This we week feature an all 21st century edition of Advanced Psych, along with five vintage tracks that have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before, two of them part of a set of obscure recordings from 1968. And as always we also have plenty of regional and national hits, B sides and album tracks as well. We start with one that was both a B side and an album track from 1967...
Title: Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 4-6 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album. The track is notable for being the first song on which Eric Clapton uses a wah-wah pedal.
Artist: Third Bardo
Title: I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Roulette)
The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Down On Me
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Trad. Arr. Joplin
Big Brother And The Holding Company's first album, featuring the single Down On Me, was recorded in 1967 at the studios of Mainstream Records, a medium-sized Chicago label known for its jazz recordings. At the time, Mainstream's engineers had no experience with a rock band, particularly a loud one like Big Brother, and vainly attempted to clean up the band's sound as best they could. The result was an album full of relatively sterile recordings sucked dry of the energy that made Big Brother and the Holding Company one of the top live attractions of the San Francisco Bay Area. Probably the stongest track on the album was lead vocalist Janis Joplin's arrangement of Down On Me, a "freedom song" dating back at least to the 1920s that Mainstream issued as a single during the Summer of Love. A hit in San Francisco, the song almost made the national top 40 charts, peaking at #42.
Artist: Fallen Angels
Title: Mother's Homesick Too
Source: British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US on LP: Fallen Angels)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Washington, DC, was home to the Fallen Angels, an off-the-wall band that evolved from another DC band, the Mad Hatters, in 1965. Descrbing themselves as "ravenous mimics with a penchant for political satire", the Angels began their recording career with an indie single and a pair of 45s for the Laurie label before signing with the then-powerful Roulette label in 1967. Their self-titled debut LP, including the song Mother's Homesick Too, hit the racks in 1967. After their second album, It's A Long Way Down, failed to make a commercial impression, the group disbanded in 1969, only to reunite for a third album, Rain Of Fire, nearly 30 years later.
Artist: Bee Gees
Source: LP: Horizontal
Writer(s): Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Following the release of Bee Gees 1st (actually their third album, but their debut international release), the Gibb brothers immediately got to work writing a whole new batch of songs. Many of these ended up being released as either singles or B sides, while others ended up on their 1968 LP Horizontal. The album itself was much heavier and darker in tone than their previous or later work. Robin Gibb called the title track, which closes out the album: "the end of sorrow, the end of bad stuff.", adding that "It does have a positive message somewhere in there."
Source: CD: Abbey Road
Take Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Turn a few notes around, add some variations and write some lyrics. Add the Beatles' unmistakeable multi-part harmonies and you have John Lennon's Because, from the Abbey Road album. A simply beautiful recording.
Title: Space Child/When I Touch You
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit keyboardist John Locke used a combination of piano, organ and synthesizers (then a still-new technology) to set the mood for the entire Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus recording sessions with his instrumental piece Space Child. The tune starts with a rolling piano riff that gives bassist Mark Andes a rare opportunity to carry the melody line before switching to a jazzier tempo that manages to seamlessly transition from a waltz tempo to straight time without anyone noticing. After a short reprise of the tune's opening riff the track segues into Jay Ferguson's When I Touch You, a song that manages to be light and heavy at the same time.
Title: It Had To Be You
Source: Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Nike)
Apparently there have been several bands calling themselves the Portraits over the years, including at least two in the Milwaukee area. This particular Portraits recorded only one single, It Had To Be You, in 1968. Reportedly there were only 100 copies of the tune pressed on the small Nike label.
Title: You Really Got Me
Source: Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Polygram/Polytel (original US label: Reprise)
You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: As Tears Go By
Source: Mono: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (originally released on LP: December's Children [And Everybody's] and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
As Tears Go By is sometimes referred to as the Rolling Stones' answer to the Beatles' Yesterday. The problem with this theory, however, is that As Tears Go By was written a year before Yesterday was released, and in fact was a top 10 UK single for Marianne Faithful in 1964. The story of the song's genesis is that producer/manager Andrew Oldham locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the kitchen until they came up with an original song. The original title was As Time Goes By, but, not wanting anyone to confuse it with the famous song used in the film Casablanca, Oldham changed Time to Tears, and got a writing credit for his trouble. Since the Stones were not at that time known for soft ballads, Oldham gave the song to Marianne Faithful, launching a successful recording career for the singer in 1964. The following year the Stones included their own version of the song on the album December's Children (And Everybody's), using a string arrangement that may indeed have been inspired by the Beatles' Yesterday, which was holding down the # 1 spot on the charts at the time the Rolling Stones were recording As Tears Go By. After American disc jockeys began playing As Tears Go By as an album track, London Records released the song as a US-only single, which ended up making the top 10 in 1965.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Sometimes I Think About
Source: LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Although it sounds like it could have been a remake of an old blues tune, Sometimes I Think About is actually a Blues Magoos original. The song, from their debut Psychedelic Lollipop album, is slow and moody, yet actually rocks out pretty hard, a pattern that would become somewhat of a hard rock cliche in the 1970s (think Grand Funk Railroad's Heartbreaker).
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Point Me At The Sky
Source: Mono CD: Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Pink Floyd Records (original label: Columbia)
During their early years Pink Floyd, like other English groups, released several songs on 7" 45 RPM singles that were not included on their LPs. Once those singles went out of print many of them were next to impossible to find. Some of them were included in the Relics compilation album, released in 1971, but most of them did not become available again until 1992, when they were included on a CD called The Early Singles (unfortunately for the budget collector, The Early Singles was only available as a bonus disc in the Shine On box set). Perhaps the rarest of all these recordings was Point Me At The Sky. Released in 1968, it would be the last single released by the band in their native UK for almost 10 years. Its first appearance in the US was a fake stereo version included on a promotional album called A Harvest Sampler that was, to my knowledge, only sent out to radio stations in 1978. Point Me At The Sky was included in yet another box set in 2016, this one a massive seven volume, 33 disc collection called The Early Years 1965-1972. Luckily, the song, in its original mono mix, was included on a two-disc sampler taken from the larger set called Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972. The song itself, a rare collaboration between Roger Waters and David Gilmour, features Gilmour on lead vocals, with Waters joining him on the bridge.
Title: We Love
Source: Mono LP: Harumi
Label: Verve Forecast
When it comes to obscurity, the album Harumi scores on multiple fronts. Virtually nothing is known about this Japanese-born artist other than the fact that sometime in the mid-60s he relocated to New York and managed to get a contract with Verve Forecast records, where he recorded this self-titled double LP with producer Tom Wilson. As to the music itself, it is perhaps best described by reviewer Thom Jurek of Allmusic.com: "there is nothing at all like this record in the known universe." A listen to We Love may well confirm that statement.
Title: Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring
Source: CD: Traffic
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
Of the ten songs on Traffic's self-titled second album, half were Dave Mason compositions that he sung himself, while the remaining five were credited to the team of Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi. At least that was the way things stood when the LP was first released. On later issues of the album, however, flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood was credited as co-writer of Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring. A check of the records of BMI, the licensing organization for broadcast rights, shows that Wood had been considered one of the writers all along, even though he didn't actually play on the recording.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Just Like Me
