Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1148 (starts 12/1/11)

This week Stuck in the Psychedelic Era goes deep, with a lot of album tracks and forgotten singles. Fewer than half a dozen tunes on this week's show would qualify as familiar even to a regular listener of the show. The final half hour, in fact, is dominated by an entire album side (by request) from the San Francisco band It's A Beautiful Day (and it's not the side with White Bird on it either).

Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: All I Really Need Is You
Source: LP: Midnight Ride
Writer: Lindsay/Revere
Label: Columbia
Year: 1966
Paul Revere And The Raiders have gotten a bad rap over the years, mostly for dressing funny. During the mid-60s, however, with the British Invasion in full swing, an American band needed every gimmick it could think of, and the Raiders simply took advantage of their band leader's birth name and did the obvious. What's often overlooked, however, is the fact that Paul Revere And The Raiders, co-led by Revere and vocalist/saxophonist Mark Lindsay, were one of the best bands of their time, and the first band from the Pacific Northwest to achieve continuous national chart success. The band members were prolific songwriters as well. In fact, of the twelve songs on their 1966 album Midnight Ride, ten were originals, including All I Really Need Is You, which leads off side two of the LP.

Artist: Love
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Da Capo)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year: 1966
The first rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, a popular L.A. club band that boasted two talented songwriters, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. On the heels of their first album, which included the single My Little Red Book and one of the first recordings of the fast version of Hey Joe (heard on last week's show), came Love's most successful single, 7&7 Is, released in July of 1966. This stereo mix is taken from Love's second album, Da Capo, released in 1967.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Come Up The Years
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer: Balin/Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1966
One of the most overused motifs in pop music is the "You're too young for me" song. This probably reflects, to a certain degree, a lifestyle that goes back to the beginnings of rock and roll (Chuck Berry did jail time for transporting a minor across state lines, Jerry Lee Lewis saw his career get derailed by his marraige to his 13-year-old cousin, etc.). The Marty Balin/Paul Kantner tune Come Up The Years takes a more sophisticated look at the subject, although it still comes to the same conclusion (I can't do this because you're jailbait). In fact, the only rock songwriter I know of that came to any other conclusion on the matter was Bob Markley, and that's what ultimately got him in trouble with the law.

Artist: Golliwogs
Title: Fight Fire
Source: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: J. Fogerty/T. Fogerty
Label: Rhino (original label: Scorpio)
Year: 1966
A quick look at the songwriting credits provides a clue to who these guys were. In fact, the Golliwogs, with their pink cotton candy colored wigs, boasted the exact same lineup as one of the most popular bands in rock history. The primary difference is that the Golliwogs were led by Tom Fogerty; by 1968 the band had changed its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival and younger brother John was clearly in charge.

Artist: Shadows of Knight
Title: Gloria
Source: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Van Morrison
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year: 1966
The primary prerequisite to being in a garage band was to know the chords to Gloria. All three of them. If you knew all the words (or could make up titilatingly suggestive alternate lyrics) you got to be the lead singer. If you could play the 2-string-3-note sequence at the end of each verse, you became the lead guitarist. This worked fine until Somebody To Love came out.

Artist: Immediate Family
Title: Rubiyat
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: What A Way To Come Down)
Writer: Kovacs/Khayyam
Label: Rhino (original label: Big Beat)
Year: Recorded 1967; released 1997
The members of the Immediate Family hailed from the city of Concord, a conservative suburb east of San Francisco bay. They didn't actually make music in their hometown, however. Instead they practiced at the home of organist Kriss Kovacs's mother Judy Davis (the vocal coach to the stars who numbered such diverse talents as Grace Slick, Barbra Streisand and even Frank Sinatra among her pupils). The band was able to get the backing to lay down some tracks at Golden State Recorders (the top studio in the area at the time), but reportedly lost their record deal due to emotional instability on the part of Kovacs. The song Rubiyat is an adaptation of the Rubiyat Of Omar Khayyam. Ambitious to be sure, but done well enough to make one wonder what it could have led to.

Artist: Kaleidoscope
Title: Pulsating Dream
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Side Trips)
Writer: Chris Darrow
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year: 1967
From Los Angeles we have the Kaleidoscope, a band that had more in common with the folk-rock bands up in San Francisco than its contemporaries on the L.A. club scene. Pulsating Dream is a somewhat typical example of what the group sounded like on its only album for Epic, Side Trips, released in 1967.

Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Drifting
Source: LP: The Original Fleetwood Mac
Writer: Peter Green
Label: Sire
Year: 1967
Fleetwood Mac must hold some kind of record for going through the most drastic changes over the years. In its most popular incarnation, the group fronted by Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie was known for its smooth sound; indeed, that version of Fleetwood Mac pretty much defined the sound of 80s album rock radio. Originally, though, Fleetwood Mac was an offshoot of one of the UKs most respected bands: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Following the departure of Eric Clapton in 1966 (to form Cream), Mayall recruited Peter Green to take over lead guitar duties for the band. By 1967 the group included both Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass. Mayall gave Green some free studio time, which Green used to record several tracks with his current bandmates, along with guitarist Jeremy Spencer. Those recordings got so much positive feedback that Green decided to form his own band with Fleetwood and Spencer. At first McVie was reluctant to leave Mayall's band, which was gigging steadily at the time. As a ploy to get McVie to change his mind, Green named his new band Fleetwood Mac. With a temporary bass player the new band began to play live gigs to rave reviews and sellout crowds, which led to McVie joining the band soon after. It was around this time that the band, then consisting of Green, Spencer, Fleetwood and McVie, went back into the studio and recorded an album's worth of tracks, including the instrumental Drifting. Those tracks did not get released until 1977, on an album called The Original Fleetwood Mac.

Artist: Cyrkle
Title: We Had A Good Thing Goin'
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Sedaka/Greenfield
Label: Columbia
Year: 1967
The Cyrkle released ten singles from 1966 to 1968. With one exception (the song Camaro, which was released exclusively to Chevrolet dealerships), each of those singles did worse than the one before it. Their debut single, Red Rubber Ball, made the top 5. The follow-up, Turn Down Day, peaked within the top 20. We Had A Good Thing Goin', released in early 1967, only managed to make it to the # 51 spot, despite being written by Neil Sedaka and Ellie Greenfield.

Artist: Tiny Tim
Title: Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Dubin/Burke
Label: Reprise
I don't even know where to begin with this one. I think I'll just mention that we have a set from the Rolling Stones next.

Year: 1968
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sympathy For The Devil
Source: CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: 1968
Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Citadel
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: 1967
One of the most underrated songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Citadel is the second track on Their Satanic Majesties Request, an album often dismissed as being an ill-fated attempt to keep up with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As the song is preceeded on the album by the overture-like Sing This All Together with no break between the two, Citadel was almost impossible to play as a separate track from the original vinyl. It's a little easier to play from the CD, but due to sloppiness on the part of whoever mastered the 80s Abkco discs, the start of the song does not quite match up with the start of the CD track. Maybe one of these days I'll get a copy of the remastered version that came out more recently and see if they did a better job with it. In the meantime sit back and enjoy this hard-rockin' piece of psychedelia.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Dear Doctor
Source: CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco
Year: 1968
In late 1968 four new albums by four different bands were competing for space on the record racks: The Beatles (white album), Cream's Wheels Of Fire, the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Electric Ladyland and the Rolling Stones' Beggar's Banquet. I can't imagine four albums that influential (or even that good) ever being released at the same time again. Just to further illustrate the point we have the song Dear Doctor. Compared to most of the songs on these four albums, the country-styled Dear Doctor is, at best, a novelty number. Yet taken on its own merits the song compares favorably with probably 90% of what's been recorded by any rock band (and a lot of country artists as well) in the years since.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (originally released on LP: A Saucerful Of Secrets)
Source: CD: Works
Writer: Roger Waters
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year: 1968
With mental illness pretty much taking Sid Barrett out of the Pink Floyd equation by 1968, other members stepped up their own songwriting for the band's second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, a Roger Waters composition, is the only Pink Floyd recording to have both Barrett and his replacement, David Gilmour, playing guitar parts and was considered strong enough to be included on the Works compilation album in the early 80s. A Saucerful Of Secrets is the only Pink Floyd album that failed to chart in the US, due in part to it being released on Capitol's Tower subsidiary, which was generally regarded as a second-rate label.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Sell
Source: 45 RPM single (taken from LP: Just Good Rock And Roll)
Writer: M. Herron/J. Herron
Label: Reprise
Year: 1969
After 1968's Mass In F Minor, which saw the members of the Electric Prunes being replaced by studio musicians, the group decided to call it quits. Producer David Hassinger, who had the legal rights to the band's name, had different ideas and put together a "new improved" Electric Prunes lineup to record the 1969 album Just Good Rock And Roll. Ron Morgan, lead guitarist for the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, was part of this new lineup. The album had even less success than the three previous Prunes albums, and Hassinger finally retired the name. Various former members of the band reunited in the 21st century, making concert appearances and recording new material. None of the members of the "new improved" lineup, however, have performed with the current group.

Artist: Bloodrock
Title: Gimme Your Head
Source: CD: Bloodrock
Writer: Bloodrock
Label: One Way (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1970
Bloodrock was a hard rock band out of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area that is best known for recording the song D.O.A., a minor (but memorable) hit in 1971. The group was discovered by Grand Funk Railroad producer Terry Knight, who got the band a contract with Capitol Records and produced their eponymous first album, released in 1970. Additionally, Knight booked Bloodrock as Grand Funk's opening act for their 1970 national tour, assuring the album plenty of promotion. Lead vocalist Jim Rutledge played drums on the album, which featured tunes like Gimme Your Head, but did not yield a hit single.

Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Do You Believe In Magic
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: John Sebastian
Label: Buddah (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year: 1965
Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Within the next five years, the Spoonful (and later John Sebastian as a solo artist) would crank out a string of hits. Not to be outdone, Kama Sutra would itself morph into a company called Buddah Records and come to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969.

Artist: Yardbirds
Title: For Your Love
Source: LP: Great Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Graham Gouldman
Label: Epic
Year: 1965
The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's fist US hit, peaking at the # 6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at # 3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure. (Ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). Incidentally, For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist: Knickerbockers
Title: One Track Mind
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: L. Colley/K. Colley
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year: 1966
After successfully fooling many people into thinking that they were the Beatles recording under a different name with their 1965 hit Lies, the Knickerbockers (originally from Bergenfield, New Jersey) went with a more R&B flavored rocker for their follow up single. Unfortunately their label, the Los Angeles-based Challenge Records, did not have the resources and/or skills to properly promote the single.

Artist: Doors
Title: Take It As It Comes
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening Jack Holtzman of Elektra Records was among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holtzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band on the Elektra label (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months).

Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Doctor Please
Source: LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer: Dick Peterson
Label: Philips
Year: 1968
With it's raw feedback-drenched guitar and bass and heavily distorted drums, Blue Cheer is often cited as the first heavy metal band. If any one song most demonstrates their right to the title it's Doctor Please from the Vincebus Eruptum album. Written by bassist Dick Peterson, the song is exactly what your parents meant by "that noise". Contrary to the rumor going around in 1970, guitarist Leigh Stephens did not go deaf after recording two albums with Blue Cheer. In fact, he went to England and recorded the critically-acclaimed (but seldom heard) Red Weather album with some of the UK's top studio musicians.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: It Must Be Love
Source: LP: Ball
Writer: Doug Ingle
Label: Atco
Year: 1969
Although it did not contain anything like the monster hit In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the third Iron Butterfly LP, Ball, was probably a better album overall. The first single released from the album was In The Time Of Our Lives, backed with It Must Be Love, a tune that features some nice guitar work from Eric Brann, who would soon be leaving the band for an unsuccessful solo career.

Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Bad Luck And Trouble
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer: Johnny Winter
Label: United Artists (original label: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year: 1968
Although Johnny Winter had been around since the early 60s, recording in a variety of genres for various regional Texas labels, he really only started getting national attention when he started focusing on the blues exclusively. His first blues album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who gravitated to rock music, Johnny has remained primarily a blues musician throughout his career.

Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Title: Bombay Calling/Bulgaria/Time Is
Source: CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer: LaFlamme/Wallace
Label: San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1968
The story of It's A Beautiful Day shows a dark side of late 60s San Francisco. In mid 1967 It's A Beautiful Day, formed by former Utah Symphony violinist David LaFlamme and his wife, keyboardist Linda LaFlamme, caught the attention of Matthew Katz, who was managing both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. The LaFlammes were not aware of the fact that both of the other bands were trying desperately to get out of their contracts with Katz, and were more than happy to sign a contract with him. Katz immediately shipped It's A Beautiful Day off to Seattle, where they became the house band at a club called the San Francisco Sound that was owned by Katz himself. The band lived upstairs from the club and had no transportation; their only money was a meager food allowance provided by Katz. It was in this environment, during the rainy Seattle winter, that the band composed the music that would become their first LP. Side one was highlighted by the songs White Bird and Hot Summer Day, while the second side was a continuous piece of music that was banded as three separate tracks (probably to increase royalties). This week, by request, we are hearing the second side of It's A Beautiful Day.

Artist: Monkees
Title: P.O. Box 9847
Source: LP: The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees
Writer: Boyce/Hart
Label: Colgems
Year: 1968
After four consecutive number one albums, the Monkees streak was broken in 1968 with the Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees, which still managed to peak in the number three spot. The album included two hit singles, Daydream Believer and Valleri, as well as several tracks that had appeared on the Monkees TV show, which had ceased production (at the request of the Monkees themselves) at the end of its second season. One of the tunes on that album came from the same writing team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart that had provided the bulk of the group's material for their first two albums, including their first hit, Last Train To Clarksville (in fact, as originally conceived, the Monkees would have Boyce and Hart as its Lennon and McCartney analogs). As it turns out, P.O. Box 9847 is one of the Monkee's most psychedelic songs.

Artist: Who
Title: Dr. Jeckyl And Mr. Hyde
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: John Entwistle
Label: Decca
Year: 1968
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: Steve Miller Band
Title: Roll With It
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Children Of The Future)
Writer: Steve Miller
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1968
Right from the beginning, the Steve Miller band stood out stylistically from other San Francisco area bands. This was in part because Miller was only recently arrived from Chicago, which had a music tradition of its own. But a lot of the credit has to go to Miller himself, who had the sense to give his bandmates (such as his college buddy Boz Scaggs) the freedom to provide songs for the band in addition to his own material. One example of the latter is Roll With It from the group's 1968 debut LP, Children Of The Future.

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