Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1526 (starts 6/24/15)
Title: Baby, You're A Rich Man
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Baby, You're A Rich Man was one of the last collaborations between John Lennon and Paul McCartney and addresses the Beatles' longtime manager Brian Epstein, although not by name. Lennon came up with the basic question "how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" (a popular term for the young and hip in late 60s London), which became the basis for the song's verses, which were combined with an existing, but unfinished, Paul McCartney chorus (Baby, You're A Rich Man, too). The finished piece was issued as the B side of the Beatles' second single of 1967, All You Need Is Love, and later remixed in stereo and included on the US-only LP version of Magical Mystery Tour.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: We Love You
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
After the less than stellar chart performance of the LP Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones decided to pull out all the stops with a double 'A' sided single. We Love You was their most expensive production ever, and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. Oddly enough, the other side of the record, Dandelion, ended up getting more airplay, at least in the US.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Super Bird
Source: CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Country Joe and the Fish, from Berkeley, California, were one of the first rock bands to incorporate political satire into their music. Their I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag is one of the most famous protest songs ever written. Super Bird is even heavier on the satire than the Rag. The song, from the band's debut LP, puts president Lyndon Johnson, whose wife was known as "Ladybird", in the role of a comic book superhero.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Positively 4th Street
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Positively 4th Street, recorded at the same time as the Highway 61 Revisited album, was held back for single release later the same year. The tactic worked, scoring Bob Dylan his second top 10 hit.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Love Seems Doomed
Source: LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Unlike most of the tracks on the Blues Magoos' 1966 Debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, Love Seems Doomed is a slow, moody piece with a message. Along with the Paul Revere and the Raiders hit Kicks from earlier that year, Love Seems Doomed is one of the first songs by a rock band to carry a decidedly anti-drug message. While Kicks warned of the addictive qualities of drugs (particularly the phenomenon of the need larger doses of a drug to achieve the same effect over time), Love Seems Doomed focused more on how addiction affects the user's relationships, particularly those of a romantic nature. Love Seems Doomed is also a more subtle song than Kicks, which tends to hit the listener over the head with its message.
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Label: Priority (original label: Atco)
Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, "Sunshine Of Your Love," featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Clapton and Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock." Yeah, I write this stuff myself.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Sadie Said No
Source: LP: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union
By the time the first Beacon Street Union album was released the band had already relocated to New York. That didn't stop executives from M-G-M from including the Union as part of its "Bosstown Sound" promotion. In the short term it may have generated some interest, but it was soon clear that the "Bosstown Sound" was empty hype, which in the long run hurt the band's credibility. This is a shame, since the music on The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union is actually quite listenable, as Sadie Said No, which opens side two of the original LP, demonstrates.
Artist: Common People
Title: Soon There'll Be Thunder
Source: British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Of The People, By The People, For The People, From The Common People)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
After the surprise success of the single I Love You by the San Jose, California band People, Capitol Records decided to sign another California band with a similar name, the Common People. The result was the hard to find 1969 LP Of The People, By The People, For The People, From The Common People. Although there were no hit singles on the album, it did contain some decent tracks such as Soon There'll Be Thunder.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Going To Mexico
Source: LP: Anthology (originally released on LP: Number 5)
Although Boz Scaggs had left the Steve Miller Band following their second album, Sailor, the song Going To Mexico, co-written by Miller and Scaggs, did not appear on an album until Number 5 was released in 1970. Miller himself referred to the song as a 1969 track on his Anthology album, however, leading me to believe the song may have been among the last tracks recorded while Scaggs was still with the band. The recording also features future star Lee Michaels on organ.
Artist: James Gang
Title: Funk #49/Ashtonpark
Source: CD: James Gang Rides Again
Label: MCA (original label: ABC)
Following the release of their first LP, Yer' Album, the James Gang toured extensively, giving them little time to work up material for their followup album. Nonetheless, they managed to turn out a classic with the 1970 release James Gang Rides Again. The album starts with the song that all three band members agree was already worked out by the time they hit the studio, Funk #49. The song (which is probably the band's best known tune) is followed immediately by Ashtonpark, a short instrumental that picks up where Funk #49 fades out. The track is essentially Joe Walsh, Dale Peters and Jim Fox jamming over an echo effect created by cycling the playback of Walsh's guitar back through the record head of the studio tape recorder.
