Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Playlist 9/24-26/2010

Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Song Title: Kicks
Source: CD: Greatest Hits
Release Year: 1966
It was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit song, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top
five years later.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Song Title: Don’t Slip Away
Source: LP: Takes Off
Release Year: 1966
From the mono pressing of the Airplane's debut album, this Paul Kantner/Skip Spence tune could probably have been a hit if it had been released as a single.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Song Title: The Last Time
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years
Release Year: 1965
Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.

Artist: Outsiders
Song Title: You Gotta Look
Source: single B side
Release Year: 1966
The song Help Me Girl was handicapped by having two versions out at the same time; one by the Outsiders and the other by Eric Burdon and the Animals. As a result, neither song made much of a splash on the charts, making this B side even more obscure than it should have been. An interesting footnote is that the song was arranged and conducted by a 26-year-old Chuck Mangione, then a member of Art Blakey's band and later to become one of the most popular jazz musicians in the world.

Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Song Title: Hoedown
Source: LP: Marrying Maiden
Release Year: 1970
In what was probably a case of rampant speculative buying, It's A Beautiful Day's second album sold more copies than the first on the strength of the song White Bird, which was on the first album. Marrying Maiden itself did not have any songs that got significant airplay and the band's fortunes went downhill from there.

Artist: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Song Title: The Blimp
Source: CD: Trout Mask Replica
Release Year: 1969
Wherein the good captain plugs his upcoming hit single. Ah, if only real advertising could be this entertaining...

Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Song Title: Expo 2000
Source: CD: No Way Out
Release Year: 1967
If you ignore the fact that this track is performed by uncredited studio musicians and thus is a complete misrepresentation, it's really a pretty decent instrumental. Too bad we'll never know who actually performed it. We do know, however, that it was written by Richard Podolor.

Artist: Monkees
Song Title: Love Is Only Sleeping (4-track mix)
Source: CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Release Year: 1967
The advent of 8-track recording made it practical to use two tracks for a stereo drum mix. Beyond that, the more tracks used in a recording, the further that recording is removed from being an honest recording of musicians doing their thing. A listen to almost any hit record since the mid-1070s proves it. Yeah, that's my opinion, but hey! Isn't that what blogs are all about? Unprovable opinions?

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Song Title: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source: LP: Electric Music For the Mind and Body
Release Year: 1967
The expanded DVD of the Monterey International Pop Festival has a bonus disc with the live version of this song on it. Despite its technical flaws (microphones not turned up, etc.) I find it to be the most repeatedly listenable performance of the entire festival, and that includes all the stuff by Hendrix, the Who, the Airplane and Janis Joplin. Sadly, that same magic isn't there on the band's Woodstock recordings.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Song Title: It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry
Source: CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Release Year: 1965
East of Albuquerque, NM, there is a trail that is about three miles long. At the end of that trail you at Sandia Crest, which overlooks the city from about a mile above. Continuing eastward, after a short plateau you enter the eastern foothills, traveling many miles up and down hills, each one just a little lower
than the one before it. Bob Dylan's career is like that: an incredibly fast rise to an unbelievable height, and then a slow downhill descent from there. The Highway 61 Revisited album is his Sandia Peak.

Artist: Count Five
Song Title: They're Gonna Get You
Source: single B side
Release Year: 1966
It's been said that Psychotic Reaction was two and a half minutes of an American garage band sounding more like the Yardbirds than the Yardbirds themselves. This B side is that same American garage band sounding more like what they probably sounded like the rest of the time.

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Song Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock
Release Year: 1967
When Rhino decided to revive the Nuggets concept in the 80s with a series of LPs, they really didn't do much documentation on stuff like what album the song was from or what year the song came out. Normally that's not a problem. This song, however, was included on two consecutive albums, one on a small indy label in 1966 and the other on Reprise in 1967, with a slightly longer running time. Since the running time of this track seems closer to the Reprise version, I'm assuming that's what it's from.

Artist: Steppenwolf
Song Title: Desperation
Source: CD: Born To Be Wild/A Retrospective
Release Year: 1968
One of many memorable tracks from the first Steppenwolf album.

Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Song Title: Roller Coaster
Source: CD:The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators
Release Year: 1966
A favorite trick of dance club bands in the late 60s was to start a song off slow, then slowly build up to a frenzy, all the while sneaking looks at the teenage girls gyrating on the dance floor. As most of the band members were still in their teens themselves, this isn't as creepy as it sounds.

Artist: Mothers of Invention
Song Title: Who Are the Brain Police?
Source: LP: Freak Out!
Release Year: 1966
The Question of the Week.

