Thursday, November 11, 2010

Playlist 1025

This week it's the sequel to the "25" show from early summer. What that means is that once again we have 25 songs from 25 artists, some of which were probably into some 25 of their own.

Artist: Them
Song: One Two Brown Eyes
Source: LP: Them
Year: 1965
This Van Morrison original was first released in the UK in late 1964 as the B side of Them's first single. It was included on the US version of Them's first album, but not the version released in the UK.

Artist: Moby Grape
Song: Rose Colored Eyes
Source: LP: Wow
Year: 1968
Moby Grape's second album is considered generally inferior to the first, possibly because the band seemed to be moving in several directions at once. This is due to the fact that they had a wealth of songwriters, each in the process of developing their own style. This song is indicative of the direction bass player Bob Mosley was going in.

Artist: Mothers of Invention
Song: Trouble Coming Every Day
Source: LP: Freak Out!
Year: 1966
Starting off a progression through the years we have Frank Zappa with the original version of a song that he would update and re-record on more than one occassion. Although some of the references are topical and thus dated, the general tone of the song remains as relevant today as when it was first recorded.

Artist: Dave Davies
Song: Death of a Clown
Source: CD: Kinks-25 Years-The Ultimate Collection
Year: 1967
Although Ray Davies was the leader and primary songwriter of the Kinks, it was brother Dave who first recorded as a solo artist with this 1967 single.

Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Song: Mrs. Robinson
Source: CD: Collected Works
Year: 1968
A shortened version of Mrs. Robinson first appeared on the soundtrack for the file The Graduate in 1967, but it wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released.

Artist: Tommy James and the Shondells
Song: I Know Who I Am
Source: LP: Cellophane Symphony
Year: 1969
By 1969 Tommy James and the Shondells had already seen their best years and were trying to find a way to remain relevant. The album Cellophane Symphony was an attempt at moving the band in a more progressive direction while also trying to satisfy the demands of a dying record company that really had no other successful artists left on its roster.

Artist: Richie Havens
Song: Eyesight to the Blind
Source: 45 RPM single
Year: 1972
In between the original release of Tommy in 1969 and the movie version in 1975 there was the Orchestral Tommy in 1972, featuring performances by several artists that did not perform on either of the other versions. Among those were Richie Havens, who was then at the peak of his popularity.

Artist: Cream
Song: N.S.U.
Source: LP: Live Cream
Year: 1968
After the breakup of Cream, Atco decided to issue a live album in 1970, featuring songs that had originally appeared on the album Fresh Cream. This ten minute version of N.S.U., recorded at Winterland in 1968, shows how far the band had progressed in the two years since recording the studio version.

Artist: Dave Clark Five
Song: Glad All Over
Source: CD: 5 By Five
Year: 1964
The Dave Clark Five were originally formed as a way of raising money for Clark's football (soccer) team. Toward the end of 1963 they scored a number one hit in England with Glad All Over, which was released to an enthusiastic US audience a few months later.

Artist: Turtles
Song: She's My Girl
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock
Year: 1967
After a moderate amount of success in 1965 with a series of singles starting with a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, the Turtles found themselves running out of steam by the end of 1966. Rather than throw in the towel, they enlisted the services of the Bonner/Gordon songwriting team and recorded their most successful single, Happy Together, in 1967. They dipped into the same well for this tune later the same year.

Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Song: (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Year: 1967
Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations.

Artist: Stephen Stills
Song: Love the One You're With
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo promo pressing)
Year: 1971
Depending on your point of view Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) have either split up several times over the years or have never actually split up at all. It was during one of these maybe split-ups that Stills recorded this classic. Presumably he and Judy Collins were no longer an item at that point.

Artist: Traffic
Song: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies
Year: 1967
A long set of tunes from 1967 starts with this classic from the first Traffic album.

