Sunday, March 29, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2014 (starts 3/30/20)

    This week we focus mainly on the core years of the psychedelic era (1966-1968) with only a small handful of tunes from before and after those years, along with an Advanced Psych segment with strong connections to the late 1960s. I'd say that's worth staying home for.

Artist:      Beatles
Title:     And Your Bird Can Sing
Source:    British import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:     1966
     At the time the Revolver album was being made, the Beatles and their producer, George Martin, worked together on the mono mixes of the songs, which were always done before the stereo mixes. In fact, the stereo mixes were usually done without the participation of the band itself, and generally were less time consuming. This led to a rather odd situation in June of 1966. Final mono mixes had been made for three of the songs on Revolver at this point, and the band's US label, Capitol, was ready to release a new Beatles album. The problem was that they did not have enough new material for an entire album. Their solution was to use their Duophonic fake stereo process on the mono mixes and include them on the album, which was titled Yesterday...And Today. As a result, when Revolver was released in the US in the fall of 1966, it had three fewer songs than the original British version of the album. One of those three songs was And Your Bird Can Sing, which was not available in the US in true stereo until the 1980s.

Artist:    Other Side
Title:    Walking Down The Road
Source:    CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Al Shackman
Label:    Big Beat (original labels: Mainstream/Brent)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California was at the center of the most vibrant and dynamic local music scenes in the country in the mid-1960s. By the end of 1966 both the Syndicate Of Sound and Count Five had cracked the national charts, while bands such as the Chocolate Watch Band were just beginning to make their mark. There was a lot of movement of musicians between bands as well, with groups like the Topsiders counting Sean Tolby (Watchband) and Skip Spence (Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape) among their early members. A move by the Topsiders to recruit Watchband guitarist/organist Ned Torney in 1966 resulted in an entirely new group, the Other Side, being formed. They soon had established enough of a reputation to get the attention of Golden State Recorders, who were auditioning acts for Mainstream Records owner Bob Shad. Shad signed the group immediately to his Brent label, releasing Walking Down The Road in early autumn. The stereo mix of Walking Down The Road was included on the compilation album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers on Shad's Mainstream label in late 1967, but by then the group had morphed into a band called Bogus Thunder, which would eventually become known as Gladstone, releasing a single on the A&M label in 1969.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Dead End Street
Source:     Mono British import CD: Face To Face (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1966
     The last big US hit for the Kinks in the 60s was Sunny Afternoon in late 1966. The follow-up, Deadend Street, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success (although it was a hit in the UK). The Kinks would not have another major US hit until the 1970 worldwide smash Lola.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Unhappy Girl
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played on the jukebox at a place called the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base (which is where I was spending most of my evenings that autumn).

Artist:    Love
Title:    A House Is Not A Motel
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer:    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Arthur Lee was a bit of a recluse, despite leading the most popular band on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. When the band was not playing at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go Lee was most likely to be found at his home up in the Hollywood Hills, often in the company of fellow band member Bryan McLean. The other members of the band, however, were known to hang out in the most popular clubs, chasing women and doing all kinds of substances. Sometimes they would show up at Lee's house unbidden. Sometimes they would crash there. Sometimes Lee would get annoyed, and probably used the phrase which became the title of the second track on Love's classic Forever Changes album, A House Is Not A Motel.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    CD: The Blues Project Anthology (originally released on LP: Live At Cafe Au Go Go)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    Frontman Tommy Flanders left the Blues Project before their first album, Live At Cafe Au Go Go, was released. This forced the band to record new material for the album itself utilizing lead vocals from the remaining members. Four tracks with Flanders, however, remained on the LP, among them a cover of Willie Dixon's Spoonful that actually predates Cream's studio version of the song (which was included on the original British Fresh Cream album).

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

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    2+2=?
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. The first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, a powerful anti-Vietnam War tune that was later included on his first LP for the label. The mono single version of the song heard here has a guitar chord near the end of the track that was not on the original recording (on which the song simply stops cold for a few seconds). It was inserted because, according to Seger, radio stations were "afraid of dead air".

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     American Woman
Source:     CD: American Woman)
Writer:     Bachman/Cummings/Peterson/Kale
Label:     Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1970
     From 1968-1970 I was living on Ramstein AFB, which was and is a huge base in Germany with enough Canadian personnel stationed there to justify their own on-base school. For much of the time I lived there I found myself hanging out with a bunch of Canadian kids and I gotta tell you, they absolutely loved everything by the Guess Who, who were, after all, the most successful Canadian band in history. In particular, they all loved the band's most political (and controversial) hit, the 1970 tune American Woman. I rather liked it myself, and immediately went out and bought a copy of the album, one of the first to be pressed on RCA's Dynaflex vinyl. Luckily, the album is now available on CD, which sounds much better than Dynaflex ever did.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Back To The Family
Source:    CD: Stand Up
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1969
    The second Jethro Tull album, Stand Up, shows a band in transition from its roots in the British blues-rock scene to a group entirely dominated by the musical vision of vocalist/flautist/composer Ian Anderson. Back To The Family is sometimes cited as an early example of the style that the band would be come to known for on later albums such as Thick As A Brick.

Artist:    Them
Title:    But It's Alright
Source:    Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jackson/Tubbs
Label:    Rev-Ola (original US label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Following the departure of original founding member and front man Van Morrison, the remaining members of Them, with new vocalist Kenny McDowell, decided to relocate to the US and make a go of it there. Unfortunately, rather than to forge a whole new identity of their own, they chose to remain Them, which, as it turned out, was actually more of a hindrance than a help when it came to establishing a consistent sound. Their first LP, Now And Them, while containing some good music, reflects this lack of direction. Before embarking on a second LP the group cut a cover of JJ Jackson's R&B hit But It's Alright, mostly to satisfy their label's demand for a new single. Them's version of the tune used a similar arrangement to Jackson's original, but with fuzz guitar and a more snarling vocal track. Although the record was not a hit, it did give an indication of where the band was headed as they began work on their next studio album, Time Out! Time In! For Them.

Artist:    Country Joe and the Fish
Title:    Section 43
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Country Joe and the Fish released their original mono version of an instrumental called Section 43. The song was included on a 7" EP inserted in an underground newspaper called Rag Baby. In 1967 the group recorded an expanded stereo version of Section 43 and included it on their debut LP for Vanguard Records, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. It was this arrangement of the piece (and quite possibly this recording) that was used in D. A. Pennebacker's film chronicle of the Monterey International Pop Festival that June. 

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Flowers)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 there was a population explosion of teenage rock bands popping up in garages and basements all across the US, the majority of which were doing their best to emulate the grungy sound of their heroes, the Rolling Stones. The Stones themselves responded by ramping up the grunge factor to a previously unheard of degree with their last single of the year, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? It was the most feedback-laden record ever to make the top 40 at that point in time, and it inspired America's garage bands to buy even more powerful amps and crank up the volume (driving their parents to drink in the process).

