Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1249 (starts 12/6/12)

    Both this week's and next week's shows are backup episodes of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era recorded in June of 2011 but never aired. I've been sitting on them in the event that I might be unable to record a new episode at some point. Well, that point was unexpectedly reached last week. Interestingly enough, this episode has the same general ratio of regular artists to those I seldom play, with a good number of tracks making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut, making this a somewhat typical episode of the show. As I already mentioned, next week's show is a backup episode as well, to be followed by the annual Stuck With the Hermit at Yuletide event and then a brand new year-end retrospective that unveils which artists and tracks got the most airplay on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era in 2012. For now, though, on with the show!

Artist:    Johnny Rivers
Title:    You Can Have Her (I Don't Want Her)
Source:    Mono LP: Johnny Rivers At The Whisky a Go Go
Writer(s):    Bill Cook
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1964
    Although 1964 is best remembered as the year of the British Invasion, there were some significant musical developments on the home front as well. Among these was the debut of a major new US artist at a new club that would go on to become legendary in its own right. While many new American artists were doing their best to sound British, singer Johnny Rivers bucked the trend with a sound that was 100% homegrown. Two of his earliest singles were covers of songs by Chuck Berry (Memphis) and Buck Owens (Under Your Spell Again). Another such tune is You Can Have Her (I Don't Want Her) from Rivers's debut LP, Johnny Rivers At The Whisky a Go Go. The Whisky a Go Go itself would go on to play a significant part in the development of Los Angeles's underground music scene, with bands like Love and the Doors doing stints there as the house band.

Artist:    Strangeloves
Title:    Night Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Feldman/Goldstein/Gottehrer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Bang)
Year:    1965
    In the wake of the British Invasion, some American artists tried to sound as British as possible, often deliberately letting radio listeners think that they themselves might be a British band. A trio of New York songwriters, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, took such deceptions to a whole new level. Rather than try to pass themselves off as a British band, the three invented an elaborate backstory that saw them as sons of an Australian sheepherder who had invented a new shearing process and had used the profits from the venture to form a band called the Strangeloves, who were about to become the Next Big Thing. Although the story never really caught on, the group managed to record two of the all-time great party songs, I Want Candy and Night Time, as well as producing a single called Hang On Sloopy for a band they discovered on the road called the McCoys (although the instrumental tracks were actually from the Strangeloves' own first LP).

Artist:    Roy Orbison
Title:    Oh, Pretty Woman
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Orbison/Dees
Label:    Monument
Year:    1964
    Although the vast majority of Roy Orbison's hits were love ballads such as It's Over and Blue Bayou, his best-known song is the classic rocker Oh, Pretty Woman. The song managed to work its way to the top of both US and British charts during the height of the British Invasion. Orbison, in fact, was even more successful in the UK than in his native US, scoring two number hits on the British charts in 1964, the only American artist to do so.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
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:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Louie Louie
Source:    Mono LP: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Richard Berry
Label:    Columbia (original label: Sande)
Year:    1963
    The greatest party song of all time came from the pen of Richard Berry, a west coast singer/bandleader who released his original "soft" version of the song in 1957. In 1963 two west coast bands, the Kingsmen and Paul Revere And The Raiders, recorded competing versions of the song within days of each other. The Kingsmen version, with its raw sound and unintelligible lyrics, became popular on the east coast, while the better-produced (and more professionally performed) Raiders version quickly went to the top of the charts on the west coast and Hawaii. Columbia Records picked up the band's contract and re-released the single nationally. Columbia's top A&R man, Mitch Miller, however, was a notorius rock and roll hater (as a listen to one of his old Sing Along With Mitch TV shows proves) and refused to promote the record. Eventually the Kingsmen version of Louie Louie went gold while the Raiders version has become little more than a footnote (although the band itself has always championed their recording of the song).

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Starman
Source:    CD: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    Starman was the first single released from David Bowie's breakout hit LP The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. The song, about a benevolent being from outer space, was so influential that it became the inspiration for the 1984 movie of the same name.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Source:    Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1969
    With the exception of John Lennon's 1968 audio collage Revolution 9, the longest Beatle track ever recorded was I Want You (She's So Heavy), from the Abbey Road album. The track alternates between two distinct sections: the jazz-like I Want You, which contains most of the song's lyrical content, and the primal-scream based She's So Heavy, which repeats the same phrase endlessly in 6/8 time while an increasingly loud wall of white noise eventually leads to an abrupt cut-off at 7:47.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    59th Street Bridge Song
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Simon And Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) features two members of the Dave Brubeck Quartet: bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello. The song first appeared as an album track on Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme in 1966 and was later released as the B side of the 1967 single At The Zoo. Finally in 1970 the song was re-released, this time as an A side of a single after Simon And Garfunkel had split up. In the meantime another band, Harper's Bizarre (featuring future Doobie Brothers and Van Halen producer Ted Templeman on lead vocals), scored a hit with the song in early 1967.

