Sunday, April 7, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2415 (starts 4/8/24)

    This week Stuck in the Psychedelic Era presents, in its entirety, what many consider to be the greatest spoken word/comedy achievement of the entire psychedelic era: The Firesign Theatre's Further Adventures Of Nick Danger. Also this week: a set from the Who and the usual mix of singles, B sides and album tracks, included two from artists we've never heard from before, one from Canada and the other from England.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Louie, Go Home
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Midnight Ride)
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Revere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Nobody knows for sure who recorded Louie Louie first: the Kingsmen or Paul Revere And The Raiders. Both bands recorded the song in April of 1963 in the same studio in Portland, Oregon, but nobody seems to remember which band played at which session. Regardless, the Kingsmen ended up with the national hit version of the song, while Paul Revere And The Raiders went on to become one of the most successful American rock band of the mid-1960s, thanks in part to Dick Clark, who discovered them playing in Hawaii and chose them to be the house band on his new show Where The Action Is. By this time the band had been signed to Columbia Records, releasing their first single for the label, Louie-Go Home, in 1964. By 1966 they were riding high on the charts, and re-recorded Louie, Go Home (different punctuation, same song, different arrangement) in stereo for their second of three albums released that year: Midnight Ride.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    I Ain't Got You
Source:    Mono LP: The Animals On Tour
Writer(s):    Calvin Carter
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    As was almost always the case with British Invasion groups, the Animals' earliest US albums bear little resemblance to what could be found on the racks in the UK. Their second US album, The Animals On Tour, contained a mixture of tunes from their first British LP that had been left off the first American Animals LP, a pair of singles not available on any British album, and a handful of songs that hadn't been released in the UK at all (but would be three months later on an album called Animal Tracks that had an almost entirely different lineup of songs than the later US album of the same name). One example of the latter was a tune called I Ain't Got You. The shirts at M-G-M who compiled The Animals On Tour were so clueless, however, that the label credited "Will Advise" as the songwriter of I Ain't Got You. In reality it was Calvin Carter, producer and A&R man for Vee Jay Records, that composed the song in 1955, with a version by Billy Boy Arnold hitting the R&B charts in early 1956.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    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, who had recently replaced founding member Bill Rinehart on lead guitar, 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:    Janis Ian
Title:    Pro-Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Verve Folkways
Year:    1967
    It took guts for a fifteen-year-old to write and record a song that is basically an open letter to a prostitute. It took maturity to do it without either condoning or condemning that kind of life. Janis Ian displayed both with the song Pro-Girl on her 1967 debut LP.

The first of our "new" bands this week has rather unusual instrumentation prompted by an unfortunate incident...
Artist:    Third Ear Band
Title:    Cosmic Trip
Source:    Mono British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released on LP: National-Balkan Ensemble/Comedy Links And Bridges)
Writer(s):    Minns/Sweeny/Coff/Cartland
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Standard Music Library)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1970
    Although officially formed in late 1967 the Third Ear Band didn't really take form until June of 1968, when all of their instruments and amps were stolen after a gig. This prompted the group's (electric) guitarist and (electric) cellist to move on to other things, but the remaining two members, percussionist Glen Sweeney and Oboeist Paul Minns, to continue as a purely acoustic act, adding violinist Richard Coff and violist Ben Cartland, who also played (acoustic) guitar. They often crossed paths with composer Ron Geesin (who arranged the strings and horns for Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother Suite), who invited the Third Ear Band to come record three tunes at his own home studio. Geesin sold the tapes to a company that specialized in production music, which released the three tracks, including Cosmic Trip, on an album called National-Balkan Ensemble/Comedy Links And Bridges in 1970. Apparently the tracks got used in some obscure film, or maybe a radio or TV show, because, according to Sweeny, the members of the Third Ear Band did receive small royalty checks. The Third Eye Band remained active until health problems forced Sweeny to retire from music in 1993.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Shotgun
Source:    Mono LP: Near The Beginning
Writer(s):    Autry DeWalt
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
           For their fourth LP, Vanilla Fudge returned to the formula that they found their original success with for the album Near The Beginning. Whereas their third LP, Renaissance, contained mostly original material, Near The Beginning was dominated by an extended version of the Junior Walker hit Shotgun. The single version of the song, which the group performed on the Ed Sullivan show, was the group's last song to hit the Billboard top 100, peaking at # 68. According to drummer Carmine Appice, it was the Vanilla Fudge version of Shotgun that convinced Jeff Beck to later form a band with Appice and bassist Tim Bogert.
Artist:    Wet Paint
Title:    Glass Road
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wet Paint
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Onyx)
Year:    1968
    Although most of the bands recording in the state of Massachusetts used studios in Boston, there were some exceptions. One such case was a band called Wet Paint, who recorded at Eastern Sounds Recordings in Metheun. Eastern even had its own in-house record label, Onyx, which is where Glass Road was released in 1968.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
Source:    CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Brian Wilson's songwriting reached its full maturity with the Pet Sounds album, released in 1966. In addition to the hits Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B and God Only Knows, the album featured several album tracks that redefined where a pop song could go. One such tune is Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder), a slow, moody song with a chord structure that goes in unexpected directions. Like most of the songs on Pet Sounds, it was co-written by Tony Asher, who would later say the ideas were all Wilson's, with Asher just helping put them into words.

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:    Who
Title:    Young Man Blues
Source:    LP: Live At Leeds
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Decca
Year:    1970
    By the end of the 1960s, the Who were considered by many to be one of the best performing bands in existence. At the same time, however, they had achieved a kind of artsy reputation for the rock opera Tommy, which had been released in 1969, and we concerned that their reputation as a live band was being overshadowed. To counterract this, the band booked gigs at Leeds University and Hull City Hall specifically to record a live album. The result was Live At Leeds, an album that has been ranked by various critics as the greatest live rock recording of all time. The album starts with Mose Allison's Young Man Blues, a tune the Who had been playing off and on since 1964 and had made a major part of their stage repertoire since 1968. Allison, upon hearing the album, declared this recording to be the "Command Performance" version of the song. Young Man's Blues remained in the Who's regular stage repertoire through 1970, with it making occasional appearances over the years since then.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Whiskey Man
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    John Entwhistle
Label:    Decca
Year:    1966
    Although the Who had previously issued a pair of singles in the US, the first one to make any kind of waves was Happy Jack, released in late 1966 and hitting its peak the following year. The B side of that record was the song Whiskey Man. Like all the Who songs penned by bassist John Entwhistle, this one has an unusual subject: in this case, psychotic alcohol-induced hallucinations that are more enjoyable than reality.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Song For Jeffrey
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull's second single (and first European hit) was A Song For Jeffrey from their debut LP, This Was. The Jeffrey in the song title is Jeffrey Hammond, who, according to the liner notes, was "one of us, though he doesn't play anything". The notes go on to say he "makes bombs and stuff". In fact, Hammond would replace bassist Glen Cornick a few albums later and remain with the group for several years. The song itself proved popular enough that when the band compiled their first Anthology album, Living In The Past, A Song For Jeffrey was chosen to open the album.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    The Shield
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: The Book Of Taliesyn
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans/Lord
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    The story of the original Deep Purple lineup is, in a way, two entirely different stories. At home the band was virtually ignored by audiences and press alike, and struggled to even get their records released. In the US, however, they were overnight sensations, thanks in large part to the success of the single Hush in the spring of 1968. A North American tour was set up, scheduled to begin in October of that year, but their American label, Tetragrammaton, wanted a second album from the band to be on the racks before the tour opened. This meant that the group was in the studio only two months after releasing Shades of Deep Purple, working on what would become The Book Of Taleisyn, despite the fact that Shades of Deep Purple had not even been released yet in the UK. The first song recorded for the new LP was The Shield, an imaginative piece incorporating unusual drum patterns from Ian Paice and appropriately mystical lyrics from Rod Evans, along with some nice guitar and organ work from Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. Although The Book Of Taleisyn was not as big a seller in the US as Shades Of Deep Purple, the tour itself was a huge success. Still, the band still was not getting any respect at home. In fact, The Book Of Taleisyn did not even come out in the UK until mid-1969, by which time Evans and bassist Nicky Simper were no longer members of Deep Purple.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Mystic Mourning
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg/Rhodes
Label:    See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    If I had to choose one single recording that represents the psychedelic era, my choice would be Mystic Mourning, from the album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union. Everything about the tune screams (whispers? purrs?) psychedelic, starting with a short spacy intro of electric piano over cymbals, leading into a raga beat with a solo bass line that builds up to a repeating riff that ends up getting played at various times by guitar, bass, and/or piano. The lyrics are appropriately existential, and both guitar and piano get a chance to show their stuff over the course of the nearly six-minute track.

