Sunday, January 17, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2104 (starts 1/18/21)

    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...

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    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)
Writer(s):    Bayer/Carr/D'errico
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    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
Writer(s):    Kaukonen/Balin
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    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)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    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)
Year:     1966
     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
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    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
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Ballad Of John And Yoko
Source:    CD: Past Masters-volume two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1969
    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
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1965
    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.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source:     CD: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1965
     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.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Look For Me Baby
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    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)
Year:    1968
    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)
Year:    1968
    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
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
    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
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Soul Sacrifice
Source:    European import CD:Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Woodstock)
Writer(s):    Brown/Malone/Rolie/Santana
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    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)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    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
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    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
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    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
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    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
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    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
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    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
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    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
Title:     Circles
Source:     CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer:     Alvin Lee
Label:     Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:     1970
     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.
Artist:    Spirit
Title:    New Dope In Town
Source:    LP: Spirit (originally released on LP: Clear)
Writer(s):    Andes/California/Cassidy/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1969
    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)
Writer(s):    Brown/Crane
Label:    Uncut (original US label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Rugs Of Wood And Flowers
Source:    Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Nichols
Label:    Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    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)
Writer(s):    Kates/Krikorian/Scott
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1966
    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)
Year:    1968
    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)
Year:    1967
    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.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2104 (starts 1/18/21) 

    This week our visit to the golden age of FM radio gets interrupted halfway through by a faux visit to the golden age of AM radio. Fun and chaos ensues.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Boogie With Stu
Source:    LP: Physical Graffiti
Writer(s):    Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant/Stewart/Mrs. Valens
Label:    Swan Song
Year:    1975
    To inaugurate their new Swan Song label in 1975, the members of Led Zeppelin recorded about three LP sides' worth of material, all of which they wanted to include on their new album. Their solution to the problem was to make Physical Graffiti a double LP, using previously unreleased material dating back to 1970. One of the earliest of these was a 1971 jam session with guest pianist Ian Stewart (unofficial sixth member of the Rolling Stones), riffed off the Ritchie Valens song Ooh My Head. Although Stewart was included in the songwriting credits, neither Valens or co-writer Bob Keane was given songwriting credits for the track, although the band did acknowledge the source tune by including Mrs. Valens, a reference to Ritchie's mother. Years later Keane successfully sued Led Zeppelin for a portion of the royalties, with half of the eventual settlement going to Mrs. Valens, even though she was not involved with the lawsuit itself.

Artist:    Golden Earring
Title:    Radar Love
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Kooymans/Hay
Label:    Track/MCA
Year:    1973
    Formed in The Hague in 1961, the Golden Earrings (they dropped the plural in 1969) released 25 studio albums and took nearly 30 songs into the top 10 over a period of nearly 30 their native Holland. They were completely unknown in the US, however, until 1973, when Radar Love became an international hit. They returned to the US charts in 1982 with Twilight Zone, and had a final international hit in 1984 with When The Lady Smiles, although that song did not do as well in the US. Radar Love itself is now considered one of the all-time greatest "road" songs.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Killing Yourself To Live
Source:    LP: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    The dangers of the excessive lifestyle experienced by rock stars in the early 1970s is explored in Killing Yourself To Live, from Black Sabbath's fifth studio LP, Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath. Although credited to the entire band, the song was written primarily by bassist Geezer Butler, who had been hospitalized for kidney problems brought on by heavy drinking.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    The Further Adventures Of Nick Danger
Source:    CD: How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    The Firesign Theatre, consisting of Phil Proctor, Peter Bergman, Phil Austin and David Ossman, pioneered a type of "counter-culture comedy" that would be followed up on by such stars as Cheech and Chong, George Carlin, and the Credibility Gap (with Harry Shearer and Michael McKean), as well as the National Lampoon Radio Hour (featuring Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Christopher Guest and others). Their most famous work is The Further Adventures Of Nick Danger from the 1969 album How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All. The piece itself runs over 28 minutes, taking up the entire second side of the original LP. It is a parody of old-time radio detective dramas, done in a noir style that has itself become a standard comedy trope. The plot itself is secondary to the jokes, many of which are references to counter-cultural icons such as the Beatles. There have been several more Nick Danger pieces by the Firesign Theatre over the years, the most recent being The Bride Of Firesign, released in 2001.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Mosquito
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Krieger/Densmore/Manzarek
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1972
    Following the death of Jim Morrison, the remaining members of the Doors attempted to carry on as a three-piece group, but met with relatively little success. One of their best known songs is The Mosquito, but not as a Doors recording. Not long after the song's initial release as a single (and LP track on the album Full Circle), the song was translated into French by Pierre Delanoe, whose Le Moustique went into the top 10 in at least two European countries, and was also released in Canada. 

Artist:    David Crosby
Title:    Laughing
Source:    CD: If I Could Only Remember My Name
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    David Crosby brought in a few friends for his first solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name. Laughing, the final track on side one of the 1971 LP,  features Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar, Phil Lesh on bass, Bill Kreutzmann on drums and Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell on backup vocals. Guitar parts were provided by Crosby himself.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Big Yellow Taxi
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Ladies Of The Canyon)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    One of Joni Mitchell's best-known tunes, Big Yellow Taxi was originally released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. The original studio version of the song hit the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the UK and Mitchell's native Canada, but only reached the #67 spot in the US. A later live version of the song, however, cracked the top 30 in the US in 1974. Mitchell says she was inspired to write the song on a visit to Hawaii, where she looked out her hotel window to view a mountain vista in the distance, only to be shocked back to reality when she looked down to see a parking lot "as far as the eye could see".
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    You Got The Silver
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    Recorded on February 18, 1969, You Got The Silver was the first Rolling Stones song to feature Keith Richards as the solo lead vocalist, as well as playing all the guitar parts. It was also the last Rolling Stones recording to include the band's founder and original bandleader, Brian Jones, who played autoharp on the song. Although Mick Jagger did not appear on the final version of the song, he did record an alternate version of You Got The Silver that has appeared as a bootleg recording. In addition to Richards and Jones, the song features Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts on their usual bass and drums, as well as well-known session man Nicky Hopkins on piano and organ. The song was also featured in the film Zabriskie Point, although it was not included on the film's soundtrack album.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2103 (starts 1/11/21)

    This time around we have an artists' set from a band that only released six songs in their entire existence. Other than that, it's the usual mix of singles, B sides and LP tracks ranging from 1965 to 1969. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Born To Be Wild
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Mars Bonfire
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Born To Be Wild's status as a counter-cultural anthem was cemented when it was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider. The popularity of both the song and the movie resulted in Steppenwolf becoming the all-time favorite band of bikers all over the world.
Artist:    Nazz
Title:    Open My Eyes
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Nazz)
Writer(s):    Todd Rundgren
Label:    Rhino (original label: SGC)
Year:    1968
    Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new solo version would become Rundgren's first major hit five years later).