Artist:    Merry-Go-Round
Title:    You're A Very Lovely Woman (originally released on Emitt Rhodes LP: The American Dream)
Source:    CD: More Nuggets
Writer:    Emmit Rhodes
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1971
    Emitt Rhodes first got noticed in his mid-teens as the drummer for the Palace Guard, a Beatle-influenced L.A. band that had a minor hit with the song Like Falling Sugar in 1966. Rhodes would soon leave the guard to front his own band, the Merry-Go-Round, scoring one of the most popular regional hits in L.A. history with the song Live. In 1969 Rhodes decided to try his hand as a solo artist. The problem was that he was, as a member of the Merry-Go-Round, contractually obligated to record one more album for A&M. The album itself, featuring a mixture of Rhodes solo tunes and leftover Merry-Go-Round tracks, sat on the shelf for two years until Rhodes had released a pair of well-received LPs for his new label, at which time A&M finally issued The American Dream as an Emitt Rhodes album. One of the best tracks on The American Dream was You're A Very Lovely Woman, a Merry-Go-Round recording from 1967 that shows influences from fellow L.A band Love's Forever Changes album.

Artist:    People
Title:    I Love You
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chris White
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 the major labels had signed just about every San Francisco band with any perceived potential. Capitol, having had some success with the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose on its Tower subsidiary, decided to sign another south bay band, People, to the parent label. The most successful single for the band was a new recording of an obscure Zombies B side. I Love You ended up hitting the top 20 nationally, despite the active efforts of two of the most powerful men in the industry, who set out to squash the song as a way of punishing the record's producer for something having nothing to do with the song or the band itself.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Water Woman
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Water Woman is a song from Spirit's 1968 debut LP that sounds like it could have been written by the demigod Pan himself. In reality the song came from the muse of Jay Ferguson, who wrote most of the band's early material.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Just Let Go
Source:    LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s):    Saxon/Hooper/Savage
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    After listening to Just Let Go, from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, it's easy to see why there were some in Los Angeles that were convinced that the band was actually from another planet. An acid-rock classic.

Artist:    Joint Effort
Title:    The Third Eye
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Callins/Mathis/Ullareal
Label:    Rhino (original label: JE)
Year:    1967
    While we're on the subject of acid rock, we have The Third Eye, a tune from another L.A. band, the Joint Effort. Mind-expanding stuff indeed. And speaking of eyes...

Artist:     Nazz
Title:     Open My Eyes
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Nazz)
Writer:     Todd Rundgren
Label:     Rhino (original label: SGC)
Year:     1968
 The Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. The Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    One Of These Days
Source:    CD: Works (originally released on LP: Meddle)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Gilmour/Mason
Label:    Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1971
    In their early years Pink Floyd was a band that was talked about more than heard, at least in the US. That began to change with the release of their 1971 LP Meddle and its opening track, One Of These Days, which got a significant amount of airplay on progressive FM radio stations.
Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono CD: The Very Best Of Otis Redding (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Volt)
Year:    1965
    Although there have been literally hundreds of cover songs recorded over the years, relatively few have held up under comparison to the original versions. Even rarer are covers that actually surpass the originals. Most unique, however, is the song with not one, but two truly outstanding recordings by different artists. Such is the case with Otis Redding's Respect. Aretha Franklin's 1967 version of the song is rightly considered to be one of the most important recordings ever made, both as a rallying cry for the women's movement and as the recording that established Franklin as the undisputed queen of soul. But Otis Redding's original 1965 version of Respect, judged strictly on its own merits, has to be considered one of the best Rhythm and Blues records ever made. In addition to Redding's outstanding vocals, the track features the classic Memphis Group rhythm section (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Phil Jackson and Booker T. Jones) along with the Bar-Kays on horns.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Love Will Endure
Source:     CD: Anthology (originally released on LP: Live At Town Hall with ambient live audience overdubs)
Writer:     Patrick Sky
Label:     Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:     Recorded 1966; released 1967
     Steve Katz had more of a folk background than the other members of the Blues Project, as evidenced by this cover of the Patrick Sky tune Love Will Endure. The song was actually recorded between the first and second Blues Project albums, but was not released until the third album, Live At Town Hall, which was a mixture of actual live recordings and studio tracks with the sounds of a live audience overdubbed onto them to make them sound like live recordings. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me, but it probably has something to do with the fact that by the time the album was released Al Kooper was no longer a member and the label wanted the album to include as much Kooper as possible.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    A Well Respected Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Grim Reaper Of Love
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Portz/Nichol
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1966
    The Turtles had some early success in 1965 as a folk-rock band, recording the hit version of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe and PF Sloan's Let Me Be. By 1966, however, it was getting harder and harder for the group to get a hit record. One attempt was Grim Reaper Of Love, co-written by Turtles lead guitarist Al Nichol. Personally I think it's a pretty cool tune, but was probably a bit too weird to appeal to the average top 40 radio listener in 1966. Grim Reaper Of Love did manage to make it to the # 81 spot on the charts, unlike the band's next two singles that failed to chart at all. It wasn't until the following year, when the Turtles recorded Happy Together, that the band would make it back onto the charts.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah
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. 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:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Dupree's Diamond Blues
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    In the nearly ten year run of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era as a local show on WEOS before going into syndication, I never did a Grateful Dead set. This is because for much of that run the show was preceded by the Grateful Dead Hour and I figured a Dead set would be overkill. Things change, however, and now a majority of stations carrying Stuck in the Psychedelic Era air the Grateful Dead Hour on a different day and time (if at all). Last year (2011) we aired two shows with Grateful Dead sets. This week's show, however, was actually recorded (as a backup) before either of those, making this the first Grateful Dead set on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. As to why I am using a backup show this week, it's because I had some unexpected major surgery last week and am happily convalescing at home writing liner notes for the show. As for the songs themselves we start with a track from the 1969 LP Aoxomoxoa. Aoxomoxoa was one of the first albums to be recorded using state-of-the-art sixteen track equipment, and the band, in the words of guitarist Jerry Garcia, "tended to put too much on everything...A lot of the music was just lost in the mix, a lot of what was really there." Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh would return to the master tapes in 1971, remixing the entire album for the version that has appeared on vinyl and CD ever since then. This particular track is the single version of Dupree's Diamond Blues using a mono mixdown from the original 1969 mix. It has never been reissued in this form.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    The Grateful Dead's debut single actually sold pretty well in the San Francisco bay area, where it got airplay on top 40 stations from San Francisco to San Jose. Around the rest of the country, not so much, but the Dead would soon prove that there was more to survival than having a hit record. Writing credits on The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) were given to McGannahan Skjellyfetti, which like the Rolling Stones' Nanker Phelge was a name used for songs written by the entire band (it took up less space on the label).