Artist: Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks
Title: How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Dan Hicks
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
As one of the founders of the legendary San Francisco band the Charlatans, Dan Hicks has a special place in rock history. One song recorded (but not released) by the Charlatans was How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away, which became sort of a signature tune for Hick's new band, the Hot Licks.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Punky's Dilemma
Source: LP: Bookends
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Originally written specifically for the 1967 soundtrack of the movie The Graduate but rejected by the producers, Punky's Dilemma sat on the shelf until the following year, when it became the only track on side two of Simon And Garfunkel's Bookends LP that had not been previously released. The lyrics are about as psychedelic as Simon And Garfunkel ever got.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Comin' Back To Me
Source: CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Marty Balin
Marty Balin, in his 2003 liner notes to the remastered release of Surrealistic Pillow, claims that Comin' Back To Me was written in one sitting under the influence of some primo stuff given to him by Paul Butterfield. Other players on the recording include Balin, Paul Kantner, Jack Casady and an uncredited Jerry Garcia on guitars and Grace Slick on recorder.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Label: RCA Victor
Uncredited guest guitarist Jerry Garcia adds a simple, but memorable recurring fill riff to Today, an early collaboration between rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner and bandleader Marty Balin on Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Darby Slick
Over 40 years after the fact, it's hard to imagine just how big an impact Somebody To Love had on the garage band scene. Whereas before Somebody To Love came out you could just dismiss hard-to-cover songs as being "lame" anyway, here was a tune that was undeniably cool, and yet virtually impossible for anyone but the Airplane to play well (and even they were unable to get it to sound quite the same when they performed it live). Although garage bands would continue to exist (and still do), the days when a group of kids from the suburbs could form a band, play a handful of parties, maybe win a battle of the bands and write and record a hit record with virtually no prior experience were gone forever.
Artist: Tim Rose
Title: Morning Dew
Source: LP: Tim Rose
Writer(s): Bonnie Dobson
Time Rose was no stranger to controversy. It was his slowed-down version of Hey Joe that inspired the first Jimi Hendrix Experience single in 1966, yet his label credited Rose as the sole writer of the song, which, as it turns out, was actually written years earlier (possibly as early as 1958) by California-based folk singer Billy Roberts. Similarly, the song Morning Dew, which was written in 1961 by Canadian singer Bonnie Dobson, was credited to both Dobson and Rose on Rose's self-titled 1967 LP for Columbia. However, Rose's only apparent contribution to the song is the rewording of the first line (from "Take Me For A Walk In The Morning Dew to Take Me Out To The Morning Dew), and there is some evidence that even that change was originally made by Fred Neil when he recorded the song in 1964. Nonetheless, since 1967 the song has had been officially co-credited to Rose, with Dobson collecting on 75% of the royalties due to an agreement made prior to Rose's recording of the song. To this day Dobson disputes that credit, claiming that she never met Rose (who died in 2002).
Artist: Sound Sandwich
Title: Apothecary Dream
Source: Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Johnny Cole
Label: Sundazed (original label: Viva)
One of the more successful record producers in mid-60s Los Angeles was Snuff Garrett, whose credits include hits by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Cher and others. For a while Garrett even had his own record label. Viva Records was only around for a couple of years, but during that time they turned out some of the best-produced psychedelic records ever made. One example is 1967's Apothecary Dream, a tune written by producer Johnny Cole and performed by local L.A. band the Sound Sandwich. The band cut a second single the following January before Viva folded.
Artist: Gov't Mule
Title: Thorazine Shuffle
Source: CD: Dose
When the Allman Brothers Band reformed in 1989, it included new members Warren Haynes on guitar and Allen Woody on bass. The two were fans of late 60s power trios such as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and, with drummer Matt Abts, formed Gov't Mule as a side project, releasing their first studio album in 1995. Following a well-received live album, the group split permanently from the Allmans in 1997, releasing their second studio album, Dose, in 1998. The most memorable track on the album was Thorazine Shuffle, a tune written by Haynes and Abt that has become a staple of the group's live performances.
Title: Blood And Roses
Source: CD: Blown To Smithereens (originally released on LP: Especially For You)
Writer(s): Pat DiNizio
Label: Capitol (original label: Enigma)
In 1986 I was the host of a show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque, NM. Once a month we would feature an entire album from up and coming bands such as R.E.M., Killing Joke, Skinny Puppy and other groups that would come to be labeled "alternative rock", but at that time were part of a new musical underground. Among the albums that most impressed me was an LP called Especially For You from a band from New Jersey calling themselves the Smithereens. The album, produced by Don Dixon, had a decidedly 60s retro feel to it, especially on tracks like Blood And Roses, which has appeared in several movie and TV soundtracks in the years since its initial release.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Gypsy Eyes
Source: CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Electric Ladyland, the last album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was a double LP mixture of studio recordings and live jams in the studio with an array of guest musicians. Gypsy Eyes is a good example of Hendrix's prowess at the mixing board as well as on guitar.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Belly Button Window
Source: CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: The Cry Of Love)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Following the death of Jimi Hendrix, Reprise Records got to work compiling tracks for The Cry Of Love, the first of many posthumous Hendrix albums released by the label. The final track on the LP was an unfinished piece called Belly Button Window that featured Hendrix on vocals and electric guitar, with no other musicians appearing on the track. In the late 1990s the Hendrix family released a CD called First Rays Of The New Rising Sun that was based on Hendrix's own plans for a double-length album that he was working on at the time of his death. First Rays Of The New Rising Sun ends with the same bare bones recording of Belly Button Window that was used on The Cry Of Love.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Little Wing
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Incense And Peppermints
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Uni)
Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Fields of Sun
Source: CD: Heavy
Before In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida there was Heavy. The debut LP from Iron Butterfly featured vocalist/tambourinist Darryl DeLoach, guitarist Danny Weis and bassist Jerry Penrod, all of whom would leave the band after the album was recorded, along with drummer Ron Bushy and keyboardist Doug Ingle, who would find themselves having to recruit two new members before recording the classic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album. One of the best-known tracks from Heavy is Fields of Sun, with its Baroque-influenced instrumental bridge played and sung (an octave higher) by Ingle.
Title: Tired Of Waiting For You
Source: British import CD: The Flock
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: BGO (original label: Columbia)
The Flock was one of those bands that made an impression on those who heard them perform but somehow were never able to turn that into massive record sales. Still, they left a pair of excellent LPs for posterity. The most notable track from the first album was this cover of the 1965 Kinks hit, featuring solos at the beginning and end of the song from violinist Jerry Goodwin, who would go on to help John McLaughlin found the Mahavishnu Orchestra a couple years later.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: Cat Food
Source: LP: In The Wake Of Poseidon
Following the release of the 1969 album In The Court Of The Crimson King all the members of King Crimson except for guitarist Robert Fripp and lyricist Peter Sinfield left the band for various reasons. Most of them, however, including keyboardist Ian McDonald, drummer Michael Giles and lead vocalist Greg Lake, ended up contributing the the second Crimson LP, In The Wake Of Poseidon in the role of session musicians, along with Giles's brother Peter, who provided bass parts on the album. The most popular song on the album was Cat Food, which was released as a single in 1970 (and was the featured song on the band's only TV appearance until 1981).
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer(s): McKinley Morganfield
Label: United Artists (original label: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Johnny Winter's first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, was originally released in 1968 on the Texas-based Sonobeat label. A ctitical success, it was picked up and reissued on the Imperial label a year later. Most of the songs on the album are covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'.
Title: I Should Be Dreaming
Source: LP: Without Earth
Writer(s): Matthew Moore
Moon was formed by pianist/songwriter Matthew Moore, working with various former members of bands such as the Bel-Aires, Davie Allan And The Arrows and even the Beach Boys (David Marks had taken Al Jardine's place when Jardine had served in the military in the band's early days). The band had a pleasant, light-psychedelic sound, as can be heard on tracks such as I Should Be Dreaming from their first LP, Without Earth.The group received little support from their label, however, and after a second LP failed to chart the band decided to call it a day as the 1960s drew to a close.
Artist: Frumious Bandersnatch
Title: Hearts To Cry
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on self-titled EP)
Writer: Jack King
Label: Rhino (original label: Muggles Gramophone)
Rock music and the real estate business have something in common: location can make all the difference. Take the San Francisco Bay Area. You have one of the world's great Cosmopolitan cities at the north end of a peninsula. South of the city, along the peninsula itself you have mostly redwood forest land interspersed with fairly affluent communities along the way to Silicon Valley and the city of San Jose at the south end of the bay. The eastern side of the bay, on the other hand, spans a socio-economic range from blue collar to ghetto and is politically conservative; not exactly the most receptive environment for a hippy band calling itself Frumious Bandersnatch, which is a shame, since they had at least as much talent as any other band in the area. Unable to develop much of a following, they are one of the great "should have beens" of the psychedelic era.
Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Mickey Newbury
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote most of the songs 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.