Sunday, August 7, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2233 (starts 8/8/22)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/433595-pe-2233


    This week's show features the weirdest pairing of bands ever to appear on the same concert tour together, in what has to be the strangest battle of the bands yet presented on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. We also have plenty of sets from specific years, including a 1965 revisit to Highway 61.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966   
    It may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but Kicks, as recorded by Paul Revere And The Raiders, was the first to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. The song, written by Brill building husband and wife team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was also the highest charting single for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation made it all the way to the top five years later.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    The Other Side Of This Life
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released in US on LP: Animalism)
Writer(s):    Fred Neil
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    The final album credited to the original Animals was a late 1966 collection of mostly blues covers that was released only in the US. Animalism (not to be confused with the UK LP Animalisms from earlier in the year which was the basis for the US album Animalization) was recorded in Los Angeles, possibly at the same time as the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out. Frank Zappa wrote, arranged and played guitar on the album's opening track (All Night Long) and arranged The Other Side Of This Life, a Fred Neil song that was being performed regularly by several California bands (including Jefferson Airplane) at around the same time. Although credited to the Animals, the instrumental tracks for those two songs were reportedly performed by various members of the Wrecking Crew, along with drummer John Guerin and Zappa himself, who played bass on The Other Side Of This Life.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Cat's Squirrel
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. S. Splurge
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    One of the few instrumentals in the Cream repertoire, Cat's Squirrel was something of a blues standard whose origins are lost in antiquity. Unlike the 1968 Jethro Tull version, which emphasises Mick Abrahams's guitar work, Cream's Cat's Squirrel is heavy on the harmonica, played by bassist Jack Bruce.

Artist:    Youngbloods
Title:    Get Together
Source:    LP: The Youngbloods
Writer(s):    Chet Powers
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    The Youngbloods, led by transplanted New Yorker Jesse Colin Young, were the second San Francisco band signed to industry leader RCA Victor Records. Their first album was released in 1967 but was overshadowed by the vinyl debuts of the Grateful Dead and Moby Grape, among others. In fact, the Youngbloods toiled in relative obscurity until 1969, when their own version of Dino Valenti's Let's Get Together (from the 1967 LP) was used in a TV ad promoting world peace. The song was subsequently released (with the title slightly shortened) as a single and ended up being the group's only hit record (as well as Valenti's most famous composition, albeit published under his birth name of Chet Powers).

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The War Is Over
Source:    LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer:    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane's third album, After Bathing At Baxters' had a unique structure. The dozen or so songs were grouped into five suites, three on one side of the album and two on the other. The shortest of these was The War Is Over, which was comprised of two Paul Kantner songs, Martha and Wild Thyme. A short film of Martha, similar to those accompanying the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane earlier in the year, was shown on a Perry Como special in the fall of '67 (Como being a labelmate of the Airplane).

Artist:    Velvet Illusions
Title:    Acid Head
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weed/Radford
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tell, also released on Metromedia Records)
Year:    1967
    Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut Acid Head before calling it quits.

Artist:    Third Bardo
Title:    I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Evans/Pike
Label:    Rhino (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1967
    The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Ski-ing
Source:    CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s):    Clapton/Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Starting in 1966 George Harrison showed an intense interest in the music of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and in Indian classical music in general, even to the point of learning to play the sitar himself. His first composition along those lines was Love You To, from the Revolver album, followed in 1967 by Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1968 Harrison took it a step further by composing and performing music for the soundtrack of a film by director Joe Massot called called Wonderwall. The film itself dealt with a wall separating two apartments occupied by individuals from extremely different backgrounds (a lonely college professor and a Vogue model), and a small gap in the wall itself creating a bridge between the two. Harrison used the film as a springboard to fuse music from Eastern (Indian classical) and Western (rock) traditions, introducing Western audiences to various Indian instruments in the process. The album, Wonderwall Music, was Harrison's first solo project as well as the first album released on the Apple label (predating the Beatles White Album by several weeks). Wonderwall Music featured several guest musicians, including Eric Clapton, who came up with the guitar riffs on Ski-ing, the shortest track on the album. Although Wonderwall Music was not a commercial success at the time of its release, it has since come to be highly regarded as a forerunner of both electronica and world music.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Everybody's Next One
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Kay/Mekler
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    We all knew someone in high school who had trouble differentiating between lovemaking and casual sex. We also knew people who would take advantage of that person, usually bragging about it to their friends afterward. Thus was the stage set for Everybody's Next One, the B side of Steppenwolf's 1968 hit single Born To Be Wild. The song, written by Steppenwolf's lead vocalist John Kay and producer Gabriel Mekler, originally appeared on the band's debut LP.
    
Artist:     Beacon Street Union
Title:     Speed Kills
Source:     British import CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union/The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer:     Ulaky/Wright
Label:     See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     Boston's Beacon Street Union had an interesting mix of tunes on their debut LP. Despite the title, Speed Kills is not an anti-drug song. Rather, the song addresses the frenetic pace of life the band members had encountered since relocating to New York City shortly before recording The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union.

Artist:    Jeff Thomas
Title:    Straight Arrow
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jeff Thomas
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    To look at a publicity photo of Jeff Thomas, you'd think you had been transported to the late 1950s. Musically, he was squarely (pun intended) in the middle of the road, with a crooning style that was clearly out of synch with the times. Somehow, though, he managed to write a tasty piece of psychedelia called Straight Arrow, which was released as his second of three singles in late 1968.

Artist:    Wildflower
Title:    Wind Dream
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stephen Ehret
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1966
    The Wildflower was one of four bands chosen to represent Mainstream Records on the 1967 compilation album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers. Unlike the other three bands, the Wildflower was part of the emerging San Francisco underground music scene, playing the same places as Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead. Following an audition at Gene Estribou's loft studio in Haight-Ashbury, the Wildflower, along with Big Brother And The Holding Company, were signed by Mainstream's owner, Bob Shad, who quickly flew the band down to Los Angeles to cut a single, a song written by guitarist Stephen Ehret and poet Michael McClure called Baby Dear. The B side of that single was an Ehret composition called Wind Dream. Although the record did not sell well, the band did a tour of the East Coast, and even generated major label interest, but by the time they were able to free themselves of their Mainstream contract, the group had broken up.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Fancy
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Pye; original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    One of the best albums in the Kinks library is Face To Face. Released in 1966, the album features such classics and Sunny Afternoon and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, as well as some lesser-known (yet excellent) tracks such as Fancy, a personal favorite of songwriter Ray Davies, who recalls coming up with the song late one night on his old Framus guitar. My first guitar was a Framus, but I sure didn't come up with anything remotely as cool as Fancy on it.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Section 43 (EP version)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on EP: Rag Baby #2)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Year:    1966
    Rag Baby was an underground journal published by Country Joe McDonald in mid-60s Berkeley, California. In 1965 McDonald decided to do a "talking issue" of the paper with an extended play (EP) record containing two songs by McDonald's band, Country Joe and the Fish and two by singer Peter Krug. In 1966 McDonald published a second Rag Baby EP, this time featuring four songs by Country Joe and the Fish. Among those was the original version of Section 43, a psychedelic instrumental that would appear in a re-recorded (and slightly changed) stereo form on the band's first LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, in early 1967.

