Saturday, October 25, 2014

Goodbye Jack Bruce

Sad news: the passing of one of my musical heroes earlier today: Cream bassist Jack Bruce. Unfortunately this week's show has no Cream tracks. Next week, however, we have a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown psychedelic masterpiece from the Wheels Of Fire album. Rest in peace, Jack :(

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1443 (starts 10/22/14)

    Well, it looks like things are settling back into a routine following seven weeks of backup shows followed by three weeks of shows with no vinyl sources. Last week's show went a bit overboard on the vinyl side (my fault), but this week's proportions are back to the usual 60/40 split between CDs and vinyl sources (out of 25 total tracks, ten are from LP or 45 RPM vinyl sources, while 15 are from CD sources).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It Black
Source:    CD: Aftermath
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs, Paint It Black was not included on the original UK release of the 1966 Aftermath album. This was because of the British custom of not including songs on LPs that were also available as 45 RPM singles (which, unlike their American counterparts, remained available for sale indefinitely) or extended play 45s (which had no US counterpart). In the US, however, Paint It Black was used to open the album, giving the entire LP a different feel from the British version (it had a different cover as well). Paint It Black is also the only song on Aftermath that was mixed only in mono, although US stereo pressings used an electronic rechannelling process to create a fake stereo sound. Luckily for everyone's ears, modern CDs use the unenhanced mono mix of the tune.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sittin' On A Fence
Source:    CD: Flowers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    Not all the songs from the Rolling Stones' recording sessions for the album Aftermath were included on either the British or American version of the final LP. One of the songs that was left off the album was Sittin' On A Fence, a country flavored tune that finally surfaced in 1967 on the US-only LP Flowers.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Under My Thumb
Source:    CD: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    With the exception of certain Beatle tracks, pretty much every well-known song from the beginning of recorded music through the year 1966 had been released as a single either on 45 or 78 RPM records (and for a while in the 1950s, on both). With Under My Thumb, from the Aftermath album, the Rolling Stones proved that someone besides the fab four could record a classic that was available only as a 33 1/3 RPM LP track. In a sense, then, Aftermath can be considered the very foundation of album rock, as more and groups put their most creative energy into making albums rather than singles in the ensuing years. Thanks, Stones.

Artist:    Octopus
Title:    Rainchild
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK on LP: Restless Night)
Writer(s):    Paul Griggs
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Penny Farthing)
Year:    1971
    Originally known as the Cortinas, Octopus was one of the more obscure British bands of the late psychedelic era. Their only album, Restless Night, only sold a few hundred copies and already sounded a bit dated when it appeared in 1971. Two of the band's members, however, found greater success after Octopus disbanded. Paul Griggs, who wrote the song Rainchild, spent nearly a decade with the band Guys 'n' Dolls, while his brother Nigel went down under and joined Split Enz in 1977.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Machine Gun
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    In 1965 Jimi Hendrix sat in on a recording session with R&B vocalist Curtis Knight, signing what he thought was a standard release contract relinquishing any future claim to royalties on the recordings. Three years later, after Hendrix had released a pair of successful albums on the Reprise label with his new band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Capitol records issued the Knight sessions as an LP called Get That Feeling, giving Hendrix equal billing with Knight. Additionally, Capitol claimed that  the guitarist was under contract to them. Eventually the matter was settled by Hendrix promising to provide Capitol with an album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, although it was not specified whether the album be made up of studio or live recordings. While all this was going on, the Experience disbanded, leaving Hendrix bandless and under pressure to come up with new material for his regular label, Reprise, as well as the Capitol album. The solution was to record a set of concerts at the Fillmore East on December 31st, 1969 and January 1st, 1970, and release the best of these recordings as a live album on the Capitol label, freeing Hendrix up to concentrate on a new studio album for Reprise. The live album, Band Of Gypsys, ended up being the last album of new material to be released during the guitarist's lifetime. It features bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles on Hendrix originals such as Machine Gun, as well as material written by Miles.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Ooh Mama Ooh
Source:    LP: Moby Grape '69
Writer(s):    Stevenson/Milller
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Hard core Moby Grape fans did not quite know what to make of the band's third LP, Moby Grape '69. For one thing, one of the group's most visible members, guitarist Skip Spence, had gone awol from the band and was only heard on the album's final track. For another, MG 69 had more than a dash of country-rock at a time when the term country-rock had not yet been invented. Finally, the entire album had a kind of unfinished feel to it. This may have been the result of a deliberate attempt to avoid the production excesses of their second LP, Wow. It's also possible that the Grape audience was not quite ready for the incorporation of 50s doo-wop vocals on the album's opening track, Ooh Mama Ooh. Whatever the reason, the album stalled out at # 113 on the Billboard charts, although in more recent years it has come to be seen as a precursor to the so-called California Sound of bands like Poco and the Eagles.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    Priority (original label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    The band with the most charted singles in the UK is not the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. It is, in fact, Status Quo, quite possibly the nearest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap. Except for Pictures of Matchstick Men, the group has never had a hit in the US. On the other hand, they remain popular in Scandanavia, playing to sellout crowds on a regular basis (yes, they are still together).

