Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1550 (starts 12/9/15)

Artist:    Dino Valenti
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer(s):    Chet Powers (Dino Valenti)
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1964
    At first glance this version of Let's Get Together could be mistaken for a cover tune. In reality, though, Dino Valenti was one of several aliases used by the guy who was born Chester Powers. Perhaps this was brought on by his several encounters with the law, most of which led to jail time. By all accounts, Valenti was one of the more bombastic characters on the San Francisco scene. The song was first commercially recorded by Jefferson Airplane in 1966, but it wasn't until 1969, when the 1967 Youngbloods version was re-released with the title shortened to Get Together, that the song became a major hit.

Artist:    Motions
Title:    For Another Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rob Van Leeuwen
Label:    Rhino (original label: Havoc)
Year:    1965
    By 1965 the popularity of British beat music had spread to continental Europe, with local bands springing up in every major urban center. Most of these bands made their living playing covers of British hits, but many, especially in places like the Hague, Netherlands, were able to land recording contracts of their own, either with international branches of major labels or, in the case of the Motions, with smaller local labels such as Havoc Records. The third single by the Motions, For Another Man, was very much in the British beat vein, with jangly guitar and catchy vocal harmonies. Like all the Motions' singles, For Another Man was written by guitarist Rob Van Leeuwen, who eventually left the Motions to form Shocking Blue.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Tower
Year:    1966
    The Standells were probably the most successful band to record for the Tower label (not counting Pink Floyd, whose first LP was issued, in modified form, on the label after being recorded in England). Besides their big hit Dirty Water, they hit the charts with other tunes such as Why Pick On Me, Try It, and the punk classic Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. Both Good Guys and Dirty Water were written by producer Ed Cobb, who has to be considered the most prolific punk-rock songwriter of the 60s, having also written songs for the "E" Types and Chocolate Watchband (both of which he also produced).

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:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Summertime Blues
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Vincebus Eruptum)
Writer:    Cochrane/Capehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    If 1967 was the summer of love, then 1968 was the summer it all went straight to hell. Framed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, both major anti-establishment movements of the time (civil rights and anti-war) became increasing radicalized and more violent. The hippies gave way to the Yippies, LSD gave way to crystal meth, and there were riots in the streets of several US cities. Against this backdrop Blue Cheer released one of the loudest and angriest recordings ever to grace the top 40: the proto-metal arrangement of Eddie Cochrane's 1958 classic Summertime Blues. It was the perfect soundtrack of its time.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Miller's Blues
Source:    LP: Wow
Writer(s):    Miller/Mosely
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Moby Grape's second album, Wow, was musically solid, but suffered from a bad case of over-production, with an abundance of overdubs and studio effects that actually hurt, rather than enhanced, the music itself. One track that managed to, for the most part, avoid the excesses was Miller's Blues, which appeared near the end of side two. As the title impies, the tune is a straight blues number with lots of tasty guitar licks from Jerry Miller. I'm kind of surprised it appeared on Wow itself rather than on the Grape Jam album, which, packaged together with Wow, was sold for one dollar more than the standard LP price.
Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Child Of The Moon (rmk)
Source:     CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1968
    Child Of The Moon was originally released as the B side to the Stones' 1968 comeback single, Jumpin' Jack Flash. The song is now available as part of a box set called Singles Collection-The London Years. This track, which is in stereo, has the letters rmk (lower case) following the song title, which leads me to wonder if maybe it is a remake rather than the original recording. I do have a copy of the original 45, but its condition is such that I would rather not use it if I don't have to. As was the case with many of the Stones' 60s recordings, the band is joined by keyboardist Nicky Hopkins on this one.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The House At Pooniel Corners
Source:    CD: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Kantner/Balin
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1968
    Jefferson Airplane was just starting to get political when they released their Crown Of Creation album in September of 1968. Two months later they, at the suggestion of Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Goddard, set up their equipment on a Manhattan rooftop without getting a permit and performed their most political song from the album, The House At Pooniel Corners. It should be noted that this guerilla performance happened two months before the more famous Beatles rooftop performance in London that was included in the Let It Be movie. The Airplane filmed the gig, but it was not released for several years. The full performance is now available on a DVD called Fly Jefferson Airplane.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Have You Seen Her Face
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    Perhaps the greatest surprise on the fourth Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, was the emergence of bassist Chris Hillman as a top-tier 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). Although Hillman would eventually find his greatest success as a country artist (with the Desert Rose Band) it was the hard-rocking Have You Seen Her Face that was chosen to become his first track to be released as a single.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    By all rights, the Byrds' Eight Miles High should have been a huge hit. Unfortunately, Bill Drake, the most influential man in the history of Top 40 radio, got it into his head that this was a drug song, despite the band's insistence that it was about a transatlantic plane trip. The band's version actually makes sense, as Gene Clark had just quit the group due to his fear of flying (he is listed as a co-writer of the song), and the subject was probably a hot topic of discussion among the remaining members.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Old John Robertson (single version)
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    In late 1967 the Byrds released a non-album single of a new David Crosby song, Lady Friend. The B side of that single was a song written by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman called Old John Robertson. The tune, about a man that Hillman knew growing up, was a strong indication of the band's ongoing transition from folk-rock to what would come to be known as country-rock. A newer mix of the song was included on the 1968 Byrds album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1965
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Come On
Source:    British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: No Way Out)
Writer(s):    Chuck Berry
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Neither songwriting nor studio work was the Chocolate Watchband's thing, at least in their early (and most popular) incarnations. As lead vocalist Dave Aguilar put it, performing live and blowing the competition off the stage was "what we lived for". And they did it well, mostly with covers of songs recorded by the grittier British bands like the Rolling Stones. In fact, when they went into the studio to record their first LP, No Way Out, one of the first songs they recorded was a dead on cover of the Stones' arrangement of Chuck Berry's Come On. In fact, this track could easily have been passed off as a Stones bootleg and very few people would be able to tell the difference.

