Saturday, February 26, 2011

Show # 1008 playlist (2/25-2/27)

We start this week's show with a progression through the years 1966-68 that ends up taking up the entire first segment of the show.

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Section 43
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM Extended Play)
Writer: Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Year: 1966
The second Rag Baby EP by Country Joe and the Fish featured the original version of this psychedelic instrumental that would appear in a re-recorded (and slightly changed) stereo form on their first LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, in early 1967.

Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Vanilla Fudge-side one (You Keep Me Hangin' On, Take Me For a Little While and Eleanor Rigby interspersed with short instrumental segments known as Illusions of my Childhood)
Source: LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer: Holland/Dozier/Holland/Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label: Atco
Year: 1967
Although not exactly a concept album, the first Vanilla Fudge LP did attempt to tie the songs on side two of the album together through the use of something called Illusions of My Childhood, short instrumental versions of children's songs such as The Farmer In The Dell overlaid with sound effects that would fade in at the end of each track and fade out into the next one. The songs themselves make for an interesting lyrical collage, going from one that demands a commitment to a relationship into a song that says almost the exact opposite, followed by Paul McCartney's famous observations of people without relationships at all.

Artist: Lothar and the Hand People
Title: Paul, In Love
Source: CD: Presenting...Lothar and the Hand People
Writer: Paul Conly
Label: MicroWerks (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1968
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Lothar and the Hand People found themselves relocating to New York City in 1967, releasing a series of singles that ranged from blue-eyed soul to pop. By 1968, however, the band had fully incorporated the Moog synthesizer and the theramine into their sound. Lothar was, in fact, the name of the theramine itself, essentially a black box with an audio modulater that was activated by waving one's hands above it. Paul, In Love, is basically a solo piece featuring Paul Conly on the Moog.

Artist: Chocolate Watch Band
Title: Sweet Young Thing
Source: CD: The Inner Mystique (CD bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
Year: 1966
There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the actual live sound of the Chocolate Watchband, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb. One of the few recordings that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is this single released in December of 1966.

Artist: Seeds
Title: The Wind Blows Her Hair
Source: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Saxon/Bigelow
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year: 1967
The Wind Blows Her Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released the whole concept of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news and the single went nowhere.

Artist: Doors
Title: Twentieth Century Fox
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
One of many solid tunes from the first Doors album. Songwriting credits for all songs on the first three Doors albums were given to the entire band.

Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Title: A Hot Summer Day
Source: LP: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer: David and Linda LaFlamme
Label: Columbia
Year: 1969
Next to White Bird, the two most recognizable It's A Beautiful Day songs are Bombay Calling and A Hot Summer Day. All three songs are on the band's debut album. David and Linda LaFlamme split up after the first album, and naturally stopped writing songs together as well. Coincidence? I think not.

Artist: Neil Young
Title: Till The Morning Comes
Source: CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer: Neil Young
Label: Reprise
Year: 1970
I had a request for another Neil Young tune, but brought the wrong CD to the studios this week, so I played this song instead (the request will be played on next week's show).

Artist: Byrds
Title: Oh! Susannah
Source: LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer: Stephen Foster
Label: Columbia
Year: 1965
It seems like it's been a while since I did an artist set, so tonight we have one from the Byrds. Although they were known for covering Bob Dylan tunes, they did perform tunes written by other songwriters as well, such as....Stephen Foster? Well, I didn't specify contemporary songwriters.

Artist: Byrds
Title: Change Is Now
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: McGuinn/Hillman
Label: Rhino
Year: 1967
The first single to be released by the Byrds after the firing of David Crosby was Change Is Now, released in the fall of 1967. A stereo version of the song would be included on their next album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, in 1968.

Artist: Byrds
Title: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source: LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Year: 1965
Did I mention that the Byrds were known for covering Bob Dylan tunes, particularly on their early albums?

Artist: Kinks
Title: Set Me Free
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Reprise
Year: 1965
Our second hour gets underway with this classic single from the Kinks, circa 1965 (played from an original vinyl copy yet).

