Saturday, May 7, 2011

Show # 1118 playlist (5/5+/11)

This week's show is full of odds and ends from all over. And there are a lot of them. In fact, only four tracks on the show run longer than four minutes. On the other hand, there are three tracks with a run time of less than two minutes. With song lengths in that range you'd almost think this was a punk-rock show. Truth to tell, some of the songs do qualify as early punk. For the most part, though, there is a lot of variety of styles among tonight's artists. I suspect that in some cases this is due more to regional differences than any conscious effort on the part of the musicians to create a particular style of their own, although artists like Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience are certainly examples of the latter.

Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: Action
Source: LP: Just Like Us
Writer: Boyce/Venet
Label: Columbia
Year: 1965
Paul Revere and the Raiders were formed in the early 60s in Boise, Idaho. After temporarily disbanding due to Revere's stint in the Army, the group reformed in time to be the first band to record Richard Berry's Louie Louie in 1963. After establishing a reputation as one of the most polished bands on the Pacific Northwest scene, the group caught the eye (and ear) of Dick Clark, who signed them up to be the host band for his new daytime music show, Where The Action Is. The group relocated to Los Angeles, becoming the first rock band signed to Columbia Records in the process. One of their early recordings for the label was the theme song used on the TV show itself, although a longer version by Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon was released as a single and got considerably more airplay than the Raiders' version.

Artist: Kingsmen
Title: Louie Louie
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer: Richard Berry
Label: Rhino (original label: Wand)
Year: 1963
Although Paul Revere and the Raiders had recorded the song first, it's the Portland-based Kingsmen's version of Louie Louie that is remembered as the greatest party song of all time. With its basic three-chord structure and incomprehensible lyrics, the most popular song to ever come out of the Pacific Northwest was considered a must-learn song for garage bands nationwide.

Artist: Nightcrawlers
Title: The Little Black Egg
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Charles Conlon
Label: Rhino (original label: Kapp)
Year: 1967
The Nightcrawlers, from Daytona Beach, Florida, had a series of regional hits in the mid-60s. The only one to hit the national charts was The Little Black Egg, after Kapp Records (a division of MCA) bought the rights to the song and gave it widespread distribution.

Artist: Left Banke
Title: Pretty Ballerina
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Michael Brown
Label: Smash
Year: 1967
The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Ego Trip
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer: Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label: M-G-M
Year: 1967
1967 was also the year of the "Boss-Town Sound", a gimmick used to promote several Boston-based bands signed to the M-G-M label (M-G-M having been asleep at the wheel during the recent band-signing frenzy in San Francisco). Derided in the music press as a crass attempt to manipulate record buyers, the ultimate victims of this fraud were the bands themselves, many of which were actually quite talented. Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the material for the group's first two LPs. When the stigma of being part of the whole boss-town thing became too much to deal with, Bruce-Douglas left the group. Although the Ultimate Spinach name continued to be used, subsequent albums had little in common musically with the two Bruce-Douglas LPs.

Artist: Swingin' Medallions
Title: Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)
Source: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer: Vetter/Smith
Label: Rhino (original label: Smash)
Year: 1966
This band from tiny Greenwood, South Carolina, scored a hit that was almost as popular in frat houses as Louie Louie. The song, Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love), was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and released nationally in 1966 on Mercury's subsidiary label, Smash Records.

Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Conquistador
Source: LP: Procol Harum Live
Writer: Brooker/Reid
Label: A&M
Year: 1972
Procol Harum was formed in 1966 in Southend-on-sea, Essex, England. One of the songs on their 1967 debut album was Conquistador. Five years later the live version of the song, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, was released as a single, becoming the second-biggest hit for the group (after A Whiter Shade Of Pale).

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Born Cross-Eyed
Source: CD: Anthem Of The Sun
Writer: Lesh/Peterman
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1968
After cranking out their first LP in a matter of days, San Francisco's Grateful Dead took a full six months to record, edit and mix the follow-up album, Anthem Of The Sun. Most of the tracks on the album run together and feature an experimental mix of live and studio material. The sole exception is Born Cross-Eyed, which has a running time of barely over two minutes.

Artist: Kinks
Title: A Well Respected Man
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Reprise
Year: 1966
The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.

Artist: Donovan
Title: Sand And Foam
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Epic
Year: 1967
When Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland's Donovan Leitch first came to prominence, he was hailed as Britain's answer to Bob Dylan. By 1966 he was recognized as the most popular folk singer in the UK. But Donovan was already starting to stretch beyond the boundaries of folk music, and in the fall of that year he released his first major US hit, Sunshine Superman. From that point on he was no longer Donovan the folk singer; he was now Donovan the singer-songwriter. Donovan continued to expand his musical horizons in 1967 with the release of the Mellow Yellow album and singles such as There Is A Mountain. The B side of Mountain was Sand And Foam, an acoustic number from the Mellow Yellow album.

