Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1335 (starts 8/29/13)

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mr. Spaceman
Source:    LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    Jim McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Both Jim (now Roger) McGuinn and David Crosby were science fiction fans, which became evident with the release of the Byrds' third album, Fifth Dimension. The third single released from that album, Mr. Spaceman, was in fact, a deliberate attempt to contact extra-terrestrials through the medium of AM radio. It was McGuinn's hope that ETs monitoring Earth's airwaves would hear the song and in some way respond to it, perhaps even contacting the band members themselves. Of course McGuinn didn't realize at the time that AM radio waves tend to disperse as they travel away from the Earth, making it unlikely that the signals would be picked up at all. Now if someone wants to upload this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era to a satellite...

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The People In Me
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1967
    After Talk Talk soared into the upper reaches of the US charts the Music Machine's management made a tactical error. Instead of promoting the follow-up single, The People In Me, to the largest possible audience, the band's manager gave exclusive air rights to a new station at the far end of the Los Angeles AM radio dial. As local bands like the Music Machine depended on airplay in L.A. as a necessary step to getting national exposure, the move proved disastrous. Without any airplay on influential stations such as KFI, The People In Me was unable to get any higher than the # 66 spot on the national charts. Even worse for the band, the big stations remembered the slight when subsequent singles by the Music Machine were released, and by mid-1967 the original lineup had disbanded.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Run Around
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane album was dominated by the songwriting of the band's founder, Marty Balin, both as a solo writer and as a collaborator with other band members. Run Around, from Balin and rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner is fairly typical of the early Jefferson Airplane sound.

Artist:    4 Seasons
Title:    American Crucifixion Resurrection
Source:    LP: Genuine Imitation Life Gazette
Writer(s):    Gaudio/Holmes
Label:    Philips
Year:    1969
    The 4 Seasons had one of the most recognizable sounds on 60s top 40 radio, thanks in large part to the lead vocals of Frankie Valli, who managed to hit impossibly high notes with regularity. They also had one of the most successful runs of any vocal group in history, with hits like Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Rag Doll and Let's Hang On, among many others. In the mid 70s they had a resurgence with a pair of dance hits, Who Loves You and December 1963. In 1969, however, the band was not doing so well, with no major hits since Valli's solo hit Can't Take My Eyes Off You two years earlier. Looking to attract new listeners, the group released their most ambitious album, the Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. The cover was done in the style of an old-style newspaper, with various faux articles about various social goings on interspersed with disguised information about the songs themselves. Musically, the album covered a lot of new ground, including the deep psychedelia of American Crucifixion Resurrection, which at nearly seven minutes is the longest track the band ever released.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Magical Mystery Tour
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM EP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1967
    1967 had been a great year for the Beatles, starting with their double-sided hit single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and their late summer hit All You Need Is Love, with its worldwide TV debut (one of the few events of the time to utilize satellite technology). The next project, however, did not go over quite so well. It had been over two years since the group's last major movie (HELP!), and the band decided that their next film would be an exclusive for broadcast on BBC-TV. Unlike the previous two films, this new project would not follow traditional filmmaking procedures. Instead it would be a more experimental piece; a series of loosely related songs and comedy vignettes connected by a loose plot about a bus trip to the countryside. Magical Mystery Tour made its debut in early December of 1967 to overwhelmingly negative reaction by viewers and critics alike (partially because the film was shown in black and white on the tradition minded BBC-1 network; a later rebroadcast in color on BBC-2 went over much better). The songs used in the film, however, were quite popular. Since there were only six of them, far too few for a regular LP, it was decided to issue the album as a pair of 45 RPM EPs, complete with lyric sheets and booklet recounting the story from the film. The original EPs were available in both stereo and mono versions in Europe and the UK. In the US, where the six tunes were supplemented by the band's five remaining single sides from 1967 to create an LP, Magical Mystery Tour was only available in stereo. Although both the EP and LP versions have different song orders than the telefilm, all three open the same way, with the film's title song.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Strawberry Fields Forever
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    The first song recorded for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, Strawberry Fields Forever was instead issued as a single (along with Penny Lane) a few months before the album came out. The song went into the top 10, but was not released on an album until December of 1967, when it was included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM EP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Common practice in the UK in the 1960s was to avoid duplication between single releases and album tracks. This led to a unique situation for the Beatles and their British label, EMI/Parlophone, in December of 1967. The band had self-produced a new telefilm to be shown on BBC-TV called Magical Mystery Tour and wanted to make the songs from the film available to the record-buying public in time for Christmas. The problem was that there were only six songs in the one-hour telefilm, not nearly enough to fill an entire album. The solution was to release the songs on a pair of Extended Play 45 RPM records, along with several pages of song lyrics, illustrations and stills from the film itself. My own introduction to Magical Mystery Tour was a friend's German copy of the EPs, and when years later I had the opportunity to pick up a copy of the original UK version, I of course couldn't resist. That copy got totalled in a flood a few years back, but in 2012 I was finally able to locate another copy of the EP set, which is the source of this week's airing of the ultimate British psychedelic recording, I Am The Walrus.

