Sunday, March 15, 2020
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2012 (starts 3/16/20)
Pretty much by accident we have what is probably the most tightly-formatted edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era that we'll ever see. Every set after the first one is exactly three songs long. And, with the exception of our Advanced Psych segment, every set (including our two artists' sets) is made up of songs from a particular year. Don't expect something like this to ever happen again.
Title: Red Rubber Ball (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Red Rubber Ball)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Paul Simon moved to London in early 1965, after his latest album with Art Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning 3 AM, had been deleted from the Columbia Records catalog after just a few weeks due to poor sales. While in the UK Simon found himself performing on the same bill as the Seekers, an Australian band that had achieved some international success with folky pop songs like A World Of Our Own. Needing cash, Simon wrote (with Seekers guitarist/vocalist Bruce Woodley) Red Rubber Ball, selling the song to the group for about 100 pounds. After returning to the US and reuniting with Garfunkel, Simon offered the song to the Cyrkle, who took the song all the way to the #4 spot on the charts.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: I Haven't Got The Nerve
Source: LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
The first thought I had when seeing the title of Left Banke's 1967 debut LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, was "if they had to name the album after the band's two hit singles, the rest of the songs must really suck", so I never gave it another thought. It turns out I was totally wrong, as the album is actually filled with fine tracks such as I Haven't Got The Nerve, which was originally the B side of the Walk Away Renee single in late 1966. I still think it's an annoying name for an album, though.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: Mono British import CD: The UltimateTurn On (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit with Talk Talk in 1966.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: The Behemoth
Source: LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s): H. Pye
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
When it comes to garage-punk bands of the sixties there are two that are generally considered to be at the top of the heap. Unlike the Standells, who started off as a bar band and only embraced the punk ethic when they hooked up with writer/producer Ed Cobb, the Shadows of Knight were the real deal. Coming from the Chicago suburbs, they literally got their start practicing in the garage, slowly graduating to parties and high school dances, getting banned from at least one high school campus in the process (something having to do with a female student getting knocked up, rumor has it). The Shadows (as they were originally known) cited the British blues bands as their main influence, with a dose of Chicago blues thrown in for good measure. The Behemoth, an instrumental track from their second album, Back Door Men, was chosen for a 1967 B side as well.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source: CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that the band had participated in at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s): Grace Slick
Label: Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Martha (mono single version)
Source: Mono CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
Jefferson Airplane made no secret of their residence at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco. In fact, the place was a known hangout for various freaks, acid-heads and hippy types. One the hangers-on, a young heiress, was the inspiration for Martha, a song from the band's third LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The song was also released as the B side to Watch Her Ride and used in a promotional film shown on a Perry Como special in 1967. The film, showing the band members cavorting in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, uses various editing techniques to make the individual members appear, disappear and jump from place to place as well as speed up and slow down, making it one of the first true rock videos.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: I Don't Know Why (aka Don't Know Why I Love You)
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
In 1969 Stevie Wonder released a single called Don't Know Why I Love You. Before the record could take off, however, several radio stations decided to instead play the B side of the record, a balled called My Cherie Amour. The song became, to that point, Wonder's biggest hit, and Don't Know Why I Love You quietly faded off into obscurity. Or rather it would have, if not for the fact that the Rolling Stones recorded their own version of the tune (retitling it I Don't Know Why) around the same time the Stevie Wonder version was released. The Stones, however, did not release the recording immediately. In fact, by the time the record was released (in 1975), the band was no longer associated with either London Records, which issued the recording, or Allen Klein, who had managed to gain control of all of the Stones' London era recordings; needless to say, the band itself did not authorize the single to be released.
