Monday, August 29, 2016

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1635 (starts 8/31/16)

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Holy Holy
Source:    CD: Sound+Vision Catalogue Sampler #1 (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    One of the most obscure David Bowie tracks ever recorded, Holy Holy was originally released as the A side of a 1970 single, but only in a handful of countries, none of which were in the Western Hemisphere. The song stayed out of print until 1990, when it was included as a bonus track on the CD version of The Man Who Sold The World.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Dead Babies
Source:    LP: Killer
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Buxon/Bruce/Dunaway
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Alice Cooper raised a lot of eyebrows when they released a song called Dead Babies on their 1971 Killer album. Because of the band's reputation for outrageousness, a lot of people assumed that the song must be about some sort of imaginary deviant behavior. Unfortunately, the truth is  far worse. Dead Babies, in fact, is about a very real form of behavior that is all too common in the modern world: child neglect, and its tragic consequences. Sadly, thanks to an economy that forces both parents to maintain full time jobs just to get by, the problem has only gotten worse in recent years.

Artist:    Stevie Wonder
Title:    Maybe Your Baby
Source:    LP: Talking Book
Writer(s):    Stevie Wonder
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1972
    By the early 1970s Stevie Wonder had dropped the "Little" that had prefixed his name early in his career and was fast becoming one of Motown's most respected artists. Although Wonder's so-called "classic period" is generally acknowledged to begin with his Music Of My Mind album, it was with his 1972 release, Talking Book, that he really hit his stride. The album featured two major hits, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (which got him a Grammy award for Best Male Pop Vocal) and Superstition, one of the first songs by a black artist to be embraced by progressive rock radio. One of the most overlooked songs on the album was Maybe Your Baby, which may be because it's almost impossible to pigeonhole as one kind or song or another. Basically, it's just pure Stevie Wonder.

Artist:    Brownsville Station
Title:    Smokin' In The Boys' Room
Source:    CD: Electric Seventies
Writer(s):    Koda/Lutz
Label:    JCI/Warner Special Products
Year:    1973
    No list of one-hit wonders would be complete without including Brownsville Station, whose Smokin' In The Boys Room became a sort of unofficial high school anthem in 1973. I didn't have very high expectations when I went to see them as the opening act for Joe Cocker and Foghat a couple of years later, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at their overall performance (basically blowing both headliners off the stage). I had assumed from their name that they were a Texas band, but it turns out they were actually from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    Worldwinds
Source:    LP: While You're Down There
Writer(s):    Snuffy Walden
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    William Garrett "Snuffy" Walden is best known for the music he has composed over the past thirty years for various TV shows, including Thirtysomething, The Wonder Years, Roseanne, Friday Night Lights and The West Wing (for which he won an Emmy award). Before that, however, he was an accomplished guitarist, working with such notables as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Eric Burdon and filling in for an ailing Paul Kossoff on Free's final album, Heartbreaker. For me his most impressive work, however, was with Stray Dog, a Denver-based band that Walden had started in his native Texas. Stray Dog recorded two albums for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Manticore label, the second of which was While You're Down There. Walden wrote the final track on While You're Down There, an instrumental called Worldwinds that showscases Walden's considerable talent, both as a guitarist and as a composer.

Artist:    Return To Forever
Title:    No Mystery
Source:    LP: No Mystery
Writer(s):    Chick Corea
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1975
    When it comes to jazz-rock fusion, generally the first name that comes to mind is Chick Corea, founder of Return To Forever. The band was formed out of Corea's desire to better "communicate" with an audience than was possible with the avant-garde jazz he had been performing with his previous band, Circle. Along with bassist Stanley Clarke, Corea oversaw the evolution of Return To Forever over the years from a Latin-based sound featuring Flora Purim and her husband Airto Moreira into one of the first true jazz-rock fusion bands. By 1975 Corea had become well-versed in the use of synthesizers, as can be heard on the album No Mystery. On the album Corea and Clarke were joined by guitarist Al DiMeola and drummer Lenny White for what is now considered the "classic" Return To Forever lineup. Corea himself wrote the title track, which is probably the best-known tune on the album.

Artist:    Rod Stewart
Title:    Handbags And Gladrags
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mike D'Abo
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1969
    Although not released as a single until 1972, Rod Stewart's version of Handbags And Gladrags actually appeared on his debut LP, The Rod Stewart Album, in late 1969. That same album was released in the UK in early 1970 under the title An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down. The song itself was written by Mike D'Abo, the lead vocalist for Manfred Mann. D'Abo arranged the Stewart version of the song, and played piano on the track as well.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    To Cry You A Song
Source:    CD: Benefit
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Capitol/Chrysalis
Year:    1970
    Jethro Tull's third LP, Benefit, saw the band, er, benefiting from the success of their previous two albums, and being allowed more artistic freedom by their label, Chrysalis. The songs tended to be a bit longer than those on either This Was or Stand Up, and more closely represents Ian Anderson's musical vision, which had been turning increasingly darker over the previous year due to a growing disillusionment with the record industry itself. One of the best examples of these trends is the opening track of side two of the LP, To Cry You A Song. According to guitarist Martin Barre the song, which runs over six minutes in length, was a response to Blind Faith's Had To Cry Today. Unlike later Jethro Tull works, the song was basically recorded live in the studio, with only a couple of overdubs (including Barre's guitar solo) added later.

Artist:    Focus
Title:    Hocus Pocus
Source:    LP: Moving Waves
Writer(s):    van Leer/Akkerman
Label:    Sire
Year:    1971
    Although it was not a hit until 1973, Hocus Pocus by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus has the type of simple structure coupled with high energy that was characteristic of many of the garage bands of the mid to late 60s. The song was originally released on the band's second LP, known alternately as Focus II and Moving Waves, in 1971. Both guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist/vocalist/flautist Thijs Van Leer have gone on to have successful careers, with Van Leer continuing to use to Focus name as recently as 2006.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    3rd Stone From The Sun
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for this classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced album. Many of the sounds heard on 3rd Stone From The Sun were made by superimposing a slowed down recording of the following conversation between Hendrix and producer Chas Chandler over the music:
    Hendrix :   Star fleet to scout ship, please give your position. Over.
    Chandler : I am in orbit around the third planet of star known as sun. Over.
    Hendrix :   May this be Earth? Over.
    Chandler : Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over.
    Hendrix :   I think we should take a look (Jimi then makes vocal spaceship noises).
    One of the more notable spoken lines that plays at normal speed on the recording, "To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again", was Hendrix's reaction to the news that famed surf guitarist Dick Dale had been diagnosed with a possible terminal case of colon cancer and was meant to encourage his friend's recovery (apparently it worked, as Dick Dale is still going strong as of 2016).  As heard on the 2007 album The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1966–1967, Hendrix's original overdub included two more sentences "That sounds like a lie to me. Come on, man; let's go home." that were not used on the final recording. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1635 (starts 8/31/16)

Once again the audio link for Rockin' in the Days of Confusion is included here. Next week, however, it will be added to the playlist for that show, while this show's link goes back to its original two-hour length.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito/Thielhelm
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably (of course the fact that they were on Mercury Records, one of the "big six" labels of the time, didn't hurt). Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Capes Of Good Hope
Title:    Lady Margaret
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Toops/Cory
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Round)
Year:    1966
    Unlike modern top 40 stations, which have almost identical playlists no matter where they are geographically located, 60s stations tended to spice up their playlists with local talent. Nowhere was this trend more noticable than in the Chicago area, where bands like the Buckinghams, SRC and the oddly-named Capes Of Good Hope were able to hear themselves on the radio. In a few cases like the Capes' Lady Margaret, band members such as Dick Toops and Joel Cory could even tell their friends "I wrote that!"