Artist: Manfred Mann
Song Title: Do Wah Diddy Diddy
Source: single
Release Year: 1964
Eric Clapton's decision to leave the Yardbirds due to concerns with creeping commercialism doesn't seem quite so far-fetched when you consider that this band was originally called the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers and had come from the same British blues scene as the Yardbirds themselves.

Artist: Music Machine
Song Title: Double Yellow Line
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Release Year: 1967
Sean Bonniwell was an early champion of playing your own original material as opposed to covering the hits of the day. His band, the Music Machine, deliberately played tight, segued sets of originals so that nobody in the crowd would have time to yell out "Cherish" or "Last Train to Clarksville" or whatever else was popular on local radio stations at the time. Imagine his chagrin when he learned that his record label, Original Sound (!), had substituted a set of cover tunes that the Music Machine had recorded for a TV show for four of Bonniwell's originals on the album Turn On. This is one of the tunes that got cut. It, along with the others, eventually got released on the album Bonniwell Music Machine, along with tracks recorded by a newer version of the band.

Artist: Amboy Dukes
Song Title: Journey To the Center of the Mind
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s
Release Year: 1968
Although Ted Nugent's original band, the Amboy Dukes, had some success with a cover of Baby Please Don't Go, it's this track that they are best remembered for.

Artist: Mountain
Song Title: Blood of the Sun
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On-Back To Yasgur's Farm
Release Year: 1969
Mountain didn't like the way this recording sounded, so they recorded a substitute live take for the album Woodstock 2. In 2009 Rhino issued the actual Woodstock performance heard here.

Artist: Bert Sommers
Song Title: Jennifer
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On-Back To Yasgur's Farm
Release Year: 1969
Perhaps the producers of the first Woodstock soundtrack album felt that what they released already was overly loaded with acoustic material, but the fact of the matter is that almost all of the first day's performances at the festival were by acoustic artists. This is because of difficulties in getting all the electronic equipment to the site, due to the massive traffic tie-ups. Still, it was obvious that the record-buying public of the time wanted loud electric rock, and that's what dominates the album. The result of all this is that several of the first day's artists' performances did not get released until 2009, when Rhino deliberately set out to release a set of discs that were truly representative of what festival attendees actually heard.

Artist: Traffic
Song Title: Shanghai Noodle Factory
Source: LP: Last Exit
Release Year: 1969
After Traffic split up (for the first time), Island Records decided to milk one more album out of one their most popular groups. To do so they took studio outtakes, singles that had not been included on previous albums and even an entire side of live performances. This particular track was originally released in late 1968 as the B side of Medicated Goo.

Artist: Yardbirds
Song Title: Jeff's Boogie
Source: single B side
Release Year: 1966
Speaking of B sides, this is one of the last Yardbirds releases featuring Jeff Beck on guitar, and he certainly struts his stuff on it. The A side was Over, Under, Sideways Down, in case you're interested.

Artist: Byrds
Song Title: C.T.A.-102
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Release Year: 1967
The Byrds were rock's advocates of the existence of extra-terrestrial life. C.T.A.-102 is a quasar that was discovered to be emitting high concentrations of radio waves, leading some scientists of the time to theorize that it was a sign of intelligent life beyond earth. Me, I'm still looking for signs of intelligent life ON earth.

Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Song Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies
Release Year: 1967
The movie The Big Chill used this track as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becomming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Most of them are now playing 80s oldies, by the way.

Artist: Grateful Dead
Song Title: The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Release Year: 1967
The Grateful Dead's debut single actually sold pretty well in the bay area, where it got airplay on top 40 stations from San Francisco to San Jose. Around the rest of the country, not so much, but the Dead would soon prove that there was more to survival than having a hit record.

Artist: People
Song Title: I Love You
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Release Year: 1968
In 1968 San Jose was still a relatively small city, overshadowed by all the hype surrounding the Haight-Ashbury district of the city at the other end of the bay. In spite of this, they had no less that three different groups scoring top 20 hits over a two-year period. This was the last of those three.

Artist: Renaissance
Song Title: Innocence
Source: LP: Renaissance
Release Year: 1969
Many people remember Renaissance as the progressive rock band of the 70s that featured Annie Haslam on vocals and borrowed heavily from classical music, particularly of the Romantic period. What's not as well known, however, is that the band was originally formed by former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty and had an entirely different lineup. Nonetheless, it is technically the same band, and much of the classical influence they were famous for is present on this first album.

Artist: Peter Green
Song Title: Descending Scale
Source: LP: The End of the Game
Release Year: 1970
Peter Green was the founder of Fleetwood Mac. He was also the first member to leave (not counting bassist Bob Brunning, who considered himself a kind of "place sitter" until John McVie could be convinced to join), having recurring mental health problems made worse by experimentation with LSD. In 1970, shortly after leaving the band, he recorded a jam session and released edited portions of it under the title The End of the Game. This in one of those tracks.

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