Sunday, February 23, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2009 (starts 2/24/20)

    This week we have a long set of Doors tunes, a short set of Kinks tunes and, to close out the show, a "full band composition" set. We also have both long and short trips through the years, and, to start off the show, a 1966 set...

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from their record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    Who Do You Love
Source:     British import CD: Before The Dream Faded (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Cherry Red (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1966
    Although not as well-known as Beatlemania or Carnaby Street, London had a thriving underground rock scene from around 1966 on. One of the first bands on that scene was an American group called the Misunderstood. Formed in Riverside, California, in 1965, the Misunderstood soon caught the eye and ear of local disc jockey John Ravencroft, a Britisher who had established himself as one of the most distinctive radio voices in the Inland Empire doing the morning show on San Bernardino's KMEN. Ravencroft convinced the band to relocate to London, where his brother Alan helped the band get a contract with the Fontana label. The B side of their first single was a version of Bo Diddly's Who Do You Love that is even more psychedelic (albeit considerably shorter) than the later Quicksilver Messenger Service version of the tune. Although no recordings of the Misunderstood's live performances at the Marquee Club exist, they were reported attended by members of Pink Floyd and the Move, whose own recording careers were still in the near future. Unfortunately, a series of events completely unrelated to music (visa problems, the Draft) led to the band falling apart before they could truly get established, and the Misunderstood soon became the stuff of legends.

Artist:    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Title:    Color Me Columbuth
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Johnny Thompson Quintet
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Guitarsville)
Year:    1966
    Not much is known about Monterey Park, California's Johnny Thompson Quintet. The group apparently only released two singles, the first of which was the punkish Color Me Columbus. Rather than come up with another song for the B side, one of the band members recorded a new vocal track doing what sounds like a Daffy Duck impersonation over the original instrumental track, titling it Color Me Columbuth. Strange stuff.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The Kinks can never be accused of resting on their laurels. Despite virtually inventing hard rock with their 1964 singles You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the band, led by Ray Davies, virtually abandoned their own style the following year, moving into more melodic territory with singles like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You, as well as folky material such as Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl, on their LP Kinda Kinks.

Artist:    Dave Davies
Title:    Suzannah's Still Alive
Source:    Mono Canadian CD: Kinks-25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Pye)
Year:    1967
    Although Ray Davies was the leader and primary songwriter for the Kinks, it was brother Dave who first recorded as a solo artist, with Death of a Clown (which received extensive airplay on the 100,000 watt English language semi-pirate station Radio Luxembourg in late 1967), followed by Suzannah's Still Alive in early 1968, both of which were backed by the other members of the band. After the next two singles flopped, however, Dave returned to the fold, finally releasing his first LP as a solo artist (and playing all of the instruments himself) in 1980, on the album Dave Davies (AFL1-3603).

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Set Me Free
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After scoring international success with a series of R&B influenced rockers in 1964, the Kinks started to mellow a bit in 1965, releasing more melodic songs such as Set Me Free. The band would continue to evolve throughout the decade, eventually becoming known for their increasingly innovative concept albums such as The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), and Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want To Tell You
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    The first pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape I ever bought was the Capitol version of the Beatles' Revolver album, which I picked up about a year after the LP was released. Although my Dad's tape recorder had small built-in speakers, his Koss headphones had far superior sound, which led to me sleeping on the couch in the living room with the headphones on. Hearing songs like I Want To Tell You on factory-recorded reel-to-reel tape through a decent pair of headphones gave me an appreciation for just how well-engineered Revolver was, and also inspired me to (eventually) learn my own way around a recording studio. The song itself, by the way, is one of three George Harrison songs on Revolver; the most on any Beatle LP up to that point, and one of the many reasons that, when pressed, I usually end up citing Revolver as my favorite Beatles album.

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

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Born To Be Wild
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1968 (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):    Mars Bonfire
Label:    Rhino (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:    Beach Boys
Title:    California Girls
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: California Girls (originally titled Summer Days (And Summer Nights))
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1965   
    The Beach Boys are virtually synonymous with the fun-in-the-sun-partying-on-the-beach lifestyle that many people associate with Southern California, despite the fact that only drummer Dennis Wilson ever really participated in that lifestyle. This can be attributed mainly to the genius of Brian Wilson, who wrote nearly all the group's material, such as the iconic California Girls, which was all over the radio dial coast to coast in the summer of 1965. The song was featured on an album called Summer Days (And Summer Nights), which in addition to the original mono mix was also available on Capitol's Duophonic "electronically rechannelled for stereo" vinyl for a dollar more. In the 1980s, riding a wave of renewed popularity for the band, Capitol released abridged versions many of the group's albums at a budget price, often under new titles such as California Girls. Rather than use the mono mixes Capitol chose to go with the Duophonic mixes for these reissues This was the last time these "fake stereo" mixes were released, as the Beach Boys now insist that only the original mono mixes be used for the band's 1960s recordings on CD (with the exception of a handful of songs that were mixed in true stereo).

Artist:    Mojo Men
Title:    She's My Baby
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Alaimo/Curcio
Label:    Rhino (original labels: Autumn/Reprise)
Year:    1965/1966
    Although generally considered to be one of the early San Francisco bands, the Mojo Men actually originated in Rochester, NY. After spending most of the early 60s in Florida playing to fraternities, the band moved out the West Coast in 1965, soon falling in with Autumn Records producer Sylvester Stewart (Sly Stone), for a time becoming his backup band. Stewart produced several singles for the Mojo Men, including She's My Baby, a song that had originally been recorded in 1962 as a song to do the mashed potato (an early 60s dance) to by Steve Alaimo, brother of Mojo Men bassist/lead vocalist Jim Alaimo and co-host (with Paul Revere and the Raiders) of the nationally distributed dance show Where The Action Is. The Mojo Men version of She's My Baby has more of a blues/garage-rock sound than the Steve Alaimo original, prompting its inclusion on several compilation albums over the past forty years. The original single, released in 1965 on the Autumn label, had different vocals than the 1966 Reprise reissue heard here, although both use the same instrumental backing track.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Wind Chimes
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released as 7" 33 1/3 RPM Extended Play mini-album)
Writer(s):    Mad River
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Wee)
Year:    1967
    Unlike most San Francisco Bay Area bands of the mid to late 1960s, Mad River was already a functioning band when they arrived on the scene from their native Ohio in 1967. The group, consisting of Lawrence Hammond (vocals, bass), David Robinson (guitar), Rick Bockner (guitar) and Greg Dewey (drums, vocals), had been formed in 1965 as the Mad River Blues Band in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where all of the members were attending college. By the time they relocated to Berkeley in early 1967 they had developed a unique style of their own. Once in Berkeley, the band quickly established themselves as one of the most "underground" bands in the area, often appearing on the bill with Country Joe And The Fish. In fact, it was the latter band that inspired Mad River to record an EP later that year. Following an unsuccessful audition for Fantasy Records, Mad River cut a three-song EP for the small Wee label. The entire second side of the disc was a six and a half minute long piece called Wind Chimes. The band later recut the track for their first full-length album the following year.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Sun Shade/The Lobster
Source:    British import CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Ghosh/Horvitz/Painter/Hutchings/Thompson
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    The recording history of the premier English folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, can be more than a little confusing. A large part of the problem was caused by A&M Records, who had the rights to release the band's material in the US, starting with the band's second LP. Rather than go with the original album title, What We Did On Our Holidays, A&M retitled the album Fairport Convention, releasing it in 1970. The problem is that the band's first album, released in the UK on Polydor in 1968, was also titled Fairport Convention. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the lineup on the 1968 Polydor LP differs from that of every other Fairport album, most notably in the absence of the band's most visible member, vocalist Sandy Denny. Fairport Convention (the band) was formed in 1967, and was consciously following in the footsteps of Jefferson Airplane, albeit from a British perspective. Like the Airplane, the original Fairport lineup had a wealth of talent, including Martin Lamble on violin, Simon Nicol on guitars, Judy Dyble on autoharp, recorder and piano, Richard Thompson on guitar and mandolin, Ashley Hutchings (then known as Tyger Hutchings) on bass and Ian MacDonald (who later changed his name to Ian Matthews), who shared lead vocals with Dyble. Musically the band was far more rock-oriented than on later LPs, even dabbling with jazz and progressive rock on tracks like Sun Shade & The Lobster, respectively. This can be attributed, at least in part, to a general disdain among the youth of Britain for the traditional English folk music that was taught to every schoolchild in the country (whether they wanted it or not). Later albums would find Fairport Convention doing more and more traditional folk, eventually becoming the world's most popular practicioners of the art, although they never entirely abandoned rock.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor UK (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's last remaining pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a blind deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his blind, deaf and dumb condition.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Mother Nature's Wine
Source:    LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer:    Corbetta/Phillips/Reardon
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1971
    Despite being a better album overall than Sugarloaf's first LP, Spaceship Earth did not sell particularly well, only making it to the #111 spot on the Billboard albums chart. This is probably due to the lack of a hit single on a par with Green-Eyed Lady. Of the two singles that were released from Spaceship Earth, the one more similar in style to Green-Eyed Lady was Mother Nature's Wine. The song stalled out in the # 88 spot however, and Sugarloaf did not have another charted single until 1974, when Don't Call Us, We'll Call You made the top 10.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title:    Knife-Edge
Source:    CD: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Writer(s):    Janácek, arr. Emerson/Lake/Palmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1970
    Starting with the release of their first self-titled LP, Emerson, Lake & Palmer were known for incorporating classical music into rock compositions. One of the earliest examples of this is Knife-Edge, an adaptation of  the first movement of Leoš Janácek's Sinfonietta that incorporates a section of Johann Sebastian Bach's first French Suite in D minor as well. All this on a piece that rocks out as hard, if not harder, than anything else released in 1970.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Not long after that I heard the full-length version of the song from the first Doors album and was blown away all over again.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Ever feel like you've discovered something really special that nobody else (among your circle of friends at any rate) knows about? At first you kind of want to keep it to yourself, but soon you find yourself compelled to share it with everyone you know. Such was the case when, in the early summer of 1967, I used my weekly allowance to buy copies of a couple of songs I had heard on the American Forces Network (AFN). As usual, it wasn't long before I was flipping the records over to hear what was on the B sides. I liked the first one well enough (a song by Buffalo Springfield called Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, the B side of For What It's Worth), but it was the second one, the B side of the Doors' Light My Fire, that really got to me. To this day I consider The Crystal Ship to be one of the finest slow rock songs ever recorded.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    Mono CD: Mr. Fantasy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Paper Sun was the first single released by Traffic in mid-1967 in both the US and UK. Despite its length (4:10), the song made the top 5 on both the British and Canadian charts. United Artists Records, however, in deference to the tendency of American top 40 stations to not play any records more than three and a half minutes long, released a shortened version of the track, created by simply fading the song out 50 seconds early. That version only managed to hit the #80 spot on the US charts, however, despite Steve Winwood's name being displayed prominently on the label. The full-length original mono mix of the song is now available as a bonus track on the CD version of the Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:     Left Banke
Title:     Pretty Ballerina
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Michael Brown
Label:     Smash
Year:     1967
     The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     She's A Rainbow
Source:     CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1967
     The only song from Their Satanic Majesties Request to get significant airplay in the US was She's A Rainbow, released as a single in the fall of 1967. Another song from the album, In Another Land, was released as the first Bill Wyman solo single (with the Stones credited as the artists on the B side). 2,000 Light Years From Home, the B side to She's A Rainbow, did get some international airplay as well.

