Sunday, July 26, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2031 (starts 7/27/20)

    This week's show, like last week's, features mostly sets of songs from specific years. There is also a new Advanced Psych segment featuring tracks that have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era and a set of tunes from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. We finish out the week with a set of tunes from groups that, after a short period of initial popularity, faded from the public eye, only to come back in a big way a few years later.

    Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Good Thing
Source:    Mono CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1967 (originally released on LP: The Spirit Of '67 and as as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Melcher
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    From 1965 to 1967 Paul Revere And The Raiders were on a roll, with a string of six consecutive top 20 singles, four of which made the top 5. Among these was Good Thing, a tune written by lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher (sometimes referred to as the "fifth Raider"). The song first appeared on the Spirit Of  '67 LP in 1966, and was released as a single late that year. The song ended up being the Raiders' second biggest hit, peaking at # 4 in early 1967.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Fancy
Source:    CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released on LP: Face To Face)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    One of the best albums in the Kinks library is Face To Face. Released in 1966, the album features such classics and Sunny Afternoon and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, as well as some lesser-known (yet excellent) tracks such as Fancy, a personal favorite of songwriter Ray Davies, who recalls coming with the song late one night on his old Framus guitar. My first guitar was a Framus, but I sure didn't come up with anything remotely as cool as Fancy on it.

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    I Can Take You To The Sun
Source:    British import CD: Before The Dream Faded (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hill/Brown
Label:    Cherry Red (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1966
    The story of the legendary band the Misunderstood actually started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most of the bands at the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock and roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, an Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were eventually joined by Ravencroft himself, who changed his name to John Peel and became arguably the most famous DJ in the history of British rock radio. Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. Problems having nothing to do with music soon derailed the Misunderstood, who found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Tried To Hide
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Hall/Sutherland
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    The first known use of the word "psychedelic" in an album title was The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, released on the Houston-based International Artists label in August of 1966. The album itself is notable for its inclusion of electric jug (played by Tommy Hall), and for the band's only charted single, You're Gonna Miss Me. The B side of that single was Tried To Hide, written by Hall and guitarist Stacy Sutherland.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    United Artists (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of the Cream classic White Room, clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.

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

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Portable People
Source:    CD: Ten Years After (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    Following the release of the 1967 debut LP, Ten Years After got to work on what was to be a followup album. These plans got sidetracked, however, when it was decided that their second LP would be made up of live performances taped at a London club near a recording studio. This left the band with several finished studio recordings, many of which were the same songs that would appear on the live Undead album. Two of the other unused studio tracks became the band's first US single, the A side of which was a tune called Portable People. This song remained unavailable in any other form for several years, finally appearing as a bonus track on the CD version of their first album.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Harvey's Tune
Source:    CD: Super Session
Writer(s):    Harvey Brooks
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Probably the most overlooked track on the classic Super Session LP is the album's closer, a two-minute instrumental called Harvey's Tune. The piece was written by bassist Harvey Brooks, who, along with Mike Bloomfield, had been a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and later, the Electric Flag.

Artist:    United States Of America
Title:    The American Way Of Love
Source:    CD: The United States Of America
Writer(s):    Byrd/Moskowitz/Forbes/Woodson/Marron
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Joseph Byrd was a member of New York's early 1960s avant-garde scene, and was already a respected and innovative experimental music composer when he and Dorothy Moskowitz relocated to Los Angeles in late 1963. Once in L.A. he co-founded the New Music Workshop with jazz trumpeter Don Ellis, and soon began incorporating elements of performance art into the events the workshop sponsored. In 1965 Byrd formed a blues band, fronted by his friend Linda Ronstadt, to play during a local "happening". Byrd later said that "the realization that rock was an access to a larger public came out of that concert, and the idea of forming a band began taking shape." That band came to be called the United States Of America. According to Byrd "Using the full name of the country for something so common as a rock group was a way of expressing disdain for governmental policy. It was like hanging the flag upside down." The thing is, neither Byrd, Moskowitz, or any of the other band members (who were all from the west coast experimental music community) had any experience with rock music itself. This left them in a position to literally start from scratch, as can be heard on the final, and longest, track of their self-titled LP, released in 1968. The American Way Of Life is actually a medley of three pieces; the first two, Metaphor For An Older Man and California Good-time Music, were composed solely by Byrd. The final section of the work, Love Is All (which includes a collage of earlier tracks from the album), was credited to the entire band, which at that point included Rand Forbes, Craig Woodson, Gordon Marron and (on some tracks) Ed Bogas, in addition to Byrd and Moskowitz. Internal differences, both personal and musical, caused the United States Of America to break up shortly after the release of their only LP, with Byrd going on to create a second LP for Columbia called The American Metaphysical Circus, which came out on Columbia's Masterworks classic label and stayed in print for decades. Moskowitz eventually became a member of Country Joe McDonald's All-Star band, while other band members went on to various musical and/or electronics projects.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).

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

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

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original labels: USA/Uni)
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Because
Source:    CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1969
    Take Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Turn a few notes around, add some variations and write some lyrics. Add the Beatles' unmistakeable multi-part harmonies and you have John Lennon's Because, from the Abbey Road album. A simply beautiful recording.

Artist:    Scarlet Letter
Title:    Timekeeper
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Seanor/Spindler
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1969
    One of the Detroit music scene's most overlooked bands, the Scarlet Letter released three singles for Bob Shad's Mainstream label. The best of these was a tune called Mary Maiden, with the equally strong Timekeeper on the flip side. The group also released a single on the Time label (a subsidiary of Mainstream) using the name Paraphernalia in 1968.

Artist:    Koobas
Title:    Barricades
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released on LP: Koobas)
Writer(s):    Ellis/Stratton-Smith/Leathwood
Label:    EMI (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    The Koobas were a Merseybeat band that never managed to achieve the level of success enjoyed by bands such as the Beatles or Gerry and the Pacemakers, despite having the patronage of Beatles manager Brian Epstein and even appearing in the film Ferry Across The Mersey.  They did record several singles for both Pye and Columbia, but with little to show for it. Nonetheless, EMI, the parent company of Columbia, commissioned an entire album from the band in 1969. Among the standout tracks from that self-titled LP was the five-minute long Barricades, a track that starts with a Motown beat, but before long morphs into a chaotic portrait of riot and revolution, complete with anarchic sound effects.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    (I've Been) Lonely Too Long
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Collections and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Felix Cavalier
Label:    Priority (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1967
            The Young Rascals got off to a great start with Good Lovin' in 1966, but their next two singles were unable to crack the tp 20, and for a while it looked like the Rascals might end up being one-hit wonders. Then, in 1967, the Collections album was released, and the group's fortunes took a turn for the better. The first hit of the year was (I've Been) Lonely Too Long, a tune that went a long way toward establishing the Young Rascals as the premier "blue-eyed soul" band in the nation. Several more hits followed over the next two years, including People Got To Be Free, one of the most iconic songs of 1968.
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Don't Sneeze On Me
Source:    CD: WaS
Writer(s):    Steve Kara
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2014
    Following the death of bassst Mark Tulin in 2011, the remaining members of the Electric Prunes took a hiatus, returning to the stage in 2013 and releasing a final album, WaS, in May of 2014. Most of the original tunes on WaS are collaborations between Tulin and lead vocalist James Lowe, but other band members such as Steve Kara also contributed songs. Kara's Don't Sneeze On Me is probably the closest the Prunes ever came to recording a pure punk-rock song.