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Steeled Blues
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Jeff Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1965
     The first Yardbirds record with Jeff Beck on lead guitar (replacing Eric Clapton) was a single written by Graham Gouldman called Heart Full Of Soul. The song featured Beck playing riffs originally designed for sitar, as well as his own solo in the song's instrumental break. The B side of that single was an instrumental blues jam called Steeled Blues that was basically a showcase for Beck and harmonicist Keith Relf, who trade off leads throughout the track.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands (US single version)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    There are at least three versions of Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands. The first was a monoraul-only electric version of the song released in the US on September 18, 1967 as the B side to I Can See For Miles. Two months later a second, slightly slower stereo version of the tune appeared under the title Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand (singular) on The Who Sell Out. This more acoustic version of the song, which has a kind of calypso flavor to it, is the best known of the three, due to the album staying in circulation far longer than the 45. A third version of the song, also recorded in 1967 and featuring Al Kooper on organ, appeared as a bonus track on the 1995 CD release of Sell Out. The liner notes on the CD, however, erroneously state that it is the US single version, when in fact it is an entirely different recording.
Artist:    Frantic
Title:    Little Girl
Source:    LP: Conception
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Lizard
Year:    1970
    What is known about the band called Frantic: they were formed in 1965 in Billings, Montana by Max Byfuglin (vocals), Jim Hass (vocals, keyboards), Kim Sherman (guitar), David Day (bass), Dennis Devlin (guitar) and Phil "Gordo" Head (drums); After short stays in Colorado and New Mexico, they found themselves in Los Angeles, where they recorded the album Conception for the Lizard label; The album Conception is mostly made up of covers, such as Van Morrison's Little Girl. What is not known about the band called Frantic: pretty much everything else.
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Lost Dream
Source:    British import LP: Artifact
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Heartbeat
Year:    2001
    The story of the Electric Prunes begins in Los Angeles in 1965 with a group called the Sanctions. Like most Southern California bands of the time, the Sanctions' repertoire was mostly covers of popular (and danceable) tunes like Money (That's What I Want), Love Potion # 9 and of course Louie Louie, all of which the band recorded at a home studio owned by Russ Bottomly in March of 1965. At that point in time, the Sanctions were a quartet consisting of James Lowe (vocals), Mark Tulin (bass), Ken Williams (guitar) and Michael "Quint" Weakley (drums). Early in 1966 they came to the attention of Dave Hassinger, who had just finished working with the Rolling Stones, putting the finishing touches on the Aftermath album, and was eager to try his hand at being a producer. He convinced the band that they needed a new name, and eventually the group came up with the name Electric Prunes, which they felt was so far out of the ordinary that people were bound to remember it.

    Even though their first single (a cover of the Gypsy Trips' Ain't It Hard) stiffed, the people at Reprise Records signed the Prunes to a rather onerous contract that left Hassinger firmly in control of virtually everything to come out of a recording studio with the name Electric Prunes on it. At first this was fine with the band (who had just replaced Weakley with Preston Ritter and added James "Weasel" Spagnola as a second guitarist), as they and Hassinger worked well together on the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). But it soon became obvious that Hassinger and the band itself had different priorities. Lowe and Tulin had been busy writing songs, yet only two of their compositions ended up on the band's 1967 debut LP. The majority of the songs on the album came from outside songwriters, with Annette Tucker's name in particular appearing on more tracks than anyone else's.

    The album provided the band with a second top 40 single, Get Me To The World On Time (like I Had Too Much To Dream, penned by Tucker), which in turn became a factor in the band being given a little more creative freedom for their second LP, Underground (although the fact that Hassinger's attention was divided between the Electric Prunes and a second band he was producing that summer, a San Francisco group called the Grateful Dead, was probably an even greater factor). This greater freedom resulted in an album that included seven original tunes among the twelve tracks, including the European hit single Long Day's Flight, which was co-written by Weakley, who had returned to the group in time to appear on five songs on the LP.

    The lack of a solid hit single on the album, however, led to Hassinger becoming rather heavy-handed with the group in 1968, possibly due to his frustration with the Grateful Dead that led to his resigning as that band's producer midway through their second LP, Anthem Of The Sun. The Electric Prunes did manage to record one final single, Lowe and Tulin's Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, before Hassinger came up with the idea of the band recording a concept album written by David Axelrod called Mass In F Minor. The band played on three tracks on the Mass, but Hassinger, frustrated by the members' slow pace in learning the material, brought in a Canadian band called the Collectors to finish the project. Although Lowe, Tulin and Weakley did end up making contributions to every track on the album, it had become clear that the Electric Prunes were no longer in control of their own destiny, and after a disastrous attempt to perform the Mass with a full orchestra at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, both Lowe and Weakley left the group. Tulin and Williams stayed around long enough to complete the band's current tour with a patched together lineup that included Kenny Loggins and Jeremy Stuart (of Chad & Jeremy), but by mid-1968 all the original Electric Prunes members were gone.

    Two more LPs and an assortment of singles later, the group Hassinger was still calling the Electric Prunes officially disbanded in 1970. Hardly anyone noticed. That wasn't the end of the story, however. Thanks in part to Lenny Kaye, who included I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) on the 1972 Nuggets compilation album that collected some of the best tracks of the psychedelic era on a double LP, interest in the music of the original Electric Prunes began to take root, eventually leading to both of the original band's albums being reissued in Europe in the 1980s. In the late 1990s rumors began circulating that the original group had begun to work on new material. Then, in Y2K, both original albums were issued in the US on compact disc, with the two non-album singles included as bonus tracks (it was these reissues, in fact, that helped convince me that creating a show called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era was a viable idea).

    Finally, in 2001, the album Artifact appeared on CD on the band's own PruneTwang label in the US, with a truncated version appearing in the UK on vinyl (on the Heartbeat label) the following year. The core members of the band, James Lowe, Mark Tulin and Ken Williams, were joined by guitarist Mark Moulin, keyboardist Cameron Lowe and drummer Joe Dooley for the album, supplemented by guest appearances from former Moby Grape guitarist Peter Lewis, dotarist Jim Gripps, drummer Mike Vasquez and a special guest appearance by original drummer Michael "Quint" Weakley. The opening track on the album, Lost Dream, shows that the band was by no means going the nostalgia route; rather, they referred to Artifact as "the real third album that we never got to make." They have since released three more studio albums, as well as one live album (recorded in 2007) and a kind of hybrid CD called California '66 made to promote a 2009 East Coast tour that never happened, that would have featured the Electric Prunes, Sky Saxon (whose death prompted the tour's cancellation) and Arthur Lee's 21st century version of Love.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Lark's Tongue In Aspic Part III
Source:    LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Writer(s):    Belew/Bruford/Fripp/Levin
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1984
    One of the most ambitious works in the history of progressive rock, the five parts of Lark's Tongue In Aspic are spread out over four albums spanning 30 years. The first two parts were the opening and closing tracks of the 1973 LP Lark's Tongue In Aspic, and at the time were considered a finished work. Eleven years later Lark's Tongue In Aspic Part III was included on the LP Three Of A Perfect Pair. Joining guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Bill Bruford, who had played on the first two parts, were guitarist Adrian Belew and bassist Tony Levin. Part four appeared on the 2000 album The Construkction Of Light, while the final part, deliberately titled Level Five to shake things up, was included on the 2003 album The Power To Believe.
Artist:    Claypool Lennon Delerium
Title:    Bubbles Burst/There's No Underwear In Space
Source:    LP: Monolith Of Phobos
Writer(s):    Claypool/Lennon
Label:    Ato
Year:    2016
    If any one track captures the essence of the Claypool Lennon Delerium, it's the final vocal work on Monolith Of Phobos, Bubbles Burst. The song seamlessly segues into the instrumental There's No Underwear In Space to close out the album.

Artist:    Pearls Before Swine
Title:    Suzanne
Source:    CD: The Complete ESP-Disk' Recordings (originally released on LP: Balaklava)
Writer(s):    Leonard Cohen
Label:    ESP-Disk'
Year:    1968
    Psychedelic folk group Pearls Before Swine was, for most of their existence, singer/songwriter Tom Rapp and a whatever group of musicians he happened to be working with at the time. They didn't start out that way, however. The original Pearls Before Swine consisted of Rapp on vocals and guitar,  Roger Crissinger on keyboards, Wayne Harley on banjo and mandolin and Lane Lederer on bass and guitar. By their second album, the anti-war themed Balaklava, Crissinger had been replaced by Jim Bohannon, and there were several guest musicians helping out, including bassist Bill Salter, who played on four of the LP's ten tracks, allowing Lederer to concentrate on his guitar playing. Most of the material on Balaklava was written by Rapp, with the notable exception of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne, which opened the second side of the album. Although both albums were well-received by critics, there were financial issues. Rapp later said "We never got any money from ESP. Never, not even like a hundred dollars or something. My real sense is that he (Bernard Stollman, owner of ESP-Disk') was abducted by aliens, and when he was probed it erased his memory of where all the money was". in 1969 Rapp, still using the name Pearls Before Swine although all of the other original members had left by then, signed with Reprise Records, staying with the label until 1972, when he began officially recording as a solo artist.
Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Eighteen Is Over The Hill
Source:    CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Morgan
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The contributions of guitarist Ron Morgan to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band are often overlooked, possibly due to the fact that Morgan himself often tried to distance himself from the band. Nonetheless, he did write some of the group's most memorable tunes, including their best-known song, Smell Of Incense (covered by the Texas band Southwest F.O.B.) and the opening track of what is generally considered their best album, A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, a tune called Eighteen Is Over The Hill. Unfortunately, the somewhat senseless lyrics added by Bob Markley detract from what is actually a very tasty piece of music.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    The Prophet
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Wright
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    The Beacon Street Union had already relocated to New York from their native Boston by the time their first LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, appeared in early 1968. Unfortunately, they were grouped together with other Boston bands such as Ultimate Spinach by M-G-M Records as part of a fictional "Boss-Town Sound", which ultimately hurt the band's chances far more than it helped them. The album itself is actually one of the better psychedelic albums of the time, with tracks like The Prophet, which closes out side two of the original LP, combining somewhat esoteric music and lyrics effectively.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    (Ballad Of The) Hip Death Goddess
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations. The recording has in more recent years become a favorite of movie producers looking to invoke a late 60s atmosphere.

Artist:    Motions
Title:    For Another Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the Netherlands as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rob Van Leeuwen
Label:    Rhino (original label: Havoc)
Year:    1965
    By 1965 the popularity of British beat music had spread to continental Europe, with local bands springing up in every major urban center. Most of these bands made their living playing covers of British hits, but many, especially in places like the Hague, Netherlands, were able to land recording contracts of their own, either with international branches of major labels or, in the case of the Motions, with smaller local labels such as Havoc Records. The third single by the Motions, For Another Man, was very much in the British beat vein, with jangly guitar and catchy vocal harmonies. Like all the Motions' singles, For Another Man was written by guitarist Rob Van Leeuwen, who eventually left the Motions to form Shocking Blue, scoring a huge international hit with Venus.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    There She Goes
Source:    LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Revere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Revere And The Raiders hit their creative and commercial peak in 1966. The band, which consisted of Paul Revere on keyboards, Mark Lindsay on lead vocals and saxophone, Drake Levin on lead guitar, Phil "Fang" Volk on bass and Mike "Smitty"Smith on drums, released three albums that year, the middle of which was Midnight Ride. The album was their first to feature mostly original tunes written by various band members; in fact it was the only Raiders album on which every member got a song credit. The shortest track on the album is There She Goes, a fast-paced tune that finishes out side one.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Buddah (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    Although folk music became popular throughout the U.S. in the early 1960s, its primary practicioners tended to make their homes on the eastern seaboard, particularly along the Boston-New York corridor. One hotspot in particular was New York's Greenwich Village, which was also home to the beatnik movement and a thriving acoustic blues revival scene. All these diverse elements came together in the form of the Lovin' Spoonful, who burst upon the scene with the hit single Do You Believe In Magic in 1965. Led by primary songwriter John Sebastian, the Spoonful for a while rivaled even the Beatles in popularity. Among their many successful records was Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind, which made the top 5 in 1966. The band continued to chart hits through 1967, at which point Sebastian departed the group to embark on a solo career.


Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2014 (starts 3/30/20)

    Well, it's 4/20, and most of us are sitting at home for the entire month, not doing much of anything. I guess we really should have seen that coming.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:    Brewer And Shipley
Title:    One Toke Over The Line
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brewer/Shipley
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1971
    Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley might be considered the link between the folk-rock of the late 1960s and the singer-songwriter movement of the early 1970s. The two of them had met on more than one occasion in the mid 1960s, doing coffeehouse gigs across the midwest, until both decided to settle down in Los Angeles and start writing songs together in 1968. After recording two albums together, the duo relocated to Kansas City in 1969, spending much of the next two years on the road, playing small towns such as Tarkio, Missouri, which in turn inspired the title for their third album, Tarkio. That album, released in 1971, included what was to be their biggest hit. One Toke Over The Line went to the #10 spot on the charts (#5 in Canada) and prompted the Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, to denounce the song as "blatant drug-culture propaganda". Concerning the origin of the song itself, Mike Brewer had this to say: "One day we were pretty much stoned and all and Tom says, “Man, I’m one toke over the line tonight.” I liked the way that sounded and so I wrote a song around it." He said it was written as a joke as the duo was setting up for a gig.

Artist:    Cat Stevens
Title:    Sitting
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Cat Stevens (originally released on LP: Catch Bull At Four)
Writer(s):    Cat Stevens
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Cat Stevens' Sitting, from his 1972 LP Catch Bull At Four, has been described as "a song about meditation, and the apprehensions that may result from the experiences involving self-realization." Sounds to me like something that might happen when you have to stay at home for several weeks.

Artist:    Graham Nash and David Crosby
Title:    The Wall Song
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Such was the popularity of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the early 70s that each of the members, both as solo artists and in various combinations of two or three members, released albums in addition to official group recordings, all of which sold well. One such effort was the 1972 album by Graham Nash and David Crosby. One of the more notable tracks on the album is The Wall Song, featuring (in addition to Crosby and Nash) Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann on guitar, bass and drums. The version heard here is the rare mono mix of The Wall Song, issued as a B side in 1972.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Up To Me
Source:    LP: Aqualung
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    Jethro Tull's fourth album, Aqualung, was undoubtably the band's commercial breakthrough. The album has, according to bandleader Ian Anderson, sold over seven million copies worldwide, making it their best selling record. Many of the songs on Aqualung have a harder edge that the band's earlier work, but a few, such as Up To Me, would actually fit in well on their previous album, Benefit.

Artist:    Cheech And Chong
Title:    Pedro And Man At The Drive-Inn
Source:    LP: Cheech And Chong's Greatest Hit (originally released on LP: Los Cochinos)
Writer(s):    Marin/Chong
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Ode)
Year:    1973
    The most enduring characters created by comedy duo Cheech And Chong were Pedro de Pacas (Cheech Marin) and Anthony "Man" Stoner (Tommy Chong). The two characters were featured on several of the longer bits on their early albums that were later adapted for the duo's film debut, Up In Smoke, as well. One bit that did not make it into the movie was Pedro And Man At The Drive-Inn, from their third LP, Los Cochinos. The track follows Pedro And Man as they slowly make their way into a drive-in movie theater with several friends hidden in the trunk of their car. After they successfully get inside the grounds Man accidentally breaks the key to the trunk off in the lock and goes in search of a crowbar to get their friends out, getting sidetracked along the way. Of course things only get more out of control from there, but I decided not to play the entire twelve-minute track this time around.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Lemon Song
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones/Burnett
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    If I had to choose just one Led Zeppelin song as representative of the band's early work it would have to be The Lemon Song, from their second album. The track has all the elements that made the Zep's reputation: Jimmy Page's distinctive guitar work, John Bonham's stuttered (but always timely) drum fills, John Paul Jones's funky bass line and Robert Plant's gutsy vocals (with lyrics famously derived from classic blues tunes). Squeeze my lemon, baby indeed!

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Woman
Source:     CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer:     Fox/Peters/Walsh
Label:     MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:     1970
     During my senior year of high school I often found myself hanging out at this sort of coffee house in Alamogordo, NM, whose name I have long since forgotten. The place had a room with an old console stereo in it, and a stack of half a dozen albums that someone had donated. Side one of James Gang Rides Again must have been played a hundred times on that thing, often over and over when everybody was too stoned to get up to change the record. By the time I graduated I knew every word of Woman, as well as every other song on that side of the album, by heart.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Strange Kind Of Woman
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Deep Purple (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Fireball)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Archives/Rhino (original US label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1971
    Strange Kind Of Woman was a top 10 hit when it was released as a single in the UK in 1971. Although it was also released in the US, the single got virtually no top 40 airplay and failed to chart. It was, however, included on the US version of the album Fireball, which in turn led to plenty of airplay on FM rock radio, making it one of Deep Purple's most recognizable tunes.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Gonna Run
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    The fifth Ten Years After album, Watt, was somewhat unfairly criticized by the rock press for being "more of the same" from the British blues-rock band. When "the same" refers to an album of the calibur of Cricklewood Green, however, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, some tracks, such as Gonna Run, are at least the equal of any song on the previous album, and show a growing awareness on the part of the band of how to use the recording studio itself to its fullest advantage.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Street Worm
Source:    CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1970
    Spirit guitarist Randy California got an opportunity to channel one of his personal heroes, saxophonist John Coltrane, on Jay Ferguson's Street Worm on the 1970 album Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus. It is particularly noticable on the arpeggios at the end of the track.

