Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1648 (starts 11/30/16)

Starting this week I'm adding a short introductory note to each playlist. I'm doing this thanks to a recent change at Facebook, where my weekly links to the blog page now include the first few lines of text from the blog itself. For the past couple weeks this has been the artist, song title and partial source of the first song on the playlist, which really bothers me because it's, well, ugly. I tried using more photos of album covers, but the ugly text is still there beneath the photos. So, I'm replacing the ugly text with useless drivel like this instead. 

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Richard Cory
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    My ultra-cool 9th-grade English teacher brought in a copy of Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album one day. As a class, we deconstructed the lyrics of two of the songs on that album: A Most Peculiar Man and Richard Cory. Both songs deal with suicide, but under vastly different circumstances. Whereas A Most Peculiar Man is about a lonely man who lives an isolated existence as an anonymous resident of a boarding house, Richard Cory deals with a character who is a pillar of society, known and envied by many. Too bad most high school English classes weren't that interesting.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Grim Reaper Of Love
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Portz/Nichol
Label:    Magic (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1966
    The Turtles had some early success in 1965 as a folk-rock band, recording the hit version of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe and PF Sloan's Let Me Be. By 1966, however, it was getting harder and harder for the group to get a hit record. One attempt was Grim Reaper Of Love, co-written by Turtles lead guitarist Al Nichol. Personally I think it's a pretty cool tune, but was probably a bit too weird to appeal to the average top 40 radio listener in 1966. Grim Reaper Of Love did manage to make it to the #81 spot on the charts, unlike the band's next two singles that failed to chart at all. It wasn't until the following year, when the Turtles recorded Happy Together, that the band would return to the top 40 charts, making it all the way to the top.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider)
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    arr. McGuinn/Clark/Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    Throughout their existence the Byrds recorded more material than they actually released. This has proven a boon to the folks at Sony BMG, who have been able to include several bonus tracks on every remastered Byrds CD on their Legacy label. This week we have a classic Byrds reworking of an old folk tune, I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider), recorded in 1966, around the same time as their sessions for the Fifth Dimension album.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Feelin' Alright
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    Although Traffic is generally known as an early underground rock band heard mostly on progressive FM stations in the US, the band had its share of hit singles in its native England as well. Many of these early hits were written by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who would leave the band in 1968, only to return for the live Welcome To The Canteen album before leaving again, this time for good. One of Mason's most memorable songs was Feelin' Alright, from Traffic's self-titled second LP. The song very quickly became a rock standard when Joe Cocker sped it up and made it his own signature song. Grand Funk Railroad slowed it back down and scored a hit with their version in 1971, and Mason himself got some airplay with a new solo recording of the song later in the decade. Even comedian John Belushi got into the act with his dead-on cover of Cocker's version of the song on the Saturday Night Live TV show.

Artist:      Pentangle
Title:     Way Behind the Sun
Source:      LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    arr. Cox/Jansch/McShee/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Reprise
Year:     1968
    Every member of the Pentangle was an established member of the British folk music community, making Pentangle a folk supergroup by definition. Using elements of jazz and rock mixed with traditional folk music, they had a successful run up through the mid 1970s. This track from the first album is an adaptation of Rollin' and Tumblin' with new lyrics and a more sophisticated arrangement than better known versions by Cream and Johnny Winter.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Mystic Mourning
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg/Rhodes
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    If I had to choose one single recording that encapsulates the psychedelic era, my choice would be Mystic Mourning, from the album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union. Everything about the tune screams psychedelic, starting with a short spacy intro of electric piano over cymbals, leading into a raga beat with a solo bass line that builds up to a repeating riff that ends up getting played at various times by guitar, bass, and/or piano. The lyrics are appropriately existential, and both guitar and piano get a chance to show their stuff over the course of the nearly six-minute track.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    My Eyes Have Seen You
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    It's strange. Some reviewers seem to think that the album Strange Days is inferior to the first Doors album. They justify this view by citing the fact that almost all the songs on both albums were already in the band's repertoire when they signed their record contract with Elektra. The implication is that the band naturally selected the best material for the first album, making Strange Days a collection of sloppy seconds. There is one small problem with this theory however. Pick a song at random from Strange Days and listen to it and in all likelihood it will sound every bit as good as a song randomly picked from the first album (and probably better than one picked from either of the Doors' next two LPs). In fact, I'll pick one for you: My Eyes Have Seen You. See what I mean?

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist:    July
Title:    The Way
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Tom Newman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1968
    Although not a commercial success while together, July is now considered an important part of British rock history, due to the subsequent successful careers of several of its members. The band originated in Ealing, London, UK as the Tomcats, which itself was made up of members of an earlier Tomcats combined with members of another group named Second Thoughts. They relocated to Spain in 1966, where they became known as Los Tomcats. At that time they were a fairly typical British R&B outfit, playing cover songs from artists like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, but after returning to London began to take on a more psychedelic flavor. The band officially changed their name to July in 1968, signing with the Major Minor label and releasing two singles and one LP. The B side of the second of these singles was a tune called The Way. Written by guitarist/vocalist Tom Newman, the song has shown up on various compilation albums over the years. July disbanded in 1969, but Newman went on to record several solo LPs before becoming a producer. Among his credits are Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, used in the film The Exorcist. Two other members of July, Tony Duhig and Jon Field, went on to form Jade Warrior, recording several albums for various labels throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    Mono LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    If the release of the first Black Sabbath album in early 1970 marks the birth of heavy metal, then the release of the first Blue Cheer album in 1968 may be considered the point of conception for the form. Certainly, in terms of pure volume, Cheer was unequalled in their live performances (although the Grateful Dead's sound system had more wattage, Owsley Stanley used it judiciously to get the best sound quality as opposed to sheer quantity), and managed to preserve that sense of loudness in the studio. Like Black Sabbath, the members of Blue Cheer had more than a passing familiarity with the blues as well, as evidenced by their inclusion of an old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm, on their debut LP, Vincebus Eruptum (the album included a cover of B.B. King's Rock Me, Baby as well). Contrary to rumors, guitarist Leigh Stephens did not go deaf and kill himself (although he did leave Blue Cheer after the band's second LP, moving to England and releasing a somewhat distortion-free solo album in 1969).

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Oh Well
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Then Play On)
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:     1969
    Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in 1969, and Oh Well soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album.

Artist:    Zoser
Title:    Dark Of The Morning
Source:    CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Daniel Sleen
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Hexagon)
Year:    1970
    Zoser was a project band with a lot of talent but not a whole lot of cash. Warren Kendrick was a producer and studio owner who needed some renovations done on his Audio City Recording Studio in Minneapolis. So, in exchange for the labor needed to get the renovations done within budget Kendrick recorded Zoser's only single, Together, backed with Dark Of The Morning, and pressed 500 copies of the record. In stereo.