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets vol. 8-The Northwest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Just Like Me was the first top 10 single from Paul Revere And The Raiders, a band that deserves much more credit than they are generally given. The group started in the early part of the decade in Boise, Idaho, when Revere (his real name) hooked up with saxophonist Mark Lindsay. Like most bands at the time, the Raiders' repertoire consisted mostly of instrumentals, as PA systems were a luxury that required more space than was generally allotted to a small town band. It wasn't long before the Raiders relocated to Portland, Oregon, where they became a popular attraction at various clubs. After a hiatus caused by Revere's stint in the military, the band resumed its place as one of the founding bands of the Portland music scene. They soon made their first visit to a recording studio, recording Richard Berry's Louie Louie at around the same time as another popular Portland band, the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen's version ended up being a huge national hit while the popularity of the Raiders' version was mostly restricted to the West Coast, thanks in large part to the active lack of support from Columbia Records, whose head of Artists and Repertoire (A&R), Mitch Miller, was an outspoken critic of rock 'n' roll. Undeterred, the band continued to grow in popularity, recording another single in 1964 (Like Long Hair) and going on tour. It was while playing in Hawaii that the band was noticed by none other than Dick Clark, who hired them to be the house band on his new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is. Under the leadership of Mitch Miller Columbia Records had done their best to ignore the existence of rock 'n' roll (an effort that was somewhat undermined by one of their most popular artists, Bob Dylan, in 1965, when he went electric). Columbia had, however, a more open-minded West Coast division that included producer Terry Melcher, son of singer Doris Day and co-producer of the Rip Chords' hot rod hit Hey Little Cobra. With the Raiders now being seen daily on a national TV show, the label assigned Melcher to produce the band's records. It was a partnership that would lead to a string of hits, starting with Steppin' Out in 1965. The next record, Just Like Me, was the first of a string of top 10 singles that would last until early 1967, when rapidly changing public tastes made the band seem antiquated compared to up and coming groups like Jefferson Airplane. Just Like Me, which was actually a cover of a song first recorded by another Pacific Northwest band, the Wilde Knights, still holds up well after all these years. Much of the credit for that has to go to Drake Levin, whose innovative double-tracked guitar solo rocked out harder than anything else on top 40 radio at the time (with the possible exception of a couple of well-known Kinks songs).
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("She comes around here" in place of "She comes up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version of the song. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the second follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest real life practicioner.
Source: CD: Headquarters (bonus track)
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1995
The members of the Monkees were truly enjoying themselves when they recorded the album Headquarters in early 1967. Most of the album's tracks had been laid down by late March, when this bit of studio banter between Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and producer Chip Douglas followed by an impromptu a capella rendition of Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho was recorded.
Source: CD: The House On The Hill
Label: Caroline Blue Plate (original UK label: Charisma)
Audience was a British progressive rock band with somewhat unusual instrumentation. In addition to drums (provided by Tony Conner) and bass (from Trevor Williams, who was also the groups primary lyricist), the band included Howard Werth, who played an acoustic guitar with nylon strings, but fitted with an electric pickup, and Keith Gemmell on flute, saxophone and clarinet. With no lead guitar or keyboards, Audience concentrated on their songwriting and vocal skills, which are showcased on the song Nancy from the album The House On The Hill. Although The House On The Hill was Audience's third LP, it was the first to be released in the US. The original band made only one more album before disbanding in 1972, but reformed 32 years later with a different drummer.
Artist: Country Joe McDonald
Title: Daughter Of England
Source: CD: 50
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rag Baby
Country Joe McDonald's 2017 album, 50, has been described as "a contemporary survey of current topics". That label certainly applies to Daughter Of England, a song about the current state of affairs in what was once the crown jewel of the British colonial empire and has now become the most powerful (and some say most dangerous) nation on Earth.
Artist: Sugar Candy Mountain
Source: LP: 666
Label: People In A Position To Know
It's easy to read something into both the band name and album title of the 2016 release 666 by Sugar Candy Mountain. It's better, however, to not do any of that and instead simply listen to any of the album's 10 tracks for what they are: good music. Sugar Candy Mountain was officially formed on 2011 by guitarist/vocalist Ash Reiter and multi-instrumentalist Will Halsey, natives of Oakland, California who relocated to Joshua Tree not long after the band was formed. They are joined on Tired, the closing track of the albums's first side, by guitarist Bryant Denison and keyboardist Jason Quever (who also mixed the album).
