Due to the absence of tracks running over six minutes in length we have an unusually high number of songs this week. Just sayin'.
Title: Walking In The Queen's Garden
Source: LP: Now and Them
After recruiting new lead vocalist Kenny McDowell, Them moved out to California and recorded a couple LPs for Capitol's low-budget exploitation label Tower. Unlike the second of these Tower albums (Time Out! Time In! For Them), which featured mostly songs written by the husband and wife team of Tom Pulley and Vivian Lane, Now and Them had an eclectic mix of songs from a variety of sources. One of these songs, Walking In The Queen's Garden, was even credited to the band itself. Interestingly, it is also the post-Van Morrison Them song that sounds the most like it could have been penned by Morrison himself.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death
Source: CD: A Child's Guide To Good and Evil
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
A Child's Guide To Good and Evil is generally considered the best album from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band as well as their most political one. A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death has a kind of creepy humor to it that makes it stand out from the many antiwar songs of the time.
Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
Title: Everyday People
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single, hit #1 on both Top 40 and R&B charts)
Writer: Sylvester Stewart
I had a request for Sly and the Family Stone this week. The requester mentioned that the band was an "often overlooked" group that was an important part of the psychedelic era nonetheless. I completely agree, especially considering how important Sly Stone himself was as staff producer at Autumn Records in the years leading up to the formation of the Family Stone. In that capacity he had an influence on many of the upcoming San Francisco bands, and even produced the first recordings by a band called the Warlocks that would soon be known as the Grateful Dead.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Bad Luck And Trouble
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer: Johnny Winter
Label: United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Johnny Winters first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who gravitated to rock music, Johnny has remained primarily a blues musician throughout his career.
Artist: Bobby Fuller Four
Title: Baby My Heart
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer: Sonny Curtis
Year: Recorded 1966; released 2009.
The Bobby Fuller Four perfected their blend of rock and roll and Tex-Mex in their native El Paso before migrating out to L.A. After scoring a huge hit with I Fought The Law, Fuller was found dead in his hotel room of unnatural causes. This track, unreleased until 2009, is an indication of what might have been had Fuller lived long enough to establish himself further.
Source: LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer: Paul Simon
The Cyrkle were more than one-hit wonders. They were two-hit wonders, with both Red Rubber Ball (written by Paul Simon) and Turn Down Day making the top 5. Despite having a high-profile manager (Brian Epstein), being an opening act for the Beatles (on their last US tour) and being signed to a major label (Columbia), they were unable to follow-up on the success of their first two hits. Perhaps it was simply a bad case of timing: their clean-cut image (and sound) was perfectly suited to the years 1963-66, but was clearly becoming dated by 1967.
Artist: Other Half
Title: Mr. Pharmacist
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Jeff Nowlen
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP-Crescendo)
One of these days I'll have to play this one back-to-back with the Stones' Mother's Little Helper.
Artist: Rotary Connection
Title: Memory Band
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Charles Stepney
Label: Cadet Concept
Charles Stepney had one of the more visionary minds at Chicago's Chess Records. As one of the architects of Chess's Cadet Concept label he co-founded the psychedelic/funk/jazz band Rotary Connection and would later go on to produce Earth Wind and Fire. Memory Band originally appeared as an LP cut on the first Rotary Connection album in 1967. Minnie Riperton, who would have a huge hit with Loving You in the mid 70s, contributed the instrumentally-styled vocals on the track.
Artist: Neil Young
Title: Heart Of Gold
Source: CD: Decade (originally released on LP: Harvest)
Writer: Neil Young
Our first segment wraps up with Neil Young's biggest hit. Young would later say that the song put him in the middle of the road that soon became a rut, so he headed for the ditch.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Lime Street Blues
Source: LP: Best of Procol Harum (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Green Destroys The Gold
Source: CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union
Writer: Wayne Ulaky
Label: See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
The Beacon Street Union found itself handicapped by being signed to M-G-M and being promoted as part of the "boss-town sound." The problem was that there was no "boss-town sound", any more than there was a San Francisco sound or an L.A sound (there is a Long Island Sound, but that has nothing to do with music). In fact, the only legitimate "sound" of the time was the "Motown Sound", and that was confined to a single record company that achieved a consistent sound through the use of the same studio musicians on virtually every recording. What made the situation even more ironic for the Union was that by the time their first LP came out they had relocated to New York City anyway. If there is a New York sound, it has more to do with traffic than music.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Double Yellow Line
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
After the success of Talk Talk, the Music Machine issued a series of unsuccessful singles on the Original Sound label. Band leader Sean Bonniwell attributed this lack of success to mismanagement by record company people and the band's own manager. Eventually those singles would be re-issued on Warner Brothers under the name Bonniwell Music Machine, along with a handful of new songs using a different lineup. One of the best of these singles was Double Yellow Line, which Bonniwell says he wrote while driving to a gig.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Ballad Of You And Me And Pooniel
Source: CD: The Worst of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: After Bathing At Baxter's)
Writer: Paul Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel (the title being a reference to Fred Neil) was never issued as a single. Nonetheless, the band decided to include it on their first anthology album, The Worst of Jefferson Airplane. This, in fact, was typical of the collection, which favored the songs the band considered their best over those that were considered the most commercial. Interesting enough, the original plan for After Bathing At Baxter's (the album the song first appeared on) was to use a nine minute live version of Ballad, but that idea was scrapped in favor of dividing the album into five suites, the first of which opened with the studio version of the tune.
