Sunday, February 2, 2020
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2006 (starts 2/3/20)
This week's show is a series of short sets, including a set of Rolling Stones B side, and sets of album tracks from the Beatles and the Doors.
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Billy Roberts
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and the fast version of Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin, who had recently replaced founding member Bill Rinehart on lead guitar, came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.
Artist: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title: Abba Zaba
Source: 45 RPM single (originally issued as B side and included on LP: Safe As Milk)
Writer(s): Don Van Vliet
After an aborted recording career with A&M Records, future avant-garde rock superstar Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) signed a contract with the newly formed Buddah record label. The first record ever released by Buddah was the album Safe As Milk, which included the single Yellow Brick Road, backed with Abba Zaba. Although the Captain's music was at that time still somewhat blues-based, the album was not a commercial success, and Buddah cut Beefheart and his Magic Band from the label in favor of more pop oriented groups like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Captain Beefheart then moved to yet another fledgling label, Blue Thumb, before finding a more permanent home with his old high school classmate Frank Zappa's Bizarre Records, where he released the classic Trout Mask Replica. More recently, Sundazed has re-released the Buddah single, but with Abba Zaba as the A side.
Artist: Moody Blues
Title: Legend Of A Mind
Source: CD: In Search Of The Lost Chord
Writer(s): Ray Thomas
The Moody Blues started off as a fairly typical British beat band, scoring one major inteernational hit, Go Now, in 1965, as well as several minor British hit singles. By 1967 lead vocalist Denny Laine was no longer with the group (he would later surface as a member of Paul McCartney's Wings), and the remaining members were not entirely sure of where to go next. At around that time their record label, Deram, was looking to make a rock version of a well-known classical piece (The Nine Planets), and the Moody Blues were tapped for the project. Somewhere along the way, however, the group decided to instead write their own music for rock band and symphony orchestra, and Days Of Future Passed was the result. The album, describing a somewhat typical day in the life of a somewhat typical Britisher, was successful enough to revitalize the band's career, and a follow-up LP, In Search Of The Lost Chord, was released in 1968. Instead of a full orchestra, however, the band members themselves provided all the instrumentation on the new album, using a relatively new keyboard instrument called the mellotron (a complicated contraption that utilized tape loops) to simulate orchestral sounds. Like its predecessor, In Search Of The Lost Chord was a concept album, this time dealing with the universal search for the meaning of life through music. One of the standout tracks on the album is Legend Of A Mind, with its signature lines: "Timothy Leary's dead. No, no, he's outside looking in." Although never released as a single, the track got a fair amount of airplay on college and progressive FM radio stations, and has long been considered a cult hit.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: I Just Wan't To Make Love To You
Source: 45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Like most British bands in the early 60s, the Rolling Stones recorded a lot of blues cover songs, including most of their early UK singles. The first original tune from the band to chart was Tell Me (Your Coming Back Again), which was also their first release to crack the US top 40. The Stones weren't quite done with blues covers however. The flip side of Tell Me was an old Willie Dixon classic, I Just Want To Make Love To You.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Long, Long While
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: Decca)
One of the most obscure songs in the entire Rolling Stones catalog, Long, Long While originally appeared in 1966 as the B side of Paint It, Black, but not in North America, where Stupid Girl (from the Aftermath album) was chosen instead. The song did not appear on any LPs until 1972, when it was included on the US-only More Hots Rocks collection. The following year it appeared in the UK on the No Stone Unturned collection.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the record. The song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.
Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: Gimme Shelter
Source: Canadian import CD: Heavy Hitters! (edited version originally released as 45 RPM single)
It takes cojones to record a cover version of one of the Rolling Stones' most popular (and critically acclaimed) songs. It takes even more to do it just two years after the Stones version came out. But then, we are talking about Grand Funk Railroad, who have to be considered one of the most ballsy bands in rock history. The single version of Grand Funk's version of Gimme Shelter runs almost two minutes shorter than the version heard on the Survival album, and if you listen closely you can hear a particularly sloppy edit in the middle of Mark Farner's last guitar solo toward the end of the song.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
Source: Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Marty Balin
Label: Sundazed/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Marty Balin says he came up with the title of the opening track of side two of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album by combining a couple of random phrases from the sports section of a newspaper. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds works out to 216 MPH, by the way.
