Monday, February 27, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1709 (starts 3/1/17)

This week we have: a Hendrix set, a Beatles set, a creeper set, a regression through the years that starts to progress instead, and a whole lot of tunes from 1967.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Purple Haze
Source:    LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Following up on the success of their first UK single Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released Purple Haze in early 1967. The popularity of the two singles (originally released only in Europe) led to a deal with Reprise Records to start releasing the band's material in the US. By then, however, the Experience had already released their first LP, Are You Experienced, without either of the two hit singles on it. Reprise, hedging their bets, included both singles (but not their B sides), as well as a third UK single The Wind Cries Mary, deleting several tracks from the original version of Are You Experienced to make room for them.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Castles Made Of Sand
Source:     CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Although born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix was never associated with the local music scene that produced some of the loudest and raunchiest punk-rock of the mid 60s. Instead, he paid his professional dues backing R&B artists on the "chitlin circuit" of clubs playing to a mostly-black clientele, mainly in the southern US. After a short stint leading his own soul band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Hendrix, at the behest of one Chas Chandler, moved to London, where he recuited a pair of local musicians, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Although known for his innovative use of feedback, Hendrix was quite capable of knocking out some of the most complex "clean" riffs ever to be committed to vinyl. A prime example of this is Castles Made Of Sand. Hendrix's highly melodic guitar work combined with unusual tempo changes and haunting lyrics makes Castles Made Of Sand a classic that sounds as fresh today as it did when Axis: Bold As Love was released in 1967. The first time I ever heard this song it gave me chills.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Spanish Castle Magic
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love came out it was hailed as a masterpiece of four-track engineering. Working closely with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix used the recording studio itself as an instrument, making an art form out of the stereo mixing process. The unfortunate by-product of this is that most of the songs on the album could not be played live and still sound anything like the studio version. One notable exception is Spanish Castle Magic, which became a more or less permanent part of the band's performing repertoire.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    She Has Funny Cars
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Kaukonen/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    She Has Funny Cars, the opening track of Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was a reference to some unusual possessions belonging to new drummer Spencer Dryden's girlfriend. As was the case with many of the early Airplane tracks, the title has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song itself. The song was also released as the B side to the band's first top 10 single, Somebody To Love.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Once upon a time record producer Kim Fowley hired the Yardbirds to play a private Hollywood party. The Harris brothers, a pair of local art school students who had sent their homemade tapes to Fowley, were impressed by the band's musical abilities. Bob Markley, an almost-30-year-old hipster with a law degree and an inheritance was impressed with the band's ability to attract teenage girls. Fowley introduced the Harris brothers to Markley, who expressed a willingness to finance them in return for letting him be their new lead vocalist, and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed. Before it was all over the group had recorded five or six albums for at least three labels, churning out an eclectic mix of psychedelic tunes such as Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday, which appeared on the second album for Reprise Records (their third LP overall), appropriately titled Volume II.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Antique Doll
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released on LP: Underground)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Sometimes there is no comprehending what goes on in the mind of record company people. Take the Electric Prunes, for example. Their second single, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), put them right at the front of the pack of the psychedelic rock movement in early 1967. Their follow up single, Get Me To The World On Time, was a solid hit as well, which should have guaranteed them a good run. But even with that second single, problems with management's decision making were becoming apparent. For one thing, the song chosen as the second single's B side, Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less), had the potential to be a hit in its own right, but being put on a B side killed that idea entirely. It only got worse from there. The next single chosen was a novelty number from the band's second LP, Underground, called Dr. Do-Good. The tune was written by the same team of Annette Tucker and Nanci Mantz that had come up with both Dream and Lovin' Me More, but was played for laughs by the band. The choice of such a weird track is a complete puzzle, as there were several more commercial tunes on the LP, including one written by Tucker and Mantz themselves called Antique Doll. Unfortunately, the song was not even picked to be a B side, and has remained virtually unknown ever since. Rather than own up to their own mistakes, however, the band's management blamed the musicians themselves for their lack of commercial success, and eventually replaced the entire lineup of the original group (who had signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes early on). Of course, the new lineups were even less successful than the original crew, but really, what else would you expect?

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Girl
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965
    Some people think Girl is one of those John Lennon drug songs. I see it as one of those John Lennon observing what's really going on beneath the civilized veneer of western society songs myself. Your choice.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lovely Rita
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone/EMI (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 John Lennon and Paul McCartney were a songwriting team in name only, with nearly all their compositions being the work of one or the other, but not both. Lovely Rita, from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, was pure McCartney. The song features McCartney on both piano and overdubbed bass, with Lennon and George Harrison on guitars and Ringo Starr on drums. Pink Floyd, who were recording their debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at the same Abbey Road studios the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's at, ended up borrowing some of the effects heard toward the end of Lovely Rita for their own Pow R Toc H.

Artist:        Beatles
Title:        The Word
Source:        CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:        Capitol/EMI
Year:        1965
        The original concept for the album Rubber Soul was to show the group stretching out into R&B territory. The US version of the album, however, deleted several of the more soulful numbers in favor of folk-rock oriented songs. This was done by Capitol records mainly to cash in on the sudden popularity of the genre in 1965. Not all of the more R&B flavored songs were replaced, however. John Lennon's The Word appeared on both US and UK versions of Rubber Soul.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Bang Bang
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer:     Sonny Bono
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Vanilla Fudge made their reputation by taking popular hit songs, such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On, and extensively re-arranging them, giving the songs an almost classical feel. In fact, some of their arrangements incorporated (uncredited) snippets of actually classical pieces. One glaring example is the Vanilla Fudge arrangement of Cher's biggest solo hit of the 60s, Bang Bang (written by her then-husband Sonny Bono). Unfortunately, although I recognize the classical piece the band uses for an intro to Bang Bang, I can't seem to remember what it's called or who wrote it. Anyone out there able to help? I think it may have been used in a 1950s movie like The King And I or Attack of the Killer Women from Planet X.

Artist:     Who
Title:     Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde
Source:     Mono CD: Magic Bus: The Who On Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    John Entwhistle
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1968
     The Who were blessed with not one, but two top-notch songwriters: Pete Townshend and John Entwhistle. Whereas Townsend's songs ranged from tight pop songs to more serious works such as Tommy, Entwistle's tunes had a slightly twisted outlook, dealing with such topics as crawly critters (Boris the Spider), imaginary friends (Whiskey Man) and even outright perversion (Fiddle About). Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde was originally released in the US as the B side to Call Me Lightning. Both songs were included on the Magic Bus album.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
     Season Of The Witch has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring tracks on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the album was not released in the UK until late 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. Like all tracks from both Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, Season Of The Witch was only available in a mono mix until 1969, when a new stereo mix was created from the original multi-track masters for the singer/songwriter's first greatest hits compilation. Season of the Witch has since been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Blessed
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Possibly the most psychedelic track on Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album, Blessed is a classic example of structured chaos, combining a wall of sound approach with tight harmonies and intelligent lyrics. One of the duo's most overlooked recordings.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Renaissance Fair
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Crosby/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    Younger Than Yesterday was David Crosby's last official album with the Byrds (he was fired midway through the recording of The Notorious Byrd Brothers) and the last one containing any collaborations between Crosby and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn. Renaissance Fair, a song that Crosby was inspired to write after attending the Renaissance Pleasure Faire Of Southern California, is one of those collaborations, although the actual extent of McGuinn's participation is debatable.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Porpoise Song
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those.
Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     No Time Like The Right Time
Source:     LP: Live At Town Hall (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Al Kooper
Label:      Verve Forecast
Year:     1967
    The Blues Project's 1967 LP, Live At Town Hall, is a bit of a fake, in more ways than one. For one thing, not every track on the album is a live recording. No Time Like The Right Time, for instance, is actually the stereo mix of a studio recording that was issued prior to the album itself. On the LP, the track has fake audience noises added to the beginning and end of the song to make it sound live (although it really doesn't sound live at all). Possibly more important, however, is the fact that Al Kooper, who wrote No Time Like The Right Time, had already left the Blues Project by the time Live At Town Hall was released. Blame for this bit of fakery can not be laid on the band, however, since the album itself was the brainchild of Howard K. Solomon, who had guided the band's career since their early days playing in his Cafe Au Go Go in New York's Greenwich Village. There was one more bit of deception about the album that should be noted. Although several of the tracks on Live At Town Hall were indeed live recordings, reportedly only one of them was actually recorded at Town Hall. So much for truth in advertising.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Yesterday's Papers
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Between The Buttons was the Rolling Stones first album of 1967 and included their first forays into psychedelic music, a trend that would dominate their next LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The opening track of Between The Buttons was Yesterday's Papers, a song written in the wake of Mick Jagger's breakup with his girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton (who, after the album was released, tried to commit suicide). The impact of the somewhat cynical song was considerably less in the US, where it was moved to the # 2 slot on side one to make room for Let's Spend The Night Together, a song that had only been released as a single in their native UK.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    Come On Up
Source:    LP: Collections
Writer(s):    Felix Cavaliere
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1966
    In the fall of 1966 my junior high school went to split sessions, with the kids from my neighborhood assigned the morning hours. This meant getting up early in the morning and catching the school bus at around 6:20 AM. The upside (at least for me) was the fact that I got to listen to the radio all afternoon on the new console stereo that my dad had recently bought (said console being right next to the family TV set, listening in the evening was not an option). I had gotten a small transistor radio for my birthday three years earlier, but by 1966 it was no longer working, and I had not had the chance to hear my favorite stations for quite a while. As a result, Come On Up was actually the first Young Rascals song I ever heard, even though it had been preceded by bigger hits like Good Lovin'. The following summer my dad got transferred to Weisbaden, Germany, and I ended up attending a four-year high school for US military dependents. During my freshman year in I became a fan of a local band called the Collections, who took their name from the second Young Rascals album. The Collections were the "go to" band for local high school dances, including the Sadie Hawkins Day dance in October. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the concept, Sadie Hawkins day was the creation of cartoonist Al Capp, in his Li'l Abner newspaper comic strip. The idea was that once a year gender roles would get reversed, and the girls got to ask the guys to dance instead of vice versa. A bunch of us guys had gone to the dance (mostly because we had just formed a band of our own and wanted to check out the competition), and just as the Collections broke into Come On Up I was invited out onto the dance floor by a total stranger who also happened to be a cute brunette. It was the first time I had ever danced to a rock and roll band, but somehow I managed not to make a total fool of myself and even found myself being dragged into the "kissin' booth" (yes, they actually had such a thing at a high school dance back in those days) by the aforementioned cute brunette. I later found out the whole scenario was a ploy by the cute brunette to make her boyfriend jealous (which could have been hazardous to my health), but it left me with positive feelings for the Young Rascals, the Collections and Come On Up in particular that last to this day.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy/We're A Fade You Missed This
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album. In the US the album was originally issued under the title Heaven Is In Your Mind, and had a slightly different track lineup. The most notable change was the addition of Traffic's UK hit single, Paper Sun, as the album's opening track. The version of Paper Sun on the album, however, was shorter that the original recording, fading out nearly a minute earlier than the British version of the song. That final 50 seconds or so, using the title We're A Fade You Missed This was tacked onto the end of Dear Mr. Fantasy to close out side two of the US LP heard here.

 Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Good Times
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    By the end of the original Animals' run they were having greater chart success with their singles in the US than in their native UK. That trend continued with the formation of the "new" Animals in 1967 and their first single, When I Was Young. Shortly after the first LP by the band now known as Eric Burdon And The Animals came out, M-G-M decided to release the song San Franciscan Nights as a single to take advantage of the massive youth migration to the city that summer. Meanwhile the band's British label decided to instead issue Good Times, (an autobiographical song which was released in the US as the B side to San Franciscan Nights) as a single, and the band ended up with one of their biggest UK hits ever. Riding the wave of success of Good Times, San Franciscan Nights eventually did get released in the UK and was a hit there as well.

Artist:    American Dream
Title:    Frankford El
Source:    CD: The American Dream
Writer(s):    Van Winkle/Jameson/Indelicato
Label:    Ampex
Year:    1970
    OK, I have to admit that I know very little about the album and band called The American Dream, which was included as an unexpected free gift that came along with a vintage vinyl copy of an album I bought online. Here's what I do know. The American Dream was from Philadelphia. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren. In fact, it was his first time producing a group that he himself was not a member of. Finally, the song Frankford El was about a real elevated train in Philadelphia. The song itself is not typical of the album, by the way, which is actually pretty good stuff. Next time I'll pick out a tune that's more representative of their sound (but you have to admit, this particular novelty track is quite entertaining in its own way).

