Sunday, January 23, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2205 (starts 1/24/22)

    This week we have our first Advanced Psych segment of the year, featuring two tracks that have not been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. The first is from British guitarist Geiger Von Müller, who has been described as "a solid proponent of the neo-cubist semi-deconstructionist blues scene", while the other is from the Electric Prunes' 2004 release California. In between, we have a returning favorite from the 1980s incarnation of Robert Fripp's King Crimson. Also of note: an all-Detroit set from 1969 and, in its entirety, the first side of John Mayall's classic Blues From Laurel Canyon.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Within You Without You
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1967
    George Harrison began to take an interest in the Sitar as early as 1965. By 1966 he had become proficient enough on the Indian instrument to compose and record Love You To for the Revolver album. He followed that up with perhaps his most well known sitar-based track, Within You Without You, which opens side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. After releasing one more similarly-styled song, The Inner Light, as a B side in early 1968, Harrison recorded an entire album's worth of sitar-based tunes for the film Wonderwall before deciding that he was never going to be in the same league as Ravi Shankar, whom Harrison had become friends with by that time. For the remainder of his time with the Beatles Harrison would concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting skills, resulting in classic songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Try It
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Levine/Bellack
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded Try It, a tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat, which should have garnered it at least a 65 rating on American Bandstand.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Pictures Of Lily
Source:    Mono CD: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    Pictures of Lily was the first single released by the Who in 1967. It hit the #4 spot on the British charts, but only made it to #51 in the US. This was nothing new for the Who, as several of their early singles, including Substitute, I Can't Explain and even My Generation hit the British top 10 without getting any US airplay (or chart action) at all.

Artist:    Masters' Apprentices
Title:    Tired Of Just Wandering
Source:    Australian import CD: The Master's Apprentices (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Michael Bower
Label:    Aztec (original label: Astor)
Year:    1967
    The Masters' Apprentices (or Master's Apprentices or Masters Apprentices...they released records under all three variations at one time or another, both with and without the definitive article), were formed as the Mustangs in Adelaide, Australia in 1964 with Mick Bower on rhythm guitar, Rick Morrison on lead guitar, Brian Vaughton on drums and Gavin Webb on bass guitar. The all-instrumental band specialized in doing covers of groups like the Shadows and the Ventures until, heavily influenced by the Beatles, they took on Scottish-born vocalist Jim Keays, modifying their repertoire to include British invasion bands. As their popularity grew, the Mustangs began playing more original material, changing their name to The Masters Apprentices (no apostrophe) in late 1965. In 1966 they signed with the Adelaide-based Astor Records, releasing half a dozen singles, as well as a full-length album (as The Master's Apprentices) over the next couple of years. Their third single, Living In A Child's Dream (released as The Masters' Apprentices in August of 1967), is considered one of the first examples of Australian psychedelic music, and its popularity propelled the band into teen idol status. This all was a bit too much for Bower, who had written both Child's Dream and its B side, Tired Of Just Waiting. One month after the single was released Bower suffered a severe nervous breakdown and was ordered by his doctor to give up performing, which he did for 10 years. As the band's primary songwriter, Bower's departure resulted in the band going through a period of chaos before being reorganized by Keays with an almost entirely different lineup and sound, beginning a transformation from pop stars to serious rock band with a bit of a "bad boy" image. This "classic" version of Masters Apprentices lasted until the band's breakup in 1972.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Barking Pumpkin (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)
Source:     LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer:     Roger McGuinn
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     1966 was the beginning of a time when rock musicians began to experiment in the recording studio. One early effort was Roger (then Jim) McGuinn's 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song), which uses a recording of an actual jet plane throughout the track.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Smoke And Water (original mix)
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on CD: Ignition)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Sundazed)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2000
    Before signing with Original Sound Records in late 1966, Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, recorded several demos, including Smoke And Water. The song was considered too conventional by Bonniwell's standards to be included on the group's debut LP, although it is entirely possible that if the record company had not included several cover songs on the album without the band's knowledge or consent, Smoke And Water, with its outstanding keyboard work from Doug Rhodes, might have made the cut.

Artist:    Mockingbirds
Title:    How To Find A Lover
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):    Peter Couad
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    In addition to being one of the most successful songwriters in British beat music, Graham Gouldman was one of the most unsuccessful bandleaders in British beat music. His group, the Mockingbirds, released three singles in 1965, all of which were written or co-written by Gouldman. None of them charted, despite the fact that they were released on high-profile labels (Columbia and Immediate). The following year the band signed with yet another major label, Decca, and released two more singles. Neither of these, however, were written by Gouldman, who by then was holding back his best songs to be sold to proven hitmakers like the Hollies and Herman's Hermits. The final Mockingbirds single was How To Find A Lover, written by Peter Couad (or Cowap, according to one source). It too bombed, despite being a well-crafted pop song. Gouldman and bandmate Kevin Godley would eventually be reunited in the 1970 with the band 10cc.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Voodoo In My Basement (instrumental backing track)
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
     With their 1966 LP Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, New York's most popular band set out to make an album on which each song sounded like it was performed by a different group. For the most part they succeeded, with songs like Nashville Cats and Summer In The City having few similarities. One of the more notable tracks on the album is Voodoo In My Basement, which acknowledges the folk-blues scene of New York's Greenwich Village, where the band was formed. The backing track heard here was included as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of the album.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Priority (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.

Artist:    McCoys
Title:    Hang On Sloopy
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Russell/Farrell
Label:    Bang
Year:    1965
    The McCoys were a fairly typical Eastern Ohio band of the mid-60s, playing parties, teen clubs, high school dances and occassionally opening for out of town acts. In 1965 the McCoys opened for the Strangeloves, who were on the road promoting their hit single I Want Candy (of course, the Strangeloves were in reality a trio of professional songwriters who had come up with a rather unusual gimmick: they passed themselves off as sons of an Australian sheepherder). The members of the Strangeloves were so impressed with the McCoys, particularly vocalist/guitarist Rick Derringer, that they offered them the song that was slated to be the follow-up to I Want Candy: a song called Hang On Sloopy. The instrumental tracks for the song had already been recorded, so the only member of the McCoys to actually appear on the record is Derringer. Hang On Sloopy went all the way to the top of the charts, becoming one of the top 10 singles of the year and providing a stellar debut for Derringer, who went on to hook up with both Johnny Winter and the Edgar Winter Group before embarking on a successful solo career.

