Sunday, May 3, 2020
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2019 (starts 5/4/20)
Every week we strive for some kind of balance on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. This time around that balance is between segment lengths, with each segment running exactly 29 minutes and containing seven songs...with one exception. Our second hour starts with an "extra" by an ad-hoc "supergroup" that included Jeff Beck on guitar and Paul McCartney on drums and only recorded one song. As to what that song was, keep on reading...
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Gloria)
Writer(s): Van Morrison
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
For some reason I don't quite understand, I never paid much attention to current trends in popular entertainment other than as an outside observer. For example, when everyone else in my generation was tuned into the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, I was happily watching Car 54 Where Are You on a rival network. The same applies to the radio stations I listened to. KIMN was, by far, Denver's most popular top 40 station, yet I always managed to find myself listening to their rivals: first KDAB (until a flood took them off the air permanently), and then KBTR. For a short time in late 1966, however, KIMN had no rivals (KBTR had switched to an all-news format and KLZ-FM was still spending most of its broadcast day simulcasting the programming of its middle-of-the-road AM station). As a result, I found myself following KIMN's New Year's countdown of the year's top songs, which included a handful of tunes that I had never heard before. The highest ranked of these unfamiliar songs was one that immediately grabbed me: Gloria, as recorded by a Chicago area band called the Shadows Of Knight. It would be years before I even knew that this was actually a cover version of a song that had been released by Van Morrison's band, Them, but that had been banned in most US markets the previous year. All I knew is that it was a cool tune that would be one of the first songs I learned to play when I switched from violin to guitar the following summer.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever to crack the top 40 charts.
Title: Stop Stop Stop
Source: LP: The Very Best Of The Hollies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists (original label: Imperial)
The last Hollies song to be released in 1966 was Stop Stop Stop, a tune that was actually a rewrite of a 1964 B side. The song was written by Allan Clarke, Terry Hicks and Graham Nash, and was one of the first songs to be published under their actual names (as opposed to the fictional L. Ransford). The song itself was a major hit, going into the top 10 in eight countries, including the US, UK and Canada.
Title: A Well Respected Man
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year: Released 1965, charted 1966
The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man (actually released in late 1965) amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Section 43 (EP version)
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on EP: Rag Baby #2)
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Rag Baby was an underground journal published by Country Joe McDonald in mid-60s Berkeley, California. In 1965 McDonald decided to do a "talking issue" of the paper with an extended play (EP) record containing two songs by McDonald's band, Country Joe and the Fish and two by singer Peter Krug. In 1966 McDonald published a second Rag Baby EP, this time featuring four songs by Country Joe and the Fish. Among those was the original version of Section 43, a psychedelic instrumental that would appear in a re-recorded (and slightly changed) stereo form on the band's first LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, in early 1967.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Smell of Incense
Source: LP: Volume II
One of the commercially strongest songs on the second West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album for Reprise was Smell of Incense. The length of the track, however, (over five minutes) meant it would never get airplay on AM radio, although England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley took it to the # 56 spot on the charts while still in high school in 1968 with their band Southwest F.O.B.
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: One Kind Favor
Source: Italian import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): L T Tatman III
Canned Heat's best known song is Going Up The Country, a single from the band's third LP, Living The Blues. The B side of that single, One Kind Favor, was also from the same album. One Kind Favor is one of two tracks on Living The Blues (the other being Boogie Music) credited to L.T. Tatman III, a name sometimes thought to be a pseudonym for one or more of the band members. Musicallyt the song bears a strong resemblance to an earlier Canned Heat single, On The Road Again, which appeared on the band's second LP, Boogie With Canned Heat. Lyrically, it borrows heavily from Blind Lemon Jefferson's 1927 classic See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.