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Am Waiting
Source:    British import LP: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    The Aftermath album was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. For one thing, it was their first album recorded entirely in the US, and at a much more leisurely pace than their previous albums. This afforded the band the opportunity to spend more time working on their arrangements before committing songs to tape. It also gave Brian Jones a chance to experiment with instruments not normally associated with rock and roll music, such as sitar, dulcimer, marimbas, and koto. Aftermath was also the first Rolling Stones album made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, including the semi-acoustical I Am Waiting.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Can't Explain
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols/Fleckenstein
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    Love's original lineup consisted of bandleader Arthur Lee on vocals, Johnny Echols on lead guitar, John Fleckenstein on bass and Don Conka on drums, with Lee, a prolific songwriter, providing the band's original material. They were soon joined by singer/songwriter/guitarist Bryan MacLean, who gave up his traveling gig as a roadie for the Byrds. Before they completed their first album, however, Fleckenstein and Conka had been replaced by Ken Forssi and Snoopy Pfisterer, although Lee himself provided most of the drums and some of the bass tracks on the LP. Two of the tracks on the album, however, are rumored to have been performed by the original five members, although this has never been verified. One of those tracks is Can't Explain, on which Fleckenstein has a writing credit. The song is certainly one of the band's earliest recordings and captures Love's hard-edged "L.A.-in" take on folk-rock.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     N.S.U.
Source:     LP: Fresh Cream
Writer:     Jack Bruce
Label:     Atco
Year:     1966
     The first Cream album starts off the with powerful one-two punch of I Feel Free and N.S.U. Although I Feel Free was a purely studio creation that never got performed live, N.S.U. became a staple of the band's concert performances, and was even performed by various other bands that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce was a member of over the years.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Pet Sounds
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Blue Jay Way
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The Beatles' psychedelic period hit its peak with the late 1967 release of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. As originally conceived there were only six songs on the album, too few for a standard LP. The British solution was to present Magical Mystery Tour as two Extended Play (EP) 45 RPM records in a gatefold sleeve with a 23 page booklet featuring lyrics and scenes from the telefilm of the same name (as well as the general storyline in prose form).  As EPs were out of vogue in the US, Capitol Records, against the band's wishes, added five songs that had been issued as single A or B sides in 1967 to create a standard LP. The actual Magical Mystery Tour material made up side one of the LP, while the single sides were on side two. The lone George Harrison contribution to the project was Blue Jay Way, named for a street in the Hollywood Hills that Harrison had rented that summer.  As all five of the extra tracks were credited to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team, this meant that each of the band's 1967 albums had only one Harrison composition on them. This became a point of contention within the band, and on the Beatles' next album (the white album), Harrison's share of the songwriting had doubled.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Quite Rightly So
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually awake enough to do that.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    The Windmills Of Your Mind
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles
Writer(s):    Bergman/Bergman/Legrand
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino
Year:    1969
    Vanilla Fudge all but abandoned their early practice of slowing down and psychedelicizing pop tunes after their first LP, but by their fifth album, Rock and Roll, they were at it again, as this revisioning of The Windmills Of Your Mind (a US hit for Dusty Springfield and an even bigger UK hit for Noel Harrison) shows. Although not audible on the recording itself, drummer Carmine Appice later said he liked the melody of the song so much that he was lying on the floor of the studio singing along with Mark Stein as the song was being taped.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Nashville Cats
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s):    John B. Sebastian
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    After the success of their debut LP, Do You Believe In Magic, The Lovin' Spoonful deliberately set out to make a followup album that sounded like it was recorded by several different bands, as a way of showcasing their versatility. With Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1966, they did just that. Songs on the album ranged from the folky Darlin' Be Home Soon to the rockin' psychedelic classic Summer In The City, with a liberal dose of what would come to be called country rock a few years later. The best example of the latter was Nashville Cats, a song that surprisingly went into the top 40 (but did not receive any airplay from country stations) and became a staple of progressive FM radio in the early 70s.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the Standells' follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Tommy Boyce
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Tommy Boyce actually had a songwriting career separate from his many collaborations with Bobby Hart. One of his early songs was Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, which was first recorded as a single by the Colorado-based Astronauts (which gave producer Steve Venet co-writing credit) before getting included on the first Monkees album. Along the way the song got recorded by a handful of garage bands, including Chicago's Shadows Of Knight, whose version closely parallels the Astronauts' original.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Taxman
Source:    CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Original Artists)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell's original conception for his band, the Music Machine's first album was a continuous collage of original songs connected by short orchestral pieces. The band's record label, Original Sound, however, had other ideas. The group had recorded a handful of cover songs for use on a local Los Angeles TV dance show that were never intended to be released on vinyl. When Turn On The Music Machine was released, Bonniwell was livid when he discovered that the album had included these covers in additional to his original songs, diluting the impact of Bonniwell's songs considerably. One of the better of these covers was Taxman, a George Harrison composition that had only a short time before been released by the Beatles as the opening track for their Revolver album.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Reverberation
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland/Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    From the original liner notes of The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators: "Reverberation is the root of all inability to cope with environment. Doubt causes negative emotions which reverberate and hamper all constructive thought. If a person learns and organizes his knowledge in the right way---with perfect cross-reference---he need not experience doubt or hesitation." Pretty heady stuff for the year that brought us the Monkees.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    She May Call You Up Tonight
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash
Year:    1967
    Unlike their first two singles, Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina, the Left Banke's third single, She May Call You Up Tonight, failed to chart, possibly due to the release two months earlier of a song called Ivy Ivy, written by keyboardist Michael Brown and shown on the label as being by the Left Banke. Ivy Ivy was in reality performed entirely by session musicians, including lead vocals by Bert Sommer, who would be one of the acoustic acts on the opening afternoon of the Woodstock festival a couple years later. The resulting fued between Brown and the rest of the band left a large number of radio stations gun shy when came to any record with the name Left Banke on the label, and She May Call You Up Tonight tanked.

Artist:      Common Cold
Title:    Come Down
Source:      CD: Where The Action Is: L.A Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bill Rhinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:     1967
     Bill Rhinehart had established himself on the L.A. scene as lead guitarist for the Leaves (and was in fact one of the first guitarists to use a fuzz-tone in the recording studio, on the Leaves' fast version of Hey Joe). After leaving the Leaves he ran into Sonny Bono, who got him a contract with Atco Records. Come Down, essentially a solo project utilizing studio musicians as backup, was the result. I suspect that Rhinehart didn't actually come up with the name Common Cold for the band until the song was ready to be released.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    The Black Plague
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    BGO (original US label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    One of the most interesting recordings of 1967 was Eric Burdon And The Animals' The Black Plague, which appeared on the Winds Of Change album. The Black Plague is a spoken word piece dealing with life and death in a medieval village during the time of the Black Plague (natch), set to a somewhat gothic piece of music that includes Gregorian style chanting and an occasional voice calling out the words "bring out your dead" in the background. The album itself had a rather distinctive cover, consisting of a stylized album title accompanied by a rather lengthy text piece on a black background, something that has never been done before or since on an album cover.

Artist:        Turtles
Title:        You Know What I Mean
Source:        45 RPM single
Writer:        Bonner/Gordon
Label:        White Whale
Year:        1967
        1967 was a good year for the Turtles, mainly due to their discovery of the songwriting team of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon. Not only did the former members of the Magicians write the Turtles' biggest hit, Happy Together, they also provided two follow-up songs, She's My Girl and You Know What I Mean, both of which hit the top 20 later in the year.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Sunny Afternoon
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    My family got its first real stereo (a GE AM/FM console with a reel-to-reel recorder instead a turntable that is still sitting in the living room at my mother's house nearly 50 years later) just in time for me to catch the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off).

Artist:    Great! Society
Title:    Daydream Nightmare
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: How It Was)
Writer(s):    unknown
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1968
    Before joining Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick was already making a name for herself in the San Francisco area as a member of the Great! Society. She was not the only talented member of the band, however, as this recording of Daydream Nightmare, recorded in 1966 (probably at Marty Balin's Matrix club) demonstrates.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source:    CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released in US only as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Jim McCarty
Label:    Raven (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Yardbirds had moved far away from the blues roots and were on their fourth lead guitarist, studio whiz Jimmy Page. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor shows signs of Page's innovative guitar style (such as using a violin bow) that would help define 70s rock with his next band, Led Zeppelin. 

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Indifference
Source:    Mono LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Skip Spence only wrote two of the songs on Moby Grape's debut LP, but they were among the best tracks on the album. The first, Omaha, was the band's only charted single, while the second, Indifference, was, at over four minutes, the longest track on the album, and was chosen to close out side two of the LP. An edited version of the song was also issued as a B side of another single, but did not chart.

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
Writer:    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    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. Ironically, 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:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Autumn's Child
Source:    CD: Safe As Milk
Writer(s):    Van Vliet/Bermann
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band found themselves without a record label, having been cut by A&M Records after releasing only one single. A change in the band's management, however, led to them hooking up with Bob Krasnow, whose association with Kama Sutra Records resulted in the Captain and his crew being the first act signed to Kama Sutra's new subsidiary label, Buddah. In fact, Safe As Milk was the first LP issued on the new label in 1967. By this point the band had undergone some lineup changes and now consisted of Jeff Handley on bass, Alex St. Clair on guitar, John French on drums and Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) on various other instruments. Ry Cooder, then a member of the legendary L.A band The Rising Sons, provided additional guitar tracks on the album. Eight of the songs on Safe As Milk, including side two closer Autumn's Child, credit Herb Bermann as co-writer with Van Vliet, which, given Van Vliet's reputation for not using collaborators, was a point of confusion for many years. Eventually, in 2003, Bermann was located and interviewed, and confirmed that 1) he was a real person, and 2) he did indeed co-write those eight songs on Safe As Milk.

Artist:     Lemon Pipers
Title:     Green Tambourine
Source:     CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Leka/Pinz
Label:     BMG/RCA/Buddah
Year:     1967
     Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit.

Artist:    Magicians
Title:    An Invitation To Cry
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Woods/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    In the late 1960s Columbia emerged as one of the top rock labels, with bands such as Blood, Sweat & Tears, Moby Grape and Chicago selling millions of copies of their LPs. It may come as a surprise, then, that just two years before the release of the first Moby Grape album, Columbia had not signed a single rock act. Prior to 1965, Columbia had established itself as a leading force in Jazz, Classical, and what had been known as popular music as personified by such middle of the road acts as Mitch Miller, Anita Bryant and Percy Faith. In addition, Columbia had a virtual lock on Broadway show soundtrack albums, but, other than Bob Dylan, who had originally been signed as a pure folk artist, the label had nothing approaching rock and roll. That began to change, however, with the label's signing of Paul Revere and the Raiders on the West coast and a Greenwich Village based band called the Magicians on the East. While the label turned to staff producer Terry Melcher for the Raiders, they instead went with the management/production team of Bob Wyld and Art Polhemus, who would later find success at Mercury Records with the Blues Magoos. The Magicians, however, were not so successful, despite the presence of band members Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, who would go on to write major hits Happy Together and She's My Girl (among others) for the Turtles, as well as songs for other artists. It was Gordon, along with non-member James Woods, that wrote the Magicians' first single, An Invitation To Cry, which was released in November of 1965.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
    Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Mean Old Southern
Source:     LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Live At Town Hall)
Writer:     public domain
Label:     Verve Forecast
Year:     1967
     The third Blues Project album was also the last to feature keyboardist Al Kooper, who would soon show up as a guest artist on Moby Grape's Grape Jam album and expand the jam band concept to a full-blown Super Session album a few months after that. Although the album title implied that it was made up of live performances, the reality was that half the tracks were actually studio recordings with audience sounds overdubbed to create the illusion of live performances. One of the few actual live tracks on Live At Town Hall was an old song called Mean Old Southern. Apparently nobody with the band or its label could find out who wrote the song, as it is officially credited to "public domain".

Artist:    Love Sculpture
Title:    Wang Dang Doodle
Source:    British import CD: Blues Helping
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    During my first year of college I moved into a house shared by five other people (not all of which were students) near the University of New Mexico. Shortly after moving in I bought an old Philips reel-to-reel machine and began taping various albums from my roommates' collections. Not long after that I discovered a gold mine in the basement. A former resident of the house had left a box of reel-to-reel tapes, some of which were only vaguely labeled, if at all. One of the tapes was labeled simply "Love Sculpture". It turned out that some of the songs on that tape were actually from the Blues Project's Projections album, but others, such as this rather tasty version of Koko Taylor's Wang Dang Doodle, were indeed by a band called Love Sculpture. I was not aware at the time, however, that the song was from an album called Blues Helping, or that Love Sculpture's lead guitarist and vocalist was none other than Dave Edmunds, who I had only known as the guy who did the remake of I Hear You Knockin' in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Soul Sacrifice
Source:    CD:Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Brown/Malone/Rolie/Santana
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    Although this is the original recording of Santana performing Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock, it does not sound quite the same as what you may have heard on the Woodstock original movie soundtrack album. That's because they doctored the recording a bit for the original soundtrack album, adding in audience sounds, including the crowd rain chant that seques into the piece on the original LP. More recent copies of the movie itself sound even different because the people doing the remastering of the film decided to record new versions of some of the percussion tracks.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Cadence And Cascade
Source:    LP: In The Wake Of Poseidon
Writer(s):    Fripp/Sinfield
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second King Crimson album, In The Wake Of Poseidon, was stylistically similar to the band's first LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King. This may not seem too unusual until one considers that, with the exception of guitarist Robert Fripp, every member of the band had quit after the first album had been released. Fripp was to entice Greg Lake to record the majority of vocals for the second album, however, by promising to give him King Crimson's PA system. The one exception was a song called Cadence And Cascade, which was sung by Fripp's old friend and high school bandmate Gordon Haskell. Drummer Michael Giles also returned to work on the album, but purely as a session player, bringing his brother Peter in to provide the bass guitar tracks. Also brought in as sessions players were wind player Mel Collins and pianist Keith Tippett, who would continue to contribute to King Crimson's next few albums without ever becoming an official band member. In The Wake Of Poseidon ended up being a successful album, leaving Fripp in the odd position of having a hit record without a band to promote it. Since then Fripp has been the driving force behind many King Crimson albums, nearly all of which have different combinations of musicians playing on them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1634 (starts 8/24/16)

Artist:    Missing Links
Title:    You're Driving Me Insane
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Baden Hutchins
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1965
    Long before AC/DC emerged from down under, the Missing Links were known as "Australia's wildest group". The name Missing Links was first used in 1964 by a group that released only one single in 1964. The following year an entirely new lineup made up of friends and associates of the original group began using the name, releasing three singles (the first of which was You're Driving Me Insane) and an album before disbanding in April of1966.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Nobody Spoil My Fun
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    Sky Saxon's Seeds were a popular attraction on the L.A. club scene in 1966. They were also one of the first bands to feature all original material (mostly from Saxon himself) on their albums, such as Nobody Spoil My Fun from their debut LP.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Flying High
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Any guesses to what a song called Flying High from an album called Electric Music For The Mind And Body by Country Joe And The Fish released in 1967 might be about? I thought not.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Ego Trip
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    1967 was also the year of the "Boss-Town Sound", a gimmick used to promote several Boston-based bands signed to the M-G-M label (M-G-M having been asleep at the wheel during the recent band-signing frenzy in San Francisco). Derided in the music press as a crass attempt to manipulate record buyers, the ultimate victims of this fraud were the bands themselves, many of which were actually quite talented. Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the material for the group's first two LPs. When the stigma of being part of the whole boss-town thing became too much to deal with, Bruce-Douglas left the group. Although the Ultimate Spinach name continued to be used, subsequent albums had little in common musically with the two Bruce-Douglas LPs.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     "Everybody must get stoned." 'Nuff said.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Sweet Young Thing
Source:    Mono CD: The Inner Mystique (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
Year:    1967
    There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the actual live sound of the Chocolate Watchband, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb, who tried his best to make them sound more psychedelic than they really were. One of the few recordings that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is this single released in January of 1967. Ironically, Sweet Young Thing was written by Cobb himself. Even stranger is the fact that the single was released on Tower's Uptown subsidiary, which specialized in R&B artists.

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Sunshine (single version)
Source:    Mono British import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    When I was a junior in high school I switched from guitar to bass to form a three-piece band called Sunn. Mostly what we did was jam onstage, although we did learn a handfull of cover songs as well. One of those songs we actually learned by playing it on the jukebox at the local youth center over and over. A British band called Gun had released a tune called Race With The Devil that caught on quickly with the dependent kids at Ramstein AFB in Germany. None of us, however, actually had a copy of the record. A rival band had already started playing Race With The Devil, so we decided to instead go for the B side, Sunshine. Luckily, the song has few lyrics, and tends to repeat them a lot, so we didn't have to spend a whole lot of nickels to get them all down. Ditto for the musical part, as the song is basically just three chords over and over. Still, it turned out to be one of our most popular numbers, since it was about the only song in our repertoire you could slow dance to. Also, the simple structure allowed Dave, the guitarist, to extend the song as long as he felt like jamming, which was generally all night. So, here we have the mono single version of Sunshine, as heard on the Ramstein youth center jukebox all those years ago.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Today
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    Uncredited guest guitarist Jerry Garcia adds a simple, but memorable recurring fill riff to Today, an early collaboration between rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner and bandleader Marty Balin on Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer:     Esposito/Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1966
     The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    How Can I Leave Her
Source:    CD: Red Rubber Ball (A Collection) (originally released on LP: Red Rubber Ball)
Writer(s):    Danneman/Dawes
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    Originally known as the Rhondells, the Cyrkle got a huge break when they came to the attention of Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles, in late 1965. Epstein had been looking for an American band to manage, and liked what he heard when he caught the band in Atlantic City on Labor Day weekend. By the following summer the group, whom Epstein had renamed the Cyrkle (with John Lennon credited for the unique spelling) found itself opening for the Beatles on their last North American tour, including their final live performance at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29th. By then the Cyrkle had released a hit single, Red Rubber Ball, and soon would release an album with the same title. About half the tracks on the LP were written by band members, including the soft-pop How Can I Leave Her, which features the Cyrkle's Beach Boys-inspired harmonies.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby/Clark
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    By all rights, the Byrds' Eight Miles High should have been a huge hit. Unfortunately, Bill Drake, the most influential man in the history of Top 40 radio, got it into his head that this was a drug song, despite the band's insistence that it was about a transatlantic plane trip. The band's version actually makes sense, as Gene Clark had just quit the group due to his fear of flying (he is listed as a co-writer of the song), and the subject was probably a hot topic of discussion among the remaining members. Despite all this Eight Miles High still managed to crack the top 20 in late 1966.

Artist:     Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     The Great Airplane Strike (remix)
Source:     CD: Legend of Paul Revere (originally released on LP: Spirit of '67 and as a 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):     Lindsay/Revere/Melcher
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     This is actually the third mix of this 1966 recording. The first version of The Great Airplane Strike was in stereo and was included on the LP Spirit of '67. This was followed by a mono single mix of the song which replaced the original fade out ending with an effect created by gradually slowing the tape down. This version is a mid-90s stereo remix of the mono single version. The song itself is a good example of just how good a band Paul Revere and the Raiders were once you got past the cheesy revolutionary war costumes they wore.