Our second band making its Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut this week is a Canadian power trio that started off covering Hendrix and Cream, but soon carved out musical territory of their own...

Artist:    Factree
Title:    Kaleidoscope
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weaver/Gauther
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Sparton)
Year:    1968
    Not too far from Niagara Falls lies the small city of Welland, Ontario. This city of about 50,000 people was home to the Factree, an early power trio consisting of guitarist Chris Smith, bassist Rick Gauthier and drummer Mike Weaver, all of whom provided vocals for the band. A local disc jockey playing some of their demos led to a contract with RCA, who brought the band to a studio in Toronto to record four songs, with Kaleidoscope being issued as the A side of their first single. The song got decent airplay in Toronto, and a second single from the same sessions was slated to be released, but somehow the master tapes got damaged and the band had a falling out with their producer. They did record another single (as Tree) for a smaller Canadian label before splitting up.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    Although the Beatles touched off the British Invasion, it was the sheer in-your-face simplicity of You Really Got Me, recorded by an "upstart band of teenagers" from London's Muswell Hill district named the Kinks and released in August of 1964 that made the goal of forming your own band and recording a hit single seem to be a viable one. And sure enough, within a year garages and basements all across America were filled with guitars, amps, drums and aspiring high-school age musicians, some of whom would indeed get their own records played on the radio.

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

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Everydays
Source:    LP: Buffalo Springfield Again
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Everydays has the distinction of being both the first song recorded for the album Buffalo Springfield Again and the last one to be released as a single, albeit a B side. Such was the quality of Stephen Stills's songwriting at this point in his career that a decent song like Everydays has gone completely overlooked in the years since it was released.

Artist:    Country Joe and the Fish
Title:    Section 43
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Country Joe and the Fish released their original mono version of an instrumental called Section 43. The song was included on a 7" EP inserted in Joe McDonald's underground arts newspaper called Rag Baby. In 1967 the group recorded an expanded stereo version of Section 43 and included it on their debut LP for Vanguard Records, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. It was this arrangement of the piece (and quite possibly this recording) that was used in D. A. Pennebacker's film chronicle of the Monterey International Pop Festival that June. 

Artist:    Oracle
Title:    Don't Say No
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single).
Writer(s):    Ruthann Friedmann
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1968
    Before the days of arena rock, with two or three bands touring together and putting on virtually the same show night after night, headliner bands often looked to local talent for their opening act, making each stop on the tour a unique event. Sometimes the local opening band made enough of an impression to create a path to stardom for themselves as well, or at least to get a record contract. Take the case of a Lake Charles, Lousiana band known locally as the Great Society. Although they had not made any records, they had developed enough of a reputation to be able to score gigs across the state line in East Texas. One of those gigs was opening for the Music Machine in mid 1967. The Music Machine, at this point, was experiencing the frustration of being unable to score a successful follow up to their 1966 hit Talk Talk and was on the verge of dissolving, with the various individual members starting to explore other options. Among those members was bassist Keith Olsen, who liked Great Society enough to convince them to come out to Los Angeles and let Olsen produce them. Things did not go exactly as planned, however, as a bad acid trip left the band in no shape to cut a record. Olsen, however, working with co-producer Curt Boettcher, did get the group to provide vocals for a studio project the two of them were working on, a Ruthann Friedmann song called Don't Say No. As there had already been a band in California called Great! Society as recently as 1966, it was decided to rename the group the Oracle for the release of Don't Say No on the Verve Forecast label in 1968. Although the record was not a hit, it did help open doors for Olsen, who would go on to discover and produce the duo known as Buckingham Nicks, along with their breakthrough album as members of Fleetwood Mac. Since then Olsen has become one of the top producers in the history of rock music, working with such well known artists as the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, Eddie Money, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rick Springfield, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Heart, Joe Walsh, Starship, Santana, Kim Carnes, Jethro Tull, The Babys, Ozzy Osbourne, the Scorpions, .38 Special, Bad Company, Sammy Hagar, Russ Ballard, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Sheena Easton, Journey, Loverboy, and Lou Gramm. Not bad for a bass player from a one-hit wonder 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:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    Electrollentando
Source:    CD: Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft II)
Writer(s):    George Edwards
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    The second album by H.P. Lovecraft (the band, not the author) is sometimes referred to as the ultimate acid rock album. In fact, it has been rumoured to be the first album made entirely under the influence of LSD (although the same has been said of the 1967 Jefferson Airplane LP After Bathing At Baxter's and both albums by the 13th Floor Elevators as well). This may in part because the band had relocated from their native Chicago to Marin County, California, where they shared billing with established Bay Area bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company and the aforementioned Jefferson Airplane. The album also featured more original material than the band's debut LP, including the easier to listen to than pronounce the title of Electrollentando.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2415 (starts 4/8/24) 

    This week we have a full slate of relatively short songs. In fact, this week's show actually has more total tunes (15) than any previous edition of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor UK (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 most popular 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 blind 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.

Artist:    Love Sculpture
Title:    The Stumble
Source:    British import CD: Blues Helping
Writer(s):    King/Thompson
Label:    EMI (original US label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1968
    Most people associate the name Dave Edmunds with his hit version of I Hear You Knockin' from the early 1970s. What many don't know, however, is that Edmunds was first and foremost a smokin' hot blues guitarist, as can be heard on the opening track of the first of two albums he recorded with bassist John Williams and drummer Congo Jones as Love Sculpture. Like most of the songs on Blues Helping, The Stumble is a cover of a blues classic, in this case written and originally recorded by Freddie King in 1961 and released as a single the following year.

Artist:    It's A Beautiful Day
Title:    Wasted Union Blues
Source:    CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer(s):    David LaFlamme
Label:    San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    It's A Beautiful Day was founded in the mid-60s by classical violinist David LaFlamme. The group had a hard time lining up gigs at first and eventually hooked up with local impressario Matthew Katz, who had similar deals with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. What the members of IABD did not know at the time was that those other bands were desperately trying to sever all ties with Katz due to his heavy-handed management style. LaFlamme and company would soon find out just how bad a deal they had gotten into when Katz shipped them off to Seattle to be the resident band at his own "San Francisco Sound" club from late 1967 through most of 1968. The group was put up in the attic of a house that Katz owned and given a small allowance that barely put food on the table. To make matters worse, attendance at the club was dismal. Still, the adversity did inspire some of LaFlamme's most powerful songwriting, such as Wasted Union Blues from the group's debut LP, released in 1969.

Artist:    Derek And The Dominos
Title:    Anyday
Source:    LP: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Writer(s):    Clapton/Whitlock
Label:    Atco
Year:    1970
    Derek And The Dominos was originally an attempt by Eric Clapton to remove himself from the solo spotlight and work in a larger group setting than he had with his previous bands, Cream and Blind Faith. Such was Clapton's stature, however, that even among talents like Jim Gordon, Carl Radle and Bobby Whitlock, Clapton was still the star. However, there was one unofficial member of the group whose own star was in ascendancy. Duane Allman, who had chosen to stick with his own group the Allman Brothers Band, nonetheless played on eleven of the fourteen tracks on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. His slide guitar work is especially noticeable on the title track and on the song Anyday, which remains one of the most popular songs on the album.

Artist:    J.J. Cale
Title:    Crazy Mama
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    J.J. Cale
Label:    Shelter
Year:    1971
    Oklahoma native John Weldon Cale first moved out to the west coast in 1964, where he found moderate success as a songwriter and landed a regular gig playing the Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Around this time he started using the name J.J. Cale to avoid confusion with the New York songwriter/violist John Cale (later to be a founding member of the Velvet Underground). His records, however (including an early fast version of After Midnight) went nowhere and Cale returned to Tulsa in late 1967. Nearly three years later Cale was surprised to hear Eric Clapton's cover of After Midnight on the radio, and at the suggestion of a friend decided to record an entire album of his original compositions. That album, Naturally, was released on Leon Russell's Shelter label in 1971, and included a slowed-down version of After Midnight. The most popular song from Naturally, however turned out to be a song called Crazy Mama that was released as a single, peaking at #22 in 1972.

Artist:    Graham Nash and David Crosby
Title:    The Wall Song
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Such was the popularity of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the early 70s that each of the members, both as solo artists and in various combinations of two or three members, released albums in addition to official group recordings, all of which sold well. One such effort was the 1972 album by Graham Nash and David Crosby. One of the more notable tracks on the album is The Wall Song, featuring (in addition to Crosby and Nash) Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann on guitar, bass and drums. The version heard here is the rare mono mix of The Wall Song, issued as a B side in 1972.

Artist:    Electric Light Orchestra
Title:    Queen Of The Hours
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released in UK on LP: The Harvest Bag)
Writer(s):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    United Artists (original UK label: Harvest)
Year:    1971
    The first Electric Light Orchestra single to make the US charts was an edited version of Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven from their 1973 album Electric Light Orchestra II. For the B side, however, they went back to the very first ELO song ever released. Queen Of The Hours had originally appeared in the UK on a compilation album called The Harvest Bag, released in November of 1971, and was included on ELO's debut LP the following month.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Car On A Hill
Source:    LP: Court And Spark
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1974
    Following the release of the album For The Roses in 1972, singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell decided to spend an entire year working on an album that would incorporate elements of jazz into her folk-rock style. To do that she recruited some of Los Angeles's top studio musicians, including members of the Crusaders and Tom Scott's L.A. Express and Wayne Perkins, who plays guitar on Car On A Hill. Court And Spark, released in 1974, became Mitchell's most successful album, and has appeared on several "best of" lists over the years.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Down In The Track
Source:    CD: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Writer(s):    Tom Johnston
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1974
    Down In The Track is one of the more straightforward rock 'n' roll tunes on the fourth Doobie Brothers album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. In addition to band members Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, Tiran Porter, John Hartman and Michael Hossack, the recording features New Orleans pianist James Booker, known as the "Black Liberace" on piano.

Artist:    Iggy And The Stooges
Title:    Search And Destroy
Source:    LP: Raw Power
Writer(s):    Pop/Williamson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1973
    Raw Power, the third album by the Stooges, saw the addition of James Williamson on guitar, with Ron Asheton moving over to bass to replace the departing Dave Alexander. Williamson also co-wrote all the songs on Raw Power with vocalist Iggy Pop. The album's opening track, Search And Destroy, has been called "an archetype for punk rock" and has been covered by numerous bands over the ensuing years.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    Rock & Roll
Source:    LP: Loaded
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    Lou Reed has said that the song Rock & Roll, from his last album with the Velvet Underground, Loaded, is somewhat autobiographical. In his liner notes for the box set Peel Slowly And See, Reed says "If I hadn't heard rock and roll on the radio, I would have had no idea there was life on this planet." The song has become one of Reed's signature songs over the years, but on Loaded the bulk of the work is done by Doug Yule, who played bass, organ, piano and lead guitar parts on the track.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
Source:    CD: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    The final track of David Bowie's concept album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Rock 'N' Roll Suicide finds the title character an old washed-up rock star in a song that starts off quietly, then builds to a fitting climax for one of the most influential albums in rock history. According to Bowie, the piece was conceived in the French chanson tradition, with nods to Baudelaire and Jacques Brel in the lyrics. Although the song was never intended to be released as a single, the shirts at RCA apparently thought they knew better and issued one anyway (but only in the UK) in 1974, two years after the album itself came out; the record stalled out in the #22 spot, becoming Bowie's first single in three years to miss the UK top 20.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    You Gotta Move
Source:    CD: Sticky Fingers
Writer(s):    Fred McDowell
Label:    Virgin/Rolling Stones
Year:    1971
    Throughout their peak period of 1968-1972 the Rolling Stones made sure to include a cover of a classic blues tune on every one of the albums. Their entry for the 1971 album Sticky Fingers (the first on their own label) was You Gotta Move. Credited to Mississippi Fred McDowell on the album cover, the song is thought to possibly been co-written by Reverend Gary Davis, although documentation of the song itself is sparse. The Stones version features some nice slide guitar work from new member Mick Taylor.

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

Artist:    Five Man Electrical Band
Title:    Absolutely Right
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Les Emmerson
Label:    Lionel
Year:    1971
    Formed in Ottawa in 1963, the Staccatos had a string of Canadian hits from 1963 throught 1968. After their producer, Nick Venet, told the band that the name Staccatos sounded dated, the band rechristened themselves The Five Man Electric Band, releasing their first album under that name (including several tracks originally released as Staccatos singles) in 1969. The band switched labels and released the album Good-byes and Butterflies in 1970. The following year, the opening track from Good-byes and Butterflies became an international hit. Originally issued as a B side in October of 1970, Signs was re-released in February of 1971, and by summer was in the top 5 in both the US and Canada, as well as spending two weeks at #1 in Australia. The band followed it up with a song called Absolutely Right. Although the song made the top 10 in several US and Canadian cities, it only peaked at a disappointing #26 on the Billboard charts. After two more albums and several more singles, the Five Man Electrical Band finally disbanded in 1975.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2414 (starts 4/1/24) 

    A battle of the bands and, for some reason, a whole lot of tunes from 1966 (including one from an artist we've never heard from before, maybe because he was using a pseudonym) are on this week's agenda, plus a handful of other tunes making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut as well.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Atkinson/Byrne/Chaney/Michalski
Label:    Double Shot
Year:    1966
    In late 1966 five guys from San Jose California managed to sound more like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds that the Yardbirds themselves (a task probably made easier by the fact that by late 1966 Jeff Beck was no longer a member of the Yardbirds). One interesting note about this record is that as late as the mid-1980s the 45 RPM single on the original label was still available in record stores, complete with the original B side. Normally (in the US at least) songs more than a year or two old were only available on anthology LPs or on reissue singles with "back-to-back hits" on them. The complete takeover of the record racks by CDs in the late 1980s changed all that, as all 45s (except for indy releases) soon went the way of the 78 RPM record. The resurgence of vinyl in the 2010s has been almost exclusively limited to LP releases, making it look increasingly unlikely that we'll ever see (with the exception of Record Store Day special releases) 45 RPM singles on the racks ever again.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    By all accounts, Tommy Flanders, the original lead vocalist for the Blues Project, was quite a character. He was known to wear the latest London fashions while walking the streets of New York's Greenwich Village and would even occasionally affect a British accent. He was also the one, according to guitarist Danny Kalb, who came up with the band's name in the fall of 1965. It was around that time that the band made its first trip to the recording studio, recording a pair of tunes for Columbia that the label rejected, meeting studio keyboardist and subsequent band member Al Kooper in the process. Around that time the band landed a steady gig at a place called the Cafe-Au-Go-Go and the club owner, Howard Solomon, decided to put on a show for Thanksgiving weekend called the "Blues Bag", featuring a mix of established artists like John Lee Hooker and younger artists like Geoff Muldaur, with the Blues Project as one of the main attractions. Solomon managed to get Verve Folkways Records to record the whole thing, which led to the band getting a contract with the experimental Verve Forecast label. The band had been allowed to keep the master tapes of the Columbia session, and the two tracks, a folk song called Violets Of Dawn written by fellow Greenwich Village denizen Eric Anderson and a sped up cover of Howlin' Wolf's Back Door Man, were released as the first Blues Project single on the Verve Forecast label in January of 1966.  At around that same time, the people at Verve's parent company, M-G-M, decided that the Blues Project was America's answer to the Rolling Stones, and flew the entire band out to Los Angeles for a huge sales conference. After the conference, however, in a scene right out of Spinal Tap, Tommy Flanders's girlfriend had an all-out blowup with the rest of the band members that resulted in her announcing that Flanders was quitting the band to become a Star. The album was quickly reworked to minimize Flanders's contributions (although there were not enough non-Flanders songs available to leave him entirely off the LP) and hit the racks in March of 1966, leaving the Violets Of Dawn/Back Door Man single as the only record released by the Blues Project while Flanders was still a member of the band.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Get Out Of My Life Woman
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Alan Toussaint
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The second Butterfield Blues Band album, East-West, released in 1966, is best known for the outstanding guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. One often overlooked member of the group was keyboardist Mark Naftalin, who, along with Butterfield and Bishop, was a founding member of the band. Naftalin's keyboard work is the highlight of the band's cover of Alan Toussaint's Get Out Of My Life Woman, which was a top 40 hit for Lee Dorsey the same year.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 15 seconds or so from the original recording.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Fat Angel
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sundazed/Epic
Year:    1966
    There seems to be some confusion as to what Donovan's 1966 track The Fat Angel is about. Some critics assume it refers to Cass Elliott of the Mamas and the Papas, although that seems to be based entirely on the song title. Others take it as a tribute of some sort to Jefferson Airplane, whose name appears in the lyrics of the song. The problem with this theory is that The Fat Angel appeared on the Sunshine Superman album, which was released just two weeks after the first Jefferson Airplane album (although it is possible that Donovan had come across a copy of the single It's No Secret, which had been released in the US in February of 1966 at the same time that Donovan was recording the Sunshine Superman album). My own view is based on the lyrics themselves, which are about a pot dealer making his rounds. Fly Trans-Love Airlines indeed!

