Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1205 (starts 2/2/12)

Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Omaha
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Writer: Skip Spence
Label: Columbia
Year: 1967
As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label (with the blessing of Moby Grape manager Matthew Katz no doubt) led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Comin' Back To Me
Source: CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Marty Balin
Label: RCA
Year: 1967
Uncredited guest guitarist Jerry Garcia adds a simple, but memorable recurring fill riff to this Marty Balin tune. Balin, in his 2003 liner notes to the remastered release of Surrealistic Pillow, claims that Comin' Back To Me was written in one sitting under the influence of some primo stuff given to him by Paul Butterfield. Other players on the recording include Balin and Paul Kantner on guitars, Jack Casady on bass and Grace Slick on recorder.

Artist: Doors
Title: I Can't See Your Face In My Mind
Source: CD: Strange Days
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
The Doors second LP, Strange Days, was essentially a continuation of the band's first album stylistically, even down to closing the LP with a long extended jam track featuring a Jim Morrison monologue (or poem, if you prefer). Reportedly there were several songs on the album that had already been written by the time the Doors signed a recording contract with Elektra, but had to be left off the first LP due to space limitations. Although the entire band shared songwriting credit on all Doors songs on their first few albums, it's likely that I Can't See Your Face In My Mind, with its highly personal lyrics, was mostly a Morrison composition.

Artist: Who
Title: Man With The Money
Source: CD: A Quick One
Writer: Don and Phil Everly
Label: MCA
Year: 1966
The few cover songs released by the Who were all by R&B artists such as James Brown and Sonny Boy Williamson. One song that would have been an exception was Man With The Money, which was originally an Everly Brothers B side. The Who version of the song, however, was not released until 1993, when it was included as a bonus track on the CD version of A Quick One.

Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: Nobody To Love
Source: CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer: Stacy Sutherland
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year: 1967
The release of The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators in 1966 is considered by some to be the beginning of the psychedelic era. The band soon left their native Texas to spend four months touring in California, playing to packed houses and influencing countless other musicians. Their label, however, wanted them back in Texas and recording new material, and went as far as to threaten to release older, substandard, recordings of the Elevators if the boys didn't return home immediately. Once the band got back to Texas, however, the label made several missteps, such as forcing the band to play inappropriate venues. Also, due to the band members' notorious drug use, the label was reluctant to promote them heavily. By mid-1967 a rift had developed within the band itself, with two of the five members leaving the group to move to San Francisco. The remaining members, with a new bass player and drummer, went into the studio to record a true piece of acid-rock: the album that would come to be known as Easter Everywhere. Although the bulk of the LP would be written by guitarist/vocalist Roky Erickson and electric jug player Tommy Hall, Nobody To Love was written by the band's lead guitarist, Stacy Sutherland.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Gypsy Eyes
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Reprise
Year: 1968
Among the many ways that Jimi Hendrix was an innovator was in his approach to studio recordings. Whereas previous artists had concentrated on their mono mixes, with the stereo versions often done almost as an afterthought, Hendrix instead saw stereo mixing as fertile ground for creative experimentation. By the time of Electric Ladyland he was doing only stereo mixes; the mono mix heard here is a simple recombining of the two channels rather than a seperate dedicated mix.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Reasons For Waiting
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer: Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1969
Strictly speaking, Reasons For Waiting is not a Jethro Tull piece. Rather, it is an Ian Anderson solo work with orchestration. This was quite a departure from the first Tull album, which was (like most debut albums) made up of songs already in the group's live performance repertoire (the exception being Mick Abrahams's Move On Along, which in addition to having Abrahams on lead vocals, added a horn section).

Artist: Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title: Cowgirl In The Sand
Source: CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer: Neil Young
Label: Reprise
Year: 1969
It has been said that adverse conditions are conducive to good art. Certainly that truism applies to Neil Young's Cowgirl In The Sand, written while Young was running a 102 degree fever. Almost makes you wish you could be that sick sometime.

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Dust My Broom
Source: LP: Underground Gold (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer: Johnson/James
Label: Liberty
Year: 1967
The first Canned Heat album was released shortly after the band's appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and consisted mainly of covers of blues classics. As could be expected of a band made up of record collectors, the songs on the album were as true to the original versions as the members of Canned Heat could make them. Of more interest is the song Dust My Broom itself, which was originally recorded in the 1930s by Robert Johnson, then electrified on Elmore James's 1951 recording. The James version, however, did not give Johnson any songwriting credit, a practice that was fairly common among blues artists at the time. Originally Canned Heat's version, which was based on James's recording, only gave James as the song's writer. Later releases, however, correctly give the credit to both Johnson and James.

Artist: Bob Mosely
Title: Let The Music Play
Source: LP: Bob Mosley
Writer: Bob Mosley
Label: Reprise
Year: 1972
The story of bassist Bob Mosely reflects the dark side of rock as much as it does the limelight. After becoming the only Californian member of Jerry Miller's band, the Frantics, Mosely stuck around to become a founding member of Moby Grape, achieving a lot of fame (not all of it positive) in a relatively short amount of time. Mosely, however, had ongoing mental health issues, made worse by the ready availability of several varieties of illegal substances. Following the release of the album Moby Grape '69 Mosely abruptly left the band to join the Marines, and was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic during basic training. He returned to music the following year, rejoining his former bandmates for the 1971 album 21 Granite Creek before embarking on a solo career in 1972. His debut album as a solo artist included the song Let The Music Play, which features a horn section in addition to the usual rock instrumentation. By the early 1990s Mosely had returned to his native San Diego and was reportedly living on the streets when three of the other members of Moby Grape located him and reformed the band, in part to help Mosely get back on his feet. In Mosely's words: "In 1996, Peter Lewis picked me up along the side of a San Diego freeway where I was living, to tell me a ruling by San Francisco Judge Garcia gave Moby Grape their name back. I was ready to go to work again." Most recently, Mosely released a solo album called True Blue in 2005.

Artist: Barbarians
Title: Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ron and Doug Morris
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year: 1965
From Boston we have the Barbarians, best known for having a one-handed drummer named Moulty who wore a hook on his other arm (and was probably the inspiration for the hook-handed bass player in the cult film Wild In The Streets a few years later). In addition to Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl, which was their biggest hit, the group recorded an inspirational tune (inspirational in the 80s self-help sense, not the religious one) called Moulty that got some airplay in 1966.

Artist: Leaves
Title: Dr. Stone
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Hey Joe)
Writer: Beck/Pons
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year: 1966
The Leaves were a solid, if not particularly spectacular, example of a late 60s L.A. club band. They had one big hit (Hey Joe), signed a contract with a major label (Capitol), and even appeared in a Hollywood movie (the Cool Ones). This tune, from their first album for Mira Records, is best described as folk-rock with a Bo Diddly beat.

Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Pamela
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer: Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label: M-G-M
Year: 1967
Trying to take in the entire first Ultimate Spinach album can be a bit overwhelming. Taken individually, however, songs like Pamela, which closes the album, are actually quite listenable.

Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: Monterey
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Twain Shall Meet)
Writer: Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: M-G-M)
Year: 1968
One of the first appearances of the New Animals on stage was at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The experience (pun intended) so impressed the group that they wrote a song about it. The song was issued both as a single and on the LP: The Twain Shall Meet. The single used a mono mix; the LP version, while in stereo, was overlapped at both the beginning and end by adjoining tracks, and was missing the first few seconds of the single version. The version used here was created by splicing the mono intro onto the stereo main portion of the song, fading it a bit early to avoid the overlap from the LP. This process (called making a "cut down") was first done by a company called Drake-Chenault, which supplied tapes to radio stations using the most pristine stereo versions of songs available. Whether Polydor used the Drake-Chenault version or did the cut down itself, the version is the same.

Artist: Cream
Title: Four Until Late
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer: Robert Johnson
Label: Atco
Year: 1966
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: Standells
Title: Dirty Water
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year: 1966
Dirty Water has long since been adopted by the city of Boston, getting played at virtually every sporting event, 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 Dickie Dodd, incidently, was a cast member on the original Micky Mouse Club TV show.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Sunny Afternoon
Source: CD: Face To Face
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1966
1966 was the year that Ray Davies's songwriting began to take a sardonic turn. Sunny Afternoon, using a first person perspective, manages to lampoon the idle rich through mock sympathy. Good stuff.

