This week the spotlight is constantly on the move, lingering momentarily on Arlo Guthrie, Brian Wilson, Peter Tork and the Rolling Stones, among others.
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.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Somewhere They Can't Find Me
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The first Simon And Garfunkel album, Wednesday Morning 3AM, was a fairly traditional type of folk LP. The album was originally released in late 1964, but due to lackluster sales was soon deleted from the Columbia catalog. In 1965 Paul Simon relocated to London, releasing a solo LP called the Paul Simon Songbook there. Before leaving the country, however, he and Art Garfunkel recorded two new songs in a more upbeat style that remained unreleased until 1966, when the duo reunited for a new album, Sounds of Silence. One of those two new songs was Somewhere They Can't Find Me. The song was, lyrically, a reworking of the title track of Wednesday Morning 3AM, but with entirely new music inspired by a Bert Jansch tune called Anji. As a tribute Simon included his own recording of Anji on the album immediately following Somewhere They Can't Find Me.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: In The Arena
Source: LP: Volume II
In The Arena is the quintessential West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band song: an ambitious piece that uses spoken word sections and opposing Apollonian and Dionysian musical themes (the latter featuring some of Ron Morgan's best guitar work) to imply that the things we watch on the nightly television newscast serve the same function in our culture that gladiator fights and the like served in ancient Roman times. The track opens side one of the second West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album, appropriately called Volume II.
Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Motorcycle Song (Significance Of The Pickle)
Source: The Best Of Arlo Guthrie
Writer(s): Arlo Guthrie
Label: Warner Brothers
To be honest, I am not sure when this particular recording was made. Arlo Guthrie originally recorded the Motorcycle Song for his 1967 debut album, Alice's Restaurant. The first live recording of the song was released the following year on the LP Arlo. However, his reference to having been performing the song for twelve years makes me think this is a mid-seventies performance. It's even possible that the greatest hits album, issued in 1977, was the first time this particular performance was released.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: I'm Yours And I'm Hers
Source: Mono European import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s): Johnny Winter
Label: Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
1969 was a big year for Johnny Winter. An article the previous year in Rolling Stone magazine referring to the "albino guitarist with long white hair causing a stir in the Southwest" had led to his album The Progressive Blues Experiment being picked up by Imperial Records for national distribution, which in turn led to Winters signing with Columbia, one of the world's largest and most influential record labels. His first album for Columbia, titled simply Johnny Winter, was a critical and commercial success, instantly putting him in the top tier of both blues and rock guitarists. The opening track of the LP was I'm Your And I'm Hers, a Johnny Winter original that utilized the talents of future Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer "Uncle" John Turner, both members of Johnny's band Winter at the time. This same lineup would record a second album for Columbia with Johnny's brother Edgar on keyboards and saxophone before being disbanded in favor of the larger group that would come to be known as Johnny Winter And.
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 15 seconds or so from the original recording.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Parchman Farm
Source: CD: The Blues Project Anthology
Writer(s): Mose Allison
Year: Recorded 1965, released 1997
Autumn of 1965 was a busy, and quite productive, time for the Greenwich Village based Blues Project. The band had added keyboardist Al Kooper in mid-October. At around that same time they signed with MGM's Verve Forecast label and got a steady gig at Howard Solomon's Cafe Au Go Go, on Bleeker Street in the Village. By early November they were playing to a full house every night, prompting Solomon to organize a Thanksgiving weekend bash to be called the Blues Bag. In addition to the Blues Project, the playbill included John Lee Hooker, Son House, Bukka White, Geoff Muldaur, Eric Anderson and several electric bands, including Buzzy Linhart's Seventh Sons. Solomon managed to get Verve Folkways to not only record the Blues Project's portion of the show, but to finance the entire weekend gig. The tracks recorded at the Blues Bag were to be used for the Blues Project's debut LP, but in January a huge problem caused everyone involved to rethink their plans. Lead vocalist Tommy Flanders had a girlfriend who convinced him that he was the band's big star and as such, should get special treatment from pretty much everyone. When the rest of the band took exception to this idea Flanders walked out, never to return. For obvious reasons, nobody wanted to release an album featuring a lead vocalist who was no longer a member of the band; the solution was to set up another live recording session, again at the Cafe Au Go Go. Ultimately, some of the tracks with Flanders were used on the album, with the remaining tracks remaining unreleased until 1997, when the Blues Project Anthology was released. Among those unreleased tracks was the band's take on the old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Peepin' And Hidin'
Source: LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s): Jimmy Reed
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
When the Shadows Of Knight first entered the recording studio to work on their debut LP, Gloria, the band featured Warren Rogers on lead guitar and Joe Kelley on bass. It soon became evident, however, the Kelley had a lot more talent as an instrumentalist than anyone had realized, and by the time the album was completed Kelley and Rogers had traded instruments. The band's second LP, Back Door Men, saw Kelley taking even a bigger role on tracks like Jimmy Reed's Peepin' And Hidin', which features Kelley on lead vocals, as well as his usual lead guitar and blues harp.