Artist:    Portraits
Title:    It Had To Be You
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Watson/Rakozich
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Nike)
Year:    1968
    Apparently there have been several bands calling themselves the Portraits over the years, including at least two in the Milwaukee area. This particular Portraits recorded only one single, It Had To Be You, in 1968. Reportedly there were only 100 copies of the tune pressed on the small Nike label.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Wait Until Tomorrow
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix showed a whimsical side with Wait Until Tomorrow, a track from his second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP, Axis: Bold As Love. The song tells a story of a young man standing outside his girlfriend's window trying to convince her to run away from him. He gets continually rebuffed by the girl, who keeps telling him to Wait Until Tomorrow. Ultimately the girl's father resolves the issue by shooting the young man. The entire story is punctuated by outstanding distortion-free guitar work that showcases just how gifted Hendrix was on his chosen instrument.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Ezy Ryder
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    The Cry Of Love was the first Jimi Hendrix album released after the guitarists' death in 1970. The single LP featured a number of songs that Hendrix had been working on, including Ezy Rider, which featured, in addition to Hendrix, bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. The trio had performed together as Band Of Gypsys, releasing a live album in early 1970s. Ezy Rider had been performed by the trio, but not included on the Band Of Gypsys album itself. Several attempts were made to record a studio version of the tune; the version heard on The Cry Of Love was recorded during the first recording session at Hendrix's own Electric Lady Studios on June 15, 1970. The final mix for Ezy Rider, along with most of the other tracks on The Cry Of Love, was made in August of 1970.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Ain't No Tellin'
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (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:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Mercedes Benz
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1971
    To put it bluntly, Janis recorded Mercedes Benz then went home and OD'd on heroin. End of story (and of Janis).

