Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1722 (starts 5/31/17)

A little of this and a little of that this week, including a British set to get things started (and a British mini-set to finish things off), as well as a long San Francisco set in the second hour. As far as the rest of the show goes, read on...

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Sunny Afternoon
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    My family got its first real stereo (a GE console model with a reel-to-reel recorder instead of a turntable) just in time for me to catch the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon at the peak of its popularity. My school had just gone into split sessions and all my classes were over by one o'clock, which gave me the chance to explore the world of top 40 radio for a couple hours every day without the rest of the family telling me to turn it down (or off). Of course, none of the few stereo FM stations were playing rock songs in 1966, but since the Kinks were still only mixing their songs in mono at that point it didn't really matter.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Page/McCarty
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    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.

Artist:    Love Sculpture
Title:    In The Land Of The Few
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: Forms And Feelings)
Writer(s):    Edmunds/Findsilver/Ker
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    Dave Edmunds started off young. At age 10 the Cardiff, Wales native played in the Edmund Bros Duo (a piano duo) with his older brother Geoff. By the time Dave was 13 he and his brother had formed their own rock and roll band, with Dave on lead guitar and Geoff on rhythm. By the mid-1960s Dave Edmunds had switched to blues-rock, fronting a band called the Human Beans. It wasn't long before that group was pared down to a power trio consisting of Edmunds on guitar, John Williams on bass, and Congo Jones on drums calling itself Love Sculpture. The group released their first album, Blues Helping, in 1968, as well as a non-album single, Sabre Dance, that made the British top 10. The band's second, and final, album, Forms And Feelings, expanded beyond the electric blues of the first album to include harder to describe tracks like In The Land Of The Few. Not long after the album was released, Edmunds decided to go it as a solo artist, scoring a huge international hit with a remake of Smiley Lewis's I Hear You Knockin' in late 1970.

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

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Gomper
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco
Year:    1967
    Probably the most overtly psychedelic track ever recorded by the Rolling Stones, Gomper might best be described as a hippy love song with its references to nature, innocence and, of course, pyschedelic substances. Brian Jones makes one of his last significant contributions as a member of the band he founded, playing the dulcimer, as well as tablas, organ, pan flutes and various percussion instruments on the song.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Summer Is The Man
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Following up on their successful debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos released Electric Comic Book in March of 1967. Unfortunately the first single from the album had two equally strong songs, one of which was favored by the producers and the other by the band. Radio stations were unsure which song to push, and as a result, neither made the top 40, which in turn had a negative effect on album sales. Most of the remaining tracks on the album were written by the band members, including Summer Is The Man, a song with an interesting chord structure, a catchy melody and somewhat existential lyrics.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     No Face, No Name, No Number
Source:     Mono CD: Mr. Fantasy
Writer(s):     Winwood/Capaldi
Label:     Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:     1967
     When the first Best of Traffic album was issued in 1969 (after the group first disbanded) it included No Face, No Name, No Number, a non-hit album track. Later Traffic anthologies tended to focus on the group's post-reformation material and the song was out of print for many years until the first Traffic album was reissued on CD. The song itself is a good example of Winwood's softer material.

Artist:     Astronauts
Title:     Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Boyce/Venet
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1965
     The Astronauts were formed in the early 60s in Boulder, Colorado, and were one of the few surf bands to come from a landrocked state. They had a minor hit with an instrumental called Baja during the height of surf's popularity, but were never able to duplicate that success in the US, although they did have considerable success in Japan, even outselling the Beach Boys there. By 1965 they had started to move away from surf music, adding vocals and taking on more of a garage-punk sound. What caught my attention when I first ran across this promo single in a commercial radio station throwaway pile was the song's title. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, written by Tommy Boyce and producer Steve Venet, was featured on the Monkees TV show and was included on their 1966 debut album. This 1965 Astronauts version of the tune has a lot more attitude than the Monkees version. Surprisingly the song didn't hit the US charts, despite being released on the biggest record label in the world (at that time), RCA Victor.

Artist:    Magic Mushrooms
Title:    It's-A-Happening
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Casella/Rice
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1966
    It's not known whether or not the Magic Mushrooms heard any of the tracks from the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out when they recorded It's-A-Happening. Still, it's hard to imagine this bit of inspired weirdness being created in a vacuum. Besides this one single, nobody seems to have any knowledge whatsoever of the group known as the Magic Mushrooms, other than the fact that they hailed from Philadelphia, Pa.

Artist:    Fire
Title:    Father's Name Was Dad
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Lambert
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    As any fan of the Austin Powers movies can tell you, London in the mid-1960s was home to the Mods, a group (or movement) of young people distinguished by the colorful fashions they wore, most of which came from shops on Carnaby Street. The Mods had their own music as well, usually referred to as "freakbeat" or sometimes just "beat", although not all of the bands playing that kind of music identified with the Mods themselves. Most of the early beat bands were also in the first wave of the British invasion of the US; in fact the Beatles themselves (prior to the release of Rubber Soul) were usually considered the top beat band of all. By 1966, however, the US audience was already getting into other things (Motown, garage rock, Memphis soul and the beginnings of bubble gum). In Europe and the UK, however, beat bands were still on top, with newer groups like the Move, the Small Faces and the Who (in their pre-Tommy days) riding high on the charts. Among these newer beat groups was a trio called Friday's Chyld. After changing their name to Fire, they got a contract with the British Decca label and a publishing deal with the Beatles' Apple organization. After hearing a demo of Father's Name Was Dad, Paul McCartney made a few production suggestions and the group added backing vocals and double-tracked guitar for the final released version of the song. Although Father's Name Was Dad was not a hit, it did serve as the recording debut of lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Lambert, who would go on to have some success in the 70s as a founding member of a band called Strawbs.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1968
    Sporting the longest title of any Beatles recording, Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey is also one of the hardest-rocking late period Beatle tracks. There are two schools of thought concerning the subject matter of the lyrics. According to Lennon, the song is about himself and Yoko Ono, who was his constant companion during recording sessions for what would come to be known as the "White album". The other, more negative view, is that the one expressed by Paul McCartney that the Monkey was heroin, which both Lennon and Ono were getting into at the time. Since Lennon wrote the song, his version of things is the generally accepted one.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Long Gone Geek
Source:    LP: The Best Of Procol Harum (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    The last Procol Harum record to feature Matthew Fisher on organ was the 1969 single version of the title track of their third album, A Salty Dog. The B side of the record (which did not appear on the album) was a song called Long Gone Geek. The tune was co-written by Fisher, along with the band's regular writers Gary Brooker and Keith Reid.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Simulated stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK only on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 25 seconds or so from the original recording.

