Monday, November 13, 2017
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1746 (starts 11/15/17)
This week we take a trip to (in?) the Psychedelic Shack, revisit a couple of Advanced Psych artists from 2017 and generally have a good 'ol time.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and the rest is history.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Source: LP: Spirit Of '67
Writer(s): Jesse Lee Kincaid
One interesting by-product of the popular (but hard to define) Los Angeles club band The Rising Sons being signed to Columbia in 1966 was that, although their album was never released, singer/songwriter Jesse Lee Kincaid did get the opportunity for his songs to be heard by people at the label, including producer Terry Melcher. This led to one of his compositions being recorded by Columbia's only successful rock band at the time, Paul Revere and the Raiders (also produced by Melcher). Louise was included on the Raiders' third top 10 LP of 1966, ironically titled The Spirit of '67.
Title: Thoughts And Words
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Chris Hillman
In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter, including Thoughts And Words, on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: LP: Metamorphosis
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 1975
The story of the Rolling Stones' Metamorphosis album actually starts about four years before the album's release. Like most other bands, the Rolling Stones had recorded several songs over the years that, for one reason or another, were not released at the time, and Allen Klein, who by 1971 had secured the rights to all the band's early material, wanted to issue a collection of unreleased recordings as a follow-up to the first Hot Rocks compilation album. The album, compiled with the aid of the Stones' former producer, Andrew Oldham, was to be called Necrophilia. The project, however, never materialized, and a second Hot Rocks collection (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) was released instead. In 1974, Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman got involved, designing an album to be called Black Box that included much of the material intended for Necrophilia. Klein, however, wanted to include more songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and Wyman's version of the album was shelved. In its place Klein issued Metamorphosis. The album itself plays more like two separate EPs, with almost the entire first side consisting of demos of songs that Jagger and Richard had written for other artists, featuring mostly studio musicians rather than the Rolling Stones themselves. The second side of the album consisted of outtakes featuring the entire band, mostly from 1968-70. One of these tracks is Family, which was recorded at the same time as the Beggar's Banquet album. The song features Jagger, Richards, Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts, along with Nicky Hopkins on piano and producer Jimmy Miller doing a little percussion work.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: My Mirage
Source: LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
One thing about Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. That's a bit of a shame, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there, such as My Mirage, a Doug Ingle composition that helped lay the groundwork for the progressive rock movement of the 1970s.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Serenade To A Cuckoo
Source: CD: This Was
Writer(s): Roland Kirk
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Jethro Tull did not, as a general rule, record cover tunes. The most notable exception is Roland Kirk's classic jazz piece Serenade To A Cuckoo, which was included on their first LP, This Was. For years, the Kirk version was out of print, making Jethro Tull's cover the only available version of this classic tune throughout the 1970s.
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.
Title: I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
One of the most popular songs in the Kinks' catalog, I'm Not Like Everybody Else was originally written for another British band, the Animals. When that group decided not to record the tune, the Kinks did their own version of the song, issuing it as the B side of the 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon. Although written by Ray Davies, it was sung by his brother Dave, who usually handled the lead vocals on only the songs he himself composed. Initially not available on any LPs, the song has in recent years shown up on various collections and as a bonus track on CD reissues of both the Kink Kontroversy and Face To Face albums. Both Davies brothers continue to perform the song in their live appearances.
Artist: Tim Rose
Title: I Gotta Do Things My Way
Source: LP: Time Rose (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Tim Rose was a Washington DC-born folk musician who, after a stint in the military, ended up part of the same music scene that included Barry McGuire and Mama Cass Elliott. In fact, Rose had been a member of a group called the Big 3 with Elliott and her then-husband James Hendricks, releasing two albums and making several national television appearances in the early 1960s. After the Big 3 disbanded (in part due to clashes between Rose and Elliott over the group's musical direction) Rose embarked on a solo career, signing with Columbia Records in 1966. His second single for the label was a slowed down version of Hey Joe, a song that had already become a garage-rock standard in its faster incarnation. Rose's version of Hey Joe was a regional hit in the San Francisco area, also getting airplay on stations in Albany and Buffalo. This in turn led to Rose playing in a place called the Cafe Wha? in New York's Greenwich Village. A guitarist named Jimi Hendrix saw Rose performing the song and used a similar arrangement for his own debut single later that year. Meanwhile, Rose followed up Hey Joe with a single called I Gotta Do Things My Way, a much harder rocking song than anything he had previously recorded. Both songs ended up being on Rose's self-titled debut LP that came out in early 1967.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The People In Me
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
After Talk Talk soared into the upper reaches of the US charts the Music Machine's management made a tactical error. Instead of promoting the follow-up single, The People In Me, to the largest possible audience, the band's manager gave exclusive air rights to a new station at the far end of the Los Angeles AM radio dial. As local bands like the Music Machine depended on airplay in L.A. as a necessary step to getting national exposure, the move proved disastrous. Without any airplay on influential stations such as KFI, The People In Me was unable to get any higher than the # 66 spot on the national charts. Even worse for the band, the big stations remembered the slight when subsequent singles by the Music Machine were released, and by mid-1967 the original lineup had disbanded.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Hey, Hey, What Can I Do
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
In their entire existence Led Zeppelin only issued one non-album track. Hey, Hey, What Can I Do was originally released as the B side of Immigrant Song in 1970, and was not available in any other form until 1990, when it was included in the first Led Zeppelin box set. It has since been made available as a bonus track on the Led Zeppelin III CD.
