Sunday, January 12, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2003 (starts 1/13/20)

    This week we have artists' sets from Hendrix and Cream, a fairly psychedelic blues set, a whole bunch of tunes from 1967, and, just for the fun of it, a set of garage sounding singles from three different countries. To get things started, we take a short trip through the years 1965 through 1968, beginning with a Bob Dylan classic...

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Cheating
Source:    Mono LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Burdon/Chandler
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    As a general rule, the original Animals wrote very little of their own material, preferring to record covers of their favorite blues songs to supplement the songs from professional songwriters that producer Mickie Most picked for single release. One notable exception is Cheating, a strong effort from vocalist Eric Burdon and bassist Chas Chandler that appeared on the Animalization album. The hard-driving song was also chosen for release as a B side in 1966.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Embryonic Journey
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Jorma Kaukonen originally considered Embryonic Journey to be little more than a practice exercise. Other members of Jefferson Airplane insisted he record it, however, and it has since come to be identified as a kind of signature song for the guitarist, who played the tune live when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Artist:    Flamin' Groovies
Title:    I'm Drowning
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Sneakers)
Writer(s):    Roy Loney
Label:    Rhino (original label: Snazz)
Year:    1968
    An anomaly among San Francisco bands, the Flamin' Groovies were in a sense a throwback to the early days of the local SF music scene, with an emphasis on basic rock and roll rather than extended jamming or psychedelic experimentation. Although they eventually ended up signing a contract with a major label, it was their self-issued 10" mono LP (or maybe EP) Sneakers that captured the essence of the band. I'm Drowning was written by original lead vocalist Roy Loney, who would be gone by the time the band made their major label debut.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    EXP/Up From The Skies
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, is very much a studio creation. Hendrix had been taking a growing interest in what could be done in stereo with multiple tracks to work with (at a time when most artists were putting the bulk of their energy into making the best mono mixes for AM radio), and came up with a masterpiece. What makes the achievement even more remarkable is the fact that he actually only had four tracks to work with (compared to the virtually unlimited number available with modern digital equipment). EXP, which opens the album, is an exercise in creative feedback bouncing from speaker to speaker. The intro to the piece is a faux interview of a slowed-down Hendrix (posing as his friend Paul Caruso) by bassist Noel Redding. The track leads directly into Up From The Skies, the only song on the album to be issued as a single in the US. Up From The Skies features Hendrix's extensive use of a wah-wah pedal, with vocals and guitar panning back and forth from speaker to speaker over the jazz-styled brushes of drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Castles Made Of Sand
Source:     CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Although born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix was never associated with the local music scene that produced some of the loudest and raunchiest punk-rock of the mid 60s. Instead, he paid his professional dues backing R&B artists on the "chitlin circuit" of clubs playing to a mostly-black clientele, mainly in the southern US. After a short stint leading his own soul band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Hendrix, at the behest of one Chas Chandler, moved to London, where he recuited a pair of local musicians, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Although known for his innovative use of feedback, Hendrix was quite capable of knocking out some of the most complex "clean" riffs ever to be committed to vinyl. A prime example of this is Castles Made Of Sand. Hendrix's highly melodic guitar work combined with unusual tempo changes and haunting lyrics makes Castles Made Of Sand a classic that sounds as fresh today as it did when Axis: Bold As Love was released in 1967. The first time I ever heard this song it gave me chills.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on. Especially the spoken part in the middle, when Jimi says the words "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want." It sounds like he's inside your head with you.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Magical Mystery Tour
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    1967 had been a great year for the Beatles, starting with their double-sided hit single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and their late summer hit All You Need Is Love, with its worldwide TV debut (one of the few events of the time to utilize satellite technology). The next project, however, did not go over quite so well. It had been over two years since the group's last major movie (HELP!), and the band decided that their next film would be an exclusive for broadcast on BBC-TV. Unlike the previous two films, this new project would not follow traditional filmmaking procedures. Instead it would be a more experimental piece; a series of loosely related songs and comedy vignettes connected by a loose plot about a bus trip to the countryside. Magical Mystery Tour made its debut in early December of 1967 to overwhelmingly negative reaction by viewers and critics alike (partially because the film was shown in black and white on the tradition minded BBC-1 network; a later rebroadcast in color on BBC-2 went over much better). The songs used in the film, however, were quite popular. Since there were only six of them, far too few for a regular LP, it was decided to issue the album as a pair of 45 RPM EPs, complete with lyric sheets and booklet recounting the story from the film. The original EPs were available in both stereo and mono versions in Europe and the UK. In the US, where the six tunes were supplemented by the band's five remaining single sides from 1967 to create an LP, Magical Mystery Tour was only available in stereo. Although both the EP and LP versions have different sequencing than the telefilm, all three open the same way, with the film's title song.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    Care Of Cell 44
Source:    CD: Odessey And Oracle (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Varese Sarabande (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    By mid-1967 things were looking pretty grim for the Zombies. After a brilliant start with the smash hit She's Not There, the band had a series of singles that did progressively worse on the charts, leading their British label, Decca, to drop the group from its roster. Gigs were becoming scarce as well, and the members of the band were getting desperate for cash. Somehow, though, they managed to get a deal with CBS Records, which had been formed in 1962 to distribute recordings by American artists originally issued on the US Columbia label, but, starting in 1965, had been occasionally signing British acts as well. Even more remarkable was the fact that the band was given complete artistic control to produce an entire album, something that was virtually unheard of in 1967 (even the Beatles had to work with a producer provided by their record label, in their case the legendary George Martin). The bulk of the album, which came to be called Odessey And Oracle, was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios. Since they were not recording for an EMI-owned label they had to book studio time on a as-available basis, often going weeks between sessions. This gave them time to perfect the songs before committing them to tape, but it also left them financially strapped. The first track released from the project was Care Of Cell 44, a song that takes the form of a letter to a loved one who is about to be released from prison. The single was released in both the UK and the US in November of 1967, but failed to chart, and the Zombies disbanded the following month. Nonetheless, CBS issued the album in April of 1968; in the US Columbia Records, which had issued the Care Of Cell 44 single, chose not to release the album at all until staff producer Al Kooper (who Super Session was a surprise hit in 1968) convinced Columbia to release it on their little-known Date subsidiary at a budget price in June. Late in the year the final track on the album, a song called Time Of The Season, began getting airplay, ultimately becoming a top five hit single in 1969.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock And Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 50 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Levitation
Source:    British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The first album by the 13th Floor Elevators has long been considered a milestone, in that it was one of the first truly psychedelic albums ever released (and the first to actually use the word "psychedelic" in the title). For their followup LP, the group decided to take their time, going through some personnel changes in the process. Still, the core membership of Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall and Stacy Sutherland held it together long enough to complete Easter Everywhere, releasing the album in 1967. The idea behind the album was to present a spiritual vision that combined both Eastern and Western religious concepts (and some pretty heavy philosophy) in a rock context. For the most part, such as on tracks like Levitation, it succeeds remarkably well, considering the strife the band was going through at the time.
Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    LP released 1967, single edit released 1968
    Time Has Come Today has one of the most convoluted histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I
Source:    CD: Underground
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz were songwriters who had their greatest success when the Electric Prunes released one of their songs, I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night), in early 1967. The record was such a great success, in fact, that the band's producer insisted that the group record more Tucker/Mantz songs, including a second charted single, Get Me To The World On Time, and several album tracks. One of those album tracks, I, is the only recording by the original band to exceed the five minute mark, an ironic fact considering that it is the song with the shortest title in the history of recorded music.