Artist:    Oxford Circle
Title:    Foolish Woman
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Yoder/Patton
Label:    Rhino (original label: World United)
Year:    1966
    The Oxford Circle was one of those bands that had a reputation for being the opening band that blew the headliners off the stage, yet never was able to make it big itself. Originally from Sacramento, California, the group appeared frequently in and around San Francisco in 1965 and 1966, but disbanded before the scene started getting national attention, with many of the members moving on to greater fame with other bands. Drummer Paul Whaley was the first to get national attention as a founding member of Blue Cheer. Oxford Circle leader Gary Lee Yoder would eventually join Blue Cheer as well, after a short stint with his own band, Kak. Also of note was bassist Jim Keylor, who was in an early incarnation of Roxy and went on to form BSU studios, where the Dead Kennedys recorded. For all that, the Oxford Circle made only one single, Foolish Woman, which was released on the independent World United label in 1966.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    I Won't Hurt You
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer:    Harris/Lloyd/Markley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Unlike more famous L.A. groups like Love and the Doors, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was not a Sunset Strip club band. In fact, the WCPAEB really didn't play that many live performances in their career, although those they did tended to be at high profile venues such as the Hollywood Bowl. The band was formed when the Harris brothers, sons of an accomplished classical musician, decided to record their own album and release it on the small Fifa label. Only a few copies of that album, Volume One, were made and finding one now is next to impossible. That might have been the end of the story except for the fact that they were acquaintances of Kim Fowley, the Zelig-like record producer and all-around Hollywood (and sometimes London) hustler. Fowley invited them to a party where the Yardbirds were playing; a party also attended by one Bob Markley. Markley, who was nearly ten years older than the Harris brothers, was a former TV show host from the midwest who had moved out to the coast to try his luck in Hollywood. Impressed by the flock of young girls surrounding the Yardbirds, Markley expressed to Fowley his desire to be a rock and roll star and have the girls flock around him, too. Fowley, ever the deal-maker, responded by introducing Markley to the Harris Brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was born. With the addition of guitarist Michael Lloyd and the influence of Markley's not-inconsiderable family money, the group soon landed a contract with Reprise Records, where they proceeded to record the album Part One, which includes the tune I Won't Hurt You, which uses a simulated heartbeat to keep the...umm, beat.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Laléna
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Released only in the US do to an ongoing dispute between Donovan and the british Pye label, Laléna hit the Billboard top 40 in late 1968, hitting the #33 spot. A quiet ballad, Laléna was inspired by Lotte Lenya's character in the film version of Threepenny Opera. In a 2004 the Scottish singer/songwriter had this to say about the song: "She's a streetwalker, but in the history of the world, in all nations, women have taken on various roles from priestess to whore to mother to maiden to wife. This guise of sexual power is very prominent, and therein I saw the plight of the character. Women have roles thrust upon them and make the best they can out of them, so I'm describing the character Lotte Lenya is playing, and a few other women I've seen during my life, but it's a composite character of women who are outcasts on the edge of society.

Artist:    Stooges
Title:    I Wanna Be Your Dog (John Cale mix)
Source:    CD: The Stooges (bonus track)
Writer(s):    The Stooges
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1969
    In late 1968 Elektra Records sent out DJ/publicist Danny Fields to check out a new band that was getting a lot of attention on the Detroit music scene. That band was the MC5, and Fields signed them immediately after attending one of their gigs. The next day, the MC5's Wayne Kramer assured Fields that he would also like their "little brother" band, the Psychedelic Stooges. He did, and they also signed with Elektra. Former Velvet Underground member John Cale was brought in to produce the band's first album, but Elektra president Jac Holzman rejected his original mixes as "too arty" and, along with vocalist Iggy Pop, remixed the entire album. The Cale mixes, including one (I Wanna Be Your Dog) that has Cale playing piano on it, sat on a shelf until 2005, when it was included as a bonus track on the reissue of The Stooges (the "Psychedelic" having been dropped at the behest of Holzman).

Artist:    MC5
Title:    Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)
Source:    CD: Kick Out The Jams
Writer(s):    MC5
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Although left-wing politics were a large part of the America folk music scene in the 1960s, it wasn't until later in the decade that rock bands followed suit. One of the most radical was Detroit's MC5. Originally formed as the Bounty Hunters by guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred Smith, the group took on the name MC5 after being joined by vocalist Rob Tyner in 1964. It was Tyner that got the band involved in politics, being a few years older than Kramer and Smith. The addition of bassist Michael Davis and drummer Dennis Thompson in 1965 completed the band's classic lineup. With their unique synthesis of garage rock and free jazz, the MC5 soon became one of the most popular bands on the Detroit music scene, releasing a couple of singles in 1967 and 1968 before coming to the attention of Elektra Records president Jac Holzman, who sent DJ/Publicist Danny Fields out to the motor city to check them out. Fields liked what he heard and immediately signed the band. It was decided early on that the only way to truly showcase the MC5's talents was to release an album of live performances. Their first LP, Kick Out The Jams, was recorded on October 30th and 31st, 1968 at Detroit's Grande Ballroom. One of the most popular songs on the album was Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa), now recognized as one of the most energetic performances ever caught on tape. After Detroit's largest department store, Hudson's, refused to stock the album because of the band's use of profanity, Tyner took out a full-page ad in a local underground newspaper that consisted of a picture of Tyner, the Elektra logo and the words "Fuck Hudsons". This led to Hudson's refusing to stock any records on the Elektra label, which in turn led Elektra to drop the MC5 from their artists roster.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Starline (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    People who are familiar with the 70s and 80s hits of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band may be surprised to hear how much raw energy there is on Seger's early recordings with the Heard, and later the Bob Seger System. The best known of these records is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, released as a single in 1969. The song did pretty well at the time, but it would be several years before Seger would return to the charts.

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     Catfish Blues
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer:     Robert Petway
Label:     United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year     1967
     Like many other US cities in the 1960s, San Francisco had a small but enthusiastic community of blues record collectors. A group of them got together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, and made quite an impression when they played the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This led to a contract with Liberty Records and an album consisting entirely of cover versions of blues standards. One standout track from that album is Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, expanded to over six minutes by the Heat.

Artist:    Geiger Von Müller
Title:    Origins #2
Source:    CD: Teddy Zur And The Kwands
Writer(s):    Geiger Von Müller
Label:    GVM
Year:    2018
    Geiger Von Müller is a London-based guitarist who has deconstructed the blues down to one of its most essential elements, slide guitar, and then explored from scratch what can be done with the instrument. The result is tracks like Origins #2, from the album Teddy Zur And The Kwands. The all-instrumental album is accompanied by the beginning of a science fiction story about the Kwands, a powerful race that kidnaps children's stuff toys, including one called Teddy Zur, to work in their factory as slaves. You'll have to find a copy of the CD itself to get a more detailed explanation.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)
Source:    LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Writer(s):    Belew/Bruford/Fripp/Levin
Label:    Warner Brothers/EG
Year:    1984
    The third and final LP of the 1980s version of King Crimson was not as well-received as its predecessors. Three Of A Perfect Pair featured a "left side" made up mostly of relatively commercial songs with lyrics by Adrian Belew and music composed by the entire band. The "right" side of the LP featured more free-form improvisation on tracks like Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds), which closes the album. Robert Fripp, in a radio interview, described the LP's "left" side as "accessible" and its "right" side as "excessive", which seems as good a description of Three Of A Perfect Pair as any other.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Cinéma Vérité
Source:    CD: California
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2004
    After successfully reestablishing themselves as one of the world's premier psychedelic rock bands with the album Artifact in 2001, the Psychedelic Prunes got to work on their first self-generated concept album (Mass In F Minor having been imposed on them by their then-producer Dave Hassinger). That album, California, centers on the band's own impressions of the Summer of Love and the years beyond, and is an excellent showcase of the songwriting talents of lead vocalist James Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin. The final piece on the album is Cinéma Vérité, which is, to my knowledge, the longest track ever recorded by the Electric Prunes.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

Artist:    John Mayall
Title:    Blues From Laurel Canyon-part one
Source:    European import CD: Blues From Laurel Canyon
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    Decca
Year:    1968
    In July of 1968, in the middle of a concert tour of Germany, John Mayall made a decision to disband his group The Bluesbreakers, which at this point in time had seven members. After finishing out the band's live commitments, Mayall then got to work on assembling a new, smaller band consisting of himself on keyboards and vocals, Stephen Thompson on bass, Colin Allen on drums, and 17-year-old Mick Taylor on guitar. Once the new group was formed, Mayall promptly left London for a three-week stay in Southern California's Laurel Canyon, where he met several like-minded musicians, including Frank Zappa and the members of Canned Heat, as well as some of L.A.'s more famous groupies. While there he began chronicling his visit by way of a series of songs that would become his next album, Blues From Laurel Canyon. The first of these, Vacation, sets the stage for what is to follow and showcase's Taylor's guitar work. From there it's Walking On Sunset, a paeon to one of L.A.'s most famous boulevards. Laurel Canyon home describes his temporary abode, while 2401 describes a visit to the organized chaos of the Zappa household. The final three songs on side one, Ready To Ride, Medicine Man and Somebody's Acting Like A Child tell the tale of a romantic interlude, and are among Mayall's strongest material. Recorded in early August of 1968, the album was released in November, and helped cement Mayall's reputation as the godfather of British blues.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2205 (starts 1/24/22)

