It's Halloween weekend, and in the second hour we have quite a few songs for the occassion. The first hour, on the other hand, is made up almost entirely of tracks that have haven't played on Stuck In The Psychedelic Era since the show started being syndicated (the exceptions being the Byrds' Thoughts And Words and the first of the two songs that make up the Jefferson Airplane suite The War Is Over).
Title: Mystic Eyes
Source: LP: Them
Writer: Van Morrison
The opening track of the first Them album (2nd track on the US version) was a song that started off as an extended studio jam, with vocalist Van Morrison playing harmonica and ad-libbing vocals as the band played behind him. Luckily the tape recorder was on for the whole thing and, with a little editing the track became the group's second biggest US hit, Mystic Eyes.
Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Help, I'm A Rock/It Can't Happen Here
Source: CD: Freak Out
Writer: Frank Zappa
Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out. The phrase Help I'm A Rock itself comes across as a kind of mantra, with various verbal bits (including Zappa's own take on the Sunset Strip riot) going on around a repeating bass/drum/guitar riff. The song eventually leads into It Can't Happen Here, an avant-garde piece composed almost entirely of vocal tracks. The title is a play on a popular misconception in many American cities that the various kinds of civil unrest (and occasional violence) going on could only happen in someone else's town.
Title: Thoughts And Words
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer: Chris Hillman
In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Watch Yourself
Source: CD: Volume 3-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer: Robert Yeazel
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing much of the material on that album.
Source: LP: The Flock
Writer: The Flock
The Flock's 1969 debut album featured liner notes by British blues guru John Mayall, who called them the best band in America. Despite this stellar recommendation, the Flock (one of two bands with horn sections from the city of Chicago making their recording debut on Columbia Records in 1969) was unable to attract a large audience and disbanded after only two LPs. Violinist Jerry Goodman would go on to be a founding member of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 1970s.
Title: Morning Will Come (alternate mono mix)
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer: Randy California
When Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus was released, the band members told Rolling Stone magazine that if the album did sell significantly better than their previous couple of LPs, the group would probably disband. As it turned out, the album did reasonably well. Despite this vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes left the band soon after to help form Jo Jo Gunne. In the years since, Twelve Dreams has come to be regarded as a landmark album, bridging the gap between the psychedelic era and the progressive rock movement of the early 1970s. Several tracks were considered for single release, including Morning Will Come. This alternate mono mix of the song puts a greater emphasis on the horns and vocals than the album version.
Title: Look Through Any Window
Source: 45 RPM single
Although the Hollies were far more popular in their native England than in the US, they did have their fair share of North American hits. The first Hollies tune to crack the US top 40 was Look Through Any Window, released in December of 1965 and peaking at #33 in early 1966. The song did even better in Canada, going all the way to the #3 spot.
Title: Along Comes Mary
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: Warner Brothers
The Association are best known for a series of love ballads and light pop songs such as Cherish, Never My Love and Windy. Many of these records were a product of the L.A. studio scene and featured several members of the Wrecking Crew, the studio musicians who played on dozens of records in the late 60s and early 70s. The first major Association hit, however, featured the band members playing all the instruments themselves. Produced by Curt Boettcher, who would soon join Gary Usher's studio project Sagittarius, Along Comes Mary shows that the Association was quite capable of recording a classic without any help from studio musicians.
Artist: Mojo Men
Title: Sit Down, I Think I Love You
Source: LP: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Mojo Men started off in Rochester, NY in the early 60s. After a stint in south Florida playing mostly frat houses, the band moved to San Francisco, where they scored a contract with Reprise Records and recorded the garage-rock classic She's My Baby. Around late 1966-early 1967 the Mojo Men picked up a new drummer. Jan Errico, formerly of the Vejtables, brought with her a softer, more folky kind of sound, as well as the high vocal harmonies that are evident in this recording of the Buffalo Springfield tune Sit Down I Think I Love You, a minor hit during the summer of love.
