Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1613 (starts 3/23/16)
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: From A Buick 6
Source: 45 RPM single B side (promo copy)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Although there were several unissued recordings made during the Highway 61 Revisited sessions, Dylan and his producer, Tom Wilson, chose to instead use one of the already released album tracks as the B side for Positively 4th Street in September of 1965. The chosen track was From A Buick 6, a song that is vintage Dylan through and through.
Artist: Mojo Men
Title: She's My Baby (remixed version)
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Autumn; remixed version: Reprise)
Although generally considered to be one of the early San Francisco bands, the Mojo Men actually originated in Rochester, NY. After spending most of the early 60s in Florida playing to fraternities, the band moved out the West Coast in 1965, becoming mainstays on the San Francisco scene. Their strongest track was She's My Baby, a rockabilly tune originally recorded by Steve Alaimo and reworked by the Mojo Men and producer Sly Stone into a garage/punk classic.
Artist: Lowell George And The Factory
Title: Candy Cane Madness
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Lightning-Rod Man)
Label: Rhino (original label: Bizarre/Straight)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1993
Toward the end of 1966 a band called the Factory appeared on the L.A. club scene. They managed to book studio time, but were never able to find a label willing to release the tracks they recorded. Band member Lowell George would later go on to produce other artists such as the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) for Frank Zappa's Bizarre Productions and finally become famous as the founder of the band Little Feat. Eventually the old Factory tracks were issued on a CD on the Bizarre/Straight label originally founded by Zappa.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: I'm Not Sure
Source: LP: Second Winter
Writer(s): Johnny Winter
Johnny Winter had been performing for several years throughout the state of Texas before releasing his first full-length LP on the local Sonobeat label in 1968. The album, which featured the trio of Winter on guitar, Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, was strong enough for Imperial to pick up for national distribution, and soon led to Winter signing with Columbia records in 1969. After a strong debut album for the label, the group, which by then had added Johnny's brother Edgar on keyboards, went to work on a second album for the label. The band soon found itself with an unusual dilemma, however. They had recorded too much material for one LP, but not enough for a double album. Rather than sacrifice sound quality by making the grooves narrower, the band decided to issue a special "three-sided" LP, with the fourth side being nothing but shiny black vinyl with no grooves cut into it. The album, which is considered by many to be Winter's finest studio work, includes several original tunes such as I'm Not Sure, which features Johnny Winter on electric mandolin.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Ruby Tuesday
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
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 subject matter of the song (a groupie of the band's acquaintance).
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: At The Zoo
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Simon and Garfunkel did not release any new albums in 1967, instead concentrating on their live performances. They did, however, issue several singles over the course of the year, most of which ended up being included on 1968's Bookends LP. At The Zoo was one of the first of those 1967 singles. It's B side ended up being a hit as well, but by Harper's Bizarre, which took The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) to the top 10 early in the year.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes
Source: LP: Volume II
One of the more popular posters of the pyschedelic era took the phrase Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes and highlighted the letters P,E,A,C and E with colors that, when viewed under a black light, stood out from the rest of the text. At around the same time a movie came out with a similar title. Quite possibly both were inspired by a track from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's late 1967 LP Volume II. The song itself is either really cool or really pretentious. I've had a copy of it for over 30 years and still haven't figured out which.
Artist: Rising Sons
Title: Corrin, Corrina
Source: CD: Rising Sons featuring Raj Mahal and Ry Cooder
Writer(s): Trad., arr. Majal, Kincaid
Year: Recorded 1965, released 1993
The Rising Sons had their roots in both the East and West Coast underground music scenes. The genesis of the band can be traced to a 1964 hootenanny in Cambridge, Mass.organized by a young bluesman named Taj Mahal. One of the performers was a 12-string guitarist named Jesse Lee Kincaid, who had learned his technique from his uncle Fred Gerlach, a West Coast based recording artist for Folkways Records. Kincaid persuaded Mahal to relocate to Los Angeles, where they hooked up with another Gerlach student, Ryland Cooder to form the Rising Sons. With the addition of bassist Jeff Marker and drummer Ed Cassidy the group began to hit the local club scene, making enough of a name for themselves to get signed to Columbia Records in 1965. Before they can actually get into the studio, however, Cassidy hurt his wrist, forcing the band to find another drummer, Kevin Kelley (Cassidy, by the way, would go on to become a founding member of Spirit with his stepson Randy California). Much of the material the Sons recorded was traditional blues tunes such as Corrin, Corrina, which Mahal and Kincaid arranged for the band. At that time, however, Columbia was interested mainly in hit singles, and, with the exception of one single, the Rising Sons' recordings ended up on the shelf until 1993.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Dark Side
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Lucifer Sam
Source: Mono CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt the original driving force behind Pink Floyd was the legendary Syd Barrett. Not only did he front the band during their rise to fame, he also wrote their first two singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, as well as most of their first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. In fact it could be argued that one of the songs on that album, Lucifer Sam, could have just as easily been issued as a single, as it is stylistically similar to the first two songs. Sadly, Barrett's mental health deteriorated quickly over the next year and his participation in the making of the band's next LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was minimal. He soon left the group altogether, never to return (although several of his former bandmates did participate in the making of his 1970 solo album, The Madcap Laughs).
