This week's first set is a progression through the years 1965-67 that starts in Liverpool and ends up in L.A., with a stop off in the Chicago suburbs.
Title: I've Just Seen A Face
Source: CD: Help! (orginally released in US on LP: Rubber Soul)
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Saying that I've Just Seen A Face was originally released as the opening track of Rubber Soul is a sort of half-truth. The song was indeed the first track on side one of that album, but only in the US. I've Just Seen A Face had actually been one of several songs that were on side two of the British version of the album Help! None of the songs on that side of the LP were from the movie itself, and Dave Dexter, Jr., who was in charge of the Beatles' Capitol Records releases, decided to hold back the song and include it on their next album, Rubber Soul (replacing Drive My Car, which would not be released on a US LP until mid-1966, when Yesterday...and Today came out).
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: It Always Happens That Way
Source: CD: Dark Sides (originally released on LP: Gloria)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
The Shadows of Knight were the epitomy of what being a garage band was all about. Inspired by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, but also heavily influenced by the legendary blues artists in nearby Chicago, this group of suburban white kids were musically as raw as any of their contemporaries, and had a local reputation as bad boys (singer Jim Sohns being banned from several area high school campuses). The band originally called themselves the Shadows, but after signing with local label Dunwich they added the Knights part (after their high school sports teams' name) just in case there was another band of Shadows already recording. They scored a huge national hit when they recorded a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria (with the line "she comes up to my room" replaced with "she calls out my name") and got airplay on radio stations that were afraid to play the Them original. The Shadows of Knight recorded a pair of LPs in 1966, the first named for the hit Gloria, the second called Back Door Men (an obvious Chicago blues reference). Both albums had a generous dose of blues covers done up in a raunchy garage style, as well as a smattering of original tunes. It Always Happens That Way, from the Gloria album, is an example of the latter, written by Sohns and guitarist turned bassist Warren Rogers.
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). The Moog itself had been programmed by Paul Beaver especially for this recording.
Our second set features bands from the San Francisco Bay area.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Moby Grape was formed out of the ashes of a band called the Frantics, which featured the songwriting team of guitarist Jerry Miller and drummer Don Stevenson. The two continued to write songs together in the new band. One of those was 8:05, one of five songs on the first Moby Grape album to be released simultaneously as singles.
Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer: Joe McDonald
Country Joe and the Fish, from Berkeley, California, were one of the first rock bands to incorporate political satire into their music. Their I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag is one of the most famous protest songs ever written. Superbird is even heavier on the satire than the Rag. The song, from the band's debut LP, puts president Lyndon Johnson, whose wife was known as "Ladybird", in the role of a comic book superhero.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Quicksilver Girl
Source: CD: Sailor
Writer: Steve Miller
Steve Miller moved to San Francisco from Chicago and was reportedly struck by what he saw as a much lower standard of musicianship in the bay area than in the windy city. Miller's response was to form a band that would conform to Chicago standards. The result was the Steve Miller Band, one of the most successful of the San Francisco bands, although much of that success would not come until the mid-1970s, after several personnel changes. One feature of the Miller band is that it featured multiple lead vocalists, depending on who wrote the song. Miller himself wrote and sings on Quicksilver Girl, from the band's second LP, Sailor.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: No Way Out
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (originally released on Tower)
The Chocolate Watchband, from the southern part of the Bay Area (specifically Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills), were fairly typical of the south bay music scene, centered in San Jose. Although they were generally known for lead vocalist Dave Aguilar's ability to channel Mick Jagger with uncanny accuracy, producer Ed Cobb gave them a more psychedelic sound in the studio with the use of studio effects and other enhancements (including adding tracks to their albums that were performed entire by studio musicians). The title track of No Way Out is credited to Cobb, but in reality is a fleshing out of a jam the band had previously recorded, but never released.
Ton finish out the first segment we have a pair of songs with attitude.