    This week, following an opening track from the Joe Walsh era James Gang, we work our way back from 1976 to 1968, one year at a time. Along the way we run across album tracks from Savoy Brown, Curtis Mayfield, the Mothers and several other artists. There's even a token hit single hidden in the middle of it all.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    There I Go Again
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    The two sides of James Gang Rides Again sound like two entirely different albums. As it turns out, this was somewhat intentional. According to bassist Dale Peters, guitarist Joe Walsh had written a set of acoustic tunes while the band was recording what would become side one of the album. Rather than try to hastily come up with another side's worth of tunes, the band decided just to let Walsh record the songs he had already written with a minimum of accompaniment. Among those tunes on side two of James Gang Rides Again is There I Go Again, a catchy number that features Walsh on both acoustic and (overdubbed) steel guitar.

Artist:    Tommy Bolin
Title:    Shake The Devil
Source:    CD: Private Eyes
Writer(s):    Bolin/Cook
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1976
    Tommy Bolin was a self-taught guitarist that impressed pretty much everyone who ever heard him play, including the members of Deep Purple, who invited him to join the band in 1975 following the departure of founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Bolin accepted, although doing so meant he was unable to properly promote his own debut solo LP, Teaser. After Deep Purple officially disbanded, Bolin formed his own band and began working on his second solo LP, Private Eyes. The album, featuring outstanding tracks such as Shake The Devil, was released in September of 1976, and Bolin went on tour to promote Private Eyes. Unfortunately, Bolin died of a drug overdose on December 3, 1976 in Miami following a live appearance opening for Jeff Beck, cutting short a brilliant career.

Artist:    Renaissance
Title:    Song Of Scheherazade-part two
Source:    LP: Scheherazade And Other Stories
Writer(s):    Hout/Camp/Dunford/Thatcher
Label:    Sire
Year:    1975
    Probably the most musically ambitious piece in the entire Renaissance catalog, Song Of Scheheraze takes up the entire second side of the 1975 LP Scheherazade And Other Stories. The nearly 25-minute long suite is made up of several sections, with a break about halfway through. This the second half of that suite. The album itself, the band's 6th studio LP, was the first to not include any compositions from the group's founding members, drummer Jim McCarty having severed ties with the band following the release of Turn Of The Cards.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Naked Eye
Source:    British import CD (Spirit Of Joy) (originally released on LP: Odds And Sods)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1974
    While touring to promote the Tommy album, the Who began developing several new songs as part of their live act. Many of these appeared, at least in part, on the Live At Leeds album in 1970. One of those songs, Naked Eye, was partially recorded in the studio around the same time, but remained unfinished when the 1971 album Who's Next was released. Over the next couple of years several bootlegs of the Who's live performances were in circulation, prompting bassist John Entwhistle to compile a new album of outtakes and unreleased tracks in 1974. The album Odds And Sods, included the completed version of Naked Eye.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    I'm The Slime
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1973
    In 1973, Frank Zappa, along with an array of talented musicians, recorded two albums' worth of material. The first, released as a Mothers album, was Over-Nite Sensation. Strangely enough, a single was released from the album, although it really didn't make much of a dent in the top 40 charts. That single was I'm The Slime, a song that only gets more relevant as time goes on. The song is basically a description of America's top drug of choice, as the opening lyrics make clear: "I am gross and perverted. I'm obsessed 'n deranged. I have existed for years, but very little has changed. I'm the tool of the government and industry too, for I am destined to rule and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, but you can't look away. I make you think I'm delicious, with the stuff that I say. I'm the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet? I'm the slime ooozing out of your TV set." Ironically, Zappa and his band performed the song on his first appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Artist:    Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina
Title:    Your Mama Don't Dance
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Loggins/Messina
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    Kenny Loggins was just 20 years old when he released the first of three singles for Snuff Garrett's Viva label in 1968. This led to a brief stint as guitarist for the "new, improved" Electric Prunes in 1969 before forming the band Gator Creek with fellow guitarist Mike Deasy, releasing one album on the Mercury label. In 1970 he met up with Jim Messina, who had become an independent record producer following his runs with Buffalo Springfield and Poco. The two of them began recording some of Loggin's tunes for a proposed Loggins solo LP that eventually turned into the first Loggins and Messina LP, officially titled Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. The two began touring together to promote the album and soon decided to officially become a duo, releasing the album Loggins And Messina in 1972. The album included Your Mama Don't Dance, a tune that they wrote together that became their biggest hit single, going into the top 5 in early 1973.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    Beautiful Brother Of Mine
Source:    CD: The Anthology 1961-1977 (originally released on LP: Roots)
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    MCA (original label: Curtom)
Year:    1971
    Throughout the 1960s, R&B was dominated by singers and vocal groups like Aretha Franklin, the Supremes and the Temptations. Curtis Mayfield, the lead singer of the Impressions, was much more than that, which became more evident after he left the group he had led for nearly a decade in 1970 for a solo career. By the time his third album, Roots, was released in 1971, Mayfield had established a sound described by one critic as "rumbling funk", which is on full display on Beautiful Brother Of Mine. Held down by a powerful bass line, the elaborately produced piece carries a message of black pride that would characterize Mayfield's work as a solo artist.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Hawaiian Sellout
Source:    LP: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Among the many short sections of TV shows that George Tirebiter tunes in on the album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers is Hawaiian Sellout, a bit that parodies 1960s game shows, with the humor coming from the absurdity of the prizes that the contestant has won so far. This sort of sketch humor would become the staple of actual TV shows like Saturday Night Live and Second City TV in the 1970s, as well as movies like Tunnel Vision and the Groove Tube.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Leavin' Again
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    There are several similarities between Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown. Both started out recording covers of American blues artists almost exclusively. Both were originally led by talented guitarists (Peter Green and Kim Simmonds, respectively) whose first love was very obviously the blues. Both bands ended up going through many lineup changes over the years, as they slowly became more rock-oriented. That's where the similarity ends, however. Whereas Green decided to leave Fleetwood Mac altogether following the 1969 LP Then Play On, Simmonds instead tightened his reins on the group in order to keep them rooted in the blues, aided in his efforts by lead vocalist Chris Youlden. After Youlden left the group for a solo career, however, the remaining band members asserted their desire to play more rock, as can be heard on tracks like Leavin' Again, from the 1970 album Looking In. Simmonds, however, wasn't having any of it and dismissed the entire band following the release of Looking In and hiring several members of Chicken Shack to continue in a more blues-oriented direction. As for the dismissed members of Savoy Brown (Dave Peverett, Roger Earl and Tone Stevens), they went off and formed their own band: Foghat.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Michael Bloomfield/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Blues For Nothing
Source:    CD: Super Session (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1995
    Blues For Nothing was left off the original Super Session LP, presumably due to lack of space, or possibly a desire by Producer Al Kooper to maintain a balance between the guitar work of Michael Bloomfield on side one of the LP and Stephen Stills on side two.  Basically it's a blues instrumental played by four outstanding musicians that's available as a bonus track on the CD version of Super Session. That's good enough for me.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    Rock My Plimsoul
Source:    LP: Truth
Writer(s):    Stewart/Beck
Label:    Epic
Year:    1968
    Working with producer Mickie Most, Jeff Beck released three singles after leaving the Yardbirds before getting to work on his first LP, Truth. Following a similar pattern as the Yardbirds, the A sides of these singles were designed to get played on top 40 radio (which in England meant BBC Radio 1), while the B sides were given over to the artists to do what they wanted with them. In Beck's case that meant rocking out on tunes like Rock My Plimsoul, a song loosely based on B.B. King's Rock Me Baby, featuring Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass and Ainsley Dunbar on drums. Beck re-recorded the tune, this time with Micky Waller on drums, for the Truth album.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2204 (starts 1/17/22)

