Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playlist 9/10-12/10

I don't know how it happened, but last week's playlist didn't get posted yet. Oops.
Picking up where we left off last week, we progress through the years with a set starting in 1965.

Artist: McCOYS
Song Title: "Fever"
Source: CD: ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAME VOL VII (Originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1965
The McCoys were originally from Indiana, but are best remembered as being an Ohio band. In fact their biggest hit, "Hang On Sloopy" is the unofficial state song there. The follow-up to Sloopy, a cover of the Peggy Lee classic "Fever" was done in much the same style as Sloopy. In the long run this similarity probably hurt the band more than it helped, as the McCoys are generally considered to be a one-hit wonder.

Song Title: "My Obsession"
Source: LP: BETWEEN THE BUTTONS (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
With hits like "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" on it, Between the Buttons was one of the Stones top selling albums. It was album tracks like this one, though, that showed where the band was really at in 1966.

Song Title: "Viola Lee Blues"
Source: CD: GRATEFUL DEAD (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
The Grateful Dead established a reputation over the years for playing long extended jams. The first of these to be released on vinyl was "Viola Lee Blues", clocking in at about 10 minutes. Compared to some of the later performances of "Dark Star" or "St. Stephen", ten minutes does not seem very long, but the track does show flashes of the interplay between band members that would become the stuff of legends.

My original plan for the first part of the show was to continue progressing up through 1969, but, as is often the case, the show took on a life of its own and insisted I make an extended stopover in 1968. As it turns out, the last set of the second hour also ends with a 1968 set, so I guess something was in the air.

Artist: THEM
Song Title: "Market Place"
Source: LP: TIME OUT, TIME IN, FOR THEM (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
I've often mentioned the lost WEOS vinyl archives that were found in a storage room on the Hobart & William Smith Colleges campus last year. Of the thousands of albums we found I ended up keeping about 200. Of those nearly half were unusable, mostly due to their condition. The remainder I divided into three piles. The largest of these piles were the marginal albums that may have one or two songs that might be worked into the show once in a while. The next pile was mostly duplicates of albums I already had on CD, although there were a few cases of stereo albums I had mono copies of, or vice versa. Only a handful of albums made the third pile, but these were the real gems of the bunch: genuine relics of the psychedelic era in playable condition that I didn't already have. Of these, two of the most valuable finds (for my purposes at any rate) were the two post-Van Morrison Them albums released by Tower Records in 1968. This track is from one of them.

Artist: SPIRIT
Song Title: "Taurus"
Source: CD: SPIRIT (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
After the release of Spirit's debut album they went on tour, with a new band, Led Zeppelin, opening for them. I mention this just in case you happen to notice any similarity between the opening acoustic guitar riff on this song and the one on "Stairway To Heaven", which was released three or four years later. And you thought Jimmy Page only ripped off blues legends like Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon.

Song Title: "It's Breaking Me Up"
Source: CD: THIS WAS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular style. Ironically this tune, rooted solidly in the British blues style, is an Anderson composition.

We finally continue our progression through the years to 1969, but first a quick L.A. stopover in the fall of 1966.

Artist: SEEDS
Song Title: "Tripmaker"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS: L.A. NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on LP: A WEB OF SOUND)
Release Year: 1966
A rare mono version of a tune from the second Seeds album. Although the album came out in both stereo and mono versions, there are very few copies of the mono version in existence, let alone playable condition. Apparently Rhino Records has access to one of them, showing the advantages of being a record label that started off as a record store.

Artist: TURTLES:
Song Title: "Wanderin' Kind"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1966
White Whale Records, being a typical L.A. label, insisted on using professional songwriters for all the Turtles' A sides. The band was allowed to write its own material for the B sides, however. Here we have one written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, who would end up co-writing most of Flo & Eddie's material a few years later. That's OK, though, since Kaylan is Eddie (fellow Turtle Mark Volman is Flo).

