This week's show consists mostly of theme sets, such as 1967 tracks from West Coast bands:
Title: Get Together
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: The Youngbloods)
Writer(s): Dino Valenti
Label: Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
The Youngbloods, led by transplanted New Yorker Jesse Colin Young, were the second San Francisco band signed to industry leader RCA Victor Records. Their first album was released in 1967 but was overshadowed by the vinyl debuts of the Grateful Dead and Moby Grape, among others. In fact, the Youngbloods toiled in relative obscurity until 1969, when their own version of Dino Valenti's Let's Get Together (from the 1967 LP) was used in a TV ad promoting world peace. The song was subsequently released (with the title slightly shortened) as a single and ended up being the group's only hit record (as well as Valenti's most famous composition).
Title: Horse Latitudes/Moonlight Drive
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band. Horse Latitudes, which leads into Moonlight Ride, was also an obvious Morrison composition, as it is essentially a piece of Morrison poetry with a soundtrack provided by the rest of the band.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Lazy Me
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s): Bob Mosley
Such is the quality of the first Moby Grape album that there are still outstanding tracks that have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Until this week, Bob Mosley's Lazy Me was one of them.
How about a progression through time and space? We start in England, move to Texas and end up on the West Coast with a band made up of members from the US, Canada and the UK, all the while progressing from 1968 to 1970.
Title: Think About It
Source: Mono CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Epic)
The last Yardbirds single, Good Night Josephine, was slated for March of 1968, but ended up being released only in the US, where it barely cracked the top 100. More notable was the song's B side, Think About It, which shows a side of guitarist Jimmy Page that would soon come to be identified with one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, Led Zeppelin.
Artist: Bubble Puppy
Title: Hot Smoke and Sassafras
Source: CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bubble Puppy
Label: Priority (original label: International Artists
Bubble Puppy was a band from San Antonio, Texas that relocated to nearby Austin and signed a contract with International Artists, a label already known as the home of legendary Texas psychedelic bands 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola. The group hit the national top 20 with Hot Smoke and Sassafras in 1969 but soon relocated to California and changed their name to Demian, at least in part to disassociate themselves with the then-popular "bubble gum" style (but also because of problems with International Artists).
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title: Everybody I Love You
The last track on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album déjà vu is a Stephen Stills/Neil Young collaboration that sets the stage for the Stills/Young band a couple of years later. Stylistically it's pretty easy to figure out which part of Everybody I Love You was written by Stephen Stills and which part was written by Neil Young. What's interesting is how well the two parts actually fit together. As far as I know this is actually the first songwriting collaboration between the two, despite being bandmates in Buffalo Springfield since 1966 (and knowing each other even longer).
1966 was an interesting year for stereo recordings, which were becoming more common but had not yet become the default. As the following two tracks show, the practice at the time was to do a mono drum mix and put it off in one channel, often with other instruments. Lead instruments and vocals sometimes came out of both speakers, but just as often were isolated on one side of the mix as well. The following two tracks are examples of fairly typical mixes, one from the UK and the other from the US.
Note in particular how Eric Clapton's guitar break on the Cream track is given prominence by its positioning.
Title: I Feel Free
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Homeward Bound
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Following the success of Sounds Of Silence, Paul Simon And Art Garfunkel set about making an album of all new material (Sounds Of Silence had featured several re-recorded versions of tunes from the 1965 British album The Paul Simon Songbook). The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, one of the finest folk-rock albums ever recorded. The album contained several successful singles, including Homeward Bound.
Our second half-hour starts with a psychedelic progression through the years 1966-68. Although one of these was released as a single (on the obscure Uptown label), they are actually more representative of what was getting played on underground FM stations of the time.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Sweet Young Thing
Source: Mono CD: The Inner Mystique (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the actual live sound of the Chocolate Watchband, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb. One of the few recordings that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is this single released in December of 1966. Ironically, Sweet Young Thing was written by Cobb himself.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Train For Tomorrow
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
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: Ultimate Spinach
Title: (Ballad Of The) Hip Death Goddess
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations. The recording has in more recent years been used by movie producers looking to invoke a late 60s atmosphere.
Next up: a 1967 set from the Who (or is it a Who set from 1967?)
