Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1625 (starts 6/15/16)
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Paint It, Black
Source: LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Aftermath)
The 1966 Rolling Stones album Aftermath was the first to be made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The opening track of the LP, however, was not included on the British version of the album. That song, the iconic Paint It, Black, had already been released in the UK as a single, and would go on to become one of the Stones' defining recordings of the era.
Title: My Flash On You
Source: Mono CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Sounding a bit like the fast version of Hey Joe (which was also on Love's debut LP), My Flash On You is essentially Arthur Lee in garage mode. A punk classic.
Title: Bye Bye Bye
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
The Tikis were another one of those early San Francisco bands that drew their inspiration more from the Beatles than from the emerging counter-culture. Led by Ted Templeton and Dick Scoppetone (both of whom would end up with careers in the music business), the group featured tight harmonies and catchy melodies. They found greater success in 1967 as Harper's Bizarre with their cover of Simon And Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: New, New Minglewood Blues
Source: CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer: McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label: Warner Brothers
You may be wondering just who McGannahan Skjellyfetti is. Well, I guess you could say it's a close relative of Nanker Phelge, the pseudonym used for early Rolling Stones songs that were written by the entire band. I'm not an expert on the Dead by any means, but I believe that this track features "Pig Pen" McKernan on vocals.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Cold Rain And Snow
Source: LP: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s): McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label: Warner Brothers
Although credited to the entire band (using the pseudonym McGannahan Skjellyfetti), Cold Rain And Snow, from the first Grateful Dead album, is actually a traditional folk song that dates back at least 100 years. The song first appeared in print in a 1917 compilation called English Folk Song from the Southern Appalachians, with a note that it was collected from Mrs. Tom Rice from Big Laurel, NC in 1916. In 1965 Dillard Chandler recorded a version of the song which he claimed was based on events that happened in Madison County, NC in 1911. Chandler's version is notable in that it expanded on the song's basic theme of a man working himself to death to satisfy a greedy wife into a full-blown tale of murder, complete with trial. Several variations of the song have appeared over the years, including one by Obray Ramsey that was the inspiration for the Grateful Dead version.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Viola Lee Blues
Source: LP: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s): Noah Lewis
Label: Warner Brothers
The Grateful Dead established a reputation over the years for playing long extended jams. The first of these to be released on vinyl was Viola Lee Blues, clocking in at about 10 minutes. Compared to some of the later performances of Dark Star or St. Stephen, ten minutes does not seem very long, but the track does show flashes of the interplay between band members that would become the stuff of legends.
Title: Children Of The Sun
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1969
Formed in Riverside, California in 1965, the Misunderstood relocated to London in 1966, where they soon became one of the top bands on the local underground scene. Unfortunately, the band was plagued by issues involving draft eligibility, resulting in original rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter Greg Treadwell returning to the states soon after arriving in the UK. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as his replacement, Londoner Tony Hill, teamed up with vocalist Rick Brown to write even better songs, augmented by the talents of Glenn Ross Campbell, who played his leads on a pedal steel guitar. The band soon signed with Fontana, releasing a single in December of 1966 before once again running into problems with the draft board, this time concerning Brown. With their frontman gone, the Misunderstood soon disbanded, with the remaining American members returning to California. Two years later Fontana released a second single by the Misunderstood, Children Of The Sun, which has since come to be regarded as a classic example of garage-flavored psychedelic music.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: Lazy Day
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Although known mostly for being pioneers of baroque-rock, the Left Banke showed that they could, on occassion, rock out with the best of them on tracks like Lazy Day, which closed out their debut LP. The song was also issued as the B side of their second hit, Pretty Ballerina. Incidentally, after the success of their first single, Walk Away Renee, the band formed their own publishing company for their original material, a practice that was fairly common then and now. Interestingly enough, they called that company Lazy Day Music.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Super Bird
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body)
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Vanguard)
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 and daughter were known as "Lady-bird" and "Linda-bird", in the role of a comic book superhero.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: United Artists
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: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source: Mono British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Someone should make a movie based on the life of Sean Bonniwell, the former member of the "whitebread folk" group New Christy Minstrels turned black-clad leader of one of the premier punk-rock bands of all time. Between being lied to by record companies and screwed over by his own manager, Bonniwell nonetheless managed to record two LPs worth of high-quality tracks with two entirely-different incarnations of the Music Machine before becoming disillusioned and leaving the music business entirely by the end of the decade. The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly, heard here in its original mono mix, was the last single released by the original lineup on Original Sound Records in early 1967. A new stereo mix of the song was issued later on in the year on the LP Bonniwell Music Machine on the Warner Brothers label.
