witnesses. His chilling reply was that he knew no one would help, because "people never do". That did not ring true to my 11-year-old self. I had been raised by good-hearted people with small-town values. When someone was in trouble, you helped them out. That's just how it was. Yet, that had not happened when Kitty Genovese was attacked. Ever since then I've tried to find empathy for, not only the victims, but those who stand by and do nothing. I've tried to understand why. Although I've made some progress, I still haven't figured it out. Apparently I was not the only one affected by the story. Phil Ochs used it as the starting point for what would turn out to be his most popular song, Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends, from his 1967 LP Pleasures Of The Harbor. I didn't get to hear that song until the late 1970s. It was banned in most radio markets because of the line "smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer", and ended up stalling out a dozen or so spots short of the top 100 when it was released as a single in 1967. In fact, I only heard it after hearing the new that Ochs had committed suicide in 1976, and one of my fellow DJs at KUNM played the song as part of a Phil Ochs memorial segment. Apparently the Genovese story, as well as other events described in the song, affected Ochs profoundly as well.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Piggies
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1968
    Beatle George Harrison had first revealed an anti-establishment side with his song Taxman, released in 1966 on the Revolver album. This particular viewpoint remained dormant until the song Piggies came out on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Although the song was intended to be satirical in tone, at least one Californian, Charles Manson, took it seriously enough to justify "whacking" a few "piggies" of his own. It was not pretty.
   
Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Monster/Suicide/America
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released on LP: Monster)
Writer(s):    Kay/Edmonton/St. Nicholas/Byrom
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1969
    Although they are mostly remembered for hits like Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride, Steppenwolf always had a social/political side as well, as evidenced by songs like The Ostrich and Don't Step On the Grass, Sam, but when it comes to pure political songs, the Monster trilogy is usually the first one that comes to mind. Personally, I consider it to be Steppenwolf's masterpiece. 

Artist:    Crosby, Still, Nash & Young
Title:    Ohio
Source:    CD: Decade (Neil Young anthology)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1970
    One of the most powerful records to come out of the Nixon years, Ohio was written by Neil Young in response to the shooting deaths of four college students by National Guard troops at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Young wrote the lyrics after seeing photos of the incident in Life magazine. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded the song with their new rhythm section of Calvin Samuels and Johnny Barbata on May 21st. The recording was rush released within a few week, becoming a counter-culture anthem and cementing the group's reputation as spokesmen for their generation. Young later referred to the Kent State shootings as "probably the biggest lesson ever learned at an American place of learning," adding that "David Crosby cried when we finished this take." Crosby can be heard ad-libbing "Four, why? Why did they die?" and "How many more?" during the song's fadeout.

    From protest songs we move on to something there was no shortage of during the psychedelic era: youthful rebellion.

Artist:    Who
Title:    My Generation
Source:    Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 the Who released a song that quickly became the anthem of a generation. As a matter of fact it's My Generation. Some of us, including Who drummer Keith Moon, did indeed die before we got old. The rest of us weren't so lucky, but hey, that's life.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Let Me Be
Source:    CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: It Ain't Me Babe and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1965
    The Turtles were nothing if not able to redefine themselves when the need arose. Originally a surf band known as the Crossfires, the band quickly adopted an "angry young men" stance with their first single, Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, and the subsequent album of the same name. For the follow-up single the band chose a track from their album, Let Me Be, that, although written by a different writer, had the same general message as It Ain't Me Babe. The band would soon switch over to love songs like Happy Together and She'd Rathr Be With Me before taking their whole chameleon bit to its logical extreme with an album called Battle Of The Bands on which each track was meant to sound like it was done by an entirely different group.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic, although it took the better part of two years to catch on. Originally released in 1965 as Your Pushin' Too Hard, the song was virtually ignored by local Los Angeles radio stations until a second single, Can't Seem To Make You Mine, started getting some attention. After being included on the Seeds' debut LP in 1966, Pushin' Too Hard was rereleased and soon was being heard all over the L.A. airwaves. By the end of the year stations in other markets were starting to spin the record, and the song hit its peak of popularity in early 1967.

