Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1226 (starts 6/28/12)

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Right from the beginning Cream demonstrated two distinct sides: the psychedelic-tinged studio side and the blues-based live performance side. In the case of the US version of the band's first LP, Fresh Cream, that was literally true, as side one consisted entirely of original songs (mostly written by bassist Jack Bruce) and side two was nearly all covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'. What makes this particular recording interesting is the instrumentation used: guitar (Eric Clapton), vocals, harmonica (Bruce) and drums (Ginger Baker), with no bass whatsoever. This could be due to the limited number of tracks available for overdubs. Just as likely, though, is the possibility that the band chose to make a recording that duplicated their live performance of the song.

Artist:    Del-Vetts
Title:    Last Time Around
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dennis Dahlquist
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Del-Vetts, from Chicago's affluent North Shore (they once showed up for a high school dance by driving their matching white Corvettes into the gym) started off in 1963 covering surf hits. When the British Invasion hit in 1964 the Vetts became enamoured of the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Their best-known song is Last Time Around, one of the earliest known examples of death-rock.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Blues From An Airplane
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Spence
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first anthology album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Life Is Just A Cher O' Bowlies
Source:    LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Theilhelm
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Although not as big a success as their debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos' second LP, Electric Comic Book, is nonetheless one of the best albums of the psychedelic era. One of the better known tunes from that album is Life Is Just A Cher O' Bowlies, a song that in many ways captures the essence of the times.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Connection
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Often dismissed as the beginning of a departure from their blues roots, the Rolling Stones first LP of 1967, Between The Buttons, actually has a lot of good tunes on it, such as Connection, a song with multiple meanings. Most studios at that time only had four tracks available and would use two tape machines to mix the first tracks recorded on one machine (usually the instrumental tracks) down to a single track on the other machine, freeing up the remaining tracks for overdubs. This process, known as "bouncing", sometimes happened two or three times on a single recording if extra overdubs were needed. Unfortunately each pass resulted in a loss of quality on the bounced tracks, especially if the equipment was not properly maintained. This is particularly noticeable on Connection, as the final mix seems to have lost most of its high and low frequencies, resulting in an unintentionally "lo-fi" recording.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come. Edited version released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967 (single edit released 1968)
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:55 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Nothin' In The World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
Source:    LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The Kinks can never be accused of resting on their laurels. Despite virtually inventing hard rock with their 1964 singles You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the band, led by Ray Davies, abandoned their own style the following year, moving into more melodic territory with singles like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You, as well as even mellower album tracks such as the acoustic piece Nothin' In The World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Run For Your Life
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    Compared to some of John Lennon's later songs, Run For Your Life comes across as a sexist, even violent expression of jealous posessiveness. However, in 1965 such a viewpoint was quite common; in fact it was pretty much the acceptable norm for the times. Scary, huh?

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Iron Butterfly Theme
Source:    CD: Heavy
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Chicken Wolf
Source:    LP: At Your Birthday Party
Writer(s):    Monarch/Kay
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1969
    Steppenwolf's third LP, At Your Birthday Party, saw the band moving away from the overt psychedelia of their second album and toward the hard rock sound that would characterize the band in the early 1970s. Chicken Wolf, like many of Steppenwolf's songs, is highly critical of the status quo. This viewpoint was generally shared by Steppenwolf's core fans, many of whom were members of outlaw motorcycle clubs.

Artist:    Derek And The Dominos
Title:    Anyday
Source:    CD: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Writer(s):    Clapton/Whitlock
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Derek And The Dominos was originally an attempt by Eric Clapton to remove himself from the solo spotlight and work in a larger group setting than he had with his previous bands, Cream and Blind Faith. Such was Clapton's stature, however, that even among talents like Jim Gordon, Carl Radle and Bobby Whitlock, Clapton was still the star. However, there was one unofficial member of the group whose own star was in ascendancy. Duane Allman, who had chosen to stick with his own group the Allman Brothers Band, nonetheless played on eleven of the fourteen tracks on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. His slide work is especially noticeable on the title track and on the song Anyday, which remains one of the most popular songs on the album.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Wind Up
Source:    CD: Aqualung
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    The first three Jethro Tull albums saw the group transition from a blues base to a more eclectic sound, defined by the songwriting of vocalist/flautist/acoustic guitarist Ian Anderson. The real breakthrough for the band, however, was their fourth LP, Aqualung, which for a while was the most-played album on progressive rock radio in the US. The second side of the album is a scathing condemnation of the hypocrisy of modern organized religion. The final track, Wind Up, takes its title from the closing line of the album: "I don't believe you, you've got the whole damn thing all wrong. He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sunday."

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Dimples
Source:    The Best Of The Animals (originally released on LP: The Animals On Tour)
Writer(s):    Hooker/Bracken
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1965
    Of all the bands to come out of England as part of the British invasion of the mid-1960s, none were bigger fans of US blues and R&B artists than the Animals, from Newcastle. The group reportedly spent all of their spare time checking out independent record stores looking for obscure old records while on their first US tour, and upon returning to the UK set about recording their own versions of several of these songs. Among the tracks recorded was Dimples, a John Lee Hooker tune that was included on the Animals second US LP, On Tour. A different version of Dimples was included on the band's first UK album.

Artist:    Joy Of Cooking
Title:    Don't The Sun Look Fat And Lonesome
Source:    CD: Castles
Writer(s):    Toni Brown
Label:    Acadia (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1972
    Joy of Cooking was unique among folk-rock groups in that it was co-led by two female artists: Multi-instrumentalist Toni Brown and guitarist Terry Garthwaite, who sang lead vocals as well. Between the two of them, they wrote all the band's original tunes. The rest of the lineup was Fritz Kasten on drums, Jeff Neighbor on bass and Ron Wilson on harp, tambourine and congas. After recording their second album in Los Angeles, the group opted to return to their native Berkeley for their third and final LP, Castles. The opening track, Don't The Sun Look Fat And Lonesome, was written and sung by Brown.
Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    David Crosby always claimed that he was the one who first discovered and popularized this tune on the LA club scene, but that resistance from other band members kept the Byrds from recording the song until after versions by the Leaves, Love, Tim Rose and the Music Machine, among others, had already been released. Crosby would later say that recording the song with the Byrds was probably a mistake, but at the time he was quite incensed that other groups had beaten him to the punch with a song he had come to regard as his own, being under the assumption that it was a traditional folk song. As it turns out the song had been copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singler Billy Roberts, although at least half the recorded versions had credited the song to other writers.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Steve's Song
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    Steve Katz
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    The members of the Blues Project came from a variety of backgrounds, including jazz, rock, classical and of course, blues. Guitarist Steve Katz had the strongest connection to the Greenwich Village folk scene and was the lead vocalist on the Project's recording of Donovan's Catch The Wind on their first LP. For their second album Katz wrote his own song, entitled simply Steve's Song. The tune starts with a very old-English style repeated motif that gets increasing complicated as it repeats itself before segueing into a more conventional mode with Katz on the lead vocal. Katz would write and sing simlarly-styled tunes, such as Sometimes In Winter, as a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Artist:     Love
Title:     You Set The Scene
Source:     CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer:     Arthur Lee
Label:     Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:     1967
    During the production of Forever Changes, vocalist/guitarist Arthur Lee became convinced that he was destined to die soon after the release of the album. Accordingly, he crafted lyrics that were meant to be his final words to the world. As the final track on the LP, You Set The Scene in particular reflected this viewpoint. As it turned out, Forever Changes was not Lee's swan song. It was, however, the last album to feature the lineup that had been the most popular band on Sunset Strip for the past two years. Subsequent Love albums would feature a whole new lineup backing Lee, and would have an entirely different sound as well. Ironically, Lee was still around at the dawn of the 21st century over 30 years later (dying of acute myeloid leukemia in 2006), outliving several of his old bandmates.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat And Tears
Title:    More And More (live version)
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat And Tears (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Vee/Juan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Blood, Sweat and Tears founder Al Kooper left the band after their first album, Child Is Father To The Man. Several people at Columbia Records were keen to see the band continue and a new vocalist, David Clayton Thomas, was recruited to front the band. The group then proceeded to record a self-titled second LP that yielded no less than three top 5 singles, as well as some strong album tracks such as More And More. The recording heard here was taken from their summer 1968 live debut at the Cafe Au-Go-Go, ironically the same place Kooper's (and BS&T guitarist Steve Katz's) former band the Blues Project had recorded their debut LP over two years before.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Page/McCarty
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Yardbirds had moved far away from their blues roots and were on their fourth lead guitarist, studio whiz Jimmy Page. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor shows signs of Page's innovative guitar style that would help define 70s rock.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    House For Everyone
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Although Traffic is now known mostly as a Steve Winwood band, many of their earliest songs were the creation of guitarist Dave Mason. Mason's songs tended more to the psychedelic than Winwood's. One example is House For Everyone from the band's 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Colours
Source:    CD: Hurdy Gurdy Man (originally released on LP: Donovan's Greatest Hits)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    In September of 1968 Donovan re-recorded his first two hits (which had been released on Hickory Records in the US) for a new Greatest Hits compilation to appear on the Epic label. Although the performances are not really an improvement over the originals, it is interesting to hear the songs (Colours and Catch The Wind) performed with a band, as opposed to one acoustic guitar.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Train For Tomorrow
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin/Williams/Spagnola/Ritter
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although the bulk of material on the Electric Prunes first LP was from outside sources, there were a few exceptions. One of the more notable ones was Train For Tomorrow, an innovative piece credited to the entire band that shows what this group could have done if allowed more artistic freedom.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night))
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (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.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Writer(s):    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in truth the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Young Woman
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    Time Out! Time In! For Them is an overlooked classic of the psychedelic era. Featuring compositions by the husband and wife team of Tom Pulley and Vivian Lane (such as Young Woman, a song that touches on a somewhat familiar theme of the time), the album showcases the vocal talents of Kenny McDowell, who had the unenviable task of replacing Van Morrison in Ireland's premier rock band.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Oh Well
Source:    CD: Then Play On
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:     1969
    Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in 1969, and Oh Well soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album. I've listened to this CD version a couple of times now and I can't hear any obvious repetition, so maybe they fixed it.

1 comment:

  1. I heard this show for the first time tonight and was blown away - fantastic job! I caught it from the Iron Butterfly Theme until the end - just an amazing effort. Thanks! I grew up in the early 70's listening to WCMF when it was good....this is a flashback to those days. Many thanks for playing cool stuff - this will become a fixture for me whenever I can listen!