Artist:    Mockingbirds
Title:    You Stole My Love
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1965
    After writing two consecutive hit songs for the Yardbirds (For Your Love and Heart Full Of Soul), you would think that the next record released by Graham Gouldman's own band would be a sure thing. That was not the case, however, for the Mockingbirds, who released You Stole My Love in October of 1965. The single, the third for the band, was co-produced by Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and features backup vocals by Julie Driscoll, who would become well-known as vocalist with Brian Augur's Trinity. Nonetheless, despite such a pedrigree the song failed to chart, and although Gouldman would continue to have success as a songwriter with songs for bands such as Herman's Hermits (Listen People, No Milk Today) and the Hollies (Look Through Any Window, Bus Stop), he would not find himself in a successful band until the 1970s, when he was an integral part of 10cc.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    High All The Time
Source:    LP: Mad River
Writer(s):    Lawrence Hammond
Label:    Sundazed/EMI (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    When Mad River's debut LP was released, the San Francisco rock press hailed it as "taking rock music as far as it could go." Indeed, songs like High All The Time certainly pushed the envelope in 1968, when bubble gum was king of top 40 radio and progressive FM stations were still in the process of finding an audience. One thing that helped was the band members' friendship with avant-garde poet Richard Brautigan, who pulled whatever strings he could to get attention for his favorite local band. Still, the time was not yet right for such a band as Mad River, who had quietly faded away by the early 1970s.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Berry Rides Again
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1968
    With almost all of the tracks on the Monster album having, er, monstrous length, Dunhill Records went back to Steppenwolf's debut album for the B side of the 1970 Monster single, which itself was severely edited. Berry Rides Again, as the title implies, is a tribute to rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry, and contains many of Berry's signature lyrics and guitar riffs.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    Ain't That So
Source:    Mono CD: Winds Of Change (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    Originally released in the UK as the B side to the 1967 single Good Times (which was itself a B side in the US), Ain't That So made its US debut in 1968, as the B side to the song Monterey (which was a US-only single). Like all the originals released by Eric Burdon and the Animals, writing credits on Ain't That So were shared by the entire band.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Frying Pan
Source:    LP: The Legendary A&M Sessions (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Don Van Vliet
Label:    A&M
Year:    1966
    Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) and His Magic Band made their recording debut in 1966 with a pair of singles for Herb Alpert's A&M label. At the time the Captain was known for his covers of early rock and roll and blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, and both A sides were typical of that sound. Although the B side of the second single, Frying Pan, was a Van Vliet original, it sounded far more like 50s blues than the avant-garde style that the Captain would become famous for.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Not Fade Away
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hardin/Petty
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    The Rolling Stones first top 5 hit in the UK was an updated version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. The Stones put a greater emphasis on the Bo Diddley beat than Holly did and ended up with their first charted single in the US as well, establishing the Rolling Stones as the Yang of the British Invasion to the Beatles' Ying. It was a role that fit the top band from the city they call "The Smoke" well.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Your Auntie Grizelda
Source:    CD: More Of The Monkees
Writer(s):    Hilderbrand/Keller
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    Despite being, in the words of bandmate Michael Nesmith, the best musician in the Monkees, Peter Tork had very little to do on the band's second LP, More of the Monkees. This was mostly because Don Kirschner, the music director for the Monkees project, did pretty much what he wanted with little regard for the wishes of the band members themselves. In fact, when More of the Monkees was released in January of 1967, the band members were unaware of the album's existence. Since Kirschner's policy was to use studio musicians exclusively for the instrumental parts, Tork was left with a few backup vocals and one track, Your Auntie Grizelda, that he sang lead on. The song was played for laughs, as Tork was generally portrayed as the goofy guy in the group on the Monkees TV show. This lack of respect would soon change, however, as a Tork composition would end up being used as the show's closing theme for the second and final season, and Tork himself would be featured playing a variety of instruments on subsequent Monkees records following Kirschner's dismissal.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Castaways
Title:    Liar Liar
Source:    CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donna/Craswell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Soma)
Year:    1965
    The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     Pipe Dream
Source:     Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer:     Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1967
     Pipe Dream, the Blues Magoos strong follow-up single to (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was handicapped by having an equally strong track, There's A Chance We Can Make It, on the other side of the record. As it was not Mercury's policy to push one side of a single over the other, stations were confused about which song to play. The result was that each tune got about an equal amount of airplay. With each song getting airplay on only half the available stations, neither tune was able to make a strong showing in the charts. This had the ripple effect of slowing down album sales of Electric Comic Book, which in turn hurt the careers of the members of the Blues Magoos.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    LP released 1967, single edit released 1968
    Time Has Come Today has one of the most complex histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Three For Love
Source:    Mono CD: Dark Sides (originally released on LP: Back Door Men)
Writer(s):    Joe Kelley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Shadows Of Knight moved way out of their garage/punk comfort zone for the song Three For Love, a folk-rock piece laden with harmony vocals. The tune, from the second LP, Back Door Men, is the only Shadows song I know of written by guitarist Joe Kelley. Kelley himself had started out as the band's bass player, but midway through sessions for the band's first LP, Gloria, it became obvious that he was a much better guitarist than Warren Rogers. As a result, the two traded roles, with Kelley handling all the leads on Back Door Men. Kelly, however, did not sing the lead vocals on Three For Love, despite being the song's composer. That task fell to rhythm guitarist Jerry McGeorge. It was his only credit as lead vocalist on the album.

