Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SITPE # 1147 (Starts 11/24/11)

Artist: Otis Redding
Title: Respect
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Otis Redding
Label: Volt
Year: 1965
Released well over a year before Aretha Franklin's version, Otis Redding's Respect was a hit on the R&B charts and managed to crack the lower reaches of the mainstream charts as well. Although not as well known as Franklin's version, the Redding track has its own unique energy and is a classic in its own right. The track, like most of Redding's recordings, features the Memphis Group rhythm section and the Bar-Kays on horns.

Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Work Song
Source: CD: East-West
Writer: Adderly/Brown
Label: Elektra
Year: 1966
Although technically not a rock album, the Butterfield Blues Band's East-West was nonetheless a major influence on many up and coming rock musicians that desired to transcend the boundaries of top 40 radio. Both the title track and the band's reworking of Nat Adderly's Work Song feature extended solos from all the band members, with Work Song in particular showing Butterfield's prowess on harmonica, as well as helping cement Michael Bloomfield's reputation as the nation's number one guitarist (before the emergence of Jimi Hendrix, at any rate).

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Bass Strings
Source: LP: The Life And Times Of Country Joe And The Fish (originally released on Rag Baby EP #2)
Writer: Joe McDonald
Label: Vanguard
Year: 1966
One of the more original ways to get one's music heard is to publish an underground arts-oriented newspaper and include a pullout flexi-disc in it. Country Joe and the Fish did just that; not once, but twice. The first one was split with another band and featured the original recording of the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag. The second Rag Baby EP, released in 1966, was all Fish, and featured two tracks that would be re-recorded for their debut LP the following year. In addition to the instrumental Section 43, the EP included a four-minute version of Bass Strings, with decidedly psychedelic lyrics.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Days
Source: CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Polygram (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1968
As the sixties wound down, the Kinks were busy proving that if a band could weather the bad times they would eventually re-emerge even stronger than before. The worst of those times for the band was 1968, when they had trouble scoring hits even on the UK charts where they had always had their greatest success. One of the singles released was Days, which shows a band still transitioning from the straight ahead rock of their early years to the sometimes biting satire that would characterize their later work.

Artist: Them
Title: Mystic Eyes
Source: LP: Them
Writer: Van Morrison
Label: Parrot
Year: 1965
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. This particular copy is from the US-only electronically rechanneled stereo version of the album.

Artist: Blues Image
Title: Clean Love
Source: CD: Open
Writer: Blues Image
Label: Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year: 1970
The story of the Blues Image is tied closely with the legendary south Florida nightclub Thee Image. They were the house band (and had helped set up the club itself) and were already well known and respected in musicians' circles by the time they released their first LP in 1969. Although the LP sold moderately, it failed to generate any airplay on either top 40 or progressive FM radio. The group came up with a genuine hit single, Ride Captain Ride, in 1970, but their second LP, Open, charted even lower than their first one, despite having some outstanding tracks, including Ride Captain Ride and one of the best blues-rock tracks ever recorded, the eight-minute long Clean Love. Frustrated by the lack of success, guitarist Mike Pinera left the band to replace Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly, and after an even less successful third LP the Blues Image called it quits.

Artist: Tommy Flanders
Title: Friday Night City
Source: CD: Blues Project Anthology (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Tommy Flanders
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year: 1967
When the Blues Project was first signed to M-G-M Records, the label saw them as America's answer to the Rolling Stones. They had pretty good reasons for seeing things that way too. The band had one of Greenwich Village's rising stars, Danny Kalb, on guitar, the already well-known Al Kooper, who had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisted album on organ, and the charismatic Tommy Flanders on lead vocals. The label was so high on the band, in fact, that they flew them out to L.A. and set them up in the Hilton for a big release party. It was then that things got weird. Flanders's girlfriend, who had accompanied the band to the West Coast, got it in her head that Flanders was the star of the band and was as such deserved special treatment. This did not sit well with the rest of the band members, and an argument ensued, culminating in the girlfriend announcing that her Tommy didn't need any of those guys and would stay in Hollywood to become a star in his own right. The Blues Project continued without Flanders and went on to become one of the most influential bands in rock history (albeit without a lot of commercial success). Flanders, on the other hand, recorded an album's worth of material (produced by Wilson), but only Friday Night City was actually released, and even then it was held back until 1967, by which time audience tastes had changed signficantly and the song went nowhere. Flanders did have a short solo career in the early 1970s, but never achieved the level of success his girlfriend had imagined for him (or even the level of success the rest of the Blues Project had without him, for that matter).

