Monday, January 31, 2011

Show # 1104 playlist

Yeah, I know this isn't being posted until after the show has already run. I'm kinda trying to keep a low profile with certain agencies that frown on advance posting of playlists. Apparently they seem to think people will tape them at home if they know ahead of time what's going to be played. Well, if people still actually used tape I might be able to see what they mean, but these days.............?

Anyway, here it is:

We start off this week's show with a request, which also serves to launch a set made up of cover tunes.

Artist: McKendree Spring
Title: Down By The River
Source: LP: McKendree Spring 3
Writer: Neil Young
Label: Decca
Year: 1972
Decca Records was considered one of the "big six" record companies of the 50s-60s, and one of the three based in New York. Unlike RCA Victor and Columbia, which had offices and studios on both coasts, Decca remained primarily an East Coast label, with a generous helping of imports supplementing the local talent. One of the last acts signed by the label was McKendree Spring, from Glens Falls, NY. Best described as a progressive folk-rock band, the group supplemented its basic rock instrumentation with violin, viola and synthesizers, all provided by Dr. Michael Dreyfuss. Their third album, released in 1972, starts off with a powerful version of the Neil Young classic Down By The River.

Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: I Put A Spell On You
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer: Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Label: Rhino
Year: 1969
Before getting major attention for its string of top five singles (including three consecutive # 2 songs), CCR released a pair of cover tunes in 1968: Dale Hawkins' Suzy Q and this one from an entirely different Hawkins, Screamin' Jay. Although the Creedence version only made it to the # 58 spot on the national charts, it was still part of their repertoire when they played at Woodstock the following year.

Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Mary Mary
Source: CD: East-West
Writer: Michael Nesmith
Label: Elektra
Year: 1966
Our third cover tune is technically not a cover tune at all, since it was actually the first version to get recorded. Still, since composer Michael Nesmith was the acknowledged leader of the Monkees, whose version came out in early 1967, the Butterfield version has to be considered a cover of sorts.

The next pair of songs were both requested by the same person that wanted to hear Space Hymn by Lothar and the Hand People. Unfortunately, the Lothar track is currently unavailable, but I do hope to get a copy of their earlier album soon. In the meantime, we do have these two tracks.

Artist: Uriah Heep
Title: The Park
Source: LP: Salisbury
Writer: Ken Hensley
Label: Mercury
Year: 1971
Uriah Heep's second album, Salisbury, saw the band shifting in a more progressive direction, thanks in large part to the input of keyboardist Ken Hensley, who wrote half the songs on the album. As the band's career progressed, Hensley would become the group's primary songwriter. One of the early Hensley tunes was the Park, a much quieter piece that anything on the first album.

Artist: Mamas and the Papas
Title: No Salt On Her Tail
Source: CD: The Mamas and the Papas
Writer: John Phillips
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year: 1966
After only one album, mama Michelle was kicked out of the Mamas and the Papas for having an affair with papa Denny while being married to papa John. She rejoined the group midway through the recording of the group's self-titled second album in 1966, although I haven't been able to determine which songs she sang on and which ones featured temporary mama Jill. Am I the only one who groks a wrongness about this whole scenario?

Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Sitting By The Window
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Writer: Peter Lewis
Label: Columbia
Year: 1967
Moby Grape's powerful 1967 debut managed to achieve what few bands have been able to: a coherent sound despite having wildly different writing styles from the individual members. One of Peter Lewis's contributions to the album was this tune.

To start the second segment we have a set of singles from 1965, stretching from coast to coast and kind of midway between the two. Following this up we have a set of tunes taking us through the years 1967 through 1969. The segment finishes with a set of lesser-known tunes from the Jefferson Airplane.

Artist: Wailers
Title: Out Of Our Tree
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Gardner/Morrill/Ormsby
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year: 1965
The Pacific Northwest was, and is, home to a louder, harder-rocking and generally raunchier style of rock and roll than most other regions of the country. It's never been explained exactly why this is, but Kurt Cobain may have touched on it when he said that because the weather is such that it discourages outdoor activities (i.e, it rains a lot), there really isn't much else to do but go to places where live music is played. Another reason for the scene developing the way it did might be these guys, who practically invented raunch and roll. The Wailers were formed in 1958, doing mostly instrumental versions of songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard and other early rock and roll/R&B artists. One of the hallmarks of the Wailers was that they played hard and loud, influencing later bands such as the Sonics to do the same. This meant that in order to be heard over the instruments, a vocalist had to basically scream out the lyrics. Etiquette Records, which recorded both the Wailers and the Sonics, was one of the first labels to release records with a healthy amount of distortion built in. This may have been due to budget limitations or it could have been a deliberate aesthetical choice. The result was garage-rock classics such as Out Of Our Tree, the echoes of which can be heard in the Grunge movement of the early 1990s.