    If life was difficult for a typical middle-class teenager in the mid-1960s (as it is for teenagers everywhen), imagine what it must have been like for someone living on the poor side of town.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Animals (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Dead End Street
Source:     Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:     Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The last major Kinks hit in the US was Sunny Afternoon in the summer of 1966. The follow-up Deadend Street, released in November, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success in the US (although it was a top five hit in the UK). The Kinks would not have another major US hit until Lola was released in 1970.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:     Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ed Cobb
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1966
     The Standells were probably the most successful band to record for the Tower label (not counting Pink Floyd, whose first LP was issued, in modified form, on the label after being recorded in England). Besides their big hit Dirty Water, they hit the charts with other tunes such as Why Pick On Me, Try It, and the punk classic Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. All but Try It were written by producer Ed Cobb, who has to be considered the most prolific punk-rock songwriter of the 60s, having also written some of the Chocolate Watch Band's best stuff as well.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child
Source:    Mono CD: Songs Of protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Rhino (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) 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. Ironic, considering that Society's Child ends with the protagonist backing down and giving in to society's rules.

    Even in the psychedelic era, youthful rebellion would often give way to (or sometimes even lead to) War!

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).

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Unknown Soldier
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    One of the oddest recordings to get played on top 40 radio was the Door's 1968 release, The Unknown Soldier. The song is notable for having it's own promotional film made by keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who had been a film major at UCLA when the Doors were formed. It's not known whether the song was written with the film in mind (or vice versa), but the two have a much greater synergy than your average music video. As for the question of whether the Doors themselves were anti-war, let's just say that vocalist Jim Morrison, who wrote the lyrics to The Unknown Soldier, was pretty much anti-everything.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    2+2=?
Source:    LP: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man (originally released as 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. His first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, one of the most powerful anti-war songs ever recorded. The track was included on Seger's first album, Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, the following year, with one minor difference. Near the end of the song everything stops for a couple of seconds before the song resumes at full speed. Capitol was afraid of how that might go over with top 40 radio programmers (who were notoriously paranoid about "dead air") and had the band add a tone-bending power chord to the single version to cover up the silence. The album version (heard here), has the original silence intact.

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:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    Sky Pilot
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Twain Shall Meet)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    After the original Animals lineup disbanded in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon quickly set out to form a "New Animals" group that would come to be called Eric Burdon and the Animals. The new band was much more rooted in the psychedelic era than its predecessor, with songs like A Girl Named Sandoz (Sandoz being the name of the lab that first developed LSD) appearing as the B side of their first single, and San Franciscan Nights, an invitation to Europeans to hook up with the hippie culture of Haight-Ashbury, making the charts in 1967. Their most memorable release, Sky Pilot, called the religious establishment to task for its tacit endorsement of warfare itself through the practice of including chaplains as part of the military heirarchy. The song, running over seven minutes in length, was spread out over two sides of a 45 RPM single, making it difficult for radio stations to play in its entirety (the album version cross fades into the next track). Nonetheless, Sky Pilot managed to hit a respectable #14 on the charts in 1968.

Artist:      Jethro Tull
Title:     Hymn 43
Source:      CD: Aqualung
Writer:    Ian Adnerson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1971
     Eric Burdon And The Animals proved in 1968, with the song Sky Pilot, that you could now take on the religious establishment in a rock song and end up with a hit record. Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull, soon followed with the release of Christmas Song later that same year. It turned out that Christmas Song was only a hint of what would come three years later. Most (if not all) of the second side of the 1971 LP Aqualung presented a scathing criticism of what Anderson perceived as rampant hypocrisy within the Anglican church. Aqualung still stands as Jethro Tull's best-selling album, with over seven million copies sold worldwide. Hymn 43, a song that focuses more on America's heavy-handed use of religion as a tool, was released as a single, going to the #91 spot on the Billboard charts, despite being effectively banned on AM radio.