Artist: Cardboard Box
Title: Come On Baby
Source: Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jack Lorenzo
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Regime)
The Ethics were formed in Pottstown, Pa., about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The band, which included guitarist Barry Berger, bassist Eric Kissinger, drummer Dave Dudas and keyboardist/vocalist Jack Lorenzo (who also managed the group), released a single on the Up Tight label in 1967 before changing their name to the Cardboard Box. Playing mostly at parties and high school dances, the band had a repertoire that was, according a Berger, a cross between funk and Iron Butterfly with a few late-era Beatles covers thrown in for good measure, and included their own light show. In 1969 they made a trip to an Allentown studio to record a pair of tunes written by Lorenzo, including Come On Baby, which was released as the A side of their only single for the Regime label.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Fortunate Son
Source: LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s): John Fogerty
John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source: LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
An early version of Country Joe And The Fish first recorded the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag in 1965 for an audio insert to Country Joe McDonald's Rag Baby underground magazine. The band's permanent lineup recorded a new studio version of the song for their debut LP in 1967, but their producer refused to include it on the album, fearing repercussions over its strong criticism of President Lyndon Johnson's Viet-Nam policies. Another song that did make the album, Superbird, was also critical of Johnson, but in a more lighthearted, satirical way. When that song did not cause any major backlash it was decided to go ahead and use the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag as the title track of the band's second LP. On the album itself the song is preceded by The Fish Cheer, which was famously spelled a bit differently when the band performed it live, leading Ed Sullivan to cancel the band's scheduled 1968 appearance on his weekly TV show.
Title: Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source: 45 RPM Single
Writer(s): The Doors
The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.
Title: A Girl I Knew
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Some artists tend to branch out into a variety of styles as their career progresses. Others, like Steppenwolf, move in the opposite direction, finding out early what works best then concentrating on continuing in that vein. A Girl I Knew (co-written by bandleader John Kay) is an example of a type of song that was tried early on, but then abandoned in favor of a harder rock sound on subsequent albums. The song was originally released as a single in late 1967, but failed to chart. The following year Born To Be Wild was released, and the rest is history.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer: Joe South
Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before retiring from public life.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: House Burning Down
Source: CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).
Title: The Great Canyon Fire In General
Source: CD: Spirit
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Among other things, Southern California is known for its periodic wildfires, which, fueled by hot Santa Ana winds, destroy everything in their path before they can be brought under control. In the summer of 1967, while the members of Spirit were living in L.A.'s Topanga Canyon and working on their first album, one of these wildfires took out about half of the canyon. Although the house the band was living in was spared, the entire area was evacuated and the members of Spirit (and their family) had to spend a week camped out at the beach. Now that's what I call roughing it!
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Do You Believe In Magic
Source: CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s): John Sebastian
Label: Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.
Title: Everybody's Everything
Source: LP: Santana (III)
Santana's third album, released in 1971, was called simply Santana. The problem is, their first album was also called Santana. The guitar solo on Everybody's Everything, by the way, is not by Carlos Santana. Rather it was performed by the then 17-year-old Neal Schon, who, along with keyboardist Greg Rolie would leave the band the following year to form Journey.
Artist: McFadden's Parachute
Title: Black Fuzz
Source: CD: Psolipsystic Psychedelic Pslyces Of McFadden's Parachute
Writer(s): Darren Brennessel
Although the psychedelic era itself officially covers only a few years in the late 1960s, for many the spirit of the era's music lives on. One such person is Darren Brennessel of Rochester, NY, who is the mastermind behind over two dozen McFadden's Parachute albums. Brennessel has been playing professionally since 1989, when he was the drummer for a band called the Purple Flashes, conceiving and recording the first McFadden's Parachute album as a side project. In the years since, in addition to playing multiple instruments on McFadden's Parachute albums then Brennessel has continued to play drums with a variety of bands, including Sky Saxon's Green Forests, which recorded an as-yet unreleased album in 2004. A few years back Darren sent me a special sampler collection of McFadden's Parachute tracks recorded mostly in the 1990s and early 2000s. One of my favorites of these is a tune called Black Fuzz, recorded in 2003.
