Sunday, February 24, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1909 (starts 2/25/19)

    This week we had a mysterious problem with the recording software at Finger Lakes Public Radio, which resulted in a three-day hiatus after three of the four segments had been completed. Just to make it even more confusing, the final segment to be recorded was not the final segment of the show itself, but rather the second half of the first hour. The result is a show that has an unusually high percentage of tracks that have never been played on the show before, including an entire Grateful Dead set and a 1967 hit from the Hombres, who are making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut. We also have, for the first time, the single versions of a pair of hit songs from Jim Morrison's final album as a member of the Doors, L.A. Woman. Read on...

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come; edited version released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967 (edited version released 1968)
    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 4:55 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    We're Going Wrong
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Writer:    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Ginger Baker put away his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    The Only Time Is Now
Source:    CD: Birth Of The Dead
Writer(s):    Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2003
    In early 1965 five young San Francisco musicians decided to form a rock 'n' roll band called the Warlocks. As was the case with most self-contained bands at the time, the Warlocks were essentially a blues-rock band in the mold of such British invasion bands as the Animals and the Rolling Stones, but even then, their varied musical backgrounds (folk, jazz, bluegrass, R&B) and a common love of the music of John Coltrane led them to be more improvisational than the average garage band of the time. By November of 1965 they felt ready to audition for a local record label, Autumn Records. The label itself, owned by radio legend Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue and his partner Bobby Mitchell, had already achieved a measure of national success with recordings by Bobby Freeman and the Beau Brummels, and had, as a staff producer, another popular local disc jockey named Sylvester Stewart, better known as Sly Stone. Just prior to entering the studio, bassist Phil Lesh had been in a local record store and happened to see a single by a band called The Warlocks. Having already booked the studio time, the band quickly came up with a temporary moniker, The Emergency Crew, to use for the audition. Six songs were recorded that day, all but one of which were either written by members of the band or in the public domain and arranged by the group (the exception being a cover of a song by the then-unknown Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot). Perhaps the best of the originals was a tune called The Only Time Is Now, credited to the entire band. It was obvious, however, that this was a band still in the process of getting it together, and the recordings remained unreleased for many years. Not long after the Autumn sessions the band settled on a new, more permanent name, The Grateful Dead, and spent the next couple of months participating as a sort of "house band" for the Acid Tests conducted by Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    He Was A Friend Of Mine
Source:    CD: Birth Of The Dead
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2003
    By summer of 1966, the Grateful Dead were already local legends on the San Francisco music scene, despite having been together only slightly more than a year (and had only been called the Grateful Dead for about eight months). Following their participation in the Merry Pranksters' acid tests, the Dead had spent some time in Los Angeles with their sound man, Owsley "Bear" Stanley, working up new material for what would soon become the first of their legendary live shows. Some of the earliest of these shows were recorded in July of 1966 at various San Francisco area venues by Bear himself. Among those recordings is this version of the popular folk song He Was A Friend Of Mine. At the time the band was still fronted by Rob "Pigpen" McKernan (who also played keyboards and harmonica), with additional vocals by guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir. Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann provided the band with a solid rhythm section.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Dire Wolf
Source:    LP: Workingman's Dead
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The Grateful Dead spent their first five years perfecting their live sound. In 1969 they finally captured that sound on vinyl for the first time with the double-LP Live Dead. Now it was time to start concentrating on the songs themselves, and there were several things happening at once that helped the band do just that. First off, poet Robert Hunter had begun accompanying the band on the road, giving him and guitarist Jerry Garcia more time to write songs together. Second, drummer Mickey Hart had a house guest for about three months by the name of Stephen Stills, who had just released an album with David Crosby and Graham Nash that emphasized vocal harmonies and solid songwriting over instrumental performances. Finally, Garcia himself was itching to get back to his own country-folk roots. The result was songs like Dire Wolf, one of many similarly styled tunes on the 1970 album Workingman's Dead. Unlike their previous studio effort Aoxomoxoa, which had taken several months to record and mix and had gone way over budget, Workingman's Dead was recorded in about a week, and featured a mellow, stripped down sound that the band members themselves compared to the Bakersfield sound. This new style would become even more developed with the band's next LP, American Beauty, before yet another change in direction resulted in a hybrid of the two styles that allowed the band the freedom to do pretty much whatever they wanted to from that point on.

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    Who's Been Talking
Source:    Simulated stereo British import CD: Before The Dream Faded
Writer(s):    Chester Burnett
Label:    Cherry Red
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1982
    The Misunderstood were a well-named band from Southern California's Inland Empire that later moved to England and became a local legend before a combination of the Draft and problems with work visas terminated the band's existence prematurely. Before their move across the Atlantic the band entered a local Los Angeles studio to cut a demo. An acetate of that demo, featuring mostly covers of blues classics like Howlin' Wolf's Who's Been Talking, resurfaced in the early 1980s and was reproduced on a British album called Before The Dream Faded in 1982. Luckily, that album, which also includes all the band's British recordings, is still available on CD.

Artist:    T2
Title:    Careful Sam
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s):    Peter Dunton
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2013
    T2, consisting of drummer Peter Dunton, bassist Bernie Jinks and guitarist Keith Cross, released only one album, It'll All Work Out In Boomland, in 1970. The album did not get much support from their label (British Decca) and plans for a second LP were scrapped before any new material got beyond the demo stage. One of those demo tapes, however, finally surfaced on a CD set called Love, Poetry And Revolution on the Grapefruit label in 2013. Written by Dunton, the track has some outstanding guitar work from Cross. Unfortunately, even CD copies of It'll All Work Out In Boomtown are ridculously expensive, so, unless some generous person wants to donate a copy to the show, I doubt we'll ever get to hear any of it on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Yeah, I know, that was about as subtle as a thrown brick.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Show-Biz Blues
Source:    CD: Then Play On
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Then Play On was the third and final Fleetwood Mac studio LP to feature founder Peter Green on vocals and lead guitar. Green wrote a majority of the songs on the album, including Show-Biz Blues (also known as Showbiz Blues), a piece that shows a strong country-blues influence.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Hombres
Title:    Let It Out (aka Let It All Hang Out)
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    B.B. Cunningham
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    Once upon a time there was a band called Ronny And The Daytonas, who had a hit with the hot rod single Little GTO. Like many of the bands that had surf and hot rod hit singles, Ronny And The Daytonas was actually a group of studio musicians. Unlike most surf and hot rod groups, they were based in landlocked Nashville, Tennessee. When Little GTO became a hit, they did what many groups of studio musicians with a mid-60s hit single did: they hired other musicians to go on the road as Ronny And The Daytonas. One night, on the way to a gig, three of the touring Daytonas, organist Billy Cunningham, guitarist Gary McEwan and drummer Johnny Hunter, heard Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues on the radio and were inspired to write a song of their own called Let It Out. One thing led to another, and before you know it (well, actually August of 1967) the trio (who had become a quartet with the addition of bassist Jerry Lee Masters) had a huge national hit on their hands. Subsequent efforts, including an album and several singles, failed to make an impression, however, and the Hombres (as they were now calling themselves) went their separate ways the following year.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Death Sound Blues
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?

