Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1344 (starts 10/30/13)

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Evil Ways
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Santana)
Writer(s):    Clarence Henry
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Evil Ways was originally released in 1968 by jazz percussionist Willie Bobo on an album of the same name. When Carlos Santana took his new band into the studio to record their first LP, they made the song their own, taking it into the top 10 in 1969.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    And She's Lonely
Source:    CD: One Step Beyond
Writer(s):    Loomis/Tolby
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1969
    The Chocolate Watchband went through more than its share of personnel changes over its short life, with a different lineup in place pretty much every time they walked into a recording studio. Interestingly enough, the lineup for their third and final LP, One Step Beyond, included several members that had, at one time or another, left the band, only to return by 1968. These included two of the founding members, vocalist Danny Phay and guitarist Ned Tormey (who had left the group before it got off the ground) as well as the group's original leader, Mark Loomis, who, along with drummer Gary Andrijasevich, had left after the band's first LP was released. As frontman Dave Aguilar had also left the group, it looked like the Watchband was history. However, the band still had a month's worth of gigs lined up, and so the remaining two members, guitarist Sean Tolby and bassist Bill Flores, recruited three new members to carry on the Watchband name until the fall of 1967. A year later Tolby and Flores got the word that producer Ed Cobb and Tower Records wanted to release a third Chocolate Watchband album, so the two of them brought the above-mentioned former members (but not Aguilar) back to record a far different sounding album than what had gone before. One major difference is that, unlike on the first two albums, which included several filler tracks by studio musicians, all the songs on One Step Beyond were performed by the band members themselves. Also, the album was made up mostly of original material, such as And She's Lonely, written by Loomis and Tolby. The album did not sell well, however, and the Watchband disbanded for a third time in 1970.

Artist:    Country Joe and the Fish
Title:    Section 43
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Country Joe and the Fish released their original mono version of an instrumental called Section 43. The song was included on a 7" EP inserted in an underground newspaper called Rag Baby. In 1967 the group recorded an expanded stereo version of Section 43 and included it on their debut LP for Vanguard Records, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. It was this arrangement of the piece that the group performed live at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June.

Artist:    Simon Dupree And The Big Sound
Title:    Kites
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road-1965-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pockriss/Hackaday
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Almost all of the British beat bands of the 1960s played R&B covers in their early days. Most, like the Animals and Rolling Stones, covered blues artists like John Lee Hooker or early rock and rollers like Chuck Berry. Simon Dupree And The Big Sound, however, saw themselves more as a "soul" band in the image of such American artists as Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. Led by the Shulman brothers (Derek, Ray and Phil), the band was formed in early 1966 and was soon signed to EMI's Parlophone label. After their first few singles failed to chart, the band's label and management convinced them to record the more psychedelic-sounding Kites. Although the band hated the record, it ended up being their only top 10 single in the UK, and after subsequent records went nowhere, the group, finally realizing that they were not destined to hit the big time as a blue-eyed soul band, disbanded in 1969. The Shulman brothers, however, did achieve success in the 1970s with their new band Gentle Giant, which was about as far removed from blue-eyed soul as you can get.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Desiree
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brown/Feher
Label:    Rhino (original label: Smash)
Year:    1967
    For a while it looked as if the Left Banke would emerge as one of the most important bands of the late 60s. They certainly got off to a good start, with back-to-back top 10 singles Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina. But then bandleader Michael Brown and Smash Records made a serious misstep, issuing a Brown solo effort called Ivy Ivy utilizing studio musicians and trying to pass it off as a Left Banke record. The other band members refused to go along with the charade and sent out letters to their fan club membership denouncing the single. The outraged fans, in turn, threatened to boycott any radio stations that played the single. Brown and the rest of the band, meanwhile, managed to patch things up enough to record a new single, Desiree, and released the song in late 1967. By then, however, radio stations were leary of playing anything with the words Left Banke on the label, and the song failed to chart, despite being an outstanding single. Brown left the Left Banke soon after.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    I Looked At You
Source:    Mono LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors album took about a week to make, and was made up of songs that the band had been performing live as the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in the summer of 1966, including the dance floor friendly I Looked At You. Unlike later Doors albums, which were mixed and released exclusively in stereo, the debut Doors album also had a unique monoraul version with different mixes that was deleted from the Elektra catalogue soon after its release. Like all the songs on the first few Doors albums, I Looked At You is credited to the entire band.

Artist:    John Hammond
Title:    Oh Yea!
Source:    LP: So Many Roads
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1965
    In the mid-1960s conventional record company wisdom (if that's not an oxymoron) stated that American audiences were not interested in the blues. Luckily, the owners of eclectic New York based labels such as Elektra and Vanguard felt differently, and were happy to record artists such as the Butterfield Blues Band and John Hammond, Jr. The fourth Hammond album, So Many Roads, released in early 1965, is notable for the lineup of Hammond's backup band, which included Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica), Michael Bloomfield (piano) and three guys that Hammond would recommend to Bob Dylan when he was putting together a touring band that summer: Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm. Most of the songs on So Many Roads are cover songs of R&B tunes such as the 1959 Bo Diddley B side Oh Yea!  A Shadows Of Knight version of Oh Yeah (same song, different spelling), made the top 40 in 1966.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Drive My Car
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965 (not released in US until 1966)
    Capitol Records repeatedly got the ire of the Beatles by omitting, adding and rearranging songs on the US versions of their albums, especially in 1966, when the band was starting to put considerable time and effort into presenting the songs as a coherent package. At the root of the problem were two facts: albums in the UK had longer running times than US albums, and thus more songs, and UK singles stayed in print longer than their US counterparts and were generally not included on albums at all. This resulted in albums like Yesterday and Today that didn't even have a British counterpart. Drive My Car, for example, was released in the US in 1966 on the Yesterday...And Today LP. It had appeared six months earlier in the UK as the opening track of the Rubber Soul album. Oddly enough, despite being one of the group's most recognizable songs, Drive My Car was never issued as a single.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Over, Under, Sideways, Down
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Raven
Year:    1966
    After scoring big with songs written by outside songwriters such as Graham Gouldman (For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul), the Yardbirds decided to try their hand at writing their own hit song. The result was Shapes Of Things, which went to the # 3 spot in the UK and just barely missed being a top 10 single in the US as well.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    3rd Stone From The Sun
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles Album (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for this classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced album. Many of the sounds heard on 3rd Stone From The Sun were made by superimposing a slowed down recording of the following conversation between Hendrix and producer Chas Chandler over the music:
    Hendrix :   Star fleet to scout ship, please give your position. Over.
    Chandler : I am in orbit around the third planet of star known as sun. Over.
    Hendrix :   May this be Earth? Over.
    Chandler : Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over.
    Hendrix :   I think we should take a look (Jimi then makes vocal spaceship noises).
    One of the more notable spoken lines that plays at normal speed on the recording, "To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again", was Hendrix's reaction to the news that famed surf guitarist Dick Dale had been diagnosed with a possible terminal case of colon cancer and was meant to encourage his friend's recovery. As heard on the 2007 album The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1966–1967, Hendrix's original overdub included two more sentences "That sounds like a lie to me. Come on, man; let's go home." that were not used on the final recording. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:     Eire Apparent
Title:     The Clown
Source:     CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Sunrise)
Writer:     Stewart
Label:     BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Buddah)
Year:     1969
     Eire Apparent was a band from Northern Ireland that got the attention of Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals in late 1967. Chandler had been managing Jimi Hendrix since he had discovered him playing in a club in New York a year before, bringing him back to England and introducing him to Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, who along with Hendrix would become the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite Eire Apparent having almost no recording experience, Chandler put them on the bill as the opening act for the touring Experience. This led to Hendrix producing the band's first and only album, Sunrise, in 1968, playing on at least three tracks, including, most obviously, The Clown.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Leland Mississippi Blues
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2009
    Johnny Winter had just released his first album for Columbia in 1969 when he was invited to play the Woodstock festival. Along with his band, which at that time included his brother Edgar on keyboards, future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, Winter played a set that included Leland Mississippi Blues, one of the three original compositions on his Columbia debut LP.