Title: Wind Dream
Source: Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Stephen Ehret
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
The Wildflower was one of four bands chosen to represent Mainstream Records on the 1967 compilation album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers. Unlike the other three bands, the Wildflower was part of the emerging San Francisco underground music scene, playing the same places as Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead. Following an audition at Gene Estribou's loft studio in Haight-Ashbury, the Wildflower, along with Big Brother And The Holding Company, were signed by Mainstream's owner, Bob Shad, who quickly flew the band down to Los Angeles to cut a single, a song written by guitarist Stephen Ehret and poet Michael McClure called Baby Dear. The B side of that single was an Ehret composition called Wind Dream. Although the record did not sell well, the band did a tour of the East Coast, and even generated major label interest, but by the time they were able to free themselves of their Mainstream contract, the group had broken up.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.
Title: Come Back
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Howard Kaylan
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Turtles vocalist Howard Kaylan had yet to turn 18 when the band was signed to the newly-formed White Whale record label. Despite his young age, he had already written several songs, three of which appeared on the group's debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe, with three more on the band's second album, Let It Be. Another early Kaylan song was Come Back, which appeared as the B side of the non-album single Grim Reaper Of Love. The song would not be available on an LP until after the Turtles had stopped recording, when White Whale included it on an album of B sides and outtakes called Wooden Head.
Title: King Midas In Reverse
Source: British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Uncut (original label: Parlophone)
One of the last Hollies singles to include original member Graham Nash, King Midas In Reverse combines pop and psychedelia in a purely British way. The problem was that, with the exception of Nash, the Hollies had no desire to embrace psychedelia, and Nash soon found himself banding with David Crosby and Stephen Stills instead.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: The Shield
Source: LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: The Book Of Taliesyn
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
The story of the original Deep Purple lineup is, in a way, two entirely different stories. At home the band was virtually ignored by audiences and press alike, and struggled to even get their records released. In the US, however, they were overnight sensations, thanks in large part to the success of the single Hush in the spring of 1968. A North American tour was set up, scheduled to begin in October of that year, but their American label, Tetragrammaton, wanted a second album from the band to be on the racks before the tour opened. This meant that the group was in the studio only two months after releasing Shades of Deep Purple, working on what would become The Book Of Taleisyn, despite the fact that Shades of Deep Purple had not even been released yet in the UK. The first song recorded for the new LP was The Shield, an imaginative piece incorporating unusual drum patterns from Ian Paice and appropriately mystical lyrics from Rod Evans, along with some nice guitar and organ work from Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. Although The Book Of Taleisyn was not as big a seller in the US as Shades Of Deep Purple, the tour itself was a huge success. Still, the band still was not getting any respect at home. In fact, The Book Of Taleisyn did not even come out in the UK until mid-1969, by which time Evans and bassist Nicky Simper were no longer members of Deep Purple.
Artist: Pleasure (featuring Billy Elder)
Title: Poor Old Organ Grinder
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Tandyn Almer
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Tandyn Almer had one of the most innovative minds in late 60s L.A., both in and out of the recording studio (he was the inventor of the dual-chamber bong, for instance). Poor Old Organ Grinder was a song originally intended for Tommy Flanders, the original lead vocalist for the Blues Project. Flanders, however, was not able to hit the high notes. As Almers was about to cancel the entire project one of the recording engineers, Billy Elder, convinced Almer to let him take a shot at the song, and the result is the recording heard here.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: This Whole World
Source: LP: The Big Ball (also released on LP: Sunflower)
Writer(s): Brian Wilson
Label: Warner Brothers (Sunflower released on Reprise label)
In 1969 Warner Brothers Records released the first of a series of budget priced sampler albums they called "loss leaders". These double-LP sets were only available by mail order from the label itself. Each set cost two dollars, with no extra charge for shipping and handling. The ads for these albums appeared mainly on the inner sleeves of LPs released on the WB and Reprise labels, although there were a few ads in Rolling Stone magazine as well. Even the ad copy was unconventional; The Big Ball, released in early 1970, was described thusly: "Loss Leaders are compiled from new stuff, NOT old tracks dredged out of our Dead Dogs files. No selections are used on more than one album…Warner/Reprise is not 100% benevolent. It’s our fervent hope that–after hearing one of the Loss Leaders–you’ll be encouraged to pick up more of what you hear on these special albums, at regular retail prices. That’s where the profit lies. We think." In a few cases, tracks on albums like The Big Ball came out before the LPs they were lifted from. For example, This Whole World, a new Beach Boys song written by Brian Wilson, was credited in the liner notes as being from an album called Add Some Music. However, when the album itself (the first to be released on the band's own Brother Records label) came out later that year, the title had been changed to Sunflower.
