Friday, June 17, 2011

Show # 1124 Playlist (starts 6/16/11)

First off I want to apologize to everyone who catches the show on Thursday night for not having these notes ready before airtime. The reason is fairly simple: I had to wait until Tuesday to record the show and haven't had the chance to work on the notes until today (Friday). The one good thing about recording the show so late is that I was able to get some requests included in a relatively timely manner. Speaking of which, I've been busy building a backlog of shows for the late summer, so obviously those don't include any requests. At this point I don't know exactly when, or even if, they will be airing, but I'll let you know as soon as I find out. This week we once again start off with an artist set; this time around it's the "good old Grateful Dead", with the emphasis on old.

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: New, New Minglewood Blues
Source: CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer: McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1967
You may be wondering just who McGannahan Skjellyfetti is. Well, I guess you could say it's a close relative of Nanker Phelge, the pseudonym used for early Rolling Stones songs that were written by the entire band. I'm not an expert on the Dead by any means, but I believe that this track features "Pig Pen" McKernan on vocals.

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Turn On Your Love Light
Source: LP: Live Dead
Writer: Joe Scott
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1969
The first official live album by the Dead features all the original members plus Tom Constantine (T.C.) on keyboards and Mickey Hart on drums. The Grateful Dead have always included several cover tunes in their live sets, and Bobby "Blue" Bland's Turn On Your Love Light was always a popular favorite in the band's early years. Again, I don't really have the ear for Dead vocals, but I'd say it's either Pig Pen or Bob Weir on this one. Clarification, anyone?

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Sitting On Top Of The World
Source: CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer: Jacobs/Carter
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1967
Most versions of Sitting On Top Of The World (such as the one by Cream) have a slow, melancholy tempo that emphasizes the irony of the lyrics. This track, on the other hand, goes at about twice the speed and has lyrics I have never heard on any other version. I suspect this is because, like most of the songs on the first Dead album, the tune was part of their early live repertoire; a repertoire that called for a lot of upbeat songs to keep the crowd on their feet. Is this Pig Pen again on the vocals? I think so, but am open to any corrections you might want to send along (just use the contact button on the website).

Artist: Turtles
Title: The Last Thing I Remember, The First Thing I Knew
Source: 12" 45 RPM Picture Disc: Turtles 1968
Writer: The Turtles
Label: Rhino
Year: 1968
In order to get these notes published more quickly I'm doing some cutting and pasting from previous notes, starting with this one from back in January: In 1968 the Turtles rebelled against their record company. They did not attempt to break the contract or go on strike, though. Instead, they simply went into the studio and produced four songs that they themselves wrote and chose to record. The record company, however, chose not to issue any of the self-produced recordings (although one, Surfer Dan, did end up on their Battle of the Bands album a few months later). Finally, in the late 1970s a small independent label known for issuing oddball recordings by the likes of Barnes and Barnes (Fish Heads) and professional wrestler Fred Blassie (Pencil-Neck Geek) put out a 12-inch picture disc featuring the four tunes. That label also began reissuing old Turtles albums, starting it on a path that has since become the stock in trade for Rhino Records.

Artist: Love
Title: 7 & 7 Is
Source: CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Da Capo)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year: 1966
In the fall of 1966 my parents took by brother and me to a drive-in movie to see The Russians Are Coming and The 10th Victim (don't ask me why I remember that). In an effort to extend their season past the summer months, that particular drive-in was pioneering a new technology that used a low-power radio transmitter (on a locally-unused frequency) to broadcast the audio portion of the films so that people could keep their car windows rolled all the way up (and presumably stay warm) instead of having to roll the window partway down to accomodate the hanging speakers that were attached to posts next to where each car was parked. Before the first movie and between films music was pumped through the speakers (and over the transmitter). Of course, being fascinated by all things radio, I insisted that my dad use the car radio as soon as we got settled in. I was immediately blown away by a song that I had not heard on either of Denver's two top 40 radio stations. That song was Love's 7&7 Is, and it was my first inkling that there were some great songs on the charts that were being ignored by local stations. I finally heard the song again the following spring, when a local FM station that had been previously used to simulcast a full-service AM station began running a "top 100" format a few hours a day.