Artist: Barbarians
Title: Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Morris/Morris
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year: 1965
From Boston we have the Barbarians, best known for having a one-handed drummer named Moulty who wore a hook on his other arm (and was probably the inspiration for the hook-handed bass player in the cult film Wild In The Streets a few years later).

Artist: Castaways
Title: Liar Liar
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Donna
Label: Rhino (original label: Soma)
Year: 1965
Our third and final track from 1965 is a classic example of a one-hit wonder. The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis are who, for less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.

Artist: Standells
Title: Try It
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Levine/Bellack
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year: 1967
After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded this tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat.

Artist: Them
Title: The Moth
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer: Lane/Pulley
Label: Tower
Year: 1968
From 1968 we have Van Morrison's former band, now fronted by Kenny McDowell, recording an album made up mostly of songs written by Tom Pulley and Vivian Lane, whom the band profoundly thanked in the liner notes for providing them with outstanding material to record.

Artist: Bubble Puppy
Title: Hot Smoke and Sassafras
Source: CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: unknown
Label: Priority (original label: International Artists)
Year: 1969
From Houston we have a requested song from a band that was a couple years ahead of its time, displaying musical dexterity on a par with later groups such as Flash and Yes. Soon after recording Hot Smoke and Sassafras the Bubble Puppy would relocate to California and change their name to Demian, at least in part to disassociate themselves with the then-popular "bubble gum" style.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Turn My Life Down
Source: CD: Volunteers
Writer: Jorma Kaukonen
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1969
The fifth Jefferson Airplane studio album has a reputation of being their most political album. While that may be true, Volunteers is also the album that most showcases the growing diversity of writing styles among band members. In particular Jorma Kaukonen's contributions, such as Turn My Life Down, serve as a preview of the style that he and Jack Cassidy would adopt when they formed Hot Tuna the following year.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source: single B side
Writer: Marty Balin
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1967
Following the success of Somebody To Love, the Airplane quickly followed it up with their third single from the Surrealistic Pillow album, White Rabbit. Although it didn't get the same amount of top 40 airplay, Marty Balin's Plastic Fantastic Lover, issued as the B side of White Rabbit, has proved just as enduring as the A side. So much so that, when the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special pressing of both songs on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: A Song For All Seasons
Source: CD: Volunteers
Writer: Spencer Dryden
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1969
When it comes to Jefferson Airplane rarities, there is nothing more rare than a Spencer Dryden composition. In fact, to my knowledge, A Song For All Seasons is the only one that he is given sole credit for. The song itself is a bit of a novelty, sounding like it would be more at home on a Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed era) album than an Airplane one, which is even odder when one considers Dryden's jazz background.

Our second hour this week is highlighted by a set of outstanding tracks from 1967. Before that we have a set that progresses from 1965-68. But first, a few words from Robert Zimmerman and some other singer-songwriters.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: CBS (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1966
After upsetting folk purists (and gaining mainstream success in the process) by adding rock instrumentation to his music in 1965, Dylan pretty much had a license to do whatever he wanted in 1966. It was a good thing, too; otherwise this track would have suffered the same fate as the Byrds' Eight Miles High released later that year. Since he was Bob Dylan, however, even Bill Drake (the most powerful man in top 40 radio), could not get this one banned for being a drug song.

Artist: Donovan
Title: Writer In The Sun
Source: LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Epic
Year: 1967
In 1966-67 Donovan's career was almost derailed by a contractual dispute with his UK label, Pye Records. This resulted in two of his albums, Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, not being issued in the UK. At the time he felt that there was a real chance that he would be forced into retirement by the dispute, and wrote this song addressing the subject.
Ironically his career was moving in the opposite direction in the US due to him switching from the relatively small Hickory label to industry giant Columbia's subsidiary label Epic Records and scoring top 10 singles with the title tracks from both albums. His success with those records in the US may have been a factor in Pye settling with the singer-songwriter and issuing a British album that combined tracks from the two albums in late 1967.

