Sunday, January 26, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2005 (starts 1/27/20)

    This week's show begins on a solid foundation, eases into a mellow groove, showcases a pair of the greatest bands in rock history, briefly flashes back to the pre-psychedelic era and ends up about as far underground as you could go in 1967 (and that's saying a lot)!

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM EP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Common practice in the UK in the 1960s was to avoid duplication between single releases and album tracks. This led to a unique situation for the Beatles and their British label, EMI/Parlophone, in December of 1967. The band had self-produced a new telefilm to be shown on BBC-TV called Magical Mystery Tour and wanted to make the songs from the film available to the record-buying public in time for Christmas. The problem was that there were only six songs in the one-hour telefilm, not nearly enough to fill an entire album. The solution was to release the songs on a pair of Extended Play 45 RPM records, along with several pages of song lyrics, illustrations and stills from the film itself. My own introduction to Magical Mystery Tour was a friend's German copy of the EPs, and when years later I had the opportunity to pick up a copy of the original UK version, I of course couldn't resist. That copy got totalled in a flood a few years back, but in 2012 I was finally able to locate another copy of the EP set, which is the source of this week's airing of the ultimate British psychedelic recording, I Am The Walrus. This British EP version has a slightly longer intro than the more familiar US release.

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    Itchycoo Park
Source:    CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marriott/Lane
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1967
    Led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, the Small Faces got their name from the fact that all the members of the band were somewhat vertically challenged. The group was quite popular with the London mod crowd, and was sometimes referred to as the East End's answer to the Who. Although quite successful in the UK, the group only managed to score one hit in the US, the iconic Itchycoo Park, which was released in late 1967. Following the departure of Marriott the group shortened their name to Faces, and recruited a new lead vocalist named Rod Stewart. Needless to say, the new version of the band did much better in the US than their previous incarnation.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    Bunnell/Bartek
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    The song Incense And Peppermints was originally a B side released in 1967 on the regional All-American label in southern California. DJs began flipping the record over, however, and the song soon attracted the interest of the people at MCA, who reissued the record on their Uni label. The song was such a huge national hit that Uni gave the band the go ahead to record an entire album. That album, also titled Incense And Peppermints, contained several fine songs, including Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. This unsung psychedelic classic opens with a flute solo from Steve Bartek, who co-wrote Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. Strange as it may seem, Bartek was not considered a member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, although he co-wrote (with bass player George Bunnell) four of the album's 12 tracks and plays on most of them.

Artist:     Who
Title:    Magic Bus (alternate version)
Source:      Simulated stereo LP: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:     1968
     Magic Bus was originally released as a single in 1968 and ran about three and a half minutes. At the time it was recorded an alternate take was also made that ran almost four and a half minutes. This alternate version was electronically rechanneled for stereo and included on the 1971 album Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy. When the album was reissued on CD in the 1980s it was discovered that there were no unaltered copies left of the longer version, so rather than to put a "fake stereo" version on the CD, the shorter mono single version was used. This is that longer version, never issued on CD.

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

Artist:    Asylum Choir
Title:    Isicle Star Tree
Source:    Mono British import CD: Look Inside The Asylum Choir
Writer(s):    Benno/Wilson
Label:    Rev-Ola (original US label: Smash)
Year:    1968
    Los Angeles was somewhat unique in that it was home to two distinct music scenes. Like many cities, it had a club scene that included a mix of cover bands and underground garage rock outfits doing original material, the Doors being an example of the latter. But Los Angeles was also home to the largest pool of studio musicians in the world, as well as the music industry's top movers and shakers. A lot of creative people, such as the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, utilized this talent pool to produce some of the finest pop music albums of all time. Among these creative types were Leon Russell and Marc Benno, who called their pwn studio project the Asylum Choir. The Oklahoma-born Russell had relocated to L.A. at the age of 16, and within two years found himself playing piano on such hits as Monster Mash, Surf City and California Girls. He also had songwriting and producing credits for such acts as Bobby Vee and Gary Lewis And The Playboys, among others. Marc Benno was a Dallas native who, as a teenager, fronted his own R&B band before relocating to L.A. in 1965. The two met sometime around 1966 and formed the Asylum Choir in 1967. Their 1968 debut LP, Look Inside The Asylum Choir, is one of the best examples of L.A. studio-based psychedelia ever recorded, covering a wide range of styles within the genre. Benno's Isicle Star Tree, which was also released as a single, would feel right at home among the trippiest British psychedelic recordings of 1967-68. A second album by the duo, recorded in 1969, abandoned all traces of pyschedelia in favor of the roots-based sound that Russell would soon become famous for.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
Source:    Mono CD: The Very Best of Otis Redding (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Redding/Butler
Label:    Rhino (original label: Volt)
Year:    1965
    Although his name had appeared on the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts since 1962, it wasn't until the release of I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) in 1965 that Redding began to get noticed by the public at large. The song hit # 2 on the R&B chart and just barely missed making the top 20 on the mainstream chart. There were actually two different versions of the song released in 1965. The original mono single version heard here, released in April, features Booker T. Jones on piano, while the longer album version (which includes an extra verse) has piano provided by Isaac Hayes. I've Been Loving You Too Long remained Redding's biggest hit for the rest of his life, and was only surpassed in popularity by (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, released post-humously in 1968.

Artist:     Lovin' Spoonful
Title:     Coconut Grove
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):     Sebastian/Yanovsky
Label:     Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:     1966
    The 1966 album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful was an attempt by the band to play in a variety of styles, as if it were being recorded by several different bands. By most accounts they succeeded, as can be heard by comparing the two biggest hits from the LP, Summer In The City and Nashville Cats. One of the quieter, acoustic numbers is a tune called Coconut Grove; the song manages to evoke images of the South Pacific without devolving into Rogers and Hart territory.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s (which is rather ironic, considering that they were actually based in Berkeley on the other side of the bay and rarely visited the city itself, except to play gigs). Their first two releases were floppy inserts included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    A Saucerful Of Secrets
Source:    CD: A Saucerful Of Secrets
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Gilmour/Mason
Label:    EMI (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    I think it's safe to say that, along with George Harrison's Wonderwall Music, A Saucerful Of Secrets has to have been the most avant-garde album to come from a British rock band in 1968. Significantly, neither did well on the charts. In fact, A Saucerful Of Secrets is the only Pink Floyd LP not to hit the Billboard album charts when it was released (although it did make it in years later as part of a double-LP package). The fact that the album appeared on Capitol's notoriously low-budget Tower subsidiary probably did not help matters, as the album got virtually no promotional support from the label. Neither did the fact that the album's title track/centerpiece was a twelve-minute long instrumental (then, as now, vocals almost always drew a bigger audience than instrumentals). Nonetheless the piece, which consists of four parts (Something Else, Syncopated Pandemonium, Storm Signal and Celestial Voices), represents a significant chapter in the history of Pink Floyd, as it was the band's first major composition not to include input from founding member Syd Barrett, whose songwriting had dominated the band's early recorded work.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    Gone
Source:    LP: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Writer(s):    Dan Honaker
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Most of Bob Seger's original compositions in the early days were hard rockers such as Ramblin' Gamblin' Man and 2+2=? For the slower material on his first LP he went with outside songwriters such as Dan Honaker, who wrote the song Gone. Elements of Gone can be heard in Seger's own later compositions such as Turn The Page.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Serenade To A Cuckoo
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Roland Kirk
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull did not, as a general rule, record cover tunes. The most notable exception is Roland Kirk's classic jazz piece Serenade To A Cuckoo, which was included on their first LP, This Was. Ironically, this Jethro Tull cover was for several years the only version of Serenade To A Cuckoo still in print.

