Friday, August 13, 2010

Playlist 8/13-15/10

Song Title: "Summertime Blues"
Source: LP: NUGGETS, VOL 1-THE HITS (originally appeared on LP:VINCEBUS ERUPTUM, also released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Whenever possible, I like to start the show with a classic. Seeing as we're in the middle of a heat wave, this seemed like an approriate choice.

Song Title: "We Love You"
Source: 45 RPM vinyl (stereo reissue)
Release Year: 1967
After the less than stellar chart performance of the LP Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones decided to pull out all the stops with a double 'A' sided single. "We Love You" was their most expensive production ever, and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. Oddly enough, the other side of the record, "Dandelion," ended up getting more airplay, at least in the US.

Song Title: "Shine On Brightly"
Source: LP: SHINE ON BRIGHTLY (US pressing)
Release Year: 1968
The original Procol lineup hit their artistic peak with the Shine On Brightly album, considered one of the first "progressive rock" albums.

Artist: BYRDS
Song Title: "The World Turns All Around Her"
Source: LP: TURN! TURN! TURN! (vinyl)
Release Year: 1965
In the early days, the Byrds were known more for their reworking of other writers' material, such as Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!" than for tunes they wrote themselves. Eventually, McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman would all develop into outstanding songwriters, but before they did, Gene Clark was considered the band's top composer. This track from their second album shows why.

Artist: BEE GEES
Song Title: "Birdie Told Me"
Source: 45 RPM PROMO EP
Release Year: 1968
The Extended Play 45 RPM record was a popular format in the 50s that by the late 60s had all but disappeared in the US. In the UK, however, the format was still economically viable (The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour had been originally released exclusively in that format, for example). Generally the songs on British EPs were either included on standard LPs in the US or not issued in the states at all. In 1968 Atco Records decided to take a chance and send out a promo in the EP format to various radio stations. To my knowledge it was never released to the public.

Song Title: "Theme From An Imaginary Western"
Release Year: 2009 (recorded 1969)
Following the success of the original Woodstock soundtrack album, Cotillion decided to release a second double LP collection of songs recorded at the festival (but not included in the movie). Among those were two songs by the band Mountain, which, partially based on their performance at the festival itself, was slowly gaining popularity among rock afficionados. The band, however, was unsatisfied with the quality of the original recordings and perfomances, and insisted on re-recording both songs that were to be included on the Woodstock 2 album. The actual live recording of this Jack Bruce/Pete Brown tune was not released until Rhino's 2009 anniversary collection, which set out to present the music exactly as the audience heard it, flaws and all. Although there is a bit of a vocal gaff early on, Leslie West's guitar solo has a certain energy that is missing from the Woodstock 2 version.

Song Title: "Don't Bogart Me"
Source: LP: EASY RIDER SOUNDTRACK (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1970
In the late 60s there was a certain disconnect between rock musicians and their audience on the subject of country music. Whereas the youth culture of the time associated it with rednecks and conservative attitudes, their musical heroes often held the country music tradition in high regard. One of the first songs to bridge the gap was this classic from former members of the Factory (see the next to last song for more on them) and the Mothers of Invention, made famous by its inclusion in the movie Easy Rider.

Song Title: "Last Time Around"
Source: LP: NUGGETS-VOLUME 2: PUNK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
Starting off a set from 1966 we have the The Del-Vetts, a band from Chicago's affluent North Side. True to their name, they reportedly showed up for a high school dance they were playing at in matching white Corvettes. Musically, they rocked out as only upper-middle class kids with a fair amount of talent and the ability to afford above-average guitars and amps could.

Artist: BEES
Song Title: "Voices Deep and Purple"
Source: CD: NUGGETS BOX SET (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
Not much is known about this L.A. band other than the obvious fact that they had a generous amount of attitude.

Song Title: "Dark Side"
Source: CD: BEST OF THE SHADOWS OF KNIGHT (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: GLORIA)
Release Year: 1966
From the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows of Knight had a reputation for rowdyness (the lead singer was reportedly banned from several area high schools for causing the pregnancy rate to go up) and a brand of punk highly influenced by the blues of the nearby Big City. The Shadows scored one of the biggest hits of the year with their cover of Van Morrison's "Gloria," but the B side of that single was far more indicative of what these guys were all about.

Song Title: "Section 43"
Source: CD: LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING-SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-70 (originally released on RAG BABY EP #1002)
Release Year: 1966
The original mono recording of this classic was just the first taste of what was to come the following summer in the San Francisco Bay area.

Artist: WHO
Song Title: "Someone's Coming"
Source: 45 RPM vinyl
Release Year: 1967/68
Some songs just get no respect. First released in 1967 in the UK as the B side of "I Can See For Miles," John Alec Entwistle's "Someone's Coming" got left off the US release entirely. It wasn't until the release of the "Magic Bus" single in 1968 that the tune appeared on US vinyl, and then, once again as a B side. Finally, in 1995 the song found a home on CD as a bonus track on The Who Sell Out.

Song Title: "Green Tambourine"
Source: CD: BEST OF 60S PYSCHEDELIC ROCK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Continuing our 1968 set is a song that is best described as "psychedelic bubble gum." Yum.