Artist: Love
Song: Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hillsdale
Source: CD: Forever Changes
Year: 1967
When Forever Changes was recorded, the band took some flack for the use of horns and strings. What the critics of the time failed to take into account was that the added instruments were not, as was usually the case, added by the producer as a way to cover up weak musicianship. In fact the band members themselves (particularly leader Arthur Lee) were responsible for the addition and worked closely with arranger David Angel to come up with the sound they wanted.

Artist: Box Tops
Song: The Letter
Source: CD: Billboard Top Rock and Roll Hits-1967
Year: 1967
Here's an unusual recipe for you: take one novice producer, add a newly-signed band that hadn't even decided on a name yet, and mix in a songwriter that had recently submitted his first demo tape to the novice producer's ex-boss. Put them all together and you get a song that goes all the way to the top of the charts and stays there for four weeks.

Artist: Circus Maximus
Song: Bright Light Lovers
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Year: 1967
Although keyboardist Bob Bruno's contributions as a songwriter to Circus Maximus tended to favor jazz arrangements, he shows here that he could rock out with the best of the garage bands when the mood hit.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Song: Get Me To the World On Time
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Year: 1967
Songwriter Annette Tucker usually worked with Nancy Mantz, and the pair was responsible for the Prunes biggest hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). For this composition she instead teamed up with Jill Jones and came up with a kind of psychedelic Bo Diddley song that ended up being the Prunes second biggest hit (and the first rock song that I ever heard first on an FM station rather than an AM one).

Artist: Leaves
Song: To Try For the Sun
Source: CD: All the Good That's Happening
Year: 1967
After their success with the fast version of Hey Joe in 1966 the Leaves signed with Capitol Records and recorded their second LP. Unfortunately, the band was already in the process of disintegrating by then and no more hits were forthcoming. One song that shows their interest in folk music was their cover of Donovan's To Try For the Sun. It was the only purely acoustic song the band ever recorded.

Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Song: Season of the Witch
Source: LP: Renaissance
Year: 1968
Another Donovan tune, this time given the patented Vanilla Fudge treatment on the album Renaissance. The Fudge arrangement includes spoken lyrics from Essra Mohawk's We Never Learn. Interestingly enough, the only other cover tune on the album is The Spell That Comes After, also written by Mohawk.

Artist: Music Machine
Song: Talk Talk
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits
Year: 1966
From 1965 to 1968 L.A. was home to a thriving club scene that gave bands the opportunity to perform their own original material. One of the most sophisticated of those bands was the Music Machine, which would fire off song after song without pause until it was break time, then come back and do it again for the next set.

Artist: Beach Boys
Song: That's Not Me
Source: CD: Pet Sounds
Year: 1966
The Beach Boys were about as mainstream as the Music Machine was underground, yet Brian Wilson was turning out music every bit as original as any of the club bands in town. The album Pet Sounds is considered one of the masterpieces of the era, with the majority of songs, including That's Not Me, written by Wilson with lyrics by Tony Asher.

Artist: Canned Heat
Song: Catfish Blues
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies
Year: 1967
Canned Heat's entire first album consisted of covers of blues classics like this one: Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, considered by most blues experts to be the inspiration for Muddy Waters's first recording Rolling Stone.

Artist: Monkees
Song: Porpoise Song
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock
Year: 1968
This Gerry Goffin/Carole King tune was the feature track from the Monkees movie Head. Although the song and movie pretty much flopped on release, both have achieved cult status in the years since.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Song: A New Day Yesterday
Source: CD: Stand Up
Year: 1969
Stand Up was the second Jethro Tull album and the first with new guitarist Martin Barre replacing founding member Mick Abrahams. There was, however, another guitarist that made an appearance as a member of the band before Barre joined, but only on the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus TV special that was never broadcast. The name of that interim guitarist was Tony Iommi, who would soon go on to found Black Sabbath. Starting with Stand Up, each successive Jethro Tull album would feature one additional personnel change until, as of Thick As a Brick, Ian Anderson was the only original member left.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Song: White Rabbit
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Year: 1967
It only seems appropriate for the 25th song this week to be White Rabbit. Conspiracy buffs enjoy!

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