Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1527 (starts 7/1/15)
Lately I've been getting asked whether a podcast of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is available. The answer is not exactly, but PRX, which distributes the show, does provide you the option to check out the show on their own website. I'm providing a link here. Let me know how that works for you.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Label: RCA Victor
After Bathing At Baxter's is generally considered the most pyschedelic of all the Jefferson Airplane albums. For one thing, the members were reportedly all on LSD through most of the creative process and were involved in the entire package, right down to the decision to divide the album up into five suites and press the vinyl in such a way that the spaces normally found between songs were only present between the suites themselves, making it almost impossible to set the needle down at the beginning of the second or third song of a suite (there is a slight overlap between most of the songs as well). The first suite on After Bathing At Baxter's is called Streetmasse. It consists of three compositions: Paul Kantner's The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel; A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly (a free-form jazz piece led by drummer Spencer Dryden); and the Paul Kantner/Marty Balin composition Young Girl Sunday Blues.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Source: British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
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.
Title: The Walking Song
Source: French import CD: Happy Together
Label: Magic (original label: White Whale)
When they weren't recording hit songs by professional songwriters, the Turtles were busy developing their own songwriting talents, albeit in a somewhat sardonic direction. One early example is The Walking Song, which contrasts the older generation's obsession with material goods with a "stop and smell the roses" approach favored by the song's protagonist. This type of writing would characterize the later careers of two of the band members, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, who, after performing with the Mothers at the Fillmore East would become known as the Phlorescent Leech (later Flo) and Eddie.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: 59th Street Bridge Song
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Simon And Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) features two members of the Dave Brubeck Quartet: bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello. The song first appeared as an album track on Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme in 1966 and was later released as the B side of the 1967 single At The Zoo. Finally in 1970 the song was re-released, this time as an A side of a single after Simon And Garfunkel had split up. In the meantime another band, Harper's Bizarre (featuring future Doobie Brothers and Van Halen producer Ted Templeman on lead vocals), scored a hit with the song in early 1967.
Title: Don't Go 'Way Little Girl
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Label: Grapefruit (original label: M-G-M)
The Shame was a British band best known as the starting point in the career of vocalist Greg Lake. The song itself, Don't Go 'Way Little Girl, was a cover of a tune from another young artist: 15-year-old Janis Ian. The song originally appeared under its original title, Too Young To Go 'Way Little Girl, as a track on Ian's debut LP for the Verve Forecast label in the US. The Shame record went largely unnoticed when released in 1967, but Lake himself went on to greater fame as a member of various other bands, including the Gods, Shy Limbs, King Crimson and eventually Emerson, Lake And Palmer.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Dove In Hawk's Clothing
Source: Mono promo LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
One of the criticisms of Ultimate Spinach (and the whole overly-hyped "Boss-Town Sound") was that the band tried too hard to sound like West Coast psychedelic bands such as Country Joe And The Fish. A listen to Dove In Hawk's Clothing, an anti-draft piece that played on the popular hawk and dove stereotypes of the time, shows that such criticism did indeed have some validity to it. Still, in retrospect the song has a certain dated charm to it, thanks to the songwriting talents of Ian Bruce-Douglas.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Source: LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
I think there is a law on the books somewhere that says I need to play the full version of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida every so often, so here it is.
Title: Love In A Summer Basket
Source: British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original label: M-G-M)
The final Seeds release was a single called Love In A Summer Basket, credited to the entire band. However, it was an entirely different sounding band than the Seeds of old, with only Sky Saxon and keyboardist Daryl Hooper left from the group's original lineup. The band had not had a hit record since 1967, and had finally parted company with their original label, GNP Crescendo, in 1969. In 1970 they managed to sign a new contract with M-G-M, still considered at the time to be a major label, but found themselves once again without a label following the release of Love In A Summer Basket at the end of the year. Mike Curb had just been made vice president of M-G-M's music division and immediately set out to clean up the label's image by purging both M-G-M and Verve Records of all drug-related artists and material, including the Velvet Underground and the Mothers. It is likely that even if the new Seeds recordings had found an audience, the group's past history as the poster child for L.A.'s drug-fueled underground music scene would have doomed them with Curb anyway.
Title: Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. 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, by several months.
Title: Did He Die
Source: British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: Big Beat (original label: M-G-M)
Of the four songs recorded for and released on the M-G-M label by the Seeds in 1970, the B side of the band's final single was arguably the best of the bunch. Did He Die is an anti-war song credited entirely to Sky Saxon, due more, I suspect, to his in your face lyrics than any actual musical contribution he may have made to the song. Still, the record does have flashes of the old Seeds magic, and serves as a fitting epitaph for one of the most iconic bands of the psychedelic era.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2013
Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience did not officially disband until 1969, Hendrix himself was spending more and more time working with musicians outside the band as early as mid-1968. The Electric Ladyland album itself features guest appearances by the likes of Steve Winwood, Buddy Miles and Chris Wood, among others, and for years there have been even more recordings by non-Experience members rumored to exist. Among those legendary tracks is Somewhere, a piece that features Miles on drums, and, unusually, Stephen Stills on bass. In addition to a special 45 RPM single release, Somewhere is available on the 2013 album People, Hell and Angels. According to engineer Eddie Kramer, this is the final collection of unreleased studio tracks to be issued by the Hendrix family estate.
Artist: Beyond From Within
Title: Love Whispers To Be Free
Source: CD: Beyond From Within
Writer(s): Steve Andrews
Label: independently released
Back when I began running the Advanced Psych segment this past ast April I asked for bands to submit material that might fit into the show. The result is Beyond From Within, a project from Steve Andrews of Pittsburgh, Pa. Love Whispers To Be Free is the opening track from the CD, which is being distributed independently. If you like what you hear let me know and I'll be happy to put you in touch with Mr. Andrews.