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Beggar's Farm
Source: LP: This Was
Although Jethro Tull would eventually come to be considered almost a backup band for flautist/vocalist/songwriter Ian Anderson, in the early days the group was much more democratically inclined, at least until the departure of guitarist and co-founder Mick Abrahams. In addition to providing a more blues-based orientation for the band, Abrahams shared songwriting duties with Anderson as well, including collaborations such as Beggar's Farm from the band's 1968 debut LP, This Was.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Chasing Shadows
Source: LP: Deep Purple
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
As a general rule, recording artists tend to do better on their home ground than anywhere else. Even the Beatles already had a pair of chart-topping British singles (Please Please Me and She Loves You) under their collective belts by the time they touched off the British Invasion of the US with I Want To Hold Your Hand in 1964. There are exceptions, however. One British band that had huge success in the US, yet was unable to buy a hit in its native England, was the original incarnation of a band called Deep Purple. The group had a major US hit right out of the box with their 1968 cover of Joe South's Hush, but the song did not chart at all in the UK. The band's US label, Tetragrammaton, promoted the band heavily and the group's debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was the all-time best selling album in that label's short history. The band followed Shades up with a second LP, The Book Of Taleisyn, that included another hit cover song, Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Still, the British record-buying public was unimpressed, and it was estimated that the group on the average made fifteen to twenty times as much money per gig in the US than they did at home. Unfortunately for the band, Tetragrammaton was badly managed and went belly up just days after the release of the band's self-titled third album. This left the band without a US label and still unsuccessful at home. This, combined with internal conflicts about what direction the band should take musically, led to major personnel changes. Ultimately those changes, particularly the addition of lead vocalist Ian Gilliam, proved beneficial, as Deep Purple became one of the top rock bands in the world in the early 1970s. This in turn led to Warner Brothers, the band's new US label, releasing a compilation album of the group's early material called Purple Passages, which included almost the entire third album. Among the outstanding tracks from that album is Chasing Shadows, which utilizes African rhythms from drummer Ian Paice, as well as a strong performance by the band's original vocalist, Rod Evans, who would go on to become the front man for a band called Captain Beyond in the early 1970s.
Title: Up In Her Room
Source: Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs 1965-1970 (originally released on LP: A Web Of Sound and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
One of the first extended jams released on a rock album, the fourteen and a half-minute Up In Her Room, from the Seeds' second LP, A Web Of Sound, is a sort of sequel to Van Morrison's Gloria (but only the original Them version; the secret of the Shadows Of Knight's success with the song was to replace the line "she comes up to my room" with "she comes around here"). The much shorter mono edit of the song (about three and a half minutes) heard here was released as the B side of the second issue of Mr. Farmer in January of 1967.
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question Of Temperature
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Laurie)
Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the New York based Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to greater notoriety as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.
Artist: Procol Harum
Source: LP: The Best Of Procol Harum (originally released on LP: Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra)
Procol Harum was formed in 1966 in Southend-on-sea, Essex, England. One of the songs on their 1967 debut album was Conquistador. Five years later the live version of the song, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, was released as a single, becoming the second-biggest hit for the group (after A Whiter Shade Of Pale).