Artist:    Critters
Title:    Mr. Dieingly Sad
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Don Ciccone
Label:    Era (original label: Kapp)
Year:    1966
    The Critters were not, by any stretch of the imagination, a psychedelic band. Still, when in comes to the year 1966, one of the first songs that pops into to my mind is their hit single Mr. Dieingly Sad. The Critters were formed when Don Ciccone, who sang and played guitar, and saxophonist Bob Podstawski joined a New Jersey the Vibratones in 1964, transforming them from an instrumental band to one of the first American bands to compete directly with the British Invasion bands. The band soon released their first single on the Musicor label, switching to Kapp Records the following year. Mr. Diengly Sad became the group's only top 20 hit, peaking at #17 as the summer of 1966 was coming to a close. The group split up in 1968, and after a stint in the military Ciccone joined the 4 Seasons for awhile (temporarily replacing Frankie Valli, who had left the group for a solo career), and later toured with Tommy James And The Shondells. Eventually Ciccone formed a new incarnation of the Critters in 2007, releasing an album called Time Pieces that included updated versions of their first top 40 hit, Younger Girl, and a spell-corrected Mr. Dyingly Sad. Don Ciccone passed away on October 8, 2016 at the age of 70 after suffering a heart attack.

Artist:    Things To Come
Title:    Come Alive
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Russ Ward
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Long Beach, California was home to a band known as Things To Come, which featured drummer Russ Ward, who, as Russ Kunkel, would go on to become one of L.A.'s hottest studio drummers. Come Alive is a solid piece of garage rock written by Ward/Kunkel.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And War
Title:    Blues For Memphis Slim
Source:    LP: Eric Burdon Declares "War"
Writer(s):    War/Peter Chapman
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1970
    "When the acid trip is over, you've got to come back to Mother Blues." Eric Burdon's ad-libbed line from the track Blues From Memphis Slim, pretty much sums up the state of the former Animals lead vocalist's career as of 1970. The original Animals had been founded with the blues in mind, with the band members, including Burdon, preferring the cover tunes of artists like John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed featured on their albums to the hit singles provided to the band by their producer, Mickey Most. Finally, in 1966, the group officially disbanded, just as Burdon was discovering the mind-expanding qualities of hallucinogenic substances (he had been a hard drinker up to that point). In early 1967 Burdon formed a "New Animals" that would soon come to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals. This band had little in common with the original Animals (other than Burdon's distinctive vocals), and was, by any measure, pure acid rock. But after a couple of albums, even that group started to change, taking on more of an R&B sound with tracks like their extended version of River Deep, Mountain High. Finally, in 1969, this group disbanded as well, leaving Burdon and his producer, Jerry Goldstein, looking for a new band and a new sound for the singer. They found it in a Los Angeles nightclub, where a band called Nightshift was backing up former football star Deacon Jones. Burdon and Goldstein persuaded the multi-racial band to change their name to War, and got to work on an album called Eric Burdon Declares "War". The album featured mostly suites such as Blues For Memphis Slim, which was built around the bluesman's classic Mother Earth, with several added instrumental sections composed by the band. At thirteen and a half minutes, it is the longest track on the album. After a second album with the group (The double-LP The Black Man's Burdon), Eric Burdon left the group, leaving War to become one of the more popular bands of the 1970s.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    It's Breaking Me Up
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    I Need A Man To Love
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Joplin/Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound good. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage at the Fillmore West. Those concert tapes were ultimately deemed unfit for release, with the exception of the album's final track, the electrifying cover of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain, and it was decided that the way to go was to recreate the band's stage show within the confines of the recording studio, much as the Beatles had done for their debut LP. To enhance the illusion, prerecorded crowd noises were added to the final mixes of songs like I Need A Man To Love, a collaboration between vocalist Janis Joplin and guitarist Sam Andrew.