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     I'm Her Man
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Bob Hite
Label:     Liberty
Year:     1969
     As I may have mentioned once or twice, a flooded garage a few years back resulted in several of my old 45s getting soaked. Unfortunately I didn't discover this until a couple years after the damage was done, and by then mold had set in. I was able to clean up a few of the records themselves, but some of the ink on the labels had smeared or become stuck to adjacent labels in the box, damaging both in the process of separating them. The worst case was this 1971 Canned Heat single, due to the predominately black label smearing out all the silver print. I knew just from listening to the record that the A side was Let's Work Together but could not read the label for the B side at all. Luckily we have the internet these days and I was able to determine the identity (and original source) of the song. Singer Bob Hite did not write many songs, and I'm Her Man originally was credited to a fictional pseudonym, first appearing on the 1969 album Hallelujah.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Murder In My Heart For The Judge
Source:    LP: Wow
Writer(s):     Don Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Moby Grape was one of those bands that probably should have been more successful than they were, but were thrown off-track by a series of bad decisions by their own support personnel. First, Columbia damaged their reputation by simultaneously releasing five singles from their debut LP in 1967, leading to accusations that the band was nothing but hype. Then their producer, David Rubinson, decided to add horns and strings to many of the tracks on their second album, Wow, alienating much of the band's core audience in the process. Still, Wow did have its share of fine tunes, including drummer Don Stevenson's Murder In My Heart For The Judge, probably the most popular song on the album. The song proved popular enough to warrant cover versions by such diverse talents as Lee Michaels, Chrissy Hynde and Three Dog Night.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Chicken Little Was Right
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    The Turtles
Label:    Magic (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    Like many of the bands of the time, the Turtles usually recorded songs from professional songwriters for their A sides and provided their own material for the B sides. In the Turtles' case, however, these B sides were often psychedelic masterpieces that contrasted strongly with their hits. Chicken Little Was Right, the B side of She's My Girl, at first sounds like something you'd hear at a hootenanny, but then switches keys for a chorus featuring the Turtles' trademark harmonies, with a little bit of Peter And The Wolf thrown in for good measure. This capacity for self-parody would come to serve band members Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan well a few years later, first as members of the Mothers (performing Happy Together live at the Fillmore East) and then as the Phorescent Leach and Eddie (later shortened to Flo And Eddie).

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Stop Stop Stop
Source:    CD: The Best of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    Priority (original label: Imperial)
Year:    1966
    The last Hollies song to be released in 1966 was Stop Stop Stop, a tune that was actually a rewrite of a 1964 B side. The song was written by Allan Clarke, Terry Hicks and Graham Nash, and was one of the first songs to be published under their actual names (as opposed to the fictional L. Ransford). The song itself was a major hit, going into the top 10 in eight countries, including the US, UK and Canada.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    There But For Fortune
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Phil Ochs
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1965
    When I was a kid I used to occasionally pick up something called a grab bag. It was literally a sealed brown paper bag with anywhere from four to six 45 rpm records in it. Usually these were "cut-outs", unsold copies of records that hadn't sold as well as expected. Often they were five or six years old (albeit unplayed). Once in a while, though, there would be a real gem among them. My original copy of this record was one such gem. I later found a promo copy while working at KUNM in Albuquerque, which is the one I use now, since my original is long since worn out. Not only was this record my first introduction to Joan Baez, it was also the first record I had ever seen on the Vanguard label and the first song written by Phil Ochs I had ever heard. Not bad for twelve and a half cents.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Tripmaker
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: A Web Of Sound)
Writer(s):    Tybalt/Hooper
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
     Although the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, came out in both stereo and mono versions, there are very few copies of the mono version in existence, let alone playable condition. Apparently Rhino Records has access to one of them, allowing them to use this mono mix of Tripmaker, showing the advantages of being a record label that started off as a record store.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Revelation (part one)
Source:     CD: Da Capo
Writer:     Lee/MacLean/Echols/Forsi
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip were Love. Led by Arthur Lee, the band held down the position of house band at the Strip's most famous club, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, throughout 1966 and much of 1967, even as the club scene itself was starting to die off. Love liked being the top dog in L.A., so much so that they decided to forego touring to promote their records in favor of maintaining their presence at the Whiskey. In the long run this cost them, as many of their contemporaries (including one band that Love itself had discovered and introduced to Elektra producer Paul Rothchild: the Doors) went on to greater fame while Love remained a cult band throughout their existence. One of the highlights of their stage performances was a 19-minute jam called Revelation, a piece originally called John Hooker that served to give each band member a chance to show off with a solo. Although the band had been playing Revelation throughout 1966 (inspiring the Rolling Stones to do a similar number on one of their own albums), they did not get around to recording a studio version of Revelation until 1967. By that point they had added two new members, Tjay Cantrelli (sax) and Michael Stuart (drums), whose solos take up the last six minutes or so of the recorded version of the tune. The Harpsichord solo at the beginning and end of Revelation is played by "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who had switched from drums to keyboards when Stuart joined the group.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1709 (starts 3/1/17)

From Outa-Space to The Magician's Birthday, the emphasis this week seems to be on fantasies of one type or another. And on that note I'll just shut up and let you read before I dig myself a hole I can't escape from.

Artist:    Queen
Title:    Tie Your Mother Down
Source:    LP: A Day At The Races
Writer(s):    Brian May
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1976
    Following the commercial success of their fourth studio album, A Night At The Opera, with its hit single Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen got to work on a followup LP. Following the pattern set by the Marx Brothers, they decided to call the new album A Day At The Races. The LP, released in 1976, starts with a Brian May rocker calledTie Your Mother Down that became the album's second single. The song actually dates back to May's college days, when he was working on his Astronomy PhD. Vocalist Freddie Mercury said of the song: "Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian actually, I dunno why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he’s trying to out do me after Death On Two Legs actually." Death On Two Legs, of course, was Mercury's scathing indictment of Queen's former manager that had appeared on A Night At The Opera. Tie Your Mother Down was part of Queen's stage repertoire for several years, and got considerable airplay on FM rock radio in the US in the late 1970s. On the album the track is preceded by a slowly fading-in guitar intro that uses something called a Shepard tone. The same solo guitar piece appears at the end of the album as well, only this time fading out.

Artist:    Pavlov's Dog
Title:    Fast Gun
Source:    LP: Pampered Menial
Writer(s):    David Surkamp
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1975
    Pavlov's Dog, from St. Louis, Mo., was somewhat unusual in that they had not one, but two keyboardists in the band. In addition to keyboardists David Hamilton and Doug Rayburn, the group included vocalist David Surkamp, guitarist Steve Scorfina, bassist Rick Stockton, drummer Mike Safron, and violinist Siegfried Carver (born Richard Nadler) at the time they recorded their first album, Pampered Menial. The 1975 album was released briefly on the ABC label, then almost immediately on Columbia. Most of the songs on the album were written by either Surkamp or Scorfina, including Fast Gun, a Surkamp original. The band, despite numerous personnel changes, managed to record two more albums before disbanding in 1977. However, Columbia, citing poor sales on the first two LPs, chose not to release the third one.

Artist:    Golden Earring
Title:    Radar Love
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Kooymans/Hay
Label:    Track/MCA
Year:    1973
    Formed in The Hague in 1961, the Golden Earrings (they dropped the plural in 1969) released 25 studio albums and took nearly 30 songs into the top 10 over a period of nearly 30 their native Holland. They were completely unknown in the US, however, until 1973, when Radar Love became an international hit. They returned to the US charts in 1982 with Twilight Zone, and had a final international hit in 1984 with When The Lady Smiles, although that song did not do as well in the US.