Title: Four Until Late
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer: Robert Johnson
By the time Cream was formed, guitarist Eric Clapton had already established himself as one of the best guitarists in the world. He had not, however, done much singing, as the bands he had worked with all had strong vocalists: Keith Relf with the Yardbirds and John Mayall with the Bluesbreakers. With Cream, however, Clapton finally got a chance to do some vocals of his own. Most of these are duets with bassist Jack Bruce, who handled the bulk of Cream's lead vocals. Clapton did get to sing lead on a few Cream songs, however. One of the earliest ones was the band's updated version of Robert Johnson's Four Until Late, from the Fresh Cream album.
Artist: Derek and the Dominos
Source: CD: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
After the breakup of Blind Faith after one album, Eric Clapton set about forming a new band that would be more of a group effort than a collection of stars working together. To this end he found musicians that, although quite talented, were not particularly well-known outside of the British blues community. At first the group deliberately downplayed Clapton's presence in the band in order to stay focused on making music as a collective, although even in the beginning it was clear that Clapton would be the group's lead vocalist. The new group had trouble coming up with a name, however, and (half-jokingly) told one stage MC that their name was Del and the Dynamos. The MC misheard the name and introduced the new band as Derek and the Dominos. The name stuck. Meanwhile, Clapton had recently discovered a new band out of Atlanta, Georgia, calling itself the Allman Brothers band and was so impressed by guitarist Duane Allman that he asked him to join the Dominos. Allman, however, declined Clapton's offer, choosing to stick with the band he had co-founded with brother Gregg. Duane Allman did, however, sit in with Derek and the Dominos in the studio for several tracks on their upcoming double LP. One of the tracks where Allman's distinctive slide guitar stands out is the album's title song, Layla.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: The War Is Over
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer: Paul Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
The songs on the third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, are grouped into suites of two or three songs apiece. Most of the suites mix songs by different songwriters; the sole exception is The War Is Over, which is made up of two Paul Kantner tunes, Martha and Wild Thyme. The War Is Over is also the shortest of the five suites on After Bathing At Baxter's, clocking in at about six and a half minutes.
Our second hour this week starts off with a set built around an All Hallow's Eve theme. Since this show is being heard just a few days before Halloween, I figured it would be an appropriate thing to do. Although the initial set is loosely based on a traditional druidic theme, we do get into some of the more Americanized concept of Halloween later in the hour, with songs like Disguises, Cauldron and of course, Frankenstein. In between we have sets made up mostly of old favorites from 1966 and 1967. First, though, let the witchery begin!
Title: The Witch
Source: LP: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Gerald Roslie
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
The #1 selling single in the history of the Pacific Northwest was this tune by one of the founding bands of the Seattle music scene. The Sonics were as raw as any punk rock band of the seventies, as The Witch proves beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Artist: Uriah Heep
Title: The Wizard
Source: LP: Demons And Wizards
Although Uriah Heep had been around since 1969, they didn't get much attention in the US until their Demons And Wizards album in 1972, which included their biggest hit, Easy Livin'. The Wizard, which opens the album, was the first of two singles released from the album. The song itself is a semi-acoustic tune about a wizard whose name is never given, but is thought to be either Merlin or Gandalf.
Title: Season Of The Witch
Source: CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Sony (original label: Epic)
From 1966 we have an album track from Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the album was not released in the UK until 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. Season of the Witch has since been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: The Wizard
Source: CD: Black Sabbath
Label: Creative Sounds (original label: Warner Brothers)
Often cited as the first true heavy metal album, Black Sabbath's debut LP features one of my all-time favorite album covers (check out the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page) as well as several outstanding tracks. One of the best of these is The Wizard, which was reportedly inspired by the Gandalf character from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
Artist: October Country
Title: My Girlfriend Is A Witch
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Michael Lloyd
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
By 1968 the L.A. under-age club scene was winding down, and several now out of work bands were making last (and sometimes only) attempts at garnering hits in the studio. One such band was October Country, whose first release had gotten a fair amount of local airplay, but who had become bogged down trying to come up with a follow-up single. Enter Michael Lloyd, recently split from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and looking to become a record producer. Lloyd not only produced and wrote My Girlfriend Is a Witch, he also ended up playing drums on the record when the band's regular drummer got a bad case of studio jitters.
