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.

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