Sunday, July 29, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1831 (starts 8/1/18)

    This week's show is all about sets. We have a set of tracks released on the Columbia label in 1966, a set of album tracks from 1967, a killer "B"s set (bands whose name start with the letter B) from 1966, a West Coast love set, a Moby Grape set, a late 60s regression set, a gritty 1966 set and a short trip from '66 to '68 set. Oh, and we have two or three free-standing songs as well. Enjoy!

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Money To Burn
Source:    LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer(s):    Don Dannemann
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    By late 1966 surf music was pretty much gone from the top 40 charts. The Beach Boys, however, had managed to adapt to changing audience tastes without abandoning the distinctive vocal harmonies that had made them stand out from their early 60s contemporaries. In fact, several other bands had sprung up with similar vocal styles. One of the most successful of these (at least in the short term) was the Cyrkle. Led by vocalist/guitarist Don Dannemann, the group hit the scene with two consecutive top 10 singles, both of which were included on the band's debut LP, Red Rubber Ball. Although manager Brian Epstein had the group recording mostly songs from outside sources, there were a handful of Cyrkle originals on the album, including Danneman's Money To Burn, which was also issued as the B side to the band's third single.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The Dangling Conversation
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The first Simon and Garfunkel album, Wednesday Morning 3AM, originally tanked on the charts, causing Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel to temporarily pursue solo careers. Simon went to England, where he wrote and recorded an album's worth of material. Meanwhile, producer Tom Wilson, fresh from producing Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, went into the studio with the original recording of the song Sound of Silence and added electric instruments to it. The result was a surprise hit that led Paul Simon to return to the US, reuniting with Art Garfunkel and re-recording several of the tunes he had recorded as a solo artist for a new album, Sounds of Silence. The success of that album prompted Columbia to re-release Wednesday Morning, 3AM, which in turn became a bestseller. Meanwhile, Simon and Garfunkel returned to the studio to record an album of all new material. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was yet another success that spawned several hit songs, including The Dangling Conversation, a song Simon described as similar to The Sound Of Silence, but more personal. The song was originally released as a single in fall of 1966, before the album itself came out.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Just Like A Woman
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio. As a 13-year-old kid I didn't know quite what to make of it.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    She's Leaving Home
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    One of the striking things about the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the sheer variety of styles on the album. Never before had a rock band gone so far beyond its roots in so many directions at once. One of Paul McCartney's most poignant songs on the album was She's Leaving Home. The song tells the story of a young girl who has decided that her stable homelife is just too unfulling to bear and heads for the big city. Giving the song added depth is the somewhat clueless response of her parents, who can't seem to understand what went wrong.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Coloured Rain
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Traffic, in its early days, was a band with an almost schizophrenic identity. On the one hand there was Steve Winwood, who was equally adept at guitar, keyboards and vocals and was generally seen as the band's leader, despite being its youngest member. His opposite number in the band was Dave Mason, an early example of the type of singer/songwriter that would be a major force in popular music in the mid-1970s. The remaining members of the band, drummer/vocalist Jim Capaldi and flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood, tended to fall somewhere between the two, although they more often sided with Winwood in his frequent creative disputes with Mason. One of these disputes involved the choice of the band's second single. Mason wanted to follow up the successful Paper Sun with his own composition, Hole In My Shoe, while the rest of the band preferred the group composition, Coloured Rain. Mason won that battle, but would end up leaving the band before the release on the group's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. This in turn led to the album being revised considerably for its US release, which was issued under a completely different title, Heaven Is In Your Mind, with most of Mason's contributions being excised from the album (although, oddly enough, Hole In My Shoe, which was not on the original LP, was included on the US album). One final example of the band's schizophrenic nature was in the way the group was marketed. In the US, Traffic was, from the beginning, perceived as a serious rock band along the lines of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In their native land, however, they were, thanks in part to the top 40 success of both Paper Sun and Hole In My Shoe as well as Winwood's fame as lead vocalist for the Spencer Davis Group, dismissed as a mere pop group. Mason would rejoin and leave the group a couple more times before achieving solo success in the mid-70s with the hit We Just Disagree, while Traffic would go on to become a staple of progressive FM rock radio in the US.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    I Don't Live Today
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    I remember a black light poster that choked me up the first time I saw it. It was a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with the caption I Don't Live Today. I don't believe Hendrix was being deliberately prophetic when he wrote and recorded this classic track for the Are You Experienced album, but it occasionally gives me chills to hear it, even now.

Artist:    Human Beinz
Title:    Two Of A Kind
Source:    Australian import CD: Evolutions
Writer(s):    Murray/Kruck
Label:    Ascension
Year:    1968
    Originally called the Premiers, the Human Beingz were a popular attraction in their native Youngstown, Ohio, releasing at least one single locally before signing with Capitol Records in 1967. Unfortunately for the band, the label misspelled the band's name on the label of their first single, leaving out the "g". They promised the group they would fix the problem if the record flopped, but in fact the song, Nobody But Me, was a top 10 national hit. As a result, the group was known as the Human Beinz for the rest of their existence. Although they did not score any more hits on the US charts, their next two singles went to #1 in Japan. This led to the band being held onto by the label long enough to record two LPs, the second of which was the relatively experimental Evolutions, released in 1968. One of the more unusual tunes on Evolutions was Two Of A Kind, which starts off as an early example of what would come to be known as country-rock but turns into a completely unexpected bit of musique concrete for the final minute and a half of the piece.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Two Trains Running
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
     Possibly the most influential (yet least known outside of musicians' circles) band of the Psychedelic Era was the Blues Project. Formed in 1965 in Greenwich Village, the band worked its way from coast to coast playing mostly college campuses, in the process blazing a path that continues to be followed by underground/progressive/alternative artists. As if founding the whole college circuit wasn't enough, they were arguably the very first jam band, as their version of the Muddy Waters classic Two Trains Running shows. Among those drawing their inspiration from the Blues Project were the Warlocks, a group of young musicians who were traveling with Ken Kesey on the Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test tour bus. The Warlocks would soon change their name to the Grateful Dead and take the jam band concept to a whole new level. Still, they may never have moved in that direction at all if it weren't for the Blues Project.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     I See You
Source:     CD: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s): McGuinn/Crosby
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1966
     The Byrds third LP, Fifth Dimension, was the first without founding member Gene Clark. As Clark was the group's primary songwriter, this left a gap that was soon filled by both David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn, who collaborated on songs like I See You.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Gotta Get Away
Source:    LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    Gordon/Adams
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    As was common with most 1966 LPs, the Blues Magoos debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, included a handful of cover songs, not all of which had been hits for other groups. One of the non-hits was Gotta Get Away, a fairly typical piece of garage rock that opens side two of the LP. The song was also selected as the B side for the group's second (and by far most successful) single, (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet. As the usual practice was to bring in outside songwriters for a new band's early singles and let the band write their own B side, it is possible that Gotta Get Away may have been the intended A side of the single.

