Sunday, August 30, 2020

The last PRX audio player link

I'm afraid, unless something unexpected happens in the next 24 hours, that this week's playlists for Stuck in the Psychedelic Era and Rockin' in the Days of Confusion will be the last to include an embedded PRX audio player for those of you who can't hear the shows any other way.

I've made several attempts to contact Blogger about upcoming changes in the posting interface that are causing the player not to function (or even appear on the page itself), but have gotten no response. Unfortunately, those changes become mandatory as of September 1st.

If anyone has any idea how to work around this issue, please contact me with the info. I hate the idea that folks outside of the listening area of the various stations carrying the shows will no longer be able to hear the shows, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2036 (starts 8/31/20)

    You'd think with four artists' sets there wouldn't be room for much else in a two-hour show, but the truth is that all four of the aforementioned artists' sets are in the second hour. That leaves plenty of room for 15 different artists in the first hour.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Salesman
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Craig Smith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    The first song on the Monkees' fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. was also the most controversial. Michael Nesmith, as a side project, had been producing songs for a group led by Craig Vincent Smith called the Penny Arkade. One song in particular, Salesman, impressed Nesmith so much that he decided to produce a Monkees version of the song as well. The track was then used in a Monkees TV episode called The Devil And Peter Tork. NBC-TV at first refused to air the episode, claiming that the line "Salesman with your secret goods that you push while you talk" was a veiled drug reference (although producer Bert Schnieder was convinced the real reason was the liberal use of the word "hell" in the show's script).

Artist:    Move
Title:    (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    The most successful British band of the psychedelic era not to have a US hit was the Move, a band that featured Roy Wood and (later) Jeff Lynne, among other notables. The band was already well established in the UK by 1967, when their single Flowers In The Rain was picked to be the first record played on the new BBC Radio One. The B side of that record was the equally-catchy (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree. Both songs were written by Wood, although he only sang lead vocals on the B side.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Have You Seen Her Face
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    Perhaps the greatest surprise on the fourth Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, was the emergence of bassist Chris Hillman as a top-tier songwriter, already on a par with David Crosby and the recently departed Gene Clark, and even exceeding Roger McGuinn as a solo writer (most of McGuinn's contributions being as a collaborator rather than a solo songwriter). Although Hillman would eventually find his greatest success as a country artist (with the Desert Rose Band) it was the hard-rocking Have You Seen Her Face that was chosen to become his first track to be released as a single.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     Don't Step On The Grass, Sam
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer:     John Kay
Label:     MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Never afraid to make his social and political views known, Steppenwolf's John Kay wrote Don't Step On The Grass, Sam for the band's second LP, released in 1968. It's taken over 50 years, but it looks like Kay's finally starting to get his wish in some states, although Uncle Sam still considers it illegal.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Mystic Mourning
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg/Rhodes
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    If I had to choose one single recording that encapsulates the psychedelic era, my choice would be Mystic Mourning, from the album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union. Everything about the tune screams psychedelic, starting with a short spacy intro of electric piano over cymbals, leading into a raga beat with a solo bass line that builds up to a repeating riff that ends up getting played at various times by guitar, bass, and/or piano. The lyrics are appropriately existential, and both guitar and piano get a chance to show their stuff over the course of the nearly six-minute track.

Artist:    Hearts And Flowers
Title:    Tin Angel (Will You Ever Come Down)
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Larry Murray
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Hearts and Flowers (featuring a pre-Eagles Bernie Leadon on lead guitar) is known as one of the pioneering country-rock bands, but in 1968 they recorded what could well be regarded as a lost psychedelic masterpiece. Producer Steve Venet reportedly had Sgt. Pepper in mind as he crafted out Larry Murray's Tin Angel over a period of weeks, paying attention to the minutest details of the recording process. The result speaks for itself.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    For Your Love
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's first US hit, peaking in the # 6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at # 3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Get It On
Source:    LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Volk/Levin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The first four LPs by Paul Revere and the Raiders were, like most albums in the early 1960s, made up primarily of cover songs. 1965's Just Like Us, for instance, had only one song written by band members (Steppin' Out, by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay). That all changed with the release of Midnight Ride in 1966. Of the album's nine songs, all but two were written by band members; in fact, it is the only Raiders album to include compositions from every member of the group. Three of the songs were written or co-written by lead guitarist Drake Levin, the band's youngest member. Those three songs included Get It On, which features lead vocals by co-writer and bassist Phil "Fang" Volk.

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:    Donovan
Title:    The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow
Source:    British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    In December of 1967 Donovan released an ambitious double-LP box set called A Gift From A Flower To A Garden. Each of the two LPs had its own subtitle; in fact, the two were also released as separate albums in the US. While the first disc, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, continued the general direction toward psychedelic pop that Donovan's music had been taking that year, the second disc, For Little Ones, was acoustic in nature, and had a more childlike quality. His next studio album, The Hurdy Gurdy Man, contained elements of both discs, with songs like The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow being an example of the latter.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Yes, I'm Experienced
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change/The Twain Shall Meet (originally released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     BGO (originally released in US on M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     A grand tradition dating back to the early Rhythm and Blues recordings was something called the "answer song". Someone would record a song (Hound Dog, for example), that would become popular. In turn, another artist (often a friend of the original one), would then come up with a song that answered the original tune (Bear Cat, in our example earlier). This idea was picked up on by white artists in the late 50s (Hey Paula answered by Hey Paul). True to the tradition, Eric Burdon answered his friend Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced with this song, done in a style similar to another Hendrix tune, Manic Depression.

Artist:     Nice
Title:     America
Source:     LP: Autumn To Spring (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Bernstein/Sondheim
Label:     Charisma (original label: Immediate)
Year:     1968
     Sometime in 1969 I went to see a band called Marshall Hammond (named for their amps and organ, apparently) at the roller rink on Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany. None of us caught the name of the opening act, but I remember this version of this song in particular being performed by them. Were they the Nice? I kind of doubt it, but there's always the possibility, I suppose.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Everybody's Everything
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Santana/Moss/Brown
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third album, released in 1971, was called simply Santana. The problem is, their first album was also called Santana. The guitar solo on Everybody's Everything, by the way, is not by Carlos Santana. Rather it was performed by the then 17-year-old Neal Schon, who, along with keyboardist Greg Rolie would leave the band the following year to form Journey.