Artist: Third Rail
Title: Run Run Run
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets
Writer: Resnick/Resnick/Levine
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year: 1967
Run Run Run is actually a studio creation issied in 1967 from husband and wife team Artie and Kris Resnick collaborating with Joey Levine, who sings lead vocals on the track. They only performed the song live once (in Cincinatti, of all places) as the Third Rail. All three would find a home as part of the Kasenetz-Katz bubble gum machine that would make Buddah Records a major player in 1968, with Levine himself singing lead for one of the label's most successful groups, the Ohio Express.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Flowers And Beads
Source: CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer: Doug Ingle
Label: Atco
Year: 1968
Sometimes it takes a while for a song (or album) to catch on. A good example is the second Iron Butterfly album, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which was basically ignored for the better part of a year before the title track started getting airplay on some progressive FM radio stations. Once it did, however, the album became a best-seller, and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida became a houshold word.

Artist: Billy Preston
Title: What About You?
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Billy Preston
Label: Apple
Year: 1969
One of the first acts signed to Apple was Billy Preston, the singer-keyboardist who had sat in with the Beatles during the Let It Be sessions, playing on both Get Back and Don't Let Me Down. Preston bridged the ever-widening gap between soul music and its musical parent, gospel. His first LP for Apple, That's The Way God Planned It, was a slow starter, with the title track being released as a single twice: originally in 1969 coinciding with the album's release, and again in 1972, when the song hit its peak chart position. What About You? was the B side of that single.

Artist: Seatrain
Title: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Lady
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer: Gregory/Roberts
Label: Rhino (original label: Edsel)
Year: 1969
Following the breakup of the Blues Project, two of the members, bassist/flautist Andy Kuhlberg and drummer Roy Blumenthal, relocated to San Francisco. The hooked up with Richard Greene (violin, keyboards, viola, vocals), John Gregory (guitar, vocals), Don Kretmar (bass, saxophone) and vocalist Jim Roberts to form Seatrain. Their first album, Sea Train, appeared in 1969 on the obscure Edsel label.

Artist: The Band
Title: The Genetic Method/Chest Fever
Source: CD: Rock Of Ages
Writer: Hudson/Robertson
Label: Capitol
Year: 1972
I guess this is as good a place as any to mention that, given a choice between a live recording and a studio track I'll take the studio track almost every time. My reasoning is this: a live recording, no matter how well recorded, is still nothing more than a documentation of a performance that has already taken place. I believe that there is no possible way to duplicate the actual experience of hearing the song performed live. There are too aspects of the concert experience that simply can't be captured on an audio (or even visual) medium, such as the emotional and/or mental state of the performer (or the audience member for that matter) at the time of the performance. A studio recording, on the other hand, is a work of, if not art, at least craftmanship. The ability of the artist to go back and make changes to the work until that artist is satisfied with the final product is what makes the studio recording more than just a snapshot of a performance. Just like a sculpture or painting, a studio recording is a set piece, meant to be repeatedly experienced in its final form. That said, here we have a live track from The Band's most popular album, Rock of Ages. Why did I choose this over the studio performance of Chest Fever from Music From Big Pink? Well, the main reason is that this was actually a request for the first part of the recording, The Genetic Method, which is an improvisational piece from Garth Hudson on the organ. As the two tracks run continuously there was really no choice but to include Chest Fever as well. One small aside: the performances used for Rock of Ages all came from a set of concerts held over the New Year's holidays. The presence of Auld Lang Syne in the middle of The Genetic Method suggests that Hudson started his performance at just a few minutes before midnight and played the familiar strains as the clock struck twelve.

Artist: Flash
Title: Small Beginnings
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Peter Banks
Label: Capitol
Year: 1972
Before Steve Howe joined Yes, the group featured Peter Banks on lead guitar. After the first Yes album, Banks left the group to form a new band, Flash. Despite having a similar sound to Yes at a time when such bands were in vogue, Flash failed to achieve more than a small fraction of the original band's success.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Hear My Train A Comin'
Source: CD: Blues
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy
Year: 1967
Sometime in 1967 somebody gave Jimi Hendrix a 12-string guitar to play around with. As Hendrix generally had a tape recorder running when he was in the studio (just in case he came up with something on the spur of the moment he might want to return to later), he managed to capture this performance of a tune he was working on that wouldn't become an official song until a few years later. The presence of numerous tape dropouts suggests that this recording was simply a practice tape that luckily never got erased and reused.

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Boogie Music
Source: Progressive Heavies
Writer: L.T. Tatman III
Label: United Artists
Year: 1968
The last couple times I played this I kept forgetting to let the track play out completely, thus depriving you of the short instrumental piece at the end that sounds like it was recorded in the 1920s yet strongly resembles the A side of the 45 RPM record it appeared on, Going Up The Country.

