Title: Open My Eyes
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Todd Rundgren
Label: Rhino (original label: SGC)
The Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. The Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).
Artist: New Breed
Title: Want Ad Reader
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: World United)
The New Breed was Sacramento's most popular local band in the mid-1960s. Although they did not score any national hits they did launch the career of Timothy B. Schmidt, who later went on to replace Randy Meisner in Poco (and even later replaced Meisner in the Eagles). The rest of the New Breed didn't do too badly, either. After changing their name to Glad and recording an album for Dunhill (with Schmidt still a member), the group eventually became known as Redwing, recording five country-rock albums in the 70s.
Title: Another Man's Hair On My Razor
Source: LP: Ellis Island
Writer: Adam Mitchell
Label: Verve Forecast
Originally from Toronto, Canada, the Paupers migrated to New York City in time to open for groups such as Jefferson Airplane, reportedly blowing them off the stage in the process. For some mysterious reason the band was unable to duplicate their stage success on vinyl and after two albums (Ellis Island being the second), quietly disbanded. Drummer Skip Prokop, however, stayed in New York, become one of the city's most sought-after studio musicians.
Title: Why Pick On Me
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Ed Cobb was, in many ways, the Ed Wood of the record industry. The bands who recorded under his guidance, such as LA.'s Standells, have become legends of garage rock. Wood wrote the first three singles released by the Standells, including their biggest hit, Dirty Water, and its follow-up, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. Why Pick On Me, the title track of the band's second LP, was the third single released by the band, although it did not chart as well as its predecessors.
Title: Epistle To Dippy
Source: CD: Mellow Yellow (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
Following up on his successful Mellow Yellow album, Donovan released Epistle To Dippy in the spring of 1967. The song, utilizing the same kind of instrumentation as Mellow Yellow, was further proof that the Scottish singer was continuing to move beyond the restrictions of the "folk singer" label and was quickly becoming the model for what would come to be called "singer/songwriters" in the following decade.
Title: Gonna Have A Good Time
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
The Easybeats were Australia's most popular band in the sixties. Formed in 1964 at a migrant hostel in Sidney (all the members came from immigrant families), the band's earliest hits were written by rhythm guitarist George Young (older brother of AC/DC's Angus and Malcolm Young) and lead vocalist "Little" Stevie Wright. By 1966, however, lead guitarist Harry Vanda (originally from the Netherlands) had become fluent in English and with the song Friday On My Mind replaced Wright as Young's writing partner (although Wright stayed on as the band's frontman). One of the Easybeats' biggest hits in Australia was Good Times from the album Vigil. I can't verify whether Gonna Have A Good Time is actually Good Times or not, but what little information I have (such as the fact that Good Times was covered by INXS for the film The Lost Boys and my own memory of hearing a remake of this song sometime in the late 80s) leads me to believe that the two are one and the same. Young and Vanda later recorded a series of records under the name Flash and the Pan that were very successful in Australia and Europe. Stevie Wright went on to become Australia's first international pop star.
Artist: Fifty Foot Hose
Source: LP: Cauldron
Writer: David Blossom
Although most of the more avant-garde bands of the psychedelic era were headquarted in New York, there were some exceptions, such as San Francisco's Fifty Foot Hose. The core members of the band were founder and bassist Louis "Cork" Marcheschi, guitarist David Blossom, and his wife, vocalist Nancy Blossom. The group used a lot of unusual instruments, such as theramin, Moog synthesizer and prepared guitar and piano. After one album the group called it quits, with most of the members joining the cast of Hair. In fact, Nancy Blossom played lead character Sheila in the San Francisco production of the musical.
Title: Go On Home Baby
Source: LP: Them (UK title: The Angry Young Them)
Writer: Bert Berns/Wes Farrell
With Van Morrison one of rock's most respected songwriters it may come as a surprise that he only wrote five songs on his debut album with the band Them. The rest of the songs on the LP were covers, three of them from songwriter Bert Berns, who wrote Twist and Shout and Piece of My Heart, among others. If the song's signature line seems familiar it's because it is virtually identical to the one in the 1966 Beach Boys hit Sloop John B.
Title: One Track Mind
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Linda and Keith Colley
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
After successfully fooling many people into thinking that they were the Beatles recording under a different name with their 1965 hit Lies, the Los Angeles-based Knickerbockers went with a more R&B flavored rocker for their follow up single. I did a little research and was surprised to discover that this is the first time I've played One Track Mind since Stuck in the Psychedelic Era went into syndication a year ago.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: My Best Friend
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Skip Spence
Label: RCA Victor
Although drummer Skip Spence had left Jefferson Airplane after the group's first LP, he did leave a song behind. My Best Friend was actually released as a single before Somebody To Love, making it the first single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album.