Artist:    Lollipop Shoppe (actual name: The Weeds)
Title:    You Must Be A Witch
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Fred Cole
Label:    Rhino (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    The Weeds were formed in Las Vegas in 1965 by vocalist Fred Cole, who at age 16 was already a recording studio veteran. They showed up at the Fillmore to open for the Yardbirds in 1966 only to find out that their manager had lied to them about being on the playbill (in fact Bill Graham had never even heard of them). Disenchanted with their management and fearing the Draft, the entire band decided to head for Canada, but ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon. They soon landed a regular gig at a club called the Folk Singer (where Cole met his future wife Toody) and after relocating to Southern California in 1968 attracted the attention of Seeds' manager Lord Tim, who got them a contract with MCA Records (now Universal). They recorded one album for MCA's Uni label, (discovering after the fact that Lord Tim had changed their name to the Lollipop Shoppe), which included the single You Must Be A Witch. Fred Cole has since become an icon of indy rock, returning to Portland to co-lead the band Dead Moon with his wife Toody from 1987-2006.

Artist:    Flick
Title:    The End
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Oran & Trevor Thornton
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1998
    Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, quite an unusual occurence in the 1990s.

Artist:    Beyond From Within
Title:    Forever Road/Lovely Penny
Source:    CD: Beyond From Within
Writer(s):    Steve Andrews
Label:    independently released
Year:    2015
          Back when I began running the Advanced Psych segment in 2015 I asked for bands to submit material that might fit into the show. One of the results of this "talent search" is Beyond From Within, a project from Steve Andrews of Pittsburgh, Pa. One of the more notable tracks from the independently distributed CD is a tune (or two) called Forever Road/Lovely Penny. If you like what you hear let me know and I'll be happy to put you in touch with Mr. Andrews.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Slip Inside This House
Source:    CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The 13th Floor Elevators returned from their only California tour in time to celebrate Christmas of 1966 in their native Texas. Not long after that things began to fall apart for the band. Much of this can be attributed to bad management, but at least some of the problems were internal in nature. Lead guitarist Stacy Southerland was caught with marijuana in the trunk of his car, thus causing his probation to be revoked, which in turn meant he was not allowed to leave the Lone Star state. This in turn caused the entire rhythm section to head off for San Francisco, leaving Southerland, along with Tommy Hall and Roky Erickson, to find replacement members in time to start work on the band's second album, Easter Everywhere. Despite this, the album itself came out remarkably well, and is now considered a high point of the psychedelic era. Unlike the first 13th Floor Elevators album, Easter Everywhere was designed to be a primarily spiritual work. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album's opening track, the eight-minute epic Slip Inside This House. Written primarily by Hall, Slip Inside This House was intended to "establish the syncretic concepts behind Western and Eastern religions, science and mysticism, and consolidate them into one body of work that would help redefine the divine essence". Whether he succeeded or not is a matter of opinion; the track itself is certainly worth hearing for yourself. Enjoy.

Artist:    Fumin' Humins
Title:    Relative Distance
Source:    CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    B. Cardoza
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: The Angry Record Company)
Year:    1967
    I guess you could call the Fumin' Humins pioneers of indy rock. The band, made up of students at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massuchusetts, recorded a pair of tunes at a homemade studio, pressed 500 copies, and released them on their own Angry Record Company label in 1967. Technically, Relative Distance was the B side of the record, but with its heavy use of feedback, loud guitar and general chaos, it fits the "Angry Record" label far better than Queen, a folk-rock tune with lots of flute that occupied the A side.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Yellow Brick Road
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Van Vliet/Bermann
Label:    Buddah/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Following a pair of singles for Herb Alpert's A&M that garnered modest airplay on a handful of Los Angeles area radio stations, Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band set out to record a set of heavily R&B flavored demos. The label, however, didn't like what they heard and soon dropped the band from their lineup. Undeterred, the group soon signed with Kama Sutra's brand new subsidiary label, Buddah. The resulting album, Safe As Milk, was the first LP to be released on the new label. Among the more experimental tracks on the album was Yellow Brick Road, a mono mix of which has recently been reissued as the B side of a single. Also of note is the presence of 20-year-old Ry Cooder on slide guitar.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    On February 22, 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience played what was possibly their worst gig, which culminated in Hendrix's white Stratocaster being stolen before it was fully paid for. Later that night the band made an appearance at a press reception at which Hendrix, in the words of manager/producer Chas Chandler, sounded like a manic depressive. Inspired by Chandler's observation, Hendrix wrote a song on the subject, which he taught to the band and recorded the next day. Hendrix later referred to Manic Depression as "ugly times music", calling it a "today's type of blues."

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side 2.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Samba Pa Ti
Source:    CD: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Carlos Santana
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    One of the most enduring tracks from Santana's second LP, Abraxas, Samba Pa Ti starts off as a slow instrumental, slowly picking up the pace and adding percussion to give it a decidedly latin flavor. As far as I know, Carlos Santana still includes Samba Pa Ti in his concert repertoire.

Artist:    Collectors
Title:    Sheep On The Hillside
Source:    LP: Grass And Wild Strawberries
Writer(s):    The Collectors
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The Collectors made their debut in 1961 as the C-FUN Classics, the house band for CFUN radio in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1966 they changed their name to the Collectors and released a single, Looking At A Baby, on the Valiant label. This was followed by a self-titled album for Warner Brothers in 1967. Around this time the group was hired to provide the instrumental backing for the Electric Prunes album Mass In F Minor (after producer Dave Hassinger decided that the music written for the album by David Axelrod was too complex for the Prunes themselves to play). In 1969 the Collectors collaborated with Canadian playwrite George Ryga to create music for his play Grass And Wild Strawberries. The songs, including Sheep On The Hillside, were released on an album of the same name in 1969. Not long after Grass And Wild Strawberries was released, original lead vocalist Howie Vickers left the band, which, now fronted by guitarist Bill Henderson, began calling itself Chilliwack.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1968
     The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band.

Artist:    Cher
Title:    You Better Sit Down Kids
Source:    LP: Cher's Golden Greats (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: With Love, Cher)
Writer(s):    Sonny Bono
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1967
    Cher was never afraid to tackle controversial material on her records, most of which were written by her husband Sonny Bono. One of the most successful of these controversial songs was You Better Sit Down Kids, which made it to the #9 spot in 1967. The song takes the point of view of a father explaining to his kids why he and their mother are splitting up, and admonishing them to obey and respect their mother. Divorce was one of those subjects that "nice" people didn't talk about in those days; because of this, the song got a lot of media attention, which in turn helped the record make it into the top 10. In 1973 Sonny sang the song himself during a live performance. A year later Sonny and Cher split up.