Artist:     Human Beinz
Title:     Nobody But Me
Source:     Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ron, Rudy and O'Kelley Isley
Label:     LP: Rhino (originally released on Capitol)
Year:     1968
    The Human Beingz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol Records misspelled their name (leaving out the "g") on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.

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:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Baby Please Don't Go
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Amboy Dukes)
Writer(s):    Joe Williams
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
            The Amboy Dukes were a garage supergroup formed by guitarist Ted Nugent, a Chicago native who had heard that Bob Shad, head of jazz-oriented Mainstream Records, was looking for rock bands to sign to the label. Nugent relocated to Detroit in 1967, where he recruited vocalist John Drake, guitarist Steve Farmer, organist Rick Lober, bassist Bill White and drummer Dave Palmer, all of whom had been members of various local bands. The Dukes' self-titled debut LP was released in November of 1967. In addition to seven original pieces, the album included a handful of cover songs, the best of which was their rocked out version of the old Joe Williams tune Baby Please Don't Go. The song was released as a single in January of 1968, where it got a decent amount of airplay in the Detroit area, and was ultimately chosen by Lenny Kaye for inclusion on the original Nuggets compilation album.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Ship Of Fools
Source:    CD: Morrison Hotel
Writer(s):    Morrison/Krieger
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1970
    1969 was, if nothing else, a turbulent year for the Doors. The band had made headlines for a March 1st performance in Miami that resulted in lead vocalist Jim Morrison's arrest for indecent exposure. In July, the group released their fourth album, The Soft Parade, which was heavily criticized for its use of strings and horns and an overall more commercial sound that the band had previously exhibited. That same month Morrison gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine in which he stressed the importance of country and blues to American culture. It was not a big surprise then, that the band's next album, Morrison Hotel, featured a more stripped down sound, perhaps even more so than their first LP. Side one of the album, subtitled Hard Rock Cafe, starts off strong with one of the band's most iconic songs, Roadhouse Blues, and ends on a similar note with Ship Of Fools. The group would continue in this direction and even improve on it on their next LP, L.A. Woman. Sadly, L.A. Woman would be the last Doors studio album before Morrison's death.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Her Madly
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971   
    Released as a single in advance of the 1971 Doors album L.A. Woman, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Riders On The Storm
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    The last major hit single for the Doors was also one of their best: Riders On The Storm. In fact, it still holds up as one of the finest singles ever released. By anyone.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Wake Me, Shake Me
Source:    LP: Projections
Writer(s):    arr. Al Kooper
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
           After losing their original lead vocalist, Tommy Flanders, in early 1966, the remaining members of the Blues Project decided to concentrate on their improvisational and songwriting skills, splitting vocal duties between them. Rather than trying to rework the same songs they had been performing with Flanders, they instead began to work up new material, including keyboardist Al Kooper's rock and roll arrangement of an old gospel song, Wake Me, Shake Me. It was this arrangement that appeared on the group's next LP, Projections.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Cool, Calm And Collected
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones were beginning to experiment with psychedelia on their first album of 1967, Between The Buttons. Cool, Calm and Collected, which closes side one of the LP, features pianist Nicky Hopkins prominently. Hopkins, one of the most respected British session players (and the inspiration for the Kinks song Session Man) would soon start showing up on albums by American artists, and even became a member of one of them (Quicksilver Messenger Service) for a time. Probably the most memorable thing about Cool, Calm And Collected, however, is the fact that, about where you would expect a fadeout you instead get a slow increase in tempo which builds up to a truly manic train wreck of an ending. Fun stuff indeed.

Artist:    Paupers
Title:    Cairo Hotel
Source:    Mono LP: Ellis Island
Writer(s):    Adam Mitchell
Label:    Verve Forecast (mono promo copy)
Year:    1968
    Rock history is filled with stories of bands that were legendary stage performers, yet had little success in the recording studio. One of the best examples of this phenomena is a Canadian band called the Paupers. Formed in Toronto in 1964 by guitarist/vocalist Bill Marion and drummer Skip Prokop, the Paupers (called the Spats until 1965) reportedly put in 40 hours a week rehearsing, and were generally considered the tightest band on the Toronto music scene. Marion left the group in 1966, and was replaced by Scottish-born Adam Mitchell, who, with Prokop, wrote nearly all the band's original material. In 1967 they signed with the Verve Forecast label and began making appearances in the Eastern US, often opening for major acts like Jefferson Airplane (and reportedly blowing them off the stage, so to speak). The band released their first LP, Magic People, in 1967, touring extensively to promote it, but the album did not sell well, and Prokop left the group before their second LP, Ellis Island, was released in 1968, deciding to try his hand as a session musician (he played on Peter, Paul and Mary's I Dig Rock 'N' Roll Music, among other things), and eventually was a co-founder of a band called Lighthouse. After a final single from Ellis Island, Cairo Hotel, failed to chart, the Paupers disbanded, with Mitchell going on to become a solo artist. A new version of the Paupers was formed later that year to pay off debts, but did not make any studio recordings.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat And Tears
Title:    Spinning Wheel
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat And Tears
Writer(s):    David Clayton-Thomas
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    After the departure of Blood, Sweat & Tears founder Al Kooper following the group's first LP, the remaining members decided to make a go of it with a new vocalist. They recruited Canada's David Clayton-Thomas, who not only brought a unique vocal sound to the group, but also penned one of their most popular songs, Spinning Wheel. The tune was the band's second consecutive top 5 single and cemented the group's reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the music world.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Most Anything You Want
Source:    CD: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Iron Butterfly will forever be known for the seventeen minute long In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but, contrary to popular believe, they did record other songs as well, releasing four studio albums from 1968-1971. The In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida lineup of Doug Ingle (vocals, organ), Ron Bushy (drums), Lee Dorman (bass) and Erik Brann (guitar) was only around for two of those LPs, however, and can be heard on tracks like Most Anything You Want, which opens the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Absolutely Sweet Marie
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Bob Dylan's Absolutely Sweet Marie, from his 1966 album Blonde On Blonde is best known for the line "To live outside the law you must be honest". The line was not entirely without precedent, however. Woody Guthrie, in his notes about the song Pretty Boy Floyd, said "I love a good man outside the law, just as I hate a bad man inside the law". And then there is the line "When you live outside the law, you have to eliminate dishonesty', from the 1958 film The Lineup, which Dylan may or may not have seen (I know I haven't). Regardless, it's Dylan's line that has had the greatest cultural impact.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Ain't No Tellin'
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Possibly the closest thing to a traditional R&B style song in JImi Hendrix's repertoire, Ain't No Tellin' was also, at one minute and 47 seconds, one of the shortest tracks ever recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The tune appeared on the Axis: Bold As Love album in 1967.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Feelings
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Feelings and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Coonce/Entner/Fukomoto
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Grass Roots decided to assert themselves and take artistic control of their newest album, Feelings, writing most of the material for the album themselves. Unfortunately for the band, the album, as well as its title track single, fared poorly on the charts. From that point on the Grass Roots were firmly under the control of producers/songwriters Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan, cranking out a series of best-selling hits such as I'd Wait A Million Years and Midnight Confessions (neither of which get played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, incidentally).

