Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1628 (starts 7-13-16)
Title: Heart Full Of Soul
Source: Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
Label: Raven (original label: Epic)
The Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul, 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 also wrote For Your Love. For some odd reason Gouldman's own band, the Mockingbirds, was strangely unable to buy a hit on the charts, despite Gouldman's obvious talents as a songwriter. Gouldman would eventually go on to be a founding member of 10cc, who were quite successful in the 1970s.
Artist: Jose Feliciano
Source: LP: A Bag Full Of Soul
Label: RCA Victor
Jose Feliciano appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 1969 with his latin-tinged acoustic cover version of the Doors' Light My Fire. The truth is that Feliciano had been recording for RCA Victor since 1965. His success in the early days, however, was mostly with the latino population in Southern California, although he had ties to the coffee house scene in New York's Greenwich Village as well. With his second LP, A Bag Full Of Soul, released in 1966, Feliciano began to develop the sound that he would become famous for, as can be heard on his cover of the Beatles' Help!
Artist: Liberation News Service
Title: Mid-Winter's Afternoon
Source: Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Esko
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Esko)
Liberation News Service was a Philadelphia band founded in 1965 by the Esko brothers, Ed and Jeff. Their first release was Mid-Winter's Afternoon, released on the band's own Esko label in 1967. Not long after its release the band added a new lead vocalist and changed their name to the Esko Affair, eventually getting a contract with Mercury Records and releasing singles in 1968 and 1969.
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: LP: Grape Jam
Writer(s): Bob Mosley
For their second album, Moby Grape decided to do something different. In addition to the LP Wow, there was a second disc called Grape Jam included at no extra charge. For the most part Grape Jam is exactly what you'd expect: a collection of after-hours jam sessions with guest guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bloomfield. The opening track of Grape Jam, however, is actually a composition by Bob Mosley. The song features Mosley on bass and vocals, Jerry Miller and Skip Spence and guitars and Don Stevenson on drums, all of whom were actual members of Moby Grape.
Artist: Leslie West
Title: Long Red
Source: 45 RPM single
After popular Long Island club band the Vagrants disbanded guitarist Leslie Weinstein changed his last name to West and recorded a solo album called Mountain for the Windfall label. Helping him with the project was producer Felix Pappaliardi, who had previously worked with Cream on their Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire albums. The two enjoyed working together so much that they decided to form a band called Mountain. West released two singles from the LP, the second of which was Long Red, a song that would later be included on the 1972 album Mountain Live. The song was also part of the newly-formed band's set at Woodstock.
Artist: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title: Helplessly Hoping
Source: CD: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
By 1969 there was a significant portion of the record-buying public that was more interested in buying albums than in picking up the latest hit single. This in turn was leading to the emergence of album-oriented FM radio stations as a player in the music industry. Crosby, Stills and Nash took full advantage of this trend. Although they did release a pair of singles from the debut LP (Marrakesh Express and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes), it was their album tracks like Helplessly Hoping that got major airplay on FM radio and helped usher in the age of the singer/songwriter, making the trio superstars in the process.
Title: Long, Long, Long
Source: CD: The Beatles
Writer(s): George Harrison
Written while the Beatles were in India studying Transcendental Meditiation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Long, Long, Long is one of four George Harrison compositions on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Of the four, Long, Long, Long is the most indicative of the direction Harrison's songwriting would take over the next few years, culminating with his three-disc box set, All Things Must Pass. The arrangement is sparse and the lyrics are deeply spiritual, yet open to interpretation. Harrison himself confirmed that the "you" in the lyrics refers to God rather than a specific person. Long, Long, Long is also one of the quietest Beatle songs ever recorded, standing in stark contrast to Helter Skelter, which precedes it on the album.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: The Wind Cries Mary
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with the A sides of the three singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK, which were then added to the album, replacing three of the original tracks. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967. The tune opens up side two of the American LP.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Good Times, Bad Times
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
It may be hard to imagine, but the first Rolling Stones US tour was less than a complete success. In order to salvage something positive about the trip abroad, producer Andrew Loog Oldham arranged for the band to book time at Chicago's Chess Records studio, where many of the band's idols had recorded for the past decade. One of the songs from those sessions was Good Times, Bad Times. The song was only the second Jagger/Richards composition to be recorded by the Stones, and the first to be released on 45 RPM vinyl. Since 45s outsold LPs by a factor of at least five to one in 1964 this was an important distinction (especially considering that the writers of B sides were paid royalties at the same rate as the writers of A sides).