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Plastic Raincoats/Hung Up Minds
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Country Joe McDonald's ears must have been burning when the first Ultimate Spinach album hit the stands. Indeed, many of Ian Bruce-Douglas's compositions, such as Plastic Raincoats/Hung Up Minds, sound as if they could have been written by McDonald himself. Still, it was the 1960s and jumping on the bandwagon was almost a way of life (witness the dozens of Mick Jagger soundalikes popping up across the country in the wake of the British Invasion), so perhaps Bruce-Douglas can be forgiven for at least trying to copy something a bit more current. Unfortunately, M-G-M Records decided to tout Ultimate Spinach as part of a "Boss-Town Sound" that never truly existed, further damaging the group's credibility, and after a second LP, Bruce-Douglas left the band, which, strangely enough, continued on without him for several years, albeit in an entirely different musical vein.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It, Black
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Aftermath)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    The 1966 Rolling Stones album Aftermath was the first to be made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The opening track of the LP, however, was not included on the British version of the album. That song, the iconic Paint It, Black, had already been released in the UK as a single, and would go on to become one of the Stones' defining recordings of the era.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer:     Esposito/Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1966
     The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) 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.

Artist:     Mothers of Invention
Title:     Trouble Every Day
Source:     CD: Freak Out
Writer:     Frank Zappa
Label:     Ryko (originally released on Verve)
Year:     1966
     Trouble Every Day, originally released as the opening track of side three of the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! was clearly a personal favorite of Frank Zappa's, as he did not one, but two updated versions over the years and was still performing the song live well into the 1980s. The lyrics, while somewhat topical in that they were inspired by a specific event (the Watts riots) remain relevant today, perhaps in some ways even more than when they were originally written.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Tripmaker
Source:    LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s):    Tybalt/Hooper
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    For some strange reason whenever I hear the song Tripmaker from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, I am reminded of a track from the Smash Mouth album Astro Lounge. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which one came first.

Artist:    Ars Nova
Title:    March Of The Mad Duke's Circus
Source:    CD: Ars Nova
Writer(s):    Copeland/Day
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1968
    Ever notice how bands based in New York, NY don't seem to have a very long shelf life? Most of them end up being one-hit wonders, and the ones that did manage to stick around, like the Blues Magoos or the Velvet Underground, really only had one or two good albums. Another example is Ars Nova, who came to the attention of Elektra's Jac Holzman and were flown out to Los Angeles to record their debut LP with producer Paul Rothchild. By their own admission, the band wasn't quite ready to record an entire album in early 1968, and Rothchild brought in lyricist Gregory Copeland to work with the band's primary songwriter, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Wyatt Day. One of the first songs the two of them worked on together was March Of The Mad Duke's Circus, which became the self-titled album's closing track. After a disastrous gig opening for the Doors, the original band split up, only to reform a few months later, recording an album for Atlantic before disbanding for good in 1969.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    Underdog
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Whole New Thing)
Writer(s):    Sylvester Stewart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Sly and the Family Stone were a showstopper at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but their story starts years before that historic performance. Sylvester Stewart was a popular DJ and record producer in mid-60s San Francisco, responsible for the first recordings of the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead) and the Great! Society, among others. During that time he became acquainted with a wealth of talent, including bassist Larry Graham. In 1967, with Autumn Records having been sold to and closed down by Warner Brothers, he decided to form his own band. Anchored by Graham, Sly and the Family Stone's first LP, A Whole New Thing, was possibly the very first pure funk album ever released.

Artist:    Mystery Trend
Title:    Johnny Was A Good Boy
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nagle/Cuff
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve)
Year:    1967
    The Mystery Trend was a bit of an anomaly. Contemporaries of bands such as the Great! Society and the Charlatans, the Trend always stood apart from the rest of the crowd, playing to an audience that was both a bit more affluent and a bit more "adult" (they were reportedly the house band at a Sausalito strip club). Although they played in the city itself as early as 1965, they did not release their first record until early 1967. The song, Johnny Was A Good Boy, tells the story of a seemingly normal middle-class kid who turns out to be a monster (without actually specifying what he did), surprising friends, family and neighbors. Despite being an excellent tune, the song was way too dark for top 40 radio in 1967, and the record sank like a stone.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Double Yellow Line
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    One of the Original Sound singles that also appeared on the Warner Brothers LP Bonniwell Music Machine, Double Yellow Line features lyrics that were literally written by Bonniwell on the way to the recording studio. In fact, his inability to stay in his lane while driving with one hand and writing with the other resulted in a traffic ticket. The ever resourceful Bonniwell wrote the rest of the lyrics on the back of the ticket and even invited the officer in to watch the recording session. He declined.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original labels: All-American/Uni)
Year:    1967
    Thee Sixpence was a Los Angeles band that released four singles on the local All-American label, owned by the band's producer/manager Bill Holmes, in 1966. None of those records were written by band members, however. In fact, the B sides of the first three were covers of songs that had been recently released on fellow L.A. band Love's first album. One of those singles, a song called Fortune Teller, backed by My Flash On You, had even been reissued on the Dot label for national distribution, but had not charted. For their fifth single, Thee Sixpence worked with a new producer, Frank Slay, on The Birdman Of Alkatrash, a tune written by the band's keyboardist, Mark Weitz. The song was recorded in early 1967, along with an instrumental by Weiss and guitarist Ed King that was intended for the record's B side. Slay, however, brought in professional songwriters Tim Gilbert and John Carter to write lyrics and a melody line for the song, which became Incense And Peppermints. The members of Thee Sixpence hated the new lyrics, and 16-year-old Greg Munford, a member of another local band called Shapes Of Sound, was hired to provide lead vocals for the tune. It was, after all, only a B side, right? Around this time, the band decided to change their name from the faux-British sounding Thee Sixpence to the more psychedelically-flavored Strawberry Alarm Clock. Whether The Birdman of Alkatrash was ever issued under the Thee Sixpence name is disputed (nobody seems to have actually seen a copy), but All-American most definitely released it as the first Strawberry Alarm Clock single in April of 1967. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side in May of 1967. By the end of November, Incense And Peppermints had become Uni's first #1 hit record, making it, to my knowledge the only instance of a hit single being played, but not sung, by the artist of record (the reverse being a fairly common occurence). Although the Strawberry Alarm Clock was never able to duplicate the success of Incense And Peppermints, the band did end up releasing a total of twelve singles and four LPs before disbanding in 1971,  Following the breakup guitarist Ed King became a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd (who had been the Strawberry Alarm Clock's opening band when they toured the south in 1970-71), and wrote the opening guitar riff of that band's first major hit, Sweet Home Alabama.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Positively 4th Street
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1965
    Recorded during the same 1965 sessions that produced the classic Highway 61 Revisited album, Positively 4th Street was deliberately held back for release as a single later that year. It would not appear on an LP until Dylan's first Greatest Hits album.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    All I Really Need Is You
Source:    Mono LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Revere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Revere And The Raiders have gotten a bad rap over the years, mostly for dressing funny. During the mid-60s, however, with the British Invasion in full swing, an American band needed every gimmick it could think of, and the Raiders simply took advantage of their band leader's birth name and did the obvious. What's often overlooked, however, is the fact that Paul Revere And The Raiders, co-led by Revere and vocalist/saxophonist Mark Lindsay, were one of the best bands of their time, and the first  band from the Pacific Northwest to achieve continuous national chart success. The band members were prolific songwriters as well. In fact, of the twelve songs on their 1966 album Midnight Ride, ten were originals, including All I Really Need Is You, which leads off side two of the LP.