Artist: Joe Cocker
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: Rhino
Year: 1969
I went into some detail earlier about why I generally prefer to use studio tracks over live recordings. Sometimes, though, the studio track is really nothing more than an instance of a live performance. Such is the case with the Joe Cocker version of Feelin' Alright. Like Elvis Presley, Cocker was almost exclusively a performer, leaving such things as writing and producing (and playing an instrument, for that matter) to the professionals.

Artist: Squires
Title: Going All The Way
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Michael Bouyea
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year: 1966
Originally known as the Rogues, this Bristol, Conn. group changed their name to the Squires for this 1966 recording. Apparently someone at Atco figured that a name like the Rogues was so good that somebody else must already be using it.

Artist: Love
Title: Alone Again Or (also included on LP: Forever Changes)
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Bryan McLean
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version either.

Artist: Beatles
Title: Blackbird
Source: CD: The Beatles
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Label: Parlophone
Year: 1968
Blackbird is one of the many songs on the Beatles "White Album" that Charles Manson would interpret as having special meaning for his "family". In this case he saw it as a call for blacks to rise up and overthrow the whites that controlled the bulk of wealth in the US. I guess he forgot that the Beatles at the time were still based in the UK. Then again, he completely misread the tone of Revolution (also from the same album) as well.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Lather
Source: CD: Crown of Creation
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1968
One of Grace Slick's most memorable tunes was Lather, with its eerie instrumental bridge played on a tissue-paper covered comb (at least that's what I think it was). The song was reportedly about drummer Spence Dryden, the band's oldest member.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Show # 1106 playlist

I was looking over this week's playlist and I have to say there are some outstanding tracks this week. Check it out:

Artist: Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title: Down By The River
Source: LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer: Neil Young
Label: Reprise
Year: 1969
A couple weeks ago we started the show with McKendree Spring's version of this Neil Young classic. This time we start with the original, from the album that introduced the world to the band Crazy Horse.

Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title: Everybody I Love You
Source: CD: déjà vu
Writer: Stills/Young
Label: Atlantic
Year: 1970
Just a couple requests this week. The first one is a Stephen Stills/Neil Young collaboration that sets the stage for the Stills/Young band a couple of years later. Stylistically its pretty easy to figure out which part was written by Stills and which by Young. What's interesting is how well the two parts actually fit together.

Artist: People
Title: I Love You (mono mix)
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: People)
Writer: Chris White
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1968
By 1968 the major labels had signed just about every San Francisco band with any perceived potential. Capitol, having had some success with the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose on its Tower subsidiary, decided to sign another south bay band, People, to the parent label. The result was this one-hit wonder from the summer of '68.

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Smell of Incense
Source: LP: Volume 2
Writer: Markley/Morgan
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
One of the commercially strongest songs on the second West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album for Reprise was this tune. The length of the track, however, (over five minutes) meant it would never get airplay on AM radio, although England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley took it to the # 56 spot on the charts while still in high school in 1968 with their band Southwest F.O.B. .

Artist: Charlatans
Title: Codine
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era
Writer: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label: Rhino
Year: 1966
The legendary San Francisco hippie band, the Charlatans, first entered the studio in 1966, intending to record an album for Kama Sutra. Kama Sutra at the time enjoyed a good counter-culture reputation, thanks to the presence of the Lovin' Spoonful on the label. As the Charlatans came from a similar jug band background as the Spoonful, it seemed only natural that the Charlatans would have the greatest chance of success there. As it turned out, however, the people running the west coast operations of the label were more interested in recording hit records than in preserving artistic integrity. The band wanted to issue Buffy Sainte-Marie's Codine as its first single, but the shirts decided that a throwaway novelty track, a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows, had more commercial potential. The resulting single bombed so badly that the entire album was shelved until 1996, when it was released on Big Beat Records, a British label specializing in garage rock.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Mr. Bad Luck
Source: Valleys of Neptune
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy
Year: 1967
The original tracks for Mr. Bad Luck were recorded during the sessions for the Axis: Bold As Love album in 1967. Hendrix, however, was not satisfied with the way the recording was working out and the song was abandoned. Hendrix later reworked the song with entirely new tracks and it was released posthumously on the Rainbow Bridge soundtrack album under the title Look Over Yonder. It wasn't until 1987 that original producer Chas Chandler gave Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell the opportunity to record new bass and drum tracks to accompany the original Hendrix guitar tracks. The result is this version released almost a year ago on the Valleys of Neptune album.

Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title: Turtle Blues
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer: Janis Joplin
Label: Columbia
Year: 1968
I thought I'd try out an unusual set idea. Janis Joplin singing Turtle Blues followed by a song called Janis and a song by the Turtles. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe if I had included one by the Blues Project, or the Blues Magoos, or Blues Image....

Artist: Focus
Title: Janis
Source: LP: Moving Waves
Writer: Jan Akkerman
Label: Sire
Year: 1971
In a sense Jan Akkerman is the prototype for the Scandanavian heavy metal guitarist archetype: technically proficient and blisteringly fast. Akkerman, however, is generally better known as one of the early jazz-rock fusion players. Janis, from the second Focus album, is a good example of the latter, with a touch of the former almost incongruously thrown in as well.

Artist: Turtles
Title: She's My Girl
Source: CD: The Turtles 20 Greatest Hits
Writer: Bonner/Gordon
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year: 1967
Is it my imagination or is this something like the third time this year I've played this song? Still, it did get positive feedback the last time I played it, so here it is again.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: How Suite It Is
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer: Kantner/Cassidy/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1967
The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Cassidy's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Cassidy's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Get Me To The World On Time
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer: Tucker/Jones
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
With I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) climbing the charts in early 1967, the Electric Prunes turned to songwriter Annette Tucker for two more tracks to include on their debut LP. One of those, Get Me To The World On Time (co-written by lyricist Jill Jones) was selected to be the follow up single to Dream. Although not as big a hit, the song still did respectably on the charts (and was actually the first Electric Prunes song I ever heard on FM radio).

Artist: Bob Seger System
Title: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source: LP: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Writer: Bob Seger
Label: Capitol
Year: 1969
Before becoming one of the more successful rock stars of the 70s-80s, Bob Seger led a series of bands in and around Detroit, Michigan. The first one of these to chart nationally was the Bob Seger System with the 1969 hit Ramblin' Gamblin' Man. When the song took off the soon to be released LP Tales of Lucy Blue was hastily retitled to capitalize on the song's popularity. The cover art, however, still featured a blond model in a blue gown against a blue background, reflecting the original title.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Atom Heart Mother Suite
Source: LP: Atom Heart Mother
Writer: Waters/Gilmour/Wright/Mason/Geesin
Label: Harvest
Year: 1970
The longest continuous piece of music ever committed to vinyl by Pink Floyd was not something from the Wall or Dark Side of the Moon, but the 23 1/2 minute Atom Heart Mother Suite (Shine On You Crazy Diamond is actually longer, but was interrupted by being split across two sides of an LP). Atom was also the last Pink Floyd piece to credit anyone outside the band as a songwriter; in this case Scottish composer/arranger Ron Geesin, who was brought in to help orchestrate and tie together the various sections of the piece. Primarily and instrumental, the piece has several distinct sections, although on vinyl and most CDs it is treated as a single track. Indeed, the drum and bass parts were recorded as a continuous take, giving the entire piece a consistent tempo throughout. The title was taken from a newspaper headline about a pregnant woman who had been fitted with a pacemaker; the actual headline was "Atom Heart Mother Found". Pink Floyd never performed the piece live, although Neesin did stage an orchestral performance of the work a few years ago.

Artist: Doors
Title: People Are Strange
Source: Strange Days
Writer: LP: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
Our 1967 set of the week starts off with the Doors follow-up single to Light My Fire. People Are Strange leads off the second side of the second Doors LP and was a top 20 hit in its own right.

Artist: Who
Title: I Can See For Miles
Source: CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer: Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Year: 1967
I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was their biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Lazy Old Sun
Source: LP: Something Else By The Kinks
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
Although the Kinks had major hits on both sides of the ocean from 1964-66, by 1967 their success was limited to the UK, despite fine singles such as Dead End Street and Waterloo Sunset. Their 1967 LP, Something Else By The Kinks, continued the band's expansion into slightly satirical explorations of sociopolitical issues. At the same time, the album also shows a more experimental side musically, as Lazy Old Sun, with its staggered tempo and unusual chord progression, demonstrates.

Artist: Steppenwolf
Title: The Pusher
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Writer: Hoyt Axton
Label: MCA
Year: 1968
Our second request of the night is a song that is not only one of Steppenwolf's best known tunes, but songwriter Hoyt Axton's most famous composition as well.

Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Title: White Bird
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: It's A Beautiful Day)
Writer: David & Linda LaFlamme
Label: Rhino (original label: Rhino)
Year: 1969
It's A Beautiful Day is a good illustration of how a band can be a part of a trend without intending to be or even realizing that they are. In their case, they were actually tied to two different trends. The first one was a positive thing: it was now possible for a band to be considered successful without a top 40 hit, as long as their album sales were healthy. The second trend was not such a good thing; as was true for way too many bands, It's A Beautiful Day was sorely mistreated by its own management, in this case one Matthew Katz. Katz already represented both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape when he signed up It's A Beautiful Day in 1967. What the members of It's A Beautiful Day did not know at the time was that both of the aforementioned bands were trying to get out of their contracts with Katz. The first thing Katz did after signing It's A Beautiful Day was to ship the band off to Seattle to become house band at a club Katz owned called the San Francisco Sound. Unfortunately for the band, Seattle already had a sound of its own and attendance at their gigs was sparse. Feeling downtrodden and caged (and having no means of transportation to boot) classically-trained 5-string violinist and lead vocalist David LaFlamme and his keyboardist wife Linda LaFlamme translated those feelings into a song that is at once sad and beautiful: the classic White Bird. As an aside, Linda LaFlamme was not the female vocalist heard on White Bird. Credit for those goes to one Pattie Santos, the other female band member.

Artist: Move
Title: Flowers In The Rain
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Roy Wood
Label: A&M
Year: 1967
The Move was one of Britain's most popular acts in the mid to late 1960s. That popularity, however, did not extend to North America, where the band failed to chart even a single hit. The closest they came was Flowers In The Rain, a song that made it to the # 2 spot in England and was the very first record played on the first legal top 40 station in the UK, BBC Radio One. Eventually Roy Wood would depart to form his own band, Roy Wood's Wizzard, and the remaining members would evolve into the Electric Light Orchestra.

Artist: Remains
Title: Don't Look Back
Source: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Billy Vera
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year: 1966
Our last song of the night comes from the Remains, a Boston area band that seemingly had everything going for them in 1966. They had just finished opening for the Beatles on their last US tour and had procured the rights to record a song written by Billy Vera, who would score a huge hit of his own 20 years later with At This Moment. Somehow, though, Don't Look Back didn't make the charts, despite its obvious potential. It was the last of a series of disappointments for a group that had been cutting records since 1964, and they soon packed up their instruments for the last time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Show # 1105 playlist

As mentioned in the previous post, this week's show has a request in every set. If you can correctly identify all the requests I will send you a copy of the very first syndicated Stuck in the Psychedelic Era episode from Memorial Day weekend of 2010. Obviously I'm not going to tell you here which songs are requests, but I did single them out during the show itself. Hope you were paying attention.

Artist: Joy Of Cooking
Title: Home Town Man
Source: CD: Castles
Writer: Terry Garthwaite
Label: Acadia (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1972
Joy of Cooking was unique among folk-rock groups in that it was co-led by two female artists: Multi-instrumentalist Toni Brown and guitarist Terry Garthwaite, who sang lead vocals as well. Between the two of them, they wrote all the band's original tunes. The rest of the lineup was Fritz Kasten on drums, Jeff Neighbor on bass and Ron Wilson on harp, tambourine and congas. After recording their second album in Los Angeles, the group opted to return to their native Berkeley for their third and final LP, Castles.

Artist: Traffic
Title: (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer: Winwood/Capaldi
Label: United Artists
Year: 1968
The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original US label: Reprise)
Year: 1969
Another rock band influenced by English folk music, Jethro Tull incorporated traditional Indian instruments on Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square, one of a pair of tunes named for future bassist Jeffery Hammond.

Artist: Mandala
Title: Love-it is
Source: CD: Soul Crusade
Writer: Scales/Vance
Label: Wounded Bird (original label: Atlantic)
Year: 1968
When it comes to blue-eyed soul, the first place that comes to mind is New York, home of the Vagrants and the (Young) Rascals. One might also be inclined to think of Detroit, with bands such as Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels leading the pack. One place that does not immediately come to mind is Toronto, Canada, yet Mandala was certainly firmly placed within the genre. Two members of Mandala, vocalist Roy Kenner and guitarist Dominic Troiano, went on to replace Joe Walsh in the James Gang, with Troiano eventually replacing Randy Bachman in another Canadian band, the Guess Who.