Artist:    Creation
Title:    Biff! Bang! Pow!
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Pickett/Phillips
Label:    Rhino (original label: Planet)
Year:    1966
    The Creation is generally acknowledged as the first major British psychedelic band, predating Pink Floyd by several months. Oddly enough, they are also considered a Mod band in the mold of the Who, thanks in large part to the B side of their second single, released in 1966. Biff! Bang! Pow! had the same sort of driving beat and power chords as many of the songs on the Who's My Generation album, and even included piano work by Nicky Hopkins, whose session work can be heard on several early Who recordings.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    The Sheltering Sky
Source:    LP: Discipline
Writer(s):    King Crimson
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1981
    In 1981, after a seven-year hiatus, Robert Fripp decided to reform his old band, the legendary King Crimson. Not content to rehash the past, however, Fripp assembled a new lineup, with only drummer Bill Bruford being retained from any of the band's previous incarnations. Filling out the new lineup were guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew (who had played with Talking Heads and Frank Zappa's band) and bassist Tony Levin, who also played Chapman stick on the album. Levin's stick playing is most prominent on the album's quietest track, The Sheltering Sky, which also features Bruford playing slit drums (basically hollow wooden boxes made of bamboo or soft wood that resonate when struck).

Artist:    Red Stars Theory
Title:    Think Piece
Source:    10" 45 RPM Extended Play vinyl: El Paraguas
Writer(s):    Red Stars Theory
Label:    Deluxe
Year:    1995
    Red Stars Theory was formed in Seattle, Washington in early 1995 by James Bertram (guitar/vocals) Tonie Palmasani (guitar/vocals), Jeremiah Green (drums/percussion/vocals) and Jason Talley (bass guitar/vocals). By the end of the year they had released a self-titled EP (sometimes known as El Paraguas), a single and an album. The group has only recorded sporadically since then, due to all of the members also being involved in other projects. I personally find Think Piece, the last track on the original EP, to be the most interesting tune on the record.

Artist:    Squires Of The Subterrain
Title:    Kitty Cologne
Source:    CD: Strawberries On Sunday
Writer(s):    Chris Zajkowski
Label:    Rocket Racket
Year:    2003
    A few years back, I acquired four CDs from Squires Of The Subterrain, also known as Chris Earl of Rochester, NY. I didn't choose to check them out in any particular order, yet have found that I like each one I've heard even more than the one before it, even when they are not chronologically sequential. I'm just lucky that way, I guess. This time around we have a tune called Kitty Cologne, which is one of those tunes that sounds better every time you hear it, as I discovered when putting together this week's Advanced Psych segment.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Burning of the Midnight Lamp
Source:    Mono German import 45 RPM single
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1967
    For the first few months of their existence as a band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience were an entirely European phenomena, despite being led by an American guitarist/vocalist. By mid-1967 the group had released three singles that made the charts all over Europe and the UK, as well as an album that was only kept out of the # 1 spot by something called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band's next project was Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, the most complex piece of production yet attempted by the band, and their first using state of the art eight-track recording equipment. The song had two notable firsts: it was the first song to feature Hendrix playing a keyboard instrument (a harpsichord) in addition to his usual guitar, and it was his first recording to use the new "wah-wah" effect. The original mono mix of the song heard here has never been released in the US, as Hendrix himself supervised a remix of the song for inclusion on his 1968 Electric Ladyland LP, which was only released in stereo stateside.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP Are You Experienced?)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original British album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Street
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1968
    Like many of Jim Morrison's songs, Love Street started off as a poem. "Love Street" was actually the nickname given to Rothdale Trail, the street he and Pamela Courson lived on in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon. Morrison and Courson spent a lot of time sitting on their balcony, watching the local hippies going to and from the Canyon Country Store, which was across the street from their house. Morrison turned the poem into a song in time to get it recorded for the third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun. The track was also released as the B side of the Doors' second #1 single, Hello I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    People Are Strange
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Strange Days and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    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 Love's leader, Arthur Lee.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Hello, I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    I have to admit, when I first heard the song Hello, I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name I hated it, considering it only a half step away from the bubble gum hits like 1,2,3 Red Light and Chewy Chewy that were dominating the top 40 charts in 1968. It turns out that the song was originally recorded in 1965 as a demo by Rick And The Ravens (basically a Doors predecessor) using the title Hello, I Love You (Won't You Tell Me Your Name). The single pressing of the song was promoted as the first rock song to be released as a stereo 45 RPM record. The song went to the top of the charts in the US and Canada and became the first Doors song to break into the British top 20 as well.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     All Day And All Of The Night
Source:     45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1964
     Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumors over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I Ain't Got You
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Clarence Carter
Label:    Raven (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1964
    The Yardbirds' first single, I Wish You Would, was actually released in the US, but failed to chart. As a result, their follow-up single, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, was not released in the US at all. The B side of that non-US single was a Calvin Carter song called I Ain't Got You that appeared the following year on the US-only LP For Your Love. It was one of the last recordings by the group to feature guitarist Eric Clapton.

Artist:    Chantays
Title:    Pipeline
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Spickard/Carman
Label:    MCA (original labela: Downey/Dot)
Year:    1963
    Bob Spickard, Brian Carman, Bob Welch, Warren Waters and Rob Marshall were all students at Santa Ana High School in California who were inspired by a local group called the Rhythm Rockers to form their own rock and roll band. The surf craze was just getting under way on the California coast, and the new group, calling themselves the Chantays, soon found themselves recording for the local Downey label, which was actually owned by a music publishing company. In December of 1962 they recorded what would become one of the most popular instrumental surf songs ever committed to vinyl: the classic Pipeline. The song was quickly picked up and re-released on the Dot label in early 1963, eventually going all the way to the #4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chantays have the distinction of being the only rock 'n' roll band to ever perform on TV's Lawrence Welk Show.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Pay You Back With Interest
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Hollies (originally released on LP: For Certain Because, retitled Stop! Stop! Stop! for US release)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    Cema Special Products (original US label: Imperial)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Hollies had actually achieved a level of popularity in the US that allowed them to issue singles that were not available in their native UK. One of these was Pay You Back With Interest, a track from the album For Certain Because (retitled Stop! Stop! Stop! for US release) which made the US top 20 in 1967. The tune was written by the Hollies' usual songwriting partnership of Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash, and was the last Hollies single to appear on the Imperial label.

Artist:    Growing Concern
Title:    Edge Of Time
Source:    British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US on LP: The Growing Concern)
Writer(s):    Dan Passaglia
Label:    Big Beat (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    The Raevins were a Chicago-based band formed in 1966 that had already spent time in the studio cutting a single for the local Big O label when they decided to add a couple of female vocalists and rename themselves the Growing Concern in 1967. They were discovered by Mainstream Records owner Bob Shad, who had just received an influx of cash when he sold the contract of Big Brother and the Holding Company to Columbia for a reported $200K dollars. Shad reasoned that female fronted rock bands were hot at the time, and the Growing Concern went to work on their debut LP for Mainstream. The album was completed in May of 1968 and released a couple weeks later. Peter Guerin, the band's male vocalist, described the group's sound as "the Airplane meets the Mormon Tabernacle Choir." Edge Of Time is a remake of their 1966 single, with a new intro and coda by Bonnie MacDonald, one of the aforementioned female vocalists.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    It's All Over For You
Source:    Mono CD: Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft: H. P. Lovecraft/H. P. Lovecraft II (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    George Edwards
Label:    Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Markets (original label: Philips)
Year:    1967
    George Edwards was a Chicago-based folk singer who, like many other folkies, began to take an interest in rock in the mid-1960s, both as a solo artist and backup singer for the Dunwich label. In 1966, he recorded the Dylanesque It's All Over For You, which was issued the following year as the B side of the first H.P. Lovecraft single on the Philips label. Edwards had formed the band as a duo with keyboardist Dave Michaels, and the two soon added more members to the band, releasing their first LP in late 1967.

Artist:    Thorinshield
Title:    Daydreaming
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Thorinshield)
Writer(s):    Ray/Smith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1967
    Before 1966 it was virtually unheard of for a newly-signed band to record an album without first putting out a single to get an idea of their sales potential. By 1967, however, due to a variety of reasons, including the rise of album-oriented FM rock stations and the interest being shown in album tracks by groups like the Blues Project and the Butterfield Blues Band, as well as more established groups like the Beatles and the Beach Boys, some labels, particularly those not having a lot of top 40 hits anyway such as Philips (yes, the same company that invented CD technology and makes light bulbs), started taking chances with new acts such as L.A.'s Thorinshield. Sounding like a slightly more commercial version of the San Francisco bands making headlines that year on songs like Daydreaming, Thorinshield released one self-titled album before its members moved on to other things.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2005 (starts 1/27/20)

    One hallmark of early to mid 1970s FM rock radio was its free-form nature. As often as not, the DJ would not know for sure what the next song would be until the current song was already in progress. This week's show is an example of that kind of seat-of-the-pants programming that has been for the most part replaced by computer-generated playlists on most stations.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Five To One
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Despite the fact that it was the Doors' only album to hit the top of the charts, Waiting For The Sun was actually a disappointment for many of the band's fans, who felt that the material lacked the edginess of the first two Doors LPs. One notable exception was the album's closing track, Five To One, which features one of Jim Morrison's most famous lines: "No one here gets out alive".

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Iron Butterfly Theme
Source:    LP: Evolution-The Best Of Iron Butterfly (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Have A Cigar
Source:    CD: Wish You Were Here
Writer(s):    Roger Waters
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1975
    Yeah, I know I played this just last week. You see, for a variety of reasons I decided to take a week off and use a backup show that I recorded a few months ago that just happened to include this track. Hey, it's a good song, right? See last week's listing for additional information.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Peace Of Mind
Source:    LP: New Improved Blue Cheer
Writer(s):    Randy Holden
Label:    Philips
Year:    1969
    Following the release of the second Blue Cheer album, guitarist Leigh Stephens left the group with several unfullfilled stage commitments. To meet these obligations, the remaining band members brought in Randy Holden, formerly with a group called the Other Half, who, like Blue Cheer, had a reputation for being one of the loudest bands on the San Francisco music scene. At first, it seemed like a good fit, and in some ways a step forward for the band, as Holden was also a pretty decent songwriter, as can be heard on Peace Of Mind, from the band's third LP, New Improved Blue Cheer. Holden, however, abruptly left Blue Cheer midway though production of the album and only appears on side two of the original LP.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    I Don't Have To Sing The Blues
Source:    CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    Capitol Records may not have had the most artists on their roster in the 60s and early 70s, but they did have some of the biggest names. In the early 60s the Beach Boys were undisputably the most successful surf group in the world. Then came the Beatles. In the early 1970s it was Flint, Michigan's Grand Funk Railroad, who, despite being universally panned by the rock press, consistently sold out the largest venues in the history of rock music, pretty much single-handedly creating arena rock in the process (they were too loud to play anyplace smaller than sports arenas). The power trio of Mark Farner (guitar), Mel Schacher (bass) and Don Brewer (drums) hit their commercial stride in 1970, when all three of their studio albums (the first two of which were released the previous year), as well as their first live album, went gold in the same year. The last of these was Closer To Home, which included their first bonafide radio hit, I'm Your Captain. Among the other notable tracks on Closer To Home is I Don't Want To Sing The Blues, a song whose lyrics incurred the ire of feminists everywhere. The band, of course, took the criticism in stride, having learned early on that bad press is better than no press at all.

Artist:     Jo Jo Gunne
Title:     Run Run Run
Source:     45 RPM single (promo)
Writer:     Ferguson/Andes
Label:     Asylum
Year:     1972
     After Spirit called it quits following the disappointing sales of the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, lead vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes hooked up with Andes's brother Matt and William "Curly" Smith to form Jo Jo Gunne. Their best known song was Run Run Run, which hit the British top 10 and the US top 30 in 1972, receiving considerable amount of airplay on progressive rock stations as well.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Everything's Gonna Be Alright
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On-Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on LP: Woodstock 2)
Writer(s):    Walter Jacobs
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    The Butterfield Blues Band had already gone through several personnel changes by the time they played the Woodstock festival in August of 1969. They had also evolved stylistically, adding a horn section and, for the most part, moving away from the long improvisational jams that had characterized their landmark 1966 LP East-West. Those elements were not entirely gone, however, as their nine minute long performance of Walter Jacobs' Everything's Gonna Be Alright amply demontrates. In addition to a Butterfield harmonica solo to start things off, the piece showcases the talents of new guitarist Buzzy Feiten.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Deacon Blues
Source:    CD: Aja
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA  (original label: ABC)
Year:    1977
    Described as "among the most melodic and existential...midlife crisis songs" by no less an authority than the Wall Street Journal, Steely Dan's Deacon Blues still stands as one of the best-produced songs in the history of recorded music. In fact, the album it was from, Aja, won the 1977 Grammy Award for best engineered non-classical recording, and is often cited as one of the best records for audiophiles to test their equipment on. According to Walter Becker, the song's lyrics are meant to convey "a broken dream of a broken man living a broken life".

Artist:    Eric Clapton
Title:    Let It Rain
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Clapton (originally released on LP: Eric Clapton)
Writer(s):    Bramlett/Clapton
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Following the breakup of Blind Faith in 1969, Eric Clapton attempted to lower his profile by touring as a member of Delaney And Bonnie (Bramlett) And Friends. Still, he was Eric Clapton, and there was no way his fans or his record company were going to treat him like an anonymous sideman. As a result, the live album released by Delaney And Bonnie And Friends in early 1970 was titled On Tour With Eric Clapton. Nonetheless, the influence the Bramletts had on Clapton was evident on his self-titled solo LP, released later the same year. Many of the same musicians participated in the making of the album and in fact would continue to work with Clapton in his next band, Derek And The Dominos. More than half of the songs on the album were co-written by one or both of the Bramletts, including Let It Rain, which originally was called She Rides and had entirely different lyrics by Bonnie Bramlett. Let It Rain, released in 1972 as a five-minute long single, features a guest appearance on guitar by Stephen Stills, as well as an extended solo by Clapton himself.

Artist:    Stevie Wonder
Title:    Superstition
Source:    LP: Talking Book
Writer(s):    Stevie Wonder
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1972
    Superstition was not originally meant to be a Stevie Wonder hit record. The song was actually written with the intention of giving it to guitarist Jeff Beck, in return for his participation of Wonder's Talking Book album. In fact, it was Beck that came up with the song's opening drum riff, creating, with Wonder, the first demo of the song. The plan was for Beck to release the song first as the lead single from the album Beck, Bogert & Appice. However, that album's release got delayed, and Motown CEO Barry Gordy Jr. insisted that Wonder go ahead and release his own version of the song first, as Barry saw the song as a potential #1 hit. It turned out Gordy was right, and Superstition ended up topping both the pop and soul charts in 1973, doing well in other countries as well. A 1986 live version of the song by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble continues to get a lot of airplay on classic rock radio.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2004 (starts 1/20/20)

    This week's show features a set of Turtles tracks that showcases their creative side, a set of Donovan album cuts and a set of Byrds tunes from their Fifth Dimension LP, as well as the usual mix of singles, B sides and album tracks. We start with a set of British hits and near hits...

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Day Tripper
Source:    CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1965
    One of the few times that the US and British releases of Beatles records were in sync was in December of 1965, when the album Rubber Soul was released in both countries at the same time as a new single that had a pair of songs not on the album itself. Although there were some slight differences in the two versions of the album, the accompanying single was identical in both countries, with Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out sharing "A" side status. Of course, the synchronization ended there, as the two songs would both end up on a US-only LP (Yesterday...And Today) in mid-1966, but not be available as an album track in the UK until after the Beatles had split up five years later.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1966
    The 1980s movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becomming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Most of them are now playing 80s and even 90s oldies, by the way.