Artist:    The audience at Woodstock
Title:    Crowd Rain Chant
Source:    LP: Woodstock
Writer(s):    about half a million
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1969
    It's debatable whether the crowd singing a rain chant at Woodstock made the storm stop (knowing upstate New York it probably just made it worse) but there's no denying the sincerity of the moment.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1909 (starts 2/25/19)

    Over half of this week's show consists of recordings from 1969, including David Gilmour's first solo composition to appear on a Pink Floyd album. The rest of the tracks range from 1970 to 1973, but in no particular order.

Artist:    Zephyr
Title:    Cross The River
Source:    CD: Zephyr
Writer:    Candie and David Givens
Label:    One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
Year:    1969
    The Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr featured the vocal talents of Candie Givens, who had a multi-octave range that would not be equalled until Mariah Carey hit the scene years later. Also in the band was lead guitarist Tommy Bolin, who would go on to take over lead guitar duties with first the James Gang and then Deep Purple before embarking on a solo career. Unfortunately that career (and Bolin's life) was permanently derailed by a heroin overdose at age 28. The rest of this talented band consisted of Robbie Chamerlin on drums, John Faris on keyboards and David Givens (who co-wrote Cross The River with his wife Candie) on bass.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Cry Baby
Source:    CD: Pearl
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Berns
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1971
    Janis Joplin's only hit single with Big Brother and the Holding Company was Piece Of My Heart, a song written by legendary songwriters Jerry Ragavoy and Bert Berns. For her 1971 album Pearl, Joplin went with an earlier collaboration between the two that had originally been a hit in the early 60s for Garnet Mimms. Within a few months Cry Baby had become so thoroughly identified with Joplin that few even remembered Mimms's version of the song.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Hooked On Love
Source:    CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    Mark Farner once said that the difference between Grand Funk Railroad and other power trios like Cream was that the other bands were blues-based, while GFR took more of an R&B approach. This is evident on Hooked On Love, a track from their third album, Closer To Home. The album itself is characterized by its higher production values than the band's two previous efforts, yet retains the raw energy that simultaneously turned critics off an audiences on. Closer To Home was the third Grand Funk Railroad album to attain gold record status in a single year (1970), a record that still stands.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Looper
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Truly Fine Citizen)
Writer(s):    Peter Lewis
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Moby Grape's fourth LP, Truly Fine Citizen, is a classic example of a "contractual obligation" album. Released in 1969, the album was neither commercially or critically successful, and the group soon disbanded. The album was not without its highlights, however, such as Peter Lewis's Looper, which was considered good enough to be included on a CBS sampler album called Underground '70 that appeared in Germany on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light (don't ask how I know this).

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Your Saving Grace
Source:    LP: Anthology (originally released on LP: Your Saving Grace)
Writer:    Tim Davis
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    One of the most highly regarded of the Steve Miller Band's early albums was 1969's Your Saving Grace. A listen to the title track of the album shows why. As often as not, spoken sections in the middle of a song come off as silly or pretentious, but here Miller manages to make it work, enhancing what is already a fine recording.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    The Narrow Way (parts 1-3)
Source:    CD: Ummagumma
Writer(s):    David Gilmour
Label:    EMI (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1969
    Pink Floyd's first double LP was Ummagumma, released in 1969. Following the example of Cream, one disc was made up entirely of live tracks, while the second disc consisted of solo recordings by each of the band members. Not all of Pink Floyd's members were entirely comfortable with the format, however. Guitarist David Gilmour later admitted that he was unprepared at that point in his career to embark on a solo project, and that he mostly "bullshitted" his way through his portion of the album. Nonetheless, the resulting three-part piece, The Narrow Way, is actually one of the most listenable tracks on Ummagumma.

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Laundromat
Source:    LP: Rory Gallagher
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Atco
Year:    1971
    After disbanding his band Taste following their appearance at the Isle Of Wight Festival in August of 1970, guitarist/vocalist/saxophonist Rory Gallagher launched a long solo career that lasted until his death from liver failure in 1995. Gallagher spent the next few months working up new material, first with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, then with fellow Belfast musicians Gerry McEvoy and Wilger Campbell, who appeared with him on his 1971 solo debut LP. The opening track on the album is Laudromat, inspired by the shared laundromat in the basement of his flat (what Americans would call an apartment) in Earls Court.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smooth Dancer
Source:    Japanese import CD: Who Do We Think We Are
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Deep Purple's most iconic lineup (the so-called Mark II group consisting of Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice) only recorded four studio albums together before internal tensions and conflict with their own management led to the departure of Gillan and Glover. The last of these was Who Do We Think We Are, released in 1973. By this point some of the band members were not on speaking terms, and their individual parts had to be recorded at separate times. Nonetheless, the album is full of strong tracks such as Smooth Dancer, which closes out side one of the original LP. Despite all the problems getting Who Do We Think We Are recorded and the band's subsequent disintegration, Deep Purple sold more albums in the US than any other recording artist in the year 1973 (including continued strong sales of the 1972 album Machine Head and their live album Made In Japan).

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Sea Of Joy
Source:    British import LP: Blind Faith
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    At the time Blind Faith was formed there is no question that the biggest names in the band were guitarist Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, having just come off a successful three-year run with Cream. Yet the true architect of the Blind Faith sound was actually Steve Winwood, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group and, more recently, Traffic. Not only did Winwood handle most of the lead vocals for the group, he also wrote more songs on the band's only album than any other member. Among the Winwood tunes on that album is Sea Of Joy, which opens side two of the LP.

Artist:    Mott The Hoople
Title:    All The Young Dudes
Source:    CD: Electric 70s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Warner Special Products/JCI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1972
    After three years and four albums for Island Records (released on Atlantic in the US), Mott The Hoople was on the verge of breaking up when David Bowie gave them the song All The Young Dudes to record. The single, released in 1972, turned Mott overnight from nearly extinct also-rans to leaders of the glam-rock movement. Oddly enough, Bowie later claimed that the song was not intended to be an anthem at all; rather it was a precursor to his next album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, and that the "news" that the young dudes were proclaiming was the apocalyptic fact that Earth had five years left, the same message that opens Ziggy Stardust.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1908 (starts 2/18/19)