Artist:    Great! Society
Title:    Somebody To Love
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Conspicuous Only In Its Absence)
Writer(s):    Darby Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1968
    One of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era (and of the so-called San Francisco sound) is Somebody To Love, released by Jefferson Airplane in 1967 on their Surrealistic Pillow album. Somebody To Love was written by Darby Slick, guitarist for another San Francisco band, Great! Society. The Society had released the song, featuring Slick's sister-in-law Grace on lead vocals, as a single in early 1966 but was unable to get any local airplay for the record. In June the group played the Matrix, a club managed by Marty Balin, the founder of Jefferson Airplane. The entire gig was recorded (probably by legendary Grateful Dead soundman Owsley Stanley, whose board recordings usually isolated the vocals in one channel and the instruments in the other to provide the band with a tape they could use to critique their own performance) and eventually released on an album called Conspicuous Only In Its Absence two years after Great! Society disbanded. Within a few weeks of this performance Grace Slick would leave the group to join Jefferson Airplane, taking the song with her. This whole set of circumstances can't help but raise the question of whether Balin was using the Society's gig at the Matrix as a kind of sideways audition for Slick.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Go To Her
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (bonus track originally released on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Kantner/Estes
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage (original label: Grunt)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Greasy Heart
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    The Jefferson Airplane released their fourth LP, Crown of Creation, in the summer of '68. Greasy Heart, a Grace Slick composition, was chosen for single release to AM top 40 radio, but by then the group was getting far more airplay on album-oriented FM stations with tunes like Lather and Triad and the mysteriously named House at Pooniel Corners. As a result, Greasy Heart, despite being a more commercial tune, is far less familiar to most people than any of those other songs.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Run Around
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane album was dominated by the songwriting of the band's founder, Marty Balin, both as a solo writer and as a collaborator with other band members. Run Around, from Balin and rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner, is fairly typical of the early Jefferson Airplane sound.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hello, Goodbye
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour (orginally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    1967 was unquestionably a good year for the Beatles. Their first release was a double A sided single, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, both sides of which were major hits. They followed that up with the #1 album of the year, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and another hit single, All You Need Is Love. To finish out the year they released yet another major hit single, Hello Goodbye. The only downside to the year was the cool reception that was afforded their December telefilm, Magical Mystery Tour, although the songs themselves were well-received when released in the UK as a double-EP set (complete with full color booklet containing stills from the film, as well as lyric sheets). As EPs were not considered a viable format in the US, Capitol Records put together an LP that included all six tracks from the telefilm on one side of the album and the five single sides (Hello Goodbye had used I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour as a B side) on the other. That album has since become the official version of Magical Mystery Tour, although the EP continued to be available in the UK for several years following its initial release.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hey Bulldog
Source:    CD: Yellow Submarine Songtrack
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    1969
    The original 1969 Yellow Submarine soundtrack album has always been considered a "non-essential" part of the Beatles catalog, despite containing four songs that were unavailable from any other source. Part of the reason for this is because it was, by all accounts, a "contractual obligation" album, and only two of the four new songs were actually recorded specifically for use in the film. The newest of the four was Hey Bulldog, later described by composer/lead vocalist John Lennon as "a good-sounding record that means nothing". Meaningless or not, Hey Bulldog is indeed a good sounding record, especially after being remixed in 1999 for the Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD, a much more "essential" album than the original movie soundtrack LP.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Taxman
Source:    European import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney, whose own style had a harder edge (and considerably less finesse) than Harrison's.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Babylon
Source:    LP: Outsideinside
Writer(s):    Dickie Peterson
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    By the time Blue Cheer began recording their second LP they had established themselves as the loudest band in the San Francisco Bay area, if not the entire world. Their decibel level was so high that midway through the album they were kicked out of the studio and had to finish recording outdoors on San Francisco's Pier 57. To immortalize the experience they decided to call the album Outsideinside, although it's not known which tracks were recorded where. My guess is that at least some songs, such as Babylon, which closes out the album, are actually a combination of both, as there is a sudden change in the tonality of the recording toward the end of the track.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Richard Cory
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    My ultra-cool 9th-grade English teacher brought in a copy of Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album one day. As a class, we deconstructed the lyrics of two of the songs on that album: A Most Peculiar Man and Richard Cory. Both songs deal with suicide, but under vastly different circumstances. Whereas A Most Peculiar Man is about a lonely man who lives an isolated existence as an anonymous resident of a boarding house, Richard Cory deals with a character who is a pillar of society, known and envied by many. Too bad most high school English classes weren't that interesting.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission)
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Simon's sense of humor is on full display on A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission). The song first appeared, with slightly different lyrics on Simon's 1965 LP The Paul Simon Songbook, which was released only in the UK after Simon and Garfunkel had split following the disappointing sales of their first Columbia LP, Wednesday Morning 3AM. When the duo got back together following the surprise success of an electrified version of The Sound Of Silence, the re-recorded the tune, releasing it on their third Columbia LP, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. The song is a deliberate parody/tribute to Bob Dylan, written in a style similar to It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), and is full of sly references to various well-known personages of the time as well as lesser-known acquaintances of Simon himself.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to perform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using some of the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and the rest is history.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Dandelion
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    If there was a British equivalent to the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations in terms of time and money spent on a single song, it might be We Love You, a 1967 single released by the Rolling Stones. To go along with the single (with its state-of-the-art production) the band spent a considerable sum making a full-color promotional video, a practice that would not become commonplace until the advent of MTV in the 1980s. Despite all this, US radio stations virtually ignored We Love You, choosing to instead flip the record over and play the B side, a tune called Dandelion. As to why this came about, I suspect that Bill Drake, the man behind the nation's most influential top 40 stations, simply decided that the less elaborately produced Dandelion was better suited to the US market than We Love You and instructed his hand-picked program directors at such stations as WABC, KHJ and WLS to play Dandelion. The copycat nature of top 40 radio being what it is, Dandelion ended up being a moderate hit in the US in the summer of '67.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Mother's Little Helper
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 the Rolling Stones had already had a few brushes with the law over their use of illegal drugs. Mother's Little Helper, released in Spring of '66, is a scathing criticism of the abuse of prescription drugs by the parents of the Stones' fans. Perhaps more than any other song of the time, Mother's Little Helper illustrates the increasingly hostile generation gap that had sprung up between the young baby boomers and the previous generation.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Beggar's Banquet)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's follow-up single, Street Fighting Man, a song that was almost as anthemic as Jumpin' Jack Flash itself and went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     A Faded Picture
Source:     LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer:     Saxon/Hooper
Label:     GNP Crescendo
Year:     1966
     The Seeds second LP showed a much greater range than the first. A Faded Picture, perhaps the nearest thing to a ballad the Seeds ever recorded, has a slower tempo than most of the other songs in the Seeds repertoire and, at over five minutes in length, a longer running time as well.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water (live version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2014
    In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, whom the Standells recorded for. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2036 (starts 8/31/20)

    This week, following America's opening number, we take a musical journey from 1967 to 1975, one year at a time. For a coda, there's Rock 'n' Roll Animal Lou Reed with his live rendition of Sweet Jane.

