Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1250 (starts 12/13/12)

    This week we have the second of two backup shows recorded in June of 2011 and I thought I'd let you in on the secret story of how these backup shows came to be. We had just been informed that WEOS-FM, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced, would be moving at the end of the summer to a location not yet known. Now as you and most people (but not certain decision-makers, apparently) can imagine, it takes a bit of doing to set up a radio station. Equipment has to be installed, wires have to be hooked up (and we are talking about hand-wiring literally thousands of connections), even mundane things like phone lines and desks and chairs and tables have to...well, you get the idea. The prospect of successfully pulling off such a move in less than two months, especially not even knowing where we were going, seemed unlikely in the least. Thus, I felt it would be prudent to have some extra shows in the can in the event that I suddenly found myself with a nationally syndicated weekly radio show and no home station to produce it at. As it turns out the move didn't happen (yet), and so I've had these shows just sitting here waiting for an opportunity to be heard. Due to events described on last week's blog, we are airing one of those shows this week. I think it's a pretty good one, too.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hillsdale
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    I've always had more of an ear for musical structure and tone than I do for language (in fact I learned to read music before I learned to read and write English), so perhaps I'll be forgiven when I say it was not until I had heard Love's Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hillsdale a dozen (or more) times that I noticed the clever lyrical trick Arthur Lee built into the song from the Forever Changes album. Lee sings all but the last word of each line during the verses of the song, starting the next line with the word that would have finished the previous one. This creates an effect of stop/start anticipation that is only accented by the music on this song about life on L.A.'s Sunset Strip, particularly at the Whisky a Go Go, which is located between Clark and Hillsdale on the famous boulevard.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Orange Skies
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967   
    Love, the most popular band on L.A.'s Sunset Strip, was also among the most eclectic. Nowhere is this more evident than on their second LP, Da Capo. After starting off with the punkish Stephanie Knows Who, the tone abruptly shifts with Orange Skies, a soft, almost lounge lizard-like tune written by Bryan MacLean (who later claimed it was the first song he ever wrote), but sung by Arthur Lee in a style that was at the time compared to Johnny Mathis.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    There is avant garde and there is avant garde. Whereas most of the groups that have the label applied to them (Velvet Underground, United States of America, Fifty Foot Hose) often were about as pleasant to listen to a nails on a blackboard, Love's Arthur Lee took an entirely different approach. Even though tracks like The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This (from Forever Changes) are full of time, key and phrasing surprises throughout, he manages to make it all sound pretty on perhaps his most avant garde recording ever.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Castle
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Considering that both of their first two LPs had cover photos taken against the backdrop of Bela Lugosi's former residence in the Hollywood Hills (known as Dracula's Castle), it is perhaps inevitable that Love would have a track called The Castle on one of these albums. Sure enough, one can be found near the end of the first side of 1967's Da Capo, an album that was all but buried by the attention being given to the debut LP of Love's new labelmates, the Doors, which came out around the same time. The song itself is an indication of the direction that band was moving in, away from the straight folk/garage-rock of their first LP toward the more sophiscated sound of Forever Changes, which would be released later the same year.

Artist:    Them
Title:    The Moth
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After Van Morrison left Them to pursue a career as a solo artist, his old band decided to head back to Ireland and recruit Kenny McDowell for lead vocals. Them then moved out to California and hooked up with Tower Records, which was already getting known for signing garage bands such as the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband, as well as for issuing soundtrack albums for cheapie teen exploitation flicks such as Riot on Sunset Strip and Wild in the Streets. The 1968 LP Time Out! Time In! For Them was the second of two psychedelic albums the group cut for Tower before moving into harder rock and another label.

Artist:        Randy Newman
Title:        Last Night I Had A Dream
Source:      Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Randy Newman
Label:        Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:        1968
        Randy Newman has, over the course of the past forty-plus years, established himself as a Great American Writer of Songs. His work includes dozens of hit singles (over half of which were performed by other artists), nearly two dozen movie scores and eleven albums as a solo artist. Newman has won five Grammys, as well as two Oscars and Three Emmys. To my knowledge, Last Night I Had A Dream could quite possibly be his first recorded work as a solo artist, as it came out the same year as his first album, which does not include the song.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    …And The Gods Made Love/Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although listed as seperate tracks on the album cover, the first two songs on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's third album, Electric Ladyland (...And The Gods Made Love and Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)), actually ran together without a break on the album itself. In fact, the entire first and third sides of Electric Ladyland were pressed without the traditional spaces between songs on the vinyl.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Toujours L'Amour
Source:    LP: Grand Hotel
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    By the time the sixth Procol Harum album, Grand Hotel, was released, only the songwriting team of pianist/vocalist Gary Brooker and his longtime lyricist (and non-performing member) Keith Reid remained of the lineup that had created A Whiter Shade Of Pale six years earlier (although drummer B.J. Wilson had joined before the band recorded their first LP and is thus usually considered a member of the "original" group). Guitarist Robin Trower, who had often clashed with Brooker over the group's musical direction and his replacement, Mick Grabham, had barely joined the band in time to record tracks such as Toujours L'Amour (in fact he actually joined too late to participate in the photo shoot for the album cover and had to be airbrushed in).

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Mary Mary, from the 1966 Butterfield Blues Band album East-West, would at first seem to a cover of a Monkees song, but technically the song is not a cover tune at all, since it was actually the first version to get recorded. Still, since composer Michael Nesmith was the acknowledged leader of the Monkees, whose version came out in early 1967, the Butterfield version has to be considered a cover of sorts. Adding to the irony is the fact that when the Monkees' version of Mary Mary first came out many Butterfield fans accused the Monkees of being the ones doing the ripping off.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Sometimes I Think About
Source:    CD: Anthology (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Theilhelm/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    Although it sounds like it could have been a remake of an old blues tune, Sometimes I Think About is actually a Blues Magoos original. The song, from their debut Psychedelic Lollipop album, is slow and moody, yet actually rocks out pretty hard, a pattern that would become somewhat of a hard rock cliche in the 1970s (think Grand Funk Railroad's Heartbreaker).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Out Of Time
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK on LP: Aftermath and in US on LP: Flowers)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966 (UK), 1967 (US)
    The history of the Rolling Stones' Out Of Time is actually somewhat convoluted. Originally released only in the UK on the Aftermath LP (the US version of the album having a different track lineup), the song was soon covered by British singer Chris Farlowe, whose Mick Jagger-produced single went to the top of the UK charts in July of 1966. A shorter alternative mix of the Stones version was then released in the US as part of the record company-compiled Flowers album. Finally, in 1975 the original Rolling Stones version of Out Of Time was released internationally as a single, enjoying moderate success in the US, UK and other countries.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Diddy Wah Diddy
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    McDaniel/Dixon
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1966
    Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa knew each other in high school in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles, but did not stay in close contact after graduation. While Zappa was developing an interest in early 20th century avant-garde classical music, Van Vliet established a reputation as one of the best white blues singers around. When the opportunity came to record a few tracks for A&M records in 1965, Van Vliet, who by then was calling himself Captain Beefheart, chose this Bo Diddly tune to showcase his vocal talents. With the exception of Diddy Wah Diddy, which actually became a minor regional hit in southern California, A&M chose not to release the tracks, and Beefheart would finally make his album debut in 1967, recording for the new Buddah label. Later he would again hook up with his old cohort Zappa and develop into one of rock's premier avant-garde composers.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Flying
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1967
    1967 was an odd year for the Beatles. They started it with one of their most successful double-sided singles, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, and followed it up with the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. From there, they embarked on a new film project. Unlike their previous movies, the Magical Mystery Tour was not made to be shown in theaters. Rather, the film was aired as a television special shown exclusively in the UK. The airing of the film coincided with the release (again only in the UK) of a two-disc extended play 45 RPM set featuring the six songs from the special. It was not until later in the year that the songs were released in the US, on an album that combined the songs from the film on one side and all the non-LP single sides they had released that year on the other. Among the songs from the film is Flying, a rare instrumental track that was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Jazz Thing
Source:    LP: Behold And See
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Although the second Ultimate Spinach album, Behold And See, is generally considered inferior to the group's debut effort, there are a few high points that are among the best tracks the band ever recorded. Perhaps the best track on the album is Jazz Thing, which almost sounds like a Bob Bruno Circus Maximus track.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    In The Crowds
Source:    LP: Ball
Writer(s):    Ingle/Dorman
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Following the massive success of Iron Butterfly's second LP, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, it was probably inevitable that the next album would be a bit of a dissappointment. Indeed, there are no tracks on Ball that can compare to the cultural phenomena that was In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Nonetheless, Ball is overall a much better album, with an array of songs (mostly written by vocalist/organist Doug Ingle) that rank among the band's best work. A fairly representative track from Ball is In The Crowds, which features a sophisticated chord structure, a rather catchy melody (especially on the chorus) and an outstanding bass line from Lee Dorman, who co-wrote the tune with Ingle.

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), for a time becoming his backup band. Stewart produced several singles for the Mojo Men, including She's My Baby, a song that had originally been recorded in 1962 as a song to do the mashed potato (an early 60s dance) to by Steve Alaimo, brother of Mojo Men bassist/lead vocalist Jim Alaimo and co-host (with Paul Revere and the Raiders) of the nationally distributed dance show Where The Action Is. The Mojo Men version of She's My Baby has more of a blues/garage-rock sound than the Steve Alaimo original, prompting its inclusion on several compilation albums over the past twenty years.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Fugue U/Parchman Farm/Wrath Of Daisey
Source:    LP: Open
Writer:    Allison/Blues Image
Label:    Atco
Year:    1970
    Despite drawing crowds in south Florida and getting rave reviews from the rock press, Blues Image was never able to sell a lot of albums. This is a shame, as almost all of their material was as good or better than anything else being recorded in 1969-70. A classic example is the medley of Fugue U (emulating J.S. Bach), a jazz-rock arrangement of Mose Allison's Parchman Farm and the latin-rock instrumental Wrath Of Daisey. Guitarist Mike Pinera went on to replace Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly the following year.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Empty Pages
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Traffic was formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, after ending his association with the Spencer Davis Group. The original group, also featuring Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, put out two and a half albums before disbanding in early 1969. A successful live album, Welcome to the Canteen, prompted the band to reform (without Mason), releasing the album John Barleycorn Must Die in 1970. Although Empty Pages was released as a single (with a mono mix heard here), it got most of its airplay on progressive FM stations, and as those stations were replaced by (or became) album rock stations, the song continued to get extensive airplay for many years.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Scarborough Fair/Canticle
Source:    Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    After the reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel following the surprise success of an electrified remix of The Sound Of Silence, the two quickly recorded an album to support the hit single. Sounds Of Silence was, for the most part, a reworking of material that Simon had recorded for 1965 UK LP the Paul Simon Songbook. The pressure for a new album thus (temporarily) relieved, the duo got to work on their first album of truly new material since their unsuccessful 1964 effort Wednesday Morning 3AM (which had in fact been re-released and was now doing well on the charts). In October the new album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, hit the stands. The title track was a new arrangement of an old English folk ballad, Scarborough Fair, combined with a reworking of a 1963 Simon tune (The Side Of A Hill) with all-new lyrics. The two melodies and sets of lyrics are set in counterpoint to each other, creating one of the most sophisticated folk song arrangements ever recorded. After being featured in the film The Graduate, Scarborough Fair/Canticle was released as a single in early 1968, going on to become one of the duo's most instantly recognizable songs.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    The Black Plague
Source:    CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    One of the most interesting recordings of 1967 was Eric Burdon And The Animals' The Black Plague, which appeared on the Winds Of Change album. The Black Plague is a spoken word piece dealing with life and death in a medieval village during the time of the Black Plague (natch), set to a somewhat gothic piece of music that includes Gregorian style chanting and an occasional voice calling out the words "bring out your dead" in the background. The album itself had a rather distinctive cover, consisting of a stylized album title logo accompanied by a rather lengthy text piece on a black background, something that has never been done before or since on an album cover.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Porpoise Song
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic. Porpoise Song, a Gerry Goffin/Carole King composition used as the theme for Head, was also a departure in style for the Monkees, yet managed to retain a decidedly Monkees sound due to the distinctive lead vocals of Mickey Dolenz.

Artist:    Fenwyck
Title:    Mindrocker
Source:    Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
Writer(s):    Keith and Linda Colley
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
     Fenwyck was a southern California rock band that found itself in the unenviable position of being forever associated with a vocalist that they actually only worked with for a short amount of time. Formed in 1963 by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Pat Robinson, in Arcadia, San Gabriel Valley, CA, the group was moderately successful playing various clubs in the L.A. suburbs before signing with 4-Star Productions in early 1967, where they were paired with Jerry Raye, a second-tier Conway Twitty wannabe trying to maintain an early 60s teen idol style. The result was an album called The Many Faces Of Jerry Raye with the words "featuring Fenwyck" in smaller text halfway down the right side of the cover. The LP itself was essentially two mini-LPs, with each side having little or nothing to do with the other. Raye's side consisted of a set of nondescript songs from professional songwriters. The first side of the album, however, was all Fenwyck, with all but one of the tracks written by Robinson. The sole exception was Mindrocker, written by the husband and wife team of Keith and Linda Colley, which was released as a single on the Challenge label even before the rest of the album had been recorded. After the album was released on the brand-new Deville label, several singles appeared on Deville credited to Jerry Raye and Fenwyck, including a re-release of Mindrocker with Raye's vocals overdubbed over Robinson's original track. Raye soon moved on to greater obscurity, while Fenwyck itself evolved into Back Pocket, recording a handful of LPs for the Allied label in 1968-69.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Have You Seen Her Face
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Perhaps the greatest surprise on the fourth Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, was the emergence of bassist Chris Hillman as a quality songwriter, already on a par with David Crosby and the recently-departed Gene Clark, and even exceeding Roger McGuinn as a solo writer (most of McGuinn's songs being collaborations). One of the many strong Hillman tracks on Younger Than Yesterday was Have You Seen Her Face, which eventually became the third single from the album.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Riot On Sunset Strip
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Riot On Sunset Strip soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Fleck/Valentino
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Anyone who doubts just how much influence bands like the Standells had on the punk-rock movement of the late 1970s need only listen to this 1967 track from the movie Riot On Sunset Strip. The song, written by bandmembers Tony Valentino and John Fleck, sounds like it could have been an early Ramones recording. The song itself (and the movie) were based on a real life event. Local L.A. business owners had been complaining about the unruliness and rampant drug usage among the teens hanging out in front of the various underage clubs that had been springing up on Sunset Strip in the wake of the success of the Whisky a Go Go, and in late 1966 the Los Angeles Police Department was called in to do something about the problem. What followed was a full-blown riot which ultimately led to local laws being passed that put many of the clubs out of business and severely curtailed the ability of the rest to make a profit. By 1968 the entire scene was a thing of the past, with the few remaining clubs converting to a more traditional over-21 approach. The unruliness and rampant drug usage, meanwhile, seems to have migrated up the coast to San Francisco, where it managed to undo everything positive that had been previously accomplished in the Haight-Ashbury district.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Summertime
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Gershwin/Heyward
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Janis Joplin, on the 1968 Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, sounds like she was born to sing Gershwin's Summertime. Maybe she was.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Love Story
Source:    CD: This Was (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968 (UK), 1969 (US)
    Love Story was the last studio recording by the original Jethro Tull lineup of Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornish. The song was released as a single following the band's debut LP, This Was. Shortly after it's release Abrahams left the group, citing differences with Anderson over the band's musical direction. The song spent eight weeks on the UK singles chart, reaching the #29 spot. In the U.S., Love Story was released in March 1969, with A Song for Jeffrey (an album track from This Was) on the B-side, but did not chart. Like most songs released as singles in the UK, Love Story did not appear on an album until several years later; in this case on the 1973 anthology album Living In The Past. It has most recently been included as a bonus track on the expanded CD version of This Was.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Joe South
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The track was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gillan (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar LP) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond, releasing two fine LPs before fading from the public view.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carr/Derrico/Sager
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I Wish You Would
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Great Hits
Writer(s):    B.B. Arnold
Label:    Epic
Year:    1964
    The first Yardbirds record ever released was, predictably, a cover of an old blues song. I Wish You Would had originally been written and recorded by Billy Boy Arnold. Arnold's original version, released in 1955 on the Vee Jay label, featured a Bo-Diddley style beat; indeed, the song had originally been intended for Diddley himself and would have been his second single if not for the fact that Arnold got it into his head that Leonard Chess, whose Chess label Diddley recorded for, did not like him, so he ended up taking the song to Vee Jay and recording it himself. The Yardbirds version of the song, released in 1964, is missing the Bo Diddley beat, and is reportedly a much shorter version than the band performed live at the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment