Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Show # 1116 Playlist (week of 4/21/11)

I'm posting this on Wednesday this week for two reasons. One, I had time to get it written by Wednesday, and two I wanted to get it up before the show aired Thursday night on Unfortunately, it looks like next week's playlist will be way late, like Saturday or even Sunday, due to me having a pretty hectic schedule. We'll see how it goes.

This week our entire first hour, as well as the last half hour, is made up of tracks that haven't been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era this year. In fact, most of them have never been played on the show at all. Considering Stuck in the Psychedelic Era has been around for nigh onto ten years now (as a live show before going into syndication last year), that takes a bit of doing. Just to take it one final step further, the entire first set consists of tracks that remained unreleased for many years.

Artist: Rising Sons
Title: Statesboro Blues
Source: CD: The Rising Sons
Writer: Willie McTell
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Year: 1966
I played another tune by the Rising Sons a couple week's ago, and got an e-mail asking if I also had their version of Statesboro Blues. As it turns out, Statesboro Blues is actually the opening track on this album, released in 1992 after sitting on the shelf for over 25 years. The song features both Taj Mahal's vocals and Ry Cooder's guitar prominently.

Artist: Roger Nichols Trio
Title: Montage Mirror
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer: Nichols/Roberds
Label: Rhino
Year: 1967
The Parade was an L.A. studio group made up of actors and studio musicians that had a top 20 hit with Sunshine Girl in early 1967. This track, recorded later the same year is pretty much the same group but credited to the Roger Nichols Trio instead. An attempt to subvert an unpleasant contract with another label perhaps? I guess we'll never know, as the song sat on the shelf for 41(!) years before being included on a Parade anthology.

Artist: Chocolate Watch Band
Title: Psychedelic Trip
Source: CD: No Way Out (bonus track)
Writer: Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label: Sundazed
Year: 1967
Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the No Way Out album. Although Psychedelic Trip is credited to the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist: Guess Who
Title: Undun
Source: LP: Best of the Guess Who (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Randy Bachman
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1969
Following the release of the Wheatfield Soul album (and the hit single These Eyes), RCA tied the Guess Who down to a long-term contract. One of the stipulations of that contract was that the band would make subsequent recordings at RCA's own studios. After recording the tracks for their follow-up album, Canned Wheat, the band members felt that the sound at RCA was inferior to that of A&R studios, where they had recorded Wheatfield Soul, and secretly re-recorded a pair of tunes at A&R and submitted dubs of the tapes to RCA. The tunes, Laughing and Undun, were issued as a double-sided single in 1969, with both sides getting a decent amount of airplay. Once word got out that the songs had been recorded in a non-RCA studio, the label realized the error of their ways and relaxed the exclusivity policy, although not in time for the band to re-record the rest of the album.

Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Motorcycle Song
Source: CD: Best of Arlo Guthrie
Writer: Arlo Guthrie
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1977
To be honest, I am not sure when this particular recording was made. Arlo Guthrie originally recorded the Motorcycle Song for his 1967 debut album, Alice's Restaurant. The first live recording of the song was released the following year on the LP Arlo. However, his reference to having been performing the song for twelve years makes me think this is a mid-seventies performance. It's even possible that the greatest hits album, issued in 1977, was the first time this particular performance was released.

Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Coming Into Los Angeles
Source: CD: Best of Arlo Guthrie (originally released on LP: Running Down The Road)
Writer: Arlo Guthrie
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Rising Son)
Year: 1969
Completing our double dose of Arlo Guthrie we have a song that he played live at Woodstock. The original Woodstock album, however, subsituted this studio version for the live performance. This was probably done at Guthrie's request, as several of the performers expressed dissatisfaction with the recordings made at the festival, either due to problems with the sound system or, in some cases, the performances themselves. This is understandable given the adverse conditions many of them had to deal with (rain, audio problems, lack of sleep, etc.).

Artist: Ohio Express
Title: Winter Skies
Source: LP: The Ohio Express
Writer: K. Laguna/S. Laguna
Label: Buddah
Year: 1968
The story of the Ohio Express is a classic case of exploitation of musicians by a production company, in this case one Super K productions. The company itself was formed in 1966, and started off looking fairly legitimate, releasing the hit Little Bit of Soul by the Music Explosion on Laurie Records. By 1967, however, Super K began to show its true colors by signing the legendary Chicago garage band Shadows of Knight. The problem was that the Shadows of Knight had pretty much given it up by then, with vocalist Jim Sohns having the rights to the name mainly through attrition. This did not deter Super K, however. They recorded a new song, Shake, using Sohns and a bunch of New York studio musicians and issued it as a new Shadows of Knight single on Buddah, the idea being that if the song took off Sohns would be able to form a new Shadows to perform it. Around that same time Super K remixed a recording by a New York band called the Rare Breed that had tanked on the Cameo-Parkway label and released it on Buddah as being by the Ohio Express. At that point there was no band called the Ohio Express, and when Beg, Borrow and Steal started getting airplay across the US and Canada, Super K hired a Mansfield, Ohio band called Sir Timothy and the Royals and re-named them the Ohio Express to play live gigs. This band, however, did not sing or play on any of the Ohio Express singles. From the song Yummy Yummy Yummy on all the Ohio Express hits were played by anonymous studio musicians and sung by Joey Levine, who himself ended up parting ways with Super K in 1969 over financial issues. The stage band did get to record a handful of album tracks, however, although I can't verify whether Winter Skies is one of them or not.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Termination
Source: CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer: Brann/Dorman
Label: Atco
Year: 1968
The first of two artist sets this week starts off with a track from the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album. Termination is unusual in that it was not written by Doug Ingle, the band's primary songwriter from this album until the group's demise. Instead it was composed by guitarist Erik Brann and bassist Lee Dorman. After one more album (Ball) Brann would depart the band for a mostly-unsuccessful solo career. Dorman stayed around for another year, but would eventually leave (along with Brann's replacement, El Rhino) to join Deep Purple's Rod Evans and drummer Bobby Caldwell to form Captain Beyond.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Gentle As It Seems
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Writer: DeLoach/Weis
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year: 1967
Personnel changes were pretty much a regular occurrence with Iron Butterfly. After the first album, Heavy, everyone except keyboardist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy, left the band. This was accompanied by a drastic change in style as well, as Ingle took over lead vocals from Darryl DeLoach and became the group's primary songwriter. Gentle As It Seems, written by DeLoach and lead guitarist Danny Weis, is a good example of the band's original sound, back when they were scrounging for gigs in a rapidly shrinking L.A. all-ages club scene.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Source: CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer: Doug Ingle
Label: Atco
Year: 1968
Iron Butterfly's signature song, of course, is the seventeen-minute In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, heard here in its (requested) entirety. Doug Ingle claims the title comes from mispronouncing In The Garden Of Eden while drunk. I believe it.

Artist: Velvet Underground
Title: Venus In Furs
Source: CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer: Lou Reed
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve)
Year: 1967
Although Andy Warhol was credited as sole producer of the first Velvet Underground album, it is widely believed that all the real production work was done by none other than Tom Wilson. After all, Warhol really didn't know a thing about the recording business, while Wilson had previously worked with Bob Dylan (producing Like A Rolling Stone, among others), the Blues Project (Projections), the Mothers of Invention (Freak Out) and several East Coast acts signed to the Verve label, where Wilson had become a staff producer after leaving Columbia in 1966 (after having turned the careers of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel around by adding electric instruments to The Sound Of Silence). One of these days I may just do an all Tom Wilson set, but for now let's enjoy this classic Lou Reed song in its original incarnation to finish out the first hour of this week's show.

Artist: Marketts
Title: Out Of Limits
Source: CD: Surfin' Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Gordon
Label: Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year: 1963
It's disputed whether the Marketts were a real band or just an assortment of studio musicians at the beck and call of producer Joe Saraceno. A listen to their catalog leaves one with the impression of hearing an anthology by several different bands rather than one single musical entity. Probably the best-known song to bear the Marketts name on the label was this quasi-surf instrumental that hit the charts in late 1963. The title is taken from the TV show The Outer Limits, which had made its debut that fall, although the recurring guitar riff sounds more like vintage Twilight Zone.

Artist: Van Dyke Parks
Title: Come To The Sunshine
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Van Dyke Parks
Label: Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Year: 1966
Van Dyke Parks is probably best known for being Brian Wilson's collaborator of choice for the legendary (but unreleased) Smile album. Parks, however, did have an identity of his own, as this recording of Come To The Sunshine shows. The song became a minor hit for WB labelmates Harper's Bizarre, although it did not have nearly the success of their first effort, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).

Artist: Seeds
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GRP Crescendo)
Year: 1966
Now we get to the part of the show where several of our regulars make their appearance in a set from 1966. Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year: 1966
The first and biggest single from Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine is probably the most intense one minute and fifty-five seconds ever to make the top 40. I'm thinking that we're about due for a Music Machine set in the near future. Stay tuned.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Bringing Me Down
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Balin/Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1966
The only song in this 1966 set from outside the L.A. area is Bringing Me Down from the first Jefferson Airplane LP, Takes Off. How I managed to come by this 45 RPM record that was (to my knowledge) only released in the San Francisco Bay area is beyond me.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: 1967
Following the success of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the summer of '67, the Stones decided to do an "answer" album of their own. Their Satanic Majesties Request had a similar cover photo to the Beatle album, but with significant differences. The most obvious was that the cover actually consisted of a 7X7" holographic photo of the band in costumes. However, where the Beatles had used a double-breasted semi-military look, the Stones went with more mystical imagery, particular Mick Jagger, who appears in full sorcerer regalia. The remainder of the cover was a blue bubble pattern, which was also incorporated into the hologram (minus the blue color). Of the tracks on the album itself, the most experimental is the eight and a half minute Sing This All Together (See What Happens), which closes out the first side of the album.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Mother's Little Helper
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1966
By 1966 the Rolling Stones had already had a few brushes with the law over their use of illegal drugs. Mother's Little Helper, released in Spring of '66, is a scathing criticism of the abuse of prescription drugs by the parents of the Stones' fans. Perhaps more than any other song of the time, Mother's Little Helper illustrates the increasingly hostile generation gap that had sprung up between the young baby boomers and the previous generation.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: She's A Rainbow
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: 1967
The only song from Satanic Majesties Request to get significant airplay in the US was She's A Rainbow, released as a single in the fall of '67. Another song from the album, In Another Land, was released only in the UK and touted as the first Bill Wyman solo song (although still a Rolling Stones record). 2,000 Light Years From Home, the B side to She's A Rainbow, did get some international airplay as well.

Artist: Geronimo Black
Title: Low Ridin' Man
Source: Geronimo Black
Writer: Cantrelli/Black
Label: Uni
Year: 1972
Returning to our theme of tracks never played before on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era we have a group that, until now, has not been played on the show either. Geronimo Black was made up of L.A. musicians that had, for the most part, already spent time in the studio as members of other bands. Most notable was drummer Jimmy Carl Black, who, along with horn player Bunk Gardner and guitarist Denny Walley, had been members of various incarnations of the Mothers of Invention. The remainder of the lineup consisted of keyboardist Andy Cahan (Dr. John's band), sax player Tjay Cantrelli (Love), horn player Buzz Gardner (brother of Bunk) and bassist Tom Leavey. After only one album for MCA's Uni label, the group found themselves banned from the MCA lot for excessive debauchery and general rowdiness.

Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Absolutely Free (1st In a Series of Underground Oratorios)
Source: Absolutely Free
Writer: Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (original label: Verve)
Year: 1967
I've played the second side of the Absolutely Free album (The M.O.I. American Pageant) before, but, as far as I can remember this is the first time I've played side one. Enjoy!

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