Artist: Firesign Theatre
Title: I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus (side one)
Source: LP: I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus
I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus is the fourth Firesign Theatre album, released in 1971. Like it's predecessor, Don't Touch That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, Bozos is one continuous narrative covering both sides of an LP. It tells the story of a visit to a Future Fair that somewhat resembles Disney's Tomorrowland, with various interractive educational exhibits such as the Wall Of Science. The piece was actually made up of shorter bits that the Firesign Theatre had used previously on their weekly radio show, but reworked and re-recorded for the new album. In addition to standard LP format, I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus was also released in quadrophonic sound, both on vinyl and 8-track tape.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: Move Over (take 6)
Source: CD: The Pearl Sessions
Writer(s): Janis Joplin
The Pearl Sessions CD, released in 2012, features many early takes of songs included on Janis Joplin's final album, Pearl. Among those are three takes of Move Over, arranged back to back on the CD as a way of documenting the evolution of the Full Tilt Boogie Band's arrangement of the Joplin-penned tune. The earliest of these three takes is considerably different from the final take, with a longer drum intro and a much grittier guitar solo played over a slightly slower tempo, giving the entire song a heavier feel.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Thank You
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin II
Like most early Led Zeppelin tunes, Thank You bears a resemblance to an earlier song by another artist; in this case Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy. Not only do the two songs share the same basic three-chord structure made famous by Van Morrison's Gloria, but they also have similar enough tempos that you can actually sing the melody of one while listening to the other. The difference is in the bridges of the two tunes, which go in entirely different directions, as well as in the basic melody of each song.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Come By Day, Come By Night
Source: 45 RPM B side
Writer(s): Mark Stein
The Vanilla Fudge version of the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On was first released as a single in 1967, but tanked before it could hit the top 60. In 1968 the song was re-released with a different B side and made the top 20. That B side, Come By Day, Come By Night, was written by keyboardist Mark Stein, and was never released on a Vanilla Fudge album. The song is now available on a CD called The Complete Atco Singles.
Title: I Am The Walrus
Source: Stereo British import 45 RPM EP: Magical Mystery Tour
Common practice in the UK in the 1960s was to avoid duplication between single releases and album tracks. This led to a unique situation for the Beatles and their British label, EMI/Parlophone, in December of 1967. The band had self-produced a new telefilm to be shown on BBC-TV called Magical Mystery Tour and wanted to make the songs from the film available to the record-buying public in time for Christmas. The problem was that there were only six songs in the one-hour telefilm, not nearly enough to fill an entire album. The solution was to release the songs on a pair of Extended Play 45 RPM records, along with several pages of song lyrics, illustrations and stills from the film itself. My own introduction to Magical Mystery Tour was a friend's German copy of the EPs, and when years later I had the opportunity to pick up a copy of the original UK version, I of course couldn't resist. That copy got totalled in a flood a few years back, but in 2012 I was finally able to locate another copy of the EP set, which is the source of this week's airing of the ultimate British psychedelic recording, I Am The Walrus.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Red House
Source: LP: Smash Hits
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1969
There were actually two different versions of Red House released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, both of which came from the same December, 1966, sessions. The original version was included on the European pressing of the Are You Experienced album, which was issued in early 1967. The album was not originally available in stereo, and a true stereo mix of this version of Red House was never made, as the track was left off the remixed American version of the LP. In spring of 1967 the band attempted to get a better version of the song, but neither Hendrix or bassist Noel Redding (who had played the original bass part on a regular guitar with its tone controls set to mimic a bass guitar) were satisfied with the later versions. Only one portion of these new recordings was kept, and was combined with the original take to create a new stereo mix for the US version of the 1969 Smash Hits album. This newer mix was also used by MCA for both the 1993 CD reissue of Are You Experienced and the Ultimate Experience anthology.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released on LP: Underground and as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
After the moderately successful first Electric Prunes album, producer David Hassinger loosened the reigns a bit for the followup, Underground. Among the original tunes on Underground was Hideaway, a song that got relegated to the B side of a novelty record called Dr. Feelgood written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, who had also written the band's first hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). Personally, I think Hideaway should have been the A side.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Astrologically Incompatible
Source: CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Astrologically Incompatible, in addition to being one of the first known rock songs to make references to the signs of the zodiac (which would become fashionable in the following decade), marks a transition point in the history of the Music Machine. One of the last tracks recorded by the original lineup, it was also the B side of the first single released under the name Bonniwell Music Machine on Warner Brothers. The horn overdubs were played by Bonniwell himself and organist Doug Rhodes, using then state-of-the-art 8-track technology.
Song: To Try For the Sun
Source: British import CD: All the Good That's Happening
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Capitol)
After their success with the fast version of Hey Joe in 1966 the Leaves signed with Capitol Records and recorded their second LP, All the Good That's Happening. Unfortunately, the band was already in the process of disintegrating by then and no more hits were forthcoming. One song that shows their interest in folk music was their cover of Donovan's To Try For the Sun. It was the only purely acoustic song the band ever recorded.