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Little Miss Queen Of Darkness
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Although the Kinks were putting out some of their most classic recordings in 1966 (A Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon), the band was beset with problems not entirely of their own making, such as being denied visas to perform in the US and having issues with their UK label, Pye Records. Among those issues was the cover of their LP Face To Face, which bandleader Ray Davies reportedly hated, as the flower power theme was not at all representative of the band's music. There were internal problems as well, with bassist Peter Quaife even quitting the band for about a month during the recording of Face To Face. Although a replacement for Quaife, John Dalton, was brought in, the only track he is confirmed to have played on was a Ray Davies tune called Little Miss Queen Of Darkness.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Night Owl Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Butler/Boone/Yanovsky/Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra/Sundazed
Year:    1965/2011
    Night Owl Blues was first released on the Lovin Spoonful's first album, Do You Believe In Magic, making an encore appearance as the B side of their 1966 hit Daydream. The original recording was edited down to less than three minutes on both releases. In 2011 Sundazed issued a previously unreleased recording of the Spoonful's high energy cover of the Hollywood Argyles hit Alley Oop on 45 RPM vinyl, backed with a longer, less edited version of Night Owl Blues made from the same original 1965 recording as the earlier release. The track features blues harp from John Sebastian and a rare electric guitar solo from Zal Yanovsky.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    I Can't Let Go
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Hollies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Taylor/Gorgoni
Label:    Cema Special Markets (original label: Imperial)
Year:    1966
    Of all the early Hollies hits, it is the 1966 hit I Can't Let Go that most showcases the voice of Graham Nash, singing a high counterpoint that Paul McCartney reportedly mistook for a trumpet part the first time he heard the song.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)
Source:    Mono British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP No Way Out)
Writer(s):    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    It is generally accepted that the Chocolate Watchband, perhaps more than any other band of the psychedelic era, were misrepresented on their albums, with studio musicians (even vocalists) playing on over half the material on the band's first two LPs. While this is undoubtably true, there is some evidence that much of the blame for this falls on the band itself. It is well-known that the members of the Watchband were far more interested in blowing the competition of the stage (which they did quite regularly) than they were in making records. This attitude apparently extended to their movie appearances as well. According to bassist Bill Flores, the band knew six months in advance they would be doing a fim called The Love-In, yet nobody made a serious effort to write any songs for it. As soon as they stepped off the plane in L.A. they had to rush over to the recording studio and call up Don Bennett and Ethan McElroy, studio singers who often worked with the band's manager, Ed Cobb. The two quickly worked up the song Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In), which the band recorded that same day. The tune ended up being released as the band's next single (their first for the Tower label) and was included on their debut album, No Way Out, as well.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Living In The U.S.A.
Source:    CD: Sailor
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Although generally considered a San Francisco act, the Steve Miller Band, in truth, was never really confined to a single geographical area. Miller himself was originally from Chicago, and had cut his musical teeth in Texas. The first Miller Band album was recorded in London, while their second effort, Sailor, was made in Los Angeles. Appropriately enough, the best-known track from Sailor, and the first Steve Miller Band song to get significant national radio exposure, was Living In The U.S.A., a song that is still heard often on classic rock radio stations.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    For Pete's Sake
Source:    CD: Headquarters
Writer(s):    Tork/Richards
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    It didn't come as a surprise to anyone who knew him that first member of the Monkees to depart the band was Peter Tork. Of all the members of the "pre-fab four" Tork was the most serious about making the group into a real band, and was the most frustrated when things didn't work out that way. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Tork had been a part of the Greenwich Village scene since the early 60s, where he became close friends with Stephen Stills. Both Tork and Stills had relocated to the west coast when Stills auditioned for the Monkees and was asked if he had a "better looking" musician friend that might be interested in the part. Although Tork was, by all accounts, the best guitarist in the Monkees, he found himself cast as the "lovable dummy" bass player on the TV show and had a difficult time being taken seriously as a musician because of that. During the brief period in 1967 when the members of the band did play their own instruments on their recordings, Tork could be heard on guitar, bass, banjo, harpsichord and other keyboard instruments. He also co-wrote For Pete's Sake, a song on the Headquarters album that became the closing theme for the TV show during its second and final season. Since leaving the band Tork has been involved with a variety of projects, including an occasional Monkees reunion.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Fat Angel
Source:    LP: Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    As a general rule, live albums are made up mostly of songs that have already appeared on other albums (or singles) in their studio form. Leave it to Jefferson Airplane, however, to disregard the rules and release a live album with five songs (making up more than half of the album) that had never been released by the band. Among those five songs was Fat Angel, a song that had first appeared on Donovan's groundbreaking Sunshine Superman album. Paul Kantner playfully substitutes the line "fly Jefferson Airplane" for the original "fly Trans-Love Airways" throughout the song, which runs over seven minutes long.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Rock Salt And Nails
Source:    45 RPM promo single B side (originally released on LP: David's Album)
Writer(s):    Bruce Phillips
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1969
    One of the defining characteristics of the late 1960s was the resistance, especially among young people to US involvement in the Vietnamese Civil War. Much of this resistance was because the so-called Baby Boomers were at an age where they were eligible to be drafted into military service and many of them did not relish the idea of dying in a jungle halfway around the world for someone else's political beliefs. Of course much of this resistance was to the draft itself, and it was not limited just to young men of draftable age. Among the most prominent figures in the draft resistance movement was folk singer Joan Baez, who made the issue a focal point of her performance at the Woodstock Performing Arts Festival in the summer of 1969. Earlier that year she had released an LP called David's Album as a gift to her husband, who was about to go to prison for resisting the draft. Among the songs on that album was Rock Salt And Nails, written by Bruce "Utah" Phillips, himself a labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller, poet and self-described anarchist who was sometimes known as the "Golden Voice of the Great Southwest". A promo single pairing Rock Salt And Nails with the album's opening track, If I Knew, was pressed by Baez's label, Vanguard, but it is not known whether the record was ever released commercially.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Getting Better
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Following their 1966 North American tour, the Beatles announced that they were giving up touring to concentrate on their songwriting and studio work. Freed of the responsibilities of the road (and under the influence of mind-expanding substances), the band members found themselves discovering new sonic possibilities as never before (or since), hitting a creative peak with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, often cited as the greatest album ever recorded. The individual Beatles were about to move in separate musical directions, but as of Sgt. Pepper's were still functioning mostly as a single unit, as is heard on the chorus of Getting Better, in which Paul McCartney's opening line, "I have to admit it's getting better", is immediately answered by John Lennon's playfully cynical "can't get no worse". The members continued to experiment with their instrumentation as well, such as George Harrison's use of sitar on the song's bridge, accompanied by Ringo Starr's bongos.

Artist:    Butch Engle And The Styx
Title:    Hey, I'm Lost
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elliott/Durand
Label:    Rhino (original label: Onyx)
Year:    1967
    In 1966 a local San Francisco department store held a battle of the bands at the Cow Palace. Unlike most events in the city that year, this one did not tie in to the emerging hippy culture. Rather, the event drew bands that were in their element when playing high school dances and teen clubs (although the Charlatans did make an appearance). The winners of that battle were Butch Engle and the Styx. Eighteen months later, their only single appeared on the Onyx label and was distributed throughout the bay area.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Hotel Hell
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     The first album by the New Animals (generally known as Eric Burdon and the Animals) was Winds of Change, issued in mid-1967. Although the album was not particularly well-received at the time, it has, in more recent years, come to be regarded as a classic. Hotel Hell is a moody piece that showcases Eric Burdon's darker side.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    I'm A King Bee
Source:    CD: Birth Of The Dead (originally released as part of CD box set: The Golden Road 1965-1973)
Writer(s):    James Moore
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2001
    In 2001 Rhino released an ambitious Grateful Dead box set, The Golden Road 1965-1973, that compiled virtually all of the band's commercially released material. The first two discs in the set, however, were early recordings that had never been made available except through bootlegs. Less than two years after the box set was released, those two discs were released separately as Birth Of The Dead. The second disc consists of some of the band's earliest live recordings made directly from the sound board by Owsley Stanley. As Stanley's intent was to provide the band with something they could use to critique their own performance, the stereo mix puts the vocals in one channel and everything else in the other (although there is enough bleedthrough on the vocal mikes to create a phantom center channel). One of the most enjoyable of these early recordings is the Dead's cover of James Moore's I'm A King Bee, a blues classic that was also performed by John Belushi on an early episode of Saturday Night Live (in full bee regalia, even).

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    You Can't Be Trusted
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    Sky Saxon is at his snarling punkiest on You Can't Be Trusted, a track from the first Seeds album that shows that the group's "flower power" image was more of a marketing ploy on the part of their manager, the infamous Lord Tim,  than any actual association with the peace and love crowd.

Artist:    The Mickey Finn
Title:    Garden Of My Mind
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):    Waller/Marks
Label:    Rhino (original label: Direction)
Year:    1967
    Not every band in the world makes a living performing their own original material. In fact, the majority of working musicians are members of cover bands, playing a variety of venues all over the world. Most of these bands will never see the inside of a recording studio. There have been times and places, however, when even cover bands could get recording contracts, especially if they had a sizable local following. One such time and place was London in the mid-1960s, where bands like Mickey Finn And The Blue Men found steady work playing ska and R&B covers for the Mod crowd. They recorded a series of singles for several different local labels, one of which was Garden Of My Mind, a freakbeat tune written by guitarist Mickey Waller and vocalist Alan Marks and released on the Direction label. As the decade wore on and the Mod fad began to die out, the Mickey Finn (as they were then known) found itself playing more and more on the European continent, eventually calling it a day (or night) in 1971.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Stoned Woman/Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Source:    LP: Ssssh!
Writer(s):    Lee/Williamson
Label:    Deram
Year:    1969
    Alvin Lee's band Ten Years After already had three albums out by the time they made a huge splash at Woodstock in 1969. Their fourth LP, Ssssh! was released that same year, and was soon climbing the album charts, despite getting little airplay on US radio stations. The best known track was a hard rocking version of the Sonny Boy Williamson blues classic Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, which had already been covered by several rock bands. Unlike previous versions, the TYA Schoolgirl was built around a driving repeated bass line and featured an extended instrumental section that stayed on the main chord rather than following the song's regular progression. The track was preceeded on the LP by a Lee composition, Stoned Woman, which leads into Schoolgirl without a break between songs.

Artist:    Isley Brothers
Title:    Twist And Shout
Source:    Mono Canadian CD: Reelin' & Rockin'
Writer(s):    Medley/Berns
Label:    Happy Days Of Rock n' Roll
Year:    1962
    In 1931, About a year after being hired by Atlantic Records as a staff producer, Phil Spector was asked to produce a song called Shake It Up, Baby for a new vocal group, the Top Notes. Spector had not yet developed his famous "wall of sound" technique, and the recording, according to the song's co-writer, Bert Burns, lacked the energy of the group's live performances. Feeling that Spector had ruined the song, Berns set out to show him how it should have been done and produced a new version of the song in 1962 by a group called the Isley Brothers, who after three years were still looking for a follow-up to their first hit, Shout. The Isley recording was originally intended to be a B side, but it soon became obvious that the song, retitled Twist And Shout, was a major hit in its own right. By the time the record had run its course, the Isley's had their first top 20 mainstream hit, vindicating Berns in the process. The song also peaked at # 2 on the R&B charts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1442 (starts 10/15/14)

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Blues From An Airplane
Source:    LP: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off)
Writer(s):    Balin/Spence
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first retrospective album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s. Their first two releases were floppy inserts included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Black Widow Spider
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After Van Morrison left Them for a solo career, the band headed back to Belfast, where they recruited vocalist Kenny McDowell. Them soon relocated permanently to the US west coast, where they landed a contract with Tower Records. After a first album that featured songs from a variety of sources, they hooked up with Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane, who wrote an album's worth of material for the band. That album was Time Out! Time In! For Them, an album that has stayed under the radar for over 40 years, despite tunes like Black Widow Spider, which closes out the first side of the LP.
Artist:    Kevin Ayers
Title:    Song For Insane Times
Source:    British import CD: Insane Times (originally released on LP: Joy Of A Toy)
Writer(s):    Kevin Ayers
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1969
    Kevin Ayers was part of a group of young Bohemian intellectuals that hung out in Canterbury, England in the early 1960s, listening to modern jazz while consuming massive quantities of beat poetry and Dadaist art. By the summer of 1963 the most musically inclined of the group had formed a band called the Wilde Flowers, with Ayers serving as lead vocalist. In 1965 Ayers and Australian beatnik Daevid Allen took a trip to Ibiza, where they met up with Wes Brunson, an American with money to burn. Brunson offered to finance the two if they would form a "serious" band. In June of 1966 the two returned to Canterbury and started a band called Mister Head, which changed its name to Soft Machine after Allen secured permission to use the name from author William Burroughs. In late 1968 Ayers announced his intention to leave Soft Machine, which by then was a trio featuring Ayers on bass and lead vocals. The following year Ayers released his first solo LP, Joy Of A Toy, backed, ironically, by the other members of Soft Machine. Among the standout tracks on the album was Song For Insane Times, a tribute to the psychedelic era.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, a popular L.A. club band that boasted two talented songwriters, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. On the heels of their first album, which included the single My Little Red Book and one of the first recordings of the fast version of Hey Joe, came their most successful single, the manic 7&7 Is, released in July of 1966.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I Can't Get Enough Of It
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Miller/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    One listen to the B side of the Spencer Davis Group's1967 hit I'm A Man and it's easy to see why the young Stevie Winwood was often compared to Ray Charles by the British music press. I Can't Get Enough Of It, co-written by producer Jimmy Miller, features Winwood on both lead vocal and piano. Winwood would leave the group shortly after the release of this single and resurface with the more psychedelically-tinged Traffic later the same year.

Artist:    Nazz
Title:    Open My Eyes
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Nazz)
Writer(s):    Todd Rundgren
Label:    Rhino (original label: SGC)
Year:    1968
    The Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. The Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, as well as many others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Song For A Dreamer
Source:    LP: Broken Barricades
Writer(s):    Trower/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    Both guitarist Robin Trower and lyricist Keith Reid were shocked and saddened at the premature death of Jimi Hendrix in 1970. As a tribute to the guitarist, the two collaborated on the haunting Song For A Dreamer for Procol Harum's fifth LP, Broken Barricades. Not long after the album's release Trower would leave Procol Harum to embark on a successful solo career.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    You Baby
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Sloan/Barri
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1966
    After first hitting the charts with their version of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, the Turtles released yet another "angry young rebel" song, P.F. Sloan's Let Me Be. Realizing that they needed to vary their subject matter somewhat if they planned on having a career last longer than six months, the band formerly known as the Crossfires went with another Sloan tune, You Baby, for their first single of 1966. Although the music was in a similar style to Let Me Be, the lyrics, written by Steve Barri, were fairly typical of teen-oriented love songs of the era. The Turtles would continue to record songs from professional songwriters for single release for the remainder of their existence, with their original compositions showing up mostly as album tracks and B sides.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the Chocolate Watchband's debut album, No Way Out. Although Psychedelic Trip was written by the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1965
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Pretty Ballerina
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Sommer/Brown/Lookofsky
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    San Franciscan Nights
Source:    CD: The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released on LP: Winds of Change and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, the band fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Viola Lee Blues
Source:    LP: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Noah Lewis
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1967
    The Grateful Dead established a reputation over the years for playing long extended jams. The first of these to be released on vinyl was Viola Lee Blues, clocking in at about 10 minutes. Compared to some of the later performances of Dark Star or St. Stephen, ten minutes does not seem very long, but the track does show flashes of the interplay between band members that would become the stuff of legends.
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:    Blues Image
Title:    Fugue U/Parchman Farm/Wrath Of Daisey
Source:    CD: Open
Writer(s):    Blues Image/Allison
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Despite drawing crowds in south Florida and getting rave reviews from the rock press, Blues Image was never able to sell a lot of albums. This is a shame, as almost all of their material was as good or better than anything else being recorded in 1969-70. A classic example is the medley of Fugue U (emulating J.S. Bach), a jazz-rock arrangement of Mose Allison's Parchman Farm and the latin-rock instrumental Wrath Of Daisey). Guitarist Mike Pinera went on to replace Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly the following year.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Earth Blues
Source:    LP: People, Hell And Angels
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2013
    1969 was a strange year for Jimi Hendrix. For one thing, the guitarist was rock's highest-paid entertainer that year despite the fact that he did not release any new recordings. This was due, at least in part, to events happening offstage, the most important being a lawsuit filed by the producer of recordings made in 1965 by R&B vocalist Curtis Knight with Hendrix sitting in as a sideman. Hendrix had signed what appeared to be a standard release contract to the effect that he had been paid for the recordings and was not entitled to any royalties from them. The producer, however, claimed that Hendrix was under exclusive contract, and issued the recordings on an LP called Get That Feeling on the Capitol label, with Knight and Hendrix sharing equal billing on the album cover. A deal was worked out that Hendrix would provide Capitol with one album to make the lawsuit go away, consisting of either new studio recordings or a live performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Before this could happen, however, bassist Noel Redding left the band to join a new group called Fat Mattress. Hendrix, meanwhile, began work on several tracks with a variety of backing musicians, including his old Army buddy, bassist Billy Cox, and drummer Buddy Miles, who had already made a guest appearance on the third Experience album, Electric Ladyland. Finally, in December, it was decided that the trio, now calling themselves Band Of Gypsys, would record a series of four live New Year's concerts at the Fillmore East and issue the best performances as a live album. In preparation for the concerts, the group made several studio recordings, including an early version of Earth Blues. Unlike the version heard on the Rainbow Bridge album, this track contains no overdubs.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Shanghai Noodle Factory
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Last Exit)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    After Traffic split up (for the first time), Island Records decided to milk one more album out of one their most popular groups. To do so they took studio outtakes, singles that had not been included on previous albums and even an entire side of live performances, issuing the entire package in 1969 under the title Last Exit. Shanghai Noodle Factory, a song that was recorded without the participation of guitarist Dave Mason, was originally released in late 1968 as the B side of the Medicated Goo single.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    It's All Right
Source:    Mono LP: Kinkdom
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964
    It's All Right, the original B side of the Kinks first hit, You Really Got Me, was not available on an LP until the 1965 album Kinkdom, which was a US-only album made up mostly of tracks that had previously been issued only in the UK. The song shows how strong an influence early US rock and roll had on Ray Davies's songwriting.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Session Man
Source:    Mono import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary UK (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Nicky Hopkins was one of only a handful of studio musicians who managed to acquire some fame beyond the musicians' community itself. The keyboardist had actually been a member of a band at age 16, but was forced to quit when health issues made it impossible for him to perform live on a regular basis. Such was his level of talent, however, that he soon found work in various London studios, playing on dozens of albums by such well-known groups as the Who, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. The Kinks, in particular, were so impressed with his work that their leader, Ray Davies, wrote a song about him, Session Man, and recorded it on their 1966 Face To Face album. Hopkins would eventually get even more exposure, performing with Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock and becoming, for a time, a member of Quicksilver Messenger Service. 

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    I Need You
Source:    Mono LP: Kinkdom
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits in 1964 such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks mellowed out a bit with songs like Set Me Free the following year. Lurking on the other side of the single, though, was a song that showed that the band still knew how to rock out: I Need You. The song was also included on the 1965 LP Kinks Kinkdom, and went on to become something of a garage rock standard.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. airwaves was the Seeds' debut single, Can't Seem To Make You Mine, released in 1965. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album the following year. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, predating the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard.

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:    Merry-Go-Round
Title:    You're A Very Lovely Woman (originally released on Emitt Rhodes LP: The American Dream)
Source:    CD: More Nuggets
Writer:    Emmit Rhodes
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1971
    Emitt Rhodes first got noticed in his mid-teens as the drummer for the Palace Guard, a beatle-influenced L.A. band that had a minor hit with the song Like Falling Sugar in 1966. Rhodes would soon leave the guard to front his own band, the Merry-Go-Round, scoring one of the most popular regional hits in L.A. history with the song Live. In 1969 Rhodes decided to try his hand as a solo artist. The problem was that he was, as a member of the Merry-Go-Round, contractually obligated to record one more album for A&M. The album itself, featuring a mixture of Rhodes solo tunes and leftover Merry-Go-Round tracks, sat on the shelf for two years until Rhodes had released a pair of well-received LPs for his new label, at which time A&M finally issued The American Dream as an Emitt Rhodes album. One of the best tracks on The American Dream was You're A Very Lovely Woman, a Merry-Go-Round recording from 1967 that show's influences from fellow L.A band Love's Forever Changes album.

Artist:    Denis Couldry And The Next Collection
Title:    I Am Nearly There
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Couldry/Wills
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    Denis Couldry was a keyboardist and vocalist who joined up with a band called Felius Andromedus to record their only single, Meditations, in late 1967. Although the record (essential a Procol Harum knockoff) was not successful, its producer, Vic Keary, was impressed enough with Couldry to team him up with another band, the Next Collection, for a February 1968 single called James In The Basement. Couldry himself co-wrote the record's B side, a tune called I Am Nearly There.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Beginnings
Source:    LP: Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    The first album by Chicago shows a band that had spent several months on the road honing its craft. Many of the tracks on the double album were recorded in one take, with a minimum of overdubs. Beginnings, which finishes out side one of the album, was released as a single in 1969 but failed to chart. After the band became more well-known, Beginnings was re-released, this time becoming a moderate hit. The single version ran less than three minutes, essentially cutting out the entire second half of the song, but a later album edit running about six minutes has been used on most compilation albums. The original version heard here runs nearly eight minutes, including over two minutes of percussion and vocals at the end of the song.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Roll With It
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Children Of The Future)
Writer:    Steve Miller
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Right from the beginning, the Steve Miller band stood out stylistically from other San Francisco area bands. This was in part because Miller was only recently arrived from Chicago, which had a music tradition of its own. But a lot of the credit has to go to Miller himself, who had the sense to give his bandmates (such as his college buddy Boz Scaggs) the freedom to provide songs for the band in addition to his own material. One example of the latter is Roll With It from the group's 1968 debut LP, Children Of The Future.

Artist:    Bonzo Dog Band
Title:    I'm The Urban Spaceman
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Neil Innes
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The Bonzo Dog Dada Band (as they were originally called) was as much theatre (note the British spelling) as music, and were known for such antics as starting out their performances by doing calisthentics (after being introduced as the warm-up band) and having one of the members, "Legs" Larry Smith tapdance on stage (he was actually quite good). In 1967 they became the resident band on Do Not Adjust Your Set, a children's TV show that also featured sketch comedy by future Monty Python members Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin and David Jason, the future voice of Mr. Toad and Danger Mouse. In 1968 they released their only hit single, I'm The Urban Spaceman, co-produced by Paul McCartney. Neil Innes would go on to hook up with Eric Idle for the Rutles projects, among others, and is often referred to as the Seventh Python.