Artist:    Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Title:    Low Interest
Source:    LP: Tasting The Sea
Writer(s):    Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Label:    10 GeV
Year:    2018
    The city of San Francisco seems to produce more than its share of bands that go out of their way to maintain their anonymity. In the early 1970s the Residents even recorded an album called Not Available, intending to not release it until all of the band members had forgotten about its existence (it eventually got released in 1978 during a creative dry spell). These days the San Francisco anonymous band torch is carried by Vertacyn Arc Materializer, a band that is just as hard to describe as the Residents themselves. Their second LP, Tasting The Sea, is only available on Vinyl, and it's packaging is nothing less than spectacular. The front cover is the famous Rolling Stones "mouth" logo dissected by an actual zipper, mimicking the Stones' own Sticky Fingers cover, against a stark white background. Opening the zipper reveals a "circle c" copyright symbol. The back cover featuring "portraits" of each of the four band members: the Starbucks logo (bass, guitar), the US $20 bill version of President Andrew Jackson (drums, trumpet), Marilyn (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Homeland Security, represented by a snarling wolf (vocals, keyboards, guitar). There's even more fun stuff on the inside of the gatefold cover, but I'll let you find your own copy to check it out yourself (if you can find one; apparently there were only 500 pressed). Musically, Vertacyn Arc Materializer is harder to describe; I'd put them with bands like Killing Joke and Nine Inch Nails, with a little Pere Ubu thrown in, but even that comparison falls short of the reality of Low Interest, one of the grungier tracks from Tasting The Sea.

Artist:    Psychedelic Furs
Title:    Sister Europe
Source:    LP: The Psychedelic Furs
Writer(s):    Psychedelic Furs
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1980
            Initially consisting of Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass guitar), Duncan Kilburn (saxophone), Paul Wilson (drums) and Roger Morris (guitars), the Psychedelic Furs were formed in 1977 under the name RKO. They soon began calling themselves Radio, then did gigs under two different names, the Europeans and the Psychedelic Furs. By 1979 they had settled on the latter name and expanded to a sextet, adding guitarist John Ashton and replacing Wilson with Vince Ely on drums. The Furs' self-titled debut album, released in 1980, was an immediate hit in Europe and the UK, but airplay in the US was limited mostly to college radio and "alternative" rock stations. The second single released from the album was Sister Europe, a tune that was also  the band's concert opener in the early days of their existence. The Psychedelic Furs' greatest claim to fame, however, is probably the song Pretty In Pink. Originally released on their second album, Talk Talk Talk, in 1981, the song was re-recorded for the John Hughes film of the same name in 1986. One of the more overlooked songs on the first Psychedelic Furs LP is Wedding Song, with its repeated use of the phrase "we're useless". Make of that what you will.

Artist:    Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Title:    Lonely Leaf
Source:    CD: The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy (original LP: The Great Conspiracy)
Writer(s):    John Merrill
Label:    Collectables (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    For their second Columbia LP, The Great Conspiracy, the members of L.A.'s Peanut Butter Conspiracy were given greater artistic freedom by producer Gary Usher, who was already working on his own Millennium project at this point. The biggest change was the fact that there were no studio musicians used on the album, which resulted in a record much more in sync with the band's live sound. The album is full of strong tracks such as Lonely Leaf, which, like about half the songs on the LP, was written by lead guitarist John Merrill.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    One of the most durable songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Ruby Tuesday was originally intended to be the B side of their 1967 single Let's Spend The Night Together. Many stations, however, balked at the subject matter of the A side and began playing Ruby Tuesday instead, which is somewhat ironic considering speculations as to the subject matter of the song (usually considered to be about a groupie of the band's acquaintance, although Mick Jagger has said it was about Keith Richards' ex-girlfriend).

Artist:     Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:     Down On Me
Source:     CD: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Writer:     Trad. Arr. Joplin
Label:     Columbia/Legacy (original label: Mainstream)
Year:     1967
     Big Brother And The Holding Company's first album, featuring the single Down On Me, was recorded in 1967 at the studios of Mainstream Records, a medium-sized Chicago label known for its jazz recordings. At the time, Mainstream's engineers had no experience with a rock band, particularly a loud one like Big Brother, and vainly attempted to clean up the band's sound as best they could. The result was an album full of relatively sterile recordings sucked dry of the energy that made Big Brother and the Holding Company one of the top live attractions of its time. Probably the stongest track on the album was lead vocalist Janis Joplin's arrangement of Down On Me, a "freedom song" dating back at least to the 1920s that Mainstream issued as a single during the Summer of Love. The song almost made the top 40 charts, peaking at #42.

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

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Spanish Castle Magic
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, came out it was hailed as a masterpiece of four-track engineering. Working closely with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix used the recording studio itself as an instrument, making an art form out of the stereo mixing process. The unfortunate by-product of this is that most of the songs on the album could not be played live and still sound anything like the studio version. One notable exception is Spanish Castle Magic, which became a more or less permanent part of the band's performing repertoire.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    I Don't Live Today
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    I remember a black light poster that choked me up the first time I saw it in early 1971. It was a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with the caption I Don't Live Today. I don't believe Hendrix was being deliberately prophetic when he wrote and recorded this classic track for the Are You Experienced album, but it occasionally gives me chills to hear it, even now.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Signed D.C.
Source:    German import CD: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Warner Strategic Marketing
Year:    1966
    The only acoustic track on the first Love album was Signed D.C., a slow ballad in the tradition of House of the Rising Sun. The song takes the form of a letter penned by a heroin addict, and the imagery is both stark and disturbing. Although Lee was known to occasionally say otherwise, the song title probably refers to Love's original drummer Don Conka, who left the band before their first recording sessions due to (you guessed it) heroin addiction.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    The Night
Source:    LP: Days Of Future Passed
Writer(s):    Redwave/Knight
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    When the year 1967 started, the Moody Blues were still considered a one-hit wonder for their song Go Now, which had topped the British charts in 1965 and gone into the top 10 in the US as well. None of their follow-up singles had charted in the US, although they did manage to hit the #22 spot in the UK with From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You). Despite still being a solid live draw, the group had pretty much dissolved by autumn of 1966. In November of that year the band reformed, with two new members, John Lodge and Justin Hayward, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge. At this point they were in debt to their record company (British Decca), and agreed to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony for the company's new Deram label, working with Peter Knight and various Decca studio musicians known informally as the London Festival Orchestra. The project was soon abandoned, but the Moodys convinced Knight to collaborate with the band to record an album of the own original material. That album was Days Of Future Passed, which rose to the #27 spot on the British charts (and five years later made the top 5 on the US album charts). The album was divided into several suites, each representing a particular time of day, with Knight's orchestral compositions linking the various songs together. Although initially only one song (Tuesday Afternoon) was issued as a single, eventually Nights In White Satin, in edited form, became an international hit. The song is part of the album's final suite, The Night, that consists of Hayward's Nights In White Satin, Late Lament (a poem written by Edge and spoken by Pinder) and Knight's closing orchestral passage, Resolvement. By 1972 the original master tape of Days Of Future Passed had deteriorated to the point that a new mix was made from the original multi-track tape. This mix was used for all subsequent pressings of Days Of Future Passed, including this 1981 Mobile Fidelity pressing of the LP. In 2017 a pristine copy of the original LP was found, and a new master tape was created from that copy, although I have not yet heard it. Apparently there are some differences between the two, including extra measures of music here and there that were left out of the newer mix.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    Changes
Source:    CD: Odessey And Oracle
Writer(s):    Chris White
Label:    Varese Sarabande (original label: Date)
Year:    1968
    Like the Moody Blues, the Zombies were a band that enjoyed early success with an international hit single (She's Not There), but were unable to place any of their follow-up singles on the top 40 charts. A change of labels in 1967, however, gave them the opportunity to record an album made up entirely of original material. The result was the 1968 LP Odessey And Oracle. Although it was largely overlooked at the time of its release, it has since become one of the most acclaimed albums of all time, ranking at #100 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time List. Because of a tight budget, the LP was made over a period of months beginning in June of 1967, with the final song, Changes, recorded on November 7th. A little more than a month later, with morale at a low point, the Zombies officially disbanded, four months before the LP was released in the UK. Columbia Records initially chose not to release the album in the US at all, but after Al Kooper, who was a staff producer for the label at the time, heard the album on a trip to London, he convinced his bosses to release Odessey And Oracle on Columbia's little-known Date subsidiary.

