Sunday, June 4, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2323 (starts 6/5/23)

    This week's show is made up mostly of shorter tunes, including three singles from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Well, until the last half hour, when we go for a suite or two.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Steppin' Out (stereo remix)
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first genuine rock band signed by the label. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the group, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been cheating on him. The song was originally mixed only in mono, but in the 1990s a new stereo mix was created from the original multi-track master tape.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Summer In The City
Source:    LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Sebastian/Boone
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful changed gears completely for what would become their biggest hit of 1966: Summer In The City. Inspired by a poem by John Sebastian's brother, the song was recorded for the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. That album was an attempt by the band to deliberately record in a variety of styles; in the case of Summer In The City, it was a rare foray into psychedelic rock for the band. Not coincidentally, Summer In The City is also my favorite Lovin' Spoonful song.

Artist:     Who
Title:     I Can See For Miles
Source:     LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     Decca
Year:     1967
     I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was the Who's biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. I Can See For Miles was also used as the closing track of side one of The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. Some of the commercials and jingles heard at the beginning of the track were recorded by the band itself. Others were lifted (without permission) from Radio London, a pirate radio station operating off the English coast.

Artist:    Public Nuisance
Title:    America
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: Gotta Survive)
Writer(s):    David Houston
Label:    Rhino (original label: Frantic)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2003
    Looking and sounding a lot like the Ramones would in the late 70s, Public Nuisance found itself the victim of unusual circumstances that led to the cancellation of their only LP in 1968. Producer Terry Melcher, who had risen to fame as producer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, had made the mistake of rejecting tapes sent to him by a wannabe rock star named Charles Manson. When Manson achieved the fame and notoriety that had eluded him as a musician (by killing a bunch of people), Melcher felt it prudent to go into hiding, shelving the Public Nuisance project in the process. The album was finally released 35 years later on the independent Frantic label.

Artist:    Albert King/Steve Cropper/Pop Staples
Title:    Water
Source:    LP: Jammed Together
Writer(s):    Cropper/Floyd
Label:    Stax
Year:    1969
    Although Stax records was best known for its Memphis soul recordings by such artists as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Booker T. and the MGs, the label also was home to one of the most popular blues guitarists of the late 60s: Albert King. Among King's many recordings for the label is this collection of studio jams with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper and the legendary Pop Staples. All of the tracks on Jammed Together are covers of songs originally recorded by other artists, although some, such as Eddie Floyd's Water, were co-written by Cropper.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Fool
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Yoder/Grelecki
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1970
    Following the departure of Randy Holden, who had himself replaced founding member Leigh Stephens, Blue Cheer decided to forego the power trio configuration of their first two and a half albums and instead go with a more melodic sound and shorter songs. To accomplish this, Bruce Stephens (no relation to Leigh) was brought in for one side of the third Blue Cheer album, The New Improved Blue Cheer. Stephens stayed with the band long enough to record the group's self-titled fourth LP, but even on that album his replacement, former Oxford Circle guitarist/vocalist Gary Lee Yoder, whose own band Kak was already disintegrating, made a guest appearance as a songwriter on two of the album's tracks. Cementing his relationship with the band even further, Yoder added a new lead vocal track to the single version of the album's opening track, Fool (which, being co-written by his Kak cohort Gary Grelecki, was probably intended to be recorded by Kak, had that band stayed together long enough to issue a second LP), making it considerably different (and much harder to find) than the original LP track. Yoder would officially replace Stephens as Blue Cheer's guitarist by the time sessions began for the band's fifth album.

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:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    Mono LP: Love
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of a tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what composer's Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Super Bird
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Country Joe and the Fish, from Berkeley, California, were one of the first rock bands to incorporate political satire into their music. Their I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag is one of the most famous protest songs ever written. Super Bird is even heavier on the satire than the Rag. The song, from the band's debut LP, puts president Lyndon Johnson, whose wife and daughter were known as "Lady-bird" and "Linda-bird", in the role of a comic book superhero.

Artist:    John Wonderling
Title:    Man Of Straw
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Wonderling/Allane/Goldfluss
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original US labels: Loma/Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Recorded on September 11, 1968, Man Of Straw was the B side of John Wonderling's debut single on two different (but closely related) labels in October of the same year. Wonderling, who produced the record himself, has called it "the only I've ever composed in over 35 years that was 'religious' in intent", a view contradicted by lyricist Edward Goldfluss, who claims "there was no religious intent whatsoever". Whatever the intent, it was the last single ever released on the Loma label, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers that had previously specialized in R&B artists such as Ike & Tina Turner.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original UK label: Track)
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 moved to the middle of side two of the original LP. The song was also released as a US-only single in 1967, but did not chart. Eventually a European single version of the song was released as well, albeit posthumously, warranting its inclusion on the Singles double-LP, released in Europe in the early 1980s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Fire
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener. In 1969, two years after its original UK appearance on the mono LP Are You Experienced, the stereo remix of Fire from the US version of the album (which had never been released outside of the US and Canada) was issued in the UK, along with a handful of European countries and New Zealand, as a single called Let Me Light Your Fire.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Crosstown Traffic
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The third and final single from Electric Ladyland was also the shortest: Crosstown Traffic clocks in at less than two and a half minutes.

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 edited considerably, clocking in at around three minutes.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Daily Nightly
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock songs to feature a Moog synthesizer was the Monkees' Daily Nightly from the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD. Micky Dolenz, who had a reputation for nailing it on the first take but being unable to duplicate his success in subsequent attempts, was at the controls of the new technology for this recording of Michael Nesmith's most psychedelic song (Dolenz also sang lead on the tune).

Artist:    Chocolate Watch Band
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source:    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 Watch Band. 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 (At The Love-In), a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watch Band's first album, is one of those few. Ironically, 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. According to legend, the band actually showed up at the movie studio without any songs prepared for the film, and learned to play and sing Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) right there on the set. This, combined with the story of their first visit to a recording studio the previous year (a story for another time) shows one of the Watch Band's greatest strengths: the ability to pick up and perfect new material faster than anyone else. It also shows their overall disinterest in the recording process. This was a band that wanted nothing more than to play live, often outperforming the big name bands they opened for.

Artist:    Elastik Band
Title:    Spazz
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Cortopassi
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
     Just plain weird, and probably politically incorrect as well, Spazz was the work of five young men from Belmont, California calling themselves the Elastik Band. For some odd reason, someone at Atco Records thought Spazz might be commercially viable, and released the track as a single in late 1967. They were wrong.

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 an edited 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:    Yardbirds
Title:    Hot House Of Omagararshid
Source:    CD: Roger The Engineer (originally released in US as LP: Over Under Sideways Down)
Writer(s):    Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label:    Great American (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    The Yardbirds hit their creative peak in 1966 with the release of their only studio album (previous US-only LPs being pastiches of previously released British singles and EP tracks). Originally known simply as The Yardbirds, the album soon came to be known as Roger The Engineer, for its distinctive cover artwork by band member Chris Dreja. In the US, the album was released (with a couple of tracks deleted) as Over Under Sideways Down. One of the more experimental pieces on the album is Hot House Of Omagararshid, and instrumental credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Tommy Boyce And Bobby Hart
Title:    Words (demo version)
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2009
    Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were really hoping to be selected for the new band that Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures was putting together to star in a new weekly TV series. To that effect they produced and recorded several of their own songs, using some of L.A's top studio musicians. Most of those recordings ended up on the first two Monkees albums, with re-recorded vocals by the four young men that were officially in the band. This early demo of Words (a song that the Monkees re-recorded in 1967 and took into the top 40 as a B side), shows what the band may have sounded like if Boyce and Hart themselves had made the cut.