Artist:    Thor's Hammer (Hljomar)
Title:    My Life
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on British EP: Umbarumbamba for export to Iceland)
Writer(s):    Thordarson/Ostlund
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1966
    Originally formed in 1964 in Keflavik, Iceland, Hljomar, led by Gunnar Thordarson quickly became one of the most popular teen-oriented bands on the island nation, commencing to record locally in their native language in 1965. It soon became evident, however, that for the band to increase their audience base they would have to start recording in English, and by the end of the year had travelled to England to record songs under the name Thor's Hammer for an upcoming movie starring the band. Both the movie itself and a four-song EP featuring tunes from the film were released in late 1966, both bearing the name Umbarumbamba. Neither the movie or the EP did particularly well, however, despite strong tunes such as My Life, and after a final attempt at an English language single in 1967 the band returned to Iceland, becoming Hljomar once more for the remainder of their existence.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carr/D'errico/Sager
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the second follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You've Never Had It Better
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher (Lowe/Tulin)
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums (and several singles) before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band, including James Lowe and Mark Tulin, who wrote You've Never Had It Better, reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Love Is Only Sleeping
Source:    LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1967
    Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single. 

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

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Porpoise Song
Source:    CD: The Monkees Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.

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

Artist:    Monkees
Title:     The Door Into Summer
Source:     LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Douglas/Martin
Label:     Colgems
Year:     1967
     After playing nearly all the instrumental tracks on their third album themselves, the Monkees came to the painful conclusion that they would not be able to repeat the effort and still have time to tape a weekly TV show. As a result, the fourth Monkees LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD., used studio musicians extensively, albeit under the creative supervision of the Monkees themselves. The group also had the final say over what songs ended up on the album, including The Door Into Summer, a tune by Bill Martin, a friend of band leader Michael Nesmith. For reasons that are too complicated to get into here (and probably wouldn't make much sense anyway), co-credit was given to the band's producer, Chip Douglas.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    3rd Stone From The Sun
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    One of the great rock instrumentals, 3rd Stone From The Sun (from the Jimi Hendrix Experience album Are You Experienced) is one of the first tracks to use a recording technique known as backwards masking (where the tape is deliberately put on the machine backwards and new material is added to the reversed recording). In this particular case  the masked material (Hendrix speaking) was added at a faster speed than the original recording, with a lot of reverb added, creating an almost otherworldly effect when played forward at normal speed.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Ballad Of A Thin Man
Source:    CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Bob Dylan himself plays piano on Ballad Of A Thin Man, from his controversial 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. Up to that point in his career, Dylan had recorded mostly acoustic material, usually accompanying himself on guitar with little or no other instrumentation. On Highway 61 Revisited, however, he was joined by a full complement of electric musicians, including guitarist Mike Bloomfield (of the Butterfield Blues Band) and Al Kooper (who would go on to be a star in his own right as a member of the Blues Project and later as the founder of Blood, Sweat And Tears). Ballad Of A Thin Man itself was, according to Dylan, based on a real person, or an amalgam of real people who had crossed Dylan's path. The subject of the song, Mr. Jones, as referred to in the song's refrain "Something is happening here/ But you don't know what it is/ Do you, Mr Jones?" was based on the various establishment types who were virtually clueless when it came to understanding the youthful counter-culture that was developing in the mid-1960s. The following year the Grass Roots scored a regional hit in Southern California with their cover of the song, retitled Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man).

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Like A Rolling Stone
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Bob Dylan incurred the wrath of folk purists when he decided to use electric instruments for his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. The opening track on the album is the six-minute Like A Rolling Stone, a song that was also selected to be the first single released from the new album. After the single was pressed, the shirts at Columbia Records decided to cancel the release due to its length. An acetate copy of the record, however, made it to a local New York club, where, by audience request, the record was played over and over until it was worn out (acetate copies not being as durable as their vinyl counterparts). When Columbia started getting calls from local radio stations demanding copies of the song the next morning they decided to release the single after all. Like A Rolling Stone ended up going all the way to the number two spot on the US charts, doing quite well in several other countries as well.

Artist:        Bob Dylan
Title:        Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Source:   Highway 61 Revisited
Writer:        Bob Dylan
Label:        Columbia
Year:        1965
        Although Bob Dylan is not usually thought of as a psychedelic artist, he was the first major folk artist to go electric and was instrumental in introducing several of his fellow musicians to mind-expanding substances. 1965's Highway 61 Revisited album is generally regarded as being among the most influential of Dylan's albums, thanks to tracks like Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Double Decker Bus
Source:    Mono LP: Psychotic Reaction
Writer(s):    John Byrne
Label:    Bicycle/Concord
Year:    1966
    With Count Five's single Psychotic Reaction rocketing up the charts in late 1966, Double Shot Records rushed the band into the studio to record a full-length LP, called (naturally) Psychotic Reaction. The key word here is "rushed", as band members later complained that they were not given the time to fully develop their original material, most of which was written by guitarist John "Sean" Byrne. Nonetheless, the album contains nine original tunes (along with two covers of Who songs tossed in as filler), all of which are classic examples of what has come to be called garage rock. Double Decker Bus, which opens the album, is a good example of Byrne's original material. Count Five was never able to duplicate the success of their hit single, however, and after the song's popularity had run its course the group, consisting of Kenn Ellner on lead vocals, tambourine and harmonica, John "Mouse" Michalski on lead guitar, John "Sean" Byrne on rhythm guitar and vocals, Craig "Butch" Atkinson on drums and Roy Chaney on bass guitar, disbanded so that its members could pursue college educations and avoid being drafted.
 
Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    My White Bicycle
Source:    Poorly done fake stereo CD: Acid Daze (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    Uncut (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular bands with the mid-60s London Mods was a group called the In Crowd. In 1967 the band abandoned its R&B/Soul sound for a more psychedelic approach, changing its name to Tomorrow in the process. Their debut single, My White Bicycle, was inspired by the practice in Amsterdam of leaving white bicycles at various stategic points throughout the city for anyone to use (Ithaca, NY currently does the same thing, except theirs are yellow and green). The song sold well and got a lot of play at local discoteques, but did not chart. Soon after the record was released, however, lead vocalist Keith West had a hit of his own, Excerpt From A Teenage Opera, which did not sound at all like the music Tomorrow was making. After a second Tomorrow single failed to chart, the individual members drifted off in different directions, with West concentrating on his solo career, guitarist Steve Howe joining Bodast, and bassist Junior Wood and drummer Twink Alder forming a short-lived group called Aquarian Age. Twink would go on to greater fame as a member of the Pretty Things and a founder of the Pink Fairies, but it was Howe that became an international star in the 70s after replacing Peter Banks in Yes.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year:    1968
    Johnny Winter's first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, was originally released in 1968 on the Texas-based Sonobeat label. A ctitical success, it was picked up and reissued on the Imperial label a year later. Most of the songs on the album are covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's last remaining pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a sightless deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his "deaf, dumb and blind" condition.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2233 (starts 8/8/22)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/433594-dc-2233


    Time for another progression through the years, from 1968 to 1974, followed by a free-form set.

Artist:    Matthews' Southern Comfort
Title:    Woodstock
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Decca
Year:    1971
    Some people prefer the original Joni Mitchell version of Woodstock, while others favor Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's harder rocking version. My own favorite is the one released by Matthews' Southern Comfort in March of 1970. The record almost didn't get released as a single at all. The band's British label, MCA, only agreed to do so when it became apparent that the CSN&Y version was going nowhere on the British charts. The Matthews's Southern Comfort version of Woodstock went to the top of the British charts, despite a lack of promotional support from the label. In November the song was released in the US, eventually making it to the #23 spot in early 1971. By that time, however, the band itself had split up, mainly due to bandleader Ian Matthews' inability to cope with the trappings of having a #1 hit single. Matthews had been a founding member of Fairport Convention, but had left the group in 1969 to concentrate on his songwriting and establishing himself as a solo artist. His first solo album was named Matthews' Southern Comfort, a name he used for the band he formed to record two more albums, Second Spring and Later That Same Year. Woodstock was originally slated to appear on Later That Same Year, but was instead issued separately as a single, a common practice in the UK.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Barry Goldberg/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Albert's Shuffle
Source:    CD: Super Session
Writer(s):    Bloomfield/Kooper
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    There is no doubt that one of the most important and influential albums of the late 1960s was the Super Session album. Released in 1968, the album was conceived in part because keyboardist/producer Al Kooper felt that Michael Bloomfield had never been recorded in the right context to truly showcase his prowess as a guitarist. Taking advantage of his position as staff producer for Columbia Records, Kooper enlisted  keyboardist Barry Goldberg and bassist Harvey Brooks (both of which had been Bloomfield's bandmates in the Electric Flag), as well as ace studio drummer Eddie Hoh for a series of taped jam sessions. Although Bloomfield himself went AWOL midway through the sessions, the quintet managed to get several outstanding tracks recorded, including Albert's Shuffle, which opens the LP.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Time Machine
Source:    CD: On Time
Writer:    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Universally panned by the rock press, the first Grand Funk Railroad album, On Time, was at best a moderate success when it was first released. Thanks to the band's extensive touring, however, GFR had built up a sizable following by the time their self-titled follow up LP (aka the Red Album) was released in 1970. That year, Grand Funk Railroad became the first rock band to chalk up four gold albums in the same year, with Closer To Home and their double-LP live album joining the first two studio albums. One of the most popular tracks from On Time was Time Machine, which captures the essence of the band's early years.

Artist:    Stephen Stills & Jimi Hendrix
Title:    No-Name Jam
Source:    Promo CD: Selections from Carry On
Writer(s):    Stills/Hendrix
Label:    Atlantic/Rhino
Year:    1970
    For his first solo LP, Stephen Stills brought in several big name guest musicians, including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Booker T. Jones and Jimi Hendrix. Although Hendrix played on only one track, Old Times Good Times,  on the album itself, a warm up jam featuring both Hendrix and Stills on guitar remained in the vaults for several years, finally seeing the light of day on the 2013 Stephen Stills box set Carry On.

Artist:    Pearls Before Swine
Title:    She's Gone
Source:    CD: Constructive Melancholy-30 Years Of Pearls Before Swine (originally released on LP: Beautiful Lies You Could Live In)
Writer(s):    Tom Rapp
Label:    Birdman (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    After recording two albums with his band Pearls Before Swine for the New York based avant-garde label ESP Disk (and not receiving any money for them), Tom Rapp signed a contract with Reprise Records, releasing two LPs under the name Pearls Before Swine. The next two LPs were credited to Tom Rapp/Pearls Before Swine, with a final LP released in 1972 as a Tom Rapp solo album. In reality, all of the Reprise albums, with one exception, featured Rapp accompanied by various studio musicians. In 1971, however, Rapp had decided that Pearls Before Swine would embark on its first-ever tour, which meant recruiting Mike Krawitz (piano), Gordon Hayes (bass) and Jon Tooker (guitar) to be the band called Pearls Before Swine. It was this group (with the aid of a handful of studio musicians) that recorded Beautiful Lies You Could Live In, releasing the album in November of 1971. Of all of the albums credited to Pearls Before Swine, Beautiful Lies You Could Live In is the most folk-rock oriented, with guitars and drums featured prominently in the mix on songs like She's Gone.

Artist:    Blue Öyster Cult
Title:    I'm On The Lamb, But I Ain't No Sheep
Source:    LP: Blue Öyster Cult
Writer(s):    Bloom/Bouchard/Pearlman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    I'm On The Lamb, But I Ain't No Sheep was first recorded in 1970, shortly after the band that would become Blue Öyster Cult had changed its name from Soft White Underbelly to Oaxaca. The song, about a guy being chased by the Mounties, was re-recorded later that same year for the band's first album for Elektra, when the band was calling itself the Stalk-Forrest Group, but that album remained unreleased until 2001. The song was recorded again and finally released on Blue Öyster Cult's self-titled debut LP for Columbia in 1972. The following year a faster and heavier version of the song titled The Red And The Black was recorded for their followup LP, Tyranny And Mutation.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Show Biz Kids
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Steely Dan's second LP, 1973's Countdown To Ecstasy, did not sell as well as their 1972 debut LP. The reason usually cited for this dropoff in sales is the lack of a hit single, although at least two singles were released from the album. The second of these was Show Biz Kids, a song that sums up the entire Los Angeles lifestyle, a theme that the group would continue to explore for the rest of the decade.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Bridge Of Sighs/In This Place
Source:    LP: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    One of the most celebrated guitar albums of all time, Bridge Of Sighs was Robin Trower's second solo LP following his departure from Procol Harum. Released in 1974, the LP spent 31 weeks on the Billboard album charts, peaking at #7. Bridge of Sighs has served as a template for later guitar-oriented albums, especially those of Warren Haines and Gov't Mule.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Funk #49/Ashtonpark
Source:    CD:  James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):    Fox/Peters/Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
                Following the release of their first LP, Yer' Album, the James Gang toured extensively, giving them little time to work up material for their followup album. Nonetheless, they managed to turn out a classic with the 1970 release James Gang Rides Again. The album starts with the song that all three band members agree was already worked out by the time they hit the studio, Funk #49. The song (which is probably the band's best known tune) is followed immediately by Ashtonpark, a short instrumental that picks up where Funk #49 fades out. The track is essentially Joe Walsh, Dale Peters and Jim Fox jamming over an echo effect created by cycling the playback of Walsh's guitar back through the record head of the studio tape recorder.
           
Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown Yesteryear (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1972
    One of the longest songs ever to get played on top 40 radio, Papa Was A Rolling Stone was in many ways a climactic recording. It was the last big Temptations hit, and one of the last songs produced by the team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the so-called "psychedelic soul" producers, before Whitfield left Motown to form his own production company. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it was the last major hit to feature the Funk Brothers, the (mostly uncredited) instrumentalists who had played on virtually every Motown record in the 60s but had been largely supplanted by studio musicians working out of Los Angeles, where the label had relocated its corporate headquarters to, in the early 70s. And on Papa Was A Rolling Stone the Funk Brothers finally got to shine as soloists, with an intro on the LP version that lasted more than four minutes and a long extended instrumental section in the middle of the piece as well. Papa Was A Rolling Stone has been called the last great Motown record. I tend to agree with that assessment.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Draft Resister
Source:    LP: Monster
Writer(s):    Kay/McJohn/Byrom
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1969
    By far the most political of Steppenwolf's albums was their 1969 effort Monster. Although there is a chance that a truly unperceptive person might miss the point of the title track that opens the LP, the next song, Draft Resister, makes a point that even a dedicated Rush Limbaugh fan would notice.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Commotion
Source:    LP: Green River
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    One of the first songs I ever played bass on was Commotion, which I had bought a copy of as the B side of the Creedence Clearwater Revival single Green River. At the time I was using an acoustic guitar with a pickup mounted in the big hole, and was only playing on the two lowest-pitched strings. It wasn't until years later that I learned that Noel Redding had done virtually the same thing on the original recording of Red House by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gee, I almost feel vindicated.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2232 (starts 8/1/22)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/432736-pe-2232


    Following an opening half hour that features a whole lot of short tunes, mostly from 1966, we shift our focus to the latter half of the psychedelic era for the remainder of the show, including a Doors set and some rather long tracks from Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin, before returning to the middle part of the decade for a pair of Beatles tracks to finish things out.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    (Theme From) The Monkees
Source:    45 RPM single (originally released on LP: The Monkees)
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Flashback (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1966
            Fun facts about the Monkees: Songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart got involved in the whole Monkees thing thinking that a) The Monkees would be an actual performing band that happened to be stars of their own TV show, and b) they (Boyce and Hart) would be core members of the band itself. They even recorded a demo of the Monkees theme song. The powers that be, however, decided (after briefly considering making the show about the Lovin' Spoonful) that using four guys from entirely different backgrounds who were almost complete strangers was a better idea [shrugs]. Everyone knows that the Monkees did not play their own instruments of their first two albums, but did you know that there is not a single song on the first LP that features all four members on it, even as vocalists? Most of the backup vocals, in fact, were provided by studio musicians.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Love Is Only Sleeping
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead of Love Is Only Sleeping, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single. 