Artist:    Fairies
Title:    Get Yourself Home
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dee/Danks
Label:    Rhino (original label: HMV)
Year:    1965
    The Fairies were compadres of the more famous Pretty Things, sharing an occasional song and eventually a drummer. Their second single, Get Yourself Home, was actually supposed to be recorded by the Pretty Things themselves, but after making a demo the PTs decided to pass the song along the Fairies, who issued it as their second single in 1965. After a third single failed the chart, the Fairies disbanded, with drummer John "Twink" Alder moving on to The In Crowd, Tomorrow (with guitarist Steve Howe) and eventually the Pretty Things themselves before joining up with former members of the Deviants to form the Pink Fairies in 1970.

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

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    It's My Pride
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Quality)
Year:    1967
    The Guess Who were formed in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as Chad Allen and the Reflections, changing their name to Chad Allen and the Expression in 1964. The group recorded a cover of a Johnny Kidd song, Shakin' All Over, in 1965. The record was not released under the band's actual name, however; in a bid to get more airplay for the song, the record was credited to "Guess Who?". This was during the peak of the British Invasion, and the producers hoped that DJs might assume it was some well-known British band and give the record a shot. (Of course, such a thing could never happen these days, as commercial radio DJs are not allowed to choose what music to play.) The ploy worked so well (the song was a hit in both the US and Canada) that the band decided to keep the name Guess Who, and continued to crank out hit after hit in their native Canada, although they would not hit the US charts again until 1969. In 1966 the group picked up a second vocalist, Burton Cummings, and within a few months founder Allen left the band, leaving Cummings as the group's front man. One of their better songs was It's My Pride, a B side written by guitarist Randy Bachman and released as a single in 1967. Bachman would soon team up with Cummings to write a string of hits, including These Eyes and American Woman, before leaving the Guess Who in the early 70s to form his own band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Politician
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown are best known for providing Cream with its more psychedelic songs such as White Room and SWLABR, they did occasionally come up with bluesier numbers such as Politician from the Wheels Of Fire album. The song quickly became a staple of Cream's live performances.

Artist:        Cream
Title:        Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:      CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:        1967
        Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Clapton and Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock."

Artist:    Cream
Title:    As You Said
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
     Cream started off as a British blues supergroup, but soon found themselves putting out some of the finest psychedelic tunes east of the Atlantic. Much of the credit for this goes to the songwriting team of bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown was originally brought in as a songwriting partner for Ginger Baker, but soon found a better synergy with Bruce. The two went on to write some of Cream's most memorable songs, including Tales of Brave Ulysses, Deserted Cities of the Heart and White Room. As You Said, from Cream's third LP, Wheel's Of Fire, is somewhat unusual in that it features acoustical instruments exclusively (including Ginger Baker setting aside his drumsticks in favor of brushes).

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

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2003 (starts 1/13/20)

   This time around we have two sets. The first is a selection of tunes from 1971, while the second follows a musical path from 1968 to 1971. We begin with an early Grand Funk Railroad favorite...

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Into The Sun
Source:    CD: On Time
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    One of my fondest memories of the year I graduated high school was moving to the tiny town of Mangum, Oklahoma for the summer. I was up there to take a shot at rock stardom with a band called Sunn, a group that I had been a founding member of in my junior year of high school. The band had its own road manager, a local guy named Gary Dowdy who was home from college for the summer and drove a red '54 Ford panel truck missing its front grille. In addition to being our main equipment van, "The Glump", as Dowdy called it, was our source of daily transportion around town. It's best feature was an 8-track tape system that Dowdy had installed himself. One of the tapes we listened to most often was Grand Funk Railroad's debut album, On Time. In fact, I don't really recall us listening to any other tapes but that one and the band's second album, Grand Funk. As a result, I pretty much know every song on the album by heart, even though I did not have my own copy of On Time until 2013, when I found a somewhat ratty old copy of the LP at a store in Syracuse, NY, that sells used records. More recently I managed to find a new CD copy of the album, so we can now listen to Into The Sun, the opening track from side two of the original album, without all the ticks and pops.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Yours Is No Disgrace
Source:    CD: The Yes Album
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire/Howe/Kaye/Bruford
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1971
    1970 was a transition year for the progressive rock band known as Yes. Their first two albums, Yes and Time And A Word, had not sold well, and their label, Atlantic, was considering dropping them from their roster. Internally, creative differences between guitarist Peter Banks and the rest of the band led to Banks leaving the group, eventually forming his own band, Flash. The remaining members quickly recruited Steve Howe, who was making a name for himself as a studio musician following the breakup of Tomorrow a couple of years earlier. Howe proved to be a more than suitable replacement, as his versatility served the band's experimental style well. With Howe firmly in place, the group got to work on their third LP, The Yes Album. Unlike Yes's previous albums, which had each included a pair of highly rearranged cover songs (following a pattern set by such bands as Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple), The Yes Album was made up entirely of original material, mostly written by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. Yours Is No Disgrace, however, which opens the album, is credited to the entire band, and gives each member a chance to shine without detracting from the band as a whole. The membership of Yes would continue to fluctuate, however, with keyboardist Tony Kaye, who did not share the rest of the band's enthusiam for the new synthesizers hitting the market, leaving shortly after the album was released, and drummer Bill Bruford following suit following the release of the band's fifth album, Close To The Edge. Eventually even Anderson and Squire would depart the group, leaving Steve Howe currently at the helm of a band containing none of its original members.    

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    LP: Welcome To The Canteen
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1971
    By 1971 Traffic had undergone a sort of reversal in fortunes. Whereas in their first year of existence they had been extremely popular in the UK, with three top 10 singles and an album in the top 20, they went largely unnoticed in the US, where none of their singles charted and their first LP topped out at #88. The live album Welcome To The Canteen, however, released in 1971, did not even make the British album charts, while it went to #26 in the US. The nearly nine minute version of Gimme Some Lovin', which had previously been a hit for the Spencer Davis Group, was released as a single (split into two parts) in both countries, but only charted in the US. This trend would continue for several more years, as Traffic would not return to the British charts until 1974, when their final album, When The Eagle Flies made it to #31 (it hit #9 in the US).