Title: Pictures Of Lily
Source: Mono CD: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Pictures of Lily was the first single released by the Who in 1967. It hit the #4 spot on the British charts, but only made it to #51 in the US. This was nothing new for the Who, as several of their early singles, including Substitute, I Can't Explain and even My Generation hit the British top 10 without getting any US airplay (or chart action) at all.
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Starting in 1966, the Who wrote songs about things no other rock group had even considered writing songs about. Happy Jack, for instance, was about a guy who would hang out on the beach and let the local kinds tease (but not faze) him. I'm A Boy was about a guy whose mother insisted on dressing him the same as his sisters. And I'm not even getting into the subject matter of Pictures Of Lily. The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967, continued this trend with songs like Tattoo, about an adolescent and his brother who go out and get (without their parents' permission) their first tattoos. The song is accompanied by a jingle for Radio London, the most successful of the British pirate radio stations that operated from studios in London but utilized illegal transmitters floating on platforms off the coast (the BBC having a monopoly on broadcasting at the time).
Title: I Can See For Miles
Source: CD: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was the Who's biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. I Can See For Miles was also used as the closing track of side one of The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. Some of the commercials and jingles heard at the beginning of the track were recorded by the band itself. Others were lifted (without permission) from Radio London, a pirate radio station operating off the English coast.
Title: Lonely City (instrumental version)
Source: CD: Thank You, Bonzo (bonus track)
Writer(s): Quincy Adams
I usually don't say anything about the various instrumentals I use during the show, but since this is the first time I've used Lonely City I thought a few words were in order. The Mumphries were an Albuquerque, NM band made up of Quincy Adams (bass & lead guitar), Suzan Hagler (guitar, keyboards), John Henry Smith (drums), and Stephen R Webb (guitar, bass). The band's only album was Thank You, Bonzo, recorded in 1989 but not released until a digital remix was made in 1997. By that point the members had gone their own seperate ways, with Adams becoming an in-demand recording and live sound engineer. When it came time to remix Lonely City (an Adams composition with Webb on bass), the three members who were involved in the process were so impressed with Hagler's guitar fills (Hagler being the only absent member) that they decided to mix an instrumental version of the song, bringing Hagler's guitar up higher in the mix than it had originally been. Suzan Hagler, incidentally, is also the guitarist on (and composer of) All's Quiet On The Occluded Front, the Soft Corps track I usually use to end the first hour of the show. As to who the Soft Corps were, that's another story.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Just Like Me
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Just Like Me was the first top 10 single from Paul Revere And The Raiders, a band that deserves much more credit than they are generally given. The group started in the early part of the decade in Boise, Idaho, when Revere (his real name) hooked up with saxophonist Mark Lindsay. Like most bands at the time, the Raiders' repertoire consisted mostly of instrumentals, as PA systems were a luxury that required more space than was generally allotted to a small town band. It wasn't long before the Raiders relocated to Portland, Oregon, where they became a popular attraction at various clubs. After a hiatus caused by Revere's stint in the military, the band resumed its place as one of the founding bands of the Portland music scene. They soon made their first visit to a recording studio, recording Richard Berry's Louie Louie at around the same time as another popular Portland band, the Kingsmen. Due as much to superior promotion efforts from Wand Records as anything else, the Kingsmen's version ended up being a huge hit while the Raiders' version was virtually ignored. Undeterred, the band continued to grow in popularity, recording another single in 1964 (Like Long Hair) and going on tour. It was while playing in Hawaii that the band was noticed by none other than Dick Clark, who hired them to be the house band on his new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is. He also got them a contract with Columbia Records, at the time the second-largest record company in the world. The Raiders were Columbia's first rock band, and they paired the band up with their hippest young producer, Terry Melcher. It was a partnership that would lead to a string of hits, starting with Steppin' Out in 1965. The next record, Just Like Me, was the first of a string of top 10 singles that would last until early 1967, when rapidly changing public tastes made the band seem antiquated compared to up and coming groups like Jefferson Airplane. Just Like Me, despite some rather cheesy lyrics, still holds up well after all these years. Much of the credit for that has to go to Drake Levin, whose innovative double-tracked guitar solo rocked out harder than anything else on top 40 radio at the time (with the possible exception of a couple of well-known Kinks songs).
