The psychedelic era can be divided into two parts: before and after the summer of love. From 1964 through 1966 the British Invasion was the dominant force in popular music. Motown came into its own during this period, as did the Memphis soul sound and the L.A. underground club scene. From all over the country new bands were popping up, generally staying together long enough to cut one or two hit records before fading off into obscurity. After 1967, the music got more serious, reflecting the counter-culture it had come to represent. Most of the music on this week's show comes from this latter part of the psychedelic era, with the exception of the final segment, which features a progression through the years 1966 through 1969 and closes with a set of tunes from 1967.
Title: He Was A Friend Of Mine
Source: CD: Hey Joe
Before getting into the late psychedelic era we start with a quick visit to the L.A. club scene, where we find the Leaves doing their version of a traditional folk song that by 1966 had become a folk-rock standard. Although best known for their rave-up version of Hey Joe, the Leaves were at heart a folk-rock band, and this track, more than anything else they recorded, shows them in their element.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield)
One of the most influential folk-rock bands to come out of the L.A. scene was the Buffalo Springfield. The Springfield had several quality songwriters, including Neil Young, whose voice was deemed "too weird" by certain record company people. Thus we have Richie Furay singing a Young tune on the first album.
Artist: Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys
Title: Good Old Rock and Roll
Source: CD: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-Vol. 1 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
By 1969, folk-rock had morphed into what would come to be called country-rock. One of the early country-rock bands that is usually overlooked is Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys. This is probably because their only hit, the 50s tribute song Good Old Rock and Roll, was not at all typical of the band's sound.
Artist: Insect Trust
Source: LP: Hoboken Saturday Night
It has often been said that critics are just wannabe artists. The Insect Trust, however, featured New York rock critic Bob Palmer on saxophone, as well as future record company executive Nancy Jeffries on vocals. Ducks is a mostly instrumental track from the band's second LP.
Artist: Otis Redding
Title: The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)
Source: CD: Very Best of Otis Redding
One of the great tragedies in the history of American music was the plane crash that took the lives of Otis Redding and most of the Bar-Kays in early 1968. In the months following the crash, several "new" Otis Redding singles were released, including this one, co-written by guitarist Steve Cropper.
Artist: B. B. King
Title: The Thrill Is Gone
Source: 45 RPM single
Back when there was still room for blues artists on the rhythm and blues charts, one of the names regularly seen was B.B. King, who had gotten his start as a DJ in the early 50s. It wasn't until 1970, though, that he finally found mainstream success with The Thrill Is Gone. Now in his mid-80s, King is considered a living legend and a national treasure.
Artist: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title: You Don't Have To Cry
Source: CD: Crosby, Stills and Nash
After the breakup of Buffalo Springfield in 1968, Stephen Stills spent some time in the studio cutting demo tapes as well as pitching in to help his friend Al Kooper complete the Super Session album when guitarist Mike Bloomfield became incapacitated by his heroin addiction. He then started hanging out at David Crosby's place in Laurel Canyon. Joined by Graham Nash, who had recently left the Hollies, they recorded the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. Several of the tunes Stills had penned since the Springfield breakup were included on the album, including this one addressing his own breakup with singer Judy Collins.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Source: CD: Works (originally released on LP: A Saucerful of Secrets)
With Sid Barrett's mental health quickly deteriorating, the remaining members of Pink Floyd recruited guitarist David Gilmour to take up the slack. One of the first efforts from the new lineup was this tune, written by keyboardist Roger Waters and sung by Gilmour.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Brave New World
Source: LP: Homer soundtrack (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
A couple weeks ago we heard a track from the Steve Miller album Number 5. This time around we have the title track from number four.
Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Summer Dresses
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Although not politically correct by today's standards, Summer Dresses is typical of the "rock and soul" direction Joe McDonald's music had taken by 1969. As the rest of the popular music world was moving in a different direction at the time, most of the Fish material from Woodstock remained unreleased until Rhino's 40th anniversary set in 2009.