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     Somewhere They Can't Find Me
Source:     CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer:     Paul Simon
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
    Simon and Garfunkel's success as a folk-rock duo was actually due to the unauthorized actions of producer John Simon, who, after working on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album, got Dylan's band to add new tracks to the song Sound of Silence. The song had been recorded as an acoustic number for the album Wednesday Morning 3AM, which had, by 1966, been deleted from the Columbia catalog. The new version of the song was sent out to select radio stations, and got such positive response that it was released as a single, eventually making the top 10. Meanwhile, Paul Simon, who had since moved to London and recorded an album called the Paul Simon Songbook, found himself returning to the US and reuniting with Art Garfunkel. Armed with an array of quality studio musicians they set about making their first electric album, Sounds of Silence. The song Somewhere They Can't Find Me was one of the new songs recorded for that album. From a lyrical standpoint, the song is actually a reworking of the title track of Wednesday Morning 3AM. Musically, the song shows a strong influence from British folk guitarist Bert Jansch, whom Simon greatly admired.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Marrakesh Express
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    The first time I ever heard of Crosby, Stills And Nash was on Europe's powerhouse AM station Radio Luxembourg, which broadcast in an American-style top 40 format during the evening and into the early morning hours. As was common on top 40 stations, Radio Luxembourg had a "pick hit of the week", a newly-released song that the station's DJs felt was bound to be a big hit. One night in July of 1969 I tuned in and heard the premier of the station's latest pick hit: Marrakesh Express, by Crosby, Stills And Nash. Sure enough, the song climbed the British charts rather quickly, peaking at #17 (20 positions higher than in the US). The song itself was based on real events that Graham Nash experienced on a train ride in Morocco while still a member of the Hollies. Nash had been riding first class when he got bored and decided to check out what was happening in the other cars. He was so impressed by the sheer variety of what he saw (including ducks and chickens on the train itself) that he decided to write a song about it. The other members of the Hollies were not particularly impressed with the song, however, and its rejection was one of the factors that led to Nash leaving the band and moving to the US, where he hooked up with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Crosby and Stills liked the song, and it became the trio's first single.

Artist:      Turtles
Title:     Wanderin' Kind
Source:      Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:     1966
     White Whale Records, being a typical L.A. label, insisted on using professional songwriters for all the Turtles' A sides. The band was allowed to write its own material for the B sides, however. Here we have one written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, who would end up co-writing most of Flo & Eddie's material a few years later. That's OK, though, since Kaylan is Eddie (fellow Turtle Mark Volman is Flo).

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    My Mind
Source:    Simulated stereo British import CD: Before The Dream Faded
Writer(s):    Hill/Brown
Label:    Cherry Red
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1982
    The story of the legendary band the Misunderstood actually started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most of the bands at the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock and roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes, including the addition of lead vocalist Rick Brown. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, and Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were joined by a local guitarist, Tony Hill.  Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. In addition to that single, the band recorded a handful of outstanding tracks that remained unreleased until the 1980s. Among those unreleased tracks was a masterpiece called My Mind, written (as were most of the songs the band recorded in London) by Brown and Hill.  Problems having nothing to do with music soon derailed the Misunderstood, who soon found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Bummer In The Summer
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Perhaps the least known tune on Love's third LP, Forever Changes, Bummer In The Summer sounds at first like a throwback to the band's earlier work. A closer listen, however, reveals a thematic similarity with the rest of the critically-acclaimed album, which is generally considered to be the band's finest work.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Are You Happy
Source:    LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Besides the title track itself, probably the best known song on Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album is a Doug Ingle tune called Are You Happy. Opening with a distinctive drum pattern followed by a shouted "are you happy?", the song is one of the most upbeat tunes on the entire album, and was fittingly placed at the end of the LP's first side.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I Hate Everybody
Source:    LP: Second Winter
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The shortest track on Johnny Winter's Second Winter album, I Hate Everybody is a 50s-styled blues boogie that features Johnny's younger brother Edgar prominently on both organ and saxophone, supported by the rhythm section of Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums.

Artist:    Shadows of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (essentially substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist:     Doors
Title:     People Are Strange
Source:     LP: Strange Days (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     The Doors
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The first single from the second Doors album was People Are Strange. The song quickly dispelled any notion that the Doors might be one-hit wonders and helped establish the band as an international act as opposed to just another band from L.A. The album itself, Strange Days, was a turning point for Elektra Records as well, as it shifted the label's promotional efforts away from their original rock band, Love, to the Doors, who ironically had been recommended to the label by Love's leader, Arthur Lee.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Hoochie Coochie Man
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    A major driving force behind the renewed interest in the blues in the 1960s was the updating and re-recording of classic blues tunes by contempory rock musicians. This trend started in England, with bands like the Yardbirds and the Animals in the early part of the decade. By the end of the 60s a growing number of US bands were playing songs such as Hoochie Coochie Man, a tune originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954. Like Cream's Spoonful and Led Zeppelin's You Shook Me, Hoochie Coochie Man was written by Willie Dixon. The 1968 Steppenwolf version of the song slows the tempo down a touch from the original version and features exquisite sustained guitar work from Michael Monarch.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    St. Stephen
Source:    CD: Aoxomoxoa
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    One of the Grateful Dead's most recognizable tunes is St. Stephen. The song first appeared on the 1969 album Aoxomoxoa, and remained in the Grateful Dead stage repertoire for pretty much their entire existence.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    The Fool (live version)
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (bonus track originally released on CD: Unreleased Quicksilver: Lost Gold And Silver)
Writer(s):    Duncan/Freiberg
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: Collector's Choice)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2000
    There are differing opinions on just how serious legendary San Francisco singer/songwriter and general iconoclast Dino Valenti was being when, at a jam session with guitarist John Cippolina one night, he suggested that the two of them form a band. Since Valenti was busted for drugs the very next day (and ended up spending the next two years in jail), we'll never know for sure. Cippolina, however, was motivated enough to begin finding members for the new band, including bassist David Freiberg (later to join Starship) and drummer Skip Spence. When Marty Balin stole Spence away to join his own new band (Jefferson Airplane), he tried to make up for it by introducing Cippolina to vocalist/guitarist Gary Duncan and drummer Greg Elmore, whose own band, the Brogues, had recently disbanded. Taking the name Quicksilver Messenger Service (so named for all the member's astrological connections with the planet Mercury), the new band soon became a fixture on the San Francisco scene. Inspired by the Blues Project, Cippolina and Duncan quickly established a reputation for their dual guitar improvisational abilities. Unlike other San Francisco bands such as the Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service did not jump at their first offer from a major record label, preferring to hold out for the best deal. This meant their debut album did not come out until 1968, missing out on the initial buzz surrounding the summer of love. In one way this actually worked to the band's advantage, since by 1968 record companies were more willing to include lengthy improvisational tracks like The Fool, which took up the entire second side of the group's debut LP. 

