Sunday, April 12, 2020
Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2016 (starts 4/13/20)
Well, it's time to once again go deep. A majority of this week's tracks have not been heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era in years. In fact, nearly a quarter of them have never been played on the show at all. Also of note is this week's Advanced Psych segment, which features an artists' set from the 1980s version of King Crimson.
Title: Get Back
Source: CD: 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Capitol (original label: Apple)
Get Back was originally released as a single in 1969, and was the first Beatles single to give label credit to a "guest artist" (Billy Preston). This version of the song had reverb added, as well as a coda tacked onto the end of the song (the "Get Back Loretta" section) following a false ending. When Phil Spector was brought in to remix the tapes made for the aborted Get Back album project, he created a new mix without the reverb or coda, but including studio chatter at the beginning and end of the song. This version was used on the Let It Be album, released in 1970. Finally, in 2003, a third version of Get Back was released on the Let It Be...Naked CD. This version was stripped of all studio chatter and reverb, and does not include the coda from the single version.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: River Deep, Mountain High
Source: CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals 1966-1968 (originally released on LP: Love Is)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
The final album by Eric Burdon And The Animals was Love Is, a double-LP released in 1968. By this time the band's lineup had changed considerably from the band Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins had formed in 1967, with guitarist/violinist John Weider the only other original member to still be with them. Joining the three original members were bassist/keyboardist Zoot Money and guitarist Andy Summers, both of whom had been with Dantalian's Chariot (Summers of course would eventually attain star status as a member of the Police). Additionally, the Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt provided background vocals on the album's first track, a seven and a half minute long cover of Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High.
Title: Take It As It Comes
Source: LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band to record for Elektra (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Ain't It Hard
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes got their big break in 1966 when a real estate saleswoman heard them playing in a garage in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and told her friend Dave Hassinger about them. Hassinger was a successful studio engineer (having just finished the Rolling Stones' Aftermath album) who was looking to become a record producer. The Prunes were his first clients, and Hassinger's production style is evident on their debut single. Ain't It Hard had already been recorded by the Gypsy Trips, and the Electric Prunes would move into more psychedelic territory with their next release, the iconic I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).
Title: Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: RCA Victor
The Astronauts were formed in the early 60s in Boulder, Colorado, and were one of the few surf bands to come from a landrocked state. They had a minor hit with an instrumental called Baja during the height of surf's popularity, but were never able to duplicate that success in the US, although they did have considerable success in Japan, even outselling the Beach Boys there. By 1965 they had started to move away from surf music, adding vocals and taking on more of a garage-punk sound. What caught my attention when I first ran across this promo single in a commercial radio station throwaway pile was the song's title. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, written by Tommy Boyce and producer Steve Venet, was featured on the Monkees TV show and was included on their 1966 debut album. This 1965 Astronauts version of the tune has a lot more attitude than the Monkees version. Surprisingly the song didn't hit the US charts, despite being released on the biggest record label in the world (at that time), RCA Victor.
Artist: Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck
Title: One Ring Jane
Source: British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in Canada on LP: Home Grown Stuff)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Sometimes called Canada's most psychedelic band, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in British Columbia in 1967. After recording one unsuccessful single for London, the Duck switched to Capitol Records' Canadian division and scored nationally with the album Home Grown Stuff. After a couple more years spent opening for big name bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple and a couple more albums (on the Capitol-owned Duck Records) the group disbanded, with vocalist/guitarist Donny McDougall joining the Guess Who in 1972.
Artist: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Title: Long Time Gone
Source: CD: Crosby, Stills And Nash
Writer(s): David Crosby
In addition to showcasing some of the most popular bands of 1969, the Woodstock festival helped several relatively new acts attain stardom as well. Among these newer artists were Santana, Ten Years After and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The biggest Woodstock success story, however, was Crosby, Stills and Nash, who appearance at the event was only their second live performance. In addition to the group's live performance, the movie and soundtrack album of the event included the original studio recording of Long Time Gone from the debut Crosby, Stills and Nash LP.
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Itchycoo Park
Source: British import CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Charly (original label: Immediate)
Led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, the Small Faces got their name from the fact that all the members of the band were somewhat vertically challenged. The group was quite popular with the London mod crowd, and was sometimes referred to as the East End's answer to the Who. Although quite successful in the UK, the group only managed to score one hit in the US, the iconic Itchycoo Park, which was released in late 1967. Following the departure of Marriott the group shortened their name to Faces, and recruited a new lead vocalist named Rod Stewart. Needless to say, the new version of the band did much better in the US than their previous incarnation.