Title: I Want Candy
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Bang)
In the wake of the British Invasion, some American artists tried to sound as British as possible, often deliberately letting radio listeners think that they themselves might be a British band. A trio of New York songwriters, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, took such deceptions to a whole new level. Rather than try to pass themselves off as a British band, the three invented an elaborate backstory that saw them as sons of an Australian sheepherder who had invented a new shearing process and had used the profits from the venture to form a band called the Strangeloves, who were about to become the Next Big Thing. Although the story never really caught on, the group managed to record two of the all-time great party songs, I Want Candy and Night Time, as well as producing a single called Hang On Sloopy for a band they discovered on the road called the McCoys (although the instrumental tracks were actually from the Strangeloves' own first LP). According to press releases the pounding drum beat on I Want Candy was made by Masai drums that the band members had found while on safari in Africa, which just goes to show you can find just about anything in the New York City area if you know where to look.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Obviously 5 Believers
Source: Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
The earliest music recordings were made to be played through a single speaker (well, technically a big horn in the early days). Despite various advances in technology, this remained the case for half a century, until, in the 1950s, various engineers came up with a couple of ways to record in stereo (tape and stereo vinyl). Still, for a good ten years after stereo became commercially available, monoraul was still the industry standard for most recordings, with stereo mixes often created as an afterthought. This was literally the case with the 1966 Bob Dylan album Blonde On Blonde. Producer Bob Johnston says that they worked on the mono mix of the album for three or four days. At some point, one of the engineers reminded Johnston that they also needed to do a stereo mix. It took them about four hours. Nonetheless, for many years the only version of Blonde On Blonde available for sale was the stereo version, with the mono mix finally being reissued on vinyl in 2003. The album itself is considered one of Dylan's best, and has historical significance as the first double-LP to be released by a popular contemporary artist. One of the most overlooked songs on the album is Obviously 5 Believers, which closes out side three of the album. Dylan himself did not feel the need to spend much time on it, calling it "very easy", and the entire track was finished in four takes. Personally, I find it to be one of my favorite Dylan tracks. Oddly enough, Dylan does not play his own harmonica on the piece; it's actually the work of Charlie McCoy, with Robbie Robertson on guitar and Ken Buttrey on drums.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s): Joe and Willie Chambers
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.
Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Parchman Farm
Source: Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s): Mose Allison
If the release of the first Black Sabbath album in early 1970 marks the birth of heavy metal, then the release of the first Blue Cheer album in 1968 may be considered the point of conception for the form. Certainly, in terms of pure volume, Cheer was unequalled in their live performances (although the Grateful Dead's sound system had more wattage, Owsley Stanley used it judiciously to get the best sound quality as opposed to the sheer quantity of decibels favored by Blue Cheer), and managed to preserve that sense of loudness in the studio. Like Black Sabbath, the members of Blue Cheer had more than a passing familiarity with the blues as well, as evidenced by their inclusion of an old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm, on their debut LP, Vincebus Eruptum (the album included a cover of B.B. King's Rock Me, Baby as well). Contrary to rumors, guitarist Leigh Stephens did not go deaf and kill himself (although he did leave Blue Cheer after the band's second LP, moving to England and releasing a somewhat distortion-free solo album in 1969).
Title: It's Never Too Late
Source: CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released on LP: At Your Birthday Party)
Writer(s): Kay/St. Nicholas
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Although not generally known for their slow ballads, Steppenwolf did, on occasion, quiet things down on tracks like It's Never Too Late, from their third LP, At Your Birthday Party. The song was released as a single in 1969, but only reached the #51 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Artist: Albert King
Title: Sky Is Crying
Source: LP: Years Gone By
Although it was his fourth album overall, Years Gone By is actually the first Albert King LP made up entirely of studio tracks recorded specifically for the album itself. The final track on the LP is Sky Is Crying, originally recorded by Elmore James in 1959. King's arrangement is considered one of his signature songs, and was often featured in his live performances.
Title: Born Under A Bad Sign
Source: LP: Wheels Of Fire
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were pretty much considered the cream of the crop of the British blues scene in the mid 1960s, so it came as no surprise when they decided to call their new band Cream. Although the trio would go on to record several memorable non-blues tunes such as I Feel Free and White Room, they never completely abandoned the blues. Born Under A Bad Sign, originally recorded by Albert King for the Stax label and written by labelmates William Bell and Booker T. Jones, is one of the better known tracks from Cream's double-LP Wheels Of Fire, the last album released while the band was still together.
Artist: Paul Jones
Title: The Dog Presides
Source: British import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Paul Jones
Label: Zonophone (original UK label: Columbia)
Like many frontmen in the mid-60s Manfred Mann's Paul Jones decided to leave the group for a solo career right at the height of the band's success. Also like many former frontmen, Jones's solo career, beginning in 1966, was less than stellar. Most of Jones's records were done in an almost lounge lizard style. One notable exception is The Dog Presides, the B side of a forgettable 1968 single called And The Sun Will Shine. In addition to Jones on vocals and harmonica, The Dog Presides features former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck and bassist Paul-Samwell Smith and some guy named Paul McCartney on drums. This bit of psychedelic insanity was officially credited to Jones himself, but in all likelihood was a collaborative effort by the four of them.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Fakin' It
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer: Paul Simon
Fakin' It, originally released as a single in 1967, was a bit of a departure for Simon And Garfunkel, sounding more like British psychedelic music than American folk-rock. The track starts with an intro that is similar to the false ending to the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever; midway through the record the tempo changes drastically for a short spoken word section (name-dropping Mr. [Donovan] Leitch) that is slightly reminiscent of the bridge in Traffic's Hole In My Shoe. The song was later included on the 1968 LP Bookends.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Possibly the most psychedelic track on Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album, Blessed is a classic example of structured chaos, combining a wall of sound approach with tight harmonies and intelligent lyrics. One of the duo's most overlooked recordings.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The Sound Of Silence
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The Sound Of Silence was originally an acoustic piece that was included on Simon and Garfunkel's 1964 debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album went nowhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia Records catalog. Simon and Garfunkel themselves went their separate ways, with Simon moving to London and recording a solo LP, the Paul Simon Songbook. While Simon was in the UK, producer John Simon, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and got Dylan's band to add electric instruments to the existing recording. The song was released to local radio stations, where it garnered enough interest to get the modified recording released as a single. It turned out to be a huge hit, prompting Paul Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Art Garfunkel.
Title: I See The Rain
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: CBS)
Formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1961 as the Gaylords, the Marmalade is best known for its international smash hit Reflections Of My Life in late 1968. One often overlooked song was I See The Rain, which Jimi Hendrix once called his favorite record of 1967. The song was not a hit in either the US or UK, although it did make the top 30 in the Netherlands.
Title: Coloured Rain
Source: CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
Traffic, in its early days, was a band with an almost schizophrenic identity. On the one hand there was Steve Winwood, who was equally adept at guitar, keyboards and vocals and was generally seen as the band's leader, despite being its youngest member. His opposite number in the band was Dave Mason, an early example of the type of singer/songwriter that would be a major force in popular music in the mid-1970s. The remaining members of the band, drummer/vocalist Jim Capaldi and flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood, tended to fall somewhere between the two, although they more often sided with Winwood in his frequent creative disputes with Mason. One of these disputes involved the choice of the band's second single. Mason wanted to follow up the successful Paper Sun with his own composition, Hole In My Shoe, while the rest of the band preferred the group composition, Coloured Rain. Mason won that battle, but would end up leaving the band before the release on the group's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. This in turn led to the album being revised considerably for its US release, which was issued under a completely different title, Heaven Is In Your Mind, with most of Mason's contributions being excised from the album (although, oddly enough, Hole In My Shoe, which was not on the original LP, was included on the US album). One final example of the band's schizophrenic nature was in the way the group was marketed. In the US, Traffic was, from the beginning, perceived as a serious rock band along the lines of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In their native land, however, they were, thanks in part to the top 40 success of both Paper Sun and Hole In My Shoe as well as Winwood's fame as lead vocalist for the Spencer Davis Group, dismissed as a mere pop group. Mason would rejoin and leave the group a couple more times before achieving solo success in the mid-70s with the hit We Just Disagree, while Traffic would go on to become a staple of progressive FM rock radio in the US.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Manic Depression
Source: Mono British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
After miraculously surviving being shot point blank in the head (and then bayoneted in the back for good measure) in the Korean War (and receiving a Silver Star), my dad became somewhat of a minor celebrity in the early 50s, appearing on a handful of TV and radio game shows as a kind of poster boy for the Air Force. One result of this series of events was that he was able to indulge his fascination with a new technology that had been developed by the Germans during WWII: magnetic recording tape. He used his prize winnings to buy a Webcor tape recorder, which in turn led to me becoming interested in recording technology at an early age (I distinctly remember being punished for playing with "Daddy's tape recorder" without permission on more than one occasion). He did not receive another overseas assignment until 1967, when he was transferred to Weisbaden, Germany. As was the usual practice at the time, he went there a month or so before the rest of the family, and during his alone time he (on a whim, apparently) went in on a Lotto ticket with a co-worker and won enough to buy an Akai X-355 stereo tape recorder from a fellow serviceman who was being transferred out and did not want to (or couldn't afford to) pay the shipping costs of the rather heavy machine.The Akai was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. Of course all of his old tapes were in storage (along with the old Webcor) back in Denver, so I decided that this would be a good time to start spending my allowance money on pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, the first of which was Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Let's Spend The Night Together
Source: CD: Flowers (originally released on LP: Between The Buttons)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones second LP of 1967 was Flowers, one of a series of US-only albums made up of songs that had been released in various forms in the UK but not in the US. In the case of Flowers, though, there were a couple songs that had already been released in the US-but not in true stereo. One of those was Let's Spend The Night Together, a song intended to be the A side of a single, but that was soon banned on a majority of US radio stations because of its suggestive lyrics. Those stations instead flipped the record over and began playing the B side, Ruby Tuesday (apparently not realizing it was about a rock groupie). Ruby Tuesday ended up in the top 5, while Let's Spend The Night Together barely cracked the top 40. The Stones did get to perform the tune on the Ed Sullivan Show, but only after promising to change the lyrics to "let's spend some time together." Later the same year the Doors made a similar promise to the Sullivan show to modify the lyrics of Light My Fire, but when it came time to actually perform the song Jim Morrison defiantly sang the lyrics as written. The Doors were subsequently banned from making any more appearances on the Sullivan show.
