Friday, January 7, 2011

Show # 1101 Playlist

You may notice a bit more basic information on the songs this week. I figure if you're coming here to learn more about the music you hear on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era you might want to know who wrote the songs and what label they're on, in case you want to find your own copy. Call it an act of transparency, since that seems to be the byword of the current decade (as opposed to the byword of the previous one: hubris).

I'm making an effort to make the show more interractive this year, which basically means a greater emphasis on listener requests. This, of course, depends on you as much as it does me. Still, I thought I'd get things rolling with sets from the two most requested artists from the days when this show was still done live on a single station and I could actually take requests in real time over the phone. After this week, it's up to you.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Arnold Layne
Source: CD: Relics (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Writer: Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original single released in UK on EMI)
Year: 1967
The very first record released by Pink Floyd was Arnold Layne, released only in the UK by EMI Records. Like all early Floyd recordings, the song was written and sung by the mercurial Syd Barrett.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Astronomy Domine
Source: LP: Ummagumma
Writer: Syd Barrett
Label: Harvest
Year: 1969
By 1969, Barrett was no longer with Pink Floyd due to his rapidly deteriorating mental health. Still, the remaining band members (along with Barrett's replacement David Gilmour) continued to perform Barrett's compositions. The 1969 album Ummagumma was a double LP, with two sides of new studio recordings and two sides of live performances, such as Barrett's Astronomy Domine, which had originally appeared on the first Pink Floyd album The Piper At the Gates of Dawn.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Bike
Source: CD: Relics (originally released on LP: The Piper At the Gates of Dawn)
Writer: Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (originally released on EMI/Columbia in UK)
Year: 1967
Speaking of the first Pink Floyd album, we have the last track from that release, the Barrett tune Bike. Due to an inherent cheapness in Tower Records' approach to pretty much everything, the track (along with three other songs) was left off the US release of that album, with Arnold Layne being inserted into the lineup instead. All CD releases of Piper in the US have restored the original song lineup and running order.

Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Pilgrim's Progress
Source: LP: A Salty Dog
Writer: Fisher/Reid
Label: A&M
Year: 1969
Although Procol Harum has the reputation of being one of the first bands to incorporate classical music influences, only one of the original members had any classical training: organist Matthew Fisher. The bulk of Procol Harum's compositions, however, were by pianist Gary Brooker and lyricist (and non-performing band member) Keith Reid. Pilgrim's Progress, from A Salty Dog, is a rare exception that sees Reid teamed with Fisher. Ironically, this song, which appears as the last track on the album, would be the last from Fisher, who left Procol Harum after A Salty Dog was released in 1969.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: With You There To Help Me
Source: CD: Benefit
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol
Year: 1970
Jethro Tull's third album, Benefit, was the first to feature keyboardist John Evans, although he would not receive recognition as a full member of the band until the next album, Aqualung. By the time of Benefit, Jethro Tull was displaying the style (or rather variety of styles) that would characterize their most successful period.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Gypsy Eyes
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Reprise
Year: 1968
Among the many ways that Jimi Hendrix was an innovator was in his approach to studio recordings. Whereas previous artists had concentrated on their mono mixes, with the stereo versions often done almost as an afterthought, Hendrix instead saw stereo mixing as fertile ground for creative experimentation. By the time of Electric Ladyland he was doing only stereo mixes; the mono mix heard here is a simple recombining of the two channels rather than a seperate dedicated mix.

Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Nobody But Me
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ron Isley
Label: LP: Rhino (originally released on Capitol)
Year: 1968
The Human Beinz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol misspelled their name on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: Double Yellow Line
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (originally released on Original Sound 45 and Warner Brothers LP)
Year: 1967
The original Music Machine released a string of singles from late 1966 through early 1967, but due to a lack of competence on the part of both management and label, none of them were hits. Songs like Double Yellow Line were certainly as good if not better than most of what was hitting the charts at the time. It was not until the 21st century that Sean Bonniwell's music began to receive the recognition it deserved, a process that is still under way.

Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Trouble Every Day
Source: CD: Freak Out
Writer: Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (originally released on Verve)
Year: 1966
The first hour of this week's show ends with the other band that received the most requests during the pre-syndication years of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era: The Mothers of Invention. Trouble Every Day was clearly a personal favorite of Frank Zappa's, as he did not one, but two updated versions over the years and was still performing the song live well into the 1980s. The lyrics, while somewhat topical in that they were inspired by a specific event (the Watts riots), remain relevant today, perhaps in some ways even more than when they were originally written.

Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Return of the Son of Monster Magnet
Source: LP: Freak Out
Writer: Frank Zappa
Label: Verve
Year: 1966
Thanks to the recent acquisition of the Freak Out CD, I can finally play these two tracks back to back (they were on opposite sides of the same disc on the original LP). Return of the Son of Monster Magnet was the most experimental piece on the album. Described in the liner notes (written by Frank Zappa) as the result of turning a bunch of freaks loose in the studio with $300 worth of rented percussion instruments at 3AM, the track took up the entire fourth side of the album and served as a harbinger of the direction Zappa's future compositions would take.

The second hour of this week's show returns us to what will generally be a typical hour of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, including a couple progressions though the years and a set from San Francisco bay area bands. First, though, a couple tunes that indirectly illustrate the differences between the two major factions of British Invasion groups (blues and beat).

Artist: Deepest Blue
Title: Pretty Little Thing
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Shackleford/Johnson
Label: Rhino (originally released on Blue-Fin)
Year: 1966
Starting off the hour we have a track from a band never heard on the show before. Pomona, California was the hometown of the Doves, who actually recorded Pretty Little Thing before changing their name to Deepest Blue and releasing the tune on the small independent Blue-Fin label. Like most pre-flower power L.A. area bands, the Doves were strongly influenced by the Rolling Stones and other more blues-oriented British Invasion bands.

Artist: Family Tree
Title: Live Your Own Life
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Segarini/Dure
Label: Rhino (originally released on Mira)
Year: 1966
As a counterpoint of sorts to the previous track, we have an example of a fairly typical pre-Haight-Ashbury San Francisco band. The Family Tree was actually one of the first rock bands to play the Fillmore, but even then were seen as interlopers due to their propensity for dressing and sounding like the Beatles and other Mercybeat bands. Live Your Own Life was intended for release on San Francisco's premier local label, Autumn Records, but for some unknown reason ended up on Mira (the same label that released L.A. band the Leaves' first records). The song was described by some as sounding like the early Jefferson Airplane. As a way of checking that out we have the next track....

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Bringing Me Down
Source: LP: Takes Off
Writer: Balin/Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1966
Jefferson Airplane was not only the first San Francisco band signed to a major label, it was also one of the first US rock bands to develop a style that was independent of the British Invasion styles. Billed as a "jet age sound," the early Airplane was a reflection of the songwriting style of Marty Balin and to a slightly-lesser degree, Paul Kantner, neither of which sounded anything like either the Beatles or Stones.

Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: No Way Out
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (originally released on Tower)
Year: 1967
The Chocolate Watchband, from the southern part of the Bay Area (specifically Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills), were fairly typical of the south bay music scene, centered in San Jose. Although they were generally known for lead vocalist Dave Aguilar's ability to channel Mick Jagger with uncanny accuracy, producer Ed Cobb gave them a more psychedelic sound in the studio with the use of studio effects and other enhancements (including adding tracks to their albums that were performed entire by studio musicians).

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Boogie Music
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living the Blues)
Writer: L.T. Tatman III
Label: United Artists (originally released on Liberty)
Year: 1968
Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. An edited version of Boogie Music, also from Living the Blues, was issued as the B side of that single. This is the full-length version.

Title: Overdrive
Source: LP: Sailor
Writer: Boz Scaggs
Label: Capitol
Year: 1968
The Steve Miller Band, in its early years, was in a sense an American version of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, serving as a launching pad for the careers of Ben Sidran and Boz Scaggs, among others. This early Scaggs tune shows a harder-edged side to the Boz than most of his later solo hits.