Artist:     Turtles
Title:     The Last Thing I Remember, The First Thing I Knew
Source:     12" 45 RPM Picture Disc: Turtles 1968
Writer:     The Turtles
Label:     Rhino
Year:     Recorded 1968, released 1978
     In 1968 the Turtles rebelled against their record company, White Whale. They did not attempt to break the contract or go on strike, though. Instead, they simply went into the studio and produced four songs that they themselves wrote and chose to record. White Whale, in turn, elected not to issue any of the band's self-produced recordings (although one, Surfer Dan, did end up on their Battle of the Bands album a few months later). Finally, in the late 1970s a small independent label known for issuing oddball recordings by the likes of Barnes and Barnes (Fish Heads) and professional wrestler Fred Blassie (Pencil-Neck Geek) put out a 12-inch picture disc featuring the four tunes. That label also began reissuing old Turtles albums, starting it on a path that has since become their stock in trade. The name of that label: Rhino Records.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Just One Conception
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Them
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    Most of the songs on Them's second album without founder Van Morrison, Time Out! Time In! For Them, were written for the band by the wife and husband team of Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane. There were, however, a couple of exceptions, including Just One Conception, which was credited to the band itself. The track, which opens with massive sitar, shows just how deep into the psychedelic pool the original Irish punk band had dived by 1968.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Source:    CD: Relics (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmour
Label:    Capitol (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Originally released in the UK as the B side of Point Me At The Sky, Careful With That Axe Eugene went on to become one of Pink Floyd's best known early recordings, thanks in large part to a live performance of the piece being included on the 1969 LP Ummagumma. The original studio version of the tune was included on the 1971 compilation album Relics, which is still in print.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Amphetamine Annie
Source:    LP: Boogie With Canned Heat
Writer(s):    Canned Heat
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    By the end of 1967 the Haight-Ashbury scene had taken a definite turn for the worse. Most veterans of the street (i.e. those who had been there before the Summer of Love) placed the blame firmly on the influx of naive runaways that had flooded the area in the wake of calls to "go to San Francisco" earlier in the year, and on the drug dealers who preyed upon them. Methamphetamine (aka speed) was the drug usually singled out as the most destructive force at play. Back then it was the pill form of speed, such as white crosses, that was prevalent among users; the powdered crystal meth that has become a concern in modern rural America would not be used widely until the 1970s. As one of the original Bay Area bands, Canned Heat decided to take a stand against the drug, declaring in the song Amphetamine Annie that "speed kills", a phrase that would show up as graffiti on various walls in the city as well.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2009 (starts 2/24/20)

    Two sets this week. The first brings back several tunes that haven't been heard on the show since 2018 or earlier. The second focuses on the year 1973, with a set that manages to include Steely Dan, Genesis, Grand Funk, and the Rolling Stones before finishing out with Roy Buchanan covering Jimi Hendrix covering Tim Rose covering the Byrds covering Billy Roberts.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Never
Source:    LP: Grape Jam
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    For their second album, Moby Grape decided to do something different. In addition to the LP Wow, there was a second disc called Grape Jam included for a minimal extra charge. For the most part Grape Jam is exactly what you'd expect: a collection of after-hours jam sessions with guest guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bloomfield. The opening track of Grape Jam, however, is actually a studio track called Never, written by bassist Bob Mosley, who also provides the lead vocals, with Jerry Miller and Skip Spence on guitars and Don Stevenson on drums. In fact, the only Moby Grape member not on the recording is Peter Lewis.

Title:    Down By The River
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Down By The River is one of four songs on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere that Neil Young wrote while running a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 39.5 degrees for people in civilized nations that use the Celsius, aka centrigrade, scale). By some strange coincidence, they are the four best songs on the album. I wish I could have been that sick in my days as a wannabe rock star.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Black Sabbath
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    This track has to hold some kind of record for "firsts". Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath, from the album Black Sabbath is, after all, the first song from the first album by the first true heavy metal band. The track starts off by immediately setting the mood with the sound of church bells in a rainstorm leading into the song's famous tri-tone (often referred to as the "devil's chord") intro, deliberately constructed to evoke the mood of classic Hollywood horror movies. Ozzy Osborne's vocals only add to the effect. Even the faster-paced final portion of the song has a certain dissonance that had never been heard in rock music before, in part thanks to Black Sabbath's deliberate use of a lower pitch in their basic tuning. The result is something that has sometimes been compared to a bad acid trip, but is unquestionably the foundation of what came to be called heavy metal.

Artist:    Pink Fairies
Title:    War Girl
Source:    CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Neverneverland)
Writer(s):    Twink aka John Charles Edward Alder
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1971
    The Pink Fairies were formed when three members of the Deviants (Paul Rudolph, Duncan Sanderson, and Russell Hunter), who had fired their own band leader during a disastrous North American tour, decided to hook up with Twink (John Charles Edward Alder), the former drummer of Tomorrow and the Pretty Things. Twink had done a one-shot gig with an ad hoc group of musicians under the name Pink Fairies in 1969, and the new group decided that they liked the name and appropriated it for themselves. The band gained immediate notoriety for putting on free concerts, often just outside the gates of places that were charging premium prices for tickets to see more well-known bands. By the end of 1970 the Fairies had secured a contract with Polydor and releasing their first single late in the year. This was followed by a 1971 album called Neverneverland that featured several tracks originally credited to the entire band, such as War Girl, that on later releases are credited to Twink. Although the Pink Fairies split up in 1976, they still get together from time to time to put on a show.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Razor Boy
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Countdown To Ecstasy is the second Steely Dan album and the first to feature Donald Fagen as the group's sole lead vocalist. It is also the first of a trilogy of albums by the band that expose the seamy underside of Southern California culture in the 1970s. Razor Boy, for instance, targets the twin vices of materialism and complacency, asking the question: "Will you still have a song to sing when the razor boy comes and takes your fancy things away?" The album was not initially a major commercial success, but proved durable enough to attain gold status over a period of years. 

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Firth Of Fifth
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    Firth Of Fifth, from the Genesis album Selling England By The Pound, was originally written by keyboardist Tony Banks for inclusion of the band's fourth LP, Foxtrot, but was rejected by the rest of the band's members. After reworking the tune, Banks again presented it to the band in time for it to be included on their next LP, Selling England By The Pound. The title is a parody of the name of a Scottish body of water called the Firth of Forth, an estuary of the River Forth. The lyrics were worked out by Banks and Genesis bassist Mike Rutherford. The song, considered by many to be a classic example of the progressive rock genre, remained part of the band's stage repertoire for many years.

Artist:    Grand Funk
Title:    The Railroad
Source:    LP: We're An American Band
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1973
    After six albums working with producer Terry Knight, Grand Funk Railroad switched tracks in 1973, turning to Todd Rundgren, who had received critical acclaim for Something/Anything, a self-produced double LP solo effort from the previous year. The result was We're An American Band, which revitalized the band's career and spawned two hit singles, the title track and Walk Like A Man, both of which were sung by drummer Don Brewer. This was a major departure for the band, as guitarist Mark Farner had previously written and sung all of the band's singles. Farner still wrote and sang much of the material on the LP, however, including The Railroad (ironically the only use of the word "railroad" anywhere on the album, as the band had officially, albeit temporarily, shortened its name to Grand Funk prior to the album's release).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Angie
Source:    LP: Goats Head Soup
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1973
    Despite resistance from Atlantic Records, which distributed Rolling Stones Records, Angie was the lead single released from the album Goats Head Soup in 1973. The song, written by Keith Richards, went straight to the top of the charts in the US, Canada and several other countries, although it only made it to the #5 spot in the UK. The song was rumoured at the time to be about either Richards's newborn daughter, Dandelion Angela or David Bowie's wife, but Richards has since said that he chose the song title for the way it sounded rather than as a reference to any particular person. 

Artist:    Roy Buchanon
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    CD: The Best Of Roy Buchanon (originally released on LP: That's What I'm Here For)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1973
    Roy Buchanon laid down a guitar track on his 1953 Fender Telecaster that can only be described as "blistering" for his rendition of the Billy Roberts classic Hey Joe on his 1973 album That's What I'm Here For. Like Tim Rose and Jimi Hendrix, Buchanon chose to go with the slower arrangement of the tune rather than the fast-paced version made famous by bands like Love, the Byrds and the Leaves in the mid 1960s. One of these days I'm going to do an entire show of nothing but various versions of Hey Joe (even Cher's).

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2008 (starts 2/17/20)

    Lots of artists' sets this week, from Donovan, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also, sets from 1966 and 1967 and both progressions and regressions through the years. Yep, another typical show all right...

Artist:      Donovan
Title:     Mellow Yellow
Source:      Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Year:     1966
     Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK, due to a contract dispute with Pye Records.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    There Is A Mountain
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1967
    1967 was a year that saw Donovan continue to shed the "folk singer" image, forcing the media to look for a new term to describe someone like him. As you may have already guessed, that term was "singer-songwriter." On There Is A Mountain, a hit single from 1967, Donovan applies Eastern philosophy and tonality to pop music, with the result being one of those songs that sticks in your head for days.

Artist:    Donovan/Jeff Beck Group
Title:    Barabajabal (Love Is Hot)
Source:    CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released on LP: Barabajagal)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    Donovan Leitch enlisted the Jeff Beck Group as collaborators for Barabajabal (Love Is Hot), a track from his 1969 Barabajal album. When the song was first released as a single the title read Goo Goo Barajabal (Love Is Hot), but was shortened on later pressings.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Under My Thumb
Source:    British import LP: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    With the exception of certain Beatle tracks, pretty much every popular song from the beginning of recorded music through the year 1966 had been released as a single either on 45 or 78 RPM records (and for a while in the 1950s, on both). With Under My Thumb, from the Aftermath album, the Rolling Stones proved that someone besides the fab four could record a classic that was available only as a 33 1/3 RPM LP track. In a sense, then, Aftermath can be considered the very foundation of album rock, as more and groups put their most creative energy into making albums rather than singles in the ensuing years. Thanks, Stones.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Most Peculiar Man
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    You would think that a high school on a US military facility would be inclined to use the most staunchly traditional teaching methods known to mankind. Surprisingly, though, this was not the case at General H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany, in 1967. In fact, the English department was teaching some sort of new system that dispensed with terms such as verb and noun and replaced them with a more conceptual approach to language. What I best remember about my Freshman English class is the day that my rather Bohemian teacher (he wore sandals to class!), actually brought in a copy of the Sounds Of Silence and had us dissect two songs from the album, Richard Cory and A Most Peculiar Man. We spent several classes discussing the similarities (they both deal with a suicide by someone representing a particular archetype) and differences (the methods used and the archetypes themselves) between the songs. I have forgotten everything else about that class and its so-called revolutionary approach (and even the teacher's name), but those two songs have stayed with me my entire life. I guess that teacher was on to something.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    Although it sometimes seemed like being British was the only way to get a hit single on the American charts in the mid-1960s, there were actually plenty of bands that were successful in the UK, but struggled to be heard in the US. One of these was the Spencer Davis Group, which was signed to Chris Blackwood's Island label. Island was, at the time, a small independent company specializing in bringing Jamaican recordings to a British audience, but was looking to expand into popular music. Since Island's distribution was limited, the Spencer Davis Group recordings were released on the much larger Fontana label. Fontana released only one Spencer Davis Group single, I Can't Stand It, in the US, in late 1964. A year later Island worked out a deal with Ahmet Ertegun's Atco label to release the band's version of Keep On Running in the US, but neither it nor its followup, Somebody Help Me, made a dent on the Billboard charts, despite the fact that both songs had gone all the way to the number one spot in the UK. Finally, in December of 1966, producer Jimmy Miller did an extensive remix of their current British hit, Gimme Some Lovin', adding piano, background vocals and tons of reverb to the original recording, as well as using an entirely different lead vocal track with slightly different lyrics. That version appeared on the United Artists label, becoming the group's first US hit in early 1967. The Miller mix is now accepted as the standard version of the song.