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
In the fall of 1966 my parents took by brother and me to a drive-in movie to see The Russians Are Coming and The 10th Victim (don't ask me why I remember that). In an effort to extend their season past the summer months, that particular drive-in was pioneering a new technology that used a low-power radio transmitter (on a locally-unused frequency) to broadcast the audio portion of the films so that people could keep their car windows rolled all the way up (and presumably stay warm) instead of having to roll the window partway down to accomodate the hanging speakers that were attached to posts next to where each car was parked. Before the first movie and between films music was pumped through the speakers (and over the transmitter). Of course, being fascinated by all things radio, I insisted that my dad use the car radio as soon as we got settled in. I was immediately blown away by a song that I had not heard on either of Denver's two top 40 radio stations. That song was Love's 7&7 Is, and it was my first inkling that there were some great songs on the charts that were being ignored by local stations. I finally heard the song again the following spring, when a local FM station that had been previously used to simulcast a full-service AM station began running a "top 100" format a few hours a day. That station also played the next two songs.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Although the song was originally released in 1966, it wasn't until spring of 1967 that the Seed's classic Pushin' Too Hard took off nationally. The timing was perfect for me, as the new FM station I was listening to jumped right on it.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Tobacco Road
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Our trio of hit singles from 1966 wraps up with a song originally recorded by a British group calling themselves the Nashville Teens (despite being neither teens or from Nashville). The Blues Magoos version was released as a single in late 1966, although it is generally associated with the album it appeared on, Psychedelic Lollipop, released in 1967.
Artist: Beach Boys
Source: CD: Good Vibrations-30 Years of the Beach Boys
We close out the first hour with a track originally recorded for the 1964 LP Beach Boys Concert, but unissued until the Beach Boys box set was released in the late 1990s.
Artist: George Harrison
Title: Thanks For The Pepperoni
Source: LP: All Things Must Pass
Label: Capitol (also issued on Apple)
The first major solo effort by a former Beatle was George Harrison's triple LP All Things Must Pass. The third album was made up entirely of jam sessions by musician's involved in the making of the album. One thing George Harrison has always been able to do is to attract quality talent to work on his solo material, and this particular jam features three well-known guitarists (Eric Clapton, Dave Mason and Harrison himself), as well as many of the musicians that would make up Clapton's next band, Derek and the Dominoes.
Artist: Front Line
Title: Got Love
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: York)
Our first progression through the years tonight begins in Marin County, California. Although the area has since become famous for its yuppified trendiness, back in 1965 it was a slightly more affluent than average bastion of the middle class. As such, it had its share of teenagers and clubs catering to them, which meant bands making a living playing those clubs. The Front Line was somewhat typical of these bands, with a repertoire of mostly top 40 cover tunes with a couple originals to make them stand a bit (but not too much) apart from other top 40 cover bands.
Title: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source: CD: More Nuggets
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
The Standells were probably the most successful band to record for the Tower label (not counting Pink Floyd, whose first LP was issued, in modified form, on the label after being recorded in England). Besides their big hit Dirty Water, they hit the charts with other tunes such as Why Pick On Me, Try It, and the punk classic Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. Both Good Guys and Dirty Water were written by producer Ed Cobb, who has to be considered the most prolific punk-rock songwriter of the 60s, having also written some of the Chocolate Watch Band's best stuff as well.
Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Bass Strings
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer: Joe McDonald
One of the bands that defined psychedelic music was Country Joe and the Fish. Originally coming from a jug band tradition, the Fish were, by 1967, putting out some of the trippiest tracks ever recorded. A good example is Bass Strings from their debut album.
Artist: Randy Newman
Title: Last Night I Had A Dream
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Randy Newman
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Our 1968 entry is not your typical Randy Newman tune. In fact, Last Night I Had A Dream may just be the hardest-rocking track ever recorded by the prolific singer-songwriter who would become famous for songs covered by other artists such as Three Dog Night (Mama Told Me Not To Come) before breaking out as a solo artist with the controversial Short People in the mid-1970s.
Artist: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title: Wooden Ships
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
As is often the case, our progression through the years leads us to Woodstock, where Crosby, Stills and Nash became household words. At the beginning of 1969 vocal harmonies were out of vogue. Part of the reason for this was the emphasis on instrumental profiency that had come about in the wake of the success of guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Another, less obvious reason was the association of vocal harmonies with such groups as the Beach Boys, who were seen as relics of an earlier, less socially and politically aware time. Somehow, though, Crosby, Stills and Nash managed to overcome this prejudice to become superstars in the early 70s. Performing a song such as Wooden Ships, which was also released in 1969 by Jefferson Airplane, certainly helped, as the song had an obvious anti-war message at a time where such messages were embraced by a large segment of the public, particularly young people of draftable age.