Artist:    Human Beingz
Title:    My Generation
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    BFD (original label: Elysian)
Year:    1966
    Regular listeners of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era are probably familiar with a song called Nobody But Me by the Human Beinz (it holds the record for the most iterations of the word no on a top 40 hit song). What most people aren't aware of, however, is the fact that the band had actually been spelling its name Human Beingz for over a year before signing with Capitol Records, who accidently left the 'g' out on the label of Nobody But Me in 1968. One of the earliest regional hits for the Youngstown, Ohio based Human Beingz was this cover of the Who's I Can't Explain, released on the local Elysian label in 1966.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Uni)
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints started off as an instrumental from Los Angeles band Thee Sixpence members Mark Weitz and Ed King, mostly because the band simply couldn't come up with any lyrics. Their producer decided to bring in professional songwriters John S. Carter and Tim Gilbert to finish the song, and ended up giving them full credit for it. This did not sit well with the band members. In fact, they hated the lyrics so much that they refused to sing them. Undaunted, the producer persuaded 16-year-old Greg Munford, a friend of the band who had accompanied them to the recording studio, to sing the lead vocals on the track, which was was then issued as the B side of the group's fourth single, The Birdman Of Alkatrash on the All-American label. Somewhere along the line a local DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) immediately signed the band (which by then had changed their name to the Strawberry Alarm Clock) issuing the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side. Naturally, the song went to the number one spot, becoming the band's only major hit.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Stormy Monday
Source:    LP: At Fillmore East
Writer(s):    T-Bone Walker
Label:    Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
Year:    1971
    After two decent but mostly under the radar studio albums, the Allman Brothers Band hit it big with their double live album At Fillmore East. Much of the album was made up of the band's take on blues standards such as T-Bone Walker's Stormy Monday, which features dueling guitar solos from Dicky Betts and Duane Allman as well as strong keyboard work and vocals from Duane's brother Gregg. This was my first exposure to the song itself, and is still my favorite version.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Wind
Source:    LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 there was a population explosion of teenage rock bands popping up in garages and basements all across the US, the majority of which were doing their best to emulate the grungy sound of their heroes, the Rolling Stones. The Stones themselves responded by ramping up the grunge factor to a previously unheard of degree with their last single of the year, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? It was the most feedback-laden record ever to make the top 40 at that point in time, and it inspired America's garage bands to buy even more powerful amps and crank up the volume (driving their parents to drink in the process).

Artist:     Mothers of Invention
Title:    Who Are The Brain Police
Source:     CD: Freak Out
Writer:     Frank Zappa
Label:     Ryko (original label: Verve)
Year:     1966
     In 1966, Los Angeles, with its variety of all-ages clubs along Sunset Strip, had one of the most active underground music scenes in rock history. One of the most underground of these bands was the Mothers of Invention, led by musical genius Frank Zappa. In 1966 Tom Wilson, who was already well known for producing Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Blues Project, brought the Mothers into the studio to record the landmark Freak Out album. To his credit he allowed the band total artistic freedom, jeopardizing his own job in the process (the album cost somewhere between $20,000-30,000 to produce). The second song the band recorded was Who Are The Brain Police, which reportedly prompted Wilson to get on the phone to M-G-M headquarters in New York, presumably to ask for more money.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Tangerine
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Jimmy Page
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The third Led Zeppelin album, released in 1970, saw the band expanding beyond its blues-rock roots into more acoustic territory. This was in large part because the band had, after an exhausting North American concert tour, decided to take a break, with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page renting an 18th century cottage in Wales that had no electricity. While there, the two composed most of the music that would become Led Zeppelin III. Once the music was written, the band reunited in a run-down mansion at Headley Grange to rehearse the new material, giving the entire project a more relaxed feel. Only one song on the album, Tangerine, is credited solely to Jimmy Page; as it turns out Tangerine would be the last original Led Zeppelin song that Plant did not write lyrics for (excepting instrumentals of course).

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Can't Find My Way Home
Source:    CD: Blind Faith
Writer:    Steve Winwood
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    Blind Faith was the result of some 1969 jam sessions in guitarist Eric Clapton's basement with keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, whose own band, Traffic, had disbanded earlier in the year. Drummer Ginger Baker, who had been Clapton's bandmate in Cream for the previous three years, showed up one day, and Winwood eventually convinced Clapton to form a band with the three of them and bassist Rick Grech. Clapton, however, did not want another Cream, and even before Blind Faith's only album was released was ready to move on to something that felt less like a supergroup. As a result, Winwood took more of a dominant role in Blind Faith, even to the point of including one track, Can't Find My Way Home, that was practically a Winwood solo piece. Blind Faith disbanded shortly after the album was released, with the various band members moving on to other projects. Winwood, who soon reformed Traffic, is still active as one of rock's elder statesmen, and still performs Can't Find My Way Home in his concert appearances.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Feelin' Alright
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    Although Traffic is generally known as an early underground rock band heard mostly on progressive FM stations in the US, the band had its share of hit singles in its native England as well. Many of these early hits were written by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who would leave the band in 1968, only to return for the live Welcome To The Canteen album before leaving again, this time for good. One of Mason's most memorable songs was Feelin' Alright, from Traffic's self-titled second LP. The song very quickly became a rock standard when Joe Cocker sped it up and made it his own signature song. Grand Funk Railroad slowed it back down and scored a hit with their version in 1971, and Mason himself got some airplay with a new solo recording of the song later in the decade. Even comedian John Belushi got into the act with his dead-on cover of Cocker's version of the song on the Saturday Night Live TV show.