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     Undun
Source:     Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Randy Bachman
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1969
     Following the release of the Wheatfield Soul album (and the hit single These Eyes), RCA tied the Guess Who down to a long-term contract. One of the stipulations of that contract was that the band would make subsequent recordings at RCA's own studios. After recording the tracks for their follow-up album, Canned Wheat, the band members felt that the sound at RCA was inferior to that of A&R studios, where they had recorded Wheatfield Soul, and secretly re-recorded a pair of tunes at A&R and submitted dubs of the tapes to RCA. The tunes, Laughing and Undun, were issued as a double-sided single in 1969, with both sides getting a decent amount of airplay. Once word got out that the songs had been recorded in a non-RCA studio, the label realized the error of their ways and relaxed the exclusivity policy, although not in time for the band to re-record the rest of the album.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2031 (starts 7/27/20)

    This week's show is solid rock (well, except for the fourth chapter in the Firesign Theatre's Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra), with some more progressive stuff toward the end of the hour, highlighted by The Battle Of Epping Forest from the 1973 Genesis album Selling England By The Pound.
Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Down On The Corner
Source:    LP: Willy and the Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    By mid-1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the hottest acts in the country. Their three most recent singles had all just barely missed hitting the top of the charts, each peaking at the # 2 spot and just about everyone was looking forward to hearing their next record. That record was the Willy And The Poor Boys album, which included the band's first double A sided single, Down On The Corner and Fortunate Son. Both songs ended up near the top of the charts, peaking guessed it: number two.

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

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Country Road
Source:    CD: Survival
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1971
    The desire for simplicity in a complicated world was the inspiration for Country Road, a Mark Farner composition that opened the 1971 Grand Funk Railroad album Survival. The album itself has a bit of a different sound from the band's three previous studio LPs. In part this was due to Cleveland Recording having to relocate a few blocks from their original location shortly after the band's previous album, Closer To Home, was recorded. Although Cleveland's engineer did his best to recreate the atmosphere of the original studio, the acoustics were not quite the same. Country Road, however, comes closer to recreating the classic Grand Funk sound than any other song on the album.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Tumbling Dice
Source:    Mono 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1972
    The lead single from what is sometimes cited as the Rolling Stones' greatest album, Exile On Main Street, Tumbling Dice was a top 10 single on both sides of the Atlantic, hitting #5 in the UK and #7 in the US. The song started off as a piece called Good Time Woman, but was reworked on August 4, 1971, with a new intro riff and a bass track played by Mick Taylor (Bill Wyman being away from the studio at the time the track was recorded).

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    Orly
Source:    45 RPM promo single       
Writer(s):    Burton Cummings
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1973
    By 1973 the Guess Who had gone through several personnel changes, with only vocalist/keyboardist Burton Cummings and drummer Garry Peterson left from the band that had hit it big with songs like These Eyes and American Woman. The rest of the band included lead guitarist Kurt Winter, rhythm guitarist Donnie McDougall and bassist Bill Wallace. Orly is pretty much a straight 50s style rock 'n' roll song that takes advantage of more modern recording technology.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Part Two: Chicago; Chapter 4: Where Did Jonas Go When The Lights Went Out
Source:    LP: The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra
Writer(s):    Procter/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1974
    The second half of the Firesign Theatre's Sherlock Holmes parody, The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra, takes place in Chicago rather than London, and introduces several new characters, including the foul-tempered Chicago PD Chief O'Moriartyo and radio reporter Joe Beets (a name previously used on the album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers). It opens with Jonas Acme expressing his displeasure over having his plans disrupted by the theft of his rod.

Artist:    Ted Nugent
Title:    Snakeskin Cowboys
Source:    LP: Ted Nugent
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Epic
Year:    1975
    Citing a lack of discipline among band members, Ted Nugent left the Amboy Dukes in 1975 and spent a few months away from the music business. Upon his return he formed a new band consisting of himself on lead guitar, Derek St. Holmes on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Grange on bass and Cliff Davies on drums. Nugent's first solo LP was an instant hit, going into the top 30 on the album charts and eventually going triple platinum. With one exception, all of the songs on the album, including Snakeskin Cowboys, are credited solely to Nugent, although St. Holmes later claimed that all the tracks were actually written by the entire band and that Nugent had taken solo credit to avoid paying the other band members royalties. St. Holmes would end up leaving the band the following year midway through the recording of Nugent's second solo LP, Free-For-All.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Battle Of Epping Forest
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    Although sometimes criticized for making their music overly complicated at times (such as on The Battle Of Epping Forest), there is no doubting the thought and effort (not to mention outstanding musicianship) put forth by Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins on the album Selling England By The Pound. Released in 1973, the LP focuses on the loss of traditional English culture and the increasing "Americanization" of the United Kingdom in the last half of the 20th century. The Battle Of Epping Forest was actually inspired by a newspaper article about gang violence in London's East end that Gabriel had read several years earlier. When Gabriel was unable to locate a copy of the article he created new characters to populate the song (and of course the band's legendary stage show).

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Conquistador (live)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Although Conquistador was originally recorded for the first Procol Harum album in 1967, it was the 1972 live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that became one of the band's biggest hits, second only to A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Artist:      Uriah Heep
Title:     Tales
Source:      European import CD: The Magician's Birthday
Writer:    Ken Hensley
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Mercury)
Year:     1972
     Uriah Heep is generally remembered for two albums that appeared in 1972: Demons and Wizards and The Magicians's Birthday. Although Demons and Wizards had a great title track, and included the hit single Easy Livin', The Magician's Birthday overall had a stronger lineup of songs, including Tales, written by keyboardist Ken Hensley.

Artist:    Premiata Forneria Marconi
Title:    Mr. 9 'Till 5
Source:    European import CD: Photos Of Ghosts
Writer(s):    Mussida/Premoli/Sinfield
Label:    RCA (original label: Manticore)
Year:    1973
    Premiata Forneria Marconi was already popular in their native Italy when Greg Lake, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, got them signed to Manticore Records, a label created by ELP. Their first English language album was Photos Of Ghosts, which featured songs from their most recent LP, Per Un Amico, with new English lyrics. Mr. 9 'Till 5 was originally an instrumental called Generale that ended up being one of the most popular songs on Photos of Ghosts and a concert staple for the band.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2030 (starts 7/20/20)

    This week we take a quick run through the years 1964-1969 one song at a time, getting more obscure as we go. From there, we have several year-specific sets leading up to a special presentation of a recording made in June of 1969 by a trio that were not yet calling themselves Hot Tuna, recorded live by the legendary Owsley Stanley. Our final segment includes some interesting cover songs, as well as an artists' set from Paul Revere And The Raiders.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Things We Said Today
Source:    Mono CD: A Hard Day's Night (originally released in US on LP: Something New)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1964
    Although written by Paul McCartney for the soundtrack of the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, Things We Said Today was not used in the movie itself. It did appear, along with five other songs cut from the film, on the original British version of the movie's soundtrack album. In the US, however, the soundtrack for the movie was issued on the United Artists label, and included (with one exception) only songs that were actually used in the film. The remaining five songs were released on a US-only LP called Something New.

