Friday, September 3, 2010

Playlist 1015

The word of the week is "progress" as we have several sets that progress through the years and even a few tunes from some of the more progressive rock bands of the early 70s. First, though, a set from the year top 40 radio hit its zenith, 1966.

Artist: SEEDS
Song Title: "Pushin' Too Hard"
Source: CD: NUGGETS-VOLUME 1-THE HITS (originally released on LP: THE SEEDS)
Release Year: 1966
Continuing our recent trend of starting off with a classic we have a song that I tend to play a lot anyway. It is, after all, one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era.

Song Title: "Trouble"
Source: CD: TURN ON THE MUSIC MACHINE (reissue of original vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material (with the exception of a slowed-down version of "Hey Joe" that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on; before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. (This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved.) The best way to listen to Turn On The Music Machine, then, is to program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, this track becomes the second song on the disc, following the classic "Talk Talk."

Song Title: "The Great Airplane Strike" (1990 remix)
Source: CD: LEGEND OF PAUL REVERE (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: SPIRIT OF '67)
Release Year: 1966
Despite having the considerable financial resources of being produced by Terry Melcher, and having a contract with industry giant Columbia Records, not to mention being the stars of a Dick Clark produced TV series, most of the Raider's early singles were mixed only in mono, even though they were recorded on state-of-the-art multi-track equipment. When it came time to do a massive CD anthology in the early 90s, several of those recordings were finally remixed in stereo, including this track. The song itself is a classic that has never gotten the respect it deserves.

Artist: LOVE
Song Title: "7 & 7 Is"
Source: LP: NUGGETS, VOL. 9: ACID ROCK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and included on LP: DE CAPO)
Release Year: 1966
The first time I heard this song was at a drive-in theater between movies. It blew my mind. Over 40 years later, I still have the urge to crank up the volume whenever I hear it.

Song Title: "I Looked Away"
Source: CD: LAYLA AND OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
It took Eric Clapton many years to get comfortable with the idea of being a rock god. One of his attempts to avoid being the center of attention was to form a band as quietly as possible and just put the music out there for people to hear. Obviously, it didn't work out quite as planned, as both the record company and rock press heralded the Layla album as a Clapton solo project. "I Looked Away" is the opening track from that album.

Our first progression of the night runs from 1967 to 1970 and includes British psychedelia, Motown soul, and even early metal. Of course there is a progressive band in there as well.

Song Title: "Hope I Find Me There"
Source: CD: MR. FANTASY (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
Although Traffic is generally remembered as a Steve Winwood band, in the early days the band had its greatest success (on the UK singles charts) with songs written and sung by Dave Mason). Although this tune was not released as a single, it is a typical Mason song of the time.

Song Title: "Love Child"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1968
Although Motown's primary focus was on making successful pop records, they did manage to occassionally put out songs that had a deeper message. Such is the case with this 1968 Supremes tune, addressing the issue of teen pregnancy, which was reaching epidemic proportions in some segments of society, including a good chunk of Motown's target audience.

Song Title: "A New Day Yesterday"
Source: LP: STAND UP (Chrysalis reissue of original LP)
Release Year: 1969
The first of many lineup changes for Jethro Tull saw the departure of guitarist Mick Abrahams and the beginning of a long run by Matin Barre as his replacement. With that change, the band moved away from its blues roots and began a long transition toward becoming one of the world's leading progressive rock bands.

Song Title: "The Wizard"
Source: CD: BLACK SABBATH (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
I left out something in the previous entry. After Abrahams left Tull but before Barre joined, another guitarist sat in with the band, and was with them when they taped their appearance on the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus TV special in late 1968. The guitarist's name? Tony Iommi, who would the following year co-found Black Sabbath.

The peak year of the psychedelic era is of course 1967. Hardly a week goes by without at least one set taken from that eventful year. Tonight's 1967 set focuses on the City of Angels.

Artist: BYRDS
Song Title: "Change Is Now"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS: L.A. NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. "Change Is Now" was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

Song Title: "Tracy Had a Hard Day Sunday"
Source: LP: VOLUME 2 (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1967
I know I play a lot of these guys, but they were rather prolific, releasing five albums over a four-year period. Only Jefferson Airplane equalled their output over the same period. This song features some nice licks toward the end by guitarist Michael Lloyd.

Artist: DOORS
Song Title: "When the Music's Over"
Source: CD: STRANGE DAYS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1967
I remember the first time I heard this track. My girlfriend's older brother had it on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

A couple tunes I've played before (both from 1968) finish out the first hour of this week's show.
Song Title: "Pictures of Matchstick Men"
Source: CD: PSYCHEDELIC POP (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968

Song Title: "Born To Be Wild"
Source: CD: NEW GOLD ON CD 11/3/97 (bonus track) (originally released on LP: STEPPENWOLF)
Release Year: 1968

The second hour starts with our longest progression of the night, starting in 1966 and ending up 1970. It's immediately followed by a shorter progression from 1968-70. Hey, we aim to please.

Artist: WHO
Song Title: "Boris the Spider"
Source: CD: MEATY, BEATY, BIG AND BOUNCY (originally released on UK LP: A QUICK ONE. US version of album retitled HAPPY JACK)
Release Year: 1966
For many years, "Boris the Spider" was bassist John Entwhistle's signature song. Eventually Entwhistle got sick of singing it and wrote another one. Truth is, he wrote a lot of songs, but like the Beatles's George Harrison, did not always get the recognition as a songwriter that more prolific bandmate Pete Townshend got. This was one of the first rock songs I ever heard played on an FM station (KLZ-FM in Denver, the first FM in the area to play something besides classical, jazz or elevator music).

