Source: Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: United World)
Although they are believed to be from San Antonio, Texas, Mammoth's only known record was actually recorded in Los Angeles and released on the United World label in 1970. Other than that, not much is known about the group that named their record after themselves (or possibly the other way around).
Artist: Acid Gallery
Title: Dance Around The Maypole
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): Roy Wood
Label: Rhino (original label: CBS)
Possibly the top British band to not have a hit in the US was the Move. The band was so popular that when BBC One signed on for the first time in 1967, the Move's current hit, Flowers In The Rain, was chosen to be the first song played on the station. The band, led by Roy Wood, produced many spinoff projects as well. One of these was called the Acid Gallery, which released a song called Dance Around The Maypole in 1969. Although Wood himself wrote the song and his voice is featured prominently in the mix, the rest of the Move was not included on the record. It is believed that the actual group was a band called the Epics, who would soon change their name to Christie and have a minor hit with the song Yellow River.
Artist: Otis Redding
Title: The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)
Source: 45 RPM single
One of the great tragedies in the history of American music was the plane crash that took the lives of Otis Redding and most of the Bar-Kays in early 1968. In the months following the crash, several "new" Otis Redding singles were released, including The Happy Song (Dum-Dum), co-written by guitarist Steve Cropper.
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question Of Temperature
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Laurie)
Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the New York based Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to greater notoriety as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.
Title: Why Pick On Me
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: Why Pick On Me/Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Ed Cobb was, in many ways, the Ed Wood of the late 60s record industry. Many of the bands who recorded under his guidance, such as LA.'s Standells, have become legends of garage rock. Wood wrote the first three singles released by the Standells, including their biggest hit, Dirty Water, and its follow-up, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. Why Pick On Me, the title track of the band's second LP, was the third single released by the band, although it did not chart as well as its predecessors.
Artist: Tim Hardin
Title: Misty Roses
Source: Mono LP: Tim Hardin
Writer(s): Tim Hardin
Label: Verve Folkways
One of the forerunners of the singer-songwriter movement of the early 70s was Tim Hardin, who was probably best known for writing If I Were a Carpenter, a hit for Bobby Darin on the pop charts and later for Johnny Cash and June Carter on the country charts. His debut album for Verve Folkways was released in 1966, and was filled with similar songs such as Misty Roses.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Go And Say Goodbye
Source: CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
After failing his audition for the Monkees, Stephen Stills met up with his former bandmate Neil Young, and, along with Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin formed the Buffalo Springfield in 1966. Their first single was a Young tune, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing, sung by Furay. The B side of that record, Stills's Go And Say Goodbye, is one of the first modern country-rock songs ever recorded.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: The Flute Thing
Source: LP: Projections
Writer(s): Al Kooper
Label: Verve Forecast
The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the group's first studio LP, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.
Title: One Track Mind
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Linda and Keith Colley
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
After successfully fooling many people into thinking that they were the Beatles recording under a different name with their 1965 hit Lies, the Los Angeles-based Knickerbockers went with a more R&B flavored rocker, One Track Mind, for their 1966 follow up single.
Artist: Sound Barrier
Title: (My) Baby's Gone
Source: Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Paul Hess
Label: BFD (original label: Zounds)
A couple weeks after the first time I played (My) Baby's Gone (in 2012), I got an e-mail from Paul Hess, leader and lead vocalist of Salem, Ohio's Sound Barrier. Hess confirmed that he indeed was the writer of the song in question, as well as the record's B side (I'm still waiting for him to send me a copy).
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Born Cross-Eyed
Source: CD: Anthem Of The Sun
Writer(s): The Grateful Dead
Label: Warner Brothers
After cranking out their first LP in a matter of days, San Francisco's Grateful Dead took a full six months to record, edit and mix the follow-up album, Anthem Of The Sun. Most of the tracks on the album run together and feature an experimental mix of live and studio material. The sole exception is Born Cross-Eyed, which has a running time of barely over two minutes. As near as I can tell, it is also the only actual studio track on the album. Although the song is credited to the entire band, Bob Weir's lyrics are rumoured to be autobiographical in nature.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.
Title: Doctor Doctor
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Magic Bus-The Who On Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): John Entwhistle
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Keeping an accurate chronology of recordings by the Who in their early years can be a bit difficult, mainly due to the difference in the ways songs were released in the US and the UK. Since the British policy was for songs released on 45 RPM vinyl not to be duplicated on LPs, several early Who songs were nearly impossible to find until being released on compilation albums several years after their original release. One such song is Doctor Doctor, a John Entwhistle tune released as the B side to their 1967 hit Pictures Of Lily. The single was released on both side of the Atlantic, but only received airplay in the UK, where it made the top 10. In the US the record failed to chart and was out of print almost as soon as it was released. The song was included on the early 70s LP, Magic Bus-The Who On Tour. However, that album has never been issued in the US on CD (although it is available in Canada). Finally, in 1993, Doctor Doctor was included as a bonus track on the CD version of the Who's second album, A Quick One.
Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Summertime Blues
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Vincebus Eruptum)
Label: Priority (original label: Philips)
European electronics giant Philips had its own record label in the 1960s. In the US, the label was distributed by Mercury Records, and was known primarily for a long string of hits by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 1968 the label surprised everyone by signing the loudest band in San Francisco, Blue Cheer. Their cover of the 50s Eddie Cochrane hit Summertime Blues was all over both the AM and FM airwaves that summer.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Grace Slick
Label: Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.
Title: Thoughts And Words
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Chris Hillman
In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.
Title: I Don't Want To Follow You
Source: Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Viva)
The Wailers could well be the most important band you think is another band entirely. Formed in Seattle in the late 1950s, they were the first rock band in history to form their own record label (Etiquette) and are usually thought of as the founders of the entire Seattle music scene as well. By the mid 60s the band had established itself up and down the entire West Coast, including San Francisco, where they often shared the bill with bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service. In 1967 they made a trip to L.A. to record a pair of sides for Snuff Garrett's Viva label, toning down their trademark feedback and distortion drenched sound considerably. The B side of that single, I Don't Want To Follow You, appears on the album Ain't It Hard, a collection of tracks originally released by Viva. And, no, Bob Marley was never of member of these Wailers.
Title: You Really Got Me
Source: Mono LP: You Really Got Me
Writer(s): Ray Davies
You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Love Or Confusion
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and the rhythm section dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. It's actually kind of fun to listen to with headphones on, as I did when I bought my first copy of the album on reel-to-reel tape (the tape deck was in the same room as the TV).
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: 2000 Light Years From Home
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more noticable than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) made the top 40 charts.
Artist: Cat Stevens
Title: Matthew And Son
Source: CD: The Very Best Of Cat Stevens (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Matthew And Son)
Writer: Cat Stevens
Label: A&M (original label: Deram)
Although best known as one of the top singer-songwriters of the early to mid-1970s, Cat Stevens actually began recording in 1967, and charted several hits in the UK before achieving international fame. One of the earliest was the title track to his first LP, Matthew And Son. Although the song was released in the US on the Deram label, it failed to chart.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Label: RCA Victor
Landlocked Boulder, Colorado would seem an unlikely place for a surf music band. Nonetheless, the Astonauts were just that, and a pretty successful one at that. That success, however, came from an equally unlikely place. After being together for about three years and having only one charted single in the US (Baja, which spent one week on the chart in 1963, peaking in the #94 spot), the band discovered that their records were doing quite well in Japan, where the mostly-instrumental Astronauts were actually outselling the Beach Boys. The group soon began touring extensively in the Far East and when all was said and done had released nine albums and a dozen singles over a period of less than 10 years. Razzamatazz is the instrumental B side to the Astronauts' 1965 recording of Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, a tune that would appear the next year on the first Monkees album (and on their TV show). Razzamatazz itself is basically the instrumental track for Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day with some harmonica added.
Title: Sweet Wine
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
When Cream was formed, both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had new music for the band to record (guitarist Eric Clapton having chosen to shut up and play his guitar for the most part). Most of these new songs, however, did not yet have words to go with the music. To remedy the situation, both musicians brought in outside lyricists. Baker chose poet Pete Brown, while Bruce chose to bring in his wife, Janet Godfrey. After a short time it became apparent that Bruce and Brown had a natural affinity for each other's material, and formed a partnership that would last years. Baker, meanwhile, tried working with Godfrey, but the two only came up with one song together, Sweet Wine, which was included on the band's debut LP, Fresh Cream.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Source: CD: Cheap Thrills
Janis Joplin, on the 1968 Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, sounds like she was born to sing Gershwin's Summertime. Maybe she was.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Violent Rose
Source: 45 RPM single B side
By 1969 the original lineup of the Electric Prunes was a distant memory. The band's name, however, was still in use, thanks to the fine print on the original contract that gave the ownership of the name Electric Prunes to producer Dave Hassinger. A Canadian band called the Collectors was brought in to help with the group's third LP, Mass In F Minor, when it became clear that the complex David Axelrod score was beyond the abilities of the original Prunes (only one of which could read music), but even that group had moved on (to become Chilliwack) by the time Violent Rose was released as a single. One of the more notable musicians appearing on Violent Rose is guitarist Ron Morgan, who by then had severed ties with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Brave New World
Source: LP: Homer soundtrack (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
Writer(s): Steve Miller
Label: Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
It took the Steve Miller Band half a dozen albums (plus appearances on a couple of movie soundtracks) to achieve star status in the early 1970s. Along the way they developed a cult following that added new members with each successive album. The fourth Miller album was Brave New World, the title track of which was used in the film Homer, a 1970 film that is better remembered for its soundtrack than for the film itself.
Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Made Up My Mind
Source: CD: A Step Further
Writer: Chris Youlden
To coincide with a US tour, the fourth Savoy Brown album, A Step Further, was actually released in North America several months before it was in the UK, with Made Up My Mind being simultaneously released as a single. Luckily for the band, 1969 was a year that continued the industry-wide trend away from hit singles and toward successful albums instead, at least among the more progressive groups, as the single itself tanked. Aided by a decent amount of airplay on progressive FM radio, however, the album (the last to feature lead vocalist Chris Youlden) peaked comfortably within the top 100.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Good Times Bad Times
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin
When I was a junior in high school I used to occasionally hang out at the teen club on Ramstein AFB in Germany. One evening I was completely blown away by a new record on the jukebox. It was Good Times Bad Times by a group called Led Zeppelin. Although the members of my band knew better than to attempt to cover the song, another neighborhood group did take a shot at it with somewhat disastrous results at a gig that our two groups split on New Year's Eve of 1969-70. As I had a personal vendetta going against their bass player, I didn't feel too bad about the fact that we basically blew them out of the water that night, but over time I have come to regret doing that to the rest of the band (well, actually they did it to themselves), particularly their lead guitarist, who was actually a really nice guy. Sorry Jeff.
Artist: Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse
Source: Mono LP: What's Shakin'
Writer(s): Robert Johnson
Label: Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
In mid-1966 a curiousity appeared on the record shelves from the critically acclaimed but little known Elektra record label, a New York based company specializing in folk and blues recordings. It was an LP called What's Shakin', and it was basically a collection of mostly unrelated tracks that had been accumulating in Elektra's vaults for several months. Elektra had sent producer Joe Boyd to England to help open a new London office for the label, and while there he made the acquaintance of several local blues musicians, some of which he talked into recording a few songs for Elektra. These included guitarist Eric Clapton (from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers), vocalist Steve Winwood and drummer Pete York (from the Spencer Davis Group), bassist Jack Bruce and harmonica player Paul Jones (from Manfred Mann), and pianist Ben Palmer, a friend of Clapton's who would become a Cream roadie. Recording under the name The Powerhouse, the group recorded four tracks in the studio, three of which were used on What's Shakin' (the fourth, a slow blues, has since gone missing). Possibly the most interesting of the three tracks is Robert Johnson's Crossroads, which Clapton and Bruce would re-record two years later with Cream. Unlike the Cream version, which is more rocked out, the Powerhouse version of Crossroads is much more of a traditional electrical blues piece, fitting in quite nicely with the Butterfield Blues Band tracks on the album.
Title: I Am The Walrus
Source: Magical Mystery Tour
1967 had been a great year for the Beatles, starting with their double-sided hit single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and their late summer hit All You Need Is Love, with its worldwide TV debut (one of the few events of the time to utilize satellite technology). The next project, however, did not go over quite so well. It had been over two years since the group's last major movie (HELP!), and the band decided that their next film would be an exclusive for broadcast on BBC-TV. Unlike the previous two films, this new project would not follow traditional filmmaking procedures. Instead it would be a more experimental piece; a series of loosely related songs and comedy vignettes connected by a loose plot about a bus trip to the countryside. Magical Mystery Tour made its debut in early December of 1967 to overwhelmingly negative reaction by viewers and critics alike (partially because the film was shown in black and white on the tradition minded BBC-1 network; a later rebroadcast in color on BBC-2 went over much better). The songs used in the film, however, were quite popular. Since there were only six of them, far too few for a regular LP, it was decided to issue the album as a pair of 45 RPM EPs, complete with lyric sheets and booklet recounting the story from the film. The original EPs were available in both stereo and mono versions in Europe and the UK. In the US, where the six tunes were supplemented by the band's five remaining single sides from 1967 to create an LP, Magical Mystery Tour was only available in stereo. Although both the EP and LP versions have different song orders than the telefilm, all three open the same way, with the film's title song.
Title: Girl In Your Eye
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Label: Rhino (original label: Ode)
Spirit was born in 1965 when drummer Ed Cassidy left the Rising Sons after breaking his arm and settled down with his new wife, who had a teenaged son named Randy. It wasn't long before Ed and Randy (who played guitar) formed a new band called the Red Roosters. The group lasted until the spring of 1966, when the family moved to New York for a few months. After returning to California, Randy ran into two of his Red Roosters bandmates, singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes, and decided to form a new band with Cassidy and keyboardist John Locke. Both Cassidy and Locke had played in jazz bands, and the new band, Spirit, incorporated both rock and jazz elements into their sound. Most of the songs of the band's 1968 debut album were written by Ferguson, who tended to favor a softer sound on tracks like Girl In Your Eye. On later albums Randy California would take a greater share in the songwriting, eventually becoming the only original member to stay with the band throughout its history.
Artist: Buddy Miles
Title: Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska
Source: CD: Them Changes
Although the second Buddy Miles album, Them Changes, was for the most part a showcase for Miles's vocals, there were a few tasty instrumentals on the LP as well. The tastiest of these was a tune called Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska, which appeared toward the end of side two. The tune, co-written by Miles and organist Andre Lewis, has a sound reminiscent of such mid-60s jazz organists as Groove Holmes. Tasty stuff indeed.