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Changes
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Miller/Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    All of the members of Moby Grape were songwriters as well as performers. Most contributed songs individually, but one songwriting team did emerge early on. Guitarist Jerry Miller and drummer Don Stevenson formed a durable partnership that was responsible for many of the group's best tracks, including Changes from the band's 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders
Title:    Game Of Love
Source:    CD: Reelin' And Rockin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clint Ballard, Jr.
Label:    Happy Days (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1965
    The Mindbenders were formed in 1963 to backup British pop singer Wayne Fontana. The group scored their biggest hit in 1965 with Game Of Love, a song that went to the top of the US charts. Later that year Fontana parted company with the band, which continued on without him for several years, scoring another major hit, Groovy Kind Of Love, in 1966.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    You're On My Mind
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Burdon/Rowberry
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    I can't tell you with any certainty how the song You're On My Mind ended up being included on the second greatest hits collection from the Animals, but I do have a theory. The song first appeared on the UK album Animalisms, and then two months later on that album's nearest thing to a US counterpart, Animalization. It was one of only two songs on Animalisms credited to vocalist Eric Burdon and organist Dave Rowberry (most of the album being covers of various rhythm and blues songs). I suspect that when it came to compile a greatest hits album, it was decided that even a relatively weak original song would be a better choice than a cover song, so both of the Burdon/Rowberry tunes from Animalisms/Animalization were included. Besides, including You're On My Mind on the album meant more royalties for Burdon and Rowberry, always a consideration in the 1960s.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1722 (starts 5/31/17)

Going deep this time, although from the first track you wouldn't think so. Then again, Smoke On The Water had never been played on either Rockin' in the Days of Confusion or Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before this week, so I guess it kinda qualifies.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smoke On The Water
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Based on what is quite possibly the most recognizable riff in the history of rock, Smoke On The Water was released in December of 1972 on Deep Purple's Machine Head album. The song became a huge hit the following year when a live version of the tune appeared on the album Made In Japan. For the single release, Warner Brothers chose to pair up edited versions of both the live and studio renditions of the tune on either side of a 45 RPM record. 

Artist:    Taste
Title:    Sinner Boy   
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Live At The Isle Of Wight)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1971
    Taste was basically Rory Gallagher's band. First formed in Cork, Ireland, in1966, the group's most popular lineup came together in 1968, when Gallagher was joined by bassist Charlie McCraken and drummer John Wilson. The band soon signed to Polydor, releasing their debut album that same year. A sign of their popularity was when they played the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 and earned no less than five(!) encores. Creative differences took their toll, however, and Taste disbanded on New Year's Eve, 1970. Their appearance at Isle of Wight had been recorded, though, and the album Live At The Isle Of Wight appeared on the racks in 1971. A listen to Sinner Boy from that album demonstrates just why they managed to get five encores. Gallagher would go on to a successful solo career.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    The Width Of A Circle
Source:    CD: The Man Who Sold The World
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    David Bowie had a gift for reinventing himself pretty much right from the start. His earliest albums were largely acoustic in nature, with Space Oddity being about as close to rock as he got. Then came The Man Who Sold The World, which included songs like The Width Of A Circle, a progressive rock piece that borders on heavy metal. The piece had actually been part of Bowie's stage repertoire for several months before recording sessions for the album began, but in a shorter form. For the LP, the piece was expanded to eight minutes in length, with Mick Ronson's lead guitar taking a prominent place in the music. The second half of the piece had somewhat controversial lyrics, describing a sexual encounter with a supernatural being in the depths of Hell. For reasons that are not entirely clear, The Man Who Sold The World was released five months earlier in the US than in the UK.

Artist:    Peter Gabriel
Title:    Moribund The Burgermeister
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (taken from LP: Peter Gabriel)
Writer(s):    Peter Gabriel
Label:    Atco
Year:    1977
    After leaving Genesis, vocalist Peter Gabriel enlisted producer Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, to co-produce his self-titled debut. Ezrin assembled a talented group of musicians for the LP, including guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson, bass player Tony Levin (who would eventually be a member of the 1980s version of King Crimson), drummer Allan Schwartzberg, percussionist Jimmy Maelen, guitarist Steve Hunter, keyboardist Jozef Chirowski and Larry Fast on synthesizers and programming. Gabriel relied heavily on Ezrin to handle the harder rocking aspects of the music (in Gabriel's words "the American" parts), while Gabriel handled the softer passages, much as he had done as a member of Genesis. Both aspects can be heard on Moribund The Burgermeister, the song that was chosen to be the B side of the album's lead single, Solisbury Hill.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Mechanical World
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Andes/Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    In 1967 the members of Spirit all lived in a large house in Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there, bassist Mark Andes came down with a bad case of the flu and was confined to his room for several weeks. During this time Andes was, according to guitarist Randy California, feeling "very depressed and mechanical". Toward the end of Andes's forced isolation, vocalist Jay Ferguson visited him often, and the two of them collaborated on what would become Mechanical World, one of the most sophisticated and complex tracks on Spirit's 1968 debut LP. The song was also included on the band's first "best of" collection a few years later.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Can You Do It
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Street/Gordy
Label:    MCA
Year:    1976
    By 1976 Grand Funk Railroad had pretty much been derailed. In the early 1970s they made a deliberate move away from their almost garage-rock sound in favor of tightly produced singles, but by the middle of the decade the singles market had moved toward a sound that was too light for a band like Grand Funk. In fact, the band had already broken up when they got a call from Frank Zappa expressing his desire to produce the band. The band reassembled for their 11th LP, Good Singin', Good Playin', which was released in 1976. The lead single from the album was an obscure Motown cover called Can You Do It that failed to chart. The album itself was, compared to the band's earlier albums, a commercial failure that peaked outside of the top 50 on the Billboard 200. Discouraged, the group once again disbanded, this time permanently.

Artist:    Roy Buchanon
Title:    Roy's Bluz
Source:    CD: The Best Of Roy Buchanon (originally released on LP: That's What I Am Here For)
Writer(s):    Roy Buchanon
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1973
    Some musicians are highly respected among their peers, but are relatively unknown by the public at large. A perfect example of this is "the guitarist's guitarist" Roy Buchanon. Born in 1939 in Ozark, Alabama and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley, Buchanon was discovered by Dale Hawkins (Suzie Q), while he was still in his teens. Three years later, in 1961, Buchanon joined up with Hawkins' cousin Ronnie "The Hawk" Hawkins, working with a young Robbie Robertson, who later cited Buchanon as one of his biggest influences. Buchanon soon left the Hawks to get married and live in the Washington, DC area for the remainder of the 1960s, playing various local clubs. By the early 70s his fame had spread among the musicians' crowd, with Eric Clapton calling him the best he'd ever heard. In 1972 Buchanon signed with Polydor Records, releasing five albums on the label from 1972-75. Among the best tracks he recorded during this time was Roy's Bluz, using his trademark 1953 Fender Telecaster on a song he composed himself.

Artist:    Little Feat
Title:    Roll Um Easy
Source:    CD: Dixie Chicken
Writer(s):    Lowell George
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    One of the most critically-acclaimed albums in rock history was Little Feat's breakthrough LP, Dixie Chicken. Released in 1973, the album established the band's sound, combining Southern California rock with New Orleans style Rhythm and Blues. The driving force behind the band was singer/songwriter/guitarist Lowell George, who had already established himself with the legendary L.A. underground band the Factory in the mid-60s, and as a member of the Mothers Of Invention, as well as serving as producer for the GTO's Permanent Damage album on Frank Zappa's Straight Records label. George continued to do session work for John Cale, Jackson Browne, Harry Nilsson, and John Sebastian, among others, while maintaining his career with Little Feat until his death in 1979.

Artist:    Bonnie Raitt
Title:    I Thought I Was A Child
Source:    LP: Takin' My Time
Writer(s):    Jackson Browne
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Generally considered to be one of her strongest efforts, Bonnie Raitt's 1973 LP, Takin' My Time, is one of Raitt's personal favorites as well. Raitt, who plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, background vocals, handclapping, and bottleneck guitar, is joined by a wide array of talented musicians, including Lowell George, Taj Mahal and Jim Keltner on the album. Among the strongest tracks on the album is Raitt's version of  I Thought I Was A Child, a tune written by Jackson Browne, whose own career was just starting to take off at around that time.

