Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1201 (starts 1/5/11)

Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Like A Rolling Stone
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Year: 1965
Bob Dylan incurred the wrath of folk purists when he decided to use electric instruments for his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. The opening track on the album is the six-minute Like A Rolling Stone, a song that was also selected to be the first single released from the new album. After the single was pressed, the shirts at Columbia Records decided to cancel the release due to its length. An acetate copy of the record, however, made it to a local New York club, where, by audience request, the record was played over and over until it was worn out (acetate copies not being as durable as their vinyl counterparts). When Columbia started getting calls from local radio stations demanding copies of the song the next morning they decided to release the single after all. Like A Rolling Stone ended up going all the way to the number two spot on the US charts, doing quite well in several other countries as well.

Artist: Byrds
Title: She Don't Care About Time
Source: CD: Turn! Turn! Turn! (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Gene Clark
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Year: 1965
The Byrds scored two # 1 hits in 1965, Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!. Both songs came from outside sources (Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger), despite the fact that they Byrds had a wealth of songwriting talent of their own. Gene Clark in particular was writing quality originals such as She Don't Care About Time, which was issued as the B side to Turn! Turn! Turn! but was inexplicably left off the LP. More recently the song has been included as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of the album.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Thunk
Source: LP: Bark
Writer: Joey Covington
Label: Grunt
Year: 1971
The classic Jefferson Airplane lineup of Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casidy and Spencer Dryden made their debut on the second Airplane LP, Surrealistic Pillow, and remained intact for the next three albums. In 1970, however, the oldest band member, drummer Dryden, left the Airplane and Joey Covington was brought in as his replacement. Covington's contribution as a songwriter was the offbeat a cappela tune Thunk, a song that is up there with some of Slick's more avant garde material on the weirdness scale.

Artist: Crawling Walls
Title: Inner Limits
Source: LP: Inner Limits
Writer: Bob Fountain
Label: Voxx
Year: 1985
The Crawling Walls have the distinction of being the only band from the 1980s to get played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era (besides the various theme music used on the show). I promised to reveal the story behind that on this blog, so here it is: The Crawling Walls were one of the first neo-psychedelic bands, and to my knowledge the only one in New Mexico. Led by keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Bob Fountain (who used a vintage Vox organ exclusively) the band also featured guitarist Larry Otis, who had previously recorded with the Philisteens, an early 80s alternative band (think R.E.M. or the Police). I had known Larry in high school in Germany (I hung out with his younger brother Jeff), and even then he had a reputation as a talented guitarist. The Crawling Walls recorded at Bottom Line Studios, a homemade studio in the basement of a rented house on San Rafael Avenue, just a few blocks south of Albuquerque International Airport and directly under the path of the backup runway. Generally this was not a problem unless the wind was coming from the south, in which case all studio activity would have to stop as a 737 or something flew over. Engineer Mark Shipman (whom I knew as a fellow volunteer at radio station KUNM) did a remarkable job on both the Philisteens and Crawling Walls albums, considering the conditions he was working under. Other artists recording at Bottom Line included guitarists Steve LaRue and Kenny Hume and experimental rocker Craig Ellis, along with a variety of bands including Civilian Joe, the Pheremones, the Soft Corps and the Mumphries. Bottom Line was dismantled in 1989 when the house was sold and the tenants (including most of the members of the Mumphries) were evicted. At that time I had only recently gained controlling interesting in Bottom Line Studios and ended up selling all the equipment to Kenny Hume and leaving Albuquerque in disgust. All of the music beds heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era were recorded at Bottom Line in the late 1980s.

Artist: Blues Image
Title: Fugue U/Parchman Farm/Wrath Of Daisey
Source: LP: Open
Writer: Allison/Blues Image
Label: Atco
Year: 1970
Despite drawing crowds in south Florida and getting rave reviews from the rock press, Blues Image was never able to sell a lot of albums. This is a shame, as almost all of their material was as good or better than anything else being recorded in 1969-70. A classic example is the medley of Fugue U (emulating J.S. Bach), a jazz-rock arrangement of Mose Allison's Parchman Farm and the latin-rock instrumental Wrath Of Daisey). Guitarist Mike Pinera went on to replace Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly the following year.

Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Your Head Is Reeling
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer: Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label: M-G-M
Year: 1967
Ultimate Spinach was one of a group of bands signed by M-G-M in 1967 and marketed as being representative of the "Boss-town sound". Unfortunately for all involved, there really was no such thing as a "Boss-town sound" (for that matter there was no such thing as a "San Francisco sound" either, but that's another story). All the hype aside, Ultimate Spinach itself was the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Ian Bruce-Palmer, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. The opening track of side two of the band's debut album is a piece called Your Head Is Reeling, which is as good or better than any other raga styled song of the time.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: You'll Love Me Again
Source: CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Sundazed
Year: 1967
The day after recording this week's show I got word of the passing of Sean Bonniwell, leader of the Music Machine, on December 29th from cancer. Next week's show will feature an extended tribute to the musical genius whose influence went far beyond his commercial success. For now we have a song by the second incarnation of the Machine, recorded in 1967 and issued as a B side on Warner Brothers that year.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: I Don't Live Today
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
I remember a black light poster that choked me up the first time I saw it. It was a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with the caption I Don't Live Today. I don't believe Hendrix was being deliberately prophetic when he wrote and recorded this classic track for the Are You Experienced album, but it still spooks me a bit to hear it, even now.

