Friday, May 13, 2011

Show # 1119 playlist (starting 5/12)

Artist: Shadows of Knight
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bayer/Carr/D'Errico
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year: 1966
Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.

Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: Please Don't Worry
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Farner/Brewer
Label: Capitol
Year: 1970
Grand Funk Railroad bridged the gap from garage rock to heavy metal, almost single-handedly creating arena rock in the process. Their sound was as raw and unpolished as any garage band (at least at first) and the rock press universally detested them. Nonetheless, Mark Farner, Mel Schacher and Don Brewer struck a (power) chord with the concertgoing/record-buying public and was the first band to consistently play to sellout crowds at large-scale venues such as sports arenas. Grand Funk played loud; so loud, in fact, that it was impossible to hear anything but the band itself when they were playing (even your own screaming). Please Don't Worry, from Grand Funk Railroad's self-title second album (often referred to as the red album), is as typical an early Grand Funk song as you're going to find, with its driving power chords and screaming lead guitar solo and Mark Farner's distinctive barely-on-key vocals.

Artist: Flower Travellin' Band
Title: Satori (part 1)
Source: Satori
Writer: Flower Travellin' Band
Label: Phoenix
Year: 1971
The Flower Travellin' Band was perhaps the first Japanese heavy metal band. Their first album, released in 1968, consisted entirely of cover songs of the hardest rocking US and UK bands. It wasn't until 1971 that the group finally cut an album of original material. The album was called Satori and consisted of five tracks (called Satori parts one through five). I have to admit I had never heard of them until a couple week's ago when a listener sent me some info about them. After a bit of searching I was able to get a copy of the Satori CD, which goes to show that you folks do have input into what gets played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Death Sound Blues
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer: Joe McDonald
Label: Vanguard
Year: 1967
I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?

Artist: Them
Title: Square Room
Source: LP: Now and Them
Writer: Them
Label: Tower
Year: 1968
After Van Morrison left Them to try his luck as a solo artist, the rest of the band went back to Ireland, recording an album as the Belfast Gypsys before recruiting new vocalist Kenny McDowell and relocating to California. After securing a record deal with Tower Records they went to work on the Now and Them album in late 1967, releasing the LP in January of '68. The standout track of the album is the nearly ten minute Square Room, an acid rock piece that showcases the work of guitarist Jim Armstrong.

Artist: Byrds
Title: Psychodrama City
Source: CD: 5D (bonus track)
Writer: David Crosby
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Year: 1966
1966 was a pivotal year for the Byrds. Having lost their main songwriter, Gene Clark, both David Crosby and Jim McGuinn stepped up to provide original material for the band to record. Psychodrama City is really more of a studio jam with vocals added to it, but is interesting in that Crosby uses the opportunity to tell the story of why Clark had left the band (he had a fear of flying and had refused to board a plane to go on tour).

Artist: Leaves
Title: Hey Joe
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Chet Powers
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year: 1966
In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and this tune of unknown origin. David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but other sources cite the song as being an old folk song from the 1800s. I suspect the truth is that the lyrics and basic chords probably do go back a long ways, but the more modern elements, such as the distinctive climbing bass line between verses that is common to both fast and slow rock versions of the song, were added in the 60s, quite possibly by Powers.

Artist: Tommy James and the Shondells
Title: Ball Of Fire
Source: CD: Best Of Tommy James and the Shondells (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: James/Vale/Sudano/Wilson/Naumann
Label: Rhino (original label: Roulette)
Year: 1969
From a modern perspective it seems obvious that the only thing keeping Roulette Records going in the late 60s was the string of hits on the label by Tommy James and the Shondells. Oddly enough, Tommy James was one of many acts that initially tanked on the label. It was only when a Pittsburgh DJ began playing a two year old copy of Hanky Panky he had rescued from the throwaway pile in 1966 that the band's career took off. By then, however, the original Shondells had long-since disbanded and James found himself suddenly in demand with no band to back him up. He soon found a new group of Shondells and began cranking out an amazing streak of hits, including I Think We're Alone Now, Mony Mony, Crystal Blue Persuasion and Crimson and Clover among others. One of those others was Ball Of Fire. Although this 1969 single was not among the band's biggest hits, it did get a fair amount of airplay and is quite typical of the group's style at that point in their career. James would continue as a solo artist after the Shondells split up, scoring his last hit in 1971 with Draggin' The Line.

Artist: ? And The Mysterians
Title: 96 Tears
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: The Mysterians
Label: Abkco (original label: Cameo)
Year: 1966
96 Tears tore up the charts in late summer of 1966, not stopping until it got all the way to the number one spot. It was the first single by a hispanic artist to top the charts, although no one knew it at the time. ? was born Rudy Martinez, although he has legally changed his name to ?. Not much is known about the Mysterians themselves, though, as the band has deliberately cultivated an aura of mystery (ugh) throughout its existence.