Title: Peter Gunn's Gun
Source: CD: Headquarters (bonus track)
Writer(s): Henry Mancini
Sometimes you just gotta cut loose and do something silly. Sometimes you even do something silly in a situation where someone can see or hear you. And if you happen to be in a recording studio, sometimes you do something silly with the tape rolling. Such is the case with the Monkees goofing on Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn theme. This impromptu (and improbable) jam session features Peter Tork on piano, Mike Nesmith on pedal steel guitar, Mickey Dolenz on drums and Davy Jones on tambourine. I can remember doing the same kind of thing with my first band, except three of us had to share an amplifier and the drummer was using a set of toy drums. And we didn't tape it.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: CD: Part One
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
One of Kim Fowley's legacies is that he threw the party that led to the formation of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. One of their early efforts was I Won't Hurt You, which features one of the band members thumping on an acoustic guitar to simulate a human heartbeat.
Title: Here Comes The Sun
Source: LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s): George Harrison
In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' development as a studio band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the top five on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song, written while Harrison was hiding out at his friend Eric Clapton's place to avoid dealing with the business aspects of Apple Corp., has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.
Title: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Source: LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The top album of 1967 was the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was also the first US Beatles album to have a song lineup that was identical to the original UK LP. As such, it was also the first Beatles album released in the US to not include any songs that were also released as singles. Nonetheless, several tracks from the LP found their way onto the playlists of both top 40 AM and "underground" FM stations from coast to coast. Among the most popular of these tracks was John Lennon's Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which shows up on just about everyone's list of classic psychedelic tunes.
Title: Octopus's Garden
Source: LP: Abbey Road
Writer: Richard Starkey
In the Beatles's early years, guitarist George Harrison was generally allotted one song per album as a songwriter. Around 1966 this began to change, as Harrison's songwriting began to be featured more prominently. In 1968 drummer Ringo Starr stepped into the role of one song per album songwriter, with his first recorded song, Don't Pass Me By, being included on the so-called White Album. The band's final LP, Abbey Road, included another Starr song, Octopus's Garden, which, unlike the former tune, actually got occassional airplay on both AM and FM stations.
Artist: Dave Clark Five
Title: Any Way You Want It
Source: Mono CD: 5 By Five
Writer(s): Dave Clark
The Dave Clark Five were one of the first bands to follow in the footsteps of the Beatles, for a while even eclipsing the fab four in popularity among English fans. The band was originally formed as a way to make money to support Clark's football (soccer) team, but soon became his ticket to fame. Among the many top 10 hits for the band in 1964 was Any Way You Want It. Like all of the early DC5 records, the recording uses maximum compression to hit the listener with a continuous wall of sound, a technique that has been used for the past 50 years by TV commercials.
Title: Why (RCA Studios version)
Source: 45 RPM single B side
One of the highlights of the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday album, released in early 1967, was a song co-written by David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn called Why. Many of the band's fans already knew that a different version of the song had already been released as the B side of Eight Miles High the previous year. What was not as well-known, however, was that both songs had been first recorded at the RCA Studios in Burbank in December of 1965, but rejected by Columbia due to their being produced at studios owned by a hated competitor. Crosby has since said that he prefers the RCA recording to the later ones made at Columbia's own studios, calling it "stronger...with a lot more flow to it".
Artist: Kenny And The Kasuals
Title: Journey To Tyme
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original labels: Mark Ltd. and United Artists)
One of the most popular Dallas area bands in the mid-1960s was Kenny and the Kasuals. Formed in 1962, the band was best known for playing high school dances and such. They got their shot at stardom in 1966 when they recorded Journey To Tyme for Mark Ltd. Productions. The song was picked up later in the year for national distribution by United Artists and made it all the way to the # 1 spot in Buffalo, NY and Pittsburgh, Pa. Despite this success the band was unable to get a long-term contract with United Artists (thanks in part to problems with their own manager) and soon disbanded.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Run Through The Jungle
Source: LP: More Creedence Gold (originally released on LP: Cosmos Factory and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Fogerty
One of the most popular songs on the 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival album Cosmos Factory was a tune by John Fogerty called Run Through The Jungle. At the time of the album's release, many people assumed the song was about the Viet-Nam war. However, Fogerty, in a 1993 interview with the Los Angeles Times, said,“ I think a lot of people thought that because of the times, but I was talking about America and the proliferation of guns, registered and otherwise. I'm a hunter and I'm not antigun, but I just thought that people were so gun-happy -- and there were so many guns uncontrolled that it really was dangerous, and it's even worse now." As one half of a double A-sided single (paired with Up Around The Bend), the song became the band's sixth single to break into the top 10, and has been covered by several artists over the years. In the late 1980s the song was at the center of a lawsuit brought by the owner of Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz, claiming that a 1984 Fogerty song, The Old Man Down The Road, was actually Run Through The Jungle with different lyrics. Zaentz had basically screwed Fogerty out of publishing rights for all of CCR's material, resulting in Fogerty being unable to perform any of the band's tunes, and was now suing Fogerty for plagiarizing himself. In a rare victory for common sense Fogerty eventually won the lawsuit (although the judge did grant Zaentz some concessions), but Fogerty had to countersue Zaentz in order to recover the money he had spent on attorneys. Eventually Fogerty won that lawsuit as well, and is happily performing old Creedence songs as well as new material these days.