Title: Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: RCA Victor
The Astronauts were formed in the early 60s in Boulder, Colorado, and were one of the few surf bands to come from a landrocked state. They had a minor hit with an instrumental called Baja during the height of surf's popularity, but were never able to duplicate that success. By 1965 they had started to move away from surf music, adding vocals and taking on more of a garage-punk sound. What caught my attention when I first ran across this promo single in a commercial radio station throwaway pile was the song's title. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, written by Tommy Boyce and producer Steve Venet, was featured on the Monkees TV show and was included on their 1966 debut album. This 1965 Astronauts version of the tune has a lot more attitude than the Monkees version. Surprisingly the song didn't go anywhere, despite being on the biggest record label in the world (at that time), RCA Victor.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: CD: Best of the Original Mono Recordings
Writer: Bob Dylan
After upsetting folk purists (and gaining mainstream success in the process) by adding rock instrumentation to his music in 1965, Dylan pretty much had a license to do whatever he wanted in 1966. It was a good thing, too; otherwise this track would have suffered the same fate as the Byrds' Eight Miles High released later that year. Since he was Bob Dylan, however, even Bill Drake (the most powerful man in top 40 radio), could not get this one banned for being a drug song.
Our first artist set of the week features the Byrds, the most successful of the so-called folk-rock bands.
Title: I See You
Source: LP: Fifth Dimension
The Byrds third LP, Fifth Dimension, was the first without founding member Gene Clark. As Clark was the group's primary songwriter, this left a gap that was soon filled by both David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn, who collaborated on songs like I See You.
Title: I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better
Source: LP: Mr. Tambourine Man
Writer: Gene Clark
A solid example of Gene Clark's songwriting, I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better was the first Byrds song not written by Bob Dylan to get any airplay.
Title: Eight Miles High
Source: LP: Fifth Dimension
Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the most powerful man in top 40 radio, Bill Drake, advising stations not to play this "drug song", the song managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying that led to his leaving the Byrds.
Next up, a pair of 1967 tunes released on the Reprise label, which had been recently sold to Warner Brothers by founder Frank Sinatra.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source: 45 RPM single B side
For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: The Wind Cries Mary
Source: CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967.
I guess you would call this next set an even progression, as runs from 1964 to 1968, skipping the odd-numbered years.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: These Are Bad Times (For Me And My Baby)
Source: LP: Here They Come!
The first rock band signed to Columbia Records was Paul Revere and the Raiders, who had been discovered by none other than Dick Clark, of American Bandstand fame. Clark, in fact, was so impressed with the group that he signed them up as house band for his new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is. Meanwhile Columbia, having no experience in how to market a rock band, turned to producer Terry Melcher, who soon established a symbiotic relationship with the group, co-writing several of their songs with vocalist/saxophonist Mark Lindsay. Melcher, who was well-connected in L.A., also brought in songs from outside writers, such as the songwriting team of Steve Barri and PF Sloan, who would go on to become the driving force behind the Grass Roots. One early Sloan/Barri work was These Are Bad Times (For Me And My Baby), which appeared on the group's first LP, Here They Come!
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Somewhere They Can't Find Me
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer: Paul Simon
Simon and Garfunkel's success as a folk-rock duo was actually due to the unauthorized actions of producer John Simon, who, after working on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album, got Dylan's band to add new tracks to the song Sound of Silence. The song had been recorded as an acoustic number for the album Wednesday Morning 3AM, which had, by 1966, been deleted from the Columbia catalog. The new version of the song was sent out to select radio stations, and got such positive response that it was released as a single, eventually making the top 10. Meanwhile, Paul Simon, who had since moved to London and recorded an album called the Paul Simon Songbook, found himself returning to the US and reuniting with Art Garfunkel. Armed with an array of quality studio musicians they set about making their first electric album, Sounds of Silence. The song Somewhere They Can't Find Me was one of the new songs recorded for that album.
Title: Magic Carpet Ride
Source: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock
Since I played this as part of a Steppenwolf set last week, I'm just going to paste my comments from last week's blog. 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.
The first segment of hour #2 this week is dominated by a set from the Amboy Dukes, a band that's never had a set played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. First, though, we have a well-known hit from the Lone Star state (sort of).
Artist: Five Americans
Title: Western Union
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Abnak)
One of the biggest hits of 1967 came from a band formed at Southeastern State College in Durant Oklahoma, although they had their greatest success working out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Having already scored a minor hit with I See The Light the previous year, the Five Americans hit the #5 spot on the national charts with Western Union, featuring a distinctive opening organ riff designed to evoke the sound of a telegraph receiver picking up Morse code.
