Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1416 (starts 4/16/14)

Artist:    Los Bravos
Title:    Going Nowhere
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK and EU as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Levitt/Sexter
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 Spain's Los Bravos made history by becoming the first band from a non-English speaking country to score a top 5 hit in both the US and the UK with a song called Black Is Black. The band, which in addition to its Spanish rhythm section (originally known as Los Sonor) included lead vocalist Mike Kogel, a West German who had hooked up with the band while on tour with his own group, Mike And The Runaways. Following the success of Black Is Black, Los Bravos recorded a string of singles for the British Decca label, including Going Nowhere, which was released in November of 1966.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Strange Brew
Source:    British import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    RSO (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Strange Brew, the opening track from Cream's Disraeli Gears album, was also released as a single in Europe and the UK (but not in the US) in early 1967. The song has proven popular enough over the years to be included on pretty much every Cream anthology album ever compiled, and even inspired a Hollywood movie of the same name.

Artist:    Factory
Title:    Path Through The Forest
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):    Rollings
Label:    Rhino (original label: MGM)
Year:    1968
    Originally known as the Souvenier Badge Factory, the Factory was a British power trio who released their first of two singles, Path Through The Forest, while the band members (Jack Brand, Ian Oates and Bill MacLeod) were still in their teens. When a second single failed to chart the following year the group faded off into obscurity.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Driving Song
Source:    CD: Stand Up (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Island)
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the presence of "underground" FM radio stations in most major US cities playing what would come to be called album rock was making it possible for an artist to be considered successful without having the benefit of a top 40 hit record. This was not the case in the UK, where top 40 itself was considered an underground format heard on illegal AM pirate stations broadcasting from offshore transmitters. This meant that British bands such as Jethro Tull were continuing to put out singles that were either only available as album cuts or not released at all in the US. Driving Song was originally released as the B side of Living In the Past in 1969; neither song appeared in the US until the Living In the Past LP was released in 1973.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Run Around
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane album was dominated by the songwriting of the band's founder, Marty Balin, both as a solo writer and as a collaborator with other band members. Run Around, from Balin and rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner, is fairly typical of the early Jefferson Airplane sound.

Artist:    Third Bardo
Title:    I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source:    Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Evans/Pike
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1967
    The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Mike Settle
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The First Edition was formed by Mike Settle and Kenny Rogers, both members of the New Christy Minstrels, a group that made more appearances on TV variety shows than on the record charts (imagine a professional version of a high school madrigal choir). The two wanted to get into something a little more hip than watered-down choral versions of Simon and Garfunkel songs and the like, and recorded an album that included folk-rock, country-rock and even the full-blown psychedelia of Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), which ended up being their first single. For the B side of that single one of Settle's songs, Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind, was selected. The song, a decent piece of folk-rock with reasonably intelligent lyrics, would have been hit record material itself if it weren't for the fact that by 1968 folk-rock had pretty much run its course.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Lost Woman
Source:    CD: Yer' Album
Writer(s):    Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label:    MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    The first James Gang album was primarily designed to show off the performing talents of guitarist Joe Walsh, bassist Tom Kriss and drummer Jim Fox. As such, most of the album was made up of cover songs such as the Yardbirds' Lost Woman. Like other covers on Yer' Album, Lost Woman turns into a long extended jam, running a total of nine minutes before all is played and done. Subsequent albums would focus more on the songwriting talents of the band members, particularly Walsh.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Come Together
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Fixing A Hole
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    Until 1967 every Beatle album released in the US had at least one hit single included that was not on the British version of the album (or was never released as a single in the UK). With the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, however, the track lineup became universal, making it the first Beatle album released in the US to not have a hit single on it. Nonetheless, the importance (and popularity) of the album was such that virtually every song on it got top 40 airplay at one time or another, although some tracks got more exposure than others. One of the many tracks that falls in between these extremes is Fixing A Hole, a tune by Paul McCartney that features the harpsichord prominently.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Oh! Darling
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    Paul McCartney reportedly recorded vocals for the Abbey Road track Oh! Darling on several consecutive days (always using the first take) in an effort to make it sound like he had been performing it night after night in a club. In an interview shortly before his death, former bandmate John Lennon had this to say about the song: "Oh! Darling was a great one of Paul's that he didn't sing too well. I always thought I could have done it better—it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so what the hell, he's going to sing it."

Artist:     Moby Grape
Title:     Sitting By The Window
Source:     LP: Moby Grape
Writer:     Peter Lewis
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1967
     Moby Grape's powerful 1967 debut managed to achieve what few bands have been able to: a coherent sound despite having wildly different writing styles from the individual members. One of Peter Lewis's contributions to the album was Sitting By The Window, one of those rare songs that sounds better every time you hear it.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Thoughts And Words
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    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.