Artist: Merrell And The Exiles
Title: Tomorrow's Girl
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Fapadokly)
Writer: Merrell Fankhauser
Label: Rhino (original label: Glenn)
Year: 1967
Merrell Fankhauser was a fixture on the L.A. music scene, fronting several bands throughout the 60s ranging in styles from surf to psychedelic, depending on what was in vogue at the time. For most of 1966 and 67 he led a group called Merrell and the Exiles (or Xiles), while holding down a somewhat more mundane day job between gigs. The last single by the Exiles was Tomorrow's Girl, originally released in 1967 on the tiny Glenn label and included on Fankhauser's Fapadokly album on UIP records later that same year.

Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Ball And Chain
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer: Willie Mae Thornton
Label: Columbia
Year: 1968
In June of 1967 Big Brother And The Holding Company, fronted by Janis Joplin, electrified the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival with their rendition of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain. Over the years Joplin, both with and without Big Brother continued to perform the song. One of the finest performances of Ball And Chain was recorded live at the Fillmore in 1968 and included on the band's major label debut, Cheap Thrills. In retrospect the recording marks the peak of both Big Brother and of Joplin, who went their separate ways after the album was released.

Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Your Saving Grace
Source: LP: Anthology (originally released on LP: Your Saving Grace)
Writer: Tim Davis
Label: Capitol
Year: 1969
One of the most highly regarded of the Steve Miller Band's early albums was 1969's Your Saving Grace. A listen to the title track of the album shows why. As often as not, spoken sections in the middle of a song come off as silly or pretentious, but here Miller manages to make it work, enhancing what is already a fine recording.

Artist: Doors
Title: Roadhouse Blues
Source: CD: Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Morrison Hotel)
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1970
Yet another classic rock radio standard makes its Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut this week. This difference, of course, is that classic rock radio generally uses the live version of this track from the 1970 LP Morrison Hotel.

Artist: Cream
Title: Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer: Clapton/Sharp
Label: Atco
Year: 1967
Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 2-3 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album.

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Interstellar Overdrive/The Gnome
Source: CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer: Barrett/Waters/Wright/Mason
Label: Capitol
Year: 1967
Syd Barrett was still very much at the helm for Pink Floyd's first LP, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, released in 1967. The group had already released a pair of Barrett-penned singles, Arnold Layne (which was banned by the BBC) and See Emily Play. Piper, though, was the first full album for the group, and some tracks, notably the nine-minute psychedelic masterpiece Interstellar Overdrive, were entirely group efforts. On the original UK version of the LP Overdrive tracks directly into a Barrett piece, the Gnome. The US version, issued on Tower records, truncated Overdrive and re-arranged the song order. The only CD version of Piper currently available, heard here, follows the original UK ordering of the tracks.

Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: There's A Chance We Can Make It
Source: LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer: Gilbert/Scala
Label: Mercury
Year: 1967
Following up on their biggest hit, (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, the Blues Magoos released There's A Chance We Can Make It, backed with Pipe Dream for their next single. Unfortunately for both songs, some stations elected to play There's A Chance We Can Make It while others preferred Pipe Dream. The result was that neither song charted as high as it could have had it been released with a weaker B side. This had the ripple effect of causing Electric Comic Book (the album both songs appeared on) to not chart as well as its predecessor Psychedelic Lollipop had. This in turn caused Mercury Records to lose faith in the Blues Magoos and not give them the kind of promotion that could have kept the band in the public eye beyond its 15 minutes of fame. The ultimate result was that for many years, there were an excessive number of busboys and cab drivers claiming to have once been members of the Blues Magoos and not many ways to disprove their claims, at least until the internet made information about the group's actual membership more accessible.

Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: LP: Buffalo Springfield Again
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Atco
Year: 1967
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist: Wishbone Ash
Title: Leaf And Stream
Source: LP: Argus
Writer: Wishbone Ash
Label: Decca
Year: 1972
One of the first bands ever to feature two lead guitarists was Wishbone Ash. The story goes that following the departure of their original guitarist bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton auditioned several lead guitarists and got it down to two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner (no relation to Martin), but could not decide between the two. At that point they decided just to keep both of them, and a heavy metal tradition was born. Whether the story is true or not, the two definitely traded off leads for the next three years and five albums, even on relatively quiet songs such as Leaf And Stream from their third LP, Argus.

Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Most Peculiar Man
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer: Paul Simon
Label: Columbia
Year: 1966
You would think that a high school on a US military facility would be inclined to use the most staunchly traditional teaching methods known to mankind. Surprisingly, though, this was not the case at General H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany, in 1967. In fact, the English department was teaching some sort of new system that dispensed with terms such as verb and noun and replaced them with a more conceptual approach to language. What I best remember about my Freshman English class is the day that my rather Bohemian teacher (he wore sandals to class!), actually brought in a copy of the Sounds Of Silence and had us dissect two songs from the album, Richard Cory and A Most Peculiar Man. We spent several classes discussing the similarities (they both deal with a suicide by someone representing a particular archetype) and differences (the methods used and the archetypes themselves) between the songs. I have forgotten everything else about that class and its so-called revolutionary approach (and even the teacher's name), but those two songs have stayed with me my entire life. I guess that teacher was on to something.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Tired Of Waiting For You
Source: CD: Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Priority (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1965
After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.

Artist: Leaves
Title: Too Many People
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Pons/Rinehart
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year: 1965
The Leaves are a bit unusual in that the members were all native L.A.ins. Founded by bassist Jim Pons and some of his fraternity brothers 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. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song to record as a single by their producer (Love Minus Zero) and allowed to write their own B side. In this case that B side was Too Many People, written by Pons and guitarist Bill Rinehart. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist: Standells
Title: Dirty Water
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
This song has long since been adopted by the city of Boston, yet the band that originally recorded this Ed Cobb tune was purely an L.A. band, having started off playing cover tunes in the early 60s. Lead vocalist/drummer Dickie Dodd, incidently, was a former Mouseketeer who had played on the surf-rock hit Mr. Moto as a member of the Bel-Airs.

Artist: Monkees
Title: Daily Nightly
Source: 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)
Year: 1967
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). Here we have a slightly different mono mix of the tune, with the synthesizer a bit more prominent than on the stereo LP.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Dear Doctor
Source: LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1968
The term Anglophile is usually used to describe Americans with a fascination for all things British. Just what is the term for the opposite situation? Whatever it might be, the Stones have always been an example, from their open idolization of Chuck Berry and other Chess Records artists to songs like this one, which sounds more like Appalachian folk music than anything British.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1969
Another rock band influenced by folk music, Jethro Tull incorporated traditional Indian instruments on Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square, one of a pair of tunes named for future bassist Jeffery Hammond.

Artist: Jan And Dean
Title: The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
Source: LP: The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
Writer: Atfeld/Christian
Label: Liberty
Year: 1964
Just for something completely different we have this famous Jan And Dean hit from 1964. The song was inspired by a popular TV ad campaign for Southern California Dodge dealers that was a parody of the cliche about the used car that was only driven by a "little old lady from Pasadena to go to church on Sundays". Kathryn "Put a Dodge in your garage, honey" Minner, the chracter actress who had starred in the commercials, appeared with Jan And Dean on the album cover.

Artist: Who
Title: Someone's Coming
Source: CD: Magic Bus-The Who On Tour
Writer: John Entwhistle
Label: MCA
Year: 1968
Some songs just get no respect. First released in 1967 in the UK as the B side of I Can See For Miles, John Alec Entwistle's Someone's Coming got left off the US release entirely. It wasn't until the release of the Magic Bus single (and subsequent LP) in 1968 that the tune appeared on US vinyl, and then, once again as a B side. The Magic Bus album, however, was never issued on CD in the US, although it has been available as a Canadian import (heard here) for several years. Finally, in 1995 the song found a home on a US CD as a bonus track on The Who Sell Out.

Artist: Them
Title: Baby Please Don't Go
Source: LP: Backtrackin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Joe Williams
Label: London (original label: Parrot)
Year: 1965
Belfast, Northern Ireland was home to one of the first bands that could be legitimately described as punk rock. Led by Van Morrison, the band quickly got a reputation for being rude and obnoxious, particularly to members of the English press (although it was actually a fellow Irishman who labeled them as "boorish"). Their first single was what has come to be considered the definitive version of the 1923 Joe Williams tune Baby, Please Don't Go. Despite its UK success, the single was a flop in the US. Oddly enough, the song's B side ended up being the song most people associate with Them: the classic Gloria, which was released as Them's US debut single in 1965 but promptly found itself banned on most US radio stations (except in Southern Florida) due to suggestive lyrics.


  1. Hey Hermit,

    This is Bob from the Crawling Walls. I'm in Portland, Oregon now, still playing garage psych music. It's good to see a cut from Inner Limits in such good company.

  2. You know the Crawling Walls is the only band from outside the late 60s/early 70s I play? Of course, just for that reason I make those appearances somewhat rare, but still am glad to have a copy of the LP.

    Funny thing is, once Larry moved out of the Bottom Line house on San Rafael, I took over his old room and ended up doing all my studio work there as well, which is where all the instrumental tracks I use for theme music comes from.