Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1340 (starts 10/2/13)

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Peter Perceival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky/Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source:     CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Tork/Goffin/King
Label:     Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:     1967
     The album version of Pleasant Valley Sunday differs from the single version in two ways. First, the mix is different, with the background vocals more prominent on the stereo album mix. Second, on the original LP Peter Tork's spoken piece Peter Perceival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky precedes the song on the album and is considered part of the same track (although the CD version assigns the two different track numbers). In honor of the original album I'm playing the entire combo. Besides, Tork's piece is fun to listen to and it only lasts 27 seconds.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth. And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was becoming a breakout hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Martha
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    One of the most commercially accessible tunes on the third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, was a Paul Kantner song called Martha. Based on a real character (a young heiress who liked to hang out at the band's house at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco), the song was even used in a promotional film shown on a Perry Como TV special. Nonetheless, the song was never promoted as a single; in fact it was relegated to the B side of another Kantner song, Watch Her Ride, that barely scratched the bottom of the top 40 charts. Of course, by then the Airplane did not need a top 40 hit, as they were already becoming one of the first successful album-oriented rock bands.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    You Don't Know
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer:    Powell St. John
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    One of the most legendary psychedelic rock bands was the 13th Floor Elevators, based in Austin, Texas. Led by guitarist/vocalist Roky Erickson and featuring Tommy Hall on electric jug, the Elevators were among the first bands to use the word psychedelic in the title of their debut LP The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators. Most of the songs on the album were originals written by Hall and Erickson, but Hall asked the legendary Austin songwriter Powell St. John (the former Beatnik who would soon move to San Francisco and co-found Mother Earth with Tracy Nelson) to write a few songs, such as You Don't Know, for the band as well.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Hungry (1990 stereo remix)
Source:    CD: The Legend Of Paul Revere (originally released on LP: Spirit Of '67)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to continuing their gig as the host band for Dick Clark's afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out four hit singles, three of which made the top 10. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who also had written the band's previous (and to that point biggest) hit, Kicks.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It, Black
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Aftermath)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    The 1966 Rolling Stones album Aftermath was the first to be made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The opening track of the LP, however, was not included on the British version of the album. That song, the iconic Paint It, Black, had already been released in the UK as a single, and would go on to become one of the Stones' defining recordings of the era.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit with Talk Talk in 1966.

Artist:    Graham Nash
Title:    Chicago/We Can Change The World
Source:    LP: Songs For Beginners
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although most of the songs on the 1971 live double Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young LP 4-Way Street had already appeared in studio form on various albums, there were a few exceptions: most notable among these was the Graham Nash song Chicago, which got extensive airplay on progressive FM radio stations. The studio version came out about a month after 4-Way Street was released, on the album Songs For Beginners, which banded the We Can Change The World portion of the song as a separate track.

Artist:    MC5
Title:    Looking At You
Source:    LP: Back In The USA
Writer(s):    MC5
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Probably the most political band of the psychedelic era was Detroit's MC5. Hailing from nearby Lincoln Park, the band was involved in various left-wing causes, and gained notoriety for being the only band to show up to play at the demonstrations at the park across the street from the 1968 Democratic convention, remaining onstage for several hours. Their second LP, Back In The USA, was their most slickly-produced of their three albums, and the band's own least favorite. Nonetheless, tracks like Looking At You are a direct predecessor of the punk-rock bands that would be staging a second British Invasion in the late 70s.

Artist:    Mar-Keys
Title:    Last Night
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mar-Keys
Label:    Satellite
Year:    1961
    The first major hit to come from Memphis's Stax Records was Last Night, an instrumental from the Mar-Keys that made the top 10 in 1961. The label was still called Satellite Records at the time, and the Mar-Keys themselves included future soul music impressario Isaac Hayes, as well as the entire membership of what would become Booker T. and the MGs.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    There's A Place
Source:    CD: Please Please Me
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1963
    After Please Please Me became a hit single in England, producer George Martin rushed the group back into the Abbey Road studios to record an entire album. Since the band hadn't really had the time to plan out an entire album it was decided to simply run through their usual set at the Cavern Club, recording most of the new album in one take. This resulted in an album that was made up of an even mix of cover songs and originals by John Lennon and Paul McCartney such as There's A Place. The album itself was called Please Please Me to take advantage of the popularity of the single. Starting with their next LP, With The Beatles, none of the band's subsequent UK singles were included on their UK albums.

Artist:    Danny Kalb
Title:    I'm Troubled
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology (originally released on compilation LP: The Blues Project)
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Polydor (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1964
    In 1964 Elektra Records, then a folk and blues label, decided to put together an album showcasing the various white blues musicians making a living in New York's Greenwich Village. Among the participants was a young singer/guitarist named Danny Kalb, who contributed two songs to the album. One of those two was his cover of the Muddy Waters tune I'm Troubled. A few months later Bob Dylan released his Highway 61 Revisited album using electric instruments, inspiring Kalb to start an electric blues band of his own. At first the band did not have a name, but eventually they decided to appropriate the name of the album that Kalb's first recordings had appeared on: The Blues Project.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    The Light
Title:    Back Up
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Anglin/Samson
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    The San Bernadino/Riverside area of southern California is probably better known to racing fans than to music afficionados, yet the area did have its share of local bands filling up various venues in the area in the late 60s. Among those bands was the Light, who released one single, Back Up, on the A&M label in 1967.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although some copies credit Janis Joplin as sole writer). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and a "dreamy" bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    EXP/Up From The Skies
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, is very much a studio creation. Hendrix had been taking a growing interest in what could be done with multiple tracks to work with, and came up with a masterpiece. What makes the achievement even more remarkable is the fact that he actually only had four tracks to work with (compared to the virtually unlimited number available with modern digital equipment). EXP, which opens the album, is an exercise in creative feedback bouncing from speaker to speaker. The intro to the piece is a faux interview of a slowed-down Hendrix (posing as his friend Paul Caruso) by bassist Noel Redding. The track leads directly into Up From The Skies, the only song on the album to be issued as a single in the US. Up From The Skies features Hendrix's extensive use of a wah-wah pedal, with vocals and guitar panning back and forth from speaker to speaker over the jazz-styled brushes of drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    It's My Pride
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Quality)
Year:    1967
    The Guess Who were formed in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as Chad Allen and the Reflections, changing their name to Chad Allen and the Expression in 1964. The group recorded a cover of a Johnny Kidd song, Shakin' All Over, in 1965. The record was not released under the band's actual name, however; in a bid to get more airplay for the song, the record was credited to "Guess Who?". This was during the peak of the British Invasion, and the producers hoped that DJs might assume it was some well-known British band and give the record a shot. Of course, such a thing could never happen these days, as commercial radio DJs are not allowed to choose what music to play. The ploy worked so well (the song was a hit in both the US and Canada) that the band decided to keep the name Guess Who, and continued to crank out hit after hit in their native Canada, although they would not hit the US charts again until 1969. In 1966 the group picked up a second vocalist, Burton Cummings, and within a few months founder Allen left the band, leaving Cummings as the group's front man. One of their more popular Canadian hits was It's My Pride, a song written by guitarist Randy Bachman and released as a single in 1967. Bachman would soon team up with Cummings to write a string of hits, including These Eyes and American Woman, before leaving the Guess Who in the early 70s to form his own band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Lazy Day
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Although known mostly for being pioneers of baroque-rock, the Left Banke showed that they could, on occassion, rock out with the best of them on tracks like Lazy Day, which closed out their debut LP. The song was also issued as the B side of their second hit, Pretty Ballerina. Incidentally, after the success of their first single, Walk Away Renee, the band formed their own publishing company for their original material, a practice that was fairly common then and now. Interestingly enough, they called that company Lazy Day Music.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Revelation (conclusion)
Source:     CD: Da Capo
Writer:     Lee/MacLean/Echols/Forsi
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip in the mid-1960s were the members of Love. Led by Arthur Lee, the band held down the position of house band at the Strip's most famous club, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, throughout 1966 and much of 1967, even as the club scene itself was being squeezed out of existence by restrictive new city ordinances. Love liked being the top dog in L.A., so much so that they decided to forego touring to promote their records in favor of maintaining their presence at the Whiskey. In the long run this cost them, as many of their contemporaries (including one band that Love itself had discovered and introduced to Elektra producer Paul Rothchild: the Doors) went on to greater fame while Love remained a cult band throughout their existence. One of the highlights of their stage performances was a 19-minute jam called Revelation, a piece originally called John Hooker that served to give each band member a chance to show off with a solo. Although the band had been playing Revelation throughout 1966 (inspiring the Rolling Stones to do a similar number on one of their own albums), they did not get around to recording a studio version of Revelation until 1967, prompting some critics to assume that Love had ripped off the Stones rather than the reverse. By that point they had added two new members, Tjay Cantrelli (sax) and Michael Stuart (drums), whose solos take up the last six minutes or so of the recorded version of the tune. The Harpsichord solo at the end of Revelation is played by "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who had switched from drums to keyboards when Stuart joined the group, and would soon leave the band completely.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Summer In The City
Source:    LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Sebastian/Boone
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful changed gears completely for what would become their biggest hit of 1966: Summer In The City. Inspired by a poem by John Sebastian's brother, the song was recorded for the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. That album was an attempt by the band to deliberately record in a variety of styles; in the case of Summer In The City, it was a rare foray into psychedelic rock for the band.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Sunny Afternoon
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    My family got its first real stereo (a GE AM/FM console with a reel-to-reel recorder instead a turntable that is still sitting in the living room at my mother's house) 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:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Gloria)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and (perhaps more importantly) a garage band standard.

Artist:     Who
Title:     Underture
Source:     CD: Tommy
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1969
    One of the great rock instrumentals was the Underture from Tommy. Some of the musical themes used in the piece had appeared on the previous album, The Who Sell Out, as part of the song Rael. Here those themes are fleshed out considerably.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Our Love Was
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who's late-1967 album, The Who Sell Out, is best known for its faux commercials and actual jingles lifted from the British pirate station Radio London. Hidden among the commercial hype, however, are some of the band's best tunes, including Our Love Was, a song that was one of the few LP tracks to be included on the Who's Magic Bus compilation album.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Cousin Kevin
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    John Entwhistle
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    Although most of the rock-opera Tommy was written by guitarist Pete Townshend, a few select tracks came from other sources. One such track was bassist John Entwhistle's composition Cousin Kevin, one of a series of songs about Tommy's growing-up years. Kevin is a bully who sees an easy target in his blind, deaf and mute cousin, and in the song muses about the various tortures he can inflict upon him.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Never
Source:    LP: Grape Jam
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    For their second album, Moby Grape decided to do something different. In addition to the LP Wow, there was a second disc called Grape Jam included at no extra charge. For the most part Grape Jam is exactly what you'd expect: a collection of after-hours jam sessions with guest guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bloomfield. The opening track of Grape Jam, however, is actually a composition by Bob Mosley. The song features Mosley on bass and vocals, Jerry Miller and Skip Spence and guitars and Don Stevenson on drums, all of whom were actual members of Moby Grape.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    None Of Your Doing
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer(s):    Mekler/Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Unlike some producers of rock bands, Gabriel Mekler was heavily involved with the making of all of Steppenwolf's albums, and was even credited as co-writer on several tracks, including None Of Your Doing, from the band's second LP. Mekler was a pianist by trade, and it is likely his playing that is heard on the opening bars of the track.

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