Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A few words on the subject of show identification

 I recently received a comment from a listener here on the blog page. Since I haven't figured out how to reply personally to such messages I thought I would instead say something on the subject here.

Basically, this listener said that he has a problem with hearing the words "Stuck in the Psychedelic Era with the hermit" several times per hour. He pointed out that that particular phrase was repeated eleven times in a single hour. Although I suspect that is an exaggeration, he did have a valid point. I do repeat that particular phrase quite often. And yes, it's deliberate.

So that leads to the obvious question: why on Earth do I repeat that particular phrase so often? The answer lies in the nature of radio listening itself. 

Since at least the 1960s and maybe even earlier, the bulk of radio listening in the US takes place in cars. Yes, there are exceptions. A lot of workplaces have the radio on for background noise, for instance. And in the late 60s and early 70s, before FM radios were standard equipment in most cars, people only heard FM on a stereo system. For the most part, though, radio listening takes place in cars. 

The most convenient thing about a car radio is the ease in which one can, with a simple touch of a button, increase of decrease the volume or, more importantly, change stations. And we do. We don't like a particular song? Change stations. Obnoxious commercial? Change stations. We love to hit that button. And why not? There's no law that says you have to keep the same station on all the time, right? The other thing about listening in cars is that we can tune in at any time. It could be right at the top of the hour. It could be five minutes later. It could be at 37 minutes and 22 seconds past the top of the hour. And then, when you reach your destination, poof! The radio is off.

Put those factors together, and you quickly realize that at any particular time, a significant portion of the audience just tuned in and probably will be gone in just a few minutes. It's my job to make sure they know what they are listening to before they hit the button. 

And that is why you hear "You're Stuck in the Psychedelic Hour" and/or "You're Rockin' in the Days of Confusion" so often. It's simply a matter of letting people know what they're tuned into.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2040 (starts 9/28/20)


    This week we have two artists' sets, both of which feature some of the artists' earliest releases. The first, featuring the Jimi Hendrix Experience, includes the original mono mix of the legendary Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice, while the second, featuring Country Joe And The Fish, includes two tracks from the band's second self-published 1966 EP. Other highlights include a classic jam from Savoy Brown, an H.P. Lovecraft interpretation of a Billy Ed Wheeler tune and the first Robin Gibb song ever recorded by the Bee Gees.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Can You See Me
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced (UK version) (original US release: LP: Smash Hits)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967 (US 1969)
    Before releasing the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album in the US, Reprise Records decided to make some changes to the track lineup, adding three songs that had been released as non-album singles in the UK and creating new stereo mixes for all the songs used on the US version of Are You Experienced. To make room for these, three songs were cut from the original mono version of the LP. The most popular of these three tracks was Can You See Me, a song that was included in the band's US debut set at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967.  Despite the audience's positive response to the song, the band apparently dropped Can You See Me from their live set shortly after Monterey. The song was originally slated to be released as the B side of The Wind Cries Mary, but instead was used as an album track.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice
Source:    German import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1967
    The fourth single released in Europe and the UK by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was 1967's Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, which appeared in stereo the following year on the album Electric Ladyland. The B side of that single was a strange bit of psychedelia called The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice, which is also known in some circles as STP With LSD. The piece features Hendrix on guitar and vocals, with background sounds provided by a cast of at least dozens. Hendrix's vocals are, throughout much of the track, spoken rather than sung, and resemble nothing more than a cosmic travelogue with Hendrix himself as the tour guide. The original mono mix of the track has never been released in the US, which is a shame, since it is the only version where Jimi's vocals dominate the mix, allowing his somewhat whimsical sense of humor to shine through.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Are You Experienced?
Source:    Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Until the release of Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience the emphasis in rock music (then called pop) was on the 45 RPM single, with albums seen as a luxury item that supplemented an artist's career rather than defined it. Are You Experience helped change all that. The album was not only highly influential, it was a major seller, despite getting virtually no airplay on top 40 radio. The grand finale of the LP was the title track, which features an array of studio effects, including backwards masking and tape loops. Interestingly enough, the album was originally issued only in a mono version in the UK, with later European pressings using a simulated stereo mix. After Reprise bought the rights to release the LP in the US it hired its own engineers to create stereo mixes of the songs from the four-track master tapes.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Live And Let Live
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    In late spring of 1967 L.A.'s most popular local band, Love, was falling apart, mostly due to constant partying on the part of some of the band members. This became a real issue for producer Bruce Botnick when it came time to begin sessions for the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Botnick had already lost his co-producer on the project, Neil Young, when Young's own band, Buffalo Springfield, found itself hugely popular in the wake of the success of the single For What It's Worth, and Botnick was now faced with a heavier-than-expected workload. Botnick's solution to the problem became evident when the band entered Sunset Sound Recorders on June 9th, only to find a group of studio musicians already set up and ready to record. Two new Arthur Lee songs were recorded that day, and the rest of the band was literally shocked in sobriety, returning to the studio the next day to record overdubs on the tracks to make them sound more like the work of the band itself. After two month's worth of intensive practice, the band was ready to return to the studio, recording the first track for the album performed entirely by the band itself, Live And Let Live. The unusual first line of the song was reportedly the result of Lee falling asleep in a chair with his nose running during practice sessions.
Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Back In The High Life, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the mid-to-late 1980s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Doctor Doctor
Source:    Mono Canadian import CD: Magic Bus-The Who On Tour (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    John Entwhistle
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    Keeping an accurate chronology of recordings by the Who in their early years can be a bit difficult, mainly due to the difference in the ways songs were released in the US and the UK. Since the British policy was for songs released on 45 RPM vinyl not to be duplicated on LPs, several early Who songs were nearly impossible to find until being released on compilation albums several years after their original release. One such song is Doctor Doctor, a John Entwhistle tune released as the B side to their 1967 hit Pictures Of Lily. The single was released on both sides of the Atlantic, but only received airplay in the UK, where it made the top 10. In the US the record failed to chart and was out of print almost as soon as it was released. The song was included on the early 70s LP, Magic Bus-The Who On Tour. However, that album has never been issued in the US on CD (although it is available in Canada). Finally, in 1993, Doctor Doctor was included as a bonus track on the CD version of the Who's second album, A Quick One.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     Pipe Dream
Source:     Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer:     Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1967
     Pipe Dream, the Blues Magoos strong follow-up single to (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was handicapped by having an equally strong track, There's A Chance We Can Make It, on the other side of the record. As it was not Mercury's policy to push one side of a single over the other, stations were confused about which song to play. The result was that each tune got about an equal amount of airplay. With each song getting airplay on only half the available stations, neither tune was able to make a strong showing in the charts. This had the ripple effect of slowing down album sales of Electric Comic Book, which in turn hurt the careers of the members of the Blues Magoos. Also, I'm sure the fact that they were treated like a novelty act on at least two TV variety shows hosted by famous comedians (Bob Hope and Jack Benny) did not exactly contribute to their longevity either.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    LP: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the band's most memorable recordings, including the title tune, which tends to show up on just about every "best of" collection of Doors tracks ever released, despite having never been issued as a single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone/EMI (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1967
    The top album of 1967 was the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was also the first US Beatles album to have a song lineup that was identical to the original UK LP. As such, it was also the first Beatles album released in the US to not include any songs that were also released as singles. Nonetheless, several tracks from the LP found their way onto the playlists of both top 40 AM and "underground" FM stations from coast to coast. Among the most popular of these tracks was John Lennon's Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which shows up on just about everyone's list of classic psychedelic tunes.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Lucifer Sam
Source:    Mono LP: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Tower
Year:    1967
    Beyond a shadow of a doubt the original driving force behind Pink Floyd was the legendary Syd Barrett. Not only did he front the band during their rise to fame, he also wrote their first two singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, as well as most of their first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. In fact it could be argued that one of the songs on that album, Lucifer Sam, could have just as easily been issued as a single, as it is stylistically similar to the first two songs. Sadly, Barrett's mental health deteriorated quickly over the next year and his participation in the making of the band's next LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was minimal. He soon left the group altogether, never to return (although several of his former bandmates did participate in the making of his 1970 solo album, The Madcap Laughs).