Artist:    Pawnbrokers
Title:    Realize
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    English/Hanson/Richey/Rogne
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Big Sound)
Year:    1968
    Starting around 1965, high school students all across middle America began forming garage bands, most of which emulated British Invasion bands such as the Kinks and the Rolling Stones. It's no surprise then, that by 1968 some of these same high schoolers were now enrolled in colleges such as the University of Northern Iowa and forming bands with names like the Pawnbrokers. The group, whose members came from Iowa, North Dakota and Minnesota, released three singles on at least two different labels before graduation brought an end to the whole thing. The second of these was Realize, which was issued on the Big Sound label out of Davenport (one of the Quad Cities).

Artist:     Beacon Street Union
Title:     Green Destroys The Gold
Source:     British import CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union
Writer:     Wayne Ulaky
Label:     See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967   
    The Beacon Street Union found itself handicapped by being signed to M-G-M and being promoted as part of the "boss-town sound." The problem was that there was no "boss-town sound", any more than there was a San Francisco sound or an L.A sound (there is a Long Island Sound, but that has nothing to do with music). In fact, the only legitimate "sound" of the time was the "Motown Sound", and that was confined to a single record company that achieved a consistent sound through the use of the same studio musicians on virtually every recording. What made the situation even more ironic for the Beacon Street Union was that by the time their first LP came out they had relocated to New York City anyway. If there is a New York sound, it has more to do with traffic than music. None of which has anything to do specifically with the song Green Destroys The Gold, which was written by the band's bass player, Wayne Ulaky, and included on their debut album The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1441 (starts 10/8/14)

Artist:    Love
Title:    Stephanie Knows Who
Source:    Mono CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Following up on a strong, if not spectacular debut LP followed by a national hit record (7&7 Is), Love went into the studio with two new members to record their second album, Da Capo. By this point the band had established themselves as the most popular band on the Sunset Strip, and the music on Da Capo is a fair representation of what the group was doing onstage (including the 17 minute Revelation, which takes up the entire second side of the LP). The opening track, Stephanie Knows Who, is hard proto-punk, showcasing the band's tightness with abrupt changes in tempo throughout the song. The tune also features the harpsichord playing of "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who switched over from drums to keyboards for the LP.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hillsdale
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Whatever else they may have been, Love was above all L.A.s hometown band. As the house band at the city's top club, the Whiskey-A-Go-Go (located on Sunset strip between Clark and Hillsdale), Love chose to immerse itself in the city's culture rather than to promote its records nationally. In a way that's a shame, as the band never achieved the iconic status of their label-mates (and former opening act) the Doors, despite leader Arthur Lee being hailed by critics as a musical genius on a par with Brian Wilson and Jimi Hendrix. Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hillsdale, from Love's third album, Forever Changes, is a highly personal song that somehow manages to be a reflection of the city itself.  

Artist:    Love
Title:    Can't Explain
Source:    Mono CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols/Fleckenstein
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Love's original lineup consisted of bandleader Arthur Lee on vocals, Johnny Echols on lead guitar, John Fleckenstein on bass and Don Conka on drums, with Lee, a prolific songwriter, providing the band's original material. They were soon joined by singer/songwriter/guitarist Bryan MacLean, who gave up his traveling gig as a roadie for the Byrds. Before they completed their first album, however, Fleckenstein and Conka had been replaced by Ken Forssi and Snoopy Pfisterer, although Lee himself provided most of the drums and some of the bass tracks on the LP. Two of the tracks on the album, however, are rumored to have been performed by the original five members, although this has never been verified. One of those tracks is Can't Explain, on which Fleckenstein has a writing credit. The song is certainly one of the band's earliest recordings and captures Love's hard-edged "L.A.-in" take on folk-rock.

Artist:    Lamp Of Childhood
Title:    No More Running Around
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mekler/Hendricks/Tani
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1967
    I've often wondered how it was that a somewhat raunchy rock band like Steppenwolf ended up on the same pop-oriented record label (Dunhill) as the Mamas and the Papas, the Grass Roots and 3 Dog Night. It turns out the Dunhill connection was from the man who produced Steppenwolf, Gabriel Mekler. Mekler was a member of the Lamp Of Childhood, a group that also included Cass Elliot's husband James Hendricks. Although the Lamp had a solid pop sound, they never really caught on and by the time their third and most successful single, No More Running Around, was released, the members had already moved on to other things (like, for instance, producing Steppenwolf records, or in the case of drummer Billy Mundi, joining the Mothers Of Invention).

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Only a handful of tunes make virtually everyone's list of "psychedelic" songs. The Electric Prunes' I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) so well defines the genre that Lenny Kaye himself chose it to be the opening track on the original Nuggets album.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Gone And Passes By
Source:    CD: No Way Out
Writer(s):    Dave Aguilar
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Producer Ed Cobb, years after the fact, expressed regret that he didn't take the time to discover for himself what made the Chocolate Watchband such a popular band among San Jose, California's teenagers. Instead, he tried to present his own vision of what a psychedelic band should sound like on the group's debut LP, No Way Out. Many of the tracks on the album used studio musicians, and two of the tracks featuring the Watchband itself used studio vocalist Don Bennett instead of Dave Aguilar, including the single Let's Talk About Girls. The remaining tracks, altough featuring the full band, were somewhat obscured by additional instruments, particular the sitar, which was not normally used by the band when performing live. This synthesis of Cobb's vision and the actual Watchband is probably best illustrated by the song Gone And Passes By, an Aguilar composition that somewhat resembles a psychedelicized version of the Rolling Stones' cover of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono Australian CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Raven (original label: Epic)
Year:    1965
    For many, the Yardbirds version of I'm a Man is the definitive version of this Bo Diddley classic. Oddly enough, the song was released as a single only in the US, where it made it into the top 10 in 1965.