Artist: Donovan
Title: The Trip
Source: CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Sony (original label: Epic)
Year: 1966
Donovan had already established a reputation in his native Scotland as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, but had not had much success in the US, where his records were being released on the low-distribution Hickory label. That all changed in 1966, however, when he began to move beyond his folk roots and embrace a more electric sound. Unlike Dylan, who basically kept the same style as his acoustic songs, simply adding electic instruments, Donovan took a more holistic approach. The result was a body of music with a much broader range of sounds. The first of these new electric tunes was Sunshine Superman, sometimes cited as the first top 10 psychedelic hit. The B side of Sunshine Superman was a song called The Trip, which managed to be even more psychedelic than it's A side. Both songs soon appeared on Donovan's major US label debut, an album that was not even released in the UK due to a contractual dispute between the singer/songwriter and Pye Records.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Paint It Black
Source: CD: Aftermath
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: 1966
One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs. 'Nuff said.

Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book and as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Gilbert/Scala/Esposito/Thielhelm
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year: 1966
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 (of course the fact that they were on Mercury Records, one of the "big six" labels of the time, didn't hurt). 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: Byrds
Title: I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider)
Source: CD: Fifth Dimension (CD bonus track)
Writer: arr. McGuinn/Clark/Crosby
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Year: 1966
Throughout their existence the Byrds recorded more material than they actually released. This has proven a boon to the folks at BMG/Sony, who have been able to include several bonus tracks on every remastered Byrds CD on their Legacy label. This week we have a classic Byrds reworking of an old folk tune, I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider), recorded in 1966, around the same time as their sessions for the Fifth Dimension album.

Artist: Cher
Title: Hey Joe
Source: LP: Cher's Golden Greats (originally released on LP: With Love, Cher and as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Billy Roberts
Label: Imperial
Year: 1967
Considering that Cher's first major hit as a solo artist was Bang Bang, a song about shooting one's lover, it was probably inevitable that she would record her own version of the venerable Hey Joe, which deals with the same subject. Also, given Cher's established style with Bang Bang, it is no surprise that she chose to go with the slowed-down arrangement first used by Tim Rose and popularized in England by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. What may come as a surprise, however, is that Cher's 1967 version of Hey Joe actually did better on the US charts than any other version except the Leaves' fast-tempo hit from 1966.

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer: Harris/Lloyd/Markley
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
When Rhino decided to revive the Nuggets concept in the 80s with a series of LPs, they really didn't do much documentation on stuff like what album the song was from or what year the song came out. Normally that's not a problem. This song, however, was included on two consecutive albums, one on a small indy label in 1966 and the other on Reprise in 1967, with a slightly longer running time. Since the running time of this track seems closer to the Reprise version, I'm assuming that's what it's from.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: Double Yellow Line
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound; stereo version: Warner Brothers)
Year: 1967
One of the Original Sound singles that also appeared on the Warner Brothers LP Bonniwell Music Machine, Double Yellow Line features lyrics that were literally written by Bonniwell on the way to the recording studio. In fact, his inability to stay in his lane while driving with one hand and writing with the other resulted in a traffic ticket. The ever resourceful Bonniwell wrote the rest of the lyrics on the back of the ticket and even invited the officer in to watch the recording session. The officer declined.

Artist: Sons Of Champlain
Title: Fat City
Source: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bob Moitoza
Label: Rhino (original label: Verve)
Year: 1967
One of the most popular cover bands in Marin County California in the early 60s was Mill Valley's The Opposite Six. In 1967 the group decided to switch to original material, changing their name to the Sons Of Champlain in the process. Although never one of the top selling San Francisco bands, the Sons nonetheless recorded some decent tracks, the earliest of which was a single called Fat City, released on the Verve label.

Artist: Red Crayola
Title: The Parable Of Arable Land (part one)
Source: LP: The Parable Of Arable Land
Writer: Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label: International Artists
Year: 1967
New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson,leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.


  1. It is actually a great and useful piece of information. I'm glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.
    Luigi Bormioli Strauss 13-1/2-Ounce Beverage Glass, Set of 6

  2. I plan to continue to put these posts up every week.