Title: 12-Bar Original
Source: Anthology 2
Year: Recorded 1965, released 1996
Apparently nobody at EMI studios was familiar with the term "blues jam", so they called this Rubber Soul outtake 12-Bar Original. The Beatles actually recorded two takes of this; the second of these ran about six and a half minutes in length. That second take was edited down to about three minutes for inclusion on the second Anthology album in 1996.
Artist: Brian Wilson
Title: I'm In Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop/Vega-Tables
Source: CD: Brian Wilson Presents Smile
One of the unique features of Brian Wilson's Smile is the inclusion of snippets of songs that were popular with a previous generation. One of these is I Wanna Be Around, a Johnny Mercer tune from the 1950s that was first recorded by Tony Bennett. In Brian Wilson Presents Smile, the tune is part of a medley that includes Wilson's own I'm In Great Shape and Workshop, which segues into Vega-Tables. I'm In Great Shape was originally one of the many short pieces that were slated to make up Smile's showpiece, the lengthy Heroes And Villains, but had eventually been designated as a separate piece. Workshop is basically a collage of sound effects created during the original Smile sessions that was re-recorded in stereo for the 2004 album. The original tapes were worked into the song Do It Again on the 1969 album 20/20. A stripped-down version of Vega-Tables appeared on the 1967 Smiley Smile, which was essentially a stripped-down version of Smile itself.
Artist: Squires Of The Subterrain
Title: Feel The Sun
Source: CD: Feel The Sun
Writer(s): Christopher Zajkowski
Label: Rocket Racket
Based in Rochester, NY, the Squires Of The Subterrain are (is?) the work of Christopher Earl of Rochester, NY, who has been releasing independent recordings on his own Rocket Racket label for the better part of 20 years. The 2008 album Feel The Sun has elements of both Brian Wilson's Smile period and the Beatles at their most psychedelic. The title track of Feel The Sun leans more in the Wilson direction, with several seemingly unrelated segments put together in such a way as to create a coherent whole.
Artist: Strawberry Zots
Source: LP: Cars, Flowers, Telephones
Writer(s): Mark Andrews
Albuquerque's Strawberry Zots were led by Mark Andrews, who either wrote or co-wrote all of the band's original material, including the song Cold. Their only LP, Cars, Flowers, Telephones, was released on vinyl locally on the StreetSound label and reissued on CD the following year by RCA records.
Artist: Blossom Toes
Title: When The Alarm Clock Rings
Source: CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: We Are Ever So Clean)
Writer(s): Jim Cregan
Label: Rhino (original label: Marmalade)
Originally known as the Ingoes, Blossom Toes were discovered playing in Paris (where they had released an EP) by Giorgio Gomelsky, manager of the Yardbirds, who signed them to his own label, Marmalade, in 1967. Everyone on the British music scene was talking about (and listening to) the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, trying to figure out how to apply the album's advanced production techniques to their own material, including Gomelsky and Blossom Toes. The result was an album called We Are Ever So Clean, one of the first post-Sgt. Pepper albums to be released in the UK. When The Alarm Clock Rings shows just how strong the Sgt. Pepper's influence was in late 1967.
Title: Pull/Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Now
Source: LP: Head
Writer(s): Peter Tork
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Monkees was the fact that Peter Tork was never taken seriously as a musician, despite being, according to Mike Nesmith, the best instrumentalist in the band, and for that matter a much better vocalist than anyone realized. Born Peter Halsten Thorkelson on Feb 13, 1942, Tork was part of New York's Greenwich Village folk music community, where he became friends with Stephen Stills. By 1966, both Stills and Tork had relocated to Los Angeles, and after Stills auditioned unsuccessfully for the Monkees, he recommended Tork, who got the part. It was a mixed blessing, however, as Tork, more than any of the others, wanted the Monkees to be a real band, but was constantly frustrated in his efforts to make it so. Tork was proficient on several instruments, including banjo, acoustic and electric bass, guitar and harpsichord. Tork had few opportunities to sing lead vocals with the Monkees, the most famous being the comical Your Auntie Grizelda on the album More Of The Monkees. He finally did get to show his true talent on Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Now, a song that he wrote and sang lead on from the LP Head, the soundtrack album from the movie of the same name. The album itself, a major departure from the light pop the Monkees were known for, was a commercial failure, and Tork soon left the group for a solo career.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Share A Little Joke
Source: CD: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s): Marty Balin
Jeffeerson Airplane's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation, is generally considered to be the pinnacle of the group's psychedelic period. The album's songs deal with a variety of subjects, including politics, hippy sociology, and even a touch of science fiction. Founder Marty Balin, who had written much of the material on the band's first two albums, only contributed one solo effort to the album, the whimsical Share A Little Joke.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Following the critical and commercial success of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Stones responded with their most psychedelic album ever, Their Satanic Majesties Request, with its own cover parodying the Sgt. Pepper cover. As an added touch, the Stones album featured cover art done on special holographic paper (the same material used for holo rings purchased from bubble gum machines) to simulate a 3D effect. The first side wrapped up with the nearly eight-minute Sing This All Together (See What Happens), a sort of psychedelic jam track featuring an unusual array of instruments and effects.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Purple Haze
Source: Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released in the UK as a 45 RPM single)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Polydor (original label:Track)
Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK on the Track label and in Europe on the Polydor label as a single, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced, in the US, they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. Purple Haze next appeared on the Smash Hits album, which was released pretty much everywhere. The song's next appearance was on a European double LP release on Polydor called The Singles, which collected all the tracks that had previously appeared on 7" vinyl anywhere, including posthumous releases. This was the way things stayed until the early 1990s, when MCA acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that the song has now been released by all three currently existing major record conglomerates.
Artist: Lemon Drops
Title: I Live In The Springtime
Source: Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Roger Weiss
Label: Rhino (original label: Rembrandt)
Sometimes it's all about being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately for the Lemon Drops, that place and time was not the Chicago suburbs in early 1967. Otherwise they might have had a hit record with I Live In The Springtime, a rather nice piece of psychedelia. It probably didn't help that their label, Rembrandt, was not able to put together the same kind of national distribution deal that another Chicago label, Dunwich, had been able to the previous year with the Shadows Of Knight's version of Gloria. Another, somewhat unique, problem was that there were two different pressings of the single, one with no drums and the other with the guitar almost lost in the mix. It is thought that the original mix was in stereo (with the drums on one side and the guitar on the other) and the two pressings each used only one channel from that mix. The version heard here is the one with drums, which is far superior to the drumless mix.
Title: Alone Again Or
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): Bryan MacLean
The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version either.
Source: Mono LP: I Can't Make A Friend 1965-1968 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Otis Redding
Label: Light In The Attic (original label: Atco)
Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Ain't No Use
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Moby Grape's 1967 debut LP is considered by many critics to be the very best album by any artist to come from the late-1960s San Francisco music scene. The thirteen songs on the LP covered a wide range of genres, including folk-rock, acid rock, blues-rock and even country-rock, and the album is considered by some to be a progenitor of such movements as glam and punk, among others. Unfortunately, someone at Columbia Records thought it would be a good idea to issue ten of those thirteen songs simultaneously as singles on June 6. Rather than to get into a discussion of the merits of such a move, I am this week presenting one of the three songs that were not picked for this bit of hyperbole. Ain't No Use, and one minute and thirty-seven seconds, is one of the shortest tracks on the album, surpassed only by Naked, If I Want To, which runs less than a minute. Ain't No Use is also an early example of country-rock, a genre that had not yet been defined when the album came out. Thus, Ain't No Use was perceived as something of a novelty song, and was thus ignored by virtually everyone.
Title: (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Label: United Artists
The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Affirmative No
Source: Mono CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Unlike many of their fellow L.A. bands, who preferred to stay close to home, the Music Machine toured extensively after scoring their big national hit Talk Talk. While on the road the band worked on new material for a second album, booking studio time wherever they happened to be. One of those places was Muscle Shoals, Alabama, which had emerged as a rival to Memphis's Stax Studios as a hotbed of southern soul music. The Machine recorded two tracks there in early 1967, including Affirmative No, a song that manages to have a southern soul vibe without sacrificing any of the Music Machine's trademark garage/punk sound. Although the original group disbanded shortly after the songs were recorded, both tunes were included on the 1968 LP Bonniwell Music Machine, joining a couple of previously released Original Sound singles and several tracks recorded later in the year by a new Music Machine lineup.