Song Title: "Watch Her Ride / Spare Chaynge"
Source: LP: AFTER BATHING AT BAXTER'S (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
The third Jefferson Airplane album was divided into a group of five suites, each containing two or three songs. The opening suite of side 2 was called "How Suite It Is" and started with a fairly typical Paul Kantner tune of the period, followed by one of the coolest jams ever recorded, featuring guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, drummer Spencer Dryden and bassist Jack Cassidy. It's Cassidy's bass solo that is the real highlight of the nine-minute jam, a testament to the then-21-year-old's prowess and creativity on an instrument that had previously been relegated to a purely support role.

Song Title: "Quicksilver Girl"
Source: CD: SAILOR (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1968
One of the most successful bands to come out of the San Francisco scene was the Steve Miller Band. "Quicksilver Girl" from the band's second album Sailor, shows why.

Artist: GLAD
Song Title: "Pickin' Up the Pieces"
Source: LP: FEELIN' GLAD (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1969
I mentioned earlier how the largest pile of albums I grabbed from the WEOS archives were marginal. This is a good example. The band Glad is significant not for anything they released on their two albums, but for what happened to the band afterwards. One member, Timothy B. Schmidt, went on to replace bassist Randy Meisner in Poco the following year (and the Eagles a few years after that), while the rest of the band eventually changed their name to Redbone and had a hit with "Witch Queen of New Orleans".

Our second hour starts off on a soulful note; several of them actually. After that, this part of the show pretty much follows a yearly progression from 1965 through 1970 (although one song kind of fits in between 1966 and 1967 and counts as both).

Song Title: "Medley: Dance To the Music/Music Lover/I Want To Take You Higher"
Source: CD: WOODSTOCK: 40 YEARS ON: BACK TO YASGUR'S FARM (originally released on the Woodstock movie soundtrack album)
Release Year: 1969
Listening to this release and comparing it to the soundtrack album, reveals that there were a few minor tweaks made for the original release. Overall, though, this was one of the least unaltered recordings used for the original soundtrack album. It's easy to see why. Sly Stone managed to assemble a band that was at the same time tight and chaotic, with an infectious energy that kept the crowd going throughout the entire 17 minute medley. No mean feat, considering the altered mental state of much of the audience that night.

Song Title: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1966
Some may have questioned the appearance of a "soul" band like Sly and the Family Stone at what was essentially a rock festival at Woodstock, but there was precedent: Otis Redding had stolen the show at the first of the great rock festivals at Monterey two years earlier. One of the songs he electrified the crowd with was a hard-driving version of the Stones' "Satisfaction", heard here in its 1966 studio version, featuring the MGs and the Bar-Kays backing up the "big O".

Song Title: "Diddy Wah Diddy"
Source: LP: THE LEGENDARY A&M SESSIONS (first vinyl release)
Release Year: 1983 (recorded in 1965)
Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa knew each other in high school in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles, but did not stay in close contact after graduation. While Zappa was developing an interest in early 20th century avant-garde classical music, Van Vliet established a reputation as one of the best white blues singers around. When the opportunity came to record a few tracks for A&M records in 1965, Van Vliet, who by then was calling himself Captain Beefheart, chose this Bo Diddly tune to showcase his vocal talents. A&M chose not to release the tracks, and Beefheart would finally make his vinyk debut in 1967, recording for the new Buddah label. Later he would again hook up with his old cohort Zappa and develop into one of rock's premier avant-garde composers.

Song Title: "Bad Little Woman"
Source: CD: NUGGETS BOX SET (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: GLORIA)
Release Year: 1966
Reprising a track I played a couple weeks ago, the Shadows' follow-up to their huge 1966 hit "Gloria".

Song Title: "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet"
Source: CD: MORE NUGGETS (originally released on LP: PSYCHEDELIC LOLLIPOP)
Release Year: 1966 (charted 1967)
Although technically released in 1966, this song is best remembered as one of the first psychedelic hits of 1967, hitting its peak in February of that year. Thus, I am counting it as both years. The Magoos would go on to record a few more albums and release a few more singles, but were fated never to repeat the success of this monster hit.