Rockin in the Days of Confusion # 1648 (starts 11/30/16)

Starting this week I'm adding a short introductory note to each playlist. I'm doing this thanks to a recent change at Facebook, where my weekly links to the blog page now include the first few lines of text from the blog itself. For the past couple weeks this has been the artist, song title and partial source of the first song on the playlist, which I find pretty annoying and not particularly useful. Not that what I'm typing right now is any more useful, but at least it consists of complete sentences. Anyway, on to the playlist...

Artist:    Cactus
Title:    You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover
Source:    CD: Cactus
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Wounded Bird (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Cactus was kind of an accidental supergroup formed in 1969, when plans for a new band featuring bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, along with former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, had to be scrapped due to Beck being injured in a car accident. Instead, Bogert and Appice recruited guitarist Jim McCarty, a veteran of Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels who had more recently been working with the Buddy Miles Express, and vocalist Rusty Day from the Amboy Dukes to form Cactus. The group released their self-titled debut LP in 1970. The album featured a mix of originals and high-energy covers of blues classics such as Willie Dixon's You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover, which had originally been recorded by Bo Diddley. The Cactus version of the tune runs six and a half minutes and includes some wailing guitar work from McCarty, who would eventually leave the band over creative differences with the other members.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    L.A. Woman
Source:    LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    Ray Manzarek became justifiably famous as the keyboard player for the Doors. Before joining up with Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, however, Manzarek was already making a name for himself as an up-and-coming student filmmaker at UCLA. Although he didn't have much of a need to pursue a career in films once the Doors hit it big, he did end up producing and directing an outstanding video for the title track of the 1971 album L.A. Woman years after the band had split up. I only mention this because, really, what else can I say about a song that you've probably heard a million times or so?

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Can't Believe It's True
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Rory Gallagher)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    In addition to his obvious prowess on guitar, Rory Gallagher was an accomplished saxophonist, although he largely abandoned the instrument in the mid-1970s. This can be heard on Can't Believe It's True, the final and longest track on Gallagher's first solo album, recorded in 1971. Accompanying Gallagher on the album were drummer Wilgar Campbell and bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy. Gallagher had set up practice sessions with Campbell and McAvoy, as well as former Jimi Hendrix Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding following the breakup of his original band, Taste, but ultimately decided to form a power trio with the two Belfast natives for his solo debut.

Artist:    Premiati Forneria Marconi
Title:    Celebration
Source:    LP: Cook
Writer(s):    Mussida/Pagani/Sinfield
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1973
    The most popular song in the PFM catalogue, Celebration is a re-recording of a song called E Festa from the band's 1971 debut album, Storia di un minuto. The 1973 Photos Of Ghosts recording of Celebration features all new lyrics by Peter Sinfield, who was also working with Emerson, Lake And Palmer, who had signed PFM to their Manticore label for their US releases. The eight-minute long live version of the song was included on the 1973 album Live In USA, which was released in the US as Cook.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    School's Out (originally released on LP: School's Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Alice Cooper scored their first top 10 hit with the title track of their 1972 album School's Out. According to vocalist Alice Cooper (yes, both the singer and the band were called Alice Cooper) the song was inspired by the question "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" (although I've never actually heard anyone ask that question in any context). The song was remixed by producer Bob Ezrin for the band's first Greatest Hits compilation, much to the consternation of the band's fans.

Artist:    Paul Simon
Title:    Kodachrome
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
    Paul Simon's Kodachrome was actually banned on some stations, but not for copyright infringement (Kodachrome being a registered trademark of Kodak). Rather, it was banned for the first line of the song: "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." Apparently "crap" offended some programmers, to the point that one station (New York's WABC) even edited the offending line to "When I think back it's a wonder I can think at all" when they played the song. Not only does that line not make any sense, I can only imagine how that must have sounded with almost four measures edited out (but with one beat left in, just to totally throw off the rhythm of the song). Apparently, though, this kind of stuff is what used to make America great, if current political thought is to be believed.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    Montana
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1973
    Montana is quite possibly the most recognizable song Frank Zappa ever wrote. The track first appeared on the Mothers album Over-Nite Sensation and quickly became a concert staple. On the original album version Zappa's guitar solo is followed by a series of vocal gymnastics performed by none other than Tina Turner and the Ikettes, who were recording with Turner's husband Ike in an adjacent studio. According to Zappa it took the singers two days to master the complex melody and timing of the section. Reportedly Turner was so pleased with the result that she invited her husband into the control room to hear the finished section, only to have Ike say "What is this shit?" and walk back out.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Day Of The Eagle
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Although Robin Trower's first solo album following his departure from Procol Harum went largely under the radar, his second LP, Bridge Of Sighs, was a huge success, spending 31 weeks on the US charts and peaking at the #7 spot. The opening track, Day Of The Eagle, soon became a concert staple for the guitarist and has been covered by other guitarists, notably Steve Stevens on his album Memory Crash. Other artists who have covered Day Of The Eagle include Tesla and Armored Saint.

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.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1647 (starts 11/23/16)

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Me Two Times
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Although the second Doors album is sometimes dismissed as being full of tracks that didn't make the cut on the debut LP, the fact is that Strange Days contains some of the Doors best-known tunes. One of those is Love Me Two Times, which was the second single released from the album. The song continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mind Gardens
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Younger Than Yesterday)
Writer:    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Mind Gardens is a perfect example of what songwriter David Crosby refers to as "one of those weird David Crosby songs". The song is a deliberate attempt at abandoning Western concepts such as chord progressions in favor of a more modal approach favored in Eastern composing. Roger McGuinn's guitar perfectly compliments Crosby's esoteric lyrics and melody on this track from the Younger Than Yesterday album, the last LP to be completed with Crosby as a full member of the Byrds.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Anji
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Davey Graham
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon wrote nearly all the material that he and Art Garfunkel recorded. One notable exception is Davey Graham's instrumental Anji, which Simon played as a solo acoustic piece on the Sounds Of Silence. The song immediately follows a Simon composition, Somewhere They Can't Find Me, that is built around a similar-sounding guitar riff, making Anji sound somewhat like an instrumental reprise of the first tune.

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (US band)
Title:    Minnie The Moocher
Source:    British import CD: Pulsating Dreams (originally released in US on LP: Side Trips)
Writer(s):    Calloway/Mills/Gaskill
Label:    Floating World (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Despite being a product of the same club scene that brought us Love, the Byrds and the Doors, Kaleidoscope had a reputation for being the "eclectic electric" band. A listen to their debut LP, Side Trips, confirms that Kaleidoscope did indeed cover a wide range of musical ground. Perhaps the most unexpected tune on the album is a cover of Cab Calloway's 1931 hit Minnie The Moocher (which was basically a remake of Willie The Weeper, a song that dates back to the early 1900s). The band, which consisted of
David Saul Feldthouse, David Lindley, Fenrus Epp and Chris Darrow (multi-instrumentalists all), along with drummer John Vidican (who also played a little tympani) went on to record three more albums for Epic before splitting up in 1969.

Artist:    Moles
Title:    We Are The Moles-Pt. 1
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Moles
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes success carries it own baggage. Take the case of Britain's Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group was formed by a trio of Scottish brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Peter O'Flaherty, Eric Hine and Tony Ransley in the Portsmouth area, going through a variety of band names before settling on Simon Dupree And The Big Sound in 1966. The group was originally known for its spot-on covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. By 1967, however, audience tastes were rapidly changing, and psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd and the Creation were drawing crowds away from the R&B bands. Under pressure from both their management and record label the band recorded a song called Kites, a psychedelic piece that became their biggest hit and placed the group firmly in the minds of record buyers as a flower-power band. But, like most fads, flower-power was itself out of style by 1968, but Simon Dupree And The Big Sound were stuck with a reputation that didn't even fit the members' own musical preferences (which still ran to R&B). To try to break free of this unwanted rep, the group released a rather bizarre single called We Are The Moles in 1968. The record was shrouded in mystery, with writing credits going to "the Moles", and production credit to George Martin (leading some to believe it was actually a Beatles outtake). The ploy almost worked, as the possible Beatles connection led to increased interest in the record, but that interest quickly dissipated when it was revealed (by Syd Barrett, of all people) that the record was indeed the work of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The band continued on for a few more months, until lead vocalist Derek Shulman announced his retirement in 1969, saying he was tired of being Simon Dupree. He would rejoin his brothers the following year for their new venture, an experimental rock band called Gentle Giant.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Waiting
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Santana (band)
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Possibly the most successful (in the long term) of the musicians to emerge from late 60s San Francisco was Carlos Santana, a Mexican-born guitarist who still plays to sellout crowds worldwide. Santana's band originally got lukewarm reviews from the rock press, but after their legendary performance at Woodstock found themselves among rock's royalty. Waiting, from the group's first LP, is an instrumental that was also released as the B side of the band's first single, Evil Ways.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Alive And Well And Living In
Source:     LP: Living In The Past (originally released in UK on LP: Benefit and as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Ian Anderson
Label:     Chrysalis
    Year: 1970 (US release: 1973)
     The only Jethro Tull album to have a different track lineup in the UK and the US was Benefit, released in 1970. As it was the custom in Britain not to include singles on LPs, the song Teacher was not included on the UK release. In the US, however, Teacher was stuck in the middle of side two and the song Inside was moved to side one, replacing Alive And Well And Living In. The deleted song did not get released in the US until the Living In The Past compilation in 1973, which collected various singles, EP tracks and live recordings (along with one song from each of the band's first four LPs) that had not been previously released in the US.

Artist:      Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:     4+20
Source:      LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Year:     1970
     Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were always more a collection of individuals than a true group. 4+20, from the group's second album, déjà vu, is a good illustration of this point. The song features Stephen Stills on acoustic guitar and vocal, with no other voices or instruments on the recording.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Boris The Spider
Source:    LP: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (originally released on LP: Happy Jack)
Writer:    John Entwhistle
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    For many years, Boris the Spider was bassist John Entwhistle's signature song. Eventually Entwhistle got sick of singing it and wrote another one. Truth is, he wrote a lot of songs, but like the Beatles's George Harrison, did not always get the recognition as a songwriter that more prolific bandmate Pete Townshend got. This was one of the first album tracks I ever heard played on an FM station (KLZ-FM in Denver, the first FM in the area to play something besides classical, jazz or elevator music).

Artist:     Velvet Underground
Title:     Venus In Furs
Source:     CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer:    Lou Reed
Label:     Polydor (original label: Verve)
Year:     1967
     Although Andy Warhol was credited as sole producer of the first Velvet Underground album, it is widely believed that all the real production work was done by none other than Tom Wilson. After all, Warhol really didn't know a thing about the recording business, while Wilson had previously worked with Bob Dylan (producing Like A Rolling Stone, among others), the Blues Project (Projections), the Mothers of Invention (Freak Out) and several East Coast acts signed to the Verve label, where Wilson had become a staff producer after leaving Columbia in 1966 (after having turned the careers of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel around by adding electric instruments to The Sound Of Silence). Among the many memorable tracks on The Velvet Underground And Nico is the original version of Venus In Furs, a song Lou Reed would continue performing throughout his career.

Artist:    Them
Title:    You're Just What I Was Looking For Today
Source:    Mono LP: Now And Them
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After the departure of vocalist Van Morrison in late 1966, the remaining members of Them decided to carry on without him, returning to their native Belfast and recruiting Kenny McDowell as Morrison's replacement. After a few gigs the group decided to relocate to the US in early 1967, settling in southern California and recording two album's for Capitol's Tower subsidiary. The first of these albums, Now And Them, is a mixed bag, ranging from the soft pop of You're Just What I Was Looking For Today (written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King) to a grungy cover of John Mayall's I'm Your Witch Doctor.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Ticket To Nowhere
Source:    LP: The First Edition
Writer(s):    Mike Settle
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Although now known mainly as the band that launched Kenny Rogers into stardom, the First Edition started out as a far more egalitarian outfit, with rhythm guitarist Mike Settle as the band's in-house songwriter, responsible for nine of the twelve songs on their first LP. Among those songs is Ticket To Nowhere, a song that reflects the group's roots as members of the New Christy Minstrels, a pop folk band with more TV appearances than hit records.

Artist:      Donovan
Title:     Mellow Yellow
Source:      Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Year:     1966
     Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK, due to a contract dispute with Pye Records.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:    Saturday's Children
Title:    Tomorrow Is Her Name
Source:    LP: The Dunwich Records Story
Writer(s):    Bryan/Holder
Label:    Tutman
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1990
    Saturday's Children was a Chicago area band formed in 1965 by vocalist/songwriter Geoff Bryan, who also played bass for the band. Other members included Ron Holder (rhythm guitar, vocals), Rich Goettler (organ/vocals), Dave Carter (lead guitar, vocals) and George Paluch (drums, vocals). With so many vocalists in the band, it was inevitable that the band would feature harmonies; with it being 1966 it was probably just as inevitable that these harmonies would be along the same lines as those of various British Invasion bands such as the Searchers, the Zombies and of course the Beatles. The group went into the studio and recorded at least five tracks in August of 1966, issuing two of them on a single in October. Of the remaining songs, one was included on an early 70s sampler album on the Happy Tiger label. Possibly the best of all the songs, however, was a Bryan/Holder original called Tomorrow Is Her Name. The recording remained in the vaults until 1990, when it was included on an album called the Dunwich Records Story on the Tutman label in 1990. It was well worth the wait.

Artist:    Villigers
Title:    I'll Call You
Source:    Mono CD: Lost Souls-Volume 4
Writer(s):    Barkley/Barkley/Hayes
Label:    Psych Of The South
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2013
    The Villigers were formed by guitarist Pat Barkley and drummer Clay Thompson while both were attending North Little Rock High School in 1965. By the following year the group had expanded to seven members, including Barkley's twin sister Pam on guitar, Bill McCumber on bass, Ron Evans on guitar, Norman Snow on vocals and percussion and Billy Hayes on vocals. The group made a demo recording at a local studio of a song called I'll Call You, written by Hayes and the Barkley twins. The song only exists in recorded demo form and was never performed in public. Now that's obscure!

Artist:    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Title:    Color Me Columbuth
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Guitarsville)
Year:    1966
    Not much is known about Monterey Park, California's Johnny Thompson Quintet. The group apparently only released two singles, the first of which was the punkish Color Me Columbus. Rather than come up with another song for the B side, one of the band members recorded a new vocal track doing what sounds like a Daffy Duck impersonation over the original instrumental track, titling it Color Me Columbuth. Strange stuff.

Artist:    Wilson Pickett
Title:    Land Of 1000 Dances
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Chris Kenner
Label:    Atlantic   
Year:    1966
    In the early 90s I did a short stint as program director for a slowly-dying full-service AM station in northeastern North Carolina. The station's music format had been Adult Contemporary since the early 70s, but in recent years had been surpassed in the local ratings by their own FM station. My idea was to get rid of the current stuff and concentrate on the station's fairly extensive library that dated back to the early 60s. One song that I wanted to put into rotation was Wilson Pickett's version of Chris Kenner's Land Of 1000 Dances, which had gotten extensive airplay on both top 40 and R&B stations in 1966. The station's owner and general manager, whose own musical tastes ran to what it known as "beach music" (a kind of soft R&B music that gave rise to a dance called the Shag), objected to my wanting to play the song, saying "That's not soul, it's hard rock."  As he was the guy signing my paycheck I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter, but to this day whenever I hear "1,2,3" followed by the blaring horns of the Bar-Kays and the following buildup by the MGs to Pickett's James Brown-styled vocals I can't help but think of that former boss and his condemnation of the record as "hard rock".

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Atom Heart Mother (live in Montreaux)
Source:    CD: Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972
Writer(s):    Mason/Gilmour/Waters/Wright/Geesin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2016
    Before Dark Side Of The Moon came along, Pink Floyd was in the unique position of being an "underground" band in the US at the same time they were enjoying mainstream success in their native UK. Take the case of the Atom Heart Mother album, released in 1970. In the US the album was decidedly under the radar, with no hit singles and only limited airplay on progressive rock FM radio stations, the latter probably attributable to the fact that the album's strongest track (the title track itself) is nearly 24 minutes long. In the UK, however, the album was a bonafide hit. In fact, Atom Heart Mother was Pink Floyd's first LP to go all the way to the top of the British album charts. In support of the album, the group performed the Atom Heart Mother Suite several times between 1970 and 1972, both in its original form, supported by orchestra and choir, and in a modified version performed by only the band itself. One of the band-only performances has been included on the massive box set The Early Years 1965-1972 as well as a two-disc compilation called Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972. This version of Atom Heart Mother Suite was performed live at Montreaux on November 21, 1970, and runs almost exactly 18 minutes in length.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1965
    The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native L.A.ins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song to record as a single by their producer (Love Minus Zero) and allowed to write their own B side. In this case that B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and  guitarist Bill Rhinehart. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Cheryl's Going Home
Source:     Mono CD: Projections
Writer:     Bob Lind
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year: 1966
     One of the more unlikely songs to appear on an album by one of rock's first jam bands, Cheryl's Going Home was a hit for its writer, Bob Lind, the same year the Blues Project recorded it. It's possible that the band recorded it as a possible single of their own but decided against it when Lind's version hit the charts. Only the band members and producer Tom Wilson know for sure.

Artist:     Chicago
Title:     Listen
Source:     CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer:     Robert Lamm
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1969
     By all accounts, one of the tightest road bands of 1968 was a group called the Chicago Transit Authority. Featuring a solid horn section and three quality lead vocalists, it was no surprise to anyone who had heard them perform that their first LP, released in 1969, was an immediate success. Getting two long-playing discs for the price of one didn't hurt either. Listen, written and sung by keyboardist Robert Lamm, is a fairly representative track from that album that features a memorable bass line from Peter Cetera as well as Terry Kath's distinctive guitar sound.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Barry Goldberg/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Stop!
Source:    LP: Super Session
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Shuman
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
    Al Kooper is one of those people who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, often because he was the one that made those times and places happen in the first place. At a Bob Dylan recording session in 1965, for instance, Kooper took it upon himself to sit in on organ, despite the fact that he was by no means proficient on the instrument at that time. The result was a series of classic tracks that made up the Highway 61 Revisited album. The following year Kooper happened to be in the studio when the Blues Project was auditioning for Columbia Records. Although the label passed on the band, Kooper ended up joining the group, making rock history in the process. In 1968 Kooper formed a new band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, but left them after just one LP. While working as an A&R man for Columbia, Kooper booked two days' worth of studio time later that same year, bringing in guitarist Mike Bloomfield, keyboardist Barry Goldberg, and bassist Harvey Brooks from the Electric Flag, as well as session drummer Eddie Hoh. When Bloomfield failed to show up on the second day, Stephen Stills (who had recently left Buffalo Springfield) was recruited to take his place. The result was an album called Super Session, which surprisingly went all the way to the #12 spot on the Billboard album charts. The popularity of Super Session inspired several more rock stars to make jam albums and gave birth to the idea of the rock supergroup as well. Among the mainly instrumental tracks that feature Bloomfield was a tune called Stop, written by the legendary songwriters Jerry Ragovoy and Doc Shuman.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Death Sound Blues
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?

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:    Mustangs
Title:    That's For Sure
Source:    Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wade/Lisonbee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Nero)
Year:    1965
    Riverside, California, had a vibrant local music scene in the 1960s, supported by at least two competing top 40 radio stations that were generally able to hold their own against the more powerful stations like KHJ broadcasting out of Los Angeles, about 60 miles to the west. In the early part of the decade the city had their own local instrumental/surf bands, including the Ressacs and the Ris-Kays. In 1964, influenced by the British Invasion, members of both these bands combined to form the Mustangs (named for a new car from Ford Motor Company), adding vocals in the process. With the help of a local high school teacher, the Mustangs got to record one of their own tunes at a studio in nearby Glendale. That's For Sure, released in 1965 on the Nero, is a classic example of mid-60s garage rock, showing an obvious Rolling Stones influence and attitude. The song was written by drummer Terry Wade and keyboardist Dennis Lisonbee, both of whom sang on the tune.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Mary Mary, from the 1966 Butterfield Blues Band album East-West, would at first seem to a cover of a Monkees song, but technically the song is not a cover tune at all, since it was actually the first version to get recorded. Still, since composer Michael Nesmith was the acknowledged leader of the Monkees, whose version came out in early 1967, the Butterfield version has to be considered a cover of sorts. Adding to the irony is the fact that when the Monkees' version of Mary Mary first came out many Butterfield fans accused the Monkees of being the ones doing the ripping off.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Take It Back
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:     1967
     After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorded. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
     Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, bassist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Andrew providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1647 (starts 11/23/16)