Artist: Chicago
Title: Where Do We Go From Here
Source: CD: Chicago
Writer: Peter Cetera
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1970
After having success with the double LP format on their first album, the Chicago Transit Authority, the band decided to issue their next two albums as double LPs as well. The first of these, simply titled Chicago (reflecting the group's decision to shorten their name to that of the city they came from, partially to avoid legal hassles from said city's public transportation system), featured the band's breakout top 40 hit, Make Me Smile, and the hard driving 25 or 6 to 4, and helped establish Chicago as one of the top acts of the early 70s. Side four of the album was the four-part politically-charged suite It Better End Soon, followed by Peter Cetera's Where Do We Go From Here, a lyrically logical follow-up to the suite.

Artist: Gypsy
Title: More Time
Source: LP: Gypsy
Writer: Enrico Rosenbaum
Label: Metromedia
Year: 1970
From Minnesota we have Gypsy, a group co-led by vocalist/guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum, who wrote most of the group's material, and keyboardist James Walsh, who continued the group for many years following Rosenbaum's departure. More Time is fairly typical of the group's sound, featuring soaring harmonies and competent musicianship. Metromedia Records, a division of the media company that eventually became the Fox Television Network, never seemed to give a lot of attention to its record division, and promotion for Gypsy was sparse.

Artist: Seeds
Title: Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source: LP: The Seeds
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: GNP Crescendo
Year: 1966
One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in early 1966 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, predating the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.

Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title: Intruder
Source: CD: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Writer: Janis Joplin
Label: Columbia/Legacy (original label: Mainstream)
Year: 1967
Continuing our first progression through the years this week we have one of the tracks from the first Big Brother and the Holding Company album, recorded in Chicago while on tour in the summer of '67. The engineers at Mainstream had previously only worked with jazz musicians, and were clearly at a loss as to how to properly record a loud distortion-heavy rock band such as Big Brother. Despite that, Intruder stands out as a good example of Joplin's early writing style, reflecting her Texas roots hanging around with the likes of the 13th Floor Elevators.

Artist: Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield
Title: Really
Source: CD: Super Session
Writer: Bloomfield/Kooper
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Year: 1968
Al Kooper and Michael Bloomfield first met when they were both members of Bob Dylan's band in 1965, playing on the classic Highway 61 Revisited album and famously performing at the Newport Folk Festival, where Kooper's organ was physically assaulted by angry folk purists. After a stint with seminal jam band The Blues Project, Kooper became a staff producer for Columbia Records in New York, where he conceived of an album made up entirely of studio jams. He recruited Bloomfield, who had in the intervening years played with the Butterfield Blues Band and the Electric Flag, along with bassist Harvey Brooks (also from Butterfield's band) and studio drummer Eddie Hoh and came up with the surprise hit album of 1968, Super Session. Although Bloomfield bowed out of the project halfway through, he plays on all the tracks on side one of the album, including Really, which utilizes a classic blues progression.

Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Made Up My Mind
Source: CD: A Step Further
Writer: Chris Youlden
Label: Deram
Year: 1969
Taking us to 1969 we have the opening track from the fourth Savoy Brown album, A Step Further. To coincide with a US tour, the album was actually released in North America several months before it was in the UK, with Made Up My Mind being simultaneously released as a single. Luckily for the band, 1969 was a year that continued the industry-wide trend away from hit singles and toward successful albums instead, at least among the more progressive groups, as the single itself tanked. Aided by a decent amount of airplay on progressive FM radio, however, the album peaked comfortably within the top 100.

Artist: Who
Title: The Kids Are Alright
Source: CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer: Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Year: 1966
When the Who Sings My Generation album came out in the US in 1966, it featured several songs that had originally been issued as singles in the UK, including this early Pete Townshend number. Probably the most Beatle-sounding of all Who songs, the song was one of the group's first charted hits in 1965.

Artist: Donovan
Title: The River Song
Source: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year: 1968
Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man album is generally considered to be the singer-songwriter's most musically diverse collection of songs, ranging from the heavily fuzz-toned title track to tunes like the River Song, which uses acoustic guitar and hand percussion instruments to supplement Donovan's layered vocal tracks. The song itself draws on Celtic and Indian musical traditions to create a unique hybrid.