When it comes to music, the city of Detroit is synonymous with Motown Records. There were, however, several other successful artists to come from the Motor City, including the Capitols, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Bob Seger System, and the subject of this week's second artist set, the Amboy Dukes. The Dukes first started getting attention with their recording of Baby Please Don't Go (which was featured on Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets compilation), and had their greatest commercial success in 1968 with the psychedelic anthem Journey To The Center Of The Mind. By 1970, they were being billed as the Amboy Dukes featuring Ted Nugent, and were dominated by both Nugent's songwriting and his flashy guitar work. Both tracks from the Marriage On The Rocks/Rock Bottom album this week feature guitar solos by Nugent. In between the two we have the aforementioned Journey To The Center Of The Mind, which, although it is more of a group effort, still features strong guitar work from Nugent.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Children Of The Woods
Source: LP: Marriage On The Rocks/Rock Bottom
Writer: Ted Nugent
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Non-Conformist Wildebeast Man/Today's Lesson
Source: LP: Marriage On The Rocks/Rock Bottom
Writer: Ted Nugent
To finish out the segment we have a pair of tracks from British bands.
Title: We're Going Wrong
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer: Jack Bruce
On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, Disreali Gears, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Ginger Baker put away his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.
Title: Dancing In The Streets
Source: LP: Kinda Kinks
Unlike later Kinks albums, the band's early LPs featured several cover songs, including this version of the Marvin Gaye-penned Dancing In The Streets, which was a hit for Martha and the Vandellas.
Our final segment this week features a progression though the years and a set from 1966, along with a short Beacon Street Union track to finish out the show.
Title: The Moth
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
After Van Morrison left Them to pursue a career as a solo artist, his old band decided to head back to Ireland and recruit Kenny McDowell for lead vocals. Them then moved out to California and hooked up with Tower Records, which was already getting known for psychedelic garage bands such as the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband, as well as for soundtrack albums for cheapie teen exploitation flicks such as Riot on Sunset Strip and Wild in the Streets. The 1968 LP Time Out! Time In! For Them was the second of two psychedelic albums the group cut for Tower before moving into harder rock and another label.
Title: When I Go Sailin' By
Source: CD: The Charlatans
Writer: Richard Olsen
Label: One Way (original label: Philips)
Despite being one of the original San Francisco "Hippy" bands, the Charlatans were not able to score a record contract until 1969. By then the group had gone through several personnel changes, losing much of their songwriting talent, and were no longer considered relevant by their former admirers. One of the remaining original members was Richard Olsen, who penned the song When I Go Sailin' By.
Title: Tongue In Cheek
Source: LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer: Robert Yeazel
Sugarloaf was a band from Denver, Colorado, that took its name from nearby Sugarloaf mountain. The band scored a big hit in early 1970 with Green-Eyed Lady. Their second LP, Spaceship Earth, had a new guitarist, Robert Yeazel, who wrote their next single, Tongue In Cheek. Unfortunately, the single version of the song cut out the best parts, and achieved only minor chart success. The LP version of Tongue In Cheek, heard here, is highlighted by what is quite possibly the best rock organ solo ever recorded. The guitar solos from Yeazel and co-founder Bob Webber aren't too shabby, either. I strongly suggest turning up the volume when the solos start. If you've never heard this track before you're in for a treat.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: It's No Secret
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer: Marty Balin
Label: RCA Victor
The first Jefferson Airplane song to get played on the radio was not Somebody To Love. Rather, it was It's No Secret, from the first Airplane album, that got extensive airplay, albeit only in the San Francisco Bay area. Still, the song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Go And Say Goodbye
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield and as 45 RPM B side)
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
After failing his audition for the Monkees, Stephen Stills met up with his former bandmate Neil Young, and, along with Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin formed the Buffalo Springfield in 1966. Their first single was a Young tune, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing, sung by Furay. The B side of that record, Stills's Go And Say Goodbye, is one of the first modern country-rock songs ever recorded.
Title: Good Bye, My Love
Source: CD: Hey Joe
Label: One Way (original label: Mira)
The Leaves are a bit unusual in that the members were all native L.A.ins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. After a series of moderately successful regional singles, the group hit it big with their fuzz-tone highlighted fast version of Hey Joe. The success of Hey Joe led to their first LP, which showed a band that seemed unsure whether it was garage-rock or folk-rock. Good Bye, My Love, is an example of the latter.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Speed Kills
Source: CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union
Label: See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Boston's Beacon Street Union had an interesting mix of tunes on their debut LP. Despite the title, Speed Kills is not an anti-drug song. Rather, the song addresses the frenetic pace of life the band members had encountered since relocating to New York City shortly before recording The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union.