Artist: Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Title: Stuck Between The Trivial And The Impossible
Source: LP: Tasting The Sea
Writer(s): Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Label: 10 GeV
The city of San Francisco seems to produce more than its share of bands that go out of their way to maintain their anonymity. In the early 1970s the Residents even recorded an album called Not Available, intending to not release it until all of the band members had forgotten about its existence (it eventually got released in 1978 during a creative dry spell). These days the San Francisco anonymous band torch is carried by Vertacyn Arc Materializer, a band that is just as hard to describe as the Residents themselves. Their second LP, Tasting The Sea, was originally only available on Vinyl, and it's packaging is nothing less than spectacular. The front cover is the famous Rolling Stones "mouth" logo dissected by an actual zipper, mimicking the Stones' own Sticky Fingers cover, against a stark white background. Opening the zipper reveals a "circle c" copyright symbol. The back cover featuring "portraits" of each of the four band members: the Starbucks logo (bass, guitar), the US $20 bill version of President Andrew Jackson (drums, trumpet), Marilyn (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Homeland Security, represented by a snarling wolf (vocals, keyboards, guitar). There's even more fun stuff on the inside of the gatefold cover, but I'll let you find your own copy to check it out yourself (if you can find one; apparently there were only 500 pressed). Musically, Tasting The Sea is harder to describe; I'd put it with bands like Killing Joke and Nine Inch Nails, with a little Pere Ubu thrown in, but even that comparison falls short of the reality of Vertacyn Arc Materializer. This week we check out the album's opening track, Stuck Between The Trivial And The Impossible. Let me know what you think.
Artist: Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Title: Anybody Else
Source: CD: A Celebrated Man
Writer(s): Peter Rechter
Label: Secret Deals
The original Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of farmers in the English village of Tolpuddle who had the temerity to try organizing what amounts to a union in the 19th century. For their efforts they found themselves deported to the penal colony now known as Australia. But that doesn't really concern us. What I wanted to talk about was the original Tol-Puddle Martyrs (note the hyphen), the legendary Australian band that evolved from a group called Peter And The Silhouettes. Well, not exactly. What I really wanted to talk about is the current incarnation of the Tol-Puddle Martyrs. Still led by Peter Rechter, the Martyrs have released a series of CDs since 2007 (including a collection of recordings made by the 60s incarnation of the band). Among those CDs is the 2009 album A Celbrated Man, which contains several excellent tunes such as Anybody Else. I'd like to thank Peter Rechter for sending me copies of all the Tol-Puddle Martyrs albums to play on the show. There's plenty of good stuff on them to share with the rest of you.
Artist: Crawling Walls
Title: Day Glow
Source: LP: Inner Limits
Writer(s): Bob Fountain
Crawling Walls was a neo-psychedelic band from Albuquerque, New Mexico, led by vocalist/keyboardist Bob Fountain, flanked by guitarist Larry Otis (formerly of Philisteens) bassist Nancy Martinez and drummer Richard J. Perez. In 1985 they recorded an album called Inner Limits at a place called Bottom Line Studios. Day Glow is probably the essential Crawling Walls tune, with a Vox organ sound not often heard since the late 1960s. On a personal note, I've always felt somewhat connected to Crawling Walls for a couple of reasons. First, I had, for a while hung out with Larry's younger brother Jeff when we were all attending Kaiserslautern American High School in Germany in 1969. Larry was already a local legend who spent hours honing his guitar skills in his bedroom while Jeff and I were frittering away our time dating a pair of Canadian twin sisters (they were fraternal twins, so there was no chance of mixing them up). My second, and ultimately deeper connection to Crawling Walls was Bottom Line Studios, which I first encountered in 1986 when I was looking for a place to record my current band, Civilian Joe. Bottom Line was actually a professionally set up eight-track studio located in the basement of a local residence. When Larry, who lived in an upstairs bedroom, decided to leave Albuquerque for greener pastures, I ended up moving into his old room. By 1988 I was part owner of Bottom Line Studios and did all of my studio work there, including all of the music backgrounds used for Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Sadly, we lost our lease in 1989 and had to tear out all the wiring and partitions before selling the recording equipment to another local musician. I then left Albuquerque for good, ultimately ending up in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York doing a pair of weekly syndicated radio shows.