Artist:    Second Helping
Title:    Floating Downstream On An Inflatable Rubber Raft
Source:    Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Kenny Loggins
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Year:    1968
    Among the handful of bands recording for Snuff Garrett's Viva label from 1966-68 was a group called the Second Helping. The band is best remembered as the support group for a teenaged Kenny Loggins, who wrote and sang all of the band's material, including Floating Downstream On An Inflatable Rubber Raft, which was released as a B side in 1967.

Artist:     Flock
Title:     Tired Of Waiting For You
Source:     German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: The Flock)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     CBS (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1969
     The Flock was one of those bands that made an impression on those who heard them perform but somehow were never able to turn that into massive record sales. Still, they left a pair of excellent LPs for posterity. The most notable track from the first album was their cover of the 1965 Kinks hit Tired Of Waiting For You, featuring solos at the beginning and end of the song from violinist Jerry Goodwin, who would go on to help John McLaughlin found the Mahavishnu Orchestra a couple years later.

Artist:    Harbinger Complex
Title:    Time To Kill
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers
Writer(s):    Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:    Big Beat (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    Harbinger Complex was formed as the Norsemen in 1963 by two guitarists, Ron Rotarius and Bob Hoyle III, who had been playing together since eighth grade in Fremont, California, a city located about five miles north of San Jose along the east side of San Francisco Bay. In 1965 Hoyle was called to active duty as a reservist in Vietnam; when he returned the following year he rejoined the band, which, led by Rotarius, had changed its name to Harbinger Complex. In addition to Rotarius, the group at that time included Gary Clark on bass, Jim Redding on drums and Chuck Tedford (who would leave the group before they made any recordings) on organ. And then there was the band's new frontman: Jim Hockstaff. Hockstaff was, by all accounts, a "chick magnet". In fact, Hockstaff had been banned from the campus of Freemont's Washington High School after several local girls had gotten pregnant. Hockstaff was also a talented songwriter who, together with Hoyle, wrote all of the band's original songs. In April of 1966, Harbinger Complex made its first trip to Golden State Recorders, where they recorded their first single, Sometimes I Wonder, which was released locally on the Amber label, paired with Tomorrow's Soul Sound. The band returned to Golden State a couple months later to cut some demos, at the same time that Mainstream Records owner Bob Shad was visiting the studio in search of local talent to sign to his Brent subsidiary label. Shad liked what he heard, and on August 12, 1966 he booked studio time for Harbinger Complex at L.A.'s United Studios. The band recorded four songs that day, two of which, I Think I'm Down and My Dear And Kind Sir, were released as a single on Brent that same month. The other two songs, including Time To Kill, were held back for release on a 1967 Mainstream sampler album called With Love-A Pot Of Flowers. The album included all four of the songs recorded at United, along with tracks from three other California bands that Shad had signed, two of which were also from the San Francisco Bay area. Following a drug bust, Hockstaff was asked to leave the band in early 1967. Although the group attempted to carry on with a new lead vocalist, by the end of the year Harbinger Complex had permanently disbanded.