    One of the most popular terms of the psychedelic era was "far out", an adjective used to describe....well, just about everything at one time or another. This week's show definitely fits the bill. In our first segment alone we have tunes from the legendary Charlatans (recorded but not released in 1967) and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, not to mention one of the only rock songs about cannibalism to make the top 40 charts. Also in our first hour: the first song from the first side of the first King Crimson album, and the last single released by the original Love, as well as a Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart version of a Willie Dixon tune using an arrangement that was pretty much copied by Led Zeppelin a year later. It's the second hour, though, that really gets weird, as we present a track from the Merry Pranksters' legendary underground LP The Acid Test featuring Kens Kesey and Babbs tripping their brains out. And toward the end of the show we sneak in the single released by Big Brother And The Holding Company by their original label while they were already working on Cheap Thrills. Pretty far out, huh?

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Bryant
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    One of the more popular posters of the pyschedelic era took the phrase Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes and highlighted the letters P,E,A,C and E with colors that, when viewed under a black light, stood out from the rest of the text. At around the same time a movie came out with a similar title. Quite possibly both were inspired by a track from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's late 1967 LP Volume II. The song itself is either really cool or really pretentious. I've had a copy of it for over 30 years and still haven't figured out which.

Artist:    Charlatans
Title:    Alabama Bound
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer:    trad., arr. The Charlatans
Label:    Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1996
    Despite being one of the most important bands on the San Francisco scene, the Charlatans did not have much luck in the recording studio. Their first sessions were aborted, the planned LP for Kama Sutra was shelved by the label itself, and the band was overruled in their choice of songs to be released on their first (and only) single issued from the Kama Sutra sessions. In 1967, however, they did manage to get some decent tracks recorded. Unfortunately, those tracks were not released until 1996, and then only in the UK. The centerpiece of the 1967 sessions was this six-and-a-half minute recording of a traditional tune that is considered by many to be the Charlatans' signature song: Alabama Bound.

Artist:    Bee Gees
Title:    I Close My Eyes
Source:    CD: Bee Gees 1st
Writer(s):    Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Label:    Reprise (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Most of the 14 songs on the 1967 LP Bee Gees 1st were credited to brothers Barry and Robin Gibb. The other three, however, including I Close My Eyes, include the third Gibb brother, Maurice's name in the songwriting credits. All of the Gibb brothers have said, however, that Maurice helped write most of the songs on the LP, including all three hit singles (New York Mining Disaster, To Love Somebody, and Holiday).

Artist:    Classics IV
Title:    Spooky
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Sharpe/Middlebrooks/Buie/Cobb
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1967
    Most people don't know this (it was news to me too), but the Halloween classic Spooky, by the Classics IV, was orginally an instrumental. The tune was written by saxophonist Mike Sharpe, with Harry Middlebrooks, Jr. and released by Sharpe in 1967, making it to the #57 on the Billboard charts. Late in the year, Classics IV guitarist J. R. Cobb and producer Buddy Buie came up with lyrics for the song in time to get the song recorded and released by Halloween, and the band scored their first top 40 hit with the song, featuring drummer Dennis Yost on lead vocals. The Classics IV continued to hit the top 40 charts into the early 1970s, with Yost moving out from behind the drum kit and taking over top billing (See? Phil Collins wasn't the first to do that!), while Cobb and Buie, as a side project, formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1970. Finally, in 1975, Yost officially went solo, ending the story of the Classics IV.

Artist:    Buoys
Title:    Timothy
Source:    LP: Harmony (original label: Scepter)
Writer(s):    Rupert Holmes
Label:    RCA Special Products (original label: Scepter)
Year:    1970
    Rupert Holmes wrote the 1970 song Timothy, dealing with cannibalism, specifically to get banned from top 40 radio, thus giving him a measure of notoriety. What he didn't bargain for, however, was the song becoming a hit single anyway, despite the best efforts of the shirts at Scepter Records to convince everyone that "Timothy" was in fact, a mule, and not one of the miners caught in a cave-in. Holmes himself set the record straight in an interview, but by that time the song had hit the #17 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Holmes had intended the song to be recorded by a band called the Glass Prism, who had released an album of Edgar Allan Poe's poetry set to music the previous year. The Glass Prism, however, was under contract to RCA Victor, and was unavailable to record the song. Instead, Holmes chose the Buoys, a band from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who had been signed to, and then virtually ignored by, the New York-based Scepter Records. Holmes, who played keyboards on the song, went on to write several more songs for the Buoys, all of which were from the point of view of someone who had committed some sort of crime. Holmes ended up becoming more famous, in the long run, for a song called Escape (The Piña Colada Song) that he released under his own name in 1979.

Artist:     King Crimson
Title:     21st Century Schizoid Man
Source:     CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Writer:     Fripp/McDonald/Lake/Giles/Sinfield
Label:     Discipline Global Mobile (original US label: Atlantic)
Year:     1969
     There are several bands with a legitimate claim to starting the prog-rock movement of the mid-70s. The one most musicians cite as the one that started it all, however, is King Crimson. Led by Robert Fripp, the band went through several personnel changes over the years. Many of the members went on to greater commercial success as members of other bands, including guitarist/keyboardist Ian McDonald (Foreigner), and lead vocalist/bassist Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) from the original lineup heard on In The Court Of The Crimson King. Additionally, poet Peter Sinfield, who wrote all King Crimson's early lyrics, would go on to perform a similar function for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, including their magnum opus Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends. Other original members included Michael Giles on drums and Fripp himself on guitar. 21st Century Schizoid Man, as the first song on the first album by King Crimson, can quite literally be cited as the song that got the whole thing started.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    You Shook Me
Source:    CD: Truth
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Led Zeppelin has often been accused of stealing riffs, lyrics and sometimes entire songs from other artists. After hearing Jeff Beck's 1968 recording of Willie Dixon's You Shook Me, from the album Truth with Rod Stewart on vocals, you can add arrangements to the list.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    See Emily Play
Source:    Mono CD: An Introduction To Syd Barrett (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Following up on their first single, Arnold Layne, Pink Floyd found even greater chart success (at least in their native England) with See Emily Play. Released in June of 1967, the song went all the way to the #6 spot on the British charts. In the US the song failed to chart as a single, although it was included on the US version of Pink Floyd's debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The "Emily" in question is reportedly the sculptor Emily Young, who in those days was known as the "psychedelic schoolgirl" at London's legendary UFO club.
Artist:     Mothers of Invention
Title:     Hungry Freaks, Daddy
Source:     LP: Mothermania (originally releasedd on LP: Freak Out)
Writer:     Frank Zappa
Label:     Zappa (original label: Verve)
Year:     1966
     Hungry Freaks, Daddy is the opening track on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! This alone would make the track historically significant, but the truth of the matter is that Hungry Freaks, Daddy is an excellent song in its own right. Unlike most socially aware songs up to that point in time, Hungry Freaks, Daddy has a decidedly satirical edge that would become a trademark of Frank Zappa's songwriting for years to come.