Artist:    Penny Peeps
Title:    Model Village
Source:    Mono British import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Alexander
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
    Although the British psychedelic era was considerably shorter (only about two years long) than its American counterpart, there are a surprisingly large number of British psych-pop singles that were never issued in the US. Among those was a somewhat forgettable song called Little Man With A Stick, released in 1967 by a band called the Penny Peeps. The band took its name from the risque coin-fed viewers at Brighton Beach (apparently London's version of Coney Island). Emulating his American counterparts, producer Les Reed (who wrote Little Man), allowed the band itself to come up with its own B side. The result was Model Village, a track that manages to convey a classic garage-rock energy while remaining uniquely British.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     Evil Hoodoo
Source:     LP: The Seeds
Writer:     Saxon/Hooper
Label:     GNP Crescendo
Year:     1966
     With a title like Evil Hoodoo, one might expect a rather spooky track. Indeed, the song does start off that way, but soon moves into standard Seeds territory (as does most everything on the band's debut album). Luckily, Sky Saxon and company would turn out to be a bit more adventurous on their second LP.

Artist:    Creation
Title:    Making Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pickett/Phillips
Label:    Rhino (original label: Planet)
Year:    1966
    Formed in 1963, the Mark Four released four non-charting singles for three different labels before changing their name (and bass player) to the Creation in 1966. Working with producer Shel Talmy (known for his work with the Kinks and the Who), the group hit the charts with its first single, Making Time, which was written by band members Kenny Pickett and Eddie Phillips. The band did even better with a second single, but more personnel changes led to a dearth of chart success beyond the initial two releases. After several more attempts at making a hit record, the group disbanded in 1968.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and the rest is history.

Artist:    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Title:    Color Me Columbuth
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Guitarsville)
Year:    1966
    Not much is known about Monterey Park, California's Johnny Thompson Quintet. The group apparently only released two singles, the first of which was the punkish Color Me Columbus. Rather than come up with another song for the B side, one of the band members recorded a new vocal track doing what sounds like a Daffy Duck impersonation over the original instrumental track, titling it Color Me Columbuth. Strange stuff.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1343 (starts 10/23/13)

Artist:    Gentrys
Title:    Keep On Dancing
Source:    LP: The Gentrys (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jones/Love/Shann
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    It is a well known fact that in the mid-1960s, in order to have a decent chance to get played on the radio, a song had to have a running time of no longer than three and a half minutes. What is not as well known is the fact that there was also a minimum running time of about two minutes, with the average top 40 hit being somewhere between two and a half and three minutes long. This presented a problem for the Gentrys, whose Keep On Dancing, as originally recorded, ran a minute and a half. The solution was ingenious in its simplicity. Using two tape machines, the band simply added a repeat of the first minute to the end of the song, fading it out after about thirty seconds to make a final running time of slightly over two minutes. The song ended up being a huge hit for the band, and has appeared on several frat-rock and party-rock collections over the years.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     Psychodrama City
Source:     CD: Fifth Dimension (bonus track)
Writer:     David Crosby
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1966
     1966 was a pivotal year for the Byrds. Having lost their main songwriter, Gene Clark, both David Crosby and Jim McGuinn stepped up to provide original material for the band to record. Psychodrama City is really more of a studio jam with vocals added to it, but is interesting in that Crosby uses the opportunity to tell the story of why Clark had left the band (he had a fear of flying and had refused to board a plane to go on tour).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    She's So Fine
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Noel Redding
Label:    Legacy
Year:    1967
    When Jimi Hendrix met Noel Redding at a jam session, the latter was playing guitar. Hendrix, however, convinced him to switch to bass when he invited him to become part of his new band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Although Redding thrived in his new role, he always retained ambitions of writing and playing his own songs, which he would eventually get the chance to do with a band called Fat Mattress. In the meantime, however, he did manage to get a pair of his own songs recorded by the Experience. The first of these was She's So Fine, which was included on the Axis: Bold As Love album. Hendrix of course provided the lead guitar parts on the song, which was sung by Redding. Hendrix also co-produced the song, giving him his first taste of producing a song not written by himself. Hendrix would eventually expand on this concept, producing or co-producing the debut albums of two bands that toured with the Experience in 1969, Eire Apparent and Cat Mother And The All Night Newsboys (and providing some guitar work for the former).

Artist:    Fifty Foot Hose
Title:    Fantasy
Source:    LP: Cauldron
Writer(s):    David Blossom
Label:    Limelight
Year:    1968
    Although Fifty Foot Hose was not a commercial success in 1968, they are now highly regarded as pioneers of electronic music. The group's core members were the husband and wife team of David and Nancy Blossom (on guitar and vocals respectively) and Cork Marcheschi, who provided various electronic effects. Marcheschi actually created the devices he used with the group, being as much an inventor/engineer as a musician (perhaps even more). David Blossom, on the other hand, was the band's primary songwriter, creating pieces such as Fantasy, which at over ten minutes was the longest track on the group's only album, Cauldron.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Funk #48
Source:    LP: The Best Of The James Gang (originally released on LP: Yer' Album)
Writer(s):    Walsh/Fox/Kriss
Label:    ABC (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    Cleveland's James Gang was one of the original power trios of the seventies. Although generally known as the starting place of Joe Walsh, the band was actually led by Jim Fox, one of the most underrated drummers in the history of rock. Fox, who was the only member to stay with the group through its many personnel changes over the years, sings lead on Funk # 48 from the band's debut album on ABC's Bluesway label. Yer Album, incidentally, was the only rock LP ever issued on Bluesway, a label better known for recordings by B.B. King such as Lucille and The Thrill Is Gone.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Steve's Song
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Steve Katz
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    The members of the Blues Project came from a variety of backgrounds, including jazz, rock, classical and of course, blues. Guitarist Steve Katz had the strongest connection to the Greenwich Village folk scene and was the lead vocalist on the Project's recording of Donovan's Catch The Wind on their first LP. For their second album Katz wrote his own song, entitled simply Steve's Song. The tune starts with a very old-English style repeated motif that gets increasing complicated as it repeats itself before segueing into a more conventional mode with Katz on the lead vocal. Katz would write and sing simlarly-styled tunes, such as Sometimes In Winter, as a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Artist:    Wilson Pickett
Title:    Stagger Lee
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Logan/Price
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1967
    In the early 1990s I spent a few months working at a small-town AM station in North Carolina that was owned by a guy who was into something called 'beach music". For those of you unfamiliar with Carolina culture, beach music has absolutely nothing to do with the Beach Boys or any other surf bands. Rather, beach music is a continuation of the kind of mainstream soul music that made Motown a hit factory in the mid-1960s. The station's owner had just put a new FM station on the air and had pretty much swiped the entire format of his AM station (including the emphasis on current light mainstream hits with a liberal dose of beach music) for his new venture. This left the older station in need of something to give it a sound of its own. My idea was to dispense with current music altogether and make it into an oldies station. I soon discovered, however, that the station's owner had some pretty strange ideas about certain musical genres. The one thing I remember in particular was his objection to Wilson Pickett, one of the icons of 60s southern soul music. As far as this guy was concerned, Pickett's music was not soul music at all; it was, rather, rock music, and he didn't want any hard rock played on his station. With that in mind we have Wilson Pickett's version of Stagger Lee, a song that had been originally recorded by Lloyd Price. Ironically, Price's original version is now considered a beach music classic by the Myrtle Beach crowd.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    There Is A Mountain
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    1967 was a year that saw Donovan continue to shed the "folk singer" image, forcing the media to look for a new term to describe someone like him. As you may have already guessed, that term was "singer-songwriter." On There Is A Mountain, a hit single from 1967, Donovan applies Eastern philosophy and tonality to pop music, with the result being one of those songs that sticks in your head for days.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    It's All Meat
Source:    LP: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    More than just about any other British invasion band, the Animals identified strongly with US Rhythm and Blues artists like John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles; all of their albums were filled with R&B covers, even as late as 1966, when other British bands were recording almost nothing but songs they wrote themselves. After the original group disbanded in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon set about forming a new version of the Animals. This new band, which came to be known as Eric Burdon And The Animals, shifted the emphasis to original compositions. Much of their original material, however, still had a strong connection to black American culture, especially in Burdon's lyrics on songs such as It's All Meat from the 1967 Winds Of Change album. Burdon would continue to move in this direction, culminating in an album called The Black Man's Burdon with a band called War.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Two Heads (alternate version)
Source:     CD: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:     1967
     The third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, saw the group moving in increasingly experimental directions, as Grace Slick's two contributions to the LP attest. The more accessible of the two was Two Heads, which was the first part of the fifth "suite" on the album. This alternate version of Two Heads was recorded two days earlier than the take used on the album itself.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    Priority (original label: Pye)
Year:    1967
    The band with the most charted singles in the UK is not the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. It is, in fact, Status Quo, quite possibly the nearest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap. Except for Pictures of Matchstick Men, the group has never had a hit in the US. On the other hand, they remain popular in Scandanavia, playing to sellout crowds on a regular basis (yes, they are still together).

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The LP version of the Vanilla Fudge's cover of the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On ran something like 6-7 minutes. For single release the song was cut down considerably, clocking in at around three minutes. It was also available only in mono, which is how Rhino chose to present it when they released thier first Nuggets series (not to be confused with Lenny Kaye's original collection from 1972) in the early 1980s.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Viola Lee Blues
Source:    CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Noah Lewis
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1967
    The Grateful Dead established a reputation over the years for playing long extended jams. The first of these to be released on vinyl was "Viola Lee Blues", clocking in at about 10 minutes. Compared to some of the later performances of "Dark Star" or "St. Stephen", ten minutes does not seem very long, but the track does show flashes of the interplay between band members that would become the stuff of legends.
Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Blood Of The Sun
Source:    CD: Woodstock 2
Writer(s):    West/Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    There are conflicting stories concerning this recording of Mountain's Blood Of The Sun. The producers of the anniversary edition of the Woodstock 2 album insist that it was indeed recorded at the legendary rock festival in the summer of 1969. The four-disc Rhino Records collection Back To Yasgur's Farm, however, contains a noticably different recording that, according to that collection's compilers was the actual Woodstock performance of the song. The liner notes for that collection go on to say that the performance used on Woodstock 2 was actually recorded somewhere else and used at the band's insistence rather than the actual Woodstock performance. As this version, which has a slightly slower tempo, giving it a "heavier" feel, is technically a stronger performance of the song, this second story is probably closer to the truth.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Let's Go Away For Awhile
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    After spending six months and a record amount of money making Good Vibrations, Brian Wilson and Capitol Records decided to use an existing track for the B side of the single rather than take the time to record something new. The chosen track was Let's Go Away For Awhile, a tune from the Pet Sounds album that Wilson described as the most satisfying instrumental piece he had ever written.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    We're Going Wrong
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Even Ginger Baker set aside his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Sunshine Day
Source:    Mono British import CD: Spirit Of Joy
Writer(s):    Mick Abrahams
Label:    Polydor (original label: MGM)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull was formed when half the membership of a band called the John Evan Smash decided to call it quits, leaving vocalist Ian Anderson and bassist Glen Cornick looking for two new members. Since one of the departing members was John Evan himself, a new name was also called for. After recruiting guitarist Mick Abrahams and drummer Clive Bunker, the group played a series of gigs under the name Bag Of Blues. Somewhere along the way the band changed its name to Jethro Tull, releasing their first single on the British version of MGM records in early 1968. In addition to the fact that it was the only Tull record ever released on MGM, there are two other oddities about Sunshine Day. The first is that, unlike all future singles and nearly every album track everrecorded by the band, the song was not written by Ian Anderson; Abrahams was the songwriter of record for that first single. The second, and even odder oddity about that record is that the band name on the label was Jethro Toe. No wonder they changed labels.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let It Bleed
Source:    LP: More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) (originally released on LP: Let It Bleed)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    Probably more than any other British Invasion band, the Rolling Stones incorporated elements of American country music into their sound, going all the way back to one of their first releases, a cover of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. Although this country sound was for the most part abandoned during their psychedelic period, it returned with a vengeance with their 1968 album Beggar's Banquet with songs like Dear Doctor and No Expectations. Their next album, Let It Bleed, was even more country sounding, from a countrified version of Honky Tonk Women called Country Honk to the title track of the album itself. In most respects, however, the song Let It Bleed was pure Stones, right down to the suggestive lyrics.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    In Another Land
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    In Another Land was the first Rolling Stones song written and sung by bassist Bill Wyman, and was even released in the UK as a Wyman single. The song originally appeared on the Stones' most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, in late 1967.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Last Time
Source:    LP: More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Out Of Our Heads)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1965
    Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.

Artist:    Birds
Title:    No Good Without You
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    William Stevenson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    Although they only released four singles from 1964-66 (the third of which being No Good Without You), the Birds were among the better UK bands not to get attention outside of their native land. Formed in 1963, the band was first known as the R&B Bohemians and then the Thunderbirds before shortening their name to the Birds. When the US Byrds came along, the Birds actually tried to sue them for using their name. What the group is probably best known for, however, is launching the career of guitarist Ron Wood, who would later join the Faces and is currently a member of some obscure British rock and roll band.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Tower/Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the Chocolate Watchband's debut album, No Way Out. Although Psychedelic Trip is credited to the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was this group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Who
Title:    Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
Source:    Mono CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Townshend/Daltry
Label:    MCA (original label: Brunswick)
Year:    1965
    One of the earliest singles from the Who, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, [Wow! That's a lot of commas] is the only known songwriting collaboration between guitarist Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey. According to Townshend, he wrote the first verse himself and Daltrey helped with the rest. The song was released on Britain's Brunswick label in 1965.

