Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SITPE # 1135 Playlist

This week it's mostly odds and ends, although we do have sets from 1967 and 1968 in the first hour. The second hour, on the other hand, is pure chaos (although I did manage to sneak in a British Rock set).

Artist: 13th Power
Title: I Want To Be Your Man
Source: LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer: Mann/Weil
Label: Tower
Year: 1968
Critics and audiences alike were divided on how to interpret the movie Wild In The Streets. Was it speculative fiction about a distopian future or simply a teen exploitation flick? The film certainly had enough big Hollywood names in it (Christopher Jones, Hal Holbrook and Shelley Winters, among others) to be taken seriously, yet the basic premise, that teens, led by a popular rock band, would rise up and take power, putting anyone over 30 into concentration camps, was a bit over-the-top. Regardless of the creators' intentions, Wild In The Streets is now viewed as a cult film that helped launch the career of Richard Pryor (who played bassist Stanley X), and had some decent tunes written by the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (writers of the Paul Revere and the Raiders hit Hungry). The hit single from the movie, Shape Of Things To Come, was attributed on the label to Max Frost and the Troopers, the fictional band that led the revolution, but on the soundtrack album the song was credited to the 13th Power. The reality was that all the songs on the album were the work of studio musicians, although they were credited to a variety of groups such as the Gurus and the Senators. The songs credited to the 13th Power, such as I Want To Be Your Man, were possibly the work of Davie Allen and the Arrows, with lead vocals by Paul Wibier, although that has never been substantiated. It is even possible that Jones himself sang on the soundtrack album.

Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Source: LP: Homer soundtrack
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year: 1967
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: Yardbirds
Title: A Certain Girl
Source: CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Naomi Neville
Label: Raven (original label: Epic)
Year: 1964
Despite being one of the most respected bands on the British Blues scene, the Yardbirds were never known for their original material. In fact, most of their recordings were either re-interpretations of blues/R&B classics or songs that were given to the band by professional songwriters such as Graham Gouldman. A Certain Girl, released as the B side of I Wish You Would, is a good example of the former, coming from the pen of Allen Toussaint (using the pseudonym Naomi Neville) and originally recorded by Ernie K-Doe (Mother-In-Law).

Artist: Beau Brummels
Title: Just A Little
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Elliott/Durand
Label: Rhino (original label: Autumn)
Year: 1965
Often dismissed as an American imitation of British Invasion bands such as the Beatles, the Beau Brummels actually played a pivotal role in rock music history. Formed in San Francisco in 1964, the Brummels were led by Ron Elliott, who co-wrote most of the band's material, including their two top 10 singles in 1965. The second of these, Just A Little, is often cited as the first folk-rock hit, as it was released a week before the Byrds' recording of Mr. Tambourine Man. According to Elliott, the band was not trying to invent folk-rock, however. Rather, it was their own limitations as musicians that forced them to work with what they had: solid vocal harmonies and a mixture of electric and acoustic guitars. Elliott also credits the contributions of producer Sly Stone for the song's success. Conversely, Just A Little was Stone's greatest success as a producer prior to forming his own band, the Family Stone, in 1967.

Artist: Turtles
Title: She's My Girl
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bonner/Gordon
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year: 1967
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 She's My Girl later the same year.

Artist: Byrds
Title: Why
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer: McGuinn/Crosby
Label: Columbia
Year: 1967
The closing track for the Byrds' fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday, was originally recorded in late 1965 at RCA studios and was released as the B side of Eight Miles High in 1966. The Younger Than Yesterday version of Why is actually a re-recording of the song.

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
It's been a few weeks since I played this classic. I figured it was about time to play it again.

Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets
Writer: J. Chambers/W. Chambers
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1967
One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:55 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist: Blood, Sweat and Tears
Title: My Days Are Numbered
Source: LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer: Al Kooper
Label: Columbia
Year: 1968
The first artist spotlight I ever did on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era (back in 2002, long before the show went into syndication) was on Al Kooper. At the time I didn't realize just how important a figure he was in rock history. I knew that he had first appeared on the scene as the replacement for the original guitarist of the Royal Teens, but not that he had become friends with producer Tom Wilson as a result of that. It was as a guest of Wilson that Kooper was in attendance at the historic sessions that produced the classic Bob Dylan track Like A Rolling Stone and the subsequent Highway 61 Revisited album. I knew that Kooper had been the organist for those sessions, but not that he had intended to play guitar that day (when he saw that Michael Bloomfield was already there, he changed his mind) and only played the organ because nobody else was sitting at it. This led to other studio work from producers hoping to cash in on the "Dylan organ" sound. Kooper soon realized that he was being typecast and began looking for ways to expand and hone his abilities, not only as an organist, but on piano and other, more experimental keyboard instruments that were just hitting the market at the time. It was at yet another studio session as a guest of Tom Wilson that Kooper met the members of a new band called the Blues Project, who were (unsuccessfully) auditioning for Columbia Records at their New York studios. Kooper and the band members hit it off and Kooper soon became the band's regular keyboardist, playing on two LPs with the band (and appearing on a third that was released after his departure). In 1968 Kooper hooked up with his friend Michael Bloomfield (among others) to record the historic Super Session album. Feeling that some of the tracks were lacking something, Kooper arranged for horns to be overdubbed, which led to him forming a new band that featured a horn section as an integral part of the band. Calling the new group Blood, Sweat and Tears, he released one album, Child Is Father To The Man, with them before moving on to other things. The majority of songs on Child were written by Kooper, including My Days Are Numbered.

Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title: I Need A Man To Love
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer: Joplin/Andrew
Label: Columbia
Year: 1968
Big Brother and the Holding Company's most successful album, Cheap Thrills, was a mixture of live and studio tracks. I Need A Man To Love, written by band members Janis Joplin and Sam Houston Andrew III, was recorded at the Fillmore West. Somehow I don't think they actually faded out at the end of the song when they played it, though.

Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Now I Taste The Tears
Source: LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer: Clifford
Label: M-G-M
Year: 1968
The second LP from the Beacon Street Union, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens, was a departure from the sound of the band's first album. If anything, it featured an even more eclectic mix of songs than The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, including the humorous King of the Jungle and the spacy spoken word piece Can I Light Your Cigarette. The band took an R&B turn with Now I Taste The Tears, which features a horn section that was probably brought in at the insistence of producer Wes Farrell, who would go on to produce the Partridge Family a couple years later.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Kyrie Eleison/Mardi Gras
Source: Easy Rider soundtrack
Writer: David Axelrod
Label: MCA
Year: 1968
After the commercial disappointment of the Electric Prunes second LP, Underground, the powers that be at Reprise Records decided to use the band in an experiment. David Axelrod had written a rock-mass and was looking for a band to record it. It soon became apparent, however, that Axelrod's arrangements were beyond the technical skills of the Prunes, and studio musicians were brought in to complete the project. The result was Mass In F Minor, which with its royal purple cover stood out on the record racks but did not sell any better than the previous Prunes LP. Before fading off into obscurity the album was immortalized by having its opening track, Kyrie Eleison, featured in the film Easy Rider and subsequent soundtrack album.

Artist: Warlocks
Title: Can't Come Down
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer: Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir
Label: Rhino
Year: Recorded 1965
In 1965 Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters were travelling around conducting the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests, basically an excuse to turn on people to LSD. Part of Kesey's entourage was a group of young musicians calling themselves the Warlocks. Toward the end of the year, producer Sylvester Stewart (aka Sly Stone) brought the Warlocks into the studio to cut some songs. The songs themselves did not get released until 1999, when the Warlocks (now calling themselves the Grateful Dead) decided to include them on an anthology album. The lead vocals are by guitarist Jerry Garcia, although they don't sound much like his later Grateful Dead recordings.

Artist: PF Sloan
Title: Halloween Mary
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: PF Sloan
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year: 1966
Since I just played this song last week I'm going to refer you to the previous post (SITPE # 1134 Playlist).