Artist:     Rose Garden
Title:     Here's Today
Source:     Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Noreen/Vickery
Label:     Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:     1968
     One of many new groups signed to Atco in the late 60s, the Rose Garden was generally disposed to recording light pop tunes with radio airplay in mind. Here's Today was an attempt to move the group in a slightly different direction.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Your Mind And We Belong Together
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1968
    The last record to be released by the classic Love lineup of Arthur Lee, Ken Forssi, Johnny Echols, Bryan MacLean and Michael Stuart was a single, Your Mind And We Belong Together. Although released in 1968, the song is very much the same style as the 1967 album Forever Changes. A bonus track on the Forever Changes CD shows Lee very much in command of the recording sessions, calling for over two dozen takes before getting an acceptable version of the song. The song serves as a fitting close to the story of one of the most influential, yet overlooked, bands in rock history...or would have, if Lee had not tried to revive the band with new members several times over the next several decades.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    No Expectations
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Wrong
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell was a member of the mainstream (i.e. lots of appearances on TV variety shows hosted by people like Perry Como and Bob Hope) folk group the Lamplighters in the early 60s. By 1966 he had morphed into one of the more mysterious figures on the LA music scene, leading a proto-punk band dressed entirely in black. Bonniwell himself wore a single black glove (Michael Jackson was about seven years old at the time), and was one of the most prolific songwriters of the day. His recordings, often featuring the distinctive Farfisa organ sound, were a primary influence on later L.A. bands such as Iron Butterfly and the Doors. A classic example of the Music Machine sound was the song Wrong, which was issued as the B side of the group's most successful single, Talk Talk.

Artist:    Merry Pranksters, featuring Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs
Title:    One-Way Ticket (A Classic)
Source:    Mono LP: The Acid Trip
Writer(s):    Babbs/Kesey
Label:    Jackpot (originally released independently)
Year:    1966
    As a general rule, Americans in 1966 had a limited number of options when it came to buying recorded music, and nearly all of those options involved record companies. In San Francisco, however, something different was happening. People like Country Joe McDonald were putting out their own recorded works in various forms, such as a music and arts magazine (although perhaps "underground newspaper" is a better description) called Rag Baby. New, independent recording studios were opening up as well, including Sound City, which invited Ken Kesey and his fellow Merry Pranksters to come over and record whatever they wanted to. Kesey, his friend Ken Babbs and the gang showed up on January 29, 1966 and spent the next 14 hours tripping their brains out and recording everything they did. The results were edited down to LP length and circulated independently on the streets of San Francisco as an album called The Acid Test. One of the highlights of the album is Babbs riffing vocally on something called One-Way Ticket (subtitled A Classic). Babbs, in his recent book Cronies, says that the Pranksters were too young to be beatniks, but too old to be hippies". One-Way Ticket certainly has a Beatnik vibe to it, albeit tinged with the contents of a sugar cube as well.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Minstrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote (and sang lead on) most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the group, thanks to the fact that one of the two songs he sang lead on, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), became a huge top 40 hit. It wasn't long before the official name of the band was changed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status, leaving the First Edition far behind.

Artist:    White Room
Title:    Thoughts Of Yesterday
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rizzo/Finno
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Symbol)
Year:    1968
    Nobody seems to know much about the band that called itself White Room and put out a single called Thoughts Of Yesterday in 1968. Even a Google search only turns up the Cream song for which the band was probably named. If indeed White Room was even a band, or just a studio creation is unknown. What is known is that the single was released on the New York based Symbol label and was produced by Kerry St. Matthews for Saint Kerry Productions. We also know that both sides of the single were written by C. Rizzo and T. Finno, but have no idea what either songwriters' first names were. If you know anything about the band called White Room, feel free to drop me a line.

Artist:     Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Down By The River
Source:    LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Down By The River is one of four songs on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere that Neil Young wrote while running a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 39.5 degrees for people in civilized nations that use the Celsius, aka centrigrade, scale). By some strange coincidence, they are the four best songs on the album. I wish I could have been that sick in my days as a wannabe rock star.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:     LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Clapton/Bruce/Brown
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Only a handful of songs can truly be described as "iconic". Sunshine Of Your Love, with its often-imitated signature riff, the line-by-line trading off of lead vocals by Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton and one of the best-known lead guitar solos in rock history, certainly qualifies.
Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 15 seconds or so from the original recording.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Take It Back
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks near the city of Mainz that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorded. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I'm Yours And I'm Hers
Source:    European import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    1969 was a big year for Johnny Winter. An article the previous year in Rolling Stone magazine referring to the "albino guitarist with long white hair causing a stir in the Southwest" had led to his album The Progressive Blues Experiment being picked up by Imperial Records for national distribution, which in turn led to Winters signing with Columbia, one of the world's largest and most influential record labels. His first album for Columbia, titled simply Johnny Winter, was a critical and commercial success, instantly putting him in the top tier of both blues and rock guitarists. The opening track of the LP was I'm Your And I'm Hers, a Johnny Winter original that utilized the talents of future Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer "Uncle" John Turner, both members of Johnny's band Winter at the time. This same lineup would record a second album for Columbia with Johnny's brother Edgar on keyboards and saxophone before being disbanded in favor of the group that was originally called the McCoys, but would soon come to be known as Johnny Winter And. 

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Coo Coo
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Peter Albin
Label:    Mainstream
Year:    1968
    Like most of the bands in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s, Big Brother And The Holding Company had members who had already been part of the local folk music scene when they decided to go electric. Peter Albin, in particular, had established himself as a solo artist before joining the band, and, naturally, brought some of his repertoire with him. Perhaps the most popular of these tunes was a song called Coo Coo, that had also been in circulation under the title Jack Of Diamonds. Although there are existing recordings of the song prior to the Big Brother version, Albin took full credit for the tune, possibly due to his providing almost all new lyrics for the track. Coo Coo, recorded in Chicago in 1966, was not included on the group's first LP for Mainstream, instead being issued as a single in early 1968, around the same time Columbia Records was negotiating a buyout of Big Brother's contract with Mainstream. A reworked version of the tune with yet another set of new lyrics and a new musical bridge appeared later the same year on the band's Columbia debut LP, Cheap Thrills,  under the title Oh, Sweet Mary.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    Mono British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After miraculously surviving being shot point blank in the head (and then bayoneted in the back for good measure) in the Korean War (and receiving a Silver Star), my dad became somewhat of a minor celebrity in the early 50s, appearing on a handful of TV and radio game shows as a kind of poster boy for the Air Force. One result of this series of events was that he was able to indulge his fascination with a new technology that had been developed by the Germans during WWII: magnetic recording tape. He used his prize winnings to buy a Webcor tape recorder, which in turn led to me becoming interested in recording technology at an early age (I distinctly remember being punished for playing with "Daddy's tape recorder" without permission on more than one occasion). He did not receive another overseas assignment until 1967, when he was transferred to Weisbaden, Germany. As was the usual practice at the time, he went there a month or so before the rest of the family, and during his alone time he (on a whim, apparently) went in on a Lotto ticket with a co-worker and won enough to buy an Akai X-355 stereo tape recorder from a fellow serviceman who was being transferred out and did not want to (or couldn't afford to) pay the shipping costs of the rather heavy machine.The Akai was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. Of course all of his old tapes were in storage (along with the old Webcor) back in Denver, so I decided that this would be a good time to start spending my allowance money on pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, the first of which was Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as being the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. Fisher initially did not get writing credit for his contributions to the song, but finally, after several lawsuits, began collecting royalties for the song in 2009. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves over the past 70+ years.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2204 (starts 1/17/22)

    This week we have three sets, each from a specific year. To begin the show we have three tracks from artists whose careers were hitting new peaks, both creatively and commercially, in 1974. From there we have some more songs we didn't have time to play on our 1971 special a couple weeks ago. We finish up the week with a set of tunes from 1973, including the entire opening sequence (i.e. most of side one) of the Who's landmark album Quadrophenia and singles from Billy Preston and Spooky Tooth.

Artist:    Frank Zappa
Title:    Cosmik Debris
Source:    CD: Apostrophe (')
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa
Year:    1974
    One of Frank Zappa's most memorable tunes, Cosmik Debris first appeared on his Apostrophe(') album in 1974. The album itself was recorded at the same time as the Mothers' Over-Nite Sensation, and features some of the same musicians, including George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty and Napoleon Brock. The song, like many Zappa compositions, tells a story, in this case one of a mystical con artist and Zappa's refusal to be conned. The song uses the repeated line "Look here brother. Who you jivin' with that Cosmik Debris?", and contains references to other Zappa compositions, including Camarillo Brillo (from Over-Nite Sensation). The song was originally scheduled for release as a single, but instead appeared as the B side of an edited version of Don't Eat Yellow Snow when that track began gaining popularity due to excessive airplay on FM rock radio.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Lady Love
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    It says a lot about the quality of an album like Robin Trower's Bridge Of Sighs that even one of the weaker tracks like Lady Love is worth listening to. Like many hot guitarists, Trower did not do his own singing on the album. Vocals were provided by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote Lady Love.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Court And Spark
Source:    LP: Court And Spark
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1974
    Canadian Joni Mitchell had already established a reputation as one of the top singer/songwriters of the early 1970s when she decided to spend the entirety of 1973 working on a new album that would incorporate elements of jazz into the folk-rock she was famous for. The resulting album, Court And Spark, ended up being the commercial high point of her career, going to the #2 spot on the Billboard album charts and spawning her only top 10 single (Help Me). The album features some of the best musicians working in Los Angeles at the time, including members of the Jazz Crusaders and Tom Scott's L.A. Express, as well as guest appearances by Robbie Robertson, David Crosby and Graham Nash (and even Cheech And Chong on one track). The title track itself includes several jazz elements, including half tones, bent notes, time changes and unusual chord progressions, setting the tone for the entire LP.

Artist:    Atomic Rooster
Title:    Break The Ice
Source:    British import CD: In Hearing Of
Writer(s):    John Cann
Label:    Castle (original US label: Elektra)
Year:    1971
    Guitarist/vocalist John Cann's tenure with Atomic Rooster was a relatively short one, lasting only from his departure from his former band Andromeda in 1970 to shortly before the release of In Hearing Of in 1971, when both Cann and drummer Paul Hammond were fired by bandleader Vincent Crane. Crane then made sure that Cann's guitar parts were either buried in the final mix or left out altogether on the finished album, with the exception of two songs that Cann had written himself. The first of these to appear on the album is Break The Ice, and is probably the hardest rocking song on the entire LP.

Artist:    Rascals
Title:    Sky Trane
Source:    LP: Peaceful World
Writer(s):    Felix Cavaliere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Young Rascals, in a very real way, ceased to exist with the departure of vocalist Eddie Brigati and guitarist Gene Cornish in 1970. The band had officially shortened its name to the Rascals a couple of years earlier and had been steadily moving away from its trademark blue-eyed soul sound and incorporating elements of jazz, funk and other musical disciplines on its final albums for the Atlantic label. Keyboardist/vocalist Felix Cavaliere, however, still had musical ideas to share, and set about recruiting new members for the eighth Rascals album, Peaceful World, including guitarist Buzz Feiten, who had just finished a stint with the Butterfield Blues Band, and wind player Joe Farrell, who would go on to be a member of Chick Corea's band Return To Forever. Soul music in general was undergoing a transition from the dance-oriented pop hits from Motown and Memphis to a more sophisticated sound, as represented by Marvin Gaye's landmark LP What's Going On and albums from west coast bands like Malo and Tower Of Power. Peaceful World was the first Rascals album not to be released on the Atlantic label. The Columbia release was also the first (and only) double LP by the Rascals. The first track on the LP, Sky Trane, is an early example of what would come to be called jazz-rock fusion (later, just fusion), and is in some ways the most conventional tune on the entire album. Unfortunately, Peaceful World did not find a large audience, and after one more LP the Rascals officially disbanded.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Embryo/Children Of The Grave
Source:    CD: Master Of Reality
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    One of the spookiest experiences in my life was crashing at a stranger's house after having my mind blown at a Grand Funk Railroad/Black Oak Arkansas concert in the fall of 1971. A bunch of us had ridden back to Weatherford, Oklahoma, from Norman (about an hour's drive) and somehow I ended up separated from my friends Mike and DeWayne, in whose college dorm room I had been crashing for a couple of days. So here I am in some total strangers house, lying on the couch in this room with black walls, a black light, a few posters and a cheap stereo playing a brand new album I had never heard before: Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality. Suddenly I notice this weird little tapping sound going back and forth from speaker to speaker. Such was my state of mind at the time that I really couldn't tell if it was a hallucination or not. The stereo was one of those late 60s models that you could stack albums on, and whoever had put the album on had left the stereo in repeat mode before heading off to bed, with no more albums stacked after the Sabbath LP. This meant that every twenty minutes or so I would hear Children Of The Grave, with that weird little tapping sound going back and forth from speaker to speaker. Trust me, it was creepy, as was the whispering at the end of track. No wonder Ozzy Ozbourne called Children Of The Grave "the most kick-ass song we'd ever recorded."

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Locomotive Breath
Source:    CD: Aqualung
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    I occasionally get asked why I don't do commercial radio anymore. Here's a clue. In 1989 I was working for a station serving the Elmira, NY market. The station had recently undergone a change of ownership, and was slowly transitioning from a kind of hybrid adult contemporary format developed by Johnny, the original owner, to an album rock format favored by Dom, the music and program director. Dom, in addition to his management duties, hosted the midday shift and one day, while on the air, got a call from Guy, the new owner, telling him "get that song off the air right now and don't ever play it on my station again!" So Dom had to cut the song off midway, because Guy objected to the line "got him by the balls". The song in question, of course, was Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath, from the Aqualung album, which was, at that point in time, eighteen years old, and had been getting played on rock radio pretty steadily for most of those eighteen years. Who needs that kind of grief?

Artist:    Who
Title:    Quadrophenia (opening sequence)
Source:    CD: Quadrophenia
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Track)
Year:    1973
    I have to be honest with you here. When I first heard bits of the Who's new album, Quadrophenia, in 1973 I was not impressed. To me, it seemed like yet another example of a band overreaching itself, much as Jethro Tull was doing with A Passion Play at around the same time. Maybe it was the way Pete Townshend was using synthesizers, but it just sounded somewhat pompous, and nothing like the tightly-written songs of The Who Sell Out and earlier tracks. Still, Quadrophenia got lots of positive reviews from the rock press, and continues to be regarded as one of the high points of the Who's career. Even Townshend himself has called it the last great album that the Who recorded, saying that the band never again tried anything that was "so ambitious or audacious again".

Artist:    Billy Preston
Title:    Will It Go Round In Circles
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Preston/Fisher
Label:    A&M
Year:    1973
    Although Billy Preston became a household name overnight in 1969, thanks to his guest appearance on the Get Back/Don't Let Me Down single by the Beatles, it wasn't until his seventh solo album that he finally scored a number one hit single on the charts. That song was Will It Go Round In Circles, and the album itself was called Music Is My Life. The song (and album) also features Preston's A&M labelmates the Brothers Johnson.

