Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
At the end of 2010 I did a little collating to find out which songs got played the most on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era that year. I then used that list as the basis for my New Year's special. As it turns out it, the song at the top of the list was this classic from Ted Nugent's first band, the Amboy Dukes. Oddly enough, this is the first time I've played this track since the New Year's show.
Artist: John Barry
Title: James Bond Theme
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Monty Norman
Label: United Artists
From the soundtrack of the film Dr. No we have the original James Bond theme. A few years after this record was made John Barry, who conducted the orchestra for the movie score, filed a lawsuit claiming that he actually co-wrote the theme music. At this point Monty Norman is still considered the sole composer in the eyes of the law.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Dharma For One
Source: LP: This Was
Back in the 60s there were several rules that Top 40 DJs were expected to follow when programming their shows (yes, many of them actually did get to do that). One of those rules was that you should never play two instrumentals back-to-back. On the other hand, the progressive FM jocks made it a point to break as many of the old rules as possible. Guess which school I subscibe to.
Artist: Tim Hardin
Title: Never Too Far
Source: LP: Tim Hardin 1
Writer: Tim Hardin
Label: Verve Folkways
Tim Hardin was a folk singer whose songs are far better known than he is. Two of the most famous are If I Were A Carpenter (covered first by Bobby Darin and later by Johnny Cash and June Carter), and Reason To Believe (Rod Stewart, among others). The song immediately following Reason To Believe on Hardin's debut album was Never Too Far, a song that is somewhat typical of Hardin's vocal style.
Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Who Are The Brain Police
Source: CD: Freak Out
Writer: Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (original label: Verve)
In 1966, Los Angeles, with its variety of all-ages clubs along Sunset Strip, had one of the most active underground music scenes in rock history. One of the most underground of these bands was the Mothers of Invention, led by musical genius Frank Zappa. In 1966 Tom Wilson, who was already well known for producing Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Blues Project, brought the Mothers into the studio to record the landmark Freak Out album. To his credit he allowed the band total artistic freedom, jeopardizing his own job in the process (the album cost somewhere between $20,000-30,000 to produce). The second song the band recorded was Who Are The Brain Police, which reportedly prompted Wilson to get on the phone to M-G-M headquarters in New York, presumably to ask for more money.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: The Great Airplane Strike (remix)
Source: CD: Legend of Paul Revere (originally released on LP: Spirit of '67 and as a 45 RPM single)
This is actually the third mix of this 1966 recording. The first version was in stereo and was included on the LP Spirit of '67. This was followed by a mono single mix of the song which replaced the original fade out ending with an effect created by gradually slowing the tape down. This version is a mid-90s stereo remix of the mono single version. The song itself is a good example of just how good a band Paul Revere and the Raiders were once you got past the cheesy revolutionary war costumes they wore.
Title: The Witch
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Gerald Roslie
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
The #1 selling single in the history of the Pacific Northwest was this tune by one of the founding bands of the Seattle music scene. The Sonics were as raw as any punk rock band of the seventies, as The Witch proves beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Woodstock Boogie
Source: CD: Woodstock 2
Writer: Canned Heat
Label: Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
I'm fairly certain that Woodstock Boogie is not the actual title of this tune. In fact, I would say it's basically yet another version of Canned Heat's concert standard Refried Boogie. Still, I have to go with what the people at Cotillion put on the label.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Title: Tales Of Lucy Blue (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Source: LP: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Writer: Bob Seger
For many years the only Bob Seger record I owned was the single Ramblin' Gamblin' Man that I bought new in 1969 at the Base Exchange at Ramstein Air Force Base Germany for about 50 cents. The B side was the song Tales of Lucy Blue. After that single disappeared from my collection I never bought another Bob Seger record (although I did score a promo copy of Turn The Page from a radio station I was working at in the mid 90s). More recently I was allowed to pillage the WEOS vinyl archives (found on the Hobart and William Smith campus in a storage area in one of the dorms) and found this copy of the Ramblin' Gamblin' Man album. The cover features a young blond woman dressed in blue satin against a blue background. It turns out that the album (Seger's first) was originally going to be titled Tales of Lucy Blue but was changed at the last minute by the shirts at Capitol in order to capitalize on the popularity of the single that I had bought a copy of. Luckily they didn't change the cover art as well.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Unfree Child
Source: LP: Volume 2
For those who are not familiar with reel-to-reel tape technology, here's a quick primer. As with all tape tech, a recording is created by a magnetic head imprinting patterns onto magnetic tape. This tape travels across the head at a predetermined speed. There were actually several speeds used over the years, all of which were standardized by measuring the length of tape travelling across the head in one second. In addition, each standard speed was exactly one half of the one above it, with the fastest having the highest quality. The fastest known speed was 30 inches per second (only used by computers, as far as I know), with 15 ips being the standard speed for studio recordings. Radio stations generally had machines that ran at either 15 or 7 1/2 ips, while home units ran at either 7 1/2 or 3 3/4. Dictating machines, which were virtually useless for recording music, used 1 7/8 or even 15/16 (which had so much tape hiss you could barely hear the recording itself). The advantage of halving the speed is that the original key of the music is the same, albeit an octave lower. This made it possible to deliberately record something at the wrong speed, then play that recording back at the regular speed in the same key (but at half or double tempo).