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

Artist:    Manfred Mann
Title:    Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1968
    In 1965 there were a rash of bands doing cover versions of Bob Dylan songs. Almost all of these were protest songs of one sort or another. By 1968, however, things had changed, and the most popular Dylan cover of the year was the relatively harmless Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo), recorded by Manfred Mann. It turned out to be the third biggest US hit in Manfred Mann's long career, surpassed only by 1965's Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy and 1974's Blinded By The Light.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Homeward Bound
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Following the success of Sounds Of Silence, Paul Simon And Art Garfunkel set about making an album of all new material (Sounds Of Silence had featured several re-recorded versions of tunes from the 1965 British album The Paul Simon Songbook). The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, one of the finest folk-rock albums ever recorded. The album contained several successful singles, including Homeward Bound.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Cuddly Toy/Words
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Nilsson/Boyce/Hart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    Although the Monkees had returned to allowing studio musicians to provide the bulk of the instrumental tracks for the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD., those tracks were now being recorded under the direct supervision of the Monkees themselves. Additionally, the Monkees were only recording songs that the Monkees themselves picked out. One of those songs was a tune written by Harry Nilsson (who had not yet achieved fame as a singer, songwriter and John Lennon's drinking partner) called Cuddly Toy. Reportedly Mike Nesmith heard a demo of the song and immediately wanted to record it. The group did, and on the LP let it overlap the next track, A Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart tune called Words that the Leaves had recorded for their Hey Joe album the previous year. It was only after the album was on the charts that the shirts at Colgems Records, Columbia Pictures and RCA Victor realized that the subject matter of Cuddly Toy was a gang bang, having been based on a real life incident at a Hell's Angels party that Nilsson had attended.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Born To Be Wild
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):    Mars Bonfire
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Born To Be Wild's status as a counter-cultural anthem was cemented when it was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider. The popularity of both the song and the movie resulted in Steppenwolf becoming the all-time favorite band of bikers all over the world.
Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    Half Moon
Source:    CD: Pearl
Writer(s):    John & Johanna Hall
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1971
    Half Moon was the B side of Janis Joplin's biggest-selling single, Me And Bobby McGee. As such, it is one of Joplin's best known songs from the Pearl album. The song itself was written (with his wife Johanna) by John Hall, who later went on to form his own band, Orleans, which scored major hits in the late 1970s with Dance With Me and Still The One, both of which were written by Hall. In 1977 Hall left Orleans to pursue a solo career, becoming active in the anti-nuclear movement as well, co-founding Musicians United for Safe Energy with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash. While living in Saugerties, NY, he co-founded two citizens' groups, which led to his election to the Saugerties Board of Education. Hall continued to write songs, both for himself and other artists, while simultaneously pursuing a political career that led to him serving two terms in the US House of Representatives.

Artist:    Gypsy
Title:    Gypsy Queen-Part Two
Source:    LP: Gypsy
Writer(s):    Enrico Rosembaum
Label:    Metromedia
Year:    1970
    Usually when an artist releases a single with a title that has the words "part one" in it, the B side contains part two of the same piece. If you lived in Germany, France or Malaysia, this was indeed the case with the song Gypsy Queen-Part One, released in 1970 by the band Gypsy. In most countries, including the US & UK however, an entirely different song from Gypsy's debut LP could be found on the B side of Gypsy Queen-Part One. What I can't figure out is why. I mean, Gypsy Queen-Part Two is about two and a half minutes long, which is a perfectly acceptable running time for a B side. Nonetheless, Metromedia Records instead included a shortened version of an eleven minute song from the same LP. Weird. Anyway, for those not in Germany, France or Malaysia, here is Gypsy Queen-Part Two, the second track from the album Gypsy.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Now I'm A Farmer
Source:    LP: Odds And Sods
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Track
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1974
    As a general rule, recording artists are not particularly fond of bootleg recordings. For one thing, the artist has no control over the quality of the recording. More importantly, the artist receives no royalties from a bootleg recording. In the early 1970s there were several bootleg recordings of Who songs in circulation, including one called Who's Zoo. In late 1973, while the rest of the band was busy working on the movie version of Tommy, bassist John Entwistle decided to compile a sort of "official" bootleg album made up of previously unreleased recordings dating back to 1964, when the band was briefly known as the High Numbers. Although Entwistle said at the time that there was enough available material for a double-LP, it was decided to make the album, known as Odds And Sods, standard length. Some of the songs, including Now I'm A Farmer, were originally intended for a 1969 EP (or maxi-single, if you prefer) that was never issued. Odds And Sods, despite being basically a collection of rejects, was a commercial success, going into the top 10 on both the US and UK album charts when it was released in 1974.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    My Friend
Source:    CD: Sailor
Writer(s):    Davis/Scaggs
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Drummer Tim Davis takes center stage as lead vocalist on My Friend, from the second Steve Miller Band album, Sailor. The tune, co-written by fellow band member Boz Scaggs, was the first writing credit for Davis, who would remain with the band through their first five LPs before moving on to other things.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    It's All Meat
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change/The Twain Shall Meet
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    BGO (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    More than just about any other British invasion band, the Animals identified strongly with US Rhythm and Blues artists like John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles; all of their albums were filled with R&B covers, even as late as 1966, when other British bands were recording almost nothing but songs they wrote themselves. After the original group disbanded in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins set about forming a new version of the Animals. This new band, which came to be known as Eric Burdon And The Animals, shifted the emphasis to original compositions. Much of their original material, however, still had a strong connection to black American culture, especially in Burdon's lyrics on songs such as It's All Meat from the 1967 Winds Of Change album. Burdon would continue to move in this direction, culminating with his collaborations with the Los Angeles band War in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Harbinger Complex
Title:    I Think I'm Down
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Brent)
Year:    1966
    Most garage/club bands never made it beyond a single or two for a relatively small independent label. Freemont, California's Harbinger Complex is a good example. The group was one of many that were signed by Bob Shad, owner of Mainstream Records and its various subsidiaries such as Time and Brent. The band had already released one single on the independent Amber label and were recording at Golden State Recorders in San Francisco when they were discovered by Shad, who signed them to Brent. The band's first single for the label was the British-influenced I Think I'm Down, which came out in 1966. The stereo mix of the song was included on Mainstream's 1967 showcase album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. airwaves was the Seeds' debut single, Can't Seem To Make You Mine, released in 1965. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album the following year. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, predating the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by about three months.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    House Of Jansch
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    One of the most respected names in British folk music during the 1960s was Bert Jansch. House Of Jansch, from the Mellow Yellow album, was Donovan's way of acknowledging Jansch's influence on his own music.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Enchanted Gypsy
Source:    LP: A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch began to move beyond his folk roots and into psychedelia with the 1966 album Sunshine Superman, which was followed in early 1967 by the similarly styled Mellow Yellow LP. The following December saw the release of Donovan's most ambitious project to date: a two record album box set entitled A Gift From A Flower To A Garden. Each record was also released as a separate album. The first disc, entitled Wear Your Love Like Heaven, was a pop-oriented collection of the same type of songs he had released as singles throughout the year. The second disc, For Little Ones, was a mostly acoustic album aimed toward what he called "the dawning generation". Personally I favor the second disc, with songs like The Enchanted Gypsy serving to spotlight Donovan's strengths as both a guitarist and vocalist.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sunny South Kensington
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
    Donovan followed up his 1966 hit single Sunshine Superman with an album of the same name. He then repeated himself with the song and album Mellow Yellow. The B side of the Mellow Yellow single was Sunny South Kensington, a tune done in much the same style as Sunshine Superman. The song was also included on the Mellow Yellow album.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Lover Man
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (originally released on CD box set: The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy/Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2000, single released 2016
    When the Jimi Hendrix Experience made their US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 they opened with a high-energy workup of the Muddy Waters classic Killing Floor. Hendrix' arrangement of the song was so radically different from the original that Hendrix eventually decided to write new lyrics for the song, calling it Lover Man. Several attempts were made to get the song recorded in the studio, with the most recent being in 1970 by a group consisting of Hendrix on guitar and vocals, Billy Cox on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. This version was included on the 2000 box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience, leading to speculation that, had Hendrix lived, he would have used that name for the new lineup (and in fact did for some live performances, including the 1970 Atlanta International Pop Festival). Accordingly, when Sundazed issued a new Hendrix single consisting of the same trio's 1969 recording of Stone Free, backed with the 1970 version of Lover Man in 2016, both songs were attributed to the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Artist:    Turtles
Title:    The Owl
Source:    CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands (bonus track originally released on 12" 45 RPM EP picture disc: The Turtles-1968)
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    Manifesto/FloEdCo (original label: Rhino)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1978
    In 1968 the Turtles decided to make their first attempt at producing themselves. White Whale Records rejected all but one of the four tracks they recorded (the exception being Surfer Dan, which was included on the concept album Battle Of The Bands). Ten years later Rhino rectified that error in judgment by putting all four tunes on a 12" 45 RPM picture disc called The Turtles-1968. Even more recently the independent Manifesto Records label, in association with Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan's FloEdCo imprint, has included the song as a bonus track on the latest CD edition of Battle Of The Bands.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Rugs Of Wood And Flowers
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Nichols
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1967
    The Turtles were best known for their big hit records like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me, both of which came from outside songwriters. The band had a weird side, however, that usually showed up on their self-penned B sides and an occasional album track. One example is Rugs Of Wood And Flowers, a track from the Happy Together album which also appeared as the B side of You Know What I Mean in 1967. The song, written by vocalist Howard Kaylan and guitarist Al Nichol, features Kaylan using a parody operatic style that he would revive for his legendary performances with the Mothers at the Fillmore East in 1971.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Chicken Little Was Right
Source:    CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    The Turtles
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1967
    Like many of the bands of the time, the Turtles usually recorded songs from professional songwriters for their A sides and provided their own material for the B sides. In the Turtles' case, however, these B sides were often psychedelic masterpieces that contrasted strongly with their hits. Chicken Little Was Right, the B side of She's My Girl, at first sounds like something you'd hear at a hootenanny, but then switches keys for a chorus featuring the Turtles' trademark harmonies, with a little bit of Peter And The Wolf thrown in for good measure. This capacity for self-parody would come to serve band members Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan well a few years later, first as members of the Mothers (performing Happy Together live at the Fillmore East) and then as the Phorescent Leach and Eddie (later shortened to Flo And Eddie). A new recording of Chicken Little Was Right was included on the 1968 LP The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands, credited to Fats Mallard and the Bluegrass Fireball. The stereo mix of the original 1967 recording was finally issued in 2016 as a bonus track on the Battle Of The Bands CD.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Bringing Me Down
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    One of several singles released mainly to San Francisco Bay area radio stations and record stores, Bringing Me Down is an early collaboration between vocalist Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin had invited Kantner into the band without having heard him play a single note. It turned out to be one of many right-on-the-money decisions by the young bandleader.

