Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1517 (starts 4/22/15)

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Strange Brew
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Collins/Pappalardi
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    During sessions for Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker recorded an instrumental track for an old blues tune, Lawdy Mama. Producer Felix Pappalardi and his wife Janet Collins reworked the melody and lyrics to create an entirely new song, Strange Brew. Clapton provided the lead vocals for the song, which was issued as a single in Europe and the UK, as well as being chosen as the lead track for the album itself.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    CD: Easy Rider (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Prior to 1967 producers and artists devoted most of their mixing time to working on the monoraul masters, with the stereo mixes usually done as a rush job after the "real" mix was finished. Starting with the album Axis: Bold As Love, however, Jimi Hendrix, along with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, began using stereo as an artist's tool, creating soundscapes that were designed to utilize the entire area around the listener, as opposed to coming from one specific point. After working late into the night on the mix for If 6 Was 9, Hendrix took the stereo master tape with him, but left it in a taxicab (it was never found). The three of them spent several hours trying to recreate the mix they had done, but were unable to get a final version that they were satisfied with. At that point bassist Noel Redding reminded them that he had taken a rough copy of the original tape home with him a few days earlier. It was this copy that was finally used on the album.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Enchanted Gypsy
Source:    LP: A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch began to move beyond his folk roots and into psychedelia with the 1966 album Sunshine Superman, which was followed in early 1967 by the similarly styled Mellow Yellow LP. The following December saw the release of Donovan's most ambitious project to date: a two record album box set entitled A Gift From A Flower To A Garden. Each record was also released as a separate album. The first disc, entitled Wear Your Love Like Heaven, was a pop-oriented collection of the same type of songs he had released as singles throughout the year. The second disc, For Little Ones, was a mostly acoustic album that was aimed toward what he called "the dawning generation". Personally I favor the second disc, with songs like The Enchanted Gypsy serving to spotlight Donovan's strengths as both a guitarist and vocalist.

Artist:    Country Joe and the Fish
Title:    Section 43
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Country Joe and the Fish released their original mono version of an instrumental called Section 43. The song was included on a 7" EP inserted in an underground newspaper called Rag Baby. In 1967 the group recorded an expanded stereo version of Section 43 and included it on their debut LP for Vanguard Records, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. It was this arrangement of the piece that the group performed live at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on both the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation and Rhino's first Nuggets LP.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    Tuesday Afternoon
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Days Of Future Passed and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Justin Hayward
Label:    Priority (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Tuesday Afternoon was the second single released from the Moody Blues' breakthrough 1967 LP Days Of Future Passed. At the insistence of producer Tony Clarke the album version of the song was retitled Forever Tuesday and was used as part one of a track called The Afternoon. When released as a single the following year, composer Justin Hayward's original title was restored to the piece, which was initially edited down to less than two and a half minutes for the 45 RPM pressing. The original album version of the song includes a separately recorded orchestral coda that segues directly into the next phase of the album, entitled The Evening. The version heard here includes the orchestral coda but does not segue into the next track.