    This time around we have our usual mix of hits, B sides and album tracks, including the classic East-West from the Butterfield Blues Band, one of the first extended tracks to get played on underground college radio stations across the US. We also have a new Advanced Psych segment featuring some acoustic tracks for a change.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire (single version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Apparently I was not the only one, as the song spent three weeks at the top of the charts in July of 1967. Despite this success, the single version of the song, which runs less than three minutes, is all but forgotten by modern radio stations, which universally choose to play the full-length album version. Nonetheless, the single version, which was created by editing out most of the solo instrumental sections of the piece, is a historical artifact worth an occasional listen.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Highway Chile
Source:    Simulated stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original label: Track)
Year:    1967
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience already had three hit singles in the UK before releasing their first LP, Are You Experienced, in May of 1967. The following month the band made its US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The gig went over so well that Reprise Records soon made arrangements to release Are You Experienced in the US. To maximize the commercial potential of the LP, Reprise decided to include the A sides of all three singles on the album, even though those songs had not been on the British version. The B sides of all three singles, however, were not included on the album. Among those missing tracks was Highway Chile, a somewhat autobiographical song that was originally paired with The Wind Cries Mary. In April of 1968, prior to the release of the Electric Ladyland album, Polydor released an album called Smash Hits that collected all eight songs that had been released in single form up to that point, as well as a handful of tunes from the original UK version of Are You Experienced. Highway Chile was not included on the US version of Smash Hits, which was released the following year; in fact, Highway Chile was not released in the US at all during Hendrix's lifetime, finally appearing (in fake stereo) on the 1972 LP War Heroes.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Complicated
Source:    CD: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones' 1967 album Between The Buttons was made amidst growing problems for the band, both with their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, and guitarist Brian Jones, whose heavy drug use was beginning to take its toll. Exascerbating the problem was the band's increasing frustration with the limitations of four-track technology, which often necessitated bouncing tracks from one machine to another to make room for more tracks, resulting in a loss of overall quality. In fact, Mick Jagger has called the entire album "garbage" (with the exception of one song that was only included on the British version of the LP), due to the poor audio quality of the finished product. Still, some of the songs, like Complicated, are good representations of where the band was musically at the time the album was recorded.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    Revolution (unissued original phased version)
Source:    British import CD: 50 Minute Technicolour Dream
Writer(s):    Keith Hopkins
Label:    RPM
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1998
    Tomorrow only released one album during their existence, but it is considered one of the best British psychedelic albums ever made. Unfortunately, the release of the album was delayed almost a year, which in the late 1960s, with its quickly changing musical trends, was a fatal blow to the band. The first single released from that album was a song called Revolution that may have influenced John Lennon to write his own song with the same title after hearing it performed at London's UFO club in 1967. Tomorrow actually recorded two different versions of Revolution. The first one, recorded in 1967, included extensive stereo phasing effects, making it unsuitable to be folded down to a single track for AM radio broadcast. That version remained unreleased until 1998, when it was included on a retrospective CD called 50 Minute Technicolor Dream.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Toad
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Ginger Baker
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    By 1970, pretty much every rock band in the world featured a drum solo during live performances. Before 1966, however, the practice was unheard of; in fact, drum solos were considered solely the province of jazz musicians. The guy who changed all that was Ginger Baker of Cream, who, on the band's very first album provided the studio version of Toad. Due to the limitations of four-track recording, the entire drum solo, which takes up the bulk of the five-minute recording, is assigned to one single track, which on the stereo version of the song is mixed entirely to one channel/speaker. This makes for a rather odd listening experience under certain circumstances. A longer version of Toad recorded live at the Fillmore would appear on Cream's third album, Wheels Of Fire, in 1968 (this time with the drums mixed in full stereo).

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Wrong
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1967
    Sean Bonniwell was a member of the mainstream (i.e. lots of appearances on TV variety shows hosted by people like Perry Como and Bob Hope) folk group The Lamplighters in the early 60s. By 1966 he had morphed into one of the more mysterious figures on the LA music scene, leading a proto-punk band dressed entirely in black. Bonniwell himself wore a single black glove (Michael Jackson was about seven years old at the time), and was one of the most prolific songwriters of the time. His recordings, often featuring the distinctive Farfisa organ sound, were a primary influence on later LA bands such as Iron Butterfly and the Doors. One of the first Music Machine tracks to appear on vinyl was Wrong, which was released as the B side of the band's first single and included on their debut LP.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    Rechanneled Stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Kicks was not 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 of the charts five years later.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     Sunshine Superman
Source:     CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released in edited form on 45 RPM vinyl and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:     1966
     Donovan's hugely successful Sunshine Superman is sometimes credited as being the tsunami that launched the wave of psychedelic music that washed over the shores of pop musicland in 1967. OK, I made that up, but the song really did change the direction of American pop as well as Donovan's own career. Originally released as a three and a quarter minute long single, the full unedited four and a half minute long stereo mix of the song heard here did not appear on vinyl until Donovan's 1969 Greatest Hits album.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Priority (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively  small, pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from San Jose were more than happy to fill.

Artist:    Unrelated Segments
Title:    Story Of My Life
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mackavich/Stults
Label:    Rhino (original label: HBR)
Year:    1967
    The Unrelated Segments were a Detroit band that had most of its success regionally. Their nearest brush with national fame came when Story Of My Life was picked up for national distribution by Hanna-Barbera, the record label associated with such well-known TV stars as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and (later) Scooby-Doo. Hannah-Barbera not being known for its hit records, it's probably no surprise that the song did not climb too high on the charts.

Artist:    Nice
Title:    The Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Source:    LP: Autumn To Spring
Writer(s):    Emerson/Jackson
Label:    Charisma (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1968
    The Nice are primarily remembered for two things: First, they were the band that made Keith Emerson famous, thanks in part to the second thing: their highly charged adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's America, from West Side Story. Actually, it was their live performance of America at the Royal Albert Hall that brought them the most notoriety, thanks to Emerson's burning of an American flag during the song itself (this also got Emerson banned for life from the Royal Albert Hall, something he had reason to regret later on). An edited version of America was also released as a single in 1968, but did not chart in the US. The B side of that single was a tune called The Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon that qualifies as an overlooked classic of the psychedelic era. The stereo mix of the song appeared on the 1972 album Autumn 1967-Spring 1968, which was released the following year in the US as Autumn To Spring.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title:    Wooden Ships
Source:    CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s):    Crosby/Stills/Kantner
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Among the various legendary characters on the late 60s San Francisco music scene, none is more reviled than Matthew Katz. His mistreatment of It's A Beautiful Day is legendary. Just about every band he managed was desperate to get out of their contract with him, including Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane. In fact, it was because of the Airplane's fight to get out from under Katz's thumb that Paul Kantner did not get a writing credit for Wooden Ships on the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. David Crosby had this to say on the matter: "Paul called me up and said that he was having this major duke-out with this horrible guy who was managing the band, and he was freezing everything their names were on. 'He might injunct the release of your record,' he told me. So we didn’t put Paul’s name on it for a while. In later versions, we made it very certain that he wrote it with us. Of course, we evened things up with him with a whole mess of cash when the record went huge." Although Jefferson Airplane eventually won their battle with Katz, others weren't so fortunate. Katz's San Francisco Sound still owns the rights to recordings by Moby Grape and It's A Beautiful Day, which explains why it's so hard to find quality copies of those recordings these days. Anyone want to take a guess how much the surviving members of those bands receive in royalties from the CD reissues of their albums? (Hint: at least one member of Moby Grape was known to have been living under a bridge at one point).

