Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1630 (starts 7/27/16)
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Good Times
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: BGO (original label: M-G-M)
By the end of the original Animals' run they were having greater chart success with their singles in the US than in their native UK. That trend continued with the formation of the "new" Animals in 1967 and their first single, When I Was Young. Shortly after the first LP by the band now known as Eric Burdon And The Animals came out, M-G-M decided to release the song San Franciscan Nights as a single to take advantage of the massive youth migration to the city that summer. Meanwhile the band's British label decided to instead issue Good Times, (an autobiographical song which was released in the US as the B side to San Franciscan Nights) as a single, and the band ended up with one of their biggest UK hits ever. Riding the wave of success of Good Times, San Franciscan Nights eventually did get released in the UK and was a hit there as well.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Lime Street Blues
Source: 45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Label: A&M (original label: Deram)
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: Rolling Stones
Title: The Lantern
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.
Artist: Tales Of Justine
Title: Monday Morning
Source: Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): David Daltrey
Label: EMI (original label: His Master's Voice)
Tales Of Justine started off in 1965 as the Court Jesters, an instrumental trio consisting of Paul Myerson on guitar, Chris Woodisse on bass, and Paul Hurford on drums. The lineup was completed with the addition of multi-instrumentalist David Daltrey, a cousin of the Who's Roger Daltrey, on lead vocals. Two years later the band signed with EMI, largely due to support from trainee producer Tim Rice and arranger Andrew Lloyd Webber, who helped the band with their debut single. Rice soon departed company with EMI and the band did not release any more records. Rice and Webber, however, went on to greater fame with their rock musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph And The AmazingTechnicolor Dreamcoat, the second of which starred Daltrey himself.
Artist: Otis Redding
Title: (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, co-written by legendary MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was released shortly after the plane crash that took the lives of not only Redding, but several members of the Bar-Kays as well. Shortly after recording the song Redding played it for his wife, who reacted by saying "Otis, you're changing." Redding's reply was "maybe I need to."
Artist: Sound Sandwich
Title: Tow Away
Source: Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (released to radio stations as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Johnny Cole
Label: Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Sound Sandwich was a local Los Angeles band that came under the wing of producer Johnny Cole, who wrote both of the band's singles. The second of these, Tow Away, does not show up in the database I usually use, leading me to believe the record was only released as a promo to L.A. area radio stations shortly before Viva Records closed its doors permanently.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Mystic Mourning
Source: LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
If I had to choose one single recording that encapsulates the psychedelic era, my choice would be Mystic Mourning, from the album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union. Everything about the tune screams psychedelic, starting with a short spacy intro of electric piano over cymbals, leading into a raga beat with a solo bass line that builds up to a repeating riff that ends up getting played at various times by guitar, bass, and/or piano. The lyrics are appropriately existential, and both guitar and piano get a chance to show their stuff over the course of the nearly six-minute track.
Title: You Can All Join In
Source: CD: Traffic
Writer(s): Dave Mason
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
Dave Mason was the first member of Traffic to leave the band due to creative differences with the rest of the group. He rejoined the band, however, in time to help record the group's self-titled second LP. As a general rule, Mason's songs tended to be a bit more psychedelic than the rest of Traffic's material (Feelin' Alright being the obvious exception). Mason's songs also were more popular in Europe than in North America. In fact, when it came time to release a single from the album, it was a Mason song, You Can All Join In, that appeared as the A side on the European continent. The song was also used as the title track for a popular Island Records sampler LP in the UK.
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.
Title: Withering Tree
Source: CD: Traffic (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Last Exit)
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
One of Traffic's best-known songs is Feelin' Alright from their eponymous second LP. When the song was issued as a single in 1968, a brand-new song, Withering Tree, was included as a B side. The song was also released as the B side of You Can All Join In, a Dave Mason song that appeared as a single in continental Europe with the same catalog number as the British version of Feelin' Alright. The stereo version of Withering Tree would not be heard until 1969, when it was included on the post-breakup Traffic LP Last Exit.