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

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Have You Seen Her Face
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Perhaps the greatest surprise on the fourth Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, was the emergence of bassist Chris Hillman as a quality songwriter, already on a par with David Crosby and the recently-departed Gene Clark, and even exceeding Roger McGuinn as a solo writer (most of McGuinn's contributions being as a collaborator rather than a solo songwriter). One of the many strong Hillman tracks on Younger Than Yesterday was Have You Seen Her Face, which eventually became the third single from the album.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Rambling On
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    Procol Harum is generally considered to be one of the first progressive rock bands, thanks in part to their second LP, Shine On Brightly. In addition to the album's showpiece, the seventeen minute In Held Twas I, the album has several memorable tracks, including Rambling On, which closes out side one of the original LP. The song's rambling first-person lyrics (none of which actually rhyme) tell the story of a guy who, inspired by a Batman movie, decides to jump off a roof and fly. Oddly enough, he succeeds.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Lime Street Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale in 1967 got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Shine On Brightly
Source:    LP: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    Although it was never released as a single, the title track of Procol Harum's second album, Shine On Brightly, is probably their most commercially viable song on the album. Opening with power chords from organist Matthew Fischer and augmented by guitarist Robin Trower, the song quickly moves into psychedelic territory with some of Keith Reid's trippiest lyrics ever, including the refrain "my befuddled brain shines on brightly, quite insane." One of their most underrated tracks ever.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: Bringing It All Back Home and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio itself. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    A Well Respected Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Released 1965, charted 1966
    The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man (actually released in late 1965) amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Don't Need Your Lovin'
Source:    Mono British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: Riot On Sunset Strip soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Dave Aguilar
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    The Chocolate Watchband was famously unprepared virtually every time they entered a recording studio (although it might be more accurate to say they just didn't give a damn). Their appearance on the set of the film Riot On Sunset Strip was no exception. The band actually did have one song prepared for the film, a Dave Aguilar original called Don't Need Your Lovin'. The track was recorded live on the Paramount soundstage and is a better representation of what the band was all about than any of their studio tracks.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of a tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Liquid Scene
Title:    The Other Side Of The Sun
Source:    CD: Revolutions
Writer(s):    Becki diGregorio
Label:    Ziglain
Year:    2014
    This week's Advanced Psych track is the opening tune from Liquid Scene's debut CD Revolutions. The Other Side Of The Sun is, put simply, a catchy tune with an infectious guitar riff that nicely sets the stage for the rest of the album. Last time I played something from Revolutions I mistakenly identified it as being released in 2015. I have since discovered that the album actually came out in December of 2014. Much thanks to producer/engineer Vince Sanchez at VSO Productions for making me aware of this fine CD.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Don't Slip Away
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Spence
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Don't Slip Away, from the first Jefferson Airplane album, released in 1966, could probably have been a hit if it had been released as a single. It wasn't, however, and the band remained mostly unknown outside of the immediate San Francisco Bay area for several months after the release of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. This gave the group the opportunity to make a pair of key personnel changes that resulted in Grace Slick and Spender Dryden becoming Airplane members in time to record the group's breakthrough LP, Surrealistic Pillow. On the strength of Slick's vocals in particular, the Jefferson Airplane became a national phenomena in 1967.

Artist:    Adrian Pride
Title:    Her Name Is Melody
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Schwartz/Slater
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    Seriously? You've never heard of Adrian Pride? How about Don Atello? Bernie Ballantine? The Comfortable Chair? No? These are all names used by Bernie Schwartz, either as a solo artist or with a band (you can probably figure out which one that was). After recording a few self-penned singles in the early 60s, Schwartz came to the attention of the Everly Brothers, who in turn got him signed to Warner Brothers Records, at that time a medium-sized label owned by a large Hollywood movie studio. Schwartz recorded a pair of singles, the second of which was Her Name Was Melody, before forming the Comfortable Chair. Interestingly, Schwartz later claimed that, although he received a songwriting credit for the tune, it was actually written by Don Everly and Terry Slater. Schwartz eventually retired from music and became an author of such self-help books as A Guide To Fashionable Psychological Disorders and Are You A Newrotic?