Artist: Public Nuisance
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
On the subject of unreleased material we have Public Nuisance, a band that was about ten years ahead of its time. Looking and sounding a lot like the Ramones would in the late 70s, Public Nuisance found itself the victim of unusual circumstances that led to the cancellation of their only LP in 1968. Producer Terry Melcher, who had risen to fame as producer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, had made the mistake of rejecting tapes sent to him by a wannabe rock star named Charles Manson. When Manson achieved the fame and notoriety that had eluded him as a musician (by killing a bunch of people), Melcher felt it prudent to go into hiding, shelving the Public Nuisance project in the process.
Artist: Jan and Dean
Title: Ride the Wild Surf
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Just to shake things up a bit we have this title track from the film Ride the Wild Surf, co-written by Brian Wilson. This and Dead Man's Curve, heard on the show a couple weeks ago, should take care of the Jan and Dean quota for 2011.
Artist: Lyme and Cybelle
Title: I Will Follow You
Source: LP: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Before coming to the realization that he could become famous using his own name, Warren Zevon (along with Violet Santangelo) recorded this track as Lyme and Cybelle. They also wrote the song using their real names, presumably because nobody wants to see their potential royalties diverted to a fictitious stage name.
Title: Waltz of the Flies
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Once you get past the facts that 1) this a band best known as the starting place of a singer (Van Morrison) who was no longer with the group by the time this album was recorded, and 2) this album came out on Tower Records, the audio equilivant of AIP movie studios, you can appreciate the fact that Time Out! Time In! For Them is actually a pretty decent album.
Artist: Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
Title: How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away
Source: CD: Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks)
As one of the founders of the legendary San Francisco band the Charlatans, Dan Hicks has a special place in rock history. One song recorded (but not released) by the Charlatans was this tune, which became sort of a signature tune for Hick's new band, the Hot Licks.
Title: Jack Orion
Source: LP: Cruel Sister
The showpiece of the 1970 Pentangle album Cruel Sister was this 18 1/2 minute version of the old English folk song. Done in a theme and variations type of format favored by classical composers, this song was first recorded by Pentangle member Bert Jansch on a solo LP.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Goin' Down Louisiana
Source: LP: promo sampler
The first Blues Project LP, Live at the Cafe Au-Go-Go, was a collection of mostly cover tunes recorded over a four-day period in November of 1965 and released in early 1966. Although even at that point the Project was becoming known for its extended jams, the performances were deliberately kept short to placate nervous record company executives. Guitarist Danny Kalb sings lead on this Muddy Waters tune.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Shifting Sands (single mix)
Source: CD: A Child's Guide To Good and Evil (bonus track originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Despite releasing six albums over a five-year period, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band never had a hit record. One attempt was this tune from 1967.
Artist: Grass Roots
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
The Grass Roots, on the other hand, had several hit records. Oddly enough, Feelings was one of the few that failed to chart, despite being one of their better songs.
Title: Abbey Road Medley #2
Source: CD: Abbey Road
The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys. The second one consists of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End, with Her Majesty tossed in as a kind of "hidden" track at the end of the album.
Title: Mellow Yellow
Source: LP: Mellow Yellow
Our 1967 set starts with a song originally released as a single in 1966, but only in the US. Due to a contract dispute with Pye records, none of Donovan's 1966 recordings were released in his native country until 1967, when the Mellow Yellow album came out in both the US and the UK.
Title: Try It
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and on LP: Try It)
Probably the Standells track with the most commercial potential, this song was derailed when programmers got it into their heads that it was a call for teenage girls to surrender their virginity.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Sweet Young Thing
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Along the same lines we have this single from early 67, written and produced by Ed Cobb, who also produced the Standells (and wrote Dirty Water).
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Mr. Blues
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Bassist Bob Mosley wrote and sang on this tune, one of ten songs released on 45 RPM vinyl from the first Moby Grape album. It was a marketing disaster that forever tainted a talented band.
Title: Renaissance Fair
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Younger Than Yesterday was David Crosby's last official album with the Byrds (he was fired midway through the recording of The Notorious Byrd Brothers) and the last one containing any collaborations between Crosby and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn. Renaissance Fair is one of those collaborations.