Artist: Splinter Fish
Title: Milo's Sunset
Source: LP: Splinter Fish
Writer(s): Chuck Hawley
Albuquerque, NM, like most medium-sized cities, has had a vibrant club scene throughout the rock and roll era, with many of these clubs featuring live music. Until the late 1980s, however, very few bands were able to find gigs performing their own material. This began to change, however, with the emergence of alternative bands such as Jerry's Kidz and F.O.R., and underground venues such as the Club REC and the refurbished El Rey theater. One of the best bands to emerge at this time was Splinter Fish. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Chuck Hawley in 1988, the band also featured Jeff Bracey on bass, former F.O.R. member Deb-O on vocals, and the prolific Zoom Crespin on drums. The group released one self-titled LP in 1989, which featured a strong set of tunes, including Milo's Sunset, a song somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows.
Artist: Jigsaw Seen
Title: We Women
Source: CD: Old Man Reverb
Writer(s): Dennis Davison
The Jigsaw Seen is an indy band based in Los Angeles that has been around since the 1980s. Their latest album, Old Man Reverb, covers a lot of ground musically, including a couple of tunes, Madame Whirligig and Hercules And Slyvia, that sound a bit like vintage British psychedelia. Perhaps that is because the album itself was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios in London.
Title: Inside Looking Out
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
One of the last songs recorded by the Animals before their first breakup, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was covered a few years later by Grand Funk Railroad, who made it one of their concert staples. This has always been one of my all-time favorite rock songs, no matter who recorded it.
Artist: We The People
Title: Mirror Of Your Mind
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Thomas Talton
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
We The People were formed when an Orlando, Florida newspaper reporter talked members of two local bands to combine into a garage/punk supergroup. The result was one of the most successful regional bands in Florida history. After their first recording got airplay on a local station, they were signed to record in Nashville for Challenge Records (a label actually based in Los Angeles) and cranked out several regional hits over the next few years. The first of these was Mirror Of Your Mind. Written by lead vocalist Tom Talton, the song is an in-your-face rocker that got played on a number of local stations and has been covered by several bands since.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It
Source: CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s): Neil Young
The first Neil Young song I ever heard was Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, which was issued as the B side of For What It's Worth in 1967. I had bought the single and, as always, after my first listen flipped the record over to hear what was on the other side. (Years later I was shocked to learn that there were actually people who never listened to the B side of records they bought. I've never been able to understand that.) Anyway, at the time I didn't know who Neil Young was, or the fact that although Young was a member of Buffalo Springfield it was actually Richie Furay singing the song on the record. Now I realize that may seem a bit naive on my part, but I was 14 at the time, so what do you expect? At least I had the good taste to buy a copy of For What It's Worth in the first place (along with the Doors' Light My Fire and the Spencer Davis Group's I'm A Man if I remember correctly). Where I got the money to buy three current records at the same time at age 14 is beyond me, though.
Title: Hello, Goodbye
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour
1967 was unquestionably a good year for the Beatles. Their first release was a double A sided single, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, both sides of which were major hits. They followed that up with the #1 album of the year, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and another hit single, All You Need Is Love. To finish out the year they released yet another major hit single, Hello Goodbye. The only downside to the year was the cool reception that was afforded their December telefilm, Magical Mystery Tour, although the songs themselves were well-received when released in the UK as a double-EP set (complete with full color booklet containing stills from the film, as well as lyric sheets). As EPs were not considered a viable format in the US, Capitol Records put together an LP that included all six tracks from the telefilm on one side of the album and the five single sides (Hello Goodbye had used I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour as a B side) on the other. In the mid-1980s it was decided to use the British LPs as the model for all CD issues of Beatles material. The sole exception was Magical Mystery Tour, which used the US song lineup.
Title: Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
According to principal songwriter John Lennon, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was inspired by a turn of the century circus poster that the Beatles ran across while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Most of the lyrics refer to items on the poster itself, such as the Hendersons and Henry the Horse.