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

Artist:    Creation
Title:    How Does It Feel To Feel
Source:    Mono British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Garner/Phillips
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    Creation was one of a handful of British bands that were highly successful in Germany, but were unable to buy a hit in their own country. Evolving out of a band known as the Mark Four, Creation was officially formed in 1966 by vocalist Kenny Pickett, guitarist Eddie Phillips, bassist Bob Garner and drummer Jack Jones. Their first single stalled out at #49 on the British charts, but went to #5 in Germany. The gap was even wider for their second single, which topped the German charts but did not chart in Britain at all. Garner and Phillips both left the band just as How Does It Feel To Feel was issued in early 1968. The band, with a fluctuating lineup, continued on for a few months but finally threw in the towel in late 1968.

Artist:    Beau Brummels
Title:    Deep Water
Source:    LP: The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook (originally released on LP: Bradley's Barn)
Writer(s):    Elliott/Valentino
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1968
    The Beau Brummels were one of the first San Francisco bands to hit the top 20 in the US with their 1964 single Laugh Laugh, following it up with the even more successful Just A Little in 1965. This made them the top act at Autumn Records, owned by legendary San Francisco Disc Jockey Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue. When Autumn got into financial trouble and declared bankruptcy in late 1966 they sold the Beau Brummels' contract to Warner Brothers. Because of publishing issues, the Brummels' first album for Warner was made up entirely of cover songs, but were able to eventually record two albums' worth of material before disbanding in late 1968. By this time the Beau Brummels had been reduced to the duo of guitarist Ron Elliott and vocalist Sal Valentino, who had moved to Nashville and enlisted several prominent Nashville musicians, including keyboardist David Briggs, drummer Kenny Buttrey and guitarist Jerry Reed, for their final album. Bradley's Barn (the name of both the album and the studio where it was recorded) is considered an early example of country rock. When Warner Brothers compiled their first of a series of budget-priced mail order only albums known as Loss Leaders, they included Deep Water from Bradley's Barn.

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 ("She comes around here" in place of "She comes up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version of the song. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the second follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest real life practicioner.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    By all rights, the Byrds' Eight Miles High should have been a huge hit. Unfortunately, the highly influential Gavin Report labelled the tune as a drug song and recommended that stations avoid playing it, despite band's insistence that it was about a transatlantic plane trip. The band's version actually makes sense, as Gene Clark had just quit the group due to his fear of flying (he is listed as a co-writer of the song), and the subject was probably a hot topic of discussion among the remaining members.

Artist:    Link Cromwell
Title:    Crazy Like A Fox
Source:    Czech import LP: Also Dug-Its (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kusik/Adams
Label:    Elektra/Rhino (original label: Hollywood)
Year:    1966
    Imagine you're the guy who gets to compile the first-ever collection of psychedelic garage rock singles from the mid-1960s. Naturally, having recorded one yourself, you would consider including that tune on the album, but in this instance the compiler, Lenny Kaye, chose modesty instead, and the song Crazy Like A Fox (written by his uncle, Larry Kusik and co-producer Ritchie Adams and released under the name Link Cromwell) remained only available as an obscure and highly collectable single for nearly 50 years, when it finally appeared on a couple of almost as obscure CD compilations in the UK, along with a box set of punk 45s. Finally, in 2023, Kaye supervised the 50th anniversary re-release of Nuggets, the aformentioned first-ever collection of psychedelic garage rock singles from the mid-1960s. This time, however, Kaye included the 2-LP volume 2 that had been originally planned but not released, along with a bonus disc called Also Dug-Its. And Kaye finally included his own Crazy Like A Fox on that bonus disc. Enjoy!

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Time Won't Let Me
Source:    Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands Vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    King/Kelly
Label:    Era (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    From Cleveland we have another local band signed to a major label, in this case Capitol Records, which at the time was having great success with both the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Lead vocalist Sonny Gerachi would reappear a few years later with the band Climax, singing a song called Precious and Few, which is one of the greatest juxtapositions of artist names and song titles ever released.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Midnight To Six Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Taylor/May
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1965
    Once upon a time in London there was a band called Little Boy Blue And The Blue Boys. Well, it wasn't really so much a band as a bunch of schoolkids jamming in guitarist Dick Taylor's parents' garage on a semi-regular basis. In addition to Taylor, the group included classmate Mick Jagger and eventually another guitarist by the name of Keith Richards. When yet another guitarist, Brian Jones, entered the picture, the band, which was still an amateur outfit, began calling itself the Rollin' Stones. Taylor switched from guitar to bass to accomodate Jones, but when the Stones decided to add a "g" and go pro in late 1962, Taylor opted to stay in school. It wasn't long, however, before Taylor, now back on guitar, showed up on the scene with a new band called the Pretty Things. Fronted by vocalist Phil May, the Things were rock and roll bad boys like the Stones, except more so. Their fifth single, Midnight To Six Man, sums up the band's attitude and habits. Unfortunately, the song barely made the British top 50 and was totally ignored by US radio stations.           
Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 the Spencer Davis Group had already racked up an impressive number of British hit singles, but had yet to crack the US top 40. This changed when the band released Gimme Some Lovin', an original composition that had taken the band about an hour to develop in the studio. The single, released on Oct 28, went to the #2 spot on the British charts. Although producer Jimmy Miller knew he had a hit on his hands, he decided to do a complete remix of the song, including a brand new lead vocal track, added backup vocals and percussion and plenty of reverb, for the song's US release. His strategy was successful; Gimme Some Lovin', released in December of 1966, hit the US charts in early 1967, eventually reaching the #7 spot. The US remix has since become the standard version of the song, and has appeared on countless compilations over the years.

Artist:    John Fred & His Playboy Band
Title:    Sad Story/AcHendall Riot
Source:    LP: Agnes English
Writer(s):    Fred/Bernard
Label:    Paula
Year:    1967
    Although primarily remembered as a one-hit wonder, John Fred actually had a long career in the music business, dating back to 1956 when he formed John Fred And The Playboys at the age of 15. His first charted single was Shirley, released in March of 1959. Fred, who was a high school (and later college) athletic star, actually turned down an opportunity to appear on American Bandstand to promote the song because he had to play in a basketball game. In 1967 he changed the name of the band to John Fred & His Playboy Band to avoid being confused with Gary Lewis And The Playboys and had the biggest hit of his career with Judy In Disguise (With Glasses). This led to an album called Agnes English which includes Sad Story, a track that has Fred sounding eerily like Eric Burdon and leads into the instrumental AcHendall Riot to close out the LP. Although he was never able to equal the success of the #1 Judy In Disguise, he continued to be active in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both as a musician and as a high school baseball and basketball coach. He also hosted a popular radio show, The Roots Of Rock 'N' Roll, and produced records for other artists such as Irma Thomas and Fats Domino before his death in 2005 from complications following a kidney transplant. In 2007 John Fred became the first artist inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Prelude/Nightmare
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Brown
Label:    Polydor (original UK label: Track)
Year:    1968
    One of rock's first "theatrical" performers, Arthur Brown first began to get noticed in Paris, where he spent a year developing his stage show and unique vocal style with his band the Arthur Brown Set, which was formed in 1965. On his return to England he joined up with keyboardist Vincent Crane. By 1967 the Vincent Crane Combo had changed its name to The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and was becoming a major force on London's underground music scene. In late 1967 the band went to work on their self-titled debut LP, which was released in the UK on the Track label in June of 1968. Spurred by the success of the single Fire, the album was picked up for American distribution by Atlantic Records that same year. The people at Atlantic, however, felt that the drums were a bit off and insisted on adding horns and strings to cover the deficiency. The result can be heard on tracks like Prelude/Nightmare, which opens the album.