Artist: Gary Lee Yoder
Title: When Love Comes In
Source: CD: Kak-Ola
Writer: Gary Lee Yoder
Label: Big Beat
Year: Recorded:1967; released:1999
After the breakup of Gary Lee Yoder's original band, the Oxford Circle, the singer/songwriter/guitarist cut some demos before forming a new band, Kak. Originally those songs were intended for the new band, but it soon became obvious that Kak was moving in an entirely different direction, and the demos sat on the shelf until being released in the UK in 1999. One of those demos was When Love Comes In. Besides Yoder himself, it is not known who else played on the recording.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Hymn 43
Source: LP: Living In The Past (originally released on LP: Aqualung)
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis
Year: 1971
This week we have a 1971 set from Jethro tull, and to start it off we have Ian Anderson taking on the religious establishment. He had already fired the first shot a couple years before with Christmas Song, but this time he had an entire album side (side two of Aqualung) to work with, and he did not pull any punches with his scathing criticism of what he perceived as rampant hypocrisy within the Anglican church.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Cross-Eyed Mary
Source: CD: Aqualung
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis
Year: 1971
The fortunes of Jethro Tull improved drastically with the release of the Aqualung album in 1971. The group had done well in their native UK but were still considered a second-tier band in the US. Aqualung, however, propelled the group to star status, with several tracks, such as Cross-Eyed Mary, getting heavy airplay on progressive rock radio.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Life Is A Long Song
Source: LP: Living In The Past (originally released in the UK as an EP track)
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis
Year: 1971
By 1971 Jethro Tull had already released four albums, as well as several non-album singles and EP tracks that were only released in the UK. One of those EP tracks was Life Is A Long Song, which did not get released in the US until the 1973 anthology album Living In The Past.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Foxy Lady
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
The US and UK versions of the Are You Experienced differed considerably. For one thing, three songs that had been previously released as singles in the UK (where single tracks and albums were mutually exclusive) were added to the US version of the album, replacing UK album tracks. Another rather significant difference is that the UK version of the album was issued only in mono. When the 4-track master tapes arrived in the US, engineers at Reprise Records created new stereo mixes of all the songs, including Foxy Lady, which had led off the UK version of Are You Experience but had been moved to a spot near the end of side two on the US album. The original mono single mix of Foxy Lady, meanwhile, was issued as a single in the US, despite the song being only available as an album track in the UK.

Artist: Zephyr
Title: Cross The River
Source: CD: Zephyr
Writer: C. Givens/D. Givens
Label: One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
Year: 1969
The Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr featured the vocal talents of Candy Givens, who had an octave range that would not be equalled until Mariah Carey hit the scene years later. Also in the band was lead guitarist Tommy Bolin, who would go on to take over lead guitar duties with first the James Gang and then Deep Purple before embarking on a solo career. Unfortunately that career (and Bolin's life) was permanently derailed by a heroin overdose at age 28. The rest of this talented band consisted of Robbie Chamerlin on drums, John Faris on keyboards and David Givens (who co-wrote Cross The River with his wife Candy) on bass.

Artist: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Source: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year: 1969
After the demise of Buffalo Springfield, Stephen Stills headed for New York, where he worked with Al Kooper on the Super Session album and recorded several demo tapes of his own, including a new song called Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (reportedly written for his then-girlfriend Judy Collins). After his stint in New York he returned to California, where he started hanging out in the Laurel Canyon home of David Crosby, who had been fired from the Byrds in 1967. Crosby's house at that time was generally filled with a variety of people coming and going, and Crosby and Stills soon found themselves doing improvised harmonies on each other's material in front of a friendly, if somewhat stoned, audience. It was not long before they invited Graham Nash, whom they heard had been having problems of his own with his bandmates in the Hollies, to come join them in Laurel Canyon. The three soon began recording together, and in 1969 released the album Crosby, Stills and Nash. They had yet to actually perform the new songs onstage, however, and by the time of the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival had only logged one gig in front of a live audience. Nonetheless, the trio (joined for their electric set by Neil Young), made quite an impression at Woodstock, and soon found themselves among the most popular groups in the world.

Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
Source: CD: Pet Sounds
Writer: Wilson/Asher
Label: Capitol
Year: 1966
Brian Wilson's songwriting reached its full maturity with the Pet Sounds album, released in 1966. In addition to the hits Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B and God Only Knows, the album featured several album tracks that redefined where a pop song could go. One such tune is Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder), a slow, moody song with a chord structure that goes in unexpected directions and soaring vocals by Wilson.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: Masculine Intuition
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year: 1966
If you take out the cover songs that Original Sound Records insisted be added to the album, Turn On The Music Machine has to be considered one of the best LPs of 1966. Not that the covers were badly done, but they were intended to be used for lip synching on a local TV show and were included without the knowledge or approval of the band, and that's never a good thing. Every one of the Sean Bonniwell originals on the album is worthy of airplay, which in part might explain how Masculine Intuition is only now making its Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut.

Artist: Who
Title: Whiskey Man
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: John Entwhistle
Label: Decca
Year: 1966
Although the Who had previously issued a pair of singles in the US, the first one to make any kind of waves was Happy Jack, released in late 1966 and hitting its peak the following year. The B side of that record was the song Whiskey Man. Like all the Who songs penned by bassist John Entwhistle, this one has an unusual subject; in this case, psychotic alcohol-induced hallucinations.

Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year: 1966
San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively low pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from the South Bay were more than happy to fill.

Artist: We The People
Title: Mirror Of Your Mind
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Thomas Talton
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year: 1966
We The People were formed when an Orlando, Florida newspaper reporter talked members of two local bands to combine into a garage/punk supergroup. The result was one of the most successful regional bands in Florida history. After their first recording got airplay on a local station, they were signed to record in Nashville for Challenge Records (a label actually based in Los Angeles) and cranked out several regional hits over the next few years. The first of these was Mirror Of Your Mind. Written by lead vocalist Tom Talton, the song is an in-your-face rocker that got played on a number of local stations and has been covered by several bands since.

Artist: Magic Mushrooms
Title: It's-A-Happening
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Casella/Rice
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year: 1966
It's not known whether or not the Magic Mushrooms heard any of the tracks from the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out when they recorded It's-A-Happening. Still, it's hard to imagine this bit of inspired weirdness being created in a vacuum. Besides this one single, nobody seems to have any knowledge whatsoever of the group known as the Magic Mushrooms, other than the fact that they hailed from Philadelphia, Pa.

Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Alice's Restaurant Massacre
Source: LP: Alice's Restaurant
Writer: Arlo Guthrie
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
Beginning this year we are reviving a tradition that was a mainstay of progressive rock radio stations for many years: the airing, in its entirety, of the original Alice's Restaurant Massacre, recorded in 1967. The record tells the true story of Guthrie's 1965 Thanksgiving adventures in a small town in Massachusetts, and of his subsequent adventures with the draft board a few months later. The story became the basis for a movie and over the years Guthrie has performed the piece hundreds of times, never the same way twice (some performances have reportedly lasted nearly an hour).

Artist: Edwin Starr
Title: War
Source: CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1970 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Whitfield/Strong
Label: Rhino (original label: Gordy)
Year: 1970
I was trying to figure out a way to work this song in when it occurred to me that the last half of Alice's Restaurant Massacre is about Arlo Guthries misadventures with the draft board and that Edwin Starr's War was really a perfect coda to the piece. After all, it is the highest charting antiwar song in history, as well as Starr's biggest hit, going all the way to the top of both the top 40 and R&B charts in 1970. It is also a solid example of Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong productions, which, although part of Motown, was a semi-autonomous entity (as was Holland-Dozier-Holland productions, which had brought Motown its greatest commercial success in the 60s, cranking out hit after hit by the Supremes and other acts). In fact, when Motown first signed the Jackson 5ive, the company took steps to avoid yet another independent company-within-a-company by forming a collective called The Corporation to write and produce all the new group's records.

Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: Ups And Downs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source: CD: Greatest Hits
Writer: Lindsay/Melcher
Label: Columbia
Year: 1967
At the beginning of 1967 Paul Revere and the Raiders were still flying high, with singles that consistently hit the upper reaches of the charts and a solid promotional platform in the daily afternoon TV show Action. Their first hit of the year was Ups And Downs, a collaboration between lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher. Things would soon turn sour for the band, however, as a volatile market soon turned against the group. In part it was because their revolutionary war costumes were becoming a bit camp. Also, Action left the airwaves in 1967, and its Saturday Morning replacement, Happening, was seen as more of a kid's show than a legitimate rock and roll venue. Most importantly, however, Melcher and the Raiders parted company, and the band realized too late just how important a role Melcher had played in the group's success.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop
Writer: Tucker/Mantz
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation. The song is also currently in a three-way tie for most played song on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era this year.

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