Artist:    Rod Stewart with Faces
Title:    (I Know) I'm Losing You
Source:    45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Holland/Grant
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1971
    In addition to his role as lead vocalist for the Faces (formerly the Small Faces), singer Rod Stewart had a solo career going at the same time. This made for some awkward situations, since Stewart's solo work appeared on the Mercury label, while the Faces were under contract to Warner Brothers. For one thing, none of the band members received credit on any of Stewart's albums, including 1971's Every Picture Tells A Story, which was in essence a Faces album in all but name. As a result, nobody can say for sure whether the entire band was present for the recording of (I Know) I'm Losing You, although drummer Kenney Jones's participation is indisputable.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Holy Holy
Source:    CD: Sound+Vision Catalogue Sampler #1 (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    One of the most obscure David Bowie tracks ever recorded, Holy Holy was originally released as the A side of a 1970 single, but only in a handful of countries, none of which were in the Western Hemisphere. The song stayed out of print until 1990, when it was included as a bonus track on the CD version of The Man Who Sold The World.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    A Case Of You
Source:    LP: Blue
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    Like a lot of people my age in the early 1970s, I occasionally enjoyed taping songs off the radio. Unlike most people my age in the early 1970s, I had access to a pair of reel-to-reel tape decks to make those tapes. At that time Alamogordo, New Mexico, did not have any local FM stations. In fact, the only FM station that you could even receive in the area was KRWG, the classical station out of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Sometime in 1971, however, the local cable company started making a handful of El Paso FM stations available to their local subscribers. Among those was KINT-FM, a station that ran Spanish language programs during the day and was experimenting with a progressive rock format at night. KINT-FM's experiment with progressive rock did not last all that long, as they soon adopted a more mainstream top 40 format, but before they made that change I made a tape of one of their broadcasts that included a song called A Case Of You, performed by a young Canadian singer/songwriter named Joni Mitchell. I don't know what happened to that tape, but the song itself, from the album Blue, has been stuck in my head ever since.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Source:    CD: Relics (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmour
Label:    Capitol (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Originally released in the UK as the B side of Point Me At The Sky, Careful With That Axe Eugene went on to become one of Pink Floyd's best known early recordings, thanks in large part to a live performance of the piece being included on the 1969 LP Ummagumma. The original studio version of the tune was included on the 1971 compilation album Relics, which is still in print.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Wooden Ships
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s):    Crosby/Stills/Kantner
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Among the various legendary characters on the late 60s San Francisco music scene, none is more reviled than Matthew Katz. His mistreatment of It's A Beautiful Day is legendary. Just about every band he managed was desperate to get out of their contract with him, including Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane. In fact, it was because of the Airplane's fight to get out from under Katz's thumb that Paul Kantner did not get a writing credit for Wooden Ships on the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. David Crosby had this to say on the matter: "Paul called me up and said that he was having this major duke-out with this horrible guy who was managing the band, and he was freezing everything their names were on. 'He might injunct the release of your record,' he told me. So we didn’t put Paul’s name on it for a while. In later versions, we made it very certain that he wrote it with us. Of course, we evened things up with him with a whole mess of cash when the record went huge." Although Jefferson Airplane eventually won their battle with Katz, others weren't so fortunate. Katz's San Francisco Sound still owns the rights to recordings by Moby Grape and It's A Beautiful Day, which explains why it's so hard to find quality copies of those recordings these days. Anyone want to take a guess how much the surviving members of those bands receive in royalties from the CD reissues of their albums? (Hint: at least one member of Moby Grape was known to have been living under a bridge at one point).

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Uncle John's Band
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Workingman's Dead)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    For many people who only got their music from commercial radio, Uncle John's Band was the first Grateful Dead song they ever heard. The tune, from the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, was the first Dead song to crack the top 100, peaking at #69, and got significant airplay on FM rock radio stations as well. The close harmonies on the track were reportedly inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose debut album had come out the previous year.

Artist:     Who
Title:     Behind Blue Eyes
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     Decca
Year:     1971
     One of the most iconic Who songs ever, Behind Blue Eyes continues to get played on commercial FM stations, both in its original form and the more recent cover version by Limp Bizkit. Well, I might be wrong about that last part. I mean, I've never heard the Limp Bizkit version played on the radio. Does anyone play Limp Bizkit at all anymore? For that matter why am I even talking about Limp Biskit???

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2002 (starts 1/6/20)

    This week features the return of our Advanced Psych segment with a set of rather upbeat tunes. Also on the show we have artists' sets from three bands that at one time or another all had the same name. Two of them recorded under that name (Grass Roots), while the one that originally had that name ended up calling themselves something else entirely: Love.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Mrs. Robinson
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
    A shortened version of Mrs. Robinson first appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Graduate in 1967, but it wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released. Although the Graduate was one of the most successful films of the decade, I suspect that many more people have heard the song than have seen the film. Take that, movie snobs!