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: If You Want This Love
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer: Baker Knight
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
The first WCPAEB album, Volume One, had a limited print run on a small independent label in L.A. After landing a contract with Reprise, they recut many of the songs (most of which were cover tunes) from Volume One and called the new album Part One. This is one of those recut tracks.

Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year: 1967
The LP version of the Vanilla Fudge's cover of the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On ran something like 6-7 minutes. For single release the song was cut down considerably, clocking in at around three minutes. It was also available only in mono, which is how Rhino chose to present it when they released thier first Nuggets series (not to be confused with Lenny Kaye's original collection from 1972) in the early 1980s.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: RCA Victor)
Year: 1967
A while back a co-worker was asking me about what kind of music I played on the show. When I told him the show was called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era he immediately said "Oh, I bet you play White Rabbit a lot, huh?" As a matter of fact, I do, although not as much as some songs (see the post from show # 1032, in which I run down the list of which songs got played the most in 2010).

Artist: Nazz
Title: Open My Eyes
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits
Writer: Todd Rundgren
Label: Rhino (original label: SGC)
Year: 1968
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: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: CD: Retrospective
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Atco
Year: 1968
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Quite Rightly So
Source: CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer: Brooker/Reid
Label: A&M
Year: 1968
In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually still awake to do that.

Artist: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title: Fire
Source: CD: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (this version originally released on mono version of LP)
Writer: Brown/Crane/Finesilver/Ker
Label: Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
Year: 1968
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was unusual for their time in that they were much more theatrical than most of their contemporaries, who were generally more into audio experimentation than visual. I have a video of Fire being performed (or maybe just lip-synched). In it, all the members are wearing some sort of mask, and Brown himself is wearing special headgear that was literally on fire. There is no doubt that The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown sowed the seeds of what was to become the glitter-rock movement in the early to mid 70s. Until this week the only copy I had of Fire was the original 45. In response to a request I picked up a copy of the CD and was surprised to learn that the mono version of side one was included on the disc, due to the mixes being considerably different than the stereo versions. Of course I had to play the mono version of Fire, which really does sound quite a bit different that the version I'm used to hearing (especially the completely different sound effect at the end of the song).

Artist: Ars Nova
Title: Automatic Love
Source: CD: Ars Nova
Writer: Wyatt Day
Label: Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
Year: 1968
Until I got a request for them recently I was totally unfamiliar with the band Ars Nova, although I vaguely remember seeing the name somewhere. As it turns out they were one of the few New York based psychedelic bands. Like other New York-based bands, Ars Nova had an avant garde slant that is for the most part missing from bands from other parts of the country (Fifty-Foot Hose and the United States of America being notable exceptions). Automatic Love is a satirical piece that (like most good satire) contains a warning about the general direction society has been moving in since the advent of the industrial revolution.

Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Had To Cry Today
Source: LP: Blind Faith
Writer: Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor
Year: 1969
One of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 1969 was Blind Faith, the self-titled debut album of a group consisting of Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, Steve Winwood from Traffic and Rich Grech, who had played bass with a band called Family. The buzz about this new band was such that the rock press had to coin a brand-new term to describe it: supergroup. On release, the album shot up to the number one spot on the charts in record time. Of course, as subsequent supergroups have shown, such bands seldom stick around very long, and Blind Faith set the pattern early on by splitting up after just one LP and a short tour to promote it. The opening track of the album was a pure Winwood piece that showcases both Winwood and Clapton on seperate simultaneous guitar tracks.

Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s
Writer: Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year: 1966
San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was this group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Love Or Confusion
Source: CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. It's actually kind of fun to listen to with headphones on, as I did when I bought my first copy of the album on reel-to-reel tape (the tape deck was in the same room as the TV).

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Boogie Music
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies
Writer: L.T. Tatman III
Label: United Artists
Year: 1968
Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. An edited version of Boogie Music, also from Living the Blues, was issued as the B side of that single. This is a stereo mix of that version, featured on a United Artists anthology album released in 1969.

