Thursday, March 23, 2017
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1712 (B13) (starts 3/22/17)
Due to some unusual circumstances both this week's and next week's shows are backup shows, recorded in 2015 but never aired. Enjoy!
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)
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, peaking at #36 in February.
Artist: Opus 1
Title: Back Seat '38 Dodge
Source: Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mustang)
Long Beach, California was home to Opus 1, who released the surf-tinged Back Seat '38 Dodge on L.A.'s Mustang label in 1966. The title refers to a controversial sculpture that suburbanites were talking about at the time.
Source: CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
The Who Sell Out was released just in time for Christmas 1967. It was a huge success in England, where Radio London was one of the few surviving pirate radio stations still broadcasting following the launch of BBC-1 earlier in the year. Incidentally, the inclusion of the various jingles on the album reportedly resulted in a flurry of lawsuits against the Who.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Source: 45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Four years after the release of the album Bookends (and two years after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel), Columbia decided to release the song For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, as a single, to coincide with the release of their Greatest Hits album. For the B side, they went even further back, pulling out the original tapes for the song America. The tracks on the Bookends album were deliberately overlapped to form a continuous audio montage, making this the first standalone version of America to be released.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Repent Walpurgis
Source: Similuated stereo LP: Procol Harum
Writer(s): Matthew Fisher
It is unusual to find a Procol Harum track that was not written by the songwriting team of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. In fact, on their self-title first LP there was only one. Repent Walpurgis is credited to organist Matthew Fisher, who also wrote the organ intro for the band's most popular recording, A Whiter Shade Of Pale (but had to go to court to get songwriting credit for it years later). Fisher later said that Repent Walpurgis was based on the works of French organist Charles-Marie Widor and German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Source: LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
It is not well-known (yet hardly a secret, either) that in early 1967, Country Joe McDonald and Janis Joplin had a live-in relationship. As might be expected given the strong personalities involved, the affair didn't last long, but apparently had a profound enough effect on McDonald that he wrote a song about it. That song, Janis, appears on the second Country Joe And The Fish LP, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die.
Title: Renaissance Fair
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
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: Bee Gees
Title: In My Own Time
Source: CD: Bee Gees 1st
Writer(s): Barry and Robin Gibb
Label: Reprise (original label: Atco)
The album Bee Gees 1st was actually the Gibb brothers' third LP. The first two, however, were only released in Australia and New Zealand (the Gibb family having emigrated to Australia from their native England several years before), and utilized studio musicians extensively. In 1966 Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, along with drummer Colin Petersen, relocated to London, where they added guitarist Vince Melouney (who had himself recently moved to England from Australia) to make the Bee Gees an actual band. They came to the attention of record impressario Robert Stigwood, whose Robert Stigwood Organization also managed Cream, the Who, the Small Faces and Jimi Hendrix. Bee Gees 1st was an international success, spawning no less than three major hit singles. My own favorite track on the album, however, is an obscure bit of pyschedelia called In My Own Time. The song features several starts and stops, as well as solid fuzz guitar work from Melouney and, of course, stellar harmony vocals from the Gibb brothers.
Title: Hole In My Shoe
Source: Mono CD: Mr. Fantasy (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
Since the 1970s Traffic has been known as Steve Winwood's (and to a lesser degree, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood's) band, but in the early days the group's most popular songs were written and sung by co-founder Dave Mason. Hole In My Shoe was a single that received considerable airplay in the UK. As was common practice in the UK at the time, the song was not included on the band's debut album. In the US, however, both Hole In My Shoe and the other then-current Traffic single, Paper Sun, were added to the album, replacing (ironically) a couple of Mason's other tunes.
Artist: Roy Orbison
Title: Oh, Pretty Woman
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Although the vast majority of Roy Orbison's hits were love ballads such as It's Over and Blue Bayou, his best-known song is the classic rocker Oh, Pretty Woman. The song managed to work its way to the top of both US and British charts during the height of the British Invasion. Orbison, in fact, was even more successful in the UK than in his native US, scoring two number hits on the British charts in 1964, the only American artist to do so.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Mindbender (Confusion's Prince)
Source: CD: Birth Of The Dead
On November 3, 1965, a young rock band known as the Warlocks recorded six songs for Autumn Records at Golden State Recorders. According to legend, it was discovered at the last minute that there was already a band called the Warlocks, so the sessions were recorded under the name The Emergency Crew. Not long after this recording date, the Warlocks officially changed their name to the Grateful Dead. Autumn Records chose not to issue any of these recordings, and most of the song, including Mindbender (Confusion's Prince) an early collaborative effort between Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, remained unreleased until 2001, when they were included in the massive twelve-CD box set The Golden Road (1965-1973). Two years later Rhino issued the first two discs of that set as a standalone called Birth Of The Dead.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Run Around
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
The first Jefferson Airplane album was dominated by the songwriting of the band's founder, Marty Balin, both as a solo writer and as a collaborator with other band members. Run Around, from Balin and rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner, is fairly typical of the early Jefferson Airplane sound.
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
While Beatlemania was sweeping the northern hemisphere, a similar phenomena known as Easyfever was all the rage down under. Formed in the migrant hostels on the edge of Sydney, the Easybeats signed with Parlophone in 1965, and hit the top of the Australian charts with their second single. From that point on, the Easybeats were the # 1 band in the country, cranking out hit after hit, including Sorry from 1966. Like all the band's early hits, Sorry was written by the team of vocalist Stevie Wright and guitarist George Young. Not long after the release of Sorry, the Easybeats would decide to relocate to England. At around the same time lead guitarist Harry Vanda replaced Wright as Young's primary writing partner; together they wrote the international smash Friday On My Mind. The Easybeats continued to record into the early 70s, but with only moderate success. Eventually Young returned to Australia, where he was instrumental in helping his younger brothers Angus and Malcolm find success with their own band, AC/DC.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: I Am Waiting
Source: British import LP: Aftermath
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Aftermath album was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. For one thing, it was their first album recorded entirely in the US, and at a much more leisurely pace than their previous albums. This afforded the band the opportunity to spend more time working on their arrangements before committing songs to tape. It also gave Brian Jones a chance to experiment with instruments not normally associated with rock and roll music, such as sitar, dulcimer, marimbas, and koto. Aftermath was also the first Rolling Stones album made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, including the semi-acoustical I Am Waiting.
Title: Sunshine Superman
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Up until the early 1970s there was an unwritten rule that stated that in order to get played on top 40 radio a song could be no more than three and a half minutes long. There were exceptions, of course, such as Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, but as a general rule the policy was strictly adhered to. Sometimes an artist would record a song that exceeded the limit but nonetheless was considered to have commercial potential. In cases like these the usual practice was for the record company (or sometimes the producer of the record) to create an edited version of the master recording for release as a single. Usually in these cases the original unedited version of the song would appear on an album. In the case of Donovan's Sunshine Superman, however, the mono single version was used for the album as well, possibly because the album itself was never issued in stereo. In fact, it wasn't until 1969 that the full-length original recording of Sunshine Superman was made available as a track on Donovan's first Greatest Hits collection. This was also the first time the song had appeared in stereo, having been newly mixed for that album. An even newer mix was made in 1998 and is included on a British anthology album called Psychedelia At Abbey Road. This version takes advantage of digital technology and has a slightly different sound than previous releases of the song.
Title: She Said She Said
Source: CD: Revolver
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the original Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." Both lines ended up being used in the song itself, which took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Ironically, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.
Artist: Albert Collins
Source: LP: Underground Gold (originally released on LP: Love Can Be Found Anywhere (Even In A Guitar))
Writer(s): Stephen Hollister
Label: Liberty (original label: Imperial)
Albert Collins was a Texas bluesman who had been recording for various Houston-based labels over a period of ten years when he was approached by the members of Canned Heat, who offered to help him secure a record deal with Imperial Records in 1968. Collins soon relocated to first Kansas City and then Palo Alto, California, where he recorded the album Love Can Be Found Anywhere (Even In A Guitar). The album's title was taken from a line used by Robert Hite in Canned Heat's Fried Hockey Boogie and included several strong tracks, including Pushin'. Hite also wrote liner notes for the album, which was released in November of 1968.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few numbers around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: A Bit Of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning
Source: LP: Black Sabbath
Label: Warner Brothers
According to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, the band's debut LP was recorded in one day, in a marathon 12-hour session, and mixed the following day. Most of the tracks, including the 14-minute long Warning, were done in one take with no overdubs. The tune itself is listed on the US album cover as three separate tracks, even though it is the same continuous piece that appeared on the original UK version of the album. The reason for this is probably so the band could get more in royalties for three compositions than they could for just one. The Grateful Dead did essentially the same thing on their 1968 album Anthem Of The Sun with the 18-minute long track That's It For The Other One. Both albums appeared in the US on the Warner Brothers label.
Title: Do It
Source: CD: The Soft Parade
Generally considered the weakest of the Doors' studio albums, The Soft Parade was recorded over a period of nine months, and, unlike other Doors albums, features horns and a string section. It was also the first Doors album to give individual writing credits, reportedly because vocalist Jim Morrison did not want his name associated with some of guitarist Robby Kreiger's lyrics. Nonetheless, the two of them did collaborate on one song, Do It, which is one of the better tracks from the album.
Artist: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Source: British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Writer(s): Arthur Brown
Label: Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
One of rock's first "theatrical" performers, Arthur Brown first began to get noticed in Paris, where he spent a year developing his stage show and unique vocal style with his band the Arthur Brown Set, which was formed in 1965. On his return to England he joined up with keyboardist Vincent Crane. By 1967 the Vincent Crane Combo had changed its name to The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and was becoming a major force on London's underground music scene. In late 1967 the band went to work on their self-titled debut LP, which was released in the UK on the Track label in June of 1968. Spurred by the success of the single Fire, the album was picked up for American distribution by Atlantic Records that same year. The people at Atlantic, however, felt that the drums were a bit off and insisted on adding horns and strings to cover the deficiency. The result can be heard on tracks like Prelude/Nightmare, which opens the album.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Hey Grandma
Source: LP: Moby Grape
One of the most talked-about albums to come from the San Francisco music scene in 1967 was Moby Grape's debut album. Unfortunately a lot of that talk was from Columbia Records itself, which resulted in the band getting a reputation for being overly hyped, much to the detriment of the band's future efforts. Still, that first album did have some outstanding tracks, including Hey Grandma, which opens side one of the LP.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Hey, Hey, What Can I Do
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
In their entire existence Led Zeppelin only issued one non-album track. Hey, Hey, What Can I Do was originally released as the B side of the Immigrant Song in 1970, and was not available in any other form until 1990, when it was included in the first Led Zeppelin box set. It has since been made available as a bonus track on the Led Zeppelin III CD.
Artist: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title: Long Time Gone
Source: CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s): David Crosby
In addition to showcasing some of the most popular bands of 1969, the Woodstock festival helped several relatively new acts attain stardom as well. Among these newer artists were Santana, Ten Years After and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The biggest Woodstock success story, however, was Crosby, Stills and Nash, who appearance at the event was only their second live performance. In addition to the group's live performance, the movie and soundtrack album of the event included the original studio recording of Long Time Gone from the debut Crosby, Stills and Nash LP.
Title: Magic Carpet Ride
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Label: Priority (original label: Dunhill)
Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 60s.
Title: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source: 45 RPM single B side
By 1967 the Yardbirds had moved far away from their blues roots and were on their fourth lead guitarist, studio whiz Jimmy Page. The band had recently picked up a new producer, Mickey Most, known mostly for his work with Herman's Hermits and the original Animals. Most had a tendency to concentrate solely on the band's single A sides, leaving Page an opportunity to develop his own songwriting and production skills on songs such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, a track that also shows signs of Page's innovative guitar style (including an instrumental break played with a violin bow) that would help define 70s rock.
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: Tried To Hide
Source: CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Label: Collectables (original label: International Artists)
The first known use of the word "psychedelic" in an album title was The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, released on the Houston-based International Artists label in August of 1966. The album itself is notable for its inclusion of electric jug (played by Tommy Hall), and for the band's only charted single, You're Gonna Miss Me. The B side of that single was Tried To Hide, written by Hall and guitarist Stacy Sutherland.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: The Flute Thing
Source: LP: Projections
Writer(s): Al Kooper
Label: Verve Forecast
The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet to this day remains one of the most obscure. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the group's first studio LP, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.