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Amphetamine Annie
Source: CD: The Very Best of Canned Heat (originally released on LP: Boogie With Canned Heat)
Writer: Canned Heat
Label: Capitol (original label: Liberty)
Year: 1968
By the end of 1967 the Haight-Ashbury scene had taken a definite turn for the worse. Most veterans of the street (i.e. those who had been there before the Summer of Love) placed the blame firmly on the influx of naive runaways that had flooded the area in the wake of calls to "go to San Francisco" earlier in the year, and on the drug dealers who preyed upon them. Methamphetamine (aka speed) was the drug usually singled out as the most destructive force at play. Back then it was the pill form of speed, such as white crosses, that was prevalent among users; the powdered crystal meth that has become a concern in modern rural America would not be used widely until the 1970s. As one of the original Bay Area bands, Canned Heat decided to take a stand against the drug, declaring in the song Amphetamine Annie that "speed kills", a phrase that would show up as graffiti on various walls in the city as well.

Artist: Steppenwolf
Title: Power Play
Source: LP: Monster
Writer: John Kay
Label: Dunhill
Year: 1969
Monster is generally considered the most political of Steppenwolf's albums. This song is a good example of that.

Artist: Five Americans
Title: I See The Light
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Durill/Ezell/Rabon
Label: Rhino (original label: Abnak)
Year: 1966
Before breaking out nationally with Western Union, the Five Americans scored a regional hit in their native Texas with this tune.

Artist: Kim Fowley
Title: The Trip
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era
Writer: Kim Fowley
Label: Rhino
Year: 1966
Kim Fowley was well-known among the movers and shakers of the L.A. music scene as an important promoter and record producer, as well as the guy who threw some of the best parties in town. To the general public, however, he remained largely unknown except as the guy who recorded possibly the first, and probably the only, psychedelic novelty record.

Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Something Following Me
Source: CD: Procol Harum
Writer: Brooker/Reid
Label: Salvo (original label: Deram)
Year: 1967 (UK release delayed until Jan. 1968)
The very first song written by the team of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid was Something Following Me. Early demos of the song were recorded in January of 1967, but this version featuring the classic Procol Harum lineup (including Matthew Fisher and Robin Trower) is the earliest version that still survives.

Artist: United States of America
Title: Hard Coming Love
Source: CD: United States of America
Writer: Byrd/Moskowitz
Label: Sundazed (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1968
Following the success of the Monterey International Pop Festival and the wave of new San Francisco bands such as the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Columbia Records chief Clive Davis set out to corner the market on counter-culture rock artists. Among those signed were Taj Mahal, Sly and the Family Stone, Moby Grape, the Chambers Brothers, Laura Nyro and this group of L.A. avant-garde artists who had decided to become rock musicians, despite none of them having any sort of rock background. Led by pioneer performance artist Joseph Byrd and fronted by vocalist Dorothy Moscowitz, the United States of America was one of the first groups to make extensive use of electronics. Byrd was one of the first musicians to discover that just because something sounds great through an expensive sound system doesn't mean it will still sound good when played through cheap speakers. Unfortunately he didn't learn that until several of the tracks on the group's only LP were recorded and mixed.

Artist: Joan Baez
Title: If I Knew
Source: 45 RPM promo single
Writer: Duschek/Marden
Label: Vanguard
Year: 1969
I honestly don't have much info about this record, which I rescued from a box of 45s destined for the dumpster from KUNM-FM's third floor studios in Albuquerque, NM in the early 80s. The song was written by two female songwriters I never heard of, leading me to think that this might be considered an early feminist recording.

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: CD: Part One
Writer: Harris/Lloyd/Markley
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
One of Kim Fowley's legacies is that he threw the party that led to the formation of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. One of their early efforts was this song, utilizing an actual recording of a heartbeat as a kind of metronome.

Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title: Cobra
Source: CD: Just For Love
Writer: John Cipollina
Label: BGO (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1970
Quicksilver Messenger Service was able to do something in 1970 that no other band had been able to accomplish. It managed to sign up the world's most famous session man, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, as a full member. If that wasn't enough, they also rounded up former early member Dino Valenti (aka Chet Powers), newly released from jail in time to participate in the recording of the band's most successful album, Just For Love. Although almost the entire album was written by non-member Jesse Oris Farrow, there are a pair of tracks by Valenti and this tune from founding member and co-lead guitarist John Cipollina. The entire album was recorded in Hawaii, which might explain how they managed to entice Hopkins to join them.

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
In a sense this song is a textbook example of a transition. The Standells had established themselves as the premier proto-punk garage-rock band in 1966 with such tracks as Dirty Water and Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. By mid-1967, however, they were commercially floundering and came under the auspices of the Kazenetz-Katz production team, which was still about a year away from dominating the charts with a flood of "bubble gum" hits from the likes of the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Ohio Express. Try It has all the elements of "bubble gum" save one: the deliberately infantile lyrics. Instead, Try It attempted to continue the image of the Standells as bad boys, with lyrics that were generally interpreted as a call for young girls to surrender their virginity. After being banned in several markets (including Boston, where to this day Dirty Water is considered a sacred anthem), the band and the production team headed for safer ground, resulting in great success for the production team and eventual oblivion for the band.

Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Night Owl Blues
Source: LP: John Sebastian Songbook, Vol. 1 (originally released on LP: Do You Believe In Magic; re-released in 1966 as 45 RPM B side)
Writer: Butler/Boone/Yanovsky/Sebastian
Label: Kama Sutra
Year: 1966
Our final segment this week gets off to a bluesy start with an instrumental from the Lovin' Spoonful. Night Owl Blues was first released on the band's first album, making an encore appearance as the B side of their 1966 hit Daydream. The song features blues harp from John Sebastian and a rare electric guitar solo from Zal Yanovsky.

Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (this version released as 45 RPM single in 1968)
Writer: Joe and Willie Chambers
Label: Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1967
One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:55 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Fields of Sun
Source: CD: Heavy
Writer: Ingle/DeLoach
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year: 1968
Before In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida there was Heavy. The debut LP from Iron Butterfly featured vocalist Darryl DeLoach, guitarist Danny Weis and bassist Jerry Penrod, all of whom would leave the band after the album was recorded, along with drummer Ron Bushy and keyboardist Doug Ingle, who would find themselves having to recruit two new members before recording the classic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album. One of the best-known tracks from Heavy is Fields of Sun, with its Baroque-influenced instrumental bridge played and sung (an octave higher) by Ingle.

Artist: Joe Cocker
Title: With A Little Help From My Friends
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on Woodstock movie soundtrack LP)
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year: 1969
One of the most famous performances at Woodstock was instrumental from converting Joe Cocker from second tier British singer/bandleader to international superstar. This release of the live recording is virtually identical to what was originally released on the movie soundtrack album in the early 70s.

Artist: Sonny & Cher
Title: Love Don't Come
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Sonny Bono
Label: Atco
Year: 1967
To close out the show we have a three year progression, starting with this seldom-heard Sonny and Cher B side.

Artist: 1910 Fruitgum Company
Title: Bubble Gum World
Source: LP: Simon Says
Writer: Floyd Marcus
Label: Buddah
Year: 1968
All the bubble gum hits to come out of the Kazenatz-Katz stable had catchy melodies, danceable beats, and deliberately juvenile lyrics, generally written by professional songwriters such as Joey Levine. The album tracks, however, were another story. Although the band members were obviously encouraged to be consistent in style with their hits, they were given the freedom to write the majority of material on the albums themselves. One example of this is Bubble Gum World, written by drummer Floyd Marcus.

Artist: Doors
Title: Peace Frog
Source: CD: Morrison Hotel
Writer: Morrison/Kreiger
Label: Elektra
Year: 1969
After being slammed by critics and suffering a noticable drop in sales with their fourth album, the Soft Parade, the Doors shifted gears for Morrison Hotel (sometimes known as Hard Rock Cafe), dispensing with the horns and strings and concentrating on getting back to their roots. The band had a problem, though. Extensive touring had left them little time to write new songs, although Morrison had continued to write poetry whenever he had the chance. The solution was for the other members, such as guitarist Robbie Kreiger, to compose music specifically to accompany Morrison's poetry. The result was songs like Peace Frog, which closes out this week's show.

Well, that's the lineup. Good luck picking out the requests!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Request In Every Set!

This week I thought we could have a little contest of sorts. One song out of each set is a request. If you can correctly identify all of the requests I will send you a copy (via the internet) of the very first syndicated episode of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era from 2010. Cool, huh? Just use the contact button to open up a comment window and put your list in. If you get it right I'll be sending you a reply via e-mail with links to the episode.

This is not as difficult as it seems, as I'll tell you at the end of each set which song was requested. Of course that means you'll have to listen to the whole show to be sure of the correct answers, but that is kinda the point anyway, right? For easy reference I'll be posting the songlist sometime in the next couple of days. Good hunting!