Artist:    Geiger Von Müller
Title:    Toys In Ghettos [Part 1]
Source:    CD: Teddy Zer 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 it. The result is tracks like Toys In Ghettos [Part 1], from the album Teddy Zer And The Kwands. The all-instrumental CD includes an insert containing the beginnings of a science fiction story about the Kwands, a powerful spacefaring race that kidnaps children's stuffed toys, including one called Teddy Zer, from various worlds 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:    Sugar Candy Mountain
Title:    Tired   
Source:    LP: 666
Writer(s):    Reiter/Halsey
Label:    People In A Position To Know
Year:    2016
    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:    R.E.M.
Title:    Wolves, Lower
Source:    12" EP: Chronic Town
Writer(s):    Buck/Berry/Mills/Stipe
Label:    I.R.S.
Year:    1982
    Following the release of the first recording of Radio Free Europe as a single on the independent Hib-Tone label in 1981, R.E.M. returned to Drive-in Studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to record Chronic Town, a five-song EP to be released on a proposed new label called Dasht Hopes. Before any of that could happen, however, the band signed a deal with I.R.S. Records, who bought out the band's contracts with both Hib-Tone and Dasht Hopes and released Chronic Town on August 24, 1982, with one significant change. Wolves, Lower, as originally recorded, was not included on the planned EP, but the people at I.R.S. felt that the song Ages Of You was weaker than the rest of the tracks on the EP and had the band re-record it for the released version of Chronic Town. Although the EP itself is long out of print, all five tracks from Chronic Town were included on the CD edition of Dead Letter Office, released in 1987.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    No Longer Umpire
Source:    European import CD: Pretties For You
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Rhino/Bizarre/Straight
Year:    1969
    The band known as Alice Cooper was still in its pre-commercial underground phase as part of Frank Zappa's collection of misfits recording for Bizarre Productions when they released the album Pretties For You on Zappa's Straight label in 1969. Like the rest of the album, No Longer Umpire is a somewhat experimental piece from the band that had formed a few years earlier in Phoenix, Arizona. Zappa would eventually sell Straight to Warner Brothers, and Alice Cooper would become the world's first major shock-rock band in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Overs
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Originally written for (but not used in) the film The Graduate, Overs is the middle part of a series of songs on side one of the Bookends album that follow the cycle of life from childhood to old age. The song deals with a long relationship that is coming to an end after years of slow stagnation. Musically the tune is quiet and contemplative, with a loose structure that has more in common with the cool jazz of Miles Davis than either folk or rock.
Artist:    Purple Gang
Title:    Granny Takes A Trip
Source:    British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Purple Gang Strikes)
Writer(s):    Bowyer/Beard
Label:    Uncut (original label: Transatlantic, LP released in US on Sire label)
Year:    1967
    Formed in the Manchester, England area as the Young Contemporaries Jug Band, The Purple Gang took on their new identity when they relocated to London and became part of the psychedelic scene there. Their first single, Granny Takes A Trip, was banned by the BBC for 1) having the word "trip" in the song title (even though it was named for an actual gift shop that had nothing to do with acid) and 2) the lead singer's nickname was Lucifer. Sounds pretty circumstantial to me, but that was the BBC in 1967, the inaugural year of BBC-1, and I suppose they were still a bit on the timid side at that point in time.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Money To Burn
Source:    LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer(s):    Don Dannemann
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    By late 1966 surf music was pretty much gone from the top 40 charts. The Beach Boys, however, had managed to adapt to changing audience tastes without abandoning the distinctive vocal harmonies that had made them stand out from their early 60s contemporaries. In fact, several other bands had sprung up with similar vocal styles. One of the most successful of these (at least in the short term) was the Cyrkle. Led by vocalist/guitarist Don Dannemann, the group hit the scene with two consecutive top 10 singles, both of which were included on the band's debut LP, Red Rubber Ball. Although manager Brian Epstein had the group recording mostly songs from outside sources, there were a handful of Cyrkle originals on the album, including Danneman's Money To Burn, which was also issued as the B side to the band's third single.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')
Source:    Mono LP: The Rolling Stones Now!
Writer(s):    Barbara Lynn Ozen
Label:    London
Year:    1965
    There was one song on the US-only compilation album The Rolling Stones Now that had not yet appeared in the band's native England. That song was a cover of Barbara Lynn's Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin'), which would be included on the UK version of their next LP, Out Of Our Heads. The song was written by Barbara Lynn Ozen, whose story is quite remarkable in its own right. For one thing she was a female R&B artist that wrote her own material at a time when the assembly-line produced Motown sound was coming to dominate the soul charts. Even more unusual, Ozen was a guitarist as well as a vocalist. To top it off, she played left-handed! Her best knows song was You'll Lose A Good Thing, which went all the way to the top of the R&B charts and was later covered by the San Francisco band Cold Blood. Using the stage name Barbara Lynn, Ozen remains active in her native Beaumont, Texas.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2323 (starts 6/5/23)

    So how about a show that climbs up through the years, starting around 1968? Better yet, how about some acoustic prog rock? No? Fine. We'll just go free-form (and you were wondering how shows like this one come about).

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Immigrant Song
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Although the third Led Zeppelin album is known mostly for its surprising turn toward a more acoustic sound than its predecessors, the first single from that album actually rocked out as hard, if not harder, than any previous Zeppelin track. In fact, it could be argued that Immigrant Song rocks out harder than anything on top 40 radio before or since. Starting with a tape echo deliberately feeding on itself the song breaks into a basic riff built on two notes an octave apart, with Robert Plant's wailing vocals sounding almost like a siren call. Guitarist Jimmy Page soon breaks into a series of power chords that continue to build in intensity for the next two minutes, until the song abruptly stops cold. The lyrics of Immigrant Song were inspired by the band's trip to Iceland in 1970.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Walking By Myself
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Jimmy Rogers
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    When the name Jimmy Rogers comes up, almost invariably confusion comes immediately after. This is because, in addition to the legendary bluesman Jimmy Rogers, there were also not one, but two other singers named Jimmie Rodgers. The Jimmy Rogers we're concerned with here was born Jay Arthur Lane in Ruleville, Mississippi on June 3, 1924, about three years before country legend Jimmie Rodgers began his recording career, and about nine years before 50s pop star Jimmie Rodgers was born. Rogers first started recording in the late 1940s as a sideman for Muddy Waters and Little Walter, staying with that band, sometimes known as the Headhunters, until 1954. In the mid-1950s Rogers had several successful singles released under his own name, the most notable being Walking By Myself. He left the music business altogether for nearly the entire 1960s, resurfacing after his Chicago clothing store burned down in the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the reasons for his successful comeback was Canned Heat recording's of Walking By Myself on their 1968 LP Living The Blues, which generated interest in Rogers the songwriter. By the early 1980s Rogers had reestablished himself as a solo act, and was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1995, two years before his death.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    I Want To Take You Higher
Source:    CD: The Essential Sly And The Family Stone (originally released on LP: Stand and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sly Stone
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Sylvester Stewart was a major presence on the San Francisco music scene for several years, both as a producer for Autumn Records and as a popular local disc jockey. In 1967 he decided to take it to the next level, using his studio connections to put together Sly And The Family Stone. The band featured a solid lineup of musicians, including Larry Graham, whose growling bass line figures prominently in their 1969 recording of I Want To Take You Higher. The song was originally released as a B side, but after the group blew away the crowd at Woodstock the recording was re-released as a single the following year.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    You Make Me Real
Source:    CD: Morrison Hotel
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1970
    Although generally considered at the time to be the beginning of a return to form for the Doors, the album Morrison Hotel only provided one single for the band, and that one stalled out halfway up the top 100. You Make Me Real was a Jim Morrison composition that has the feel of early rock 'n' roll hits, thanks in large part to Ray Manzarek's use of Jerry Lee Lewis style tack piano. For reasons that are not really clear, Elektra Records, which had been releasing all their singles in stereo since 1968, decided to return to mono pressings for a short period in 1970. According to people who have better ears for this sort of thing than I do, You Make Me Real was even given a separate mono mix for its single release, although the record's B side, the original studio version of Roadhouse Blues, used what is known as a "fold down" mix, which simply combined the left and right channels of the stereo mix rather than create a new one. Morrison Hotel was the last Doors album to credit the individual members as songwriters. The 1971 followup, L.A. Woman, would mark a return to the band's earlier practice of crediting all songs to "the Doors".

Artist:    Steve Howe
Title:    Nature Of The Sea
Source:    LP: Beginnings
Writer(s):    Steve Howe
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1975
    Some people are at their best working within a group. Steve Howe, best known as the guitarist for Yes, is one of those. In 1975, after releasing seven albums, the members of Yes decided to take a break and each record a solo album. Howe's album is pleasant enough, as heard on tracks like Nature Of The Sea, but is ultimately about as satisfying as eating tofu.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title:    Piano Improvisations
Source:    LP: Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends-Ladies And Gentlemen
Writer(s):    Keith Emerson (with passages borrowed from Friedrich Gulda and Joe Sullivan
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    One of the most successful live albums ever released, Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends-Ladies And Gentlemen was Emerson, Lake & Palmer's last major success before taking an extended break in 1974. The triple LP included several "showcase" tracks for individual members, including Keith Emerson's Piano Improvisations, which appeared, oddly, in the middle of the song Take A Pebble. Most of the track is Emerson playing solo, and incorporates passage from Friedrich Gulda's Fugue and Joe Sullivan's Little Rock Getaway. Emerson is joined by Greg Lake on bass and Carl Palmer on drums for the latter.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Horizons
Source:    CD: Foxtrot
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1972
    Although credited to the entire band, Horizons is a short acoustic guitar instrumental written by Steve Hackett, who is the only member of Genesis to actually play on the track. The tune, based on a piece by J.S. Bach, opens side two of the 1972 LP Foxtrot.

Artist:    National Lampoon, featuring Chevy Chase
Title:    Colorado
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits Of The National Lampoon (originally released on LP: Lemmings)
Writer(s):    Guest/Kelly/Hendra
Label:    Uproar (original label: Blue Thumb)
Year:    1973
    In January of 1973 National Lampoon began running a stage show called Lemmings that ended its run after 350 performances. The second half of each show was subtitled Woodshuck: Three Days of Peace, Love and Death, and was made up of parodies of many of the musical acts that had appeared at Woodstock. One popular performer who wasn't at Woodstock (although he apparently wished he had been) was John Denver. Nonetheless, writers Christopher Guest, Sean Kelly and Tony Hendra decided to include a Denver parody in Lemmings. The song Colorado, about being stranded in winter in the Colorado Rockie Mountains, was sung by a then-unknown Chevy Chase, with instruments and backup vocals provided by the Lemmings cast.

Artist:     David Bowie
Title:    All The Madmen
Source:    CD: Sound+Vision Catalogue Sampler #1 (originally released on LP: The Man Who Sold The World)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    Although most critics agree that the so-called "glitter era" of rock music originated with David Bowie's 1972 LP The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, a significant minority argue that it really began with Bowie's third album, The Man Who Sold The World, released in 1970 in the US and in 1971 in the UK. They point out that World was the first Bowie real rock album (the previous two being much more folk oriented), and cite songs such as All The Madmen, as well as the album's title cut, as the prototype for Spiders From Mars. All The Madmen itself is one of several songs on the album that deal with the subject of insanity, taking the view that an insane asylum may in fact be the sanest place to be in modern times. Whenever I hear the song I think of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, which makes a similar statement.

Artist:    Neil Young/Graham Nash
Title:    War Song
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1972
    Around the same time that Neil Young was working on his Harvest LP he recorded War Song with Graham Nash and the Stray Gators. It was never released on an LP, although it did appear on CD many years later on one of the various anthologies that have been issued over the decades since the song was originally released.

Artist:    Free
Title:    Heartbreaker
Source:    European import CD: All Right Now-The Collection (originally released on LP: Heartbreaker)
Writer(s):    Paul Rodgers
Label:    Spectrum/UMC (original US label: A&M)
Year:    1973
    By the time Free recorded their sixth and final studio album, Heartbreaker, the band was already falling apart. Bassist Andy Fraser, who, with Paul Rodgers, had written all the band's best-known material, had already left the group before sessions for Heartbreaker began, leaving Rodgers to pick up the slack. He did, particularly on the album's six minute long title track. Guitarist Paul Kossoff, despite dealing with drug addiction issues, turned in a decent performace on most of the album, although he had to replaced on the band's final tour to promote Heartbreaker.

Artist:    Rick Derringer
Title:    Rock And Roll, Hoochie Coo
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Blue Sky
Year:    1974
    In the summer of 1965, 17-year-old Rick Derringer and his band the McCoys were hired to open for the Strangeloves, a group of New York songwriting record producers who were passing themselves off as the sons of Australian sheepherders and had a hit single out called I Want Candy. Not wanting to be the Strangeloves forever, they were already looking for an actual band to perform a new song they had written called My Girl Sloopy. After the show they asked Derringer if he might be interested in providing vocals and guitar parts for My Girl Sloopy. After convincing them to change the title to Hang On Sloopy, Derringer agreed, and the record was credited to the McCoys, despite the fact that the backing tracks had already been recorded by studio musicians. Although the song was a #1 hit worldwide (and is still a standard on oldies stations) it became a bit of an albatross for the band later in the decade, when the McCoys were trying to establish themselves as a serious rock band. In 1970, minus their keyboardist, they teamed up with blues guitarist Johnny Winter to become Johnny Winter And (originally intended to be Johnny Winter And The McCoys). The album, released in September, included four songs written by Derringer. According to Derringer, "The first song I wrote for Johnny was 'Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo'. 'Rock and Roll' to satisfy the rock 'n' roll that I was supposed to be bringing into the picture, and 'Hoochie Koo' to satisfy the king of blues sensibility that Johnny was supposed to maintain." The song was later re-recorded for Derringer's 1973 debut solo LP All American Boy and became Derringer's only top 40 hit in early 1974, peaking at #23.

Artist:    Taste
Title:    Same Old Story
Source:    British import CD: Taste
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    Sometimes a band's frontman so dominates the band's sound that the band itself becomes little more than a footnote in the history of the frontman himself. Such was the case with Taste, a band formed in Cork, Ireland in 1966 by Rory Gallagher. By the time Taste cut its 1969 debut LP, Gallagher was the only original member of the trio, and the band's sole songwriter as well as vocalist and lead guitarist. The song Same Old Story is fairly typical of the group's sound. Taste disbanded in 1970, with Gallagher going on to have a successful solo career.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2322 (starts 5/29/31) 

    This week we have a slow, moody Advanced Psych segment, a Doors set from their least respected album and a Pink Floyd live track, among an assortment of hits, misses and shoulda beens.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Beggar's Banquet)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones parted company with their longtime producer, Andrew Loog Oldham and began an equally long association with Jimmy Miller, who had already established himself as a top producer working with Steve Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group and later Traffic. The first song Miller produced with the Stones was Street Fighting Man, which appeared on the 1968 LP Beggar's Banquet. Before that LP was released, however, the band recorded an even more iconic single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, which was the first Miller/Stones production to be heard by the general public.

Artist:    Aquarian Age
Title:    10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Alder/Wood
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Following the breakup of the influential British psychedelic band Tomorrow, the various members went their separate ways, with vocalist Keith West embarking on a solo career and guitarist Steve Howe doing studio work before becoming a member of Yes. The remaining two members, Junior Wood (bass) and Twink Alder (drums), continued to work with Abbey Road studios staff producer Mark Wirtz on a single, 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box, credited to the Aquarian Age. Probably the nearest American equivalent to the project was Sagittarius from Los Angeles producer Gary Usher. Both projects came from respected staff producers at major recording studios utilizing top studio talent, not to mention they both took their names from Zodiac signs.

Artist:    Jake Holmes
Title:    Dazed And Confused
Source:    LP: Nuggets vol. 10-Folk Rock (originally released on LP: The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes)
Writer(s):    Jake Holmes
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    On Auguest 5th, 1967 a little known singer/songwriter named Jake Holmes opened for the Yardbirds for a gig in New York City, performing songs from his debut LP The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes, including a rather creepy sounding tune called Dazed And Confused. Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, who was in the audience for Holmes's set, went out and bought a copy of the album the next day. Soon after that the Yardbirds began performing their own modified version of Dazed And Confused. Tower Records, perhaps looking to take advantage of the Yardbirds popularization of the tune, released Dazed And Confused as a single in January of 1968. Meanwhile, the Yardbirds split up, with guitarist Jimmy Page forming a new band called Led Zeppelin. One of the songs Led Zeppelin included on their 1969 debut LP was yet another new arrangement of Dazed And Confused, with new lyrics provided by Page and singer Robert Plant. This version was credited entirely to Page. Holmes himself, not being a fan of British blues-rock, was not aware of any of this at first, and then let things slide until 2010, when he filed a copyright infringement lawsuit. The matter was ultimately settled out of court, and all copies of the first Led Zeppelin album made from 2014 on include "inspired by Jake Holmes" in the credits.
Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Flyte Of The Byrd
Source:    German import CD: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    For their second LP, Detroit's Amboy Dukes decided to divide the songwriting on the album evenly between lead guitarist Ted Nugent and rhythm guitarist/vocalis Steve Farmer, with Nugent getting side one of the original LP and Farmer writing side two. As it turned out, the two ended up contributing to each other's side, but there were still some tracks, such as Nugent's Flyte Of The Byrd, that were solo compositions. The song itself gives a hint as to the direction the band's music would take over the next couple of years.
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy is perhaps recognizable from a TV commercial from a few years back (don't ask me who the ad was for, as I tend to ignore such things). The song was originally the opening track from the 1965 album Kinda Kinks, which, like most British albums of the time, had a different song lineup on its US release than the original UK version. In this case, it also had entirely different cover art, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Trouble
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material, with the exception of a slow version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on (and before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved. To hear Turn On The Music Machine the way Bonniwell intended it to be heard program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, Trouble is restored to its rightful place as the second song on the disc (following Talk Talk) and a fairly decent album is transformed into a work that is equal to the best albums of 1966.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     Simulated stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Polydor (original label: Track)
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was originally mixed and sold as a monoraul LP. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the multi-track masters, created all-new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967. When a stereo version of Are You Experienced became available in the UK and Europe, however, they did not use the Reprise mixes, instead using electronic rechannelling to create a simulated stereo sound. When Polydor decided that the band was taking too long on their third album, Electric Ladyland, the label put together a late 1967 release called Smash Hits that collected the band's four European singles and B sides, along with selected album tracks from Are You Experienced. For reasons unknown, rather than use Reprise's true stereo mix of The Wind Cries Mary, Polydor elected to create a new simulated stereo version for use on Smash Hits.

Artist:    Magic Mixture
Title:    (I'm So) Sad
Source:    British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released on LP: This Is The Magic Mixture)
Writer(s):    Jim Thomas
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Saga FID)
Year:    1968
    Formed in 1967, the Magic Mixture got its "big" break the following year, when they were approached by the owner of Saga FID about recording an album. Saga's studio, as it turned out, was actually the basement of the label owner, which was used during the week as a nursery, necessitating weekend recording sessions. Despite this, and the fact that Saga was a budget-priced label selling LPs for 10 shillings (about $1.20 US at the time), the album turned out quite well, as can be heard on (I'm So) Sad. And you thought only American garage bands got a bad deal from the record industry.

Artist:      Doors
Title:     Shaman's Blues
Source:      CD: The Soft Parade
Writer:    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:     1969
     Often dismissed as the weakest entry in the Doors catalogue, The Soft Parade nonetheless is significant in that for the first time songwriting credits were given to individual band members. Shaman's Blues, in my opinion one of the four redeeming tracks on the album, is Jim Morrison's.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Touch Me
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: The Soft Parade and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Robby Kreiger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    The fourth Doors album, The Soft Parade, was a departure from their previous work. No longer would the entire band be credited for all the tracks the band recorded. In addition, the group experimented with adding horns and other studio embellishments. Nowhere is this more evident than on Touch Me, the only hit single from the album.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Soft Parade
Source:    CD: The Soft Parade
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    The Doors caught a lot of flack from their fans for their departure from the style that made them popular when they released their fourth LP, The Soft Parade. Ironically, the track that most resembles their previous efforts was the nearly nine minute title track, which starts with one of Jim Morrison's best-known monologues. You cannot petition the Lord with prayer, indeed!

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Doctor Robert
Source:    British import LP: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Dr. Robert is one of the few Beatles songs that was released in the US before it was released in the UK. The song was included on the US-only LP Yesterday...And Today, which came out in June of 1966. Most of the tunes on that album were tracks that had either been issued as singles or had appeared on the British versions of the band's two previous albums (Help! and Rubber Soul) but had been left off the US versions of those LPs. Dr. Robert, however, would not be released in the UK until the Revolver album came out in the fall. Concerning the subject matter of the song, John Lennon later claimed that he himself was Dr. Robert, as he was the one who carried the pills for the band in their early days. A likely story.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the Deep Purple version of the tune was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Shades Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album, The Book Of Taleisyn, the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including the addition of new lead vocalist Ian Gillian (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album), before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Baby Don't Scold Me
Source:    Mono CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco/Elektra
Year:    1966
    When For What It's Worth became a big hit single in early 1967, Atco recalled all unsold copies of the first Buffalo Springfield album and re-released the LP with a new track order that included For What It's Worth. Of course, that meant that one of the original songs on the album had to be cut, and for years it has been somewhere between difficult and impossible to find the song that was deleted, a Stephen Stills composition called Baby Don't Scold Me. Now the album has been reissued on compact disc with both the original track order (in monoraul) and the revised listing (in stereo). As a result Baby Don't Scold Me is only available in mono, but probably sounds better than way anyway.

Artist:    Flick
Title:    The End
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Oran & Trevor Thornton
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1998
    Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, a relatively unusual occurence in the late 1990s.

Artist:    Romeo Void
Title:    I Mean It
Source:    LP: itsacondition
Writer(s):    Iyall/Zincavage/Woods/Bossi
Label:    415
Year:    1981
    Formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Deborah Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage, Romeo Void also included saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, guitarist Peter Woods, and a (shades of Spinal Tap!) succession of drummers. Their first LP, Itsacondition (sometimes referred to as It's A Condition) was released in 1981. I first ran across this album while doing a contemporary alternative rock show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque in the early 1980s. Although most of the album was fast-paced and punkish in nature, it was I Mean It, the haunting closing track from side one, that stood out from just about everything else that was happening musically at the time.

Artist:    Stephen R Webb
Title:    Jeremy Johnson
Source:    CD: The Electric Dream Project
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1987
    Ever lay awake at night, trying not to think of things that scare the crap out of you, but of course thinking of nothing else? When that happens to a songwriter it can result in something like Jeremy Johnson. The scary thought in this instance was actually a question: what if some Jimmy Jones type got hold of a thermonuclear device and decided that if mass suicide was good enough for his own followers it would be even better for massive numbers of people, like the population of a large American city? I then started thinking about the followers of Charles Manson and came up with the idea of Sarah Lee Winston, a girl from a moderately wealthy, but emotionally lacking, family that is so devoted to Jeremy Johnson that she will commit any act, no matter how horrific, to please him. The ominous, slightly discordant music flowed naturally from the concept of the lyrics, and the song was first performed by the band Civilian Joe in 1986. The studio version of Jeremy Johnson, featuring Civilian Joe's Suzan Hagler on rhythm guitar and Stuck in the Psychedelic Era producer Stephen R Webb on everything else, was recorded at Albuquerque's Bottom Line Studio as part of the Electric Dream Project in 1987. I hope it scares the crap out of you, too.

Artist:    Great Society
Title:    You Can't Cry
Source:    CD: Born To Be Burned
Writer:    David Miner
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1966   
    The last person to join San Francisco's Great Society was also its most prolific songwriter. David Miner, who had been a postal worker prior to joining the band, brought along several songs that he had written in his native Texas, including You Can't Cry, which was one of many unreleased recordings made by the band in 1966. Miner also handles lead vocals on the tune.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Emotions
Source:    Mono German import CD: Love
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Emotions, the last track on side one of the first Love album, sounds like it could have come directly from the soundtrack of one the spaghetti westerns that were popular with moviegoers in the mid-1960s. Probably not coincidentally, the instrumental is also the only Love recording to carry a writing credit for lead guitarist Johnny Echols (with the exception of the 17-minute jam Revelation on their second LP, which is credited to the entire band).

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Once upon a time record producer Kim Fowley hired the Yardbirds to play a private Hollywood party. The Harris brothers, a pair of local art school students who had sent their homemade tapes to Fowley, were impressed by the band's musical abilities. Bob Markley, an almost-30-year-old hipster with a law degree and an inheritance was impressed with the band's ability to attract teenage girls. Fowley introduced the Harris brothers to Markley, who expressed a willingness to finance them in return for letting him be their new lead vocalist, and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed. Before it was all over the group had recorded five or six albums for at least three labels, churning out an eclectic mix of psychedelic tunes such as Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday, which appeared on their second album for Reprise Records (their third LP overall), appropriately titled Volume II.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Sunday Night
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    Despite being a British blues-rock band, Savoy Brown released their sixth LP, Looking In, to a US audience nearly two months before it was available anywhere else, including their native England. The album, which put more emphasis on hard rock than any other Savoy Brown LP, ended up being their most successful, hitting #50 in the UK and doing even better (#39) in the US. Songwriting duties were spread out among band members, with founder and lead guitarist Kim Simmonds supplying the instrumental Sunday Night, among other tunes. Not long after Looking In was released, Simmonds let the entire band go due to differences in opinion about the band's future musical direction. Savoy Brown, with an ever-changing lineup, would remain solidly based in the blues, while the new band formed by the other three members, Foghat, would continue in a more hard rocking vein. 

Artist:     Pink Floyd
Title:     Astronomy Domine
Source:     LP: A Nice Pair ( originally released on LP: Ummagumma)
Writer:     Syd Barrett
Label:     Harvest
Year:     1969
    in 1973, following the breakout success of Dark Side Of The Moon, Capitol Records decided to reissue the first two Pink Floyd albums (which had originally appeared on its Tower subsidiary) on the Harvest label under the title A Nice Pair. The problem was that, thanks to Tower's butchering of the band's first album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (retitling it Pink Floyd and omitting several tracks from the lineup) the US-based Capitol did not have access to all the material that had appeared on the British LP. One of the most glaring omissions was the album's original opening track, a Syd Barrett piece called Astronomy Domine. As a result, Capitol was forced to substitute a live recording of the song, taken from the 1969 album Ummagumma.     
Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Plastic Raincoats/Hung Up Minds
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach (mono promo copy)
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Country Joe McDonald's ears must have been burning when the first Ultimate Spinach album hit the stands. Indeed, many of Ian Bruce-Douglas's compositions, such as Plastic Raincoats/Hung Up Minds, sound as if they could have been written by McDonald himself. Still, it was the 1960s and jumping on the bandwagon was almost a way of life (witness the dozens of Mick Jagger soundalikes popping up across the country in the wake of the British Invasion), so perhaps Bruce-Douglas can be forgiven for at least trying to copy something a bit more current. Unfortunately, M-G-M Records decided to tout Ultimate Spinach as part of a "Boss-Town Sound" that never truly existed, further damaging the group's credibility, and after a second LP, Bruce-Douglas left the band, which, strangely enough, continued on without him for several years, albeit in an entirely different musical direction.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Tomorrow
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock
Writer(s):    Weitz/King
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    The story of the Strawberry Alarm Clock almost seems like a "best of" (or maybe "worst of") collection of things that could have happened to a band during the psychedelic era. Signed with a local label: check. Released single: check. Started getting airplay on local radio stations: check. Record picked up by major label for national distribution: check. Record becomes hit: check. Band gets to record an entire album: check. Album does reasonably well on charts, mostly due to popularity of single: check. Band gets to record second album, but with more creative freedom, thanks to previous successes: check. Single from second album does OK, but nowhere near as OK as first hit single: check. Second album fails to chart: check. Second single from second album charts lower than either previous single. Band soldiers on for a while longer, but never manages to duplicate success of first single: check. Band disbands: check. In the case of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the hit single was huge. Incense And Peppermints is still one of the best known songs of 1967. The second single, Tomorrow, not so much, although it did indeed make the top 40, peaking at #23. Not that it's a bad song, by any means. But, to be honest, it's no Incense And Peppermints, either.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Priority (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.

Artist:     Barbarians
Title:     Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl
Source:     Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Morris/Morris
Label:     Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:     1965
     From Boston we have the Barbarians, best known for having a  drummer named Victor "Moulty" Moulton, who wore a hook in place of his left hand (and was probably the inspiration for the hook-handed bass player in the cult film Wild In The Streets a few years later). In addition to Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl, which was their biggest hit, the Barbarians (or rather their record label) released an inspirational tune (inspirational in the 80s self-help sense, not the religious one) called Moulty that got some airplay in 1966 but later was revealed to have been the work of Bob Dylan's stage band, who would eventually be known as The Band, with only Moulty himself appearing on the record.

Artist:    Warner Brothers
Title:    Lonely I
Source:    Mono CD: Oh Yeah! The Best Of Dunwich Records (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Warner
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Peoria, Ilinois, was home to the Warner Bros. Combo, a group made up of brothers Larry and Al Warner along with Tom Stovall and Ken Elam. They released their first single, a cover of Mairzy Doats backed with Three Little Fishes, on the local Kandy Kane label in 1963. The following year they released four singles on three different labels, including a re-release of their first single on the Hollywood-based Everest label. They released one single a year from 1965 to 1968 on four different Chicago-based labels, including a song called I Won't Be The Same Without Her for the Dunwich label in 1966. The B side of that single was Lonely I (the letter I, not the number 1). Oddly enough the word "lonely" never appears in this otherwise blatant swipe of Clarence "Frogman" Henry's Ain't Got No Home.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2322 (starts 5/29/23) 

    Other than our opening tune from Dr. John, none of this week's tracks were released as singles, although a couple of them did appear as B sides. We start with a set from 1972 and follow it up with a shorter set from 1969, the go free-form to the finish line.

Artist:    Dr. John
Title:    Right Place Wrong Time
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mac Rebenack
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    Mac Rebenack was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for over 50 years. He first started performing publicly in his teens, lying about his age to able to play in some of the city's more infamous clubs. At age 13 he was expelled from Jesuit school and soon found work as a staff songwriter and guitarist for the legendary Aladdin label. In 1957, at age 16, he joined the musicians' union, officially beginning his professional career. In the early 1960s he got into trouble with the law and spent two years in federal prison. Upon his release he relocated to Los Angeles, due to an ongoing cleanup campaign in New Orleans that had resulted in most of the clubs he had previously played in being permanently shut down. While in L.A., Rebenack developed his Dr. John, the Night Tripper personna, based on a real-life New Orleans voodoo priest with psychedelic elements thrown in (it was 1968 after all). By the early 1970s Dr. John had developed a cult following, but was getting tired of the self-imposed limitations of his Night Tripper image. In 1972 he recorded an album of New Orleans cover songs, following it up with his most successful album, In The Right Place, in 1973. Produced by the legendary Allen Toussaint, In The Right Place provided Dr. John his most successful hit single, Right Place Wrong Time, which went into the top 10 in both the US and Canada and has remained one of the most recognizable tunes of the early 70s thanks to its use in various films over the years. Around this time he returned to New Orleans, but continued to record at some of the top studios in the country, both as a solo artist and as a session player, appearing on literally thousands of recordings over the years. Dr. John continued to perform until shortly before his death on June 6, 2019.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    LP: Demons And Wizards
Writer:    Hensley/Clarke
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1972
    Although Uriah Heep had been around since 1969, they didn't get much attention in the US until their Demons And Wizards album in 1972, which included their biggest hit, Easy Livin'. The Wizard, which opens the album, was the first of two singles released from the album. The song itself is a semi-acoustic tune about a wizard whose name is never given, but is thought to be either Merlin or Gandalf.

Artist:    Lou Reed
Title:    Wild Child
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Lou Reed and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Sony Music (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    Lou Reed's first album after leaving the Velvet Underground was made up mostly of new recordings of songs the VU had already recorded but not released, using British session musicians and members of other bands such as Yes. Familiar names on songs such as Wild Child include Steve Howe and Caleb Quaye on guitars and Rick Wakeman on piano.

Artist:    The Band
Title:    The Shape I'm In (live)
Source:    CD: Rock Of Ages
Writer(s):    Robbie Robertson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1972
    Originally released on the album Stage Fright and as a 1970 single, Robbie Robertson's The Shape I'm In had become a mainstay of The Band's live performances by the time they recorded their first live album over a four-day period at the end of 1971. Rock Of Ages was released in August of 1972 as a double LP.

Artist:    Rare Bird
Title:    Epic Forest
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Epic Forest)
Writer(s):    Rare Bird
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1972
    In late 1968 organist Graham Field placed a classified ad in a local music periodical looking for a pianist. In November David Kaffinetti responded to the ad, and the two of them began working on what would eventually become the band called Rare Bird. Yet more classified ads led to the eventual recruitment of vocalist/bassist Steve Gould and drummer Mark Ashton in August of 1969. Rare Bird was one of the first bands signed to Tony Stratton-Smith's Charisma label, but Field was not happy with the terms of the Charisma contract and left the band in 1971. After securing permission from Field to continue using the name Rare Bird, Gould and Kaffinetti recruited drummer Fred Kelly, guitarist Andy "Ced" Curtis and bassist Paul Karas to fill out the new lineup. This new version of Rare Bird signed with Polydor, releasing the album Epic Forest in 1972. Rare Bird was never a commercial success in their native England, however, and eventually disbanded in 1975.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Lodi
Source:    Mono LP: Chronicle (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Green River )
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    By 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival had gone from being a minor attraction appearing at county fairs to being one of the most popular bands in the US. One indicator of the band's popularity is the fact that a song like Lodi, originally relegated to the B side of a 45 RPM single, is still instantly recognizable to a sizable number of people nearly 50 years after its initial release. The song's lyrics, describing a down on his luck musician stuck in a small town without the means of moving on, strikes a chord with anyone who has ever played in a bar band, making Lodi a truly timeless classic.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Picture Book
Source:    LP: The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook (originally released on LP: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was the last studio album to feature the original Kinks lineup of Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory. Released in November of 1968 in the UK and early 1969 in the US, it was one of the first rock concept albums, and marked the end of the band's transition from pop stars to cult favorites. Picture Book, also released as the B side of the album's first single, is about looking though an old photo album and reflecting on its contents. Ray Davies later said that the track was not originally intended to be a Kinks song due to it being autobiographical in nature. Despite being lauded by the rock press The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was not a commercial success, and was outsold by The Kinks Greatest Hits, a compilation of their pre-1967 singles.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I Love Everybody
Source:    LP: Second Winter
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Following the success of Johnny Winter's self-titled Columbia debut LP, the guitarist went to work on a followup LP with a slightly expanded lineup. In addition to future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, the group featured Winter's brother Edgar on keyboards. When it came time to set the final track lineup, however, they realized they had recorded more material than they could fit on a standard LP, but not enough for a double album. Not wanting to leave any of the material they had recorded off the album, they decided to release Second Winter as a three-sided LP (the fourth side being left totally blank). Although not a conventional solution, a listen to tracks like I Love Everybody (which opens side three of the LP) shows that it was totally justified.

Artist:    Quill
Title:    That's How I Eat
Source:    CD: Woodstock-40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Quill
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2009
    Founded in Boston by brothers Jon and Dan Cole sometime around 1966 or 67, Quill was one of the first bands to hit the stage at the Woodstock Music And Arts Fair in 1969. In fact, their participation began before the festival itself, playing a series of goodwill concerts at nearly mental institutions, halfway houses and even a state prison on behalf of the concert promoters.  In addition to the Cole brothers, Quill included guitarist Norm Rogers, drummer Roger North and keyboardist/saxophonist/flautist Phil Thayer. Quill was an unusual band in that most of the band members were multi-instrumentalists, using various configurations as the needs of each song dictated. Primarily and East Coast band, Quill only released one studio album before the individual members moved on to other things, but are still remembered for songs like That's How I Eat.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Don Rococco's Oriental Anchovie Eyes
Source:    LP: The Three Faces Of Al
Writer(s):    Austin/Proctor/Bergman
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1984
    While David Ossman was off doing shows for NPR, the rest of the Firesign Theatre recorded a new Nick Danger adventure called The Three Faces Of Al in 1984. The album includes a short ad for Don Rococco's Oriental Anchovie Eyes, an attempt by Rocky Rococco to corner the anchovie market.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
Source:    CD: Idlewild South (deluxe edition) (originally released on CD: Live At Ludlow Garage 1970)
Writer(s):    Weldon/Jordan
Label:    Mercury/UMe (original label: Polydor)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1990
    When Polydor released a new deluxe edition of the 1970 Allman Brothers album Idlewild South, they gave buyers a real treat: the Live At Ludlow Garage album, recorded in 1970 and originally officially released in 1990 (although bootleg versions had by then been in circulation for several years). One of the tracks from that performance at the legendary Cincinnatti club that had never appeared on any Allman Brothers studio album was I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town, a song originally recorded in 1936 by Casey Bill Weldon and made famous by Louis Jordan as his first charted single in 1942.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Over The Hills And Far Away
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Although it was released in 1973 on the album Houses Of The Holy, Over The Hills And Far Away actually dates back to the 1970 songwriting sessions at Bron-Y-Aur that produced most of the music for the Led Zeppelin III album. The band started playing the song in concert in 1972 and released it as a single in advance of the Houses Of The Holy album in early 1973. Although it only got a lukewarm reception from the rock press when it was first released, Over The Hills And Far Away has since come to be regarded as one of Led Zeppelin's top songs, making several "best of" lists over the years.

Artist:    Poco
Title:    Here We Go Again
Source:    CD: Crazy Eyes
Writer(s):    Timothy B. Schmidt
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1973
    Here We Go Again was the lead single from the 1973 album Crazy Eyes. It was the first Timothy B. Schmidt composition to be released as a Poco A side. Schmidt would later become the only California native to be a member of the Eagles, a group that is considered the "quintessential" California band.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2321 (B25) (starts 5/22/23)

    Due to circumstances that aren't worth getting into, this week we have a contingency show recorded in 2018. It includes artists sets from the Beatles, Doors,  Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin (both with and without Big Brother And The Holding Company), and of course a mix of singles, B sides and album tracks from 1965-1970.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     LP: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer:     Bob Dylan
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:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    In the early 1960s the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California (sometimes known as the Inland Empire), was home to a pair of rival top 40 stations, KFXM and KMEN. The newer of the two, KMEN, had a staff that included Ron Jacobs, who would go on to co-create the Boss Radio format (more music, less talk!), and Brian Lord, one of the first American DJs to champion British Rock. Lord arranged for copies of Beatles albums to be shipped to KMEN from record shops in London before they were released in the US, giving the station an edge over its competition in 1964. More importantly in the long term, Lord was the man responsible for setting up the Rolling Stones' first US gig (in San Bernardino). From 1965-67 Lord took a break from KMEN, moving north to the San Jose area. While there, he heard a local band playing in a small teen club and invited them to use his garage as a practice space. The band was Count Five, and, with Lord's help, they got a contract with L.A.'s Double Shot label, recording and releasing the classic Psychotic Reaction in 1966. Lord later claimed that this was the origin of the term "garage rock".

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals 1966-1968 (originally released on LP: Animalization and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals (and the first to use the name Eric Burdon And The Animals on the label), See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    What Goes On
Source:    LP: Yesterday...And Today
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Starkey
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965 (US release: 1966)
    Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote several songs for Ringo Starr to sing on their albums, only one actually conferred songwriting credits on the drummer. What Goes On, a country and western flavored tune, appeared in the UK on the Rubber Soul album, but was not included on the US version of that album. Instead, the song appeared on the 1966 album Yesterday...And Today, an LP that only came out in North America.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     In My Life
Source:     CD: Rubber Soul
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Capitol/EMI
Year:     1965
    Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to be made up entirely of songs written by the band members themselves, mostly John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon's contributions in particular were starting to move away from the typical "young love" songs the band had become famous for. One of the best examples is In My Life, which is a nostalgic look back at Lennon's own past (although put in such a way that it could be universally applied). Despite never being released as a single, In My Life remains one of the most popular songs in the Beatles catalog.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Day Tripper
Source:    LP: Yesterday...And Today (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1965
    One of the few times that the US and British releases of Beatles records were in sync prior to 1967 was in December of 1965, when the album Rubber Soul was released in both countries at the same time as a new single that had a pair of songs not on the album itself. Although there were some slight differences in the US and UK versions of the actual album, the single was identical in both countries, with Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out sharing "A" side status. Of course, the synchronization ended there, as the two songs would both end up on a US-only LP (Yesterday...And Today) in mid-1966, but not be available as an album track in the UK until after the Beatles had split up five years later.

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:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the Byrds turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics adapted from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Don't Know Why (aka Don't Know Why I Love You)
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Metamorphosis)
Writer(s):    Wonder/Riser/Hunter/Hardaway
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1975
    In 1969 Stevie Wonder released a single called Don't Know Why I Love You. Before the record could take off, however, several radio stations decided to instead play the B side of the record, a balled called My Cherie Amour. The song became, to that point, Wonder's biggest hit, and Don't Know Why I Love You quietly faded off into obscurity. Or rather it would have, if not for the fact that the Rolling Stones recorded their own version of the tune (retitling it I Don't Know Why) around the same time the Stevie Wonder version was released. The Stones, however, did not release the recording immediately. In fact, by the time the record was released (in 1975), the band was no longer associated with either London Records, which issued the recording, or Allen Klein, who had managed to gain control of all of the Stones' London era recordings, and did not authorize the recording to be released.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
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:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    Most people today can't even imagine how much power Ed Sullivan had in the early to mid 1960s. Case in point. The Rolling Stones were scheduled to make an appearance on Sullivan's Sunday Evening variety show in early 1967. The band's current hit at the time was Let's Spend The Night Together. Sullivan, however, objected to the song's title and asked Mick Jagger to change the lyrics to "Let's Spend Some Time Together." Jagger complied with Sullivan's request. Can you imagine anyone telling Jagger to change his lyrics now?

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:    Donovan
Title:    Hampstead Incident
Source:    Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    The Beatles started a trend (one of many) when they used a harpsichord on the Rubber Soul album, released in December of 1965. By early 1967 it seemed that just about everyone had a song or two with the antique instrument featured on it. Unlike some of the recordings of the time, Hampstead Incident manages to use the harpsichord effectively without overdoing it.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Afternoon Tea
Source:    LP: Something Else
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Kinks couldn't buy a hit single in the US, although they continued to chart in their native UK. Luckily, the people at Reprise Records continued to release the band's albums in the US, including Something Else, which contained some of Ray Davies best songwriting to date. Among the tasty tunes on the album was Afternoon Tea, a song that exemplifies the Davies style of writing at the time.
Artist:    Choir
Title:    It's Cold Outside
Source:    Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Daniel Klawon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Canadian-American)
Year:    1966
     In the mid 1990s Tom Hanks produced a movie called That Thing You Do, about a fictional band called the Wonders that managed to get one song on the national charts before fading off into obscurity. It was, of course, a tribute to the many bands from all over the country that had a similar story in the mid-1960s. One of those bands was The Choir, from Cleveland Ohio. Formed as the Mods in 1964, the Choir scored a regional hit with It's Cold Outside in 1966. The song was picked up for national distribution by Roulette Records in 1967 and was a moderate success.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Take It As It Comes
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band to record for Elektra (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Unknown Soldier
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    One of the oddest recordings to get played on top 40 radio was the Door's 1968 release, The Unknown Soldier. The song is notable for having it's own promotional film made by keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who had been a film major at UCLA when the Doors were formed. It's not known whether the song was written with the film in mind (or vice versa), but the two have a much greater synergy than your average music video. As for the question of whether the Doors themselves were anti-war, let's just say that vocalist Jim Morrison, who wrote the lyrics to The Unknown Soldier, was pretty much anti-everything.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Not long after that I heard the full-length version of the song from the first Doors album and was blown away all over again.

