This week's show has the distinction of not having any two songs from the same year back-to-back for the entire show (the two 1967 tracks in the middle are separated by the first hour break song and local station breaks). Considering that sets featuring songs from a particular year have been a staple of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era pretty much from the beginning, this is definitely a weird one, all right.
Title: The Bells Of Rhymney
Source: LP: The Byrds' Greatest Hits
It's hard to argue with the fact that the Byrds, on the early albums, did a lot of Bob Dylan covers. In fact, their first hit, Mr. Tambourine Man, was written by Dylan, as were three other tracks on their first LP. Dylan was not the only artist covered by the Byrds, however. Their second #1 hit, Turn Turn Turn, was written by Pete Seeger, as was The Bells Of Rhymney, a track on their first LP. The song was adapted by Seeger from a lyric by Welsh poet Idris Davies, and tells the story of a coal mining disaster in Wales. The Byrds began performing the song during their time as the house band at Ciro's, a club on Los Angeles's Sunset Strip, and it quickly became an audience favorite. George Harrison was reportedly influenced by Roger McGuinn's guitar riff for The Bells Of Rhymney when writing his own If I Needed Someone for the Rubber Soul album.
Title: One Track Mind
Source: Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: L. Colley/K. Colley
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
After successfully fooling many people into thinking that they were the Beatles recording under a different name with their 1965 hit Lies, the Knickerbockers (originally from Bergenfield, New Jersey) went with a more R&B flavored rocker for their follow up single. Unfortunately their label, the Los Angeles-based Challenge Records, did not have the resources and/or skills to properly promote the single.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: My Obsession
Source: CD: Between The Buttons
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
My Obsession, from the 1967 album Between The Buttons, is the kind of song that garage bands loved: easy to learn, easy to sing, easy to dance to. The Rolling Stones, of course, were the kings of this type of song, which is why so many US garage bands sounded like the Stones.
Artist: John Mayall
Title: 2401 (single version)
Source: European import CD: Blues From Laurel Canyon (bonus track)
Writer(s): John Mayall
Label: Decca (original US label: London)
John Mayall's Blues From Laurel Canyon was a sort of musical travelogue, describing his first trip to California, where he hung out with various musicians, groupies and hippy types in Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon. Among those he met were Frank Zappa, who had several people either living with or frequently visiting him, including members of the GTOs and his own band, the Mothers. This became the subject of the song 2401, which was also released as a single in Germany and Spain and as a B side in the UK, Italy and New Zealand.
Title: Can You Travel In The Dark Alone
Source: LP: Gandalf
Writer(s): Peter Sando
What's in a name? Well, when You're a rock band and your name is the Rhagoos, apparently not enough to keep the producers happy. The name the producers suggested, however, was even worse. I mean, you really can't blame the band members for hating a name like the Knockrockers, right? It took a while, but after throwing around several possibilities, the band decided to go with Gandalf And The Wizards, a name suggested by drummer Davy Bauer that was later shortened to just Gandalf. Gandalf only recorded one album, which was released on the Capitol label in 1969. Most of the tracks on that album were cover songs, with only two originals, both of which were provided by guitarist Peter Sando. Of those, Can You Travel In The Dark Alone is the more notable. For the completists among you, the other two members of this New York band were Bob Muller (bass) and Frank Hubach (keyboards). I'm not sure who provided the vocals, although my guess would be Sando.
Title: Maggie M'Gill
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Morrison Hotel)
1969 was not a particularly good year for the Doors. In March, Jim Morrison got arrested for allegedly exposing himself on stage in Florida, resulting in several tour dates being cancelled. Then, with perhaps too much time on their hands, they came up with the over-produced mess known as The Soft Parade, which got the worst reviews of any Doors album to date. By the end of the year, however, they were starting to get back on track, dispensing with the strings and horns heard on The Soft Parade in favor of a more stripped-down sound typical of the band's early club days for their next LP, Morrison Hotel. They also brought in key guest musicians, including guitarist Lonnie Mack, who can be heard playing bass on the last track of Morrison Hotel, a tune written by the band with lyrics by Morrison called Maggie M'Gill. The song is a good indication of what was to come on what would be their last LP with Morrison, the classic L.A. Woman.
Title: Evil Hearted You
Source: Mono Australian import CD: Over Under Sideways Down (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Having A Rave UP)
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
Label: Raven (original US label: Epic)
Perhaps more than that of any other British invasion band, the Yardbirds' US and UK catalogs differ wildly. One of their biggest UK hits was Evil Hearted You, a Graham Gouldman song that made it all the way to the # 3 spot in their native land, but was not even released as a single in the US. Instead, the song appeared on the group's most popular US album, Having A Rave Up, which was not released in the UK at all. Confusing stuff, that.
Title: Sleepy Time Time
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Mrs. Robinson
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
A shortened version of Mrs. Robinson first appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Graduate in 1967, but it wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released. Although the Graduate was one of the most successful films of the decade, I suspect that many more people have heard the song than have seen the film. Take that, movie lovers!
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Somewhere They Can't Find Me
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer: Paul Simon
Simon and Garfunkel's success as a folk-rock duo was actually due to the unauthorized actions of producer John Simon, who, after working on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album, got Dylan's band to add new tracks to the song Sound of Silence. The song had been recorded as an acoustic number for the album Wednesday Morning 3AM, which had, by 1966, been deleted from the Columbia catalog. The new version of the song was sent out to select radio stations, and got such positive response that it was released as a single, eventually making the top 10. Meanwhile, Paul Simon, who had since moved to London and recorded an album called the Paul Simon Songbook, found himself returning to the US and reuniting with Art Garfunkel. Armed with an array of quality studio musicians they set about making their first electric album, Sounds of Silence. The song Somewhere They Can't Find Me was one of the new songs recorded for that album. From a lyrical standpoint, the song is actually a reworking of the title track of Wednesday Morning 3AM. Musically, the song shows a strong influence from British folk guitarist Bert Jansch, whom Simon greatly admired.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Fakin' It
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): 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 that makes a reference to a "Mr. Leitch" (the last name of the Scottish folksinger turned psychedelic pioneer Donovan). The stereo mix of Fakin' It was first released on the 1968 LP Bookends.
Title: One Too Many Mornings
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Label: Rhino (original label: Valiant)
The Association is a name that will always be associated (sorry) with soft-pop hits like Cherish, Never My Love and Windy. Originally, though, they had a hard time getting a record deal, due to their somewhat experimental approach to pop music (co-founder Terry Kirkman had played in a band with Frank Zappa prior to forming the Association, for instance). Eventually they got a deal with Jubilee Records but were unable to get decent promotion from the label. Finally producer Curt Boettcher took an interest in the group, convincing Valiant Records (which had a distribution deal with Warner Brothers) to buy out the Association's contract. The first record the group recorded for Valiant was a single version of Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings. Unlike many of their later records, which used studio musicians extensively, One Too Many Mornings featured the band members playing all their own instruments. Boettcher would go on to produce the Association's debut LP in 1966, which included the hits Along Comes Mary and Cherish, before moving on to other projects.
Song: She's My Girl
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: White Whale
After a moderate amount of success in 1965 with a series of singles starting with a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, the Turtles found themselves running out of steam by the end of 1966. Rather than throw in the towel, they enlisted the services of the Bonner/Gordon songwriting team (from a New York band called the Magicians) and recorded their most successful single, Happy Together, in 1967. They dipped into the same well for She's My Girl later the same year.
Source: CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released on LP: Arthur or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
The Kinks were at their commercial low point in 1969 when they released their third single from their controversial concept album Arthur or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. Their previous two singles had failed to chart, even in their native England, and the band had not had a top 20 hit in the US since Sunny Afternoon in 1966. Victoria was a comeback of sorts, as it did manage to reach the #62 spot in the US and the #33 spot in the UK.