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    The Needle And The Damage Done
Source:    CD: Harvest
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1972
    Arguably the most popular anti-drug song of all time, Neil Young's The Needle And The Damage Done was written in response to the epidemic of heroin use among musicians in Southern California. The song was more directly inspired by guitarist Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse, with whom Young had recorded his 1969 album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. It was because of Whitten's heroin addiction that Young dismissed Crazy Horse partway through the recording of his next album, After The Gold Rush, finishing the project with various musicians from other bands. It was around this time that Young wrote The Needle And The Damage Done, although it would not appear on vinyl until the 1972 album Harvest. Rather than record a studio version of the song for the album, Young used a live recording from January of 1971 for Harvest.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Eighteen
Source:    CD: Electric Seventies (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Love It To Death
Writer(s):    Cooper/Bruce/Buxton/Dunaway/Smith
Label:    JCI/Warner Special Products (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1970
    Alice Cooper's ultimate teenage anthem Eighteen was kind of a do or die release for the group, who had up to that point been a part of Frank Zappa's Straight Records' stable of oddball artists with little or no commercial potential. In 1970, however, Zappa sold Straight to Warner Brothers, who agreed to release Eighteen that same year, with the stipulation that if the record sold well the group could record an album for the label. The single did indeed do well, propelling Alice Cooper to stardom and allowing them to record Love It To Death, the first in a series of best-selling albums for the label. The song came at a perfect time, as most states were in the process of raising the drinking age to 21 but had not yet lowered the voting age to 18. Furthermore, the military draft was still in effect in 1970, making many 18-year-olds quite nervous, especially those with low lottery numbers.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Brainwashed
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Starting in 1966, Ray Davies started taking satirical potshots at a variety of targets, with songs like A Well Respected Man, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and the classic tax-protest song Sunny Afternoon. This trend continued over the next few years, although few new Kinks songs were heard on US radio stations until the band released the international hit Lola in 1970. One single that got some minor airplay in the US was the song Victoria, from the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). The B side of that track was Brainwashed, one of the hardest rocking Kinks tunes since their early 1964 hits like You Really Got Me.

Artist:    Bloodrock
Title:    Dier Not A Lover
Source:    CD: Bloodrock 2
Writer(s):    Pickens/Gummett/Hill)
Label:    One Way (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    Although lighter in tone lyrically than their first album (DOA excepted), Bloodrock's second LP, released in October of 1970, continued in the Ft. Worth, Texas band's hard rocking direction established on their debut earlier the same year. According to one review, Bloodrock 2 includes a couple songs with socially conscious lyrics, one of which is Dier Not A Lover. Let's be honest here, though; with a band like Bloodrock, is anyone really paying attention to the lyrics anyway (again, DOA excepted)?

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Glad/Freedom Rider
Source:    European import LP: John Barleycorn Must Die
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Following the breakup of Blind Faith in early 1970, Steve Winwood got to work on his first solo LP, to be called Mad Shadows. After completing a couple of tracks Winwood found that he preferred to work within the band format and invited Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi to join him on the project, which became the fourth Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die. Unlike earlier Traffic studio recordings, John Barleycorn Must Die contained longer, improvisational pieces incorporating jazz elements, as can be heard on the album's opening tracks, Glad (an instrumental) and Freedom Rider. The new approach worked, as John Barleycorn Must Die became Traffic's first album to go gold.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    The Court Of The Crimson King
Source:    CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Writer:    MacDonald/Sinfield
Label:    Discipline Global Mobile (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Perhaps the most influential progressive rock album of all time was King Crimson's debut LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King. The band, in its original incarnation, included Robert Fripp on guitar, Ian MacDonald on keyboards and woodwinds, Greg Lake on vocals and bass, David Giles on drums and Peter Sinfield as a dedicated lyricist. The title track, which takes up the second half of side two of the LP, features music composed by MacDonald, who would leave the group after their second album, later resurfacing as a founding member of Foreigner. The album's distinctive cover art came from a painting by computer programmer Barry Godber, who died of a heart attack less than a year after the album was released. According to Fripp, the artwork on the inside is a portrait of the Crimson King, whose manic smile is in direct contrast to his sad eyes. The album, song and artwork were the inspiration for Stephen King's own Crimson King, the insane antagonist of his Dark Tower saga who is out to destroy all of reality, including our own.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bredon
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    It is the nature of folk music that a song often gets credited to one writer when in fact it is the work of another. This is due to the fact that folk singers tend to share their material liberally with other folk singers, who often make significant changes to the work before passing it along to others. Such is the case with Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, which was originally conceived by EC-Berkeley student Anne Johannsen in the late 1950s and performed live on KPFA radio in 1960. Another performer on the same show, Janet Smith, developed the song further and performed it at Oberlin College, where it was heard by audience member Joan Baez. Baez asked Smith for a tape of her songs and began performing the song herself.  Baez used it as the opening track on her album, Joan Baez In Concert, Part One, but it was credited as "traditional", presumably because Baez herself had no knowledge of who had actually written the song. Baez eventually discovered the true origins of the tune, and later pressings gave credit to Anne Bredon, who had divorced her first husband, Lee Johannsen and married Glen Bredon since writing the song. Jimmy Page had an early pressing of the Baez album, so when he reworked the song for inclusion on the first Led Zeppelin album, he went with "traditional, arranged Page" as the writer. Robert Plant, who worked with Page on the arrangement, was not originally given credits for contractual reasons, although later editions of the album give credit to Page, Plant and Bredon.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Think About The Times
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    The first Ten Years After I ever bought was Stonedhenge, which I picked up because a) I liked the cover, and b) it was the featured album of the month at the BX, costing a buck and a half instead of the usual $2.50. Not long after that my dad got transferred back to the States, and I somehow missed the release of the next TYA album, Cricklewood Green. A friend of mine had a copy, though, that we spent a lot of time listening to, so when I saw their next album, Watt, on the racks I immediately picked it up. I wore that copy out, and only later learned that the album had gotten mostly negative reviews from the rock press. I think that's when I started to suspect that most rock critics were self-righteous individuals with no talent of their own, because I thought Watt was a good album then and I still think it's a good album. Take a listen to Think About The Times and tell me I'm wrong.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Black Sabbath
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    This track has to hold some kind of record for "firsts". Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath, from the album Black Sabbath is, after all, the first song from the first album by the first true heavy metal band. The track starts off by immediately setting the mood with the sound of church bells in a rainstorm leading into the song's famous tri-tone (often referred to as the "devil's chord") intro, deliberately constructed to evoke the mood of classic Hollywood horror movies. Ozzy Osborne's vocals only add to the effect. Even the faster-paced final portion of the song has a certain dissonance that had never been heard in rock music before, in part thanks to Black Sabbath's deliberate use of a lower pitch in their basic tuning. The result is something that has sometimes been compared to a bad acid trip, but is unquestionably the foundation of what came to be called heavy metal.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Summertime
Source:    CD: I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama
Writer(s):    Gershwin/Heyward
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1999
    Not long after the release of the breakthrough Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, vocalist Janis Joplin announced her attention to leave the band once their current bookings were played out. Within days she began putting together a new band. Unlike Big Brother, the Kozmic Blues Band, as it came to be known, was a large ensemble that included keyboards and a horn section. It was this group that took the stage at Woodstock in 1969 to perform a set of songs that include the Big Brother arrangement of George Gershwin's Summertime. Sam Andrew, the original lead guitarist from Big Brother And The Holding Company, recreates his original licks on this live recording that is included as a bonus track on the I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama CD edition, released in 1999.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1646 (starts 11/16/16)