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Cosmic Charlie
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    Finishing off this Grateful Dead set we have Cosmic Charlie from the band's third LP,  Aoxomoxoa. The album, released in 1969 after coming in extremely over-budget, continued the band's experimentation with studio enhancement of live recordings started with the previous album, Anthem of the Sun. As with Dupree's Diamond Blues, this is a mono mix made from the original 1969 mix of Aoxomoxoa before the band decided to remix the entire album in 1971.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Song For Jeffrey
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1968
    Starting off a 1968 set we have A Song For Jeffrey from the first Jethro Tull album, This Was. The Jeffrey in the song title is Jeffrey Hammond, who, according to the liner notes, was "one of us, though he doesn't play anything". The notes go on to say he "makes bombs and stuff". In fact, Hammond would replace bassist Glen Cornick a few albums later and remain with the group for several years. The song itself proved popular enough that when the band compiled their first Anthology album, Living In The Past, A Song For Jeffrey was chosen to open the album.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers
Title:    Shape Of Things To Come
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts. "Wild in the Streets" starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's drummer/political activist Stanley X. Imagine that.

Artist:     Johnny Winter
Title:     Bad Luck And Trouble
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer:     Johnny Winter
Label:     United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year:     1968
     Johnny Winter first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who gravitated to rock music, Johnny Winter has remained primarily a blues musician throughout his career.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader 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:    Mojo Men
Title:    She's My Baby
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Alaimo/Curcio
Label:    Rhino (original label: Autumn)
Year:    1966
    Although generally considered to be one of the early San Francisco bands, the Mojo Men actually originated in Rochester, NY. After spending most of the early 60s in Florida playing to fraternities, the band moved out the West Coast in 1965, soon falling in with Autumn Records producer Slyvester Stewart (Sly Stone). Stewart produced several singles for the band, including She's My Baby, a classic piece of blues-based garage rock from 1966.

Artist:    Swingin' Medallions
Title:    Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vetter/Smith
Label:    Rhino (original label: 4-Sale)
Year:    1965
    The Swingin' Medallions, from tiny Greenwood, South Carolina, scored a hit that was almost as popular in frat houses as Louie Louie. The song, Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love), was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and was released locally on the 4-Sale label. The song was re-released nationally in 1966 on Mercury's subsidiary label, Smash Records, becoming a national hit.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    I Can't See Your Face In My Mind
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the most haunting Doors ever recorded is I Can't See Your Face In My Mind, from their second 1967 LP, Strange Days. It also ranks among the most sadness-evoking song titles I've ever run across. Such is the power of poetry, I guess. Frankly I'm surprised that the Alzheimer's Association hasn't purchased the rights to the song to use on one of their TV fundraising spots. 

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