Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1506 (starts 2/4/15)

Artist:     Who
Title:     Doctor Doctor
Source:     Mono CD: A Quick One (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Writer:     John Entwhistle
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1967
     Keeping an accurate chronology of recordings by the Who in their early years can be a bit difficult, mainly due to the difference in the ways songs were released in the US and the UK. Since the British policy was for songs released on 45 RPM vinyl not to be duplicated on LPs, several early Who songs were nearly impossible to find until being released on compilation albums several years after their original release. One such song is Doctor Doctor, a John Entwhistle tune released as the B side to their 1967 hit Pictures Of Lily. The single was released on both side of the Atlantic, but only received airplay in the UK, where it made the top 10. In the US the record failed to chart and was out of print almost as soon as it was released. The song is now available as a CD bonus track on the 1966 album A Quick One.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on. Especially the spoken part in the middle, when Jimi says the words "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want." It sounds like he's inside your head with you.

Artist:    The Brain
Title:    Nightmares In Red
Source:    Mono British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Pete Giles
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Before King Crimson there was Giles Giles & Fripp, who recorded one memorable album for Deram in 1968. For a short time, however, the trio called themselves The Brain, releasing one 1967 single on the Parlophone label. The B side of that single was Nightmares In Red, described by British music critic Brian Hogg as "Wild trumpets, snoring, massed off-hand orchestration, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and that's only the first minute." A nightmare indeed.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Black Currant Jam
Source:    LP: Grape Jam
Writer(s):    Kooper/Miller/Stevenson/Mosely
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Moby Grape's second album, Wow, came with something extra: an entire second LP at no additional price. This second LP was a collection of impromptu jam sessions, a couple of which featured guest musicians. One of those tracks was Black Currant Jam, which features Al Kooper on piano, joining regular band members Jerry Miller (guitar), Don Stevenson (drums) and Bob Mosely (bass). The album, released in early 1968, garnered mixed reviews from the rock press, but inspired Kooper to produce a jam album of his own, the enormously successful Super Session, later the same year.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Codine
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Writer(s):    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Rock Beat
Year:    1968
    Buffy St. Marie's Codine was a popular favorite among the club crowd in mid-60s California. In 1967, L.A.'s Leaves included it on their second LP. Around the same time, up the coast in San Francisco, the Charlatans selected it to be their own debut single. The suits at Kama-Sutra Records, however, balked at the idea of releasing a "drug song" as a single (despite the song's decidedly anti-drug stance), and instead released a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows. The novelty-flavored record bombed so bad that the label decided not to release any more Charlatans tracks, thus leaving their version of Codine gathering dust in the vaults until the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, back in 1968, Quicksilver Messenger Service was still without a record contract, despite being known as one of the "big three" San Francisco bands (the others being Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead). The producers of the quasi-documentary film Revolution took advantage of the situation, using footage of Quicksilver performing Codine in the film. With the film itself in post-production, the producers commissioned the band to record a studio version of Codine for inclusion on the soundtrack album.