    You'd think that war would be the way it ends (and that may yet be the case), although some would argue that religion will get there first. Still, it's probably a good idea to take a step back and consider the state of the Union, both then and now, before coming to a final conclusion.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    By mid-1966 Hollywood's Sunset Strip was being taken over every night by local teenagers, with several underage clubs featuring live music being a major attraction. Many of the businesses in the area, citing traffic problems and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, began to put pressure on city officials to do something about the situation. The city responded by passing new loitering ordinances and imposing a 10PM curfew on the Strip. They also began putting pressure on the clubs, including condemning the popular Pandora's Box for demolition. On November 12, 1966 fliers appeared on the streets inviting people to a demonstration that evening to protest the closing of the club. The demostration continued over a period of days, exascerbated by the city's decision to revoke the permits of a dozen other clubs on the Strip, forcing them to bar anyone under the age of 21 from entering. Stephen Stills, a member of Buffalo Springfield, one of the many bands appearing regularly in these clubs, wrote a new song in response to the situation, and the band quickly booked studio time, recording the still-unnamed track on December 5th. The band had recently released their debut LP, but sales of the album were lackluster due to the lack of a hit single. Stills reportedly presented the new recording to label head Ahmet Ertegun with the words "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Ertegun, sensing that he had a hit on his hands, got the song rush-released two days before Christmas, 1966, using For What It's Worth as the official song title, but sub-titling it Stop, Hey What's That Sound on the label as well. As predicted, For What It's Worth was an instant hit in the L.A. market, and soon went national, where it was taken by most record buyers to be about the general sense of unrest being felt across the nation over issues like racial equality and the Vietnam War (and oddly enough, by some people as being about the Kent State massacre, even though that happened nearly three years after the song was released). As the single moved up the charts, eventually peaking at #7, Atco recalled the Buffalo Springfield LP, reissuing it with a modified song selection that included For What It's Worth as the album's openng track. Needless to say, album sales picked up after that. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of the Buffalo Springfield album without For What It's Worth on it, although I'm sure some of those early pressings must still exist.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Ball Of Confusion
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Rhino (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1970
    By 1970 an interesting situation had developed at Motown Records. Various production teams had achieved a degree of autonomy not usually seen in the record industry, resulting in a variety of styles coming from the label, each of which was identified with a particular team. The psychedelic branch of the label was run by Norm Whitfield and Barrett Strong, whose work mostly appeared on the Gordy label. Their stable of artists included Edwin Starr, the Undisputed Truth and the Temptations, the latter of which had gone through several lineup changes that left them without original lead vocalist David Ruffin. Whitfield and Strong used this situation to their best advantage by splitting the lead vocals among several group members within each song. One of the first songs to take this approach was Ball Of Confusion, released in 1970. A longer version of the song, using a less edited version of the same Funk Brothers instrumental track, was released by the Undisputed Truth as a B side.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966 (stereo version, 1969)
     Season Of The Witch has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring tracks on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the album was not released in the UK until late 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. Like all tracks from both Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, Season Of The Witch was only available in a mono mix until 1969, when a new stereo mix was created from the original multi-track masters for the singer/songwriter's first greatest hits compilation. Season of the Witch has since been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge.

Artist:     Barry McGuire
Title:     Eve of Destruction
Source:     CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     P.F. Sloan
Label:     Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1965
     P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity.

    With the state of the Union being basically a state of confusion, there seemed to be only one appropriate response to it. But of course, there were consequences.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     Don't Step On The Grass, Sam
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer:     John Kay
Label:     MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Never afraid to make his social and political views known, Steppenwolf's John Kay wrote Don't Step On The Grass, Sam for the band's second LP, released in 1968. It's taken nearly 50 years, but it looks like Kay's finally starting to get his wish.

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:    Graham Nash
Title:    Prison Song
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Graham Nash's Prison Song is one of those songs that by all rights should have been a huge hit. It was by a name artist. It had a catchy opening harmonica riff and a haunting melody. I can only surmise that once again Bill Drake (the man who controlled top 40 radio in the 60s and early 70s) decided that the lyrics were too controversial for AM radio and had the song blacklisted, much as he had done with the Byrds Eight Miles High a few years earlier. Those lyrics center on a subject that is unfortunately still relevant today: the utter absurdity of drug laws and the unequal sentences for violation of those laws in the US and its various states.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2027 (starts 6/29/20)



    Once again we have reached the halfway point of the year, and, for Americans, that means it's 4th of July week. We start off, appropriately enough, with our national anthem.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix
Title:     Star-Spangled Banner
Source:     CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    John Stafford Smith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:     1969
     When the Woodstock film and soundtrack album was released, right-wingers across the nation decried the disrespect inherent in the Jimi Hendrix interpretation of the Star-Spangled Banner. Looking at it another way, however, it was a US Army veteran playing his country's national anthem on guitar in the style he was famous for. Is that any less patriotic than Whitney Houston singing that same anthem in her own style years later?

Artist:     Nice
Title:     America
Source:     LP: Elegy
Writer:     Bernstein/Sondheim
Label:     Charisma
Year:     1971
     Before Emerson, Lake And Palmer became one of the hottest acts on the progressive rock scene, there was a band called the Nice that featured Keith Emerson on keyboards. The group released several singles and albums, including a hard rocking instrumental version of Leonard Bernstein's America (from West Side Story) in 1968. Emerson famously burned a US flag during the performance of the piece at a charity performance at the Royal Albert Hall in July of that year. As a result, the Nice was permanently banned from that venue. By 1970 Emerson had left the Nice to join up with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer. This did not stop Mercury Records from issuing, in 1971, an album called Elegy (credited to Keith Emerson and the Nice) that included a live version of America.

Artist:     Yes
Title:     America
Source:     CD: Yesterdays (originally released in UK on LP: The New Age of Atlantic)
Writer:     Paul Simon
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1972
     Following the success of the Fragile album and the hit single Roundabout, Yes went into the studio to cut a ten and a half minute cover of Paul Simon's America for a UK-only sampler album called The New Age Of Atlantic. The track was then edited down for single release in the US as a followup to Roundabout. The original unedited track was finally released in the US on the 1974 album Yesterdays, which also included several tracks from two earlier Yes albums that featured an earlier lineup of the band that included guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Paul Simon's America was, in fact, the only track on Yesterdays that featured the classic Yes lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squires, Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman.

Artist:    Graham Nash/David Crosby
Title:    Immigration Man
Source:    LP: Graham Nash David Crosby
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Anything I could say here would only detract from the point of this song, and the reason I'm playing it.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Immigrant Song
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Although the third Led Zeppelin album is known mostly for its surprising turn toward a more acoustic sound than its predecessors, the first single from that album actually rocked out as hard, if not harder, than any previous Zeppelin track. In fact, it could be argued that Immigrant Song rocks out harder than anything on top 40 radio before or since. Starting with a tape echo deliberately feeding on itself the song breaks into a basic riff built on two notes an octave apart, with Robert Plant's wailing vocals sounding almost like a siren call. Guitarist Jimmy Page soon breaks into a series of power chords that continue to build in intensity for the next two minutes, until the song abruptly stops cold. The lyrics of Immigrant Song were inspired by the band's trip to Iceland in 1970.

Artist:    Who
Title:    We're Not Gonna Take It
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    The final track of the Who's landmark rock-opera Tommy is We're Not Gonna Take It. The track actually has two distinct parts, with the more famous "See Me Feel Me" section leading into a repeated chorus that slowly fades out. This week, though, we present the first half of the track, where Tommy's followers finally say enough is enough and refuse to follow his ridiculous directives any longer. Seems to me we could use a bit of that right now ourselves.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Politician
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Despite its title, Cream's Politician, from the Wheels Of fire album, is really not the kind of scathing indictment you might expect from a track from 1968. Indeed, the song's lyrics are actually gentle satire rather than overt criticism. Eric Clapton's guitar work, however, is always a treat, and on Politician he knocks out not one, but two overdubbed solos at the same time, along with his basic guitar track. Controlled chaos at its best!

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    War Pigs
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Originally titled Walpurgis, Black Sabbath's War Pigs, the opening track on their second LP, Paranoid, started off being about the Witches' Sabbath (Walpurgis being the Satanists' analog to Christmas). As Bill Butler's lyrics developed, however, the song ended up being more about how the rich and powerful declare the wars, but send the poor off to die in them. Either way, it's about evil people doing evil things and the rest of us suffering for it. I guess some things never change.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    It Better End Soon
Source:    CD: Chicago
Writer(s):    Lamm/Parazaider/Kath
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    It may come as a surprise to those familiar with the many "safe" hits cranked out by Chicago from the mid-70s  through the late 80s, that Chicago was originally one of the most political (and hard rocking) bands on the national rock scene. For example, most of the fourth side of the second Chicago LP, released in 1970, is taken up by the hard-hitting It Better End Soon. Written by keyboardist Robert Lamm, the four-movement continuous piece features vocals by guitarist Terry Kath (who shares writing credit on the third movement), and includes an outstanding flute solo from Walter Parazaider, earning him a co-writing credit on the piece's second movement. The lyrics of It Better End Soon appeared on the inner gatefold cover of the double-LP' along with a "Producer's note", stating "This endeavor should be experienced sequentially", and a declaration written by Robert Lamm: "With this album, we dedicate ourselves, our futures and our energies to the people of the revolution. And the revolution in all of its forms."






Sunday, June 21, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2026 (starts 6/22/20)



    The calendar says it's summer, and that means baseball season. But of course, it's 2020 and there IS no baseball. So, to start things off, we have the original 1966 version of a song that has been, for several years now, associated with a certain movie about a baseball team. From there we have 22 more tasty tracks, including a set from Cream and one from the Kinks, the latter of which features a couple of truly obscure songs that have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. Our last half hour consists of two really long tracks from 1969, one from the James Gang and the other from Blind Faith. Enjoy!