As the technology developed it became possible to put multiple tracks onto the same strip of tape, with first two, then three, four, eight and even sixteen tracks running parallel along the tape. This is what made it possible to record overdubs (by putting the original recording on one track and play it back while recording more stuff on another one), and to record in stereo.
Unfree Child, which starts off a set of 1967 tracks from L.A. bands, has an intro that was actually recorded at a higher speed then played back at the next one down, giving it a deep growling sound. This type of effect, combined with backwards masking (created by playing the tape back to front and recording something on one of the unused tracks) is what got some heavy metal bands into trouble for putting hidden "Satanic" messages on their records.
Title: People Are Strange
Source: LP: Strange Days (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: The Doors
The first single from the second Doors album was People Are Strange. The song quickly dispelled any notion that the Doors might be one-hit wonders and helped establish the band as an international act as opposed to just another band from L.A. The album itself, Strange Days, was a turning point for Elektra Records as well, as it shifted the label's promotional efforts away from their original rock band, Love, to the Doors, who ironically had been recommended to the label by Love's leader, Arthur Lee.
Title: Renaissance Fair
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
By the time the fourth Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, was released the Byrds had long since stopped playing gigs on Sunset Strip and had lost one of their founding members, Gene Clark. Clark had been the band's primary songwriter in the early days and the gap was first filled by Jim (Roger) McGuinn and David Crosby working together on songs. One of the last and best of these collaborations was Renaissance Fair, written before the two decided they didn't much like each other. Before the release of the Byrds' next album Crosby would find himself fired by McGuinn.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Last Time
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
To finish out the hour we have one of a long string of number one singles in the UK for the Rolling Stones. The Last Time was included on Out Of Our Heads, the same album that featured their biggest hit (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.
Artist: Len Barry
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Len Barry (real name Borisoff) first gained fame as lead vocalist for the New Jersey band the Dartells doing tunes like You Can't Sit Down and at least two songs with the words "Hully Gully" in the title. In 1965 Barry had a monster hit called 1-2-3 that ended up among the top 10 R&B singles of the year and got extensive top 40 airplay as well. The B side of 1-2-3 was Bullseye, co-written by Leon Huff, who would be a major architect of the "Philly Soul" sound in the 1970s.
Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Out Of Focus
Source: LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer: Dickie Peterson
With the possible exception of the Grateful Dead (when they were using the Owsley-designed sound system), the loudest band to come out of San Francisco was Blue Cheer. The album Vincebus Eruptum, highlighted by the band's feedback-drenched version of Eddie Cochrane's Summertime Blues, is considered by some to be the first heavy metal album ever recorded. Out Of Focus, which opens side 2 of the LP, was issued as the B side of Summertime Blues and got some airplay on progressive FM radio.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Cheryl's Going Home
Source: LP: Projections
Writer: Bob Lind
Label: Verve Forecast
One of the more unlikely songs to appear on an album by one of rock's first jam bands, Cheryl's Going Home was a hit for its writer, Bob Lind, the same year the Blues Project recorded it. It's possible that the band recorded it as a possible single of their own but decided against it when Lind's version hit the charts. Only the band members and producer Tom Wilson know for sure.