Artist: Blues Project
Title: Fly Away
Source: radio promo sampler LP (song released on LP: Projections)
Writer: Al Kooper
Label: Verve Forecast
Year: 1966
The Blues Project has a permanent place in rock history, both for pioneering the idea of touring coast to coast playing college venues and as the first jam band. Still, they were never able to break into top 40 radio at a time when a top 40 hit was considered essential to a band's commercial success. Keyboardist Al Kooper, on the other hand, was no stranger to hit records, having co-written This Diamond Ring, a song that became the first number one hit for Gary Lewis and the Playboys (although Kooper himself hated their arrangement of the song) in 1965. One of Kooper's attempts at writing a hit song for the Blues Project was Fly Away, included on their second LP, Projections.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Scarecrow
Source: CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer: Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original US label: Tower)
Year: 1967
When Pink Floyd first hit the recording studio, their primary songwriter was Syd Barrett. His genius was that he could compose strong singles such as Arnold Layne and See Emily Play as well as innovative album tracks like Scarecrow, establishing Pink Floyd as one of the most progressive groups in the history of rock in the process. Unfortunately, as is too often the case with geniuses, his inability to relate to mundane reality (combined with substance abuse) led to mental health issues that ultimately derailed his career.

Artist: Guess Who
Title: Shakin' All Over
Source: CD: Reelin' and Rockin' Vol. 7 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Johnny Kidd
Label: Happy Days of Rock and Roll (original US label: Scepter)
Year: 1965
Our progression through the years starts with a band formed in Winnipeg, Alberta, Canada in 1960. Originally calling themselves the Silvertones, they were by 1962 known as Chad Allan and the Silvertones, then Chad Allan and the Reflections and finally, by 1964 Chad Allan and the Expressions. During those years they had several lineup changes, scoring a few minor hits on the Canadian charts in the process. Finally, in 1965, with a lineup consisting of Chad Allan, Randy Bachman, Bob Ashley, Jim Kale and Dale Peterson, they decided to try a new tactic. Their latest single, Shakin' All Over, was already huge success in Canada, going all the way to the top of the charts, but the band had their eyes on the US market as well. Deliberately circulating a rumor that the record might actually be a British Invasion supergroup recording under a pseudonym, the band's US label, Scepter Records, issued the record with a plain white label credited to "Guess Who?" After the song was comfortably ensconced in the US top 40 (peaking at # 22) Scepter revealed that the band was actually Chad Allan and the Expressions. DJs in the US, however, continued to refer to the band as the Guess Who and within a few months the group adopted the new name. The band continued to chart minor hits in Canada using both Chad Allan and the Expressions and the Guess Who on their record labels, and for a time it looked like Shakin' All Over would be their only US hit. Burton Cummings replaced Bob Ashley in late 1965, sharing the lead vocals with Chad Allan, who left the group in 1966. Finally in 1969, after changing labels the Guess Who returned to the US charts with the album Wheatfield Soul, featuring the single These Eyes, and went on to score a series of hits in the early 70s.

Artist: Yardbirds
Title: Over, Under, Sideways, Down
Source: CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label: Raven (original US label: Epic)
Year: 1966
The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over, Under, Sideways, Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and Jimmy Page).

Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Intermission
Source: LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer: Esposito
Label: Mercury
Year: 1967
This track from the second Blues Magoos album is pretty much self-explanitory.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Jumpin' Jack Flash
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1968
After the commercial disappointment of their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request in late 1967, the Stones replaced longtime producer Andrew Loog Oldham with Jimmy Miller, who had made a name for himself working with Steve Winwood on recordings by both the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic. The collaboration resulted in a back-to-basics approach that produced the classic single Jumpin' Jack Flash, followed by the Beggar's Banquet album.

Artist: Turtles
Title: She's My Girl
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bonner/Gordon
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year: 1967
Hot on the success of Happy Together, the Turtles again turned to the Bonner/Gordon songwriting team for this follow-up single. According to vocalist Howard Kaylan (or maybe it was Mark Volman), at that point in the band's career things were getting kind of weird, with one of the band members becoming convinced that he, not John Lennon, was in fact the walrus. Supposedly there's some strange things going on with the backup vocals on this track as well.

Artist: Love
Title: You Set The Scene
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year: 1967
During the production of Forever Changes, vocalist/guitarist Arthur Lee became convinced that he was destined to die soon after the release of the album. Accordingly, he crafted lyrics that were meant to be his final words to the world. As the final track on the LP, You Set The Scene in particular reflected this viewpoint. As it turned out, Forever Changes was not Lee's swan song. It was, however, the last album to feature the lineup that had been the most popular band on Sunset Strip for the past two years. Subsequent Love albums would feature a whole new lineup backing Lee, and would have an entirely different sound as well. Ironically, Lee was still around at the dawn of the 21st century over 30 years later (dying of acute myeloid leukemia in 2006), outliving several of his old bandmates.

Artist: Beatles
Title: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Final Sequence
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year: 1967
One of the great accidents of record production was the splice that turned the chicken at the end of Good Morning Good Morning into a guitar, starting off Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) and ultimately leading into A Day In The Life, with it's slowly dissolving orchestral chord that brings the number one album of 1967 to a close.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Like A Rolling Stone
Source: LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former member of the US Army and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970.

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