Artist: DOORS
Song Title: "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind"
Source: LP: STRANGE DAYS (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
One thing about both 1967 albums released by the Doors: every song is worth listening to. This means both albums come up a lot on the show. Last week I played "When the Music's Over". This week it's the song just before it on the album. Next week, who knows?

Song Title: "Feelings"
Source: LP: NUGGETS VOL 9-ACID ROCK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
The Grass Roots had the origins as the San Francisco band the Bedoins, but by 1968 had lost all but one of the original members and were pretty much a vehicle for the songwriting team of Jeff Barri and P.F. Sloane. They released three singles in 1968, the third of which was "Midnight Confessions" the group's only certified gold record. The song immediately preceeding it was "Feelings" which for some unknown reason failed to chart. Of course that means that I will play "Feelings" fairly regularly. "MIdnight Confessions"? Not at all.

Song Title: "Don't Want You No More/It's Not My Cross To Bear"
Source: CD: THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1969
The first Allman Brothers band album sold poorly outside of the southeastern US and was pulled from the shelves within a year. Meanwhile, the second album, Idlewild South, did a bit better and the third album, recorded live at the Fillmore East, was a breakout hit. This prompted Capricorn, which in the meantime had morphed from a production house to a full-blown label, to reissue the first two albums as a 2-record set for the price of one. "Don't Want You No More is an instrumental (co-written by Steve Winwood) that serves as an introduction to both the band and the first album, and segues directly into the Gregg Allman tune "It's Not My Cross To Bear".

Song Title: "Engine Number 9"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1970
Wilson Pickett was one of the stars of the southern soul movement of the late 60s. Unlike it's northern counterpart in Motown, the Stax-Volt group of labels was less interested in producing crossover hits designed to make the pop charts than it was putting out energetic gospel-flavored R&B designed to get played on the growing number of black-oriented radio stations of the time.

To finish out the night, a set representing the growing diversity among recorded music in 1968.

Song Title: "Julia Dream"
Source: CD: RELICS (reissue of original album) (song orginally released in UK on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968 (UK)
With Sid Barrett becoming increasingly unreliable, the other members of Pink Floyd decided to invite guitarist David Gilmour into the band. One of the earliest recordings with Gilmour was this B side released in 1968 and included a few years later when the album Relics came out.

Song Title: "Journey To the Center of the Mind"
Source: LP: NUGGETS, VOL 1-THE HITS (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with this psychedelic classic.

Song Title: "Provincetown Jug Band"
Source: LP: THE FABULOUS FARQUAHR (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Farquahr was, for lack of a better term, a hippy band from Branford, Connecticut who were quite popular among the locals in the mid to late 60s. According to the back cover of this album, they were all members of British nobility, the Farquahr family, which somehow had been mysteriously left off the official peerage list. Each band member's first name was a species of songbird, such as leader Barnswallow Farquahr, who wrote "Provincetown Jug Band". The band's visual image was similar to San Francisco's Charlatans, and indeed, they seemed to have a similar fondness for the jug band style of music as well. Like their west coast counterparts, the Farquahr's good-time approach to music found them getting increasingly out of step with their counter-culture audience, which itself was becoming more radicalized as the decade wore on.


  1. Beefheart's "Diddy Wah Diddy" was first released as a single in March of 1966 - A&M 794, with "Who Do You Think You're Fooling" on the flip. The was a moderate hit in southern California - The band was even shown lip-syncing the song on "Where the Action Is"- the clip is on You-Tube.

    1. Well, it's been over two years and I am just now discovering some comments made on previous blog postings. I wish I had known how to look for comments earlier. Anyway, thanks for the info on Diddy Wah Diddy. I had recently learned about the regional success of the track and the band's subsequent appearance on Action, but never knew what the B side was. I'll have to dig out my copy of the A&M 12" EP from the early 80s that has his 1966 recordings to see if it's on that. Thanks for writing and sorry it took so long to get back to you (just called me a Luddite)