Artist:     Buffalo Springfield
Title:     Sit Down I Think I Love You
Source:     LP: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer:     Stephen Stills
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Sit Down I Think I Love You, a Stephen Stills composition originally released on the first Buffalo Springfield album, was a minor hit for the Mojo Men in 1967. I prefer the original Buffalo Springfield version from their debut LP myself.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Six O'Clock
Source:    LP: The John Sebastian Songbook, vol. 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1967
    The last top 20 hit for the Lovin' Spoonful was Six O'Clock, released in 1967. Shortly after the record came out John Sebastian left the group. The remaining members tried to carry on without him for a while, but were never able to duplicate the success of the Sebastian years.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger System, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Conquistador
Source:    Mono British import CD: Procol Harum
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Salvo/Fly
Year:    1967
    For reasons that are lost to history, the first Procol Harum album was released five months earlier in the US than it was in the UK. It also was released with a slightly different song lineup, a practice that was fairly common earlier in the decade but that had been pretty much abandoned by mid-1967. One notable difference is the inclusion of A Whiter Shade Of Pale on the US version (the British practice being to not include songs on LPs that had been already issued on 45 RPM records). The opening track of the UK version was Conquistador, a song that would not become well-known until 1972, when a live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra backing up the band became a hit single.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Lime Street Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale in 1967 got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Homburg
Source:    Mono British import CD: Procol Harum (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Salvo/Fly
Year:    1967
    Procol Harum's followup single to A Whiter Shade Of Pale was a now nearly forgotten song called Homburg. Although the song's lyrics were praised by critics and by fellow songwriters such as Elton John, the music itself was perceived as being too similar to the previous single to stand on its own. You can decide for yourself on that one.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    The Wind Cries Mary
Source:    The Ultimate Experience (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original labels: Track (UK), Reprise (US))
Year:    1967
     The US version of the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Manic Depression
Source:     LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
    My dad bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder when we moved to Ramstein, Germany in early 1968. It was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. One of my first purchases was a pre-recorded reel to reel tape of Are You Experienced. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Wait Until Tomorrow
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix showed a whimsical side with Wait Until Tomorrow, a track from his second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP, Axis: Bold As Love. The song tells a story of a young man standing outside his girlfriend's window trying to convince her to run away from him. He gets continually rebuffed by the girl, who keeps telling him to Wait Until Tomorrow. Ultimately the girl's father resolves the issue by shooting the young man. The entire story is punctuated by outstanding distortion-free guitar work that showcases just how gifted Hendrix was on his chosen instrument.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released the whole concept of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news and the single went nowhere.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    No Girl Gonna Cry
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1995
    The Music Machine did a lot of touring in 1967, stopping off at various recording studios along the way, often recording just one or two songs before moving on. Not all of these tracks got released. One of the best is No Girl Gonna Cry, a song that probably would have perplexed feminists if it had been released.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Chess Game
Source:    LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was driven by the dual creative talents of keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker. Although Walker went on to have the greatest success, it was Bruno's more jazz-influenced songwriting on songs like Chess Game that defined the band's sound.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source:    Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass lines, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono CD: The Very Best Of Otis Redding (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Volt)
Year:    1965
    Although there have been literally hundreds of cover songs recorded over the years, relatively few have held up under comparison to the original versions. Even rarer are covers that actually surpass the originals. Most unique, however, is the song with not one, but two truly outstanding recordings by different artists. Such is the case with Otis Redding's Respect. Aretha Franklin's 1967 version of the song is rightly considered to be one of the most important recordings ever made, both as a rallying cry for the women's movement and as the recording that established Franklin as the undisputed queen of soul. But Otis Redding's original 1965 version of Respect, judged strictly on its own merits, has to be considered one of the best Rhythm and Blues records ever made. In addition to Redding's outstanding vocals, the track features the classic Memphis Group rhythm section (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Phil Jackson and Booker T. Jones) along with the Bar-Kays on horns.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    She's A Rainbow
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The Stones had their own brand of psychedelia, which was showcased on their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. The album itself, after zooming to the top of the charts, lost its momentum quickly, despite the fact that She's A Rainbow, which was released as a single, was a solid top 40 hit.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Surfer Dan
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    The Turtles
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Turtles decided to self-produce four recordings without the knowledge of their record label, White Whale. When company executives heard the tapes they rejected all but one of the recordings. That lone exception was Surfer Dan, which was included on the band's 1968 concept album Battle of the Bands. The idea was that each track (or band, as the divisions on LPs were sometimes called) would sound like it was recorded by a different group. As the Turtles had originally evolved out of a surf band called the Crossfires, that name was the obvious choice for the Surfer Dan track. The song was also chosen to be the B side of She's My Girl, the Turtles biggest hit of 1968.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     Feelin' Alright
Source:     CD: Traffic)
Writer:     Dave Mason
Label:     United Artists
Year:     1968    Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second album. Among those was his most memorable song, Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.

Artist:    Sam And Dave
Title:    Hold On! I'm Comin'
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Hayes/Porter
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1966
    Of the various artists recording in Memphis for Stax Records in the mid-to-late 1960s, none were more consistently successful than Sam Moore and David Prater. Sam And Dave, as they were usually known, specialized in performing songs written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, such as Soul Man and I Thank You. One of their best-known tunes was Hold On! I'm Comin', released in spring of 1966. According to Hayes, the title of the song came from Porter's response when Hayes was trying to get Porter to finish his business in the restroom at Stax Studios and get back to work on a song they were writing. The title on the record label was modified to read "Hold On! I'm A Comin'" for single release, due to radio station fears that the original title would be taken as sexual innuendo.