The next set pretty much speaks for itself.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Combination Of The Two
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s): Sam Andrew
Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, bassist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Houston providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Call On Me
Source: Board stereo CD: Live At The Carousel Ballroom-1968
Writer(s): Sam Andrew
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2012
In early 1968 a consortium of three local San Francisco bands (Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead) set out to create a venue that would be an alternative to those controlled by professional promoters such as Bill Graham. They rented a disused place called the Carousel Ballroom and set about fixing the place up. The sound system at the Carousel was set up and run by Owsley Stanley, the legendary Grateful Dead sound man also known as Bear. Bear, as a rule, made recordings of every gig he ran sound for, using his own unique two channel system (one channel for the vocals, the other for guitars, bass and keyboards, with the drums being picked up by both sets of microphones). Bear called these recordings "sonic journals", as their primary purpose was similar to that of training films that sports coaches made during games. After a gig Bear and the band members would listen to these tapes and try to figure out what could be done to improve future performances. On March 12, 2012 (the first anniversary of Bear's death in an automobile accident), Columbia/Legacy released Big Brother And The Holding Company Live At The Carousel Ballroom, recorded on Sunday June 23, 1968, just two weeks before the Carousel experiment came to an end. It was the second of two consecutive nights that Big Brother played at the Carousel, their only gigs at the ballroom. In addition to the full set from June 23rd, the disc contains one bonus track from the previous night's performance: an alternate version of Call On Me, a song that first appeared in studio form on the band's 1967 debut LP on Chicago's Mainstream label.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Ball And Chain
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s): Willie Mae Thornton
Big Brother And The Holding Company electrified the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 with their performance of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain. The rest of the world, however, would have to wait until the following year to hear Janis Joplin's version of the old blues tune, when a live performance recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium was included on the LP Cheap Thrills.
Title: Come Together
Source: CD: Abbey Road
After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.
1966 was the year of the garage band. The following three songs all made the national charts that year and were all played by self-contained performing units that wrote their own material.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was this group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
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. 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.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: The Seeds)
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.
Our penultimate set of the night is an odd British progression through the years, or more exactly a British progression through the odd years 1965-69.
Title: Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
Source: Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
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, virtually 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 folky material such as Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl, on their LP Kinda Kinks.
Title: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Mr. Fantasy)
Label: United Artists
Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Honky Tonk Women
Source: 45 RPM single
After revitalizing their career with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man in 1968, the Stones delivered the coup-de-grace with one of the biggest hits by anyone ever: the classic Honky Tonk Women. The song was the first single without Brian Jones, who had been found dead in his swimming pool shortly after being kicked out of the band. Jones's replacement, Mick Taylor (fresh from a stint with blues legend John Mayall), plays slide guitar on the track.
To finish out the week we have a pair of requests:
Artist: Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity
Title: This Wheel's On Fire
Source: Mono CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Polydor (original label: Marmalade)
Julie Driscoll got her start as secretary of the Yardbirds' fan club while still in her late teens. The band's manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, was so impressed with her voice that he himself got her first single released in late 1963. From there she joined a band called Steampacket, working with two other vocalists, Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart. Another member of Steampacket was organist Brian Auger, who, after the demise of Steampacket, formed his own band, the Trinity, in 1967. Working with Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity recorded an LP, Open, for Gomelsky's new Marmalade label in 1968. The featured single from Open was This Wheel's On Fire, a song written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko of The Band. Driscoll, over a period of time, gravitated toward jazz, eventually moving to the US where she continues to perform.
Artist: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title: Veteran's Day Poppy
Source: CD: Trout Mask Replica
Writer(s): Don Van Vliet
Veteran's Day Poppy is one of two tracks and the classic Trout Mask Replica that were recorded and already finished when the 1969 sessions for the album began. As such, the tune is a bit more accessible than the rest of Trout Mask Replica, having a bit more in common with his previous effort, the 1967 album Safe As Milk. The song itself is an antiwar piece that works on more than one level, as the poppy is not only the flower of choice for soldiers' graves, but is a basic ingredient of morphine, which was often used to deal with the pain of serious battlefield injuries.