Sunday, December 30, 2018

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1901 (starts 12/31/18)

    I recently realized that, between Stuck in the Psychedelic Era and Rockin' in the Days of Confusion, HermitRadio has produced over 1000 hours' worth of shows featuring music covering roughly a dozen years since starting syndication in 2010. An yet, for all that, there are still tons of really good songs from the years 1964-1976 that have yet to make an appearance on either show. In fact, this week alone we have 12 "new" tunes between the two shows, including half a dozen in the second hour of this show. The first half of that second hour, incidentally, is a bit of an experiment. I've always tried to maintain a balance between the familiar and the obscure, between album tracks, singles and B sides and between various genres such as garage-rock, folk-rock, blues-rock, etc. This time around, though, we have an entire seven-song set of obscurities, including two from bands that have never been heard on the show before (followed by two highly recognizable hit singles; I'm not THAT crazy). Let me know how this works for you. First though, a British set, a California set and a trip from 1965 to 1971, one year at a time.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Eleanor Rigby
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' Revolver album is usually cited as the beginning of the British psychedelic era, and with good reason. Although the band still had one last tour in them in 1966, they were already far more focused on their studio work than on their live performances, and thus turned out an album full of short masterpieces such as Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. As always, the song was credited to both McCartney and John Lennon, but in reality the only Beatle to appear on the recording was McCartney himself, and then only in a vocal capacity. The instrumentation consisted of simply a string quartet, arranged and conducted by producer George Martin. Released as a double-A-sided single, along with Yellow Submarine, the song shot to the upper echelons of the charts in nearly every country in the western world and remains one of the band's most popular and recognizable tunes.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, Their Satanic Majesties Request was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern.

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

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and added to LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound). And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in December. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was becoming a breakout hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Thoughts And Words
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
     In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter, including Thoughts And Words, on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.

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

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

Artist:     Beach Boys
Title:     Let's Go Away For Awhile
Source:     45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Pet Sounds)
Writer:     Brian Wilson
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1966
     Although the Beach Boys are known primarily as a vocal group, their catalog is sprinkled with occassional instrumental pieces, usually featuring the youngest Wilson brother, Carl, on lead guitar. By 1966, however, the band was using studio musicians extensively on their recordings. This was taken to its extreme on the Pet Sounds album with the tune Let's Go Away For Awhile, which was made without the participation of any of the actual band members (except composer/producer Brian Wilson, who said at the time that the track was the most satisfying piece of music he had ever made). To give the song even greater exposure, Wilson used the track as the B side of the band's next single, Good Vibrations.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1965
    The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native L.A.ins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song (Love Minus Zero) to record as a single by their producer and allowed to write their own B side. In this case that B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and  guitarist Bill Rhinehart. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Can't Explain
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols/Fleckenstein
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    Love's original lineup consisted of bandleader Arthur Lee on vocals, Johnny Echols on lead guitar, John Fleckenstein on bass and Don Conka on drums, with Lee, a prolific songwriter, providing the band's original material. They soon added Bryan MacLean, a young singer/songwriter/guitarist who gave up his traveling gig as a roadie for the Byrds to join Love. Before they completed their first album, however, Fleckenstein and Conka had been replaced by Ken Forssi and Snoopy Pfisterer, although Lee himself provided most of the drums and some of the bass tracks on the LP. Two of the tracks on the album, however, are rumored to have been performed by the original five members, although this has never been verified. One of those tracks is Can't Explain, on which Fleckenstein has a writing credit. The song is certainly one of the band's earliest recordings and captures Love's hard-edged "L.A.-in" take on folk-rock.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Lazy Day
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Although known mostly for being pioneers of baroque-rock, the Left Banke showed that they could, on occassion, rock out with the best of them on tracks like Lazy Day, which closed out their only LP. The song was also issued as the B side of their second hit, Pretty Ballerina. Incidentally, after the success of their first single, Walk Away Renee, the band formed their own publishing company for their original material, a practice that was fairly common then and now. Interestingly enough, they called that company Lazy Day Music.

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    Mony Mony
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    James/Gentry/Cordell/Bloom
Label:    Priority (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1968
    Sometime around 1964, a high school kid named Tommy James took his band, the Shondells, into a recording studio to record a simple song called Hanky Panky. The song was released on the Roulette label and went absolutely nowhere. Two years later a Pittsburgh DJ, looking for something different to make his show stand out from the crowd, decided to dig out a copy of the record and play it as a sort of on-air audition. The audience loved it, and the DJ soon contacted James, inviting him and the Shondells to make a personal appearance. Unfortunately by this time there were no Shondells, so James hastily put together a new band to promote the record. It wasn't long before the word spread and Hanky Panky was a national hit. James and his new Shondells then commenced to pretty much single-handedly keep Roulette Records afloat for the next three or four years with songs like their 1968 jukebox favorite Mony Mony, one of many top 10 singles for the band.

Artist:      Fairport Convention
Title:     Tam Lin
Source:      LP: Leige and Leaf
Writer(s):    Trad. arr. Swarbuck
Label:     A&M
Year:     1969
     Fairport Convention was hailed as England's answer to Jefferson Airplane when they first appeared. As Tam Lin, from their 1969 album Leige And Lief shows, they soon established a sound all their own. Sandy Denny, heard here on lead vocals, is probably best known to US audiences for her backup vocals on Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore from their fourth LP.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
Source:    CD: Beginnings (originally released on LP: Idlewild South)
Writer(s):    Gregg Allman
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    It's hard to believe now, but it took a while for the Allman Brothers band to become popular outside of the southern US. It wasn't until their second LP, Idlewild South, that rock radio began to take notice of the band, which was at the time based in Macon, Georgia. The album title itself came from an inside joke that the band's house was so busy it was like New York's Idlewild airport (the original name of what is now Kennedy International), but further south. Don't Keep Me Wonderin' is probably the most R&B sounding track the band ever recorded, and in a sense harkens back to Gregg Allman's previous band, the Hour Glass.

Artist:    Full Tilt Boogie Band
Title:    Buried Alive In The Blues
Source:    CD: The Pearl Sessions (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Writer(s):    Nick Gravenites
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Full Tillt Boogie Band was formed in the late 60s as a side project by New York studio guitarist John Till. All the members, including Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson were Canadian citizens, mostly hailing from the province of Ontario. In 1969, Till, along with several other studio musicians, were tapped to become Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band, backing up the vocalist on her solo debut album. Joplin, however, was not entirely comfortable with all the members of this new band, and after the album itself got mostly negative reviews from critics and fans alike, Joplin decided to disband the group, keeping only Till. Till then convinced her to use the Full Tilt Boogie Band (dropped the second "L" in Tillt) for her next album, Pearl. The new combo started touring in the spring of 1970, beginning work on the album itself that September. At the time of Joplin's sudden death on October 4, 1970, the band had completed all the basic tracks for the album; only one song, Buried Alive In The Blues, lacked a usable vocal track. Although Nick Gravenites, the Electric Flag veteran who had written the tune, offered to provide vocals for the track, the band decided to keep it an instrumental instead.

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

Artist:    Vipers
Title:    Time
Source:    Simulated stereo CD: Lost Souls-Volume 4
Writer(s):    Vipers
Label:    Psych Of The South
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2013
    Imagine an entire band dressed in white leotards and face paint, with diamond shapes sewn into the costumes and teardrops and stars on their face. Sounds like a European predecessor to Kiss, doesn't it? It actually happened in 1967 in St. Louis, Missouri, to a band originally called the Vipers, but recently renamed the Harlequin Vipers. As you can imagine, the concept did not go over well, especially with the band members themselves, who split up the band rather than subject themselves to any more humiliation from their manager. How did this come about? The Vipers themselves had been formed when the members were still in high school in the small community of Mountain Home, Arkansas. By 1965 they were playing various venues in the area when they were discovered by Memphis promoter Chip Moman, who saw them playing a Jaycees Water Carnival show while he was vacationing on Lake Norfolk that summer. He invited the band to come to American Artists Studio in Memphis, but ultimately decided not to record the group. Undaunted, the Vipers returned home and cut their own demo tape using an RCA mixer and a Sears reel to reel tape recorder on February 12, 1966. The song Time was one of the Vipers originals recorded at that time. The band eventually came to the attention of Harold Koplar, owner of an upscale lodge in Ozark, Missouri, where he booked them as the opening act for Guy Lombardo and Frank Sinatra, Jr., among others. Deciding that the band needed a gimmick, he came up with the whole harlequin bit and set them up to host a novelty variety show on his TV station, KPLR in St. Louis, Mo. Before the show got off the ground, the band quit and returned home, performing a few more times before hanging up the leotards for good in early 1968 following a disastrous gig in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Artist:    Vaqueros
Title:    Echo
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Weld/Heath/Corona
Label:    Audition
Year:    1964
    Try as I might, I can't find any info on the Vaqueros other than the fact they were from the Rochester, NY area. They recorded only one single, the instrumental Echo, in 1964.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    A Walk In The Sun
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    Trivia fact: the members of the Turtles had to get their parents to sign permission slips before they could record their debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. Yep, they were that young when they scored their first top 10 single in 1965. With that in mind, it might be come as a surprise that vocalist Howard Kaylan had already written a few songs, including A Walk In The Sun, that were included on the album itself. The band, formed when all the members were still in high school, had been known prior to 1965 as the Crossfires, playing mostly surf music. They were the first, and most successful, artists signed to the Los Angeles based White Whale label.

Artist:    Tim Hardin
Title:    How Can We Hang On To A Dream
Source:    Mono LP: Tim Hardin I
Writer(s):    Tim Hardin
Label:    Verve Folkways
Year:    1966
    One of the forerunners of the singer-songwriter movement of the early 70s was Tim Hardin, who was probably best known for writing If I Were a Carpenter, a hit for Bobby Darin on the pop charts and later for Johnny Cash and June Carter on the country charts. His debut album for Verve Folkways was released in 1966, and was filled with similar songs such as How Can We Hang On To A Dream.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    A Sunny Summer Rain
Source:    Mono LP: I Can't Make A Friend 1965-1968 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sommer/Pappaalardi
Label:    Light In The Attic (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Not many people outside of the New York (city) area ever heard of the Vagrants. This is a shame, since their influence was greater than their fame. The group consisting of Peter Sabatino on vocals, harmonica, and tambourine, Leslie Weinstein on vocals and guitar, his brother Larry on vocals and bass guitar, Jerry Storch (also known as Jay Storch) on organ, and Roger Mansour on drums, were the first to do slowed down, heavier versions of current pop hits, a technique "borrowed" by fellow Long Island band Vanilla Fudge to great success. The Vagrants, however, never recorded an entire album, although they did release a series of singles on the Atco label from 1966 to 1968. The limitations of the single format, however, forced the band to concentrate on shorter, less experimental tracks, although some of them, such as the 1967 release A Sunny Summer Rain, show at least a glimpse of the band's true style. Eventually, though, the group called it quits, although the story does not quite end there. Following the breakup of the Vagrants, guitarist Leslie Weinstein changed his name to Leslie West, and along with the band's producer, Felix Pappalardi, recorded a solo LP for the Windfall label, which led to the formation of Mountain in 1969. Following a well-received appearance at the Woodstock festival, Mountain went on to become one of the more successful bands of the early 1970s.

Artist:    Ohio Express
Title:    Turn To Straw
Source:    LP: Ohio Express
Writer(s):    Jim Pfahler
Label:    Buddah
Year:    1968
    The story of the Ohio Express is one of the most convoluted tales in the history of pop music. It starts with a band called the Rare Breed that recorded a song called Beg, Borrow And Steal for Jerry Kasenetz's and Jeffrey Katz's Super K Productions, releasing it on the Attack label in 1966. The record was not a hit, and after a failed second single the band parted company with Super K, never to record again (at least not as Rare Breed). In August of 1967 Kazenetz and Katz remixed the original recording of Beg, Borrow and Steal and released it on the Cameo label under the name Ohio Express (which was wholly owned by Super K Productions). This time the song was a success, hitting the # 1 spot in Columbus, Ohio in early September. With the song starting to climb the national charts, Super K needed a band called the Ohio Express to promote the song with personal appearances and live performances. They hired a Mansfield, Ohio band called Sir Timothy And The Royals and renamed them Ohio Express (all the while maintaining ownership of the name). As the band was still based in Ohio, Kazenetz and Katz hired studio musicians to record the next Ohio Express single, a cover of the Standells' Try It that barely cracked the top 100. The first official Ohio Express album, Beg, Borrow And Steal, was released on the Cameo label in fall of 1967 that included a handful of songs recorded by the band itself as well as the above-mentioned singles and, oddly enough, a pair of songs actually recorded by a Kent, Ohio band called the Measles that was led by a young guitarist named Joe Walsh. The following year, following the demise of Cameo-Parkway, Kazenetz and Katz moved their entire operation over to Buddah Records, where they had great success as the purveyors of what soon came to be called "bubble gum" music. By then, songwriter Joey Levine had established a working relationship with Super K as both songwriter and vocalist, and from that point on was the lead vocalist on all the Ohio Express single releases, usually backed by studio musicians. The touring band, however, did provide a few tracks for the LPs released under the Ohio Express name, including songs like Turn To Straw, which was written by keyboardist Jim Pfahler and included on the first Ohio Express album for the Buddah label in 1968.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Violent Rose
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Herron/Whetstone
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the original lineup of the Electric Prunes was a distant memory. The band's name, however, was still in use, thanks to the fine print on the original contract that gave the ownership of the name Electric Prunes to the band's manager. A Canadian band called the Collectors was brought in to help with the group's third LP, 1968's Mass In F Minor, when it became clear that the complex David Axelrod score was beyond the abilities of the original Prunes (only one of which could read music), but even that group had moved on (to become Chilliwack) by the time Violent Rose was released as a B side in 1969. One of the more notable musicians appearing on Violent Rose is guitarist Ron Morgan, who by then had severed ties with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.
Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    For Your Love
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's fist US hit, peaking at the # 6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at # 3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    Mono European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Kicks may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top five years later.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Too Much On My Mind
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    Face To Face, released in 1966, was the first Kinks album to consist entirely of songs written by Ray Davies. The making of the album was not without difficulties; there were clashes between the band and Pye Records over the format of the album, with the band wanting to use sound effects to bridge the gaps between tracks and the label wanting a more standard banding of each track as a separate entity (the label won) and Davies himself suffered a nervous breakdown just as recording sessions for the album got under way. In addition, bassist Peter Quaife actually quit the band shortly before recording sessions for the album started, but returned in time to play on most of the tracks, including the gentle balled Too Much On My Mind. 

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    D.C.B.A.-25
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was the highly listenable D.C.B.A.-25 from Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner said later that the title simply referred to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here].

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Everybody's Next One
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Kay/Mekler
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    We all knew someone in high school who made no distinction between making love and having sex. We also knew people who would take advantage of that person, usually bragging about it to their friends afterward. Thus was the stage set for the B side of Steppenwolf's 1968 hit single Born To Be Wild. Everybody's Next One, written by Steppenwolf's lead vocalist, John Kay and producer Gabriel Mekler, originally appeared on the band's debut LP.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Cloud Nine
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown Yesteryear (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1968
    Motown's psychedelic soul producers were Barrett Strong (whose song Money (That's What I Want) had provided the start up cash for Motown itself in the early 60s) and his partner Norman Whitfield. When the Temptations started to falter following the departure of vocalist David Ruffin in late 1968, the Whitfield-Stong team took over production for the group. Cloud Nine, a song with a frenetic tempo and a strong (no pun intended) anti-drug message, was released in December, and hit its peak in early 1969. The Whitfield-Strong team would continue to produce the Temptations for several years, cranking out hits like Psychedelic Shack, I Can't Get Next To You and Papa Was A Rolling Stone until Whitfield left Motown to form his own label in 1974.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Jersey Thursday
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Pye History Of Pop Music Vol. 2-Donovan (originally released on LP: Fairytale)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Pye (original label: Hickory)
Year:    1965
    Donovan's earliest albums were originally released in the US on the Hickory label, but did not sell particularly well. After the Scottish singer became more well-known his early material was reissued, first on the Janus label and later on the American wing of his original British label, Pye. Although neither of these labels had major label distribution, they did make songs like Jersey Thursday, from his second LP, Fairytale, available to a wider audience than when they were originally released.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Twitchin'
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Tamblyn
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1963
    One of the earliest Standells recordings was an instrumental called Twitchin'. The song, written by guitarist Larry Tamblyn, was recorded in 1963, but sat on the shelf until 2014, when it was selected to be released as the B side of a newly discovered live version of their greatest hit, Dirty Water.

Artist:     Daily Flash
Title:     Jack Of Diamonds
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Lalor/MacAllistor/Kelihor/Hastings
Label:     Rhino (original label: Parrot)
Year:     1966
     The practice of writing new lyrics to an old tune got turned around for the Seattle-based Daily Flash's feedback-drenched recording of Jack Of Diamonds, which pretty much preserves the lyrics to the old folk song, but is musically pure garage-rock.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Atkinson/Byrne/Chaney/Michalski
Label:    Double Shot
Year:    1966
    In late 1966 five guys from San Jose California managed to sound more like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds that the Yardbirds themselves (a task probably made easier by the fact that by late 1966 Jeff Beck was no longer a member of the Yardbirds). One interesting note about this record is that as late as the mid-1980s the 45 RPM single on the original label was still available in record stores, complete with the original B side. Normally (in the US at least) songs more than a year or two old were only available on anthology LPs or on reissue singles with "back-to-back hits" on them. The complete takeover of the record racks by CDs in the late 1980s changed all that, as all 45s (except for indy releases) soon went the way of the 78 RPM record. The resurgence of vinyl in the 2010s has been almost exclusively limited to LP releases, making it look increasingly unlikely that we'll ever seen 45 RPM singles on the racks ever again.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Purple Haze
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK as a single, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced?, they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. The song next appeared on the Smash Hits album, which in Europe was on the Polydor label. This was the way things stayed until the early 1990s, when MCA acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced? with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced? is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that Purple Haze (heard here in its original mono mix) has now been released by all three of the world's major record companies. That's right. There are only three major record companies left in the entire world, Sony (which owns Columbia and RCA, among others), Warner Brothers (which owns Elektra, Atlantic, Reprise and others) and Universal (which started off as MCA and now, as the world's largest record company, owns far too many current and former labels to list here). Don't you just love out of control corporate consolidation?

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    May This Be Love
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The original UK version of Are You Experienced? featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one. It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.

No comments:

Post a Comment