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

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Right from the beginning Cream demonstrated two distinct sides: the psychedelic-tinged studio side and the blues-based live performance side. In the case of the US version of the band's first LP, Fresh Cream, that was literally true, as side one consisted entirely of original songs (mostly written by bassist Jack Bruce) and side two was nearly all covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'. What makes this particular recording interesting is the instrumentation used: guitar, vocals, harmonica and drums, with no bass whatsoever. This could be due to the limited number of tracks available for overdubs. Just as likely, though, is the possibility that the band chose to make a recording that duplicated their live performance of the song.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Clapton/Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor/Polygram (original label: Atco)
Year:     1967
     Only a handful of songs can truly be described as "iconic". Sunshine Of Your Love, with its often-imitated signature riff, the line-by-line trading off of lead vocals by Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton and one of the best-known lead guitar solos in rock history, certainly qualifies.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
Source:    LP: Loaded
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    The final Velvet Underground album to feature Lou Reed, Loaded was deliberately constructed to be a commercial success, or as Reed himself put it, was meant to be Loaded with hits. One obvious exception, however, is the album's last track, the dronelike Oh! Sweet Nuthin', which runs in excess of seven minutes, making it an unlikely choice for inclusion on top 40 radio playlists. The fact that the song itself has a distinct underground feel to it only reinforces that unlikelihood. Like all the songs on Loaded, Oh! Sweet Nuthin' was written by Reed, but was credited to the entire band upon the album's release. Doug Yule, who had replaced John Cale, handles both lead vocal and lead guitar duties on the track. Also featured is drummer Billy Yule, filling in for Maureen Tucker, who was on maternity leave at the time the album was being made.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Reality Does Not Inspire
Source:    LP: Blues Image
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    Formed in 1967, Blues Image cited Greenwich Village's Blues Project as their primary inspiration, and is generally acknowledged to be Florida's first jam band. They were also one of the few bands to open their own club, the legendary Thee Image, and played host to many big name acts during the club's short run. Among the Blues Images fans was Jimi Hendrix, who once told them they did great arrangements of other people's material, but their own stuff was relatively weak. The band responded by temporarily putting their original material on the shelf, pulling it out later and giving it the same treatment they would any other cover song. This approach seemed to work well, as Reality Does Not Inspire, the nine minute "showcase" track for their debut LP demonstrates.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers
Title:    Captain Hassel
Source:    European import CD: Shape Of Things To Come
Writer(s):    Wibier/McClane/Martin/Beckner/Hector
Label:    Captain High (original US label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Max Frost And The Troopers were a fictitious group that appeared in the film Wild In The Streets, released on May 29, 1968. A single, Shape Of Things To Come, was released at the same time as the film, and by the end of the summer had made it onto top 40 radio, eventually peaking in the #22 spot. The B side of that single was a song called Free Lovin'. Both songs were included on the movie's soundtrack album, but were originally credited to the 13th Power rather than to Max Frost And The Troopers. To cash in on the success of the single an entire LP by Max Frost And The Troopers soon appeared on the shelves, also called Shape Of Things To Come. One of the songs on that album, Captain Hassel, was a newly recorded version of Free Lovin' with slightly changed lyrics and much higher production values. The writing credits for the two recordings were significantly different as well. Free Lovin' had been credited to vocalist Paul Wibier and an obscure French songwriter named Guy Hemrick; Captain Hassel, on the other hand, lists five songwriters: Paul Wibier, Stewart Martin, Barney Hector, Dale Beckner and Gary McClane. It's likely that these five were in fact a band that originally called itself Mom's Boys, then later 13th Power, which would explain how that name came to be used on the first pressings of the Wild In The Streets soundtrack album. Adding credence to this theory is the fact that, in October of 1967 a single by 13th Power was released on the Sidewalk label, with a song named Captain Hassel, credited to the same five songwriters, on the B side.
The obvious conclusion is that "Max Frost And The Troopers" was, in reality, a band called 13th Power, and a pretty good one at that.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Respect (live version)
Source:    Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey Internation Pop Festival
Writer:    Otis Redding
Label:    Rerpise
Year:    1965
    Otis Redding put on the performance of a lifetime at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. Backed by Booker T. And The MGs, along with the Bar-Kays horn section, Redding electrified the mostly-white audience as the closing act on the second day of the festival. One of the song he performed was a song that he has written and recorded two years earlier, but had only become a mainstream hit in early 1967, when it was rearranged and covered by Aretha Franklin. Redding's own live version of Respect was played at a much faster tempo, but kept the same basic driving beat as his 1965 studio version. Redding's performance at Monterey helped open the door for other Memphis acts, such as his protege Arthur Conley and the Isaac Hayes-produced duo Sam And Dave, to achieve mainstream success.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Source:    Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original labels: All-American/Uni)
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations on the local All-American label it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side. One of the reasons the band did not want Incense And Peppermints issued as an A side was the fact that the lead vocals were sung by Greg Munford, who was not even a member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    MCA (original 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. It was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 and went all the way to the # 3 spot on the British top 40. 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. Although Rose always claimed that Hey Joe was a traditional folk song, the song was actually copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts. By the time Hendrix recorded Hey Joe several American bands had already released fast versions of the song, with the Leaves hitting the US top 40 with it in early 1966.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady (live in studio)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2018
    In November of 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience was still very much an underground phenomenon in the US. Their June appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival had introduced the band to an audience that numbered in the thousands, and their records were being played heavily on college radio, but for the most part mainstream America was still unaware of them. In Europe, however, it was an entirely different story. Jimi Hendrix was the hottest thing on the London scene by the time 1967 started; it wasn't long before the word spread to the continent about the outrageously talented guitarist with an equally outrageous stage presence. Most of that year was spent touring Europe, including stops at various TV and radio studios in several countries. One of these was in the Netherlands, where the Experience performed Foxy Lady live in the studio in November of 1967. The recording of this performance has surfaced as the non-album B side of the Lover Man single released (in limited quantity) for Record Store Day 2018.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    On February 22, 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience played what was possibly their worst gig, which culminated in Hendrix's white Stratocaster being stolen before it was fully paid for. Later that night the band made an appearance at a press reception at which Hendrix, in the words of manager/producer Chas Chandler, sounded like a manic depressive. Inspired by Chandler's observation, Hendrix wrote a song on the subject, which he taught to the band and recorded the next day. Hendrix later referred to Manic Depression as "ugly times music", calling it a "today's type of blues."

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Run For Your Life
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    Compared to some of John Lennon's later songs, Run For Your Life comes across as a sexist, even violent expression of jealous posessiveness. However, in 1965 such a viewpoint was quite common; in fact it was pretty much the acceptable norm for the times. Scary, huh?

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Hungry
Source:    LP: Spirit of '67
Writer:    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to starting a gig as the host band for Dick Clark's new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out three consecutive top 10 singles. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released the whole idea of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news (at least in ultra-hip L.A.) and the single went nowhere.

Artist:     Beacon Street Union
Title:     Green Destroys The Gold
Source:     British import CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union
Writer:     Wayne Ulaky
Label:     See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967   
    The Beacon Street Union found itself handicapped by being signed to M-G-M and being promoted as part of the "boss-town sound." The problem was that there was no "boss-town sound", any more than there was a San Francisco sound or an L.A sound (there is a Long Island Sound, but that has nothing to do with music). In fact, the only legitimate "sound" of the time was the "Motown Sound", and that was confined to a single record company that achieved a consistent sound through the use of the same studio musicians on virtually every recording they released. What made the situation even more ironic for the Beacon Street Union was that by the time their first LP came out they had relocated to New York City. If there is a New York sound, it has more to do with traffic than music. None of which has anything to do specifically with the song Green Destroys The Gold, which was written by the band's bass player, Wayne Ulaky, and included on their debut album The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    How You Love Me
Source:    Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released on LP: Turtle Soup)
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    Manifesto
Year:    1969
    Ya gotta hand it to the Turtles. When they put out a CD called All The Singles, they include ALL the singles, even those that didn't get released. One such case is How You Love Me. The record, produced by Ray Davies, was originally meant to be the lead single from the album Turtle Soup, but was cancelled when lead vocalist Howard Kaylan temporarily quit the band following a disastrous gig at a private party. By the time Kaylan returned to the group drummer John Seiter had recorded a new lead vocal track and another song entirely, You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain, was issued instead. The revamped version of How You Love Me did end up on the album, however.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     Beat It On Down the Line
Source:     CD: Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Jesse Fuller
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1967
     Beat It On Down the Line, from the first Grateful Dead album, is fairly typical of the band's sound in the early days, having only recently gotten off the (Kesey) bus and established themselves as crowd favorites around the various San Francisco ballrooms and auditoriums.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    The Black Plague
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    One of the most interesting recordings of 1967 was Eric Burdon And The Animals' The Black Plague, which appeared on the Winds Of Change album. The Black Plague is a spoken word piece dealing with life and death in a medieval village during the time of the Black Plague (natch), set to a somewhat gothic piece of music that includes Gregorian style chanting and an occasional voice calling out the words "bring out your dead" in the background. The album itself had a rather distinctive cover, consisting of a stylized album title accompanied by a rather lengthy text piece on a scroll against a black background, something that has never been done before or since on a rock album cover.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Once upon a time record producer Kim Fowley hired the Yardbirds to play a private Hollywood party. The Harris brothers, a pair of local art school students who had sent their homemade tapes to Fowley, were impressed by the band's musical abilities. Bob Markley, an almost-30-year-old hipster with a law degree and an inheritance was impressed with the band's ability to attract teenage girls. Fowley introduced the Harris brothers to Markley, who expressed a willingness to finance them in return for letting him be their new lead vocalist, and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed. Before it was all over the group had recorded five or six albums for at least three labels, churning out an eclectic mix of psychedelic tunes such as Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday, which appeared on the second album for Reprise Records (their third LP overall), appropriately titled Volume II.