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    969 (The Oldest Man)
Source:    CD: American Woman
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    Although Burton Cummings was known primarily for his role as the Guess Who's lead vocalist, he got a chance to strut his stuff instrumentally as a flautist on 969 (The Oldest Man), an instrumental by Randy Bachman. Bachman himself showed a glimpse of the guitar prowess that he would become known for with his next band, Bachman Turner Overdrive, in the mid-1970s on the track.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    One Of These Days
Source:    CD: Meddle
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Gilmour/Mason
Label:    Pink Floyd Records (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1971
    In their early years Pink Floyd was a band that was talked about more than heard, at least in the US. That began to change with the release of their 1971 LP Meddle and its opening track, One Of These Days, which got a significant amount of airplay on progressive FM radio stations.
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Marty Balin says he came up with the title of the opening track of side two of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album by combining a couple of random phrases from the sports section of a newspaper. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds works out to 216 MPH, by the way.

Artist:    McCoys
Title:    Hang On Sloopy
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Russell/Farrell
Label:    Bang
Year:    1965
    The McCoys were a fairly typical Eastern Ohio band of the mid-60s, playing parties, teen clubs, high school dances and occassionally opening for out of town acts. In 1965 the McCoys opened for the Strangeloves, who were on the road promoting their hit single I Want Candy (of course, the Strangeloves were in reality a trio of professional songwriters who had come up with a rather unusual gimmick: they passed themselves off as sons of an Australian sheepherder). The members of the Strangeloves were so impressed with the McCoys, particularly vocalist/guitarist Rick Derringer, that they offered them the song that was slated to be the follow-up to I Want Candy: a song called Hang On Sloopy. The instrumental tracks for the song had already been recorded, so the only member of the McCoys to actually appear on the record is Derringer. Hang On Sloopy went all the way to the top of the charts, becoming one of the top 10 singles of the year and providing a stellar debut for Derringer, who went on to hook up with both Johnny Winter and the Edgar Winter Group before embarking on a successful solo career.

Artist:    Steve Piper
Title:    Sunnyland
Source:    CD: Mirror
Writer(s):    Steve Piper
Label:    (self-published)
Year:    2014
    Not every talented musician signs a contract with a major record label. Many, for a variety of reasons, choose to remain local, appearing at a variety of venues and often building up a following that is every bit as loyal as the largest international audience. One such local artist is Steve Piper of Rochester, NY. He has been performing, both as a solo artist and as a member of various groups, for several years now, occasionally recording an album's worth of material in his home studio. Recently he sent me a copy of his third CD, Mirror, with a note mentioning how most of the album is in a quiet, acoustic vein, but that one track, Sunnyland, may fit into Stuck in the Psychedelic Era's Advanced Psych segment. As it turns out, Sunnyland does indeed fit in with this week's acoustically-oriented Advanced Psych segment.

Artist:    Country Joe McDonald
Title:    Round And Round
Source:    CD: 50
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rag Baby
Year:    2017
    One of the most haunting tracks on the 2017 Country Joe McDonald album, 50, Round And Round is about nothing less than life itself. Well, our lives, at least. I kind of doubt that the various non-sentient species on our planet think much about this stuff. Regardless, it's a beautiful tune, well worth listening to.

Artist:    Ace Of Cups
Title:    We Can't Go Back Again
Source:    CD: Ace Of Cups
Writer(s):    Kaufman/Shae
Label:    High Moon
Year:    2018
    According to Ace Of Cups founder Mary Gannon, Denise Kaufman wrote We Can't Go Back Again on keyboards rather than her usual guitar and first presented it to the group at their rehearsal space in Sausalito. Producer Dan Shae helped update the song for inclusion of the 2018 Ace Of Cups album. The lyrics are at once a caution about squandering what little time we have on this planet and an invitation to reach out to others while we still can.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Nature's Way/Animal Zoo/Love Has Found A Way/Why Can't I Be Free
Source:    CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    California/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1970
    Spirit was one of those bands that consistently scored well with the critics, yet was never truly able to connect with a large segment of the record buying audience at any given time. Perhaps their best album was Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970 to glowing reviews. Despite this, the album actually charted lower than any of their three previous efforts, and would be the last to feature the band's original lineup. In the long haul, however, Twelve Dreams has become the group's top selling album, thanks to steady catalog sales over a period of years. Unlike many more popular records of the time, Twelve Dreams sounds as fresh and original today as when it first appeared, as can be easily heard on the four-song medley that makes up the bulk of the LP's first side. Indeed, despite never having charted as a single, Nature's Way, a Randy California tune which starts the sequence, is one of the best-known songs in the entire Spirit catalog. Additionally, its ecological theme segues naturally into Animal Zoo, a Jay Ferguson tune with a more satirical point of view. Love Has Found A Way, written by vocalist Ferguson and keyboardist John Locke, can best described as psychedelic space jazz, while Why Can't I Be Free is a simple, yet lovely, short coda from guitarist California. Although Spirit, in various incarnations, would continue to record for many years, they would never put out another album as listenable as Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Like A Rolling Stone
Source:    CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Bob Dylan incurred the wrath of folk purists when he decided to use electric instruments for his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. The opening track on the album is the six-minute Like A Rolling Stone, a song that was also selected to be the first single released from the new album. After the single was pressed, the shirts at Columbia Records decided to cancel the release due to its length. An acetate copy of the record, however, made it to a local New York club, where, by audience request, the record was played over and over until it was worn out (acetate copies not being as durable as their vinyl counterparts). When Columbia started getting calls from local radio stations demanding copies of the song the next morning they decided to release the single after all. Like A Rolling Stone ended up going all the way to the number two spot on the US charts, doing quite well in several other countries as well. Personnel on this historic recording included guitarist Michael Bloomfield, pianist Paul Griffin, drummer Bobby Gregg, bassist Joe Madho, guitarist Charlie McCoy and tambourinist Bruce Langhorne. In addition, guitarist Al Kooper, who was on the scene as a guest of producer Tom Wilson, sat in on organ, ad-libbing a part that so impressed Dylan that he insisted it be given a prominent place in the final mixdown. This in turn led to Kooper permanently switching over to keyboards for the remainder of his career.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    East-West
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer:    Bloomfield/Gravenites
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Along with the Blues Project, the Butterfield Blues Band (and guitarist Michael Bloomfield in particular) are credited with starting the movement toward improvisation in rock music. Both are cited as influences on the new bands that were cropping up in San Francisco in late 1966m including Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead. The first Butterfield album did not have much in the way of improvisation, however, as Butterfield himself was a Chicago blues traditionalist who, like many of his idols, held the reins of the band tightly and did not tolerate deviation. By the time of the band's second LP, however, the group was becoming more of a democracy, especially after their successful live shows brought rave reviews for the musicianship of the individual members, especially Bloomfield (who in some polls was rated the number one guitarist in the country). Bloomfield used this new clout to push for more improvisation, and the result was the classic album East-West. The title track itself is a modal piece; that is, it (in jazz terms) stays on the One rather than following a traditional blues progression. Within that framework Bloomfield's solo uses scales found in eastern music (Indian in particular); hence the title of the piece: East-West. Another difference between East-West and the first Butterfield album was that second guitarist Elvin Bishop, who had played strictly rhythm guitar on the debut, got a chance to do some solo work of his own on East-West. Bishop would soon find himself the band's lead guitarist when Bloomfield left to form the Electric Flag in 1967.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    War Sucks
Source:    Mono LP: The Parable Of Arable Lands
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967
    New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson, leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Medication
Source:    British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: The Inner Mystique)
Writer(s):    Alton/Ditosti
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    Backing tracks recorded 1968, lead vocals recorded 2005
    By early 1968 the Chocolate Watchband had fallen on hard times. In fact, the original group had disbanded, only to reform at the behest of Tower Records and producer Ed Cobb, who wanted to put out a second Watchband LP. In short order a new group featuring mostly former members of the Watchband was formed. Cobb, however, did not have the time to wait for the new lineup to gel and got to work on the album without them. In fact, the entire first side of The Inner Mystique was performed by studio musicians. Additionally, Cobb pulled out unreleased tapes from the archive to help fill out the album, including the original band's cover of a Standells tune called Medication. Like their earlier track Let's Talk About Girls, Medication featured studio vocalist Don Bennett rather than the band's actual lead vocalist, Dave Aguilar. It's not known for sure why the substitution was made, unless perhaps Cobb was feeling pressure from the rock press, which had dismissed Aguilar as a Mick Jagger wannabe. Finally, in 2005, Aguilar recorded brand new vocals to go with the original 1968 track.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1908 (starts 2/18/19)

    This week the emphasis is on exploring album tracks that often get overlooked, with a couple of well-known cuts thrown in to balance things out. We start with a 1969 set, then a long, strange trip backwards through the years 1976 to 1970, one at a time.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    After releasing a fairly well produced debut solo album utilizing the talents of several well-known studio musicians in late 1968, Neil Young surprised everyone by recruiting an unknown L.A. bar band and rechristening them Crazy Horse for his second effort, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album was raw and unpolished, with Young's lead vocals recorded using a talkback microphone normally used by engineers to communicate with people in the studio from the control room. In spite of, or more likely because of these limitations, the resulting album has come to be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of rock, with Young sounding far more comfortable, both as a vocalist and guitarist, than on the previous effort. Although the album is best known for three songs he wrote while running a fever (Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl In The Sand, and Down By The River), there are plenty of good other songs on the LP, including the title track heard here.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Feel So Glad
Source:    LP: Your Saving Grace
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    "Session man" Nicky Hopkins makes a guest appearance and ends up dominating the song Feel So Glad from the fourth Steve Miller Band LP, Your Saving Grace. The song itself is an anomaly in the Miller catalog, as it has little in common with either the band's early psychedelic offerings or the later pop hits like The Joker and Jet Airliner that the Steve Miller Band became famous for.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Welcome
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    The Who's landmark Tommy album has plenty of well known tunes on it, including the top 40 single Pinball Wizard and the closing piece We're Not Gonna Take It, with it's famouse "See me, feel me" refrain. The album, generally acknowledged as the first rock-opera, tells the story of the rise and fall of Tommy, a savior figure who emerges from a near-catatonic state to become a modern messiah. Welcome, a tune near the end of the album, is a mostly pastoral tune that immediately follow's Tommy's awakening and documents his desire to share what he's learned with anyone who is willing to listen. Of course the entire movement ends up spiraling out of control very quickly, leading to Tommy's downfall.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Memory Of A Free Festival
Source:    CD: David Bowie (original US title, Man Of Words, Man Of Music)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Mercury)
Year:    1969
    Memory Of A Free Festival, from David Bowie's self-title 1969 LP, was based on an actual event, although it could just as easily be taken as an epitaph for the entire hippie movement. The track, running over seven minutes in length, closes out what is now considered a transitional album for the singer-songwriter.

Artist:    Tommy Bolin
Title:    Hello, Again
Source:    CD: Private Eyes
Writer(s):    Bolin/Cook
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1976
    After the breakup of Deep Purple in 1976, guitarist Tommy Bolin (who had joined the group for their final LP) got to work on his second solo LP, Private Eyes. With a mix of songs reminiscent of his years with the James Gand, Private Eyes includes the acoustic-based Hello, Again, which shifts the emphasis away from Bolin's guitar work and instead focuses on his vocals. Bolin died from a drug overdose while touring to promote the album, in December of the same year Private Eyes was released.

Artist:    Crack The Sky
Title:    Hold On/Surf City
Source:    LP: Crack The Sky
Writer(s):    John Palumbo
Label:    Lifesong
Year:    1975
    The first LP released on Terry Cashman and Joe West's Lifesong label was a group that is still active in the Baltimore area called Crack The Sky. Originally called Words, the band had been formed in Weirton, West Virginia by members of two local bands, Sugar and Uncle Louie. The 10-member band successfully auditioned for CashWest Productions, the company that also produced singer/songwriter Jim Croce, and, after paring down to five members, released their self-titled debut LP in 1975. Although never a major national success (due mostly to distribution problems on the part of Lifesong), the group did manage to place three albums on the Billboard charts, the two of which have since been reissued as a single CD. The band itself is hard to classify, incorporating elements of progressive rock, jazz and even soft-rock, with unexpected twists and turns, as can be heard on the first LP's opening track, Hold On, which segues directly into the innovative Surf City.

Artist:    Eric Clapton
Title:    Get Ready
Source:    CD 461 Ocean Boulevard
Writer(s):    Clapton/Elliman
Label:    Atco
Year:    1974
    Yvonne Elliman, best known for her portrayel of Mary Magdalene on both the original LP and film versions of Jesus Christ Superstar, makes a guest appearance as a vocalist and songwriter on Eric Clapton's 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard. The song is sandwiched between two cover songs (Willie And The Hand Jive and I Shot The Sheriff) that got a lot of airplay on FM rock radio stations in 1974.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Ride The Wind
Source:    CD: Bang
Writer(s):    Bolin/Kenner
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    After Dominic Troiano left the James Gang in 1973 to join the Guess Who, vocalist Roy Kenner, drummer Jim Fox and bassist Dale Peters recruited the talented Tommy Bolin to be his replacement. The new lineup made their vinyl debut that same year with Bang, the first James Gang album to be released on the Atco label. As was the case with the band's original guitarist, Joe Walsh, Bolin's songwriting was prominent throughout the album, usually in collaboration with one or more of the other band members. Ride The Wind, which opens side two of the original LP with Bolin's power chords, was co-written by Kenner, and probably should have been chosen for single release, but was passed over in favor of the much inferior Must Be Love.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Highway Star
Source:    LP: Machine Head
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Deep Purple's most successful album was Machine Head, which hit #7 on the Billboard album charts in 1972 and went all the way to the top in several countries, including the UK. The LP starts off with Highway Star, a song that was written on the band's tour bus as a demonstration of how the band created new material. It was first performed the same day it was written. The song is a hard rocker that features extended solos from both guitarist Richie Blackmore and organist Jon Lord. Both solos were inspired by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The song became a concert staple and was often used as the show opener throughout the band's existence.