Artist: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year: 1967
The Music Machine was by far the most sophisticated of all the bands playing on L.A.'s Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. Dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair), and with leader Sean Bonniwell wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.

Artist: Who
Title: Boris The Spider
Source: LP: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy
Writer: John Entwhistle
Label: MCA
Year: 1966
For many years, "Boris the Spider" was bassist John Entwhistle's signature song. Eventually Entwhistle got sick of singing it and wrote another one. Truth is, he wrote a lot of songs, but like the Beatles's George Harrison, did not always get the recognition as a songwriter that more prolific bandmate Pete Townshend got. This was one of the first album tracks I ever heard played on an FM station (KLZ-FM in Denver, the first FM in the area to play something besides classical, jazz or elevator music).

Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: The Sound Of Silence
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer: Paul Simon
Label: Columbia
Year: 1966
The Sound Of Silence was originally an acoustic piece that was included on Simon and Garfunkel's 1964 debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album went nowhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia Records catalog. Simon and Garfunkel themselves went their separate ways, with Simon moving to London and recording a solo LP, the Paul Simon Songbook. While Simon was in the UK, producer John Simon, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and got Dylan's band to add electric instruments to the existing recording. The song was released to local radio stations, where it garnered enough interest to get the modified recording released as a single. It turned out to be a huge hit and prompted Paul Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Art Garfunkel.

Artist: Charlatans
Title: Alabama Bound
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: The Amazing Charlatans)
Writer: Trad. Arr. Ferguson/Hicks/Hunter/Olsen/Wilhelm
Label: Rhino (original label: Big Beat)
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1996)
Despite being one of the most important bands on the San Francisco scene, the Charlatans did not have much luck in the recording studio. Their first sessions were aborted, the planned LP for Kama Sutra was shelved by the label itself, and the band was overruled in their choice of songs to be released on their first (and only) single issued from the Kama Sutra sessions. In 1967, however, they did manage to get some decent tracks recorded. Unfortunately, those tracks were not released until 1996, and then only in the UK. The centerpiece of the 1967 sessions was this six-minute recording of a traditional tune that is considered by many to be the Charlatans' signature song: Alabama Bound.

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Boogie Music
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues)
Writer: L.T. Tatman III
Label: United Artists (original label: Liberty)
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 the full-length version.

Artist: Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks
Title: How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer: Dan Hicks
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year: 1969
As one of the founders of the legendary San Francisco band the Charlatans, Dan Hicks has a special place in rock history. One song recorded (but not released) by the Charlatans was How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away, which became sort of a signature tune for Hick's new band, the Hot Licks.

Artist: Beatles
Title: Fixing A Hole
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year: 1967
The first Beatle album to appear with the same tracks in the same order on both US and UK versions was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The only differences between the two were a lack of spaces in the vinyl (called "banding") on the UK version and a bit of gobbledygook heard at the end of the record (but only if you did not have a turntable that automatically lifted the needle out of the groove after the last track). Said gobbledygook is included after A Day In The Life on the CD as a hidden track if you really want to hear what it sounds like.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Bouree
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer: Bach, arr. Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1969
The second Jethro Tull album, Stand Up, saw the band moving a considerable distance from its blues-rock roots, as flautist Ian Anderson asserted himself as leader and sole songwriter for the group. Nowhere is that more evident than on the last track of the first side of Stand Up, the instrumental Bouree, which successfully melds jazz and classical influences into the Jethro Tull sound.

Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Simple Sister
Source: LP: Best of Procol Harum (originally released on LP: Broken Barricades)
Writer: Brooker/Reid
Label: A&M
Year: 1971
By 1971 serious creative differences had developed between keyboardist/vocalist Gary Brooker and lead guitarist Robin Trower. At issue was the direction the band was moving in. While Brooker wanted to continue in the progressive/classical direction the band had become known for, Trower wanted a harder-edged sound. Trower's final album as a member of Procol Harum shows the two directions often at odds with each other. One track, though, Simple Sister, managed to merge elements of both Brooker's and Trower's styles, and received a significant amount of airplay on album-oriented FM radio throughout the 1970s.