Artist:     Shadows Of Knight
Title:     It Always Happens That Way
Source:     CD: Dark Sides (originally released on LP: Gloria)
Writer:     Rogers/Sohns
Label:     Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:     1966
     The Shadows of Knight were the epitomy of what being a garage band was all about. Inspired by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, but also heavily influenced by the legendary blues artists in nearby Chicago, this group of suburban white kids were musically as raw as any of their contemporaries, and had a local reputation as bad boys (singer Jim Sohns being banned from several area high school campuses). The band originally called themselves the Shadows, but after signing with local label Dunwich they added the Knights part (after their high school sports teams' name) just in case there was another band of Shadows already recording. They scored a huge national hit when they recorded a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria (with the line "she comes up to my room" replaced with "she calls out my name") and got airplay on radio stations that were afraid to play the Them original. The Shadows of Knight recorded a pair of LPs in 1966, the first named for the hit Gloria, the second called Back Door Men (an obvious Chicago blues reference). Both albums had a generous dose of blues covers done up in a raunchy garage style, as well as a smattering of original tunes. It Always Happens That Way, from the Gloria album, is an example of the latter, written by Sohns and guitarist turned bassist Warren Rogers.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic surf-styled instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist:    Del-Vetts
Title:    Last Time Around
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dennis Dahlquist
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, considering the song's subject matter (and overall intensity), Last Time Around may well be the very first death metal rock song ever recorded.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Captain Soul
Source:    LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    Hillman/Clarke/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    During recording sessions for their Fifth Dimension album, the Byrds decided to take a break and loosen up by jamming instrumentally on Lee Dorsey's Get Out Of My Life Woman (which had just been released by the Butterfield Blues Band on their East-West album as well). Bassist Chris Hillman suggested the title Captain Soul for the resulting recording, which won the approval of drummer Michael Clarke, who had been pushing the idea of recording something soul-oriented.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the influential Gavin Report advising stations not to play this "drug song", Eight Miles High managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying, especially long intercontinental trips, that in part led to his leaving the Byrds.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)
Source:     LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer:     Roger McGuinn
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     1966 was the beginning of a time when rock musicians began to experiment in the recording studio. One early effort was Roger (then Jim) McGuinn's 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song), which uses a recording of an actual jet plane throughout the track.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Gates Of Eden
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Sundazed
Year:    1965
    Considering how much time was spent recording the average album from about 1967 on, it may come as a surprise that Bob Dylan's landmark LP Bringing It All Back Home was recorded over a three day period in 1965. In fact, the entire second side of the LP was recorded on January 15th, including the song Gates Of Eden, which was recorded in one take. It would take someone with considerably more literary expertise than I have to analyze Dylan's lyrics, so I'll just leave them to whatever interpretation you might want to attach to them.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Heart Full Of Soul
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Great Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, who was then a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and would later be a founding member of 10cc.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    You're A Lonely Girl
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Sloan/Barri
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1966
    A few miles south of San Francisco (adjacent to the San Francisco International Airport, in fact), sits a small city named Milbrae with a population of around 20,000 or so. In 1964 Milbrae was home to several local garage bands, doing covers of the popular hits of the day. One of the more popular of these bands was the Bedouins, consisting of guitarists Willie Fulton and Denny Ellis, bassist Dave Stenson, and drummer Bill Schoppe. All the members except Fulton were still in high school, but graduated the following year. That summer (1965) they won a battle of the bands in San Mateo, which led to an audition with the head of Dunhill Records, Lou Adler, and his two in-house songwriters, Steve Barri and PF Sloan. Unknown to everyone present Adler had recently been rebuffed in his attempts to sign a local Los Angeles band calling themselves the Grass Roots. As they had not legally registered that name, Adler decided he wanted to use it himself, and was looking for a band to record and make live appearances as the Grass Roots. The Bedouins were more than happy to change their name in return for the chance to make records, and headed south to L.A. to record a cover of Bob Dylan's A Ballad Of A Thin Man (retitled Mr. Jones), backed with a Sloan/Barri composition called You're A Lonely Girl. The song was released in late 1965 and started getting airplay on several L.A. radio stations. When members of the original Grass Roots heard about the record, they were understandably unhappy, but soon realized that they had no legal ground to stand on, and ended up changing their name to Love. A second Grass Roots single, Where Were You When I Needed You, came out in April of 1966, but by this time constant clashes between Fulton (who was doing lead vocals for the band) and Adler, along with a general disenchantment with the Los Angeles scene, led the band to return to San Francisco, where they continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Adler got a court injunction ordering them to cease using the name. Adler, Sloan and Barri eventually found yet another band willing to change their name to the Grass Roots, and the rest is history. The Bedouins, however, never recorded again as a group.

Artist:    Sonics
Title:    The Witch
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Gerald Roslie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year:    1964
    The #1 selling single in the history of the Pacific Northwest was this tune by one of the founding bands of the Seattle music scene. The Sonics were as raw as any punk rock band of the seventies, as The Witch proves beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Artist:    Strangeloves
Title:    Night Time
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Feldman/Goldstein/Gottehrer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Bang)
Year:    1965
    In the wake of the British Invasion, some American artists tried to sound as British as possible, often deliberately letting radio listeners think that they themselves might be a British band. A trio of New York songwriters, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, took such deceptions to a whole new level. Rather than try to pass themselves off as a British band, the three invented an elaborate backstory that portrayed them as sons of an Australian sheepherder who had invented a new shearing process and had used the profits from the venture to form a band called the Strangeloves, who were about to become the Next Big Thing. Although the story never really caught on, the group managed to record two of the all-time great party songs, I Want Candy and Night Time, as well as producing a single called Hang On Sloopy for a band they discovered on the road called the McCoys (although the instrumental tracks were actually from the Strangeloves' own first LP).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Mother's Little Helper
Source:    Mono CD: Flowers
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 the Rolling Stones had already had a few brushes with the law over their use of illegal drugs. Mother's Little Helper, released in Spring of '66, is a scathing criticism of the abuse of legal prescription drugs by the parents of the Stones' fans. Perhaps more than any other song of the time, Mother's Little Helper illustrates the increasingly hostile generation gap that had sprung up between the young baby boomers and the previous generation.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Absolutely Positively
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1967
    I'm going to use Sean Bonniwell's own words to describe Absolutely Positively: "Demanding that you get what you don't have without knowing what you want is the same as wanting what you haven't got, then not wanting it after you get it." Heady stuff that describes a very American attitude that has only become even more prevalent in the years since the song was written.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2004 (starts 1/20/20)

    This week is yet another excursion into the world of early 1970s free-form rock radio, with a dozen (mostly album) tracks from a dozen artists. You have been warned.