Artist:    Love
Title:    A House Is Not A Motel
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer:    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Arthur Lee was a bit of a recluse, despite leading the most popular band on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. When the band was not playing at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go Lee was most likely to be found at his home up in the Hollywood Hills, often in the company of fellow band member Bryan McLean. The other members of the band, however, were known to hang out in the most popular clubs, chasing women and doing all kinds of substances. Sometimes they would show up at Lee's house unbidden. Sometimes they would crash there. Sometimes Lee would get annoyed, and probably used the phrase which became the title of the second track on Love's classic Forever Changes album, A House Is Not A Motel.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    If I Had A Woman
Source:    CD: Spirit (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Most of the tracks on the first Spirit album were written by vocalist Jay Ferguson, with only one track each contributed by guitarist Randy California and keyboardist John Locke (plus one group composition). A second California tune, If I Had A Woman, was recorded around the same time, but not used on the original LP, finally appearing on the expanded CD version of the album in 1996. Most of the songs on the original LP included abrupt changes in tempo and style, but as a general rule, those transitions were done pretty smoothly. If I Had A Woman also has such changes, but in this case the transitions sound like the band suddenly decided to play an entirely different song without giving any warning.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Somebody To Love (live version)
Source:    LP: Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Writer(s):    Darby Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    The original Great Society arrangement of Darby Slick's Somebody To Love was noticably slower than the well-known Jefferson Airplane version of the song heard on their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow. The Airplane's own live version, as heard on the 1969 LP Bless It's Pointed Little Head, is even faster paced, bordering on the downright frenetic. It does make you wonder just what they were taking for their late 1968 Fillmore concert appearances.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Baby, Please Don't Go (with Robin Williams intro)
Source:    Mono 12" single (reissue)
Writer:    Joe Williams
Label:    A&M
Year:    1964
    Belfast, Northern Ireland was home to one of the first bands that could be legitimately described as punk rock. Led by Van Morrison, the band quickly got a reputation for being rude and obnoxious, particularly to members of the English press (although it was actually a fellow Irishman who labeled them as "boorish"). Their first single was what has come to be considered the definitive rock and roll version of the 1923 Joe Williams tune Baby, Please Don't Go. Despite its UK success, the single was never issued in the US. Oddly enough, the song's B side ended up being the song most people associate with Them: the classic Gloria, which was released as Them's US debut single in 1965 but promptly found itself banned on most US radio stations due to suggestive lyrics. Them's recording of Baby, Please Don't Go gained renewed popularity in the 1980s when it was used in the film Good Morning Vietnam.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Murder In My Heart For The Judge
Source:    LP: Great Grape (originally released on LP: Wow)
Writer(s): Don Stevenson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Moby Grape got creatively (and commercially) sabotaged when their producer, David Rubinson, decided to add horns and strings to many of the tracks on their second album, Wow, alienating much of the band's core audience in the process. Still, Wow did have its share of fine tunes, including drummer Don Stevenson's Murder In My Heart For The Judge, probably the most well-known song on the album. The song proved popular enough to warrant cover versions by such diverse talents as Lee Michaels, Chrissy Hynde and Three Dog Night.

Artist:     Moby Grape
Title:     Omaha
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Moby Grape)
Writer:     Skip Spence
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1967
     As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Ooh Mama Ooh
Source:    LP: Moby Grape '69
Writer(s):    Stevenson/Milller
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Hard core Moby Grape fans did not quite know what to make of the band's third LP, Moby Grape '69. For one thing, one of the group's most visible members, guitarist Skip Spence, had gone awol from the band and was only heard on the album's final track. For another, MG 69 had more than a dash of country-rock at a time when the term country-rock had not yet been invented. Finally, the entire album had a kind of unfinished feel to it. This may have been the result of a deliberate attempt to avoid the production excesses of their second LP, Wow. It's also possible that the Grape audience was not quite ready for the incorporation of 50s doo-wop vocals on the album's opening track, Ooh Mama Ooh. Whatever the reason, the album stalled out at # 113 on the Billboard charts, although in more recent years it has come to be seen as a precursor to the so-called California Sound of bands like Poco and the Eagles.

Artist:    Audience
Title:    Eye To Eye
Source:    CD: The House On The Hill
Writer(s):    Werth/Williams
Label:    Caroline Blue Plate (original UK label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    Audience was a British progressive rock band with somewhat unusual instrumentation. In addition to drums (provided by Tony Conner) and bass (from Trevor Williams, who was also the groups primary lyricist), the band included Howard Werth, who played an acoustic guitar with nylon strings, but fitted with an electric pickup, and Keith Gemmell on flute, saxophone and clarinet. With no lead guitar or keyboards, Audience concentrated on their songwriting and vocal skills, which are showcased on the song Eye To Eye from the album The House On The Hill. Although The House On The Hill was Audience's third LP, it was the first to be released in the US. Eye To Eye, however, was cut from the US version of the LP to make room for Indian Summer, a non-album single that had been released simultaneously with The House On The Hill in the UK. The original band made only one more album before disbanding in 1972, but reformed 32 years later with a different drummer.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Singing All Day
Source:    CD: Benefit (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Capitol/Chrysalis
Year:    1970
    Singing All Day is one of several tracks recorded during the sessions for the third Jethro Tull LP, Benefit, but not included on the album itself. The song finally got released in 1973 on the Living In The Past album and is now available as a bonus track on the CD version of Benefit.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Chasing Shadows
Source:    LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Lord/Paice
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1969
    As a general rule, recording artists tend to do better on their home ground than anywhere else. Even the Beatles already had a pair of chart-topping British singles (Please Please Me and She Loves You) under their collective belts by the time they touched off the British Invasion of the US with I Want To Hold Your Hand in 1964. There are exceptions, however. One British band that had huge success in the US, yet was unable to buy a hit in its native England, was the original incarnation of a band called Deep Purple. The group had a major US hit right out of the box with their 1968 cover of Joe South's Hush, but the song did not chart at all in the UK. The band's US label, Tetragrammaton, promoted the band heavily and the group's debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was the all-time best selling album in that label's short history. The band followed Shades up with a second LP, The Book Of Taleisyn, that included another hit cover song, Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Still, the British record-buying public was unimpressed, and it was estimated that the group on the average made fifteen to twenty times as much money per gig in the US than they did at home. Unfortunately for the band, Tetragrammaton was badly managed and went belly up just days after the release of the band's self-titled third album. This left the band without a US label and still unsuccessful at home. This, combined with internal conflicts about what direction the band should take musically, led to major personnel changes. Ultimately those changes, particularly the addition of lead vocalist Ian Gillan, proved beneficial, as Deep Purple became one of the top rock bands in the world in the early 1970s. This in turn led to Warner Brothers, the band's new US label, releasing a compilation album of the group's early material called Purple Passages, which included almost the entire third album. Among the outstanding tracks from that album is Chasing Shadows, which utilizes African rhythms from drummer Ian Paice, as well as a strong performance by the band's original vocalist, Rod Evans, who would go on to become the front man for a band called Captain Beyond in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    You Showed Me
Source:    CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Clark
Label:    Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1968
    In 1964, while still performing as a duo, Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark wrote a song called You Showed Me. After the Beefeaters, as they were then known, added new members David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke, changing their name to the Jet Set in the process, they recorded a demo version of the song. Not long after that You Showed Me was dropped from the band's repertoire and promptly forgotten by almost everyone. One person who didn't forget the song, however, was Chip Douglas, who had seen McGuinn and Clark perform the song in 1964. Four years later, after a stint as bass player for the Turtles, then producer for the Monkees, Douglas met up with his old bandmates and played them his own version of You Showed Me. Douglas's presentation, however, was considerable slower than the original version, due to the fact that he was using a harmonium with a broken bellows and couldn't play the song at its proper speed. The Turtles, however, liked the slower tempo and used it for their own recording of the song, which appeared on the 1968 LP The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands and became the band's last major hit single.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released 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 on Reprise Records, 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 Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets compilation, released on the Elektra label in 1972.

Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Sorry
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wright/Young
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1966
    While Beatlemania was sweeping the northern hemisphere, a similar phenomena known as Easyfever was all the rage down under. Formed in the migrant hostels on the edge of Sydney, the Easybeats signed with Parlophone in 1965, and hit the top of the Australian charts with their second single. From that point on, the Easybeats were the # 1 band in the country, cranking out hit after hit, including Sorry from 1966. Like all the band's Australian hits, Sorry was written by the team of vocalist Stevie Wright and guitarist George Young. The day after Sorry was released as a single, the Easybeats relocated to London. At around the same time lead guitarist Harry Vanda replaced Wright as Young's primary writing partner; together they wrote the international smash Friday On My Mind. The Easybeats continued to record into the early 70s, but with only moderate success. Eventually most of the band members returned to Australia; Wright to embark on a successful solo career and Vanda and Young to form a group called Flash And The Pan. A few years later, George Young helped his younger brothers Angus and Malcolm find success with their own band, AC/DC.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Fire Engine
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland/Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    In the summer of 1971 the band I was in, Sunn, did a cover of Black Sabbath's War Pigs as part of our regular repertoire. For the siren effect at the beginning of the song we used our voices, which always elicited smiles from some of the more perceptive members of the audience. Listening to Fire Engine, from The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, has the same effect on me, for pretty much the same reason. The main difference is that the Elevators actually did it with the tape rolling on one of their own original songs, something Sunn never got the opportunity to do.

Artist:    Huns
Title:    I Gotta Move
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Rich La Bonte
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017
    In 1965, most bands in the upstate New York area were inspired mainly by the Beatles, and made their living doing cover songs of various British Invasion bands, particularly those with hits on the charts. And then along came the Huns, a group formed in Ithaca, NY by longtime schoolmates Frank Van Nostrand (bass) and John Sweeney (organ). Both Sweeney and Van Nostrand favored the harder-edged British Invasion bands like the Rolling Stones and the Kinks, and set about finding like-minded individuals on the Ithaca College campus. The first member recruited for the new band was vocalist Rich La Bonte, who brought a Mick Jagger like swagger and his own material, including I Gotta Move. Filling out the band were Buz Warmkessel and drummer Dick Headley. The Huns, who by then had replaced Headley with Steve Dworetz and added rhythm guitarist Keith Ginsberg, made their only studio recordings on March 10, 1966 at Ithaca College's experimental TV studios in downtown Ithaca. Less than three months later the Huns were history, thanks in large part to Van Nostrand and Sweeney being asked by the college dean to pursue their academic careers elsewhere.
Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Flying On The Ground Is Wrong
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    It's a fact: the people at Atco Records thought Neil Young's voice was "too weird" to record, and insisted that fellow Buffalo Springfield member Richie Furay sing his songs instead of Young himself. Among the Young tunes sung by Furay on the first Buffalo Springfield album is Flying On The Ground Is Wrong. By the time the band got around to recording a second LP things had changed a bit and Young sang his own material.

Artist:    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title:    Oh, Pretty Woman
Source:    LP: Crusade
Writer(s):    Williams/King
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers were, in one sense, a training ground some for Britain's most talented blues musicians, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Mick Taylor and Keef Hartley, all of which went on to greater fame as either members of popular bands (Cream, Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones) or as leaders of their own groups. Following the departure of Clapton, the band recruited Taylor to take over lead guitar duties for the 1967 album Crusade, which also featured McVie on bass and Hartley on drums. This lineup would only last for one album, as the next incarnation of the band would feature Fleetwood on drums and Green on guitar.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    The Ostrich
Source:    Canadian CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Although John Kay's songwriting skills were still a work in progress on the first Steppenwolf album, there were some outstanding Kay songs on that LP, such as The Ostrich, a song that helped define Steppenwolf as one of the most politically savvy rock bands in history.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1831 (starts 8/1/18)

This week's show starts with a 1970 set and ends with a 1971 set. In between, we manage to squeeze in some tracks from 71-74.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Move Over
Source:    Move Over (45 RPM single box set)
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1970
    1970 had been a good year for Janis Joplin. She had disbanded the disappointing Kozmik Blues Band and was nearing completion of a new album (Pearl) with a new group (the Full Tilt Boogie Band) and a new producer (Paul Rothchild), who was entirely supportive of her musical abilities. Unlike previous bands, Joplin's new group spent considerable time in the studio working on material for the album, often developing the arrangements with the tape machines running, much like Jimi Hendrix was known to do. The resulting album was musically far tighter than her previous efforts, with a mixture of cover songs and original material such as the opening track, Move Over, written by Joplin herself. A single version of Move Over, using a different take than the one on the LP, was prepared for a 1970 release but shelved following Joplin's sudden death in October of 1970.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Speed King
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The live version of Speed King, a song that originally appeared on the album Deep Purple In Rock, was taken from a 1970 performance on the BBC series In Concert. The album Deep Purple In Concert itself was not released until 1980, but an edited version of Speed King was issued as the B side of the Black Night single in the US in 1970. The song's lyrics, the first written for Deep Purple by vocalist Ian Gillan, reference several Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley songs. The Dutch version of the single heard here differs from other versions in that it has piano overdubs in strategic places.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Play In Time
Source:      CD: Benefit
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:     Capitol/Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
       In the first few years of Jethro Tull's existence, there was one personnel change per album. The third album, Benefit, however, is almost an exception, as keyboardist John Locke, who plays on most of the tracks, would not become an official member of the band until after the album's release. Play In Time is one of those songs that was a staple of early album rock playlists, but didn't make the transition to the current Classic Rock format.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:    Everybody I Love You
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stills/Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The last track on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album déjà vu is a Stephen Stills/Neil Young collaboration that sets the stage for the Stills/Young band a couple of years later. Stylistically it's pretty easy to figure out which part of Everybody I Love You was written by Stephen Stills and which part was written by Neil Young. What's interesting is how well the two parts actually fit together. As far as I know this is actually the first songwriting collaboration between the two, despite being bandmates in Buffalo Springfield since 1966 (and knowing each other even longer).

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    The Man Who Sold The World
Source:    CD: The Man Who Sold The World
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    The Man Who Sold The World is the title track of David Bowie's third LP. At the time, Bowie was a relatively obscure artist still looking for an audience and, in his own words, an identity as well. Unlike other Bowie albums, The Man Who Sold The World was released in the US several months earlier than in the UK. The song itself was not considered single material at the time, although it ended up being a surprise hit in the UK for Lulu in 1974, and became popular with a whole new generation when Nirvana released an unplugged version of the tune in 1993. After Bowie signed with RCA, The Man Who Sold The World was re-issued as the B side of Space Oddity in 1972.