Artist:    Monks
Title:    Complication
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Burger/Spangler/Havlicek/Johnston/Shaw
Label:    Rhino (original label: Polydor)
Year:    1966
    In 1964 a group of American GIs stationed in Germany decided to get together and form a rock band. After their respective tours of duty ended they decided to stay in the country and in 1966 recorded this single for Polydor. Knowing that a large segment of their audience had a rudimentary grasp of English at best, they deliberately crafted a tune that would be easy to comprehend with clear, almost chanted lyrics. To take the chanting concept a step further they all had square patches shaved off the top of their heads and dressed in brown robes. After thinking about it for a couple days I think I've finally figured out who these guys remind me of: early AC/DC, especially Bon Scott's vocals. Compare this to Jailbreak. You'll hear what I mean.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Omaha
Source:    Mono LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    South End Incident (I'm Afraid)
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    The Beacon Street Union's South End Incident (I'm Afraid) was reportedly based on a real incident. According to the story, bassist Wayne Ulaky witnessed a mugging in one of Boston's seedier neighborhoods and spent the rest of that evening looking over his shoulder, worried that the muggers might have seen him. He then wrote a song about it that got recorded by the band and released on their debut LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Mrs. Robinson
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
    A shortened version of Mrs. Robinson first appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Graduate in 1967, but it wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Unhappy Girl
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played on the jukebox at a neighborhood gasthaus known as the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base (which is where I was spending most of my evenings that autumn).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1342 (starts 10/16/13)

Artist:    Henry Mancini
Title:    The Pink Panther Theme
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Henry Mancini
Label:    RCA
Year:    1964 (LP version released 1963)
    In one sense, Henry Mancini was a bit of an anachronism, as a writer of heavily orchestrated, melodic pop songs in the Cole Porter tradition at a time when rock and roll was king. Despite this, Mancini was responsible for creating some of the best-known music of the time, including the oft-covered theme from the TV show Peter Gunn. His most enduring piece, however, has to be the Pink Panther Theme, from the movie (and later a series of theatrical cartoons) of the same name. Although the full stereo version of the song featured on the original 1963 soundtrack album is close to four minutes long, it was this 2 1/2 minute mono version that was heard on nearly every radio station in the world in 1964.

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 (KLZ-FM Denver) I was listening to jumped right on it.

Artist:    Rising Sons
Title:    By And By (Poor Me)
Source:    CD: The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder
Writer(s):    Charley Hutton
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1992
    Although they were, for a short time in 1966, one of the most talked about bands on L.A.'s Sunset Strip, the Rising Sons were never able to translate that into a successful recording career. This is attributable in part to the fact that there had never been a band like the Rising Sons (at least on the West Coast), and the people at Columbia Records just didn't have a clue what to do with them. For one thing, the group itself was conceived on the East Coast, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when a young folk-blues performer by the name of Taj Mahal met up with 12-string guitarist Jesse Lee Kincaid. Kincaid was himself a transplant from the West Coast, having moved east to learn what he could from the Reverend Gary Davis. Mahal soon convinced Kincaid to return to L.A. in order to hook up with Mahal's teenaged friend Ryland Cooder. Both Kincaid and Cooder had studied under Kincaid's uncle Fred Gerlach, and it wasn't look before the three of them decided to form a band together. With the addition of bassist Gary Marker and drummer Ed Cassidy, both of whom had experience in jazz bands, the lineup was complete. Cassidy was soon replaced by Kevin Kelley, who had more of a rock orientation, and the band found itself signing with Columbia in 1965. Columbia assigned Terry Melcher (who was also working with Paul Revere and the Raiders) to produce the band, but Melcher was not able to find a way to achieve a cohesive sound from such a varied group of musicians, and the recordings, including a tasty version of blues legend Charley Hutton's Poor Me, retitled By And By, remained unreleased until 1992.