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)
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: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on both the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation and Rhino's first Nuggets LP.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Baby Please Don't Go
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Amboy Dukes)
Writer(s): Joe Williams
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
The Amboy Dukes were a garage supergroup formed by guitarist Ted Nugent, a Chicago native who had heard that Bob Shad, head of jazz-oriented Mainstream Records, was looking for rock bands to sign to the label. Nugent relocated to Detroit in 1967, where he recruited vocalist John Drake, guitarist Steve Farmer, organist Rick Lober, bassist Bill White and drummer Dave Palmer, all of whom had been members of various local bands. The Dukes' self-titled debut LP was released in November of 1967. In addition to seven original pieces, the album included a handful of cover songs, the best of which was their rocked out version of the old Joe Williams tune Baby Please Don't Go. The song was released as a single in January of 1968, where it got a decent amount of airplay in the Detroit area, and was ultimately chosen by Lenny Kaye for inclusion on the original Nuggets compilation album.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Fragmentary March Of Green
Source: LP: Behold And See
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
In early 1968 M-G-M Records, a major label that had failed to sign any San Francisco bands, attempted to make up for this oversight by hiring a bunch of bands from Boston and promoting them as part of the "boss-town sound", despite there being no one particular sound peculiar to the bean city (except the obvious). Then again, there really was no such thing as a San Francisco sound either, but that didn't stop Matthew Katz from marketing the bands he managed (Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape and others) as such. Anyway, the one thing all these bands on M-G-M had in common is that their debut albums did better in the charts than their follow-up efforts. This could well be due to the fact that by the time those follow-ups hit the racks, the public was onto the phoniness of the whole promotion, but I think it might also be because the albums themselves didn't measure up to the earlier recordings. A prime example is Behold And See by Ultimate Spinach. The album itself is hard to review, since by the time you've finished listening to side two you've probably forgotten entirely what side one sounded like. In this case you would, however, have fresh in your mind the closing track of side two, the nearly seven-minute long Fragmentary March Of Green, which, perhaps appropriately, features the repeating chant "Insanity, Reality" towards the end of the track.
Title: Love In The City (originally released on LP: Turtle Soup and as 45 RPM single)
Source: CD: 20 Greatest Hits
Writer(s): The Turtles
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
One of the most overlooked songs in the Turtles catalog, Love In The City was the last single released from the album Turtle Soup in 1969. At this point the band had gone through various personnel changes, although the group's creative core of Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman and Al Nichol remained intact. Still, as good as Love In The City was, it had become clear that the Turtles had run their last race. After releasing one more single (a rather forgettable balled called Lady-O), the band called it quits. Kaylan and Volman would end up joining the Mothers of Invention, appearing on the legendary Live At Fillmore East album before striking out on their own as the Phlorescent Leech (later shortened to Flo) And Eddie.
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
For some strange reason whenever I hear the song Tripmaker from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, I am reminded of a track from the Smash Mouth album Astro Lounge. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which one came first.
Title: Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, its local success predating that of the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.
Title: A Faded Picture
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
The Seeds second LP showed a much greater range than the first. A Faded Picture, perhaps the nearest thing to a ballad the Seeds ever recorded, has a slower tempo than most of the other songs in the Seeds repertoire and, at over five minutes in length, a longer running time as well.
Title: Hang On Sloopy
Source: 45 RPM single
The McCoys were a fairly typical Eastern Ohio band of the mid-60s, playing parties, teen clubs, high school dances and occassionally opening for out of town acts. In 1965 the McCoys opened for the Strangeloves, who were on the road promoting their hit single I Want Candy (of course, the Strangeloves were in reality a trio of professional songwriters who had come up with a rather unusual gimmick: they passed themselves off as sons of an Australian sheepherder). The members of the Strangeloves were so impressed with the McCoys, particularly vocalist/guitarist Rick Derringer, that they offered them the song that was slated to be the follow-up to I Want Candy: a song called Hang On Sloopy. The instrumental tracks for the song had already been recorded, so the only member of the McCoys to actually appear on the record is Derringer. Hang On Sloopy went all the way to the top of the charts, becoming one of the top 10 singles of the year and providing a stellar debut for Derringer, who went on to hook up with the Edgar Winter Group before embarking on a successful solo career.
Artist: Mourning Reign
Title: Satisfaction Guaranteed
Source: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Rick Keefer
Label: Rhino (original label: Link)
With its higher-than-average ratio of teen-oriented venues to local youth population, San Jose, California was a major center of garage-rock activity. Local bands such as Count Five, the Syndicate of Soul and People all scored hits on the national charts, and many other bands made records that found local radio stations more than willing to play songs that weren't being heard on the big stations up the bay in San Francisco. One of the local bands to record locally was the Mourning Reign, who had a steady gig as the house band at a local roller rink. Their only single was Satisfaction Guaranteed, which rocked the local airwaves in the fall of 1966.
Title: Don't Make Waves
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Don't Make Waves was, by all accounts, a throwaway track recorded by the Byrds for inclusion in a film of the same name. The song was also issued as the B side of Chris Hillman's first Byrds single, Have You Seen Her Face, but was never even considered for inclusion on any of the band's albums. It was, however, tossed in as a bonus track on the remastered version of the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday album in 1996.
Artist: Spooky Tooth
Title: Society's Child
Source: LP: Spooky Tooth
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Spooky Tooth was formed in 1967, when American organist Gary Wright hooked up with a British band that had been known as the V.I.P.s, but had recently renamed themselves Art. They released one LP, Supernatural Fairy Tales, before changing their name to Spooky Tooth in 1968. Unlike most other bands (Procol Harum being a notable exception), Spooky Tooth featured two keyboardists, Wright on organ and Mike Harrison on piano, in addition to the usual guitar (Luther Grosvenor) bass (Greg Ridley and drums (Mike Kellie). This lineup recorded two albums as Spooky Tooth, before Ridley left to join Humble Pie. The opening track of their first LP was a Vanilla Fudge styled cover of Janis Ian's Society's Child. Wright would go on to greater fame as a solo artist with his international hit Dream Weaver in the mid-1970s.