Artist: Southwest F.O.B.
Title: Smell Of Incense
Source: LP: Smell Of Incense
When I first ran across this album I immediately recognized the title as being the same as one of the better songs by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. As it turns out it's because Southwest F.O.B. issued their version of the Bob Markley/Ron Morgan song as their only single, and used it as the opening track on their only LP as well. What I didn't realize at the time is that Southwest F.O.B (F.O.B. standing for "freight on board") was the launching pad for the careers of England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley. The duo had a string of solo hits in the late 1970s, and Seals went on to become one of the top country artists of the 1980s (his song Bop is still heard on many country stations).
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Catch The Wind
Source: LP: DJ sampler (originally released on LP: Live at the Cafe Au Go Go)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Verve Forecast
One of the more underrated talents in US rock is guitarist Steve Katz. One of the original members of the Blues Project, Katz always comes across as a team player, subsuming his own ego to the good of the band. When it was time for Andy Kuhlberg to play a flute solo onstage at Monterey, Katz was the one who obligingly shifted over to bass guitar to cover for him. Steve Katz did occasionally get the chance to shine, though. As a singer/songwriter he provided Sometimes In Winter for the album Blood, Sweat and Tears and Steve's Song for the Blues Project's Projections album. One of his more obscure recordings is the Blues Project version of Donovan's Catch The Wind from the band's debut album and included on a special DJ sampler album distributed to radio stations in 1966.
Source: CD: Listen To The Band (originally released on LP: More of the Monkees)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
I originally found the song She to be a source of endless frustration. As a thirteen-year-old when the Monkees first TV show hit the airwaves, I was dead center in the target audience for the band. I embraced the role for a while, at least long enough to buy a copy of More Of The Monkees the day it came out. Unfortunately, the only record player we had was a old portable that used a sapphire needle. I got the record home, opened up the shrink wrap and listened to the record skip through most of the first song. As the Sears store I bought the album at was halfway across the city I had to wait a couple days before taking it back to get another copy. I got that one home, opened it and...yep, it skipped too, as did my third and final copy. I figured out years later that by 1967 even the cheapest portable record players were using diamond needles and that major labels like RCA were using pressing methods geared toward the newer machines. In 1968 I finally got one of those cheap portables as a birthday present, but by then was more into the Who and Procol Harum.
Artist: Humane Society
Title: Eternal Prison
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer: Danny Minnich
Label: Rhino (original label: New World)
If I had heard of the Humane Society when they were around, I probably would have bought this record. Unfortunately for me, they got little attention outside of the L.A. area and I was about 6,000 miles east of L.A. in Ramstein, Germany. At least I had my Procol Harum and Who albums.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Title: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Bob Seger
People who are familiar with the 70s and 80s hits of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band may be surprised to hear how much raw energy there is on Seger's early recordings with the Bob Seger System. The best known of these early records is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, released as a single in 1969. The song did pretty well at the time, but it would be several years before Seger would return to the charts.
Artist: Mother Earth
Title: Take Me In Your Arms, Rock Me A Little While
Source: LP: Satisfied
Although the band was named Mother Earth (after the Memphis Slim song) they could have just as easily been called the Tracy Nelson band. Nelson had migrated to the San Francisco area from Wisconson in the early 60s and was already a fixture on the scene when she formed Mother Earth in 1968. As her recording of Take Me In Your Arms, Rock Me A Little While (which had been a hit for Kim Weston in the mid 60s and would later be covered by the Doobie Brothers) shows, Nelson had a style and substance all her own and did not seem in the least bit interested in following current trends in order to sell records.
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Catfish Blues
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer: Robert Petway
Label: United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Like many other US cities in the 1960s, San Francisco had a small but enthusiastic community of collectors of blues records. A group of them got together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, and made quite an impression when they played the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This led to a contract with Liberty Records and an album consisting entirely of cover versions of blues standards. One standout track from that album is Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, expanded to over six minutes by the Heat.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: 1906 (single mix)
Source: Volume 3: A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
I have recently been in contact with Robert Morgan, brother of the late Ron Morgan, guitarist for the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. I asked him if his brother had ever received royalties from song's like Smell of Incense, which was released as a single by the Texas band Southwest F.O.B. He replied that Ron had received a check for something like eight dollars shortly before his death, but that he had always felt that bandleader Bob Markley had paid him fairly for his services. He then went on to say that Ron Morgan was more interested in making his mark than in getting any financial compensation. Attitudes like that are why I do this show. It's hard to imagine many of today's pop stars making a statement like that and meaning it.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: The Clown's Overture
Source: CD: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Label: See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
The second album from the Beacon Street Union was a departure from the first LP, with several tracks utilizing strings and horns. One track in particular, The Clowns' Overture, is entirely orchestral, with no apparent participation by the band members themselves. This was probably done at the behest of producer Wes Farrell, who would have his greatest success as the man behind the music of the Partridge Family a couple years later.