Song Title: "Let's Spend The Night Together"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL (stereo reissue)
Release Year: 1967
I seem to recall some TV show (Ed Sullivan, maybe?) making Mick Jagger change the words to "Let's Spend Some Time Together". I can't imagine anyone doing that to the Stones now.

Song Title: "Eternal Prison"
Source: CD: WHERE THE ACTION IS-LA NUGGETS 1965-68 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1968
Interesting how dark lyrics were starting to get by 1968.

Song Title: "How Can I Live"
Source: LP: FAT MATTRESS (original vinyl)
Release Year: 1969
After the Jimi Hendrix Experience split up, Noel Redding hooked up with this band, playing bass, co-writing songs and occassionally singing. The band's name may have come from a quote by Hendrix at the Experience's Monterey Pop Festival appearance, when he responded to negative comments by critics by saying "...or they say we have fat mattresses or that we wear golden underwear". It could even be that Hendrix got the phrase from Redding himself. Since all three members of the Experience are dead now, I guess we'll never know. Regardless, Fat Mattress failed to make much of an impression on either critics or audiences and Redding's career was effectively over with the band's demise.

Song Title: "Mother's Daughter"
Source: CD: ABRAXIS (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1970
After getting a strong positive reception from the audience at Woodstock and less than positive reviews from Rolling Stone magazine for their first album, Santana took their time and produced a classic with Abraxis, released in 1970. "Mother's Daughter" is just one of the many tracks on that album that remain in Carlos Santana's repertoir forty years later.

Song Title: "Bad Luck and Trouble (edited version)"
Source: LP: PROGRESSIVE HEAVIES (full version originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Release Year: 1968/1969
Johnny Winter's first album came out on the Austin, Tx based Sonobeat label in 1968. Following his appearance at Woodstock and his signing with Columbia in 1969, Imperial Records bought the rights to the album and reissued it on their own label. This edited version was taken from an anthology issued on United Artists Records (which had just bought Imperial).

Song Title: LOVE
Release Year: 2009 (recorded 1969)
By 1969 Country Joe and the Fish, one of the original San Francisco bands, had pretty much faded from the spotlight. Thanks to Woodstock, however, they enjoyed a brief resurgence, due in large part to Country Joe McDonald's solo version of "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag". Still, the band itself performed far more material than was issued on the soundtrack album. Thanks to Rhino Records we can now hear some of that material.

Song Title: "Talisman"
Release Year: 1970
Often dismissed as lightweights, the Guess Who nonetheless put out a classic with the American Woman album. The only track on side one that was not released as a single was "Talisman", a moody ballad running over five minutes long.

I don't often go beyond 1970 on the show, but, just for the fun of it thought I'd depart from the usual fare to play a couple tracks from 1972. Don't expect this to happen often. Hell, with this show it's best not to expect anything.

Song Title: "Trilogy"
Source: CD: TRILOGY (reissue of original album)
Release Year: 1972
When you hear the phrase "progressive rock", one of the first names that comes to mind is Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Unlike the garage bands of the psychedelic era, many members of progressive rock bands were classically trained musicians, capable of rendering complex melodies and rhythms that were beyond the abilities of most punk-rockers. Keith Emerson in particular had impeccable classical credentials and the group would eventually record an entire piano concerto he composed on one of their later albums. The title cut of the Trilogy album is a typical an example of the ELP sound.

Song Title: "Conquistador"
Source: LP: BEST OF PROCOL HARUM (originally released on LP: PROCOL HARUM LIVE)
Release Year: 1972
Although the tune was originally recorded for the first Procol Harum in 1967, it was the live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that became the band's second biggest hit (behind "A Whiter Shade of Pale").

Song Title: "A Hazy Shade of Winter"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1966
A timeless classic that somehow seemed to fit right after "Conquistador". By the way, this is probably the only song I use on the annual "Stuck with the Hermit at Christmastime" show that I also play other times of the year.

Artist: CROW
Song Title: "Cottage Cheese"
Source: 45 RPM VINYL
Release Year: 1970
In late 1970 I found myself living in Alamogordo, NM, which was at the time one of those places that still didn't have an FM station (in fact, the only FM station we could receive was a classical station in Las Cruces, 70 miles away). To make it worse, there were only two AM stations in town, and the only one that played current songs went off the air at sunset. As a result the only way to hear current music at night (besides buying albums without hearing them first) was to "DX" distant AM radio stations. Of these, the one that came in most clearly and consistently was KOMA in Oklahoma City. We spent many a night driving around with KOMA cranked up, fading in and out as long-distant stations always do. One of those nights we were all blown away by this track, which, due to the conservative nature of the local daytime-only station, was not getting any local airplay. Years later I was lucky enough to find a copy in a thrift store in Albuquerque. Here it is.

After all the various progressive stuff I thought it was only fair to end up right back where we started: 1966.

Song Title: "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White"
Source: LP: NUGGETS VOLUME 2: PUNK (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Release Year: 1966
The Standells made a big splash (sorry) with the 1966 hit "Dirty Water". They followed it up with this tune, quite possibly the first punk anthem ever recorded. Between the two the band had established a solid reputation as the quintessential garage-punk band. What nobody at the time seemed to realize, however, is that the Standells were in reality a squeaky-clean club band fronted by former Mousketeer Dicky Dodd (the little blond kid in the middle). See ya real soon!

Song Title: "You Burn Me Up And Down"
Source: CD: NUGGETS BOX SET (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl).
Release Year: 1966
We finish up this week's show with a B side from a band in Orlando, Florida, that was kind of a regional supergroup, as it was made up of musicians from various local garage bands. The departure of lead guitarist Wayne Proctor in early 1967 and the band's other main songwriter Tommy Talton a year later led to the group's demise, despite having landed a contract with RCA Victor, at the time the world's largest record label.

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