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Last Train To Clarksville
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Flashback (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1966
    The song that introduced the world to the Monkees, Last Train To Clarksville, was actually a bit of an anomaly for the group. For one thing, most of the early Monkees recordings utilized the services of various Los Angeles based studio musicians known collectively as the Wrecking Crew. Last Train To Clarksville, however, was recorded by the Candy Store Prophets, a local band that included Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who wrote and produced the song (Boyce and Hart originally had hopes of being members of the Monkees themselves, but had to wait until the 1980s to see that happen). The song was released as a single on August 16, 1966,  two months in advance of the first Monkees album, and hit the #1 spot on the charts in early November. Last Train To Clarksville was also included in seven episodes of the Monkees TV show, the most of any song.
    
Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Do You Believe In Magic
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1965
    Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Undecided Man
Source:    LP: The Spirit Of '67
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The third Paul Revere And The Raiders album to be released in 1966, The Spirit Of '67 is also the most musically diverse, being heavily influenced by albums such as the Beatles' Revolver and the Rolling Stones' Aftermath. Undecided Man, for instance, was obviously inspired by Eleanor Rigby, and features strings arranged by Mort Garson. Although a few of the songs on the album feature contributions from studio musicians, the album mostly featured backing tracks by the band itself. This would not be the case on future albums, leading to several members of the group moving on to other projects.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    Country Boy & Bleeker Street
Source:    CD: Two Classic Albums By H.P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft)
Writer(s):    Fred Neil
Label:    Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Products (original label: Philips)
Year:    1967
    Like their West Coast contemporaries Jefferson Airplane,The Chicago-based H. P. Lovecraft were big fans of singer/songwriter Fred Neil, as evidenced by the fact that no less than two of their debut LP's ten tracks were covers of Neil songs. In fact, it could be argued that the album actually contained three Neil covers, since Country Boy & Bleeker Street, the second song on side two of the original LP, is actually an amalgamation of two Fred Neil songs (the title track and Country Boy) from his 1965 dubut LP Bleecker & MacDougal. Lovecraft does a pretty nice job of combining the two.

Artist:     Who
Title:     Happy Jack
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     Decca
Year:     1967
     Happy Jack was originally released as a single in the UK in late 1966. It did not hit the US airwaves, however, until the early months of 1967. (I heard it for the first time on KLZ-FM, a Denver station whose format was a forerunner of progressive rock. KLZ-FM didn't call themselves a rock station. They instead marketed themselves as playing the top 100, as opposed to the top 60 played on KIMN, the dominant AM station in the city.) Although the song was not intended to be on an album, Decca Records quickly rearranged the track order of the Who's second album, A Quick One, to make room for the song, changing the name of the album itself to Happy Jack in the process.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Everybody's Wrong
Source:    Mono CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer:    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco/Elektra
Year:    1966
    Buffalo Springfield is one of those rare cases of a band that actually sold more records after disbanding than while they were still an active group. This is due mostly to the fact that several members, including Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay and Jim Messina, went on to greater success in the 1970s, either with new bands or as solo artists. In the early days of Buffalo Springfield Stephen Stills was the group's most successful songwriter. The band's only major hit, For What It's Worth, was a Stills composition that was originally released shortly after the group's debut LP, and was subsequently added to later pressings of the album. Another, earlier, Stills composition from that first album was Everybody's Wrong, a somewhat heavy piece of folk-rock.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Who's Driving Your Plane
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side (mistitled on the US version as Who's Driving My Plane) of their loudest single to date, the feedback-drenched Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title:    Lover Man
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy/Sundazed
Year:    1970
    When the original Jimi Hendrix Experience made its US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967, they opened with a fast-paced high-energy version of the Muddy Waters classic Killing Floor. In fact, except for the lyrics, Hendrix's arrangement of the song was essentially a brand-new song. Hendrix must have realized at some point that all he had to do is write new lyrics for the tune to create an entirely new composition, because he made not one, but two recordings of what came to be called Lover Man. The first was made prior to the recording of the Band Of Gypsys live album in late 1969, while the later version heard here features his final power trio, consisting of Hendrix, bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, who were already being billed as the Jimi Hendrix Experience when they recorded the song in 1970.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    The Road
Source:    LP: Chicago
Writer(s):    Terry Kath
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    In their early days as the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago was known for laying down some solid rock behind the blistering guitar work of Terry Kath. By the 1980s, however, they were cranking out a series of soft-rock hits, usually sung by bassist Peter Cetera. Oddly enough, Kath was the first songwriting band member to steer the band in that direction with The Road, from the band's second LP, released in 1970.

Artist:     Mountain
Title:     Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source:     European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Windfall)
Year:     1970
     Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along.

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     Undun
Source:     LP: Best of the Guess Who (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Randy Bachman
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1969
     Following the release of the Wheatfield Soul album (and the hit single These Eyes), RCA tied the Guess Who down to a long-term contract. One of the stipulations of that contract was that the band would make subsequent recordings at RCA's own studios. After recording the tracks for their follow-up album, Canned Wheat, the band members felt that the sound at RCA was inferior to that of A&R studios, where they had recorded Wheatfield Soul, and secretly re-recorded a pair of tunes at A&R and submitted dubs of the tapes to RCA. The tunes, Laughing and Undun, were issued as a double-sided single in 1969, with both sides getting a decent amount of airplay. Once word got out that the songs had been recorded in a non-RCA studio, the label realized the error of their ways and relaxed the exclusivity policy, although not in time for the band to re-record the rest of the album.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    If We Only Had The Time
Source:    German import CD: Turtle Soup (bonus track originally released on EP: Shell Shock)
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Volman/Nichol/Pons/Seiter
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Rhino)
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1985
    The relationship between the Turtles and their label, White Whale, was always a rocky one. On the one hand, the Turtles were, by far, the most successful act on the label. It was, however, the 1960s, and, with only one or two exceptions, when it came to making records the labels (and by extension, record producers) were in control of the entire process. When the Turtles made their first attempt at producing themselves, for instance, the label simply refused to issue any of the recordings the band submitted. The band retaliated by giving the label exactly what they wanted: a hit single called Elenore, which in fact was meant to be a parody of a hit single, but that got taken seriously by both the label and the record buying public. Things finally came to a head when the band refused to complete an album called Shell Shock in 1969. The label then issued a song from the Turtles' 1965 debut LP that barely made it into the top 100 (it in fact peaked in the #100 spot). The Turtles then played their trump card: they disbanded. White Whale went out of business not long after. Meanwhile, the completed tracks that had been intended for Shell Shock, including If We Only Had The Time, went unissued for several years, finally surfacing on an EP issued by Rhino Records in the mid-1980s.