Artist: Sleep City Devils
Source: Independently released by Ivan Perelli
Writer(s): Ivan Perilli
As a result of our ongoing efforts to find new artists to feature on our occasional Advanced Psych segment, I was contacted by Ivan Perilli, who pointed me to non-compressed versions of several tracks from his latest project, Sleep City Devils, including the tune called Creatures. Billed as "an experimental thing", Sleep City Devils (1 band, 3 imaginary musicians, 4 songs) is the latest in a series of projects that also includes Happy Graveyard Orchestra and Banana Planets. According to Perilli's website, he also "just plays the bass" with Djoolio.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: The Prophet
Source: LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
The Beacon Street Union had already relocated to New York from their native Boston by the time their first LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, appeared in early 1968. Unfortunately, they were grouped together with other Boston bands such as Ultimate Spinach by M-G-M Records as part of a fictional "Boss-Town Sound", which ultimately hurt the band's chances far more than it helped them. The album itself is actually one of the better psychedelic albums of the time, with tracks like The Prophet, which closes out side two of the original LP, combining somewhat esoteric music and lyrics effectively.
Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Summertime Blues
Source: Mono LP: Vincebus Eruptum
European electronics giant Philips had its own record label in the 1960s. In the US, the label was distributed by Mercury Records, and was known primarily for a long string of hits by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 1968 the label surprised everyone by signing the loudest band in San Francisco, Blue Cheer. Their cover of the 50s Eddie Cochrane hit Summertime Blues was all over both the AM and FM airwaves that summer.
Artist: Orange Wedge
Title: From The Womb To The Tomb
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Blue Flat Owsley Memorial)
Recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, From The Womb To The Tomb was the B side of the only single from Orange Wedge, a forerunner of more famous Michigan bands such as the Stooges and the MC5.
Title: The Castle
Source: German import CD: Da Capo
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Considering that both of their first two LPs had cover photos taken against the backdrop of Bela Lugosi's former residence in the Hollywood Hills (known as Dracula's Castle), it is perhaps inevitable that Love would have a track called The Castle on one of these albums. Sure enough, one can be found near the end of the first side of 1967's Da Capo, an album that was all but buried by the attention being given to the debut LP of Love's new labelmates, the Doors, which came out around the same time. The song itself is an indication of the direction that band was moving in, away from the straight folk/garage-rock of their first LP toward the more sophiscated sound of Forever Changes, which would be released later the same year.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Dark Side Of The Mushroom
Source: CD: No Way Out
Label: Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Just who played on Dark Side Of The Mushroom is lost to history. What is certain, however, is that it is not the Chocolate Watchband, despite its inclusion on that band's debut LP. Producer Ed Cobb apparently had his own agenda when it came to the Watchband, which included making them sound much more psychedelic on vinyl than when they performed onstage (in fact it is doubtful that Cobb ever actually attended any of the band's live gigs). To accomplish his goal, Cobb enlisted the help of songwriter/musician/studio owner Richie Podolor, who would later go on to produce Three Dog Night's records. Podolor put together the group of anonymous studio musicians that recorded Dark Side Of The Mushroom, which, despite its shady background, is a decent slice of instrumental psychedelia.