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Down On Me
Source:    CD:Live At The Carousel Ballroom-1968
Writer(s):    trad., arr. Joplin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2012
    The first single by Big Brother And The Holding Company, Down On Me, barely missed making the top 40 charts when it was released in 1967, peaking at # 42. As can be heard on their Live At The Carousel Ballroom-1968 CD, recorded directly off the sound board by Owsley "Bear" Stanley, their performance of the old song from the 1930s only got better with time.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring
Source:    CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Although officially a Traffic song, the funky Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring, from the second Traffic album, actually features only two of the band's four members; Jim Capaldi, who wrote the lyrics to the song, plays drums, while Steve Winwood does everything else. This was a fairly common occurence on Traffic albums, as Winwood is equally proficient on guitar, keyboards, and of course vocals.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    In Held Twas In I
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer:    Brooker/Fisher/Reid
Label:    A&M/Rebound
Year:    1968
    Although the idea of grouping songs together as "suites" was first tried by Jefferson Airplane on their 1967 album After Bathing At Baxter's, Procol Harum's 17-minute long In Held Twas In I, from their 1968 album Shine On Brightly, is usually cited as the first progressive rock suite. The title comes from the first word of each section of the piece that contains vocals (several sections are purely instrumental). The work contains some of the best early work from guitarist Robin Trower, who would leave the group a few years later for a solo career. Shine On Brightly was the last Procol Harum album to include organist Matthew Fisher, who came up with the famous opening riff for the group's first hit, A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Two Trains Running
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
     Possibly the most influential (yet least known outside of musicians' circles) band of the Psychedelic Era was the Blues Project. Formed in 1965 in Greenwich Village, the band worked its way from coast to coast playing mostly college campuses, in the process blazing a path that continues to be followed by underground/progressive/alternative artists. As if founding the whole college circuit wasn't enough, they were arguably the very first jam band, as their version of the Muddy Waters classic Two Trains Running demonstrates. Among those drawing their inspiration from the Blues Project were a group of young musicians who were participating in Ken Kesey's Electric Cool-Aid Acid Tests. Like several other San Francisco residents they caught the Blues Project at the Fillmore Auditorium in April of 1966, and soon began to incorporate long improvisational sections into their own performances.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Up In Her Room
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs 1965-1970 (originally released on LP: A Web Of Sound and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
    One of the first extended jams released on a rock album, the fourteen and a half-minute Up In Her Room, from the Seeds' second LP, A Web Of Sound, is a sort of sequel to Van Morrison's Gloria (but only the original Them version; the secret of the Shadows Of Knight's success with the song was to replace the line "she comes up to my room" with "she comes around here"). The much shorter mono edit of the song (about three and a half minutes) heard here was released as the B side of the second issue of Mr. Farmer in January of 1967.

Artist:    Harbinger Complex
Title:    Sometimes I Wonder
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Amber)
Year:    1966
    The city of San Francisco had a well-documented music scene in the 1960s that brought bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Santana to national prominence. Across the bay, however, was a more typical mid-60s scene centered around teen-oriented bands that would play high school dances, shopping center parking lots and of course participate in various "battle of the bands" competitions. Among the best of these was Fremont's Harbinger Complex. Formed in 1963 by guitarists Ron Rotarius and Bob Hoyle III, who had playing together since they were in the eighth grade, the group was first known as the Norsemen. When Hoyle was called to active duty in Vietnam in 1965 the band brought in vocalist Jim Hockstaff and changed its name to Harbinger Complex. Hoyle returned from 'Nam in 1966, and he and Hockstaff soon formed a writing partnership. All of the band's releases, including the 1966 B side Sometimes I Wonder, were written by the pair. After Hockstaff's departure in early 1967 the group tried to continue on with a new vocalist, but did not make any more records. By the end of the year Harbinger Complex was history.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    There were actually three different versions of the Beatles' I Am The Walrus released in late 1967, all of which were made from the same basic tracks. The first, heard here, was a mono single version that was issued as the B side of Hello Goodbye in late November. This version features a four-beat intro and has an extra bar of music immediately preceding the words "Yellow matter custard" in the middle of the song. The second version was the stereo version featured on the US-only Magical Mystery Tour album. This version is basically the same as the mono version, but does not contain the extra bar in the middle. The third version appeared in early December in Europe and the UK on the stereo pressing of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack EP. This version features a six beat intro, but is otherwise identical to the US stereo version. In the early 1980s engineers at Capitol Records created a fourth version of I Am The Walrus that uses the six beat intro from the UK stereo version and includes the extra bar in the middle of the song from the US single version. This fourth version was included on the Beatles' Rarities album, and has, to my knowledge, never been issued on CD.
Artist:    Sands
Title:    Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gibb/Gibb/Gibb
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1967
    Sands got their big break when they were observed playing at a place called the Cromwellian Club by Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Liking what he heard, Epstein got the band signed to his NEMS management company. His partner at NEMS, Robert Stigwood, had recently formed his own label, Reaction Records, and released Sands' only single  in September of 1967, a song called Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator that was written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, who also recorded for Reaction. Unfortunately, Epstein died less than two weeks before the record was released, and the single got virtually no promotion as a result.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     Life Is Just A Cher O' Bowlies
Source:     CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
Writer:     Gilbert/Scala/Theilhelm
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1967
     Although not as big a seller as their first LP (probably due to a lack of a major hit single), Electric Comic Book is nonetheless one of the great psychedelic albums. Life Is Just a Cher-O'-Bowlies, with its tongue in cheek approach, is about as typical a Blues Magoos song as anything this New York band ever recorded.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Can You See Me
Source:    LP: Smash Hits (originally released in UK on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA
Year:    1967
    Before releasing the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, in the US, Reprise Records decided to make some changes to the track lineup, adding three songs that had been released as non-album singles in the UK and remixing the entire album in stereo. To make room for the extra tracks, three songs were cut from the original UK version of the LP. The most popular of these was Can You See Me, a song that was included in the band's set when they made their US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967.  Despite the audience's positive response to the song, the band apparently dropped Can You See Me from their live set shortly after Monterey. The song was originally slated to be released as the B side of The Wind Cries Mary, but instead was used as an album track. In 1969, a previously unreleased stereo mix of Can You See Me (presumably made at the same time as the US version of the Are You Experienced album) was included on the US version of the Smash Hits LP.
Artist:    Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Title:    Psych-Out USA
Source:    Australian import CD: Psych-Out USA
Writer(s):    Rechter/McCoy
Label:    Secret Deals
Year:    2007
    Tol-Puddle Martyrs evolved out of an earlier Australian band, Peter And The Silhouettes, that contributed a pair of tunes to a 1966 anthology album showcasing bands from Northern Victoria. As the Martyrs they recorded a handful of singles that saw some airplay on local radio. Bandleader Peter Rechter then went on to front several other bands over the years, eventually reforming the Martyrs in the 21st century. They have released three CDs since reforming, the first of which is Psych-Out USA, released in 2007.
Artist:    Psychedelic Furs
Title:    India
Source:    LP: The Psychedelic Furs
Writer(s):    Psychedelic Furs
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1980
    Led by brothers Richard and Tim Butler (on vocals and bass respectively), the Psychedelic Furs were formed in London in 1977, at the height of the punk rock era. One of punk's more prominent characteristics was a sneering attitude toward 60s rock; the Psychedelic Furs chose their name deliberately to distance themselves from this attitude and instead embrace the legacy of the psychedelic era. Their 1980 debut LP, although not a success in the US, did well in Europe, and went all the way to #18 on the UK album chart. The album's opening track was India, a six-minute long song that established the group's overall sound.