Artist:    Aretha Franklin
Title:    Chain Of Fools
Source:    Mono CD: Atlantic Rhythm & Blues (Volume 6 1966-1969) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Don Covay
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    Since pretty much everyone knows who Arethat Franklin was, I'll instead focus on the guy who wrote Chain Of Fools, Donald James Randolph, who was known by the stage name Don Covay. Covay got his start as a member of the Little Richard Revue, working in the dual roles of opening act and chaffeur for Little Richard himself. Pretty much from the start he was more successful as a songwriter than as a singer. For example, his first charted single, Pony Time, only made it as far as the #60 spot on the Billboard pop chart, but later became a #1 hit for Chubby Checker. Another example was Mercy, Mercy, which is now associated with the Rolling Stones, who covered the tune on their 1965 LP Out Of Our Heads. Probably the biggest hit Covay had as a songwriter was Aretha Franklin's Chain Of Fools, which went to the #2 spot on the pop charts and all the way to the top of the R&B charts in 1968. Ironically, Chain Of Fools was one of Covay's earliest compositions, written in 1953 while he was a teenager singing in a gospel group with his brothers and sisters.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    LP: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound). And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was turning into a major hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound), making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Strawberry Fields Forever
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    The first song recorded for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, John Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever was instead issued as a single (along with Paul McCartney's Penny Lane) a few months before the album came out. The song went into the top 10, but was not released on an album until December of 1967, when it was included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    The first Neil Young song I ever heard was Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, which was issued as the B side of For What It's Worth in 1967. I had bought the single and, as always, after my first listen flipped the record over to hear what was on the other side. (Years later I was shocked to learn that there were actually people who never listened to the B side of records they bought. I've never been able to understand that.) Anyway, at the time I didn't know who Neil Young was, or the fact that although Young was a member of Buffalo Springfield it was actually Richie Furay singing the song on the record. Now I realize that may seem a bit naive on my part, but I was 14 at the time, so what do you expect? At least I had the good taste to buy a copy of For What It's Worth in the first place (along with the Doors' Light My Fire and the Spencer Davis Group's I'm A Man if I remember correctly). Where I got the money to buy three current records at the same time is beyond me, though.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Here Comes The Sun
Source:     CD: Abbey Road
Writer:     George Harrison
Label:     Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:     1969
     In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' recording career as a band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the #1 spot on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Abbey Road Medley #2
Source:    CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1969
    The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys (although some rock historians treat it as one long medley). The second one consists of three songs credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Golden Slumbers is vintage McCartney, while Carry That Weight has more of a Lennon feel to it. The final section,The End, probably should have been credited to the entire band, as it contains the only Ringo Starr drum solo on (a Beatles) record as well as three sets of alternating lead guitar solos (eight beats each) from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon (in that order).

Artist:     Van Dyke Parks
Title:     Donovan's Colours
Source:     LP: Superecord Contemporary (originally released on LP: Song Cycle)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1967
     Van Dyke Parks is probably best known for being Brian Wilson's collaborator of choice for the legendary (but unreleased) Smile album. When Wilson's deteriorating mental health brought about the demise of the Smile project, Parks got to work on his own debut solo LP. Song Cycle, released in 1967, was a critical success, but did not sell particularly well, due to being out of step with the then-current emphasis on psychedelic rock. The lead single from Song Cycle, released several months in advance of the album itself, was an instrumental adaptation of Donovan's early single Colours. Although credited to the fictitious George Washington Brown on the label of the single, the song was correctly credited to Donovan himself on the LP. Following the release of Song Cycle Parks shifted his attention to working behind the scenes with artists like Ry Cooder, Randy Newman and the Esso Trinidad String Band. He was also instrumental in getting the Beach Boys signed to Reprise in the early 70s, and since then has had a long and productive career as a songwriter, arranger and producer, releasing several more solo albums as well.

OK, so I can see why Van Dyke Parks would spell colors the British way, since that's the way Donovan's original version was spelled, but what is the deal with the original album title that the next tune is taken from? I bet Lord Tim (see below) was responsible.

Artist:    Lollipop Shoppe
Title:    Sin
Source:    German import CD: The Weeds aka The Lollipop Shoppe (originally released on LP: Just Colour)
Writer(s):    Fred Cole
Label:    Way Back (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    The Weeds were originally from Las Vegas, but by 1967 had relocated to Portland, Oregon, becoming a fixture on the local music scene. Their manager, Whitey Davis, decided that the band would be better off living in Sausalito, California. After about six months the Weeds dispensed with Davis's services and struck out on their own, moving to Los Angeles and eventually hooking up with Lord Tim, manager of the Seeds. When their first single, You Must Be A Witch came out in early 1968 the group was appalled to learn that Lord Tim had arbitrarily, without the band's knowledge or permission, changed their name to the Lollipop Shoppe. The single did well enough to allow the band to record an entire LP, which was titled Just Colour. Sin, written by the band's leader Fred Cole, is fairly typical of the Weeds' (excuse me, the Lollipop Shoppe's) sound.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sad Day
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richard
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    Several Rolling Stones singles released in the 1960s had different B sides in the UK and the US. As a result, songs like Sad Day, which was the B side of 19th Nervous Breakdown in the US, remained unreleased in the UK for several years. Sad Day finally appeared in the UK on a compilation album called No Stone Unturned, and was even released as the only single from that LP. Neither the single nor the LP itself was authorized by the band, who had lost control of their own pre-1971 catalog to Allan Klein when they terminated their contract with the British Decca label.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Outside Chance
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Zevon/Crocker
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1966
    The Turtles' Outside Chance is distinctive for several reasons. First, it was the last single released before Happy Together, the song that would become the band's signature song. It was also their first single since It Ain't Me Babe not to hit the charts, which is kind of hard to understand, as it really is a well-crafted record with a catchy hook. Outside Chance is also notable for being co-written by Warren Zevon, making the record's lack of success even more unfathomable.

Artist:    Mockingbirds
Title:    How To Find A Lover
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Peter Couad
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    In addition to being one of the most successful songwriters in British beat music, Graham Gouldman was one of the most unsuccessful bandleaders in British beat music. His group, the Mockingbirds, released three singles in 1965, all of which were written or co-written by Gouldman. None of them charted, despite the fact that they were released on high-profile labels (Columbia and Immediate). The following year the band signed with yet another major label, Decca, and released two more singles. Neither of these, however, were written by Gouldman, who by then was holding back his best songs to be sold to proven hitmakers like the Hollies and Herman's Hermits. The final Mockingbirds single was How To Find A Lover, written by Peter Couad (or Cowap, according to one source). It too bombed, despite being a well-crafted pop song. Gouldman and bandmate Kevin Godley would eventually be reunited in the 1970 with the band 10cc.

Artist:      Opus 1
Title:     Back Seat '38 Dodge
Source:      Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Christensen/Becker/Becker/Parker
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mustang)
Year:     1966
     Long Beach, California was home to Opus 1, who released the high-powered surf-tinged Back Seat '38 Dodge on L.A.'s Mustang label in 1966. The title refers to a controversial sculpture that suburbanites were talking about at the time.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album where the song first appeared) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune. The record label itself credits Rowberry as the songwriter, rather than Rainey, perhaps because the Animals' arrangement was so radically different from various earlier recordings of the song, such as the #1 R&B hit by Chuck Willis and LaVerne Baker's early 60s version.
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    World Of Darkness
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Sundazed/Reprise
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2015
    Electric Prunes vocalist James Lowe recalls that he and bassist Mark Tulin wrote World Of Darkness after seeing the Beatles on TV. The song was recorded in 1966 as a demo, but the band never returned to the recording to fix what he calls "timing" errors. The tune was released "as is" as a B side for Record Store Day 2015.

Artist:        Doors
Title:        End Of The Night
Source:    European import CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer:        The Doors
Label:        Elektra/Rhino
Year:        1967
        Sometimes you run across a song that seems to encapsulate what a band is all about. End Of The Night, from the first Doors album, is one of those songs. Apparently the band members felt the same way, as it was included on the anthology album Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, despite never being released as a single.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released as a single in October of 1967 the whole idea of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news (at least in ultra-hip L.A.) and the single went nowhere.

Artist:     Moby Grape
Title:     Omaha
Source:     Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Moby Grape)
Writer:     Skip Spence
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1967
     As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently from the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2414 (starts 4/1/24) 

    Ever have one of those days where you had no idea where or how things were going to go? Well, this week's show was recorded on such a day. Came out pretty good, for all that.

Artist:    MC5
Title:    Kick Out The Jams
Source:    CD: Kick Out The Jams
Writer(s):    MC5
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1970
    The MC5's association with Elektra Records was cut short when the band took out a full-page ad in a Detroit newspaper saying: "Stick Alive with the MC5, and F*** Hudson's!", prominently displaying the Elektra logo in the ad itself. Hudson's, the city's largest department store chain, had refused to stock the band's debut LP Kick Out The Jams because of the use of profanity throughout the album, including on the intro to the title track. In response to the ad, Hudson's then pulled ALL of Elektra's records from the shelves. Elektra responded by terminating their contract with the MC5. Speaking of the title track, here it is (without the spoken intro, of course).

Artist:    Gentle Giant
Title:    A Cry For Everyone
Source:    CD: Octopus
Writer(s):    Minnear/Shulman/Shulman/Shulman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    Gentle Giant was a British progressive rock band that evolved out of  the R&B oriented Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group initially included brothers Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Kerry Minnear and Gary Green (all five being multi-instrumentalists) and drummer Martin Smith (a holdover from the Big sound). They started their career as a band by announcing that their goal was to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular". For their first three albums they did just that. Their music, like many progressive rock bands of the time, incorporated elements of jazz, soul, folk and classical music, but, unlike most of their contemporaries, their classical influences ranged from early baroque to the avant-garde works of modern composers such as Varese and Cage. By the release of their third LP, Octopus, Gentle Giant was on its third and final drummer, John Weathers, who was also proficient on xylophone and other percussion instruments. They had also found a slightly more accessible sound, as can be heard on track like A Cry For Everyone, which, compared with their earlier work, flat out rocks. Lyrically, the song draws on the works of writer Albert Camus.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1968
     The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:    Everybody I Love You
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stills/Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The last track on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album déjà vu is a Stephen Stills/Neil Young collaboration that sets the stage for the Stills/Young band a couple of years later. Stylistically it's pretty easy to figure out which part of Everybody I Love You was written by Stephen Stills and which part was written by Neil Young. What's interesting is how well the two parts actually fit together. As far as I know this is actually the first songwriting collaboration between the two, despite being bandmates in Buffalo Springfield since 1966 (and knowing each other even longer).

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Quicksand
Source:    CD: Hunky Dory
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1971
    After rocking out pretty hard with his third studio LP, The Man Who Sold The World, David Bowie mellowed out a bit with his first album for his new label, RCA. Hunky Dory, released in 1971 was actually  recorded at a time when Bowie had no record contract, and features the same lineup that would be heard on his classic Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars album the following year. Unlike the albums that precede and follow it, Hunky Dory puts the emphasis more on Bowie's lyrics on tunes like Quicksand, which reflects Bowie's interest in the occult, as well as the work of Franz Nietzsche.

Artist:    Cheech And Chong
Title:    The Three Little Pigs
Source:    LP: Cheech And Chong's Wedding Album
Writer(s):    Marin/Chong
Label:    Ode
Year:    1974
    Cheech Marin tells a bedtime story.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    War Pigs
Source:    CD: We Sold Our Soul For Rock & Roll (originally released on LP: Paranoid)
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Originally titled Walpurgis, Black Sabbath's War Pigs, the opening track on their second LP, Paranoid, started off being about the Witches' Sabbath (Walpurgis being the Satanists' analog to Christmas). As Bill Butler's lyrics developed, however, the song ended up being more about how the rich and powerful declare the wars, but send the poor off to die in them. Either way, it's about evil people doing evil things and the rest of us suffering for it. I guess some things never change.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys)
Writer(s):    Jim Capaldi
Label:    Island
Year:    1971
    Jim Capaldi always wanted to be a front man. In fact, he was the lead vocalist and founder of his own band, the Sapphires, when he was just 14 years old. In 1963 he switched to drums to form the Hellions with guitarists Dave Mason and Gordon Jackson. The following year the Hellions got a gig backing up Tanya Day at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany, where he met Steve Winwood, who was staying at the same hotel as a member of the Spencer Davis Group. In 1965 Capaldi became the band's front man with the addition of Poli Palmer as the band's new drummer. Although the Hellions were a successful performing band, none of their four singles (including one in 1966 under the name Revolution) charted. Mason left the band that year and the remaining members recorded a few demos for Giorgio Gomelsky, but they were not released at the time. During this time Capaldi often sat in with Winwood, Mason and flautist Chris Wood for after-hours jam sessions at Birmingham's Elbow Club. In 1967 they officially formed Traffic, with Capaldi and Winwood co-writing the bulk of the band's material. After Winwood left Traffic to join Blind Faith, Capaldi, Mason and Wood tried to get a new band going with keyboardist Mick Weaver, but things didn't work out. In early 1970 Capaldi and Wood accepted Winwood's invitation to help with what was to be his debut solo album, but which ended up being a reformed Traffic's John Barleycorn Must Die. With the addition of drummer Jim Gordon on the album Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, Capaldi finally got a chance to front the band on two songs, one of which, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, he wrote without Winwood's assistance. For the remainder of his life, in addition to continuing to work with Winwood as a member of Traffic and later on his solo albums, Capaldi pursued a successful solo career, scoring several hits on the British charts. His biggest American hit was That's Love, which hit the #28 spot in 1983. Jim Capaldi died from stomach cancer in 2005 at age 60.

Artist:    Larry Coryell
Title:    Stiff Neck
Source:    LP: Lady Coryell
Writer(s):    Larry Coryell
Label:    Vanguard Apostolic
Year:    1968
    Most of Larry Coryell's first album was recorded using the same musicians that Coryell had been working with as a member of the early jazz-rock fusion group Free Spirits. For a couple tracks, however, he enlisted the services of veteran jazz drummer Elvin Jones. One of them, Stiff Neck, sounds to my ear like a seven-minute long jam session with only Coryell and Jones participating (if there's any bass in there, I can't hear it).

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Persuasion
Source:    CD: Santana
Writer(s):    Santana (band)
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Santana was originally a free-form jam band, but at the insistence of manager Bill Graham began to write more structured songs for their first studio LP. Released in 1969, the album received less than glowing reviews from the rock press, but following the band's successful appearance at Woodstock, the LP eventually peaked at # 4 on the Billboard album charts. One of the lesser known tracks on the album was Persuasion, a good example of the band doing what their manager told them to do.

Artist:    ZZ Top
Title:    Just Got Paid
Source:    LP: The Best Of ZZ Top (originally released on LP: Rio Grande Mud)
Writer(s):    Gibbons/Ham
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: London)
Year:    1972
    Although 1972's Francine was ZZ Top's first charted single, most fans would agree that La Grange, from the 1973 album Tres Hombres was their true breakthrough hit. Interestingly, they chose to put a track from the band's previous album, Rio Grande Mud, on the B side. Even more interestingly, they included that B side, Just Got Paid, on their first "best of" collection.

