Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1402 (starts 1/8/14)

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
    Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
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 the Hendersons and Henry the Horse.

Title:    Everybody Knows You're Not In Love
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
     The Electric Prunes had greater creative control over their second album than their first. That control continued into early 1968, when Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, a single penned by band members Mark Tulin and James Lowe, was released. Unfortunately, the record didn't sell well and the next album, David Axelrod's Mass In F Minor, was played almost entirely by studio musicians. The original group broke up during the recording of the Mass and did not play together again until the 21st century.

Artist:    Crystal Rain
Title:    You And Me
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bill Moan
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Dynamic Sound)
Year:    1969
    Crystal Rain was a band from Dayton, Ohio that released a pair of singles in 1969, the second of which was You And Me.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    N.S.U.
Source:    LP: Live Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Atco
Year:    1970
    After the breakup of Cream, Atco decided to issue a live album in 1970, featuring songs that had originally appeared on the album Fresh Cream. This ten minute version of N.S.U., recorded at Winterland in 1968, shows how far the band had progressed in the two years since recording the studio version.

Artist:    Q'65
Title:    The Life I Live
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bieler/Nuyens/Roelofs/Vink/Baar
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    The phenomena of rebellious youth in the mid-1960s was not limited to just the English speaking world. In fact, while even the most radical bands in the US and Britain were still wearing hairstyles imitative of the Beatles, Holland's Q'65 had a look that would come to be associated with 70s rock stars, with shoulder-length (or longer) hair and a generally scruffy appearance. Musically, Q'65 started off in the same vein as such British blues bands as the Yardbirds or Rolling Stones, but soon began writing their own material, such as The Life I Live, an autobiographical declaration of a lifestyle that was still considered somewhat immoral (i.e. sex and drugs) in 1966 that became a huge hit in the Netherlands.

Artist:    Tintern Abbey
Title:    Vacuum Cleaner
Source:    Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969
Writer(s):    David MacTavish
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    Although not a household name even in their native England, Tintern Alley managed to capture the essence of British psychedelia with Vacuum Cleaner, a B side released in 1967. It was the only known single from a band whose members went on to join various other equally obscure bands.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    One of the most durable songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Ruby Tuesday was originally intended to be the B side of their 1967 single Let's Spend The Night Together. Many stations, however, balked at the subject matter of the A side and began playing Ruby Tuesday instead, which is somewhat ironic considering the subject matter of the song (a groupie of the band's acquaintance).

Artist:    Wildflowers
Title:    More Than Me
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Wildflowers
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Aster)
Year:    1967
    Phoenix, Arizona, was home to the Wildflowers, a band that included bassist Michael Bruce, who would go on to become a founding member of Alice Cooper. The Wildflowers only released a pair of singles, the second of which was More Than Me, released in 1967.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Somewhere
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2013
    Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience did not officially disband until 1969, Hendrix himself was spending more and more time working with musicians outside the band as early as 1968. The Electric Ladyland album itself features guest appearances by the likes of Steve Winwood, Buddy Miles and Chris Wood, among others, and for years there have been even more recordings by non-Experience members rumored to exist. Among those legendary tracks is Somewhere, a piece that features Miles on drums, and, unusually, Stephen Stills on bass. In addition to a special 45 RPM single release, Somewhere is available on the 2013 album People, Hell and Angels. According to engineer Eddie Kramer, this is the final collection of unreleased studio tracks to be issued by the Hendrix family estate.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Joe South
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The track was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gillan (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar LP) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond, releasing two fine LPs before fading from the public view.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor UK (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's last remaining pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a blind deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his blind, deaf and dumb condition.

Artist:    Shadows of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
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 (essentially substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist:    Bruthers
Title:    Bad Way To Go
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe Delia (?)
Label:    BFD (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1966
    Not much is known about the Bruthers other than 1) they were from Pearl River, NY (wherever that is)  2) they recorded a single called Bad Way To Go that was released on the RCA Victor label in 1966, and  3) they had at least one member named Joe Delia who may or may not have written the above mentioned song (the Pebbles people were not big on documentation).