Artist:    Jigsaw Seen
Title:    Abide
Source:    CD: Old Man Reverb
Writer(s):    Dennis Davison
Label:    Vibro-Phonic
Year:    2014
    The Jigsaw Seen has been around since 1988, when it was formed by Dennis Davison, formerly of the United States Of Existence. The group's first single, Jim Is The Devil, was released by Get Hip Records in 1989, with their debut LP Shortcut Through Clown Alley appearing the following year on the New Jersey based Skyclad Records.  The band's latest release is an album called Old Man Reverb that manages to combine elements of Americana, art-rock, psych and garage-rock on tunes like Abide.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    It Ain't Me Babe
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Trip (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1965
    The Turtles started out as a local high school surf band called the Crossfires. In 1965 they were signed to a record label that technically didn't exist yet. That did not deter the people at the label (which would come to be known as White Whale) from convincing the band to change its name and direction. Realizing that surf music was indeed on the way out, the band, now called the Turtles, went into the studio and recorded four songs. One of those was Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. The Byrds had just scored big with their version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man and the Turtles took a similar approach with It Ain't Me Babe. The song was a solid hit, going to the #8 spot on the national charts and leading to the first of many Turtles releases on White Whale.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Blues From An Airplane
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Spence
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first anthology album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well. The song is one of two tunes on Takes Off co-written by lead vocalist Marty Balin and drummer Skip Spence.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Outside Woman Blues
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Arthur Reynolds
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Although Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, is best known for its psychedelic cover art and original songs such as Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses, the LP did have one notable blues cover on it. Outside Woman Blues was originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929 and has since been covered by a variety of artists including Van Halen, Johnny Winters, Jimi Hendrix and even the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Everybody Knows You're Not In Love
Source:    Mono CD: Underground (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
     The Electric Prunes had greater creative control over their second album than they did over their first. That control continued into early 1968, when Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, a single penned by band members Mark Tulin and James Lowe, was released. Unfortunately, the record didn't sell well and the next album, David Axelrod's Mass In F Minor, was played almost entirely by studio musicians. The original group broke up during the recording of Mass and did not play together again until the 21st century.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Victoria
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    The Kinks were at their commercial low point in 1969 when they released their third single from their controversial concept album Arthur or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. Their previous two singles had failed to chart, even in their native England, and the band had not had a top 20 hit in the US since Sunny Afternoon in 1966. Victoria was a comeback of sorts, as it did manage to reach the #62 spot in the US and the #33 spot in the UK.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    When I Was In My Prime
Source:    British import CD: Cruel sister
Writer(s):    Trad. Arr. McShee
Label:    Castle (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    Jacqui McShee takes center stage on When I Was In My Prime, singing a capella on the traditional tune on the 1970 LP Basket Of Light. Of all the Pentangle albums, Basket Of Light was the most folk-based, with all the songs being in the public domain and arranged by the band members.

    Our final half hour consists mainly of tracks from three different bands calling themselves the Grass Roots. According to guitarist Johnny Echols, the original Grass Roots were becoming quite popular in 1965, and had been getting offers from various record labels. One of these labels was Dunhill, whose head, Lou Adler, approached the band during a gig at a local club. The band members told him to talk to their manager, which Adler took as being blown off by the band itself. A few weeks later someone told the band that they had just heard them on a local Los Angeles radio station doing a Bob Dylan cover. This was, of course, news to the band, who had not recorded any Bob Dylan covers. It was soon determined that Adler, apparently still angry over being blown off, had commissioned songwriters P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri to come up with their own band called the Grass Roots and get a record out under that name ASAP. After consulting with a lawyer, the original Grass Roots decided to change their name, turning the whole thing into a sort of contest by tossing out several suggestions to the crowd at their next gig and seeing which one got the most enthusiastic reaction. The overwhelming winner was Love, which became the band's new name. Eventually Love came to be the house band at the Whisky A Go Go, which in turn led to them becoming the first rock band signed to Jac Holzman's Elektra label. Meanwhile, the band that had recorded the Dylan cover soon had a falling out with Adler, Sloan and Barri and returned to their native San Francisco, performing as the Grass Roots until Adler got a cease and desist order from a local judge. Dunhill Records then hired a third band to become the Grass Roots. That group went on to release several singles, including the top 10 1967 hit Let's Live For Today. This gave the band a bit of leverage, leading to the following situation:

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Feelings
Source:    LP: Feelings
Writer:    Coonce/Entner/Fukomoto
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Grass Roots, banking on the popularity of their 1967 hit Let's Live For Today, decided to assert themselves and take artistic control of their newest album, Feelings, writing much of the material for the LP themselves. Unfortunately for the band, the album, as well as its title track single, fared poorly on the charts. From that point on the Grass Roots were firmly under the control of producers/songwriters Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan, cranking out a series of best-selling hits such as I'd Wait A Million Years and Midnight Confessions (neither of which get played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, incidentally).

