This week's show features a rather long Jimi Hendrix set, the bulk of which is made up of tracks from the live Band Of Gypsys LP. We also have a Simon & Garfunkel set, and quite a few rarities, especially in the final half hour of the show. We start off, however, with one of the most iconic songs of 1965...
Title: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source: 45 RPM single
In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals. This expanded version of the album first appeared on the ABKCO label in 1973, but with the American, rather than the British, version of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. With all this in mind, I looked for, and finally found, a copy of the original US single.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: She Has Funny Cars
Source: CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
She Has Funny Cars, the opening track of Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was a reference to some unusual possessions belonging to new drummer Spencer Dryden's girlfriend. As was the case with many of the early Airplane tracks, the title has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song itself. The song was also released as the B side to the band's first top 10 single, Somebody To Love.
Artist: Max Frost And The Troopers aka 13th Power
Title: Fourteen Or Fight
Source: LP: Wild In The Streets (soundtrack)
When American International Pictures decided to do a feature film called Wild In The Streets, based on Robert Thom's short story The Day It All Happened, Baby, they brought in one of the Brill building's most successful songwriting teams, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to write songs for the film's fictional band led by Max Frost to perform. The husband and wife team had already created plenty of classic hits, including On Broadway, Kicks and We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, so it was no surprise that the film's showcase song, Shape Of Things To Come, made it into the top 40, and has become one of the iconic songs of the 60s. Not all of the songs in the film were up to the same standard, however. A couple of them, including Fourteen Or Fight, are notable more for being integral to the film's plot than for their quality as songs. In fact, outside of the context of the movie, Fourteen Or Fight has to be one of the stupidest songs ever to get recorded. Although credited on the soundtrack album to the 13th Power (an actual band originally known as the Moms) Fourteen Or Fight was in all likelihood performed entirely by studio musicians, with 13th Power's Paul Wibier as the probable vocalist, although it is also possible that actor Christopher Jones, who played Max Frost, sang the song himself. Since actual documentation of the album's soundtrack is virtually non-existent, nobody seems to know for sure.
Artist: Van Dyke Parks
Title: Come To The Sunshine
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Van Dyke Parks
Label: Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Van Dyke Parks is probably best known for being Brian Wilson's collaborator of choice for the legendary (but unreleased) Smile album. Parks, however, did have an identity of his own, as this recording of Come To The Sunshine shows. The song became a minor hit for WB labelmates Harper's Bizarre, although it did not have nearly the success of their first effort, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: The Masked Marauder
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s (which is rather ironic, considering that they were actually based in Berkeley on the other side of the bay and rarely visited the city itself, except to play gigs). Their first two releases were EPs included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: My Mirage
Source: LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
One thing about Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. That's a bit of a shame, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there, such as My Mirage, a Doug Ingle composition that helped lay the groundwork for the progressive rock movement of the 1970s.
Title: The Ballad Of John And Yoko
Source: CD: Past Masters-volume two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
The Ballad Of John And Yoko probably has more in common with The Beatles (White Album), than any other single released by the band. John Lennon had written the song as a chronicle of recent events in his life, and on April 19, 1969 had presented the song to Paul McCartney at his home. The two of them recorded the song that night, with John on guitars and lead vocals and Paul playing bass and drums. Neither George Harrison (who was on vacation at the time) or Ringo Starr (who was co-starring with Peter Sellers in a movie called The Magic Christian) are on the recording, although both appear on the B side of the single, the Harrison-penned Old Brown Shoe.
Artist: Mamas And The Papas
Title: California Dreamin'
Source: LP: 20 Golden Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Phillips
California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John Phillips, who along with his wife Michelle was living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.
Title: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source: CD: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer: Bob Dylan
In their early days the Byrds established themselves as the premier interpreters of Bob Dylan songs, helping to popularize the folk-rock movement in the process. Although not released as a single, The Times They Are A-Changin' was a staple of the band's live sets at Ciro's Le Disc on Sunset Strip and on the road.
Title: Look For Me Baby
Source: Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Forget all the hits recorded and/or released by the Kinks in 1965 for a moment. Look For Me Baby, the leadoff track from the LP Kinda Kinks, is the defining Kinks song from the year, even though it was never released as a single. It has the melodic elements of tracks like Set Me Free, combined with the edginess of Til The End Of The Day.
Artist: Hearts And Flowers
Title: Rock And Roll Gypsies
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women)
Writer(s): Roger Tillison
Label: Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
Led by singer/songwriters Larry Murray and Dave Dawson, Hearts And Flowers is best known for launching the career of guitarist/vocalist Bernie Leadon, who joined the group for their second LP and would later go on to co-found the Eagles (he is now a producer in Nashville). That second album, Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women, is generally considered the most accessible of the group's three albums, and included the song Rock And Roll Gypsies, which was included on the Homer movie soundtrack album in 1970.
Artist: H.P. Lovecraft
Title: Mobius Trip
Source: CD: Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft II)
Writer(s): George Edwards
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Philips)
The second album by H.P. Lovecraft (the band, not the author) is sometimes referred to as the ultimate acid rock album. In fact, it has been rumoured to be the first album made entirely under the influence of LSD (although the same has been said of the 1967 Jefferson Airplane LP After Bathing At Baxter's and both albums by the 13th Floor Elevators as well). This may in part because the band had relocated from their native Chicago to Marin County, California, where they shared billing with established Bay Area bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company and the aforementioned Jefferson Airplane. The album also featured more original material than the band's debut LP, including the lounge-lizard-on-acid sounding Mobius Trip.
Artist: Blood, Sweat and Tears
Title: House In The Country
Source: LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer: Al Kooper
Al Kooper was, by 1968, one of the most respected musicians in New York, having played organ on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album and then become a member of the seminal jam band the Blues Project. After leaving that group in 1967 he made an appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival with a pickup band. Later that same year he formed a new band called Blood, Sweat And Tears that included a horn section as part of the band itself. Kooper wrote most of the band's original material for their first album, including House In The Country. Shortly after Child Is Father To The Man was released, Kooper left the group to become a staff producer at Columbia Records. While working in that capacity he came up with the surprise hit album of 1968: the classic Super Session album with Michael Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. Kooper remained active as a producer, guitarist and keyboardist for the remainder of the century, working with an array of talent, including B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Rita Coolidge and the Who.
After moving to Atlanta in 1972 he discovered a local band named Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their first three albums, as well as the Tubes' debut LP in 1975. Al Kooper has been officially retired since 2001, although he still plays weekend concerts in Boston with his bands the ReKooperators and the Funky Faculty.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Blue Avenue
Source: LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s): Wayne Ulaky
One of Boston's most popular bands, the Beacon Street Union, had already migrated to New York City by the time their first album, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union (produced by the legendary Tom Wilson), made its debut in February of 1968. The band itself was made up of Boston University dropouts John Lincoln Wright (lead vocals), Paul Tartachny (guitar, vocals), Robert Rhodes (keyboards, brass), Richard Weisberg (drums), and Wayne Ulaky (bass). Ulaky wrote what was probably the band's best-known song, Blue Avenue. The tune was particular popular in the UK, where it was often heard on John Peel's Top Gear program. The Beacon Street Union, however, fell victim to hype; in this case the ill-advised attempt on the part of M-G-M records to market several disparate bands as being part of the "boss-town sound". After a second LP, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (produced by future Partridge Family impressario Wes Farrell) failed to equal the somewhat limited success of their debut LP, the Beacon Street Union decided to call it quits.
Title: Soul Sacrifice
Source: European import CD:Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Woodstock)
Label: Sony Music (original label: Cotillion)
The producers of the original Woodstock movie soundtrack album were less concerned with presenting faithful renditions of the various live performances seen in the movie than they were with making the best sounding album possible. Accordingly, they edited some of the performances and, in some cases, subsitituted other non-Woodstock versions of songs heard in the movie. One of the edits that actually worked pretty well was cross-fading the crowd singing a wordless refrain that has come to be known as the Crowd Rain Chant into Santana's Soul Sacrifice, the instrumental piece that lifted Santana into the upper echelon of rock royalty. What many don't realize is that nearly five minutes of Santana's actual performance is edited out of the track entirely. I usually play the full eleven and a half minute version of the performance, but, just for a change of pace, here is the track as initially released on the Woodstock soundtrack album, rain chant and all.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: Mono British import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Back In The High Life, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the mid-to-late 1980s. Other than that, nothing.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title: Who Knows
Source: LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
The first song you hear on an album may not always be the best song on the album, but it is usually the first one that comes to mind whenever that album is mentioned. Such is the case with Who Knows, which opens the Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys album. The thing is, it really isn't much of a song at all, just a sequence of ten notes repeated over and over with occasional vocals and guitar solos on top. It was, however, a fun song to jam on, as it only took a few seconds to learn the basic riff.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: House Burning Down
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
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).
Artist: Jimi Hendrix (Band Of Gypsys)
Title: Power Of Soul
Source: LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
1969 was a strange year for Jimi Hendrix. For one thing, he did not release any new recordings that year, yet he remained the top money maker in rock music. One reason for the lack of new material was an ongoing dispute with Capitol Records over a contract he had signed in 1965. By the end of the year an agreement was reached for Hendrix to provide Capitol with one album's worth of new material. At this point Hendrix had not released any live albums, so it was decided to tape his New Year's performances at the Fillmore East with his new Band Of Gypsys (with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox), playing songs that had never been released in studio form. One of those songs is Power Of Soul, which includes an impromptu vocal ad-lib from drummer Buddy Miles toward the end of the track.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Most Peculiar Man
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer: Paul Simon
You would think that a high school on a US military facility would be inclined to use the most staunchly traditional teaching methods known to man. Surprisingly, though, this was not the case at General H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany in late 1967. In fact, the English department was teaching some sort of new system that dispensed with terms such as verb and noun and replaced them with a more conceptual approach to language. What I best remember about my Freshman English class is the day that my rather Bohemian teacher (he wore sandals to class!), actually brought in a copy of the Sounds Of Silence and had us dissect two songs from the album, Richard Cory and A Most Peculiar Man. We spent several classes discussing the similarities (they both deal with a suicide by someone representing a particular archetype) and differences (the methods used and the archetypes themselves) between the songs. I have forgotten everything else about that class and its so-called revolutionary approach, but those two songs have stayed with me my entire life. I guess that teacher (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten) was on to something.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
After the surprise success of the Sound Of Silence single, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel (who had disbanded their partnership after the seeming failure of their Wednesday Morning 3 AM album in 1964) hastily reunited to record a new LP, Sounds Of Silence. The album, released in early 1966, consisted mostly of electrified versions of songs previously written by Simon, many of which had appeared in the UK in acoustic form on his 1965 solo LP The Paul Simon Songbook. With their newfound success, the duo set about recording an album's worth of new material. This time around, however, Simon had the time (and knowledge of what was working for the duo) to compose songs that would play to both the strengths of himself and Garfunkel as vocalists, as well as take advantage of the additional instrumentation available to him. The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme, featuring tracks such as The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine, an energetic piece satirizing rampant consumerism and the advertising industry.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: We've Got A Groovey Thing Going
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to perform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using some of the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovey Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovey Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966 and reunited with Art Garfunkel. The rest is history.
Artist: Ten Years After
Source: CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer: Alvin Lee
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Cricklewood Green continued the development of Ten Years After away from its blues roots and toward a more progressive rock sound that would ultimately lead them to their only top 40 hit, I'd Love To Change The World. That song, however, was still a couple albums in the future when Cricklewood Green was released in 1970. The seldom-heard Circles starts off as a quiet acoustic solo piece from Alvin Lee before adding the rest of the band later in the song.