Title: Step This Way
Source: British import CD: Definitive Collection
Writer(s): John Du Cann
Label: Angel Air
Year: Recorded 1970, released 2000
Andromeda is mostly known as the band guitarist John Du Cann fronted before joining Atomic Rooster in 1970. Du Cann had previously fronted The Attack, a band that often shared a bill with the Yardbirds (in their Jimmy Page days). The Attack had signed with the British Decca label, but had received little support from the label, which considered them to be a bit too "heavy". In 1968 Du Cann participated in a side project that led to the formation of Andromeda (and the disbanding of the Attack), with bassist Mick Hawksworth and drummer Jack Collins, who would soon be replaced by Ian McLane. After several months of steady gigging, the signed a one-off deal with the British division of RCA Victor, releasing their only LP in 1969. Following the release of the album the band continued to gig extensively, recording demos when possible in the hopes of getting another record deal. Finally, after recording one last demo, Step This Way, Du Cann accepted an offer to join Atomic Rooster, and Andromeda was no more.
Title: Friendship Train
Source: LP: Psychedelic Shack
The Temptations, one of Motown's most successful acts in the 1960s, surprised everyone by taking a psychedelic turn at the end of the decade. Much of this change was the work of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, who wrote and produced the Psychedelic Shack album, released in 1970. As it turns out it would be the last album to feature the lineup of Dennis Edwards, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams. Part of the problem was the lack of creative freedom experienced by the band members themselves, as Whitfield and Strong were in full control of virtually every phase of the album's production (although Kendricks was allowed to occasionally arrange vocal harmonies on the album). Two of the tracks on the album exceed the five-minute mark, including a nearly eight-minute long version of Friendship Train (a 1969 Gladys Knight and the Pips hit) to finish out the original LP.
Title: The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s): The Doors
Following a downward slide starting in 1968, the Doors ended their original run on a high note in 1971 with the L.A. Woman album. Among the strong blues-based tracks on the album is The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat), an anthemic number that ranks up with other Doors album classics such as Five To One, When The Music's Over and The End. Big Beat indeed.
Artist: * repeat repeat
Title: Speaker Destroyer
Source: CD: Floral Canyon
Writer(s): Jared Corder
* repeat repeat was co-founded by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Jarded Corder and drummer Andy Herrin sometime before 2014. Early on the Nashville, Tennessee duo realized the need for a female vocalist, but weren't able to find the right one until their producer suggested Corder's wife Kristyn give it a shot. Everything fell into place quickly after that, starting with their debut CD Bad Latitude. Their latest album, Floral Canyon, reflects their own blend of 60s West Coast garage punk and east coast underground with a healthy dose of originality on tracks like Speaker Destroyer, which officially closes the album (of course, being 2017, the CD contains a hidden bonus track following Speaker Destroyer).
Artist: Country Joe McDonald
Title: Sadness And Pain
Source: CD: 50
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rag Baby
50 years after the Summer Of Love, Joe McDonald has released an album called 50. The songs, while recorded up to modern production standards, reflect the same sort of social awareness and activism that have always characterized McDonald's work. Case in point: Sadness And Pain, which carries a timeless message.
Title: Tell Me What You See
Source: LP: Beatles VI (originally released in UK on LP: Help! soundtrack)
Label: Apple (original US label: Capitol)
From 1964-1966, the Beatles catalog differed considerably between the original UK releases and their American counterparts. One of the more noticable differences was with the 1965 Help album. In the UK, Help was pretty much a regular Beatles album containing 14 songs, 12 of which were original compositions. The first seven songs (side one of the LP) were from the soundtrack of the film itself, with the second side being non-soundtrack songs, the same format that had been used for the UK version of A Hard Days Night. In the US, however, only the seven songs from the film were used on the album, with the remaining tracks being made up of orchestral music from the film written and conducted by Ken Thorne. The remaining tracks, including Tell Me What You See, were later issued on other albums in the US such as Beatles VI, that had no British counterparts.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Source: LP: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s): Neil Young
One of the most influential folk-rock bands to come out of the L.A. scene was Buffalo Springfield. The band had several quality songwriters, including Neil Young, whose voice was deemed "too weird" by certain record company people. Thus we have Richie Furay singing a Young tune on the band's first single, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing.
Artist: Grass Roots
Title: Let's Live For Today
Source: CD: Battle of the Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Era (original label: Dunhill)
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. The song became such a big hit that the Grass Roots became a real perfoming band and had several hits over the next couple of years.
Title: Don't Say No
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single).
Writer(s): Ruthann Friedmann
Label: Rhino (original label: Verve Forecast)
Before the days of arena rock, with two or three bands touring together and putting on virtually the same show night after night, headliner bands often looked to local talent for their opening act, making each stop on the tour a unique event. Sometimes the local opening band made enough of an impression to create a path to stardom for themselves as well, or at least to get a record contract. Take the case of a Lake Charles, Lousiana band known locally as the Great Society. Although they had not made any records, they had developed enough of a reputation to be able to score gigs across the state line in East Texas. One of those gigs was opening for the Music Machine in mid 1967. The Music Machine, at this point, was experiencing the frustration of being unable to score a successful follow up to their 1966 hit Talk Talk and was on the verge of dissolving, with the various individual members starting to explore other options. Among those members was bassist Keith Olsen, who liked Great Society enough to convince them to come out to Los Angeles and let Olsen produce them. Things did not go exactly as planned, however, as a bad acid trip left the band in no shape to cut a record. Olsen, however, working with co-producer Curt Boettcher, did get the group to provide vocals for a studio project the two of them were working on, a Ruthann Friedmann song called Don't Say No. As there had already been a band in California called Great! Society as recently as 1966, it was decided to rename the group the Oracle for the release of Don't Say No on the Verve Forecast label in 1968. Although the record was not a hit, it did help open doors for Olsen, who would go on to discover and produce the duo known as Buckingham Nicks, along with their breakthrough album as members of Fleetwood Mac. Since then Olsen has become one of the top producers in the history of rock music, working with such well known artists as the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, Eddie Money, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rick Springfield, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Heart, Joe Walsh, Starship, Santana, Kim Carnes, Jethro Tull, The Babys, Ozzy Osbourne, the Scorpions, .38 Special, Bad Company, Sammy Hagar, Russ Ballard, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Sheena Easton, Journey, Loverboy, and Lou Gramm. Not bad for a bass player.
Artist: Janis Joplin with the Kozmic Blues Band
Title: Raise Your Hand
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single box set: Move Over (originally released on CD: Rare Pearls)
Year: Recorded 1969, released 1999
Raise Your Hand is a 1969 live recording by Janis Joplin and her Kozmic Blues Band that was originally issued on a CD called Rare Pearls which was only available as part of the Box Or Pearls Janis Joplin box set, released in 1999. More recently, the track has been issued as part of a four-disc 45 RPM box set called Move Over. The song is a good representation of where Joplin was at musically after splitting with Big Brother And The Holding Company.
Artist: Flamin' Groovies
Title: I'm Drowning
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Sneakers)
Writer(s): Roy Loney
Label: Rhino (original label: Snazz)
An anomaly among San Francisco bands, the Flamin' Groovies were in a sense a throwback to the early days of the local SF music scene, with an emphasis on basic rock and roll rather than extended jamming or psychedelic experimentation. Although they eventually ended up signing a contract with a major label, it was their self-issued 10" mono LP (or maybe EP) Sneakers that captured the essence of the band. I'm Drowning was written by original lead vocalist Roy Loney, who would be gone by the time the band made their major label debut.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Label: RCA Victor
After Bathing At Baxter's is generally considered the most pyschedelic of all the Jefferson Airplane albums. For one thing, the members were reportedly all on LSD through most of the creative process and were involved in the entire package, right down to the decision to divide the album up into five suites and press the vinyl in such a way that the spaces normally found between songs were only present between the suites themselves, making it almost impossible to set the needle down at the beginning of the second or third song of a suite (there is a slight overlap between most of the songs as well). The first suite on After Bathing At Baxter's is called Streetmasse. It consists of three compositions: Paul Kantner's The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel; A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly (a free-form jazz piece led by drummer Spencer Dryden); and the Paul Kantner/Marty Balin composition Young Girl Sunday Blues.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Cheryl's Going Home
Source: LP: Projections
Writer: Bob Lind
Label: Verve Forecast
It's kind of odd to hear a cover of a Bob Lind B side on an album by a band known for its progressive approach to the blues, but that's exactly what Cheryl's Going Home is. The Blues Project did a pretty nice job with it, too.
Artist: David Bowie
Title: An Occasional Dream
Source: CD: David Bowie (original US title: Man Of Words/Man Of Music))
Writer(s): David Bowie
Label: Parlophone (original label: Mercury)
An Occasional Dream was one of two songs centered around David Bowie's former girlfriend Hermione Farthingale that appeared on Bowie's self-titled album for the Philips label in the UK in 1969. The LP was also released in the US as Man Of Words/Man Of Music, but went largely unnoticed at the time. Three years later, RCA Victor reissued the album as Space Oddity with a new cover photograph of Bowie in Ziggy Stardust mode. The retitled album, otherwise identical to its 1969 release, made the top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic.