Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1332 (starts 8/8/13)

Artist:    Who
Title:    The Kids Are Alright
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released on LP: My Generation)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965   
    When the Who Sings My Generation album came out in the US in 1966, it featured several songs that had originally been issued as singles in the UK, including a song that would later be used as a title for the band's first concert film. The Kids Are Alright, one of the group's first charted hits in 1965, is probably the most Beatle-sounding of all Who songs.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
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:    Beatles
Title:    All You Need Is Love
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    So, you're the Beatles, it's mid-1967 and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most popular album in the world. What do you do for an encore? How about setting up the first live worldwide television broadcast in history to premier your new single? That's exactly what happened with All You Need Is Love. Needless to say the song was soon occupying the #1 spot on the singles charts.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Are You Experienced?
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Before the release of Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience the emphasis in rock music (then called pop) was on the 45 RPM single, with albums seen as a luxury item that supplemented an artist's career rather than defined it. Are You Experience helped change all that. The album was not only highly influential, it was a major seller, despite getting virtually no airplay on US top 40 radio. The grand finale of the LP was the title track, which features an array of studio effects, including backwards masking and tape loops. Interestingly enough, the album was originally issued only in a mono version in the UK, with European pressings using a simulated stereo mix. After Reprise bought the rights to release the LP in the US it hired its own engineers to create stereo mixes of the songs from the four-track master tapes.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Come On (part one)
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Earl King
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Despite being rated by many as the greatest rock guitarist of all time, Jimi Hendrix's roots were in the blues. One of his most performed songs was Red House (a track that was left off the US release of Are You Experienced?), and the Experience's debut US performance at Monterey featured a amped-up version of the B.B. King classic Rock Me Baby. For the Electric Ladyland album Hendrix chose a relatively obscure tune from Earl King, originally recorded in 1962. Come On (Pt. 1) was one of only two cover songs on Electric Ladyland (the other being Dylan's All Along the Watchtower).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Purple Haze
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK as a single, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise, a division of what is now WEA, got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced?, they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. The song next appeared on the Smash Hits album, which in Europe was on the Polydor label. This was the way things stayed until the early 1990s, when MCA (now Universal) acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced? with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced? is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that Purple Haze, as well as the rest of the Jimi Hendrix Experience catalog, has the distinction of having been released by every major record company in the world (yes, there are only three now).

Artist:     First Edition
Title:     Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Mickey Newbury
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1968
     Kenny Rogers has, on more than one occassion, tried to put as much distance between himself and the 1968 First Edition hit Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) as possible. I feel it's my civic duty to remind everyone that he was the lead vocalist on the recording, and that this song was the one that launched his career. So there.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The End
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Prior to recording their first album the Doors' honed their craft at various Sunset Strip clubs, working up live versions of the songs they would soon record, including their show-stopper, The End. Originally written as a breakup song by singer/lyricist Jim Morrison, The End runs nearly twelve minutes and includes a controversial spoken "Oedipus section". My own take on the famous "blue bus" line is that Morrison, being a military brat, was probably familiar with the blue shuttle buses used on military bases for a variety of purposes, including taking kids to school, and simply incorporated his experiences with them into his lyrics.  The End got its greatest exposure in 1979, when Oliver Stone used it in his film Apocalypse Now.

Artist:    Third Bardo
Title:    I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source:    Mono British CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Evans/Pike
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1967
    The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).

Artist:    Young-Holt Unlimited
Title:    Country Slicker Joe
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Young/Chaney/Holt
Label:    Brunswick
Year:    1968
    If the Monkees lost credibility when word got out that they were not playing the instruments on their first two albums, imagine how the members of Young-Holt Unlimited must have felt when it was learned that the band itself had nothing to do with the recording of the song Soulful Strut, which was not only their only major hit, but an instrumental as well! On the other hand, the B side of that record was the real Young-Holt Unlimited, who were in reality an offshoot of the Ramsey Lewis Trio, a highly respected jazz/R&B band from the mid-1960s that had scored several instrumental hits of their own, including Wade In The Water and The In Crowd. Although Country Slicker Joe has vocals (mostly spoken), the song is structured more as a jazz instrumental, with each member taking a shot at the spotlight.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Surfer Dan
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    The Turtles
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Turtles decided to self-produce four recordings without the knowledge of their record label, White Whale. When company executives heard the tapes they rejected all but one of the recordings. That lone exception was Surfer Dan, which was included on the band's 1968 concept album Battle of the Bands. The idea was that each track (or band, as the divisions on LPs were sometimes called) would sound like it was recorded by a different group. As the Turtles had originally evolved out of a surf band called the Crossfires, that name was the obvious choice for the Surfer Dan track. The song was also chosen to be the B side of She's My Girl, the Turtles biggest hit of 1968.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She's My Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    A favorite among the Turtles' members themselves, She's My Girl is full of hidden studio tricks that are barely (if at all) audible on the final recording. Written by the same team as Happy Together, the song is a worthy follow up to that monster hit.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Elenore
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1968
    In 1968 White Whale Records was not particularly happy with the recent activities of their primary money makers, the Turtles. The band had been asserting its independence, even going so far as to self-produce a set of recordings that the label in turn rejected as having no commercial potential. The label wanted another Happy Together. The band responded by creating a facetious new song called Elenore. The song had deliberately silly lyrics such as "Elenore gee I think you're swell" and "you're my pride and joy etcetera" and gave production credit to former Turtles bassist Chip Douglas for the "Douglas F. Hatelid Foundation", which was in itself an in-joke referring to the pseudonym Douglas was forced to use as producer for the Monkees in 1967. Then a strange thing happened: the record became a hit. I suspect this was the event that began Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman's eventually metamorphosis into rock parody act Flo and Eddie.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Psychedelic Shack
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown Yesteryear
Year:    1970
    Starting in 1969 the songwriting/production team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong began to carve out their own company within a company at Motown, producing a series of recordings with a far more psychedelic feel than anything else coming out of the Motor City's biggest label. The most blatantly obvious example of this is the Temptations tune Psychedelic Shack, which graced the charts in 1970. Whitfield would eventually form his own company, taking another Motown act, the Undisputed Truth, with him, but would not be able to equal the success of the songs he and Strong produced for the Temptations, such as 1972's Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source:    LP: The Best Of Procol Harum
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. The song itself hold the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves of the past 70 years.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    2000 Light Years From Home
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more noticable than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) made the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Why
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    One of the earliest collaborations between Byrds songwriters David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the up-tempo raga rocker Why. The song was first recorded at RCA studios in Los Angeles in late 1965 as an intended B side for Eight Miles High, but due to the fact that the band's label, Columbia, refused to release recordings made at their main rival's studios, the band ended up having to re-record both songs at Columbia's own studios in early 1966. Although the band members felt the newer versions were inferior to the 1965 recordings, they were released as a single in March of 1966. Later that year, for reasons that are still unclear, Crosby insisted the band record a new version of Why, and that version was used for the band's next LP, Younger Than Yesterday.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat And Tears
Title:    The Modern Adventures Of Diogenes And Freud
Source:    LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    In the liner notes for the debut Blood, Sweat And Tears album, Child Is Father To The Man, bandleader Al Kooper describes The Modern Adventures Of Diogenes And Freud as being about "the professions of psychiatry and messiahtry." The song is somewhat unusual in that it features none of the standard rock instruments. The recording instead consists entirely of Kooper's vocals and strings arranged by producer John Simon.

Artist:    Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters
Title:    New Dreams
Source:    LP: Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters
Writer(s):    Dave and Doris Woods
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    Although not exactly a household name, Dave Van Ronk was, in fact, one of the most important and influential figures on the Greenwich Village scene in the early 60s, serving as mentor to a host of young folk and blue musicians including Bob Dylan, whom he met when the latter first arrived in New York. Van Ronk was not known as a songwriter, preferring to put his unique stamp on songs by other composers such as Reverend Gary Davis, Joni Mitchell and even Dylan himself. Although Van Ronk generally worked as a solo artist, he did record an album in 1967 with an electric band called the Hudson Dusters. Alongside the kinds of songs you might expect from someone like Van Ronk, the Hudson Dusters included tunes such as New Dreams, probably the most psychedelic track Van Ronk ever recorded.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    CD: More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito/Thielhelm
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mercury)
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:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Nashville Cats
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s):    John B. Sebastian
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    After the success of their debut LP, Do You Believe In Magic, The Lovin' Spoonful deliberately set out to make a followup album that sounded like it was recorded by several different bands, as a way of showcasing their versatility. With Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1966, they did just that. Songs on the album ranged from the folky Darlin' Be Home Soon to the rockin' psychedelic classic Summer In The City, with a liberal dose of what would come to be called country rock a few years later. The best example of the latter was Nashville Cats, a song that surprisingly went into the top 40 and became a staple of progressive FM radio in the early 70s.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Back On The Avenue
Source:    CD: Hey Joe
Writer(s):    The Leaves
Label:    One Way (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves were a group of college fraternity brothers from Los Angeles who decided to form their own band in the mid-1960s. As folk-rock was currently in vogue, this became the music they were most identified with, although their biggest hit, the fast version of Hey Joe, has long been considered a classic example of garage-rock. The group showed on their 1966 debut LP that they were also able to channel the Rolling Stones reasonably well, as Back On The Avenue, an "answer song" to the Stones' 2120 Michigan Avenue, aptly demonstrates.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    God Only Knows
Source:    CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Possibly the first time a deity appeared in the title of a pop song was the Beach Boys song God Only Knows on the Pet Sounds album. Both Brian and Carl Wilson were going through a spiritual phase and were in the habit of praying for guidance throughout the making of Pet Sounds. The song was released, along with Wouldn't It Be Nice, as a double A sided single a few weeks after the album came out, and both songs made the top 40, although Wouldn't It Be Nice was the bigger hit in the US. In the UK, where Beatle Paul McCartney was enthusiastic in his support of the tune, God Only Knows went all the way to the # 5 slot, considerably higher than in the US.

Artist:    We All Together
Title:    It's A Sin To Go Away
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Peru on LP: We All Together)
Writer(s):    Guerrero/Cornejo/Salom/Samame/Cornejo
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mag)
Year:    1970
    Although Lima, Peru is probably not the first place one thinks of as a hotbed of the psychedelic music scene, it was home to a group called We All Together that recorded two LPs for the Mag label. The first of these was a self-titled collection of covers of British rock tunes (i.e. Beatles), with a few originals, such as It's A Sin To Go Away, tossed in.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Country Girl
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second Crosby, Stills and Nash album, déjà vu, was enhanced by the addition of singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, along with drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves. The LP itself was printed on textured cardboard with gold offset lettering, giving the package a unique look. But it was the music itself that made the album one of the top sellers of 1970, with three singles going into the top 40. One of the non-single tracks was a song that could just as easily have appeared on a Neil Young solo album was Country Girl, which was actually a medley of two or three unfinished Young songs that had not yet been recorded.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source:    LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy is perhaps recognizable from a TV commercial from a few years back (don't ask me who the ad was for, as I tend to ignore such things). The song was originally the opening track from the 1965 album Kinda Kinks, which, like most British albums of the time, had a different song lineup on its US release than the original UK version. In this case, it also had entirely different cover art, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Touch
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tax/Splinter
Label:    Rhino (original label: Relax)
Year:    1966
    The Outsiders were formed in Holland in 1964 by vocalist Wally Tax and guitarist Ronald Splinter. Although most of the band members were only 15, they managed to get a four night a week gig at a local club, and by 1966 had become one of the top bands in the country. Touch was the fifth of many hit singles for the band, which split up in 1969.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Heart Full Of Soul
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, who was then a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and would later be a founding member of 10cc.

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