Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1508 (starts 2/18/15)

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although Cream's music was generally heard on progressive rock FM radio, they did have a couple of songs that crossed over onto AM top 40 radio as well. The second of these was White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition that leads off the band's third LP, Wheels Of Fire.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lovely Rita
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 John Lennon and Paul McCartney were a songwriting team in name only, with nearly all their compositions being the work of one or the other, but not both. Lovely Rita, from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, was pure McCartney. The song features McCartney on both piano and overdubbed bass, with Lennon and George Harrison on guitars and Ringo Starr on drums. Pink Floyd, who were recording their debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at the same Abbey Road studios the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's at, ended up borrowing some of the effects heard toward the end of Lovely Rita for their own Pow R Toc H.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Too Much On My Mind
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    Face To Face, released in 1966, was the first Kinks album to consist entirely of songs written by Ray Davies. The making of the album was not without difficulties; there were clashes between the band and Pye Records over the format of the album, with the band wanting to use sound effects to bridge the gaps between tracks and the label wanting a more standard banding of each track as a separate entity (the label won) and Davies himself suffered a nervous breakdown just as recording sessions for the album got under way. In addition, bassist Peter Quaife actually quit the band shortly before recording sessions for the album started, but returned in time to play on most of the tracks, including the gentle balled Too Much On My Mind. 

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I'm Free
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK on LP: Out Of Our Heads and in US as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: December's Children)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    My 1965 the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards was in high gear, cranking out hit after hit with tunes like The Last Time and Satisfaction. The follow-up to Satisfaction was Get Off My Cloud, which included an excellent B side, I'm Free, that had already appeared in the UK as the last track on Out Of Our Heads. The song was left off the US version of the album, and would later appear on a US-only LP called December's Children (And Everybody's).

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer:     Esposito/Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1966
     The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Travelin' Around
Source:    LP: Circus Maximus
Writer:    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village in 1967 by lead guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Bob Bruno (who wrote most of the band's material) and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker, who went on to much greater success as a songwriter after he left the group for a solo career (he wrote the classic Mr. Bojangles, among other things). The lead vocals on the first Circus Maximus LP were split between the two, with one exception: guitarist Peter Troutner shares lead vocal duties with Bruno on the album's opening track, the high-energy Travelin' Around.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Head (opening sequence, including Porpoise Song and Circle Sky)
Source:    LP: Head
Writer(s):    Goffin/King/Nesmith
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    After the cancellation of the Monkees' TV show in the spring of 1968, the group decided to try their hand at a full-length feature film. Rather than attempt to simply do a longer version of a TV show episode, as the Batman show had done, the Monkees decided to take an entirely different approach, combining short skits with musical numbers in a somewhat confusing montage. They brought in the then-unknown Jack Nicholson to write the script and included such notables as Frank Zappa in the film (as a critic). The movie itself was a flop. although in more recent years it has acquired cult status and was the inspiration for Michael Nesmith's own Elephant Parts, a one-hour production that was among the first works ever made specifically for home video (originally available in both tape and laserdisc formats). The opening segment of the soundtrack album includes a truncated version of the Gerry Goffin/Carole King penned Porpoise Song, as well as Michael Nesmith's Circle Sky and an odd bit of self-parody, along with some short excerpts from the film itself.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Fakin' It
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Fakin' It, originally released as a single in 1967, was a bit of a departure for Simon And Garfunkel, sounding more like British psychedelic music than American folk-rock. The track starts with an intro that is similar to the false ending to the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever; midway through the record the tempo changes drastically for a short spoken word section that makes a reference to a "Mr. Leitch" (the last name of the Scottish folksinger turned psychedelic pioneer Donovan). The stereo mix of Fakin' It was first released on the 1968 LP Bookends.