Artist: Blues Project
Title: Back Door Man
Source: LP: special DJ sampler (originally released on LP: Live At Cafe-Au-Go-Go)
Writer: Dixon/Burnett
Label: Verve Forecast
Year: 1966
Original Blues Project vocalist Tommy Flanders only stayed with the group long enough to record one album. At the release party in L.A. for Live At Cafe-Au-Go-Go, however, in a scene right out of Spinal Tap, Flanders's girl friend had an all-out blowup with the rest of the band members that resulted in her announcing that Flanders was quitting the band to go Hollywood.
As a result by the time the album actually became available in record stores Flanders was no longer with the group. The Blues Project's cover of the classic Back Door Man is a good example of Flanders performing in his element.

Artist: Sagittarius
Title: My World Fell Down
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Shakespeare/Stephens
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1967
The Beach Boys' 1966 masterpiece Good Vibrations sent shock waves reverberating throughout the L.A. studio scene. Among those inspired by Brian Wilson's achievement were Wilson's former collaborator Gary Usher, who formed the studio band Sagittarius to record My World Fell Down in 1967. Among those participating in the project were Glen Campbell, who was the first person to take Wilson's place onstage when Wilson retired from performing to concentrate on his songwriting and record producing; Bruce Johnston, who succeeded Campbell and remains the group's bassist to this day; and Terry Melcher, best known as the producer who helped make Paul Revere and the Raiders a household name in 1965 (he was sometimes referred to as the "fifth Raider"). The rhythm section consisted of two of the top studio musicians in pop music history: bassist Carol Kaye and drummer Hal Blaine. With Campbell on lead vocals, Sagittarius was a critical and commercial success that nonetheless did not last past their first LP (possibly due to the sheer amount of ego in the group).

Artist: Harry Nilsson
Title: Sister Marie
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Writer: D. Morrow
Label: Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year: 1968
Harry Nilsson is best known for his songwriting and for his albums Nilsson Schmilsson and Son of Schmilsson in the early 70s, as well as his celebrated drinking binges with friend and cohort John Lennon later in the decade. In the early days of his career, however, he occassionally recorded a cover tune, such as Sister Marie, probably the most psychedelic sounding song he ever put on tape.

Artist: Chicago
Title: Poem 58
Source: LP: Chicago Transit Authority
Writer: Robert Lamm
Label: Columbia
Year: 1969
Although best known as one of the core bands of adult contemporary radio in the 70s and 80s, Chicago started off as a hard-working touring band in 1968. Their debut album, released in 1969, featured several extended tracks highlighted by the guitar work of Terry Kath, whom Jimi Hendrix himself singled out as one of his favorite contemporary guitarists. Poem 58, written by keyboardist Robert Lamm, is a solid example of Kath's virtuosity on the instrument.

Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title: Teach Your Children
Source: déjà vu
Writer: Graham Nash
Label: Atlantic
Year: 1970
Teach Your Children, written by Graham Nash, has an audio anomaly that has perplexed engineers for years. Using an X/Y setting (X for left channel audio, Y for right) on an oscilloscope indicates that the last verse of the song (the "you of tender years" verse) is out of phase with the rest of the recording (the left and right channel are not precisely synchronized). This makes the verse sound a bit "spacy" when listened to on a mono source such as an AM radio. A close listen to the stereo mix with headphones on reveals that Stephen Stills's vocals move a touch to the left for that verse and have a slightly different tonal quality, as do David Crosby and Graham Nash's harmonies.The likely reason for this is that the verse was probably recorded at a different time than the rest of the track, using a different reel of tape, then physically spliced into the original tape. This could have been done for any number of reasons, such as a last minute change in the harmonies or to replace a possibly defective performance that was not noticed until the tape had already been mixed down (or the master could have been damaged somehow).

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