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 and Linda LaFlamme
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1968
San Francisco's It's A Beautiful Day made the mistake of signing a management contract with Matthew Katz, who at the time was also managing Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane. What the members of It's A Beautiful Day did not realize at the time was that both those bands were doing everything in their power 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.

Artist: Tim Hardin
Title: Simple Song Of Freedom
Source: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer: Tim Hardin
Label: Rhino
Year: 1969
Although born in Eugene, Oregon, Tim Hardin is best known as a mainstay of the folk music scene centered in New York's Greenwich Village in the 60s. He had greater success as a songwriter than as an artist, penning such tunes as If I Were A Carpenter and Reason To Believe. Hardin was one of many acoustic acts that took the stage on the first day of the festival, when technical problems made it impossible for the electric bands to perform as originally scheduled.

Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year: 1966
San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively small, pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from San Jose were more than happy to fill.

Artist: Young Rascals
Title: Good Lovin'
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Resnick/Clark
Label: Atlantic
Year: 1966
Garfield, New Jersey was the point of origin for the band that came to define the term "blue-eyed soul". Led by Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere, the Rascals (adding the name Young to avert a lawsuit from a group called the Harmonica Rascals) racked up an impressive number of top 40 hits over a period of about three years. After scoring a pair of relatively minor hits with You Better Run and I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore, the group hit the big time with Good Lovin', taking the tune into the top 5 in 1966.

Artist: Monkees
Title: While I Cry
Source: CD: Listen To The Band (originally released on LP: Instant Replay)
Writer: Michael Nesmith
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year: 1968
Los Angeles, California, like many other US cities, had a vibrant local music scene, mostly centered on the all-ages clubs along Sunset Strip. Unlike other cities, however, L.A. was also the world's entertainment capitol. These two worlds, while occupying the same physical space, seldom interracted. Thus, we had bands like Love, the Seeds and the Leaves dominating the local scene while more mainstream artists such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were conducting business as usual in the big recording studios. There were some crossovers, however, such as Gary Lewis (son of comedian Jerry Lewis) and the Playboys and Dino, Desi and Billy (featuring the sons of Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz); teen bands with connections to the mainstream establishment. One of the strangest intersections of the two worlds was the Monkees. Of the four members, only Mickey Dolenz was a native Angelino. The rest hailed from Washington, DC (Peter Tork), Manchester, England (Davy Jones) and Houston, Texas (Michael Nesmith). Tork, however, was indeed connected with the local scene, having been recommended to the Monkees producers by his friend Stephen Stills. Nesmith had even stronger credentials, having written the song Mary Mary for the Butterfield Blues Band. Although by many accounts Tork was the more accomplished musician (he played multiple instruments), it was Nesmith who had the greatest success in the long run. One of the last Nesmith songs to appear on a Monkees album was While I Cry, from the 1968 LP Instant Replay (the first Monkees without Tork). Nesmith would eventually leave the group to form the First (and later Second) National Band and later become a movie (Repo Man) and video producer (he created MTV, selling the rights to Time Warner in the early 1980s).

Artist: Music Machine
Title: Wrong
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year: 1966
One of the strongest bands on the local L.A. scene was the Music Machine, led by Sean Bonniwell. As I had a lot to say about them last week, I'll just point out here that Wrong, as well as being one of Bonniwell's originals on the first Music Machine album, was issued as the B side to Talk Talk in 1966.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Crushingura
Source: CD: Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Crown of Creation)
Writer: Spencer Dryden
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1968
The first San Francisco band signed to a major record label was Jefferson Airplane. By the time their fourth album, Crown of Creation, was released, original members Signe Anderson and Skip Spence had been replaced by Grace Slick and jazz drummer Spencer Dryden. The two were responsible for some of the band's most avant-garde recordings, such as Slick's Rejoyce (from After Bathing At Baxter's) and Dryden's Crushingura, a piece using prepared piano and studio effects.

Artist: Mojo Men
Title: She's My Baby
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer: Stewart/Alaimo/Curcio
Label: Rhino
Year: 1966
Although generally considered to be one of the early San Francisco bands, the Mojo Men actually originated in Rochester, NY. After spending most of the early 60s in Florida playing to fraternities, the band moved out the West Coast in 1965, becoming mainstays on the San Francisco scene.

Artist: Every Mother's Son
Title: Come On Down To My Boat
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Farrell/Goldstein
Label: M-G-M
Year: 1967
New York, for being the largest city in the world (at the time) had relatively few popular local bands. Perhaps this is because of the wealth of entertainment and cultural choices in the Big Apple. In fact, the only notable local music scene was in Greenwich Village, which was more into folk and blues than mainstream rock. There were a few rock bands formed in New York, though. One example was Every Mother's Son, one-hit wonders with Come On Down To My Boat in 1967.

Artist: Turtles
Title: Is It Any Wonder
Source: CD: Happy Together
Writer: Sloan/Barri
Label: Magic
Year: 1967
The Turtles started off as an L.A.-based surf band called the Crossfires. After signing to White Whale Records in 1965 the group jumped on the folk-rock bandwagon, scoring a national hit with their cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. After a less than stellar 1966 the group regained their momentum with the release of Happy Together in 1967. At the same time they began to develop the skewed viewpoint that would characterize the work of the band's two co-leaders, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, in the 1970s when they became known as Flo and Eddie. Is It Any Wonder, the song heard here, is a bit of a mystery to me. It was included on the European release of the Happy Together CD as a bonus track, but I have not been able to find out where it first appeared (or indeed, whether or not it had ever been released at all). If you have any more information about the song, feel free to drop me a line through the contact button at

Artist: Lemon Pipers
Title: Green Tambourine
Source: Psychedelic Pop
Writer: Leka/Pinz
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah
Year: 1967
Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Bye Bye Johnny
Source: LP: More Hot Rocks (originally released in UK on EP: The Rolling Stones)
Writer: Chuck Berry
Label: London (original label: Decca UK)
Year: 1964
At the same time the Beatles were honing their craft in Liverpool and Hamburg in the early 60s, the city of London was developing its own local music scene. On any given night one could hear the sounds of American blues and R&B artists of the 1950s, as interpreted by young British musicians, coming from London's many clubs. The most successful of these young British blues cover bands was the Rolling Stones. Unlike the Beatles, the Stones didn't write much of their own material, at least not at first. Instead they chose to record their own versions of songs by Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker and the like. After a couple moderately successful singles Decca Records UK decided to let the band record some non-single tracks. They were not yet convinced, however, that the Rolling Stones were a big enough act to sell an entire LPs worth of material. Instead, they chose to release a four-song EP titled, simply, The Rolling Stones. One of the tracks recorded for that EP was Bye Bye Johnny, a song Chuck Berry wrote as an "answer" to his own Johnny B. Goode.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: We Love You
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1967
By 1967 the Rolling Stones were writing all their own material. Although Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had achieved considerable success as songwriters (to the point of providing material for other artists to record), the group's album sales had been slipping. Their 1967 LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request, had been a disappointment, both commercially and critically, and the group knew that they needed a strong single to get back on track. The result was We Love You, the most expensive single the band had ever recorded. Accompanied by a promotional film generally acknowledged to be one of the first rock videos, the song did well in Europe and the UK but was relegated to B side status in the US.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: What To Do
Source: LP: More Hot Rocks (originally released on LP: Aftermath)
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1966
1966's Aftermath is generally considered to be one of the Brian Jones era Rolling Stones' best albums. While the hit single Paint It, Black and the LP track Under My Thumb are the best-known songs on the album, What To Do is perhaps a more typical Stones song of the period.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Dandelion
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1967
When We Love You got only a lukewarm response from American radio listeners stations began to flip the record over and play the B side, Dandelion, instead. The song ended up being one of the band's biggest US hits of 1967.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Not Fade Away
Source: LP: More Hot Rocks (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Petty/Hardin
Label: London
Year: 1964
The Rolling Stones first top 5 hit in the UK was an updated version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. The Stones put a greater emphasis on the Bo Diddly style beat than Holly did and ended up with their first charted single in the US as well, establishing the Rolling Stones as the Yang of the British Invasion to the Beatles' Ying. It was a role that fit the top band from the city they call "The Smoke" well.

Artist: Human Expression
Title: Optical Sound
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Quarles/Foster
Label: Rhino (original label: Accent)
Year: 1967
One thing Los Angeles had become known for by the mid-1960s was its urban sprawl. Made possible by one of the world's most extensive regional freeway systems, the city had become surrounded by suburbs on all sides (except for the oceanfront). Many of these suburbs were (and are) in Orange County, home to Anaheim stadium, Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. The O.C. was also home to the Human Expression, a band that recorded a trio of well-regarded singles for the Accent label. The last of these was Optical Sound. True to its name, the song utilized the latest technology available to achieve a decidedly psychedelic sound.