Artist:    Dukes Of Stratosphear (XTC)
Title:    Have You Seen Jackie?
Source:    CD: Chips From The Chocolate Fireball (originally released in UK on LP: Psonic Psunspot)
Writer(s):    Colin Moulding
Label:    Caroline (original label: Virgin)
Year:    1985
    Following up on their 1985 mini-LP, 25 O'Clock, XTC, recording as the Dukes Of Stratosphear, released a full-length album called Psonic Psunspot in 1987. Interestingly enough, the album, featuring songs like Have You Seen Jackie (a tongue-in-cheek look at transgenderism), outsold the band's current LP at the time, Skylarking, proving (to me at least) the inherent superiority of psychedelic rock over 80s pop. Some critics have suggested that it was the freedom from the pressure to write "serious" songs that resulted in the overall superior quality of the Dukes' releases. Several subsequent Dukes projects were proposed over the next few years, but none came to fruition. 

Artist:    Psychedelic Furs
Title:    Sister Europe
Source:    12" single
Writer(s):    Psychedelic Furs
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1980
            Initially consisting of Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass guitar), Duncan Kilburn (saxophone), Paul Wilson (drums) and Roger Morris (guitars), the Psychedelic Furs were formed in 1977 under the name RKO. They soon began calling themselves Radio, then did gigs under two different names, the Europeans and the Psychedelic Furs. By 1979 they had settled on the latter name and expanded to a sextet, adding guitarist John Ashton and replacing Wilson with Vince Ely on drums. The Furs' self-titled debut album, released in 1980, was an immediate hit in Europe and the UK, but airplay in the US was limited mostly to college radio and "alternative" rock stations. The second single released from the album was Sister Europe, a tune that was also  the band's concert opener in the early days of their existence. The Psychedelic Furs' greatest claim to fame, however, is probably the song Pretty In Pink. Originally released on their second album, Talk Talk Talk, in 1981, the song was re-recorded for the John Hughes film of the same name in 1986.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Crazy Miranda
Source:    LP: Bark
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Grunt
Year:    1971
    One of the most controversial albums in the Jefferson Airplane catalog, Bark was the group's first album without founder and guiding force Marty Balin. As a result, the album resembles nothing more than the Beatles' White Album in that it sounds more like a collection of songs from the individual band members than a cohesive group project. One of Grace Slick's more accessible contributions is a song called Crazy Miranda, about a woman who reads anything she can get her hands on and believes everything she reads. Come to think of it I've met people like that.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Let Me In
Source:     LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer:     Balin/Kantner
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1966
     Jefferson Airplane was the brainchild of vocalist and club manager Marty Balin, who hand-picked the band's original lineup. Among those charter members was Paul Kantner, who Balin had asked to join the band without ever having heard him sing or play. Balin said later that he just knew that Kantner was someone he wanted for his new band. Kantner very quickly developed into a strong singer/songwriter in his own right, starting with the song Let Me In (co-written by Balin), Kantner's first recorded lead vocal for the band.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Feel So Good
Source:    LP: Bark
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    Grunt
Year:    1971
    One of the few good things about Jefferson Airplane's Bark album was the emergence of guitarist Jorma Kaukonen as one of the band's primary songwriters. Kaukonen was responsible for four tracks on the album, the best of which was probably Feel So Good. Not long after the album's release, Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady got to work on Hot Tuna's first studio album, which featured even more original tunes from the duo.

Artist:    Bobby Hebb
Title:    Bread
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ross/Renzetti
Label:    Philips
Year:    1966
    Robert Von "Bobby" Hebb is best known for his 1966 hit Sunny, but in fact had a long and productive career starting when he was three years old, when he and his older brother Harold performed in Nashville as a song-and-dance team. In the early 1950s he performed on a local TV show, leading to him becoming a member of Roy Acuff's band. His other credits include a stint with the US Navy jazz band, recording backup vocals for Bo Diddley and even becoming a replacement Mickey in Mickey and Sylvia for awhile. At the height of his popularity Hebb toured with the Beatles in 1966 (at that time Sunny was charting higher than any Beatles song). Among the other songs Hebb was performing at the time was a song called Bread, which appeared as the B side of Sunny. 

Artist:    Mouse And The Traps
Title:    A Public Execution
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Henderson/Weiss
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Year:    1965
    It's easy to imagine some kid somewhere in Texas inviting his friends over to hear the new Bob Dylan record, only to reveal afterwards that it wasn't Dylan at all, but this band he heard while visiting his cousins down in Tyler. Speaking of cousins, A Public Execution was inspired by a misunderstanding concerning a cousin and a motorcycle ride. According to Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss, his fiancee actually broke up with him after getting word that Mouse had been seen giving an attractive girl a ride. It turned out the attractive girl in question was his cousin from across the state who had come for a visit, but by the time the truth came out Weiss and his band had their first of many regional hit records.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Lazy Me
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Such is the quality of the first Moby Grape LP that there are many outstanding tracks that have gotten virtually no airplay in the years since the album was released. Lazy Me, written by bassist Bob Mosley, is one of those tracks. Enjoy.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Sandy's Blues
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Bob Hite
Label:    BGO (original US label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Generally considered the high point of Canned Heat's career, the 1968 double-LP Living The Blues is best known for the inclusion of Refried Boogie, the centerpiece of the band's live performances. In addition to the 41-minute track, that takes up two entire sides of the album, there were several studio tracks as well, such as Sandy's Blues, a melancholy blues progression written by vocalist Robert (the Bear) Hite.

Artist:    Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck
Title:    One Ring Jane
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in Canada on LP: Home Grown Stuff)
Writer(s):    McDougall/Ivanuck
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Sometimes called Canada's most psychedelic band, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in British Columbia in 1967. After recording one unsuccessful single for London, the Duck switched to Capitol Records' Canadian division and scored nationally with the album Home Grown Stuff. After a couple more years spent opening for big name bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple and a couple more albums (on the Capitol-owned Duck Records) the group disbanded, with vocalist/guitarist Donny McDougall joining the Guess Who in 1972.

Artist:    Stephen Stills
Title:    Old Times Good Times
Source:    LP: Stephen Stills
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Following the release of the Déjà Vu album, the individual members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young each got to work on a solo LP. Of the four, it was Stephen Stills's album that was the most commercially successful, thanks in large part to the inclusion of the song Love The One You're With, which was a top 20 hit. Stills brought in several notable guest musicians for the album, including Jimi Hendrix, who provided the guitar part on Old Times Good Times (Stills played keyboards on the piece). The album was released only one month after Hendrix's death, making Old Times Good Times technically the first post-humous Hendrix release. In addition, Stills dedicated the entire album to his friend Jimi.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Soldier
Source:    LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
     The final album by the original Spirit lineup, Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, charted lower than any of the group's earlier releases. It did, however, go on to become the band's only gold record, thanks to continued steady sales over a period of years. Soldier, the final track on the album, is a slow, quiet piece from guitarist Randy California that has an almost religious quality to it.