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: My Obsession
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
My Obsession, from the 1967 album Between The Buttons, is the kind of song that garage bands loved: easy to learn, easy to sing, easy to dance to. The Rolling Stones, of course, were the kings of this type of song, which is why so many US garage bands sounded like the Stones.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Stupid Girl
Source: Simulated stereo CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
By 1966 the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had hit its stride, turning out Rolling Stones classics like Mother's Little Helper and Paint It Black as a matter of course. Even B sides such as Stupid Girl were starting to get airplay on top 40 stations, a trend that would continue to grow over the next year or so.
Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title: The Fool (live version)
Source: CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (bonus track originally released on CD: Unreleased Quicksilver: Lost Gold And Silver)
Label: Rock Beat (original label: Collector's Choice)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2000
There are differing opinions on just how serious legendary San Francisco singer/songwriter and general iconoclast Dino Valenti was being when, at a jam session with guitarist John Cippolina one night, he suggested that the two of them form a band. Since Valenti was busted for drugs the very next day (and ended up spending the next two years in jail), we'll never know for sure. Cippolina, however, was motivated enough to begin finding members for the new band, including bassist David Freiberg (later to join Starship) and drummer Skip Spence. When Marty Balin stole Spence away to join his own new band (Jefferson Airplane), he tried to make up for it by introducing Cippolina to vocalist/guitarist Gary Duncan and drummer Greg Elmore, whose own band, the Brogues, had recently disbanded. Taking the name Quicksilver Messenger Service (so named for all the member's astrological connections with the planet Mercury), the new band soon became a fixture on the San Francisco scene. Inspired by the Blues Project, Cippolina and Duncan quickly established a reputation for their dual guitar improvisational abilities. Unlike other San Francisco bands such as the Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service did not jump at their first offer from a major record label, preferring to hold out for the best deal. This meant their debut album did not come out until 1968, missing out on the initial buzz surrounding the summer of love. In one way this actually worked to the band's advantage, since by 1968 record companies were more willing to include lengthy improvisational tracks like The Fool, which took up the entire second side of the group's debut LP. The more recent CD reissue of the first Quicksilver Messenger Service album includes a live version of The Fool first released in 2000 by Collector's Choice Records.
Title: Hoochie Coochie Man
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
A major driving force behind the renewed interest in the blues in the 1960s was the updating and re-recording of classic blues tunes by contempory rock musicians. This trend started in England, with bands like the Yardbirds and the Animals in the early part of the decade. By the end of the 60s a growing number of US bands were playing songs such as Hoochie Coochie Man, a tune originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954. Like Cream's Spoonful and Led Zeppelin's You Shook Me, Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willie Dixon. The 1968 Steppenwolf version of the song slows the tempo down a touch from the original version and features exquisite sustained guitar work from Michael Monarch.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becoming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Ironically, most of those stations are now playing 80s oldies.
Title: Eight Miles High
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Label: Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the most powerful man in top 40 radio, Bill Drake, advising stations not to play this "drug song", the song managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying that led to his leaving the Byrds.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was this highly listenable tune from Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner says the title simply refers to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here]
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: On The Road Again
Source: CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (originally released on LP: Boogie With Canned Heat)
Label: Capitol (original label: Liberty)
Canned Heat was formed by a group of blues record collectors in San Francisco. Although their first album consisted entirely of cover songs, by 1968 they were starting to compose their own material, albeit in a style that remained consistent with their blues roots. On The Road Again is built on the same repeating riff the band used for their extended onstage jams such as Refried Boogie and Woodstock Boogie; the same basic riff that ZZ Top would use for their hit LaGrange a few years later.
Artist: Ten Years After
Title: Speed Kills
Source: CD: Stonedhenge
Writer(s): Alvin Lee
Although they were generally considered part of the British blues scene of the late 1960s, Ten Years After traced their own roots as much to late 50s rock and roll artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard as to the traditional blues figures such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. As such, many of their songs had a touch of rockabilly that was absent from most of their contemporaries. A strong example of this rockabilly streak can be found in Speed Kills, the closing track of their 1969 Stonedhenge album.