Artist: Mojo Men
Title: She's My Baby
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released twice as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Autumn, reissued on Reprise)
The Mojo Men were formed in the early 60s in Rochester, NY. After spending a few years playing frat parties in southern Florida, the band migrated to San Francisco in 1965, where they landed a contract with Autumn Records. Their last single for Autumn was She's My Baby, produced by Sly Stone. When Autumn went out of business in 1966, new owner Warner Brothers Records renewed the band's contract, re-issuing She's My Baby on its Reprise subsidiary.
Title: Bucket T
Source: LP: Magic Bus (original released in UK on EP: Ready Steady Who)
Label: MCA (original label: Track)
Ready Steady Go was Britain's answer to American Bandstand. A hugely popular one-shot special edition of the show called Ready Steady Who aired in 1966. A five song EP (also called Ready Steady Who) had an entirely different set of songs than the TV special, and included some real oddities such as their version of the Batman theme and Bucket T, a hot rod song from earlier in the decade.
Artist: Grass Roots
Title: Where Were You When I Needed You
Source: CD: Temptation Eyes
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
The Grass Roots were the brainchild of songwriters Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan. The first thing they recorded was a demo version of Where Were You When I Needed You using studio musicians and featuring the songwriters themselves on vocals. When Dunhill Records president Lou Adler expressed an interest in the concept Sloan and Barri started shopping around for an existing band that would be willing to change its name to the Grass Roots and perform Sloan and Barri's songs. The band that got the job was the Bedouins, a San Francisco group that had already released a record under their own name. The first record to be released under the Grass Roots banner was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man), that received moderate airplay on Southern California radio stations. The group then cut a new version of Where Were You When I Needed You, but parted company with Sloan and Barri before the record was released, citing a lack of artistic freedom and moving back to San Francisco. Dunhill decided to release the record anyway and it ended up as the Grass Roots' first single to hit the Billboard Hot 100. Once again Sloan and Barri found themselves with a name but no band, and after briefly flirting with the idea of hiring another existing group ended up assembling an entirely new lineup. This new group, which ended up recording yet another version of Where Were You When I Needed You, went on to score a string of hit singles in the 1970s. The version of the song heard on tonight's show is probably this third version, as Temptation Eyes was a budget compilation CD issued in the early 90s and aimed at fans of the later group (I got my copy free from a radio station I worked at at the time).
Title: Love Has Found A Way/Why Can't I Be Free
Source: CD: The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit's Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus album, despite being well-received by the rock press, ended up being the original group's last effort. The album is now seen as being ahead of its time and is often cited by later musicians as being a major influence on their own music. Really, though, nothing I could say could even begin to do justice to the tracks heard here. Just crank up the speakers and enjoy.
Title: Pressed Rat And Warthog
Source: LP: Wheels Of Fire
Tonight's artist spotlight is on Cream, one of the most important bands in rock history. Formed in 1966 by guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, Cream was one of the first supergroups, made up of former members of the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Graham Bond Organisation (yeah I know, the Brits spell things weird).
Our opening track, Pressed Rat And Warthog, is one of those songs you either love or hate. I loved it the first time I heard it but had several friends that absolutely detested it. As near as I can tell, Ginger Baker actually talks that way. Come to think of it, all the members of Cream have pretty heavy accents.
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: CD: Disraeli Gears
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Only a handful of songs can truly be described as "iconic". Sunshine Of Your Love, with its often-imitated signature riff, the line-by-line trading off of lead vocals by Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton and one of the best-known lead guitar solos in rock history, certainly qualifies.
Source: Homer soundtrack (originally released in UK on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer: Willie Dixon
Label: Cotillion (original label: Polydor)
When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US.
Title: Take It Back
Source: CD: Disraeli Gears
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
The very first album I recorded on my dad's new Akai X-355 reel-to-reel deck was Disraeli Gears. It was also the very first CD I ever bought (along with Axis: Bold As Love). Does that tell you anything about my opinion of this album?
Title: Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source: LP: Wheels Of Fire
The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band.
Title: Coffee Cup
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Lot Of Flowers)
Although the vast majority of tracks heard on tonight's show have never been played on Stuck In The Psychedelic Era, all of them are by artists that have been featured on the show in the past...with one exception. The Wildflower was somewhat typical of the San Francisco brand of folk-rock; less political in the lyrics and less jangly on the instrumental side. Although Coffee Cup was recorded in 1965, it did not get released until the summer of love two years later.