Artist:    Mark Fry
Title:    The Witch
Source:    British Import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in Italy on LP: Dreaming With Alice)
Writer(s):    Mark Fry
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: RCA Italian)
Year:    1972
    One of the most obscure albums ever released, Dreaming With Alice is sometimes considered the ultimate example of acid folk. Recorded in 1971 by teenaged British art student Mark Fry, the album includes a track called The Witch, which is described in the book Galactic Ramble as "one of the creepiest songs you'll ever hear". Personally I don't really find anything creepy about it at all, although the track itself is quite hypnotic and highly listenable.
Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Stranger To Himself
Source:    LP: John Barleycorn Must Die
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Stranger To Himself is one of two songs that Steve Winwood had completed for his first solo album when he decided to instead make a new Traffic album. Rather than recut the song, Winwood included the recording, on which he plays all the instruments himself, as the first track of side two of the fourth Traffic LP, John Barleycorn Must Die.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Johnny Winter And)
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    Athough best known as a solo Rick Derringer hit, Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo was originally recorded in 1970 by Johnny Winter for the album Johnny Winter And, when Derringer was a member of Winter's band (also known as Johnny Winter And at that time). As can be heard here the arrangement on the earlier version is nearly identical to the hit version, the main differences being Winter's lead vocals and the presence of two lead guitarists in the band.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Howling For My Darling
Source:    LP: Lion's Share
Writer(s):    Chester Burnett
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1972
    The eighth Savoy Brown LP, Lion's Share, was the third to feature a lineup that featured, in addition to bandleader Kim Simmonds (guitars, keyboards, harmonica, vocals), three former members of Chicken Shack: Dave Bidwell (drums), Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitars) and Dave Walker (vocals). The Lion's Share lineup also included new member Andy Pyle, who had played with Mick Abraham's band, Blodwyn Pig, on bass. The LP was a bit of a commercial disappointment, however, only hitting #151 on the Billboard album chart (their previous three albums all made the top 100), despite having a fine selection of tunes, including a cover of Howlin' Wolf's Howling For My Darling, which closes out the album.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Lady Whiskey
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Powell/Upton
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    In its own way, the first Wishbone Ash album rocks out as hard as any album released in 1970, and is certainly one of the better debut LPs in rock history. The band would actually soften their sound a touch for later albums, but on tunes like Lady Whiskey they showed that they could hold their own in a world that included bands like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin.

Artist:    ZZ Top
Title:    Backdoor Love Affair
Source:    LP: The Best Of ZZ Top (originally released on LP: ZZ Top's First Album)
Writer(s):    Gibbons/Ham
Label:    London
Year:    1971
    ZZ Top left no doubt as to where they were coming from with the release of their 1971 debut LP. As Billy Gibbons put it: "We called the record ZZ Top's First Album because we wanted everyone to know that there would be more. We weren't certain if we'd get another chance in the studio, but we had high hopes. We had been together for about six months and were knocking around the bar scene, playing all the usual funky joints. We took the studio on as an extension of the stage show. The basics were all of us playing together in one room, but we didn't want to turn our backs on contemporary recording techniques. To give our sound as much presence and support as possible, we became a little more than a three piece with the advantages of overdubbing. It was the natural kind of support – some rhythm guitar parts, a little bit of texture. That was about it." The result of this approach can be heard on the album's final track, Backdoor Love Affair.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:     Cobra
Source:     British import CD: Just For Love
Writer:     John Cipollina
Label:     BGO (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1970
     Quicksilver Messenger Service was able to do something in 1970 that no other band had been able to accomplish. It managed to sign up the world's most famous session man, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, as a full member. If that wasn't enough, they also rounded up former early member Dino Valenti, newly released from jail in time to participate in the recording of the band's most successful album, Just For Love. Valenti, for various reasons, was fond of using an alias; in fact "Dino Valenti" itself was one, Valenti's birth name actually being Chet Powers. For the Just For Love album, Valenti created yet another alias, Jesse Oris Farrow. All but one of the songs on the album are credited to Farrow, although two of those list Valenti as the songwriter. The lone non-Valenti track is Cobra, an instrumental written by guitarist John Cipollina. The entire album, incidentally, was recorded in Hawaii. Maybe that's how they managed to entice Hopkins to join them.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Saviour Machine
Source:    CD: The Man Who Sold The World
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    David Bowie's third album, The Man Who Sold The World, was the first one in which his band played a major role in the development of the songs themselves. Indeed, producer/bassist Tony Visconti later said  "the songs were written by all four of us. We'd jam in a basement, and Bowie would just say whether he liked them or not." According to Bowie's biographer, Peter Doggett, "The band (sometimes with Bowie contributing guitar, sometimes not) would record an instrumental track, which might or might not be based upon an original Bowie idea. Then, at the last possible moment, Bowie would reluctantly uncurl himself from the sofa on which he was lounging with his wife, and dash off a set of lyrics." Bowie himself, however, later said that he was indeed the sole songwriter on the album, as evidenced by the chord changes in the songs themselves. As Bowie put it, "No one writes chord changes like that". Regardless of who actually wrote what, there is no question that The Man Who Sold The World rocked out harder than anything else Bowie had done up to that point (and perhaps never would again), and songs like Saviour Machine, about the pitfalls of turning to a higher power (in this case a omnipotent computer) for solutions to problems, are on a par with what Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were doing around the same time.
Artist:    Captain Beyond
Title:    I Can't Feel Nothin'/As The Moon Speaks/Astral Lady
Source:    LP: Captain Beyond
Writer(s):    Caldwell/Evans
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1972
    Occasionally someone will ask me a question along the lines of "Who was the best band you ever saw in concert?". My standard answer is Captain Beyond, which usually gets a blank stare in response. I then explain that Captain Beyond was the opening act (of three) at a concert I went to in El Paso in 1972. They so totally blew away the other bands that I can't even remember for sure who the headliner was. Essentially a power trio plus vocalist, Captain Beyond was made up of two former members of Iron Butterfly, guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman, Deep Purple's original lead vocalist, Rod Evans, and drummer Bobby Caldwell, who was known for his work with Johnny Winter and Rick Derringer, among others. The band was so tight that I went out the very next day and bought a copy of their album, something I had never done before. Sure enough, the album was every bit as good as the band's live performance, which followed the exact same setlist as the album itself. I should mention here that, mostly to save space, I shortened the song titles a bit on the title line above. The actual full titles of the tracks heard on this week's show are as follows:
I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 1)
As the Moon Speaks (to the Waves of the Sea)
Astral Lady
As the Moon Speaks (Return)
I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 2)
Due to contractual issues, neither Dorman or Reinhardt (who were technically still members of Iron Butterfly) were able to receive songwriting credits on the original album label, although Caldwell has since said that Reinhardt actually co-wrote the songs with Caldwell and Evans, with some input from Dorman.

Artist:    Tommy Bolin
Title:    Homeward Strut
Source:    Japanese import CD: Teaser
Writer(s):    Tommy Bolin
Label:    Sony (original US label: Nemperor
Year:    1975
    Guitarist Tommy Bolin racked up an impressive list of accomplishments during an all too short career. At age 18 he made his recording debut as a member of Zephyr, making two albums with that band before forming his own jazz-rock-blues group Energy at age 20. Energy was unable to secure a recording contract, however, and, after a brief stint with two of his Zephyr bandmates as the 4-Nikators, he replaced Dominic Troiano as the guitarist for the James Gang, appearing on the albums Bang and Miami. Following his departure from the James Gang he found plenty of work as a studio guitarist as well as touring with Carmine Appice and the Good Rats. In 1975, he joined Deep Purple as Ritchie Blackmore's replacement, releasing his first solo LP, Teaser, around the same time as the Purple album Come Taste The Band. Because of his obligations to Deep Purple, he was unable to tour in support of Teaser, which hurt the album's sales, despite the presence of outstanding tracks such as the instrumental Homeward Strut. Bolin released his second solo LP, Private Eyes, in 1976, following the breakup of Deep Purple. Less than three months later Bolin died from a drug overdose, just a few hours after telling Jon Marlowe of the Miami News in an interview that "I've been taking care of myself my whole life. Don't worry about me. I'm  going to be around for a long time.'" Tommy Bolin was 25 years old at the time.

Artist:    Peter Gabriel
Title:    Moribund The Burgermeister
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (taken from LP: Peter Gabriel)
Writer(s):    Peter Gabriel
Label:    Atco
Year:    1977
    After leaving Genesis, vocalist Peter Gabriel enlisted producer Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, to co-produce his self-titled debut LP. Ezrin assembled a talented group of musicians for the album, including guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson, bass player Tony Levin (who would eventually be a member of the 1980s version of King Crimson), drummer Allan Schwartzberg, percussionist Jimmy Maelen, guitarist Steve Hunter, keyboardist Jozef Chirowski and Larry Fast on synthesizers and programming. Gabriel relied heavily on Ezrin to handle the harder rocking aspects of the music (in Gabriel's words "the American" parts), while Gabriel handled the softer passages, much as he had done as a member of Genesis. Both aspects can be heard on Moribund The Burgermeister, a highly theatrical song that was chosen to be the B side of the album's lead single, Solisbury Hill.

Artist:    Buoys
Title:    Timothy
Source:    LP: Sessions (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rupert Holmes
Label:    RCA Special Products (original label: Scepter)
Year:    1970
    Let's set the record straight, once and for all. According to songwriter Rupert Holmes, Timothy was not a mule. And yes, they ate him.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2003 (starts 1/13/20)

    This week we have artists' sets from Hendrix and Cream, a fairly psychedelic blues set, a whole bunch of tunes from 1967, and, just for the fun of it, a set of garage sounding singles from three different countries. To get things started, we take a short trip through the years 1965 through 1968, beginning with a Bob Dylan classic...

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Cheating
Source:    Mono LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Burdon/Chandler
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    As a general rule, the original Animals wrote very little of their own material, preferring to record covers of their favorite blues songs to supplement the songs from professional songwriters that producer Mickie Most picked for single release. One notable exception is Cheating, a strong effort from vocalist Eric Burdon and bassist Chas Chandler that appeared on the Animalization album. The hard-driving song was also chosen for release as a B side in 1966.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Embryonic Journey
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Jorma Kaukonen
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Jorma Kaukonen originally considered Embryonic Journey to be little more than a practice exercise. Other members of Jefferson Airplane insisted he record it, however, and it has since come to be identified as a kind of signature song for the guitarist, who played the tune live when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Artist:    Flamin' Groovies
Title:    I'm Drowning
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Sneakers)
Writer(s):    Roy Loney
Label:    Rhino (original label: Snazz)
Year:    1968
    An anomaly among San Francisco bands, the Flamin' Groovies were in a sense a throwback to the early days of the local SF music scene, with an emphasis on basic rock and roll rather than extended jamming or psychedelic experimentation. Although they eventually ended up signing a contract with a major label, it was their self-issued 10" mono LP (or maybe EP) Sneakers that captured the essence of the band. I'm Drowning was written by original lead vocalist Roy Loney, who would be gone by the time the band made their major label debut.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    EXP/Up From The Skies
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, is very much a studio creation. Hendrix had been taking a growing interest in what could be done in stereo with multiple tracks to work with (at a time when most artists were putting the bulk of their energy into making the best mono mixes for AM radio), and came up with a masterpiece. What makes the achievement even more remarkable is the fact that he actually only had four tracks to work with (compared to the virtually unlimited number available with modern digital equipment). EXP, which opens the album, is an exercise in creative feedback bouncing from speaker to speaker. The intro to the piece is a faux interview of a slowed-down Hendrix (posing as his friend Paul Caruso) by bassist Noel Redding. The track leads directly into Up From The Skies, the only song on the album to be issued as a single in the US. Up From The Skies features Hendrix's extensive use of a wah-wah pedal, with vocals and guitar panning back and forth from speaker to speaker over the jazz-styled brushes of drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Castles Made Of Sand
Source:     CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Although born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix was never associated with the local music scene that produced some of the loudest and raunchiest punk-rock of the mid 60s. Instead, he paid his professional dues backing R&B artists on the "chitlin circuit" of clubs playing to a mostly-black clientele, mainly in the southern US. After a short stint leading his own soul band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Hendrix, at the behest of one Chas Chandler, moved to London, where he recuited a pair of local musicians, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Although known for his innovative use of feedback, Hendrix was quite capable of knocking out some of the most complex "clean" riffs ever to be committed to vinyl. A prime example of this is Castles Made Of Sand. Hendrix's highly melodic guitar work combined with unusual tempo changes and haunting lyrics makes Castles Made Of Sand a classic that sounds as fresh today as it did when Axis: Bold As Love was released in 1967. The first time I ever heard this song it gave me chills.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on. Especially the spoken part in the middle, when Jimi says the words "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want." It sounds like he's inside your head with you.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Magical Mystery Tour
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    1967 had been a great year for the Beatles, starting with their double-sided hit single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and their late summer hit All You Need Is Love, with its worldwide TV debut (one of the few events of the time to utilize satellite technology). The next project, however, did not go over quite so well. It had been over two years since the group's last major movie (HELP!), and the band decided that their next film would be an exclusive for broadcast on BBC-TV. Unlike the previous two films, this new project would not follow traditional filmmaking procedures. Instead it would be a more experimental piece; a series of loosely related songs and comedy vignettes connected by a loose plot about a bus trip to the countryside. Magical Mystery Tour made its debut in early December of 1967 to overwhelmingly negative reaction by viewers and critics alike (partially because the film was shown in black and white on the tradition minded BBC-1 network; a later rebroadcast in color on BBC-2 went over much better). The songs used in the film, however, were quite popular. Since there were only six of them, far too few for a regular LP, it was decided to issue the album as a pair of 45 RPM EPs, complete with lyric sheets and booklet recounting the story from the film. The original EPs were available in both stereo and mono versions in Europe and the UK. In the US, where the six tunes were supplemented by the band's five remaining single sides from 1967 to create an LP, Magical Mystery Tour was only available in stereo. Although both the EP and LP versions have different sequencing than the telefilm, all three open the same way, with the film's title song.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    Care Of Cell 44
Source:    CD: Odessey And Oracle (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Varese Sarabande (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    By mid-1967 things were looking pretty grim for the Zombies. After a brilliant start with the smash hit She's Not There, the band had a series of singles that did progressively worse on the charts, leading their British label, Decca, to drop the group from its roster. Gigs were becoming scarce as well, and the members of the band were getting desperate for cash. Somehow, though, they managed to get a deal with CBS Records, which had been formed in 1962 to distribute recordings by American artists originally issued on the US Columbia label, but, starting in 1965, had been occasionally signing British acts as well. Even more remarkable was the fact that the band was given complete artistic control to produce an entire album, something that was virtually unheard of in 1967 (even the Beatles had to work with a producer provided by their record label, in their case the legendary George Martin). The bulk of the album, which came to be called Odessey And Oracle, was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios. Since they were not recording for an EMI-owned label they had to book studio time on a as-available basis, often going weeks between sessions. This gave them time to perfect the songs before committing them to tape, but it also left them financially strapped. The first track released from the project was Care Of Cell 44, a song that takes the form of a letter to a loved one who is about to be released from prison. The single was released in both the UK and the US in November of 1967, but failed to chart, and the Zombies disbanded the following month. Nonetheless, CBS issued the album in April of 1968; in the US Columbia Records, which had issued the Care Of Cell 44 single, chose not to release the album at all until staff producer Al Kooper (who Super Session was a surprise hit in 1968) convinced Columbia to release it on their little-known Date subsidiary at a budget price in June. Late in the year the final track on the album, a song called Time Of The Season, began getting airplay, ultimately becoming a top five hit single in 1969.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock And Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 50 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Levitation
Source:    British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The first album by the 13th Floor Elevators has long been considered a milestone, in that it was one of the first truly psychedelic albums ever released (and the first to actually use the word "psychedelic" in the title). For their followup LP, the group decided to take their time, going through some personnel changes in the process. Still, the core membership of Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall and Stacy Sutherland held it together long enough to complete Easter Everywhere, releasing the album in 1967. The idea behind the album was to present a spiritual vision that combined both Eastern and Western religious concepts (and some pretty heavy philosophy) in a rock context. For the most part, such as on tracks like Levitation, it succeeds remarkably well, considering the strife the band was going through at the time.
Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    LP released 1967, single edit released 1968
    Time Has Come Today has one of the most convoluted histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I
Source:    CD: Underground
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz were songwriters who had their greatest success when the Electric Prunes released one of their songs, I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night), in early 1967. The record was such a great success, in fact, that the band's producer insisted that the group record more Tucker/Mantz songs, including a second charted single, Get Me To The World On Time, and several album tracks. One of those album tracks, I, is the only recording by the original band to exceed the five minute mark, an ironic fact considering that it is the song with the shortest title in the history of recorded music.