Artist:    Humane Society
Title:    Knock Knock
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Minnick/Wheetman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
    The Humane Society, from Simi Valley, California, formed in 1965 as the Innocents. The band featured singer/guitarist Danny Wheetman, lead guitarist Jim Pettit, rhythm guitarist Woody Minnick, bassist Richard Majewski, and drummer Bill Schnetzler. As was often the case, The A side of the group's first single was chosen by the band's producers, while the band itself provided the B side. In this case that B side was Knock Knock, a classic piece of garage-punk that far outshines the now-forgottten A side of the record.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Yes, I'm Experienced
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     BGO (originally released in US on M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     A grand tradition dating back to the early Rhythm and Blues recordings was something called the "answer song". Someone would record a song (Hound Dog, for example), that would become popular. In turn, another artist (often a friend of the original one), would then come up with a song that answered the original tune (Bear Cat, in our example earlier). This idea was picked up on by white artists in the late 50s (Hey Paula answered by Hey Paul). True to the tradition, Eric Burdon answered his friend Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced with this song, done in a style similar to another Hendrix tune, Manic Depression.
Artist:    Who
Title:    Batman
Source:    CD: A Quick One (bonus track originally released in UK on EP: Ready Steady Who)
Writer(s):    Neal Hefti
Label:    MCA (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    Ready Steady Go was Britain's answer to American Bandstand. A hugely popular one-shot special edition of the show called Ready Steady Who aired in 1966. The EP (a 45 RPM extended play record with five songs instead of the usual two) had an entirely different set of songs than the TV special. This version of the Batman TV show theme was credited on the EP to Dean Torrance (Jan And Dean had included a version of the tune on their Little Old Lady From Pasedena LP), instead of actual composer Neal Hefti. The entire EP was included in the 1990s CD reissue of the Who's second album, A Quick One, with the erroneous song credit fixed.
Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Jazz Thing
Source:    LP: Behold And See
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Although the second Ultimate Spinach album, Behold And See, is generally considered inferior to the group's debut effort, there are a few high points that are among the best tracks the band ever recorded. Perhaps the strongest track on the album is Jazz Thing, which almost sounds like a Bob Bruno Circus Maximus track.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Wintertime Love
Source:    CD: Waiting For The Sun
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    It is generally accepted that most of the songs from the first two Doors albums were already in the band's repertoire when the group signed their first contract with Elektra Records. The third LP, Waiting For The Sun, on the other hand was made up of newer material. As a result, the album has a different overall feel from the earlier efforts. Among the more unusual tracks on the album is Wintertime Love, perhaps the closest the Doors ever got to country rock.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Who's Driving Your Plane
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side of their loudest single to date, the feedback-drenched Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Celeste
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sundazed/Epic
Year:    1966
    Although most major labels were issuing LPs in both mono and stereo versions in the mid-1960s, a handful of artists were still only doing monoraul mixes of their recordings as late as 1967. One of the most prominent of these "mono only" artists was the Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan, whose material appeared in the US on the Epic label, the largest subsidiary of the second largest label in the world (CBS/Columbia). In fact, only a handful of songs from Donovan's two most successful albums, Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, have ever been mixed in stereo. Among those still only available in mono is Celeste, the last track on Sunshine Superman.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Priority (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    Tell Her No
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1965
    Rod Argent was responsible for writing four well-known hit songs, which were spread out over a period of eight years (and two bands). The second of these was the Zombies' Tell Her No, released in 1965. The song got mixed reviews from critics, all of which measured the tune against Beatle songs of the same period.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Vanilla Fudge-side two (You Keep Me Hangin' On, Take Me For a Little While and Eleanor Rigby interspersed with short instrumental segments known as Illusions of my Childhood)
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland/Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Although not exactly a concept album, the first Vanilla Fudge LP did attempt to tie the songs on side two of the album together through the use of something called Illusions of My Childhood, short instrumental versions of children's songs such as The Farmer In The Dell overlaid with sound effects that would fade in at the end of each track and fade out into the next one. The songs themselves make for an interesting lyrical collage, going from one that demands a commitment to a relationship into a song that says almost the exact opposite, followed by Paul McCartney's famous observations of people without relationships at all.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Steeled Blues
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Jeff Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1965
     The Yardbirds were not known for their original material. They did, however, come up with a few tunes of their own, such as Steeled Blues, an instrumental penned by vocalist/harmonicat Keith Relf and guitarist Jeff Beck. The title pretty much describes the song itself, as it is essentially a blues jam with Beck playing slide guitar with steel strings.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1966
     The second half of our Yardbirds instrumental pair is one of the hottest rock B sides ever issued: Jeff's Boogie, which appeared as the flip side of Over, Under, Sideways Down in 1966 and was included on an LP with the same name (that LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art). Although credited to the entire band, the song is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Heart Full Of Soul
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, who was then a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and would later be a founding member of 10cc.

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