Artist: Charlatans
Title: Number One
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on EP)
Writer: Michael Wilhelm
Label: Rhino (original label: Line)
Year: Recorded: 1965; released: 1982
Our numbers set continues with a song recorded in 1965 by one of the most legendary bands on the San Francisco scene. The Charlatans came directly from the jug band tradition that included contemporaries Jerry Garcia and Joe McDonald. Unlike the later SF bands, the Charlatans stayed closer to their roots and really did not embrace rock until late in their existence, after several personnel changes left them only a shadow of their former selves. Where the Charlatans truly stood out, though, was in their visual image. Decked out in clothes found in antique stores and thrift shops, the group looked as though they had just stepped out of an old west saloon on a Saturday night. Ironically, their generally scruffy appearance was at odds with the Hollywood western movie version of a cowboy, but in retrospect was probably closer to the way people of that time actually looked.

Artist: Love
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Da Capo)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year: 1966
Unlike the previous two number songs, the word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist: Beatles
Title: Here Comes The Sun
Source: CD: Abbey Road
Writer: George Harrison
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year: 1969
In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' recording career as a band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the #1 spot on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Wond'ring Aloud
Source: CD: Aqualung
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis (original US label: Reprise)
Year: 1971
If the first three Jethro Tull albums can be considered steps on a path, then Aqualung would have to be the destination. The first Tull album to achieve massive commercial success, Aqualung shows the band finally divorced from its beginnings as a blues band and firmly in the control of Ian Anderson. An expanded version of Wond'ring Aloud called Wond'ring Again was recorded around the same time and was included on the 1973 album Living In The Past.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Scarecrow
Source: CD: Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer: Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol
Year: 1967
Even people with only a passing familiarity with rock history know the name Pink Floyd. The album Dark Side Of The Moon set records for longevity on the Billboard album charts and the movie The Wall was a midnight movie standard for years. With all that success it's easy to overlook the contributions made by the band's original lead guitarist and primary songwriter Syd Barrett. After two succesful singles, both written by Barrett, the band booked time in the Abbey Road studios to record their first LP, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (coincidentally, the Beatles were also at Abbey Road at that time recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). Again, Barrett was the writer of record of the majority of material on the album, either as part of a group writing effort or, as is the case with Scarecrow, the sole songwriter. Sadly, mental health issues would sideline Barrett after Piper hit the racks and after contributing only a couple songs to the follow-up LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Barrett left Pink Floyd altogether, to be permanently replaced by David Gilmour.

Artist: Flock
Title: Tired Of Waiting For You
Source: LP: The Flock
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Columbia
Year: 1969
The Flock was one of a trio of rock bands recording for Columbia and utilizing horn sections that got the attention of the rock press in 1969. Like the Chicago Transit Authority, the Flock hailed from the windy city. What made the Flock stand out, however, was the presence of Jerry Goodman, who played electric violin. Led by leadguitarist/vocalist Fred Glickstein, the group released two albums before Goodman departed to help found the Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin. Tired Of Waiting For You is a reworking of the 1965 Kinks classic, with solos by Goodman at the beginning and end of the track.

Artist: Undisputed Truth
Title: You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Whitfield/Strong
Label: Gordy
Year: 1972
Starting in 1969 with the Temptations Psychedelic Shack, producers/songwriters Norm Whitfield and Barrett Strong carved out their own little piece of psychedelia within the Motown empire. The songs produced by the duo, mostly by the post-Eddie Kendrick Temptations and the Undisputed Truth, gave the celebrated Motown rhythm section a chance to stretch beyond the limitations of the standard Motown formula. You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth was issued in 1972 as a follow up to the Undisputed Truth's first and biggest hit, Smiling Faces Sometimes. The song only did moderately well, stalling out in the lower regions of Billboard's Hot 100 (although it did do better on the R&B charts). When Whitfield left Motown a couple years later to form his own company he brought the Undisputed Truth along with him.

Artist: Blood, Sweat and Tears
Title: More And More
Source: CD: Blood, Sweat and Tears
Writer: Vee/Juan
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Year: 1969
In my notes for the Flock song above I made reference to a trio of bands but only gave the names of two. The third (chronologically the first) of these bands was Blood, Sweat and Tears, formed in 1968 by Al Kooper. Kooper left after the first album, to be replaced on lead vocals by David Clayton Thomas. The result was one of the most successful bands of the year. The album Blood, Sweat and Tears boasted three top 10 singles and at least as many memorable album tracks, including the energetic R&B-flavored More and More.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Sunny Afternoon
Source: CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1966
Starting off a set of tracks from 1966 we have the classic Sunny Afternoon. 1966 was the year that Ray Davies's songwriting began to take a sardonic turn. Sunny Afternoon, using a first person perspective, manages to lampoon the idle rich through mock sympathy. Good stuff.

