Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1208 (starts 2/23/12)

Artist: Turtles
Title: It Ain't Me Babe
Source: CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: It Ain't Me Babe)
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year: 1965
The Turtles started out as a local surf band called the Crossfires. In 1965 they were signed to a record label that technically didn't exist yet. That did not deter the people at the label (which would come to be known as White Whale) from convincing the band to change its name and direction. Realizing that surf music was indeed on the way out, the band, now called the Turtles, went into the studio and recorded four songs. One of those was Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. The Byrds had just scored big with their version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man and the Turtles took a similar approach with It Ain't Me Babe. The song was a solid hit, going to the #8 spot on the national charts and leading to the first of many Turtles albums on White Whale.

Artist: Grass Roots
Title: Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Dunhill
Year: 1965
In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single to be released (although not the first to be recorded) by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was pretty much saturated. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots who would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Year: 1965
1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio itself. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: Sky Pilot
Source: CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Twain Shall Meet)
Writer: Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label: Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Year: 1968
After the original Animals lineup disbanded in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon quickly set out to form a "New Animals" group that would come to be called Eric Burdon and the Animals. Their biggest hit was 1968's Sky Pilot, a song that was so long it had to be split across two sides of a 45 RPM record. The uninterrupted version of the song was included on the group's second album, The Twain Shall Meet.

Artist: Traffic
Title: Withering Tree
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Last Exit)
Writer: Winwood/Capaldi
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
Year: 1968
One of Traffic's best-known songs is Feelin' Alright from their eponymous second LP. When the song was issued as a single in 1968, a brand-new song, Withering Tree, was included as a B side. The stereo version of Withering Tree would not be heard until 1969, when it was included on the post-breakup Traffic LP Last Exit.

Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Mickey Newbury
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1968
In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mickey Newbury decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Newbury wrote most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Reprise
Year: 1968
Although never released as a single, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), has become a staple of classic rock radio over the years. The song was originally an outgrowth of a jam session at New York's Record Plant, which itself takes up most of side one of the Electric Ladyland LP. This more familiar studio reworking of the piece has been covered by a variety of artists over the years.

Artist: Neil Young
Title: Southern Man
Source: CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer: Neil Young
Label: Reprise
Year: 1970
Neil Young stirred up a bit of controversy with the release of the album After The Gold Rush, mostly due to the inclusion of Southern Man, a scathingly critical look at racism in the American South. The song inspired the members of Lynnard Skynnard to write Sweet Home Alabama in response, although reportedly Young and the members of Skynnard actually thought highly of each other. There was even an attempt to get Young to make a surprise appearance at a Skynnard concert and sing the (modified) line "Southern Man don't need me around", but they were never able to coordinate their schedules enough to pull it off.

Artist: Spirit
Title: Animal Zoo
Source: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer: Jay Ferguson
Label: Epic
Year: 1970
The last album by the original lineup of Spirit was The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970. The album was originally going to be produced by Neil Young, but due to other commitments Young had to bow out, recommending David Briggs, who had already produced Young's first album with Crazy Horse, as a replacement. The first song to be released as a single was Animal Zoo, but the tune barely cracked the top 100 charts. The album itself did better on progressive FM stations and has since come to be regarded as a classic. Shortly after the release of Twelve Dreams, Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne.

Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: One More Saturday Night
Source: CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Europe '72)
Writer: Bob Weir
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1972
In 1972 Warner Brothers gave all of the members of the Grateful Dead the opportunity to record solo albums. Three of the Dead, Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir, took them up on the offer. The Weir album was called Ace, and, unlike the other two albums, featured virtually the entire Grateful Dead lineup (the sole exception being Ron "Pigpen" McKernan). Most of the songs on Ace became staples of the Dead's live performances. A live version of one of those songs, One More Saturday Night, was included on the band's second live album, Europe '72, and that performance was included on the group's first anthology album, Skeletons From The Closet.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: It's No Secret
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer: Marty Balin
Label: RCA Victor
Year: 1966
The first Jefferson Airplane song to get played on the radio was not Somebody To Love. Rather, it was It's No Secret, from the first Airplane album, that got extensive airplay, albeit only in the San Francisco Bay area. Still, the song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.

Artist: Charlatans
Title: Walkin'
Source: CD: The Amazing Charlatans
Writer: Hunter/Olsen
Label: Big Beat
Year: 1967
Despite their reputation as the first true San Francisco hippie band, the Charlatans were not known for having very good luck in the recording studio. In fact, their first attempt at recording an album in 1966 was a complete disaster, with only one single being released by the label, Kama Sutra, and even that was not the song that the band had chosen for their vinyl debut. The group did manage to get back into the studio the following year, recording a handful of tunes at Golden State Recorders, generally considered to be the best facilities in the area at the time. Among the songs recorded at Golden State was one called Walkin', which is probably the most commercial-sounding track the Charlatans ever recorded. The Golden State sessions were finally released in the UK in the 1990s on the Big Beat label. To my knowledge Walkin' has never been released in the US.

Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Summertime Blues
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Vincebus Eruptum)
Writer: Cochrane/Capehart
Label: Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year: 1968
If 1967 was the summer of love, then 1968 was the summer of violence. Framed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, both major anti-establishment movements of the time (civil rights and anti-war) became increasing radicalized and more violent. The hippies gave way to the Yippies, LSD gave way to crystal meth, and there were riots in the streets of several US cities. Against this backdrop Blue Cheer released one of the loudest and angriest recordings ever to grace the top 40: the proto-metal arrangement of Eddie Cochrane's 1958 classic Summertime Blues. It was the perfect soundtrack of its time.

Artist: Manfred Mann
Title: Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Mercury
Year: 1968
In 1965 there were a rash of bands doing cover versions of Bob Dylan songs. Almost all of these were protest songs of one sort or another. By 1968, however, things had changed, and the most popular Dylan cover of the year was the relatively harmless Might Quinn, recorded by Manfred Mann. It turned out to be the third biggest US hit in Manfred Mann's long career, surpassed only by 1965's Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy and 1974's Blinded By The Light.

Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: At The Zoo (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Source: CD: Collected Works
Writer: Paul Simon
Label: Columbia
Year: 1967
Simon and Garfunkel did not release any new albums in 1967, instead concentrating on their live performances. They did, however, issue several singles over the course of the year, most of which ended up being included on 1968's Bookends LP. At The Zoo was one of the first of those 1967 singles. It's B side ended up being a hit as well, but by Harper's Bizarre, which took The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) to the top 10 early in the year.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Afternoon Tea
Source: LP: Something Else
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
By 1967 the Kinks couldn't buy a hit single in the US, although they continued to chart in their native UK. Luckily, the people at Reprise Records continued to release the band's albums in the US, including Something Else, which contained some of Ray Davies best songwriting to date. Among the tasty tunes on the album was Afternoon Tea, a song that exemplifies the Davies style of writing at the time.

Artist: Kinks
Title: Waterloo Sunset
Source: CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released on LP: Something Else)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Polygram
Year: 1967
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: Kinks
Title: Lazy Old Sun
Source: LP: Something Else
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Reprise
Year: 1967
Although the Kinks had major hits on both sides of the ocean from 1964-66, by 1967 their success was limited to the UK, despite fine singles such as Dead End Street and Waterloo Sunset. Their 1967 LP, Something Else By The Kinks, continued the band's expansion into slightly satirical explorations of sociopolitical issues. At the same time, the album also shows a more experimental side musically, as Lazy Old Sun, with its staggered tempo and unusual chord progression, demonstrates. The song also shows a willingness to experiment with studio effects, as Something Else was the first Kinks album to be mixed in stereo.

Artist: Shadows of Knight
Title: Gloria
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Van Morrison
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year: 1966
The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist: Mourning Reign
Title: Satisfaction Guaranteed
Source: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Rick Keefer
Label: Rhino (original label: Link)
Year: 1966
With its higher-than-average ratio of teen-oriented venues to local youth population, San Jose, California was a major center of garage-rock activity. Local bands such as Count Five, the Syndicate of Soul and People all scored hits on the national charts, and many other bands made records that found local radio stations more than willing to play songs that weren't being heard on the big stations up the bay in San Francisco. One of the local bands to record locally was the Mourning Reign, who had a steady gig as the house band at a local roller rink. Their only single was Satisfaction Guaranteed, which rocked the airwaves in the fall of 1966.