Artist:    Leathercoated Minds
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released on LP: Trip Down The Sunset Strip)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Year:    1967
    Roger and Terrye Tillison released their first single, Ain't It Hard, as the Gypsy Trips in 1965. Although the song wasn't a hit, it was covered by the Electric Prunes as their first single the following year. In 1967 the Tillisons teamed up with producer J.J. Cale for an album called Trip Down The Sunset Strip on the Viva label, credited to Leathercoated Minds. It was, as far as is known, the beginning of a long recording career for Cale, who had even greater success as the writer of such rock classics as After Midnight and Cocaine, both recorded by Eric Clapton, and has been credited as the creator of the "Tulsa Sound". Roger Tillison released a solo LP in 1970 with producer Jesse Ed Davis. Oddly enough, most of the tracks on Trip Down The Sunset Strip were somewhat bizarre covers of garage rock classics like Count Five's Psychotic Reaction, despite both Tillison and Cale being talented songwriters in their own right.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    My Best Friend
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer:    Skip Spence
Label:    RCA
Year:    1967
    Although drummer Skip Spence had left Jefferson Airplane after the group's first LP, he did leave a song behind. My Best Friend was actually released as a single before Somebody To Love, making it the first single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album (it peaked at #103). Spence, meanwhile, was about to make a big splash as a founding member of Moby Grape.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Tangerine Puppet
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Pye History Of Pop Music Vol. 2-Donovan (originally released on LP: Catch The Wind)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Pye (original US label: Hickory)
Year:    1965
    Considering his later stature as an artist, it's hard to imagine Donovan as a strictly regional success, yet his earliest albums for Pye generated very little interest beyond his native Scotland. Athough his first LP, What's Bid Did And What's Bin Hid, was released in the US (on the second-tier Hickory label), it was retitled Catch The Wind, and did not sell particularly well. In fact, many of the tracks on the album, such as the instrumental Tangerine Puppet, got greater circulation several years later on anthology albums such as The Pye History Of Pop Music Vol. 2-Donovan, which was released in the early 1980s.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Sunny Afternoon
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    My family got its first real stereo (a GE console model with a reel-to-reel recorder instead of a turntable) just in time for me to catch the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album with the original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Sadly, Brian Jones was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    Donkey Rides, A Penny A Glass
Source:    CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Marriott/Lane/McLagan
Label:    Charly (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1968
    London's East End has always had a bit of an unsavory reputation, and in addition was the hardest hit area when the city was bombed during World War II. It was natural, then, that the East End's own local pop stars were just a bit rowdier than some of their counterparts. The most popular band to emerge from the area was the Small Faces, so named because every member of the group was vertically challenged. The group first hit the UK top 40 charts in 1966, and scored a huge international hit the following year with Itchycoo Park. Although they never equalled the success of that record with subsequent releases outside of the UK, they did continue to pack in the crowds locally, and generated an audience excitement equal to that of the Beatles themselves in terms of raw screaming fans (in fact, this was a factor in lead vocalist Steve Marriot's decision to leave the band and form Humble Pie in 1969). The Small Faces also continued to crank out hit records in their native land, as well as quality B sides such as Donkey Rides, A Penny A Glass, which was on the flip of The Universal in 1968. After the departure of Marriot, the band drifted for a while before hooking up with Ron Wood and Rod Stewart, shortening their name to Faces, as both new members were too tall to carry on with the band's original image.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Shine On Brightly
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    Although it was never released as a single, the title track of Procol Harum's second album, Shine On Brightly, is probably their most commercially viable song on the album. Opening with power chords from organist Matthew Fischer and augmented by guitarist Robin Trower, the song quickly moves into psychedelic territory with some of Keith Reid's trippiest lyrics ever, including the refrain "my befuddled brain shines on brightly, quite insane." One of their best tracks ever.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Quiet Jungle
Title:    Everything
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mark Taylor
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Yorkshire)
Year:    1967
    Musically speaking, 1967 was a busy year in the US, with the Summer of Love in San Francisco, the aftermath of the Sunset Strip crackdowns on teenagers in Los Angeles, Andy Warhol's unveiling of the Velvet Underground in New York, and of course, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band casting its shadow over everything. It's easy to see, then, how happenings in neighboring Canada pretty much went under the radar, with bands like the Guess Who cranking out hit after hit without getting any attention whatsoever south of the border. That all changed in 1969 for that band, but other groups, such as Toronto's Quiet Jungle, were never successful outside of Canada itself. That did not stop Yorkshire Records from putting out plenty of singles, however, including Everything, a 1967 tune from the aforementioned Quiet Jungle.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Valleys Of Neptune
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2010
    Even before the breakup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1969, Hendrix was starting to work with other musicians, including keyboardist Steve Winwood and wind player Chris Wood from Traffic, bassist Jack Casidy from Jefferson Airplane and Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles among others. Still, he kept showing a tendency to return to the power trio configuration, first with Band of Gypsys, with Miles and bassist Billy Cox and, in 1970, a new trio that was sometimes referred to as the "new" Jimi Hendrix Experience. This trio, featuring Cox along with original Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, recorded extensively in the months leading up to Hendrix's death, leaving behind hours of tapes in various stages of completion. Among those recordings was a piece called Valleys Of Neptune that was finally released, both as a single and as the title track of a new CD, in 2010.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.
Artist:    Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
Title:    Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Stevenson/Long/Marascalco/Blackwell
Label:    Eric (original label: DynaVoice)
Year:    1966
    When it came down to old-fashioned get-out-on-the-dance-floor blue-collar rock 'n' roll, there was no local scene that could match the Detroit scene, and the unquestioned kings of Detroit rock 'n' roll in 1966 were Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Ryder's boys cranked out hit after hit, many of which made the national charts, including Little Latin Lupe Lu, Sock It To Me-Baby!, and their biggest hit of all: Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly. Rock on!

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: The Times They Are A-Changin')
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1964
    I vaguely remember seeing a movie back in the 80s (I think it may have been called The Wanderers) about a late-50s gang from an Italian-American neighborhood somewhere in New York City. I really don't remember much about the plot of the film, but I do remember a bit near the end, where the main character walks down a street in Greenwich Village and hears the sound of Bob Dylan coming from a coffee house singing The Times They Are A-Changin'. I've often thought of that scene and how it symbolized the shift from the conformist culture of the late 50s (represented by the peer pressure-driven gang life) giving way to the turbulence that would characterize the 1960s.

Artist:    Primitives
Title:    You Said
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Geoff Tindall
Label:    Rhino (original label: Pye)
Year:    1964
    The Corn Flakes were formed in Oxford, England, but did not get much attention until they changed their name to the highly appropriate Primitives in 1964. Sounding like a cross between the Rolling Stones and The Who, the Primitives were able to garner several TV and magazine appearances based on their image alone. As can be heard on their second single, You Said, the band sounded a bit like a cross between the Who and the Rolling Stones. In 1966 the Primitives relocated to Italy, enjoying a much greater degree of chart success than they had been able to drum up in their own country.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Mr. Nobody
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Larry Tamblyn
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    The third Standells single of 1966, Why Pick On Me, was probably also their weakest, but it did sport a decent B side. Mr. Nobody, written by Larry Tamblyn (brother of Russ, I believe), is yet another example of why the Standells are sometimes considered the first punk rock band (though not by those with any real knowledge of the band's history).

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Let It Down
Source:    LP: All Things Must Pass
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol (original label: Apple)
Year:    1970
    Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney were both in the public eye following the breakup of the Beatles, it was George Harrison who beat both of them to the punch by releasing a solo album in 1970. The album, All Things Must Pass, was also historic in that it was the first triple-LP ever released by a single artist. Several tracks from the album got airplay on progressive FM radio in the US, including Beware of Darkness and Isn't It A Pity, while another track, My Sweet Lord, got extensive airplay on top 40 AM stations. One of the stronger tracks not to get a lot of airplay was Let It Down, which is also one of the heaviest tracks on the album.

Artist:    Flock
Title:    Clown
Source:    LP: The Flock
Writer:    The Flock
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    The Flock's 1969 debut album featured liner notes by British blues guru John Mayall, who called them the best band in America. Despite this stellar recommendation, the Flock (one of two bands with horn sections from the city of Chicago making their recording debut on Columbia Records in 1969) was unable to attract a large audience and disbanded after only two LPs. Violinist Jerry Goodman would go on to be a founding member of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Priority
Year:    1968
    Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.

Artist:    Capes Of Good Hopes
Title:    Lady Margaret
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Toops/Cory
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Round)
Year:    1966
    Unlike modern top 40 stations, which have almost identical playlists no matter where they are geographically located, 60s stations tended to spice up their playlists with local talent. Nowhere was this trend more noticable than in the Chicago area, where bands like the Buckinghams, SRC and the oddly-named Capes Of Good Hopes were able to hear themselves on the radio. In a few cases like the Capes' Lady Margaret, band members such as Dick Toops and Joel Cory could even tell their friends "I wrote that!"

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Little Olive
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    James Lowe
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Allowing a band to compose its own B side was a fairly common practice in the mid-1960s, as it saved the producer from having to pay for the rights to a composition by professional songwriters. As a result, many B sides were actually a better indication of what a band really was about, since most A sides were picked by the record's producer, rather than the band. Such is the case with Little Olive, a song written by the Electric Prunes' Jim Lowe and released as the B side of their debut single in 1966.

Artist:    Eddie Floyd
Title:    Knock On Wood
Source:    CD: Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 Vol. 6 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Floyd/Cropper
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Stax)
Year:    1966
    One of many great tracks to come from the Memphis, Tennessee studios of Stax Records in 1966 was Eddie Floyd's Knock On Wood. Like many Stax hits, the song was co-written by guitarist Steve Cropper, himself a member of first the Mar-Keys, then Booker T. and the MGs, and more recently the Blues Brothers Band.

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Hey Gyp
Source:     CD: Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released on US-only LP: Animalism)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1966
     Shortly before the original Animals disbanded in 1966, M-G-M Records collected several songs that had yet to be issued in the US and put out an album called Animalism (not to be confused with Animalisms, a UK album from earlier that year). One of the more outstanding tracks on that album was this cover of a Donovan tune that almost seems like it was written with Eric Burdon's voice in mind.

Artist:    Ballroom
Title:    Baby, Please Don't Go
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe Williams
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    This rather unusual arrangement of Joe Williams classic Baby, Please Don't Go was the creation of producer/vocalist Curt Boettcher. Boettcher had previously worked with the Association, co-writing their first hit Along Comes Mary. While working on the Ballroom project for Our Productions in 1966 he came to the attention of Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. Usher was so impressed with Boettcher's creativity in the studio that he convinced his own bosses at Columbia Records to buy out Boettcher's contract from Our Productions. As a result, much of Boettcher's Ballroom project became part of Usher's own Sagittarius project, with only Baby, Please Don't Go released under the Ballroom name. Boettcher turned out to be so prolific that it was sometimes said that the giant CBS on the side of the building stood for Curt Boettcher's Studios.

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 music 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:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Please Don't Worry
Source:    CD: Grand Funk
Writer(s):    Farner/Brewer
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Grand Funk Railroad bridged the gap from garage rock to heavy metal, almost single-handedly creating arena rock in the process. Their sound was as raw and unpolished as any garage band (at least at first) and the rock press universally detested them. Nonetheless, Mark Farner, Mel Schacher and Don Brewer struck a (power) chord with the concertgoing/record-buying public and was the first band to consistently play to sellout crowds at large-scale venues such as sports arenas. Grand Funk played loud; so loud, in fact, that it was impossible to hear anything but the band itself when they were playing (even your own screaming). Please Don't Worry, from Grand Funk Railroad's self-title second album (often referred to as the red album), is as typical an early Grand Funk song as you're going to find, with its driving power chords and screaming lead guitar solo and Mark Farner's distinctive barely-on-key vocals.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1341 (starts 10/09/13)

Artist:    Great! Society
Title:    Somebody To Love
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Conspicuous Only In Its Absence)
Writer(s):    Darby Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1968
    One of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era (and of the so-called San Francisco sound) is Somebody To Love, released by Jefferson Airplane in 1967 on their Surrealistic Pillow album. Somebody To Love was written by Darby Slick, guitarist for another San Francisco band, Great! Society. The Society had released the song, featuring Slick's sister-in-law Grace on lead vocals, as a single in early 1966 but was unable to get any local airplay for the record. In June the group played the Matrix, a club managed by Marty Balin, leader of Jefferson Airplane. The entire gig was recorded (probably by legendary Grateful Dead soundman Owsley Stanley, whose board recordings usually isolated the vocals in one channel and the instruments in the other to provide the band with a tape they could use to critique their own performance) and eventually released on an album called Conspicuous Only In Its Absence two years after Great! Society disbanded. Within a few weeks of this performance Grace Slick would leave the group to join Jefferson Airplane, taking the song with her. This whole set of circumstances can't help but raise the question of whether Balin was using the Society's gig at the Matrix as a kind of sideways audition for Slick.

Artist:    Them
Title:    I Happen To Love You
Source:    Mono LP: Now And Them
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    I Happen To Love You was first recorded by the Electric Prunes for their 1967 album Underground. The band wanted to release the Gerry Goffin/Carole King tune as a single, but producer David Hassinger instead chose to issue a novelty track, To The Highest Bidder. Unlike the Prunes version, which emphasized the King melody line, Them's version of I Happen To Love You was done in much the same style as their earlier recordings with Van Morrison. Kenny McDowell provided the lead vocal.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Watch Yourself
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Robert Yeazel
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing many of the songs on that album.

Artist:    Brass Buttons
Title:    Hell Will Take Care Of Her
Source:    Mono CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jay Copozzi
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1968
    Rochester, New York, was home to both guitarist Gene Cornish and a band called the Brass Buttons. Cornish, who had been born in Ottawa, Canada, left Rochester for New York City in the early 1960s, eventually co-founding the most successful blue-eyed soul band in history, the (Young) Rascals. By 1968 the Rascals had formed their own production company, Peace, and Cornish invited his friends from the Brass Buttons to record a pair of songs for Peace. The recordings, including a scathing breakup song called Hell Will Take Care Of Her, were released on Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary in 1968.

Artist:    Wet Paint
Title:    Glass Road
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wet Paint
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Onyx)
Year:    1968
    Although most of the bands recording in the state of Massachusetts used studios in Boston, there were some exceptions. One such case was a band called Wet Paint, who recorded at Eastern Sounds Recordings in Metheun. Eastern even had its own in-house record label, Onyx, which is where Glass Road was released in 1968.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    South California Purples
Source:    LP: Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Chicago never considered themselves a jazz-rock band, despite all the hype from the rock press and the publicity people at Columbia Records. Rather, the defined themselves as a rock band with a horn section. Songs like Robert Lamm's South California Purples, which is basically a blues progression, lend creedence to this view. The track, which showcases the guitar work of Terry Kath, was one of the most popular songs on the band's debut album and continued to be a concert staple until Kath's death in 1978.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    EMI/Parlophone
Year:    1967
    According to principal songwriter John Lennon, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was inspired by a turn of the century circus poster that the Beatles ran across while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Most of the lyrics refer to items on the poster itself, such as Henry the Horse and the Hendersons.

Artist:     Electric Prunes
Title:     Big City
Source:     CD: Underground
Writer:     J. Walsh/D. Walsh
Label:     Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The Electric Prunes were given more creative freedom on their second LP, Underground, than any of their other albums. Nonetheless, Underground did contain a few cover songs, one of which was the song Big City, which emphasizes the vocals more than most Prunes tunes.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Lost Sea Shanty
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Jerry Jeff Walker
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village by keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker. Although Bruno's compositions initially got the most airplay on progressive FM radio, it was Walker who ultimately went on to become a star as a solo artist. Lost Sea Shanty, from the first Circus Maximus album, may well be his first recorded work.

Artist:    Hearts And Flowers
Title:    Tin Angel (Will You Ever Come Down)
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Larry Murray
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Hearts and Flowers (featuring a pre-Eagles Bernie Leadon on lead guitar) is known as one of the pioneering country-rock bands, but in 1968 they recorded what could well be regarded as a lost psychedelic masterpiece. Producer Steve Venet reportedly had Sgt. Pepper in mind as he crafted out Larry Murray's Tin Angel over a period of weeks, paying attention to the minutest details of the recording process. The result speaks for itself.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Third Stone From The Sun
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for this classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced? album. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Lady Jane
Source:     British import LP: Aftermath (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1966
     One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated separately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8).