Artist:    Harbinger Complex
Title:    Sometimes I Wonder
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Amber)
Year:    1966
    The city of San Francisco had a well-documented music scene in the 1960s that brought bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Santana to national prominence. Across the bay, however, was a more typical mid-60s scene centered around teen-oriented bands that would play high school dances, shopping center parking lots and of course participate in various "battle of the bands" competitions. Among the best of these was Fremont's Harbinger Complex. Formed in 1963 by guitarists Ron Rotarius and Bob Hoyle III, who had playing together since they were in the eighth grade, the group was first known as the Norsemen. When Hoyle was called to active duty in Vietnam in 1965 the band brought in vocalist Jim Hockstaff and soon changed its name to Harbinger Complex. Hoyle returned from 'Nam in 1966, and he and Hockstaff soon formed a writing partnership. The band's first single, Sometimes I Wonder, was recorded and released in April of 1966 on the local Amber label at around the same time that Harbinger Complex had one of their most high-profile gigs, opening for Paul Revere And The Raiders at Oakland Colisseum.
Artist:    Harbinger Complex
Title:    I Think I'm Down
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Brent)
Year:    1966
    Most garage/club bands never made it beyond a single or two for a relatively small independent label. Freemont, California's Harbinger Complex is a good example. The group was one of many that were signed by Bob Shad, owner of Mainstream Records and its various subsidiaries such as Time and Brent. The band had already released one single on the independent Amber label and were recording at Golden State Recorders in San Francisco when they were discovered by Shad, who signed them to Brent. The band's first single for the label was the British-influenced I Think I'm Down, which came out in 1966 and was included on Mainstream's 1967 showcase album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mind Gardens
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer:    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    Mind Gardens is a perfect example of what songwriter David Crosby refers to as "one of those weird David Crosby songs". The song is a deliberate attempt at abandoning Western concepts such as chord progressions in favor of a more modal approach favored in Eastern composing. Roger McGuinn's backwards guitar perfectly compliments Crosby's esoteric lyrics and melody on this track from the Younger Than Yesterday album, the last LP to be completed with Crosby as a full member of the Byrds.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    Pink Stainless Tail
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967 (single released 2011)
    Rock history is dotted with stories of bands who reputations exceeded their actual recorded output. One such band was Red Crayola, a Texas band who found themselves labelmates with the 13th Floor Elevators in 1967. Although the Red Crayola (who were forced to change their name to Red Krayola in 1968) were only together for a couple of years, their legend continued to grow throughout the punk/new wave era and indy rock movements of the late 20th century and beyond. Which brings us to this curious single issued in 2011. The songs themselves, including B side Pink Stainless Tail, were lifted from the first Red Crayola album, Parable Of Arable Land, and are even on the same label, International Artists...or are they? International Artists, a relatively small label owned by a group of Texas businessmen, ceased to exist in 1971, and this 2011 single is a British import. So what's the deal? Well, as it turns out, one of the original partners in International Artists was a guy named Lelan Rogers. In 1978 Rogers (perhaps with the help of his brother Kenny?) revived the label and reissued all twelve of the LPs that originally been released by the label. This was followed by various compilation albums, some of which included previously released material. By the early 2000s, the revived International Artists had become part of Britian's Charly Records, a company that specializes in archival material. Apparently the people at Charly felt there was enough interest in Red Crayola recordings to issue a yellow vinyl single 2011, with a newly remixed Hurrican Fighter Pilot on the A side and Pink Stainless Tail on the flip. As both these tracks overlap other stuff on the original LP, the single turns out to be a pretty good thing to have around.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Helter Skelter
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    Possibly the most controversial song in the entire Beatles catalog, Helter Skelter was Paul McCartney's response to an article in a British trade paper about the Who's latest single, I Can See For Miles. The author of the article referred to the Who song as the heaviest song ever recorded, and McCartney, without benefit of having actually heard I Can See For Miles, decided to go the Who one better. The lyrics of song are innocent enough, as they describe the sensation of repeatedly riding a slide in a playground, yet were vague enough to be open to interpretation by one Charles Manson. It was Manson's use of the words "Helter Skelter" (painted in blood) in his campaign to incite a race war in the US that gave the song its initial notoriety; a notoriety that was cemented when it was used as a title of a book by Leo Buscaglia, the L.A. District Attorney who brought Manson's group to justice.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Chauffeur Blues
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Lester Melrose (disputed, may have been Lizzie Douglas)
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    The Jefferson Airplane's original female vocalist was Signe Toly Anderson. Unlike Grace Slick, who basically shared lead vocals with founder Marty Balin, Anderson mostly functioned as a backup singer. The only Airplane recording to feature Anderson as a lead vocalist was Chauffeur Blues, a cover of an old Memphis Minnie tune that was included on the 1966 LP Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The song was credited on the album's label to Lester Melrose, who produced the original Memphis Minnie version of the song. However, the original 1941 78 RPM label gives the songwriting credit to "Lawler", which is thought to be a misspelled reference to Minnie's husband, Ernest "Little Son Joe" Lawlars. It is now believed that Memphis Minnie, whose given name was Lizzie Douglas, was the actual writer of Chaffeur Blues, but that it was easier to get the song published under her husband's name.

Artist:    Bees
Title:    Voices Green And Purple
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era
Writer(s):    Wood/Willsie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liverpool)
Year:    1966
    One of the shortest, as well as most demented, singles ever released, Voices Green And Purple recounts a bad acid trip in just over a minute and a half. The Bees themselves were an early indy punk band from LaVerne, California, an obscure L.A. suburb.

Artist:    Boots
Title:    Gaby
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in West Germany as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Krabbe/Bresser
Label:    Rhino (original label: Telefunken)
Year:    1966
    Formed in Berlin in 1965, the Boots were one of the more adventurous bands operating on the European mainland. While most bands in Germany tended to emulate the Beatles, the Boots took a more underground approach, growing their hair out just a bit longer than their contemporaries and appealing to a more Bohemian type of crowd. Lead guitarist Jurg "Jockel" Schulte-Eckle was known for doing strange things to his guitar onstage using screwdrivers, beer bottles and the like to create previously unheard of sounds. On vinyl the band comes off as being just a bit ahead of its time, as can be heard clearly on the original group's final single, Gaby, a song written by singer Werner Krabbe and bassist Bob Bresser. Not long after Gaby's release, Krabbe left the band. Although the Boots continued on with various configurations until 1969, they were never able to recapture the magic generated by the original lineup.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    LP: 13 (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Ever feel like you've discovered something really special that nobody else (among your circle of friends at any rate) knows about? At first you kind of want to keep it to yourself, but soon you find yourself compelled to share it with everyone you know. Such was the case when, in the early summer of 1967, I used my weekly allowance to buy copies of a couple of songs I had heard on the American Forces Network (AFN). As usual, it wasn't long before I was flipping the records over to hear what was on the B sides. I liked the first one well enough (a song by Buffalo Springfield called Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, the B side of For What It's Worth), but it was the second one, the B side of the Doors' Light My Fire, that really got to me. To this day I consider The Crystal Ship to be one of the finest slow rock songs ever recorded.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Love
Title:    She Comes In Colors
Source:    CD: Da Capo (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Arthur Lee's transition from angry punk (on songs like 7&7 Is and My Little Red Book) to a softer, more introspective kind of singer/songwriter was evident on Love's second LP, Da Capo. Although there were still some hard rockers, such as Stephanie Knows Who, the album also includes songs like She Comes In Colors, which was released ahead of the album as the band's third single in late 1966. The song was one of Lee's first to inspire critics to draw comparisons between Lee's vocal style and that of Johnny Mathis.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2103 (starts 1/11/21)

    This week we feature ten tracks, four of which have never been played on the show before. These include tunes from Joni Mitchell, Lynyrd Skynryd and the "New! Improved!" Blue Cheer, as well as a standalone John Mayall song dedicated to Canned Heat's Robert Hite.

Artist:    Eric Clapton
Title:    Easy Now
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Eric Clapton)
Writer(s):    Eric Clapton
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    When it comes to Eric Clapton's Easy Now (from his first solo album), the word most often used by critics is "underrated". The song was never intended to be a hit single. In fact, it was released as a B side, not once but twice, in 1970 (paired with After Midnight) and 1972 (paired with Let It Rain). Nonetheless, the tune holds up better than most of the tracks on the album itself, and has been singled out as one of the best songs Clapton ever wrote. Easy Now was also included on the 1972 LP Eric Clapton At His Best.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    In France They Kiss On Main Street
Source:    LP: The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1975
    Joni Mitchell got to work on The Hissing Of Summer Lawns in early 1975, recording acoustic demos of new songs she had written after touring to support her 1974 hit album Court And Spark. Like its predecessor, The Hissing Of Summer Lawns featured several songs that combined elements of folk, rock and jazz into a style that was uniquely Mitchell's. In France They Kiss On Main Street, a song about coming of age in a small town that opens the album, included several guest musicians, including Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and several members of Tom Scott's L.A. Express, as well as such notables as James Taylor, David Crosby and Graham Nash on backup vocals.

Artist:    Three Dog Night
Title:    Rock And Roll Widow
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Allsup/Greenspoon/Hutton/Negron/Scherme/Sneed/Wells
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1970
    Three Dog Night are generally not remembered for their songwriting abilities. Almost all of their hits were covers of songs that had been previously recorded by the songwriters themselves, such as Randy Newman's Mama Told Me (Not To Come). Rock And Roll Widow, appearing on the B side of that record, is a rare exception, credited to all seven band members.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Black Night (1995 Roger Glover Mix)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Prior to 1970, Deep Purple had achieved a moderate amount of success in the US, but were pretty much ignored in the native England. That all changed, however, with the addition of two new members, lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. Following the experimental Concerto For Group and Orchestra, the band's new lineup released its first studio album, Deep Purple In Rock, on June 3, 1970. Two days later the released a non-album single called Black Night. The song was an instant hit, going all the way to the #2 spot on the British charts and quickly becoming part of the band's concert repertoire, usually as the first encore. A 1995 remix by Glover was released as a single on blue vinyl in 1995 for Record Store Day that runs nearly 30 seconds longer than the original 1970 US release.
Artist:    John Mayalll
Title:    The Bear
Source:    British import CD: Blues From Laurel Canyon
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    Decca (original US label: London)
Year:    1968
    During his 1968 visit to California, and specifically Laurel Canyon, John Mayall made several new friends. Among them was Robert Hite, vocalist for Canned Heat and one of the foremost blues enthusiasts in the country. When Mayall returned to his native UK he wrote an entire album's worth of songs about his experiences, calling it Blues From Laurel Canyon. The album's second side opens with a few measures based on Canned Heat's signature "boogie" beat before breaking into a song that refers to Hite by his nickname: The Bear.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
Source:    LP: New! Improved! Blue Cheer
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Philips
Year:    1969
    Following the departure of founding guitarist Leigh Stephens, Blue Cheer recruited Randy Holden, former member of the Other Half, for their third LP, New! Improved! Blue Cheer. Holden, however, left the group halfway through sessions for the album, and was replaced by Bruce Stephens and keyboardist Burns Kellogg. To be honest, most of the Stephens/Kellogg material is forgettable at best; the only exception being a halfway decent cover of Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.

Artist:    Lynyrd Skynyrd
Title:    That Smell
Source:    LP: Gold & Platinum (originally released on LP: Street Survivors)
Writer(s):    Collins/Van Zant
Label:    MCA
Year:    1977
    Not long after Lynyrd Skynyrd's Gary Rossington smashed his new car into a tree while high, bandmates Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins wrote That Smell, one of the most famous anti-drug songs of all time. The band recorded the song for inclusion on the 1977 album Street Survivors. Van Zant said at the time that "I had a creepy feeling things were going against us, so I thought I'd write a morbid song." Three days after Street Survivors was released, Van Zant, along with five others (including two band members), was killed in a plane crash.

Artist:        O'Jays
Title:        Back Stabbers
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:        Huff/McFadden/Whitehead
Label:        Philadelphia International
Year:        1972
        The two hotspots of soul music in the late 60s were Detroit, Michigan (Motown Records) and Memphis, Tennessee (Stax Records). By the early 70s, however, Memphis was eclipsed by Philadelphia, thanks to Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, founders of and in-house producers for Philadelphia International Records. One of the first major hits for the label was Back Stabbers by the O'Jays, a Cleveland, Ohio vocal group that had been recording with only moderate success since the early 60s. Back Stabbers hit the top spot on the R&B charts in 1972 and crossed over to the top 40 as well, peaking at #3.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Passion Play (acts 3 and 4)
Source:    LP: A Passion Play
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    Jethro Tull's fourth LP, Aqualung, was their commercial and critical breakthrough. Fans and critics alike hailed it as a concept album touching on the sensitive topic of religion. The problem was that the band members, particularly bandleader Ian Anderson, saw Aqualung as a concept album at all. Anderson's response was to pen Thick As A Brick, which he considered a parody of concept albums. Fans and critics, however, took the whole thing far more seriously than the band did. And that led to the 1973 album A Passion Play. This time Anderson and the band took the whole concept album thing seriously. In fact, they took the album (and themselves) too seriously for many people, and A Passion Play is now seen as the beginning of Jethro Tull's slow decline into the self-indulgent blandness that characterizes the band's later work. Still, listening to it over forty years later, there is a lot to be said in favor of acts 3 and 4 (side two) of A Passion Play. It is no Thick As A Brick, but it's really not all that bad, either.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Gimme Shelter
Source:    CD: Survival
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1971
    It takes cojones to record a cover version of one of the  Rolling Stones' most popular (and critically acclaimed) songs. It takes even more to do it just two years after the Stones version came out. But then, we are talking about Grand Funk Railroad, who have to be considered one of the most ballsy bands in rock history. Gimme Shelter was actually one of two cover tunes on the band's fourth studio LP, Survival (the other being Feelin' Alright).

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2102 (starts 1/4/21) 

    This week's show features 33 songs from 33 different artists, including an Advanced Psych segment that includes never-before played tracks from Steven Cerio and the Claypool Lennon Delerium.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Peter Perceival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky/Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source:     CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Tork/Goffin/King
Label:     Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:     1967
     The album version of Pleasant Valley Sunday differs from the single version in two ways. First, the mix is different, with the background vocals more prominent on the stereo album mix. Second, on the original LP Peter Tork's spoken piece Peter Perceival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky precedes the song on the album and is considered part of the same track (although the CD version assigns the two different track numbers). In honor of the original album I'm playing the entire combo. Besides, Tork's piece is fun to listen to and it only lasts 27 seconds.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    How Suite It Is
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Kantner/Casady/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Casady's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Casady's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Moog Raga
Source:    CD: The Notorious Byrd Brothers (bonus track originally released on CD: Never Before)
Writer(s):    Roger McGuinn
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1989
    One of the first rock musicians to experiment with the Moog synthesizer was Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, who as early as 1967 planned to release an entire album's worth of Moog music. After completing one track, however, he abandoned the idea due to its lack of commercial potential. That one track was Moog Raga, recorded in November of 1967. As the title implies, Moog Raga is an original McGuinn composition done in the style known as raga-rock (that the Byrds themselves had helped popularize) performed entirely on a Moog synthesizer. The song sat on the shelf for over 20 years before being included as a bonus track on the CD version of Never Before, a compilation of outtakes and alternate versions of previously issued songs that is now out of print. It is currently available as a bonus track on the CD version of The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come; edited version released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967 (edited version released 1968)
    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 4:55 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:    Superfine Dandelion
Title:    Crazy Town (Move On Little Children)
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Collins/Musel
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    The Mile Ends were a Phoenix, Arizona band that were regulars at a local teen club called the Fifth Estate, which was run by a guy named Jim Musil. Musil became the group's manager, booking studio time to record a drinking song called Bottle Up And Go in 1966. Not long after that the group, now consisting of guitarists Mike McFadden and Ed Black, along with drummer Mike Collins, began calling themselves the Superfine Dandelion for a studio project sponsored by Musil. The group recorded an album's worth of material that came to the attention of Bob Shad, who was looking for material to issue on his Mainstream label. Shad bought the tapes, releasing the album in November of 1967. Shad chose Crazy Town (Move On Little Children) as a single, but a lack of interest by both radio and the record buying public brought the story of the Superfine Dandelion to a close by mid-1968.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child
Source:    Mono CD: Songs Of protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's "underground" label Verve Folkways, an imprint whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations, especially in the southern US, the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement. Ironic, considering that Society's Child ends with the protagonist backing down and giving in to society's rules.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Big Black Smoke
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Kinks had some of the best non-album sides of the 60s. Case in point: Big Black Smoke, which appeared as the B side of Dead End Street in November of 1966. The song deals with a familiar phenomenon of the 20th century: the small town girl that gets a rude awakening after moving to the big city. In this case the city was London, known colloquially as "the Smoke".

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall
Source:    LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    Although most of the songs on the third Simon And Garfunkel album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme, were new compositions, there are a couple of exceptions. The international hit single Homeward Bound had appeared on the British version of their previous LP, Sounds Of Silence, but had been left off its US counterpart. Another tune, Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall, had already appeared as the B side of yet another single, I Am A Rock. The song itself starts and ends slow, with a faster middle section that almost sounds like bluegrass.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Castle
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    Considering that both of their first two LPs had cover photos taken against the backdrop of Bela Lugosi's former residence in the Hollywood Hills (known as Dracula's Castle), it is perhaps inevitable that Love would have a track called The Castle on one of these albums. Sure enough, one can be found near the end of the first side of 1967's Da Capo, an album that was all but buried by the attention being given to the debut LP of Love's new labelmates, the Doors, which came out at the same time. The song itself is an indication of the direction that Love was moving in, away from the folk/garage-rock of their first LP toward the more sophiscated sound of Forever Changes, which would be released later the same year.

    And speaking of castles...

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Castles Made Of Sand
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When I was a junior in high school I used to fall asleep on the living room couch with the headphones on, usually listening to pre-recorded tapes of either the Beatles' Revolver album or one of the first two albums by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. One song in particular from the second Hendrix album, Axis: Bold As Love, always gave me a chill when I heard it: Castles Made Of Sand. The song serves as a warning not to put too much faith in your dreams, and stands in direct contrast to the usual goal-oriented American attitude.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Evening Gown
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Feher
Label:    Sundazed/Smash
Year:    1967
    Although the Left Banke was known for their "baroque pop" sound, much of that sound was achieved by the use of studio musicians, particularly a string section brought in by producer Harry Lookofoski, himself an accomplished violinist (and father of keyboardist/bandleader Michael Brown). In fact, keyboardist Michael Brown, who was Lookofsky's son, was the only member of the Left Banke to actually play on every song on the group's first LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina. The full band did play on a few songs, including (probably) Evening Gown, which sounds like it was played by a garage band with a harpsichord (trust me, that's a compliment). Unfortunately, Evening Gown is also the shortest track on the album itself, clocking in at one minute and forty-six seconds.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Congratulations
Source:     Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1964
     Congratulations was one of the first Jagger-Richards compositions to be released on 45 RPM vinyl. The A side was Time Is On My Side, the first Rolling Stones song to hit the US top ten. 