Artist: Kaleidoscope (UK band)
Title: A Lesson Perhaps
Source: British import CD: Further Reflections (originally released on LP: Tangerine Dream)
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
The differences between American and British psychedelic rock are reflected in the music of two bands with the same name: Kaleidoscope. While the US band with that name was a combination of acid and folk rock with jug band roots and socially conscious lyrics, the London-based Kaleidoscope was much more whimsical, with roots in the folk music and fairy tales that are an integral part of growing up English. Led by vocalist/lyricist Peter Daltrey (cousin of the Who's Roger Daltrey) and guitarist Eddie Pumer, Kaleidoscope recorded five singles and two LPs for the Fontana label over a period of about two years (1967-69) before changing their name to Fairfield Parlour and switching to the more progressive Vertigo label in 1970. A Lesson Perhaps, from their 1967 album Tangerine Dream (no relation to the German electronic group), is primarily a spoken word piece. Oddly enough, it works.
Title: Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/A Day In The Life
Source: British import LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
One of the great accidents of record production was the splice that turned the chicken at the end of Good Morning Good Morning into a guitar, starting off Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) and ultimately leading into A Day In The Life, with it's slowly dissolving orchestral chord that brings the number one album of 1967 to a close.
Source: Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rev-Ola (original label: Tower)
The Irish band known as Them had their first hit single (in the UK, at any rate) with a cover of a classic rhythm and blues tune: Baby Please Don't Go. In fact, Them's version of the Joe Williams classic, released in 1964, is often considered the definitive one, despite not being released in the US. Five years later Them released their final single; appropriately enough, with another classic blues tune on the B side. Corinna (sometimes called Corinna Corinna) had been recorded by several different artists over the years, but it was the unreleased Rising Sons version that Them chose to cover in 1969. The record even gave credit to the Sons' Taj Mahal as a co-writer, even though the earliest recordings of the tune were made before Mahal was even born.
Artist: Otis Redding
Source: LP: Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival
Writer(s): Sam Cooke
One of the most electrifying performances at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival was given by Otis Redding, ably supported by Booker T. and the MGs with the Bar-Kays horn section. Redding's set was scheduled to close out the second night of the festival (Saturday), and due to delays caused by persistent rain, his performance was cut short. The opening song of Redding's set was an energetic version of Sam Cooke's Shake, an ironic choice considering that Redding, at the beginning of his recording career two years earlier, hold told friends that his primary goal was to fill the gap left by his idol, Cooke, who had been shot in his hotel room in late 1964. Redding's appearance at Monterey is generally considered a turning point in a career that, if it had not been cut short by a fatal plane crash less than a year later, could well have surpassed that of his idol (some say it did anyway).
Artist: Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Title: Two Hearts
Source: CD: Flying In The Dark
Writer(s): Peter Rechter
Label: Secret Deals
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 Two Hearts. Thanks to Peter Rechter for sharing these CDs with Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.
Artist: Squires Of The Subterrain
Title: Party On Down
Source: CD: Big Boy Treats
Label: Rocket Racket
Once upon a time in the 1960s there was an Englishman named Peter "Big Boy" Miller, who wrote songs that were rejected by British record labels. Flash forward to Rochester, NY, in the year 2002, where Christopher Earl, recording as Squires Of The Subterrain, decided to rework some of Miller's songs and record them for an album called Big Boy Treats. Even better, Miller himself flew to Rochester to produce the album, which includes tunes like Party On Down. A treat indeed!
Title: Our Love Was, Is
Source: LP: Magic Bus (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
The Who's late-1967 album, The Who Sell Out, is best known for its faux commercials and actual jingles lifted from the British pirate station Radio London. Hidden among the commercial hype, however, are some of the band's best tunes, including Our Love Was, a song that was one of the few LP tracks to be included on the Who's Magic Bus compilation album.
Title: Outside Woman Blues
Source: Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s): Arthur Reynolds
Label: Lilith (original label: Atco)
Although Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, is best known for its psychedelic cover art and original songs such as Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses, the LP did have one notable blues cover on it. Outside Woman Blues was originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929 and has since been covered by a variety of artists including Van Halen, Johnny Winters, Jimi Hendrix and even the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s): Skip Spence
As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Somewhere They Can't Find Me
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The first Simon And Garfunkel album, Wednesday Morning 3AM, was a fairly traditional type of folk LP. The album was originally released in late 1964, but due to lackluster sales was soon deleted from the Columbia catalog. In 1965 Paul Simon relocated to London, releasing a solo LP called the Paul Simon Songbook there. Before leaving the country, however, he and Art Garfunkel recorded two new songs in a more upbeat style that remained unreleased until 1966, when the duo reunited for a new album, Sounds of Silence. One of those two new songs was Somewhere They Can't Find Me. The song was, lyrically, a reworking of the title track of Wednesday Morning 3AM, but with entirely new music inspired by a Bert Jansch tune called Anji. As a tribute Simon included his own recording of Anji on the album immediately following Somewhere They Can't Find Me.
Title: Gonna Buy Me A Dog (unused backing track)
Source: CD: The Monkees
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2006
In an effort to follow a Beatle template, it was decided early on that the first Monkees album would have one novelty song, similar to Ringo getting to sing on one song per Beatle album. That song was Gonna Buy Me A Dog, a Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart composition that featured Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones playing off each other for about three minutes against a background provided by an array of top studio musicians and produced by Boyce and Hart themselves. Two weeks earlier Michael Nesmith had produced an instrumental version of the same song using an entirely different lineup of studio musicians, including (among others) drummer Hal Blaine, organist Billy Preston and guitarists Glen Campbell and fellow Monkee Peter Tork (but not Nesmith himself). The Nesmith version has a faster tempo than the released track, with more of a country-blues-rock feel to it.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Help Me Girl
Source: LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Eric Is Here)
Consider the following paradox: Animals vocalist Eric Burdon made no secret of his disdain for the songs provided to the Animals by producer Mickey Most, which by and large came from professional songwriters based in New York's Brill Building. Nonetheless, when the original Animals split up, the first new song to come from Eric Burdon was not only a product of professional songwriters, it was even lighter in tone than the songs that he had complained about. Even stranger, Help Me Girl was fully orchestrated and, with the exception of drummer Barry Jenkins, was performed entirely by studio musicians.
Source: LP: Red Rubber Ball
The Cyrkle is best known as a light-pop band, as evidenced by their two biggest hits, Red Rubber Ball and Turn Down Day. The band did have its edgier side, however, as can be heard on Cry, an album track from their 1966 debut LP. Despite the group's obvious talent and brand name manager (Brian Epstein) the Cyrkle suffered diminishing returns with each record they released, and in 1968 decided to call it quits.
Title: (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Label: United Artists
The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.
Artist: Fever Tree
Title: San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native) (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop
Writer(s): Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
A minor trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) was the single from that album, peaking in the lower reaches of the Hot 100 charts.
Title: Everybody Knows You're Not In Love
Source: 45 RPM single
The Electric Prunes had greater creative control over their second album than their first. That control continued into early 1968, when Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, a single penned by band members Mark Tulin and James Lowe, was released. Unfortunately, the record didn't sell well and the next album, David Axelrod's Mass In F Minor, was played almost entirely by studio musicians. The original group broke up during the recording of the Mass and did not play together again until the 21st century.
Title: The Pusher
Source: CD: Born To Be Wild / A Retrospective (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s): Hoyt Axton
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
While AM radio was all over Born To Be Wild in 1968 (taking the song all the way to the # 2 spot on the top 40 charts), the edgier FM stations were playing heavier tunes from the debut Steppenwolf album. The most controversial (and thus most popular) of these heavier tunes was Hoyt Axton's The Pusher, with it's repeated use of the line "God damn the Pusher." Axton himself did not record the song until 1971, at which point the song was already burned indelibly in the public consciousness as a Steppenwolf tune.
Title: Open My Eyes
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Nazz)
Writer: Todd Rundgren
Label: Rhino (original label: SGC)
The Nazz was a band from Philadelphia who were basically the victims of their own bad timing. 1968 was the year that progressive FM radio began to get recognition as a viable format while top 40 radio was being dominated by bubble gum pop bands such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. The Nazz, on the other hand, sounded more like British bands such as the Move and Brian Augur's Trinity that were performing well on the UK charts but were unable to buy a hit in the US. The band had plenty of talent, most notably guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Todd Rundgren, who would go on to establish a successful career, both as an artist (he played all the instruments on his Something/Anything LP and led the band Utopia) and a producer (Grand Funk's We're An American Band, among others). Open My Eyes was originally issued as the A side of a single, but ended up being eclipsed in popularity by its flip side, a song called Hello It's Me, that ended up getting airplay in Boston and other cities, eventually hitting the Canadian charts (a new version would become a solo hit for Rundgren five years later).
Artist: Mic Read
Title: What The Dickens
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s): Mike Read
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2013
Mike Read became well-known in Britain in the 1980s for his work in radio and TV, particularly as the host of Saturday Superstore and Pop Quiz. It may come as a bit of a surprise, then, that in the late 1960s he dabbled in songwriting, turning out the clever What The Dickens in 1969. The recording, which references the work of Charles Dickens throughout the lyrics, sat on the shelf until 2013, when it finally saw the light of day as a track on the Grapefruit anthology box set Love, Poetry And Revolution.