Artist:    Move
Title:    (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    The most successful British band of the psychedelic era not to have a US hit was the Move, a band that featured Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, among other notables. The band was already well established in the UK by 1967, when their single Flowers In The Rain was picked to be the first record played on the new BBC Radio One. The B side of that record was the equally-catchy (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree. Both songs were written by Wood, although he only sang lead vocals on the B side.

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)
Writer(s):    Dylan/Danko
Label:    Polydor (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    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:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Seeds)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
    The Seeds originally released their biggest hit in late 1965 under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard. It wasn't until the song was re-released in 1966 under the more familiar title Pushin' Too Hard that it became a local L.A. hit, and it wasn't until spring of 1967 that the tune took off nationally. The timing was perfect for me, as the new FM station I was listening to jumped right on it.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Anji
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Davey Graham
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon wrote nearly all the material that he and Art Garfunkel recorded. One notable exception is Davey Graham's instrumental Anji, which Simon played as a solo acoustic piece on the Sounds Of Silence. The song immediately follows a Simon composition, Somewhere They Can't Find Me, that is built around a similar-sounding guitar riff, making Anji sound somewhat like an instrumental reprise of the first tune.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Changes
Source:    Great Grape
Writer(s):    Miller/Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    All of the members of Moby Grape were songwriters as well as performers. Most contributed songs individually, but one songwriting team did emerge early on. Guitarist Jerry Miller and drummer Don Stevenson formed a durable partnership that was responsible for many of the group's best tracks, including Changes from the band's 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Still Raining, Still Dreaming, from the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album Electric Ladyland, is the second half of a live studio recording featuring guest drummer Buddy Miles, who would later join Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox to form Band Of Gypsys. The recording also features Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on tenor sax and Larry Faucett on congas, as well as Experience member Noel Redding on bass.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    John And Julie
Source:    CD: Turtle Soup
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    Repertoire (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1969
    The Turtles were the only truly successful act in the history of White Whale Records. This created a love/hate relationship between the band and its label, with the band always wanting more creative freedom and the label wanting more hit records. This sometimes resulted in great records such as Elenore, but often led to even more problems. Things came to a head after the band's final album, Turtle Soup, produced by the Kinks' Ray Davies, failed to provide any top 40 hits (the highest charting single stalling out at # 51). The album did have some creative high points, however, such as the lavishly produced John And Julie. Nonetheless, rather than record another album for White Whale, the Turtles officially disbanded, with two of the core members, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, hooking up with the Mothers Of Invention, recording the classic Live At The Fillmore East album in 1970.

Artist:    Modern Folk Quintet
Title:    Night Time Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kooper/Levine
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1966
    The Modern Folk Quintet can be seen two ways: either as a group that constantly strived to be on the cutting edge or simply as fad followers. Starting off in the early 60s, the MFQ found themselves working with Phil Spector in the middle of the decade, complete with Spector's trademark "wall of sound" production techniques. When that didn't work out they signed with Lou Adler's Dunhill Records, cutting this track that sounds like a psychedelicized version of the Mamas and the Papas.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Hole In My Shoe
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Since the 1970s Traffic has been known as Steve Winwood's (and to a lesser degree, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood's) band, but in the early days the group's most popular songs were written and sung by co-founder Dave Mason. Hole In My Shoe was a single that received considerable airplay in the UK. As was common practice in the UK at the time, the song was not included on the band's debut album. In the US, however, both Hole In My Shoe and the other then-current Traffic single, Paper Sun, were added to the album, replacing (ironically) a couple of Mason's other tunes.

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