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     Catfish Blues
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer:     Robert Petway
Label:     United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year     1967
     Like many other US cities in the 1960s, San Francisco had a small but enthusiastic community of collectors of blues records. A group of them got together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, and made quite an impression when they played the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This led to a contract with Liberty Records and an album consisting entirely of cover versions of blues standards. One standout track from that album is Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, expanded to over six minutes by the Heat.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    I Won't Hurt You
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer:    Harris/Lloyd/Markley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Unlike more famous L.A. groups like Love and the Doors, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was not a Sunset Strip club band. In fact, the WCPAEB really didn't play that many live performances in their career, although those they did play tended to be at high profile venues such as the Hollywood Bowl. The band was formed when the Harris brothers, sons of an accomplished classical musician, decided to record their own album and release it on the small Fifa label. Only a few copies of that album, Volume One, were made and finding one now is next to impossible. That might have been the end of the story except for the fact that they were acquaintances of Kim Fowley, the Zelig-like record producer and all-around Hollywood hustler. Fowley invited them to a party where the Yardbirds were playing; a party also attended by one Bob Markley. Markley, who was nearly ten years older than the Harris brothers, was a former TV show host from the midwest who had moved out to the coast to try his luck in Hollywood. Impressed by the flock of young girls surrounding the Yardbirds, Markley expressed to Fowley his desire to be a rock and roll star and have the girls flock around him, too. Fowley, ever the deal-maker, responded by introducing Markley to the Harris Brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was born. With the addition of guitarist Michael Lloyd and the influence of Markley's not-inconsiderable family money, the group soon landed a contract with Reprise Records, where they proceeded to record the album Part One, which includes the turn I Won't Hurt You, which uses a simulated heartbeat to keep the...umm, beat.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Tin Soldier Man
Source:    CD: Something Else
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Ray Davies's songwriting continued to move in new and unexpected directions on the 1967 album Something Else By The Kinks. A good example is Tin Soldier Man, a tune that has an almost ragtime feel to it, yet is unmistakably a rock song. 

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Happy Together
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Magic (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    The Turtles got off to a strong start with their cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, which hit the top 20 in 1965. By early 1967, however, the band had fallen on hard times and was looking for a way to return to the charts. They found that way with Happy Together, a song written by Gary Bonner and Mark Gordon, both members of an east coast band called the Magicians. Happy Together was the Turtles' first international hit, going all the way to the top of the charts in several countries and becoming one of the most recognizable songs in popular music history.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     Preachin' Love
Source:     Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:     1967
     Due to a contract dispute with his UK record label, Pye Records, Mellow Yellow (the song), did not get released in Donovan's native country until early 1967, well after the song had already run its course on the US charts. Preachin' Love, a swing jazz tune recorded in late 1966, was chosen as the record's B side. Around the same time Donovan's next US single, Epistle To Dippy, was released, also with Preachin' Love as the B side. The song was not included on any albums, however, until re-issued in the UK on the Mellow Yellow CD.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Wrapping Paper
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream (bonus track originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1966
    Wrapping Paper is the nearly forgotten debut single from Cream, released two months before the Fresh Cream album in 1966. The song only made it to the #34 spot in the UK, and was not released in the US at all until several years later, when it appeared on an album called The Very Best Of Cream. Drummer Ginger Baker made no secret of his dislike of the song, calling it " the most appalling piece of ____ I've ever heard in my life", adding that Eric Clapton didn't like the song either. Nonetheless, here it is for the curious among you.

Artist:     Lovin' Spoonful
Title:     Coconut Grove
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):     Sebastian/Yanovsky
Label:     Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:     1966
    The 1966 album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful was an attempt by the band to play in a variety of styles, as if it were being recorded by several different bands. By most accounts they succeeded, as can be heard by comparing the two biggest hits from the LP, Summer In The City and Nashville Cats. One of the quieter, acoustic numbers is a song called Coconut Grove, that manages to evoke images of the South Pacific without devolving into Rogers and Hart territory.

Artist:    W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band
Title:    Hippy Elevator Operator
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Caldwell/Zinner
Label:    Rhino (original label: HBR)
Year:    1966
    Sometime in 1966, Redondo Beach, California band the Bees decided to start calling themselves the W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band. The new name was interesting enough to attract the attention of HBR, also known as Hanna-Barbera Records, a company owned by the TV animation studio that was famous for characters like Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones. Unfortunately for the band, DJs tended to not take records on the label too seriously, and after a short recording career that culminated in a single called Hippy Elevator Operator, the band faded off into obscurity (followed shortly thereafter by HBR itself).

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Don't Bring Me Down
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1966
    Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is reportedly one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually liked. The song was one of the last hit singles recorded by the original Animals before they disbanded in late 1966.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    You're Lost Little Girl
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The Doors second LP, Strange Days, was stylistically similar to the first, and served notice to the world that this band was going to be around for awhile. Songwriting credit for You're Lost Little Girl (a haunting number that's always been a personal favorite of mine) was given to the entire band, a practice that would continue until the release of The Soft Parade in 1969.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Crosstown Traffic
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The first single to be released concurrently with Electric Ladyland was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several anthologies over the years.

Artist:    Crystal Rain
Title:    Hey Ma Ma
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single A side)
Writer(s):    Bill Moan
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Vangee)
Year:    1969
    Dayton, Ohio's Crystal Rain released two singles on the local Vangee label in 1969. Both are worth checking out. The first of the two, written by Bill Moan, is Hey Ma Ma, released in April. Pretty intense stuff.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Empty Pages
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Traffic was formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, after ending his association with the Spencer Davis Group. The original group, also featuring Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, put out two and a half albums before disbanding in early 1969. Shortly thereafter, following a successful live reunion album, Welcome to the Canteen, Winwood got to work on what was intended to be his first solo LP. For support Winwood called in Capaldi and Wood to back him up on the project. It soon became apparent, however, that what they were working on was actually a new Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die. Although Empty Pages was released as a single (with a mono mix heard here), it got most of its airplay on progressive FM stations, and as those stations were replaced by (or became) album rock stations, the song continued to get extensive airplay for many years.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's follow-up single, Street Fighting Man, a song that was almost as anthemic as Jumpin' Jack Flash itself and went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Memo From Turner
Source:    LP: Metamorphosis
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1975
    There are two distinct versions of the song Memo From Turner. The more famous recording was released in 1970 as a Mick Jagger solo single, and features Ry Cooder on slide guitar. The other version was recorded in 1968, with Al Kooper playing guitar on the track. This version was held back for several years, finally surfacing on an album called Metamorphosis in 1975. The album itself was a collection of outtakes and alternate versions of songs released on Allen Klein's Abkco label, Klein having acquired rights to the Stones' London era recordings.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album with the original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Sadly, Brian Jones was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/A Day In The Life
Source:     CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:     1967
     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.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Hair Of Spun Gold
Source:    LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    Janis Ian wrote her first song, Hair Of Spun Gold, when she was 12 years old. The piece first appeared in Broadside, a New York based folk publication. Two years later, in 1966, she recorded the song, which was included on her debut LP, which after much shopping around, finally appeared on the Verve Forecast label in 1967.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Slide Machine
Source:    British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    R. P. St. John
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    Following a successful tour of Southern California in late 1966, the 13th Floor Elevators returned to their native Austin, Texas to begin work on a second LP. Unlike the first album, which (like most debut efforts of the time) was recorded in a matter of days, Easter Anywhere took several months to complete. During that time the band underwent personnel changes and a continuously deteriorating relationship with Internation Artists Records, which kept setting up inappropriate gigs instate when the band would have been better served building up a national following. In addition, some of the band members were exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior due to excessive drug use, which slowed work on the album down considerably. One more factor contributing to the tardiness of the LP was the band's desire to make an album that would be thematically consistent throughout rather than a random collection of songs like their debut LP had been. The fact that the theme itself was pretty cosmic made it that much harder to capture in the recording studio. Although nearly all the material on the album was written by the band members themselves, one track, Slide Machine, was credited to the mysterious R.P. St. John.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1634 (starts 8/24/16)

