Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1638 (starts 9/21/16)
Source: CD: Past Masters-Volume Two (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Although it was the first version to be released, the fast version of John Lennon's Revolution was actually the last to be recorded. The song was originally recorded in June of 1968 as a ten-minute long album track, and included a long experimental section that would become the basis for Revolution 9. At some point Lennon decided to divide the two parts, with Revolution 1 (the first four minutes or so of the original track) being considered for release as a single. Both Paul McCartney and George Harrison, however, thought the song's pace was too slow for a single. Lennon, however, was not ready to give up on the song, and the band got to work on a faster and louder version in mid-July. This faster version was issued as the B side of Hey Jude the following month (although in some markets, including Australia, the record was released as a double A side), the first record to appear on the Apple label.
Title: Good Day Sunshine
Source: CD: Revolver
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
When the Beatles' Revolver album came out, radio stations all over the US began playing various non-single album tracks almost immediately. Among the most popular of those was Paul McCartney's Good Day Sunshine. It was in many ways an indication of the direction McCartney's songwriting would continue to take for several years.
Title: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
Source: Mono CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Basically a studio concoction assembled by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was originally intended to be released as a 1969 single by the Plastic Ono Band. The track was the result of four separate recording sessions dating back to 1967 and originally ran over six minutes long. The instrumental tracks were recorded around the same time the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in Spring of 1967. Brian Jones added a saxophone part on June 8th of that year. In April of 1969 Lennon and McCartney added vocals, while Lennon edited the entire track down to slightly over four minutes. The single was readied for a November release, but at the last minute was withdrawn. The recording was instead released as the B side of the Let It Be single the following year.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Child Of The Moon (rmk)
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Child Of The Moon was originally released as the B side to the Stones' 1968 comeback single, Jumpin' Jack Flash. The song is now available as part of a box set called Singles Collection-The London Years. This track, which is in stereo, has the letters rmk (lower case) following the song title, which leads me to wonder if maybe it is a remake rather than the original recording. I do have a copy of the original 45, but its condition is such that I would rather not use it if I don't have to. As was the case with many of the Stones' 60s recordings, the band is joined by keyboardist Nicky Hopkins on this one.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: She's A Rainbow
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
The only song from the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request album to get significant airplay in the US was She's A Rainbow, released as a single in the fall of '67. Oddly enough it was the single's B side, 2,000 Light Years From Home, that charted in Germany. Another song from the album, In Another Land, had been released in the US a week before the album came out and was marketed as the first Bill Wyman solo song (with a Rolling Stones B side), but only made it to the #87 spot on the Billboard singles chart. This perhaps is a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding the Rolling Stones' role in the world of rock at the time. That uncertainty would soon be dispelled when the band hired a new producer, Jimmy Miller, the following year and released Jumpin' Jack Flash, an undisputed classic that helped define the band for years to come.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: We Love You
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
After the less than stellar chart performance of the LP Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones decided to pull out all the stops with a double 'A' sided single. We Love You was their most expensive production ever, and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. Oddly enough, the other side of the record, Dandelion, ended up getting more airplay, at least in the US.
Title: All Day And All Of The Night
Source: Mono CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.
Title: You Really Got Me
Source: CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: K-Tel (original label: Reprise)
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.
Source: Mono Canadian CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
By 1970 the Kinks were all but forgotten in the US and not doing all that much better in their native UK. Then came Lola. I guess I could stop right there. Or I could mention that the song was based on a true story involving the band's manager. I could even say something about Dave Davies' claim that, although his brother Ray is credited as the sole songwriter of Lola, Dave actually came up with the music and Ray added the lyrics. But you've probably heard it all before. This is Lola, the most famous transvestite song in history, we're talking about, after all.
Title: Wild Thing
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Chip Taylor
Label: Rhino (original label: Fontana)
I have a DVD copy of a music video (although back then they were called promotional films) for the Troggs' Wild Thing in which the members of the band are walking through what looks like a train station while being mobbed by girls at every turn. Every time I watch it I imagine singer Reg Presley saying giggity-giggity as he bobs his head.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Simulated stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.
Title: Along Comes Mary
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Tandyn Almer
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Valiant)
The Association are best known for a series of love ballads and light pop songs such as Cherish, Never My Love and Windy. Many of these records were a product of the L.A. studio scene and featured several members of the Wrecking Crew, the studio musicians who played on dozens of records in the late 60s and early 70s. The first major Association hit, however, featured the band members playing all the instruments themselves. Produced (and possibly co-written) by Curt Boettcher, who would soon join Gary Usher's studio project Sagittarius, Along Comes Mary shows that the Association was quite capable of recording a classic without any help from studio musicians.
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
While Beatlemania was sweeping the northern hemisphere, a similar phenomena known as Easyfever was all the rage down under. Formed in the migrant hostels on the edge of Sydney, the Easybeats signed with Parlophone in 1965, and hit the top of the Australian charts with their second single. From that point on, the Easybeats were the # 1 band in the country, cranking out hit after hit, including Sorry from 1966. Like all the band's early hits, Sorry was written by the team of vocalist Stevie Wright and guitarist George Young. Not long after the release of Sorry, the Easybeats would decide to relocate to England. At around the same time lead guitarist Harry Vanda replaced Wright as Young's primary writing partner; together they wrote the international smash Friday On My Mind. The Easybeats continued to record into the early 70s, but with only moderate success. Eventually Young returned to Australia, where he was instrumental in helping his younger brothers Angus and Malcolm find success with their own band, AC/DC.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: My Mirage
Source: LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
One thing about Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. That's a bit of a shame, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there, such as My Mirage, a Doug Ingle composition that helped lay the groundwork for the progressive rock movement of the 1970s.
Artist: Tangerine Zoo
Title: Trip To The Zoo
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Not all Boston area bands in 1968 were part of the overly hyped "bosstown sound" perpetrated on an unsuspecting public by executives at M-G-M Records. One of the bands that did not participate in the hoax was the Tangerine Zoo from nearby Swansea. The Zoo, consisting of Tony Taviera, Wayne Gagnon, Ron Medieros, Bob Benevides and Donald Smith, were discovered by Bob Shad while playing a gig in Newport, Rhode Island. Shad was so impressed with the band that he immediately signed them to his Mainstream label. The Tangerine Zoo ended up recording two albums for Mainstream; the first of these, which included Trip To The Zoo, took all of 13 hours to record and mix. The shortened version of the song heard here was issued in March of 1968 as the B side of the band's first single for the label.
Artist: George Harrison
Title: In The Park
Source: CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s): George Harrison
George Harrison first played sitar on the Rubber Soul album, released in late 1965. Over the next two years he would release three songs that were virtually dominated by the Indian instrument: Love You To (Revolver LP), Within You Without You (Sgt. Pepper's album), and The Inner Light (the B side of Lady Madonna). When the double-LP called The Beatles (aka the White Album) came out in 1968, however, there was not a trace of sitar on the entire album. So what happened? My own theory is that after recording the soundtrack for the Joe Massot film Wonderwall Harrison had simply had his fill of the instrument and had decided that in the future, if he needed sitar on a record he would call on the acknowledged master of the instrument, Ravi Shankar, to play it. As is obvious from listening to In The Park, from the Wonderwall Music album, Harrison played a lot of sitar that year.
Title: Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
Source: Mono CD: Roger The Engineer (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Great American Music (original label: Epic)
Following the release of the 1966 LP The Yardbirds (aka Roger The Engineer), bassist Paul Samwell-Smith decided to leave the band to pursue a career as a record producer. The group recruited studio guitar whiz Jimmy Page as his replacement, with Page joining Jeff Beck as co-lead guitarist and Chris Dreja switching from rhythm guitar to bass. The first recording by the new lineup was a single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago. Dreja, however, was not yet comfortable on bass, so a colleague of Page's, John Paul Jones, was brought in for the sessions, with Dreja playing rhythm guitar. Despite the wealth of talent on the recording, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago was not a major hit, peaking at # 30 on the US charts. It did even worse in the UK, where it only made it to the # 43 spot. Beck and Page would play together on two more Yardbirds recordings before Beck left the group under somewhat mysterious circumstances.
Source: CD: Bloodrock 2
Label: One Way (original label: Capitol)
Bloodrock gained infamy in 1970 with the inclusion of D.O.A. on their second LP, a song reputed to be the cause of more bad acid trips than any other track ever recorded. Although the origins of the song are popularly attributed to a plane crash that killed several student atheletes in October of 1970, the fact that the album was already in the hands of record reviewers within a week of that event makes it unlikely that the two are related. The more likely story is that it was inspired by band member Lee Pickens's witnessing of a friend crashing his light plane a couple years before. Regardless of the song's origins, D.O.A. has to be considered one of the creepiest recordings ever made.
Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: Sin's a Good Man's Brother (edit)
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Mark Farner
A rare promo pressing of Sin's A Good Man's Brother, the opening track from Grand Funk Railroad's third album, Closer To Home. This edited version cuts the original running time of 4:35 down to slightly over three minutes in length.
Title: Who Needs Ya
Source: CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
It's no secret that there are often clashes between members of talented bands. Sometimes these clashes turn pretty ugly, as was the case between Steppenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch and lead vocalist John Kay. On at least one occasion Monarch got so angry with Kay that he stopped playing in the middle of a performance. Finally it got to the point where one of them had to go. Since Steppenwolf was basically Kay's band, Monarch was the one to leave. He was replaced by Larry Byrom, who was a member of the Los Angeles band T.I.M.E. Byrom stayed with with the band for the next two years, co-writing the tune Who Needs Ya, which was released as a single in October of 1970 and appeared on the album Steppenwolf 7.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Source: LP: Anthology (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
The third Steve Miller Band album, Brave New World, saw the first of many personnel changes the band would undergo over the years. Both Boz Scaggs and keyboardist Jim Peterman left following the release of the band's second album, Sailor, with Ben Sidran brought in to replace Peterman. Sidran had no problem fitting into the band, however, and is credited as co-writer on four of the album's nine tunes, including Seasons.
Title: Momma Momma
Source: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s): Melanie Safka
Melanie Safka released her first album, Born To Be, in 1968. Although it was not a major seller at the time, it got good reviews from the rock press, including the influential Billboard magazine, which hailed her as a "new talent to be reckoned with." The following year she appeared at the Woodstock festival, making a strong impression with the crowd, who held up candles (or lighters, as the case may be) during her performance, inspiring her later hit Candles In The Wind. Although her performance was not included in the film or soundtrack album, Melanie's star was definitely on the rise. One of the songs she performed at the festival was a tune from her first album called Momma Momma. The Woodstock version of the song remained unreleased for 40 years, however, until it was included on Rhino's box set 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm.
Artist: Frijid Pink
Title: House Of The Rising Sun
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Trad., arr. Alan Price
Frijid Pink was a hard rocking blue collar band out of Detroit, Michigan. After releasing two singles on the Parrot label that went nowhere, they band scored big with their feedback-drenched version of House Of The Rising Sun, the song that had made the Animals famous six years earlier. The follow-up single, Sing A Song Of Freedom, barely dented the charts, however, and the group never made any inroads with the new progressive rock stations springing up on the FM dial. As a result, Frijid Pink has been known ever since as one-hit wonders.
Artist: Jerry Garcia
Title: Love Scene
Source: LP: Zabriskie Point (soundtrack)
Writer(s): Jerry Garcia
Label: 4 Men With Beards
Pink Floyd did a lot of soundtracks for so-called art films in the early 1970s. The Grateful Dead, however, did not, making this bit of noodling (titled simply Love Scene) by Jerry Garcia a bit of a curiousity. As for the actual film Zabriskie Point, the less said the better.
Artist: Mad River
Title: Wind Chimes
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Mad River)
Writer(s): Mad River
Label: Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
When Mad River's debut LP was released, the San Francisco rock press hailed it as "taking rock music as far as it could go." Indeed, songs like Wind Chimes certainly pushed the envelope in 1968, when bubble gum was king of top 40 radio and progressive FM stations were still pretty much in the future. One thing that helped was the band members' friendship with avant-garde poet Richard Brautigan, who pulled whatever strings he could to get attention for his favorite local band. Still, the time was not yet right for such a band as Mad River, who had quietly faded away by the early 1970s.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Look (Song For The Children)/Child Is Father To The Man
Source: LP: The Smile Sessions
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2011
In 2004 Brian Wilson released Smile, the culmination of a project that went back nearly 40 years. Smile had begun as the projected follow up to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, with recording for the new album beginning in 1966. Due to a number of reasons the project was suspended in 1967, and a much less ambitious LP called Smiley Smile appeared in its place. For the rest of the 20th century Smile was little more than a legend, surrounded by rumours concerning the disposition of the material that had been recorded before the project was dropped. In the early 1990s some of the tapes resurfaced and were issued as part of the Beach Boys 30th anniversary box set. Still, these were only fragments, without any real sense of how they were meant to be presented on the original album. Finally, with the release of Brian Wilson's all new recordings of much of the same material, there was a template that could be used as a guideline for assembling the original album. Some elements, such as Carl Wilson's backing vocals on tracks like Child Is Father To The Man were actually recorded after the project itself was cancelled and used on later Beach Boys albums. Nonetheless, The Smile Sessions is probably the closest thing we'll ever hear to the original Smile album.
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Mono LP: Love
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
There are contradictory stories of the origins of the song Hey Joe. Some say it's a traditional folk song, while others have attributed it to various songwriters, including Tim Rose and Dino Valenti (under his birth name Chet Powers). As near as I've been able to determine the song was actually written by an obscure California folk singer named Billy Roberts, who reportedly was performing the song as early as 1958. The song circulated among West Coast musicians over the years and eventually caught the attention of the Byrds' David Crosby. Crosby was unable to convince his bandmates to record the song, although they did include it in their live sets at Ciro's on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. One of the Byrds' roadies, Bryan Maclean, joined up with Arthur Lee's new band, Love, and brought Crosby's version of the song (which had slightly different lyrics than other, more popular versions) with him. In 1966 Love included Hey Joe on their debut album, with Maclean doing the vocals. Meanwhile another L.A. band, the Leaves, recorded their own version of Hey Joe (reportedly using misremembered lyrics acquired from Love's Johnny Echols) in 1965, but had little success with it. In 1966 they recorded a new version of the song, adding screaming fuzz-drenched lead guitar parts by Bobby Arlin, and Hey Joe finally became a national hit. With two other L.A. bands (and Chicago's Shadows Of Knight) having recorded a song that David Crosby had come to regard as his own, the Byrds finally committed their own version of Hey Joe to vinyl in late 1966 on the Fifth Dimension album, but even Crosby eventually admitted that recording the song was a mistake. Up to this point the song had always been recorded at a fast tempo, but two L.A. songwriters, Sean Bonniwell (of the Music Machine) and folk singer Tim Rose, came up with the idea of slowing the song down. Both the Music Machine and Tim Rose versions of the songs were released in 1966. Jimi Hendrix heard the Rose recording and used it as the basis for his own embellished version of the song, which was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 (although it did not come out in the US until the release of the Are You Experienced album in 1967). Yet another variation on the slow version of Hey Joe was released by Cher in early 1967, which seems to have finally killed the song, as I don't know of any major subsequent recordings of the tune (unless you count the Mothers Of Invention's parody of the song, Flower Punk, which appeared on the album We're Only In It For The Money in 1968).
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Astrologically Incompatible
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Warner Brothers)
While touring extensively in 1967 the Music Machine continued to take every possible opportunity to record new material in the studio, while at the same time working to change record labels. The first single to be issued on the Warner Brothers label was Bottom Of The Soul, released in late 1967. The B side of that record was Astrologically Incompatible, one of the first rock songs to deal with astrological themes, albeit in a slightly tongue-in-cheek manner.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Baroque # 1
Source: Mono LP: Ultimate Spinach (promo copy)
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
Of the six major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including the instrumental Baroque # 1.