Title: Penny Lane
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Here's a little known fact: the true stereo recording of the Beatles' Penny Lane was not released in the US until 1980, when the song appeared on an album called Rarities. The original 1967 single was mono only, while the version used on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP was created using Capitol's infamous Duophonic process. A true stereo mix that had previously been available only in Germany was used on Rarities, but modified to include a series of trumpet notes at the end of the song that had previously only appeared on promo copies of the single sent to radio stations in the US and Canada. The "official" stereo version of the song heard here was not released until the late 1980s, when the US version of Magical Mystery Tour, featuring true stereo mixes of all of the band's 1967 singles, was issued on CD.
Artist: Skip Spence
Title: War In Peace
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Oar)
Writer(s): Skip Spence
Label: Sony Music (original US label: Columbia)
Skip Spence was one of the most tragic figures of the psychedelic era. Immensely talented, Spence was nonetheless plagued by mental health and drug abuse issues that he could never overcome. In 1966, after a short stint as rhythm guitarist with a band called the Other Side, Spence was invited by Marty Balin to be the drummer in a new group he was putting together to be the house band at a club he managed called the Matrix. That band was Jefferson Airplane, and Spence stayed with the group long enough to play on their first LP. Not long after that, Spence was fired for taking a trip to Mexico without letting the other band members know he was going. He then returned to playing guitar to co-found Moby Grape in 1967. The band's first album was a critical and commercial success, but that success was somewhat undercut by their label's decision to release five singles from the album simultaneously, causing the band to be perceived as being overly hyped. To add to the problems, their producer made the band come to New York to record their second LP so that he could be closer to his family. Unfortunately this meant the band members would be thousands of miles away from their own families, and Spence fell in with a bad crowd and started using drugs heavily. This led to a bizarre incident in which he took a fire ax to a hotel door and attempted to assault two of his bandmates, which in turn led to a six-month long stay at Belleview hospital. During this stay he wrote several new songs, including War In Peace, and upon his release headed to Nashville to record the album Oar, playing all the instruments himself. The album, recorded in seven days, was a total commercial failure, but has since come to be considered, in the words of one critic, "one of the most harrowing documents of pain and confusion ever made". Over the next three decades Spence struggled with heroin and cocaine addiction and died of lung cancer two days short of his 53rd birthday in 1999.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Whole Lotta Love
Source: German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
If any one song can be considered the bridge between psychedelic rock and heavy metal, it would have to be Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Released in 1969 as the lead track to their second LP, the song became their biggest hit single. Whole Lotta Love was originally credited to the four band members. In recent years, however, co-credit has been given to Willie Dixon, whose lyrics to the 50s song You Need Love are almost identical to Robert Plant's.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: The Boxer
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bridge Over Troubled Water)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The only Simon And Garfunkel record released in 1969, The Boxer was one of the duo's most successful singles, making the top 10 in nine countries, including the US, where it made it to the #7 spot. The track, which runs more than five minutes, was later included on the 1970 LP Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Artist: Red Crayola
Title: Hurricane Fighter Plane
Source: Stereo British import 45 RPM single (2011 remix)
Label: International Artists
Houston's Red Crayola went out of their way to make sure that their debut LP, Parable Of Arable Land, got as little airplay as possible, thus insuring the album's cult status. The way they did this was to invite about 50 extra people into the studio to use whatever they could find to make as much noise as they could generate. These "free-form freakouts" were then interspersed throughout the album, fading in and out over the beginnings and endings of the songs themselves. This resulted in each album side playing as a continuous track, much of which was unintelligible noise. In 2011, International Artists Records, now owned by the British Charly label, issued a special "sonic boom remix" of Hurricane Fighter Pilot, the first actual song on the album, as a Record Store Day single. The track has long been rumored to have a guest appearance from Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators playing organ.