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Life In The Fast Line
Source:    LP: Hotel California
Writer(s):    Walsh/Henley/Frey
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1976
    Built on a riff that Joe Walsh came up with during a warm up session, Life In The Fast Lane is one of the Eagles' most popular songs. The title of the song comes from an experience that Glen Frey had while riding on the freeway with a drug dealer known as the Count. The car was apparently going a bit too fast for Frey's tastes, but when he tried to tell the Count to slow down the only response he got was "It's life in the fast lane!" The lyrics for the song were written mostly by Frey and Don Henley.

Artist:    Queen
Title:    Seaside Rendezvous
Source:    LP: A Night At The Opera
Writer(s):    Freddie Mercury
Label:    Virgin (original label: Asylum)
Year:    1975
    Freddie Mercury's whimsical side is in full display on the song Seaside Rendezvous, from the fourth Queen album A Night At The Opera. The song is done in a vaudevillian style reminiscent of such Paul McCartney Beatles tracks as Honey Pie and When I'm 64. Seaside Rendezvous, however, benefits from mid-70s technology, particularly the availability of many more tracks to record on than the Beatles had in the late 60s, and Queen uses them to full advantage, with Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor performing a musical bridge entirely with their voices. The track uses several instruments not often found in rock music, including tubas, trumpets, clarinets and even a kazoo (Taylor handles the brass instruments, while Mercury provides the winds). The tap dance segment of the song is actually Mercury and Taylor wearing thimbles on their fingers and tapping on the mixing desk.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    The Third Hoorah
Source:    LP: War Child
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    After two album length productions, Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play, Jethro Tull returned to shorter tracks for their next studio album, War Child. The band had to contend with several distractions while making the album, including a rumor (possibly started by their own manager) that the group was breaking up in response to bad critical reviews of A Passion Play. Although the album was a commercial success, it was not well-received by the rock press, with one critic using the phrase "Tull rhymes with dull". Part of the problem is that the band put their weakest material on side one of the LP, which of course is the one critics would listen to first. Side two, on the other hand, includes some of the band's best-known tunes, including their hit single, Bungle In The Jungle. Among the strong tracks on side two is The Third Hoorah, which shows the influence of the British folk-rock movement and of Steeleye Span (whose latest album at the time had been produced by Ian Anderson). I have to admit that when I first heard this song I thought it was called War Child, due to the use of the phase in the song's lyrics.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    Zomby Woof
Source:    LP: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Discreet
Year:    1973
    By 1973 Frank Zappa had established himself as one of the most creative (and non-conformist) figures in rock music, but had not yet had a real commercial breakthrough. This was due mostly to the fact that his music was not particularly accessible to the masses, incorporating such non-commercial elements as modern jazz and avant-garde classical, as well as out-of-fashion rock styles such as doo-wop. He was, in fact, a cult figure in the rock world, a position he seemed quite comfortable with at the time. In early 1973, however, Zappa began work on a pair of albums that would redefine him as an artist and set the direction the rest of his career would take. Those albums were Over-Nite Sensation (released in October of that year as a Mothers album), and Apostrophe('), released in early 1974 as a solo LP. Although not the best-known song on Over-Nite Sensation, Zomby Woof is perhaps the track that most accurately showcases Zappa as an artist, with somewhat humorous lyrics, quick tempo and key changes (and a bunch of truly talented support musicians able to pull off all these changes), and one more element that had, for the most part, been lacking in his earlier albums: a guitar solo. In fact, it was Over-Nite Sensation that first drew attention to Zappa's guitar work, which from that point on would be as important to his success as his composing skills (which were prodigious).

Artist:    McKendree Spring
Title:    Friends Die Easy II
Source:    LP: Tracks
Writer(s):    Fran McKendree
Label:    Decca
Year:    1972
    The music press is fond of creating hyphenated names to describe bands that combine sometimes disparate musical styles. In the mid-1960s there was folk-rock. The 70s brought country-rock, while in the 80s jazz-rock was all the rage. One hybrid you don't hear much about is progressive-folk, possibly because there was really only one band that fit the description. That group was McKendree Spring, from Glens Falls, NY. Led by Fran McKendree (vocals and guitar), the band also included Fred Holman, who had replaced Larry Tucker on bass by 1972, Dr. Michael Dreyfuss (electric violin, viola, Moog, Arp, Mellotron), and Martin Slutsky (electric guitar). The band had its greatest success in the early 1970s recording for the Decca label, although they are still active today. The highlight of their fourth LP, Tracks, is a song written by Fran McKendree called Friends Die Easy II. I have no idea what the story behind the song is, but I'm absolutely sure there is one, and I'd love to hear it.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Perpetual Change
Source:    The Yes Album
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire
Label:    Elektra/Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1971
    Although Yes had already recorded two albums by 1971, The Yes Album marks the beginning of the band's most successful period. Probably the biggest reason for this newfound success was the addition of Steve Howe on guitar to a lineup that already included vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford, as well as keyboardist Tony Kaye (who would soon be replaced by Rick Wakeman). Another factor in the album's success was the fact that all the tracks were written by members of the band, including Perpetual Change, which closes out side two of the LP.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Every Mother's Son
Source:    LP: John Barleycorn Must Die
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Following the breakup of Blind Faith, Steve Winwood returned to the studio to work on his first solo LP, to be titled Mad Shadows. Winwood completed two tracks, including Every Mother's Son, before deciding to invite Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi to reform his old band, Traffic. The group recorded four more tracks for the LP, which was retitled John Barleycorn Must Die and released in 1970 as the fourth Traffic album. Winwood's already completed recording of Every Mother's Son was used as the final track on the LP.

Artist:    Taste
Title:    Leaving Blues
Source:    British import CD: Taste
Writer(s):    Huddie Ledbetter
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1969
    Taste was formed in Cork, Ireland, in 1966 by guitarist/vocalist Rory Gallegher. A move to the UK in 1968 resulted in all the members except Gallegher leaving the group, to be replaced by Richard McKraken on bass and John Wilson on drums. The band then moved to London, where they signed with Polydor Records, releasing their first LP in 1969. The album featured a mix of Gallegher originals and adapations of blues classics such as Leadbelly's Leaving Blues.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Electric Church Red House
Source:     CD: Blues
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy
Year:     1968
     The "Electric Church" version of Jimi Hendrix's signature blues tune Red House features all the members of the Experience plus guest organist Lee Michaels. Unlike the version of Red House included on the Are You Experienced album, this track features Noel Redding playing an actual bass guitar.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Alexis
Source:    LP: Bang
Writer(s):    Bolin/Cook
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    When Joe Walsh left the James Gang, many people thought it was all over for the Cleveland, Ohio band formed by drummer Jim Fox. The group recovered, though, adding two Canadians, guitarist Dominic Troiano and vocalist Roy Kenner. The group recorded two more albums for ABC before Troiano left to replace Randy Bachman in the Guess Who. With their ABC Records contract now expired, the group was once again expected to ride off into the sunset, but instead added guitarist Tommy Bolin, formerly of the Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr, and signed a new contract with Atlantic's Atco label. The first album from the new lineup was 1973's Bang, considered the strongest James Gang album since Walsh's departure. Bolin, in particular, strutted his stuff, both as a guitarist and a songwriter, on several of Bang's tracks. He even took the lead vocals on Alexis, a standout tune that foreshadows his work as a solo artist later in the decade.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1633 (starts 8/17/16)

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Over Under Sideways Down
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
     The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Over, Under, Sideways, Down
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Raven
Year:    1966
    After scoring big with songs written by outside songwriters such as Graham Gouldman (For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul), the Yardbirds decided to try their hand at writing their own hit song. The result was Shapes Of Things, which went to the # 3 spot in the UK and just barely missed being a top 10 single in the US as well.
Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    For many, the Yardbirds version of I'm a Man is the definitive version of the Bo Diddley classic. Oddly enough, the song was released as a single only in the US, where it made it into the top 10 in 1965.

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)
Year:    1967
    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:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    In their early days Jefferson Airplane, like most of their contemporaries, included several cover tunes in their repertoire. Unlike many other bands, however, the Airplane managed to stamp all of their covers with their own unmistakeable sound. One excellent example of this is the Airplane's version of Tobacco Road, a song by John D. Loudermilk that had been a hit for the British invasion band Nashville Teens in 1964. The Airplane version, which appears on their debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, takes an entirely different approach than the Teens' rendition (or the similarly styled Blues Magoos version recorded around the same time as the Airplane's), laying off the power chords in favor of a jazzier approach more in tune with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's style.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Ballad Of A Useless Man
Source:    LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Drake Levin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Midnight Ride was probably the artistic peak, if not the commercial one, for Paul Revere And The Raiders. Released in 1966, it was the only Raiders album to include songwriting contributions from all five members. In fact, it was the move away from such egalitarian principles that prompted lead guitarist Drake Levin, who wrote Ballad Of A Useless Man, to leave the group not long after Midnight Ride's release. Subsequent releases from the Raiders saw the band moving in an increasingly commercial direction, eventually all but abandoning their roots as one of the best rock and roll bands to come out of the Pacific Northwest.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    According to principal songwriter John Lennon, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was inspired by a turn of the century circus poster that the Beatles ran across while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Most of the lyrics refer to items on the poster itself, such as Henry the Horse and the Hendersons.

Artist:    Quiet Jungle
Title:    Everything
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mark Taylor
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Yorkshire)
Year:    1967
    Musically speaking, 1967 was a busy year in the US, with the Summer of Love in San Francisco, the aftermath of the Sunset Strip crackdowns on teenagers in Los Angeles, Andy Warhol's unveiling of the Velvet Underground in New York, and of course, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band casting its shadow over everything. It's easy to see, then, how happenings in neighboring Canada pretty much went under the radar, with bands like the Guess Who cranking out hit after hit without getting any attention whatsoever south of the border. That all changed in 1969 for that band, but other groups, such as Toronto's Quiet Jungle, were never successful outside of Canada itself. That did not stop Yorkshire Records from putting out plenty of singles, however, including Everything, a 1967 tune from the aforementioned Quiet Jungle.

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

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Bright Light Lover
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Keyboardist Bob Bruno's contributions as a songwriter to Circus Maximus tended to favor jazz arrangements. On Bright Light Lover, however, from the band's fist album, he proves that he could rock out with the raunchiest of the garage bands when the mood hit.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Lawdy Mama
Source:    LP: Live Cream
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Eric Clapton
Label:    Atco
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1970
    Lawdy Mama (sometimes known as Hey Lawdy Mama) is a blues song that goes back at least as far as the 1920s. In 1965 Junior Wells and Buddy Guy recorded a Chicago blues version of the song for the Hoodoo Man Blues album. It was this version that Cream performed on a December 1966 BBC broadcast, recording a similar version in the studio in early 1967. They then reworked the instrumental tracks but kept Wells's lyrics for a second version of Lawdy Mama, which they also recorded in early 1967. Still not satisfied with the way the song was going, producer Felix Pappalardi and his wife Janet Collins came up with a whole new melody line and lyrics to go with the newer instrumental tracks; Eric Clapton then added his vocals and a new guitar track to the recording, which was released under the title Strange Brew on the Disraeli Gears album. Meanwhile, a mix of the second version of Lawdy Mama was set aside, and eventually got released as the only studio track on the 1970 album Live Cream. Luckily, the then-common practice of superimposing fake crowd sounds to make a studio recording sound like a live track was not followed by the producers of Live Cream.