Artist:    Lee Michaels
Title:    Do You Know What I Mean
Source:    LP: 5th
Writer(s):    Lee Michaels
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    From the very beginning of the rock and roll era there have been, from time to time, artists who, for one reason or another, only managed to score one big hit on the charts before fading off into obscurity. These "one-hit wonders" were generally heard on top 40 radio, which tended to be more song oriented than most other radio formats. There were exceptions, however, even on artist-oriented FM rock stations. One of the most famous examples was Lee Michaels, who got plenty of FM airplay with Do You Know What I Mean in 1971, with virtually none of his other songs getting any exposure. As it turns out, Michaels was a harbinger of things to come, as FM became more like top 40 as the 70s wore on, and ended up being, in essence, a harder rocking version of top 40 radio in the 1980s.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Do It Again
Source:    CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1972
    Although they at first appeared to be a real band, Steely Dan was, in fact, two people: keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen and bassist (and later guitarist) Walter Becker. For their first album they recruited, from various places, guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, drummer Jim Hodder, guitarist Denny Dias, and finally (when they realized they would have to actually perform live, which terrified Fagen) vocalist David Palmer. The first single from the album, Do It Again, was a major hit, going to the #6 spot on the Billboard charts and, more importantly, introducing the world at large to the Steely Dan sound, combining jazz-influenced rock music with slyly cynical lyrics (often sung in the second person). Steely Dan would continue to be an influential force in popular music, and especially FM rock radio, throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Ocean
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    There is little doubt that the most anticipated album of 1973 was Led Zeppelin's fifth effort, Houses Of The Holy. After all, Stairway To Heaven, from their previous album, was the most requested (and probably most played) song on FM rock radio at the time, and the band's legion of fans were eagerly anticipating the group's next effort. They were not disappointed. Houses Of The Holy contains some of Led Zeppelin's most popular songs, including The Ocean, which was about and dedicated to those fans. Like many popular Zeppelin tunes, The Ocean was never released as a single. This really didn't matter, however, as Houses Of The Holy was a huge commercial success, going to the top of the Billboard LP charts and selling 11 million copies in the US alone.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Court And Spark
Source:    LP: Court And Spark
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1974
    Canadian Joni Mitchell had already established a reputation as one of the top singer/songwriters of the early 1970s when she decided to spend the entirety of 1973 working on a new album that would incorporate elements of jazz into the folk-rock she was famous for. The resulting album, Court And Spark, ended up being the high point of her career, going to the #2 spot on the Billboard album charts and spawning her only top 10 single (Help Me). The album features some of the best musicians working in Los Angeles at the time, including members of the Jazz Crusaders and Tom Scott's L.A. Express, as well as guest appearances by Robbie Robertson, David Crosby and Graham Nash (and even Cheech And Chong on one track). The title track itself includes several jazz elements, including half tones, bent notes, time changes and unusual chord progressions, setting the tone for the entire LP.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Embryo/Children Of The Grave
Source:    CD: Master Of Reality
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    One of the spookiest experiences in my life was crashing at a stranger's house after having my mind blown at a Grand Funk Railroad concert in the fall of 1971. A bunch of us had ridden back to Weatherford, Oklahoma, from Norman (about an hour's drive) and somehow I ended up separated from my friends Mike and DeWayne, in whose college dorm room I had been crashing for a couple of days. So here I am, lying on the couch in this room with black walls, a black light, a few posters and a cheap stereo playing a brand new album I had never heard before: Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality. Suddenly I notice this weird little tapping sound going back and forth from speaker to speaker. Such was my state of mind at the time that I really couldn't tell if it was a hallucination or not. The stereo was one of those late 60s models that you could stack albums on, and whoever had put the album on had left the stereo in repeat mode before heading off to bed, with no more albums stacked after the Sabbath LP. This meant that every twenty minutes or so I would hear Children Of The Grave, with that weird little tapping sound going back and forth from speaker to speaker. Trust me, it was creepy, as was the whispering at the end of track. No wonder Ozzy Ozbourne called Children Of The Grave "the most kick-ass song we'd ever recorded."

Artist:    David Crosby
Title:    Cowboy Movie
Source:    CD: If I Could Only Remember My Name
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although the plot is probably more suited to an episode of a TV Western than a feature-length film, David Crosby's Cowboy Movie is nonetheless an entertaining story. The song, a first person accounting of a disastrous encounter between a gang of train robbers and a "young Indian  girl", appeared on Crosby's first solo LP, If Only I Could Remember My Name, which was one of four solo albums released by the members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young following the success of the deja vu album.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Jam (Footstompin' Music)
Source:    CD: Survival (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1971
    Recorded during sessions for the Survival album, Jam (Footstompin' Music) was an early version of a song that would not appear on vinyl until the following year, when it showed up as the lead single from the album E Pluribus Funk. The recording heard here served as the blueprint for live performances of the song and differs slightly from the later studio version of Footstompin' Music.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1830 (starts 7/25/18)

    Although this week's show starts off pretty mainstream, with one of the Who's more popular early tracks, it soon becomes evident that we are going pretty deep this time around. Any doubt about that is dashed in the second hour, when we present the twenty-three and a half minute long Break Song from Vanilla Fudge's Near The Beginning LP. Take a look...

Artist:     Who
Title:     The Kids Are Alright
Source:     Simulated stereo LP: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released on LP: The Who Sings My Generation)
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1965
     In 1966, after releasing one album on the British Brunswick label, the Who's manager, Kit Lambert, had a falling out with their producer Shel Talby, which resulted in the Who switching to the new Reaction label. Talby retaliated by releasing A Legal Matter, taken from the 1965 album My Generation, as a single within a week of the debut of the Who's first Reaction single, Subsitute. Substitute, being a brand new song, did considerably better than A Legal Matter, but that did not stop Talmy from trying again a few months later by releasing another My Generation track, The Kids Are Alright, two weeks before Reaction released I'm A Boy. The legals battles between Talmy and the band continued for several years, preventing the CD release of the My Generation album until 2002, when the matter was finally settled. All of the songs referred to so far, however, appeared on the 1968 collection Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy, which is where most Americans heard them for the first time.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Go To Her
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow (bonus track originally released on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Kantner/Estes
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage (original label: Grunt)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Love Or Confusion
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     A little-known fact is that the original European version of Are You Experienced, in addition to having a different song lineup, consisted entirely of mono recordings. When Reprise got the rights to release the album in North America, its own engineers created new stereo mixes from the 4-track master tapes. As most of the instrumental tracks had already been mixed down to single tracks, the engineers found themselves doing things like putting the vocals all the way on one side of the mix, with reverb effects and guitar solos occupying the other side and all the instruments dead center. Such is the case with Love Or Confusion, with some really bizarre stereo panning thrown in at the end of the track. It's actually kind of fun to listen to with headphones on, as I did when I bought my first copy of the album on reel-to-reel tape.

Artist:    Senators
Title:    Psychedelic Senate
Source:    LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer(s):    Les Baxter
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    If I had to pick the most unlikely person to record something psychedelic that actually did record something psychedelic, that person would have to be Les Baxter. Born in 1922, Baxter became well-known in the 1940s as a composer and arranger for various swing bands. By the 50s he was leading his own orchestra, recording his own brand of what came to be known as "exotica", easy-listening music flavored with elements taken from non-Western musical traditions. In the 1960s he scored dozens of movie soundtracks, including many for the relatively low-budget American International Pictures, working with people like Roger Corman on films like The Raven, The Pit  And The Pendulum and House Of Usher, as well as teen exploitation films like Beach Blanket Bingo. It was through this association that he got involved with a film called Wild In The Streets in 1968. Although much of the film's soundtrack was made up of songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and performed by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers, there were a few Baxter pieces included as well, including Psychedelic Senate, a bit of incidental music written to underscore a scene wherein the entire US Senate gets dosed on LSD.

Artist:    Acid Gallery
Title:    Dance Around The Maypole
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):    Roy Wood
Label:    Rhino (original label: CBS)
Year:    1969
    Possibly the top British band to not have a hit in the US was the Move. The band was so popular that when BBC One signed on for the first time in 1967, the Move's current hit, Flowers In The Rain, was chosen to be the first song played on the station. The band, led by Roy Wood, produced many spinoff projects as well. One of these was called the Acid Gallery, which released a song called Dance Around The Maypole in 1969. Although Wood himself wrote the song and his voice is featured prominently in the mix, the rest of the Move was not included on the record. It is believed that the actual group was a band called the Epics, who would soon change their name to Christie and have a minor hit with Yellow River, a tune known more for its ability to make adolescent boys giggle when they see the song title than anything else.

Artist:     Doors
Title:     People Are Strange
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     The Doors
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
    People Are Strange, the first single from the Doors' second LP, Strange Days, was also the shortest song on the album, barely breaking the two minute mark at a time when songs were getting longer and longer.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Unknown Soldier
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    One of the oddest recordings to get played on top 40 radio was the Door's 1968 release, The Unknown Soldier. The song is notable for having it's own promotional film made by keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who had been a film major at UCLA when the Doors were formed. It's not known whether the song was written with the film in mind (or vice versa), but the two have a much greater synergy than your average music video. As for the question of whether the Doors themselves were anti-war, let's just say that vocalist Jim Morrison, who wrote the lyrics to The Unknown Soldier, was pretty much anti-everything.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Unhappy Girl
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played on the jukebox at a place called the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base (which is where I was spending most of my evenings that autumn).