Artist: CREAM
Song Title: "White Room"
Source: LP: UNDERGROUND GOLD (single version originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of "White Room," clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.

Song Title: "Pictures of Matchstick Men"
Source: CD: PSYCHEDELIC POP (originally appeared on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Our final entry in the 1968 set comes from the band that is probably the closest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap in existence. Still performing and still popular in the Scandanavian countries, these guys are the typical 70s arena rock band that refuses to die. At last count they had well over 20 albums out, the most recent of which was released in 2007 or so. "Pictures of Matchstick Men" was their only US hit, despite the fact that they actually hold the record for most charted singles in the UK.

Song Title: "Devil With a Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL (Eric reissue)
Release Year: 1966
One of the great party songs from the peak year for top 40 radio.

Song Title: "Tales"
Source: LP: THE MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY (original vinyl pressing)
Release Year: 1972
Uriah Heep is generally remembered for two albums that appeared in 1972: Demons and Wizards and The Magicians's Birthday. Although Demons and Wizards had the hit single "Easy Livin," The Magician's Birthday overall had a stronger lineup of songs.

Song Title: "One Rainy Wish"
Source: CD: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1967
An odd thing happened when I went to put this song up on Sound Exchange, the system that some stations use for reporting the music they play. Every instance I found of "One Rainy Wish" I found in their database listed the song as being from Axis: Bold As Love. As I spent many nights falling asleep to the Are You Experienced album with the headphones on, I can assure you that the Sound Exchange database is wrong.

Song Title: "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp"
Source: LP: ELECTRIC LADYLAND (original vinyl issue)
Release Year: 1968
The year 1968 started for Hendrix with a release of a new single. At that point, he still considered the UK his primary market, as his singles had failed to make any significant progress in the states. "The Burning of the Midnight Lamp," was the most complex piece of production yet attempted by the band, and their first using state of the art eight-track recording equipment. The song was not released as a single in the US, however. Instead, Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" was selected (and became the band's biggest US hit).

Song Title: "Manic Depression"
Source: CD: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1967
One of the songs that established the Hendrix legend.

Song Title: "Rainy Day, Dream Away"
Source: LP: ELECTRIC LADYLAND (original vinyl issue)
Release Year: 1968
Although credited to the Experience, this song has several guest musicians appearing on it, including Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles, who would later be a member of Hendrix's short-lived Band of Gypsys and then have some success as leader of his own band.

Song Title: "Foxy Lady"
Source: CD: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1967
The first track on the original release of Are You Experienced was "Foxy Lady." The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, "Purple Haze," took over the opening spot on the album, and "Foxy Lady" was moved to the middle of side 2.

Song Title: COME ON-PT. 1
Source: LP: ELECTRIC LADYLAND (original vinyl issue)
Release Year: 1968
Unlike the previous Experience albums, Electric Ladyland had a couple cover songs on it. This one makes the original Earl King version sound pretty tame in comparison.

Song Title: "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"
Source: CD: EVEN MORE NUGGETS (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
I was feeling a little guilty about having to cut the strange coda out of this song last week (due to a time miscalculation on my part), so I decided to play it again this week in its entirety. Besides, I've heard that Kenny Rogers cringes every time this song gets played on the radio, and that has to be a good thing.

Song Title: "Life Is Just A Cher O' Bowlies
Source: LP: ELECTRIC COMIC BOOK (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
Around 1968 or so, LPs starting carrying the words "Stereo-also playable mono" on the cover. This was one of the last LPs to actually be issued in both stereo and mono versions. This is the mono version that I've somehow managed to hang onto since I bought it new in 1967.

Song Title: "My Mirage"
Source: CD: IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1968
One thing about the In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. Too bad, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there (such as this one).

Artist: DOORS
Song Title: "Shaman's Blues"
Source: CD: THE SOFT PARADE (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1969
Often dismissed as the weakest entry in the Doors catalogue, The Soft Parade nonetheless is significant in that for the first time songwriting credits were given to individual band members. This one is Jim Morrison's.

Song Title: "4 Eyes"
Source: LP: HUMS OF THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
The Spoonful were at the top of their game in 1966 when they decided to put out an album of songs done in a variety of musical styles. From the hard-rockin' "Summer In the City," to the countrified "Nashville Cats," the album produced no less than four hit singles. The album track "4 Eyes" defies easy classification.

Song Title: "Candy Cane Madness"
Release Year: 2009
Toward the end of 1966 a band called the Factory appeared on the L.A. club scene. They managed to book studio time, but were never able to find a label willing to release the tracks they recorded. Band member Lowell George would later go on to produce other artists such as the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) for Frank Zappa's Bizarre Productions and finally become famous as the founder of the band Little Feat.

Song Title: "You Told Me"
Source: CD: HEADQUARTERS (reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1967
After Don Kirschner got himself fired from Colgems for issuing the album More of the Monkees without the band's knowledge or permission (as well as a subsequent single that was sent out in promo form to radio stations and almost immediately rescinded), the band members insisted on having greater artistic control over what was being issued with their names on it. The end result was the Headquarters album, the only Monkees LP to feature the band members playing virtually all the instruments (with a few exceptions, notably producer Chip Douglas playing bass guitar).

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