Artist:    Music Explosion
Title:    Little Bit O' Soul
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1967 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carter/Lewis
Label:    Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:    1967
    Mansfield, Ohio, was home to the Music Explosion, who made their mark as one-hit wonders in early 1967 with Little Bit O' Soul, a kind of primer on how to make a living as a rock band in the mid-60s American heartland. The Kazenatz-Katz production was an early forerunner of the bubble-gum movement that would dominate the top 40 charts the following year.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:     The Door Into Summer
Source:     LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Douglas/Martin
Label:     Colgems
Year:     1967
     After playing nearly all the instrumental tracks on their third album themselves, the Monkees came to the painful conclusion that they would not be able to repeat the effort and still have time to tape a weekly TV show. As a result, the fourth Monkees LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD., used studio musicians extensively, albeit under the creative supervision of the Monkees themselves. The group also had the final say over what songs ended up on the album, including The Door Into Summer, a tune by Bill Martin, a friend of band leader Michael Nesmith. For reasons that are too complicated to get into here (and probably wouldn't make much sense anyway), co-credit was given to the band's producer, Chip Douglas.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Rod Argent
Label:    London (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    What A Shame
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: The Rolling Stones Now)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1964
    One of the earlier Mick Jagger/Keith Richards collaborations to get recorded by the Rolling Stones, What A Shame is basically a typical early Stones tune, released as the B side of Heart Of Stone in 1964. It was included on the 1965 LP The Rolling Stones Now.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those.
Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    Blind Willie Johnson
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    One lasting legacy of the British Invasion was the re-introduction to the US record-buying public to the songs of early Rhythm and Blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson. This emphasis on classic blues in particular would lead to the formation of electric blues-based US bands such as the Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project. Unlike the Butterfields, who made a conscious effort to remain true to their Chicago-style blues roots, the Blues Project was always looking for new ground to cover, which ultimately led to them developing an improvisational style that would be emulated by west coast bands such as the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, and by Project member Al Kooper, who conceived and produced the first rock jam LP ever, Super Session, in 1968. As the opening track to their second (and generally considered best) LP Projections, I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes served notice that this was a new kind of blues, louder and brasher than what had come before, yet tempered with Kooper's melodic vocal style. An added twist was the use during the song's instrumental bridge of an experimental synthesizer known among band members as the "Kooperphone", probably the first use of any type of synthesizer in a blues record.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Renaissance Fair
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Crosby/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Younger Than Yesterday was David Crosby's last official album with the Byrds (he was fired midway through the recording of The Notorious Byrd Brothers) and the last one containing any collaborations between Crosby and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn. Renaissance Fair is one of those collaborations. The song was inspired by a free concert given in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park by the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, among others.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Prelude-Nothing To Hide
Source:    CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    Spirit's first few albums had generated good reviews but poor sales. Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus was considered at the time to be their last chance to reach a larger audience. The pseudo-polygamous lyrics of the album's opening track, Prelude-Nothing To Hide, are actually about the band members' commitment to their music, a commitment that is apparent throughout the album. Unfortunately even that level of commitment did not translate to commercial success, leading vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes to split from Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne soon thereafter.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Woodstock
Source:    LP: So Far (originally released on LP: déjà vu)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    It's somewhat ironic that the most famous song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival was written by someone who was not even at the event. Joni Mitchell had been advised by her manager that she would be better off appearing on the Dick Cavett show that weekend, so she stayed in her New York City hotel room and watched televised reports of what was going on up at Max Yasgur's farm. Further inspiration came from her then-boyfried Graham Nash, who shared his firsthand experiences of the festival with Mitchell. The song was first released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon, and was made famous the same year when it was chosen to be the first single released from the Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young album déjà vu. The CSNY version peaked just outside of the Billboard top 10.

Artist:    Wet Paint
Title:    Glass Road
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wet Paint
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Onyx)
Year:    1968
    Although most of the bands recording in the state of Massachusetts used studios in Boston, there were some exceptions. One such case was a band called Wet Paint, who recorded at Eastern Sounds Recordings in Metheun. Eastern even had its own in-house record label, Onyx, which is where Glass Road was released in 1968.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    I Talk To The Wind/Epitaph
Source:    LP: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Writer(s):    Fripp/McDonald/Lake/Giles/Sinfield
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    During my years in Albuquerque, New Mexico I had a friend named Dave Meaden. It was Dave who first introduced me to King Crimson's first album, In The Court Of The Crimson King, featuring lyrics by poet Peter Sinfield. Dave was such a big fan of Sinfield's work that he had actually handwritten the entire lyrics to Epitaph on a flag that he had hanging in his living room. I usually don't pay all that much attention to lyrics, being more of an instrumentalist, but for this particular piece I have to make an exception. In fact, I'm posting the entire text of Epitaph right here:

The wall on which the prophets wrote is cracking at the seams.
 Upon the instruments of death the sunlight brightly gleams.
 When every man is torn apart with nightmares and with dreams,
 Will no one lay the laurel wreath as silence drowns the screams?
 Between the iron gates of fate, the seeds of time were sown,
 And watered by the deeds of those who know and who are known;
 Knowledge is a deadly friend when no-one sets the rules.
 The fate of all mankind, I see, is in the hands of fools.
 Confusion will be my epitaph,
 As I crawl a cracked and broken path.
 If we make it we can all sit back and laugh.
 But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying,
 Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.

Epitaph is preceded on the album by a Greg Lake composition called I Talk To The Wind, with lyrics by Sinfield. The song is a quiet, reflective piece, highlighted by classically-oriented flute solos by Ian McDonald. The two tracks are tightly-sequenced on the original LP, and really need to be heard as one continuous piece to be full appreciated.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Love Or Confusion
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. In recent years engineer Eddie Kramer has recreated the original mono mix (and track lineup) of the UK edition of Are You Experienced, using tube-based analog equipment to get the most authentic sound. 

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Up From The Skies
Source:     CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Our second song of tonight's 1967 Jimi Hendrix Experience set is a tune that was actually released as a single in the US, at around the same time as Burning of the Midnight Lamp was having a successful run on the UK singles charts. Axis: Bold As Love, however, was one of the LPs that proved that having a top 40 hit was no longer necessary or even desirable for a rock band to be considered a success in the US, and Up From The Skies was seldom, if ever, heard on top 40 AM radio stations.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Are You Experienced?
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Until the release of Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience the emphasis in rock music (then called pop) was on the 45 RPM single, with albums seen as a luxury item that supplemented an artist's career rather than defined it. Are You Experience helped change all that. The album was not only highly influential, it was a major seller, despite getting virtually no airplay on top 40 radio. The grand finale of the LP was the title track, which features an array of studio effects, including backwards masking and tape loops. Interestingly enough, the album was originally issued only in a mono version in the UK, with European pressings using a simulated stereo mix. After Reprise bought the rights to release the LP in the US it hired its own engineers to create stereo mixes of the songs from the four-track master tapes.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Until The Poorest People Have Money To Spend
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
            The final West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album for Reprise, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, is generally considered the group's best album as well, despite the absence of founding member Danny Harris (who would return for their next LP on the Amos label). As always, Bob Markley provided the lyrics for all the band's original songs on the LP, including Until The Poorest People Have Money To Spend, which Shaun Harris wrote the music for. Although the sentiment expressed in the song is a good one, the sincerity of Markley's lyrics is somewhat suspect, according to guitarist Ron Morgan, who said that Markley was notoriously miserly with his own money (of which he had inherited quite a lot).
Artist:    Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity
Title:    This Wheel's On Fire
Source:    Mono CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dylan/Danko
Label:    Polydor (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    Julie Driscoll got her start as secretary of the Yardbirds' fan club while still in her late teens. The band's manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, was so impressed with her voice that he himself got her first single released in late 1963. From there she joined a band called Steampacket, working with two other vocalists, Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart. Another member of Steampacket was organist Brian Auger, who, after the demise of Steampacket, formed his own band, the Trinity, in 1967. Working with Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity recorded an LP, Open, for Gomelsky's new Marmalade label in 1968. The featured single from Open was This Wheel's On Fire, a song written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko of The Band. Driscoll, over a period of time, gravitated toward jazz, eventually moving to the US where she continues to perform.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Jazz Thing
Source:    Mono promo LP: Behold And See
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Although the second Ultimate Spinach album, Behold And See, is generally considered inferior to the group's debut effort, there are a few high points that are among the best tracks the band ever recorded. Perhaps the strongest track on the album is Jazz Thing, which almost sounds like a Bob Bruno Circus Maximus track.