Artist:     Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Sin's A Good Man's Brother
Source:     CD: Closer To Home
Writer:     Mark Farner
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1970
     Flint, Michigan, in the mid-1960s was home to a popular local band called Terry Knight and the Pack. In 1969 pack guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer hooked up with Mel Schacher (the former bassist of ? and the Mysterians) to form Grand Funk Railroad, with Terry Knight himself managing and producing the new band. With a raw, garage-like sound played at record high volume, Grand Funk immediately earned the condemnation of virtually every rock critic in existence. Undeterred by bad reviews, the band took their act to the road, foregoing the older venues such as bars, ballrooms and concert halls, instead booking entire sports arenas for their concerts. In the process they almost single-handedly created a business model that continues to be the industry standard. Grand Funk Railroad consistently sold out all of their performances for the next two years, earning no less than three gold records in 1970 alone.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    Freddie's Dead
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Curtom
Year:    1972
    The 1971 movie Shaft launched an entire genre of films sometimes known as "blacksploitation" movies. One of the most successful of these was the 1972 film Super Fly. The soundtrack music for Super Fly was provided by former Impressions frontman Curtis Mayfield, and released on his own Curtom label. The single Freddie's Dead, adding vocals to the film's instrumental theme, was released ahead of the film and went into the top 5 on both the Hot 100 and Billboard R&B charts. It was also nominated for a Grammy award, but lost out to the Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong piece Papa Was A Rolling Stone, sung by the Temptations.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2413 (starts 3/25/24)

    A lot of artists' sets this week, including a new battle of the bands between two of the original British invasion bands. Also, a final half hour jam packed full of obscurities to finish out the week.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Mystic Eyes
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Van Morrison
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1965
    The opening track of the first Them album (2nd track on the US version) was a song that started off as an extended studio jam, with vocalist Van Morrison playing harmonica and ad-libbing vocals as the band played behind him. Luckily the tape recorder was on for the whole thing and, with a little editing the track became the group's second biggest US hit, Mystic Eyes.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Masculine Intuition
Source:    CD:  The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    If you take out the cover songs that Original Sound Records added to the album without the band's knowledge or approval, Turn On The Music Machine has to be considered one of the best LPs of 1966. Not that the covers were badly done, but they were intended to be used for lip synching on a local TV show and were included without the knowledge or approval of the band, and that's never a good thing. Every one of the Sean Bonniwell originals on the other hand, combines strong musical structure and intelligent lyrics with musicianship far surpassing the average garage band. This is especially true in the case of Masculine Intuition, which was also issued as the B side of the band's second single.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Omaha
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.
Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Mrs. Robinson
Source:    CD :Collected Works (originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Possibly the most enduring song in the entire Simon And Garfunkel catalog, Mrs. Robinson (in an edited version) first appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Graduate in 1967. It wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released. Also released as a single, the song shot right to the top of the charts, staying there for several weeks.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mr. Spaceman
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jim McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Both Jim (now Roger) McGuinn and David Crosby were science fiction fans, which became evident with the release of the Byrds' third album, Fifth Dimension. The third single released from that album, Mr. Spaceman, was in fact, a deliberate attempt to contact extra-terrestrials through the medium of AM radio. It was McGuinn's hope that ETs monitoring Earth's airwaves would hear the song and in some way respond to it, perhaps even contacting the band members themselves. Of course McGuinn didn't realize at the time that AM radio waves tend to disperse as they travel away from the Earth, making it unlikely that the signals would be picked up at all. Now if someone wants to beam this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era out into the universe...

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    C.T.A.-102
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Hippard
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Roger McGuinn of the Byrds always exhibited an interest in the subject of extraterrestrial life. C.T.A.-102, from the Younger Than Yesterday album, addresses this subject from the angle of aliens tuning in to earth broadcasts to learn our language and culture and finding themselves exposed to rock and roll (and apparently liking it). The song was co-written by McGuinn's like-minded friend, Bob Hippard.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    What's Happening?!?!
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    David Crosby was just beginning to emerge as a songwriter on the third Byrds album, 5D. Most of his contributions on the album were collaborations with Jim (Roger) McGuinn; What's Happening!?!, on the other hand, was Crosby's first solo composition to be recorded by the group.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Norwegian Wood
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The first Beatles song to feature a sitar, Norwegian Wood, perhaps more than any other song, has come to typify the new direction songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney began to take with the release of the Rubber Soul album in December of 1965. Whereas their earlier material was written to be performed as well as recorded, songs like Norwegian Wood were first and foremost studio creations. The song itself was reportedly based on a true story and was no doubt a contributing factor to the disintegration of Lennon's first marraige.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I Feel Free
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, hit singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being purely a studio creation, was never performed live by the band.

Artist:    Third Bardo
Title:    I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source:    Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Evans/Pike
Label:    Zonophone (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:    Blossom Toes
Title:    When The Alarm Clock Rings
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: We Are Ever So Clean)
Writer(s):    Jim Cregan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    Originally known as the Ingoes, Blossom Toes were discovered playing in Paris (where they had released an EP) by Giorgio Gomelsky, manager of the Yardbirds, who signed them to his own label, Marmalade, in 1967. Everyone on the British music scene was talking about (and listening to) the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, trying to figure out how to apply the album's advanced production techniques to their own material, including Gomelsky and Blossom Toes. The result was an album called We Are Ever So Clean, one of the first post-Sgt. Pepper albums to be released in the UK. When The Alarm Clock Rings shows just how strong the Sgt. Pepper's influence was in late 1967.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     Feelin' Alright
Source:     LP: Best Of Traffic (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer:     Dave Mason
Label:     United Artists
Year:     1968   
    Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second album. Among those was his most memorable song, Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    There were several notable differences between the US and UK versions of the first Traffic album. For one thing they had different titles. In the US the album was called Heaven Is In Your Mind when it was released in early 1968 in the hope that the single of the same name would be a hit. When it became evident that the song wasn't going anywhere on the US top 40 charts the album was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy, matching the original 1967 UK album. There were differences in the tracks on the album as well. One of the most notable changes was the inclusion of Paper Sun, a non-LP single that had been a British hit in late 1967. The version on the US album, however, was slightly different from its UK counterpart in that the song fades out quite a bit earlier than on the original version, with the deleted portion showing up at the end of the album.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Best Of Traffic (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released in the UK as the B side to the tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

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

Artist:    Love
Title:    Alone Again Or
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version either.

Artist:      Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:     4+20
Source:      LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Year:     1970
     Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were always more a collection of individuals than a true group. 4+20, from the group's second album, déjà vu, is a good illustration of this point. The song features Stephen Stills on acoustic guitar and vocal, with no other voices or instruments on the recording.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Her Madly
Source:    LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971   
    The first single released from L.A. Woman, the final Doors album to feature vocalist Jim Morrison, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.

Artist:    Koobas
Title:    Barricades
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released on LP: Koobas)
Writer(s):    Ellis/Stratton-Smith/Leathwood
Label:    EMI (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    The Koobas were a Merseybeat band that never managed to achieve the level of success enjoyed by bands such as the Beatles or Gerry and the Pacemakers, despite having the patronage of Beatles manager Brian Epstein and even appearing in the film Ferry Across The Mersey.  They did record several singles for both Pye and Columbia, but with little to show for it. Nonetheless, EMI, the parent company of Columbia, commissioned an entire album from the band in 1969. Among the standout tracks from that self-titled LP was the five-minute long Barricades, a track that starts with a Motown beat, but before long morphs into a chaotic portrait of riot and revolution, complete with anarchic sound effects.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Between The Buttons)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    One of the most durable songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Ruby Tuesday was originally intended to be the B side of their 1967 single Let's Spend The Night Together. Many stations, however, balked at the subject matter of the A side and began playing Ruby Tuesday instead.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Hotel Hell
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     The first album by the New Animals (generally known as Eric Burdon and the Animals) was Winds of Change, issued in mid-1967. Although the album was not particularly well-received at the time, it has, in more recent years, come to be regarded as a classic. Hotel Hell is a moody piece that showcases Eric Burdon's contemplative side.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Dear Doctor
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    In late 1968 four new albums by four different bands were competing for space on the record racks: The Beatles (white album), Cream's Wheels Of Fire, the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Electric Ladyland and the Rolling Stones' Beggar's Banquet. I can't imagine four albums that influential (or even that good) ever being released around the same time again. Just to further illustrate the point we have the song Dear Doctor. Compared to most of the songs on these four albums, the Appalachian-styled Dear Doctor is, at best, a novelty number. Yet taken on its own merits the song compares favorably with probably 90% of what's been recorded by any rock band (and a lot of country artists as well) in the years since.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    San Franciscan Nights
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, Burdon fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album with the original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Sadly, Brian Jones was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    White Houses
Source:    CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Every One Of Us)
Writer(s):    Eric Burdon
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    Following two strongly psychedelic LPs, Winds Of Change and The Twain Shall Meet, Eric Burdon And The Animals returned to a more blues-based approach for their late 1968 release Every One Of Us, adding keyboardist Zoot Money to the lineup in the process. A highlight of the self-produced album was White Houses, a tune that previews the direction Burdon's music would take in the early 1970s, both as a solo artist and with the band War.