Artist: Royal Guardsmen
Source: 45 RPM single B side
The 1960s were a decade of fads, some lasting longer than others. One of the shortest-lived fads of the decade was a series of records by a group called the Royal Guardsmen about the imaginary battles between Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy (from the Peanuts comic strip) and the infamous German WWI ace The Red Baron. The first of these was a million-selling single that went all the way to the #2 spot on the national charts. This led to
an album, also called Snoopy vs. The Red Baron. Both the album and single were released in 1966. 1967 saw the release of a second LP, The Return Of The Red Baron, which spawned three top 100 singles. The second of these was The Airplane Song, which topped out in the #46 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, but was a top 20 hit in Australia and New Zealand. The B side of that single was the instrumental Om. Also taken from The Return Of The Red Baron, Om was written by band members Tom Richards (who played guitar) and organist Billy Taylor. By mid-1967 the novelty had worn off, although their December 1967 single, Snoopy's Christmas, probably gets more airplay these days than any of the original singles.
Title: Dance The Night Away
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
The album Fresh Cream was perhaps the first LP from a rock supergroup, although at the time a more accurate description would have been British blues supergroup. Much of the album was reworking of blues standards by the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, all of whom had established their credentials with various British blues bands. With Disraeli Gears, however, Cream showed a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown.
Artist: Circus Maximus
Title: Travelin' Around
Source: CD: Circus Maximus
Writer: Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village in 1967 by lead guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Bob Bruno (who wrote most of the band's material) and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker, who went on to much greater success as a songwriter after he left the group for a solo career (he wrote the classic Mr. Bojangles, among other things). The lead vocals on the first Circus Maximus LP were split between the two, with one exception: guitarist Peter Troutner shares lead vocal duties with Bruno on the album's opening track, the high-energy Travelin' Around.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer: Grace Slick
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: Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse
Source: Mono LP: What's Shakin'
Writer(s): Robert Johnson
Label: Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
In mid-1966 a curiousity appeared on the record shelves from the critically acclaimed but little known Elektra record label, a New York based company specializing in folk and blues recordings. It was an LP called What's Shakin', and it was basically a collection of mostly unrelated tracks that had been accumulating in Elektra's vaults for several months. Elektra had sent producer Joe Boyd to England to help open a new London office for the label, and while there he made the acquaintance of several local blues musicians, some of which he talked into recording a few songs for Elektra. These included guitarist Eric Clapton (from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers), vocalist Steve Winwood and drummer Pete York (from the Spencer Davis Group), bassist Jack Bruce and harmonica player Paul Jones (from Manfred Mann), and pianist Ben Palmer, a friend of Clapton's who would become a Cream roadie. Recording under the name The Powerhouse, the group recorded four tracks in the studio, three of which were used on What's Shakin' (the fourth, a slow blues, has since gone missing). Possibly the most interesting of the three tracks is Robert Johnson's Crossroads, which Clapton and Bruce would re-record two years later with Cream. Unlike the Cream version, which is more rocked out, the Powerhouse version of Crossroads is much more of a traditional electrical blues piece, fitting in quite nicely with the Butterfield Blues Band tracks on the album.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Source: Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Although never released as a single, Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Watch Yourself
Source: LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s): Robert Yeazel
Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing many of the songs on that album as well.
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question Of Temperature
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
It's not entirely clear whether the Balloon Farm was an actual band or simply an East Coast studio concoction. Regardless, they did manage to successfully cross bubble gum and punk with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to have greater success as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: Elephant Talk
Source: LP: Discipline
Label: Warner Brothers/EG
In 1981, after a seven-year hiatus, Robert Fripp, following up on a series of critically acclaimed solo LPs, unveiled a new version of his legendary band King Crimson. The lineup included drummer Bill Bruford, who had joined the original group in 1972, and two new members: guitarist Adrian Belew, who had been a member of Frank Zappa's band, appearing on the album Shiek Yerbouti, as well as performing onstage with David Bowie and the Talking Heads, and Tony Levin, an in-demand studio musician who helped popularize the Chapman Stick as well as being Peter Gabriel's bassist of choice. The opening track of their first album together, Discipline, was a tune called Elephant Talk, which, with its combination of New Wave rhythms and Fripp's own "Frippertronics" style of guitar and synthesizer playing, gave the band a sound that was considerably different from the original King Crimson.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: Model Man
Source: LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Label: Warner Brothers/EG
The third and final LP of the 1980s version of King Crimson was not as well-received as its predecessors. Three Of A Perfect Pair featured a "left side" made up mostly of relatively commercial songs like Model Man with lyrics by Adrian Belew and music composed by the entire band. The "right" side of the LP featured more free-form improvisation. Robert Fripp, in a radio interview, described the LP's "left" side as "accessible" and its "right" side as "excessive", which seems as good a description of the album as any other.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: Thela Hun Gingeet
Source: LP: Discipline
Writer(s): King Crimson
Label: Warner Brothers/EG
In 1981, after a seven-year hiatus, Robert Fripp decided to reform his old band, the legendary King Crimson. Not content to rehash the past, however, Fripp assembled a new lineup, with only drummer Bill Bruford being retained from any of the band's previous incarnations. Filling out the new lineup were guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew (who had played with Talking Heads and Frank Zappa's band) and bassist Tony Levin, who also played Chapman stick on the album. Probably the most notable track on the album was Thela Hun Gingeet, which opens side two of the original LP. The track features a recording of Belew recounting a rather harrowing experience on the streets of London, where he was attempting to make a field recording. Belew speaks of being harrassed by local Rastafarians, who took exception to a stranger walking around their part of town with a tape recorder, accusing him of being a cop. The song's title is actually an anagram of "heat in the jungle", a slang reference to urban crime.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: From A Buick 6
Source: 45 RPM single B side (promo copy)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Although there were several unissued recordings made during the Highway 61 Revisited sessions, Bob Dylan and his producer, Tom Wilson, chose to instead use one of the already released album tracks as the B side for Positively 4th Street in September of 1965. The chosen track was From A Buick 6, a song that is vintage Dylan through and through.
Artist: Motorcycle Abileen
Title: (You Used To) Ride So High
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Warren Zevon: The First Sessions)
Writer(s): Warren Zevon
Label: Rhino (original label: Varese Sarabande)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2003
One of the ripple effects of the British Invasion was the near-disappearance of the solo artist from the top 40 charts for several years. There were exceptions, of course. Folk singers such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, pop singers such as Jackie DeShannon and Dionne Warwick and more adult-oriented vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin all did reasonably well, but if you wanted to be a rock and roll star you had to have a band. Producers took to creating band names for pieces that were in fact entirely performed by studio musicians, and in a few cases a solo artist would use a band name for his own recordings. One such case is the Motorcycle Abilene, which was in reality producer Bones Howe on various percussion devices working with singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, who sings and plays all non-percussion instruments on (You Used To) Ride So High, a song he wrote shortly after disbanding the duo Lyme And Cybelle (he was Lyme, presumably).
Artist: Left Banke
Title: Pretty Ballerina
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Michael Brown
The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father ran a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.
Source: Mono LP: Them
Writer(s): Van Morrison
Gloria was one of the first seven songs that Van Morrison's band, Them, recorded for the British Decca label on July 5, 1964. Morrison had been performing the song since he wrote it in 1963, often stretching out the performance to twenty minutes or longer. The band's producer, Dick Rowe, brought in session musicians on organ and drums for the recordings, as he considered the band members themselves "inexperienced". The song was released as the B side of Them's first single, Baby Please Don't Go, in November of 1964. The song was also released in the US in early 1965, but was soon banned in most parts of the country for its suggestive lyrics. Later that year a suburban Chicago band, the Shadows Of Knight, released their own version of Gloria. That version, with slight lyrical revisions, became a major hit in 1966.
Artist: Young Rascals
Title: You Better Run
Source: CD: Groovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
The Young Rascals were riding high in 1966, thanks to their second single, Good Lovin', going all the way to the top of the charts early in the year. Rather than to follow up Good Lovin' with another single the band's label, Atlantic, chose to instead release a new album, Collections, on May 10th. This was somewhat unusual for the time, as having a successful single was considered essential to an artist's career, while albums were still viewed as somewhat of a luxury item. Three weeks later, a new non-album single, You Better Run, was released, with a song from Collections, Love Is A Beautiful Thing, as the B side. The stereo version of the song appeared on the 1967 LP Groovin'.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell, disheartened, dissillusioned and/or disgusted, eventually quit the music business altogether.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Playground (remixed instrumental studio outtake)
Source: CD: The Book Of Taliesyn (originally released on LP/CD: Connoisseur Rock Profile Collection Volume One)
Label: Eagle (original label: Connoisseur Collection)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 1989, remixed 2000
In August of 1968, with Shades Of Deep Purple, along with their hit single Hush riding high on the US charts, Deep Purple were preparing to go on their first American tour. The folks at Tetragrammaton Records, however, felt that the band should have a new album to promote on the tour, and so, despite a lack of ready material, Deep Purple returned to the studio to record their second LP, The Book Of Taliesyn. There were a few missteps along the way, of course. On August 18, Nicky Simper tried running his bass guitar through one of Ritchie Blackmore's home made fuzz boxes for a jam session that soon got turned into an actual song called Playground. Despite the band liking the instrumental track they were unable to come up with suitable vocals, and Playground ended up on the shelf for over 20 years. In 1989 the recording was included on a Ritchie Blackmore anthology album for the British Connoisseur Collection label. Finally, in 2000, a remixed version of Playground was included as a bonus track on the CD reissue of The Book Of Taleisyn.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Brave New World
Source: LP: Homer soundtrack (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
Writer(s): Steve Miller
Label: Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
It took the Steve Miller Band half a dozen albums (plus appearances on a couple of movie soundtracks) to achieve star status in the early 1970s. Along the way they developed a cult following that added new members with each successive album. The fourth Miller album was Brave New World, the title track of which was used in the film Homer, a 1970 film that is better remembered for its soundtrack than for the film itself.
Title: The Weaver's Answer
Source: British import CD: Music In A Doll's House/Family Entertainment (originally released on LP: Family Entertainment)
Label: See For Miles (original label: Reprise)
Family was one of those bands that is more heard about than actually heard, mainly due to the presence of Ric Grech, the bassist/violinist who left the group in 1969 to become a member of Blind Faith and later was the bassist for Traffic. The band was originally formed in 1966, and consisted of Roger Chapman (lead vocals) John "Charlie" Whitney (guitar, organ, piano), Jim King (saxophone), Ric Grech (bass, violin) and Harry Ovenall (drums). Following an unsuccessful 1967 single on the Liberty label Ovenall left the group, to be replaced by Rob Townsend. It was this lineup that recorded the band's first two albums for the Reprise label, Music In A Doll's House and Family Entertainment. The Weaver's Answer, the opening track from Family Entertainment, was the band's signature song in concert. On the album the song, about an old man's request to the Weaver of Life to see "the patterns of my life gone by upon your tapestry", is fairly subdued, but both Whitney and Chapman, who wrote the tune, were unhappy with the studio arrangement. As a result, the piece was reworked considerably for live performances, becoming a louder, much harder rocking tune that was often used as the band's show closer.
Artist: Kindred Spirit
Title: Blue Avenue
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side_
Writer(s): Wayne Ulaky
Label: Arf! Arf! (original labels: Moxie and Intrepid)
Known primarily as a flood-prone steel processing center for most of its existence, Johnstown, PA, like many industrial cities, had its own music scene, and for a short time its own local record label in the 1960s. Moxie Records only released two singles, the first being a 1969 cover of the Rolling Stones' Under My Thumb by Kindred Spirit a popular local band consisting of lead vocalist Greg Falvo, guitarists Joe Nemanich and John Galiote, keyboard and keyboard bassist Jim Smedo, drummer Tom "Boots" McCullough and vocalist Carl Mundok. Although most bands got to put an original tune on the B side of singles (so they could collect royalties on record sales), Kindred Spirit instead recorded another cover song, the Beacon Street Union's Blue Avenue for their own single's flipside. As it turned out, Kindred Spirit ended up outlasting Moxie Records after the single was picked up by Mercury Records and released on their new Intrepid subsidiary label in November of 1969. The following year a second Kindred Spirit single, Peaceful Man, was released on Intrepid. As far as I can tell, Peaceful Man was an original tune (lead vocalist Falvo is listed as co-writer), although the B side of that record was a cover of an album track from the first Flock LP.
Artist: Thunderclap Newman
Title: Something In The Air
Source: CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Keen
Label: Polydor (original label: Marmalade)
Thunderclap Newman was actually the creation of the Who's Pete Townshend, who assembled a bunch of studio musicians to work with drummer (and former Who roadie) John "Speedy" Keen. Keen had written Armenia City In The Sky, the opening track on The Who Sell Out, and Townshend set up the studio project to return the favor. Joining Keen were 15-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (who would eventually join Paul McCartney's Wings before dying of a heroin overdose in 1979), studio engineer Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (who had worked with Pink Floyd, among others) on piano, and Townshend himself on bass. Following the success of Something In The Air, the group recorded an album, but sales were disappointing and the group soon disbanded.