Artist:    Aerovons
Title:    The Train
Source:    Mono British import CD: Resurrection (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tom Hartman
Label:    RPM (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    The Aerovons, a band from St. Louis, Missouri, were seriously into the Beatles. So seriously, in fact, that when they were offered a deal from Capitol Records to record in Los Angeles, they turned it down, instead making two trips to London to secure a contract with EMI to record at their Abbey Road studios. Although they ended up recording an entire album's worth of material there, EMI ended up only releasing one single, an original by pianist/vocalist Tom Hartman called The Train. Before the rest of the album was released, however, the group returned to St. Louis and promptly split up due to personal issues, which caused EMI to cancel the band's contract. The album itself sat on the shelf until 2003, when it was released on the RPM label.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cinnamon Girl
Source:    LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    My favorite Neil Young song has always been Cinnamon Girl. I suspect this is because the band I was in the summer after I graduated from high school used an amped-up version of the song as our show opener (imagine Cinnamon Girl played like I Can See For Miles and you get a general idea of how it sounded). If we had ever recorded an album, we probably would have used that arrangement as our first single. I finally got to see Neil Young perform the song live (from the 16th row even) with Booker T. and the MGs as his stage band in the mid-1990s. It was worth the wait.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    All Day And All Of The Night
Source:    Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964 (LP released 1965)
    Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Street
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1968
    Like many of Jim Morrison's songs, Love Street started off as a poem. "Love Street" was actually the nickname given to Rothdale Trail, the street he and Pamela Courson lived on in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon. Morrison and Courson spent a lot of time sitting on their balcony, watching the local hippies going to and from the Canyon Country Store, which was across the street from their house. Morrison turned the poem into a song in time to get it recorded for the third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun. The track was also released as the B side of the Doors' second #1 single, Hello I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name.

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

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Fraternity Of Man
Title:    Don't Bogart Me
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Fraternity Of Man
Label:    ABC
Year:    1968
    In the late 60s there was a certain disconnect between rock musicians and their audience on the subject of country music. Whereas the youth culture of the time associated it with rednecks and conservative attitudes, their musical heroes often held the country music tradition in high regard. One of the first songs to bridge the gap was Don't Bogart Me from the Fraternity Of Man. The band itself was made up of former members of the Factory, a popular L.A. club band led by Lowell George, and the Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. Although the band's 1968 LP remains somewhat obscure, Don't Bogart Me itself was made famous by its inclusion in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    How Many More Times
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Get It While You Can
Source:    LP: Pearl
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Schuman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The final track on Janis Joplin's last album is, in some ways, a fitting epitaph for one of the greatest vocalists in rock history. Get It While You Can is a powerful tune from Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Schuman, one of the most prolific songwriting teams of the 1960s. Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band made several recordings of the song over a nearly two month period, with the final version being recorded on Sept. 20, 1970. This earlier version from July 27 shows a singer and band still feeling each other out musically.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Bear Melt
Source:    LP: Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Writer(s):    Kantner/Casady/Kaukonen/Slick/Dryden
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    Those who are only familiar with Jefferson Airplane's first couple of studio albums might be tempted to assume that the group did not have the same level of improvisational creativity as some of the other San Francisco bands such as the Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service. The eleven and a half minute long Bear Melt, from the 1969 live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head, proves otherwise. I can't say for sure, but I believe that even the lyrics were made up on the spot.

Artist:    Moles
Title:    We Are The Moles-Pt. 1
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Moles
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes success carries it own baggage. Take the case of Britain's Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group was formed by a trio of Scottish brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Peter O'Flaherty, Eric Hine and Tony Ransley in the Portsmouth area, going through a variety of band names before settling on Simon Dupree And The Big Sound in 1966. The group was originally known for its spot-on covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. By 1967, however, audience tastes were rapidly changing, and psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd and the Creation were drawing crowds away from the R&B bands. Under pressure from both their management and record label the band recorded a song called Kites, a psychedelic piece that became their biggest hit and placed the group firmly in the minds of record buyers as a flower-power band. But, like most fads, flower-power was itself out of style by 1968, but Simon Dupree And The Big Sound were stuck with a reputation that didn't even fit the members' own musical preferences (which still ran to R&B). To try to break free of this unwanted rep, the group released a rather bizarre single called We Are The Moles in 1968. The record was shrouded in mystery, with writing credits going to "the Moles", and production credit to George Martin (leading some to believe it was actually a Beatles outtake). The ploy almost worked, as the possible Beatles connection led to increased interest in the record, but that interest quickly dissipated when it was revealed (by Syd Barrett, of all people) that the record was indeed the work of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The band continued on for a few more months, until lead vocalist Derek Shulman announced his retirement in 1969, saying he was tired of being Simon Dupree. He would rejoin his brothers the following year for their new venture, an experimental rock band called Gentle Giant.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love You To
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Following the release of Rubber Soul in December of 1965, the Beatles' George Harrison began to make a serious effort to learn to play the Sitar, studying under the master, Ravi Shankar. Along with the instrument itself, Harrison studied Eastern forms of music. His first song written in the modal form favored by Indian composers was Love You To, from the Revolver album. The recording also features Indian percussion instruments and suitably spiritual lyrics.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Wait
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965
    The oldest song on the Rubber Soul album, Wait was originally recorded for the British version of Help , but did not make the final cut. Six months later, when the band was putting the finishing touches on Rubber Soul, they realized they would not be able to come up with enough new material in time for a Christmas release, so they added some overdubs to Wait and included it on the new album. The song itself was a collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the two sharing vocals throughout the tune.


Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2232 (starts 8/1/22)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/432735-dc-2232 


    This week we traverse the (Rare) Earth by Caravan and (Led) Zeppelin, or maybe just use Doors to get to Chicago, with perhaps a Stray Dog or some Black Sheep for company. As is often the case with traveling, however, our last visit is to the (Elton) John.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Get Up And Dance
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Manzarek/Krieger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1972
    So what do you do when your band has lost one of the most visible front men in rock history? With two albums remaining on their contract with Elektra Records, the remaining members of the Doors did their best to carry on without Jim Morrison. The first album, Other Voices, was recorded in the same studio as the last Morrison LP, L.A. Woman, and used the same producer and engineer, Bruce Botwick. Indeed, some of the tracks on Other Voices had been started before Morrison left for Paris in 1971. The second LP, however, was an entirely new project, at a different studio (A&M) and using a different producer, Charles Lloyd, who brought in several studio musicians to help fill out the album's sound, including bassist Chris Ethridge, who can be heard on the album's opening track, Get Up And Dance.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Dialogue (part 1&2)
Source:    45 RPM single edit reissue (original version on LP: Chicago V)
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    In their early days Chicago was one of the more politically-oriented rock bands around. One of the more notable tracks on their first album (Someday) was built around the crowds in Lincoln Park chanting outside the 1968 Democratic convention. The group continued to make political statements for the next few years, although by the time they released their landmark four-disc live album they were firmly in the camp of advocating working within the system as opposed to overthrowing everything and starting over (sort of an evolution over revolution approach). One of the more interesting songs of this type is a condemnation of socio-political apathy called Dialogue, from the album Chicago V. The structure of the first half of the record is based on Plato's philosophical dialogues, with one vocalist, Robert Lamm, asking disturbing questions and the other, Peter Cetera, giving answers that are on the surface reassuring but in reality bespeak an attitude of burying one's head in the sand and hoping everything will turn out OK. This shifts into a call for everyone to work together to effect needed changes in the world, with the repeated line "We can make it happen" dominating the second half of the record.