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:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Purple Haze
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Following up on the success of their first UK single, Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released Purple Haze in early 1967. The popularity of the two singles (released only in Europe) led to a deal with Reprise Records to start issuing the band's material in the US. By then, however, the Experience had already released Are You Experienced without either of the two hit singles on it. Reprise, hedging their bets, included both singles (but not their B sides), as well as a third UK single, The Wind Cries Mary, deleting several tracks from the original version of Are You Experienced to make room for them.

Artist:        Randy Newman
Title:        Last Night I Had A Dream
Source:      Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Randy Newman
Label:        Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:        1968
        Randy Newman has, over the course of the past fifty-plus years, established himself as a Great American Writer of Songs. His work includes dozens of hit singles (over half of which were performed by other artists), nearly two dozen movie scores and eleven albums as a solo artist. Newman has won five Grammys, as well as two Oscars and Three Emmys. Last Night I Had A Dream was Newman's second single for the Reprise label  (his third overall), coming out the same year as his first LP, which did not include the song.

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. If you know anything more about them, feel free to drop me a note at (contact button).

Artist:    Buddy Miles
Title:    Dreams
Source:    CD: Them Changes
Writer(s):    Greg Allman
Label:    Miracle/Mercury
Year:    1970
    Drummer Buddy Miles started his career playing in his father's jazz band, but by the mid-1960s he was paying his dues as a member of various backup bands for R&B vocalists such as Wilson Pickett. In late 1966 Michael Bloomfield, who had just left the Butterfield Blues Band, asked Miles to join him in a new band that he was tentatively calling the American Music Band. The band made its debut the following year as the Electric Flag. After the demise of the Electric Flag Miles formed his own band, the Buddy Miles Express, recording two albums and making a guess appearance on the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland. In 1969 Miles teamed up with Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox to form Band Of Gypsys, releasing a live album in early 1970. Later that year, after it became clear that Band Of Gypsys was a one-shot affair, Miles, with the help of the Electric Flag horn section, released his most successful solo album, Them Changes. Among the several tunes from the album to get progressive FM airplay was an extensively rearranged version of Greg Allman's Dreams, which had been previously recorded by the Allman Brothers Band.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Source:    CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    If there was ever a band that illustrated just how bizarre the late 60s could be, it was the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Formed at a party hosted by noted Hollywood Argyle Kim Fowley by the sons of a noted orchestra conductor and a borderline pedophile with lots of money to burn, the band also included a talented but troubled lead guitarist from Denver and a multi-instrumentalist who would go on to become a highly successful record producer. As would be expected with such a disparate group, several members ended up quitting during the band's run; strangely enough, they all ended up returning to the band at one time or another. Their music was just as strange as their story, as the title track of their fourth album, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, illustrates vividly. Musically the song is powerful, almost anthemic, creating a mood that is immediately destroyed by a spoken bit (I hesitate to use the term "poetry") by the aforementioned borderline pedophile, Bob Markley, against a backdrop of a more subdued musical bed with background vocals somewhat resembling Gregorian chant. And just what words of wisdom does Markley have to share with us? Let me give you a small sample: "a vampire bat will suck blood from our hands, a dog with rabies will bite us, rats will run up your legs, but nothing will matter." Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the whole thing is that the piece was created without benefit of drugs, as all the members of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (except for lead guitarist Ron Morgan) were notoriously drug-free, itself a bit of an oddity in late 60s Hollywood. Oddly enough, in spite of this (or maybe because of it), the track is actually quite fun to listen to. Besides, it only lasts two minutes and twenty seconds.

Artist:     Merry-Go-Round
Title:     Listen, Listen!
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):     Emmitt Rhodes
Label:     Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:     1968
     In 1968, drummer/vocalist Emmit Rhodes was on the verge of branching out on a solo career. One of the last songs released under the Merry-Go-Round banner was a tune called Listen, Listen! The track shows a strong Beatle influence, although it tends to rock out a bit harder than the average Beatle song.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Lola
Source:    Mono Canadian CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    By 1970 the Kinks were all but forgotten in the US and not doing all that much better in their native UK. Then came Lola. I guess I could stop right there. Or I could mention that the song was based on a true story involving the band's manager. I could even say something about Dave Davies claim that, although his brother Ray is credited as the sole songwriter of Lola, Dave actually came up with the music and Ray added the lyrics. But you've probably heard it all before. This is Lola, the most famous transvestite song in history, we're talking about, after all.