Artist: Liquid Scene
Title: The Mad Potter Of Biloxi
Source: CD: Revolutions
Writer(s): becki diGregorio
In March of 2015 I received an e-mail from Vincent Sanchez, who had been involved in the making of an album called Revolutions by a band called Liquid Scene that had been released in December of 2014. I invited him to send me a copy of the album and was highly impressed with the CD. I had already been toying with the idea of finding a way to occasionally work newer psychedelic/garage rock material into the show, and listening to Liquid Scene was just the push I needed to create a new segment called Advanced Psych. The Mad Potter of Biloxi is the fifth track from Revolutions to be played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Like the rest of Liquid Scene's material, The Mad Potter of Biloxi was written by multi-instrumentalist bodhi (becki diGregorio), who also sings on the tune. Although Advanced Psych was not intended to be a weekly feature of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, there were several tracks from the 80s to the present that I wanted to play on the show at least once. Now that that particular goal has been reached, Advanced Psych will be returning to its intended status as an occasional feature. Just how often it appears depends on what comes my way (although you can certainly count on hearing more from Liquid Scene and some of the other artists featured on Advanced Psych so far).
Title: The Little Black Egg
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Lee; re-released by Kapp in 1966)
The Nightcrawlers were formed by a group of high school kids from Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1965. Led by Chuck Conlon, the group caught the attention of local music publisher Robert Quimby, who also owned Lee Records. The label released two singles by the band, the second of which was The Little Black Egg. The song went to the top spot on local radio station WROD, doing well on other Florida stations as well. This led to Kapp Records picking up the record for national distribution in late 1966 (after doing a complete remix from the master tape).
Artist: Mouse And The Traps
Title: Maid Of Sugar-Maid Of Spice
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Mouse (Ronnie Weiss) was, for a time, the most popular guy in Tyler, Texas, at least among the local youth. His band, Mouse and the traps, had a series of regional hits that garnered airplay at stations all across the state (and a rather large state at that). Although Mouse's first big hit, A Public Execution, had a strong Dylan feel to it, subsequent releases, such as the 1966 single Maid Of Sugar-Maid Of Spice, were pure garage-rock.
Artist: Dutch Masters
Title: The Expectation
Source: Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych
Writer(s): Blake Schaefer
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: My)
The Dutch Masters, as you may have guessed, liked to dress up like the guys on the cigar box. This of course gave them a recognition factor that was no doubt an advantage on the Little Rock music scene. The band was formed by My Records owner Earl Denton, who sang lead on both sides of the group's March 1967 debut single. The following October a second Dutch Masters single, The Expectation, was released on the same label, but without the presence of Denton himself.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Living In The U.S.A.
Source: LP: Sailor
Writer(s): Steve Miller
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.
Title: Mother Samwell
Source: CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original labels: Delcrest & Hip)
Formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1967, the Waters released two singles on three labels before disbanding in 1969. The second of these, the Hendrix-inspired Mother Samwell, was first released on the Delcrest label in January of 1969 and then re-released by Hip in April of the same year.
Title: Animal Zoo
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
The last album by the original lineup of Spirit was Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970. The album was originally going to be produced by Neil Young, but due to other commitments Young had to bow out, recommending David Briggs, who had already produced Young's first album with Crazy Horse, as a replacement. The first song to be released as a single was Animal Zoo, but the tune barely cracked the top 100 charts. The album itself did better on progressive FM stations and has since come to be regarded as a classic. Shortly after the release of Twelve Dreams, Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Just Like A Woman
Source: CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: She's Coming Home
Source: CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Generally speaking, cheatin' songs in 1966 were considered the province of country music. The few exceptions, such as Paul Revere and the Raiders' Steppin' Out, were all told from the victim's point of view. The Blues Magoos, however, turned the entire thing upside down with She's Coming Home, a song about having to break up with one's new girlfriend in the face of the old one returning from...(prison, military duty? The lyrics never make that clear). The unusual nature of the song is in keeping with the cutting edge image of a band that was among the first to use the word psychedelic in an album title and almost certainly was the first to wear electric suits onstage.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Work Song
Source: CD: East-West
Although technically not a rock album, the Butterfield Blues Band's East-West was nonetheless a major influence on many up and coming rock musicians that desired to transcend the boundaries of top 40 radio. Both the title track and the band's reworking of Nat Adderly's Work Song feature extended solos from all the band members, with Work Song in particular showing Butterfield's prowess on harmonica, as well as helping cement Michael Bloomfield's reputation as the nation's number one electric guitarist (before the emergence of Jimi Hendrix, at any rate). Elvin Bishop's guitar work on the song is not too shabby either.
Source: CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Four Sail
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Following the release of Forever Changes, the classic Love lineup made only one more trip to the studio, recording a single that was released in 1968. Not long after that the group disbanded, with a new incarnation of the band making its vinyl debut the following year. Arthur Lee was contractually obligated to provide Elektra Records with one more Love LP even as he began working on tracks for the band's first album for Blue Thumb. As a result, Elektra got the first pick of the songs Lee was working on with his new lineup, including August, which features, in addition to Lee, guitarist Jay Donnellan, bassist Frank Fayad and drummer George Suranovich on what is arguably the hardest rocking tune ever released by a band called Love.
Source: British import LP: The Beatles
Writer(s): George Harrison
Beatle George Harrison had first revealed an anti-establishment side with his song Taxman, released in 1966 on the Revolver album. This particular viewpoint remained dormant until the song Piggies came out on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Although the song was intended to be satirical in tone, at least one Californian, Charles Manson, took it seriously enough to justify "whacking" a few "piggies" of his own. It was not pretty.