Artist:    Nocturnes
Title:    Carpet Man
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jimmy Webb
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Not every artist who recorded at London's famed Abbey Road Studios became famous. Like all studios, Abbey Road had its share of artists who cut maybe one single and then faded off into obscurity. Among the most obscure bands to record at Abbey Road was the Nocturnes, whose sole shot at fame was a cover of the Fifth Dimension's Carpet Man, recorded and released in 1968.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Pinball Wizard
Source:    Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA
Year:    1969
    Released as a single in advance of the Tommy album, from which it was taken, Pinball Wizard had become one of the Who's most best-known songs by the time the LP hit the racks, stimulating sales of the album itself. It was a marketing strategy that would become the music industry standard for decades, until internet downloading changed everything.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Non-Conformist Wilderbeast Man/Today's Lesson (Ladies And Gentlemen)
Source:    LP: Marriage On The Rocks-Rock Bottom
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1970
    When it comes to music, the city of Detroit is synonymous with Motown Records. However, the motor city was also home to one of the hardest rocking local music scenes as well, as evidenced by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Bob Seger System, and, perhaps the wildest of all, the Amboy Dukes. The Dukes first started getting attention with their recording of Baby Please Don't Go (which was featured on Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets compilation), and had their greatest commercial success in 1968 with the psychedelic anthem Journey To The Center Of The Mind. By 1970, they were being billed as the Amboy Dukes featuring Ted Nugent, and were dominated by both Nugent's songwriting and his flashy guitar work. This dominance is obvious on tracks like Non-Conformist Wilderbeast Man/Today's Lesson (Ladies And Gentlemen), which segue together to close out side one of the Marriage On The Rocks/Rock Bottom album. The sheer energy of these tracks would become a hallmark of Nugent's wild man personna.

Artist:    Third Rail
Title:    Run Run Run
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Resnick/Resnick/Levine
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Run Run Run is actually a studio creation issued in 1967 from husband and wife team Artie and Kris Resnick collaborating with Joey Levine, who sings lead vocals on the track. They only performed the song live once (in Cincinatti, of all places) as the Third Rail. All three would find a home as part of the Kasenetz-Katz bubble gum machine that would make Buddah Records a major player in 1968, with Levine himself singing lead for one of the label's most successful groups, the Ohio Express.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Black Hearted Woman
Source:    CD: Beginnings (originally released on LP: The Allman Brothers Band)
Writer(s):    Gregg Allman
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    It's almost a cliche that a rock and roll songwriter will get at least one good song out of a relationship that ends badly. If this is indeed the case, Gregg Allman's relationship with a woman in Los Angeles named Stacy must have been particularly rocky, as it served as the inspiration for no less than three songs on the Allman Brothers Band's debut LP. Perhaps the most "to the point" of these was Black Hearted Woman, which pulls no punches whatsoever.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Eighteen Is Over The Hill
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Morgan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The contributions of guitarist Ron Morgan to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band are often overlooked, possibly due to the fact that Morgan himself often tried to distance himself from the band. Nonetheless, he did write some of the group's most memorable tunes, including their best-known song, Smell Of Incense (covered by the Texas band Southwest F.O.B.) and the opening track of what is generally considered their best album, A Child's Guide To Good And Evil. Unfortunately, the somewhat senseless lyrics added by Bob Markley detract from what is actually a very tasty piece of music.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source:    Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, the the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with AM radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit (not that they needed one).

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:     45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer:     Paul Simon
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Originally released as a single in 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs written for the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used in the film 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:    Romancers (aka the Smoke Rings)
Title:    Love's The Thing
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Max and Bob Uballez
Label:    Rhino (original label: Linda)
Year:    1965
    Love's The Thing, a favorite on local Los Angeles radio stations in 1965, was actually released three times on three labels under two different band names. Such was the studio scene in East L.A. in the mid-60s. Max Uballez, leader of the Romancers, was the driving force behind this and many other tunes appearing on the Linda and Faro labels, among others. The prolific Uballez was considered by many to be East L.A.'s answer to Phil Spector (or maybe Brian Wilson).

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 at the forefront of  the British psychedelic scene. 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:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Bike
Source:    CD: An Introduction To Syd Barrett (originally released in UK on LP: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Speaking of the first Pink Floyd album, we have the last track from that release, the Syd Barrett tune Bike. Due to an inherent cheapness in Tower Records' approach to pretty much everything, the track (along with three other songs) was left off the US release of that album, with Arnold Layne being inserted into the lineup instead. All CD releases of Piper in the US have restored the original song lineup and running order.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Matilda Mother
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm.

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