Artist:    Focus
Title:    Hocus Pocus
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Moving Waves)
Writer(s):    van Leer/Akkerman
Label:    Polydor UK (original US label: Sire)
Year:    1971
    Although it was not a hit until 1973, Hocus Pocus, by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus, has the type of simple structure coupled with high energy that was characteristic of many of the garage bands of the mid to late 60s. The song was originally released on the band's second LP, known alternately as Focus II and Moving Waves, in 1971. Both guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist/vocalist/flautist Thijs van Leer have gone on to have successful careers, with van Leer continuing to use to the Focus name as recently as 2006.

Artist:    Van Morrison
Title:    Everyone
Source:    LP: Moondance
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Generally considered the most upbeat song on Van Morrison's 1970 LP Moondance, Everyone is known for its use of a clavinet on the song's intro. Morrison himself described Everyone as "just a song of hope".

Artist:     Pink Floyd
Title:     San Tropez
Source:     CD: Meddle
Writer:     Roger Waters
Label:     Pink Floyd Records (original label: Harvest)
Year:     1971
     In the years between the departure of Syd Barrett and the release of Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd crafted out a reputation for being one of the most experimental bands around. One of their best-known albums of this period was the 1971 LP Meddle, which included album-rock radio standard One Of These Days. Most of the album is credited to the entire band. One track, however, was actually written by bassist Roger Waters prior to the band's existence. San Tropez is a jazzier sounding tune than any other Pink Floyd track I know of.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1907 (starts 2/11/19)

    It's been over five years since side two of the classic Moody Blues album, Days Of Future Passed, was played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, so I figured it was about time to play it again. The rest of the show is made up entirely of sets of songs from a particular year (with a couple of isolated tunes thrown in).

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Do You Believe In Magic
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1965
    Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    A Well Respected Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Released 1965, charted 1966
    The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man (actually released in late 1965) amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     In My Life
Source:     CD: Rubber Soul
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Capitol/EMI
Year:     1965
    Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to be made up entirely of songs written by the band members themselves, mostly John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon's contributions in particular were starting to move away from the typical "young love" songs the band had become famous for. One of the best examples is In My Life, which is a nostalgic look back at Lennon's own past (although put in such a way that it could be universally applied). Despite never being released as a single, In My Life remains one of the most popular songs in the Beatles catalog.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source:    LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that band had participated in in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell, disheartened, dissillusioned and/or disgusted, eventually quit the music business altogether.

Artist:     Love
Title:     You Set The Scene
Source:     CD: Forever Changes
Writer:     Arthur Lee
Label:     Elektra/Rhino
Year:     1967
     During the production of Forever Changes, vocalist/guitarist Arthur Lee became convinced that he was destined to die soon after the release of the album. Accordingly, he crafted lyrics that were meant to be his final words to the world. As the final track on the LP, You Set The Scene in particular reflected this viewpoint. As it turned out, Forever Changes was not Lee's swan song. It was, however, the last album to feature the lineup that had been the most popular band on Sunset Strip for the past two years. Subsequent Love albums would feature a whole new lineup backing Lee, and would have an entirely different sound as well. Ironically, Lee was still around at the dawn of the 21st century over 30 years later (dying of acute myeloid leukemia in 2006), outliving several of his old bandmates.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     Smell of Incense
Source:     LP: Volume II
Writer:     Markley/Morgan
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     One of the commercially strongest songs on the second West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album for Reprise was Smell of Incense. The length of the track, however, (over five minutes) meant it would never get airplay on AM radio, although England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley took it to the # 56 spot on the charts while still in high school in 1968 with their band Southwest F.O.B.

Artist:    Huns
Title:    Love Is Gone
Source:    Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s):    Steve Dworetz
Label:    Jargon
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2017
    Like most college towns, Ithaca, NY (home of both Ithaca College and Cornell University) has always had a thriving local music scene. In the mid-1960s that scene was dominated by bands doing mostly covers of current top 40 hits. Bassist Frank Van Nostrand and organist John Sweeney, however, wanted to do something different. The two Ithaca College juniors were fans of the more rebellious bands like the Animals, Kinks and especially the Rolling Stones, who were already establishing themselves as the bad boys of British rock. As their fellow students began to stream in to register for the upcoming school year, Sweeney and Van Nostrand were camped out at their own table, looking to recruit like-minded musicians to form a new band that would soon come to be known as the Huns. By the time the school year was over, the Huns had racked up a total of 51 gigs at a combination of local clubs, frat houses and parties. They even made an appearance on a mock TV show produced by fellow student Lynn Cates as a class project. Although the video of that performance is long gone, the audio dub survived for over 50 years, and has been made into a CD called The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966. Recorded on March 10, the album captures the Huns at the peak of their popularity, before hassles with the college dean over hair length (among other things) led to the dismissal of both Sweeney and Van Nostrand and the subsequent breakup of the band itself. The opening track of the CD, Love Is Gone, shows a band pretty far removed from what was popular in the Eastern US at the time; in fact it feels more like the cutting edge bands populating the mid-60s club scene in Los Angeles.

Artist:    Downliners Sect
Title:    Glendora
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):    Ray Stanley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Although they never had the massive success of the Rolling Stones, Kinks or Animals, the Downliners Sect had a solid run in their native England beginning in 1964, with enough staying power to cut three LPs and numerous singles over a period of years. One of their more notable tracks is their 1966 remake of a 1956 Perry Como hit, Glendora, about a department store mannequin. As interpreted by the Sect, the song takes on a cool macabre flavor.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Two Trains Running
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Sundazed (original 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:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was this group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Janis Joplin with the Kozmic Blues Band
Title:    Raise Your Hand
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single box set: Move Over (originally released on CD: Rare Pearls)
Writer(s):    Floyd/Cropper/Isbell
Label:    Columbia
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1999
    Raise Your Hand is a 1969 live recording by Janis Joplin and her Kozmic Blues Band that was originally issued on a CD called Rare Pearls which was only available as part of the Box Of Pearls Janis Joplin box set, released in 1999. More recently, the track has been issued as part of a four-disc 45 RPM box set called Move Over. The song is a good representation of where Joplin was at musically after splitting with Big Brother And The Holding Company.