Artist:    Matthews' Southern Comfort
Title:    Woodstock
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Decca
Year:    1971
    Some people prefer the original Joni Mitchell version of Woodstock, while others favor Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's harder rocking version. My own favorite is the one released by Matthews' Southern Comfort in March of 1970. The record almost didn't get released as a single at all. The band's British label, MCA, only agreed to do so when it became apparent that the CSN&Y version was going nowhere on the British charts. The Matthews's Southern Comfort version of Woodstock went to the top of the British charts, despite a lack of promotional support from the label. In November the song was released in the US, eventually making it to the #23 spot in early 1971. By that time, however, the band itself had split up, mainly due to bandleader Ian Matthews' inability to cope with the trappings of having a #1 hit single. Matthews had been a founding member of Fairport Convention, but had left the group in 1969 to concentrate on his songwriting and establishing himself as a solo artist. His first solo album was named Matthews' Southern Comfort, a name he used for the band he formed to record two more albums, Second Spring and Later That Same Year. Woodstock was originally slated to appear on Later That Same Year, but was instead issued separately as a single, a common practice in the UK.

Artist:    Seatrain
Title:    Despair Tire
Source:    British import CD: The Marblehead Messenger
Writer(s):    Greene/Kulberg/Roberts
Label:    BGO (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1971
    Al Kooper, then Steve Katz and Danny Kalb all left the Blues Project in 1967. By all rights that should have been the end of the story, but the remaining original members Roy Blumenfeld and Andy Kulberg decided to stay together and form a new band, Seatrain. After one album for A&M (entitled Sea Train), the group underwent personnel changes that left only Kulberg (on bass and flute) from the original Blues Project lineup, along with violinist Richard Greene, guitarist/vocalist Peter Rowan, keyboardist/vocalist Lloyd Baskin and drummer Larry Atamanuik. Additionally, dedicated lyricist Jim Roberts provided background vocals for the band's next two albums, Seatrain and The Marblehead Messenger. The band's sound was unique. Perhaps it was too unique. Take a listen to Despair Tire, the final track from The Marblehead Messenger. Now try to describe the track. See what I mean?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era #1721 (starts 5/24/17)

Beatles! Stones! More Beatles! More Stones! Even more Beatles! Even more Stones! Yeah, there's actually a whole lot of other stuff, too, including a Doors set and, believe it or not, the 1910 Fruitgum Company!

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

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

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Mandrake Root
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans/Lord
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple was formed in early 1968 by former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, who recruited organist Jon Lord and guitarist Richie Blackmore, then left to go do something else. Blackmore and Lord added bassist Nick Simper and drummer Ian Paice, as well as frontman Rod Evans, to complete the band's first lineup. The group's debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was recorded in three days in May of 1968. One of the four original compositions on the album was a song called Mandrake Root, which was also the name of the band that Blackmore had been trying to put together in Germany before hooking up with Deep Purple. The song started off as an instrumental, but Evans added lyrics to the tune during rehearsals just prior to the band going into the studio to record.
Artist:     Eire Apparent with Jimi Hendrix
Title:     The Clown
Source:     Swedish import CD: Sunrise
Writer(s):     Chris Stewart
Label:     Flawed Gems (original US label: Buddah)
Year:     1969
     Eire Apparent was a band from Northern Ireland that got the attention of Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals in late 1967. Chandler had been managing Jimi Hendrix since he had discovered him playing in a club in New York a year before, bringing him back to England and introducing him to Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, who along with Hendrix would become the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite Eire Apparent having almost no recording experience, Chandler put them on the bill as the opening act for the touring Experience. This led to Hendrix producing the band's first and only album, Sunrise, in 1968, playing on at least three tracks, including The Clown.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Soul Kitchen
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Every time I hear the opening notes of the Doors' Soul Kitchen, from their first album, I think it's When The Music's Over, from their second LP. I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Twentieth Century Fox
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    There's no getting around it: there are no bad songs on the first two Doors albums. Pick one at random, say Twentieth Century Fox. Great song. They all are.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Just Wan't To Make Love To You
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    London
Year:    1964
    Like most British bands in the early 60s, the Rolling Stones recorded a lot of blues cover songs, including most of their early UK singles. The first original tune from the band to chart was Tell Me (Your Coming Back Again), which was also their first  release to crack the US top 40. The Stones weren't quite done with blues covers however. The flip side of Tell Me was an old Willie Dixon classic, I Just Want To Make Love To You.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Don't Want To Spoil The Party
Source:    CD: Beatles For Sale (released in US on LP: Beatles VI)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    UK: 1964, US: 1965
    As early as 1964 the Beatles were starting to incorporate acoustic guitars into their music to supplement their basic electric sound. One example of this is I Don't Want To Spoil The Party from their LP Beatles For Sale. In the US the song appeared on the 1965 LP Beatles VI.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Last Time
Source:    Out Of Our Heads
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
     Released in late winter of 1965, The Last Time was the first single to hit the top 10 in both the US and the UK (being their third consecutive #1 hit in England) and the first one written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Despite that, it would be overshadowed by their next release: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which went to the top of the charts everywhere and ended up being the #1 song of 1965.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Wait
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The oldest song on the Rubber Soul album, Wait was originally recorded for the Help album, but did not make the final cut. Six months later, when the band was putting the finishing touches on Rubber Soul, they realized they would not be able to come up with enough new material in time for a Christmas release, so they added some overdubs to Wait and included it on the new album. The song itself was a collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the two sharing vocals throughout the tune.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Please Go Home
Source:    CD: Flowers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    It was common practice in the 1960s for American record labels to change the track lineup on British albums before releasing them in the US. There were several reasons for this, including the fact that British albums generally had longer running times than American ones, and seldom included tracks that had been issued as singles. Since albums in the US almost always did include hit singles (to help spur album sales), this meant that several songs from the original UK versions of LPs did not appear on the US version. In many cases those tracks, combined with other unreleased songs such as those that had appeared on EPs (a format not supported by American record buyers) would eventually appear on albums that were only released in the US. One such album was the Rolling Stones' Flowers LP, which appeared in 1967 a few months after the release of Between The Buttons. One of the tracks on Flowers that had appeared on the British version of Between The Buttons was Please Go Home, a Bo Diddly styled rocker with a few psychedelic touches added. The track also features an oscillator, played by Brian Jones.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Think For Yourself
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer:    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing two songs per Beatle album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Do You Believe In Magic
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1965
    Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    It's No Secret
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1966
     Released in March of 1966, It's No Secret was an instant hit on San Francisco Bay area radio stations. This version differs from the album version released six months later in that it has a fade out ending and is thus a few seconds shorter. The song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She's My Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    A favorite among the Turtles' members themselves, She's My Girl is full of hidden studio tricks that are barely (if at all) audible on the final recording. Written by the same team as Happy Together, the song is a worthy follow up to that monster hit.

Artist:        Randy Newman
Title:        Last Night I Had A Dream
Source:      Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Randy Newman
Label:        Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:        1968
        Randy Newman has, over the course of the past fifty-plus years, established himself as a Great American Writer of Songs. His work includes dozens of hit singles (over half of which were performed by other artists), nearly two dozen movie scores and eleven albums as a solo artist. Newman has won five Grammys, as well as two Oscars and Three Emmys. Last Night I Had A Dream was Newman's second single for the Reprise label  (his third overall), coming out the same year as his first LP, which did not include the song.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    In The Time Of Our Lives
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Ingle/Bushy
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    The lead track on Ball, Iron Butterfly's highly-anticipated 1969 follow-up LP to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was In The Time Of Our Lives. It was also chosen to be released as a single. Although some labels were starting to issue stereo 45s, Atco was not one of them, and In The Time Of Our Lives became one of only two songs from Ball with an alternate monoraul mix (the other being the B side of the single, It Must Be Love).

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source:    LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy is perhaps recognizable from a TV commercial from a few years back (don't ask me who the ad was for, as I tend to ignore such things). The song was originally the opening track from the 1965 album Kinda Kinks, which, like most British albums of the time, had a different song lineup on its US release than the original UK version. In this case, it also had entirely different cover art, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Laughing Stock
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1968
    The last record by the classic Love lineup was a single released in June of 1968. While Your Mind And We Belong Together is one of the band's most overlooked and underrated tracks, the B side of that single comes across as a sardonic epitaph for the group, with it's intro reminiscent of one of their best tunes, Alone Again Or and sly references to their first hit, My Little Red Book. Lee would soon fire the entire band, reemerging with an entirely new lineup the following year, but he was never able to duplicate the magic of the original Love.
Artist:      Them
Title:     Black Widow Spider
Source:      CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Tower)
Year:     1968
     Usually when a band used outside songwriters it's because their producer forced them into it, and almost always was a sore point with the band members. The liner notes for Them's second album for Tower, on the other hand, included a thank you note from the band to Tom Lane and Sharon Pulley, who wrote nearly every song on Time Out! Time In! For Them.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    I Got A Line On You
Source:    European import CD: Pure....Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Family That Plays Together)
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Although not an instant hit by any measure, I Got A Line On You, from Spirit's second album, The Family That Plays Together, has proven to be the band's most popular song. Released in October of 1968, the song lingered below the top 100 for several weeks before college radio stations began playing it in late November. The tune finally peaked at #25 on March 15, 1969.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Stealin'
Source:    Mono CD: Birth Of The Dead (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gus Cannon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Scorpio)
Year:    1966
    The first Grateful Dead record was actually a limited edition single on San Francisco's Scorpio label, released in 1966. The band had already cut a few tracks in 1965 when they were still known as the Warlocks, but none of those had been released. Both sides of the Scorpio single were cover songs featuring Jerry Garcia on vocals. The A side was a Gus Cannon tune called Stealin', which is a fairly good indication of what the band was doing in 1966 (before seeing the Blues Project perform at the Fillmore inspired them to develop their own improvisational skills).

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    House Of Jansch
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    One of the most respected names in British folk music during the 1960s was Bert Jansch. House Of Jansch, from the Mellow Yellow album, was Donovan's way of acknowledging Jansch's influence on his own music.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Politician
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown are best known for providing Cream with its more psychedelic songs such as White Room and Swlabr, they did occasionally come up with bluesier numbers such as Politician from the Wheels Of Fire album. The song quickly became a staple of Cream's live performances.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    One Good Man
Source:    LP: I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Janis Joplin's first solo album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama, got a lukewarm reception, both from the rock press and from fans of the singer who had been listening to her since her days with Big Brother And The Holding Company. The main problem seems to be that, while musically more proficient than the members of Big Brother, Joplin's new group (sometimes called the Kozmic Blues Band) never seemed to gel as a group. The fact that all but two of the tracks on the LP were cover songs didn't help matters, either. The two Joplin originals, however, are among the album's best tracks. I suspect that a few more tracks like One Good Man and a few fewer tracks like the cover of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody would have helped the album immensely.

Title:    Somethin' Goin' On
Source:    LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    After leaving the Blues Project just prior to the band's appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival, Al Kooper volunteered his services to the festival promoters as part of the stage crew and hastily put together a band of his own to make a one-off appearance at the festival itself. Following that, Kooper returned to New York to do studio work, becoming a staff producer at Columbia Records. While there, he conceived the idea of combining rock and jazz in a new band to be called Blood, Sweat & Tears. The group's first LP, Child Is Father To The Man, featured Kooper on both keyboards and vocals on several new tunes, most of which were written by Kooper himself. Among these new tunes was Somethin' Goin' On, a powerful blues-based piece that helped establish the new group's distinct sound. Kooper would leave BS&T following the release of Child Is Father To The Man. The band itself would go on to even greater success with the addition of vocalist David Clayton Thomas, while Kooper would soon embark on what is considered by many to be the greatest jam album of all time: Super Session.

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

Artist:    Family
Title:    Peace Of Mind/Voyage/The Breeze
Source:    British import CD: Music In A Doll's House
Writer(s):    Whitney/Chapman
Label:    See For Miles (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    One of the most original and musically accomplished bands to appear on the late 60s British music scene, Family got its name from the Zelig-like Kim Fowley, who spent much of the decade flittering back and forth between London and Los Angeles. Fowley saw the band performing in their stage attire of matching double-breasted suits and remarked how they resembled a Mafia crime family. Musically, Family was unique in several ways, including the fact that their bass player, Rick Grech, also played violin. Lead vocalist Roger Chapman had one of the most unusual voices on the scene as well. Finally, the band's material was far more sophisticated than that of most of their contemporaries (Pink Floyd being a notable exception), predating the progressive rock movement by at least a year. Some of the tracks on their first album, Music In A Doll's House, drew comparisons to Traffic. This was probably inevitable, since both groups were produced by Jimmy Miller, with Traffic's Dave Mason serving as co-producer on two tracks, Peace Of Mind and The Breeze on Music In A Doll's House. Family's fortunes took a downward turn in 1969, however, when Grech left the group to become a member of Blind Faith.

Artist:    1910 Fruitgum Company
Title:    In The Beginning/The Thing
Source:    LP: Hard Ride
Writer(s):    Soriano/Christopher/Gomez/Casazza/Roth/Cohen/Gutkowski/Gutkowski
Label:    Buddah
Year:    1969
    When it comes to the subject of bubble gum rock, the first name that comes to mind is the 1910 Fruitgum Company. With songs like Simon Says and 1,2,3 Red Light, they were as big a name as any in genre, which by 1969 had become yesterday's news. In an effort to change with the times the band released the album Hard Road that year. As can be heard on the combined tracks In The Beginning (a bunch of spacy feedback credited to the band itself) and The Thing (a faux R&B instrumental), they really never stood a chance of being taken seriously.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1721 (starts 5/24/17)

No matter how you look at it, this week's show is dominated by one track: Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (or more specifically, side one of Tubular Bells), one continuous 25 minute plus piece of music. The other nine songs ain't too shabby either.