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Nobody To Love
Source:    CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer:    Stacy Sutherland
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The release of The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators in 1966 is considered by some to be the beginning of the psychedelic era. The band soon left their native Texas to spend four months touring in California, playing to packed houses and influencing countless other musicians. Their label, however, wanted them back in Texas and recording new material, and went as far as to threaten to release older, substandard, recordings of the Elevators if the boys didn't return home immediately. Once the band got back to Texas, however, the label made several missteps, such as forcing the band to play inappropriate venues. Also, due to the band members' notorious drug use, the label was reluctant to promote them heavily. By mid-1967 a rift had developed within the band itself, with two of the five members leaving the group to move to San Francisco. The remaining members, with a new bass player and drummer, went into the studio to record a true piece of acid-rock: the album that would come to be known as Easter Everywhere. Although the bulk of the LP would be written by guitarist/vocalist Roky Erickson and electric jug player Tommy Hall, there was one track, Nobody To Love, written by the band's lead guitarist, Stacy Sutherland.

Artist:      Fairport Convention
Title:     Tam Lin
Source:      LP: Leige and Leaf
Writer(s):    Trad. arr. Swarbuck
Label:     A&M
Year:     1969
     Fairport Convention was hailed as England's answer to Jefferson Airplane when they first appeared. As Tam Lin, from their 1969 album Leige And Lief shows, they soon established a sound all their own. Sandy Denny, heard here on lead vocals, is probably best known to American audiences for her backup vocals on Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore from their fourth LP.

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

Artist:     Country Weather
Title:     Fly To New York
Source:     Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released only to radio stations, later included on Swiss CD: Country Weather)
Writer:     Baron/Carter/Derr/Douglass
Label:     Rhino (original label: RD)
Year:     Recorded 1969, released 2005
     Country Weather started off as a popular dance band in Contra Costa County, California. In 1968 they took the name Country Weather and began gigging on the San Francisco side of the bay. In 1969, still without a record contract, they recorded an album side's worth of material, made a few one-sided test copies and circulated them to local radio stations. Those tracks, including Fly To New York, were eventually released on CD in 2005 by the Swedish label RD Records.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Dupree's Diamond Blues
Source:    45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The 1969 Grateful Dead album Aoxomoxoa was one of the first albums to be recorded using state-of-the-art sixteen track equipment, and the band, in the words of guitarist Jerry Garcia, "tended to put too much on everything...A lot of the music was just lost in the mix, a lot of what was really there." Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh would return to the master tapes in 1971, remixing the entire album for the version that has appeared on vinyl and CD ever since then. This particular track is the single version of Dupree's Diamond Blues using a mono folddown from the original 1969 mix. It has never been reissued in this form.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Bass Strings
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on EP)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Rag Baby)
Year:    1966
    One of the more original ways to get one's music heard is to publish an underground arts-oriented newspaper and include a record in it. Country Joe and the Fish did just that; not once, but twice. The first one was split with another artist and featured the original recording of the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag. The second Rag Baby EP, released in 1966, was all Fish, and featured two tracks that would be re-recorded for their debut LP the following year. In addition to the instrumental Section 43, the EP included a four-minute version of Bass Strings, a track with decidedly psychedelic lyrics.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Death Sound Blues
Source:    CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Section 43 (EP version)
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on EP)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Rag Baby)
Year:    1966
    Rag Baby was an underground journal published by Country Joe McDonald in mid-60s Berkeley, California. In 1965 McDonald decided to do a "talking issue" of the paper with an extended play (EP) record containing two songs by McDonald's band, Country Joe and the Fish and two by singer Peter Krug. In 1966 McDonald published a second Rag Baby EP, this time featuring four songs by Country Joe and the Fish. Among those was the original version of Section 43, a psychedelic instrumental that would appear in a re-recorded (and slightly changed) stereo form on the band's first LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, in early 1967.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (originally released on LP: Bringing It All Back Home and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio itself. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Ballad Of A Useless Man
Source:    LP: Midnight Ride
Writer(s):    Drake Levin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Midnight Ride was probably the artistic peak, if not the commercial one, for Paul Revere And The Raiders. Released in 1966, it was the only Raiders album to include songwriting contributions from all five members. In fact, it was the move away from such egalitarian principles that prompted lead guitarist Drake Levin, who wrote Ballad Of A Useless Man, to leave the group not long after Midnight Ride's release. Subsequent releases from the Raiders saw the band utilizing studio musicians and moving in an increasingly commercial direction, eventually all but abandoning their roots as one of the best rock and roll bands to come out of the Pacific Northwest.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Bee Gees
Title:    I Don't Know Why I Bother With Myself
Source:    Mono LP: Rare Precious And Beautiful (originally released in Australia on LP: Spicks And Specks)
Writer(s):    Robin Gibb
Label:    Atco (original label: Spin)
Year:    1966 (US release: 1968)
    The Bee Gees were formed in 1958 in Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia by brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, whose family had recently immigrated from Manchester, England. The young boys (Barry was 11 and fraternal twins Robin and Maurice were 8) had already been singing together for about a year when they immigrated, and soon came to the attention of Brisbane disc jockey Bill Gates and dirt track driver/promoter Bill Goode, who had hired them to ride on the back of a flatbed truck and sing between races, collecting money that would be thrown down to them by the crowd. It was Gates (no relation to the Microsoft guy), who, inspired by the fact that he, Goode and Barry Gibb shared the same initials, came up with the name BGs in the first place. By 1960 they were making appearances on local TV shows and in 1963 were signed to Leedon Records, using the spelled out name Bee Gees for the first time. The group released their first LP in late 1965, The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs. Only five of the songs on the album were new recordings, with the remainder having been released as singles over the previous three years. The album was not a commercial success, however, and the Bee Gees soon found their contract being transferred to the new independent Spin label. About a year later they released their first hit single, Spicks And Specks, which went to the #4 spot on the Australian charts and led to an album of the same name. Although Barry Gibb continued to be the group's primary songwriter, Spicks And Specks did include I Don't Know Why I Bother With Myself, the first song written by Robin Gibb, who also sang lead vocal on the tune. Early in 1967, the band decided to return to England, where they were signed to a five-year contract with the Polydor label (and Atco in the US) by Robert Stigwood. Their next LP, Bee Gees 1st, was an international success, hitting the top 10 on both the British and American album charts and spawning three top 20 singles.

Artist:    Blossom Toes
Title:    I'll Be Late For Tea
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s):    Brian Godding
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2013
           One of the quintessential British psychedelic studio albums was We Are Ever So Clean, the debut effort by a group known as Blossom Toes. The album itself is full of purely British references such as royal parks and of course the ubiquitous tea time as heard in the song I'll Be Late For Tea. A demo of the tune recently surfaced on a British anthology CD called Love, Poetry And Revolution.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    High Flying Bird
Source:    CD: Two Classic Albums From H.P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft II)
Writer(s):    Billy Edd Wheeler
Label:    Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Products (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    Jeff Boyan and Jerry McGeorge were members of a popular suburban Chicago band called the Blackstones who played at, among other place, the Cellar in Arlington Heights. The Cellar was also the home base of the Shadows Of Knight, and when two of the members of the Blackstones were drafted into military service, McGeorge accepted an offer by the Shadows to replace Norm Gotch, who had also been drafted. McGeorge stayed with the Shadows through their most successful period, leaving in late 1967 to join H.P. Lovecraft. In early 1968, McGeorge left H.P. Lovecraft and was replaced by none other than his old bandmate and songwriting partner Boyan, who sang lead on Lovecraft's version of High Flying Bird, a Billy Edd Wheeler song that was covered by several bands in the mid to late 1960s, including Jefferson Airplane, who performed the tune at the Monterey International Pop Festival, and Richie Havens, who included it in his Woodstock set.

Artist:    Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck
Title:    One Ring Jane
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in Canada on LP: Home Grown Stuff)
Writer(s):    McDougall/Ivanuck
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Sometimes called Canada's most psychedelic band, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in British Columbia in 1967. After recording one unsuccessful single for London, the Duck switched to Capitol Records' Canadian division and scored nationally with the album Home Grown Stuff. After a couple more years spent opening for big name bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple and a couple more albums (on the Capitol-owned Duck Records) the group disbanded, with vocalist/guitarist Donny McDougall joining the Guess Who in 1972.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Leavin' Again
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    There are several similarities between Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown. Both started out recording covers of American blues artists almost exclusively. Both were originally led by talented guitarists (Peter Green and Kim Simmonds) whose first love was very obviously the blues. Both bands ended up going through many lineup changes over the years, as they slowly became more rock-oriented. That's where the similarity ends, however. Whereas Green decided to leave Fleetwood Mac altogether following the 1969 LP Then Play On, Simmonds instead tightened his reins on the group in order to keep them rooted in the blues, aided in his efforts by lead vocalist Chris Youlden. After Youlden left the group for a solo career, however, the remaining band members asserted their desire to play more rock, as can be heard on tracks like Leavin' Again, from the 1970 album Looking In. Simmonds, however, wasn't having any of it and dismissed the entire band following the release of Looking In and hiring several members of Chicken Shack to continue in a more blues-oriented direction. As for the dismissed members of Savoy Brown (Dave Peverett, Roger Earl and Tone Stevens), they went off and formed their own band: Foghat.

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


Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2040 (starts 9/28/20)


    It's 1970 for the first half of this week's Rockin' in the Days of Confusion, with tunes from Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles, George Harrison and Spirit, among others. From there we go free-form with a set that includes Yes's most popular song to finish out the hour.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Woodstock
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    It's somewhat ironic that the most famous song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival was written by someone who was not even at the event. Joni Mitchell had been advised by her manager that she would be better off appearing on the Dick Cavett show that weekend, so she stayed in her New York City hotel room and watched televised reports of what was going on up at Max Yasgur's farm. Further inspiration came from her then-boyfried Graham Nash, who shared his firsthand experiences of the festival with Mitchell. The song was first released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon, and was made famous the same year when it was chosen to be the first single released from the Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young album déjà vu. The CSNY version peaked just outside of the Billboard top 10.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Machine Gun
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    In 1965 Jimi Hendrix sat in on a recording session with R&B vocalist Curtis Knight, signing what he thought was a standard release contract relinquishing any future claim to royalties on the recordings. Three years later, after Hendrix had released a pair of successful albums on the Reprise label with his new band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Capitol records issued the Knight sessions as an LP called Get That Feeling, giving Hendrix equal billing with Knight. Additionally, Capitol claimed that  the guitarist was under contract to them. Eventually the matter was settled by Hendrix promising to provide Capitol with an album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, although it was not specified whether the album be made up of studio or live recordings. While all this was going on, the Experience disbanded, leaving Hendrix bandless and under pressure to come up with new material for his regular label, Reprise, as well as the Capitol album. The solution was to record a set of concerts at the Fillmore East on December 31st, 1969 and January 1st, 1970, and release the best of these recordings as a live album on the Capitol label, freeing Hendrix up to concentrate on a new studio album for Reprise. The live album, Band Of Gypsys, ended up being the last album of new material to be released during the guitarist's lifetime. It features bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles on Hendrix originals such as Machine Gun, as well as material written by Miles.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Black Night
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Deep Purple (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Prior to 1970, Deep Purple had achieved a moderate amount of success, but were pretty much ignored in the native England. That all changed, however, with the addition of two new members, lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. Following the experimental Concerto For Group and Orchestra, the band's new lineup released its first studio album, Deep Purple In Rock, on June 3, 1970. Two days later the released a non-album single called Black Night. The song was an instant hit, going all the way to the #2 spot on the British charts and quickly becoming part of the band's concert repertoire, usually as the first encore.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Wah Wah
Source:    LP: All Things Must Pass
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol (original label: Apple)
Year:    1970
    On January 10, 1969, George Harrison quit the Beatles. He had submitted several songs (one of which was Something) for inclusion on their new project, a combination album and documentary film to be called Get Back, only to have them rejected outright in favor of new John Lennon and Paul McCartney songs. His relationship with John Lennon in particular had deteriorated to the point where it had almost come to a physical altercation. So Harrison quit, went home and wrote a very angry song called Wah Wah. Over a year later Wah Wah became the first song recorded for his new album, All Things Must Past. It was also the most energetic piece on the album, although, as Harrison himself said later, the final recording suffers from being over-produced, in part because of co-producer Phil Spector's "wall of sound" approach. The track features a huge roster of musicians, including Harrison and Eric Clapton on electric guitars, three members of Badfinger on acoustic rhythm guitars, Billy Preston and Gary Wright on keyboards,  Klaus Voormann on bass, Ringo Starr on drums, and Badfinger's Mike Gibbins playing tambourine as well as  the former Delaney & Bonnie horn section of Jim Price and Bobby Keys.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Nature's Way/Animal Zoo/Love Has Found A Way/Why Can't I Be Free
Source:    CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s):    California/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1970
    Spirit was one of those bands that consistently scored well with the critics, yet was never truly able to connect with a large segment of the record buying audience at any given time. Perhaps their best album was Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, released in 1970 to glowing reviews. Despite this, the album actually charted lower than any of their three previous efforts, and would be the last to feature the band's original lineup. In the long haul, however, Twelve Dreams has become the group's top selling album, thanks to steady catalog sales over a period of years. Unlike many more popular records of the time, Twelve Dreams sounds as fresh and original today as when it first appeared, as can be easily heard on the four-song medley that makes up the bulk of the LP's first side. Indeed, despite never having charted as a single, Nature's Way, a Randy California tune which starts the sequence, is one of the best-known songs in the entire Spirit catalog. Additionally, its ecological theme segues naturally into Animal Zoo, a Jay Ferguson tune with a more satirical point of view. Love Has Found A Way, written by vocalist Ferguson and keyboardist John Locke, can best described as psychedelic space jazz, while Why Can't I Be Free is a simple, yet lovely, short coda from guitarist California. Although Spirit, in various incarnations, would continue to record for many years, they would never put out another album as listenable as Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    I Wanna Be Free
Source:    LP: Look At Yourself
Writer(s):    Ken Hensley
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1971
    No, it's not the Monkees song.

Artist:    It's A Beautiful Day
Title:    Wasted Union Blues
Source:    CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer(s):    David LaFlamme
Label:    San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    It's A Beautiful Day was founded in the mid-60s by classical violinist David LaFlamme. The group had a hard time lining up gigs at first and eventually hooked up with local impressario Matthew Katz, who had similar deals with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. What the members of IABD did not know at the time was that those other bands were desperately trying to sever all ties with Katz due to his heavy-handed management style. LaFlamme and company would soon find out just how bad a deal they had gotten into when Katz shipped them off to Seattle to be the resident band at his own "San Francisco Sound" club from late 1967 through most of 1968. The group was put up in the attic of a house that Katz owned and given a small allowance that barely put food on the table. To make matters worse, attendance at the club was dismal. Still, the adversity did inspire some of LaFlamme's best songwriting, such as Wasted Union Blues from the group's debut LP, released in 1969.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Roundabout
Source:    CD: Fragile
Writer(s):    Anderson/Howe
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Some artists are one-hit wonders. Others have long and productive careers. Most, however, never really achieve the kind of success they hope for. Somewhere in the middle of all that are artists who make it big on the strength of one song, and then manage to stick around long enough to make a more permanent name for themselves. But still, if it weren't for that first big hit they probably would have faded off into obscurity without anyone knowing who they were. Such a band was Yes, and their big hit song was Roundabout. Ask yourself this: if it weren't for Roundabout, do you think anyone would have paid attention to Close To The Edge or Tales From Topographic Oceans? Would Owner Of A Lonely Heart even have been written? Doubtful.

Artist:    Peter Gabriel
Title:    Moribund The Burgermeister
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (taken from LP: Peter Gabriel)
Writer(s):    Peter Gabriel
Label:    Atco
Year:    1977
    After leaving Genesis, vocalist Peter Gabriel enlisted producer Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, to co-produce his self-titled debut. Ezrin assembled a talented group of musicians for the LP, including guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson, bass player Tony Levin (who would eventually be a member of the 1980s version of King Crimson), drummer Allan Schwartzberg, percussionist Jimmy Maelen, guitarist Steve Hunter, keyboardist Jozef Chirowski and Larry Fast on synthesizers and programming. Gabriel relied heavily on Ezrin to handle the harder rocking aspects of the music (in Gabriel's words "the American" parts), while Gabriel handled the softer passages, much as he had done as a member of Genesis. Both aspects can be heard on Moribund The Burgermeister, a highly theatrical song that was chosen to be the B side of the album's lead single, Solisbury Hill.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2039 (starts 9/21/20)


    This week's show features an "all new" Advanced Psych segment, which simply means none of the three songs has ever been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. Speaking of new additions, we also have, to our knowledge, the first rock band to use the word zeppelin in its name (although they misspelled it). Also on the playbill: a Beatles set.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    You Can't Catch Me
Source:    LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (promo copy) (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer:    Chuck Berry
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    One of the reasons for Chuck Berry's enduring popularity throughout the 1960s (despite a lack of major hits during the decade) was the fact that so many bands covered his 50s hits, often updating them for a 60s audience. Although not as well-known as Roll Over Beethoven or Johnny B. Goode, You Can't Catch Me nonetheless got its fair share of coverage, including versions by the Rolling Stones and the Blues Project (not to mention providing John Lennon an opening line for the song Come Together).

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Love
Title:    She Comes In Colors
Source:    CD: Da Capo (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Arthur Lee's transition from angry punk (on songs like 7&7 Is and My Little Red Book) to a softer, more introspective kind of singer/songwriter was evident on Love's second LP, Da Capo. Although there were still some hard rockers, such as Stephanie Knows Who, the album also includes songs like She Comes In Colors, which was released ahead of the album as the band's third single in late 1966. The song was one of Lee's first to inspire critics to draw comparisons between Lee's vocal style and that of Johnny Mathis.

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Time Won't Let Me
Source:    Mono LP: Time Won't Let Me
Writer(s):    King/Kelly
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    From Cleveland we have the Outsiders, a popular local band signed to a major label, in this case Capitol Records, which at the time was having great success with both the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Lead vocalist Sonny Gerachi would reappear a few years later with the band Climax, singing a song called Precious and Few, which is one of the greatest juxtapositions of artist names and song titles ever.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
Source:    Mono CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Early on Brian Wilson recognized that his greatest strength was in writing music, as opposed to performing or even writing lyrics. Being the leader and producer of the most successful recording artists in southern California, Wilson was able to take his pick of the best lyricists available, including Mike Love, Van Dyke Parks, and, on the Pet Sounds album, Tony Asher, whose introspective lyrics complemented Wilson's maturing musical themes perfectly. I Just Wasn't Made For These Times is an excellent example of how well the two worked together to capture a specific mood and theme.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
Source:    Mono CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1970
    Basically a studio concoction assembled by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was originally intended to be released as a 1969 single by the Plastic Ono Band. The track was the result of four separate recording sessions dating back to 1967 and originally ran over six minutes long. The instrumental tracks were recorded around the same time the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in Spring of 1967. Brian Jones added a saxophone part on June 8th of that year. In April of 1969 Lennon and McCartney added vocals, while Lennon edited the entire track down to slightly over four minutes. The single was readied for a November release, but at the last minute was withdrawn. The recording was instead released as the B side of the Beatles' Let It Be single the following year.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    She Said She Said
Source:    LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the original members of the Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." The song itself took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Perhaps not all that coincidentally, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Paperback Writer
Source:    CD: Past Masters Volume Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1966
    Following a successful 1965 that culminated with their classic Rubber Soul album, the Beatles' first single release of 1966 was the equally classic Paperback Writer. The song was as influential as it was popular, to the point that the coda at the end of the song inspired Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to write what would become the Monkees' first number one hit: Last Train To Clarksville.