Artist:    Rare Earth
Title:    Hey Big Brother
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Fekaris/Zesses
Label:    Motown (original label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1971
    Like many successful bands, Rare Earth relied on outside songwriters for their hit singles, although they did have many self-penned tunes on their LPs. At first those hits were covers of Temptations songs such as Get Ready and (I Know) I'm Losing You, but by the early 1970s they had switched to the songwriting team of Dino Fekaris and Nick Zesses, who provided them with their final top 20 hit, Hey Big Brother. It was also the most political of Rare Earth's hit records.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Misty Mountain Hop
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin IV
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Jones
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Led Zeppelin's Misty Mountain Hop, which opens side two of their fourth LP (and was also issued as the B side of Rock 'N' Roll) is either about a mountain range in J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle Earth or a pro-marijuana demonstration in London's Hyde Park in 1968, at which several people were arrested for possession. Your choice.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    …And The Gods Made Love/Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)/Crosstown Traffic/Voodoo Chile
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The four tracks on side one of the 1968 Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, are all cross-faded into each other, making it clear that Hendrix wanted the side to be heard as a continuous piece. This week we are presenting it as its creator intended. Like its predecessor Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland starts off with a track that is pure special effects. Unlike the Axis track EXP, which was essentially made up of controlled guitar feedback, …And The Gods Made Love is a more subtle piece employing tape and echo effects to simulate, well, Gods making love. This leads directly in to what was for many Experience fans was new territory, but for Hendrix himself was a hearkening back to his days as a backup musician for various soul artists. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) is, in fact, a tribute to guitarist/vocalist Curtis Mayfield, leader of the Impressions, whom Hendrix had cited as an influence on his own guitar style. This leads into Crosstown Traffic, a hard-driving two-and-a-half minute long single reminiscent of early Hendrix classics Fire and Can You See Me, but with a higher level of sophistication. Midway through the making of Electric Ladyland, producer Chas Chandler parted ways with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. At first this may seem to be a mystery, but consider the situation: Hendrix, by this time, had considerable clout in the studio. This allowed him to invite pretty much anyone he damn well pleased to hang out while he was making records, including several fellow musicians. It also allowed him the luxury of using the studio itself as a kind of incubator for new ideas, often developing those ideas while the tape machine was in "record" mode. Chandler, on the other hand, had learned virtually everything he knew about producing records from Mickie Most, one of Britain's most successful producers. As such, Chandler tended to take a more professional approach to recording, finding Hendrix's endless jamming to be a waste of valuable studio time. Whether you side with Chandler or Hendrix over the issue, there is one thing that can't be disputed: the Hendrix approach resulted in some of the most memorable rock recordings ever made. Case in point: Voodoo Chile, a nearly fifteen minute long studio jam featuring Jack Cassidy (Jefferson Airplane) on bass and Steve Winwood (Traffic) on keyboards, as well as regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:    Black Sheep
Title:    Encouraging Words
Source:    LP: Encouraging Words
Writer(s):    Mancuso/Turgan/Grammitico
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1975
    Next to raw talent, a rock band's most important asset is their equipment. It is also their greatest expense, and its loss can be devastating. Take the case of Black Sheep, an up-and-coming band from Rochester, NY. With two albums for Capitol Records under their belt, the group, featuring front man Louis Grammitico, seemed poised for major success when a traffic accident on an icy highway destroyed their equipment van and everything in it. Without the funds to replace the lost equipment, Black Sheep was forced to disband in early 1976. Not long after that Grammitico got a call from Mick Jones inviting him to join his new band, Foreigner. Grammitico accepted the offer, shortening his stage name to Lou Gramm.

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    Rocky Mountain Suite (Rocky Road)
Source:    LP: Stray Dog
Writer(s):    Snuffy Walden
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1973
    Formed in Texas as Aphrodite, Stray Dog was a power trio that had relocated to Denver and built up a local following when bandleader W.G. Snuffy Walden was introduced to Greg Lake, who immediately signed the band to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's own label, Manticore Records. The band's first album features Walden on guitar and lead vocals, as well as taking on most of the songwriting duties. The album's showpiece was the eight and a half minute long Rocky Mountain Suite, written by Walden. After the band's demise, Walden continued to work as a guitarist, both as an in-demand session man and as a solo performer. It while performing in Santa Monica that he came to the attention of the producers of a new TV show, who hired him to write the show's soundtrack music. That show was Thirtysomething, and Walden received an Emmy nomination for the show's theme song. Walden has since written scores for several TV series, including The West Wing, for which he won the emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 2000.

Artist:    Caravan
Title:    Grandma's Lawn
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Caravan)
Writer(s):    Sinclair/Hastings/Coughlin/Sinclair
Label:    Polydor (original UK label: MGM-Verve; also released in US on Verve Forecast)
Year:    1968
    From a business standpoint, the British and American record industries were worlds apart for the first several decades of their respective existences. In fact, some UK labels had the same names as US labels but were owned by different companies altogether. Columbia, for example, was the flagship label of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in the US. In the UK, however, Columbia was one of the major labels making up the EMI group. Even familiar trademarks such as the iconic dog and phonograph were associated with different companies in the two countries (RCA Victor in the US, His Master's Voice in the UK). Toward the end of the 1960s, however, this was beginning to change, with companies such as Polydor starting up their own US label (and signing the godfather of soul himself, James Brown, in the process), or acquiring a majority share of existing labels, as EMI did with Capitol Records. One major US label, M-G-M, decided to open their own British division, MGM/Verve, in 1968. The first band signed to the new label was Caravan, one of the most enduring progressive bands to emerge from the so-called Canterbury scene. A highlight of Caravan's debut LP was Grandma's Lawn. Unfortunately, MGM/Verve ceased operations the following year, leaving Caravan to sign with another British label with the same name as an unrelated (at the time) US label: Decca.

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Better Off Dead
Source:    LP: Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    MCA
Year:    1975
    The songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin has produced dozens of memorable tunes over the years. Better Off Dead, from the 1975 LP Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, isn't one of them. It's not a bad song by any means, just not a particularly memorable one, which makes it a perfect choice to end a show that starts with singles and goes deeper and deeper into obscurity as it goes on.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2231 (starts 7/25/22)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/431489-pe-2231


    This week we feature a set of the lesser-known tracks from the 1967 Rolling Stones album Between The Buttons. We also have a Donovan set that includes two 1998 stereo remixes of songs that were originally released in 1966, when all of Donovan's recordings were only mixed monoraully. And, as always, there are plenty of singles, B sides and album tracks ranging from 1964 to 1970 on this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.

Artist:    Youngbloods
Title:    Get Together
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: The Youngbloods)
Writer(s):    Chet Powers
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    The Youngbloods, led by transplanted New Yorker Jesse Colin Young, were the second San Francisco band signed to industry leader RCA Victor Records. Their first album was released in 1967 but was overshadowed by the vinyl debuts of the Grateful Dead and Moby Grape, among others. In fact, the Youngbloods toiled in relative obscurity until 1969, when their own version of Dino Valenti's Let's Get Together (from the 1967 LP) was used in a TV ad promoting world peace. The song was subsequently released (with the title slightly shortened) as a single and ended up being the group's only hit record (as well as Valenti's most famous composition, albeit published under his birth name of Chet Powers).

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Horse Latitudes/Moonlight Drive
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride, which he wrote even before the band was formed. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band. Horse Latitudes, which leads into Moonlight Ride, was also an obvious Morrison composition, as it is essentially a piece of Morrison poetry with a musique concrete soundtrack provided by the rest of the band.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Barterers And Their Wives
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Brown/Feher
Label:    Smash
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke made a huge impact with their debut single, Walk Away Renee, in late 1966. All of a sudden the rock press (such as it was in 1966) was all abuzz with talk of "baroque rock" and how it was the latest, greatest thing. The band soon released a follow-up single, Pretty Ballerina, which made the top 10 as well, which led to an album entitled (naturally enough) Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, which featured several more songs in the same vein, such as Barterers And Their Wives, which was also released as a B side later that year. An unfortunate misstep by keyboardist Michael Brown, however, led to the Left Banke's early demise, and baroque rock soon went the way of other sixties fads.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Grace
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Country Joe McDonald liked to write songs that were inspired by women he knew. Being Country Joe McDonald these included some women who would end up becoming quite famous as part of the San Francisco scene. One of the most famous of those was Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, who inspired the final track on the first Country Joe And The Fish LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. Who would have guessed?

Artist:    Eyes
Title:    When The Night Falls
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):    Terry Nolder
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1966
    The Eyes formed in Whealing, West London in late 1962 as the Renegades, changing their name to Gerry Hart And The Hartbeats and finally The Eyes in 1964. The band was part of the Mod movement in mid-60s London, and was known as much for their visual image (they all wore rugby shirts and pink parkas with tire tracks across the back) as for the music they made. Like all Mod bands, the Eyes went for simply-structured tunes with repeated riffs, as can be heard on When The Night Falls, their 1966 debut single for a British label that had been formed to issue American recordings, which led British disc jockeys to jump to the conclusion that the Eyes were simply an American band trying to sound British. After three more singles and an EP failed to change that impression, the group decided to disband the following year.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Ain't It Hard
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tillison/Tillison
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes got their big break in 1966 when a real estate saleswoman heard them playing in a garage in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and told her friend Dave Hassinger about them. Hassinger was a successful studio engineer (having just finished the Rolling Stones' Aftermath album) who was looking to become a record producer. The Prunes were his first clients, and Hassinger's production style is evident on their debut single. Ain't It Hard had already been recorded by the Gypsy Trips, and the Electric Prunes would move into more psychedelic territory with their next release, the iconic I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Ups And Downs
Source:    Mono LP: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Lindsay/Melcher
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    At the beginning of 1967 Paul Revere and the Raiders were still flying high, with singles that consistently hit the upper reaches of the charts and a solid promotional platform in the daily afternoon TV show Action. Their first hit of the year was Ups And Downs, a collaboration between lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher. Things would soon turn sour for the band, however, as a volatile market turned against the group. In part it was because their revolutionary war costumes were becoming a bit camp. Also, Action left the airwaves in 1967, and its Saturday Morning replacement, Happening, was seen as more of a kid's show than a legitimate rock and roll venue. Most importantly, however, Melcher and the Raiders parted company, and the band realized too late just how important a role Melcher had played in the group's success.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sunny South Kensington
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Donovan followed up his 1966 hit single Sunshine Superman with an album of the same name. He then repeated himself with the song and album Mellow Yellow. The B side of the Mellow Yellow single was Sunny South Kensington, a tune done in much the same style as Superman. The song was also included on the Mellow Yellow album, and in 1998 was mixed in stereo for the first time.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Love Song
Source:    LP: Barabajagal
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1969
    The 1969 LP Barabajagal marked the end of the highly productive alliance between singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch and producer Mickie Most, who parted ways over divergent musical visions. In fact, only six of the 10 tracks on Barabajagal were produced by Most, including The Love Song, which opens the original LP's second side. Donovan would never again attain the commercial success he had while working with Most.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sunshine Superman
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Up until the early 1970s there was an unwritten rule that stated that in order to get played on top 40 radio a song could be no more than three and a half minutes long. There were exceptions, of course, such as Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, but as a general rule the policy was strictly adhered to. Sometimes an artist would record a song that exceeded the limit but nonetheless was considered to have commercial potential. In cases like these the usual practice was for the record company (or sometimes the record's own producer) to create an edited version of the master recording for release as a single. Usually in these cases the original unedited version of the song would appear on an album. In the case of Donovan's Sunshine Superman, however, the mono single version was used for the album as well, possibly because the album itself was never issued in stereo. In fact, it wasn't until 1969 that the full-length original recording of Sunshine Superman was made available as a track on Donovan's first Greatest Hits collection. This was also the first time the song had appeared in stereo, having been newly mixed for that album. An even newer mix was made in 1998 and is included on a British anthology album called Psychedelia At Abbey Road. This version takes advantage of digital technology and has a slightly different sound than previous releases of the song.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Bells
Source:    LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    Cox/Jansch/McShea/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Sometimes the same term can mean entirely different things, depending on where you are. For example, in the US folk music of the 1960s brings to mind images of beatniks in coffee houses or maybe a group of friends singing around a campfire. In the UK, however, the primary image associated with folk music was that of being forced to learn a bunch of songs in school that were old when your grandparents were born. As a result, there was a certain resistance to folk music in general among British youth that took a bit of doing to overcome. Scotland's Donovan Leitch managed to do it by following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan, ignoring traditional tunes in favor of writing his own more socially-conscious material. A few others performed a mix of traditional folk and modern jazz with rock overtones and were moderately successful at it. In 1968 five of these modern traditionalists got together to form a folk/jazz/rock supergroup. Somehow, despite the massive amount of talent that John Renbourne, Burt Jansch, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Richard Thompson had between them, they managed to stay together for several years without letting their egos get in the way of the music. The result was a series of outstanding albums starting with their 1968 self-titled debut, which, in addition to new versions of the aforementioned British folk songs, contained a handful of original compositions by the band. One of these originals is Bells, which may be the only folk song in history to include a drum solo (and a rather tasty jazz-styled one at that)!

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I'm So Tired
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    Somehow I can't help but thinking of the Firesign Theatre's Further Adventures of Nick Danger every time I hear this song. I guess that's better than thinking of Charles Manson's group, which some of the other songs on the "white album" make me do.

Artist:    Ace Of Cups
Title:    Glue
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: It's Bad For You But Buy It)
Writer(s):    Denise Kaufman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2003
    The Ace Of Cups were a pioneering all-female rock band from San Francisco that included Denise Kaufman, immortalized by Ken Kesey as Mary Microgram in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Koolaid Acid Test. As one of the major Merry Pranksters, Kaufman's irreverent attitude is in full evidence on the track Glue, which features a bit of guerilla theater parodying the standard TV commercials of the time. Lead vocals are by Mary Gannon, who came up with the idea of a rock band made up entirely of women in the first place.