Title: New Dope In Town
Source: LP: Spirit (originally released on LP: Clear)
Label: Epic (original label: Ode)
The third Spirit album, Clear, is generally considered the weakest of the four albums released by the band's original lineup. The main reason for this is fatigue. The group had released two albums in 1968, along with providing the soundtrack for the film Model Shop in early 1969 and constantly touring throughout the entire period. This left them little time to develop the material that would be included on Clear. There are a few strong tracks on the LP, however, among them New Dope In Town, which closes out the original LP. Like Elijah, from their debut album, New Dope In Town is credited to the entire band, and was included on a CBS Records sampler album called Underground '70 that was released in Germany (on purple vinyl, even) around Christmastime.
Artist: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title: Spontaneous Apple Creation
Source: British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Label: Uncut (original US label: Atlantic)
One of the most revered examples of British psychedelia is the 1968 album The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. While side one was done as a concept album about Hell, side two was a mixture of original tunes and the most popular cover songs from the band's live repertoire. Among the originals on side two is Spontaneous Apple Creation, possibly the most avant-garde piece on the album. Once you hear it, you'll know exactly what I mean by that.
Title: Rugs Of Wood And Flowers
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
The Turtles were best known for their big hit records like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me, both of which came from outside songwriters. The band had a weird side, however, that usually showed up on their self-penned B sides and an occasional album track. One example is Rugs Of Wood And Flowers, which appeared as the B side of You Know What I Mean in 1967. The song, written by vocalist Howard Kaylan and guitarist Al Nichol, features Kaylan using a faux-operatic style that he would revive for his legendary performances with the Mothers at the Fillmore East in 1971.
Artist: The Raik's Progress
Title: Sewer Rat Love Chant
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Fresno, California, was home to the Raik's Progress, once described as "a bunch of 17-year-old quasi-intellectual proto-punks" by frontman Steve Krikorian. The band only released one single, a tune called Why Did You Rob Us, Tank? The B side of that single had an even stranger title: Sewer Rat Love Chant. It makes me wish they had been able to release more records before Krikorian morphed into 80s new wave star Tonio K.
Artist: Glass Family
Title: House Of Glass
Source: LP: The Glass Family Electric Band
Writer(s): Ralph Parrett
Label: Maplewood (original label: Warner Brothers)
The Glass Family (Ralph Parrett, David Capilouto and Gary Green) first surfaced in 1967 with a single called Teenage Rebellion on Mike Curb's Sidewalk label. The following year they signed with Warner Brothers, releasing their only LP, The Glass Family Electric Band, that same year. The opening track from the album, House Of Glass, is, in the words of Capilouto, self-explanatory, which is a good thing, as it saves me the trouble of trying to figure out what it's about.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: Slide Machine
Source: Mono British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s): R. P. St. John
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
Following a successful tour of Southern California in late 1966, the 13th Floor Elevators returned to their native Austin, Texas to begin work on a second LP. Unlike the first album, which (like most debut efforts of the time) was recorded in a matter of days, Easter Anywhere took several months to complete. During that time the band underwent personnel changes and a continuously deteriorating relationship with Internation Artists Records, which kept setting up inappropriate gigs instate when the band would have been better served building up a national following. In addition, some of the band members were exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior due to excessive drug use, which slowed work on the album down considerably. One more factor contributing to the tardiness of the LP was the band's desire to make an album that would be thematically consistent throughout rather than a random collection of songs like their debut LP had been. The fact that the theme itself was pretty cosmic made it that much harder to capture in the recording studio. Although nearly all the material on the album was written by the band members themselves, one track, Slide Machine, was credited to the mysterious R.P. St. John, who became considerably less mysterious after he moved to San Francisco and, as Powell St. John, co-founded Mother Earth with singer/songwriter Tracy Nelson.