Title: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Lady
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Sea Train)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
After the Blues Project split up two of the band members, drummer Roy Blumenfeld and flautist/bassist Andy Kulberg, relocated to San Francisco and hooked up with John Gregory (formerly of the Mystery Trend), Richard Greene (Jim Kweskin Jug Band), saxophonist Don Kretmar and a dedicated lyricist, Jim Roberts, to form a new band, Seatrain. Still under contract to Verve Records the new group released one album as the Blues Project (Planned Obsolescence) in 1968, following it up with the album Sea Train in 1969. Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Lady is from that second album. After a series of membership changes that left only Kulberg and Greene from the original lineup, Seatrain had their only top 40 hit, 13 Questions, in 1970.
Title: I Ain't No Miracle Worker
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Almost two years before the Electric Prunes recorded I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), the songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz got this song recorded by the Merced, California band the Brogues, achieving some regional success.Vocalist/guitarist Gary Grubb (using the name Gary Duncan) and drummer Greg Elmore would resurface a few months later in San Francisco as founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Walkin' Blues
Source: CD: East-West
Unlike The Blues Project, which mixed original material with improvisational arrangements of blues classics, the Butterfield Blues Band took pride in presenting an authentic Chicago blues sound. The opening track for their most famous album, East-West, was Robert Johnson's Walkin' Blues.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Broken Arrow
Source: LP: Buffalo Springfield Again
Writer: Neil Young
This week's progression through the years 1965-68 continues with the most experimental track ever to appear on a Buffalo Springfield album. Basically a Neil Young solo piece arranged and co-produced by Jack Nitzsche, the track uses extensive editing and studio effects to highlight Young's highly-personal lyrics.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)
Source: CD: Shine On Brightly
The last 16 months (more or less) I lived in Germany my family was given use of a basement room in the apartment building we lived in on Ramstein Air force Base. Such rooms were known as "maid's rooms," and ours became my bedroom, giving me a degree of privacy and freedom unknown to most 16-year-olds. I had one of those record players that would shut itself off when it got to the end of the record and I would always put an album on, turn off the light and let the music lull me into dreamland. My favorite album at that time was Procol Harum's Shine On Brightly, and I would usually put on side two of the LP, which opens with Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone). At the time I didn't realize that the song title was a reference to the British record label Procol Harum recorded for, Regal Zonophone, since my copy was released in Germany on the Polydor label. I still have that copy, although it is far too thrashed to play over the radio.
This week's only artist set is from the band that coined the term Flower Power, the Seeds. Led by the charismatic Sky Saxon and prominently featuring Daryl Hooper on Farfisa organ, the group was filled out by guitarist Jan Savage and drummer Rick Andridge. Although Saxon was officially listed as bass player, he never actually played the instrument, either in the studio (where the parts were played by studio musicians) or onstage (where Hooper would play them on a separate bass keyboard, a practice that inspired Ray Manzarek of the Doors to do the same). Although the band's self-titled 1966 debut album contains their best known song, Pushin' Too Hard, it is the second album, A Web of Sound (also released in '66) that best showcases the band's musical range. All three tracks featured in this set were originally released on that album.
Title: Just Let Go
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
Title: Mr. Farmer
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released on LP: A Web Of Sound)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Title: Rolling Machine
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: GNP Crescendo
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Time Out (For a Daydream)
Source: CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Recorded late at night after a gig, Time Out (For a Daydream) is a hard song to classify. In some ways it resembles a John Sebastian Lovin' Spoonful type of song, but also somehow manages to evoke a kind of New Orleans feel about it as well. I truly believe that someday singer/songwriter/bandleader Sean Bonniwell will finally be recognized as the musical genius he is.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: CD: Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: RCA Victor
It's been a few weeks since I played this classic. I figured it was about time to play it again.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (this version originally released on 45 RPM vinyl, edited down from version on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer: J. Chambers/W. Chambers
Time Has Come Today has one of the most complex histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.
Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Whole New Thing)
Writer: Sylvester Stewart
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
I just played this track a couple weeks ago, so I'm just going to cut and paste my comments from then. Sly and the Family Stone were a showstopper at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but their story starts years before that historic performance. Sylvester Stewart was a popular DJ (KSOL "K-Soul") and record producer (Autumn Records) in mid-60s San Francisco, responsible for the first recordings of the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead) and the Great! Society (featuring vocalist Grace Slick), among others. During that time he became acquainted with a wealth of talent, including bassist Larry Graham. In 1967, with Autumn Records having been sold to and closed down by Warner Brothers, he decided to form his own band. Anchored by Graham, Sly and the Family Stone's first LP, A Whole New Thing, is considered to be a forerunner of 70s funk.