Artist:     Human Beinz
Title:     Nobody But Me
Source:     Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ron, Rudy and O'Kelley Isley
Label:     LP: Rhino (originally released on Capitol)
Year:     1968
    The Human Beingz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol Records misspelled their name (leaving out the "g") on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    The Afternoon/Evening/The Night
Source:    LP: Days Of Future Passed
Writer(s):    Redwave/Knight
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    In 1967 the Moody Blues went out on a limb and recorded an entire album using a symphony orchestra, creating an entire genre (classical rock) in the process. The album, Days Of Future Passed, is essentially a song cycle that covers a typical day, with side one covering the morning through lunchtime. The second side, which starts with the afternoon and continues into the night, includes two of the band's best known songs: Tuesday Afternoon and Nights In White Satin. Although Tuesday Afternoon charted in early 1968, Nights In White Satin did not hit the top 40 until an edited version was released in 1972. By 1972 the original master tape had deteriorated to the point that a new mix was made from the original multi-track tape. This mix was used for all subsequent pressings of Days Of Future Passed, including this 1981 Mobile Fidelity pressing of the LP. In 2017 a pristine copy of the original LP was found, and a new master tape was created from that copy, although I have not yet heard it. Apparently there are some differences between the two, including extra measures of music here and there that were left out of the newer mix.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Friend Of The Devil
Source:    LP: American Beauty
Writer(s):    Garcia/Dawson/Hunter
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The Grateful Dead spent three years and four albums trying to capture the energy of their live performances on vinyl. Having finally succeeded with the 1969 Live Dead album the group began to focus more on their songwriting capabilities. The result was two outstanding studio albums, both released in 1970: Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. Of the two, American Beauty is made up almost entirely of songs played on acoustic instruments, including pedal steel guitar, which was played by Jerry Garcia. One of the best-known tracks on American Beauty is Friend Of The Devil, which lyricist Robert Hunter referred to as "the closest we've come to what may be a classic song." Not to take anything away from Friend Of The Devil, but I'd have to say that at least three other songs (Ripple, Sugar Magnolia and Truckin') on American Beauty also qualify as classics.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Listen, Learn, Read On
Source:    CD: The Book Of Taliesyn
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans/Lord/Paice
Label:    Eagle (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple's second LP, The Book Of Taliesyn, was recorded only three months after the release of the debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, in 1968. The reason for this rush job was that they were about to embark on their first US tour, and their US label, Tetragrammaton, felt that they needed to have a new album to promote while on the road. This is actually a case of forward thinking, since putting out a new album just before starting a tour is now standard practice for popular artists. Given the lack of time the band had to come up with new material, The Book Of Taliesyn actually came out pretty good overall, although I have to say that every time I hear the album's opening track (Listen, Learn, Read On) images of Spinal Tap on stage with their miniature Stonehenge come to mind.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Mrs. Robinson
Source:    CD :Collected Works (originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Possibly the most enduring song in the entire Simon And Garfunkel catalog, Mrs. Robinson (in an edited version) first appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Graduate in 1967. It wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released. Also released as a single, the song shot right to the top of the charts, staying there for several weeks.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    L T Tatman III
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout its existence. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of Going Up The Country was a tune called Boogie Music. The song is credited to L T Tatman III, which may be a pseudonym for the entire band, much as Nanker Phelge was for the Rolling Stones. Unusually, the single version of the song is actually longer than the album version heard here, thanks to a short coda made to sound like an archive recording from the 1920s.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    See Emily Play
Source:    Mono CD: Relics (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Following up on their first single, Arnold Layne, Pink Floyd found even greater chart success (at least in their native England) with See Emily Play. Released in June of 1967, the song went all the way to the #6 spot on the British charts. In the US the song failed to chart as a single, although it was included on the US version of Pink Floyd's debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The "Emily" in question is reportedly the sculptor Emily Young, who in those days was nicknamed the "psychedelic schoolgirl" at London's legendary UFO club.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Spanish Castle Magic
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, came out it was hailed as a masterpiece of four-track engineering. Working closely with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix used the recording studio itself as an instrument, making an art form out of the stereo mixing process. The unfortunate by-product of this is that most of the songs on the album could not be played live and still sound anything like the studio version. One notable exception is Spanish Castle Magic, which became a more or less permanent part of the band's performing repertoire.

Artist:     Sagittarius
Title:     Mass #586
Source:     CD: Present Tense (bonus track)
Writer:     Gary Usher
Label:     Sundazed
Year:     Recorded 1967, released 1997
     In late 1966 Columbia Records staff producer Gary Usher started a project on his own time that would come to be known as Sagittarius. Usher had successfully made the transition from surf music to more progressive groups as the Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and was making a lot of money, but was feeling creatively stifled. During the surf era he had been as much a creator as producer, working with people like Terry Melcher on projects like the Hondells' recording of Little Honda. With the newer groups, however, he felt that the artists had plenty of creativity of their own, and that his function was to make sure the records got made on time and under budget. The final event that triggered the Sagittarius project was when he tried to get Chad And Jeremy to record a song called My World Fell Down. After the duo made it clear that they had no interesting in recording the tune, Usher brought in several friends to help him record the song himself. Those friends included vocalists Melcher, Bruce Johnston (who had just begun to perform with the Beach Boys as Brian Wilson's onstage replacement) and lead vocalist Glen Campbell, who had also performed with the Beach Boys. For the instrumental tracks Usher called in another group a friends, a group of studio musicians known collectively as the Wrecking Crew. Now there was never a band officially named the Wrecking Crew, yet it is estimated that they played on more hit records recorded in L.A. during the 60s than everyone else combined (bassist Carol Kaye, for instance, reportedly has over 10,000 recordings to her credit). Shortly after finishing My World Fell Down Usher began collaborating with Curt Boettcher, who had just finished producing his own band, the Ballroom. Working together, the two (along with arranger Keith Olsen, formerly of the Music Machine) turned what had been a spare time project into an eleven-song album. Present Tense, released in July of 1968, included several tracks that Boettcher had already been working on, in addition to an edited version of My World Fell Down. Additionally, several other tracks were recorded, but not released by the same lineup. One of these was Mass #586, recorded in November of 1967.

Artist:    Charlatans
Title:    We're Not On The Same Trip
Source:    British import CD: The Amazing Charlatans
Writer(s):    Dan Hicks
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1996
    Few bands have achieved such legendary status (without actually being heard by most people) as the Charlatans. Formed in 1964, The Charlatans were literally the first LSD-influenced rock band, although their music actually bears little resemblance of what has come to be known as acid-rock. The Charlatans were actually hard to define musically, since each of the five individuals making up the group (George Hunter, Richard Olsen, Mike Wilhelm, Michael Ferguson and Dan Hicks) had their own unique musical vision. One thing the members did have in common was a sense of theatrics, with each member taking on a particular historical persona (Edwardian aristocrat, Mississippi gambler, old west gunfighter, etc.) and dressing to fit that persona. Another thing the band members had in common was a fondness for LSD, which until October of 1966 was still legal to ingest in California. My personal favorite Charlatans recording, We're Not On The Same Trip (a Dan Hicks tune recorded in 1967) reflects this prodigious use of the subtance.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Jimmy Reed
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Although the Blues Magoos' second LP, Electric Comic Book, was made up mostly of original compositions by the band members themselves, there is one notable exception: a cover of Jimmy Reed's Let's Get Together. The Magoos' recording of the song was actually the second to be released in 1967, as the Leaves had included a fairly bland version of the tune on their second LP, All The Good That's Happening, early in the year. The Blues Magoos approach to the song was far less serious (and far more interesting), with an almost drunken quality to it. It's easy to imagine a bar crowd singing along with this version of the tune.