    But let's go back to 1965, and that Bob Dylan cover...

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri were commissioned by Dunhill Records' head Lou Adler to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. Sloan and Barri were apparently unaware that there was already a local L.A. band calling itself the Grass Roots (although, according to one of that band's members, Adler himself was quite aware of them and had even approached them about a possible recording contract). Sloan and Barri recorded a demo themselves of a song called Where Were You When I Needed You and sent it out to several San Francisco area radio stations. After getting positive feedback on the demo Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, the winner of a battle of the bands in San Mateo. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits over a period of about eight years. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.
Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Dinner For Eight/Feelings (reprise)
Source:    LP: Feelings
Writer(s):    Bratton/Coonce/Entner/Fukomoto
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1968
    The third, and most commercially successful, band to call themselves the Grass Roots was original known as the 13th Floor, and consisted of Creed Bratton (vocals, guitar), Rick Coonce (drums, percussion), Warren Entner (vocals, guitar, keyboards), and Kenny Fukomoto (vocals, bass). Before becoming the Grass Roots, the 13th Floor lost Fukomoto to the Draft, and eventually Rob Grill was chosen as his replacement. As was fairly common practice at the time, the band itself didn't play the instrument tracks on their singles; that duty was handled in large part by the pool of L.A. studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. Apparently they did have some input into the making of their first LP, Let's Live For Today, but not enough to satisfy the band members. With a top 10 single under their belt they were able to make their next LP, Feelings, themselves, with only some keyboard parts added by studio musicians. They also got to write a lot of the material for Feelings, including the title track, which had been written when they were still the 13th Floor, and the album's final track, Dinner For Eight, written by Bratton. The album was not a commercial success, however, and their next LP, Lovin' Things, was once again dominated by studio musicians, and only included two songs written and performed by the band members themselves.

Artist:     Love
Title:     You I'll Be Following
Source:     German import CD: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:     1966
     When the Byrds decided to tour heavily to support their early hits Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, Arthur Lee's band Love was more than happy to fill the void left on the L.A. club scene. The group, original known as the Grass Roots, quickly established itself as the top band on the strip, a title it would hold until the scene itself died out in 1968. From Lee's perspective, the secret to keeping that title was staying close to home, a policy that would prevent them from achieving any kind of major national success. Ironically, Love ultimately found their greatest popularity in the UK, where they managed to build an ever-growing following despite never having played there. Love was the first rock band signed to Jac Holzman's Elektra label, and was also one of the first US rock albums to feature material exclusively arranged (and mostly written) by members of the band itself. One of those originals was You I'll Be Following, a song that had been in their repertoire since their Grass Roots days.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    Mono LP: Love
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Bandleader Arthur Lee was first exposed to the song when watching the movie in a local theater, and immediately went home and came up with his own version of the tune. Needless to say, Love's take on My Little Red Book was not exactly what composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Signed D.C.
Source:    German import CD: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The only acoustic track on the first Love album was Signed D.C., a slow ballad in the tradition of House of the Rising Sun. The song takes the form of a letter penned by a heroin addict, and the imagery is both stark and disturbing. Although Lee was known to occasionally say otherwise, the song title probably refers to Love's original drummer Don Conka, who left the band before their first recording sessions due to (you guessed it) heroin addiction. Signed D.C. is generally regarded as Arthur Lee's first true masterpiece.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    I Can't Believe It
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Eric Burdon
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    Although generally recognized as one of the greatest vocalists of the British Invasion (indeed, one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time), Eric Burdon's abilities as a songwriter are often overlooked. And, to be honest, most of his songwriting credits were shared with one or more bandmates, especially after the original Animals disbanded and a "new" Animals appeared in 1967. One of his few solo credits came for a song called I Can't Believe It, which was included on the US version of the 1965 Animal Tracks and worldwide as the B side of the single We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. To my knowledge, the song never appeared on an LP outside of North America.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2002 (starts 1/6/20)

    After all the structured programming over the holidays, I decided that an hour of free-form rock was just what was needed. Among other things we have a pair of eleven-minute tracks that have never been played on the show before, a couple of songs from bands that carried on after losing a key early member, and the answer to the question "What did Crazy Horse sound like when they weren't backing Neil Young?"