Artist:    Critters
Title:    Mr. Dieingly Sad
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Don Ciccone
Label:    Era (original label: Kapp)
Year:    1966
    The Critters were not, by any stretch of the imagination, a psychedelic band. Still, when in comes to the year 1966, one of the first songs that pops into to my mind is their hit single Mr. Dieingly Sad. The Critters were formed when Don Ciccone, who sang and played guitar, and saxophonist Bob Podstawski joined a New Jersey the Vibratones in 1964, transforming them from an instrumental band to one of the first American bands to compete directly with the British Invasion bands. The band soon released their first single on the Musicor label, switching to Kapp Records the following year. Mr. Diengly Sad became the group's only top 20 hit, peaking at #17 as the summer of 1966 was coming to a close. The group split up in 1968, and after a stint in the military Ciccone joined the 4 Seasons for awhile (temporarily replacing Frankie Valli, who had left the group for a solo career), and later toured with Tommy James And The Shondells. Eventually Ciccone formed a new incarnation of the Critters in 2007, releasing an album called Time Pieces that included updated versions of their first top 40 hit, Younger Girl, and a spell-corrected Mr. Dyingly Sad. Don Ciccone passed away on October 8, 2016 at the age of 70 after suffering a heart attack.

Artist:    Things To Come
Title:    Come Alive
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Russ Ward
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Long Beach, California was home to a band known as Things To Come, which featured drummer Russ Ward, who, as Russ Kunkel, would go on to become one of L.A.'s hottest studio drummers. Come Alive is a solid piece of garage rock written by Ward/Kunkel.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And War
Title:    Blues For Memphis Slim
Source:    LP: Eric Burdon Declares "War"
Writer(s):    War/Peter Chapman
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1970
    "When the acid trip is over, you've got to come back to Mother Blues." Eric Burdon's ad-libbed line from the track Blues From Memphis Slim, pretty much sums up the state of the former Animals lead vocalist's career as of 1970. The original Animals had been founded with the blues in mind, with the band members, including Burdon, preferring the cover tunes of artists like John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed featured on their albums to the hit singles provided to the band by their producer, Mickey Most. Finally, in 1966, the group officially disbanded, just as Burdon was discovering the mind-expanding qualities of hallucinogenic substances (he had been a hard drinker up to that point). In early 1967 Burdon formed a "New Animals" that would soon come to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals. This band had little in common with the original Animals (other than Burdon's distinctive vocals), and was, by any measure, pure acid rock. But after a couple of albums, even that group started to change, taking on more of an R&B sound with tracks like their extended version of River Deep, Mountain High. Finally, in 1969, this group disbanded as well, leaving Burdon and his producer, Jerry Goldstein, looking for a new band and a new sound for the singer. They found it in a Los Angeles nightclub, where a band called Nightshift was backing up former football star Deacon Jones. Burdon and Goldstein persuaded the multi-racial band to change their name to War, and got to work on an album called Eric Burdon Declares "War". The album featured mostly suites such as Blues For Memphis Slim, which was built around the bluesman's classic Mother Earth, with several added instrumental sections composed by the band. At thirteen and a half minutes, it is the longest track on the album. After a second album with the group (The double-LP The Black Man's Burdon), Eric Burdon left the group, leaving War to become one of the more popular bands of the 1970s.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    It's Breaking Me Up
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    I Need A Man To Love
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Joplin/Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound good. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage at the Fillmore West. Those concert tapes were ultimately deemed unfit for release, with the exception of the album's final track, the electrifying cover of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain, and it was decided that the way to go was to recreate the band's stage show within the confines of the recording studio, much as the Beatles had done for their debut LP. To enhance the illusion, prerecorded crowd noises were added to the final mixes of songs like I Need A Man To Love, a collaboration between vocalist Janis Joplin and guitarist Sam Andrew.

Artist:    Fairies
Title:    Get Yourself Home
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):    Dee/Danks
Label:    Rhino (original label: HMV)
Year:    1965
    The Fairies were compadres of the more famous Pretty Things, sharing an occasional song and eventually a drummer. Their second single, Get Yourself Home, was actually supposed to be recorded by the Pretty Things themselves, but after making a demo the PTs decided to pass the song along the Fairies, who issued it as their second single in 1965. After a third single failed the chart, the Fairies disbanded, with drummer John "Twink" Alder moving on to The In Crowd, Tomorrow (with guitarist Steve Howe) and eventually the Pretty Things themselves before joining up with former members of the Deviants to form the Pink Fairies in 1970.

Artist:    We The People
Title:    Mirror Of Your Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Thomas Talton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:    1966
    We The People were formed when an Orlando, Florida newspaper reporter talked members of two local bands to combine into a garage/punk supergroup. The result was one of the most successful regional bands in Florida history. After their first recording got airplay on a local station, they were signed to record in Nashville for Challenge Records (a label actually based in Los Angeles) and cranked out several regional hits over the next few years. The first of these was Mirror Of Your Mind. Written by lead vocalist Tom Talton, the song is an in-your-face rocker that got played on a number of local stations and has been covered by several bands since.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    It's My Pride
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Quality)
Year:    1967
    The Guess Who were formed in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba as Chad Allen and the Reflections, changing their name to Chad Allen and the Expression in 1964. The group recorded a cover of a Johnny Kidd song, Shakin' All Over, in 1965. The record was not released under the band's actual name, however; in a bid to get more airplay for the song, the record was credited to "Guess Who?". This was during the peak of the British Invasion, and the producers hoped that DJs might assume it was some well-known British band and give the record a shot. (Of course, such a thing could never happen these days, as commercial radio DJs are not allowed to choose what music to play.) The ploy worked so well (the song was a hit in both the US and Canada) that the band decided to keep the name Guess Who, and continued to crank out hit after hit in their native Canada, although they would not hit the US charts again until 1969. In 1966 the group picked up a second vocalist, Burton Cummings, and within a few months founder Allen left the band, leaving Cummings as the group's front man. One of their better songs was It's My Pride, a B side written by guitarist Randy Bachman and released as a single in 1967. Bachman would soon team up with Cummings to write a string of hits, including These Eyes and American Woman, before leaving the Guess Who in the early 70s to form his own band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Politician
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown are best known for providing Cream with its more psychedelic songs such as White Room and SWLABR, they did occasionally come up with bluesier numbers such as Politician from the Wheels Of Fire album. The song quickly became a staple of Cream's live performances.

Artist:        Cream
Title:        Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:      CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:        1967
        Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Clapton and Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock."

Artist:    Cream
Title:    As You Said
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
     Cream started off as a British blues supergroup, but soon found themselves putting out some of the finest psychedelic tunes east of the Atlantic. Much of the credit for this goes to the songwriting team of bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown was originally brought in as a songwriting partner for Ginger Baker, but soon found a better synergy with Bruce. The two went on to write some of Cream's most memorable songs, including Tales of Brave Ulysses, Deserted Cities of the Heart and White Room. As You Said, from Cream's third LP, Wheel's Of Fire, is somewhat unusual in that it features acoustical instruments exclusively (including Ginger Baker setting aside his drumsticks in favor of brushes).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It Black
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs, Paint It Black was not included on the original UK release of the 1966 Aftermath album. This was because of the British custom of not including songs on LPs that were also available as 45 RPM singles (which, unlike their American counterparts, remained available for sale indefinitely) or extended play 45s (which had no US counterpart). In the US, however, Paint It Black was used to open the album, giving the entire LP a different feel from the British version (it had a different cover as well). Paint It Black is also the only song on Aftermath that was mixed only in mono, although US stereo pressings used an electronic rechannelling process to create a fake stereo sound. Luckily for everyone's ears, modern CDs use the unenhanced mono mix of the tune.