Artist: Grass Roots
Title: You're A Lonely Girl
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Sloan/Barri
Label: Dunhill
Year: 1966
In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man). The B side was You're A Lonely Girl, a Sloan/Barri composition. The Bedouins would soon grow disenchanted with their role and move back to San Francisco, leaving Sloan and Barri the task of finding a new Grass Roots. Eventually they did, and the rest is history. The Bedouins never recorded again.

Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Didn't Want To Have To Do It
Source: LP: Best Of The Lovin' Spoonful (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: John Sebastian
Label: Kama Sutra
Year: 1966
Here is a little-known fact for you: when the creators of the Monkees TV series first conceived of the idea of a weekly show about a rock band, their idea was to use an existing band: The Lovin' Spoonful. Higher ups at Screen Gems and Columbia Pictures, however, realized the potential that such a show would have to sell records, and decided against using a band that was already under contract to another record company. Thus, the Lovin' Spoonful were spared having to deal with the compromises that would have been undoubtably forced on them had the proposed show been successful in its original form.

Artist: Traffic
Title: Hidden Treasure
Source: LP: Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys
Writer: Winwood/Capaldi
Label: Island
Year: 1971
The original Traffic lineup split up after only two albums (although a third was issued after the split). In 1970, the members reunited for a live album called Welcome To The Canteen. This was followed by the next official Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die. The success of that album led to the release of Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, the band's most commercial successful LP. Hidden Treasure is the seldom-heard opening track from that album.

Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Can't Be So Bad
Source: LP: Wow
Writer: Jerry Miller
Label: Columbia
Year: 1968
Although the second Moby Grape album, Wow, is generally considered inferior to the first, it does have its moments of brilliance. One of these is the Jerry Miller song Can't Be So Bad. I guarantee this one will get stuck in your head after only one listen.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Things Are Better In The East
Source: CD: After Bathing At Baxter's (bonus track)
Writer: Marty Balin
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
Year: 1967
The third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, saw Marty Balin hanging back and letting the other group members shine. Whereas a majority of songs on the first two albums were Balin compositions (both solo and in collaboration with Paul Kantner), his only composition on Baxter's was Young Girl Sunday Blues, co-written by Kantner. Balin was not completely idle during this period, however, as this demo recording of Things Are Better In The East demonstrates.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Crown Of Creation
Source: CD: Crown of Creation
Writer: Paul Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1968
After the acid rock experimentalism of After Bathing At Baxter's, the Airplane returned to a more conventional format for 1968's Crown Of Creation album. The songs themselves, however, had a harder edge than those on the early Jefferson Airplane albums, as the band itself was becoming more socio-politically radical. The song Crown of Creation draws a definite line between the mainstream and the counter-culture.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Martha (mono single version)
Source: CD: After Bathing At Baxter's (bonus track)
Writer: Paul Kantner
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
Year: 1967
Jefferson Airplane made no secret of their residence at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco. In fact, the place was a known hangout for various freaks, acid-heads and hippy types. One the hangers-on, a young heiress, was the inspiration for this song, released as the B side to Watch Her Ride.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Triad
Source: CD: Crown of Creation
Writer: David Crosby
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1968
It's interesting to contrast the attitudes of the band members of the Byrds and Jefferson Airplane to David Crosby's Triad. Whereas both Jim McGuinn and Chris Hillman expressed discomfort with the song (to the point of not releasing it), the Airplane members, particularly Paul Kantner and Grace Slick, embraced the tune, giving it a featured spot on the Crown of Creation album. The song itself is based on ideas put forth by Robert A. Heinlein in his Science Fiction masterpiece Stranger In A Strange Land.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: rejoyce
Source: CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
Year: 1967
Grace Slick was never shy about indulging her experimental side, as this adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses demonstrates. Slick said at the time that she assumed the Airplane's listeners had at least some college education and would recognize the source material. She later lamented the fact that the larger record buying public just didn't get it. Sadly, they still don't. Personally I'd take four minutes of Grace Slick being experimental over four minutes of Lady Ga-Ga being commercial anyday.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Electric Church Red House
Source: CD: Blues
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy
Year: 1968
As part of my ongoing effort to play more Hendrix in 2011 we have this track from the 2010 album Jimi Hendrix: Blues. This "Electric Church" version of Hendrix's signature blues tune Red House features all the members of the Experience plus guest organist Lee Michaels. Unlike the version of Red House included on the Are You Experienced album, this track features Noel Redding playing an actual bass guitar.

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