Artist:    Steeleye Span
Title:    Allison Gross
Source:    LP: Parcel Of Rogues
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Steeleye Span
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1973
    The idea of a being with supernatural powers exacting vengeance on a spurned lover is a common theme in British folklore. One of the best known examples of this is the folk song Allison Gross, in which "the ugliest witch in the north country" ends up turning the protagonist of the song into "an ugly wurm" (dragon) for spurning her affections. Steeleye Span modernized the musical arrangement for their 1973 album Parcel Of Rogues. The original folk song has additional verses in which the protagonist eventually is cured of his affliction by a passing group of fairies.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    I'm The Slime
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Discreet
Year:    1973
    In 1973, Frank Zappa, along with an array of talented musicians, recorded two albums' worth of material. The first, released as a Mothers album, was Over-Nite Sensation. Strangely enough, a single was released from the album, although it really didn't make much of a dent in the top 40 charts. That single was I'm The Slime, a song that only gets more relevant as time goes on. The song is basically a description of America's top drug of choice, as the opening lyrics make clear: "I am gross and perverted. I'm obsessed 'n deranged. I have existed for years, but very little has changed. I'm the tool of the government and industry too, for I am destined to rule and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, but you can't look away. I make you think I'm delicious, with the stuff that I say. I'm the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet? I'm the slime ooozing out of your TV set." Truer words have never been spoken.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2013 (starts 3/23/20)

    This one has it all: sets from particular years, artists' sets, and progressions through the years, including one particularly long set that stretches all the way from 1964 to 1970! That enough hype for you?

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    George Harrison had already written several songs that had appeared on various Beatles albums (and an occasional B side) through 1968, but his first acknowledged classic was While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which appeared on The Beatles (aka the White Album). The recording features Harrison's close friend, guitarist Eric Clapton, who at that time was enjoying superstar status as a member of Cream.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them are considered improvements over Dylan's original versions. Probably the most celebrated of these is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.

Artist:     Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:     Really
Source:     LP: Super Session
Writer:     Bloomfield/Kooper
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1968
     Al Kooper and Michael Bloomfield first met in 1965, when Kooper sat in on sessions for the classic Highway 61 Revisited album and later performed as a member of Dylan's band at the Newport Folk Festival, where Kooper's organ was physically assaulted by angry folk purists. After a stint with seminal jam band The Blues Project, Kooper became a staff producer for Columbia Records in New York, where he came up with the idea of an album made up entirely of studio jams. He recruited Bloomfield, who had in the intervening years played with the Butterfield Blues Band and the Electric Flag, along with bassist Harvey Brooks (also from Butterfield's band) and studio drummer Eddie Hoh and came up with the surprise hit album of 1968, Super Session. Although Bloomfield bowed out of the project halfway through, he plays on all the tracks on side one of the album, including Really, which utilizes a classic blues progression.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Walking By Myself
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Jimmy Rogers
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    When the name Jimmy Rogers comes up, almost invariably confusion comes immediately after. This is because, in addition to the legendary bluesman Jimmy Rogers, there were also not one, but two other singers named Jimmie Rodgers. The Jimmy Rogers we're concerned with here was born Jay Arthur Lane in Ruleville, Mississippi on June 3, 1924, about three years before country legend Jimmie Rodgers began his recording career, and about nine years before 50s pop star Jimmie Rodgers was born. Rogers first started recording in the late 1940s as a sideman for Muddy Waters and Little Walter, staying with that band, sometimes known as the Headhunters, until 1954. In the mid-1950s Rogers had several successful singles released under his own name, the most notable being Walking By Myself. He left the music business altogether for nearly the entire 1960s, resurfacing after his Chicago clothing store burned down in the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the reasons for his successful comeback was Canned Heat recording's of Walking By Myself on their 1968 LP Living The Blues, which generated interest in Rogers the songwriter. By the early 1980s Rogers had reestablished himself as a solo act, and was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1995, two years before his death.

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:    Other Half
Title:    Mr. Pharmacist
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jeff Nowlen
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1966
    The Other Half was one of the many bands that could be found playing the local L.A. clubs when the infamous Riot On Sunset Strip happened in 1966. They are also the only other band I know of besides the Seeds that recorded for the GNP Crescendo label. The guitar solo is provided by Randy Holden, who would end up briefly replacing Leigh Stephens in Blue Cheer a few years later.

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

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the Chocolate Watchband's debut album, No Way Out. Although Psychedelic Trip was a creation of the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole writing credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:    Sonny & Cher
Title:    You Don't Love Me
Source:    LP: Look At Us
Writer(s):    Willie Cobbs
Label:    Atco
Year:    1965
    When I Got You Babe became a surprise hit in the summer of 1965, Sonny Bono immediately booked studio time and got to work on producing the first full-length Sonny & Cher album, Look At Us. The album was rush-released less than a month after I Got You Babe first hit the charts; in fact the single was still climbing toward its eventual #1 spot when Look At Us came out. As a result the album was a huge hit as well, going all the way to the #2 spot on the Billboard album chart. As was the norm for 1965, the LP was made up mostly of cover songs, many of which were recent pop hits. One of the more unusual covers was a remake of You Don't Love Me, itself a reworking and retitling of a 1955 Bo Diddley B side, which had been a regional hit in Memphis for Willie Cobbs in 1960. Unlike later versions of the tune, such as the Allman Brothers Band's live performance at the Fillmore East, Sonny & Cher's rendition of You Don't Love Me follows Cobbs' original fairly closely.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Dark Side
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Rogers/Sohns
Label:    Dunwich
Year:    1966
    Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?

Artist:    Teddy And His Patches
Title:    Haight-Ashbury
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Flores/Pearson
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Chance)
Year:    1967
    Following up on their local #1 hit Suzy Creamcheese, San Jose, California band Teddy And His Patches released another punk classic called Haight-Ashbury in June of 1967. Pure madness.
Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Hold Me Tight
Source:    British import CD: Ten Years After (bonus track originally released on LP: Alvin Lee And Company)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1972
    A couple months after releasing their debut LP in late October of 1967, Ten Years After returned to the studio to begin working on tracks for a second LP. Among the first songs recorded (on January 5, 1968) was an Alvin Lee original called Hold Me Tight. As the year went on, however, it was decided that the band would be better served by recording a live performance at a local London club, and the already finished studio tracks were shelved for the time being. After TYA signed a new contract with Columbia Records in the early 1970s, their original label, Deram, issued a compilation album called Alvin Lee And Company that included Hold Me Tight as well as other previously unreleased tracks, several of which are now available as bonus tracks on the British CD version of the first Ten Years After album.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, that the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit. Although progressive FM stations often played the longer LP version, it was the mono single edit heard here that was most familiar to listeners of top 40 radio.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     Bang Bang
Source:     LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer:     Sonny Bono
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Vanilla Fudge made their reputation by taking popular hit songs, such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On, and extensively re-arranging them, giving the songs an almost classical feel. In fact, some of their arrangements incorporated (uncredited) snippets of actual classical pieces. One glaring example is the Vanilla Fudge arrangement of Cher's biggest solo hit of the 60s, Bang Bang (written by her then-husband Sonny Bono). Unfortunately, although I recognize the classical piece the band uses for an intro to Bang Bang, I can't seem to remember what it's called or who wrote it. Anyone out there able to help? I think it may have been used in a 1950s movie like The King And I or Attack of the Killer Women from Planet X.