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Eve Of Destruction
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    Like most 1965 albums by American pop-rock bands, The Turtles' It Ain't Me Babe is made up mostly of cover versions of then-current hits. Among them is P.F. Sloan's Eve Of Destruction, which was a huge hit for Barry McGuire that year. In 1970, White Whale Records responded to the Turtles' disbanding by reissuing the 1965 LP track as a single. Five months later White Whale went out of business.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    You're Gonna Miss Me
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators)
Writer(s):    Roky Erickson
Label:    Rhino (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    If anyplace outside of California has a legitimate claim to being the birthplace of the psychedelic era, it's Austin, Texas. That's mainly due to the presence of the 13th Floor Elevators, a local band led by Roky Erickson that had the audacity to use an electric jug (played by Tommy Hall) onstage. Their debut album was the first to use the word psychedelic in the title (predating the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop by mere weeks). Musically, their leanings were more toward garage-rock than acid-rock, at least on their first album (they got rather metaphysical on their follow-up album, Easter Everywhere). Their only charted hit was You're Gonna Miss Me, released in mid-1966, but their subsequent West Coast tour inspired many a California band to take up psychedelics.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Unhappy Girl
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played a lot on the jukebox at a neighborhood gasthaus known as the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, where I spent a good number of my evening hours.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers
Title:    Lonely Man
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come
Writer(s):    Paul Wibier
Label:    Captain High (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    The first thing you need to know about Max Frost And The Troopers is that they were a fictional rock band featured in the film Wild In The Streets. Sort of. You see, in the movie itself the band is never actually named, although Max (played by Christopher Jones) does refer to his followers as his "troops" throughout the film. The next thing you need to know is that Shape Of Things To Come was a song used in the film that became a hit record in 1968. The song itself was written by the Brill building songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (whose writing credits included We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Kicks and many other 60s hits) and was recorded by studio musicians, with vocals by Paul Wibier. The song, along with several other Barry/Weil tunes used in the film, was credited not to Max Frost and the Troopers, but to the 13th Power on the film's soundtrack LP, which was released on Capitol's Tower subsidiary label. After Shape Of Things To Come (the song) became a hit, producer Mike Curb commissioned an entire album by Max Frost And The Troopers called, naturally, Shape Of Things To Come. The band on this album was, based on songwriting credits, a group fronted by vocalist Paul Wibier (yeah, him again) originally known as Mom's Boys that had appeared on a handful of Curb-produced movie soundtrack albums before changing their name to the 13th Power (yeah, them again) and releasing a single called I See A Change Is Gonna Come on Curb's Sidewalk label in October of 1967. The album Shape Of Things To Come was released in 1968 on the Tower label, and featured mostly songs written (or co-written) by Wibier himself, such as Lonely Man. It seems pretty obvious that Mom's Boys, the 13th Power and Max Frost And The Troopers were all actually the same band that consisted of Paul Wibier, Dale Beckner, Stewart Martin, Barney Hector and possibly someone who last name was McClain.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Nashville Cats
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s):    John B. Sebastian
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    After the success of their debut LP, Do You Believe In Magic, The Lovin' Spoonful deliberately set out to make a followup album that sounded like it was recorded by several different bands, as a way of showcasing their versatility. With Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1966, they did just that. Songs on the album ranged from the folky Darlin' Be Home Soon to the rockin' psychedelic classic Summer In The City, with a liberal dose of what would come to be called country rock a few years later. The best example of the latter was Nashville Cats, a song that surprisingly went into the top 40 (but did not receive any airplay from country stations) and became a staple of progressive FM radio in the early 70s.

Artist:    Claypool Lennon Delerium
Title:    Captain Lariat
Source:    LP: Monolith Of Phobos
Writer(s):    Claypool/Lennon
Label:    Ato
Year:    2016
    Fans of alternative rock are no doubt familiar with a band called Primus, led by bassist Les Claypool. One of the more colorful characters on the modern music scene, Claypool was once rejected by Metallica as being "too good" for them. Claypool himself has said that he thought James Hetfield was just being nice when he told him that, but the fact is that Claypool is indeed one of the most talented bass players (if not the best) in rock history. Sean Lennon is, of course, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Unlike his half-borther Julian, Sean has never had to prove anything to anyone, and, thanks in large part to his mother's influence (and let's be honest here, money), has always felt free to pursue his own artistic path without having to bow to commercial pressures. The two of them met when their respective bands were on tour and they immediately recognized that they had a musical connection. That connection manifested itself in the album Monolith Of Phobos (a title inspired by Arthur Clarke's works), released in 2016. Captain Lariat, from that album, shows the artists' more playful side.

Artist:    Residents
Title:    Loser≅Weed
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Residents
Label:    Ralph
Year:    1976 (?)/1978
    Loser≅Weed is the B side of a single released on gold colored vinyl in 1978. The text on the back of the sleeve of that single claim that the record, featuring an avant-garde version of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, had originally been released in 1976, but knowing the Residents' reputation for deliberately obscuring the truth, I have to take that claim with a grain of salt, since none of my sources have any info regarding a 1976 issue. The sign ≅ that appears between the words "loser" and "weed", incidentally, is known as a congruence, or isomorphic sign, essentially meaning, in this instance, "structurally identical".

Artist:    Steven Cerio
Title:    The Mind That Makes Sugar
Source:    CD: The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow
Writer(s):    Steven Cerio
Label:    Wowcool
Year:    2012
    Steven Cerio is a multimedia artist originally from Liverpool, NY, who is credited with setting the stage for the new-psychedelic revival in New York City. A graduate of Syracuse University, Cerio wrote and directed the indy film The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow in 2012. The following year a soundtrack album for the film, which is narrated by Kristin Hirsch of Throwing Muses. The CD also contains several tracks that were written for, but not used in, the film itself, among them a piece called The Mind That Makes Sugar.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.

Artist:    Castaways
Title:    Liar Liar
Source:    CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donna/Craswell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Soma)
Year:    1965
    The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves with their song Liar Liar for a couple months in 1965 before fading off into obscurity.

Artist:    P.F. Sloan
Title:    Halloween Mary
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    P.F. Sloan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    If there is any one songwriter associated specifically with folk-rock (as opposed to folk music), it would be the Los Angeles based P.F. Sloan, writer of Barry McGuire's signature song, Eve Of Destruction. Sloan also penned hits for the Turtles in their early days as one of the harder-edged folk-rock bands, including their second hit, Let Me Be. In fact, Sloan had almost 400 songs to his credit by the time he and Steve Barri teamed up to write and produce a series of major hits released by various bands under the name Grass Roots. Sloan himself, however, only released two singles as a singer, although (as can be heard on the second of them, the slightly off-kilter Halloween Mary) he had a voice as powerful as many of the recording stars of the time.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    I Ain't Marching Anymore
Source:    CD: There But For Fortune (originally released on LP: I Ain't Marching Anymore)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1965
    Phil Ochs' I Ain't Marching Anymore didn't get a whole lot of airplay when it was released in 1965 (unless you count a handful of closed-circuit student-run stations on various college campuses that could only be picked up by plugging a radio into a wall socket in a dorm room). Ochs was aware of this, and even commented that "the fact that you won't be hearing this song on the radio is more than enough justification for the writing of it." He went on to say that the song "borders between pacifism and treason, combining the best qualities of both." Ochs also recorded a folk-rock version of the song (that reported included contributions from Al Kooper and Danny Kalb of the Blues Project) that was released as a single in the UK in 1966, but copies of that version are no longer available in any form.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Pet Sounds
Source:    Mono CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew.