Source: German import CD: Black Monk Time
Label: Repertoire (original label: Polydor International)
The Monks were ahead of their time. In fact they were so far ahead of their time that only in the next century did people start to realize just how powerful the music on their first and only LP actually was. Released in West Germany in 1966, Black Monk Time both delighted and confused record buyers with songs like Higgle-Dy-Piggle-Dy, which sounds at first like a typical mid-60s dance tune, but soon displays a subversive edge that presages both the British punk-rock movement of the late 1970s and the hypnotic rhythmic patterns that would become the basis of kraut-rock as well. Not bad for a group of five American GIs (probably draftees) who, while stationed at Frankfurt, managed to come up with the idea of a rock band that looked and dressed like Monks (including the shaved patch on the top of each member's head) and sounded like nothing else in the world at that time. Of course, such a phenomenon can't sustain itself indefinitely, and the group disappeared in early 1967, never to be seen or heard from again.
Title: Sittin' On My Sofa
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
As far as I'm concerned, nobody did better B sides than the Kinks. Case in point: Sittin' On My Sofa. Released as the B side of Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, the song is vintage Kinks, yet never appeared on any of their albums. Two countries, Canada and the Netherlands, used different songs for the B side of Fashion, making Sittin' On My Sofa even more difficult to find within their borders. Luckily, both songs are now available as bonus tracks on The Kink Kontroversy CD.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: That's Not Me
Source: Mono CD: Pet Sounds
The Beach Boys were about as mainstream as bands like Love and the Music Machine were underground, yet Brian Wilson was turning out music every bit as original as any of the club bands in town. The album Pet Sounds is considered one of the masterpieces of the era, with the majority of songs, including That's Not Me, written by Wilson with lyrics by Tony Asher.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: My Friend
Source: LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 1971
Most of the tracks on The Cry Of Love, the first Jimi Hendrix LP to be released post-humously, were recordings made in 1969 and 1970 that were in various states of completion. The exeption is a song called My Friend, recorded in 1968 not long after the Electric Ladyland album was released. The song, which features Noel Redding on bass, Kenny Pine on twelve-string guitar, Jimmy Mayes on drums, Stephen Stills on piano and Paul Caruso on harmonica, is basically a blues number that utilizes various background noises to make it sound as if it was recorded in a bar late at night.
Title: I Can't See Your Face In My Mind
Source: CD: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
One of the most haunting Doors ever recorded is I Can't See Your Face In My Mind, from their second 1967 LP, Strange Days. It also ranks among the most sadness-evoking song titles I've ever run across. Such is the power of poetry, I guess. Frankly I'm surprised that the Alzheimer's Association hasn't purchased the rights to the song to use on one of their TV fundraising spots.
Title: Spanish Caravan
Source: CD: Waiting For The Sun
Writer: The Doors
The third Doors album was somewhat of a departure from the first two, covering a greater variety of styles than their previous efforts. A prime example is Spanish Caravan, which starts with a flamenco solo from Robbie Kreiger and continues in a highly Spanish (not Mexican) flavored musical vein.
Title: Unhappy Girl
Source: CD: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played on the jukebox at a neighborhood gasthaus known as the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
Title: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Label: United Artists
Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.
Title: Looking At A Baby
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Valiant)
Formed as the Classics in 1961, the Collectors hailed from Vancouver, British Columbia. By 1966 they had managed to secure a contract with Valiant Records, releasing Looking At A Baby as a single in January of 1967. Although the record was not a hit in the US, it did get the attention of engineer/producer Dave Hassinger, who was having problems completing David Axelrod's Mass In F Minor using the Electric Prunes. As the Collectors were musically more adept than the Prunes, Hassinger hired them to provide the instrumental tracks for the album, which nonetheless came out under the Electric Prunes name (which Hassinger owned at that time). Eventually the Collectors would change their name to Chilliwack and release a series of moderately successful records on the A&M label in the early to mid 1970s.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
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.
Title: It's Not True
Source: Mono LP: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer: Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Released in December, 1965, the first Who album (called simply My Generation in the UK) was recorded while the band was in their "maximum R&B" phase. The band members themselves were not happy with the album, feeling that they had been rushed through the entire recording process and did not have much say in how the final product sounded. Still, the album is considered one of the most influential debut albums of all time and has made several critics' top albums lists over the years. It's Not True, a song that critically addresses the absurdity of unfounded rumors, is fairly typical of the songs Pete Townshend was writing at the time.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: World Of Darkness
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2016
According to vocalist Jim Lowe, World Of Darkness was written after he and bassist Mark Tulin watched the Beatles perform on TV. Although the song has a few rough edges, it is a good representation of where the Electric Prunes were at musically at the beginning of their recording career.