Artist:     Buffalo Springfield
Title:     Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Source:     CD: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:     1966
     One of the most influential folk-rock bands to come out of the L.A. scene was Buffalo Springfield. The band had several quality songwriters, including Neil Young, whose voice was deemed "too weird" by certain record company people. Thus we have Richie Furay singing a Young tune on the band's first single, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing.
Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Page/McCarty
Label:    Epic
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Yardbirds had moved far away from their blues roots and were on their fourth lead guitarist, studio whiz Jimmy Page. The band had recently picked up a new producer, Mickey Most, known mostly for his work with Herman's Hermits and the original Animals. Most had a tendency to concentrate solely on the band's single A sides, leaving Page an opportunity to develop his own songwriting and production skills on songs such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, a track that also shows signs of Page's innovative guitar style (including an instrumental break played with a violin bow) that would help define 70s rock.

Artist:    Bubble Puppy
Title:    Hot Smoke And Sassafras
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: A Gathering Or Promises)
Writer(s):    Prince/Cox/Potter/Fore
Label:    Priority (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1968
    Bubble Puppy was a band from San Antonio, Texas that relocated to nearby Austin and signed a contract with International Artists, a label already known as the home of legendary Texas psychedelic bands 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola. The group hit the national top 20 in early 1969 with Hot Smoke and Sassafras, a song that was originally released the previous year as a B side. Not long after the release of their first LP, A Gathering Of Promises, the band relocated to California and changed their name to Demian, at least in part to disassociate themselves with the then-popular "bubble gum" style (but also because of problems with International Artists).

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Penthouse Pauper
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    Creedence Clearwater Revival's second album, Bayou Country, was the one that truly established the band as the music world's premier "swamp rockers". So strong was this impression of the band, in fact, that the few songs that didn't quite fit into that category were largely overlooked by rock critics and radio programmers alike. One of those tunes, Penthouse Pauper, is a Chicago-style blues number that showcases John Fogerty as both vocalist and guitarist in a classic "call and answer" type of song. Only in recent years has the song begun to be truly appreciated.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     The Pusher
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf
Writer:     Hoyt Axton
Label:     MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
    A kid in his mid teens often finds himself torn between his own upbringing and sometimes unbearable peer pressure, especially when it comes to trying new things. A growing awareness of the disconnect between what the older generation preaches and what its members themselves actually do leads to a general distrust of any advice they might dispense. Luckily, at certain points in time, something or someone comes along to serve as a guide. In 1968 that guide, for some teenagers at least, was Steppenwolf's recording of Hoyt Axton's The Pusher, which clearly defined the difference between pot smoking and the use of harder drugs, condemning the latter in the strongest possible language. For that, Hoyt Axton, John Kay and the rest of Steppenwolf, I thank you. Your song gave me the strength to say no when it counted (and to know when it was OK to say yes).

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    My Sunday Feeling
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    For years my only copy of Jethro Tull's first LP, This Was, was a cassette copy I had made myself. In fact, the two sides of the album were actually on two different tapes (don't ask why). When I labelled the tapes I neglected to specify which tape had which side of the album; as a result I was under the impression that My Sunday Feeling was the opening track on the album. It turns out it was actually the first track on side two, but I still tend to think of it as the "first" Jethro Tull song, despite the fact that the band had actually released a single, Sunshine Day, the previous year for a different label.

Artist:    Graf Zepplin
Title:    You're In My Mind
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Blumenthal
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Orlyn)
Year:    1968
    In 1966 a group of high school kids from the Chicago suburb of Oak Park came up with the first ever band name with the word zeppelin in it. Unfortunately, the drummer spelled it Zepplin on the front of his bass drum. From that point on the band was known as Graf Zepplin, despite their original intentions (hey, bass drum heads don't come cheap, you know). The group only released one single, You're In My Mind, in June of 1968, but they put an unusual amount of time and effort into it, making several trips to the studio to make sure they got the song just right. The following year Bob Blumenthal, the band's driving force and writer of You're On My Mind, graduated from high school, bringing the story of Graf Zepplin to a close.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Eighteen Is Over The Hill
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Morgan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The contributions of guitarist Ron Morgan to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band are often overlooked, possibly due to the fact that Morgan himself often tried to distance himself from the band. Nonetheless, he did write some of the group's most memorable tunes, including their best-known song, Smell Of Incense (covered by the Texas band Southwest F.O.B.) and the opening track of what is generally considered their best album, A Child's Guide To Good And Evil. Unfortunately, the somewhat senseless lyrics on Eighteen Is Over The Hill (not to mention the title itself) added by Bob Markley detract from what is actually a very tasty piece of music.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:    London Souls
Title:    She's In Control
Source:    CD: The London Souls
Writer(s):    London Souls
Label:    Soul On10
Year:    2011
    Despite the implications of their name, the London Souls were actually a New York City band that was formed in 2008 by guitarist Tash Neal and drummer Chris St. Hilaire. The two met as teenagers, jamming with friends in rehearsal rooms rented by the hour. After recording a 16-song demo in 2009 they released their first actual album, The London Souls, in 2011. The duo made their mark by applying a 21st century sensibility to psychedelic era and classic rock concepts, resulting in songs like She's In Control. A second album, Here Come The Girls, was originally planned for 2013 released, but was delayed until 2015 after Tash Neal was injured in a hit-and-run accident. Although they never officially disbanded, the London Souls have been inactive since 2018.

Artist:    Chesterfield Kings
Title:    Baby Doll
Source:    LP: Don't Open Til Doomsday
Writer(s):    Dee Dee King
Label:    Mirror
Year:    1987
    The Chesterfied Kings performed mostly original material on their self-produced 1987 LP Don't Open Til Doomsday. One notable exception, however, was a song called Baby Doll that was written and produced by a guy named Dee Dee King. Not familiar with that name? How about Douglas Glenn Colvin? No? Well, then, let's just go with his stage name: Dee Dee Ramone, who would release a solo album as Dee Dee King in 1989, two years after Don't Open Til Doomsday came out. Although that album, Standing In The Spotlight, was for the most part a foray into hip-hop, Baby Doll, a throwback to an earlier time, was included as well.