Artist:    America
Title:    A Horse With No Name
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Dewey Bunnell
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    In early 1967 my dad, a career military man in the USAF, got word that he was going to be transferred from his post as liason officer to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, to Lakenheath, England. Before the move could take place, however, his new posting got changed to Lindsay Air Station in Weisbaden, Germany. Of course we were all a bit disappointed with the change, but, as any enlisted man will tell you, you go where they tell you to go, period. If we had gone to England, however, I probably would have attended high school with three other Air Force brats who went on to form a band called America shortly after graduation. As it turned out, however, I did not hear of any of them until after I returned to the US and graduated from high school myself, when I first heard A Horse With No Name on the radio. It was the first of many hits for America in the 1970s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    3rd Stone From The Sun
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix once stated that he was far more comfortable as a guitarist than as a vocalist, at least in the early days of the Experience. In that case, he was certainly in his element for this classic instrumental from the Are You Experienced album. Many of the sounds heard on 3rd Stone From The Sun were made by superimposing a slowed down recording of the following conversation between Hendrix and producer Chas Chandler over the music:
    Hendrix :   Star fleet to scout ship, please give your position. Over.
    Chandler : I am in orbit around the third planet of star known as sun. Over.
    Hendrix :   May this be Earth? Over.
    Chandler : Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over.
    Hendrix :   I think we should take a look (Jimi then makes vocal spaceship noises).
    One of the more notable spoken lines that plays at normal speed on the recording, "To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again", was Hendrix's reaction to the news that famed surf guitarist Dick Dale had been diagnosed with a possible terminal case of colon cancer and was meant to encourage his friend's recovery (apparently it worked, as Dick Dale lasted another 52 years, passing away at the age of 81).  As heard on the 2007 album The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1966–1967, Hendrix's original overdub included two more sentences "That sounds like a lie to me. Come on, man; let's go home." that were not used on the final recording. The train sequence at the end of the track, incidentally, was done entirely on guitar.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Michael Bloomfield/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Blues For Nothing
Source:    CD: Super Session (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1995
    Blues For Nothing was left off the original Super Session LP, presumably due to lack of space, or possibly a desire by Producer Al Kooper to maintain a balance between the guitar work of Michael Bloomfield on side one of the LP and Stephen Stills on side two.  Basically it's a blues instrumental played by four outstanding musicians that's available as a bonus track on the CD version of Super Session. That's good enough for me.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Victoria
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    The Kinks were at their commercial low point in 1969 when they released their third single from their controversial concept album Arthur or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. Their previous two singles had failed to chart, even in their native England, and the band had not had a top 20 hit in the US since Sunny Afternoon in 1966. Victoria was a comeback of sorts, as it did manage to reach the #62 spot in the US and the #33 spot in the UK.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    The Man Who Sold The World
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    RCA Victor (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    The Man Who Sold The World is the title track of David Bowie's third LP. At the time, Bowie was a relatively obscure artist still looking for an audience and, in his own words, an identity as well. Unlike other Bowie albums, The Man Who Sold The World was released in the US several months earlier than in the UK. The song itself was not considered single material at the time, although it ended up being a surprise hit in the UK for Lulu in 1974, and became popular with a whole new generation when Nirvana released an unplugged version of the tune in 1993. After Bowie signed with RCA, The Man Who Sold The World was re-issued as the B side of Space Oddity in 1972.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Wond'ring Aloud
Source:     CD: Aqualung
Writer:     Ian Anderson
Label:     Chrysalis (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1971
     If the first three Jethro Tull albums can be considered steps on a path, then Aqualung would have to be the destination. The first Tull album to achieve massive commercial success, Aqualung shows the band finally divorced from its beginnings as a blues band and firmly in the control of vocalist/flautist/acoustic guitarist/songwriter Ian Anderson. An expanded version of Wond'ring Aloud called Wond'ring Again was recorded around the same time and was included on the 1973 album Living In The Past.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Lazy (live version)
Source:    CD: Made In Japan
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    The longest track on Deep Purple's most popular album, Machine Head, Lazy was long a concert favorite, often running over 10 minutes in length. Perhaps the most famous performance of the song comes from the live double LP Made In Japan, which was released in 1972.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Fluff
Source:    LP: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Tony Iommi might have called it Fluff, but in reality it is a nice bit of solo guitar work from the Black Sabbath guitarist. Officially the song is credited to the entire band (but we know better).

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Day Of The Eagle
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Although Robin Trower's first solo album following his departure from Procol Harum went largely under the radar, his second LP, Bridge Of Sighs, was a huge success, spending 31 weeks on the US charts and peaking at the #7 spot. The opening track, Day Of The Eagle, soon became a concert staple for the guitarist and has been covered by other guitarists, notably Steve Stevens on his album Memory Crash. Other artists who have covered Day Of The Eagle include Tesla and Armored Saint.

Artist:    Bob Marley
Title:    No Woman, No Cry (live version)
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Vincent Ford
Label:    Island
Year:    1975
    No Woman, No Cry is one of Bob Marley's most famous songs. The live version of the song is ranked #37 on Rolling Stone's list of greatest songs of all time. What many people don't know, however, is who Vincent Ford, who is credited with writing No Woman, No Cry, actually was. He was not a member of the Wailers, nor was he involved with Marley's music in any significant way. How, then, did he manage to get writing credit on one of Marley's most successful songs? The most likely answer is that Marley himself wrote the song, first recording it (with a drum machine) on the 1974 album Natty Dread. He must have known he had a hit on his hands even before it was published, however. As for Vincent Ford, he was a friend of Marley's who ran a soup kitchen that was perpetually underfunded. Marley's idea, so the theory goes, was to give Ford songwriting credit on the potential hit so that he could collect royalties for years to come, allowing him the continue his work running the soup kitchen. Seeing that Ford outlived Marley, I'd have to say it was a sound strategy.

Artist:    Lou Reed
Title:    Intro/Sweet Jane
Source:    CD: Rock N Roll Animal
Writer(s):    Hunter/Reed
Label:    RCA/BMG
Year:    1974
    Lou Reed's career did not exactly take off following his departure from Velvet Underground in 1970. According to Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone magazine, Reed's first live appearance as a solo artist (with a pickup band) was, "tragic in every sense of the word". As a result, it came as a bit of a surprise when his appearance on December 21, 1973, at Howard Stein's Academy of Music in New York City, was a major success, thanks in large part to his new, well-rehearsed band consisting of Pentti Glan (drums) and Prakash John (bass), Ray Colcord (keyboards), and Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars (all of which would eventually become the second incarnation of the Alice Cooper band). The performance was recorded and released on two albums, the first of which was Rock N Roll Animal, released in 1973. The opening track is a perfect example of how the band and Reed himself were equally responsible for the concert's success. The first half is an instrumental Intro written by Hunter that seques smoothly in one of Reed's most popular songs, Sweet Jane. This version has come to be considered the definitive version of Sweet Jane, despite its lack of similarity to the original Velvet Underground recording from the Loaded album.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2035 (starts 8/24/20)

    Some album sides just have to be played in their entirety to be truly appreciated. An example of this is the first side of the third Mothers of Invention album, We're Only In It For The Money, which is featured in the show's second hour. Also of note are artists' sets from the Electric Prunes and the Chocolate Watch Band and two thirds of a side of Vanilla Fudge. And just to add to the confusion, the show ends with a track called Introduction.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    By mid-1966 Hollywood's Sunset Strip was being taken over every night by local teenagers, with several underage clubs featuring live music being a major attraction. Many of the businesses in the area, citing traffic problems and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, began to put pressure on city officials to do something about the situation. The city responded by passing new loitering ordinances and imposing a 10PM curfew on the Strip. They also began putting pressure on the clubs, including condemning the popular Pandora's Box for demolition. On November 12, 1966 fliers appeared on the streets inviting people to a demonstration that evening to protest the closing of the club. The demostration continued over a period of days, exascerbated by the city's decision to revoke the permits of a dozen other clubs on the Strip, forcing them to bar anyone under the age of 21 from entering. Stephen Stills, a member of Buffalo Springfield, one of the many bands appearing regularly in these clubs, wrote a new song in response to the situation, and the band quickly booked studio time, recording the still-unnamed track on December 5th. The band had recently released their debut LP, but sales of the album were lackluster due to the lack of a hit single. Stills reportedly presented the new recording to label head Ahmet Ertegun with the words "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Ertegun, sensing that he had a hit on his hands, got the song rush-released two days before Christmas, 1966, using For What It's Worth as the official song title, but sub-titling it Stop, Hey What's That Sound on the label as well. As predicted, For What It's Worth was an instant hit in the L.A. market, and soon went national, where it was taken by most record buyers to be about the general sense of unrest being felt across the nation over issues like racial equality and the Vietnam War (and oddly enough, by some people as being about the Kent State massacre, even though that happened nearly three years after the song was released). As the single moved up the charts, eventually peaking at #7, Atco recalled the Buffalo Springfield LP, reissuing it with a modified song selection that included For What It's Worth as the album's openng track. Needless to say, album sales picked up after that. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of the Buffalo Springfield album without For What It's Worth on it, although I'm sure some of those early pressings must still exist.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.)
Writer:    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    After making it a point to play their own instruments on their third LP, Headquarters, the Monkees decided to once again use studio musicians for their next album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD. The difference was that this time the studio musicians would be recording under the supervision of the Monkees themselves rather than Don Kirschner and the array of producers he had lined up for the first two Monkees LPs. The result was an album that many critics consider the group's best effort. The only single released from the album was Pleasant Valley Sunday, a song penned by the husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and backed by the band's remake of the Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart song Words, which had been recorded the previous year by the Leaves. Although both songs ended up making the charts, it was Pleasant Valley Sunday that got the most airplay and is considered by many to be Monkees' greatest achievement.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and, for a breath of fresh air, a bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Help Me Girl
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Eric Is Here)
Writer(s):    English/Weiss
Label:    Polydor (original 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:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino (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:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Get Me To The World On Time
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Jones
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    With I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) climbing the charts in early 1967, the Electric Prunes turned to songwriter Annette Tucker for two more tracks to include on their debut LP. One of those, Get Me To The World On Time (co-written by lyricist Jill Jones) was selected to be the follow up single to Dream. Although not as big a hit, the song still did respectably on the charts (and was actually the first Electric Prunes song I ever heard on FM radio).