Artist:    Poets
Title:    That's The Way It's Gotta Be
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):    Gallacher/Paton/Myles
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    From Glasgow, Scotland, the Poets were discovered by Rolling Stones' manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham while on a trip to Edinburgh to marry his 16-year-old girlfriend. Although Oldham's primary focus remained on the Stones, he did stick by the Poets through half a dozen singles from 1964 through 1967. One of the best of these was That's The Way It's Gotta Be, released on the British Decca label in 1965.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    King Midas In Reverse
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    One of the last Hollies singles to include original member Graham Nash, King Midas In Reverse combines pop and psychedelia in a purely British way. The problem was that, with the exception of Nash, the Hollies had no desire to embrace psychedelia, and Nash soon found himself banding with David Crosby and Stephen Stills instead.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Word
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The original concept for the album Rubber Soul was to show the group stretching out into 60s Rhythm and Blues (known at the time as "soul" music) territory. The US version of the album, however, deleted several of the more soulful numbers in favor of more folk-rock sounding songs (including a pair held over from the band's previous British LP, Help). This was done by Capitol records mainly to cash in on the sudden popularity of the genre in 1965. Not all of the more R&B flavored songs were deleted, however. John Lennon's The Word appeared on both US and UK versions of Rubber Soul.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Pow R. Toc H.
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Barrett/Waters/Wright/Mason
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    British psychedelic music was always more avant-garde than its US counterpart, and Pink Floyd was probably the most avant-garde of the British psychedelic bands. Pow R. Toc H., one of the few tracks on their first LP that was written by the entire group (most of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was written by Syd Barrett), was a hint of things to come.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Baby Let Me Take You Home
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Farrell/Russell
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1964
    The Animals may have been the first rock band to cover Bob Dylan, or more specifically, they were the first to cover an R&B adaptation of a Bob Dylan cover of an Eric Von Schmidt song. The song in question was on the first Bob Dylan album, and was entitled Baby, Let Me Follow You Down. In 1964 the song, re-written by future Partridge Family producer Wes Farrell and the prolific Bert Berns (using the name Bert Russell), was recorded by an obscure American soul singer named Hoagy Lands under the title Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand. It was the Lands version that the Animals recorded as their first single, this time using the title Baby Let Me Take You Home. The US version of the single, however, relegated the song to the B side of the record, with the original B side, Gonna Send You Back To Walker, hitting the lower reaches of the US charts.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Just Wan't To Make Love To You
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    Like most British bands in the early 60s, the Rolling Stones chose to record mostly blues cover songs for their early UK singles. The first original tune from the band to chart was the 1964 single Tell Me (Your Coming Back Again), which was also their first  release to crack the US top 40. The Stones weren't quite done with blues covers however. The flip side of Tell Me was an old Willie Dixon classic, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Tripmaker
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: A Web Of Sound)
Writer(s):    Tybalt/Hooper
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
     Although the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, came out in both stereo and mono versions, there are very few copies of the mono version in existence, let alone playable condition. Apparently Rhino Records has access to one of them, allowing them to use this mono mix of Tripmaker, showing the advantages of being a record label that started off as a record store.

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:    Spirit
Title:    The Great Canyon Fire In General
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Among other things, Southern California is known for its periodic wildfires, which, fueled by hot Santa Ana winds, destroy everything in their path before they can be brought under control. In the summer of 1967, while the members of Spirit were living in L.A.'s Topanga Canyon and working on their first album, one of these wildfires took out about half of the canyon. Although the house the band was living in was spared, the entire area was evacuated and the members of Spirit (and their family) had to spend a week camped out at the beach. Now that's what I call roughing it!

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Helplessly Hoping
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    By 1969 there was a significant portion of the record-buying public that was more interested in buying albums than in picking up the latest hit single. This in turn was leading to the emergence of album-oriented FM radio stations as a player in the music industry. Crosby, Stills and Nash took full advantage of this trend. Although they did release a pair of singles from the debut LP (Marrakesh Express and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes), it was their album tracks like Helplessly Hoping that got major airplay on FM radio and helped usher in the age of the singer/songwriter, making the trio superstars in the process.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    Lucky Man
Source:    CD: Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Writer(s):    Greg Lake
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1970
    By 1970 a trend was developing in rock music that continues to this day. That trend was for musicians to leave their original bands after a couple years and form new "supergroups" with other like-minded musicians. One example was Emerson, Lake and Palmer, made up of former members of the Nice, King Crimson and Atomic Rooster. Their first, and most recognizable, hit was Lucky Man, written by lead vocalist Greg Lake, who also played acoustic guitar on the song.

Artist:    Flower Travellin' Band
Title:    Satori-Part V
Source:    CD: Satori
Writer(s):    Satori
Label:    Phoenix
Year:    1971
    Possibly the first Japanese heavy metal band and almost certainly the first Japanese psychedelic group, the Flower Travelin' Band was created as a side project of Yuyu Yuchida, a friend of John Lennon's who, having heard Jimi Hendrix and Cream on a trip to England, wanted to introduce Japanese audiences to this new kind of music. After returning to Japan he gathered a group of musicians together and recorded the first Flowerin' Travellin' Band LP in 1969. The album was made up entirely of covers of bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin. It wasn't until 1971 (and several personnel changes) that the FTB recorded their first LP made up entirely of original material. The album was called Satori, as were all five tracks on the album. It was worth the wait.

Artist:    Beau Brummels
Title:    Don't Talk To Strangers
Source:    Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer(s):    Elliott/Durand
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1965
    The Beau Brummels were one of the first bands to emerge from the San Francisco area following the British Invasion of 1964. Signed to Mike Donahue's Autumn Records in 1964, the band got off to a solid start with back-to-back hit singles (Laugh Laugh, and Just A Little), and were considered one of the originators of the folk-rock movement. Financial problems at Autumn, however, led to poor promotion of the band's subsequent releases, including the excellent Don't Talk To Strangers (produced by Sly Stone), and they were never able to regain their momentum, even after Autumn (and the Beau Brummels' contract) was bought out by Warner Brothers in 1967.

Artist:    Downliners Sect
Title:    Glendora
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):    Ray Stanley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Although they never had the massive success of the Rolling Stones, Kinks or Animals, the Downliners Sect had a solid run beginning in 1964, with enough staying power to cut three LPs and numerous singles over a period of years. One of their more notable tracks is their 1966 remake of a 1956 Perry Como hit, Glendora, about a department store mannequin. As interpreted by the Sect, the song takes on a cool macabre flavor.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Earthquake
Source:    British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    Although the second 13th Floor Elevators LP, Easter Everywhere, is generally a more quiet and contemplative album than their 1966 debut, it did have a few higher-energy rockers such as Earthquake on it to spice up the mix. The band attempted to use a huge sheet of steel to produce the sound of thunder for the recording, but ultimately had to abandon the idea as unworkable. The album itself was awarded a special "merit pick" by Billboard magazine, which described the effort as "intellectual rock". Easter Everywhere was not a major seller, but has since come to be regarded as one of the hidden gems of the psychedelic era.