Artist:    Crescent Six
Title:    And Then
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gregory Ferrera
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Rust)
Year:    1965
    One of the earliest psychedelic tracks was a single called And Then by New Jersey's Crescent Six. Virtually nothing else is known about the record, which was released on New York's Rust Records label.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Rain On The Roof (instrumental version)
Source:    LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The 1966 album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful was deliberately recorded in a variety of styles to give the impression of several different bands performing on the record. Among the hit singles from the LP was Rain On The Roof, a folky piece with a childlike quality to it. This instrumental version of the tune was included as a bonus track on the Sundazed reissue of the LP.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Spontaneous Apple Creation
Source:    British import CD: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Writer(s):    Brown/Crane
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    One of the most revered examples of British psychedelia is the 1968 album The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. While side one was done as a concept album about Hell, side two was a mixture of original tunes and the most popular cover songs from the band's live repertoire. Among the originals on side two is Spontaneous Apple Creation, possibly the most avant-garde piece on the album. Once you hear it, you'll know exactly what I mean by that.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    How Many More Times
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:    Lighthouse
Title:    Mr. Candleman
Source:    LP: Peacing It All Together
Writer(s):    Prokop/Hoffert
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1970
    Although not as popular in the US as their labelmates the Guess Who, Lighthouse was one of Canada's top bands for about a decade. Formed in 1968, Lighthouse was the brainchild of drummer/vocalist Skip Prokop and keyboardist Phil Hoffert, who met on a flight from New York to Toronto and discovered a mutual interest in combining jazz, rock and classical in one rather large band (originally 13 members strong). The group made its debut in May of 1969 at the Rock Pile in Toronto and was introduced by Duke Ellington. Their first LP, recorded in Toronto, was released on the RCA label that same year. Their first album recorded outside Canada was the 1970 LP Peacing It All Together, which was recorded at RCA's Hollywood studios. As it turned out, the album was the band's last for RCA and the last album to feature original lead vocalist Pinky Dauvin. One of the stronger tracks on Peacing It All Together was Mr. Candleman, which opens side two of the LP and features original lead guitarist Ralph Cole. Another notable member of the band at that time was Howard Shore, who would eventually land a job leading the house band on the Saturday Night Live TV program. After changing labels the band would go on to have its greatest success, scoring moderate hits with One Fine Morning and Sunny Days in the early 1970s.

Artist:    N'Betweens
Title:    Delighted To See You
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road
Writer(s):    P. Dello
Label:    EMI
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1998.
    The name N'Betweens may not ring any bells with even the most hardcore rock fans, but after changing their name, first to Ambrose Slade and later Slade, they had a decent following in the 1970s. The group originally migrated to London from the industrial city of Birmingham in 1966, where they met up with American producer Kim Fowley, who produced their first single, a cover of the Young Rascals' You Better Run. The band did record other songs before changing their name, including Delighted To See You, which was recorded in 1967, probably in France.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    When I Was Young
Source:    Mono CD: The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    After the Animals disbanded in 1966, Eric Burdon set out to form a new band that would be far more psychedelic than the original group. The first release from these "New Animals" was When I Was Young. The song was credited to the entire band, a practice that would continue throughout the entire existence of the group that came to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    Simulated stereo 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:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 4-6 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album.

Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Heaven And Hell
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was the Easybeats, often called the Australian Beatles. Although their early material sounded like slightly dated British Invasion music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British immigrants), by late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch immigrant members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Most Peculiar Man
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    You would think that a high school on a US military facility would be inclined to use the most staunchly traditional teaching methods known to man. Surprisingly, though, this was not the case at General H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany. In fact, the English department was teaching some sort of new system that dispensed with terms such as verb and noun and replaced them with a more conceptual approach to language. What I best remember about my Freshman English class is the day that my rather Bohemian teacher (he wore sandals to class!), actually brought in a copy of the Sounds Of Silence and had us dissect two songs from the album, Richard Cory and A Most Peculiar Man. We spent several classes discussing the similarities (they both deal with a suicide by someone representing a particular archetype) and differences (the methods used and the archetypes themselves) between the songs. I have forgotten everything else about that class and its so-called revolutionary approach, but those two songs have stayed with me my entire life. I guess that teacher (whose name I have also forgotten) was on to something.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Slide Machine
Source:    British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    R. P. St. John
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    Following a successful tour of Southern California in late 1966, the 13th Floor Elevators returned to their native Austin, Texas to begin work on a second LP. Unlike the first album, which (like most debut efforts of the time) was recorded in a matter of days, Easter Anywhere took several months to complete. During that time the band underwent personnel changes and a continuously deteriorating relationship with International Artists Records, which kept setting up inappropriate gigs instate when the band would have been better served building up a national following. In addition, some of the band members were exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior due to excessive drug use, which slowed work on the album down considerably. One more factor contributing to the tardiness of the LP was the band's desire to make an album that would be thematically consistent throughout rather than a random collection of songs like their debut LP had been. The fact that the theme itself was pretty cosmic made it that much harder to capture in the recording studio. Although nearly all the material on the album was written by the band members themselves, one track, Slide Machine, was credited to the mysterious R.P. St. John.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Magic Carpet Ride
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Writer(s):    Moreve/Kay
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 60s.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever to crack the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Jury
Title:    Who Dat?
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bill Ivaniuk
Label:    Rhino (original label: Quality)
Year:    1966
    Formed by members of two Winnipeg bands, the Chord-U-Roys and the Phantoms, in 1964, the Jury released three Beatles-inspired singles on the Canadian London label in 1965 before switching to the locally-owned Quality label the following year. Their only single for Quality was Who Dat?, a savage piece of garage rock that got enough regional airplay to pique the interest of a small US label, Port. Nonetheless, the group disbanded before 1966 was over.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Mr. Farmer
Source:    CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: A Web Of Sound)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1966
    With two tracks (Can't Seem To Make You Mine and Pushin' Too Hard) from their first album getting decent airplay on L.A. radio stations in 1966 the Seeds headed back to the studio to record a second LP, A Web Of Sound. The first single released from the album was Mr. Farmer, a song that once again did well locally. The only national hit for the Seeds came when Pushin' Too Hard was re-released in December of 1966, hitting its national peak the following spring.

Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    The Thrill Is Gone
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Benson/Pettite
Label:    Bluesway/ABC
Year:    1970
    Back when there was still room for blues artists on the rhythm and blues charts, one of the names regularly seen was B.B. King, who had gotten his start as a DJ in the early 50s. It wasn't until 1970, though, that he finally found mainstream success with The Thrill Is Gone. Now in his 80s, King is considered a living legend and a national treasure.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    House On The Hill
Source:    LP: Turtle Soup
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Volman/Nichol/Pons/Seiter
Label:    Repertoire (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1969
    The Turtles were the only truly successful act in the history of White Whale Records. This created a love/hate relationship between the band and its label, with the band always wanting more creative freedom and the label wanting more hit records. This sometimes resulted in great records such as Elenore, but often led to even more problems. Things came to a head after the band's final album, Turtle Soup, produced by the Kinks' Ray Davies, failed to provide any top 40 hits (the highest charting single stalling out at # 51). The album did have some creative high points, however, such as the melodic House On The Hill. Nonetheless, rather than record another album for White Whale, the Turtles officially disbanded, with two of the core members, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, hooking up with the Mothers Of Invention and recording the classic Live At The Fillmore East album in 1970.

Artist:    Them
Title:    She Put A Hex On You
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After recruiting new lead vocalist Kenny McDowell, Them moved their base of operations to California, where they recorded two LPs for Capitol's tax write-off label, Tower. The second of these featured songs written by the husband and wife team of Tom Lane and Sharon Pulley, including She Put A Hex On You.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Hideaway
Source:    CD: Underground
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After the moderately successful first Electric Prunes album, producer David Hassinger loosened the reigns a bit for the followup, Underground. Among the original tunes on Underground was Hideaway, a song that probably would have been a better choice as a single than what actually got released: a novelty tune called Dr. Feelgood written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, who had also written the band's first hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Lady Jane
Source:    CD: Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (London)
Year:    1966
    One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated seperately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8). Both tunes were also included on the 1967 LP Flowers, a US-only collection of then-recent singles and songs that had been left off the American versions of earlier Stones LPs.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Cream Puff War
Source:    LP: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Jerry Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1967
    The first Grateful Dead album was recorded in a matter of days, and was mostly made up of cover tunes that the band was currently performing. The two exceptions were The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), which was credited to the entire band, and Cream Puff War, a song written by guitarist Jerry Garcia. The two tracks were paired up on the band's first single as well. Cream Puff War, as recorded, ran nearly three and a half minutes, but was edited down to 2:28 at the insistence of the corporate shirts at Warner Brothers Records.

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