Artist:    Fat
Title:    Journey
Source:    LP: Fat
Writer(s):    Kaminsky/Newland
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1970
    Fat was formed at Holyoke Community College in Springfield, MA in 1968 by Peter J NewlandMichael Benson and Jim Kaminski. The three soon added bassist Guy DeVito and drummer Benji Benjamin. Like most bands, they started out playing cover tunes, but soon shifted their focus to doing original material. An early demo tape got the attention of producer Eddie Jason, who got them a deal to record an album for RCA Victor in New York, Urban legend has it that RCA Victor released only 400 copies of Fat's only major label LP. Somehow, WEOS-FM in Geneva, NY, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced, has had one of those copies in its library since 1970. Although Fat, due as much to bad timing as anything else, never got the chance to record for a major label again, they remain active as a band (with a few inevitable personnel changes) as of 2020 and have several independent releases under their belt.

Artist:    Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Title:    One Way Glass
Source:    LP: Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Writer(s):    Manfred Mann
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1969
    Keyboardist and band leader Manfred Mann is not known for his vocals. In fact, his band's have always featured someone else as front man, starting with Paul Jones (who sang Do Wah Diddy Diddy) and including Chris Thompson (who sang Blinded By The Light) in Manfred Mann's Earth Band. In between the original group and the Earth Band there was Manfred Mann Chapter Three, a group oriented toward progressive rock with heavy jazz overtones. Bassist Michael Hugg handled most of the lead vocals for that group, with the exception of One-Way Glass, from that band's first album, which is sung by Mann himself. Following a second album, Mann would disband Manfred Mann Chapter Three and form Manfred Mann's Earth Band in the early 1970s with an entirely different set of musicians.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    Love Is Blue (L'Amout Est Bleu)
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Blackburn/Cour/Popp
Label:    Sundazed/Epic (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    In early 1968 guitarist Jeff Beck, having parted company with the Yardbirds, found himself with all kinds of freedom, but few ideas about what to do with it. One of his earliest solo recordings was a cover of Paul Mauriat's L'Amour Est Bleu (Love Is Blue). Producer Mickey Most's arrangement of the piece, which made the British top 40, was actually quite similar to Mauriat's original, the main difference being Beck's guitar taking the part that had been played by a string section on the original. While recording Love Is Blue, Beck was also in the process of putting together a new band, the Jeff Beck Group, that featured a young Rod Stewart on lead vocals on the single's B side. The rest is history.

Artist:    Pleasure Seekers
Title:    What A Way To Die
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Dave Leone
Label:    Elektra (original label: Hideout)
Year:    1966
    One of the first all-female bands that played their own instruments in rock (and almost certainly the first in Detroit) was the Pleasure Seekers. Formed by then 16-year-old Patti Quatro and her 14-year-old sister Suzie, they were soon joined by the Ball sisters, Nancy and Mary Lou, and pianist Diane Baker. Brashly claiming they could play better than any of the bands currently appearing at the Hideout, the local teen night club, Patti convinced the club's owner Dave Leone, to give them a tryout. They soon became regulars and began to build a local reputation, which in turn led to the release of their first single on Leone's Hideout label. The B side of that single, What A Way To Die, features Suzie Quatro on lead vocals, and was covered by the Mummies in the 1988 cult film Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls.

Artist:    Weeds
Title:    It's Your Time
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets vol. 8-The Northwest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bowen/Wynne
Label:    Rhino (original label: Teenbeat Club)
Year:    1966
    The Weeds were formed in La Vegas in 1966 by Fred Cole (lead vocals), Eddie Bowen (guitar), Ron Buzzell (guitar), Bob Atkins (bass guitar), and Tim Rockson (drums). Cole had already established himself as a recording artist with other local bands that played at the Teenbeat Club (thought to be the first teens-only club in the US) in Paradise, a Las Vegas suburb, and it wasn't long before the Weeds released It's Your Time on the club's own record label. Not long after the single was released the band drove to San Francisco, where they had been promised a gig at the Fillmore Auditorium, but when they arrived they discovered that no one there knew anything about it. Rather than return to Las Vegas, the Weeds decided to head north for Canada to avoid the draft, but they ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon, and soon became part of that city's music scene. Cole would eventually become an indy rock legend with his band Dead Moon, co-founded by his wife Toody, herself a Portland native.

Artist:    Magic Mushrooms
Title:    It's-A-Happening
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Casella/Rice
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1966
    It's not known whether or not the Magic Mushrooms heard any of the tracks from the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out when they recorded It's-A-Happening. Still, it's hard to imagine this bit of inspired weirdness being created in a vacuum. Besides this one single, nobody seems to have any knowledge whatsoever of the group known as the Magic Mushrooms, other than the fact that they hailed from Philadelphia, Pa., and, along with Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band, may well have been the reason that A&M Records shied away from signing any more psychedelic rock bands for the next few years. (Well, there were Procol Harum and Joe Cocker, but their stuff was recorded for British labels and reissued in the US by A&M, so I'm not counting them).

Artist:    Saturday's Children
Title:    Born On Saturday
Source:    Mono CD: If You're Ready! The Best Of Dunwich Records...Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Bryan/Holder
Label:    Sundazed/Here 'Tis (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Despite being one of the most popular local bands in the Chicago area, Saturday's Children were never able to sell enough copies of their singles to be able to record an entire LP. Nonetheless, they did record some fine tunes such as Born On Saturday, which appeared as the B side of their first single for Dunwich Records. Bassist Jeff Bryan later went on to join H.P. Lovecraft, while guitarist Dave Carter ended up with the Cryan' Shames.

Artist:    New Colony Six
Title:    A Heart Is Made Of Many Things
Source:    Mono CD: Breakthrough
Writer(s):    Pat McBride
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Centaur)
Year:    1966
    When you're young and in a rock 'n' roll band, there is no greater thrill than hearing your song on the radio for the first time. Or at least that's the way it was in mid-1960s Chicago, when a song called I Confess by a local band called the New Colony Six started getting airplay on WLS. Back then there were no college radio stations or underground FM outlets, so if your song got played, it got played alongside the most popular hits of the day and was heard by literally millions of listeners. For the most part WLS did not play songs by local bands. They were, after all, the second most listened to radio station in the entire United States (after New York's WABC), with a nighttime signal that could be heard halfway across the country (I remember picking it up in New Mexico in the early 1970s). Still, there was something about I Confess that made people want to hear it over and over. The song ended up hitting the #2 spot on WLS in early 1966, which led to the band, consisting of Ray Graffia, Jr. (vocals), Chick James (drums), Pat McBride (harmonica), Craig Kemp (organ), Wally Kemp (bass), and Gerry Van Kollenburg (guitar), to return to the studio to record Breakthrough, their first LP for Centaur Records, which was owned by Ray Graffia, Sr. Unusual for the time, most of the songs on Breakthrough were original compositions, including A Heart Is Made Of Many Things. According to Graffia, McBride, who sang lead on the song, was so into his performance in the studio that he actually went into his stage act while the rest of the band members were snickering. The New Colony Six had a decent run over the years, scoring several more local hits, including I Will Always Think About You, which hit #1 on WLS on its way to becoming the group's first national top 40 hit, and Things I'd Like To Say, which topped out at #2 locally and made the top 20 on the national charts. Like many of their contemporaries, the NC6 went through many personnel changes over the years before finally disbanding in 1974.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Curtis Knight
Title:    Love, Love
Source:    British import CD: The Summer Of Love Sessions (originally released on LP: Flashing)
Writer(s):    Knight/Hendrix
Label:    Jungle (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Even after releasing three hit singles in the UK and making his US debut with his new band at the Monterey International Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix still had time to sit in on sessions with old friends such as Curtis Knight, whom he had worked with previously on the so-called Chitlin' Circuit of venues catering to black audiences. Unfortunately, during some of those sessions in 1967 the tapes were rolling on tunes like Love, Love, and the following year Capitol released the recordings as a followup to the 1967 album Get That Feeling, credited to Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight. Hendrix was already dealing with a lawsuit filed by Capitol stemming from his signing a standard contract as a session man for Knight in 1965 (which is where the Get That Feeling album came from), and the fact that this group of songs was recorded while Hendrix was under contract to Britain's Track label just complicated the entire matter, and eventually led to Hendrix owing Capitol a new album, which became Band Of Gypsys.