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You've Never Had It Better
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band have reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use their own name is unknown.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    It's All Over Now
Source:    CD: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bobby & Shirley Womack
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    During a 1964 on-air interview with the Rolling Stones, New York DJ Murray the K played a copy of a song called It's All Over Now by Bobby Womack's band, the Valentinos. The song had been a minor hit earlier in the year, spending two weeks in the top 100, and the Stones were reportedly knocked out by the record, calling it "our kind of song." Less than two weeks later the Stones recorded their own version of the song, which became their first number one hit in the UK. At first, Womack was reportedly against the idea of a British band recording his song, but changed his mind when he saw his first royalty check from the Stones' recording.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Instant Party (Circles)
Source:    Mono LP: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer:    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    As was the case with many British bands, the song lineups on the early Who albums were not exactly the same in the US and the UK. In the case of the My Generation album, the only difference was actually due to censorship by Decca Records, who felt that the band's version of Bo Diddley's I'm A Man was too risque for American teenagers. To replace it, Decca chose a song that had not yet been released in either the US or UK called Instant Party (Circles). The song was released in the UK as Instant Party a few months later when the band's original British label, Brunswick, issued it as the B side to A Legal Matter without the band's permission (the Who had changed labels to Reaction/Polydor after the My Generation LP was released). Making it even more confusing was the fact that the Who had released their latest single, Substitute, three days before the Brunswick single, with the song Circles (Instant Party) as the B side.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic quasi-surf instrumental that fades out after just a few seconds.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Flying
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    1967 was an odd year for the Beatles. They started it with one of their most successful double-sided singles, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, and followed it up with the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. From there, they embarked on a new film project. Unlike their previous movies, the Magical Mystery Tour was not made to be shown in theaters. Rather, the film was aired as a television special shown exclusively in the UK. The airing of the film coincided with the release (again only in the UK) of a two-disc extended play 45 RPM set featuring the six songs from the special. It was not until later in the year that the songs were released in the US, on an album that combined the songs from the film on one side and all the non-LP single sides they had released that year on the other. Among the songs from the film is Flying, a rare instrumental track that was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Voodoo Chile
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Midway through the making of the Electric Ladyland album, producer Chas Chandler parted ways with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. At first this may seem to be a mystery, but consider the situation: Hendrix, by this time, had considerable clout in the studio. This allowed him to invite pretty much anyone he damn well pleased to hang out while he was making records, including several fellow musicians. It also allowed him the luxury of using the studio itself as a kind of incubator for new ideas, often developing those ideas while the tape machine was in "record" mode. Chandler, on the other hand, had learned virtually everything he knew about producing records from Mickie Most, one of Britain's most successful producers. As such, Chandler tended to take a more professional approach to recording, finding Hendrix's endless jamming to be a waste of valuable studio time. Whether you side with Chandler or Hendrix over the issue, there is one thing that can't be disputed: the Hendrix approach resulted in some of the most memorable rock recordings ever made. Case in point: Voodoo Chile, a long studio jam featuring Jack Cassidy (Jefferson Airplane) on bass and Steve Winwood (Traffic) on keyboards, as well as regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:    Creation
Title:    How Does It Feel To Feel
Source:    Mono British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Garner/Phillips
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    Creation was one of a handful of British bands that were highly successful in Germany, but were unable to buy a hit in their own country. Evolving out of a band known as the Mark Four, Creation was officially formed in 1966 by vocalist Kenny pickett, guitarist Eddie Phillips, bassist Bob Garner and drummer Jack Jones. Their first single stalled out at #49 on the British charts, but went to #5 in Germany. The gap was even wider for their second single, which topped the German charts but did not chart in Britain at all. Garner and Phillips both left the band just as How Does It Feel To Feel was issued in early 1968. The band, with a fluctuating lineup, continued on for a few months but finally threw in the towel in late 1968.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    We're Only In It For The Money-side one
Source:    CD: We're Only In It For The Money
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Ryko (original label: Verve)
Year:    1968
    The first Mothers album, Freak Out, had one side (of four) dedicated to a single concept. The second album, Absolutely Free, was essentially two concept sides, each with its own subtitle. The process was taken to its inevitable conclusion with the third album, in which both sides tie into the same concept. The album itself satirizes both the hippy movement (or more precisely what it had become by 1968) and the mainstream culture of the time. Following a short audio collage (Are You Hung Up?) that includes recording engineer Gary Kellgren whispering messages to composer/bandleader Frank Zappa, the album segues into Who Needs The Peace Corps, a scathing indictment of "phony hippies" who looked and acted the part without having any real understanding of the actual socio-political stance of the hippy movement. This leads to Concentration Moon, sung from the point of view of a young person interned in a concentration camp for hippies. The next track, Mom And Dad, tells the story of kids being killed by police while demonstrating in the park, with a punch line that reminds the older generation that all those kids that "looked too weird" were in fact their own children. Bow Tie Daddy pokes fun at the stereotype of the American male, while Harry, You're A Beast (based on a bit by comedian Lenny Bruce) takes a shot at American womanhood and American sexuality in general. This in turn leads to the question: What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body (I think it's your mind). Absolutely Free takes the drug culture head-on, while Hey Punk sends up the entire San Francisco scene. The first side of the album ends with the voice of recording engineer Gary Kellgren once again whispering messages to Zappa followed by a backwards tape of a verse that the record company insisted be cut out of one of the songs on side two of the album. As to which song, I'll save that for whenever I play side two of the album again.