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Silver And Gold
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer: Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino
Year: 1969
Country Joe and the Fish were one of a handfull of acts to appear at both the Monterey and Woodstock festivals. Whereas at Monterey they were perhaps the quintessential psychedelic band, their Woodstock performance reflected the band's move to what they themselves described as "rock and soul" music. Silver and Gold was certainly one of the hardest rocking songs the band had ever performed, but was not released until 2009, when Rhino released its multi-disc Woodstock anniversary collection.

Artist: Donovan
Title: Hampstead Incident
Source: LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Epic
Year: 1967
The Beatles started a trend (one of many) when they used a harpsichord on the Rubber Soul album, released in December of 1965. By early 1967 it seemed that just about everyone had a song or two with the antique instrument featured on it. Unlike many of the recordings of the time, "Hampstead Incident" manages to use the harpsichord effectively without overdoing it.

Artist: Doors
Title: You're Lost Little Girl
Source: CD: Strange Days
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
The Doors second LP, Strange Days, was stylistically similar to the first, and served notice to the world that this band was going to be around for awhile. Songwriting credit for You're Lost Little Girl (a personal favorite of mine) was given to the entire band, a practice that would continue until the release of The Soft Parade in 1969.

Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Song For Our Ancestors
Source: LP: Sailor
Writer: Steve Miller
Label: Capitol
Year: 1968
Sometime around 1980 someone (I don't recall who) released an album called Songs of the Humpback Whale. It was essentially two LP sides of live recordings of the mammals in their natural habitat (the ocean, duh). This was soon followed by a whole series of albums of natural sounds recorded in high fidelity stereo that went under the name Environments. I wonder if the producers of those albums realized that they were following in the footsteps of San Francisco's Steve Miller Band, who's second LP, Sailor, opens with about a minute of ocean sounds (including whale songs) that serve as an intro to Miller's Song For Our Ancestors.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Reasons For Waiting
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original US label: Reprise)
Year: 1969
Strictly speaking, Reasons For Waiting is not a Jethro Tull piece. Rather, it is an Ian Anderson solo work with orchestration. This was quite a departure from the first Tull album, which was (like most debut albums) made up of songs already in the group's live performance repertoire (the exception being Mick Abrahams's Move On Along, which in addition to having Abrahams on lead vocals, added a horn section).

Artist: Kinks
Title: Brainwashed
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Reprise
Year: 1970
Starting in 1966, Ray Davies started taking satirical potshots at a variety of targets, with songs like A Well Respected Man, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and the classic tax-protest song Sunny Afternoon. This trend continued over the next few years, although few new Kinks songs were heard on US radio stations until the band released the international hit Lola in 1970. One single that got some minor airplay in the US was the song Victoria, from the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). The B side of that track was Brainwashed, one of the hardest rocking Kinks tunes since their early 1964 hits like You Really Got Me.

Artist: Frantics
Title: Human Monkey
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Miller/Stevenson
Label: Rhino (original label: Action)
Year: 1966
Emulating some of Motown's more energetic early records we have the Frantics, a band that would soon shed a couple members and pick up a couple others, changing their name to Moby Grape in the process.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Train For Tomorrow
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer: Lowe/Tulin/Spignola/Williams/Ritter
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
Although the bulk of material on the Electric Prunes first LP was from outside sources, there were a few exceptions. One of the more notable ones was Train For Tomorrow, an innovative piece credited to the entire band that shows what this group could have done if allowed more artistic freedom.

Artist: Electric Flag
Title: Soul Searchin'
Source: LP: Best Of The Electric Flag (originally released on LP: An American Music Band)
Writer: Buddy Miles
Label: Columbia
Year: 1968
The Electric Flag only released two albums, both in 1968, before founding guitarist Mike Bloomfield got restless (as was his habit), and moved on to other things. That didn't stop Columbia from releasing a "Best of" album, though. At least there's no doubt what year this requested song was originally released.

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