Artist: Blues Project
Title: Back Door Man
Source: LP: Special Disc Jockey Record
Writer: Dixon/Burnett
Label: Verve Forecast
Year: 1966
Original Blues Project vocalist Tommy Flanders only stayed with the group long enough to record one album. At the release party in L.A. for Live At Cafe-Au-Go-Go, however, in a scene right out of Spinal Tap, Flanders's girl friend had an all-out blowup with the rest of the band members that resulted in her announcing that Flanders was quitting the band to go Hollywood.
As a result by the time the album actually became available in record stores Flanders was no longer with the group. The Blues Project's cover of the classic Back Door Man is a good example of Flanders performing in his element.

Artist: Leigh Stephens
Title: Another Dose Of Life
Source: LP: Red Weather
Writer: Leigh Stephens
Label: Philips
Year: 1969
After two albums lead guitarist Leigh Stephens left Blue Cheer to work on solo projects. The resulting album, recorded in England and utilizing British studio musicians such as Nicky Hopkins, was a complete departure from the proto-metal sound of the Cheer. Although most of the tracks on Red Weather are instrumentals, there are a few exceptions, such as Another Dose Of Life, although the vocal tracks are isolated all the way over in the left channel, while the lead guitar has center stage. To my knowledge Red Weather has never been issued on CD (at least not in the US).

Artist: Ten Year:s After
Title: Year 3000 Blues
Source: CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer: Alvin Lee
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year: 1970
Most rock songs with science fiction themes tend to fall into the genre known as space-rock. Not so with Ten Years After's Year 3000 Blues from the Cricklewood Green album, which is more of a country and western parody.

Artist: Doors
Title: The Crystal Ship
Source: LP: The Doors (mono version)
Writer: The Doors
Label: Elektra
Year: 1967
One of the most popular B sides ever released, The Crystal Ship is a slow moody piece with vivid lyrical images. The mono mix of the song sounds a bit different from the more commonly-heard stereo version. Not only is the mix itself a bit hotter, it is also a touch faster. This is due to an error in the mastering of the stereo version of the first Doors LP that resulted in the entire album running at a 3.5% slower speed than it was originally recorded. This discrepancy went unnoticed for over 40 years, until a college professor pointed out that every recorded live performance of Light My Fire was in a key that was about half a step higher than the stereo studio version.

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 Two)
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 the tiny Fifo 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: Beatles
Title: All You Need Is Love
Source: CD: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Label: Apple/Parlophone
Year: 1967 (original label: Capitol)
After creating a revolution with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles went to work on a major media event: the world-wide television premier of their next single. These days a world-wide TV broadcast is fairly commonplace, but in 1967 it was truly a big deal, as even major sports events such as the World Cup were only available on radio to most listeners. The song in question was All You Need Is Love, which immediately went to the top of the charts. The song would be included on the US-only release of the Magical Mystery Tour LP, which in the UK was a double EP containing only the songs from the actual Magical Mystery Tour telefilm.

Artist: Music Explosion
Title: Little Bit O' Soul
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Carter/Lewis
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year: 1966
Mansfield, Ohio, was home to the Music Explosion who made their mark as one-hit wonders in early 1967 with Little Bit O' Soul. The song was an early forerunner of the bubble-gum movement that would dominate the top 40 charts over a year later.

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)
Year: 1966
The Standells were not from Boston. Their manager/producer Ed Cobb, who wrote Dirty Water, was. The rest is history.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Parachute Woman
Source: CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: 1968
The last Rolling Stones album with the original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Sadly, Brian Jones was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: In The Time Of Our Lives
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Ingle/Bushy
Label: Atco
Year: 1969
The lead track on Ball, Iron Butterfly's highly-anticipated 1969 follow-up LP to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was In The Time Of Our Lives. It was also chosen to be released as a single. Although some labels were starting to issue stereo 45s, Atco was not one of them, and In The Time Of Our Lives became one of only two songs from Ball with an alternate monoraul mix (the other being the B side of the single, It Must Be Love).

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