Artist:    Band
Title:    Stage Fright
Source:    LP: Stage Fright (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Robbie Robertson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    There are a whole lot of theories as to what or who the song Stage Fright is actually about. One critic claims it's about "the pitfalls of fortune and fame." Others think it may be about Bob Dylan, or even Robbie Robertson, who wrote the song. The Band's drummer, Levon Helm, has said it is simply about the terror of performing, as the song's title implies. Ralph Gleason, however, summed it up best when he called it "the best song ever written about performing." Stage Fright, from the album of the same name, features the Band's bassist Rick Danko on lead vocals.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Devil's Motorcycle
Source:    CD: One Step Beyond
Writer(s):    Andrijasevich/Tolby
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1969
    San Jose, California's Chocolate Watchband went through several personnel changes (and one slight name change) over a period of about four years. The original 1965 lineup only lasted a short while, due to half the members being stolen away by a San Francisco group known as the Topsiders. Within a few weeks guitarist Mark Loomis had in turn raided several other locals bands (including the Topsiders themselves) to form a new version of the Watchband. Fronted by the charismatic Dave Aguilar, this version proved even more popular than the original lineup and by the end of 1966 had procured a manager (Ed Cobb, writer of Dirty Water, a hit for another band he managed, the Standells) and a contract with Tower Records that resulted in an LP called No Way Out. In mid-1967 Loomis decided to change musical directions and left the group; he was soon followed by Aguilar and drummer Gary Andrijasevich. The band still had a month's worth of gigs already booked, though, so the two remaining members, guitarist Sean Tolby and bassist Bill Flores, hastily put together a third version of the Watchband. This lineup, however, did not have the same energy or popularity as previous incarnations, and by the end of 1967 it too was history. Meanwhile, undeterred by something so inconsequential as the lack of an actual band, Tower released a second Watchband LP in 1968. The Inner Mystique was made up mostly of leftover studio tracks with an entire side of new material from studio musicians (hired by Cobb) supplementing the actual Watchband material. Finally, in the fall of 1968 a reformed Chocolate Watchband made up of a combination of members from the first two versions of the band (including the original 1965 lead vocalist Danny Phay) got together to record a third LP for Tower. Unlike previous Watchband albums, One Step Beyond, released in 1969, consisted almost entirely of new material composed and performed by members of the band. One of the better tracks on the album is Devil's Motorcycle, written by guitarist Sean Tolby and drummer Gary Andrijasevich, both of whom had been members of the band's most popular 1966-67 lineup. Moby Grape's Jerry Miller, uncredited for contractual reasons, plays lead guitar on the track.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Milk Cow Blues
Source:    Mono CD: No Way Out (bonus track originally released on LP: The Best Of The Chocolate Watch Band)
Writer(s):    Kokomo Arnold
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1994
    The members of the Chocolate Watchband had a clear set of priorities, and spending time in a recording studio was nowhere near the top of their list (apparently neither was making sure the record company got their name right, as the album cover read Chocolate Watch Band). Nonetheless, once they were signed to Tower Records they were obligated to at least make an effort at recording an album, even though they would much rather have been upstaging the various big name acts that they opened for. The result was that their producer, Ed Cobb, found it easier just to hire studio musicians to record tracks that were then included on the first two Chocolate Watchband albums. Even when the band itself did record the songs, Cobb would, on occasion, bring in studio vocalist Don Bennett to record his own lead vocals, replacing those of Dave Aguilar, whom Cobb felt sounded like a Mick Jagger impersonator (he was right, but Aguilar was damn good at it). There are a few recordings, however, that capture the true sound of the Watchband. Among those is their cover of Kokomo Arnold's Milk Cow Blues, using an arrangement similar to that of the Kinks on their Kink Kontroversy album. The song remained unreleased until the 1983, when it was included on the band's first greatest hits collection.

Artist:      Chocolate Watchband
Title:     Expo 2000
Source:      British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: No Way Out)
Writer(s):    Richie Podolor
Label:     Big Beat (original label: Tower)           
Year:     1967
     If you ignore the fact that Expo 2000, from the first Chocolate Watchband album, No Way Out, is performed by uncredited studio musicians and thus is a complete misrepresentation, it's really a pretty decent instrumental. Too bad we'll never know who actually performed it. We do know, however, that it was written by Richard Podolor, who also owned the studio where the track was recorded.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    A Walk In The Sun
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    Trivia fact: the members of the Turtles had to get their parents to sign permission slips before they could record their debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. Yep, they were that young when they scored their first top 10 single in 1965. With that in mind, it might be come as a surprise that vocalist Howard Kaylan had already written a few songs, including A Walk In The Sun, that were included on the album itself. The band, formed when all the members were still in high school, had been known prior to 1965 as the Crossfires, playing mostly surf music. They were the first, and most successful, artists signed to the Los Angeles based White Whale label.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.

Artist:    Soft Machine
Title:    Feelin', Reelin', Squealin'
Source:    Mono import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Kevin Ayers
Label:    Polydor UK
Year:    1967
    The Soft Machine is best known for being at the forefront of the jazz-rock fusion movement of the 1970s. The bands roots were in the city of Canterbury, a sort of British equivalent of New York's Greenwich Village. Led by drummer Robert Wyatt, the band was first formed as the Wilde Flowers in 1963 with Kevin Ayers as lead vocalist. Heavily influenced by modern jazz, beat poetry and dadaist art, the Wilde Flowers were less a band than a group of friends getting together to make music from time to time. Things got more serious when Ayers and his Australian beatnik friend Daevid Allen made a trip to Ibiza, where they met  Wes Brunson, an American who was heir to a fortune. Brunson provided financial backing for a new band called Mister Head, which included Ayers, Wyatt, Allen and Larry Nolan. By late 1966 the group had added Mike Rutledge and changed its name to Soft Machine (after Allen had secured permission to use the name from author William Burroughs), performing regularly at London's legendary UFO club. After the departure of Nolan, the band recorded its first single for Polydor in early 1967. Both sides were written by Ayers, who by then was playing bass and sharing the vocals with Wright. The B side of that single was Feelin', Reelin', Sqealin', a track that helped define British psychedelic music.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Pamela
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer:    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967   
    Trying to take in the entire first Ultimate Spinach album (or even just one side of it) can be a bit overwhelming. Taken individually, however, songs like Pamela, which closes the album, are actually quite listenable.
Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Introduction
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released in US on LP: Chicago Transit Authority)
Writer(s):    Terry Kath
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    When living in Germany in 1969 I bought a copy of an album called Underground '70 in a local record store. The album itself was on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light and featured a variety of artists that had recently released albums in the US on the Columbia label (since the name Columbia was trademarked by EMI in Europe and the UK, US albums from the American Columbia label were released on the CBS label instead). The opening track of the album was appropriately called Introduction and was also the opening track of the first Chicago (Transit Authority) album. Written by guitarist Terry Kath, the piece effectively showcases the strengths of the band, both as an extremely tight ensemble and as individual soloists, with no one member dominating the song. Finally, in 2018, I couldn't resist the urge to track down a copy of Underground '70, purple vinyl and all. Thank you Internet.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2035 (starts 8/24/20)

    This week we manage to squeeze 15 tracks (a new record for Rockin' in the Days of Confusion) into two sets. Starting off on a mildly humorous note with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show's most famous recording, we quickly shift to more serious stuff with Joy Of Cooking's cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson's Bad Luck Blues and Savoy Brown's Flood In Houston before moving in a more eclectic direction. A trio of tunes from solo artists kicks off a slightly more subdued set that includes Led Zeppelin's version of Anne Bredon's Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and the ultimate Beatles' six-part harmony song, Because.

Artist:    Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Title:    The Cover Of  "Rolling Stone"
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Shel Silverstein
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    Much of the success of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show can be attributed to one man: Shel Silverstein. In addition to writing nearly every well-known Dr. Hook song, including The Cover Of "Rolling Stone", Silverstein was an accomplished cartoonist, having been published regularly in Playboy since the late 1950s, and prose writer whose works included the children's book The Giving Tree. He also wrote songs for such varied artists as Johnny Cash (A Boy Named Sue), Tompall Glazer (Put Another Log On The Fire) and the Irish Rovers (The Unicorn).

Artist:    Joy Of Cooking
Title:    Bad Luck Blues
Source:    British import CD: Castles
Writer(s):    Blind Lemon Jefferson
Label:    Acadia (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1972
    Despite having two strong songwriters in Toni Brown and Terry Garthwaite, Joy Of Cooking decided to conclude what would be their last album, Castles, with a cover song. That cover song, however, was a particularly strong rendition of Blind Lemon Jefferson' Bad Luck Blues, sung by Garthwaite. Sadly, the album was not a commercial success, a problem that can be traced, at least in part, to Capitol Records' inability to properly promote the group.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Flood In Houston
Source:    LP: Getting To The Point
Writer(s):    Youlden/Simmonds
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1968
    Savoy Brown's second LP, Getting To The Point, was the first to feature lead vocalist Chris Youlden. It was also the first Savoy Brown album to have more original material than cover songs on it. These new originals included the album's opening track, Flood In Houston, written by Youlden, along with bandleader/guitarist Kim Simmonds. Youlden would be gone by 1970, one of many to leave Savoy Brown over the years. In fact, Simmonds is the only member to appear on every Savoy Brown album.

Artist:    Patti Smith Group
Title:    Ain't It Strange
Source:    LP: Radio Ethiopia
Writer(s):    Smith/Kral
Label:    Arista
Year:    1976
    Although it appears as the second track on the second Patti Smith album, Radio Ethiopia, Ain't It Strange is actually one of the group's earliest compositions, having been in the band's stage repertoire since before their first album was recorded. Why it wasn't included on that album, Horses, isn't clear, as it is one of their strongest tracks.
Artist:    Frank Zappa
Title:    Cosmik Debris
Source:    CD: Apostrophe (')
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa
Year:    1974
    One of Frank Zappa's most memorable tunes, Cosmik Debris first appeared on his Apostrophe(') album in 1974. The album itself was recorded at the same time as the Mothers' Over-Nite Sensation, and features some of the same musicians, including George Duke and Napoleon Brock. The song, like many Zappa compositions, tells a story, in this case one of a mystical con artist and Zappa's refusal to be conned. The song uses the repeated line "Look here brother. Who you jivin' with that Cosmik Debris?", and contains references to other Zappa compositions, including Camarillo Brillo (from Over-Nite Sensation). The song was originally scheduled for release as a single, but instead appeared as the B side of an edited version of Don't Eat Yellow Snow when that track began gaining popularity due to excessive airplay on FM rock radio.

Artist:    Cheech & Chong
Title:    Evelyn Woodhead Speed Reading Course
Source:    LP: Los Cochinos
Writer(s):    Marin/Chong
Label:    Ode
Year:    1973
    If you never saw one of those Evelyn Wood commercials on late night television in the early 1970s, this thirty-five second comedy bit probably won't make a whole lot of sense to you. Then again it might.
Artist:    Arlo Guthrie
Title:    Week On The Rag
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (promo)
Writer(s):    Arlo Guthrie
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1973
    One of the most popular films of 1973 (second only to The Exorcist) was The Sting, a caper flick set in the 1930s that used songs written earlier in the century by ragtime composer Scott Joplin. The film's popularity set off a ragtime craze that influenced artists such as Arlo Guthrie to write ragtime pieces of their own. Guthrie's Week On The Rag was included on his 1973 Last Of The Brooklyn Cowboys and released as the B side of the album's single, a reworking of Woody Guthrie's Gypsy Davy.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    Out On The Weekend
Source:    CD: Harvest
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1972
    Although overshadowed by other tracks on the album, including Old Man and Heart Of Stone, Out On The Weekend, which opens Harvest, is Neil Young doing country-rock better than many country-rock bands. The song is happy and sad at the same time, which is pretty much what country-rock is all about.
Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Learning How To Love You
Source:    LP: Thirty Three & ​1⁄3
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Dark Horse
Year:    1976
    George Harrison originally wrote Learning How To Love You as a kind of tribute to Herb Alpert, and the song was meant to be performed in the same style as This Guy's In Love With You. Harrison's Dark Horse Records had signed a distribution deal with Alpert's A&M Records in 1974, with Harrison's own label debut scheduled for June of 1976, Harrison being under contract to Apple until February of that year. A bout with hepatitis, however, caused the album to be delayed by several months, and led to A&M terminating their relationship with Dark Horse and Harrison recording Learning How To Love You himself. The song has been praised by critics as being Harrison's best love song since Something (from Abbey Road), perhaps even surpassing it in sophistication. The recording features the keyboard playing of Richard Tee prominently, and contains one of Harrison's most highly-regarded acoustic guitar solos of his career.
Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Indian Sunset
Source:    CD: Madman Across The Water
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    MCA (original label: Uni)
Year:    1971
    Described by Elton John in 2011 interview as a "six-minute movie in a song", Indian Sunset is the first song on side two of John's 1971 LP Madman Across The Water. The song tells the story of a native American Warrior facing inevitable defeat against the far stronger forces of the white man. Bernie Taupin said the lyrics were inspired by a trip he made to a Reservation while visiting the US.

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

Artist:    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:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

rtist:    The Band
Title:    The Shape I'm In
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Robbie Robertson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    The Band's third LP, stage fright, is probably their best-known studio effort (Rock Of Ages and The Last Waltz being live albums). The only single from the album was The Shape I'm In. The tune, written by Robbie Robertson, was a not-entirely-flattering portrayel of fellow band member Richard Manuel, whose voice is ironically the most prominent on the recording.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Big Yellow Taxi
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Ladies Of The Canyon)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    One of Joni Mitchell's best-known tunes, Big Yellow Taxi was originally released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. The original studio version of the song hit the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the UK and Mitchell's native Canada, but only reached the #67 spot in the US. A later live version of the song, however, cracked the top 30 in the US in 1974. Mitchell says she was inspired to write the song on a visit to Hawaii, where she looked out her hotel window to view a mountain vista in the distance, only to be shocked back to reality when she looked down to see a parking lot "as far as the eye could see".

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The temporary return of the PRX audio player

You may have noticed that link to the PRX audio player on the blog page is working again. This is because I was able to switch back to the legacy version of the blogger interface. Unfortunately, this will only be until the beginning of September, at which time the legacy interface will be permanently unavailable. Unfortunately, the new interface does not support the html script that runs the PRX audio player, so when September gets here, the player is gone for good. Unless, of course, the people at Blogger make some changes to their new interface. I have tried to contact them about this, but so far have gotten no response. If anyone reading this knows of a solution to the problem, let me know, OK?

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2034 (starts 8/17/20)

    A fairly common practice in popular music is for a producer to add strings and horns to a recording to "enhance" the performance. As often as not, this is because the producer felt the artist's performance wasn't strong enough to stand on its own without said enhancement. Personally I find that insulting to the artists, but this week we have a few examples of strings being used as an integral part of the work itself. Among them are pieces by Phil Ochs, Buffalo Springfield (actually a Neil Young solo work), and an entire set of tunes from the Left Banke. The show begins with one of the most celebrated uses of an orchestra by a rock band: the opening track of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1967
            One of the first tracks recorded for the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the title track itself, which opens up side one of the LP. The following song, With A Little Help From My Friends (tentatively titled Bad Finger Boogie at the time), was recorded nearly two months later, yet the two sound like one continuous performance. In fact, it was this painstaking attention to every facet of the recording and production process that made Sgt. Pepper's such a landmark album. Whereas the first Beatles album took only 585 minutes to record, Sgt. Pepper's took over 700 hours. By this point in the band's career, drummer Ringo Starr was generally given one song to sing (usually written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) on each of the group's albums. Originally, these were throwaway songs such as I Wanna Be Your Man (which was actually written for the Rolling Stones), but on the previous album, Revolver, the biggest hit on the album ended up being the song Ringo sang, Yellow Submarine. Although no singles were released from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, With A Little Help From My Friends received considerable airplay on top 40 radio and is one of the most popular Beatles songs ever recorded.
Artist:    Beatles
Title:    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    George Harrison had already written several songs that had appeared on various Beatles albums (and an occasional B side) through 1968, but his first song to be universally acknowledged as a classic was While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which appeared on The Beatles (aka the White Album). The recording features Harrison's close friend, guitarist Eric Clapton, who at that time was enjoying superstar status as a member of Cream.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Getting Better
Source:    CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    Following their 1966 North American tour, the Beatles announced that they were giving up live performances to concentrate on their songwriting and studio work. Freed of the responsibilities of the road (and under the influence of mind-expanding substances), the band members found themselves discovering new sonic possibilities as never before (or since), hitting a creative peak with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, often cited as the greatest album ever recorded. The individual Beatles were about to move in separate musical directions, but as of Sgt. Pepper's were still functioning mostly as a single unit, as is heard on the chorus of Getting Better, in which Paul McCartney's opening line, "I have to admit it's getting better", is immediately answered by John Lennon's playfully cynical "can't get no worse". The members continued to experiment with new instrumental styles as well, such as George Harrison's use of sitar on the song's bridge, accompanied by Ringo Starr's bongos.