Artist:    Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Title:    The Better Cause
Source:    Australian import CD: Psych-Out USA
Writer(s):    Rechter/McCoy
Label:    Secret Deals
Year:    2007
    Tol-Puddle Martyrs evolved out of an earlier Australian band, Peter And The Silhouettes, that contributed a pair of tunes to a 1966 anthology album showcasing bands from Northern Victoria. As the Martyrs they recorded a handful of singles that saw some airplay on local radio. Bandleader Peter Rechter then went on to front several other bands over the years, eventually reforming the Martyrs in the 21st century. They have released three CDs since reforming, the first of which is Psych-Out USA, released in 2007.
Artist:    Animals
Title:    We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place (UK version)
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Animals (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Abkco (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song (but not the original spelling of the song's title), including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
     If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Priority (original label: Columbia)
Year:    LP released 1967, single edit released 1968
    Time Has Come Today has one of the most convoluted histories of any song of the psychedelic era. First recorded in 1966 and released as a two-and-a-half minute single the song flopped. The following year an entirely new eleven minute version of the song was recorded for the album The Time Has Come, featuring an extended pyschedelic section filled with various studio effects. In late 1967 a three minute edited version of the song was released that left out virtually the entire psychedelic section of the recording. Soon after that, the single was pulled from the shelf and replaced by a longer edited version that included part of the psychedelic section. That version became a hit record in 1968, peaking just outside the top 10. This is actually a stereo recreation of that mono second edited version.

Artist:    Nilsson
Title:    Sister Marie
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    D. Morrow
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1968
    Well-known as John Lennon's 1970s drinking buddy, singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson first came to prominence in 1969 with the song Everybody's Talking from the movie Midnight Cowboy (the film that brought stardom to actor Dustin Hoffman as well). Although Nilsson is best known as a songwriter (Lennon once called him America's greatest), the B side of his first single, Sister Marie, actually came from an outside source.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Wait And See
Source:    LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Considering how prolific a songwriter David Crosby has been over the past five decades, it might be had to believe that he did not have a single writing credit on the Byrds' debut LP, Mr. Tambourine Man. In fact, Crosby's first official writing credit was on a song he co-wrote with Roger McGuinn called Wait And See, which was buried toward the end of side two of the second Byrds album, Turn! Turn! Turn! It was not as if Crosby wasn't writing songs at that point; he had brought two of his own tunes (Stranger In A Strange Land and the Flower Bomb Song) to the recording sessions, only to have them rejected by McGuinn and the band's manager, Jim Dickson, as well as by producer Terry Melcher. This was the beginning of tensions between Crosby and McGuinn that eventually led to Crosby's being fired from the band in 1967.
Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
    Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The End
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Prior to recording their first album the Doors' honed their craft at various Sunset Strip clubs, working up live versions of the songs they would soon record, including their show-stopper, The End. Originally written as a breakup song by singer/lyricist Jim Morrison, The End runs nearly twelve minutes and includes the controversial spoken "Oedipus section" that reportedly lost the group their residency at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. My own take on the famous "blue bus" line earlier in the song is that Morrison, being a military brat, was probably familiar with the blue shuttle buses used on military bases for a variety of purposes, including taking kids to school, and simply incorporated his experiences with them into his lyrics.  The End got its greatest exposure in 1979, when Oliver Stone used it in his film Apocalypse Now.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    No Expectations
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Bring It On Home
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin II
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones/Dixon
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Unlike You Shook Me and I Can't Quit You Baby, which were both credited to blues legend Willie Dixon on the first Zep LP, Bring It On Home was originally credited to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant rather than Dixon, despite the fact that the song's beginning and end were intended to be a tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson's original 1963 recording of the song. Newer pressings of the album credit the entire song to Willie Dixon, despite the fact that the main body of the song itself (sometimes referred to as Bring It On Back) is unquestioningly a Led Zeppelin original. Just to add to the confusion, I am choosing to give credit to all involved.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Ripple
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The album Live Dead was a turning point for the Grateful Dead. Up to that point the band had been trying to recreate the group's live performances in the studio. Now that that goal was accomplished, it was time to take a new look at the studio and what they would be doing in it. The answer was to concentrate on their songwriting, particularly that of Jerry Garcia and poet/lyricist Robert Hunter, who had been working with the band for a couple of years already. The next two Dead albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty (both released in 1970), did just that, and are among the most popular albums the band has ever recorded. There was only one single released from American Beauty, featuring Truckin', their most popular song up to that point, backed with Ripple, another Hunter/Garcia composition. These became the only two songs from American Beauty to be released in edited mono form. The distinctive mandolin work on the song came from David Grisman; it was his first of many collaborations with Garcia and the Dead.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2039 (starts 9/21/20)


    This week we return to shorter tracks from a variety of artists incorporating a variety of influences, including jazz, blues, country, folk, classical and something called Money Chant that defies description altogether. As a bonus we have an excerpt from the very first Firesign Theatre album as well.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    déjà vu
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    One of the biggest selling albums in the history of rock music, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young's déjà vu was also one of the most difficult and time-consuming albums ever made. It is estimated that the album, which to date has sold over 8 million copies, took around 800 hours of studio time to record. Most of the tracks were recorded as solo tracks by their respective songwriters, with the other members making whatever contributions were called for. The album also features several guest musicians (including John Sebastian, who plays harmonica on the title track), as well as drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves, whose names appear in slightly smaller font on the front cover of the album.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Take It Back
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The very first album I recorded on my dad's new Akai X-355 reel-to-reel deck was Cream's 1967 LP Disraeli Gears. It was also the very first CD I ever bought (along with Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love). Does that tell you anything about my opinion of this album?