Artist:    Wimple Winch
Title:    Save My Soul
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):    Christopholus/Kelman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1966
    Dee Fenton and the Silhouettes were a fairly typical merseybeat band formed in 1961 by Dee Christopholus, a Greek immigrant whose parents had moved to Liverpool in the 1950s. In 1963 they changed their name to the Four Just Men, which became the Just Four Men when they were signed to Parlophone the following year. After a pair of singles failed to make a dent in the British charts EMI (Parlophone's parent company) cut the band from its roster. Rather than disband, the group decided to reinvent themselves as a British counterpart to the many garage bands popping up in the US. Changing their name to Wimple Winch, the group released three singles on the Fontana label, the second of which was Save My Soul, released in June of 1966. All three singles did well in Liverpool but failed to make an impression elsewhere. The group finally decided to call it quits when Fontana dropped them in early 1967.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    D.C.B.A.-25
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was the highly listenable D.C.B.A.-25 from the album Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner later said the title simply refers to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here]

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Medication
Source:    British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: The Inner Mystique)
Writer(s):    Alton/Ditosti
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    Backing tracks recorded 1968, lead vocals recorded 2005
    By early 1968 the Chocolate Watchband had fallen on hard times. In fact, the original group had disbanded, only to reform at the behest of Tower Records and producer Ed Cobb, who wanted to put out a second Watchband LP. In short order a new group featuring mostly former members of the Watchband was formed. Cobb, however, did not have the time to wait for the new lineup to gel and got to work on the album without them. In fact, the entire first side of The Inner Mystique was performed by studio musicians. Additionally, Cobb pulled out unreleased tapes from the archive to help fill out the album, including the original band's cover of a Standells tune called Medication. Like their earlier track Let's Talk About Girls, Medication featured studio vocalist Don Bennett rather than the band's actual lead vocalist, Dave Aguilar. It's not known for sure why the substitution was made, unless perhaps Cobb was feeling pressure from the rock press, which had dismissed Aguilar as a Mick Jagger wannabe. Finally, in 2005, Aguilar recorded brand new vocals to go with the original 1968 track.

Artist:    J.K. & Co.
Title:    Fly
Source:    CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released on LP: Suddenly One Summer)
Writer(s):    Jay Kaye
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1969
            By 1969, some of the glamor had worn off the drug scene, with Pot and LSD giving way to amphetamines and cocaine as the drug of choice among many users. Jay Kaye, an expatriate Canadian fronting his own band in Los Angeles, recorded the album Suddenly One Summer, including the song Fly, as a way of documenting the horrors of hard drug use. Although Suddenly One Summer was not a commercial success, J.K. & Co. deserve props for daring to go against the grain long before it became fashionable to eschew drug use.

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Woman
Source:     CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):     Fox/Peters/Walsh
Label:     MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:     1970
     Woman, from the album James Gang Rides Again, is one of those songs that I associate with a particular place; in this case a coffee house in Alamogordo, NM, where I could often be found hanging out during my senior year in high school. The place had a room with an old console stereo in it, and a stack of half a dozen albums that someone had donated. Side one of James Gang Rides Again must have been played a hundred times on that thing, often over and over when everybody was too stoned to get up to change the record. 

Artist:    Janis Joplin (with the Full Tilt Boogie Band)
Title:    Half Moon
Source:    LP: Pearl
Writer(s):    John & Johanna Hall
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Half Moon was the B side of Janis Joplin's biggest-selling single, Me And Bobby McGee. As such, it is one of Joplin's best known songs from the Pearl album. The song itself was written (with his wife Johanna) by John Hall, who later went on to form his own band, Orleans, which scored major hits in the late 1970s with Dance With Me and Still The One, both of which were written by Hall. In 1977 Hall left Orleans to pursue a solo career, becoming active in the anti-nuclear movement as well, co-founding Musicians United for Safe Energy with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash. While living in Saugerties, NY, he co-founded two citizens' groups, which led to his election to the Saugerties Board of Education. Hall continued to write songs, both for himself and other artists, while simultaneously pursuing a political career that led to him serving two terms in the US House of Representatives.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    I Need A Man To Love
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Joplin/Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound the way they did when performing live. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage. Unfortunately, none of the live recordings the band made were considered good enough to be released, so they ended up making studio versions of most of the songs, including I Need A Man To Love, and then added ambient audience noise to them to make them sound like live recordings. Apparently it worked, as the resulting album, Cheap Thrills, ended up being the most successful album of 1968.

Artist:    Janis Joplin (with the Full Tilt Boogie Band)
Title:    Cry Baby
Source:    LP: Pearl
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Berns
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1971
    Janis Joplin's only hit single with Big Brother and the Holding Company was Piece Of My Heart, a song written by legendary songwriters Jerry Ragavoy and Bert Berns. For her 1971 album Pearl, Joplin went with an earlier collaboration between the two that had originally been a hit in the early 60s for Garnet Mimms. Within a few months Cry Baby had become so thoroughly identified with Joplin that few even remembered Mimms's version of the song.

Artist:     Brogues
Title:     I Ain't No Miracle Worker
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Tucker/Mantz
Label:     Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:     1965
     Over a year before the Electric Prunes recorded I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), the songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz came up with a song that has come to be regarded as a garage-punk classic. I Ain't No Miracle Worker, recorded by the Merced, California band the Brogues, was a modest regional hit in 1965. Brogues vocalist/guitarist Gary Cole (using the name Gary Duncan) and drummer Greg Elmore would resurface a few months later in San Francisco as founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Artist:    Euphoria
Title:    Hungry Women
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wesley Watt
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1966
            Euphoria was the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln. The band existed in various incarnations, starting in 1966. Originally based in San Francisco, the group, minus Lincoln, relocated to Houston in early summer of 1966, only to return a couple months later with a pair of new members pirated from a band called the Misfits that had gotten in trouble with local law enforcement officials. Around this time they were discovered by Bob Shad, who was out on the west coast looking for acts to sign to his Chicago-based Mainstream label. The band recorded four songs at United studios, two of which, Hungry Women and No Me Tomorrow, were issued as a single in late 1966. The following year both songs appeared in stereo on Shad's Mainstream showcase LP With Love-A Pot Of Flowers, along with tunes from several other acts that Shad had signed in 1966.
Artist:    John Fred & His Playboy Band
Title:    AcHendall Riot
Source:    LP: Agnes English
Writer(s):    Fred/Bernard
Label:    Paula
Year:    1967
    Although primarily remembered as a one-hit wonder, John Fred actually had a long career in the music business, dating back to 1956 when he formed John Fred And The Playboys at the age of 15. His first charted single was Shirley, released in March of 1959. Fred, who was a high school (and later college) athletic star, actually turned down an opportunity to appear on American Bandstand to promote the song because he had to play in a basketball game. In 1967 he changed the name of the band to John Fred & His Playboy Band to avoid being confused with Gary Lewis And The Playboys and had the biggest hit of his career with Judy In Disguise (With Glasses). This led to an album called Agnes English which feature tunes like AcHendall Riot. Although he was never able to equal the success of the #1 Judy In Disguise, he continued to be active in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both as a musician and as a high school baseball and basketball coach. He also hosted a popular radio show, The Roots Of Rock 'N' Roll, and produced records for other artists such as Irma Thomas and Fats Domino before his death in 2005 from complications following a kidney transplant. In 2007 John Fred became the first artist inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.