Artist:    Billy Preston
Title:    Outa-Space
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Preston/Greene
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    As soon as he was finished recording his instrumental piece he called Outa-Space, keyboardist Billy Preston knew he had a hit single on his hands. His label, however, thought differently, and issued the song as the B side of I Wrote A Simple Song in early 1972. It wasn't long before DJs began flipping the record over and playing Outa-Space instead. As a result, Outa-Space became a huge hit, going all the way to the #2 spot on the US charts, while I Wrote A Simple Song only made it to the #77 spot, once again proving that local disc jockeys often know more about audience tastes than record company executives. Too bad there aren't any local disc jockeys in commercial radio anymore, their duties having been taken over by computer algorithms and professional consulting firms.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Monkey Man
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    I've had the Rolling Stones' Monkey Man, from the Let It Bleed album, stuck in my head for days. Truly the mark of greatness (the song, not my head).

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Love Like A Man
Source:    CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1970
    Cricklewood Green was Ten Years After's fourth studio effort and fifth album overall. Released in 1970, the album is considered by critics to be the apex of Ten Years After's studio work. The best known track from the album is Love Like A Man, which became the group's only single to chart in the UK (in an edited version), peaking at the #10 spot. The band was still considered an "underground" act in the US, despite a successful appearance at Woodstock the year before. However, Love Like A Man was a favorite among disc jockeys on FM rock radio stations, who almost universally preferred the longer album version of the song heard here.

Artist:    America
Title:    Sandman
Source:    LP: America's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: America)
Writer(s):    Dewey Bunnell
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    I have to admit I was never a huge America fan, although I liked A Horse With No Name well enough when it came out (it got old pretty quick, though), and appreciated the L. Frank Baum references in Tin Man as much as anyone. The one America song that really did grab me, though, was Sandman, an album track that I only heard on one FM station out of El Paso (I was living in Alamogordo, NM at the time). Apparently there was a rumor going around at the time to the effect that the song was  about the United States Navy VQ-2 air squadron formerly based in Rota, Spain, but I didn't know about that until many years later. Still, I thought it was a cool song then (and still do), and was happily surprised to hear it performed live at the New York State Fair in the early 2000s.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smooth Dancer
Source:    Japanese import CD: Who Do We Think We Are
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Deep Purple's most iconic lineup (Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice) only recorded four studio albums together before internal tensions and conflict with their own management led to the departure of Gillan and Glover. The last of these was Who Do We Think We Are, released in 1973. By this point some of the band members were not on speaking terms, and their individual parts had to be recorded at separate times. Nonetheless, the album is full of strong tracks such as Smooth Dancer, which closes out side one of the original LP. Despite all the problems getting Who Do We Think We Are recorded and the band's subsequent disintegration, Deep Purple sold more albums in the US than any other recording artist in the year 1973 (including continued strong sales of the 1972 album Machine Head and their live album Made In Japan).

Artist:     Uriah Heep
Title:     The Magician's Birthday
Source:     LP: The Magician's Birthday
Writer:     Hensley/Box/Kerslake
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1972
     If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what exactly does it mean when you imitate yourself? Uriah Heep did just that in 1972 when they followed up their breakthrough Demons And Wizards album with another one in virtually the same format, even down to the 10-minute plus title track to close out side two. What was missing, however, was a single to rival Easy Livin', which had been the engine that propelled Demons and Wizards into the realm of hit albums. Still, The Magician's Birthday was a solid and commercial successfully LP, and this week we are presenting the aforementioned title track in its entirety. Enjoy!

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Tend My Garden/Garden Gate
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer:    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    Cleveland, Ohio's James Gang spent so much time on the road promoting their first LP, 'Yer Album, that they didn't have much material ready when it came time to record a follow-up LP. The group found itself actually writing songs in the studio and recording them practically as they were being written. Guitarist/lead vocalist Joe Walsh, meanwhile, had some acoustic songs he had been working on, and it was decided that the new album would have one side of electric hard rock songs while the other would be an acoustic side. The opening tracks for the second side of the album were Tend My Garden, which features Walsh on both organ and guitar, followed by Garden Gate, a Walsh solo piece.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1708 (starts 2/22/17)

When working on the notes for this week's show I realized that a lot of these songs haven't been played on the show since 2013. The I realized there were almost as many that had never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era at all (including a couple that have appeared on our sister show, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion. I guess it keeps things from getting too predictable.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive
Source:    LP: 13 (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    Underdog
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: A Whole New Thing)
Writer(s):    Sylvester Stewart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Sly and the Family Stone were a showstopper at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but their story starts years before that historic performance. Sylvester Stewart was a popular DJ and record producer in mid-60s San Francisco, responsible for the first recordings of the Warlocks (later the Grateful Dead) and the Great! Society, among others. During that time he became acquainted with a wealth of talent, including bassist Larry Graham. In 1967, with Autumn Records having been sold to and closed down by Warner Brothers, he decided to form his own band. Anchored by Graham, Sly and the Family Stone's first LP, A Whole New Thing, was possibly the very first pure funk album ever released.

Artist:    The Light
Title:    Back Up
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Anglin/Samson
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    The San Bernadino/Riverside area of southern California is probably better known to racing fans than to music afficionados, yet the area did have its share of local bands filling up various venues in the area in the late 60s. Among those bands was the Light, who released one single on the A&M label in 1967. Back Up, an energetic garage-rocker, was the B side of that single.