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
The first rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, a popular L.A. club band that boasted two talented songwriters, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. On the heels of their first album, which included the single My Little Red Book and one of the first recordings of the fast version of Hey Joe, came their most successful single, the manic 7&7 Is, released in July of 1966.
Artist: Grass Roots
Title: Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source: 45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer: Bob Dylan
In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was pretty much saturated. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots who would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: For What It's Worth
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth. And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was becoming a breakout hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio to record an album, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit (# 15) with Talk Talk (which had been recorded at the four-track RCA Studios) in 1966.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: 'Til The End Of The Day
Source: Mono British import CD: Melts In Your Brain...Not On Your Wrist
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Big Beat
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2005
Like many garage bands, the Chocolate Watchband had a fondness for songs originally recorded by the Kinks. One such tune was 'Til The End Of The Day, which they performed on a regular basis in 1966. The Watchband also recorded a studio version of the piece, which was left unfinished until 2005, when vocalist Dave Aguilar came in to add vocal tracks to the original instrumental recording.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in fact the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: How Ya Been
Source: British import CD: Melts In Your Brain...Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: One Step Beyond)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Tower)
San Jose, California's Chocolate Watchband has one of the most confusing stories in the history of rock. Part of this can be attributed to the actions of producer Ed Cobb, who used studio musicians extensively, often to the total exclusion of the band members themselves (even the vocals in some cases). Also adding to the confusion was the fact that one of the founding members, Gary Andrijasevich, had already left the band by the time they got their first recording contract, but returned as co-leader of an almost entirely new lineup for the band's third and final LP, One Step Beyond. Unlike the first two albums, there were no studio musicians used on One Step Beyond (although Moby Grape guitarist Jerry Miller reportedly played on several tracks). The new lineup, however, did not sound anything like the Watchband of old, and in fact had more in common musically with the folk-rock bands from San Francisco than the garage-rock the south end of the bay was known for. Case in point: the song How Ya Been, which was written by Andrijasevich and co-founder Mark Loomis, who himself had left the band in 1967 only to return two years later specifically to write and record songs for One Step Beyond before leaving again.
Title: Outside Woman Blues
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s): Arthur Reynolds
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: Status Quo
Title: Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source: Simulated stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Francis Rossi
Label: Priority (original label: Cadet Concept)
The band with the most charted singles in the UK is not the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. It is, in fact, Status Quo, quite possibly the nearest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap. Except for Pictures of Matchstick Men, the group has never had a hit in the US. On the other hand, they remain popular in Scandanavia, playing to sellout crowds on a regular basis (yes, they are still together).
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Smell of Incense
Source: LP: Volume II
One of the commercially strongest songs on the second West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album for Reprise was Smell of Incense. The length of the track, however, (over five minutes) meant it would never get airplay on AM radio, although England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley took it to the # 56 spot on the charts while still in high school in 1968 with their band Southwest F.O.B.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Wind-Up Toys
Source: CD: Underground
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
The second Electric Prunes album, Underground, includes a trio of tunes that relate, in one way or another, to childhood. The middle of these three is an original composition by lead vocalist Jim Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin called Wind-Up Toys, which, in pure psychedelic fashion, includes a bridge with an entirely different style and tempo than the rest of the song, which can best be characterized as light pop.
Artist: "E" Types
Title: Put The Clock Back On The Wall
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
The E-Types were originally from Salinas, California, which at the time was known for it's sulfiric smell by travelers along US 101. As many people from Salinas apparently went to "nearby" San Jose (about 60 miles to the north) as often as possible, the E-Types became regulars on the local scene, eventually landing a contract with Tower Records and Ed Cobb, who also produced the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband. The Bonner/Gordon songwriting team were just a couple months away from getting huge royalty checks from the Turtles' Happy Together when Put The Clock Back On The Wall was released in early 1967. The song takes its title from a popular phrase of the time. After a day or two of losing all awareness of time (and sometimes space) it was time to put the clock back on the wall, or get back to reality if you prefer.