Monday, October 2, 2017

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1740 (starts 10/4/17)

32 songs this time around, including Artists' sets from the Leaves, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Artist:    Sonics
Title:    Strychnine
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Here Are The Sonics)
Writer:    Gerry Roslie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year:    1965
    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.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Little Olive
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    James Lowe
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Allowing a band to compose its own B side was a fairly common practice in the mid-1960s, as it saved the producer from having to pay for the rights to a composition by professional songwriters and funneled some of the royalty money to the band members. As a result, many B sides were actually a better indication of what a band was really about, since most A sides were picked by the record's producer, rather than the band. Such is the case with Little Olive, a song written by the Electric Prunes' Jim Lowe and released as the B side of their debut single in 1966.

Artist:    Gants
Title:    I Wonder
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sid Herring
Label:    BFD (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
    The Gants hailed from Greenwood, Mississippi, and had a string of regional hits that led to their signing with Liberty Records in 1965. The group, however, was handicapped by having half the members still in high school and the other half in college (and unwilling to drop out due to their being of draftable age during the height of the Viet Nam war). The band's most successful single for the label was I Wonder, which, like all of the Gants' recordings, shows a strong Beatle influence.

Artist:            Amboy Dukes
Title:        Journey to the Center of the Mind
Source:      Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:     Big Beat (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:        1968
        From Detroit, the one and only Ted Nugent! Originally released as a single on Mainstream Records, the same label that released the first Big Brother & the Holding Company album. After butchering Big Brother's debut, Mainstream's engineers must have taken a crash course in rock engineering as they did a much better job on Journey to the Center of the Mind just a few months later.

Artist:    Joe Cocker
Title:    Delta Lady
Source:    LP: Joe Cocker!
Writer(s):    Leon Russell
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    Joe Cocker! (the exclamation point being the only way to distinguish it from a later album called Joe Cocker), was the singer's second LP, released in 1969. It was also his last album with the Grease Band, who backed him up at Woodstock that same year. Like Cocker's 1968 debut album, Joe Cocker! is made up mostly of cover songs, including one that would later become one of his best known tunes. Delta Lady was composed by Leon Russell, who would help Cocker organize (and essentially lead) his new band, Mad Dogs And Englishmen.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Empty Pages
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Traffic was formed in 1967 by Steve Winwood, after ending his association with the Spencer Davis Group. The original group, also featuring Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, put out two and a half albums before disbanding in early 1969. Shortly thereafter, following a successful live reunion album, Welcome to the Canteen, Winwood got to work on what was intended to be his first solo LP. For support Winwood called in Capaldi and Wood to back him up on the project. It soon became apparent, however, that what they were working on was actually a new Traffic album, John Barleycorn Must Die. Although Empty Pages was released as a single (with a mono mix heard here), it got most of its airplay on progressive FM stations, and as those stations were replaced by (or became) album rock stations, the song continued to get extensive airplay for many years.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the recording, which closes out the Let It Bleed album. An edited version of the song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Superlungs (My Supergirl)
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Barabajabal)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    Donovan originally recorded a song called Supergirl for his 1966 album Sunshine Superman album, but ultimately chose not to use the track. Over two years later he recorded an entirely new version of the song, retitling it Superlungs (My Supergirl) for the 1969 Barabajagal album.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Gypsy Eyes
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Electric Ladyland, the last album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was a double LP mixture of studio recordings and live jams in the studio with an array of guest musicians. Gypsy Eyes is a good example of Hendrix's prowess at the mixing board as well as on guitar.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Crosstown Traffic
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The last of these was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several anthologies over the years.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Blowin' In The Wind
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1963
    Generally acknowledged as Bob Dylan's first true classic, Blowin' In The Wind first appeared on the 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The song was popularized the following year by Peter, Paul and Mary and soon was the single most played song around campfires from coast to coast. For all I know it still is. (Do people still sing around campfires? Maybe they should.)

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Eve Of Destruction
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    Like most 1965 albums by American rock bands, The Turtles' It Ain't Me Babe is made up mostly of cover songs of then-current hits. Among those is P.F. Sloan's Eve Of Destruction, which was a huge hit for Barry McGuire that year. The Turtles themselves were all underage at the time, and had to get their parents' written permission to record the album.