Artist:     Grass Roots
Title:     Let's Live For Today
Source:     CD: Battle of the Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Julian/Mogull/Shapiro
Label:     Era (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1967
     This well-known 1967 hit by the Grass Roots started off as a song by the Italian band the Rokes, Piangi Con Mi, released in 1966. The Rokes themselves were originally from Manchester, England, but had relocated to Italy in 1963. Piangi Con Mi was their biggest hit to date, and the band decided to re-record the tune in English for release in Britain (ironic, considering that the band originally specialized in translating popular US and UK hits into the Italian language). The original translation didn't sit right with the band's UK label, so a guy from the record company came up with new lyrics and the title Let's Live For Today. The song still didn't do much on the charts, but did get the attention of former Brill building songwriter Jeff Barri, whose current project was writing and producing a band known as the Grass Roots with co-producer P.F. Sloan. Let's Live For Today became the first of many top 10 singles for the Grass Roots.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Flying
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 was an odd year for the Beatles. They started it with one of their most successful double-sided singles, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, and followed it up with the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. From there, after making history by premiering their next single (All You Need Is Love) via worldwide satellite broadcast, they embarked on a new film project. Unlike their previous movies, the Magical Mystery Tour was not made to be shown in theaters. Rather, the film was aired as a television special shown exclusively in the UK. The airing of the film coincided with the release (again only in the UK) of a two-disc extended play 45 RPM set featuring the six songs from the special. It was not until later in the year that the songs were released in the US, on an album that combined the songs from the film on one side and all the non-LP single sides they had released that year on the other. Among the songs from the film is Flying, a rare instrumental track that was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Dantalion's Chariot
Title:    The Madman Running Through The Fields
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Money/Somers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    In the early to mid 1960s the US had literally hundreds of talented artists playing the so-called "chitlin' circuit", whose records appeared on the Rhythm & Blues charts, sometimes crossing over to the pop charts as well. In the UK, these artists were a distant legend, although their music was quite popular there. To fill a demand for live R&B in British clubs, several cover bands popped up throughout the decade. One of the most popular, and musically accomplished, bands on the London R&B/soul scene was Zoot Money's Big Roll Band. As the decade rolled on, however, public tastes started changing, and the Big Roll Band was finding it difficult to find steady work. Money responded to the situation by disbanding the group and forming the four-piece Dantalion's Chariot in 1967. The band soon gained a reputation for both their musicianship and their light show, and were considered, along with Pink Floyd and Tomorrow, to be the cream of the crop of British psychedelic bands. Unfortunately, the band had too much talent to survive long, and split up by the end of the year. Just how talented were they? Well, in addition to Money himself on vocals and keyboards, the band included a guitarist named Andy Somers, who would eventually change the spelling of his last name to Summers and form a band called the Police. Then there was the drummer, Colin Allen, who would soon resurface as a member of John Mayall's new band on the album Blues From Laurel Canyon. Not bad for a group that only released one single.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    About A Quarter To Nine
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (original LP title: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Dubin/Warren
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    In the liner notes for the 2000 reissue of the debut Electric Prunes album (temporarily retitled I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)), rock critic Richie Unterberger characterizes About A Quarter To Nine as a "fruity Las Vegas-vaudeville-style number". This assessment pretty much explains why it is among the least-heard Electric Prunes songs on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, or anywhere else for that matter.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Wind
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Dino's Song
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Writer(s):    Chet Powers, aka Dino Valenti
Label:    RockBeat (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    A few years back I picked up the DVD collector's edition of the telefilm that DA Pennebacker made of the Monterey International Pop Festival. In addition to the film itself there were two discs of bonus material, including a song by Quicksilver Messenger Service that was listed under the title All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was Love You). I spent some time trying to figure out which album the song had originally appeared on, but came up empty until I got a copy of the first Quicksilver album and discovered it was actually called Dino's Song. I suspect the confusion in song titles is connected to the origins of the band itself, which was the brainchild of Dino Valenti and John Cipollina (and possibly Gary Duncan). The day after their first practice session Valenti got busted and spent the next few years in jail for marijuana possession. My theory is that this was an untitled song that Valenti showed Cippolina at that first practice. Since it probably still didn't have a title when the group performed the song at Monterey, the filmmakers used the most repeated line from the song itself, All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was Love You). When the band recorded their first LP in 1968 they just called it Dino's Song.

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     Amphetamine Annie
Source:     CD: The Very Best of Canned Heat (originally released on LP: Boogie With Canned Heat)
Writer:     Canned Heat
Label:     Capitol (original label: Liberty)
Year:     1968
     By the end of 1967 the Haight-Ashbury scene had taken a definite turn for the worse. Most veterans of the street (i.e. those who had been there before the Summer of Love) placed the blame firmly on the influx of naive runaways that had flooded the area in the wake of calls to "go to San Francisco" earlier in the year, and on the drug dealers who preyed upon them. Methamphetamine (aka speed) was the drug usually singled out as the most destructive force at play. Back then it was the pill form of speed, such as white crosses, that was prevalent among users; the powdered crystal meth that has become a concern in modern rural America would not be used widely until the 1970s. Although originally from Los Angeles, Canned Heat had become closely identified with the San Francisco area following their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival and decided it was their civic duty to take a stand against the drug, declaring in the song Amphetamine Annie that "speed kills", a phrase that would show up as graffiti on various walls in the city as well. Ironically, by the time Boogie With Canned Heat, the album containing Amphetamine Annie, was released the band had returned to L.A.'s Laurel Canyon.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Getting To The Point
Source:    LP: Getting To The Point
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    Getting To The Point, the title track from Savoy Brown's second LP, is basically a blues jam with some blistering guitar work from Kim Simmonds. The group's first album had been made up almost entirely of cover songs, and, with the exception of bandleader Simmonds and pianist Bob Hall, featured an entirely different lineup. Getting To The Point, on the other hand, was made up mostly of original compositions, with new vocalist Chris Youlden's name appearing on over half of them. Two other new members, guitarist Dave Peverett and drummer Roger Earl, would stay with Savoy Brown for the band's next four albums, eventually going on to be co-founders of Foghat.