Monday, September 18, 2017
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1738 (starts 9/20/17)
Quite a few good tunes this time around, including a set from the first Doors album and the full-length album version of the Chambers Brothers' Time Has Come Today.
Artist: Barry McGuire
Title: Eve Of Destruction
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): P F Sloan
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
One of the top folk-rock hits of 1965, Eve of Destruction was actually written by professional songwriter P.F. Sloane, who also wrote tunes for the Turtles, among others, and later teamed up with Steve Barri to produce (and write songs for) the Grass Roots.
Title: Over Under Sideways Down
Source: 45 RPM single
The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and Jimmy Page).
Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Mickey Newbury
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.
Title: White Room
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Label: United Artists (original label: Atco)
In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of the Cream classic White Room, clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.
Title: Singing Cowboy
Source: CD: Love Story
Love's Arthur Lee wrote mostly by himself. His musical vision was such that working with a collaborator would only have served to stifle his creativity. There were exceptions, however. The 1969 version of Love was enhanced by the presence of guitarist Jay Donnellan, who brought a jazz background to the group that had been previously lacking. Donnelan wrote the music for Singing Cowboy, while Lee added lyrics.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: St. Stephen
Source: CD: Aoxomoxoa
Label: Warner Brothers
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.
Title: A Girl I Knew
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Some artists tend to branch out into a variety of styles as their career progresses. Others, like Steppenwolf, move in the opposite direction, finding out early what works best then concentrating on continuing in that vein. A Girl I Knew (co-written by bandleader John Kay) is an example of a type of song that was tried early on, but then abandoned in favor of a harder rock sound on subsequent albums.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Summer Is The Man
Source: Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
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.
Title: You Can't Do That
Source: Mono CD: A Hard Days Night (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Originally recorded to be used in the final concert scene of the film A Hard Days Night (but left on the cutting room floor), You Can't Do That was the B side of the Beatles' 5th (6th in the US) single, Can't Buy Me Love. The record was actually released four days earlier in the US than in England in March of 1964. You Can't Do That was the first in a series of jealousy-themed songs written by John Lennon. The song's distinctive guitar riff at the beginning and end of the song was written by George Harrison (who later said he was just standing there thinking "I've got to do something!"), while the lead guitar solo in the main body of the song was performed by Lennon.
Artist: Mamas And The Papas
Title: California Dreamin'
Source: LP: If You Believe Your Eyes And Ears (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Phillips
California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John Phillips, who along with his wife Michelle was living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.
Source: Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Brent)
Although not as popular as the Chocolate Watchband or Count Five, the Otherside had its share of fans in the San Jose, California area. Enough, in fact, to land a deal with Brent Records. Their single, Streetcar, got some airplay on local radio stations, but failed to match the success of other area bands.
Title: Animal Zoo
Source: CD: Best Of Spirit
Writer: Jay Ferguson
The last album by the original lineup of Spirit was The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970. The album was originally going to be produced by Neil Young, but due to other commitments Young had to bow out, recommending David Briggs, who had already produced Young's first album with Crazy Horse, as a replacement. The first song to be released as a single was Animal Zoo, but the tune barely cracked the top 100 charts. The album itself did better on progressive FM stations and has since come to be regarded as a classic. Shortly after the release of Twelve Dreams, Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne.
Title: If We Only Had The Time
Source: German import CD: Turtle Soup (bonus track originally released on EP: Shell Shock)
Label: Repertoire (original label: Rhino)
Year: Recorded 1969, released 1985
The relationship between the Turtles and their label, White Whale, was always a rocky one. On the one hand, the Turtles were, by far, the most successful act on the label. It was, however, the 1960s, and, with only one or two exceptions, when it came to making records the labels (and by extension, record producers) were in control of the entire process. When the Turtles made their first attempt at producing themselves, for instance, the label simply refused to issue any of the recordings the band submitted. The band retaliated by giving the label exactly what they wanted: a hit single (which in fact was meant to be a parody of a hit single, but that got taken seriously by both the label and the record buying public). Things finally came to a head when the band refused to complete an album called Shell Shock in 1969. The label then issued a song from the Turtles' 1965 debut LP that barely made it into the top 100 (it in fact peaked in the #100 spot). The Turtles then played their trump card: they disbanded. White Whale went out of business not long after. Meanwhile, the tracks intended for Shell Shock, including If We Only Had The Time, went unissued for several years, finally surfacing on an EP issued by Rhino Records in the mid-1980s.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Dharma For One
Source: LP: This Was
By 1968 it was almost considered mandatory that a rock band would include a drum solo on at least one album, thanks to Ginger Baker's Toad (on Cream's Wheels Of Fire) and Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Jethro Tull's contribution to the trend was Dharma For One, the only Tull song to give a writing credit to drummer Clive Bunker. Compared to most drum solos, Bunker's is fairly short (less than two minutes) and somewhat quirky, almost resembling a Spike Jones recording in places.
Title: The Ox
Source: Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
In the mid 1960s, US labels had a habit of reordering the song order on albums that had originally been released in the UK by British rock bands. In most cases, the American versions of the albums ended up being inferior to the original British releases. One noticable example is the Who's My Generation album, which was not only reordered, but retitled as well. Probably the most unforgivable move was to take the album's final track and move to the middle of the LP's second side. Folks, there is a reason The Ox was put at the end of the album. It is basically an in studio jam session with Nicky Hopkins sitting in on piano and lead vocalist Roger Daltry sitting the whole thing out. It is, in many ways, a complete throwaway track, included more for the pure fun of it than for any other reason. To put it between two other songs is to interrupt the flow of the album itself. But then, American record companies didn't really consider LPs to be anything more than supplemental income, with the real money coming from hit singles. Sounds a lot like the way things are today, doesn't it?