Artist:    Mystery Trend
Title:    Johnny Was A Good Boy
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nagle/Cuff
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve)
Year:    1967
    The Mystery Trend was a bit of an anomaly. Contemporaries of bands such as the Great! Society and the Charlatans, the Trend always stood a bit apart from the rest of the crowd, playing to an audience that was both a bit more affluent and a bit more "adult" (they were reportedly the house band at a Sausalito strip club). Although they played in the city itself as early as 1965, they did not release their first record until early 1967. The song, Johnny Was A Good Boy, tells the story of a seemingly normal middle-class kid who turns out to be a monster, surprising friends, family and neighbors. A similar theme would be used by XTC in the early 1980s in the song No Thugs In Our House, one of the standout tracks from their landmark English Settlement album.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Such A Shame
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record, thus giving them an equal share of the royalties. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the B side of A Well Respected Man in 1966. It doesn't get much better than this.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Mr. Spaceman
Source:    LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    Jim McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Both Jim (now Roger) McGuinn and David Crosby were science fiction fans, which became evident with the release of the Byrds' third album, Fifth Dimension. The third single released from that album, Mr. Spaceman, was in fact, a deliberate attempt to contact extra-terrestrials through the medium of AM radio. It was McGuinn's hope that ETs monitoring Earth's airwaves would hear the song and in some way respond to it, perhaps even contacting the band members themselves. Of course McGuinn didn't realize at the time that AM radio waves tend to disperse as they travel away from the Earth, making it unlikely that the signals would be picked up at all. Now if someone wants to upload this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era to a satellite...

Artist:    Love
Title:    Live And Let Live
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    In late spring of 1967 L.A.'s most popular local band, Love, was falling apart, mostly due to constant partying on the part of some of the band members. This became a real issue for producer Bruce Botnick when it came time to begin sessions for the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Botnick had already lost his co-producer on the project, Neil Young, when Young's own band, Buffalo Springfield, found themselves hugely popular in the wake of the success of the single For What It's Worth, and Botnick was now faced with a heavier-than-expected workload. Botnick's solution to the problem became evident when the band entered Sunset Sound Recorders on June 9th, only to find a group of studio musicians already set up and ready to record. Two new Arthur Lee songs were recorded that day, and the rest of the band was literally shocked in sobriety, returning to the studio the next day to record overdubs on the tracks to make them sound more like the work of the band itself. After two month's worth of intensive practice, the band was ready to return to the studio, recording the first track for the album performed entirely by the band itself, Live And Let Live. The unusual first line of the song was reportedly the result of Lee falling asleep in a chair with his nose running during practice sessions.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water (live version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2014
    In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, whom the Standells recorded for. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Codine
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Buffy St. Marie's Codine was a popular favorite among the club crowd in mid-60s California. In 1967, L.A.'s Leaves included it on their second LP. Around the same time, up the coast in San Francisco, the Charlatans selected it to be their own debut single. The suits at Kama-Sutra Records, however, balked at the idea of releasing a "drug song" as a single (despite the song's decidedly anti-drug stance), and instead released a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows. The novelty-flavored record bombed so bad that the label decided not to release any more Charlatans tracks, thus leaving their version of Codine gathering dust in the vaults until the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, back in 1968, Quicksilver Messenger Service was still without a record contract, despite being known as one of the "big three" San Francisco bands (the others being Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead). The producers of the quasi-documentary film Revolution took advantage of the situation, using footage of Quicksilver performing Codine in the film. With the film itself in post-production, the producers commissioned the band to record a studio version of Codine for inclusion on the soundtrack album.

Artist:     Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:     Light Your Windows
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Quicksilver Messenger Service)
Writer:     Duncan/Freiberg
Label:     Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1968
     One of the last of the legendary San Francisco bands that played at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival to get signed to a major label was Quicksilver Messenger Service. Inspired by a conversation between Dino Valenti  and guitarist John Cippolina, there are differing opinions on just how serious Valenti was about forming a new band at that time. 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.

 Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Darling/Bennett/Bradon
Label:    Rock Beat (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
            Revolution was a 1968 documentary film following the adventures of a young hippie woman named Daria Halprin in 1967 San Francisco. The movie featured music from several notable Bay Area bands, including the already popular Country Joe And The Fish, the newly formed Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks and the all-female Ace Of Cups. Three unsigned bands (Mother Earth, the Steve Miller Band and Quicksilver Messenger Service) appeared in the film as well, and were included on the movie soundtrack album. Of the three, the most popular was Quicksilver Messenger Service, who had already had offers from major record labels, but were holding out for the best deal (a move that probably backfired, since they were unable to take advantage of the massive media buzz surrounding the summer of love). The band's considerable talents were on display on the song Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You. Quicksilver's arrangement of the tune is considerably different than the 1969 Led Zeppelin version, to the point of sounding like an entirely different song, however, the similarity of the lyrics is pretty hard to miss.
Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    And The Address
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Lord
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    And The Address was, by all accounts, the very first Deep Purple song written by members of the band. In fact, the instrumental piece, which appeared as the opening track on the 1968 LP Shades Of Deep Purple, was actually written before Deep Purple itself was formed. Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore had answered an ad placed by Chris Curtis, a local musician who was trying to put together something called Roundabout, which would feature a rotating set of musicians on a circular stage, with Curtis himself fronting each group. The idea soon fell apart, but the first two people he recruited, Blackmore and Lord, decided to keep working together following Curtis's departure, eventually adding vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nicky Simper and drummer Ian Paice to fill out the band's original lineup. After securing a record deal, the band went to work on their debut LP, with And The Address being the first song they started to record. The song became the band's set opener for much of 1968, until it was replaced by another instrumental called Hard Road (Wring That Neck), which appeared on the band's second LP, The Book Of Taliesyn. Since then, And The Address has hardly ever been played live.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Although Cream's music was generally heard on progressive rock FM radio, they did have a couple of songs that crossed over onto AM top 40 radio as well. The second of these was White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition that leads off the band's third LP, Wheels Of Fire.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Savoy Truffle
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    EMI/Apple
Year:    1968
    George Harrison's skills as a songwriter continued to develop in 1968. The double-LP The Beatles (aka the White Album) contained four Harrison compositions, including Savoy Truffle, a tongue-in-cheek song about Harrison's friend Eric Clapton's fondness for chocolate. John Lennon did not participate in the recording of Savoy Truffle. The keyboards were probably played by Chris Thomas, who, in addition to playing on all four Harrison songs on the album, served as de facto producer when George Martin decided to take a vacation in the middle of the album's recording sessions. 

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Redding/Cropper
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, co-written by legendary MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was released shortly after the plane crash that took the lives of not only Redding, but several members of the Bar-Kays as well. Shortly after recording the song Redding played it for his wife, who reacted by saying "Otis, you're changing." Redding's reply was "maybe I need to."

Artist:    Them
Title:    Bent Over You
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Them/Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    While not an unlistenable track by any means, the most curious aspect of Bent Over You from Them's 1968 Time Out! Time In! For Them album is probably the fact that the entire band (but not the individual members) shares songwriting credit with Thomas Lane and Sharon Pulley, who in fact wrote most of the songs on the album itself. I have to wonder just how the royalties situation would have worked if the album had actually made any money.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Coo Coo
Source:    CD: Big Brother And The Holding Company (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Peter Albin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Like most of the bands in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s, Big Brother And The Holding Company had members who had already been part of the local folk music scene when they decided to go electric. Peter Albin, in particular, had established himself as a solo artist before joining the band, and, naturally, brought some of his repertoire with him. Perhaps the most popular of these tunes was a song called Coo Coo, that had also been in circulation under the title Jack Of Diamonds. Although there are existing recordings of the song prior to the Big Brother version, Albin took full credit for the tune, possibly due to his providing almost all new lyrics for the track. Coo Coo, recorded in Chicago in 1966, was not included on the group's first LP for Mainstream, instead being issued as a single in early 1968. A reworked version of the tune with yet another set of new lyrics and a new musical bridge appeared later the same year on the band's Cheap Thrills album under the title Oh, Sweet Mary.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Dr. Stone
Source:    CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Hey Joe)
Writer:    Beck/Pons
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves were a solid, if not particularly spectacular, example of a late 60s L.A. club band. They had one big hit (Hey Joe), signed a contract with a major label (Capitol), and even appeared in a Hollywood movie (the Cool Ones). This tune, from their first album for Mira Records, is best described as folk-rock with a Bo Diddly beat.

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

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People (remake)
Source:    CD: Hey Joe
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    One Way (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves scored their first Los Angeles regional hit with the song Too Many People, released on the Mira label in 1965. When a later single, Hey Joe, became a national hit, the band re-recorded Too Many People for their debut album, released in 1966. Although the newer recording is cleaner (and in stereo), it lacks the raw garage-rock energy of the original.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    Lonesome Cowboy Bill
Source:    LP: Loaded
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    Lonesome Cowboy Bill, from Loaded, the last Velvet Underground to feature Lou Reed, is probably the closest thing to a country song the singer/songwriter/cultural icon ever wrote. Strange stuff.

Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    I Want You So Bad
Source:    LP: Live And Well
Writer(s):    B.B. King
Label:    Bluesway
Year:    1969
    B.B. King's 16th studio album was actually only half a studio album. Side one of Live And Well, released in 1969, featured five tracks recorded live at New York's Village Gate, with a stellar lineup of guests. The second side of the album was made up of five tunes recorded at a studio called The Hit Factory (also in New York), utilizing the talents of what producer Bill Szymczyk called "some of the best young blues musicians in the country." The first of these is a King original called I Want You So Bad that finds the guitarist/vocalist at the peak of his powers.

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