Artist:    Lemon Drops
Title:    I Live In The Springtime
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era
Writer(s):    Roger Weiss
Label:    Rhino (original label: Rembrandt)
Year:    1967
    Sometimes it's all about being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately for the Lemon Drops, that place and time was not the Chicago suburbs in early 1967. Otherwise they might have had a hit record with I Live In The Springtime, a rather nice piece of psychedelia. It probably didn't help that their label, Rembrandt, was not able to put together the same kind of national distribution deal that another Chicago label, Dunwich, had been able to the previous year with the Shadows Of Knight's version of Gloria. Another, somewhat unique, problem was that there were two different pressings of the single, one with no drums and the other with the guitar almost lost in the mix. It is thought that the original mix was in stereo (with the drums on one side and the guitar on the other) and the two pressings each used only one channel from that mix. The version heard here is the one without drums.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Relax
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who Sell Out stands apart from other Who albums in a number of ways. First off, the cover features individual photographs of each of the
band members in ridiculous ad parodies. The front cover is split between Pete Townshend using a gigantic can of Odorono deodorant and Roger Daltry sitting cross-legged covered in Heinz Baked Beans. In the back cover, John Entwhistle is using an oversized tube of Medac on a blemish that covers half his face, while Keith Moon strikes a muscleman pose with a beautiful model in a bikini (advertising for the Charles Atlas fitness course). Each of the photos is accompanied by tongue-in-cheek ad text. The album itself contains several excellent songs (in fact, many critics consider it the Who's best album of their career) interspersed with faux radio commercials and actual jingles from pirate station Radio London (the jingles having been produced by PAMS Productions of Dallas, Texas, the company that provided jingles for many US top 40 stations as well). Most of these songs were never performed live. One exception was Relax, which was part of the band's stage repertoire for a short time in 1968. This lack of promotion (and the growing sense of rock music being SERIOUS ART), hampered the album's commercial success, although it still managed to climb to the #13 spot in the UK and #48 in the US. The Who itself would turn SERIOUS with their next new studio work, a double-LP called Tommy.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    Mono LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Get Out Of My Life Woman
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Alan Toussaint
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The second Butterfield Blues Band album, East-West, released in 1966, is best known for the outstanding guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. One often overlooked member of the group was keyboardist Mark Naftalin, who, along with Butterfield and Bishop, was a founding member of the band. Naftalin's keyboard work is the highlight of the band's cover of Alan Toussaint's Get Out Of My Life Woman, which was a hit for Lee Dorsey the same year.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Ain't It Hard
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tillison/Tillison
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes got their big break in 1966 when a real estate saleswoman heard them playing in a garage in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and told her friend Dave Hassinger about them. Hassinger was a successful studio engineer (having just finished the Rolling Stones' Aftermath album) who was looking to become a record producer. The Prunes were his first clients, and Hassinger's production style is evident on their debut single. Ain't It Hard had already been recorded by the Gypsy Trips, and the Electric Prunes would move into more psychedelic territory with their next release, the iconic I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Drifting
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
    Recording during July and August of 1970, Drifting was first released on the 1971 album The Cry Of Love six months after the death of Jimi Hendrix. The song features Hendrix on guitar and vocal, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass. Buzzy Linhart makes a guest appearance on the tune, playing vibraphone.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Long Hot Summer Night
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    With such classics as Voodoo Chile, Crosstown Traffic and Still Raining Still Dreaming on the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, it's easy to overlook a song like Long Hot Summer Night. Once you hear it, however, you realize just how strong Jimi Hendrix's songwriting had become by 1968. Keyboardist Al Kooper, himself in the process of making rock history with his Super Session album, makes a guest appearance on piano.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Angel
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    Shortly after the untimely death of Jimi Hendrix in September of 1970, Reprise released the first of many posthumous Hendrix albums, The Cry Of Love. Like millions of other Hendrix fans, I immediately went out and bought a copy. I have to say that there are very few songs that have ever brought tears to my eyes, and even fewer that did so on my very first time hearing them. Of these, Angel tops the list.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The Last Wall Of The Castle
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    BMG Heritage/RCA
Year:    1967
    Following the massive success of the Surrealistic Pillow album with its two top 10 singles (Somebody To Love and White Rabbit) the members of Jefferson Airplane made a conscious choice to put artistic goals above commercial ones for their next LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The result was an album that defines the term "acid rock" in more ways than one. One of the few songs on the album that does not cross-fade into or out of another song is this tune from Jorma Kaukonen, his first non-acoustic song to be recorded by the band.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Amphetamine Gazelle
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Mad River)
Writer:    Lawrence Hammond
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 acid was no longer the drug of choice on the streets of San Francisco. In its place, crystal meth was beginning to dominate the scene, with a corresponding increase in ripoffs and burns. The local musicians often reflected this change, with some, such as Canned Heat, declaring that Speed Kills and moving south to Laurel Canyon. Others, such as Mad River (originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, but Bay Area residents since early 1967), attempted to use ridicule to combat the problem, but with no appreciable success (speed freaks not being known for their sense of humor, or any other kind of sense for that matter).

Artist:    Changin' Tymes
Title:    Hark The Child
Source:    British import CD: Feeling High-The Psychedelic Sounds Of Memphis
Writer(s):    Barham/Ferrer/Frazier/Moore/Warner
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1969, released  2012
    Memphis, Tennessee, is a town known for its music. In particular, it is known for its vibrant blues scene, its classic R&B roots (as the home of Stax Records) and of course for some guy named Elvis. What Memphis is not particularly known for, however, is a psychedelic club scene. Nonetheless, like many other US cities in the late 1960s, Memphis did indeed boast a handful of truly psychedelic bands. One of the best of these was the Changin' Tymes, who recorded a pair of tracks for producer James Parks. One of these was later released on a single under the auspices of the Memphis Underground Music Association; the other, more overtly psychedelic track, was a tune called Hark The Child, which remained unreleased until 2012, when it appeared on a British CD dedicated to the Memphis psych scene. Enjoy!

Artist:    Move
Title:    Tonight
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    United Artists (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1971 (reissued 1973)
    One of the first records to feature a Jeff Lynne lead vocal (on the third verse), Tonight is a non-album single by the Move from 1971 that was reissued on another label two years later, after the Move had disbanded. Written by Roy Wood, the song was the first to be issued on the Harvest label in the UK, going to the #11 spot on the charts there. The song was also released on Capitol in the US, but like every previous Move record, failed to make any chart appearances. Both Wood and Lynne, however, were already more interested in the new band concept they had come up with that would involve extensive overdubbing of classical instruments, as opposed to the Move's more traditional rock instrumentation. The Move's manager had just gotten the band a new three-album deal with Harvest, however, and the record company insisted that at least the first of these would be credited to the Move. The album, Message From The Country, was released in October of 1971 on Harvest in the UK and Capitol in the US. At the same time Message To The Country was being recorded, Wood and Lynne were simultaneously working on the first album by their new band, now known as the Electric Light Orchestra. Although the first two ELO albums were released in the UK on Harvest, fulfilling the terms of their contract, they did not appear on Capitol in the US. Instead, all ELO releases in the US appeared on the United Artists label. To make things even more confusing, when Tonight was reissued in the US in early 1973 (to capitalize on the popularity of ELO, no doubt), it appeared on United Artists as well.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Not Fade Away
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hardin/Petty
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    The Rolling Stones' first top 5 hit in the UK was an updated version of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. The Stones put a greater emphasis on the Bo Diddley beat than Holly did and ended up with their first charted single in the US as well, establishing the Rolling Stones as the Yang of the British Invasion to the Beatles' Ying. It was a role that fit the top band from the city they call "The Smoke" well.

Artist:    Motions
Title:    For Another Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rob Van Leeuwen
Label:    Rhino (original label: Havoc)
Year:    1965
    By 1965 the popularity of British beat music had spread to continental Europe, with local bands springing up in every major urban center. Most of these bands made their living playing covers of British hits, but many, especially in places like the Hague, Netherlands, were able to land recording contracts of their own, either with international branches of major labels or, in the case of the Motions, with smaller local labels such as Havoc Records. The third single by the Motions, For Another Man, was very much in the British beat vein, with jangly guitar and catchy vocal harmonies. Like all the Motions' singles, For Another Man was written by guitarist Rob Van Leeuwen, who eventually left the Motions to form Shocking Blue.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Volt
Year:    1966
    Some may have questioned the appearance of a "soul" band like Sly and the Family Stone at what was essentially a rock festival at Woodstock, but there was precedent: Otis Redding had stolen the show at the first of the great rock festivals at Monterey two years earlier. One of the songs he electrified the crowd with was a hard-driving version of the Rolling Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, heard here in its 1966 studio version, featuring the MGs and the Bar-Kays backing up the "big O".

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Uni
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.

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

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Sweet Sir Galahad
Source:    CD: Woodstock Two
Writer(s):    Joan Baez
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    Joan Baez was always known as an interpreter, rather than a writer, of songs. In fact, her first solo composition was not performed until 1969. Sweet Sir Galahad made its debut on a March 1969 episode of the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour, and became well known after Baez performed it at Woodstock. A studio version was released as a single later that same year, and was included on the 1970 album One Day At A Time.

Artist:    Flock
Title:    Green Slice/Big Bird
Source:    British import CD: Dinosaur Swamps
Writer(s):    The Flock
Label:    BGO (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    The Flock's Dinosaur Swamps is one of those rare albums that can never truly be defined. Is it jazz? Rock? Novelty? Gospel? I honestly can't say. The album cover itself is one of the coolest ever printed: a gatefold sleeve that you have to open up and turn 90 degrees to look at. Every song title refers to something on the cover (or on the inside of the gatefold sleeve). Green Slice, for instance, refers to the album title itself, which is printed in curved block letters on a green background shaped like an arch above the actual album cover art. The first thing that (hopefully not literally) jumps out at you on the cover itself is a huge pterodactyl flying toward you: a Big Bird indeed.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Glad/Freedom Rider
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on 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:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Coloured Rain
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Traffic, in its early days, was a band with an almost schizophrenic identity. On the one hand there was Steve Winwood, who was equally adept at guitar, keyboards and vocals and was generally seen as the band's leader, despite being its youngest member. His opposite number in the band was Dave Mason, an early example of the type of singer/songwriter that would be a major force in popular music in the mid-1970s. The remaining members of the band, drummer/vocalist Jim Capaldi and flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood, tended to fall somewhere between the two, although they more often sided with Winwood in his frequent creative disputes with Mason. One of these disputes involved the choice of the band's second single. Mason wanted to follow up the successful Paper Sun with his own composition, Hole In My Shoe, while the rest of the band preferred the group composition, Coloured Rain. Mason won that battle, but would end up leaving the band before the release of the group's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. This in turn led to the album being revised considerably for its US release, which was issued under a completely different title, Heaven Is In Your Mind, with most of Mason's contributions, along with his picture, being excised from the album (although, oddly enough, Hole In My Shoe, which was not on the original LP, was included on the US album). One final example of the band's schizophrenic nature was in the way the group was marketed. In the US, Traffic was, from the beginning, perceived as a serious rock band along the lines of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In their native land, however, they were, thanks in part to the top 40 success of both Paper Sun and Hole In My Shoe as well as Winwood's fame as lead vocalist for the Spencer Davis Group, dismissed as a mere pop group. Mason would rejoin and leave the group a couple more times before achieving solo success in the mid-70s with the hit We Just Disagree, while Traffic would go on to become a staple of progressive FM rock radio in the US.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     Pushin' Too Hard
Source:     Simulated stereo CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:     Sky Saxon
Label:     Priority (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:     1965
     Pushin' Too Hard was originally released to the L.A. market as a single in late 1965 and included on side one of the first Seeds album the following year. After being re-released as a single the song did well enough to go national in early 1967, hitting its peak in February.

Artist:    Zipps
Title:    Kicks And Chicks
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nuyten/Katerberg
Label:    Rhino (original label: Relax)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 various people in the US music industry were obsessed with what they called "drug songs" such as the Byrds' classic Eight Miles High. In reality, the real drug song action was in the Netherlands, where the Zipps (from a place called Dordrecht) were handing out publicity stickers that read "Be Stoned: Dig Zipps: Psychedelic Sound" and performing a song called LSD-25 on national television. The group was formed in 1965 by members of the Beattown Skifflers and the Moving Strings and quickly caught on with the local Beat crowd and early hippies. Their second single, Kicks And Chicks, was a documentation of the band's own way of life, with lines like "I read only books of Jack Kerouac, he's the only priest in my life" cementing the group's beat credentials. Although the Zipps never recorded a full-length LP, they remained a popular band on the local underground scene until they disbanded in 1971.
Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s. Their first two releases were floppy inserts included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Finch
Title:    Nothing In The Sun
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wylde Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    D. Dougherty
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Montage)
Year:    1968
    From Milwaukee we have a band called Finch, with a tune called Nothing In The Sun, which was released as a single in 1968. And that's pretty much all I know about this one, except that it definitely rocks.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1708 (starts 2/22/17(

We're going deep this week, with only one hit single nestled among a whole bunch of LP tracks, including tunes from Savoy Brown, Genesis, Gypsy and even a Grace Slick solo piece.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys)
Writer(s):    Jim Capaldi
Label:    Island
Year:    1971
    Although drummer Jim Capaldi shared writing credits with Steve Winwood on most of Traffic's material, it was Winwood who provided the lead vocals for nearly all of those collaborations. In fact, Capaldi only took center stage on three original Traffic studio tracks, two of which were on the band's fifth album, The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. Indeed, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone was not only sung by Capaldi, it was written without input from Winwood, a true rarity for Traffic (Dave Mason's contributions notwithstanding).

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    All I Can Do
Source:    LP: Street Corner Talking
Writer(s):    Davis/Fuqua/Gordy
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1971
    Following the departure of three of the four members of Savoy Brown to form Foghat, remaining member (and founder) Kim Simmonds recruited members of a band called Chicken Shack, which had fallen apart following the departure of vocalist Christine Perfect, who had left that band to become a member of Fleetwood Mac (becoming Christine McVie around the same time). The first album by the new Savoy Brown lineup was Street Corner Talking, which featured a mixture of Simmonds originals and cover songs from various sources. One of the most notable of the latter group was All I Can Do, which came from the Motown stable of writers.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Harold The Barrel
Source:    CD: Nursery Cryme
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    Nursery Cryme was the third Genesis album, and the first to feature the band's classic lineup of frontman Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, guitarist Steve Hackett, bassist Mike Rutherford and drummer Phil Collins. Although the album is best known for its lengthy compositions The Musical Box and Return Of The Giant Hogweed, shorter songs such as Harold The Barrel have their own charms as well.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, had new lyrics and a "dreamy" bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Living In The Past
Source:    CD: Stand Up (bonus track) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    By the end of the 1960s most UK labels had abandoned the British tradition of not including singles on LPs. One notable exception was Island Records, who continued to issue mutually exclusive Jethro Tull albums, singles and EPs into the early 1970s. Among those non-LP tracks was the 1969 single Living In The Past, which would not be included on an album until 1972, when the song became the title track of a double LP Jethro Tull retrospective. The song then became a hit all over again, including in the US, where the original single had failed to chart.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Errors Of My Way
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Powell/Upton
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    Wishbone Ash was one of the first bands to feature dual lead guitars. This came about almost by accident, as the group had been looking for a lead guitarist but couldn't choose between the two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner. They decided to go with both, and, after Powell sat in with Deep Purple's Ricthie Blackmore during a soundcheck, the group was signed to MCA Records. Their debut LP (which was issued on MCA's Decca label in 1970) was an immediate success, and Wishbone Ash became one of the most popular hard rock bands of the early 1970s. Unlike many bands with two lead guitarists, Wishbone Ash emphasized harmony leads over individual solos, as can be heard on tracks like Errors Of My Way.

Artist:     Gypsy
Title:     As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)
Source:     LP: In The Garden
Writer:     Enrico Rosenbaum
Label:     Metromedia
Year:     1971
     From late 1969 to mid 1970 Gypsy was the house band at L.A's Whisky-A-Go-Go. During that period they released their first album, featuring the song Gypsy Queen. By the time the band's second LP, In The Garden, was released the group had gone through several personnel changes, with only keyboardist James Walsh, guitarist James Johnson and bandleader Enrico Rosenbaum, who played guitar and sang lead vocals, remaining from the lineup that had recorded the first LP. The new members included Bill Lordan (who would go on record several albums with Robin Trower) on drums and the legendary Willie Weeks on bass.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire
Source:    LP: For The Roses (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1972
    After releasing several albums for Reprise, Joni Mitchell signed with David Geffen's Asylum label in 1972. Her first album for the label was For The Roses, which includes one of her first forays into jazz-folk fusion, Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire, a powerful portrait of a heroin addict's life. Alone among Mitchell's albums, For The Roses was selected by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry in 2007.

Artist:    Grace Slick
Title:    ¿Come Again? Toucan
Source:    LP: Manhole
Writer(s):    Slick/Freiberg
Label:    Grunt
Year:    1973
    Grace Slick's first solo album, Manhole, was conceived as a soundtrack for a movie that never existed. If you think that sounds a bit strange, you should hear the album itself. ¿Come Again? Toucan was the only single released from the album, although it did not chart. The album itself only got as far as the #127 spot on the Billboard 200.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1707 (starts 2/15/17)

Lots of tunes from 1968 this week, but not until after we've heard from Cream, Buffalo Springfield, and a few others that may surprise you.

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:    1966
    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 December. 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:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Buffalo Springfield Again
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Starfires
Title:    I Never Loved Her
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Freddie Fields
Label:    BFD (original label: G.I.)
Year:    1965
    The name Starfires has long been associated with rock 'n' roll, albeit with a number of different bands over the years. The name was probably first used in the late 1950s by a band from Long Beach, California, and was also the original name of the Cleveland, Ohio, band that became famous as the Outsiders. But the most revered of the various Starfires may well be the mid-60s Los Angeles garage band released three singles before disbanding. One of these, I Never Loved Her, has long been sought after by collectors, and copies of the record have been known to sell for over a thousand dollars apiece. Luckily, the song has been included on various collections over the years, including both the LP and CD versions of Pebbles, Volume 8.

Artist:    Brenda Lee
Title:    Coming On Strong
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    David Wilkins
Label:    Decca
Year:    1966
    In the mid 1970s a band called Golden Earring scored a huge hit with a song called Radar Love. One of the most memorable lines of the song was a reference to a "forgotten song" by Brenda Lee called Coming On Strong. Oddly enough, I just happened to have a copy of the original 45 RPM single from 1966, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Artist:    Mike Stuart Span
Title:    Second Production
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s):    Murphy/Bennett
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2013
    Like many British psychedelic bands, the Mike Stuart Span started off as part of the Mod scene, cutting a couple of British R&B flavored singles before changing directions in 1967. In October of that year, they recorded a demo of a tune called Second Production for the British Decca label, but the song went unreleased until the next century, when it was included on a CD collection called Love, Poetry And Revolution. The group ended up releasing a couple more singles before changing their name to Leviathan.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     Sookie Sookie
Source:     LP: The ABC Collection (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):     Covay/Cropper
Label:     ABC (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Not every song on the first Steppenwolf album was an original composition. In fact, some of the best songs on the LP were covers, from Hoyt Axton's The Pusher to Willie Dixon's Hoochie Coochie Man. A third cover, Sookie Sookie, was actually released as a follow-up single to Born To Be Wild, but failed to chart. The song had been an R&B hit a couple years earlier for Don Covay and was co-written by the legendary MG's guitarist Steve Cropper.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    With the album Disraeli Gears, Cream established itself as having a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I Feel Free
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    In Europe Tales Of Brave Ulysses was released as the B side of Strange Brew. Both songs were taken from Cream's second LP, Disraeli Gears. Cream was one of the first bands to break tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because hit singles tended to stay in print indefinitely overseas, unlike in the US, where a 45 RPM single usually had a shelf life of around 2-3 months and then disappeared forever.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Dimples
Source:    Mono LP: On Tour
Writer(s):    Hooker/Bracken
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    Of all the bands to come out of England as part of the British invasion of the mid-1960s, none were bigger fans of US blues and R&B artists than the Animals, from Newcastle. The group reportedly spent all of their spare time checking out independent record stores looking for obscure old records while on the first US tour, and upon returning to the UK set about recording their own versions of several of these songs. Among the tracks recorded was Dimples, a John Lee Hooker tune that was included on the Animals second US LP, On Tour. A different version of Dimples was included on the album The Animals.

Artist:    Rising Sons
Title:    By And By (Poor Me)
Source:    CD: The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder
Writer(s):    Charley Hutton
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1992
    Although they were, for a short time in 1966, one of the most talked about bands on L.A.'s Sunset Strip, the Rising Sons were never able to translate that into a successful recording career. This is attributable in part to the fact that there had never been a band like the Rising Sons (at least on the West Coast), and the people at Columbia Records just didn't have a clue what to do with them. For one thing, the group itself was conceived on the East Coast, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when a young folk-blues performer by the name of Taj Mahal met up with 12-string guitarist Jesse Lee Kincaid. Kincaid was himself a transplant from the West Coast, having moved east to learn what he could from the Reverend Gary Davis. Mahal soon convinced Kincaid to return to L.A. in order to hook up with Mahal's teenaged friend Ryland Cooder. Both Kincaid and Cooder had studied under Kincaid's uncle Fred Gerlach, and it wasn't look before the three of them decided to form a band together. With the addition of bassist Gary Marker and drummer Ed Cassidy, both of whom had experience in jazz bands, the lineup was complete. Cassidy was soon replaced by Kevin Kelley, who had more of a rock orientation, and the band found itself signing with Columbia in 1965. Columbia assigned Terry Melcher (who was also working with Paul Revere and the Raiders) to produce the band, but Melcher was not able to find a way to achieve a cohesive sound from such a varied group of musicians, and the recordings, including a tasty version of blues legend Charley Hutton's Poor Me, retitled By And By, remained unreleased until 1992.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Homeward Bound
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Following the success of Sounds Of Silence, Paul Simon And Art Garfunkel set about making an album of all new material (Sounds Of Silence had featured several re-recorded versions of tunes from the 1965 British album The Paul Simon Songbook). The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, one of the finest folk-rock albums ever recorded. The album contained several successful singles, including Homeward Bound.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Red Rubber Ball
Source:    LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer:    Simon/Woodley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon moved to London in early 1965, after his latest album with Art Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning 3 AM, had been deleted from the Columbia Records catalog after just a few weeks due to poor sales. While in the UK Simon found himself performing on the same bill as the Seekers, an Australian band that had achieved some international success with folky pop songs like A World Of Our Own. Needing cash, Simon wrote (with Seekers guitarist/vocalist Bruce Woodley) Red Rubber Ball, selling the song to the group for about 100 pounds. After returning to the US and reuniting with Garfunkel, Simon offered the song to the Cyrkle, who took the song all the way to the #4 spot on the charts.

Artist:    Los Bravos
Title:    Black Is Black
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Grainger/Hayes/Wadey
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    The first band from Spain to have a major pop hit was Los Bravos, who took Black Is Black to the top 10 in several countries, including the US, in late 1966. Interestingly, the band's lead vocalist, Michael Kogel, was actually a German national.

Artist:    Seatrain
Title:    Home To You
Source:    British import CD: Seatrain
Writer(s):    Peter Rowan
Label:    BGO (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    The second incarnation of Seatrain, consisting of Andy Kuhlberg, Richard Greene, Peter Rowan, Lloyd Baskin and Larry Atamaniuk, along with lyricist Jim Roberts, recorded two albums for the Capitol label, starting with the album Seatrain in 1970. Rowan had been a member of the Boston-based Earth Opera, and brought one of that band's best-known songs, Home To You, with him.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    8:15
Source:    LP: American Woman
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1970
    The most successful album for the Guess Who was American Woman, released in 1970. In additional to the three top 10 singles on the album (No Time, No Sugar Tonight and the title track), the album featured many strong tracks, including 8:15, which midway through the song breaks into (in the words of lead vocalist Burton Cummings) "some real percussive spice where it's sorely needed", courtesy of drummer Garry Peterson.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original 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:    Traffic
Title:    No Time To Live
Source:    CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Although half of the songs on Traffic's self-titled second LP were written by Dave Mason, the guitarist/vocalist had very little to do with the remaining tracks. He did, however, play Hammond organ on the haunting No Time To Live. The song also features Steve Winwood on lead vocals, piano and bass, Chris Wood on soprano saxophone and Jim Capaldi on drums.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    It is by now a well-known fact that very few of the songs on the 1968 double-LP The Beatles (aka the White Album) actually featured the entire group. One of those few (and reportedly both Paul McCartney's and George Harrison's favorite song on the album) was Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Written by John Lennon, the piece is actually a pastiche of three song fragments, each of which is radically different from the others. The opening lines (uncredited) were contributed by Derek Taylor, a London promoter who was instrumental in bringing the Jimi Hendrix Experience to America to perform at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. The track, one of the most musically challenging in the entire Beatles catalog, took three days to record, and was produced by Chris Thomas, who was filling in for a vacationing George Martin at the time.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album, The Book Of Taleisyn, the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    L T Tatman III
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of Going Up The Country was a tune called Boogie Music. The song is credited to L T Tatman III, which may be a pseudonym for the entire band, much as Nanker Phelge was for the Rolling Stones. Unusually, the single version of the song is actually longer than the album version heard here, thanks to a short coda made to sound like an archive recording from the 1920s.

Artist:    It's A Beautiful Day
Title:    Wasted Union Blues
Source:    CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer(s):    David LaFlamme
Label:    San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    It's A Beautiful Day was founded in the mid-60s by classical violinist David LaFlamme. The group had a hard time lining up gigs at first and eventually hooked up with local impressario Matthew Katz, who had similar deals with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. What the members of IABD did not know at the time was that those other bands were desperately trying to sever all ties with Katz due to his heavy-handed management style. LaFlamme and company would soon find out just how bad a deal they had gotten into when Katz shipped them off to Seattle to be the resident band at his own "San Francisco Sound" club from late 1967 through most of 1968. The group was put up in the attic of a house that Katz owned and given a small allowance that barely put food on the table. To make matters worse, attendance at the club was dismal. Still, the adversity did inspire some of LaFlamme's best songwriting, such as Wasted Union Blues from the group's debut LP, released in 1969.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Baroque # 1
Source:    Mono LP: Ultimate Spinach (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    Of the six major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands in the late 1960s. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including the instrumental Baroque # 1.

Artist:    John Mayall
Title:    Blues From Laurel Canyon (part two)
Source:    British import LP: Blues From Laurel Canyon
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    Deram (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The first release following the breakup of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Blues From Laurel Canyon featured a 19-year-old Mick Taylor on guitar, with an even younger Stephen Thompson on bass along with drummer Colin Allen. The album itself is autobiographical, documenting Mayall's L.A. vacation in the summer of '68. The second side of the album starts with a track called The Bear, which describes Mayall's stay with Canned Heat, who by then had relocated from their native San Francisco to Laurel Canyon. The bear that was "rolling in the shade" in the song was of course the legendary Robert Hite, lead vocalist and harmonica player for Canned Heat. This segues into a tune about Mayall's efforts to track down the "strange, elusive" Miss James (reportedly the famous groupie Catherine James). Eventually he finds her quite by accident, leading into an intimate First Time Alone. All good things must come to an end, however, as the lyrics to Long Gone Midnight point out. Just as well, as Mayall has to Fly Tomorrow to get back to London and put together a band to record an album called Blues From Laurel Canyon. Eventually Mayall would return to Laurel Canyon, this time as a resident.
Artist:    Sagittarius
Title:    The Truth Is Not Real
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Present Tense)
Writer:    Gary Usher
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    After the success of the first Sagittarius single, My World Fell Down, Gary Usher enlisted the aid of Curt Boettcher, who had been working on a studio project of his own called the Ballroom for another production company. Using many of the same studio musicians they created a follow-up single, The Truth Is Not Real. It's interesting to compare Usher's lyrics with those of In My Room, a Brian Wilson tune that Usher had provided lyrics for in 1965.