Artist:    Mouse And The Traps
Title:    A Public Execution
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Henderson/Weiss
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Year:    1965
    It's easy to imagine some kid somewhere in Texas inviting his friends over to hear the new Bob Dylan record, only to reveal afterwards that it wasn't Dylan at all, but this band he heard while visiting his cousins down in Tyler. Speaking of cousins, A Public Execution was inspired by a misunderstanding concerning a cousin and a motorcycle ride. According to Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss, his fiancee actually broke up with him after getting word that Mouse had been seen giving an attractive girl a ride. It turned out the attractive girl in question was his cousin from across the state who had come for a visit, but by the time the truth came out Weiss and his band had their first of many regional hit records.

Artist:     Bobby Fuller Four
Title:     Baby My Heart
Source:     Mono CD: I Fought The Law: The Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four (originally released in Germany on CD: The Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four)
Writer:     Sonny Curtis
Label:     Rhino (original label: Ace)
Year:     Recorded 1966; released 1992.
     The Bobby Fuller Four perfected their blend of rock and roll and Tex-Mex in their native El Paso before migrating out to L.A. After scoring a huge hit with I Fought The Law, Fuller was found dead in his hotel room of unnatural causes. Baby My Heart, recorded in 1966 but not released until 1992, when it appeared unheralded on a German compilation of Fuller's work, is an indication of what might have been had Fuller lived long enough to establish himself further.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    C.T.A.-102
Source:    Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Hippard
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Roger McGuinn of the Byrds always exhibited an interest in the subject of extraterrestrial life. C.T.A.-102, from the Younger Than Yesterday album, addresses this subject from the angle of aliens tuning in to earth broadcasts to learn our language and culture and finding themselves exposed to rock and roll (and apparently liking it). The song was co-written by McGuinn's like-minded friend, Bob Hippard.

Artist:        Randy Newman
Title:        Last Night I Had A Dream
Source:      Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:        Randy Newman
Label:        Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:        1968
        Randy Newman has, over the course of the past fifty-plus years, established himself as a Great American Writer of Songs. His work includes dozens of hit singles (over half of which were performed by other artists), nearly two dozen movie scores and eleven albums as a solo artist. Newman has won five Grammys, as well as two Oscars and Three Emmys. Last Night I Had A Dream was Newman's second single for the Reprise label  (his third overall), coming out the same year as his first LP, which did not include the song.

Artist:    Inner Light
Title:    Temptation
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Dick Steffes
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Century)
Year:    1969
    You probably wouldn't expect a recording by a band from a farming community named Page, North Dakota, to be very psychedelic, even if the band's name was the Inner Light. And indeed, if you only heard the A side of this band's only single, you'd be absolutely right. The B side, however, the fuzztone flavored Temptation, is another story altogether. The record was one of the few freestanding releases by the Century Custom Recording Service, which usually released made to order records by school orchestras, church groups and the US military.

Artist:    Humane Society
Title:    Knock Knock
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Minnick/Wheetman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
    The Humane Society, from Simi Valley, California, formed in 1965 as the Innocents. The band featured singer/guitarist Danny Wheetman, lead guitarist Jim Pettit, rhythm guitarist Woody Minnick, bassist Richard Majewski, and drummer Bill Schnetzler. As was often the case, The A side of the group's first single was chosen by the band's producers, while the band itself provided the B side. In this case that B side was Knock Knock, a classic piece of garage-punk that far outshines the now-forgottten A side of the record.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Fire
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    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. Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener. In 1969, two years after its original UK appearance on the mono LP Are You Experienced, the stereo remix of Fire from the US version of the album (which had never been released outside of the US and Canada) was issued in the UK, along with a handful of European countries and New Zealand, as a single called Let Me Light Your Fire.
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 a group of immigrants calling themselves the Easybeats. Often referred to as the "Australian Beatles", their early material sounded like slightly dated British Beat music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British). By late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch 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:    Kinks
Title:    Autumn Almanac
Source:    CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Due to being banned from performing in the US by the American Federation of Musicians from 1965-1969, none of the Kinks' 1967 singles charted in the US, despite being major hits in their native UK. One example is Autumn Almanac, a gentle yet provocative tune that peaked in the #3 spot on the British charts. The song, which came out as a non-album single following the release of the album Something Else, is seen as a stylistic precursor of the band's 1968 LP The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. After the Kinks switched US labels from Reprise to RCA Victor in 1971, the former label included the stereo mix of Autumn Almanac on the two-disc compilation LP The Kink Kronikles, released in 1972.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    I Don't Want To Spoil Your Party (alternate version of Dino's Song)
Source:    CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (originally released on CD: Unreleased Quicksilver)
Writer(s):    Dino Valenti
Label:    RockBeat (original label: Capitol)
Year:    Recorded 1968, alternate version released 2000)
    A few years back I picked up the DVD collector's edition of the telefilm that DA Pennebacker made of the Monterey International Pop Festival. In addition to the film itself there were two discs of bonus material, including a song by Quicksilver Messenger Service that was listed under the title All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was Love You). I spent some time trying to figure out which album the song had originally appeared on, but came up empty until I got a copy of the first Quicksilver album and discovered it was actually called Dino's song. The album version has a definite garage sound to it, similar to the classic Van Morrison song Gloria. In 2000 Collector's Choice released a compilation of previously unheard Quicksilver tracks, including this alternate version of Dino's Song that uses yet another title: I Don't Want To Spoil Your Party. This version has a more country-rock sound to it than the original LP version. I suspect the confusion in song titles is connected to the origins of the band itself, which was the brainchild of Dino Valenti and John Cipollina (and possibly Gary Duncan). The day after their first practice session Valenti got busted and spent the next few years in jail for marijuana possession. My theory is that this was an untitled song that Valenti showed Cippolina at that first practice. Since it probably still didn't have a title when the group performed the song at Monterey, the filmmakers used the most repeated line from the song itself, All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was Love You). When the band recorded their first LP in 1968 they just called it Dino's Song. Presumably by the time this alternate version was released in 2000 Valenti had come up with an official title, I Don't Want To Spoil Your Party. If anyone knows of another explanation, please pass it along.

Artist:     Beacon Street Union
Title:     Sadie Said No
Source:     British import CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union/The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer(s):     Ulaky/Wright
Label:     See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     By the time The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union LP was released the band had already relocated to New York. That didn't stop executives from M-G-M from including the Union as part of its "Bosstown Sound" promotion. In the short term it may have generated some interest, but it was soon clear that the "Bosstown Sound" was empty hype, which in the long run hurt the band's credibility. This is a shame, since the music on The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union is actually quite listenable, as can be heard on the tongue-in-cheek Sadie Said No, which opens the LP's second side.

Artist:    The Doors
Title:    Wild Child
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Although The Soft Parade is generally considered the weakest of all the Jim Morrison era Doors albums, it did have a couple of notable songs on it. Touch Me was a major hit for the band, and its B side, Wild Child, has long been a fan favorite. In fact, the band even made a video for Wild Child, something not commonly done for a B side.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Amphetamine Gazelle
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Mad River)
Writer:    Lawrence Hammond
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 acid was no longer the drug of choice on the streets of San Francisco. In its place, crystal meth was beginning to dominate the scene, with a corresponding increase in ripoffs and burns. The local musicians often reflected this change, with some, such as Canned Heat, declaring that Speed Kills and moving south to Laurel Canyon. Others, such as Mad River (originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, but Bay Area residents since early 1967), attempted to use ridicule to combat the problem, but with no appreciable success (speed freaks not being known for their sense of humor, or any other kind of sense for that matter).

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Why Can't You Give Me What I Want
Source:    LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer(s):    Dawes/Friedland
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The Cyrkle was originally a frat-rock band from Easton, Pennsylvania called the Rhondells consisting of Don Danneman on guitar, Tom Dawes on bass, Marty Freid on drums and Earl Pickens on keyboards. In 1965, while playing gigs in Atlantic City they hooked up with a new manager, Brian Epstein, who promptly renamed them the Cyrkle (the odd spelling provided by John Lennon, a member of another band managed by Epstein). Under the new name and management, the band soon found themselves opening for the Beatles (on their last North American tour) and scoring a top 5 hit with Red Rubber Ball in the summer of 1966. The hit single was soon followed by an album of the same name that included a mix of cover tunes and Cyrkle originals such as Why Can't You Give Me What I Want. It was a volatile time in the pop music world, however, and the Cyrkle soon found themselves sounding a bit dated, and by 1968, after one more LP and a series of singles, each of which did successively worse on the charts than the previous one, the band decided to throw in the towel and become commercial jingle writers. Well, a couple of them (Danneman and Dawes) did, at any rate. Remember "pop pop fizz fizz"? How about the 7-Up theme? Both came from former members of the Cyrkle.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Think
Source:    British import LP: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original US label: London)
Year:    1966
    The 1966 album Aftermath marked a turning point for the Rolling Stones, as it was the first Stones album to be entirely made up of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Although, as with all the early Stones releases, there were differences between the US and UK versions of the album, both releases included Think, a song that is fairly representative of the mid-60s Rolling Stones sound.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     Sunshine Superman
Source:     CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released in edited form on 45 RPM vinyl)
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     Sony Music Special Products (original label: Epic)
Year:     1966
     Donovan's hugely successful Sunshine Superman is sometimes credited as being the tsunami that launched the wave of psychedelic music that washed over the shores of pop musicland in 1967. OK, I made that up, but the song really did change the direction of American pop as well as Donovan's own career. Originally released as a three and a quarter minute long single, the full unedited four and a half minute long stereo mix of the song heard here did not appear on vinyl until Donovan's 1969 Greatest Hits album.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    That's Not Me
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    The Beach Boys were about as mainstream as bands like Love and the Music Machine were underground, yet Brian Wilson was turning out music every bit as original as any of the club bands in town. The album Pet Sounds is considered one of the masterpieces of the era, with the majority of songs, including That's Not Me, written by Wilson with lyrics by Tony Asher.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Cold Rain And Snow (instrumental version)
Source:    Mono CD: Birth Of The Dead (originally released on CD: The Golden Road (1965-1973) box set)
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Grateful Dead
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     Recorded 1966, released 2003
    Although credited to the entire band on the first Grateful Dead album, Cold Rain And Snow is actually a traditional folk song that dates back at least 100 years. The song first appeared in print in a 1917 compilation called English Folk Song from the Southern Appalachians, with a note that it was collected from Mrs. Tom Rice from Big Laurel, NC in 1916. In 1965 Dillard Chandler recorded a version of the song which he claimed was based on events that happened in Madison County, NC in 1911. Chandler's version is notable in that it expanded on the song's basic theme of a man working himself to death to satisfy a greedy wife into a full-blown tale of murder, complete with trial. Several variations of the song have appeared over the years, including one by Obray Ramsey that was the inspiration for the Grateful Dead version. The Dead first recorded Cold Rain And Snow for Scorpio Records, a local San Francisco label that also had the Golliwogs (later Creedence Clearwater Revival) on its roster. Of six songs recorded in June of 1966, only two were issued. The remaining tracks, including Cold Rain And Snow, remained unreleased until 2001, when they were included in The Golden Road (1965-1973) box set. The version heard here is the instrumental backing track from that session.

Artist:    Rare Earth
Title:    What'd I Say
Source:    European import CD: The Collection (originally released on LP: One World)
Writer(s):    Ray Charles
Label:    Spectrum/Motown/Universal (original label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1971
    Following the departure of guitarist Rod Richards and keyboardist Kenny James in 1971, Rare Earth recruited Ray Monette and Mark Olson, respectively, as their replacements, and got to work on an album called One World. The opening track is an extensively rearranged version of the Ray Charles classic What'd I Say. To be honest, without knowing that ahead of time I never would have guessed that they were the same song.

Artist:    Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady with Joey Covington
Title:    Through The Golden Gate
Source:    CD: Before We Were Them: June 28,1969
Writer(s):    Casady/Kaukonen
Label:    Bear's Sonic Journals
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2018
    "We had it all going on, what musicians and artists throughout time have hoped to have-places to play and experiment and audiences that were with you as you explored and developed" These words by Jack Casady from the liner notes of the third release in the Bear's Sonic Journals series are perhaps the best description of the psychedelic era that I have ever run across. By mid-1969 Jefferson Airplane had already hit their creative peak as a band and the band members were starting to move in different musical directions. One of these directions, taken by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady, would result in the creation of a new band, Hot Tuna, that would make its official debut later in the year. In June, however, it was simply Jorma and Jack, along with Joey Covington, who would eventually become Jefferson Airplane's drummer. The trio did a series of gigs from June 27-29, including a show at the Vets Memorial Building in Santa Rosa, Ca. that was recorded by the legendary Owsley Stanley. In addition to blues standards like Rock Me Baby and Airplane songs like Star Track, the gig included several improvisational pieces that remained untitled until the release of a CD called Before We Were Them: June 28,1969. Through The Golden Gate is the longest of these improvisational instrumentals.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Summertime
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Gershwin/Heyward
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Janis Joplin, on the 1968 Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, sounds like she was born to sing Gershwin's Summertime. Maybe she was.