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Inside And Out
Source:    Canadian import 12" 45 RPM blue vinyl EP: Spot The Pigeon
Writer(s):    Rutherford/Collins/Hackett/Banks
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1977
    After Genesis finished recording sessions for the Wind And Wuthering album the band members realized that they had more music than they could fit on a standard LP, and three tracks were left off the album. Those three tracks, including the five and a half minute long Inside And Out, were issued in May of 1977 on an EP called Spot The Pigeon. In North America the EP was only issued in Canada, on blue 12" vinyl that played at 45 RPM. Hey, whatever it takes to get it to sell, I guess.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Heart Of The Sunrise (live)
Source:    LP: Yessongs
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire/Bruford
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although it is the fourth most played song in the Yes catalogue, Heart Of The Sunrise, from the 1971 album Fragile, was never issued as a single. This is due mostly to the fact that the track runs over ten minutes in length, far exceeding even such lengthy tunes as Paradise By The Dashboard Light, American Pie or MacArthur Park. The song was written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman, but due to contractual reasons, Wakeman's name had to be left off the credits. The live version heard on the 1973 triple-LP Yessongs, recorded in November of 1972, features Alan White on drums, Bruford having left the group earlier that year.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Our Lady
Source:    Japanese import CD: Who Do We Think We Are
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Deep Purple was the top selling artist of 1973, thanks in large part to the release of their seventh studio album, Who Do We Think We Are. It was also the final year for the band's classic MK2 lineup, with both Ian Gillan and Roger Glover leaving the band that summer. According to Gillan, the band had just finished 18 months of touring and every member had had some sort of major illness over that same period, yet their managers insisted that they immediately get to work on the new album, even though the band members desperately needed a break. Nonetheless the album itself is one of their strongest, in spite of the fact that, for the most part the band members weren't even on speaking terms and much of the album was recorded piecemeal, with each member adding his part at a different time. The final track on the album, Our Lady, was a return to the band's psychedelic roots, with a definite Hendrix vibe to the entire piece.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Throw Down The Sword
Source:    British import CD: The Collection (originally released on LP: Argus)
Writer(s):    Wishbone Ash
Label:    Spectrum (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1972
    One of the first bands ever to feature two lead guitarists was Wishbone Ash. The story goes that following the departure of their original guitar player, bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton auditioned several lead guitarists and got it down to two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner (no relation to Martin), but could not decide between the two. At that point they decided just to keep both of them, and a heavy metal tradition was born. Whether the story is true or not, the two definitely traded off leads for the next three years and five albums, including their third and most successful LP, Argus. The closing track from Argus, Throw Down The Sword, features Andy Powell and Martin Turner sharing the lead vocals.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Upsetter
Source:    45 RPM promo single (taken from LP: E Pluribus Funk)
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1972
    Grand Funk Railroad was something of an enigma. Due to universally negative reviews in the rock press, progressive FM stations avoided them like the plague. At the same time, top 40 radio was in the process of being supplanted as the voice of the mainstream by the Adult Contemporary (A/C) format, which tended to ignore hard rock. Nonetheless Grand Funk Railroad had a following. In fact, GFR was the first band to book (and sellout) entire sports arenas, setting attendance records wherever they played. This translated into major record sales, as they became the first band to have three LPs hit the million-seller mark in the same year (1970). That year they also had their first mainstream hit with I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home). From that point on the band would continue to release singles, although most, such as Upsetter, were still ignored by A/C radio (although they did get a fair amount of airplay from the remaining "true" top 40 stations). As the group's album sales were beginning to drop off, the singles became increasingly important to the band's continued success, and from 1973 on (starting with We're An American Band ) Grand Funk became pretty much a singles-oriented group, cranking out tunes like Bad Time and Some Kind Of Wonderful.

Artist:    Crazy Horse
Title:    Dirty Dirty
Source:    LP: Crazy Horse
Writer(s):    Danny Whitten
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    Crazy Horse traces its origins to 1963 when guitarist Danny Whitten,bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina were all members of a band called Danny & The Memories. After a few personnel and name changes, they recorded their first LP in 1968 as The Rockets. Although the album did not sell particularly well, it did lead to them reconnecting with singer/songwriter Neil Young, whom they had first met when he was a member of Buffalo Springfield. Young recruited the three of them to be his backup band on his second solo LP, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, rechristening them Crazy Horse. Although the original plan was for the three to record the album then return to being the Rockets, along with the Whitsell brothers, George and Leon, who were not part of Crazy Horse. That all changed, however, when Young decided to make Crazy Horse his regular band, going on tour and adhering to a strict practice schedule. The following year Young became the fourth member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, leaving Crazy Horse with a diminished role. This continued when Young opted to use the group on only three songs for his next LP, After The Gold Rush. By the end of 1970 Young and Crazy Horse had parted ways, although two of the musicians featured on After The Gold Rush, Jack Nitzsche and Nils Lofgren, were now part of the Crazy Horse lineup. It was this group that recorded the 1971 LP Crazy Horse. Danny Whitten, who use of heroin was one of the primary reasons for Young's falling out with the band, still maintained a leadership role in Crazy Horse, handling most of the lead vocals and writing or co-writing nearly half the band's material on the album, including Dirty Dirty. The song also features guest Ry Cooder on slide guitar. Whitten, the "inspiration" for Young's iconic The Needle And The Damage Done, died of a drug overdose the following year.

Artist:    Rush
Title:    Xanadu
Source:    LP: A Farewell To Kings
Writer(s):    Lee/Peart/Lifeson
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1977
    One of the most popular Rush songs, Xanadu appeared on the band's fifth LP, A Farewell To Kings. It was the first Rush track to use synthesizers extensively and features both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson playing synth parts, often using foot pedals, as well as their regular bass and guitar. Lyrically, Xanadu is inspired by the work of Samuel Coleridge, and tells the story of a man who searches for, and finds, immortality, only to find himself a madman "waiting for the world to end" after a thousand years.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Battle Of Evermore
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin IV
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny makes a guest appearance on The Battle Of Evermore, an acoustic track from Led Zeppelin's fourth album. The song originally came about when guitarist Jimmy Page began experimenting with a mandolin owned by bassist John Paul Jones (Page had never played a mandolin before). As the song developed, Robert Plant came up with a vocal line, but felt that something more was needed. He then asked Sandy Denny, who had recently parted company with Fairport Convention, to provide a counterpoint vocal on the song, with Plant taking the part of the narrator and Denny the town crier. As was the case with many early Led Zeppelin songs, The Battle Of Evermore draws much of its imagery from J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The track is the only one in the Led Zeppelin catalog to feature a guest vocalist.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Fat Man
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1969
    In 1976, Jethro Tull released a new single...sort of. The songs on the record were both taken from older LPs. The A side, Locomotive Breath, was one of the more popular tracks on the 1971 album Aqualung, but, because of the word "balls" did not get as much airplay as it could have. The 1976 single replaced "balls" with "buns". For the B side they went even further back for Fat Man, a tune from their second LP, Stand Up. Fat Man was among the first Jethro Tull songs to be built around acoustic instruments like the mandolin rather than the electric guitar featured prominently on their 1968 debut LP, This Was.