Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Summertime Blues
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Vincebus Eruptum)
Label: Rhino (original label: Philips)
The day I recorded this week's show was the hottest day of 2011 (so far). At the time I figured it was appropriate to start off with the Blue Cheer version of Summertime Blues, despite having played the same track on the previous two shows. Maybe hearing it will help warm you guys in Brazil (listening on gulchradio.com) up a bit, too.
Title: How You've Changed
Source: LP: On Tour
Writer: Chuck Berry
If there was any one thing that characterized the original Animals, it was a love of early American Rhythm and Blues records. On their first US tour, the group spent virtually all of their free time searching small independent record stores for copies of hard to find recordings by the like of Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker. They then went into the studio and recorded their own versions of these tunes. The result was the 1965 LP The Animals On Tour, their second US album. Although Chuck Berry is generally associated with early rock and roll, How You've Changed is a good example of his bluesier side.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer: Ian Bruce-Douglas
Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations. Bruce-Douglas left Ultimate Spinach after two albums, leaving only vocalist Barbara Hudson from the original lineup to carry on the band's name. Of all Bruce-Douglas's compositions, only (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess stayed in the group's repertoire after his departure.
Title: She's My Girl
Source: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
After a moderate amount of success in 1965 with a series of singles starting with a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, the Turtles found themselves running out of steam by the end of 1966. Rather than throw in the towel, they enlisted the services of the Bonner/Gordon songwriting team and recorded their most successful single, Happy Together, in 1967. They dipped into the same well for this tune later the same year.
Title: Try It
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded this tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Delicate Fawn
Source: LP: Volume II
The members of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band made it a point to emphasize the fact that they had complete artistic control of their second LP for Reprise, Volume II. The album itself lives up to the band's name, as many of the songs are indeed quite experimental. The song Delicate Fawn is in a sense prophetic, as vocalist Bob Markley would find himself on the wrong side of the law over issues involving underage girls in the 1970s.
Title: I Can See For Miles
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer: Pete Townshend
I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was the Who's biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. I Can See For Miles was also used as the closing track of side one of The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. Some of the commercials and jingles heard at the beginning of the track were recorded by the band itself. Others were lifted (without permission) from Radio London, a pirate radio station operating off the English coast.
Title: Liar Liar
Source: CD: More Nuggets
Label: Rhino (original label: Soma)
The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.
Artist: Cat Stevens
Title: I Love My Dog
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Cat Stevens
Cat Steven was one of the most popular singer-songwriters of the mid-1970s, with songs such as Peace Train, Wild World, and Morning Has Broken (now used in many modern Catholic Masses) making him a household name. What many people don't realize, however, is that his recording career extends all the way back to 1966, with his first single, I Love My Dog, being released in both the US and the UK (where it was a minor hit). Somehow I managed to find a copy of this somewhat scratchy 45 several years ago and thought I would, just for the fun of it, share it with you on this week's show.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Blues From An Airplane
Source: CD: Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off)
This week's artist set is also a progression through the years, as we feature tunes from the first, second and fourth Jefferson Airplane albums (there were two Airplane LPs released in 1967, so I skipped After Bathing At Baxter's this time). The first track, Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first anthology album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: CD: Somebody To Love
Source: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Darby Slick
Over 40 years after the fact, it's hard to imagine just how big an impact this song had on the garage band scene. Whereas before "Somebody To Love" came out you could just dismiss hard-to-cover songs as being "lame" anyway, here was a tune that was undeniably cool, and yet virtually impossible for anyone but the Airplane to play well (and even they were unable to get it to sound quite the same when they performed it live). Although garage bands would continue to exist (and still do), the days when a group of kids from the suburbs could form a band, play a handful of parties, maybe win a battle of the bands and write and record a hit record with virtually no prior experience were gone forever.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: CD: Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Crown Of Creation)
Writer: Grace Slick
One of Grace Slick's most memorable tunes was Lather, with its eerie instrumental bridge played on a tissue-paper covered comb (at least that's what I think it was). The song was reportedly about drummer Spencer Dryden, the band's oldest member, who had just turned 30. A popular phrase of the time was "don't trust anyone over 30", making it a particularly bad time to have that particular birthday.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Source: LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer: Van Morrison
Although the Blues Magoos are best known for their hit (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, the band got a lot of airplay on underground FM stations for their extended psychedelic rave up on John D. Loudermilk's Tobacco Road, which had been a hit a couple of years before for the Nashville Teens. Both songs were featured on the band's debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop. For their second album, Electric Comic Book, the Magoos decided to do a similar treatment on Van Morrison's Gloria, which had been a hit for the Shadows of Knight in 1966. The result was six minutes of pure madness.
Title: Randy Scouse Git
Source: CD: Headquarters
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
The original concept for the Monkees TV series was that the band would be shown performing two new songs on each weekly episodes. This meant that, even for an initial 13-week order, 26 songs would have to be recorded in a very short amount of time. The only way to meet that deadline was for several teams of producers, songwriters and studio musicians to work independently of each other at the same time. The instrumental tracks were then submitted to musical director Don Kirschner, who brought in Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith to record vocal tracks. Although some of the instrumental tracks, such as those produced by Nesmith, had Nesmith and Tork playing on them, many did not. Some backing tracks were even recorded in New York at the same time as the TV show was being taped in L.A. In a few cases, the Monkees themselves did not hear the songs until they were in the studio to record their vocal tracks. A dozen of these recordings were chosen for release on the first Monkees LP in 1966, including the hit single Last Train To Clarksville. When it became clear that the show was a hit and a full season's worth of episodes would be needed, Kirschner commissioned even more new songs (although by then Clarksville was being featured in nearly every episode, mitigating the need for new songs somewhat). Without the band's knowledge Kirschner issued a second album, More Of The Monkees, in early 1967, using several of the songs recorded specifically for the TV show. The band members were furious, and the resulting firestorm resulted in the removal of Kirschner from the entire Monkees project. The group then hired Turtles bassist Chip Douglas to work with the band to produce an album of songs that the Monkees themselves would both sing and play on. The album, Headquarters, spent one week at the top of the charts before giving way to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There were, however, no singles released from the album; at least not in the US. It turns out that the seemingly nonsensical title of the album's final track, Randy Scouse Git, was actually British slang for horny guy from Liverpool, or something along those lines. The song was released everywhere but the continental US under the name Alternate Title and was a surprise worldwide hit.
Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: I Can Feel Him In The Morning
Source: LP: Survival
In the late 1980s I met a woman from L.A who had been in high school the year Grand Funk Railroad's fourth studio LP came out. When she discovered that I still had my original copy of Survival she told me how an 8-track copy of that album got her through the summer of '71 when she was living with her mother in an apartment overlooking one of the hookers' corners on Hollywood Blvd. She said that whenever she was feeling overwhelmed by life she would draw inspiration from the song I Can Feel Him In The Morning. The tune, with its flowing beat and spiritual lyrics, was a departure from the loud, raw sound the band from Flint was known for.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Bookends Theme/Save The Life Of My Child/America
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer: Paul Simon
An early example of a concept album (or at least half an album) was Simon And Garfunkel's fourth LP, Bookends. The side starts and ends with the Bookends theme. In between they go through a sort of life cycle of tracks, from Save The Life Of My Child (featuring a synthesizer opening programmed by Robert Moog himself), into America, a song that is very much in the sprit of Jack Kerouak's On The Road. One of these days I'll play the rest of the side, which takes us right into the age that many of us who bought the original LP are now approaching.
Artist: Lamp Of Childhood
Title: No More Running Around
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
I've often wondered how it was that a somewhat raunchy rock band like Steppenwolf ended up on the same pop-oriented record label as the Mamas and the Papas, the Grass Roots and 3 Dog Night. It turns out the Dunhill connection was from the man who produced Steppenwolf, Gabriel Mekler. Mekler was a member of the Lamp Of Childhood, a group that also included Cass Elliot's husband Michael Hendricks. Although the Lamp had a solid pop sound, they never really caught on and by the time their third and most successful single, No More Running Around, was released, the members had already moved on to other things (like, for instance, producing Steppenwolf records).
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
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.
Title: We Can Work It Out (originally released as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Source: CD: Past Masters vol. 2
The Beatles last single of 1965 was the double-sided hit Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out. As was common in the UK, the songs were not available on LP until many years later. In the US, however, both songs were included on an LP that never came out in the UK: Yesterday...And Today. Thus American audiences had exclusive access to the stereo versions of these songs throughout the rest of the decade.
Artist: Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title: Oh, Lonesome Me
Source: CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer: Neil Young
Although Neil Young is known primarily as a songwriter, he has recorded a cover tune here and there. One such tune is the Don Gibson rockabilly classic Oh, Lonesome Me, slowed down to about a quarter of its original tempo.
Artist: Uriah Heep
Title: The Magician's Birthday
Source: LP: The Magician's Birthday
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what exactly does it mean when you imitate yourself? Uriah Heep did just that in 1972 when they followed up their breakthrough Demons And Wizards album with another one in virtually the same format, even down to the 10-minute plus title track to close out side two. What was missing, however, was a single to rival Easy Livin', which had been the engine that propelled Demons and Wizards into the realm of hit albums. Still, The Magician's Birthday was a solid and commercial successfully LP, and this week we are presenting the aforementioned title track in its entirety. Enjoy!
Artist: Ten Years After
Title: 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain
Source: CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer: Alvin Lee
After the fantasy of The Magician's Birthday I thought it might be fun to go with some science fiction to back it up. Well, Alvin Lee does mention going to every planet in the solar system during this nearly eight-minute track, after all.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Time Is On My Side
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Jerry Ragovoy
I recently got word of the passing of songwriter Jerry Ragovoy, who died on July 13th at the age of 83. Ragovoy's writing career extended back to the 1940s and included classics by artists such as Kai Winding. In later years he wrote several tunes that were recorded by Janis Joplin, including Try (Just A Little Bit Harder), My Baby, Cry Baby and the classic Piece Of My Heart. He occassionally used a pseudonym as well, and it was as Norman Meade he published his best-known song: Time Is On My Side, one of the first US hits for the Rolling
Title: LP: Big, Little Woman
Source: Red Rubber Ball
The Cyrkle rose to prominence with a pair of hit singles in 1966: Red Rubber Ball and Turn Down Day. Both those tunes were included on their first LP for Columbia, which also included several tunes written by members of the Cyrkle. Among those was Big, Little Woman, a solid example of the light pop the Cyrkle did so well. Unfortunately for the band, the maturing baby boomers that made up the bulk of the top 40 audience in 1966 were starting to look for heavier stuff, and the Cyrkle soon fell out of favor.
Title: Little Women
Source: CD: Face To Face (previously unreleased bonus track)
Writer: Ray Davies
We finish the week with an unfinished track written and recorded sometime between the Kinks' 1966 LP Face To Face and 1967's Something Else. It would be interesting to hear just what sort of vocals Ray Davies had in mind for this song (if indeed he had any at all).