Artist: James Gang
Title: Walk Away
Source: LP: Thirds
Writer: Joe Walsh
The third James Gang album was the last for Joe Walsh, who left the band to pursue a solo career for a few years before hooking up with the Eagles. One of his best known songs, Walk Away, leads off the album. The recording uses multi-tracking extensively toward the end of the song, with multiple guitar parts cascading into what Walsh himself called a "train wreck".
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Moby Grape)
Writer: Skip Spence
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.
Title: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original labeel: Tower)
The Standells follow-up hit to Dirty Water is a 60s punk rock anthem, with the singer defiantly voicing his disdain for the upper class types (known at the time as "Socials") that had dominated high school and college culture in the early part of the decade. This was more than just a gender-reversed Patches or Rag Doll; this was the street kid asserting his right to be himself. The fact that it was all a put-on (singer Dicky Dodd being a somewhat priveledged type himself) didn't really matter. The song speaks for itself.
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: United Artists
Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second album. Among those was his most memorable song, Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Julia Dream
Source: CD: Relics (reissue of original album) (song orginally released in UK on 45 RPM vinyl)
Writer: Roger Waters
Label: Capitol (original label: Harvest)
With Sid Barrett becoming increasingly unreliable, the other members of Pink Floyd decided to invite guitarist David Gilmour into the band. One of the earliest recordings with Gilmour was this B side released in 1968 and included a few years later when the album Relics came out.
Title: House Of Jansch
Source: CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original label: Epic)
One of the top names in British folk music in the 60s was Bert Jansch. This song was Donovan's way of acknowledging Jansch's influence on his own music. Personally, I would have expected an instrumental.
Artist: Jerry Garcia
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: Warner Brothers
In 1972 Warner Brothers gave the individual members of the Grateful Dead to record solo albums. Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and drummer Micket Hart took them up on the offer. Garcia's effort was unique in that he played virtually all the instruments on the album himself (except for the drum parts, which were played by Bill Kreutzmann). One of the best known songs from that album is Sugaree, which was soon added pretty much permanently to the Dead's concert repertoire.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Cheryl's Going Home
Source: LP: Projections
Writer: Bob Lind
Label: Verve Forecast
It's kind of odd to hear a cover of a Bob Lind B side on an album by a band known for its progressive approach to the blues, but that's exactly what "Cheryl's Going Home" is. They did a pretty nice job with it, too.
Title: Alone Again Or
Source: 45 RPM single (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer: Bryan McLean
The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version.
Title: Draft Morning
Source: The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Draft Morning is one of the most controversial recordings in the Byrds catalog. The song was originally composed by David Crosby, who was kicked out of the band shortly after they had recorded the instrumental tracks for the tune. Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman then proceded to write new lyrics for the song, and included it on The Notorious Byrd Brothers, released on Jan 3, 1968. This version of the song was recorded in 1967 and has a different ending (although the same lyrics) as the LP version.
Title: Daily Nightly
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD)
Writer: Michael Nesmith
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
One of the first rock songs to feature a Moog synthesizer was the Monkees' Daily Nightly from the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD. Micky Dolenz, who had a reputation for nailing it on the first take but being unable to duplicate his success in subsequent attempts, was at the controls of the new technology for this recording of Michael Nesmith's most psychedelic song (he also sang lead on it).
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Castles Made Of Sand
Source: CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
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, 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. The first time I ever heard this song it gave me chills.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Two Heads
Source: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
The third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, saw the group moving in increasingly experimental directions, as Grace Slick's two contributions to the LP attest. The more accessible of the two was Two Heads, which was the first part of the fifth "suite" on the album.
This week we shine a spotlight on the second LP by the Canadian turned L.A.-in band Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf the Second actually charted higher than the band's first album, despite the presence of the anthemic Born To Be Wild on the debut LP. The original cover of the album (which can be viewed on the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page this week) was originally printed on a shiny foil background. Later copies used standard paper, as does the CD cover.
Title: Spiritual Fantasy
Source: CD: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer: John Kay
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Spiritual Fantasy is a departure from the hard-driving rock that Steppenwolf in known for. The song foregoes the usual rock instrumentation in favor of acoustic guitar and string quartet. Lyrically, Spiritual Fantasy is about as introspective a song as the group's leader and primary songwriter, German-born Joachim Krauledat (better known as John Kay), ever wrote.
Title: Magic Carpet Ride
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf the Second)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 60s.
Title: Tighten Up Your Wig
Source: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer: John Kay
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
It was a tradition among early blues artists to lift rifts, melody lines and even lyrics from each other's songs, then record and copyright them under their own names. Steppenwolf, who had evolved out of Canadian blues band called Sparrow, kept the tradition alive in 1968 with Tighten Up Your Wig, which has a melody and chord structure nearly identical to the 1960 Junior Wells tune Messin' With The Kid.
Artist: Daily Flash
Title: Jack Of Diamonds
Source: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parrot)
The practice of writing new lyrics to an old tune got turned around for the Seattle-based Daily Flash's feedback-drenched recording of Jack Of Diamonds, which pretty much preserves the lyrics to the old folk song, but is musically pure garage-rock.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Big City
Writer: J. Walsh/D. Walsh
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes were given more creative freedom on their second LP, Underground, than any of their other albums. Nonetheless, Underground did contain a few cover songs, one of which was the song Big City, which emphasizes the vocals more than most Prunes tunes.
Title: I Love You (mono mix)
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: People)
Writer: Chris White
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
By 1968 the major labels had signed just about every San Francisco band with any perceived potential. Capitol, having had some success with the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose on its Tower subsidiary, decided to sign another south bay band, People, to the parent label. The result was this one-hit wonder from the summer of '68, the third top 20 single to come from a San Jose band in less than two years. An interesting feature of the actual 45 RPM pressing was a small space (like the ones normally found between songs on an LP) between the long intro and the first playing of the signature guitar rift. This was done so that AM radio DJs could easily skip the intro and get right to the meat of the song.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin II
For years album (now called classic) rock radio stations have been playing Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker and letting the album play through to the next song, Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman). Back when Stuck in the Psychedelic Era was a local show being played live I occassionally made it a point to play Hearbreaker and follow it with something else entirely. This week I bring that tradition to the syndicated version of the show.
Artist: Guess Who
Title: Share The Land
Source: LP: Best of the Guess Who (originally released on LP: Share The Land)
Writer: Burton Cummings
Label: RCA Victor
The first album released by the Guess Who after the departure of guitarist Randy Bachman was Share The Land. The album produced several hit singles for the band; enough, in fact, to fill up an entire album side, which is precisely what RCA did when they released the first Guess Who anthology hits album in 1971. One of those hits was the title track to Share The Land, which makes its Stuck In The Psychedelic Era debut this week.
Artist: Jo Jo Gunne
Title: 99 Days
Source: LP: Jo Jo Gunne
Writer: Jay Ferguson
After the commercial disappointment of The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus in 1971, vocalist Jay Ferguson and bass player Mark Andes left Spirit to form a new band, Jo Jo Gunne. Lead guitarist Matt Andes provided a much heavier rock sound than Spirit's Randy California, who had strong jazz roots. The result was a band that sometimes sounded like a heavier version of Spirit, which was natural, since Ferguson had served as Spirit's primary songwriter throughout his tenure with the band. 99 Days, which opens side two of Jo Jo Gunne's first album, was selected as a follow up single to Run Run Run. Both songs got a decent amount of airplay on FM rock radio, which at the time had a more or less free-form format and did not report their playlists (which varied from station to station and even from DJ to DJ) to the national charts.
Title: Dr. Jeckyl And Mr. Hyde
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: John Entwhistle
The Who were blessed with not one, but two top-notch songwriters: Pete Townshend and John Entwhistle. Whereas Townsend's songs ranged from tight pop songs to more serious works such as Tommy, Entwistle's tunes had a slightly twisted outlook, dealing with such topics as crawly critters (Boris the Spider), imaginary friends (Whiskey Man) and even outright perversion (Fiddle About). Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde was originally released in the US as the B side to Call Me Lightning. Both songs were included on the Magic Bus album.
Artist: Archie Bell and the Drells
Title: Tighten Up
Source: CD: Atlantic Rhythm And Blues-vol. 6 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Texas was still feeling the effects of being the locale for the assassination of John F. Kennedy five years after the killing itself. Archie Bell and the Drells, a Houston-based soul band, wanted to present a more positive image of their state to the rest of the world. Thus, they made a point to mention where they were from right at the beginning of a song that they had recorded specifically to promote a new dance called (of course) the Tighten Up. The dance never really caught on (the creation of new dance crazes was an early to mid sixties phenomena that had pretty much run its course by 1968), but the song became a huge international hit, despite the fact that Drell himself was serving in the military by the time Tighten Up was released. Even more ironic was the fact that Drell was laid up in a military hospital with a leg injury when the song was at the peak of its popularity and couldn't have danced the Tighten Up if he wanted to.
Artist: Syndicate Of Sound
Title: Little Girl
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
San Jose California, despite being a relatively small city in the pre-silicon valley days, was home to a thriving music scene in the mid 60s that produced more than its share of hit records from 1966-68. One of the earliest and biggest of these hits was the Syndicate Of Sound hit Little Girl, which has come to be recognized as one of the best garage-rock songs of all time.
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer: Jack Bruce
The first Cream album starts off the with powerful one-two punch of I Feel Free and N.S.U. Although I Feel Free was a purely studio creation that never got performed live, N.S.U. became a staple of the band's concert performances, and was even performed by various other bands that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce was a member of over the years.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone)
Source: LP: Shine On Brightly
Most people outside the UK have no idea that there was a British record label called Regal Zonophone or that Procol Harum's earliest releases were on that label. Perhaps that explains why most people see this song title and get a puzzled look on their faces. Then they hear the song and the look is still there. At least there is symmetry in that.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: No Expectations
Source: LP: Beggar's Banquet
After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).
Title: Evil Hoodoo
Source: LP: The Seeds
Label: GNP Crescendo
With a title like Evil Hoodoo, one might expect a rather spooky track. Indeed, the song does start off that way, but soon moves into standard Seeds territory (as does most everything on the band's debut album). Luckily, Sky Saxon and company would turn out to be a bit more adventurous on their second LP.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Dave Davies
After several years of being banned from performing in the US (due to some sort of dispute involving the musician's union), the Kinks finally got the ban lifted in time to promote their 1971, LP Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneyground Part One with a US tour. As a result, the band managed to get two consecutive singles onto the US charts: the smash hit Lola and its follow-up Apeman. The B side of Apeman was Rats, a tune written by Dave Davies, who by then had fallen into a George Harrison type role of being the lead guitarist who got to write one or two songs for each album.
Title: Take It Bach/Michaelangelo
Source: LP: One Voice Many
After owning a copy of this album for many years I was finally able to determine that it was released in 1971. Unfortunately that's about all I know about the band Michaelangelo, which was led by the autoharp playing lead vocalist Angel, who, besides being an Aquarius, wrote all the songs of the band's only LP, One Voice Many. There are several instrumentals on One Voice Many, and those are generally the most listenable songs on the album. Take It Bach/Michaelangelo is based on an unidentified piece by J.S Bach and was obviously designed to showcase the members' instrumental prowess, particularly Angel's autoharp playing, which is really quite good.