Artist:    Hi-Fis
Title:    Tread Softly For The Sleepers
Source:    CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bennett/Douglas
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: German Star Club)
Year:    1967
    The Hi-Fis' recording career started in 1963 with the first of four singles released in the UK. After a lineup change the band accepted a six-week booking on the Swiss/German border that turned into a two-year stay in Germany. During that time they recorded three more singles, including Tread Softly For The Sleepers, as well as a well-received LP for the German Star Club label.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She's My Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    A favorite among the Turtles' members themselves, She's My Girl is full of hidden studio tricks that are barely (if at all) audible on the final recording. Written by the same team as Happy Together, the song is a worthy follow up to that monster hit.

Artist:    Human Expression
Title:    Optical Sound
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Quarles/Foster
Label:    Rhino (original label: Accent)
Year:    1967
    One thing Los Angeles had become known for by the mid-1960s was its urban sprawl. Made possible by one of the world's most extensive regional freeway systems, the city had become surrounded by suburbs on all sides (except for the oceanfront). Many of these suburbs were (and are) in Orange County, home to Anaheim stadium, Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. The O.C. was also home to the Human Expression, a band that recorded a trio of well-regarded singles for the Accent label. The second of these was Optical Sound. True to its name, the song utilized the latest technology available to achieve a decidedly psychedelic sound.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth. And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was becoming a breakout hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    White Rabbit
Source:    CD: The Worst of Jefferson Airplane
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1967
    For many the definitive song of the psychedelic era is Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit. Originally an album track, the song was released as a single after getting extensive airplay on "underground" FM stations, becoming the second (and final) top 10 hit for the Airplane in the summer of '67.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    You Don't Love Me
Source:    LP: Super Session
Writer(s):    Willie Cobb
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
    You Don't Love Me was originally recorded and released as a single by Willie Cobbs in 1960. Although the song is credited solely to Cobbs, it strongly resembles a 1955 Bo Diddley B side, She's Fine She's Mine, in its melody, lyrics and repeated guitar riff. The Cobbs single was a regional hit on the Mojo label in Memphis, but stalled out nationally after being reissued on Vee-Jay Records, due to the label pulling promotional support from the song due to copyright issues. A 1965 version by Junior Wells with Buddy Guy saw some minor changes in the lyrics to the song; it was this version that was covered by Al Kooper and Stephen Stills for the 1968 Super Session album. The recording extensively uses an effect called flanging, a type of phase-shifting that was first used on the Jimi Hendrix Experience track Bold As Love.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Turtle Blues
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Sometimes I do play favorites. Turtle Blues, from the Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, is certainly one of them. Besides vocalist Janis Joplin, who wrote the tune, the only other band member heard on the track is guitarist Peter Albin. Legendary producer John Simon provides the piano playing.

Artist:    Bubble Puppy
Title:    What Do You See
Source:    Mono British import CD: A Gathering Of Promises (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Prince/Cox
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1970
    Austin, Texas based Bubble Puppy hit the national charts with Hot Smoke And Sassafras in a big way in late 1968, but incompetence on the part of International Artists Records delayed the band's debut album too long to take advantage of the single's popularity. As a result, A Gathering Of Promises stalled out on the albums charts at # 176, despite being one of the best albums released in 1969.The band recorded one more single for International Artists before moving to California and changing their name to Demian, releasing an album on the Dunhill label in 1971. If anyone has a copy of that album they wouldn't mind parting with, I'd love to hear it...

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Villanova Junction Blues
Source:    Mono LP: People, Hell And Angels
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2013
    Usually known as the untitled instrumental that finishes out the Woodstock movie, Villanova Junction Blues was first performed in the studio by Band Of Gypsys (Hendrix, Billy Cox and Buddy Miles) prior to their live performances at Madison Square Garden at the end of 1969. The studio version remained unreleased until 2013, when it was included on the album People, Hell And Angels.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Ain't No Tellin'
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Possibly the closest thing to a traditional R&B style song in JImi Hendrix's repertoire, Ain't No Tellin' was also, at one minute and 47 seconds, one of the shortest tracks ever recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The tune appeared on the Axis: Bold As Love album in 1967.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Easy Blues
Source:    LP: People, Hell And Angels
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2013
    Jimi Hendrix did not record with other guitarists very often, making this 1969 jazzy blues jam somewhat of a novelty. In addition to second guitarist Larry Lee (who would join Hendrix onstage at Woodstock), Easy Blues features Hendrix's old army buddy and former bandmate Billy Cox on bass and the Experience's Mitch Mitchell on drums.

Artist:    Knickerbockers
Title:    One Track Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    L. Colley/K. Colley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:    1966
    After successfully fooling many people into thinking that they were the Beatles recording under a different name with their 1965 hit Lies, the Knickerbockers (originally from Bergenfield, New Jersey) went with a more R&B flavored rocker for their follow up single. Unfortunately their label, the Los Angeles-based Challenge Records, did not have the resources and/or skills to properly promote the single.

Artist:    La De Das
Title:    How Is The Air Up There?
Source:    Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in New Zealand as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kornfeld/Duboff
Label:    Rhino (original labels: Zodiac/Philips)
Year:    1966
    New Zealand had a surprisingly active music scene in the late 1960s, with bands like the La De Das at the center of the action. Formed in Auckland in 1964, the group started off as the Mergers, changing their name at around the same time they signed with the local Zodiac label. Their first single, How Is The Air Up There?, was a huge hit in New Zealand, leading a string of hit singles and three albums for the band, which eventually called in quits in the 1970s.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Buddah (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    Although folk music became popular throughout the U.S. in the early 1960s, its primary practicioners tended to make their homes on the eastern seaboard, particularly along the Boston-New York corridor. One hotspot in particular was New York's Greenwich Village, which was also home to the beatnik movement and a thriving acoustic blues revival scene. All these diverse elements came together in the form of the Lovin' Spoonful, who burst upon the scene with the hit single Do You Believe In Magic in 1965. Led by primary songwriter John Sebastian, the Spoonful for a while rivaled even the Beatles in popularity. Among their many successful records was Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind, which made the top 5 in 1966. The band continued to chart hits through 1967, at which point Sebastian departed the group to embark on a solo career.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    Mono CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    1966
    From 1965 to 1968 L.A. was home to a thriving club scene that gave bands the opportunity to perform their own original material. One of the most sophisticated of those bands was the Music Machine, which would fire off song after song without pause until it was break time, then come back and do it again for the next set. One song that they played every night became their biggest hit. Talk Talk was recorded in one take in mid-1966.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    The Twain Shall Meet (side one)
Source:    LP: The Twain Shall Meet
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Eric Burdon And The Animals were among the many acts that appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. Although the band did make an impression at the festival, the festival itself made an even bigger impression upon the band. This was demonstrated in the best way possible with the late 1967 release of the band's next single, Monterey, which name-checked many of the other artists on the scene. The group followed that single up with their second LP, The Twain Shall Meet, in 1968. Each side of the LP was a continuous track, with each song fading into the one following it. In addition to Monterey itself, the side features Just The Thought, Closer To The Truth, No Self Pity and Orange and Red Beams, all of which were written by the band itself.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Country Girl
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second Crosby, Stills and Nash album, déjà vu, was enhanced by the addition of singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, along with bassist Dallas Taylor and drummer Greg Reeves. The LP itself was printed on textured cardboard with gold offset lettering, giving the package a unique look. But it was the music itself that made the album one of the top sellers of 1970, with three singles going into the top 40. One of the non-single tracks was Country Girl, a medley of three uncompleted Neil Young songs that would not have been out of place on a Young solo album.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:     Cobra
Source:     British import CD: Just For Love
Writer:     John Cipollina
Label:     BGO (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1970
     Quicksilver Messenger Service was able to do something in 1970 that no other band had been able to accomplish. It managed to sign up the world's most famous session man, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, as a full member. If that wasn't enough, they also rounded up former early member Dino Valenti (aka Chet Powers), newly released from jail in time to participate in the recording of the band's most successful album, Just For Love. Although almost the entire album was written by non-member Jesse Oris Farrow, there are a pair of tracks by Valenti and this tune from founding member and co-lead guitarist John Cipollina. The entire album was recorded in Hawaii, which might explain how they managed to entice Hopkins to join them.

No comments:

Post a Comment