Artist:    Spooky Tooth
Title:    All Sewn Up
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Jones/Wright
Label:    Island
Year:    1973
    Spooky Tooth probably went through more significant lineup changes than any other band during its short history. Formed in 1968, the original lineup only lasted through their second album, at which time bassist Greg Ridley left to join Humble Pie. Following their third LP, primary songwriter Gary Wright also left, and the remaining members disbanded a few months later. Wright, along with vocalist Mike Harrison, formed a new version of Spooky Tooth in 1972 that included future Foreigner guitarist Mike Jones. It was this lineup that recorded the album Witness, with it's single All Sewn Up, in 1973. After a couple more personnel changes, Spooky Tooth called it quits on November of 1974.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2203 (starts 1/10/22)

    Each segment this week contains one artists' set and a bunch of other stuff. For example, the first segment has an early Jefferson Airplane set and a whole lot of songs from 1967. As for the other three segments, read on...

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    You Keep Me Hangin' On, a hit for the Supremes in 1967, was the first song recorded by Vanilla Fudge, who laid down the seven-minute plus track in a single take. Producer Shadow Morton then used that recording to secure the band a contract with Atco Records (an Atlantic subsidiary) that same year. Rather than to re-record the song for their debut LP, Morton and the band chose to use the original tape, despite the fact that it was never mixed in stereo. For single release the song was cut down considerably, clocking in at around three minutes.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones' answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was buried near the end of side 2.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Writer:    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in fact the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teensploitation flick The Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    Green Circles
Source:    British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released on LP: Small Faces)
Writer(s):    Marroitt/Lane/O'Sullivan
Label:    Uncut (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1967
    Keeping track of early Small Faces albums can be a bit confusing. For one thing, both their first and second LPs were simply called Small Faces. The first one, released in the UK on the Decca label, made the British top 5 with its mixture of R&B and blue-eyed soul popular with the Mod crowd. The second one, released in 1967 on Andrew Oldham's Immediate label, was much more psychedelic in nature, and, unlike the first album was made up entirely of compositions from the band members themselves. One song on the album, Green Circles, also includes the name Michael O'Sullivan in the credits. O'Sullivan was actually a friend who was living with the band at the time whose experience with an "enlightened stranger" while on an acid trip was reportedly the inspiration for Green Circles. The song was originally slated for release as a B side, but was included on the LP instead. Neither of the first two Small Faces albums were released in the US. Instead, an album called There Are But Four Small Faces was released in March of 1968. This album included about half the songs from the second Small Faces LP (including Green Circles), supplemented by a collection of A and B sides not appearing on any British albums.

Artist:    Kim Fowley
Title:    Strangers From The Sky
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Fowley/Lloyd
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The 1960s Los Angeles music scene contained more than its share of colorful characters, so it takes quite a bit to stand out from even that group. Kim Fowley, however, definitely fits the bill, as he is more than willing to tell anyone who will listen. His first claim to fame is being the voice of the Hollywood Argyles, a studio concoction that had a huge hit with the novelty song Alley Oop in the early 1960s. Fowley met prodigy Michael Lloyd when Lloyd was only 13, and immediately recognized his potential. In late 1966 he was instrumental in hooking Lloyd up with the Harris brothers and local hipster Bob Markley, who together formed the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. It was while a member of the WCPAEB that Lloyd produced Fowley's Strangers From The Sky, recorded in Lloyd's own home 4-track studio with Lloyd playing all the instruments himself. In it's own way, Strangers From The Sky is every bit as bizarre as Alley Oop, although nowhere near as successful on the charts. Lloyd went on to become a big-time record producer, working with teen idols like the Osmonds and Shaun Cassidy as well as supervising the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.   
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Embryonic Journey
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Jorma Kaukonen originally considered Embryonic Journey to be little more than a practice exercise. Other members of Jefferson Airplane insisted he record it, however, and it has since come to be identified as a kind of signature song for the guitarist, who played the tune live when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Don't Slip Away
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Spence
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Don't Slip Away, from the first Jefferson Airplane album, released in 1966, could probably have been a hit if it had been released as a single. It wasn't, however, and the band remained mostly unknown outside of the immediate San Francisco Bay area for several months after the release of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. This gave the group the opportunity to make a pair of key personnel changes that resulted in Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden becoming Airplane members in time to record the group's breakthrough LP, Surrealistic Pillow. On the strength of Slick's vocals in particular, the Jefferson Airplane became a national phenomena in 1967.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Somebody To Love
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Darby Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love is, of course, the monster hit that put the San Francisco Bay area on the musical map in early 1967, touching off an exodus of young hippie wannabees from all over the country that converged on the city's Haight-Ashbury district that summer. Interestingly enough, Somebody To Love was not the first single released from the band's Surrealistic Pillow album. That honor goes to My Best Friend, a song written by the band's former drummer Skip Spence.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Filled With Fear
Source:    LP: Ball
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    After the delayed success of their second LP, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly went back to the studio to record their follow-up album, Ball. Although Ball did not have a monster hit on it, it is generally considered a better album overall, with a depth and breadth of songwriting not found on their previous efforts. One of the most memorable tracks on the album is Filled With Fear, a song about paranoia with music that matches the lyrics perfectly.

Artist:    Tangerine Zoo
Title:    Another Morning
Source:    CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: Tangerine Zoo)
Writer(s):    Medeiros/Smith
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Many of the acts signed to Bob Shad's Mainstream label are considered by rock historians to be somewhat lacking in one or another categories, such as songwriting, virtuosity or just plain commercial viability. This has resulted in the reputations of the few quality bands appearing on the label to be somewhat unfairly tarnished by association. One of those bands that really deserves a second look is the Tangerine Zoo, from Swansea, Mass., a few miles south of Boston. The band, made up of Tony Taviera (bass), Wayne Gagnon (guitar), Ron Medieros(organ), Bob Benevides (lead vocals) and Donald Smith (drums), recorded two albums for the label, both of which were released in 1968. Tangerine Zoo had actually been approached by no less than two major labels (RCA Victor and Mercury) before deciding to go with Mainstream, the only label to offer them an album contract from the start. Another Morning, from the group's secon LP, Outside Looking In, shows just how well developed a sound Tangerine Zoo had. Unfortunately internal issues caused the Zoo to close down before they could record a third LP.

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:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Just Like A Woman
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio. As a 13-year-old kid I didn't know quite what to make of it.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Over Under Sideways Down
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
     The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and new member Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    For Your Love
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Epic)
Year:    1965
    The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's first US hit, peaking in the #6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at #3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1966
     Jeff's Boogie is an instrumental track from the Yardbirds that originally appeared on the album Over Under Sideways Down in the US. That LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art. The song was also chosen to be the B side of the Over Under Sideways Down single, released in 1966. Although credited to the entire band, the tune is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:     Wailers
Title:     Out Of Our Tree
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Gardner/Morrill/Ormsby
Label:     Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year:     1965
     The Pacific Northwest was, and is, home to a louder, harder-rocking and generally raunchier style of rock and roll than most other regions of the country. It's never been explained exactly why this is, but Kurt Cobain may have touched on it when he said that because the weather is such that it discourages outdoor activities (i.e, it rains a lot), there really isn't much else to do but go to places where live music is played. Another reason for the scene developing the way it did might be these guys, who practically invented raunch and roll. The Wailers were formed in 1958, doing mostly instrumental versions of songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard and other early rock and roll/R&B artists. One of the hallmarks of the Wailers was that they played hard and loud, influencing later bands such as the Sonics to do the same. This meant that in order to be heard over the instruments, a vocalist had to basically scream out the lyrics. Etiquette Records, which was started by the Wailers themselves, was one of the first labels to release records with a healthy amount of distortion built in. This may have been due to budget limitations or it could have been a deliberate aesthetical choice. The result was garage-rock classics such as Out Of Our Tree, the echoes of which can be heard in the Grunge movement of the early 1990s.