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: Jack O' Diamonds
Source: British import CD: Fairport Convention
The recording history of the premier English folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, can be more than a little confusing. A large part of the problem was caused by A&M Records, who had the rights to release the band's material in the US, starting with the band's second LP. Rather than go with the original album title, What We Did On Our Holidays, A&M retitled the album Fairport Convention, releasing it in 1970. The problem is that the band's first album, released in the UK on Polydor in 1968, was also titled Fairport Convention. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the lineup on the 1968 Polydor LP differs from that of every other Fairport album, most notably in the absence of the band's most visible member, vocalist Sandy Denny. Fairport Convention (the band) was formed in 1967, and was consciously following in the footsteps of Jefferson Airplane, albeit from a British perspective. Like the Airplane, the original Fairport lineup had a wealth of talent, including Martin Lamble on drums and violin, Simon Nicol on guitars, Judy Dyble on autoharp, recorder and piano, Richard Thompson on guitar and mandolin, Ashley Hutchings (then known as Tyger Hutchings) on bass and Ian MacDonald (who later became known as Ian Matthews), who shared lead vocals with Dyble. Musically the band was far more rock-oriented than on later LPs, as can be heard on tracks like Jack Of Diamonds, a song that the band credited to Bob Dylan and Ben Carruthers. This can be attributed, at least in part, to a general disdain among the youth of Britain for the traditional English folk music that was taught to every schoolchild in the country (whether they wanted it or not). Later albums would find Fairport Convention doing more and more traditional folk, eventually becoming the world's most popular practicioners of the art, although they never entirely abandoned their rock roots.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Green River
Source: LP: Chronicle (originally released on LP: Green River and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Fogerty
In 1969 I was living in Germany (on Ramstein AFB, where my father, a career NCO, was stationed), where the choices for radio listening consisted of Radio Luxembourg, which only came in after dark and faded in and out constantly, the American Forces Network (AFN), which had a limited amount of music programming, most of which was targeted to an older demographic, and an assortment of German language stations playing ethnic and classical music. As a result, I didn't listen much to the radio, instead relying on word of mouth from my fellow high school students and hearing songs played on the jukebox at the Ramstein teen club on base. Both Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising had completely slipped under my radar, in fact, so Green River was the first Creedence Clearwater Revival song I was even aware of. I immediately went out and bought a copy of the single at the BX, and soon had my band covering the record's B side, Commotion. I'm afraid Green River itself was beyond our abilities, however. Nonetheless, I still think of that "garage" band I was in (actually, since we all lived in apartment buildings, we had to practice in the basement of one of them rather than an actual garage) whenever I hear Green River.
Title: Never In My Life
Source: LP: Climbing
Leslie West started his career as lead guitarist for the Vagrants, releasing a cover of Otis Redding's Respect nearly simultaneously with Aretha Franklin's version. His first solo LP, entitled Mountain, included former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi on bass and keyboards and led directly to the formation of the band Mountain, which gained instant popularity at the Woodstock festival in 1969. The first "official" Mountain album by the power trio of West, Pappalardi and drummer Corky Laing starts off with three outstanding songs, the third of which is Never In My Life.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Source: LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer: Paul Simon
One of Simon And Garfunkel's most popular songs, The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) originally appeared on their 1966 LP Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme. The recording was never, however, released as a single by the duo (although it did appear as a 1967 B side) probably because, at 1:37, it was considered too short for top 40 airplay. When Columbia released a greatest hits compilation album (after the duo had split up), a live acoustic version of the song was included on the album. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) did make the top 40 in 1967, when it was recorded by Harper's Bizarre, a group featuring future Doobie Brothers and Van Halen producer Ted Templeman on lead vocals.
Title: Yes Is A Pleasant Country
Source: CD: Think I'm Going Weird
Writer(s): Mel Collins
Year: Recorded 1967, released 2021
Formed around 1961 in Guildford, Surrey, England, the Stormsville Shakers were rooted in late 1950s American rock 'n' roll, and made their first recordings as the backup band for Larry Williams, who was touring the UK with Johnny "Guitar" Watson in 1965 (many early rock 'n' roll artists found it less expensive to perform backed by local bands rather than take an entire entourage on tour with them, especially overseas). By 1967, however, they had shifted their focus to psychedelia, changing their name to Circus and trading in saxophones for flutes. Although they only released two singles as Circus, they did record a handful of demo tapes, including Yes Is A Pleasant Country, written by bandmember Mel Collins, who would later go on the become a member of King Crimson (and is probably best known for his saxophone solo on the Rolling Stones song Miss You).
Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Motorcycle Song (Significance Of The Pickle)
Source: The Best Of Arlo Guthrie
Writer(s): Arlo Guthrie
Label: Warner Brothers
To be honest, I am not sure when this particular recording was made. Arlo Guthrie originally recorded the Motorcycle Song for his 1967 debut album, Alice's Restaurant. The first live recording of the song was released the following year on the LP Arlo. However, his reference to having been performing the song for twelve years makes me think this is a mid-seventies performance. It's even possible that the greatest hits album, issued in 1977, was the first time this recording was released.