Artist:     Troggs
Title:     Wild Thing
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Chip Taylor
Label:     Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:     1966
    I have a DVD copy of a music video (although back then they were called promotional films) for the Troggs' Wild Thing in which the members of the band are walking through what looks like a train station while being mobbed by girls at every turn. Every time I watch it I imagine singer Reg Presley saying giggity-giggity as he bobs his head.

Artist:    Remains
Title:    Don't Look Back
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Billy Vera
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    The Remains were a Boston area band that were seemingly on the verge of finally hitting the big time in 1966. They had just finished opening for the Beatles on their last US tour and had procured the rights to record a song written by Billy Vera, who would score a huge hit of his own 20 years later with At This Moment. Somehow, though, Don't Look Back didn't make the charts, despite its obvious potential. It was the last of a series of disappointments for a group that had been cutting records since 1964, and they soon packed up their instruments for the last time.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Barking Pumpkin (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band.  Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey, while Baker's partner was poet Pete Brown. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    We're Going Wrong
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Even Ginger Baker set aside his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream (released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. Instead the song was released on two sides of a single in 1967, with 90 seconds removed from the song between parts one and two. The single never charted and now is somewhat difficult to find a copy of (not that anybody would want to). A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1969 compilation album Best Of Cream that the uncut studio version was finally released in the US.

Artist:    American Dream
Title:    Storm
Source:    LP: The American Dream
Writer(s):    Nick Jameson
Label:    Ampex
Year:    1970
    In 1970 Albert Grossman, best known for being the manager of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and others, decided to form his own record label, Bearsville Records. One of his first acts was to sign Todd Rundgren, who had just left his own band, Nazz, as a producer and engineer for the new label. The first album produced by Rundgren for Bearsville, released as the inaugural LP of the new Ampex label (owned by the magnetic tape giant) was a Philadelphia band called The American Dream. The band's lead guitarist, Nick Jameson, wrote several of the songs on the album, including Storm. Jameson became Foghat's bassist in the mid-1970s and more recently has turned to acting, appearing, among other places, in several episodes of the TV series 24 as Russian president Yuri Suvanov. Rundgren, meanwhile, went on to become one of the most influential figures in rock music, both as artist and producer.

Artist:    Move
Title:    I Can Hear The Grass Grow
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    Rhino (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular British bands from 1966-1969 was the Move. Formed by members of various beat bands, the Move consisted of Carl Wayne (vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar, vocals), Roy Wood (guitar, vocals), "Ace" Kefford (bass, vocals) and Bev Bevan, the group scored hit after hit on the British charts, yet never broke the US top 40. Why this should be is a mystery, considering the sheer quality of tunes like I Can Hear The Grass Grow. Written, as were most of the Move's hits, by Roy Wood, I Can Hear The Grass Grow was the band's second single, and ended up in the #5 spot on the British charts. Eventually the Move would add Jeff Lynne to the lineup and form, as a side project, a new band called the Electric Light Orchestra, which became an internationally successful band in the 1970s.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     Hampstead Incident
Source:     Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     Epic
Year:     1967
     The Beatles started a trend (one of many) when they used a harpsichord on the Rubber Soul album, released in December of 1965. By early 1967 it seemed that just about everyone had a song or two with the antique instrument featured on it. Unlike many of the recordings of the time, Hampstead Incident manages to use the harpsichord, as well as several other instruments not normally associated with folk-rock, effectively without overdoing it.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Shifting Sands
Source:    CD: Part One
Writer(s):    Baker Knight
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Despite releasing six albums over a five-year period, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band never had a hit record. One attempt was Shifting Sands, one of two Baker Knight compositions the band released on Part One, their first LP for Reprise Records.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Mr. Webster
Source:     CD: Headquarters
Writer:     Boyce/Hart
Label:     Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:     1967
     After scathing criticism from the rock press for not playing their own instruments, the Monkees were determined to show that they could do it themselves with their third LP, Headquarters. One of the better, yet often overlooked tracks is Mr. Webster, a folk-rock song about an underappreciated bank security guard who decides to determine his own retirement bonus. Although their musicianship was nowhere near being on a level with the studio musicians who had played on their first two albums, the Monkees, in the words of Peter Tork, finally felt like a "real band". Unfortunately the damage to their reputations was already past the point of redemption, and subsequent LPs all used studio musicians, albeit under the direct supervision of the Monkees themselves.