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Beat The Reaper
Source:    LP: Waiting For The Electrician or Someone Like Him
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The Firesign Theatre was formed in Los Angeles in 1966 by late-night radio talk show host Peter Bergman, along with his producers, Phil Austin and David Ossman, and his old college friend Philip Proctor. Bergman was the host of a show called Radio Free Oz on KPFK FM that, according to Austin, "featured everybody who was anybody in the artistic world who passed through LA." Bergman's show guests included such luminaries as Andy Warhol and the members of Buffalo Springfield, among others. On slow nights, Bergman and his cohorts, whom he christened the Oz Firesign Theatre (soon dropping the "Oz" after Disney and M-G-M threatened lawsuits), would pretend to be various characters without letting the audience know it was all a put-on. The members would create their characters individually without clueing in the other members, creating an atmosphere of improvisation as they played those characters off each other. By 1967 the Firesign Theatre was a regular feature on Radio Free Oz, performing half-hour skits that they had written themselves. The shows included weekly live appearances at a club called the Magic Mushroom on Sunday nights, as well as an appearance at L.A.'s first love-in at Elysian Park, that was broadcast on Bergman's show. This led to Radio Free Oz moving from KPFK to AM powerhouse KRLA, one of the city's most popular stations, which in turn led to their discovery by Gary Usher, who was a staff producer at Columbia Records. Usher signed the Firesign Theatre to a five-year contract with Columbia, and co-produced their first LP, Waiting For The Electrician or Someone Like Him. One of the most popular bits from the album was a segment called Beat The Reaper, in which a game show contestant is injected with a lethal disease and has ten seconds to correctly identify the disease by describing his own symptoms. The Firesign Theatre would go on to become one of the most popular acts in the history of comedy of vinyl, creating such memorable characters as noir detective Nick Danger and film star Porgy Tirebiter.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Stone Rap/Collage
Source:    CD: Yer' Album
Writer(s):    Walsh/Cullie
Label:    MCA (original label: Bluesway)
Year:    1969
    Sometime in early 1969 (more or less) three students from Kent State University (yes, that one!) travelled to New York to record an album at the Hit Factory. Apparently they had been continually confronted by fans who kept asking them "when is yer' album coming out?", so when it came time to come up with a name for the LP, the natural choice was Yer' Album. That LP launched the careers of two legends: first, the band itself, the James Gang, who would (with an ever-changing lineup) release a total on nine studio albums (and one live LP) before finally disbanding in 1976. The second legend was lead guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, who would go on to have a highly successful solo career before becoming an even bigger star as a member of the Eagles. Walsh wrote about half the songs on that first album, including Collage, a collaboration with his friend Patrick Cullie. Although Yer Album was released in 1969, the James Gang had actually been in existence since 1966. Led by drummer Jim Fox, the band's original lineup also included bassist Tom Kriss, who would leave the group after the release of their first LP.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Money Can't Save Your Soul
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/ Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrott)
Year:    1970
    Looking In was the sixth album by British blues-rockers Savoy Brown, and the first without original lead vocalist Chris Youlden. It was also the final outing for guitarist Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl, who would go on to form Foghat after being dismissed by bandleader Kim Simmonds. The album was made up entirely of original compositions such as the low-key Money Can't Save Your Soul, which was written by Simmonds and Peverett, who had taken over lead vocals upon Youlden's departure. Both Foghat and a new Savoy Brown lineup would continue to have success, especially in the US, where both bands toured extensively throughout the 1970s.

Artist:      Jethro Tull
Title:     Hymn 43
Source:      CD: Aqualung
Writer:    Ian Adnerson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1971
     Eric Burdon And The Animals proved in 1968, with the song Sky Pilot, that you could now take on the religious establishment in a rock song and end up with a hit record. Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull, soon followed with the release of Christmas Song later that same year. It turned out that Christmas Song was only a hint of what would come three years later. Most (if not all) of the second side of the 1971 LP Aqualung presented a scathing criticism of what Anderson perceived as rampant hypocrisy within the Anglican church. Aqualung still stands as Jethro Tull's best-selling album, with over seven million copies sold worldwide. Hymn 43, a song that focuses more on America's heavy-handed use of religion as a tool, was released as a single, going to the #91 spot on the Billboard charts, despite being effectively banned on AM radio in the US.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Fire In The Hole
Source:    CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1972
    Donald Fagen's unique piano style is on display on Fire In The Hole, a track from the first Steely Dan album, Can't Buy A Thrill. The tune also appeared as the B side of Steely Dan's second single (and first hit), Do It Again.

Artist:    James Taylor
Title:    Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
Source:    45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer(s):    James Taylor
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    I've always considered the Grammy Awards to be, let us say, less than relevant. If the fact that Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were never even nominated for Grammies (nor was Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, for that matter) wasn't enough reason, consider this: James Taylor's hit single, Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, from his 1972 album One Man Dog, won a Grammy for best male vocal performance...in 2002, when it was included on the album The Best Of James Taylor. Not that it's a bad song, by any means, but how exactly can you consider a thirty year old recording to be the best of the year?

Artist:    Jade Warrior
Title:    Monkey Chant
Source:    LP: Floating World
Writer(s):    Field/Duhig
Label:    Island
Year:    1974
    It is almost impossible to classify Jade Warrior in conventional terms. They have been called everything from experimental progressive rock to early new age. Jade Warrior was basically a duo consisting of Tony Duhig and guitar and Jon Field on flute, with both providing percussion as well. In addition, several studio musicians were brought in as needed, including Duhig's brother David for electric lead guitar parts. Jade Warrior's albums combined rock, jazz, classical and world music, often within the same song. After the group lost its original recording contract with Vertigo they decided to disband. Steve Winwood, however, convinced Island Records head Chris Blackwell to give the duo a listen. Blackwell then convinced the duo to reform Jade Warrior and signed them to a three-record deal in 1974. The first Jade Warrior for island was the primarily instrumental Floating World. One of the more notable tracks on the album is Monkey Chant, described by one critic as a "collision of the ancient traditional Balinese Kecac pitted against David Duhig's screaming rock guitar solo". Sounds about right.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Lyin' Eyes
Source:    LP: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: One Of These Nights)
Writer(s):    Henley/Frey
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1975
    The Eagles got one of their biggest hits in 1975 with Lyin' Eyes, the second single released from their One Of These Nights album. The song nearly hit the top of the pop charts, peaking at #2, and, surprisingly, went to the #8 spot on the country charts as well. It would take the Eagles over 30 years to again hit the country top 40. The single version of the song was heavily edited to get it down to near the four-minute mark in order to insure top 40 airplay. The Eagles Greatest Hits album, however, uses the original LP version of the song, which runs well over six minutes.

Artist:    McKendree Spring
Title:    Light Up The Skies
Source:    LP: Tracks
Writer(s):    Dreyfuss/Woods/Vivaldi
Label:    Decca
Year:    1972
    The music press is fond of creating hyphenated names to describe bands that combine sometimes disparate musical styles. In the mid-1960s there was folk-rock. The 70s brought country-rock, while in the 80s jazz-rock was all the rage. One hybrid you don't hear much about is progressive-folk, possibly because there was really only one band that fit the description. That group was McKendree Spring, from Glens Falls, NY. Led by Fran McKendree (vocals and guitar), the band also included Fred Holman, who had replaced Larry Tucker on bass by 1972, Dr. Michael Dreyfuss (electric violin, viola, Moog, Arp, Mellotron), and Martin Slutsky (electric guitar). The band had its greatest success in the early 1970s recording for the Decca label, although they remained active until 2013. The group occasionally got into experimental territory with pieces like Light Up The Sky, an adaptation of themes originally composed by Antonio Vivaldi in the 1700s arranged and performed on electronic and string instruments by Dreyfuss on the 1972 LP Tracks.