Artist:    Peter Fonda
Title:    November Night
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gram Parsons
Label:    Rhino (original label: Chisa)
Year:    1967   
    Once upon a time the son of actor Henry Fonda was hanging around the swimming pool with his friends Gram Parsons, Stewart Levine and Hugh Masakela and decided he wanted to be a rock star. Levine and Masakela had started their own record label, Chisa (based on a Zulu "exclamation"), and Parsons provided the song November Night for Fonda to record. Although the single did get released, it failed to make an impression with anyone, and young Fonda decided that instead of trying to be a singer he perhaps should follow in his father's footsteps and become an actor like his sister Jane had. It turned out to be the right career move, as Peter Fonda would become famous for the film Easy Rider just two years later.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Tripmaker
Source:    A Web Of Sound
Writer(s):    Tybalt/Hooper
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    For some strange reason whenever I hear the song Tripmaker from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound,     I am reminded of a track from the Smash Mouth album Astro Lounge. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which one came first.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Come On In
Source:    British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    It only cost a total of $150 for the Music Machine to record both sides of their debut single at RCA Studios in Los Angeles, thanks to the band having been performing the songs live for several months. The band then took the tapes to Original Sound, who issued Talk Talk and Come On In on their own label. Although Talk Talk was the obvious hit, more melodic songs like Come On In had perhaps a greater influence on later bands such as the Doors and Iron Butterfly.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Love Seems Doomed
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    Unlike most of the tracks on the Blues Magoos' 1966 Debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, Love Seems Doomed is a slow, moody piece with a message. Along with the Paul Revere and the Raiders hit Kicks from earlier that year, Love Seems Doomed is one of the first songs by a rock band to carry a decidedly anti-drug message. While Kicks warned of the addictive qualities of drugs (particularly the phenomenon of the need larger doses of a drug to achieve the same effect over time), Love Seems Doomed focused more on how addiction affects the user's relationships, particularly those of a romantic nature. Love Seems Doomed is also a more subtle song than Kicks, which tends to hit the listener over the head with its message.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Billy Roberts
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin, who had recently replaced founding member Bill Rinehart on lead guitar, came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    The Sky Cried/When I Was A Boy
Source:    LP: Renaissance
Writer:    Stein/Bogert
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    The first Vanilla Fudge, released in 1967, was filled with psychedelicized versions of established hits such as Cher's Bang Bang, the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby and of course, the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. For their second LP the group went with a concept album built around Sonny and Cher's The Beat Goes On. The group's third LP, Renaissance, finally revealed the band members' abilities as songwriters (although there were still a pair of cover songs on the album). The opening track on the album, The Sky Cried/When I Was A Boy, was written by bassist Tim Bogert and organist/vocalist Mark Stein.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Am I What I Was Or Am I What I Am
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (originally released on LP: Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Woods
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Shortly after the release of their debut LP in 1967, Traffic provided a pair of songs for the soundtrack of the film Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush. Although the title track was also released as a single and has appeared on at least one Traffic anthology CD, the other tune, Am I What I Was Or Am I What I Am, remained available only on the out-of-print original soundtrack LP for many years, and was not issued on CD until Island included it as a bonus track on both versions of the first Traffic album, which was released under the name Mr. Fantasy in its mono version and Heaven Is In Your Mind in stereo.

Artist:     Chambers Brothers
Title:     You Got The Power-To Turn Me On
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Willie Chambers
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1970
     The Chambers Brothers are one of the oddities of the psychedelic era. Formed in the fifties as a gospel group, the band slowly became more secularized over a period of time. This change led ultimately to their best-known song, Time Has Come Today, released in 1967 but not getting significant airplay until the following year. Time Has Come Today, however, was unlike any other song in their repertoire, which was much more funky in nature. You Got The Power-To Turn Me On, released as a B side in 1970, is a more typical example of the Chambers Brothers synthesis of psychedelic and funk, with a strong dose of blues thrown in for good measure.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Are You Ready
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Joseph Chambers
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    The Chambers Brothers departed from their usual psychedelic funk sound for their 1970 album New Generation, incorporating elements of gospel and southern soul similar to what had been going on a Stax Records in Memphis for the past few years. As the Chambers family had originally hailed from that part of the country, moving out to the west coast in the late 1950s, this is really not all that surprising. The group's new sound is well represented by the 1970 single Are You Ready, which bears no resemblance to the song of the same name by Pacific Gas And Electric released around the same time on the same label (or the Grand Funk Railroad song of the same name, for that matter).

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Can You Dig It
Source:    LP: Head
Writer(s):    Peter Tork
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    Peter Tork only received two solo writing credits for Monkees recordings. The first, and most familiar, was For Pete's Sake, which was released on the Headquarters album in 1967 and used as the closing theme for the second season of their TV series. The second Tork solo piece was the more experimental Can You Dig It used in the movie Head and included on the 1968 movie soundtrack album. Not long after Head was completed, Tork left the group, not to return until the 1980s, when MTV ran a Monkees TV series marathon, introducing the band to a whole new generation and prompting a reunion tour and album.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.)
Writer:    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    After making it a point to play their own instruments on their third LP, Headquarters, the Monkees decided to once again use studio musicians for their next album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD. The difference was that this time the studio musicians would be recording under the supervision of the Monkees themselves rather than Don Kirschner and the array of producers he had lined up for the first two Monkees LPs. The result was an album that many critics consider the group's best effort. The only single released from the album was Pleasant Valley Sunday, a song penned by the husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and backed by the band's remake of the Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart song Words, which had been recorded the previous year by the Leaves. Although both songs ended up making the charts, it was Pleasant Valley Sunday that got the most airplay and is considered by many to be Monkees' greatest achievement.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Head (opening sequence)
Source:    LP: Head soundtrack
Writer(s):    Goffin/King/Nesmith
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    After the cancellation of the Monkees' TV show in the spring of 1968, the group decided to try their hand at a full-length feature film. Rather than attempt to simply do a longer version of a TV show episode, as the Batman show had done, the Monkees decided to take an entirely different approach, combining short skits with musical numbers in a somewhat confusing montage. They brought in the then-unknown Jack Nicholson to write the script and included such notables as Frank Zappa in the film (as a critic). The movie itself was a flop. although in more recent years it has acquired cult status and was the inspiration for Michael Nesmith's own Elephant Parts, a one-hour production that was among the first works ever made specifically for home video (originally available in both tape and laserdisc formats). The opening segment of the soundtrack album includes a truncated version of the Gerry Goffin/Carole King penned Porpoise Song, as well as Michael Nesmith's Circle Sky and an odd bit of self-parody, along with some short excerpts from the film itself.