Artist:          Vanilla Fudge
Title:        Come By Day, Come By Night
Source:    45 RPM B side
Writer(s):    Mark Stein
Label:     Atco
Year:        1968
       The Vanilla Fudge version of  the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On was first released as a single in 1967, but tanked before it could hit the top 60. In 1968 the song was re-released with a different B side and made the top 20. That B side, Come By Day, Come By Night, was written by keyboardist Mark Stein, and was never released on a Vanilla Fudge album. The song is now available on a CD called The Complete Atco Singles.

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

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    So Mystifying
Source:    Mono LP: You Really Got Me
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964
    So Mystifying is one of the earliest Ray Davies songs to be recorded by the Kinks. The song first appeared on their 1964 debut LP (entitled The Kinks in the UK and issued as You Really Got Me in the US). As such, it should be listened to for its historic value as much as for any aesthetic pleasure it might bring.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Lather
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    One of Grace Slick's most memorable tunes was Lather from Jefferson Airplane's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation. Featuring an eerie instrumental bridge played on a tissue-paper covered comb (at least that's what I think it was), the song was reportedly about drummer Spencer Dryden, the band's oldest member, who had turned 30 while the album was being recorded. A popular phrase of the time was "don't trust anyone over 30", making it an unfortunate time to have that particular birthday.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Mexico
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    The B side of the last Jefferson Airplane single to include founding member (and original leader) Marty Balin was Mexico, a scathing response by Grace Slick to President Richard Nixon's attempts to eradicate the marijuana trade between the US and Mexico. The song was slated to be included on the next Airplane album, Long John Silver, but Balin's departure necessitated a change in plans, and Mexico did not appear on an LP until Early Flight was released in 1974.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    The House At Pooniel Corners
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Kantner/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    Jefferson Airplane was just starting to get political when they released their Crown Of Creation album in September of 1968. Two months later they, at the suggestion of Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Goddard, set up their equipment on a Manhattan rooftop without getting a permit and performed their most political song from the album, The House At Pooniel Corners. It should be noted that this guerilla performance happened two months before the more famous Beatles rooftop performance in London that was included in the Let It Be movie. The Airplane filmed the gig, but it was not released for several years. The full performance is now available on a DVD called Fly Jefferson Airplane.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Mr. Soul
Source:    LP: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Executives at Atco Records originally considered Neil Young's voice "too weird" to be recorded. As a result many of Young's early tunes (including the band's debut single Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing), were sung by Richie Furay. By the time the band's second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, was released, the band had enough clout to make sure Young was allowed to sing his own songs. In fact, the album starts with a Young vocal on the classic Mr. Soul.

Artist:    Velvet Illusions
Title:    Acid Head
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weed/Radford
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tell, also released on Metromedia Records)
Year:    1967
    Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut this lone single, Acid Head, before calling it quits.

Artist:    Spanky And Our Gang
Title:    Sunday Mornin'
Source:    "Cut down" from LP: Like To Get To Know You (edited to match single version)
Writer(s):    Margo Guryan
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Despite peaking no higher than the #30 spot on the Hot 100 chart, Margo Guryan's Sunday Mornin' was listed by BMI as one of the 102 most performed songs of 1968. In addition to the most successful version of the song by Spanky And Our Gang (released in December of 1967 and appearing, in extended form, on the 1968 LP Like To Get To Know You), Sunday Mornin' appeared on albums by Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell, the Baja Marimba Band, Julie London, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and others, as well as appearing as a 1969 single by Oliver. Guryan herself included a version of the tune on her critically acclaimed LP Take A Picture.
Artist:    Who
Title:    Rael 1
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out
Writer:    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who Sell Out, released in December 1967, was the last album by the group before their 1969 rock-opera Tommy. The last track on the LP, Rael, is itself a mini-opera that tells the story of a wealthy man who has taken on the role of a crusader, out to free his ancestral homeland from its current occupiers. He tells the captain of his ship to come back for him on Christmas Day to see if he is ready to return. If not, he tells the captain, the boat is yours. Of course the captain has no intention of returning, as he declares soon after putting back out to sea. The piece then goes into an instrumental passage that would be copied pretty much note for note on the Tommy album as part of the Underture. The track ends with a repeat of the owner's instructions to the captain. The events surrounding the recording of Rael have become the stuff of legend. The band spent an entire day recording and mixing the song, and were apparently so exhausted at the end of the session that they left without securing the multi-track master in a safe place. The cleaning woman came in the next morning and tossed the tape into the waste basket. She then emptied the ashtrays and other trash into the same waste basket. When the band came in around noon the recording engineer who had found the tape had the unenviable task of telling them what had happened. Pete Townsend was in a rage, and the engineer tried to placate him by saying "these things happen". Townshend then proceeded to throw a chair through the glass wall separating the studio from the control room, informing the engineer that "these things happen".

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Rosalyn
Source:    Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Duncan/Farley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1964
    At a time when the length of one's hair was a defining characteristic of "hipness", London's Pretty Things were reputed to have the longest hair in the UK. Formed in 1962 by vocalist Phil May and original Rolling Stones bassist Dick Taylor on guitar, the Pretty Things were heavily influenced by American blues artists Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. In fact, their first single, Rosalyn, although written by their producers, Jimmy Duncan and Bill Farley, had a distinctive Bo Diddley sound to it, albeit even louder and more brash than any of Diddley's own records. The song was a modest hit in the UK, but did not chart at all in the States. Although the Pretty Things never caught on in the US, they had considerable success with their next two singles in their native Britain, as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. Numerous personnel changes over the years, however, led to the group being perceived as not having a distinctive sound, and they were never able to duplicate the success of their early years.
Artist:      Turtles
Title:     Wanderin' Kind
Source:      Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:     1966
     White Whale Records, being a typical L.A. label, insisted on using professional songwriters for all the Turtles' A sides. The band was allowed to write its own material for the B sides, however. One of the earliest was Wanderin' Kind, which had already been released as the opening track on the Turtles' 1965 debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. The song was written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, who was then still in his teens. Kaylan would end up co-writing many more Turtles tracks, as well as most of Flo & Eddie's material a few years later.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Trouble
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material, with the exception of a slow version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on (and before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved. To hear Turn On The Music Machine the way Bonniwell intended it to be heard program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, Trouble is restored to its rightful place as the second song on the disc (following Talk Talk) and a fairly decent album is transformed into a work that is equal to the best albums of 1966.

Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Heaven And Hell
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was the Easybeats, often called the Australian Beatles. Although their early material sounded like slightly dated British Invasion music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British immigrants), by late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch immigrant members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Born Under A Bad Sign
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:    Jones/Bell
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were pretty much considered the cream of the crop of the British blues scene in the mid 1960s, so it came as no surprise when they decided to call their new band Cream. Although the trio would go on to record several memorable non-blues tunes such as I Feel Free and White Room, they never completely abandoned the blues. Born Under A Bad Sign, originally recorded by Albert King  for the Stax label and written by labelmates William Bell and Booker T. Jones, is one of the better known tracks from Cream's double-LP Wheels Of Fire, the last album released while the band was still together.

Artist:    Aorta
Title:    Heart Attack
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Aorta0
Writer(s):    Donliger/Nyeholt
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Record companies are notorious for promoting bands they have signed as being "the next big thing." Sometimes they even sign multiple groups and promote them as "the next big sound". Such was the case in 1969 when Columbia's Clive Davis simultaneously released albums by four bands from the Chicago area (including one that, ironically, had actually started off calling itself The Big Thing). All four of these "Chicago sound" bands were included on a German LP called Underground '70, a sampler album pressed on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light (yeah, I had a black light back then). Unlike many sampler albums, Underground '70 actually used the strongest tracks from the various bands' respective albums, including Heart Attack from a band called Aorta. Although Aorta's actual album was a commercial flop, Heart Attack is actually a pretty decent tune.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers/Rhino
Year:    1970
    While feedback-laden bands like Blue Cheer are often credited with laying the foundations of what would come to be called heavy metal, Black Sabbath is generally considered to be the first actual heavy metal band. Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward didn't set out to create a whole new genre. They simply wanted to be the heaviest blues-rock band around. After seeing a movie marquee for an old Boris Karloff film called Black Sabbath and deciding that would make a good name for a band, however, the group soon began modifying their sound to more closely match their new name. The result was a debut album that would change the face of rock music forever. Probably the best known track on the Black Sabbath album is N.I.B., which closes out the LP's first side. Contrary to popular belief, N.I.B. is not a set of initials at all, but just the word nib done in capital letters with periods after each letter. According to Geezer Butler, who wrote the lyrics for N.I.B. "Originally it was Nib, which was Bill's beard. When I wrote N.I.B., I couldn't think of a title for the song, so I just called it Nib, after Bill's beard. To make it more intriguing I put punctuation marks in there to make it N.I.B. By the time it got to America, they translated it to Nativity In Black." On the album the song is preceded by a short bass solo from Butler, which in turn segues directly out of the previous track, Behind The Wall Of Sleep. For some reason (possibly to garner the group more royalties) Warner Brothers Records added extra song titles to the two tracks on the album cover and label to make them look like four separate pieces. The original British release, however, lists them as Behind The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B.