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Here Are The Sonics)
Writer: Gerry Roslie
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
From 1965 we have a band that maintains a cult following to this day: the legendary Sonics, generally considered one of the foundation stones of the Seattle music scene. Although the majority of the songs on their albums were cover tunes, virtually all of their originals are now considered punk classics; indeed, the Sonics are often cited as the first true punk rock band.
Title: Twentieth Century Fox
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
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.
Title: Back Door Man
Source: LP: The Doors
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.
Title: Take It As It Comes
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band on the Elektra label (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Source: Simulate stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Polydor (original British label: Track)
Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Although never released as a single, Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: 2000 Light Years From Home
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more noticable than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) made the top 40 charts.
Artist: Van Morrison
Title: Madame George
Source: Simulated stereo European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: T.B. Sheets)
Writer(s): Van Morrison
Label: Sony Music (original US label: Bang)
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1972
Following his departure from Them to embark on a solo career, Van Morrison recorded one album for the Bang label, Blowin' Your Mind, before beginning a long association with Warner Brothers Records. Before leaving Bang, however, Morrison recorded several tracks that remained unreleased until 1972, when Bang put out an album called T.B. Sheets, which also included selected tracks from Blowin' Your Mind. Among the "new" material on T. B. Sheets was an early version of one the highlights of his Warner Brothers debut album, a song called Madame George. This earlier version of Madame George is considerably more upbeat (and about half as long) than the Astral Weeks recording, which runs about ten minutes in length. T.B. Sheets is officially listed as an "unauthorized" album, and has been out of print for several years.
Artist: MC Squared
Title: My Mind Goes High
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
MC2 (pronounced "em see squared") only released one single, the folk-pop tinged My Mind Goes High on the Reprise label in 1967, before disbanding following a dispute with their producer, Lenny Waronker. One member, however, drummer Jim Keltner, went on to make a name for himself playing on John Lennon's albums in the early 70s and doing studio work for a variety of well-known acts. He also toured as a member of Booker T & the MGs in the 1990s, appearing onstage backing up Neil Young.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Someone Like Me
Source: Mono CD: Gloria (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
The last single released by the Shadows Of Knight on the Dunwich label (possibly the last single released on the Dunwich label by anyone) was a power punk song called Someone Like Me that foreshadows the direction the band (or at least vocalist Jim Sohns) would take over the next year or two, as they fell under the influence of bubble gum oriented Kavenitz/Katz Productions. Unlike previous releases, Someone Like Me features a horn section, and probably other studio musicians as well. Honestly, I don't know if, besides Sohns, any actual band members appear on this track at all.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: CD: Time Has Come Today
Source: The Time Has Come
Writer(s): Joe and Willie Chambers
The Chambers Brothers were an eclectic band with a gospel music background that dated back to the mid-50s, when oldest brother George finished his tour of duty with the US Army and settled down in the L.A. area. His three brothers soon followed him out to the coast from their native Mississippi, and began playing the Southern California gospel circuit before going after a more secular audience in the early 60s. Their best-known recording was Time Has Come Today, considered to be one of the defining tracks of the psychedelic era. The song, written by brothers Joe and Willie Chambers, was originally recorded in 1966 and released as a single, but went largely unnoticed by radio and the record-buying public. In 1967 the band recorded a new, eleven-minute version of Time Has Come Today for their album The Time Has Come. This version got considerable airplay on the handful of so-called "underground" FM stations that were starting to pop up across the US in college towns and major metropolitan areas, but was considered too long for most commercial stations. The following year an edited version of the track was released, getting enough airplay to make the top 40; as a result the full-length version has become somewhat of a rarity on the radio since the shorter version was made available in stereo. This week Stuck in the Psychedelic Era presents the full-length version of Time Has Come Today. Enjoy!
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer: Bob Dylan
"Everybody must get stoned." 'Nuff said.
Artist: Mothers Of Invention
Title: Motherly Love
Source: CD: Freak Out!
Writer(s): Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (original label: Verve)
In addition to his high regard for avant-garde jazz and classical music, Frank Zappa had a fondness for late-1950s Doo-Wop music, as evidenced by songs such as Motherly Love from the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! According to the liner notes, the song is a body commercial for the band, advertising the delights to be had from social contact with the band members.
Title: House In The Country
Source: Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
The Kinks 1966 LP Face To Face is sometimes considered an early concept album, dealing as it does with the subject of modern life, particulary in the band's native England. Then again, nearly all their material from 1966 deals with the same theme, so whether Face To Face is a true concept album along the lines of their later album Arthur is debatable. Regardless, Face To Face is indeed full of topical songs such as House In The Country (something most modern city dwellers dream of at least occasionally).
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos
Source: LP: Behold and See
Writer: Ian Bruce-Douglas
Finishing out this week's show we have Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos, the opening track from the second Ultimate Spinach album, Behold And See. The song was written by Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the material on the first two Ultimate Spinach albums before leaving the band in early 1969. Although the group would continue after Bruce-Douglas's departure, they were essentially an entirely different band stylistically, with almost all new personnel as well.