Artist:     Tradewinds
Title:     Mind Excursion
Source:     Mono LP: Excursions
Writer:     Anders/Poncia
Label:     Kama Sutra
Year:     1966
     The Tradewinds (sometimes listed as Trade Winds) were a vocal group formed in Providence, Rhode Island by Peter Anders, Vini Poncia and Norman Marzano. Originally known as the Videls, the group first hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960 with a tune called Mr. Lonely, which peaked in the #73 spot. Subsequent Videls singles failed to chart, however, and the group disbanded, with Anders and Poncia becoming songwriters for Phil Spector's production company. In 1965 the duo began releasing singles as The Trade Winds, hitting the top 40 with the quasi surf song New York's A Lonely Town on the Red Bird label. After switching to the newly formed Kama Sutra label, the Trade Winds released the sunshine pop single Mind Excursion in July of 1966; three months later they released There's Got To Be A Word as The Innocence. To add to the confusion the Tradewinds LP Excursions was released in 1967, just a few months before the first Innocence album came out on the same label. A third album was released in 1969 by Warner Brothers under the name Anders & Poncia before the duo finally called it quits, with Poncia going on to produce records for such diverse acts as Melissa Manchester, Ringo Starr and Kiss.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2008 (starts 2/17/20)

    Over half (the "middle seven") of this week's 13 tracks are making their Rockin' in the Days of Confusion debut, including the hard-to-find "Edit 6", aka the Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles from Jethro Tull's A Passion Play (normally broken up over two sides of an LP). We begin, however, on a much more familiar note...

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Mississippi Queen
Source:    CD: Electric 70s (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Writer(s):    West/Laing/Pappalardi/Rea
Label:    Warner Special Products/JCI (original label: Windfall)
Year:    1970
    One of the most overlooked bands of the mid-1960s was the Vagrants. Based on Long Island, the group made a specialty of covering popular R&B and rock songs, often slowing them down and featuring extended solos by guitarist Leslie Weinstein, inspiring fellow Long Islanders Vanilla Fudge to do the same. Although the Vagrants themselves never were able to gain much national attention, Weinstein himself had established quite a reputation by the time the group disbanded. Meanwhile, keyboardist/producer/songwriter Felix Pappalardi had been working with the members of Cream as a producer, but with the demise of that band was looking for a new project to sink his teeth into. That new project turned out to be a solo album by Weinstein, who by then had shortened his last name to West. The album was called Mountain, and soon after its release West and Pappalardi decided to form a band of the same name. The group first got national attention performing at Woodstock, and in 1970 released the album Mountain Climbing, featuring the hit single Mississippi Queen.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Pretzel Logic
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagan
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1974
    Steely Dan's third album, Pretzel Logic, was almost universally praised by the rock press, including NME magazine, which named it the 1974 album of the year, and Village Voice critic Robert Christgau, who ranked it at the top of his own annual list. The title track, according to co-writer Donald Fagan, is actually about time travel, and includes references to Napoleon Bonaparte and travelling minstrel shows.

Artist:    Graham Nash
Title:    Prison Song
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Graham Nash's Prison Song is one of those songs that by all rights should have been a huge hit. It was by a name artist. It had a catchy opening harmonica riff and a haunting melody. I can only surmise that once again Bill Drake (the man who controlled top 40 radio in the 60s and early 70s) decided that the lyrics were too controversial for AM radio and had the song blacklisted, much as he had done with the Byrds Eight Miles High a few years earlier. Those lyrics center on a subject that is unfortunately still relevant today: the utter absurdity of drug laws and the unequal sentences for violation of those laws in the US and its various states.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Snowblind
Source:    CD: Vol. 4
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    During their early years the members of Black Sabbath were known for smoking a lot of pot and drinking a lot of booze. In 1972, however, the started getting heavily into cocaine as well. The band had gone out to Los Angeles to work on their fourth LP, and had rented a place in Bel-Air for the duration of their sessions at the Record Plant. According to guitarist Tony Iommi, the band actually had speaker boxes full of cocaine delivered right to the studio, and the scene at the house in Bel-Air was one constant party. In fact, the original title of the album was supposed to be Snowblind, but their label, Warner Brothers, insisted they call it something else, and in the end the band just decided to call it Vol. 4. The song that would have been the title track from the album was kept, however, and became one of the group's most popular songs.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    All You've Got Is Money
Source:    CD: Survival
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1971
    Most commercially successful artists have become so because they are able to create something that a complete stranger can somehow relate to. Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad certainly captured the imaginations of older teenage males with songs like Mr. Limousine Driver, Are You Ready and other hormone-charged rockers on Grand Funk Railroad's early albums. By 1971, however, themes of success itself were starting to show up on songs like All You've Got Is Money, which is basically a complaint about how everyone is after your bread when you have a lot of it, but seem to be nowhere around when the money's gone. The entire second half of the track is a kind of dirge, with a repeating guitar/bass riff accompanied by various screams, moans and guitar licks. Notably, the new liner notes accompanying the remastered CD version of the Survival album have something to say about every song on the album except All You've Got Is Money.

Artist:      Bloodrock
Title:    Fancy Space Odyssey
Source:      CD: Bloodrock 2
Writer(s):    John Nitzinger
Label:    One Way/Cema Special Products (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1970
     In the early 1970s the Dallas-Fort Worth area was known mostly as the home of guys with names like Landry and Staubach. For a short time in 1971, however, even their fame was rivalled by a band called Bloodrock, whose D.O.A., a first-person account of the aftermath of a plane crash as seen by one of the victims, is considered one of the goriest songs in rock history. Bloodrock rise to fame began when they signed on as the second band to be produced and managed by Terry Knight, touring as Grand Funk Railroad's opening act in 1970. Their first two LPs both came out in 1970, with D.O.A. being released in edited form as a single in early 1971. The closing track of Bloodrock 2 was a tune called Fancy Space Odyssey, written for the band by a local guitarist named John Nitzinger. Nitzenger wrote several songs for Bloodrock over the course of four LPs and eventually released a couple albums of his own as well.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Passion Play (Edit #6) aka The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
Source:    45 RPM single B side (promo)
Writer(s):    Anderson/Hammond/Evan
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    For thirty years, The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles, the "intermission" portion of Jethro Tull's 1973 album A Passion Play, was split into two parts, with the first part appearing at the end of side one of the LP and the second at the beginning of side two. Even early CD issues of the album indexed the two parts onto separate tracks. It wasn't until the 2003 CD remaster of A Passion Play that the two parts of the story were finally united as a single piece. Well, that's not entirely true, actually. Although A Passion Play was always meant to be considered a single uninterrupted work (flipping the LP over notwithstanding), bandleader and main composer Ian Anderson broke down the album into a series of ten edits for use on US radio stations. This special edition of the LP, labeled "Edited version for DJ use only" included The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles in its entirety as the first track on the LP's second side, labeled Edit #6. This same edit was also issued as the B side of A Passion Play (Edit #10), the second single from the album.

Artist:    Stories
Title:    What Comes After
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Brown/Lloyd
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1973
    Keyboardist Michael Brown first made his mark in the music business at the age of 17, when a song he co-wrote called Walk Away Renee became a huge national hit for his band, the Left Banke. Unfortunately, a series of missteps caused the band's demise the following year. Brown wasn't quite done, however. In 1971 he formed a band called Stories with vocalist Ian Lloyd, but left the band following the release of their second LP, About Us. Just after Brown left the band recorded a cover of Hot Chocolate's Brother Louie that became the band's biggest hit. Although Brown did not appear on Brother Louie, the B side of the record, What Comes After, was one of the tracks from About Us that Brown co-wrote and played on. After Brother Louie became a hit, incidentally, copies of About Us were recalled and replaced with a new version of the album that included the hit single as the LP's final track.

Artist:    Gong
Title:    Dynamite: I Am Your Animal
Source:    British import CD: Camembert Electrique (originally released in France)
Writer(s):    Tritsch/Smyth
Label:    Charly (original label BYG Actuel)
Year:    1971
    It's almost impossible to describe Gong. They had their roots in British psychedelia, founder Daevid Allen having been a member of Soft Machine, but are also known as pioneers of space-rock. The Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, from 1973-74, is considered a landmark of the genre, telling the story of such characters as Zero the Hero and the Pot Head Pixies from Planet Gong. The groundwork for the trilogy was actually laid in 1971, when the album Camembert Electrique was recorded (and released) in France on the BYG Actuel label. The album itself ranges from the experimental (and even somewhat humorous) Radio Gnome tracks to the spacier cuts like Tropical Fish: Selene, and Dynamite: I Am Your Animal, a piece that foreshadows the coming electronic-rock movement.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Dust My Broom
Source:    Australian import CD: The Essential Fleetwood Mac (originally released in UK as LP: Mr. Wonderful
Writer(s):    James/Johnson
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Blue Horizon)
Year:    1968
    Cited as the "most recognizable guitar riff in the history of the blues" by no less an authority than the  Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, the opening notes of Dust My Broom were first recorded by Elmore James in 1951. James's recording was based on an earlier acoustic version of the song called I Believe I'll Dust My Broom that came out in 1937, but it was James that adapted the riff for slide guitar. The song was already considered a blues standard when Peter Green's band, Fleetwood Mac, recorded the song for their second LP, Mr. Wonderful. The band's lineup at the time consisted of Green on lead guitar, vocals and harmonica, Jeremy Spencer playing slide guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. Christine Perfect, then a member of Chicken Shack, played piano on the tune.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Cat's Squirrel
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Abrahams
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Probably the Jethro Tull recording with the least Ian Anderson influence, Cat's Squirrel was recorded at the insistence of record company people, who felt the song was most representative of the band's live sound. The traditional tune was arranged by guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left the band due to creative differences with Anderson shortly thereafter. Cat's Squirrel became a live staple of Abrahams's next band, Blodwyn Pig.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    The Incredible Gnome Meets Jaxman
Source:    LP: Getting To The Point
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    Savoy Brown, perhaps more than any other band in rock history (except Fleetwood Mac), was famous for its constantly changing lineup. Besides founder and bandleader Kim Simmonds on lead guitar, only one musician (pianist Bob Hall) that played on the first Savoy Brown LP, Shake Down, was around for the group's sophomore effort, 1968's Getting To The Point. New members included Chris Youlden (vocals), Dave Peverett (guitar), Rivers Jobe (bass) and Roger Earl (drums). With the change in lineup came a change in focus as well. While Shake Down was made up almost entirely of blues covers, Getting To The Point had seven originals, including the instrumental The Incredible Gnome Meets Jaxman.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Love Like A Man
Source:    CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1970
    Cricklewood Green was Ten Years After's fourth studio effort and fifth LP overall. Released in 1970, the album is considered by critics to be the apex of Ten Years After's studio work. The best known track from the album is Love Like A Man, which became the group's only single to chart in the UK (in an edited version), peaking at the #10 spot. The band was still considered an "underground" act in the US, despite a successful appearance at Woodstock the year before. However, Love Like A Man was a favorite among disc jockeys on FM rock radio stations, who almost universally preferred the longer album version of the song heard here.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2007 (starts 2/10/20)

    This week's show features several "mini-themes", ranging in length from two to five songs each. These include an L.A. Summer set, some Byrd tracks, a "Cheesy Organ" Advanced Psych set, some Greenwich Village blues and a set of raucous rock tunes, among other things. It all gets underway with a set of Beatles tunes...with something extra.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Taxman
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney, whose own style had a harder edge than Harrison's. This made the song difficult to perform live, but, as the world would soon know, the group had already decided to retire from live performing altogether in order to concentrate on perfecting their studio work.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Dig A Pony
Source:    CD: Let It Be...Naked
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    1970
    Let It Be evolved from a proposed television show that would have featured the Beatles playing songs from their self-titled 1968 double LP (commonly known as the White Album). This idea was soon abandoned in favor of the band working up an entirely new batch of songs for the project. The group decided it would be even cooler to film their rehearsals of the new songs, allowing the audience an inside look at the creative process. Finally, all the songs would be performed without any overdubs or other studio enhancements, making for a more intimate listening experience. Filming began on Jan 2, 1969, and almost immediately the project began to fall apart. First off, the location used for the shooting was a cavernous film studio that was not in the least bit suited to creating music in. The time of day was all wrong as well. The band had gotten into the habit of recording into the early morning hours; showing up at the studio at 10AM was not their cup of tea. Finally, there were tensions within the group which were only made worse by the uncomfortable working conditions. As a result, the film showed an extremely unhappy band seemingly on the verge of breaking up. Steps were taken to rectify the situation, including moving the entire project to Apple headquarters in West London and inviting Billy Preston to sit in with the group on keyboards. On January 30th the Beatles staged what was to be their final public performance on the rooftop of Apple, recording several tunes, including Dig A Pony. The Beatles then put the entire Let It Be project on the shelf and got to work on an entirely new album in conjunction with producer George Martin, who had been deliberately excluded from the Let It Be project. That album, Abbey Road, would be the final recording project for the Beatles. Meanwhile, legendary producer Phil Spector had been brought in to see what could be done with the Let It Be tapes. The resulting album, released in 1970, featured heavily orchestrated versions of what had been meant to be deliberately bare-bones recordings. Finally, in 2003, Paul McCartney went back to the original unenhanced tapes to assemble Let It Be...Naked.
This modified version of Dig A Pony leaves off the false starts heard on the original album as well as digitally correcting an off-key vocal note or two.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love You To
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Following the release of Rubber Soul in December of 1965, Beatle George Harrison began to make a serious effort to learn to play the Sitar, studying under the master, Ravi Shankar. Along with the instrument itself, Harrison studied Eastern forms of music. His first song written in the modal form favored by Indian composers was Love You To, included on the Revolver album. The recording also features Indian percussion instruments and suitably spiritual lyrics.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Dream Scene
Source:    CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Here's one for trivia buffs: What was the first LP released on the Apple label? If you answered The Beatles (White Album) you'd be close, but not quite on the money. The actual first Apple album was something called Wonderwall Music from a film called (what else?) Wonderwall. The album itself was quite avant garde, with virtually no commercial potential. One of the most notable tracks on the album is Dream Scene, an audio collage that predates John Lennon's Revolution 9 by several months.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Night Owl Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Butler/Boone/Yanovsky/Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra/Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2011
    Night Owl Blues was first released on the Lovin Spoonful's first album, Do You Believe In Magic, making an encore appearance as the B side of their 1966 hit Daydream. The original recording was edited down to less than three minutes on both releases. In 2011 Sundazed issued a previously unreleased recording of the Spoonful's high energy cover of the Hollywood Argyles hit Alley Oop on 45 RPM vinyl, backed with a longer, less edited version of Night Owl Blues made from the same original 1965 recording as the earlier release. The track features blues harp from John Sebastian and a rare electric guitar solo from Zal Yanovsky.

Artist:     Butterfield Blues Band
Title:     Walkin' Blues
Source:     CD: East-West
Writer:     Robert Johnson
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1966
     Unlike The Blues Project, which mixed original material with improvisational arrangements of blues classics, the Butterfield Blues Band took pride in presenting an authentic Chicago blues sound. The opening track for their most famous album, East-West, was Robert Johnson's Walkin' Blues.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Highway 61 Revisited
Source:    CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    US Highway 61 is part of the old Federal highway system that was developed in the 1920s and 30s and has since been largely supplanted by the Interstate highway system. It was at a crossroads along this route that legendary bluesman Robert Johnson is said to sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a successful career. In 1965 Bob Dylan decided to revisit the legend and add to it for his landmark album on which he invented an electrified version of the folk music he had become famous for. His backup musicians included some of the top talent in the New York area, including guitarist Michael Bloomfield of the Butterfield Blues Band and organist Al Kooper, who also plays the police whistle heard throughout the title track of Highway 61 Revisited.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
     If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.

Artist:    ? And The Mysterians
Title:    I Can't Get Enough Of You Baby
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Randle/Linzer
Label:    Abkco (original label: Cameo)
Year:    1967
    ? And The Mysterians' 1966 hit 96 Tears was the last song on the legendary Cameo label to hit the top 10 before the label went bankrupt in 1967 (and was bought by Allan Klein, who still reissues old Cameo-Parkway recordings on his Abkco label). Shortly before that bankruptcy was declared, however, the group released Can't Get Enough Of You Baby, which stalled out in the lower reaches of the charts. The song itself, however, finally achieved massive popularity at the end of the century, when a new version of the tune by Smash Mouth went to the top of the charts.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
     Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, guitarist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Andrew providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Monkey Man
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    Keith Richards handles all the guitar work on Monkey Man, from the 1969 LP Let It Bleed. The song was inspired by Italian pop artist Mario Schifano, and features Bill Wyman playing vibraphone on the song's intro.

Artist:    Locomotive
Title:    Mr. Armageddon
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelic At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: We Are Everything You See)
Writer(s):    Norman Haines
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    It's probably more than appropriate that a band from Birmingham, England, home of the industrial revolution, would have a name like Locomotive. Led by vocalist/guitarist Norman Haines, the group also included Mick Taylor (trumpet), Will Madge (keyboards), Mick Hincks (bass), and Bob Lamb (drums). After making their vinyl debut on the Direction label, the band moved to the larger Parlophone, recording their only album in 1968. The album, including the single Mr. Armageddon, was released in January of 1969. Not long after the album appeared on the racks Haines disbanded Locomotive and formed the Norman Haines group.

Artist:    Rainbow Ffolly
Title:    Sun Sing
Source:    CD: Insane Times (originally released on LP: Sallies Fforth)
Writer(s):    Dunsterville
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Some records can only be described as "magical". Such is the case with Sun Sing, from the only Rainbow Ffolly album, Sallies Fforth. The album itself is essentially a bunch of demo tapes made by a group of High Wycombe (a city of about 100,000 about 30 miles from London) art students led by the Dunsterville brothers, Jonathan and Richard. The tapes were made at a local studio in Rickmansworth during off hours and are characterized by the unorthodox approach to record-making used by the group. At the suggestion of the studio owners, the group added various jingles and sound effects between the songs (similar to the approach used on The Who Sell Out) and sold the project as a "sound package" to EMI, which issued it on its Parlophone label in 1968.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Museum
Source:    Mono CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Museum is a song from one of Donovan's early albums that he re-recorded for his Mellow Yellow LP in 1967. The new arrangement, like many of the tracks on Mellow Yellow, uses electric guitar, violin and hand percussion (bongos, etc.) to supplement Donovan's acoustic guitar.

Artist:    John Mayall with Eric Clapton
Title:    All Your Love
Source:    Mono LP: Blues Breakers
Writer(s):    Otis Rush
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds following the release of For Your Love, decrying the band's move toward a more commercial sound. Looking for a more blues-based group, Clapton soon hooked up with John Mayall, who already already released a well-received live LP. The two of them, with Jack Bruce on bass, recorded a live set at the Flamingo club that they hoped to release as an album, but the quality of the recordings was poor and the project was scrapped. In March of 1966, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, which by now included John McVie on bass and drummer Hughie Flint, went into the studio to record the album Blues Breakers. Although there are a few original songs on the album by both Mayall and Clapton, the bulk of the material was covers of blues classics such as All Your Love, which opens the LP. The song was originally recorded in 1958 by Otis Rush and is generally considered to be the most well-known of Rush's song.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Commotion
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    In October of 1969 my friend and fellow guitarist Dave took up the challenge to put a band together in time for a New Year's Eve gig at the local teen center on Ramstein AFB, Germany. He asked me to be the bassist in the band, which I quickly agreed to. The problem was that I did not have access to a bass guitar, so, for our practice sessions I used an old Spanish guitar with one of those detachable pickups and played the notes an octave higher than they should have been played. I still have a cassette copy of us playing Commotion, the B side of the latest Creedence Clearwater Revival single, at the highest volume we could muster in our practice room in the basement of one of the base housing units. My first time playing an actual bass guitar was the gig itself, when I borrowed a Hofner Beatle bass from a guy named Tom. I liked it so much that the following week I (with help from my dad) bought a new Hofner Beatle bass of my own for the equivalent of $90 at a local music shop. A few years back I saw one like it at the House of Guitars priced at something like $1300. Too bad mine got stolen in the mid 1970s.

Artist:    Strawberry Zots
Title:    Little Red Telephone
Source:    LP: Cars, Flowers, Telephones
Writer(s):    Mark Andrews
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    GI Joe & The  Strawberry Zots were a unique hybrid of 60s buddle gum and 70s punk formed in 1987 in Albuquerque, NM. The original lineup consisted of James Blond and Mark Andrews on lead vocal, Ron Blood on bass and vocals, Brad Clement on keyboards and vocals, Don Hill on guitar and sax, and Ray Valdez, playing drums and sharing lead vocal duties. The band would do covers of songs by 1910 Fruitgum Company, Ohio Express and the like while GI Joe would alternately curl up into a fetal position and utter primal screams at the audience. By 1989 James Blond and Ron Blood were out, Don Hill had switched to bass, Brad Clement had either morphed into or had been replaced by Ryan Clement, Ray Valdez had switched to guitar, with Mike Glover replacing him on drums and GI Joe was reduced to only occasional appearances wearing nothing but a garbage bag and screaming at the audience. Around this time the Strawberry Zots (having officially dropped GI Joe from the band name) began building up their 60s image in earnest, donning wigs and using a light show and go-go dancers. This incarnation of the band, while highly successful, nonetheless fell apart when most of the members moved on to other things. By the time they recorded their only LP, Cars, Flowers, Telephones, the lineup was Andrews fronting the band and writing or co-writing all the band's material, including Little Red Telephone, Dave Reffault on bass, Mox Montoya on drums, Brad Clement back on keyboards, and Lawrence Dominguez on guitar, with all members except Andrews using assumed names on the album's credits sheet. The album was released locally on the StreetSound label and reissued on CD the following year by RCA records, who signed the band to a contract that saw them opening for Soul Asylum, Blues Traveler, Dread Zeppelin, the Soup Dragons and other alternative bands. The Zots remained active throughout the 1990s and is rumoured to have been revived sometime during the past decade.

Artist:    Higher State
Title:    Long Sideways To Go
Source:    CD: Volume 27
Writer(s):    Marty Ratcliffe
Label:    13 O'Clock
Year:    2016
    Formed in the town of Sandgate, Kent in the UK in 2005, the Higher State are one of the best examples of modern garage rock. The group, featuring Marty Ratcliffe on guitar, vocals and organ, Paul Messis on bass and guitar and Scarlett Rickard on drums, has four album's the their credit, including their 2016 release Volume 27. All the tracks on Volume 27 were written by either Ratcliffe or Messis, including Long Sideways To Go, penned by Ratcliffe. These guys are the real deal, folks.

Artist:    McFadden's Parachute
Title:    Time
Source:    CD: Fuzzy Organs
Writer(s):    Darren Brennessel
Label:    PeterFonda
Year:    2018
    Although the psychedelic era itself officially covers only a few years in the late 1960s, for many the spirit of the era's music lives on. One such person is Darren Brennessel of Rochester, NY, who is the mastermind behind over two dozen McFadden's Parachute albums. Brennessel has been playing professionally since 1989, when he was the drummer for a band called the Purple Flashes, conceiving and recording the first McFadden's Parachute album as a side project. In the years since, in addition to playing multiple instruments on McFadden's Parachute albums then Brennessel has continued to play drums with a variety of bands, including Sky Saxon's Green Forests, which recorded an as-yet unreleased album in 2004. Brennessel was nice enough to send me a copy of his 2018 CD, Fuzzy Organs, featuring several tasty tunes such as Time. If you get the chance, find yourself a copy of Fuzzy Organs. It is consistently good from start to finish.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Everything Is Everything
Source:    Mono CD: Ignition (originally released on LP: Best Of The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Bonniwell/Garfield
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Rhino)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1984
    The original Music Machine scored one huge hit with Talk Talk in late 1966, but due to a number of factors (nearly all of which can be attributed to bad management) was unable to repeat their success with subsequent singles. Finally, after a change of label failed to result in a change of fortunes, the original lineup disbanded. Undaunted, leader Sean Bonniwell assembled an entirely new lineup to complete the band's scheduled tours, stopping to record at various studios along the way whenever possible. Many of these recordings went unreleased for several years, such as the 1968 track Everything Is Everything. The song is a rare instance of Bonniwell collaborating with another songwriter, in this case Harry Garfield. Bonniwell later said of the track "This is what the fool on the hill said, but he didn't collaborate with Harry Garfield. If he did, he would have said 'I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.'" I'm not sure what that means but it sounds good.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Bummer In The Summer
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Perhaps the least known tune on Love's third LP, Forever Changes, Bummer In The Summer sounds at first like a throwback to the band's earlier work. A closer listen, however, reveals a thematic similarity with the rest of the critically-acclaimed album, which is generally considered to be the band's finest work.

Artist:    Sons Of Adam
Title:    Saturday's Son
Source:    CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Lou T. Josie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    Formed by guitarist Randy Holden as the Iridescents in Baltimore in 1962, the band that would eventually become the Sons Of Adam relocated to Los Angeles in November of 1963, changing their name to the Fender IV the following year. The name change was brought about in part by a deal the mostly instrumental band made with Fender instruments to use their guitars and amps without having to actually buy them and partly because there was already a band operating in Southern California called the Irridescents, and they felt a difference of one letter was not enough to prevent a whole lot of confusion. As was the case with another local band, the Crossfires, the Fender IV originally specialized in surf music, but after meeting (and jamming with) Bill Wyman and Brian Jones, they decided to add covers of Rolling Stones songs to their repertoire. By 1965 they had abandoned surf music altogether and had landed a choice gig as the house band at Cisco's, a popular local club. Around this time they changed their name to the Sons Of Adam and, with the help of the ubiquitous Kim Fowley, secured a contract with Decca Records USA. The Sons released two singles for the label, both produced by Gary Usher. Saturday's Son was the B side of the band's second single. Not long after its release Holden was kicked out of the band, and joined a group called The Other Half. Not long after that drummer Michael Stuart left the Sons to become a member of Love, and in June of 1967 the Sons Of Adam ceased to exist.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    You Still Believe In Me
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    Although they were one of the first self-contained US rock bands, by 1966 the Beach Boys were using studio musicians almost exclusively on their recordings. At the same time Brian Wilson, who by then was writing all the band's music, had retired from performing with the band onstage. These factors combined to give Wilson the freedom to create the album that is often considered his and the band's artistic peak, Pet Sounds. Much of the material on the album, such as You Still Believe In Me, was written with the help of lyricist Tony Asher. Like many of the songs on Pet Sounds, You Still Believe In Me includes unusual instrumentation such as a theramin and even a bicycle bell.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     The Wind Cries Mary
Source:     LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK 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 the A sides of the three singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK, which were then added to the album, replacing three of the original tracks. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967. The tune opens up side two of the American LP.

Artist:    Taj Mahal
Title:    The Cuckoo
Source:    German import LP: The Blues (originally released on LP: The Natch'l Blues)
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Taj Mahal
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Henry Saint Clair Fredericks Jr. was exposed to a wide variety of music at a young age. His mother had come of age during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and were both gifted musicians; his mother was a member of a local gospel choir, while his father was an Afro-Caribbean jazz arranger and pianist called "the Genius" by Ella Fitzgerald. Additionally, the family owned a short wave radio and Fredericks spent much of his youth listening to music from around the world. While still in his teens he began using the stage name Taj Mahal, leading his own R&B group while attending the University of Massachusetts as well as performing as a duo with Jessie Lee Kincaid. In 1964, he and Kincaid moved to Santa Monica, California and soon formed a band called the Rising Sons with slide guitar specialist Ry Cooder. One of the more popular bands on the L.A. club scene, the Rising Sons signed with Columbia Records in 1965, but only issued one single in early 1966, despite recording over an album's worth of material. Following the breakup of the Rising Sons, Mahal remained with Columbia, releasing his first solo LP in 1968. That same year he released The Natch'l Blues, which featured a blues arrangement of a traditional English folk balled called The Cuckoo. Taj Mahal remained with Columbia until 1976, recording a dozen albums for the label before signing with Warner Brothers.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Everybody's Been Burned
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    There is a common misconception that David Crosby's songwriting skills didn't fully develop until he began working with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. A listen to Everybody's Been Burned from the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, however, puts the lie to that theory in a hurry. The track has all the hallmarks of a classic Crosby song: a strong melody, intelligent lyrics and an innovative chord structure. It's also my personal favorite tune from what is arguably the Byrds' best LP.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Change Is Now
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    McGuinn/Hillman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. Change Is Now was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

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

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Don't Bring Me Down
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    I originally bought the Animals Animalization album in early 1967 and immediately fell in love with the first song, Don't Bring Me Down. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually liked.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: More Of The Monkees
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    Everyone associated with the Monkees project in 1966 agreed that one of their top priorities was to get a lot of songs recorded for use on the TV show, which was set to premier in September of that year. A dozen of these songs were then selected for inclusion on the first Monkees album, released on the heels of the hit single Last Train To Clarksville. Two more songs that had not been included on the LP, I'm A Believer and (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone, were chosen to be the band's followup single. At this point everyone was still on the same page, but that was about to change. The Monkees had been told that they were be making the second Monkees LP themselves as a band, but early in 1967 a new album appeared on the racks: More Of The Monkees. The band, however, which had been touring to promote the first album and TV show, were unaware of the existence of More Of The Monkees until after it had been released. They were understandably unhappy with the album, which was made up of tracks recorded for the TV show, but not intended for release on vinyl, plus stereo versions of the two songs from the second single. This was the beginning of the end for musical director Don Kirshner's association with the group (he would be fired when he tried to pull the same kind of crap with the band's third single). Nonetheless, the album was a huge hit, and did include a pair of songs written and produced by the band's de facto leader, Michael Nesmith. One of the two songs was Mary Mary, a tune recorded in July of 1966 featuring Mickey Dolenz on lead vocals. That same month, the Butterfield Blues Band had also recorded Mary Mary, releasing it on their landmark album East-West in August of 1966. No songwriting credits were included on East-West, leading Butterfield fans to believe the Monkees' version was a cover, when in reality it was one of their few original compositions to appear under Kirshner's supervision. Incidentally, the lead guitar part on the Monkees version of Mary Mary was not played by either Nesmith or the band's other guitarist, Peter Tork. Rather, it is the work of one of L.A.'s top studio musicians, Glen Campbell, who would become a major star in the 1970s.

Artist:    Frijid Pink
Title:    Tell Me Why
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Beaudry/Thompson
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    1968 was a pretty good year for Detroit area rock bands. The Bob Seger System made their vinyl debut in March with the single 2+2-?, whileTed Nugent's Amboy Dukes released their biggest hit, Journey To The Center Of The Mind in May. Another Detroit band, Frijid Pink also released their first single, Tell Me Why, in December. Frijid Pink had been formed the previous year when members of a local cover band, the Detroit Vibrations, decided to make some membership changes and switch to original material. Although Tell Me Why was not a major hit, it did well enough on the Canadian charts to justify the band continuing to record for the British-owned Parrot label for the next couple of years, releasing a total of eight singles and two LPs between December 1968 and June 1971.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Good Good Lovin'
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stein/Bogert/Martell/Appice
Label:    Real Gone/Rhino
Year:    1969
    Originally recorded for the album Near The Beginning, the Vanilla Fudge original Good Good Lovin' instead appeared as the B side of the band's hard-driving cover of Jr. Walker's Shotgun. As a general rule, the Fudge were better at arranging other people's material than in composing their own, but Good Good Lovin' is actually a pretty powerful piece musically, with some antiwar lyrics thrown in for good measure.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    John Barleycorn
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: John Barleycorn Must Die)
Writer(s):    Traditional
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Following the breakup of Blind Faith in late 1969, Steve Winwood began work on what was to be his first solo LP. After completing one track on which he played all the instruments himself, Winwood decided to ask former Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi to help him out with the project. After the second track was completed, Winwood invited yet another former Traffic member, Chris Wood, to add woodwinds. It soon became obvious that what they were working on was, in fact, a new Traffic album, which came to be called John Barleycorn must die. In addition to the blues/R&B tinged rock that the group was already well known for, the new album incorporated elements from traditional British folk music, which was enjoying a renaissance thanks to groups such as Fairport Convention and the Pentangle. The best example of this new direction was the title track of the album itself, which traces its origins back to the days when England was more agrarian in nature.