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.

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