Artist:    Buckinghams
Title:    I'll Be Back
Source:    LP: Time And Charges
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    I have a confession to make: I've had a copy of the Buckinghams' 1967 Columbia debut LP since the late 1970s, when I found it at a thrift store near the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. All this time I thought the name of the album was Time And Changes. In early 2018 I realized that the actual title of the album is Time And Charges. It says so right on the label. And the front cover. And the spine of the album cover, for that matter. No idea how I missed that. Anyway, the album, despite being fairly light pop for the most part, does have some interesting tracks, such as a cover of the Beatles' I'll Be Back which was arranged for the band by producer James William Guercio, whose interest in rock bands with a horn section would lead him to produce the second (and most successful) Blood, Sweat & Tears album, as well as all the early Chicago LPs.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    With the exception of three short audio bridges between songs on side two of the original LP (none of which exceed 23 seconds in length), the entire first Vanilla Fudge album was made up of heavily rearranged cover songs. Among them was a slowed down, psychedelic prog-rock version of She's Not There. Although it is one of the more overlooked songs from the Vanilla Fudge catalog, it is a unique take on the Zombies classic.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     Life Is Just A Cher O'Bowlies
Source:     CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
Writer:     Gilbert/Scala/Theilhelm
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1967
     Although not as big a seller as their first LP (probably due to a lack of a major hit single), Electric Comic Book is nonetheless one of the great psychedelic albums. Life Is Just a Cher-O'-Bowlies, with its tongue in cheek approach, is about as typical a Blues Magoos song as anything this New York band ever recorded.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Good Thing
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Spirit Of '67
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Melcher
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    From 1965 to 1967 Paul Revere And The Raiders were on a roll, with a string of six consecutive top 20 singles, four of which made the top 5. Among these was Good Thing, a tune written by lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher (sometimes referred to as the "fifth Raider"). The song first appeared on the Spirit Of  '67 LP in 1966, and was released as a single late that year. The song ended up being the Raiders' second biggest hit, peaking at # 4 in early 1967.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Just Seventeen
Source:    CD: The Legend Of Paul Revere (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mark Lindsay
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    During the mid-1960s Paul Revere And The Raiders were quite possibly the most successful homegrown band in America. Hitting their stride at the height of the British Invasion, the band cranked out some of the most memorable hits of the decade, including Just Like Me, Good Thing and the iconic Kicks, as well as being the house band for one Dick Clark produced show (Where The Action Is) and starring in another (It's Happening). By 1970, however, the hits had become hard to come by and the TV shows were only a memory. The band, however, continued to soldier on, despite severing ties with their producer, Terry Melcher, in 1967 (a move that may well have hastened the decline of their fortunes). The Raiders (the band having shortened their name in an attempt to shed their campy image) continued to produce records, including Just Seventeen, one of the earliest songs to talk about the teenage rock groupies that were becoming a staple of the rock star lifestyle. The following year the Raiders would return one final time to the top 10 with their recording of Indian Reservation, hitting the number one spot in July of 1971.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Louise
Source:    LP: Spirit Of '67
Writer(s):    Jesse Lee Kincaid
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    One interesting by-product of the popular (but hard to define) Los Angeles club band The Rising Sons being signed to Columbia in 1966 was that, although their album was never released, singer/songwriter Jesse Lee Kincaid did get the opportunity for his songs to be heard by people at the label, including producer Terry Melcher. This led to one of his compositions being recorded by Columbia's most successful rock band at the time, Paul Revere and the Raiders (also produced by Melcher). Louise was included on the Raiders' third top 10 LP of 1966, ironically titled The Spirit of '67.

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Can't Find My Way Home
Source:    CD: Blind Faith
Writer:    Steve Winwood
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    Blind Faith was the result of some 1969 jam sessions in guitarist Eric Clapton's basement with keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, whose own band, Traffic, had disbanded earlier in the year. Drummer Ginger Baker, who had been Clapton's bandmate in Cream for the previous three years, showed up one day, and Winwood eventually convinced Clapton to form a band with the three of them and bassist Rick Grech. Clapton, however, did not want another Cream, and even before Blind Faith's only album was released was ready to move on to something that felt less like a supergroup. As a result, Winwood took more of a dominant role in Blind Faith, even to the point of including one track, Can't Find My Way Home, that was practically a Winwood solo piece. Blind Faith disbanded shortly after the album was released, with the various band members moving on to other projects. Winwood, who soon reformed Traffic, is still active as one of rock's elder statesmen, and still performs Can't Find My Way Home in his concert appearances.

Artist:     Cream
Title:        White Room
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:        1968
        Musically almost a rewriting of Eric Clapton's Tales of Brave Ulysses (from Cream's Disraeli Gears album), White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition from the Wheels Of Fire album, is arguably the most popular song ever to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal prominently.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2030 (starts 7/20/20)

    This week we have three sets: one from 1971, one from 1974 and one from a very dark place. And in the midst of it all we have the third chapter of the Firesign Theatre's Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra. It all gets underway with a Welcome from the Who.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Welcome
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    The Who's landmark Tommy album has plenty of well known tunes on it, including the top 40 single Pinball Wizard and the closing piece We're Not Gonna Take It, with it's famous "See me, feel me" refrain. The album, generally acknowledged as the first rock-opera, tells the story of the rise and fall of Tommy, a savior figure who emerges from a near-catatonic state to become a modern messiah. Welcome, a tune near the end of the album, is a mostly pastoral tune that immediately follow's Tommy's awakening and documents his desire to share what he's learned with anyone who is willing to listen. Of course the entire movement ends up spiraling out of control very quickly, leading to Tommy's downfall.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    Time To Live (alternate version)
Source:    British import CD: Salisbury
Writer(s):    Box/Byron/Hensley
Label:    Sanctuary
Year:    Recorded 1971, released 2003
    For their second LP, Salisbury, Uriah Heep attempted to explore new ground while maintaining their "heavy" image established on their first effort. For the most part they succeeded. One of the heavier tunes on the album, Time To Live, was actually put together in the recording studio itself, and tells the story of a man being released from prison after serving a 20-year sentence. Obviously, the song was not written from personal experience, since the band members were all in their early 20s at the time. The alternate version of Time To Live heard here was mixed and edited for a possible single release, but never issued. Oddly enough, it is actually about 15 seconds longer than the LP version.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Fireball
Source:    LP: The Very Best Of Deep Purple (originally released on LP: Fireball)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Fireball was the first Deep Purple album to top the British charts, hitting the #1 spot in several European countries as well. In North America the album was not quite as popular, peaking at #32 in the US and #24 in Canada. The album's title track is somewhat unusual for a Deep Purple song, as it does not feature a Ritchie Blackmore guitar solo. It does, however, feature a solo from bassist Roger Glover. The song is somewhat notorious for its use of a "special" synthesizer at the beginning and end of the track, that turned out to be a recording of the studio's air conditioning unit being turned on. The song was also released as a single on both sides of the Atlantic, albeit with different B sides, going into the top 20 in the UK.

Artist:    Atomic Rooster
Title:    A Spoonful Of Bromide Helps The Pulse Go Down
Source:    Russian import CD: In Hearing Of
Writer(s):    Vincent Crane
Label:    Castle (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1971
    Atomic Rooster began as a fairly typical British progressive rock band, but by their third LP, In Hearing Of, were starting to move into new territority as a progressive jazz/rock/funk fusion band. Guitarist John Du Cann had been asked to leave the band following the release of their second album, leaving keyboardist Vincent Crane as the architect of the band's sound. A good example of that sound is the instrumental track A Spoonful Of Bromide Helps The Pulse Go Down.

Artist:    Eric Clapton
Title:    Mainline Florida
Source:    CD: 461 Ocean Boulevard
Writer(s):    George Terry
Label:    Polydor (original label: RSO)
Year:    1974
    In early 1974, following a three-year bout with heroin addiction, Eric Clapton decided to get his career back on track and began working on 461 Ocean Boulevard, his first studio LP since the 1970 album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek And The Dominos. One of the first things he did was hire guitarist George Terry to be in his new band. Terry had been the featured guitarist with a South Florida band called Game, releasing two albums in the early 1970s, as well as playing with several other local groups. He was also a pretty decent songwriter, as can be heard on Mainline Florida, the final track on 461 Ocean Boulevard. Terry would also write one of Clapton's biggest hits, Lay Down Sally, later in the decade, as well as becoming an in-demand studio guitarist, working with such diverse artists as Kenny Rogers, the Bee Gees and Stephen Stills.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Part One: London; Chapter 3: Where There's Smoke, There's Work
Source:    LP: The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra
Writer(s):    Procter/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1974
    Chapter three of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra introduces us to Jonas Acme, the "Pharaoh of American Industry", and some of his associates, including Senator Charles Foster Dudley and Boyle M. Owl, president of the Bowel Oil Company. As Acme is revealing his grand plan to corner the market on pig oil, he is interrupted by The Electrician, the mysterious villain introduced in the previous chapter.

Artist:    Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Title:    Givin' It All Away
Source:    LP: Not Fragile
Writer(s):    Blair Thornton
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1974
    The third Bachman-Turner Overdrive album, Not Fragile, featured the debut of "second lead guitarist" Blair Thornton to the band. It was also the group's most successful LP, eventually achieving triple platinum status. Thornton's guitar work is featured prominently on the album, particularly on tracks that Thornton himself wrote, including Givin' It All Away, which closes out side two of the LP.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Matty Groves
Source:    LP: Liege And Lief
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Fairport Convention
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    Britain's Fairport Convention was quite prolific in 1969, releasing no less than three LPs that year. The last of these was Liege And Lief, considered by some to be the greatest British folk-rock album ever made. The album is notable for several reasons, including the fact that it was the group's first album to consist entirely of rocked out adaptations of traditional British folk tunes such as Matty Grove, along with a handful of original compositions done in a similar style. It was also the first Fairport Convention album to feature guitarist Martin Carthy (who had made a guest appearance on the band's previous album, Unhalfbricking) and drummer Dave Mattacks as full-time members. Finally, Liege And Lief was the last Fairport album to feature vocalist Sandy Denny and bassist Ashley Hutchings, both of whom lef to form their own British folk-rock bands (Fotheringay and Steeleye Span, respectively). Like many British folk songs, Matty Grove tells the somewhat morally ambiguous tale of a low-born rascal who beds the wife of his Duke, only to have said Duke catch them in the act, killing them both. Trust me, it sounds better coming from Fairport Convention that it does me.
Artist:    Roy Buchanon
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    CD: The Best Of Roy Buchanon (originally released on LP: That's What I'm Here For)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1973
    Roy Buchanon laid down a guitar track on his 1953 Fender Telecaster that can only be described as "blistering" for his rendition of the Billy Roberts classic Hey Joe on his 1973 album That's What I'm Here For. Like Tim Rose and Jimi Hendrix, Buchanon chose to go with the slower arrangement of the tune rather than the fast-paced version made famous by bands like Love, the Byrds and the Leaves in the mid 1960s.

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

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Hey, Hey, What Can I Do
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    In their entire existence Led Zeppelin only issued one non-album track. Hey, Hey, What Can I Do was originally released as the B side of Immigrant Song in 1970, and was included on a British anthology album called the New Age Of Atlantic the following year. The song was not available in any other form in the US until 1990, when it was included in the first Led Zeppelin box set. It has since been made available as a bonus track on the Led Zeppelin III CD.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2029 (starts 7/13/20)

    This week we have the third Beatles vs. Stones episode of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. I have no idea who won the first two, but it really doesn't matter, since in any competition between the Bad Boys and the Fab Four, it's the listener who comes out the real winner. Other than that, it's nothing but sets dedicated to a particular year, including a 1970 Grateful Dead set to finish out the show.

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

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Medication
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released on LP: Dirty Water)
Writer(s):    Alton/DiTosti
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    Medication is one of those songs that shows up on more than one album by more than one band, but never seems to have achieved hit or even cult favorite status. The song, written by Minette Alton, Ben DiTosti, first appeared as the opening track of the Standells' first studio LP, Dirty Water. Not much is known about the two songwriters other than they both had a jazz background, but Medication itself is one of the Standells' most psychedelic tracks.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    One of the most popular songs in the Kinks' catalog, I'm Not Like Everybody Else was originally written for another British band, the Animals. When that group decided not to record the tune, the Kinks did their own version of the song, issuing it as the B side of the 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon. Although written by Ray Davies, it was sung by his brother Dave, who usually handled the lead vocals on only the songs he himself composed. Initially not available on any LPs, the song has in recent years shown up on various collections and as a bonus track on CD reissues of both the Kink Kontroversy and Face To Face albums. Both Davies brothers continue to perform the song in their live appearances.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Anji
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Davey Graham
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon wrote nearly all the material that he and Art Garfunkel recorded. One notable exception is Davey Graham's instrumental Anji, which Simon played as a solo acoustic piece on the Sounds Of Silence. The song immediately follows a Simon composition, Somewhere They Can't Find Me, that is built around a similar-sounding guitar riff, making Anji sound somewhat like an instrumental reprise of the first tune.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    The World's On Fire
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    King/Bunnell/Freeman/Weitz/Seal
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    So you think because you've heard Incense And Peppermints (the song, not the album) about a million times, you have a pretty good grip on what the Strawberry Alarm Clock was all about? Well, a listen to the opening track of their first LP (also titled Incense And Peppermints) will disabuse you of that notion in a hurry. Running well over eight minutes in length, The World's On Fire is essentially an extended jam showcasing the talents of the band itself, including guitarist Ed King, who would later become a member of Lynyrd Skynryd . The piece was also included in the 1968 film Psych-Out.

Artist:     Doors
Title:     People Are Strange
Source:     LP: Strange Days (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     The Doors
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The first single from the second Doors album was People Are Strange. The song quickly dispelled any notion that the Doors might be one-hit wonders and helped establish the band as an international act as opposed to just another band from L.A. The album itself, Strange Days, was a turning point for Elektra Records as well, as it shifted the label's promotional efforts away from their original rock band, Love, to the Doors, who ironically had been recommended to the label by the members of Love.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    War Sucks
Source:    Mono LP: The Parable Of Arable Lands
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967
    New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson, leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.

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

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in late 1966 and hitting the charts in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the 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 both the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation and Rhino's first Nuggets LP.

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:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever to crack the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Reno, Nevada
Source:    Mono British import CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Richard Farina
Label:    Polydor
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2003
    Most Americans who are familiar with Fairport Convention only know of the Sandy Denny version of the group that came into existence when Denny replaced Judy Dyble as the band's female vocalist. This change coincided with a shift from the San Francisco style improvisational folk-rock of the band's early days to a style more rooted in traditional English folk music. The original group only recorded one self-titled LP, released in the UK in 1968. As was often the case with debut albums, the group's improvisational skills were played down in favor of shorter, potentially more commercial, songs. This live recording of Richard Farina's Reno, Nevada, made on an April 27, 1968 appearance on a French TV show is a much better example of how Fairport Convention actually sounded in their early days.

Artist:    Electric Flag
Title:    Groovin' Is Easy
Source:    LP: A Long Time Comin'
Writer(s):    Nick Gravenites
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    After leaving the Butterfield Blues Band, guitarist Michael Bloomfield hooked up with keyboardist Barry Goldberg and drummer Buddy Miles to form the Electric Flag in 1967, a band that also included vocalist/songwriter Nick Gravenites and Butterfield alumni Harvey Brooks on bass. After a soundtrack album written entirely by Bloomfield for a Peter Fonda movie called the Trip and released in 1967, the group set about recording their "official" debut LP, A Long Time Comin'. The album featured tracks from a variety of sources, including Gravenites' Groovin' Is Easy.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Priority (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Heard (later known as the Bob Seger System), the anarchistic MC5, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.

Artist:    Great! Society
Title:    Born To Be Burned
Source:    CD: Born To Be Burned
Writer(s):    Darby & Jerry Slick
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1995
    The Slick brothers were from Silicon Valley before it was Silicon Valley. Raised in Palo Alto, both attended the private Menlo school in Atherton, where Darby played drums in the school marching band while simultaneously taking an interest in folk, jazz and instrumental surf music as a guitarist. When the British Invasion swept the nation in 1964, the Slick brothers decided to form their own band with former model Grace Wing (whom Jerry soon married) and Jean Piersall on vocals, later adding vocalist David Miner and bassist Bard DuPont after Piersall left town. The group made its debut as the Great! Society on October 15, 1965 at the coffee gallery in North Beach. This quickly led to a gig as house band at Mother's, the club owned by Bobby Mitchell and Tom "Big Daddy" Donohue, who also owned Autumn Records. This in turn led to a recording session at Autumn working with producer Sly Stone. Among the songs recorded at Autumn was Born To Be Burned, a Slick brothers composition chosen 30 years later to be the title track of the group's only CD compilation.

    Next, we have our third Beatles vs. Stones competition. To make it more of a contrast, this time out we have three Rolling Stones hits and three Beatles LP tracks. We start with a song that was issued as half of a double A-sided single in the UK eight years after its original release as an album track.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    CD: Beggars Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio, and occupies the #32 spot on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lovely Rita
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    By 1967 John Lennon and Paul McCartney were a songwriting team in name only, with nearly all their compositions being the work of one or the other, but not both. Lovely Rita, from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, was pure McCartney. The song features McCartney on both piano and overdubbed bass, with Lennon and George Harrison on guitars and Ringo Starr on drums. Pink Floyd, who were recording their debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at the same Abbey Road studios the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's at, ended up borrowing some of the effects heard toward the end of Lovely Rita for their own Pow R Toc H.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Jumpin' Jack Flash
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco
Year:    1968
    After the late 1967 LP Their Satanic Majesties Request was savaged by the critics, the Rolling Stones decided to make a big change, severing ties with their longtime producer Andrew Loog Oldham and replacing him with Jimmy Miller, who had made a name for himself working with Steve Winwood on recordings by both the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic. The collaboration resulted in a back-to-basics approach that produced the classic single Jumpin' Jack Flash. The song was actually the second Stones tune produced by MIller, although it was the first to be released. The song revitalized the band's commercial fortunes, and was soon followed by what is generally considered to be one of the Stones' greatest albums, the classic Beggar's Banquet (which included the first Miller-produced song, Street Fighting Man).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Think For Yourself
Source:    Mono CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965
    By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing an average of two songs per Beatles album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Honky Tonk Women
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1969
    After revitalizing their career with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man in 1968, the Rolling Stones delivered the coup-de-grace the following year with a true monster of a hit: the classic Honky Tonk Women. The song was the first single without Brian Jones, who had been found dead in his swimming pool not long after being kicked out of the band. Jones's replacement, Mick Taylor (fresh from a stint with blues legend John Mayall), plays slide guitar on the track.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    With the exception of John Lennon's 1968 audio collage Revolution 9, the longest Beatle song ever recorded was I Want You (She's So Heavy), from the Abbey Road album. The track alternates between two distinct sections: the jazz-like I Want You, which contains most of the song's lyrical content, and the primal-scream based She's So Heavy, which repeats the same phrase endlessly in 6/8 time while an increasingly loud wall of white noise eventually leads to an abrupt cut-off at 7:47.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Help Me Girl
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Eric Is Here)
Writer(s):    English/Weiss
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    Consider the following paradox: Animals vocalist Eric Burdon made no secret of his disdain for the songs provided to the Animals by producer Mickey Most, which by and large came from professional songwriters based in New York's Brill Building. Nonetheless, when the original Animals split up, the first new song to come from Eric Burdon was not only a product of professional songwriters, it was even lighter in tone than the songs that he had complained about. Even stranger, Help Me Girl was fully orchestrated and, with the exception of drummer Barry Jenkins, was performed entirely by studio musicians.

Artist:    Family Tree
Title:    Live Your Own Life
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Segarini/Dure
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Family Tree was actually one of the first rock bands to play the Fillmore, but even then were seen as interlopers due to their propensity for dressing and sounding like the Beatles and other Mercybeat bands. Live Your Own Life was intended for release on San Francisco's premier local label, Autumn Records, but for some unknown reason ended up on Mira (the same label that released L.A. band the Leaves' first records). Live Your Own Life is sometimes known as The Airplane Song due to its perceived similarity to some early Jefferson Airplane recordings.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    You Didn't Have To Be So Nice
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Lovin' Spoonful (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    John Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1965
    People who advocate for monoraul versions of recordings from the 1960s often cite the unnatural sounding separation between vocals and instruments on stereo recordings. Generally, I don't mind such separation myself, as I am usually sitting equally distant from the speakers and kind of like the illusion of things coming from different points in the stereo field. In the case of the Lovin' Spoonful's second single, You Didn't Have To Be So Nice, I have to side with the mono guys. The main reason is that the mix itself puts more emphasis on the backup vocals than it does on the lead vocals. In fact, the lead vocals are at times barely audible at all.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Poor Mike Nesmith. One of his first compositions to get recorded was Mary Mary, which appeared on the classic 1966 Butterfield Blues Band album East-West. Unfortunately for Mr. Nesmith, his name was inadvertently left out of the credits, leading Butterfield fans to assume it was a band original. Not long after East-West was released Nesmith successfully auditioned for a new TV show about the adventures of an up-and-coming band called the Monkees. The TV show was an instant success, spawning a hit single and album in late 1966, making Nesmith quite famous. When a second Monkees album appeared in January of 1967 with their own version of Mary Mary on it, a lot of people assumed that Nesmith had ripped off the Butterfield Blues Band. In reality, it was the Monkees themselves that were getting screwed, as the album, featuring studio musicians playing on all the tracks, was released without the knowledge or consent of the band itself.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Uncle John's Band
Source:    LP: Workingman's Dead
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    For many people who only got their music from commercial radio, Uncle John's Band was the first Grateful Dead song they ever heard. The tune, from the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, was the first Dead song to crack the top 100, peaking at #69, and got significant airplay on FM rock radio stations as well. The close harmonies on the track were reportedly inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose debut album had come out the previous year.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     Truckin'
Source:     LP: American Beauty
Writer:     Garcia/Weir/Hunter/Lesh
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1970
     Following up on the success of the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, the Grateful Dead released their fifth studio LP, American Beauty, on November 1st of the same year. Whereas nearly all the songs on Workingman's Dead were written by lead guitarist Jerry Garcia and poet Robert Hunter, American Beauty featured tunes from several different band members, although stylistically the two albums were quite similar, with strong emphasis on vocal harmonies. The single from the album was Truckin', written by Garcia, Hunter, bassist Phil Lesh and rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, based on the true story of their 1970 drug bust in New Orleans, with lead vocals provided by Weir. Although not a major hit, the song did peak at #64 on December 25, 1971, over a year after it was released.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Casey Jones
Source:    LP: Workingman's Dead
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    After three albums' worth of studio material that the band was not entirely happy with, the Grateful Dead finally achieved their goal with the 1969 release of the double-LP Live Dead. So where do you go when you've finally accomplished your original mission? For the Dead the answer was to concentrate on their songwriting skills. The results of this new direction were heard on their next two studio LP's, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, both released in 1970. One of the highlights of Workingman's Dead was Casey Jones, a song based on an old folk tale (albeit updated a bit for a 1970 audience). Casey Jones was just one of many classic songs written by the team of guitarist Jerry Garcia and poet/lyricist Robert Hunter.