Artist: Seeds
Title: The Wind Blows Her Hair
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Saxon/Bigelow
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year: 1967
Los Angeles has a long history of attracting young people from all over who are out to make a name for themselves in the entertainment world. In most cases that ambition reaches far beyond the borders of the city itself. For the most part, though, the Seeds, led by Sky Saxon, seemed content to be the city's premier Flower Power band (credible sources even indicate that the Seeds actually coined the term Flower Power). Although Pushin' Too Hard made the national charts in 1967, most of the Seeds' singles, such as The Wind Blows Her Hair, were hits mainly in the L.A. area.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Castles Made Of Sand
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
Although born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix was never associated with the local music scene that produced some of the loudest and raunchiest punk-rock of the mid 60s. Instead, he paid his professional dues backing R&B artists on the "chitlin circuit" of clubs playing to a mostly-black clientele, mainly in the south. After a short stint leading his own soul band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Hendrix, at the behest of one Chas Chandler (more on him in a minute), moved to London, where he recuited a pair of local musicians, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Although known for his innovative use of feedback, Hendrix was quite capable of knocking out some of the most complex "clean" riffs ever to be committed to vinyl. A prime example of this is Castles Made Of Sand. Hendrix's highly melodic guitar work combined with unusual tempo changes and haunting lyrics makes Castles Made Of Sand a classic that sounds as fresh today as it did when Axis: Bold As Love was released in 1967.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Heart Beat, Pig Meat
Source: LP: Zabriskie Point soundtrack
Writer: Gilmour/Waters/Wright/Mason
Label: 4 Men With Beards
Year: 1970
Without really meaning to, Chas Chandler had a profound effect on British rock; first as bassist for the Animals, then even more so as the guy who convinced Jimi Hendrix to move to London. While psychedelic music was developing in the US (particularly in L.A., San Francisco and Austin, Texas) in early 1966, it didn't really start in the UK until the first single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hey Joe/Stone Free) hit the record racks. Then, practically overnight, British psychedelic bands starting popping up all over the place. First and foremost among these was Pink Floyd. Formed by university students Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and Syd Barrett in 1965, Pink Floyd created a curious mix of avant-garde album tracks and catchy psychedelic singles (the latter written by Barrett). After Barrett left the band due to mental health issues (replaced by guitarist David Gilmour), Pink Floyd worked on soundtracks for several movies, including Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 film Zabriskie Point. Although the film itself was a critical and box-office disaster (appearing on several all-time worst movie lists), the soundtrack album itself contains several rarities, including the opening track, Heart Beat, Pig Meat.

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Bron Y-Aur Stomp
Source: Led Zeppelin III
Writer: Page/Plant/Jones
Label: Atlantic
Year: 1970
Although often regarded as the fathers of Heavy Metal, Led Zeppelin was actually capable of playing in a variety of styles. Evolving out of the standard-bearing band of the London blues scene (the Yardbirds), Led Zeppelin soon moved into uncharted territory, recording music that incorporated elements of both American and British folk music as well as rock. Much of the group's third LP (Bron Y-Aur Stomp in particular) sounds like it could have been written and performed in the heart of Appalachia.

Artist: Sugarloaf
Title: Country Dawg
Source: LP:Spaceship Earth
Writer: Robert Yeazel
Label: Liberty
Year: 1971
Although it was considered a major city even in the 1960s, Denver, Colorado did not have the most vibrant of local music scenes. Why this was is a mystery to me, and I lived there until I was 14. The area has produced some successful bands over the years, however, and possibly the most successful of these was Sugarloaf, named for a nearby mountain (and ski resort). The band's second album saw the addition of Robert Yeazel on guitar, who wrote Country Dawg.

Artist: Yardbirds
Title: Baby, What's Wrong
Source: CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down
Writer: Jimmy Reed
Label: Raven
Year: 1963
The first demo recorded by the Yardbirds in 1963 was their version of the Jimmy Reed tune, Baby, What's Wrong. Even then Eric Clapton's guitar work made one sit up and take notice.

Artist: Music Explosion
Title: Little Bit O' Soul
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Carter/Lewis
Label: Laurie
Year: 1967
Mansfield, Ohio, was home to the Music Explosion who made their mark as one-hit wonders in early 1967 with Little Bit O' Soul.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s
Writer: Tucker/Mantz
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
We finish the night with this iconic track from the Electric Prunes. Contrary to persistent rumors the Prunes were not from the Pacific Northwest, although they did spend a lot of time performing there. In truth, they hailed from L.A.'s San Fernando Valley (home of countless valley girls), at the time a rather large suburb, now part of the city proper.

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