Source: LP: Magic Bus (originally released in UK on EP: Ready Steady Who)
Writer: Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Reaction)
After a successful appearance on the British TV show Ready Steady Go (the UK's answer to American Bandstand), the Who released an EP featuring mostly cover songs such as Bucket T and the Batman theme. Two tracks on the record, however, were Who originals: a new version of Circles (a song that originally appeared on the My Generation album) and Disguises, which made its debut as the lead track of the EP. The song did not appear in the US until the Magic Bus album, released in 1968. When MCA issued a remastered version of A Quick One in the 1990s, the entire contents of the EP (except Circles) were included as bonus tracks on the CD.
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Da Capo)
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 on the outskirts of Aurora, Colorado 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: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: United Artists
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits like Higher Love and Roll With It in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.
Title: Waterloo Sunset
Source: CD: Something Else
Writer: Ray Davies
One of the most beautiful tunes ever recorded by the Kinks is Waterloo Sunset, a song that was a hit single in the UK, but was totally ignored by US radio stations. The reason for this neglect of such a stong song is a mystery, however it may have been due to the fear that American audiences would not be able to relate to all the references to places in and around London in the song's lyrics.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: (It's All Over Now) Baby Blue
Source: CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
When the 13th Floor Elevators left their native Texas to do a series of gigs on the West Coast, the local media's reaction was basically "good riddance". After the band's successful California appearances (and a hit record with You're Gonna Miss Me), they returned to a hero's welcome by that same media that had derided the Elevators as a bunch of degenerate drug addicts just weeks before. Buoyed by this new celebrity, the band set out to record its masterpiece, Easter Everywhere. Although much of the album featured original material, there were a couple of cover tunes. Most notable was the inclusion of (It's All Over Now) Baby Blue, a Bob Dylan tune that had been recently recorded by San Jose's Chocolate Watchband.
Title: Put The Clock Back On The Wall
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Speaking of San Jose bands, we have the "E" types, originally from Salinas, California, which at the time was known for it's sulfiric smell by travelers along US 101. As many people from Salinas apparently went to nearby San Jose as often as possible, the "E" Types became regulars on the local scene, eventually landing a contract with Tower Records and Ed Cobb, who also produced the Standells and the Chocolate Watch Band. The Bonner/Gordon songwriting team were just a couple months away from getting huge royalty checks from the Turtles' Happy Together when Put The Clock Back On The Wall was released in early 1967. The song takes its title from a popular phrase of the time. After a day or two of losing all awareness of time (and sometimes space) it was time to put the clock back on the wall, or get back to reality if you prefer.
Title: Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
After making it a point to play their own instruments on their third LP, Headquarters, the Monkees decided to once again use studio musicians for their next album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD. The difference was that this time the studio musicians would be recording under the supervision of the Monkees themselves rather than Don Kirschner and the array of producers he had lined up for the first two Monkees LPs. The result was an album that many critics consider the group's best effort. The only single released was Pleasant Valley Sunday, a song penned by the husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and backed by the band's remake of the Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart song Words, which had been recorded the previous year by the Leaves. Although both songs ended up making the charts, it was Pleasant Valley Sunday that got the most airplay and is considered by many to be Monkees' greatest achievement.
Artist: Edgar Winter Group
Title: Frankenstein (edited version)
Source: LP: Vintage Rock (originally released on LP: They Only Come Out At Night. Edited version released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Edgar Winter
Label: K-Tel (original label: Epic)
A real monster hit.
Artist: Fifty Foot Hose
Source: LP: Cauldron
Although New York is generally considered the epicenter for avant-garde rock, there were things happening out on the West Coast as well, including the United States Of America (led by an expatriot Manhattanite) in Los Angeles and Fifty Foot Hose in San Francisco. Fifty Foot Hose featured Cork Marcheschi's homemade electronic instruments and the unique vocal style of Nancy Blossom. This week's show closes with the title track of Fifty Foot Hose's only LP, Cauldron. The group disbanded when all of the members except Marcheschi left to join the cast of the musical Hair. Nancy Blossom herself played the female lead, Sheila, in the San Francisco production of the rock musical.