Artist:    Cactus
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    CD: Cactus
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Wounded Bird (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    I know of at least three versions of Mose Allison's Parchman Farm that came out in the years 1968-70. The first was the feedback-laden Blue Cheer version from their Vincebus Eruptum LP. Next was the jazzy Blues Image version from their 1970 LP Open. By far the most energetic, though, was the frenetically-paced version that opened the first (and best) Cactus album. Although the best-known members of Cactus were bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, it was former Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim McCarty that steals the show on this three-minute track. Vocals on the song were provided by former Amboy Dukes member Rusty Day.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Gallows Pole
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Traditional, arr. Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Following a year of intensive touring to promote their first two albums, Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page decided to take some time off, cloistering themselves in a small Welsh cottage known as Bron-Yr-Aur for several weeks. The place had no electricity, and the pair used the time to write and/or adapt acoustic material for the band to record for their third LP. One of the best of these "new" songs was Gallows Pole, which Page adapted from a 1962 recording by Fred Gerlach, although the song's roots go back several centuries.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Find The Cost Of Freedom
Source:    CD: Carry On (promo excerpt disc) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    One of the most celebrated songs in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young catalog is Neil Young's Ohio. Written in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, the song was quickly recorded and rush released in 1971. Often overlooked, however, is the powerful B side of the single. Find The Cost Of Freedom is a simple song by Stephen Stills, consisting of a guitar intro followed by a two-line verse, with the entire sequence repeated. Although both songs were included on the 1971 live album 4-Way Street, the studio versions remained available only on monoraul 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits collection, So Far, was released in 1974. Since 45s in the US generally went out of print within six months of their release, Ohio/Find The Cost Of Freedom was considered a collector's item for several years.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Come Together
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Johnny Winter And)
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    Athough best known as a solo Rick Derringer hit, Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo was originally recorded in 1970 by Johnny Winter for the album Johnny Winter And when Derringer was a member of Winter's band (also known as Johnny Winter And at that time). As can be heard here the arrangement on the earlier version is nearly identical to the hit version, the main differences being Winter's lead vocals and the presence of two lead guitarists in the band.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Driving Song
Source:    Lebanese import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the presence of "underground" FM radio stations in most major US cities playing what would come to be called album rock was making it possible for an artist to be considered successful without having the benefit of a top 40 hit record. This was not the case in the UK, where top 40 itself was considered an underground format heard on illegal AM pirate stations broadcasting from offshore transmitters. This meant that British bands such as Jethro Tull were continuing to put out singles that were either only available as album cuts or not released at all in the US. Driving Song was originally released as the B side of Living In the Past in 1969; neither song appeared in the US until the Living In the Past LP was released in 1973.

Artist:    Stealer's Wheel
Title:    Next To Me
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Egan/Rafferty
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Stealer's Wheel was a Scottish folk-rock band co-led by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. They had one huge hit with Stuck In The Middle With You, from their 1972 debut LP. Also from that LP was a song called Next To Me, which was also released as a B side in 1973. Although Egan was the more prolific songwriter of the group, it was Rafferty that went on the greater fame as a solo artist with his late-70s hit Baker Street.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    The Way Love Used To Be
Source:    French import 33 1/3 RPM 7" EP from the soundtrack of the film Percy
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    BMG
Year:    1971
    Although their record sales were a bit down in the early 1970s the Kinks were still able to stay gainfully employed by providing soundtracks for various British movies, including a comedy called Percy that came out in 1971. Songs from that film were released in the UK and Europe as a 7" Extended Play record, a format that was not commonly used in the US at that time. Recently a French import version of that EP appeared as part of the annual Record Store Day promotion. The EP includes The Way Love Used To Be, a song that was previously available in the US on a 1973 release called The Great Lost Kinks Album.

Artist:    Mike Oldfield
Title:    Tubular Bells
Source:    LP: Tubular Bells
Writer(s):    Mike Oldfield
Label:    Virgin
Year:    1973
    So you probably immediately recognize this piece as the theme from The Exorcist. But have you ever heard the entire album-length version of the piece, entitled Tubular Bells? Well, you're hearing the first half of it now. A bit of trivia: Tubular Bells was the first album ever released by Virgin Records. Several sequels have been recorded in the years since the album's original 1973 release, including Tubular Bells II and III and The Millenium Bell (released in 1999).

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    Bits And Pieces
Source:    LP: While You're Down There
Writer(s):    Timmy Dulane
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1974
    Originally called Aphrodite, Stray Dog started off in Texas, but soon migrated to Denver, Colorado, where they soon became one of the area's most popular bands. A move to London in 1973 led to the band signing with Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Manticore label in 1973. A change in personnel brought guitarist/vocalist Timmy Dulane into the band. Dulane ended up writing most of the material for the band's second LP, While You're Down There, including Bits And Pieces. Stray Dog split up in 1976.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1720 (starts 5/17/17)

This one is pretty much year to year, with an overview to get things started, then mostly single-year sets the rest of the way.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Gazing
Source:    LP: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    L.A's Sunset Strip blossomed as a hangout for teenaged baby boomers in the mid-1960s, with clubs like Ciro's and the Whisky-A-Go-Go pulling in capacity crowds on a regular basis. These clubs had learned early on that the best way to draw a crowd was to hire a live band, which gave rise to a thriving local music scene. Among the many bands playing the strip, perhaps the most popular was Love, the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. Led by multi-instrumentalist Arthur Lee and boasting not one, but two songwriters (Lee and guitarist Bryan MacLean), Love made history in 1966 by being the first rock band signed to Elektra Records. Lee, a recent convert to the then-popular folk-rock style popularized by the Byrds (for whom MacLean had been a roadie) had come from an R&B background and counted a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix among his musician friends. Songs like Gazing, from Love's debut LP, gave an early indication that Lee, even while writing in the folk-rock idiom, had a powerful musical vision that was all his own.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    There She Goes
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Theilhelm/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    You have to give the Blues Magoos credit for persistence. After their double A sided single from the album Electric Comic Book bombed (possibly due to confusion among radio programmers over which side of the record to play), the group went back into the studio and turned out three more singles before getting to work on their next LP, Basic Blues Magoos. The second of these three, There She Goes, was released in November of 1967 and, at least to my ears, sounds like it is trying just a bit too hard to be a top 40 hit. Maybe it was because everyone was saying that psychedelic music had already peaked (a premature pronouncement, in my opinion), or maybe it was just the general direction the top 40 was heading in as 1968 approached, but There She Goes has a bit of a bubblegum feel to it, compared to the band's earlier (and later) work.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    As You Said
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
     Cream started off as a British blues supergroup, but soon found themselves putting out some of the finest psychedelic tunes east of the Atlantic. Much of the credit for this goes to the songwriting team of bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown was originally brought in as a songwriting partner for Ginger Baker, but soon found a better synergy with Bruce. The two went on to write some of Cream's most memorable songs, including Tales of Brave Ulysses, Deserted Cities of the Heart and White Room. As You Said, from Cream's third LP, Wheel's Of Fire, is somewhat unusual in that it features acoustical instruments exclusively (including Ginger Baker setting aside his drumsticks in favor of brushes).

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (UK)
Title:    Faintly Blowing
Source:    British import CD: Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 (originally released in UK on LP: Faintly Blowing)
Writer(s):    Daltrey/Pumer
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1969
    Kaleidoscope was one of those bands that were victims of their own bad timing. In this particular case it was being a pyschedelically-tinged soft rock band at a time when rock in general was taking a turn for the harder and moving away from psychedelia. Although their label, Fontana, had enough confidence in the band to finance two LPs and a number of singles, the group was never able to achieve commercial success. In retrospect, tracks like Faintly Blowing, the title track of their second album, would have had a much better chance had they been released during the Summer of Love rather than 18 months later.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Good Vibrations
Source:    Mono CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Although I had originally discovered top 40 radio in 1963 (when I had received a small Sony transistor radio for my birthday), it wasn't until 1966 that I really got into it in a big way. This way due to a combination of a couple of things: first, my dad bought a console stereo, and second, my junior high school went onto split sessions, meaning that I was home by one o'clock every day. This gave me unprecedented access to Denver's two big top 40 AM stations, as well as an FM station that was experimenting with a Top 100 format for a few hours each day. At first I was content to just listen to the music, but soon realized that the DJs were making a point of mentioning each song's chart position just about every time that song would play. Naturally I began writing all this stuff down in my notebook (when I was supposed to be doing my homework), until I realized that both KIMN and KBTR actually published weekly charts, which I began to diligently hunt down at various local stores. In addition to the songs occupying numbered positions on the charts, both stations included songs at the bottom of the list that they called "pick hits". These were new releases that had not been around long enough to achieve a chart position. The one that most stands out in my memory was the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, a song I liked so much that I went out and bought it the afternoon I heard it. Within a few weeks Good Vibrations had gone all the way to the top of the charts, and I always felt that some of the credit should go to me for buying the record when it first came out. Over the next couple of years I bought plenty more singles, but to this day Good Vibrations stands out as the most important record purchase I ever made (at least in my own mind).

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Time Won't Let Me
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    King/Kelly
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    One of Cleveland's most popular local bands was a group called Tom King And The Starfires.  Formed in 1959, the band had a series of regional instrumental hits in the early 1960s before adding lead vocalist Sonny Gerachi in 1965 and changing their name to the Outsiders. King, energized by the change, took the band into Cleveland Recording Company's studios to cut demos of the band, which he then shopped around to various national record labels. The group signed a contract with Capitol Records, releasing their first single, Time Won't Let Me, in January of 1966. The song ended up being the band's biggest hit, although it was not their last charted single by any means. Starfires drummer Jimmy Fox, who had temporarily left the group at the time Time Won't Let Me was recorded, returned in time to appear on several of the band's later singles, and would later go on to form his own band, the James Gang, with guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Tom Kriss. Vocalist Sonny Geracci eventually left the Outsiders as well, reappearing a few years later with a band called Climax singing a song called Precious and Few, which is one of the greatest juxtapositions of artist names and song titles ever. King would continue to release records under the Outsiders name using various lineups until 1972 or so. 

Artist:    Zakary Thaks
Title:    Bad Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gerniottis/Stinson/Moore/Gregory/Lopez
Label:    Rhino (originally labels: J-Beck and Mercury)
Year:    1966
    Carl Becker, owner of the J-Beck and Cee Bee record labels in Corpus Christie, Texas, discovered the Zakary Thaks blowing away the competition in early 1966 at a battle of the bands at a local hangout known as the Carousel Club. At the time the lead vocalist, Chris Gerniottis, was all of fifteen years old; in fact, the oldest member of the band was only seventeen. Becker took the band into the studio in nearby McAllen to cut a pair of sides for J-Beck: a hot cover of the Kinks' I Need You and the Thaks' own composition, Bad Girl. Bad Girl became a big enough hit around South Texas to get picked up by Mercury for national distribution, becoming the first of half a dozen singles for the band.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Cross My Heart
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs (originally released on LP: Pleasures Of The Harbor)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    When it comes to 60s singer/songwriters associated with folk music, the two names that come to mind are Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. Both were known for being socially conscious, although Dylan was generally considered to be a bit more on the angry side, while Ochs was more introspective. After Ochs signed with A&M Records in 1967 his music became increasingly darker and more complex musically, moving in an entirely different direction than Dylan. Whereas Dylan incorporated blues-based rock into his late 60s recordings, Ochs experimented more with jazz and classical elements, such as the harpsichord heard on Cross My Heart, from his first (and most popular) A&M album, Pleasures Of The Harbor. As time went on, Ochs's music reflected the artist's growing despair over what was going on in the world. Eventually Ochs's recorded output would decrease almost to nothing as his emotional state deteriorated. On April 6th, 1976, Ochs hanged himself at his sister's house in Far Rockaway, NY at age 35.
Artist:     Merry-Go-Round
Title:     Live
Source:     More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Emitt Rhodes
Label:     Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:     1967
     While San Francisco was basking in the Summer of Love, radio listeners in L.A. were exhorted to Live by local favorites the Merry-Go-Round. 16-year-old drummer Emitt Rhodes had already established himself with the Palace Guard, but took center stage with the Merry-Go-Round. He would later go on to have a moderately successful solo career in the early 70s.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Let's Live For Today
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Julian/Mogull/Shapiro
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1967
    This well-known 1967 hit by the Grass Roots started off as a song by the Italian band the Rokes, Piangi Con Mi, released in 1966. The Rokes themselves were originally from Manchester, England, but had relocated to Italy in 1963. Piangi Con Mi was their biggest hit to date, and it the band decided to re-record the tune in English for release in Britain (ironic, considering that the band originally specialized in translating popular US and UK hits into the Italian language). The original translation didn't sit right with the band's UK label, so a guy from the record company came up with new lyrics and the title Let's Live For Today. The song still didn't do much on the charts, but did get the attention of former Brill building songwriter Jeff Barri, whose current project was writing and producing a studio band known as the Grass Roots with his partner P.F. Sloan. The song became such a big hit that the Grass Roots became a real perfoming band, cranking out several hits over the next couple of years.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    You're Lost Little Girl
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The Doors second LP, Strange Days, was stylistically similar to the first, and served notice to the world that this band was going to be around for awhile. Songwriting credit for You're Lost Little Girl (a haunting number that's always been a personal favorite of mine) was given to the entire band, a practice that would continue until the release of The Soft Parade in 1969.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    I Can't Quit You/How Many More Times
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Dixon/Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own. Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except,for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:    Teddy And His Patches
Title:    Suzy Creamcheese
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Conway
Label:    Rhino (original label: Chance)
Year:    1967
    Teddy And His Patches were a group of high school students who heard the phrase "Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you" from a fellow San Jose, California resident and decided to make a song out of it. Reportedly none of the band members had ever heard the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out, where the phrase had originated. Nonetheless, they managed to turn out a piece of inspired madness worthy of Frank Zappa himself.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    All You Need Is Love
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    So, you're the Beatles, it's mid-1967 and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most popular album in the world. What do you do for an encore? How about setting up the first live worldwide television broadcast in history to premier your new single? That's exactly what happened with All You Need Is Love. Predictably, the song was soon occupying the #1 spot on the singles charts.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Doctor Robert
Source:    CD: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Dr. Robert is one of the few Beatles songs that was released in the US before it was released in the UK. The song was included on the US-only LP Yesterday...And Today, which came out in June of 1966. Most of the tunes on that album were tracks that had either been issued as singles or had appeared on the British versions of the band's two previous albums (Help! and Rubber Soul) but had been left off the US versions of those LPs. Dr. Robert, however, would not be released in the UK until the Revolver album came out in the fall. Concerning the subject matter of the song, John Lennon later claimed that he himself was Dr. Robert, as he was the one who carried the pills for the band in their early days. A likely story.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hello, Goodbye
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 was unquestionably a good year for the Beatles. Their first release was a double A sided single, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, both sides of which were major hits. They followed that up with the #1 album of the year, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and another hit single, All You Need Is Love. To finish out the year they released yet another major hit single, Hello Goodbye. The only downside to the year was the cool reception that was afforded their December telefilm, Magical Mystery Tour, although the songs themselves were well-received when released in the UK as a double-EP set (complete with full color booklet containing stills from the film, as well as lyric sheets). As EPs were not considered a viable format in the US, Capitol Records put together an LP that included all six tracks from the telefilm on one side of the album and the five single sides (Hello Goodbye had used I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour as a B side) on the other. That album has since become the official version of Magical Mystery Tour, although the EP continued to be available in the UK for several years following its initial release.

Artist:     Frumious Bandersnatch
Title:     Hearts To Cry
Source:     British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on self-titled EP)
Writer:     Jack King
Label:     Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Year:     1968
     Rock music and the real estate business have something in common: location can make all the difference. Take the San Francisco Bay Area. You have one of the world's great Cosmopolitan cities at the north end of a peninsula. South of the city, along the peninsula itself you have mostly redwood forest land interspersed with fairly affluent communities along the way to Silicon Valley and the city of San Jose at the south end of the bay. The eastern side of the bay, on the other hand, spans a socio-economic range from blue collar to ghetto and is politically conservative; not exactly the most receptive environment for a hippy band calling itself Frumious Bandersnatch, which is a shame, since they had at least as much talent as any other band in the area. Unable to develop much of a following, they are one of the great "should have beens" of the psychedelic era, as evidenced by Hearts To Cry, the lead track of their 1968 untitled EP.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Blue Avenue
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    See For Miles (original US label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    Although never issued as a single in the US, Blue Avenue, from The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, was the band's most popular song among UK radio listeners. This is due to the fact that the song was played by England's most influential DJ, John Peel, on his "Top Gear" show. One of the many garage bands I was in learned the song and played it at a failed audition for the Ramstein AFB Airman's club, although all five guys in the audience seemed to get a kick out of seeing and hearing me strum my guitar's strings on the wrong side of the bridge.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Talkin' About The Good Times
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    May/Taylor/Waller
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Although the Pretty Things, co-founded by guitarist Dick Taylor and vocalist Phil May, had started off doing R&B cover tunes (as did their London contemporaries the Who and the Rolling Stones), by late 1967 they had moved into psychedelic territory, with Taylor and May developing their songwriting skills at the same time. Working with producer Norman Smith (who had just finished engineering Pink Floyd's debut LP), the band recorded a pair of sides for EMI's flagship Columbia label at Abbey Road studios in November. The resulting single, Talkin' About The Good Times, was successful enough to give the band the opportunity to record an entire album, the legendary S.F. Sorrow.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    House Burning Down
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Portable People
Source:    CD: Ten Years After (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    Following the release of the 1967 debut LP, Ten Years After got to work on what was to be a followup album. These plans got sidetracked, however, when it was decided that their second LP would be made up of live performances taped at a London club near a recording studio. This left the band with several finished studio recordings, many of which were the same songs that would appear on the live Undead album. Two of the other unused studio tracks became the band's first US single, the A side of which was a tune called Portable People. This song remained unavailable in any other form for several years, finally appearing as a bonus track on the CD version of their first album.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Kentucky Woman
Source:    Something's Burning-Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame-Volume 1 (originally released on LP: The Book Of Taleisyn)
Writer(s):    Neil Diamond
Label:    Legacy (original label: Tetragramatton)
Year:    1968
    The original Deep Purple hit the scene in 1968 with their monster hit version of Joe South's Hush, which had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Later the same year they tried to make lightning strike twice with a similarly styled cover of Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Although not as successful as Hush, the song still did reasonably well on the charts and showed that the band had staying power. After releasing a third LP that was handicapped by the band's US label folding within days of the record's release, the band lost its original lead vocalist Rod Evans, who would soon resurface with a new band called Captain Beyond. Meanwhile, Deep Purple achieved iconic status after recruiting vocalist Ian Gillam (the voice of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) to replace Evans.

Artist:    Shocking Blue
Title:    Venus
Source:    Simulated stereo 45 RPM single (1986 reissue)
Writer(s):    Robbie Van Leeuwin
Label:    21 (original label: Colossus)
Year:    1969
    One of only a handful of songs to top the charts by different artists in different decades, Venus was originally released in 1969 by Dutch group Shocking Blue and went to the #1 spot in several countries, including the US, in early 1970. In the mid-1980s the song was re-recorded by Bananarama and once again hit the top spot. By then Atlantic Records had acquired the rights to the original Shocking Blue recording (the Colossus label having gone out of business in 1971) and reissued it on its 21 Records subsidiary.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square
Source:    CD: Stand Up
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Jethro Tull incorporated traditional Indian instruments on Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square, one of a pair of tunes named for future Tull bassist Jeffrey Hammond by the band's primary songwriter, Ian Anderson.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Cold Wind
Source:    LP: Clear
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1969
    Much of the music on the third Spirit album, clear, is so laid back it can almost be called ambient music. Cold Wind, by vocalist Jay Ferguson, certainly fits that description to a T. Truth to tell, I have a hard time paying attention to it for its entire three minutes and 20 seconds.

Artist:    Wee Four
Title:    Weird
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pilittere/Obi
Label:    Nu Sound
Year:    1966
    Vocalist/drummer Terry Pilittere founded the Dimensions in Rochester, NY in 1962. In 1965, after a couple of personnel changes, the band changed its name to the Wee Four (apparently inspired by the fact that none of them members was over 5'8" tall). In 1966 they released their only single, Weird, on the Nu Sound label. The garage rock classic was written by Pilittere with his friend Jim Obi. After recording a few more unreleased tunes with the Wee Four, Pilittere split with the band to record as a solo artist.

Artist:    Spats
Title:    She Done Moved
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dick And Bud Johnson
Label:    Rhino (original label: ABC)
Year:    1966
    ABC Paramount was a record label specifically formed to release records by artists who appeared on the ABC TV network (which was owned by the Paramount theater chain, which in turn had originally been owned by Paramount Pictures, who had divested themselves of the theater chain as a result of an anti-trust action). By the 60s the label had expanded into a major player in the industry with artists ranging from teen-idol Steve Alaimo to R&B favorites like the Impressions and the Tams. In 1966 they dropped the Paramount from their name and became simply ABC records (using the TV network logo). One of the last singles released before the change was She Done Moved, a middle-class teenager's lament from the Spats, an Orange County, California band led by brothers Dick and Bud Johnson. The song describes the heartbreak of having one's girlfriend suddenly relocate to another town, in this case Kansas City. As a military brat myself, I can relate somewhat.

Artist:      Shadows Of Knight
Title:     Bad Little Woman
Source:      LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Tinsley/Catling/Demick/Armstrong/Rosbotham
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:     1966
    For the opening track of the second LP, Back Door Men, Chicago's Shadows Of Knight cranked up the volume on a cover of a little-known tune called Bad Little Woman that had originally been recorded by a Northern Irish band called the Wheels. And when I say cranked up the volume I mean that literally, as the overall level of the recording jumps several decibels following the first verse. As the mono single version of the song does the exact same thing I'm going to assume it was done during the recording process itself.