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Alley Oop
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Dallas Frazier
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1965/2011
    The Lovin' Spoonful didn't actually release their version of the old Hollywood Argyles song Alley Oop as a single in 1965. In fact, they didn't release the song at all, even though it was recorded during the same sessions that became their debut LP that year. In 2011 the people at Sundazed decided to create a "single that never was", pairing Alley Oop with the full-length version of Night Owl Blues, a song that had been included on the 1965 debut in edited form. The Spoonful version of Alley Oop has an almost garage-band feel about it, and is perhaps the best indication on vinyl of what the band actually sounded like in their early days as a local fixture on the Greenwich Village scene.

Artist:    Strangeloves
Title:    I Want Candy
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Feldman/Goldstein/Gottehrer/Berns
Label:    Rhino (original label: Bang)
Year:    1966
    In the wake of the British Invasion, some American artists tried to sound as British as possible, often deliberately letting radio listeners think that they themselves might be a British band. A trio of New York songwriters, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, took such deceptions to a whole new level. Rather than try to pass themselves off as a British band, the three invented an elaborate backstory that saw them as sons of an Australian sheepherder who had invented a new shearing process and had used the profits from the venture to form a band called the Strangeloves, who were about to become the Next Big Thing. Although the story never really caught on, the group managed to record two of the all-time great party songs, I Want Candy and Night Time, as well as producing a single called Hang On Sloopy for a band they discovered on the road called the McCoys (although the instrumental tracks were actually from the Strangeloves' own first LP). According to press releases the pounding drum beat on I Want Candy was made by Masai drums that the band members had found while on safari in Africa, which just goes to show you can find just about anything in the New York City area if you know where to look.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Blue Fox (remix)
Source:    CD: The Legend Of paul Revere
Writer(s):    Revere/Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Paul Revere And The Raiders, after releasing a handful of records on minor labels, signed with Columbia in 1965, the first true rock band to do so. Their first hit on the label was the song Steppin' Out, a song about a guy coming back from an overseas stint in the military, only to find out his girlfriend has not been celibate while he was gone. Pretty cutting edge stuff for 1965. The B side, Blue Fox, was a short instrumental piece written by Revere and vocalist/saxophonist Mark Lindsay. Thanks to the inclusion of what was obviously an inside joke for the band, the track is probably too politically incorrect to play, so of course I had to play it anyway.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Orange Skies
Source:    Australian Import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    Love, the most popular band on the Sunset Strip, was also among the most eclectic. Nowhere is this more evident than on their second LP, Da Capo. After starting off with the punkish Stephanie Knows Who, the tone abruptly shifts with Orange Skies, a soft almost lounge lizard-like tune written by Bryan MacLean (who later claimed it was the first song he ever wrote), but sung by Arthur Lee in a style that was at the time compared to Johnny Mathis. The song was released ahead of the album in late 1966 as a B side.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Strawberry Fields Forever
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    The first song recorded for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, John Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever was instead issued as a single (along with Paul McCartney's Penny Lane) a few months before the album came out. The song went into the top 10, but was not released on an album until December of 1967, when it was included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Tangier
Source:    British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    Although officially credite to Donovan Leitch, Tangier, from the 1968 LP The Hurdy Gurdy Man, was actually written by Donovan's close friend Gyp Mills (also known as Gypsy Dave). The song's original title was In Tangier Down A Windy Street. The piece is one of three songs on The Hurdy Gurdy Man that are built around a single note (known in Eastern music as a drone). Due to an ongoing contractual dispute between Donovan and Pye Records, The Hurdy Gurdy Man was originally released only in the US.

Artist:    Rabbit Habit
Title:    Angel Angel Down We Go
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wylde Psych (originally released as stereo 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Tower)
Year:    1969
    I don't have the slightest clue who plays on this record (although the band that performs it on film is called Rabbit Habit). What I do know is that is was the title track of an American International Pictures film called Angel Angel Down We Go. Unfortunately I had never seen or even heard of a movie called Angel Angel Down We Go before hearing this track, so I have no idea what is was about (other than a band called Rabbit Habit). But that's OK, because I strongly suspect I wouldn't be interested in watching a 1969 film from American International Pictures anyway. Then again, if it's cheesy enough, I just might. I actually did like Wild In The Streets the first time I saw it, after all (I was fifteen). Speaking of which, the theme from both that movie and Angel Angel Down We Go were written by Barry Mann and his wife Cynthia Weil, who also wrote (among other things) Kicks and Hungry for Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Artist:    Timebox
Title:    Gone Is The Sadman
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    McCarthy/Halsall
Label:    Rhino (original label: Deram)
Year:    1968
    Timebox is one of those bands that by all rights should have had much more success than they were able to achieve. Why this should be is a mystery. They had plenty of talent, good press and were signed to a major label (Deram). Yet none of their singles were able to make a connection with the record buying public. Originally formed in Southport in 1965 as Take Five, the band relocated to London the following year, changing their name to Timebox at the same time. After releasing a pair of singles on the small Picadilly label, the band added a couple of new members, including future Rutles drummer John Halsey. Within a few months they were signed to the Deram label, and released several singles over the next few years. One of their best tunes, Gone Is The Sandman, was actually released as a B side in late 1968.

Artist:    Jelly Bean Bandits
Title:    Neon River
Source:    British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: Jelly Bean Bandits)
Writer(s):    Buck/Donald/Dougherty/Raab/Scalfari
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
            Some bands focus on their live performances, while others tend to put more energy into their studio work. The Jelly Bean Bandits, from Newburgh, NY, were definitely in the second category. According to organist Mike Rabb, the band did most of its gigging at two clubs, one in Newburgh and one in nearby Poughkeepsie, with regular bookings in Vermont and a couple of gigs in New Jersey. They were able to put together a fairly decent demo tape, which they presented to Bob Shad, president of Mainstream Records. Shad immediately signed up the Bandits for three albums, although only one actually got released. The band itself, however, had a clear vision of what they wanted to record, as can be heard on Neon River.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     Take My Love
Source:     Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer:     Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1967
     The Blues Magoos were one of the most visible bands to wear the label "psychedelic". In fact, much of what they are remembered for was what they wore onstage: electric suits. They were also one of the first bands to use the term "psychedelic" on a record, (their 1966 debut album was called Psychedelic Lollipop). Unlike some of their wilder jams such as Tobacco Road and a six-minute version of Gloria, Take My Love, from the band's sophomore effort Electric Comic Book, is essentially garage rock done in the Blues Magoos style. That style was defined by the combination of Farfisa organ and electric guitar, the latter depending heavily on reverb and vibrato bar to create an effect of notes soaring off into space.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Break Song
Source:    LP: Near The Beginning
Writer(s):    Stein/Bogert/Martell/Appice
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Vanilla Fudge's Break Song, from their fourth LP, Near The Beginning, is essentially one long (twenty-three and a half minutes) jam session with solos from each band member. Released nearly a year before Led Zeppelin's Moby Dick, Break Song includes what may well be the first heavy metal drum solo on vinyl. (Carmine Appice literally wrote the book on rock drumming. As far as I know that book is still in print.)

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Source:    LP: Cosmo's Factory
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Stong
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1970
    Creedence Clearwater Revival were known for their tight arrangements of relatively short songs at a time when album tracks, as a general rule, were getting longer and longer. Still, there are exceptions; the most obvious of these was their cover of Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through The Grapevine on their 1970 LP Cosmo's Factory. At slightly over eleven minutes, Grapevine is CCR's longest studio recording. Despite this, according to bassist Stu Cook, the song was performed in the studio exactly as planned, with "no room for noodling". Although not a major top 40 hit, I Heard It Through The Grapevine has proved to be one of CCR's most enduring tracks, still getting occasional airplay on classic rock radio.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I Hate Everybody/Fast Life Rider
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. To better achieve the desired effect, production on the song was done 50s style, including a monoraul mix. I Hate Everybody is followed immediately by the longest track on the album, the seven-minute Fast Life Rider, which features a long middle section of Winter jamming away against a military-type beat provided by Turner. The other band members provide hoots, hums and hollers, making the whole thing feel a bit like a chain gang recording from the 1930s.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.T.Tatman III
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence, even after relocating to the Laurel Canyon area near Los Angeles in 1968. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of that single was another track from Living The Blues that actually had a longer running time on the single than on the album version. Although the single uses the same basic recording of Boogie Music as the album, it includes a short low-fidelity instrumental tacked onto the end of the song that sounds suspiciously like a 1920s recording of someone playing a melody similar to Going Up The Country on a fiddle. The only time this unique version of the song appeared in stereo was on a 1969 United Artists compilation called Progressive Heavies that also featured tracks from Johnny Winter, Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and others.

Artist:    Kaleidoscope
Title:    Keep Your Mind Open
Source:    CD: Side Trips
Writer(s):    Chris Darrow
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    Formed in 1966 by David Lindley (b. March 21, 1944, Los Angeles, California), Solomon Feldthouse (b. January 20, 1940, Pingree, Idaho), Chris Darrow (b. July 30, 1944, Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Chester Crill (a.k.a. Max Budda, Max Buda, Fenrus Epp, Templeton Parcely) (b. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and John Vidican (b. Los Angeles, California), Kaleidoscope grew out of the jug band revival movement of the early 60s that also brought us such diverse talents as John Sebastian, Joe McDonald and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The group was deliberately leaderless, and rose quickly in popularity playing various clubs in the Los Angeles area, signing a contract with Epic within a year of the band's inception. Their first single was released in December of 1966, with an album, Side Trips, following in June of 1967. By then the group had taken on a decidedly psychedelic flavor, as can be heard on tracks like Keep Your Mind Open.
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Who's Driving Your Plane
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side of their loudest single to date, the feedback-drenched Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1830 (starts 7/25/18)

    This week's show is pretty much an exercise in seat-of-the-pants programming. What that means is that, for the most part, I didn't know what record was gonna get played until the previous one was already spinning. This was actually done on purpose, as a kind of experiment in free association. Hope you like it.

Artist:    Flock
Title:    Green Slice/Big Bird
Source:    British import CD: Dinosaur Swamps
Writer(s):    The Flock
Label:    BGO (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    The Flock's Dinosaur Swamps is one of those rare albums that can never truly be defined. Is it jazz? Rock? Novelty? Gospel? I honestly can't say. The album cover itself is one of the coolest ever printed: a gatefold sleeve that you have to open up and turn 90 degrees to look at. Every song title refers to something on the cover (or on the inside of the gatefold sleeve). Green Slice, for instance, refers to the album title itself, which is printed in curved block letters on a green background shaped like an arch above the actual album cover art. The first thing that (hopefully not literally) jumps out at you on the cover itself is a huge pterodactyl flying toward you: a Big Bird indeed.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    The Approaching Storm/Man Vs. Man: The End
Source:    LP: Chicago III
Writer(s):    James Pankow
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Chicago's self-titled second album was a huge success. This put pressure on the band to make their third LP an even bigger hit; in terms of chart action they actually succeeded, with Chicago III hitting a higher position than either of its predecessors. However, the fatigue of constant touring was taking its toll, and the album itself has a more world-weary feel than any of their other LPs. The fact that Chicago III was the third consecutive double-LP released by the band only contributed to this weariness. Still, in some ways Chicago III was also the heaviest album ever released by the group. Even the instrumentals, such as trombonist James Pankow's album side length suite Elegy had a darkness to them. The suite itself has a long enough silence between the third and fourth parts that I have chosen to treat them as separate tracks. This week we have the final two parts of Elegy, The Approaching Storm and Man Vs. Man: The End. The titles say it all.

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Don't Look Around
Source:    CD: The Best Of Mountain (originally released on LP: Nantucket Sleighride)
Writer(s):    West/Palmer/Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Windfall/Columbia
Year:    1971
    One of Mountain's most popular tracks was Nantucket Sleighride, released on an album of the same name in 1971. The opening track of that album, Don't Look Around, is a power rocker that was considered good enough in its own right to make the band's greatest hits collection.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Life In The Fast Line
Source:    LP: Hotel California
Writer(s):    Walsh/Henley/Frey
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1976
    Built on a riff that Joe Walsh came up with during a warm up session, Life In The Fast Lane is one of the Eagles' most popular songs. The title of the song comes from an experience that Glen Frey had while riding on the freeway with a drug dealer known as the Count. The car was apparently going a bit too fast for Frey's tastes, but when he tried to tell the Count to slow down the only response he got was "It's life in the fast lane!" The lyrics for the song were written mostly by Frey and Don Henley.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Big Yellow Taxi
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Ladies Of The Canyon)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    One of Joni Mitchell's best-known tunes, Big Yellow Taxi was originally released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. The original studio version of the song hit the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the UK and Mitchell's native Canada, but only reached the #67 spot in the US. A later live version of the song, however, cracked the top 30 in the US in 1974. Mitchell says she was inspired to write the song on a visit to Hawaii, where she looked out her hotel window to view a mountain vista in the distance, only to be shocked back to reality when she looked down to see a parking lot "as far as the eye could see".

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Bodhisattva
Source:    LP: Countdown To Ecstacy
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Steely Dan's second album, Countdown To Ecstacy, is the only one made up entirely of songs designed to be performed by a live band. This came about after the band's label, ABC, asked the band to go on the road to promote album sales. The band's two core members, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, set about putting together a stage band, and composed tunes specifically with that group of musicians in mind. Among those tunes in Bodhisattva, a fast-paced tune taking a satirical look at America's obsession with Capitalism as a path to spiritual enlightenment. Fagen summarized the song's message as "Lure of East. Hubris of hippies. Quick fix". The song features, jazz-style, a series of instrumental verses highlighting the talents of various band members, particularly guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Sugar The Road
Source:    CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    Ten Years After's fourth LP, Cricklewood Green, was the band's first release following their appearance at Woodstock, and by all accounts they made the best of the situation with what is generally considered to be their best studio album. In addition to progressive FM radio favorites Love Like A Man and 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain, the album contains several tunes that show the group's diversity, such as Sugar The Road, which opens side one of the LP.
Artist:    Pavlov's Dog
Title:    Song Dance
Source:    LP: Pampered Menial
Writer(s):    Mike Saffron
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1975
    Pavlov's Dog, from St. Louis, Mo., was somewhat unusual in that they had not one, but two keyboardists in the band. In addition to keyboardists David Hamilton and Doug Rayburn, the group included vocalist David Surkamp, guitarist Steve Scorfina, bassist Rick Stockton, drummer Mike Safron, and violinist Siegfried Carver (born Richard Nadler) at the time they recorded their first album, Pampered Menial. The 1975 album was released briefly on the ABC label, then almost immediately on Columbia. Most of the songs on the album were written by either Surkamp or Scorfina; however, one of the best tracks on the album, Song Dance, was penned by Mike Safron. Safron, for reasons that are unclear, was not available when the band recorded their follow-up LP, and Bill Bruford was brought in as a temporary fill-in. Saffron had a falling out with the rest of the band over not receiving credit on the album cover and left the group permanently before work on their third album began. It turned out to be a somewhat moot point, however, as Columbia, citing poor sales on the first two LPs, chose not to release the third one. A bootleg copy of that third LP, credited to the St. Louis Hounds, appeared in the early 1980s.

Artist:    Illinois Speed Press
Title:    Hard Luck Story
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Illinois Speed Press)
Writer(s):    Kal David
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    In 1967 someone coined the phrase "San Francisco sound" to describe the wave of bands coming out of the Bay Area that year, despite the fact that there really was no specific San Francisco sound. The following year, someone at M-G-M Records (which had missed out entirely on the whole San Francisco thing, with the exception of the Eric Burdon And The Animals single San Franciscan Nights) decided to sign a bunch of Boston bands and market them as the "Boss-Town Sound." This campaign went over like a lead balloon, actually hurting the chances of the bands to make a name for themselves. Undeterred, Columbia Records tried the same thing in Chicago in 1969, signing the Chicago Transit Authority, the Flock, Aorta and Illinois Speed Press and marketing them as the "Chicago Sound". Producer James William Guercio, who had previously worked with the Buckinghams and Blood, Sweat & Tears, was brought in to produce the first Illinois Speed Press album, which included the song Hard Luck Story, a somewhat atypical piece of blues-rock written by Kal David, who along with Paul Cotton formed the core of the band. David and Cotton soon wearied of being lumped in with other Chicago bands, and relocated to California, essentially becoming a duo in the process and helping pioneer the country-rock sound that would emerge from Southern California in the mid-1970s.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    I Can't Get Next To You
Source:    LP: Street Corner Talking
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1971
    Following the release of the album Looking In, Savoy Brown founder Kim Simmonds decided to take the band in an entirely new direction. His enthusiasm for the change was not shared by his bandmates, however, and Simmonds ended up firing the lot of them and hiring a whole new crew for the 7th Savoy Brown LP, Street Corner Talking. This new lineup consisted of members of the band Chicken Shack, which had fallen apart when their front person, Christine Perfect (later to be Christine McVie) left to join Fleetwood Mac. One indication of the band's new direction was a bluesy arrangement of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong's I Can't Get Next To You, which had been a hit single for the Temptations a few years earlier. The Savoy Brown arrangement of the song was inspired by Al Green's version of the song.

Artist:    Love Sculpture
Title:    So Unkind
Source:    British import CD: Blues Helping
Writer(s):    James/Sehom
Label:    EMI (original US label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1968
    Before scoring an international hit with his early 70s remake of Fats Domino's I Hear You Knockin', Dave Edmunds fronted one of the best of the late 60s British blues-rock bands, Love Scupture. Their debut LP was made up mostly of electrifying versions of blues standards, such as the Elmore James tune So Unkind. 50 years later, it still rocks!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1829 (starts 7/18/18)

    This week we have running hot and cool tunes to beat the heat, including sets from Cream and the Rolling Stones. First up: the Seeds.

 Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, its local success predating that of the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    For No One
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    With the predominance of the keyboards and french horn in the mix, For No One (essentially a Paul McCartney solo number) shows just how far the Beatles had moved away from their original image as a "guitar band" by the time they recorded the Revolver album in 1966.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    She May Call You Up Tonight
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash
Year:    1967
    Unlike their first two singles, Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina, the Left Banke's third single, She May Call You Up Tonight, failed to chart, possibly due to the release two months earlier of a song called Ivy Ivy, written by keyboardist Michael Brown and shown on the label as being by the Left Banke. Ivy Ivy was in reality performed entirely by session musicians, including lead vocals by Bert Sommer, who would be one of the acoustic acts on the opening afternoon of the Woodstock festival a couple years later. The resulting fued between Brown and the rest of the band left a large number of radio stations gun shy when came to any record with the name Left Banke on the label, and She May Call You Up Tonight tanked.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native) (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop
Writer(s):    Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    A minor, but notable trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) was the single from that album, peaking in the lower reaches of the Hot 100 charts.

Artist:    Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Title:    Konekuf
Source:    LP: Manfred Mann Chapter Three
Writer(s):    Manfred Mann
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1969
    In 1969, following a series of highly successful singles in the UK (including the international smashes Do Wah Diddy Diddy and The Mighty Quinn), keyboardist Manfred Mann decided to disband the group that shared his name and move in a new, more progressive musical direction. The new group, called Manfred Mann Chapter Three showed strong jazz influences, especially on the freeflowing,yet low key Konekuf, one of the few instrumentals on the LP.  Although Manfred Mann Chapter Three was not a major commercial success, it did set the stage for Mann's next group, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, which had a major hit in 1975 with Blinded By The Light.

Artist:     Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Sin's A Good Man's Brother
Source:     CD: Closer To Home
Writer:     Mark Farner
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1970
     Flint, Michigan, in the mid-1960s was home to a popular local band called Terry Knight and the Pack. In 1969 pack guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer hooked up with Mel Schacher, former bassist for ? and the Mysterians to form Grand Funk Railroad, with Terry Knight himself managing and producing the new band. With a raw, garage-like sound played at record high volume, Grand Funk immediately earned the condemnation of virtually every rock critic in existence. Undeterred by bad reviews, the band took their act to the road, foregoing the older venues such as ballrooms and concert halls and booking entire sports arenas for their concerts. In the process they almost single-handedly created a business model that continues to be the industry standard. Grand Funk Railroad consistently sold out all of their performances for the next two years, earning no less than three gold records in 1970 alone. The third of these was Closer To Home, which opens with Sin's A Good Man's Brother, a Farner composition.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Round And Round (It Won't Be Long)
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Round And Round, from Neil Young's 1969 album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, was actually written while Young was still a member of Buffalo Springfield. The song features guest vocalist Robin Lane, as well as the members of Crazy Horse.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Outside Woman Blues
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Arthur Reynolds
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Although Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, is best known for its psychedelic cover art and original songs such as Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses, the LP did have one notable blues cover on it. Outside Woman Blues was originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929 and has since been covered by a variety of artists including Van Halen, Johnny Winters, Jimi Hendrix and even the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Crossroads
Source:    CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer:    Robert Johnson
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Robert Johnson's Crossroads has come to be regarded as a signature song for Eric Clapton, who's live version (recorded at the Fillmore East) was first released on the Cream album Wheels Of Fire.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The album Fresh Cream was perhaps the first LP from a rock supergroup, although at the time a more accurate description would have been British blues supergroup. Much of the album was reworking of blues standards by the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, all of whom had established their credentials with various British blues bands. With Disraeli Gears, however, Cream showed a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown.

Artist:    Love
Title:    No. Fourteen
Source:    Mono CD: Love Story (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    With a title that is an obvious joke, No. 14 is among the most obscure of the original Love's recordings, having appeared on vinyl only as a B side to the 1966 single 7&7 Is and on a 1973 compilation album that was only released in Europe. At less than two minutes long, it would seem that the track's main objective was to make sure that disc jockeys didn't accidentally play the wrong side of the record.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     The Door Into Summer
Source:     LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer:     Douglas/Martin
Label:     Colgems
Year:     1967
     After playing nearly all the instrumental tracks on their third album themselves, the Monkees came to the painful conclusion that they would not be able to repeat the effort and still have time to tape a weekly TV show. As a result, the fourth Monkees LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD., used studio musicians extensively, albeit under the creative supervision of the Monkees themselves. The group also had the final say over what songs ended up on the album, including The Door Into Summer. The tune was written by Bill Martin, a friend of band leader Michael Nesmith. For reasons that are too complicated to get into here (and probably wouldn't make much sense anyway), co-credit was given to the band's producer, Chip Douglas.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Blue Avenue
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    One of Boston's most popular bands, the Beacon Street Union, had already migrated to New York City by the time their first album, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union (produced by the legendary Tom Wilson), made its debut in February of 1968. The band itself was made up of Boston University dropouts John Lincoln Wright (lead vocals), Paul Tartachny (guitar, vocals), Robert Rhodes (keyboards, brass), Richard Weisberg (drums), and Wayne Ulaky (bass). Ulaky wrote what was probably the band's best-known song, Blue Avenue. The tune was particular popular in the UK, where it was often heard on John Peel's Top Gear program. The Beacon Street Union, however, fell victim to hype; in this case the ill-advised attempt on the part of M-G-M records to market several disparate bands as being part of the "boss-town sound". After a second LP, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (produced by future Partridge Family impressario Wes Farrell) failed to equal the somewhat limited success of their debut LP, the Beacon Street Union decided to call it quits.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Kozmic Blues
Source:    LP: I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama
Writer(s):    Joplin/Mekler
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    After she parted company with Big Brother and the Holding Company following the Cheap Thrills album, Janis Joplin got to work forming a new band that would come to be known as the Kozmic Blues Band. Unlike Big Brother, this new band included a horn section, and leaned more toward R&B than the earlier band's hard rocking sound. Joplin released only one studio album with the Kozmic Blues Band, 1969's I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama. Although the album sold well, it was savaged by the rock press. Still, there were some standout tracks on the album, including the title tune (of sorts), Kozmic Blues. Joplin made several live appearances with this group, including the Woodstock performing arts festival, before disbanding the unit in favor of a smaller group, the Full-Tilt Boogie Band.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Fool
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Yoder/Grelecki
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1970
    Following the departure of Randy Holden, who had himself replaced founding member Leigh Stephens, Blue Cheer decided to forego the power trio configuration of their first two and a half albums and instead go with a more melodic sound and shorter songs. To accomplish this, Bruce Stephens (no relation to Leigh) was brought in for one side of the third Blue Cheer album, The New Improved Blue Cheer. Stephens stayed with the band long enough to record the group's self-titled fourth LP, but even on that album his replacement, former Oxford Circle guitarist/vocalist Gary Lee Yoder, whose own band Kak was already disintegrating, made a guest appearance as a songwriter on two of the album's tracks. Cementing his relationship with the band even further, Yoder added a new lead vocal track to the single version of the album's opening track, Fool (which, being co-written by his Kak cohort Gary Grelecki, was probably intended to be recorded by Kak, had that band stayed together long enough to issue a second LP), making it considerably different (and much harder to find) than the original LP track. Yoder would officially replace Stephens as Blue Cheer's guitarist by the time sessions began for the band's fifth album.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Desperado
Source:    LP: Killer
Writer(s):    Cooper/Bruce
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Alice Cooper (the singer, not the band) has made conflicting statements concerning the inspiration/subject matter of Desperado, from the Killer album. In the liner notes of Fistful Of Alice (and elsewhere) the flamboyant vocalist said the song was written about his friend Jim Morrison, who died in 1971, the same year Killer was released. However, he has also said (in a radio interview) that the song was inspired by Robert Vaughn's character in the film The Magnificent Seven. Whatever the song's origins, Desperado has proved to be one of the band's most popular numbers, appearing on various greatest hits compilations over the years.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Masculine Intuition
Source:    CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    If you take out the cover songs that Original Sound Records added to the album without the band's knowledge or approval, Turn On The Music Machine has to be considered one of the best LPs of 1966. Not that the covers were badly done, but they were intended to be used for lip synching on a local TV show and were included without the knowledge or approval of the band, and that's never a good thing. Every one of the Sean Bonniwell originals on the other hand, combines strong musical structure and intelligent lyrics with musicianship far surpassing the average garage band. This is especially true in the case of Masculine Intuition, which was also issued as the B side of the band's second single.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Jigsaw Puzzle
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Jigsaw Puzzle, the longest track on the Beggar's Banquet album, comes across as a wry look at the inner workings of a rock and roll band like, say, the Rolling Stones. Founder Brian Jones's only contribution to the recording is some soaring mellotron work toward the end of the song. Not long after the track was recorded, Jones was fired from the band.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Connection
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Often dismissed as the beginning of a departure from their blues roots, the Rolling Stones first LP of 1967, Between The Buttons, actually has a lot of good tunes on it, such as Connection, a song with multiple meanings. Most studios at that time only had four tracks available and would use two tape machines to mix the first tracks recorded on one machine (usually the instrumental tracks) down to a single track on the other machine, freeing up the remaining tracks for overdubs. This process, known as "bouncing", sometimes happened two or three times on a single recording if extra overdubs were needed. Unfortunately each pass resulted in a loss of quality on the bounced tracks, especially if the equipment was not properly maintained. This is particularly noticeable on Connection, as the final mix seems to have lost most of its high and low frequencies, resulting in an unintentionally "lo-fi" recording.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Salt of the Earth
Source:     CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1968
     After scathing critical reviews and disappointing sales for their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones took a few months off to regroup. They returned to the studio with a new producer (Jimmy Miller, who had previously worked with Steve Winwood) and a back-to-basics approach that resulted in a new single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, followed by the release of the Beggar's Banquet album. The closing track of that album was Salt of the Earth, a song that started off sounding like a drinking song, gradually building up to a gospel-inflected fadeout.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them have become better known than the original Dylan versions. Probably the most notable of these is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself, who now uses Hendrix's arrangement exclusively when he performs the song.

Artist:    Idle Race
Title:    Hurry Up John
Source:    British import CD: Insane times (originally released on LP: Idle Race)
Writer(s):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1969
    Virtually unknown in the US, the Idle Race released three LPs in the UK before frontman Jeff Lynne departed the group to join up with Roy Wood's band, the Move. Hurry Up John, a 1969 album track from the second Idle Race LP, is a classic sample of Britain's underground music scene.

Artist:    Action
Title:    Bustbin Full Of Rubbish
Source:    British import CD: Mighty Baby (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Ian Whiteman
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1993
    Although popular with the Mod crowd, the Action was never able to convert that popularity into chart success, despite releasing a series of singles on the Parlophone label from 1965-67. The band began going through changes in 1967, including the loss of lead vocalist Reg King and the addition of keyboardist/composer Ian Whiteman in 1967. After being dropped by Parlophone, the Action recorded a series of demos for Georgio Gomelski, who was in the process of setting up his new Marmalade label in 1968, but were unable to find any takers among the labels that existed at the time, and the recordings remained unreleased until the 1990s. Meanwhile, the Action finally changed its name to Mighty Baby in 1969, signing with the new Head label. Unfortunately, Head Records went belly up in 1970, and after releasing a second LP on the Blue Horizon label in 1971, the Action/Mighty Baby finally called it a day.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     Carte Blanche
Source:     LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     The liner notes on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's second album for Reprise included a line from band leader Bob Markley stating that the album was done exactly the way the band wanted it to be done, with no interference from the label. This is not difficult to believe when listening to Carte Blanche.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in 1967 by guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker in New York's Greenwich Village. The group, originally called the Lost Sea Dreamers, combined elements of folk, rock, jazz and country to create their own unique brand of psychedelic music. Their self-title debut album contained rock songs from both songwriters, with Walker's tunes leaning more toward folk and country while Bruno's contained elements of jazz, as can be heard on You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go. The band released a second album in early 1968 before splitting up, with Walker becoming a successful songwriter and Bruno hooking up with various jazz musicians over the next few years. Bassist Gary White also had some success as a songwriter, penning Linda Ronstadt's first solo hit, Long, Long Time.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     How Suite It Is
Source:     LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s): Kantner/Casady/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1967
     The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Casady's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Casady's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Expecting To Fly
Source:    CD: Retrospective-The Best Of Buffalo Springfield (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    The second Buffalo Springfield album saw the individual members of the band moving in different directions, sometimes even recording without their bandmates. This was particularly true for Neil Young, whose Expecting To Fly is essentially an orchestral piece arranged and co-produced by Jack Nitzsche that was originally intended for release as a Young single.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Summertime Blues/Shakin' All Over
Source:    LP: Live At Leeds
Writer(s):    Cochrane/Capehart/Kidd
Label:    Decca
Year:    1970
    The Who's 1970 LP Live At Leeds has been called the greatest rock concert album ever released. Although I'm not a great fan of live albums from the 1970s (due to poor recording quality), I have to admit that Live At Leeds certainly lives up to its hype. Maybe it's because most of the songs are unique to the album itself, such as Summertime Blues and Shakin' All Over, which close out the LP's first side. Both are cover songs that are transformed by the Who into something truly their own (in fact Summertime Blues was even released as a single).