Artist:    Them
Title:    One More Time
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Them (also released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1965
    After the success of Baby Please Don't Go on the UK charts Them's British record label, Decca UK, decided to follow it up with One More Time, a song from the band's first LP that lead vocalist Van Morrison had written himself. After the song failed to sell well everyone agreed that it was a poor choice for a single. Nonetheless, One More Time is fairly representative of Morrison's early songwriting.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    What Am I Living For
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
Writer:    Jay/Harris
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    Throughout their existence the original Animals were known for their love of American Blues and R&B music. In fact, hit singles aside, almost everything they recorded was a cover of an R&B hit. Among the covers on their 1966 LP Animalism (released in the US as Animalization) was What Am I Living For, originally recorded by the legendary Chuck Willis. The original version was released shortly after Willis's death from cancer in 1958, and is considered a classic. The Animals, thanks in large part to their obvious respect and admiration for the song, actually managed to improve on the original (as was often the case with their cover songs).

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Orange Fire
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released in US on EP: Mad River)
Writer(s):    Lawrence Hammond
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Wee)
Year:    1967
    Mad River was formed in 1965 in Yellow Spings, Ohio, as the Mad River Blues Band. The group (after several personnel changes) relocated to the Berkeley, California in spring of 1967, and soon began appearing at local clubs, often alongside Country Joe And The Fish. Around this time the band came into contact with Lonnie Hewitt, a jazz musician who had started his own R&B-oriented label, Wee. After auditioning for Fantasy Records, the band decided instead to finance their own studio recordings, which were then issued as a three-song EP on Wee. From the start, Mad River's music was pretty far out there, even by Bay Area standards. Orange Fire, for instance, was an attempt by bandleader Lawrence Hammond to portray the horrors of war musically. Interestingly enough, all the tracks on the EP had been written and arranged before the band moved out to the West Coast. The group eventually signed with Capitol, releasing two decidedly non-commercial albums for the label before disbanding in 1969.
Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Shadows Breaking Over My Head
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Martin
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Shadows Breaking Over My Head is one of many examples of what has come to be called Baroque Pop as defined by the Left Banke on their 1967 album Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina. Written by lead vocalist Steve Martin and keyboardist Michael Brown, the track utilizes studio musicians extensively, with Brown's keyboard work featured prominently.

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

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Walk Away Renee
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Brown/Calilli/Sansune
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    The Left Banke's Walk Away Renee is one of the most covered songs in rock history, starting with a version by the Four Tops less than two years after the original recording had graced the top 5. The Left Banke version kicked off what was thought at the time to be the latest trend: Baroque Pop. The trend died an early death when the band members themselves made some tactical errors resulting in radio stations being hesitant to play their records.

Artist:     Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title:     Wooden Ships
Source:     CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer:     Crosby/Stills/Kantner
Label:     Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:     1969
     At the beginning of 1969 vocal harmonies were out of vogue in rock music. Part of the reason for this was the emphasis on instrumental profiency that had come about in the wake of the success of guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Another, less obvious reason was the association of vocal harmonies with such groups as the Beach Boys, who were seen as relics of an earlier, less socially and politically aware time. Somehow, though, Crosby, Stills and Nash managed to overcome this prejudice to become superstars in the early 70s. Performing Wooden Ships at the Woodstock Music And Art Fair (which was also performed by Jefferson Airplane) certainly helped, as the song carried an obvious anti-war message at a time where such messages were embraced by a large segment of the public, particularly young people of draftable age who made up a huge portion of the audience at Woodstock. Crosby, Stills & Nash were joined onstage for this performace of Wooden Ships by new member Neil Young, who can be heard playing keyboards on the tune.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    After releasing a fairly well produced debut solo album utilizing the talents of several well-respected studio musicians in late 1968, Neil Young surprised everyone by recruiting an unknown L.A. bar band and rechristening them Crazy Horse for his second effort, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album was raw and unpolished, with Young's lead vocals recorded using a talkback microphone normally used by engineers to communicate with people in the studio from the control room. In spite of, or more likely because of, these limitations, the resulting album has come to be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of rock, with Young sounding far more comfortable, both as a vocalist and guitarist, than on the previous effort. Although the album is best known for three songs he wrote while running a fever (Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl In The Sand, and Down By The River), there are plenty of good other songs on the LP, including the title track heard here.

Artist:    Glass Prism
Title:    The Happiest Day, The Happiest Hour
Source:    LP: Poe Through The Glass Prism
Writer(s):    Poe/Varano
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    1969 was a year for innovation. It was, after all, the year that human beings first set foot on the moon. One of the more unique album releases of 1969 was Poe Through The Glass Prism, which featured a Pennsylvania band called the Glass Prism adapting the works of Edgar Allan Poe to light psychedelic rock. The album was engineered by the legendary guitarist Les Paul at his own studios in Northern New Jersey, and features songs like The Happiest Day, The Happiest Hour, adapted from the poem of the same name written in 1827.

Artist:    Pearls Before Swine
Title:    Morning Song
Source:    CD: The Complete ESP-Disk' Recordings (originally released on LP: One Nation Underground)
Writer(s):    Tom Rapp
Label:    ESP-Disk'
Year:    1967
    First there was folk-rock. Then came psychedelic rock. Somewhere among all this emerged something that has come to be called psychedelic folk. Perhaps the best example of this is a band called Pearls Before Swine. Formed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Rapp with high school friends Wayne Harley (banjo, mandolin), Lane Lederer (bass, guitar) and Roger Crissinger (piano, organ) in 1965 in Eau Gallie, Florida, the group released its first LP in 1967 on the avant-garde ESP-Disk' label. The album featured a variety of additional instruments, including autoharp, vibraphone and audio oscillator (played by Harley), English horn, swinehorn, sarangi, celeste, and finger cymbals (played by Lederer), and harpsichord and clavioline (played by Crissinger). Studio drummer Warren Smith provided percussion for the album. Morning Song is considered the best indication of the direction Rapp's songwriting would be taking over the next few years, both with the band (whose lineup would change considerably over the course of six albums) and later as a solo artist.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Pleasures Of The Harbor
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs (originally released on LP: Pleasures Of The Harbor)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    Singer/songwriter Phil Ochs first started making a name for himself in 1962 playing protest songs (although he preferred to call them "topical songs") in the coffee houses and folk clubs of New York's Greenwich Village. By the summer of 1963 he was well-enough known to secure a spot in the Newport Folk Festival. The following year he recorded his first of three albums for Elektra Records, then a small New York based folk and blues label. By 1967, however, Ochs decided to make some drastic changes in his life, moving from New York to Los Angeles and from Elektra to the more commercially-oriented A&M label co-owned by trumpet player Herb Alpert. His music underwent radical changes as well. Whereas his Elektra material was mainly Ochs accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, his A&M material was much more lavishly produced. The title track for his first A&M LP, Pleasure Of The Harbor, runs over eight minutes in length and features a full orchestra. Ochs himself later said that he had gone overboard with the song's production techniques (knowing Ochs, the pun was probably intentional). Nonetheless, hearing Pleasures Of The Harbor now is as unique an experience as it was in 1967.

Artist:    SRC
Title:    Up All Night
Source:    Mono import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Milestones)
Writer(s):    Clawson/Richardson/Quackenbush/Lyman/Quackenbush
Label:    Zonophone UK (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Stylistic and regional contemporaries of bands such as the MC5 and the Amboy Dukes, SRC were formed in 1965 as the Tremelos, soon changing their name to the Fugitives and releasing four singles and an album on various local Detroit labels. They released their first records under the name SRC in 1967, a pair of singles for the A[squared] label, which led to a contract with Capitol that resulted in one album per year from 1968-70. The most successful of these was the 1969 LP Milestones, which included the single Turn Into Love and its B side, Up All Night. After being dropped from the Capitol roster the group continued on for a couple more years, releasing a final single under the name Blue Scepter for Rare Earth Records in 1972.

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

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Take It As It Comes
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing a mixture of blues covers and original tunes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who's band Love had already released their first album on Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors the second rock band on Elektra (the Butterfield Blues Band, which had been with the label since 1965, was not considered a rock group in those days). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer:     Esposito/Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1966
     The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Flash On You
Source:    Mono CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1966
    Sounding a bit like the fast version of Hey Joe (which was also on Love's debut LP), My Flash On You is essentially Arthur Lee in garage mode. A punk classic.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Source:    LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    One of Simon And Garfunkel's most popular songs, The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) originally appeared on their 1966 LP Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme. The recording was never, however, released as a single by the duo (although it did appear as a 1967 B side). When Columbia released a greatest hits compilation album (after the duo had split up), a live acoustic version of the song was included on the album. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) did make the top 40 in 1967, when it was recorded by Harper's Bizarre, a group featuring future Doobie Brothers and Van Halen producer Ted Templeman on lead vocals.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in 1967 by guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker in New York's Greenwich Village. The group, originally called the Lost Sea Dreamers (changed at the behest of the folks at Vanguard Records, who didn't like the initials), combined elements of folk, rock, jazz and country to create their own unique brand of psychedelic music. Their self-title debut album contained rock songs from both songwriters, with Walker's tunes leaning more toward folk and country while Bruno's contained elements of jazz, as can be heard on You Know I've Got The Rest Of My Life To Go. The band released a second album in early 1968 before splitting up, with Walker becoming a successful songwriter and Bruno hooking up with various jazz musicians over the next few years before turning his attention to more visual forms of art. Bassist Gary White also had some success as a songwriter, penning Linda Ronstadt's first solo hit, Long, Long Time.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Someone's Coming
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    John Entwhistle
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    Some songs just get no respect. First released in 1967 in the UK as the B side of I Can See For Miles, John Alec Entwistle's Someone's Coming got left off the US release entirely. It wasn't until the release of the Magic Bus single (and subsequent LP) in 1968 that the tune appeared on US vinyl, and then, once again as a B side (the version used here). The Magic Bus album, however, was never issued on CD in the US, although it has been available as a Canadian import for several years. Finally, in 1995 the song found a home on a US CD as a bonus track on The Who Sell Out.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    My White Bicycle
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular bands with the mid-60s London Mods was a group called the In Crowd. In 1967 the band abandoned its R&B/Soul sound for a more psychedelic approach, changing its name to Tomorrow in the process. Their debut single, My White Bicycle, was inspired by the practice in Amsterdam of leaving white bicycles at various stategic points throughout the city for anyone to use (Ithaca, NY currently does the same thing, except theirs are yellow and green). The song sold well and got a lot of play at local discoteques, but did not chart. Soon after the record was released, however, lead vocalist Keith West had a hit of his own, Excerpt From A Teenage Opera, which did not sound at all like the music Tomorrow was making. After a second Tomorrow single failed to chart, the individual members drifted off in different directions, with West concentrating on his solo career, guitarist Steve Howe joining Bodast, and bassist Junior Wood and drummer Twink Alder forming a short-lived group called Aquarian Age. Twink would go on to greater fame as a member of the Pretty Things and a founder of the Pink Fairies, but it was Howe that became an international star in the 70s after replacing Peter Banks in Yes.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Miss Lover
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The second of two songs to use the wah-wah effect extensively on the album Axis: Bold As Love, Little Miss Lover is an example of Jimi Hendrix's funky side, a side not often heard on the three original Jimi Hendrix Experience albums.
Artist:     Buffalo Springfield
Title:     Broken Arrow
Source:     CD: Retrospective-The Best Of Buffalo Springfield (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer:     Neil Young
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
    The most experimental track ever to appear on a Buffalo Springfield album, Broken Arrow is basically a Neil Young solo piece with orchestra, arranged and co-produced by Jack Nitzsche. The track uses extensive editing and studio effects to highlight Young's highly personal lyrics.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Little Women
Source:     CD: Face To Face (previously unreleased bonus track)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     Sanctuary
Year:     Recorded 1967, released 2010
     Little Women is an unfinished track written and recorded sometime between the Kinks' 1966 LP Face To Face and 1967's Something Else. It would be interesting to hear just what sort of vocals Ray Davies had in mind for this song (if indeed he had any at all).

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Prelude: Happiness/I'm So Glad
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Evans/Lord/Paice/Blackmore/Simper/James
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple was originally the brainchild of vocalist Chris Curtis, whose idea was to have a band called Roundabout that utilized a rotating cast of musicians onstage, with only Curtis himself being up there for the entire gig. The first two musicians recruited were organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, both of whom came aboard in late 1967. Curtis soon lost interest in the project, and Lord and Blackmore decided to stay together and form what would become Deep Purple. After a few false starts the lineup stabilized with the addition of bassist Nicky Simper, drummer Ian Paice and vocalist Rod Evans. The group worked up a songlist and used their various connections to get a record deal with a new American record label, Tetragrammaton, which was partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. This in turn led to a deal to release the band's recordings in England on EMI's Parlophone label as well, although Tetragrammaton had first rights to all the band's material, including the classically-influenced Prelude: Happiness, which leads directly into a cover of the Skip James classic I'm So Glad. The band's first LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, was released in the US in July of 1968 and in the UK in September of the same year. The album was a major success in the US, where the single Hush made it into the top five. In the UK, however, it was panned by the rock press and failed to make the charts. This would prove to be the pattern the band would follow throughout its early years; it was only after Evans and Simper were replaced by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover that the band would find success in their native land. Both editions of Deep Purple can be heard regularly on our companion show, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell, disheartened, dissillusioned and/or disgusted, eventually quit the music business altogether.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Summer In The City
Source:    LP: Harmony (originally released on LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Sebastian/Boone
Label:    RCA Special Products (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful changed gears completely for what would become their biggest hit of 1966: Summer In The City. Inspired by a poem by John Sebastian's brother, the song was recorded for the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. That album was an attempt by the band to deliberately record in a variety of styles; in the case of Summer In The City, it was a rare foray into psychedelic rock for the band. Not coincidentally, Summer In The City is also my favorite Lovin' Spoonful song.

Artist:    The Ban
Title:    Place Of Sin
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Tony McGuire
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2010
    The Ban was a garage band from Lompoc, California, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Tony McGuire, organist Oilver McKinney, bassist Frank Strait and drummer Randy Gordon. They made a handful of recordings for the Brent label in 1965, with the song Bye Bye being released as a single. Among the other McGuire compositions the Ban recorded was Place Of Sin, a song that was probably too far ahead of its time to be released in 1965. Unfortunately, before the Ban could generate interest in their single, McGuire was drafted, and the Ban moved to San Bernadino, adding a new member and changing their name to the Now. Later, they relocated to San Francisco, where they were snagged by the infamous manager Matthew Katz, who renamed them the Tripsichord Music Box.

Artist:     Syndicate Of Sound
Title:     Little Girl
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Gonzalez/Baskin
Label:     Rhino (original labels: Hush and Bell)
Year:     1966
     San Jose California, despite being a relatively small city in its pre-silicon valley days,  was home to a thriving music scene in the mid 60s that produced more than its share of hit records from 1966-68. One of the earliest and biggest of these hits was the Syndicate Of Sound hit Little Girl, which has come to be recognized as one of the best garage-rock songs of all time.