Artist:    Thoroughbred Dead
Title:    Open Mind
Source:    CD single
Writer(s):    Thoroughbred Dead
Label:    independently released
Year:    2015
    As part of our ongoing effort to gather material for our Advanced Psych segment of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, I have invited producers, band members and anyone else willing to submit songs to contact me through our web page. One result is a band called Thoroughbred Dead, from Long Beach, California. Somehow I have managed to lose track of the initial contact letter, however, so I don't exactly know who to thank for sending me this CD single of Open Mind. Sorry about that, chief.
Artist:    Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Title:    Call Up The Queen
Source:    CD: Flying In The Dark
Writer(s):    Peter Rechter
Label:    Secret Deals
Year:    2011
    The original Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of farmers in the English village of Tolpuddle who had the temerity to try organizing what amounts to a union in the 19th century. For their efforts they found themselves deported to the penal colony now known as Australia. But that doesn't really concern us. What I wanted to talk about was the original Tol-Puddle Martyrs (note the hyphen), the legendary Australian band that evolved from a group called Peter And The Silhouettes. Well, not exactly. What I really wanted to talk about is the current incarnation of the Tol-Puddle Martyrs. Still led by Peter Rechter, the Martyrs have released a series of CDs since 2007 (including a collection of recordings made by the 60s incarnation of the band). Among those CDs is the 2011 album Flying In The Dark, which contains several excellent tunes such as Call Up The Queen, which opens the album itself. Thanks to Peter Rechter himself, we will be hearing tracks from all the Tol-Puddle Martyrs albums over the next few months and beyond.
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:    Who
Title:    Someone's Coming
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    John Entwhistle
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    Some songs just get no respect. First released in 1967 in the UK as the B side of I Can See For Miles, John Alec Entwistle's Someone's Coming got left off the US release entirely. It wasn't until the release of the Magic Bus single (and subsequent LP) in 1968 that the tune appeared on US vinyl, and then, once again as a B side. The Magic Bus album, however, was never issued on CD in the US, although it has been available as a Canadian import for several years. Finally, in 1995 the song found a home on a US CD as a bonus track on The Who Sell Out.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Queen Noimphet
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    To say the motives of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's Bob Markley were questionable was an understatement. The man, by all accounts, was lacking in any kind of musical talent. What he did have, however, was a huge trust fund that he would get a quarterly check from. He used the money to set himself up in a big house in the Hollywood hills, throwing parties for all the local hipsters to attend. It was at one of these parties in 1966 that he was introduced to the Harris brothers, sons of a classical composer who had recently formed their own band but were in need of decent equipment. Markley's friend Kim Fowley (singer of the original Alley Oop and all-around Hollywood hustler) had booked the Yardbirds to play at the party, and Markley was so impressed by the band's ability to attact young ladies that he decided then and there to be a rock star. Fowley introduced the 30-year-old Markley to the teenaged Harris brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed. As time went on it became apparent that the older Markley got, the younger his taste in women was becoming. Markley's lyrics for the song Queen Noimphet, from the album Volume II, are an indication of where his obsession with attracting young girls was taking him. Indeed, he was reportedly arrested in the 70s on sex charges, but was able to use his considerable financial resources to buy his way out of trouble.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     America
Source:     45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Year:     1968/1972
     Four years after the release of the album Bookends (and two years after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel), Columbia decided to release the song For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, as a single, to coincide with the release of their Greatest Hits album. For the B side, they went even further back, pulling out the original tapes for the song America. The tracks on the Bookends album were deliberately overlapped to form a continuous audio montage, making this the first standalone version of America to be released.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Heart Full Of Soul
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, who was then a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and would later be a founding member of 10cc.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    At nearly five minutes in length, Season Of The Witch is the longest track on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album, which at least in part explains why it was never released as a single. Nonetheless, the tune is among Donovan's best-known songs, and has been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the Sunshine Superman album was not released in the UK until 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits like Higher Love and Roll With It in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    It's Breaking Me Up
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    You'll Love Me Again
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Following the success of the first Music Machine album and its hit single Talk Talk, the Music Machine went back into the studio, recording a pair of singles for Original Sound before signing with the Warner Brothers label in 1967. Before an entire album's worth of material could be recorded, however, the original lineup disbanded. Bandleader Sean Bonniwell quickly put together a new lineup to complete the LP, which was released under the name Bonniwell Music Machine (a name that also appeared on the band's next two singles). The group's final two singles, however, were released under the name Music Machine, including To The Light, which was backed with You'll Love Me Again. Both tracks were recorded while the band was on tour, using whatever facilities Bonniwell could book on a moment's notice.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Discrepancy
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    Discrepancy, one of Sean Bonniwell's most sophisticated recordings with his band the Music Machine, features two simultaneous vocal lines. The main one, sung by Bonniwell (in the left channel) as a single melody line, tells the story of a deteriorating relationship. In the opposite channel we hear a breathy multi-part vocal line that tells the same story from the perspective of the subconscious. The two come together lyrically from time to time to express key concepts such as the line "now I know I'm losing you", only to once again diverge onto their separate tracks. The bridge serves to further unite the two divergent lines with the repeating plea to "tell me what to do". Discrepancy is one of the few tracks recorded by the original Music Machine lineup that was never released on Original Sound Records, either as an LP track or on a 45 RPM single. Instead, the song was included on the LP Bonniwell Music Machine, released by Warner Brothers in 1967.

Artist:    Motions
Title:    Everything (That's Mine)
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Rob Van Leeuwen
Label:    Rhino (original label: Havok)
Year:    1966
    The Motions were formed in The Hague in 1964 by vocalist Rudy Bennett and guitarist Rob Van Leeuwen, both of which had been members of Ritchie Clark & The Ricochets. They soon became one of Holland's most popular bands, releasing several singles between 1964 and 1967. One of their most celebrated tunes was a B side written by Van Leeuwen called Everything (That's Mine), released in 1966 on the Havok label. While still a member of the Motions, Bennett was able to launch a solo career that same year. In 1967, however, the group was dealt a crippling blow when Van Leeuwen left to form Shocking Blue, which had a huge international hit in 1969 with the song Venus, also written by Van Leeuwen.

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