Artist: Mighty Baby
Title: House Without Windows
Source: British import CD: Mighty Baby
Writer(s): Mighty Baby
Label: Big Beat (original label: Head)
The Action was one of the most popular Beat bands in mid-1960s London, but by 1968 were looking to shed their Mod image and move in a more progressive direction. Unfortunately, despite the quality of the music they were making, the band was unable to get any of the British record labels interested in a deal. Finally, in 1969, the Action officially changed names to Mighty Baby, a moniker that nobody was entirely comfortable with. Still, it must have had something going for it, as it got the band a contract with the newly formed Head Records. The resulting album is considered a lost classic of British Rock, thanks to tracks like House Without Windows. Sadly, the album didn't sell well, and Head Records soon folded, making Mighty Baby, in its original form, a highly sought after collector's item. Luckily for the rest of us, the album is now available (along with several previously released Action tracks) on compact disc.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Spirit of '67)
1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to starting a gig as the host band for Dick Clark's new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out three consecutive top 10 singles. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: Steppin' Out
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Just Like Us
1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first rock band signed by the label, predating the Byrds by about a year. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Ups And Downs
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
At the beginning of 1967 Paul Revere and the Raiders were still flying high, with singles that consistently hit the upper reaches of the charts and a solid promotional platform in the daily afternoon TV show Action. Their first hit of the year was Ups And Downs, a collaboration between lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher. Things would soon turn sour for the band, however, as a volatile market soon turned against the group. In part it was because their revolutionary war costumes were becoming a bit camp. Also, Action left the airwaves in 1967, and its Saturday Morning replacement, Happening, was seen as more of a kid's show than a legitimate rock and roll venue. Most importantly, however, Melcher and the Raiders parted company, and the band realized too late just how important a role Melcher had played in the group's success.
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: Circus Maximus
Title: Short-Haired Fathers
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in 1967. The group originally wanted to call itself the Lost Sea Dreamers, but changed it after the Vanguard Records expressed reservations about signing a group with the initials LSD. Of the eleven tracks on the band's debut LP, only four were written by Walker, and those were in more of a folk-rock vein. Bruno's seven tracks, on the other hand, are true gems of psychedelia, ranging from the jazz-influenced Wind to the proto-punk rocker Short-Haired Fathers. The group fell apart after only two albums, mostly due to the growing musical differences between Walker and Bruno. Walker, of course, went on to become one of the most successful songwriters of the country-rock genre. As for Bruno, he's still in New York City, concentrating more on the visual arts in recent years.
Artist: Idle Race
Title: Imposters Of Life's Magazine
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jeff Lynne
Label: Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Birmingham, as England's second largest city, was home to many of the most influential bands in rock history, including the Moody Blues, the Spencer Davis Group and the Move. Although not as well known as the others, the Idle Race belongs on the same list, if for no other reason than it served as the launching pad for the career of guitarist/vocalist Jeff Lynne, who would eventually go on to form the Electric Light Orchestra. The members of the Idle Race and the Move were always close; the original intended debut Idle Race single was supposed to be a cover of the Move's (Here We Go 'Round) The Lemon Tree until that song was unexpectedly chosen to be the B side of the Move's hit single Flowers In The Rain in mid-1967. Instead, Liberty Records chose to go with Lynne's own Imposters Of Life's Magazine, which was released in October of 1967.
Title: The Castle
Source: CD: Da Capo
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Considering that both of their first two LPs had cover photos taken against the backdrop of Bela Lugosi's former residence in the Hollywood Hills (known as Dracula's Castle), it is perhaps inevitable that Love would have a track called The Castle on one of these albums. Sure enough, one can be found near the end of the first side of 1967's Da Capo, an album that was all but buried by the attention being given to the debut LP of Love's new labelmates, the Doors, which came out around the same time. The song itself is an indication of the direction that band was moving in, away from the straight folk/garage-rock of their first LP toward the more sophiscated sound of Forever Changes, which would be released later the same year.
Artist: Mouse And The Traps
Title: Promises Promises
Source: Mono British import CD: The Fraternity Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Fraternity)
Although they never released any LPs, the Tyler-based Mouse And The Traps were one of the most prolific recording bands in Texas, releasing over a dozen singles on the Fraternity label from 1966 through 1968. Many of these records were regional hits as far east as Nashville, Tennessee, but due to the nature of small label distribution and promotion, they would have already peaked in one locality while just starting to break in another. As a result, despite each one being quite popular overall, they were never able to make the national charts. The band toured extensively, playing bars and small auditoriums all over the southeastern US, returning to the studio to cut a song or two whenever their schedule allowed. Most of their material came from either band members Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss and Knox Henderson or their producer, Robin Hood Brians. It was Brians who co-wrote Promises Promises, a 1967 B side that sounds like a cross between folk-rock and early southern rock.