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)
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
Label: Sundazed (original label: Tower)
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
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
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road-1965-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
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
Source: Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Smash)
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.
Title: I Looked At You
Source: Mono LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
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
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.
Title: Drive My Car
Source: CD: Rubber Soul (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
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.
Title: Shapes Of Things
Source: Over, Under, Sideways, Down
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)
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)
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Buddah)
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
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)
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Uni)
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)
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
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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)
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
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s): Jimmy Page
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)
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.
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s): Dave Mason
Label: United Artists
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)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
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.
Title: Evil Hoodoo
Source: LP: The Seeds
Label: GNP Crescendo
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.
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Planet)
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
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)
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.