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Cosmic Charlie
Source: CD: Aoxomoxoa
Writer: Garcia/Hunter/Lesh
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1969
Finishing off this San Francisco set we have the group with the greatest longevity of all the Bay Area bands, continuing to perform almost continuously until the death of Jerry Garcia in the mid 1990s. Aoxomoxoa, the group's third LP, continued the band's experimentation with studio enhancement of live recordings started with the previous album, Anthem of the Sun. The next album would be a full-blown live double LP, appropriately titled Live Dead.

Artist: Paupers
Title: Simple Deed
Source: LP: Magic People
Writer: Mitchell/Prokop
Label: Verve Forecast
Year: 1967
The Paupers were a Canadian band that moved to New York in early 1966. At first, the future looked bright for the band, especially after an appearance later that year opening for the Airplane at the Cafe-Au-Go-Go that garnered an unprecedented call for an encore. Somehow, though, they were unable to generate the same kind of response with material recorded in the studio and after a pair of decent but unspectacular albums the members went their seperate ways. Skip Prokop in particular went on to become one of the most in-demand studio drummers in the business.

Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: Yes, I'm Experienced
Source: CD: Winds Of Change
Writer: Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label: Repertoire (originally released in US on M-G-M)
Year: 1967
A grand tradition dating back to the early Rhythm and Blues recordings was something called the "answer song". Someone would record a song (Hound Dog, for example), that would become popular. In turn, another artist (often a friend of the original one), would then come up with a song that answered the original tune (Bear Cat, in our example earlier). This idea was picked up on by white artists in the late 50s (Hey Paula answered by Hey Paul). True to the tradition, Eric Burdon answered his friend Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced with this song, done in a style similar to another Hendrix tune, Manic Depression.

Artist: Them
Title: I Happen To Love You
Source: LP: Us And Them
Writer: Goffin/King
Label: Tower
Year: 1968
Continuing our progression through the years we have a song that was first recorded by the Electric Prunes for their 1967 album Underground. The band wanted to release this Gerry Goffin/Carole King tune as a single, but the shirts instead chose to issue To the Highest Bidder, a novelty track by the Tucker/Mantz team that had written I Had Too Much To Dream instead. Unlike the Prunes version, which emphasized the King melody line, Them's version was done in much the same style as their earlier recordings with Van Morrison. Kenny McDowell provided the lead vocal.

Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Where Is Happiness
Source: LP: Near The Beginning
Writer: Carmine Appice
Label: Atco
Year: 1969
Our 1969 entry is a track from one of the last Vanilla Fudge albums and a rare Carmine Appice composition.

Artist: Leaves
Title: Hey Joe
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Hey Joe)
Writer: disputed
Label: Rhino (originally released on Mira)
Year: 1966
Our second progression through the years starts with this track from late 1966 that went national the following year. The origins of the song Hey Joe are surrounded in mystery. Various writers have been given credit for the tune, including Chet Powers, aka Dino Valenti, who wrote Get Together, but David Crosby claimed the song was actually an old folk tune dating back to the 19th century that he himself had popularized as a member of the Byrds before the Leaves got ahold of it. Regardless of where the song came from, the Leaves version was the first to be released as a single and is generally considered the definitive fast version of the song. In Britain it was the slower version favored by the Jimi Hendrix Experience that became a hit, using an arrangement pioneered by songwriter Tim Rose and the Music Machine's Sean Bonniwell.

Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: There's A Chance We Can Make It
Source: CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
Writer: Gilbert/Scala
Label: Mercury
Year: 1967
Following the success of (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, the Blues Magoos released There's A Chance We Can Make It, backed with Pipe Dream, both from the Electric Comic Book album. Or possibly it was the other way around; and therein lies the problem. Mercury failed to specify which side of the record was the A side, and radio stations were equally divided as to which song to play. As a result, neither song was able to make the upper reaches of the charts, despite both being hit material.

Artist: Doors
Title: Spanish Caravan
Source: CD: Waiting For The Sun
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1968
The third Doors album was somewhat of a departure from the first two, covering a greater variety of styles than their previous efforts. A prime example is Spanish Caravan, which starts with a flamenco solo from Robbie Kreiger and continues in a highly Spanish (not Mexican) flavored musical vein.

As a bonus, we have a second tune from 1968 to wrap up the show.

Artist: Traffic
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: United Artists
Year: 1968
Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second album. Among those was his most memorable song, Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.

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