Artist: Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Title: Here I Am I Always Am
Source: LP: The Legendary A&M Sessions
Writer: Don Van Vliet
In 1965 Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, took his magic band into the studio for the first time. Beefheart's reputation at the time was as an outstanding interpreter of classic blues, electrified for a young white audience that had made stars out of the Yardbirds and other British blues artists. Van Vliet, though, already was beginning to show a taste for the bizarre, and the recordings were deemed commercially lacking by the shirts at A&M Records. It wasn't until Beefheart was well established as one of the world's foremost avant-garde rock artists that the label finally issued the recordings on an LP called The Legendary A&M Sessions. Compared to the content of albums such as Trout Mask Replica, the A&M tracks sound positively mainstream.
Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: Sin's A Good Man's Brother
Source: CD: Closer To Home
Writer: Mark Farner
Flint, Michigan, in the mid-1960s was home to a popular local band called Terry Knight and the Pack. In 1969 pack guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer hooked up with Mel Schacher, former bassist for ? and the Mysterians to form Grand Funk Railroad, with Terry Knight himself managing and producing the new band. With a raw, garage-like sound played at record high volume, Grand Funk immediately earned the condemnation of virtually every rock critic in existence. Undeterred by bad reviews, the band took their act to the road, foregoing the older venues such as ballrooms and concert halls and booking entire sports arenas for their concerts. In the process they almost single-handedly created a business model that continues to be the industry standard. Grand Funk Railroad consistently sold out all of their performances for the next two years, earning no less than three gold records in 1970 alone.
Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: Rock 'N' Roll Soul
Writer: Mark Farner
By 1972 the performances were no longer all sellouts, and the band began to shift emphasis to their recorded work. Problems with Terry Knight's management practices were also becoming an issue, and their sixth studio LP, Phoenix, would be the last to be produced by Knight. Rock 'N' Roll Soul, a somewhat typical Mark Farner song, was the first and only single released from the album, and would have only minor success on the charts. The next record, We're An American Band, would signal a major change of direction for the band, with other members besides Farner taking a role in the songwriting and a much greater emphasis on hit singles than ever before.
Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Any Way The Wind Blows
Source: LP: Freak Out
Writer: Frank Zappa
Our next set bounces around from 1966 to 1972 and back to 1965, starting with the first song ever recorded by the Mothers Of Invention. In the liner notes to Freak Out! Zappa claims to have written the song when he was contemplating divorce a few years before the album was recorded. Stylistically it is a far more conventional song than Zappa is generally known for.
Artist: Edgar Winter Group
Title: Undercover Man
Source: LP: They Only Come Out At Night
Writer: Edgar Winter
Just for a change of pace (and to illustrate the difference between the Winter brothers mentioned earlier) we have a track from the Edgar Winter Group's most successful LP, They Only Come Out At Night. The album, featuring guitarists Rick Derringer (formerly of the McCoys) and Ronnie Montrose, included the band's two best-known tracks, Free Ride and the iconic instrumental Frankenstein.
Title: Let The Good Times Roll
Source: LP: On Tour
Writer: Leonard Lee
The bands of the original British Invasion were all influenced to one degree or another by the American Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues artists of the 1950s. No band showed that influence (and respect) more than Newcastle's Animals. Orginally known as the Alan Price Combo, the Animals albums were full of songs originally recorded by people like Ray Charles, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker and others of the same genre. Among those tunes was their cover of the Shirley and Lee classic Let The Good Times Roll, included on their second US LP, The Animals On Tour. The album title does not imply live performances, but rather the result of the band's search for classic recordings while on tour in the US.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Ride On, Baby
Source: CD: Flowers
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: recorded: 1965; released: 1967
Even though the Rolling Stones sold a respectable number of records throughout the sixties, Mick and Keith weren't above hedging their bets by writing songs for other artists as well. Probably the best known of these was As Tears Go By, which, although written for Maryanne Faithful, has become known primarily for the Stones version of the song. Another one of these songs was Ride On, Baby, a minor hit for Chris Farlowe in 1966 that the Stones recorded around the time they were working on the Aftermath album. The Rolling Stones version sat on a shelf until 1967, when London put together a potpourri of songs left off the US versions of various LPs, stereo mixes of songs originally released in either mono or fake stereo versions previously and oddities such as Ride On, Baby. The resulting album was called Flowers, and was only released in the US. Brian Jones plays 12-string on the track, with Jack Nitzsche providing the harpshichord part.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Love Will Endure
Source: CD: Anthology (originally released on LP: Live At Town Hall with ambient live audience overdubs)
Writer: Patrick Sky
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year: recorded: 1966; released: 1967
Steve Katz had more of a folk background than the other members of the Blues Project, as evidenced by this cover of a Patrick Sky tune. The song was actually recorded between the first and second Blues Project albums, but was not released until the third album, Live At Town Hall, which was a mixture of actual live recordings and studio tracks with the sounds of a live audience overdubbed onto them to make them sound like live recordings. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me, but it probably has something to do with the fact that by the time the album was released Al Kooper was no longer a member and the producer wanted the album to include as much Kooper as possible.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
We finish the night with one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. 'Nuff said.