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Mean Old Fireman
Source:    LP: The Original Fleetwood Mac
Writer(s):    Arthur Crudup
Label:    Sire
Year:    1967
    The original Fleetwood Mac was formed around and by guitarist Peter Green, who was at the time working steadily as the guitarist for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. As a gift, Mayall donated studio time to Green, who grabbed fellow Bluesbreakers Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass) to record a selection of blues covers such as Arthur Crudup's Mean Old Fireman along with a few Green originals. Many of those recordings (especially the cover tunes) went unreleased until the 1970s, when Sire Records issued a collection called The Original Fleetwood Mac. By this point the band had already undergone several changes in both sound and personnel, including the loss of Green himself, and the double LP anthology was considered a bit of an oddity at the time.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     Giving To You
Source:     CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s): Winwood/Capaldi/Wood/Mason
Label:     Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:     1967
     Traffic's first LP, Mr. Fantasy, was released in late 1967 under the name Heaven Is In Your Mind by United Artists Records in the US. The reason for this is not entirely clear, although the label may have been expecting the song Heaven Is In Your Mind to be a hit and wanted to capitalize on the title. As it turns out the song didn't do much on the US charts, despite the lead vocals of Steve Winwood, whose voice had already graced two top 10 singles by the Spencer Davis Group (Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man) earlier that year. More recently Island Records, which always had the UK rights to Traffic's material and has had US rights since the early 70s, decided to release CDs under both titles. Mr. Fantasy contains the mono mixes of the songs (plus mono bonus tracks), while Heaven Is In Your Mind has the stereo mixes of the same songs (with some slight differences in bonus tracks). One track that benefits from the stereo mix is Giving To You. Basically an instrumental, the song has a short lounge lizard style vocal introduction, along with some interesting spoken parts and stereo sound effects at the beginning and end of what is otherwise a rather tasty jam session.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
Source:    LP: Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival
Writer(s):    Redding/Butler
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Although his name had appeared on the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts since 1962, it wasn't until the release of I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) in 1965 that Redding began to get noticed by the public at large. The song hit # 2 on the R&B chart and just barely missed making the top 20 on the mainstream chart. Two years later Redding performed the song as part of his set at the Monterey International Pop Festival, backed by Booker T and the MGs, along with the Bar-Kays horn section. Less than a year later a plane crash would claim the lives of Redding and the Bar-Kays, just as the singer was achieving his greatest success.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.

Artist:    Richie Havens
Title:    High Flyin' Bird
Source:    LP: Mixed Bag
Writer(s):    Billy Edd Wheeler
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    Richie Havens is probably best known as the man who heroically took the stage for nearly three hours to get the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival underway when circumstances threatened to delay the festival's opening. Havens' career, however, was much longer and more significant than just that one appearance. Born in Brooklyn, Havens was the eldest of nine children. At age 20 he moved to Greenwich Village and became part of the beatnik movement, reading poetry in the various coffee houses. He also drew portraits and stayed up late listening to folk artists perform, eventually taking up the guitar himself. After a couple records on the independent Douglas label, Havens landed a contract with Verve Forecast and released his first LP, Mixed Bag, featuring a mixture of Havens originals and covers of songs currently making the rounds on the folk scene. Among those covers was High Flyin' Bird, a tune originally associated with Buffy Saint-Marie and often performed live by Jefferson Airplane in their early days. More Havens LPs on Verve followed, and eventually Havens formed his own label, Stormy Forest. More recently Havens was awarded the American Eagle Award by the National Music Council for his achievements, including his role as an environmental educator/activist.

Artist:    Them
Title:    All For Myself
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Backtrackin'
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1965   
    Them was the first major rock band to come from Belfast, Ireland, bursting on the British music scene with their energetic cover of Big Joe Turner's Baby, Please Don't Go in 1964. Their follow-up single, Here Comes The Night, went to the # 2 spot in the UK and became their first international hit as well. Although Here Comes The Night was written by a professional songwriter, Bert Burns, the B side of the single, All For Myself, was written by lead vocalist Van Morrison, who would go on to become one of the most respected singer/songwriters in rock history. The song was not included on any albums at the time, and would only appear on LP vinyl after Allen Klein had purchased the rights to Them's early recordings in the 1970s and issued several of them, including All For Myself, on an album called Backtrackin'.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Reality Does Not Inspire
Source:    LP: Blues Image
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Formed in 1967, Blues Image cited Greenwich Village's Blues Project as their primary inspiration, and is generally acknowledged to be Florida's first jam band. They were also one of the few bands to open their own club, the legendary Thee Image, and played host to many big name acts during the club's short run. Among the Blues Images fans was Jimi Hendrix, who once told them they did great arrangements of other people's material, but their own stuff was relatively weak. The band responded by temporarily putting their original material on the shelf, pulling it out later and giving it the same treatment they would any other cover song. This approach seemed to work well, as Reality Does Not Inspire, the nine minute "showcase" track for their debut LP demonstrates.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    China Cat Sunflower
Source:    CD: Aoxomoxoa
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The third Grateful Dead album, Aoxomoxoa, was an experimental mixture of live audio and studio enhancements, much in the same vein as their previous effort, Anthem Of The Sun. One significant difference between the two is that, unlike Anthem, Aoxomoxoa was written entirely by the team of guitarist Jerry Garcia, bassist Phil Lesh and poet Robert Hunter, giving the album a more cohesive sound. One track on Aoxomoxoa, China Cat Sunflower, is almost entirely a studio creation, and as such has a bit cleaner sound than the rest of the LP.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    How Do You Feel
Source:    Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Tom Mastin
Label:    RCA
Year:    1967
    How Do You Feel is one of the few Jefferson Airplane songs that was not written by band members. Truth to tell, I don't know a thing about Tom Mastin, who wrote the tune. I do know that the song was selected to be the B side of their first single from Surrealistic Pillow (the A side was the Skip Spence tune My Best Friend), and that neither tune charted nationally, although they both got airplay on San Francisco area radio stations.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    White Rabbit
Source:    CD: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer:    Grace Slick
Label:    RCA
Year:    1967
    A few years back a co-worker asked me about what kind of music I played on the show. When I told him the show was called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era he immediately said "Oh, I bet you play White Rabbit a lot, huh?" As a matter of fact, I do, although not as much as some songs (see the post from show # 1352, in which I run down the list of which songs and artists got played the most in 2013).

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     CD: Somebody To Love
Source:     Surrealistic Pillow
Writer:     Darby Slick
Label:     RCA
Year:     1967
     Over 40 years after the fact, it's hard to imagine just how big an impact Somebody To Love had on the garage band scene. Whereas before Somebody To Love came out you could just dismiss hard-to-cover songs as being "lame" anyway, here was a tune that was undeniably cool, and yet virtually impossible for anyone but the Airplane to play well (and even they were unable to get it to sound quite the same when they performed it live). Although garage bands would continue to exist (and still do), the days when a group of kids from the suburbs could form a band, play a handful of parties, maybe win a battle of the bands and write and record a hit record with virtually no prior experience were gone forever.

Artist:    Clefs Of Lavender Hill
Title:    Stop-Get A Ticket
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Travis & Coventry Fairchild
Label:    Rhino (original label: Thames)
Year:    1966
    The Clefs Of Lavender Hill were a band from North Miami that featured not one, but two sets of siblings: the brother and sister team of Travis and Coventry Fairchild (both of which sang and played guitar) and the Moss brothers, Bill (bass) and Fred (drums). The first single from the band was a song called First Tell Me Why, but it was the B side of the record, a Beatlesque tune called Stop-Get A Ticket that became a hit on Miami radio stations. The song was picked up by Date Records and peaked nationally at # 80. Subsequent releases by the Clefs failed to crack the Hot 100 and the group (after several personnel changes) finally called it quits in 1968.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becoming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Ironically, most of those stations are now playing 80s oldies.

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