Artist:    Lollipop Shoppe
Title:    It's Only A Reflection
Source:    CD: The Weeds aka The Lollipop Shoppe (originally released on LP: Just Colour)
Writer(s):    Ed Bowen
Label:    Way Back (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    Band managers are a funny kind of animal. A good one can turn an average group into an overnight success, while a poor one can completely destroy a band's reputation. Then there are the weird ones like Lord Tim that manage to do both at the same time. His first big success was with the Seeds, whom he managed to closely associate with the flower power movement, which of course backfired once that movement lost credibility with its youthful adherents. His next group was a band originally from Las Vegas called the Weeds. After discovering them playing in a club in Sausalito, he got them a contract to record an entire album for Uni Records, the forerunner of what is now the world's largest record conglomerate, Universal. The band then went about recording a dozen songs for the album, all but one of which were either written or co-written by the band's lead vocalist, Fred Cole. The lone exception was It's Only A Reflection, written by lead guitarist Ed Bowen. When the album came out in 1968, however, the band was surprised to find out their name had been changed to the Lollipop Shoppe by Lord Tim. As to why this happened, there are two predominant theories, both of which are probably partially true. First, Lord Tim wanted to avoid any confusion caused by the similarity of the names Seeds and Weeds. Second, it was 1968, and something known as bubblegum music was dominating the top 40 charts from groups with names like the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Whatever the reason, it was done without the band's knowledge or permission, and led to the group and Lord Tim parting company soon after the album was released. Eventually the group ended up in Portland, Oregon, where Cole and his new wife Toolie ended up forming the legendary indy-rock band Dead Moon.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    All Day And All Of The Night
Source:    Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Yesterday's Papers
Source:    CD: Between The Buttons
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label:London)
Year:    1967
    Between The Buttons was the Rolling Stones first album of 1967 and included their first forays into psychedelic music, a trend that would dominate their next LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The opening track of Between The Buttons was Yesterday's Papers, a song written in the wake of Mick Jagger's breakup with his girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton (who, after the album was released, tried to commit suicide). The impact of the somewhat cynical song was considerably less in the US, where it was moved to the # 2 slot on side one to make room for Let's Spend The Night Together, a song that had only been released as a single in the band's native UK.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     My Obsession
Source:     LP: Between The Buttons
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     London
Year:     1967
     My Obsession, from the 1967 album Between The Buttons, is the kind of song that garage bands loved: easy to learn, easy to sing, easy to dance to. The Rolling Stones, of course, were the kings of this type of song, which is why so many US garage bands sounded like the Stones.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Who's Been Sleeping Here
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Between The Buttons, released in early 1967, shows the Rolling Stones beginning to experiment with a more psychedelic sound than on previous albums. Brian Jones, in particular, took up several new instruments, including the sitar, heard prominently on the track Who's Been Sleeping Here. The next LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request, would take the group even further into psychedelic territory, prompting a back to basics approach the following year.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    You're A Lonely Girl
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Sloan/Barri
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1966
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (or so they claimed), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man). The B side was You're A Lonely Girl, a Sloan/Barri composition. The Bedouins would soon grow disenchanted with their role and move back to San Francisco, leaving Sloan and Barri the task of finding a new Grass Roots. Eventually they did, and the rest is history. The Bedouins never recorded again.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
    Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold in most of the country.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     One Rainy Wish
Source:     CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     In the summer of 1967 my dad (who was a Sergeant in the Air Force), got transferred to Lindsay Air Station in Weisbaden, Germany. The housing situation there being what it was, it was several weeks before the rest of us could join him, and during that time he went out and bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder that a fellow GI had picked up in Japan. The Akai had small speakers built into it, but the best way to listen to it was through headphones. It would be another year before he would pick up a turntable, so I started buying pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. Two of the first three tapes I bought were Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, both by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As I was forced to share a bedroom with my little brother I made it a habit to sleep on the couch in the living room instead, usually with the headphones on listening to Axis: Bold As Love. I was blown away by the stereo effects on the album, which I attributed (somewhat correctly) to Hendrix, although I would find out years later that much of the credit belongs to engineer Eddie Kramer as well. One Rainy Wish, for example, starts off with all the instruments in the center channel (essentially a mono mix). After a few seconds of slow spacy intro the song gets into gear with vocals isolated all the way over to the left, with a guitar overdub on the opposite side to balance it out. As the song continues, things move back and forth from side to side, fading in and out at the same time. It was a hell of a way to drift off to sleep every night.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Rambling On
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M/Rebound
Year:    1968
    Procol Harum is generally considered to be one of the first progressive rock bands, thanks in part to their second LP, Shine On Brightly. In addition to the album's showpiece, the seventeen minute In Held Twas I, the album has several memorable tracks, including Rambling On, which closes out side one of the original LP. The song's rambling first-person lyrics (none of which actually rhyme) tell the story of a guy who, inspired by a Batman movie, decides to jump off a roof and fly. Oddly enough, he succeeds.

Artist:    Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies
Title:    The Sing-Along Song
Source:    LP: The American Metaphysical Circus
Writer(s):    Joseph Byrd
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    After leaving the United States Of America (the band, not the country), avant-garde songwriter Joseph Byrd, using the name Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies, embarked on a new project called The American Metaphysical Circus that was even more experimental than his previous work. For some strange reason Columbia Records decided to release the album on its Masterworks classical label, which resulted in the album staying in print for several years, far longer than the United States Of America LP. How experimental was this new album? A listen to The Sing-Along Song, which manages to immerse itself in several different (and on the surface incompatible) musical genres over the course of four minutes, should answer that question.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    The Girl I Knew Somewhere (original version)
Source:    Mono CD: Headquarters (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    Although both Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork had participated in a few of the studio sessions for what became the first two Monkees albums (with Nesmith producing), the Monkees did not record as an actual band until January 16, 1967, when they taped the first version of Nesmith's The Girl I Knew Somewhere. Nesmith himself handled the lead vocals and guitar work, while Tork, the most accomplished musician in the group, played harpsichord. Mickey Dolenz, who would take over lead vocals on the final version of the song, played drums and Davy Jones added the tambourine part. The discordant note at the end of Tork's instrumental break was actually an accident that the band liked so much they decided to keep it. This version of the song, which was never mixed in stereo, sat on a shelf until 1995, when it appeared on the Rhino CD reissue of the Headquarters album.

Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Happy Is The Man
Source:    LP: Friday On My Mind
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    In the summer of 1966 the Easybeats, recently relocated to London from their native Australia, entered EMI's Abbey Road studios to begin working on an album to be called Good Friday. The first group of songs they recorded, written by the band's original songwriting team of Stevie Wright and George Young and produced by Ted Albert, failed to impress the higher ups at United Artists Records, and Shel Talmy was brought in to take over production duties. At the same time, lead guitarist Harry Vanda replaced Wright as George Young's songwriting partner. Among the songs the new team came up with was Friday On My Mind, which became the title of the album itself in the US, Canada and Brazil. The original title of Good Friday was used everywhere else (except Germany, where the album was titled The Easybeats). Probably the most politically incorrect song on the album (by today's standards) was Happy Is The Man, a song that is bound to set feminists seething, especially considering that the second verse seems to imply that the singer has given multiple women an STD without telling them about it.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    SWLABR
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and poet Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
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:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Sugar Magnolia
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: American Beauty)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Weir
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:     1970
            One of the most popular songs in the Grateful Dead catalog, Sugar Magnolia also has the distinction of being the second-most performed song in the band's history, with 596 documented performances. The song, written by Robert Hunter and Bob Weir, first appeared on the 1970 album American Beauty, but was not released as a single. A live version two years later, however, did see a single release, charting in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

Artist:    Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck
Title:    One Ring Jane
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in Canada on LP: Home Grown Stuff)
Writer(s):    McDougall/Ivanuck
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Sometimes called Canada's most psychedelic band, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in British Columbia in 1967. After recording one unsuccessful single for London, the Duck switched to Capitol Records' Canadian division and scored nationally with the album Home Grown Stuff. After a couple more years spent opening for big name bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple and a couple more albums (on the Capitol-owned Duck Records) the group disbanded, with vocalist/guitarist Donny McDougall joining the Guess Who in 1972.

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

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer, while his brother Steve went on to form the band Traffic. Then Blind Faith. Then Traffic again. And then a successful solo career. Meanwhile, the Spencer Davis Group continued on for several years with a series of replacement vocalists, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes with the Winwoods.