Artist:    Music Explosion
Title:    Little Bit O' Soul
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Lewis/Carter
Label:    Laurie
Year:    1967
    Mansfield, Ohio, was home to the Music Explosion who made their mark as one-hit wonders in early 1967 with Little Bit O' Soul. The song, originally intended to be a B side, was an early production of the Kazenetz-Katz team, the primary architects of the bubble-gum movement that would dominate the top 40 charts over a year later.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Rain
Source:    LP: Hey Jude (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' B side to their 1966 hit Paperback Writer was innovative in more than one way. First off, the original instrumental tracks were actually recorded at a faster speed (and higher key) than is heard on the finished recording. Also, it is the first Beatles record to feature backwards masking (John Lennon's overdubbed vocals toward the end of the song were recorded with the tape playing in reverse). Needless to say, both techniques were soon copied and expanded upon by other artists.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    There were actually three different versions of the Beatles' I Am The Walrus released in late 1967, all of which were made from the same basic master tape. The first (heard here) was a mono single version that was issued as the B side of the Hello Goodbye single in late November. This version features a four-beat intro and has an extra bar of music immediately preceding the words "yellow matter custard" in the middle of the song. The second version was the stereo version featured on the US-only Magical Mystery Tour album. This version is basically the same as the mono version, but does not contain the extra bar in the middle. The third version appeared in early December in Europe and the UK on the stereo version of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack EP. This version features a six beat intro, but is otherwise identical to the US stereo version. In the early 1980s engineers at Capitol Records created a fourth version of I Am The Walrus that uses the six beat intro from the UK stereo version and includes the extra bar in the middle of the song from the US single version. This fourth version was included on the Beatles' Rarities album, and has, to my knowledge, never been issued on CD.
Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Ballad Of John And Yoko
Source:    LP: Hey Jude (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    The last Beatles single to top the British charts was actually made by only half the group. George Harrison was out of the country and Ringo Starr was busy filming The Magic Christian in April of 1969 when John Lennon wrote Ballad Of John And Yoko. Lennon was anxious to get the song recorded as quickly as possible, and took it to Paul McCartney at his London home on the afternoon of April 14th. That same evening the two of them went to EMI Studios (now Abbey Road studios) and spent the next seven hours coming up with a finished recording of the song. The song itself is a true ballad, chronicling the wedding and subsequent activities of Lennon and Yoko Ono, including their "bed-in" at the Amsterdam Hilton. Ballad Of John And Yoko only made it to the #8 spot on the US charts, thanks in large part to key stations WLS (Chicago) and WABC (New York) refusing to play it due to Lennon's use of the word "Christ" repeatedly in the lyrics. The song, originally released as a non-LP single, was later included on the Hey Jude anthology album.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    I Am A Rock
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The success of I Am A Rock, when released as a single in 1966, showed that the first Simon And Garfunkel hit, The Sound Of Silence, was no fluke. The two songs served as bookends to a very successful LP, Sounds Of Silence, and would lead to several more hit records before the two singers went their separate ways in 1970. This was actually the second time I Am A Rock had been issued as a single. An earlier version, from the Paul Simon Songbook, had been released in 1965. Both the single and the LP were only available for a short time and only in the UK, and were deleted at Simon's request.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Take A Giant Step
Source:    CD: The Monkees (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1966
    The B side of the Monkees' first single was a Gerry Goffin/Carole King collaboration called Take A Giant Step. It has sometimes been referred to as "proto-psychedelic" due to it's repeated line "Take a giant step outside your mind", although the song's subject matter actually concerns the process of moving beyond the wreckage of a failed relationship. Take A Giant Step was also included on the first Monkees LP, released a couple months after the single hit the top of the charts.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Wouldn't It Be Nice
Source:    CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher/Love
Label:    Capitol/UMe
Year:    1966
    Wouldn't It Be Nice is the first song on what has come to be considered Brian Wilson's first true masterpiece: the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album. Wilson has often cited the Beatles' Rubber Soul as his inspiration for Pet Sounds; not because of any musical similarity, but because neither album has any "filler" material on it (although an argument could be made that Sloop John B, which was released as a single almost six months before Pet Sounds, was not really in line with the rest of the songs on the album). Wouldn't It Be Nice (backed with God Only Knows) was released in mid-July of 1966 as a single, two months after the release of Pet Sounds, while Wilson was already working on his crowning achievement: Good Vibrations.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Gloria
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1983
    Following the death of Jim Morrison in 1971, the remaining members of the Doors stayed together long enough to release two more albums, but neither was a major seller and the group quietly disbanded in 1973, reuniting in 1978 to set music to an album's worth of spoken word performances of Morrison reciting his poetry and releasing it as An American Prayer. The following year filmmaker Oliver Stone used, in its entirety, the epic piece The End, from the first doors album in the critically-acclaimed Apocalypse Now, resulting in even more interest in the music of the Doors. In 1983 Elektra Records released Alive, She Cried, an LP made up of live performances by the band recorded between September1968 and January 1970. One of these live performances, a cover version of Van Morrison's Gloria, was actually a sound check recorded on July 22, 1969 at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles, and was susequently released as a single.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Excuse, Excuse
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo/Big Beat
Year:    1966
    Although their management branded them as the original flower power band, the Seeds have a legitimate claim to being one of the first punk-rock bands as well. A prime example is Excuse, Excuse, from their 1966 debut LP, The Seeds. Whereas a more conventional song of the time might have been an angst-ridden tale of worry that perhaps the girl in question did not return the singer's feelings, Sky Saxon's lyrics (delivered with a sneer that would do Johnny Rotten proud) are instead a scathing condemnation of said girl for not being straight up honest about the whole thing.
Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard, which had been reissued with a different B side in mid-1966, started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released as a single in October of 1967 the whole idea of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news (at least in ultra-hip L.A.) and the single went nowhere.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Suzy Q
Source:    CD: Creedence Gold (originally released on LP: Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Writer(s):    Dale Hawkins
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    Creedence Clearwater Revival is known mostly for their series of hit singles written by vocalist/guitarist John Fogerty; tight, relatively short songs like Green River, Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising. The most popular track on their 1968 debut LP, however, was an eight and a half minute long rendition of a song that had originally hit the charts over ten years earlier. Suzy Q had been a top 30 single (and top 10 on the R&B charts) for Dale Hawkins in 1957, helping to launch a long career in the music business as an artist, producer and record company executive. CCR took the song to even greater heights, with the track, split over two sides of a 45 RPM single, barely missing the top 10 in 1968.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Magic Bus
Source:    Mono Canadian import CD: Magic Bus (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original North American label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    While working on their landmark Tommy album, the Who continued to crank out singles throughout 1968. One of the most popular was Magic Bus, a song that remained in the band's live repertoire for many years. Like most of the Who's pre-Tommy singles, the song was never mixed in true stereo, although a fake stereo mix was created for the US-only LP Magic Bus-The Who On Tour. The original mono version of the song heard here is also shorter than the LP version, clocking in at slightly over three minutes.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Writer(s):    Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    A minor, but notable trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. While not as successful as the band that started the trend, Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan's Grass Roots, Fever Tree did manage to hit the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 with San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native), a song featured on their eponymous debut LP.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Serenade To A Cuckoo
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Roland Kirk
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull did not, as a general rule, record cover tunes. The most notable exception is Roland Kirk's classic jazz piece Serenade To A Cuckoo, which was included on their first LP, This Was. Kirk's own version, from the 1965 LP I Talk To The Spirits, was deleted from the Mercury catalog in the early 1970s, making Jethro Tull's cover the only version of Serenade To A Cuckoo currently available for several years.