Artist: Barry McGuire
Title: Eve of Destruction
Source: CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: P.F. Sloan
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity. Sloan, also a studio guitarist and a longtime member of L.A.'s Wrecking Crew (his guitar work can be heard on such well-known tunes as California Dreamin' and Secret Agent Man), would soon form a songwriting partnership with Steve Barri and begin turning out a series of pop songs, many of which would end up being recorded by the Grass Roots.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Good Vibrations
Source: 45 RPM single
Although I had originally discovered top 40 radio in 1963 (when I received a small Sony transistor radio for my birthday), it wasn't until 1966 that I really got into it in a big way. This way due to a combination of a couple of things: first, my dad bought a console stereo, and second, my junior high school went onto split sessions, meaning that I was home by one o'clock every day. This gave me unprecedented access to Denver's two big top 40 AM stations, as well as an FM station that was experimenting with a Top 100 format for a few hours each day. At first I was content to just listen to the music, but soon realized that the DJs were making a point of mentioning each song's chart position just about every time that song would play. Naturally I began writing all this stuff down in my notebook (when I was supposed to be doing my homework), until I realized that both KIMN and KBTR actually published weekly charts, which I began to diligently hunt down at various local stores. In addition to the songs occupying numbered positions on the charts, both stations included songs at the bottom of the list that they called "pick hits". These were new releases that had not been around long enough to achieve a chart position. The one that most stands out in my memory was the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, a song I liked so much that I went out to the nearest Woolco and bought it the afternoon I heard it. Within a few weeks Good Vibrations had gone all the way to the top of the charts, and I always felt that some of the credit should go to me for buying the record when it first came out (hey I was 13, OK?). Over the next couple of years I bought plenty more singles, but to this day Good Vibrations stands out as the most important 45 RPM record purchase I ever made.
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)
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.
Title: Get Down From The Tree
Source: CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Czechoslovakia on LP: Matadors)
Label: Rhino (original label: Supraphon)
When the words "Czechoslovakia" and "1968" come up in the same sentence it is usually in reference to an invasion by the Soviet Union to crack down on dissident elements in the Eastern Bloc satellite nation. No doubt the Matadors, formed in Prague in 1965 as the Fontanas, were among those elements, thanks to self-penned tracks such as Get Down From The Tree, a song that was originally released on an EP in 1967 and re-recorded for their self-titled debut LP. What happened to the Matadors following the Soviet invasion is unknown.
Title: I Still Wonder
Source: CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Out Here)
Label: Elektra/Rhino (original label: Blue Thumb)
Not long after the release of the third Love album, Forever Changes, Bryan McLean left the group. After a final single was released in 1968 Arthur Lee fired the rest of the band, replacing them with Jay Donnellan on guitar, Frank Fayad on bass, and George Suranovich on drums. Love still owed Elektra one last album, however, so the new lineup recorded three LPs worth of material in a makeshift studio in Los Angeles, giving Elektra their choice of tracks for the 1969 album Four Sail. Lee then signed a new contract with the fledgling Blue Thumb label and used the remaining tracks for a double LP called Out Here. All but one of the 17 songs on Out Here were composed entirely by Lee. The other tune was a collaboration between Lee and Donnellan called I Still Wonder, generally considered one of the stronger tracks on the album. The song combines elements of jazz and psychedelia, and features one of Lee's rare forays into the realm of vocal harmonies.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Poem By The Sea/Paint It, Black
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: BGO (original label: M-G-M)
One of the highlights of the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 was the onstage debut of Eric Burdon's new Animals, a group much more in tune with the psychedelic happenings of the summer of love than its working class predecessor. The showstopper for the band's set was an extended version of the Rolling Stone's classic Paint It, Black. That summer saw the release of the group's first full LP, Winds Of Change, which included a studio version of Paint It, Black preceded by a slow piece called Poem By The Sea.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Moby Grape was formed out of the ashes of a band called the Frantics, which featured the songwriting team of guitarist Jerry Miller and drummer Don Stevenson. The two continued to write songs together in the new band. One of those was 8:05, one of five songs on the first Moby Grape album to be released simultaneously as singles.