Artist:    Pawnbrokers
Title:    Realize
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    English/Hanson/Richey/Rogne
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Big Sound)
Year:    1968
    Starting around 1965, high school students all across middle America began forming garage bands, most of which emulated British Invasion bands such as the Kinks and the Rolling Stones. It's no surprise then, that by 1968 some of these same high schoolers were now enrolled in colleges such as the University of Northern Iowa and forming bands with names like the Pawnbrokers. The group, whose members came from Iowa, North Dakota and Minnesota, released three singles on at least two different labels before graduation brought an end to the whole thing. The second of these was Realize, which was issued on the Big Sound label out of Davenport (one of the Quad Cities).

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Iron Butterfly Theme
Source:    LP: Evolution-The Best Of Iron Butterfly (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Cat's Squirrel
Source:     LP: This Was
Writer:     Trad. Arr. Abrahams
Label:     Chrysalis
Year:     1968
     Probably the Jethro Tull recording with the least Ian Anderson influence, Cat's Squirrel was recorded at the insistence of record company people, who felt the song was most representative of the band's live sound. The traditional tune was arranged by guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left the band due to creative differences with Anderson shortly thereafter. Cat's Squirrel became a live staple of Abrahams's next band, Blodwyn Pig.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    L.A. Woman
Source:    LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    Ray Manzarek became justifiably famous as the keyboard player for the Doors. Before joining up with Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, however, Manzarek was already making a name for himself as an up-and-coming student filmmaker at UCLA. Although he didn't have much of a need to pursue a career in films once the Doors hit it big, he did end up producing and directing an outstanding video for the title track of the 1971 album L.A. Woman years after the band had split up. I only mention this because, really, what else can I say about a song that you've probably heard a million times or so?

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    This Is Where I Belong
Source:    Mono French import 45 RPM EP: The Kinks (originally released internationally as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    BMG (original label: Pye)
Year:    1967
    Long considered the most obscure Kinks song ever recorded, This Is Where I Belong was originally slated to be the non-album B side of a song called Mr. Pleasant. The record was prepared for release in the UK, Europe and Asia in April of 1967, but withdrawn in the UK in favor of Waterloo Sunset. The single did get released in nine countries, however, including France, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. Mr. Pleasant was also released in the US, but with a different B side. This Is Where I Belong is now a bit more accessible, appearing as a bonus track on the British CD reissue of the Face To Face album and on a 4-song EP issued in France in 2016.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Waterloo Sunset
Source:    CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released on LP: Something Else)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    One of the most beautiful tunes ever recorded by the Kinks is Waterloo Sunset, a song that was a hit single in the UK, but was totally ignored by US radio stations. The reason for this neglect of such a stong song is a mystery, however it may have been due to the fear that American audiences would not be able to relate to all the references to places in and around London in the song's lyrics. Then again, it could have been because the Kinks were banned (by  the American Federation of Television and Recording Artists) from performing in the US at the time, and so could not effectively promote the song. We'll never know for sure.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    People Take Pictures Of Each Other
Source:    Mono French import 45 RPM EP: The Kinks (originally released on LP: The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    BMG (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    People Take Pictures Of Each Other is the final track on the 1968 LP The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Of course, nowadays people take pictures of themselves. How times have changed.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    San Franciscan Nights
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, the band fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Death Sound Blues
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967.

Artist:           Blind Faith
Title:        Do What You Like
Source:      LP: Blind Faith
Writer:    Ginger Baker
Label:     Polydor
Year:        1969
       Ginger Baker basically invented the rock drum solo, or at least was the first to record one in the studio, with the track Toad from the Fresh Cream album, released in 1966. A live version of the song was featured on the Wheels Of Fire album in 1968. The following year, recording technology had progressed to the point of allowing a true stereo mix of Baker's massive double bass drum setup for the track Do What You Like, a much more sophisticated composition than Toad. Featuring a vocal track as well as solos by all four band members, Do What You Like runs over 15 minutes in length.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Stop!
Source:    LP: The Best Of The James Gang (originally released on LP: Yer' Album)
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Shuman
Label:    ABC (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    Stop! is the final and longest track on the Yer' Album, the first LP by the James Gang. Released in 1969, the album is remembered best for being the recording debut of guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, who would go on to have a highly successful career, both as a solo artist and later as a member of the Eagles, replacing founder Bernie Leadon. Although Stop! has a tendency to drag a bit (and to my ears sounds like it suffers from bad mastering), the track does showcase Walsh's improvisational ability.