Saturday, December 18, 2010

Show # 1030 playlist

Before I get into the playlist I want to mention that this is the last regular show of the year. Next week it will be your chance to be stuck with a hermit at Yuletide, and the following week I plan a kind of "best of 2010" edition (which is kind of weird when you consider that all the music on the show was recorded about 40 years ago).

Now that I've got that out of the way let's check out a progression through the years 1966-69.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Sunny Afternoon
Source: CD: Face To Face
Year: 1966
My family got its first real stereo just in time for me to catch this song at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off).

Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)
Source: CD: No Way Out
Year: 1967
The Love-In was a cheapo teensploitation flick from American International that included a clip of the Chocolate Watchband performing this tune. As both the Watchband and AIP's soundtracks were on Tower Records it was a perfect fit.

Artist: Monkees
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on the soundtrack album to the movie Head)
Year: 1968
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: 3/5 of a Mile In 10 Seconds
Source: LP: Bless It's Pointed Little Head
Year: 1969
Jefferson Airplane's first live album was released in 1969 and featured ramped-up versions of several tunes from their early studio albums. 3/5 of a Mile In 10 Seconds is the first actual song on the album, although there is a barely audible track called Clergy, recorded off the band's PA system, that actually opens the album.

We head back to 1965 for a second progression through the years, this time just a bit more focused on album tracks and B sides.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Hitch Hike
Source: CD: Out of Our Heads
Year: 1965
The Rolling Stones early albums consisted of about a 50/50 mix of cover tunes and Jagger/Richards originals. Marvin Gaye's Hitch Hike was one of the cover songs on the album Out of Our Heads, the same album that featured the #1 hit of 1965, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Artist: Standells
Title: Why Did You Hurt Me
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Year: 1966
The Standells were generally content to let their producer, Ed Cobb, find material for them to record. As was often the custom in the mid-60s, however, band members were given the chance to write their own material for the B side, as those tracks were usually considered to be throwaways anyway. Why Did You Hurt Me, by lead vocalist/drummer (and former mousketeer) Dicky Dodd and guitarist Tony Valentino, was issued as the B side of their second single, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl and re-issued on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Year: 1967
The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. Dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair), and with leader Sean Bonniwell wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.

Artist: Spirit
Title: Water Woman
Source: CD: Spirit
Year: 1968
The first Spirit album was the most eclectic album the band ever recorded, featuring a healthy dose of jazz stylings (thanks to drummer Ed Cassidy) mixed with progressive rock and odd (but nice) tunes such Water Woman, written by lead vocalist Jay Ferguson.

Our second show segment starts off with a pair of tracks from artists known for combining folk and rock, albeit in entirely different ways.

Artist: Neil Young
Title: There's A World
Source: CD: Harvest
Year: 1970
Neil Young had previously worked with arranger Jack Nitsche while still with Buffalo Springfield, but There's A World is the first solo Young track to use the London Symphony Orchestra to the exclusion of all other instruments.

Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: America
Source: 45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Year: 1968/1972
Four years after the release of Bookends (and two years after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel), Columbia decided to release the song For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, as a single, to coincide with the release of their Greatest Hits album. For the B side, they went even further back, pulling out the original tapes for the song America. The tracks on the Bookends album were deliberately overlapped to form a continuous audio montage, making this the first standalone version of America to be released.

Artist: Who
Title: Whiskey Man
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Year: 1966
Although the Who had previously issued a pair of singles in the US, the first one to make any kind of waves was Happy Jack, released in late 1966 and hitting its peak the following year. The B side of that record was the song Whiskey Man. Like all the Who songs penned by bassist John Entwhistle, this one has an unusual subject; in this case, psychotic alcohol-induced hallucinations.

Artist: Shadows of Knight
Title: Gloria
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets
Year: 1966
The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. With minimal changes, the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist: Yardbirds
Title: Still I'm Sad
Source: LP: Great Hits (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Year: 1965
The most influential Yardbirds song on US garage bands, as well as their biggest UK hit, was their version of Bo Diddley's I'm A Man, which hit the top 10 on both sides of the ocean in 1965. The B side of that record was Still I'm Sad, notable for its use of Gregorian-style chant throughout the song.

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Porpoise Mouth
Source: LP: Electric Music For the Mind and Body
Year: 1967
Starting off a trio of album tracks from 1967 we have an unusual song from Country Joe and the Fish from their first album for Vanguard.

Artist: Traffic
Title: House For Everyone
Source: CD: Mr. Fantasy
Year: 1967
Another odd little song, this time from the pen of Dave Mason, whose early Traffic material helped define British psychedelic music.

Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Please Don't Leave Me
Source: CD: The Time Has Come
Year: 1967
Our third 1967 album track is a gospel-flavored tune from George of the Chambers clan. Nice stuff.

Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos
Source: LP: Behold and See
Year: 1968
Finishing out the first hour we have this song from Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the material on the first two Ultimate Spinach albums. Although the group would continue after Bruce-Douglas's departure, they were essentially an entirely different band stylistically, with almost all new personnel as well.

Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Poor Girl
Source: CD: Looking In
Year: 1970
Our opening track for the second hour is probably Savoy Brown's best known recording. Shortly after Looking In was released, the entire band except for leader Kim Simmonds left Savoy Brown to form a new band: Foghat.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
Source: CD: Best of the Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: John Wesley Harding)
Year: 1968
Up until 1966, stereo mixes of popular songs were done almost as an afterthought. Not only were almost all radios in use at the time AM only, but the majority of record players were single-speaker machines as well. Additionally, stereo versions of LPs generally were priced 30-40% higher than their single-channel counterparts. Gradually more attention was payed to stereo mixes, but the most popular artists continued to put a lot of effort into their mono mixes through at least 1968, when the record companies began to issue the albums only in stereo, often with the words "also playable mono" on the cover. John Wesley Harding was the last Dylan LP to have seperate mono and stereo mixes, and Columbia has recently re-issued the mono version on CD, along with mono versions of Dylan's previous albums.

Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Ooby-Dooby
Source: LP: Cosmos Factory
Year: 1970
Ooby-Dooby was originally recorded by Roy Orbison for Sun Records in the 1950s and was a minor hit at the time. The Creedence version follows the original fairly faithfully, albeit with better production quality.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Cat's Squirrel
Source: CD: This Was
Year: 1968
Probably the Jethro Tull recording with the least Ian Anderson influence, Cat's Squirrel was recorded at the insistence of record company people, who felt the song was most representative of the band's live sound. The traditional tune was arranged by guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left the band due to creative differences with Anderson shortly thereafter.

Artist: Wishbone Ash
Title: Queen of Torture
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Year: 1970
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era often does progressions through the years. Here we have a regression instead, starting with the year 1970.

One of the first bands to use dual lead guitars was Wishbone Ash. When the band's original guitarist had to leave, auditions were held, but the remaining members couldn't come to a consensus between the two finalists so they kept both of them, or so the story goes.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: In the Time of Our Lives
Source: LP: Ball
Year: 1969
One of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 1969 was Iron Butterfly's followup to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Although Ball was a strong seller, it overall left the listener feeling vaguely disappointed, and was the last album to feature Eric Brann on lead guitar.

Artist: Rose Garden
Title: Here's Today
Source: CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as a 45 RPM single B side)
Year: 1968
One of many new groups signed to Atco in the late 60s, the Rose Garden was generally disposed to recording light pop tunes with radio airplay in mind. Here's Today was an attempt to move the group in a slightly different direction.

Artist: Circus Maximus
Title: Lost Sea Shanty
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Year: 1967
Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village by keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker. Although Bruno's compositions initially got the most airplay on progressive FM radio, it was Walker who ultimately went on to become a star as a solo artist. This early Walker tune may well be his first recorded work.

Artist: Hollies
Title: I Can't Let Go
Source: CD: Best of the Hollies
Year: 1966
Of all the early Hollies hits, it is this track that most showcases the voice of Graham Nash, singing a high counterpoint that Paul McCartney reportedly mistook for a trumpet part the first time he heard the song.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Star-Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Woodstock Improvisation
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Year: 1969
The most famous Woodstock moment was actually witnessed by a relatively small portion of the crowd, as most of the festival goers had left by early Monday morning, when Jimi Hendrix took the stage with a group of musicians he had been jamming with.

Artist: Love
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: CD: Comes In Colours
Year: 1966
If any one song has to be singled out as representative of the underground club scene in late 60s Los Angeles, this track, the most popular song by the undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip, would have to be the one.

Artist: Santana
Title: Everybody's Everything
Source: single
Year: 1971
Just to confuse everyone, Santana's third album was called simply Santana. The problem is, their first album was also called Santana. The guitar solo on Everybody's Everything, by the way, is not by Carlos Santana. Rather it was performed by the then 17-year-old Neal Schon, who, along with keyboardist Greg Rolie would leave the band the following year to form Journey.

And that's it for this week. A final reminder: next week you can get stuck with a hermit at Yuletide, and the week after that we'll try to do something special for the New Year's holiday. Have a cool yule!

No comments:

Post a Comment