Artist:    Dixie Cups
Title:    Iko Iko
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hawkins/Hawkins/Johnson
Label:    Red Bird
Year:    1965
    In the mid-1960s my dad would occasionally take me to the base exchange (BX) with him when he went to pick up various items. I would immediately head for the record section and pick up a "grab bag", a set of four 45 RPM singles in a plain brown paper bag. Of course there was no way of knowing what records I was getting at the time, but at a price of about 50 cents for four never before played records, it was worth taking a chance on. As it turned out, there was a ton of variety in those little bags. There were folk singles, country singles, jazz singles and occasionally, a genuine pop hit. The best of the latter category I ever got was a song  that I immediately fell in love with called Iko Iko by a girl group called the Dixie Cups. I played that record until the grooves were worn out on my cheap little portable record player with a sapphire needle (notorious for wearing out quickly and ruining every record they played). As I got older I would hear the song from time to time, particularly on oldies stations, but it wasn't until 2019 that I finally bit the bullet and ordered a replacement copy of the original single. IMO Iko Iko is truly a song one never gets tired of hearing.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2013 (starts 3/23/20)

    This time around we have a long journey through the early 70s, one year at a time, that includes a track from the mostly instrumental first Journey album, a track by the Band featuring a guest appearance from Bob Dylan, and a seldom heard Firesign Theatre bit from 1974. First, though, an often overlooked Marvin Gaye classic...

Artist:    Marvin Gaye
Title:    Trouble Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Marvin Gaye
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1972
    Marvin Gaye played drums and piano, as well as providing all of the vocals, for the song Trouble Man. Released in November of 1972, the song was featured in a film of the same name. Gaye himself called it one of the most honest recordings he ever made. Gaye continued to perform the song for the rest of his life. Trouble Man was also the title of Marvin Gaye's biography.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Bredon/Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    It is the nature of folk music that a song often gets credited to one writer when in fact it is the work of another. This is due to the fact that folk singers tend to share their material liberally with other folk singers, who often make significant changes to the work before passing it along to others. Such is the case with Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, which was originally conceived by EC-Berkeley student Anne Johannsen in the late 1950s and performed live on KPFA radio in 1960. Another performer on the same show, Janet Smith, developed the song further and performed it at Oberlin College, where it was heard by audience member Joan Baez. Baez asked Smith for a tape of her songs and began performing the song herself.  Baez used it as the opening track on her album, Joan Baez In Concert, Part One, but it was credited as "traditional", presumably because Baez herself had no knowledge of who had actually written the song. Baez eventually discovered the true origins of the tune, and later pressings gave credit to Anne Bredon, who had divorced her first husband, Lee Johannsen and married Glen Bredon since writing the song. Jimmy Page had an early pressing of the Baez album, so when he reworked the song for inclusion on the first Led Zeppelin album, he went with "traditional, arranged Page" as the writer. Robert Plant, who worked with Page on the arrangement, was not originally given credits for contractual reasons, although later editions of the album give credit to Page, Plant and Bredon.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Teacher
Source:    LP: Living In The Past (originally released on LP: Benefit)
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    LPs released by British Groups often had different song lineups in the US and the UK. One of the reasons for this is that British labels generally did not include songs that had been released as singles on LPs. In the US, however, running times were 5-10 minutes shorter per LP, and songs that had been included on British LPs would end up being dropped in favor of the latest hit single by the same artist. Jethro Tull, however, was generally an exception to this practice. Both of their first two LPs had exactly the same song lineup on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, the only notable exception was the song Teacher, which was released as a single before the UK version of the group's third LP, Benefit. The US version of Benefit has a longer version of Teacher on it, replacing Just Trying To Be, which would not be issued in the US until the Living In The Past album (which included the US mix of Teacher as well).

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Can't Believe It's True
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Rory Gallagher)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    In addition to his obvious prowess on guitar, Rory Gallagher was an accomplished saxophonist, although he largely abandoned the instrument in the mid-1970s. This can be heard on Can't Believe It's True, the final and longest track on Gallagher's first solo album, recorded in 1971. Accompanying Gallagher on the album were drummer Wilgar Campbell and bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy. Gallagher had set up practice sessions with Campbell and McAvoy, as well as former Jimi Hendrix Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding following the breakup of his original band, Taste, but ultimately decided to form a power trio with the two Belfast natives for his solo debut.
Artist:    The Band, w/ Bob Dylan
Title:    Don't Ya Tell Henry
Source:    CD: Rock Of Ages (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Capitol
Year:    Recorded December 31, 1971, released 2000
    Fans who showed up for the Band's New Year's Eve concert at New York's Academy Of Music (as it was still known in 1971), got a surpise treat when Bob Dylan made a guest appearance, performing  songs like Don't Ya Tell Henry, a song that dated back to the "basement tapes" years. This particular performance features Dylan singing a duet with Levon Helm, and was the only time Dylan ever performed the song in front of an audience.
Artist:    Stevie Wonder
Title:    Higher Ground
Source:    LP: Innervisions
Writer(s):    Stevie Wonder
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1973
    Written and recorded in just under three hours, Higher Ground was the lead single from Innervisions, the 16th studio album by Stevie Wonder. A true solo effort, Higher Ground features Wonder playing Hohner clavinet, drums, Moog bass and tambourine, as well as providing handclaps and all of the vocals for the track. Innervisions is considered one of Wonder's greatest achievements, and often appears on all-time best album lists.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    The Fool And Me
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Guitarist Robin Trower's breakthrough album, Bridge Of Sighs, featured vocals by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote a couple of the songs on the LP. The best of these was The Fool And Me, which closes out side one of the original LP. Drummer Reg Isidore completed the trio.

Artist:    Journey
Title:    Kohoutek
Source:    LP: Journey
Writer(s):    Schon/Rolie
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1975
    Formed in San Francisdo as the Golden Gate Rhythm Section in 1973, Journey was originally made up of former members of Santana (keyboardist Greg Rolie and guitarist Neil Schon) and Frumious Bandersnatch (bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner) along with Tubes drummer Prarie Prince. The group developed a jazz-rock style similar to that heard on Santana's 1972 LP Caravanserai, the last to feature Rolie and Schon as members of the band. Not long after making their stage debut at the Winterland Ballroom on December 3, 1973 Journey recorded their first demo tapes. After Prarie Prince decided to rejoin the Tubes, Journey recorded their self-titled debut LP with new drummer Ainsley Dunbar, who had just finished a stint working with Frank Zappa. The LP was not a commercial success, although it did get positive reviews for the band's superb musicianship on tracks like Kohoutek.
Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Bear Whiz Beer/Channel 6 Happy Hour News
Source:    LP: Everything You Know Is Wrong
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1974
    The 1974 Firesign Theatre album Everything You Know Is Wrong takes on several trends of the mid-1970s, including the UFO craze, the "happy talk" TV news style, Evel Knievel (voiced by Phil Austin) and even Howard Cosell (Peter Bergman). Much of this can be heard in the final five minutes of the album's first side, including the infamous Bear Whiz Beer commercial.

Artist:    Heart
Title:    Dreamboat Annie
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ann and Nancy Wilson
Label:    Mushroom
Year:    1975
    If you look at the label of Heart's Dreamboat Annie album you will notice that there are actually three tracks bearing the name Dreamboat
Annie. This single, however, is not the same as any of them. It is, in fact, a patchwork piece made by splicing the intro from Crazy On You (which was edited out of the single version of that song) onto the two-minute long Dreamboat Annie track that closes out side one of the LP. This new version of Dreamboat Annie (technically the fourth) was then issued as the band's third single. Although it barely missed the top 40 (peaking at #42) it was the first Heart single to hit the Adult Contemporary charts, making it to the #17 spot.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Wrapcity In English/Fred
Source:    CD: Yer' Album
Writer:    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    The only rock record to ever be released on the Bluesway label was Yer' Album, the debut LP by Cleveland's James Gang. Featuring Joe Walsh on Guitar, Tom Criss (who would leave the band after this album) on bass and Dale Peters on drums, the group was one of the first "power trios" of the 70s. Unlike the group's later efforts, Yer' Album included cover tunes written by such diverse composers as Stephen Stills, Jerry Ragavoy and Jeff Beck, as well as a smattering of original compositions. One of those originals was Fred, a Walsh song that was described in the liner notes as "and it's straaaaaaaange." It is preceded by a short fully orchestrated Walsh instrumental called Wrapcity In English that tracks directly into Fred. In the 1980s I found a brand new copy of Yer' Album at a local department store and, of course, snatched it right up. Unfortunately, it was a Pickwick reissue that was missing several tracks, including (you guessed it) Wrapcity In English and Fred.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Dirty Work
Source:    CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1972
    When Walter Becker and Donald Fagen first formed Steely Dan their hope was that they could be a successful studio band in the mold of the post-1966 Beatles, without having to actually make any live appearances. Their record label, however, saw things differently, and insisted that the band begin making plans for touring before even finishing their first LP, Can't Buy A Thrill. This brought to the fore an issue that Fagen in particular had hoped would not become an issue: his own stage fright. Such was his fear of public performance as a vocalist that a second lead singer, David Palmer, was brought in to be the band's front man for live appearances. He ended up singing lead on three of the album's ten tracks as well. Of these, Dirty Work is probably the best known. Fagen, of course, soon got over his stage fright, and Palmer and the band parted company.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2012 (starts 3/16/20)

    Pretty much by accident we have what is probably the most tightly-formatted edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era that we'll ever see. Every set after the first one is exactly three songs long. And, with the exception of our Advanced Psych segment, every set (including our two artists' sets) is made up of songs from a particular year. Don't expect something like this to ever happen again.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Red Rubber Ball (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Red Rubber Ball)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets
Writer:    Simon/Woodley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon moved to London in early 1965, after his latest album with Art Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning 3 AM, had been deleted from the Columbia Records catalog after just a few weeks due to poor sales. While in the UK Simon found himself performing on the same bill as the Seekers, an Australian band that had achieved some international success with folky pop songs like A World Of Our Own. Needing cash, Simon wrote (with Seekers guitarist/vocalist Bruce Woodley) Red Rubber Ball, selling the song to the group for about 100 pounds. After returning to the US and reuniting with Garfunkel, Simon offered the song to the Cyrkle, who took the song all the way to the #4 spot on the charts.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    I Haven't Got The Nerve
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Cameron/Martin
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    The first thought I had when seeing the title of Left Banke's 1967 debut LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, was "if they had to name the album after the band's two hit singles, the rest of the songs must really suck", so I never gave it another thought. It turns out I was totally wrong, as the album is actually filled with fine tracks such as I Haven't Got The Nerve, which was originally the B side of the Walk Away Renee single in late 1966. I still think it's an annoying name for an album, though.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    Mono British import CD: The UltimateTurn On (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit with Talk Talk in 1966.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    The Behemoth
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    H. Pye
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    When it comes to garage-punk bands of the sixties there are two that are generally considered to be at the top of the heap. Unlike the Standells, who started off as a bar band and only embraced the punk ethic when they hooked up with writer/producer Ed Cobb, the Shadows of Knight were the real deal. Coming from the Chicago suburbs, they literally got their start practicing in the garage, slowly graduating to parties and high school dances, getting banned from at least one high school campus in the process (something having to do with a female student getting knocked up, rumor has it). The Shadows (as they were originally known) cited the British blues bands as their main influence, with a dose of Chicago blues thrown in for good measure. The Behemoth, an instrumental track from their second album, Back Door Men, was chosen for a 1967 B side as well.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that the band had participated in at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    White Rabbit
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Martha (mono single version)
Source:    Mono CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane made no secret of their residence at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco. In fact, the place was a known hangout for various freaks, acid-heads and hippy types. One the hangers-on, a young heiress, was the inspiration for Martha, a song from the band's third LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The song was also released as the B side to Watch Her Ride and used in a promotional film shown on a Perry Como special in 1967. The film, showing the band members cavorting  in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, uses various editing techniques to make the individual members appear, disappear and jump from place to place as well as speed up and slow down, making it one of the first true rock videos.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Don't Know Why (aka Don't Know Why I Love You)
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wonder/Riser/Hunter/Hardaway
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1969
    In 1969 Stevie Wonder released a single called Don't Know Why I Love You. Before the record could take off, however, several radio stations decided to instead play the B side of the record, a balled called My Cherie Amour. The song became, to that point, Wonder's biggest hit, and Don't Know Why I Love You quietly faded off into obscurity. Or rather it would have, if not for the fact that the Rolling Stones recorded their own version of the tune (retitling it I Don't Know Why) around the same time the Stevie Wonder version was released. The Stones, however, did not release the recording immediately. In fact, by the time the record was released (in 1975), the band was no longer associated with either London Records, which issued the recording, or Allen Klein, who had managed to gain control of all of the Stones' London era recordings; needless to say, the band itself did not authorize the single to be released.

Artist:    Cardboard Box
Title:    Come On Baby
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jack Lorenzo
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Regime)
Year:    1969
    The Ethics were formed in Pottstown, Pa., about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The band, which included guitarist Barry Berger, bassist Eric Kissinger, drummer Dave Dudas and keyboardist/vocalist Jack Lorenzo (who also managed the group), released a single on the Up Tight label in 1967 before changing their name to the Cardboard Box. Playing mostly at parties and high school dances, the band had a repertoire that was, according a Berger, a cross between funk and Iron Butterfly with a few late-era Beatles covers thrown in for good measure, and included their own light show. In 1969 they made a trip to an Allentown studio to record a pair of tunes written by Lorenzo, including Come On Baby, which was released as the A side of their only single for the Regime label.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source:    LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    An early version of Country Joe And The Fish first recorded the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag in 1965 for an audio insert to Country Joe McDonald's Rag Baby underground magazine. The band's permanent lineup recorded a new studio version of the song for their debut LP in 1967, but their producer refused to include it on the album, fearing repercussions over its strong criticism of President Lyndon Johnson's Viet-Nam policies.  Another song that did make the album, Superbird, was also critical of Johnson, but in a more lighthearted, satirical way. When that song did not cause any major backlash it was decided to go ahead and use the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag as the title track of the band's second LP. On the album itself the song is preceded by The Fish Cheer, which was famously spelled a bit differently when the band performed it live, leading Ed Sullivan to cancel the band's scheduled 1968 appearance on his weekly TV show.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    45 RPM Single
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:     Steppenwolf
Title:     A Girl I Knew
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Kay/Cavett
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1967
     Some artists tend to branch out into a variety of styles as their career progresses. Others, like Steppenwolf, move in the opposite direction, finding out early what works best then concentrating on continuing in that vein. A Girl I Knew (co-written by bandleader John Kay) is an example of a type of song that was tried early on, but then abandoned in favor of a harder rock sound on subsequent albums. The song was originally released as a single in late 1967, but failed to chart. The following year Born To Be Wild was released, and the rest is history.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Tales Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before retiring from public life.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    House Burning Down
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    The Great Canyon Fire In General
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Among other things, Southern California is known for its periodic wildfires, which, fueled by hot Santa Ana winds, destroy everything in their path before they can be brought under control. In the summer of 1967, while the members of Spirit were living in L.A.'s Topanga Canyon and working on their first album, one of these wildfires took out about half of the canyon. Although the house the band was living in was spared, the entire area was evacuated and the members of Spirit (and their family) had to spend a week camped out at the beach. Now that's what I call roughing it!

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

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Everybody's Everything
Source:    LP: Santana (III)
Writer(s):    Santana/Moss/Brown
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third album, released in 1971, was called simply Santana. The problem is, their first album was also called Santana. The guitar solo on Everybody's Everything, by the way, is not by Carlos Santana. Rather it was performed by the then 17-year-old Neal Schon, who, along with keyboardist Greg Rolie would leave the band the following year to form Journey.
Artist:    McFadden's Parachute
Title:    Black Fuzz
Source:    CD: Psolipsystic Psychedelic Pslyces Of McFadden's Parachute
Writer(s):    Darren Brennessel
Label:    PeterFonda
Year:    2003
    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. A few years back Darren sent me a special sampler collection of McFadden's Parachute tracks recorded mostly in the 1990s and early 2000s. One of my favorites of these is a tune called Black Fuzz, recorded in 2003.

Artist:    Splinter Fish
Title:    Milo's Sunset
Source:    LP: Splinter Fish
Writer(s):    Chuck Hawley
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    Albuquerque, NM, like most medium-sized cities, has had a vibrant club scene throughout the rock and roll era, with many of these clubs featuring live music. Until the late 1980s, however, very few bands were able to find gigs performing their own material. This began to change, however, with the emergence of alternative bands such as Jerry's Kidz and F.O.R., and underground venues such as the Club REC and the refurbished El Rey theater. One of the best bands to emerge at this time was Splinter Fish. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Chuck Hawley in 1988, the band also featured Jeff Bracey on bass, former F.O.R. member Deb-O on vocals, and the prolific Zoom Crespin on drums. The group released one self-titled LP in 1989, which featured a strong set of tunes, including Milo's Sunset, a song somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows.

Artist:    Jigsaw Seen
Title:    We Women
Source:    CD: Old Man Reverb
Writer(s):    Dennis Davison
Label:    Vibro-Phonic
Year:    2014
    The Jigsaw Seen is an indy band based in Los Angeles that has been around since the 1980s. Their latest album, Old Man Reverb, covers a lot of ground musically, including a couple of tunes, Madame Whirligig and Hercules And Slyvia, that sound a bit like vintage British psychedelia. Perhaps that is because the album itself was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios in London.
Artist:     Animals
Title:     Inside Looking Out
Source:     Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
Writer:     Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1966
     One of the last songs recorded by the Animals before their first breakup, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was covered a few years later by Grand Funk Railroad, who made it one of their concert staples. This has always been one of my all-time favorite rock songs, no matter who recorded it.

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

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    The first Neil Young song I ever heard was Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, which was issued as the B side of For What It's Worth in 1967. I had bought the single and, as always, after my first listen flipped the record over to hear what was on the other side. (Years later I was shocked to learn that there were actually people who never listened to the B side of records they bought. I've never been able to understand that.) Anyway, at the time I didn't know who Neil Young was, or the fact that although Young was a member of Buffalo Springfield it was actually Richie Furay singing the song on the record. Now I realize that may seem a bit naive on my part, but I was 14 at the time, so what do you expect? At least I had the good taste to buy a copy of For What It's Worth in the first place (along with the Doors' Light My Fire and the Spencer Davis Group's I'm A Man if I remember correctly). Where I got the money to buy three current records at the same time at age 14 is beyond me, though.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hello, Goodbye
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 was unquestionably a good year for the Beatles. Their first release was a double A sided single, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, both sides of which were major hits. They followed that up with the #1 album of the year, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and another hit single, All You Need Is Love. To finish out the year they released yet another major hit single, Hello Goodbye. The only downside to the year was the cool reception that was afforded their December telefilm, Magical Mystery Tour, although the songs themselves were well-received when released in the UK as a double-EP set (complete with full color booklet containing stills from the film, as well as lyric sheets). As EPs were not considered a viable format in the US, Capitol Records put together an LP that included all six tracks from the telefilm on one side of the album and the five single sides (Hello Goodbye had used I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour as a B side) on the other. In the mid-1980s it was decided to use the British LPs as the model for all CD issues of Beatles material. The sole exception was Magical Mystery Tour, which used the US song lineup.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    According to principal songwriter John Lennon, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite was inspired by a turn of the century circus poster that the Beatles ran across while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Most of the lyrics refer to items on the poster itself, such as the Hendersons and Henry the Horse.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Penny Lane
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    Here's a little known fact: the true stereo recording of the Beatles' Penny Lane was not released in the US until 1980, when the song appeared on an album called Rarities. The original 1967 single was mono only, while the version used on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP was created using Capitol's infamous Duophonic process. A true stereo mix that had previously been available only in Germany was used on Rarities, but modified to include a series of trumpet notes at the end of the song that had previously only appeared on promo copies of the single sent to radio stations in the US and Canada. The "official" stereo version of the song heard here was not released until the late 1980s, when the US version of Magical Mystery Tour, featuring true stereo mixes of all of the band's 1967 singles, was issued on CD.

Artist:    Skip Spence
Title:    War In Peace
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Oar)
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Skip Spence was one of the most tragic figures of the psychedelic era. Immensely talented, Spence was nonetheless plagued by mental health and drug abuse issues that he could never overcome. In 1966, after a short stint as rhythm guitarist with a band called the Other Side, Spence was invited by Marty Balin to be the drummer in a new group he was putting together to be the house band at a club he managed called the Matrix. That band was Jefferson Airplane, and Spence stayed with the group long enough to play on their first LP. Not long after that, Spence was fired for taking a trip to Mexico without letting the other band members know he was going. He then returned to playing guitar to co-found Moby Grape in 1967. The band's first album was a critical and commercial success, but that success was somewhat undercut by their label's decision to release five singles from the album  simultaneously, causing the band to be perceived as being overly hyped. To add to the problems, their producer made the band come to New York to record their second LP so that he could be closer to his family. Unfortunately this meant the band members would be thousands of miles away from their own families, and Spence fell in with a bad crowd and started using drugs heavily. This led to a bizarre incident in which he took a fire ax to a hotel door and attempted to assault two of his bandmates, which in turn led to a six-month long stay at Belleview hospital. During this stay he wrote several new songs, including War In Peace, and upon his release headed to Nashville to record the album Oar, playing all the instruments himself. The album, recorded in seven days, was a total commercial failure, but has since come to be considered, in the words of one critic, "one of the most harrowing documents of pain and confusion ever made". Over the next three decades Spence struggled with heroin and cocaine addiction and died of lung cancer two days short of his 53rd birthday in 1999.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Whole Lotta Love
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones/Dixon
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    If any one song can be considered the bridge between psychedelic rock and heavy metal, it would have to be Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Released in 1969 as the lead track to their second LP, the song became their biggest hit single. Whole Lotta Love was originally credited to the four band members. In recent years, however, co-credit has been given to Willie Dixon, whose lyrics to the 50s song You Need Love are almost identical to Robert Plant's.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    The Boxer
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bridge Over Troubled Water)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    The only Simon And Garfunkel record released in 1969, The Boxer was one of the duo's most successful singles, making the top 10 in nine countries, including the US, where it made it to the #7 spot. The track, which runs more than five minutes, was later included on the 1970 LP Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    Hurricane Fighter Plane
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM single (2011 remix)
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967
    Houston's Red Crayola went out of their way to make sure that their debut LP, Parable Of Arable Land, got as little airplay as possible, thus insuring the album's cult status. The way they did this was to invite about 50 extra people into the studio to use whatever they could find to make as much noise as they could generate. These "free-form freakouts" were then interspersed throughout the album, fading in and out over the beginnings and endings of the songs themselves. This resulted in each album side playing as a continuous track, much of which was unintelligible noise. In 2011, International Artists Records, now owned by the British Charly label, issued a special "sonic boom remix" of Hurricane Fighter Pilot, the first actual song on the album, as a Record Store Day single. The track has long been rumored to have a guest appearance from Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators playing organ.