Artist: Romancers (aka the Smoke Rings)
Title: Love's The Thing
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Max and Bob Uballez
Label: Rhino (original label: Linda)
Love's The Thing, a favorite on local Los Angeles radio stations in 1965, was actually released three times on three labels under two different band names. Such was the studio scene in East L.A. in the mid-60s. Max Uballez, leader of the Romancers, was the driving force behind this and many other tunes appearing on the Linda and Faro labels, among others. The prolific Uballez was considered by many to be East L.A.'s answer to Phil Spector (or maybe Brian Wilson). Originally released as a B side on the Linda label in 1965, the exact same recording of Love's The Thing appeared as an A side by the Smoke Rings on the Prospect label in early 1966, and was picked up for national distribution on the Dot label later that same year.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Get Out Of My Life Woman
Source: CD: East-West
Writer(s): Alan Toussaint
The second Butterfield Blues Band album, East-West, released in 1966, is best known for the outstanding guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. One often overlooked member of the group was keyboardist Mark Naftalin, who, along with Butterfield and Bishop, was a founding member of the band. Naftalin's keyboard work is the highlight of the band's cover of Alan Toussaint's Get Out Of My Life Woman, which was a hit for Lee Dorsey the same year.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
It is a little known fact that, for a short time in early 1967, Country Joe McDonald and Janis Joplin were lovers. This could very well explain why Joe sounds just a bit like Janis on the song Love, from the first Country Joe And The Fish album, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, which was released in May of that year.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Spanish Castle Magic
Source: LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
When the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, came out it was hailed as a masterpiece of four-track engineering. Working closely with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix used the recording studio itself as an instrument, making an art form out of the stereo mixing process. The unfortunate by-product of this is that most of the songs on the album could not be played live and still sound anything like the studio version. One notable exception is Spanish Castle Magic, which became a more or less permanent part of the band's performing repertoire.
Artist: Jigsaw Seen
Title: Madame Whirligig
Source: CD: Old Man Reverb
Writer(s): Dennis Davison
The Jigsaw Seen has been around since 1988, when it was formed by Dennis Davison, formerly of the United States Of Existence. The group's first single, Jim Is The Devil, was released by Get Hip Records in 1989, with their debut LP Shortcut Through Clown Alley appearing the following year on the New Jersey based Skyclad Records. The band's latest release is an album called Old Man Reverb that shows a band in the process of exploring new ground on tunes like Madame Whirligig.
Artist: Squires Of The Subterrain
Title: On The Lawns
Source: Mono 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. His 2008 album Feel The Sun is a kind of combined tribute to Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney, who spent much of 1966 trying to outdo each other on albums like Pet Sounds and Revolver. On The Lawns, while retaining a McCartney feel, has vocals more reminiscent of Wilson's.
Artist: King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
Title: The Bitter Boogie
Source: CD: Paper Mache Dream Balloon
Writer(s): King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
For years I have scoffed at people who use the phrase "I listen to all kinds of music", mainly because what they mean is "all kinds of pop music" or "all kinds of hip hop" or maybe "all kinds of country". Seldom have I run across anyone who actually listens to several genres of music. Even more rare are people who make "all kinds of music". While King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard does not make "all" kinds of music, they certainly cover a wider variety of styles than just about anybody currently recording. As an added bonus, they write all their own material. The seven-piece band from Australia was formed in 2011 by members of several other bands, and has managed to release eight albums over the past four years, despite a busy touring schedule that has included two trips to North America and one to Europe. The Bitter Boogie, from their most recent album, Paper Mache Dream Balloon, is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek take on a musical form that is often associated with Canned Heat. Fun stuff!
Artist: King Crimson
Source: CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Label: Discipline Global Mobile (original label: Atlantic)
Of the five original tracks on the 1969 album In The Court Of The Crimson King, Moonchild has gotten the least amount of radio exposure over the years. This is probably because the bulk of the track consists of, well, noodling. The track's official title is: Moonchild (Including "The Dream" And "The Illusion"), with the first two minutes of the piece (The Dream) featuring mainly Ian McDonald's mellotron playing supplemented by Greg Lake's vocals. The remainder of the twelve-minute track is purely improvisational, with long periods of near-silence that, in the days before digital recording, were almost always marred by tics and pops that accumulate on the surface of vinyl records.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Black Magic Woman
Source: LP: Golden Hits Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Peter Green
Label: Sire (original label: Epic)
The original version of Black Magic Woman was the third single released by Fleetwood Mac. Written by the band's founder, Peter Green, the song has become a classic rock standard thanks to the 1970 cover of the song released by Santana on the album Abraxas. Many blues-rock purists, however, prefer the Fleetwood Mac original.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: Simulated stereo CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Seeds)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Priority (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Pushin' Too Hard was originally released to the L.A. market as a single in late 1965 and included on side one of the first Seeds album the following year. After being re-released as a single the song did well enough to go national in early 1967, peaking at #36 in February.
Title: Softly To Me
Source: CD: Love
Writer: Bryan McLean
Bryan McLean's role as a songwriter in Love was similar to George Harrison's as a Beatle. He didn't have more than one or two songs on any particular LP, but those songs were often among the best tracks on the album. The first of these was Softly To Me from the band's debut LP.
Title: The Visit (She Was Here)
Source: CD: Red Rubber Ball (a collection)
If you were to look up the term "diminishing returns" in a pop music encyclopedia, you might see a picture of the Cyrkle. Their first single, Red Rubber Ball, was a huge hit in 1966, going all the way to the #2 spot, with the album of the same name peaking at #47. The follow-up single, Turn Down Day, was also a top 20 hit, but it would be their last. Each consecutive single, in fact, would top out just a little bit lower than the one before it. Their first single of 1967 only managed to peak at #70. The B side of that single was the soft-rock tune The Visit (She Was Here), which was taken from the Cyrkle's second LP, Neon (which only managed to make it to #164 on the album charts). The group disbanded later that same year.
Title: This Will Be Our Year
Source: CD: Odessey And Oracle
Writer(s): Chris White
Label: Varese Sarabonde (original label: Date)
The Zombies second (and final) album, Odyssey And Oracle, was made pretty much under duress. The band had secured a contract with the British CBS label, but because of budget and time constraints, the recordings were done quickly, with no outtakes or unused songs from the sessions. Like many songs recorded at Abbey Road Studios at the time, This Will Be Our Year was first mixed monoraully, with horns added during the mixing process. As a result, the stereo version of the album contained a fake stereo mix made from the mono master. Since mono pressings were being phased out in the US, only the fake stereo version was available to American record buyers. The version heard here is a stereo mix made from the multitrack master tape without the overdubbed horns.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Wouldn't It Be Nice
Source: Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Wouldn't It Be Nice is the first song on what has come to be considered Brian Wilson's first true masterpiece: the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album. Wilson has often cited the Beatles' Rubber Soul as his inspiration for Pet Sounds; not because of any musical similarity, but because neither album has any "filler" material on it (although an argument could be made that Sloop John B, which was released as a single almost six months before Pet Sounds, was not really in line with the rest of the songs on the album). Wouldn't It Be Nice (backed with God Only Knows) was released in mid-July of 1966 as a single, two months after the release of Pet Sounds, while Wilson was already working on a followup single: Good Vibrations. The song was originally credited to Wilson, with lyrics by Peter Asher, but in 1994 Mike Love won a lawsuit acknowledging his contributions to 35 Beach Boys songs, including Wouldn't It Be Nice. Asher later testified, under oath, that Love's contribution was the fade out line "Good night my baby, sleep tight my baby" and possibly some minor vocal arrangements.
Title: Writer In The Sun
Source: LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
In 1966-67 Donovan's career was almost derailed by a contractual dispute with his UK label, Pye Records. This resulted in two of his albums, Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, not being issued in the UK. At the time he felt that there was a real chance that he would be forced into retirement by the dispute, and wrote Writer In The Sun as a way of addressing the subject. Ironically his career was going nowhere but up in the US due to him switching from the relatively small Hickory label to industry giant Columbia's subsidiary label Epic Records and scoring top 10 singles with Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow. His success with those records in the US may have been a factor in Pye settling with the singer-songwriter and issuing a British album that combined tracks from the two albums in late 1967.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Born On The Bayou
Source: LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s): John Fogerty
If there is any single song that sums up what Creedence Clearwater Revival was all about, it could very well be Born On The Bayou, the opening track of CCR's second LP, Bayou Country. The song, which was written by John Fogerty late at night, became the opening for nearly every Creedence concert over the next few years, and is considered by many to be the band's signature song. Oddly enough, John Fogerty had never set foot on a bayou in his life when he wrote the song, but had always been a fan of the movie Swamp Fever, as well as having a fascination with "every other bit of southern bayou information that had entered my imagination from the time I was born."
Artist: Ten Years After
Title: The Stomp
Source: LP: Ssssh!
Writer(s): Alvin Lee
The Stomp is your basic boogie done Ten Years After style. 'Nuff said.