Artist:    Richie Havens
Title:    Handsome Johnny
Source:    B side of 45 RPM bonus record included with LP: Richie Havens On Stage
Writer:    Gossett/Gossett/Havens
Label:    Stormy Forest
Year:    1969
    When it became obvious that the amplifiers needed by the various rock bands that were scheduled to perform on the opening Friday afternoon at Woodstock would not be ready in time, singer/songwriter Richie Havens came to the rescue, performing for several hours as the new opening act. One of the highlights of Havens' performance was Handsome Johnny, a song that he had co-written with Lou Gossett and Lou Gossett, Jr. and released on his debut album. A new live recording of the song (along with Freedom, another Woodstock highlight) was included as a bonus single with the 1972 LP Richie Havens On Stage.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    It Ain't Easy
Source:    CD: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Writer(s):    Ron Davies
Label:    Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    David Bowie had little need to record cover songs. He was, after all, one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. But when he did record the occasional cover tune, you can bet it was a good one. Take It Ain't Easy, for instance. The song was already well known as the title track of two different albums, one by Three Dog Night and one by Long John Baldry, when Bowie recorded it, yet he still managed to make the song his own. The song itself was written by Nashville songwriter Ron Davies, whose younger sister Gail is notable as the first female producer in country music.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    School's Out (originally released on LP: School's Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Alice Cooper scored their first top 10 hit with the title track of their 1972 album School's Out. According to vocalist Alice Cooper (yes, both the singer and the band were called Alice Cooper) the song was inspired by the question "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" (although I've never actually heard anyone ask that question in any context). The song was remixed by producer Bob Ezrin for the band's first Greatest Hits compilation, much to the consternation of the band's fans.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

PRX link on Days of Confusion 2038

Since Blogger is getting increasingly insistent about forcing me to use their new interface (which does not support the PRX player I include with each playlist) I am trying a workaround for this week's episode of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion (#2038). I have included a link to the PRX page where the show itself resides. Try to use copy/paste to get there and let me know if you are able to listen to the show that way.

In the meantime, I am stubbornly refusing to stop using the legacy interface on this week's Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, even though they are making me take extra steps just to use it. I will continue to do so until either they fix the new interface so that I can include the PRX player or they make the legacy interface totally unavailable to us.

Anyway, please try that PRX link out on the Rockin' in the Days of Confusion post and let me know if it works for you. Consider it my backup plan.

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2038 (starts 9/14/20)

    This week we take a break from artists' sets and welcome back our Advanced Psych segment with tracks from Splinter Fish, the Psychedelic Furs and, making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut, Australia's Sand Pebbles. We also have some Live Dead and a George Harrison sound collage that predates John Lennon's Revolution 9 by several months.

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     On The Road Again
Source:       CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (originally released on LP: Boogie With Canned Heat)
Writer:     Jones/Wilson
Label:     Capitol (original label: Liberty)
Year:     1968
     Canned Heat was formed by a group of blues record collectors in San Francisco. Although their first album consisted entirely of cover songs, by 1968 they were starting to compose their own material, albeit in a style that remained consistent with their blues roots. On The Road Again is built on the same repeating riff the band used for their extended onstage jams such as Refried Boogie and Woodstock Boogie; the same basic riff that ZZ Top would use (at double speed) for their hit LaGrange a few years later.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Elenore
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1968
    In 1968 White Whale Records was not particularly happy with the recent activities of their primary money makers, the Turtles. The band had been asserting its independence, even going so far as to self-produce a set of recordings that the label in turn rejected as having no commercial potential. The label wanted another Happy Together. The band responded by creating a facetious new song called Elenore. The song had deliberately silly lyrics such as "Elenore gee I think you're swell" and "you're my pride and joy etcetera" and gave production credit to former Turtles bassist Chip Douglas for the "Douglas F. Hatelid Foundation", which was in itself an in-joke referring to the pseudonym Douglas was forced to use as producer for the Monkees in 1967. Then a strange thing happened: the record became a hit. I suspect this was the event that began Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman's eventually metamorphosis into rock parody act Flo and Eddie.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    We Could Be So Good Together
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Released in advance of the third Doors album, We Could Be So Good Together was the B side of one of the most unusual songs to ever make the top 40 charts: The Unknown Soldier. Unconfirmed rumors about We Could Be So Good Together say that the song was actually written in the band's early days before their signing with Elektra Records, but was left off the first two Doors albums. Lyrically it does seem to share an optimism with earlier Jim Morrison lyrics that was largely replaced by cynicism in his later years. The single version contains a short Thelonius Monk riff about a minute and a half into the song that is missing from the LP version heard on Waiting For The Sun.

Artist:    Rumors
Title:    Without Her
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 4-Pop part two (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Norm Prinsky
Label:    Rhino (original label: Gemcor)
Year:    1965
    The story of Los Angeles's Rumors is typical of many bands of the time. The band played a variety of venues, slowly building up a small following playing covers of current hits mixed with one popular original tune, the Louie Louie-like Hold Me Now. After a successful showing at a local Battle of the Rock Bands at the Hollywood Palladium the band came to the attention of Bill Bell, owner of Gemcor Records, who quickly booked the band to record a single for the label. Drummer Norm Prinsky realized that the band only had one original song (Hold Me Now), and quickly composed and arranged Without Her, teaching it to the band in time to use it for the record's B side. Although Hold Me Now got some minor airplay on local stations (and was even used in a McDonald's commercial), it was the more melodic (and somewhat more psychedelic) Without Her that appealed to disc jockeys outside of the L.A. area.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Tomorrow Never Knows
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    A few years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was Tomorrow Never Knows from the Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver. The song is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking and has been hailed as a masterpiece of 4-track studio production.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Strange Brew
Source:    British import LP Picture Disc: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Clapton/Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    RSO (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Strange Brew, the opening track from Cream's Disraeli Gears album, was also released as a single in early 1967. The song, which was created by adding new lyrics and melody to an existing instrumental track, has proven popular enough over the years to be included on pretty much every Cream anthology album ever compiled, and even inspired a Hollywood movie of the same name.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    The Flute Thing
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    J.P.P. McStep B Blues
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow (bonus track originally released on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Skip Spence
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    One of the first songs recorded for the Surrealistic Pillow album, J.P.P. McStep B. Blues ended up being shelved, possibly because drummer Skip Spence, who wrote the song, had left the band by the time the album came out.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source:    Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Too Much On My Mind
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    Face To Face, released in 1966, was the first Kinks album to consist entirely of songs written by Ray Davies. The making of the album was not without difficulties; there were clashes between the band and Pye Records over the format of the album, with the band wanting to use sound effects to bridge the gaps between tracks and the label wanting a more standard banding of each track as a separate entity (the label won) and Davies himself suffered a nervous breakdown just as recording sessions for the album got under way. In addition, bassist Peter Quaife actually quit the band shortly before recording sessions for the album started, but returned in time to play on most of the tracks, including the gentle balled Too Much On My Mind. 

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Willie Jean
Source:    Mono CD: Dark Sides-The Best Of The Shadows Of Knight (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hoyt Axton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1967
    Paralleling the practice of early bluesmen, garage bands of the mid-1960s had a habit of "borrowing" songs, making a few minor changes and then claiming them for their own. Such was the case with the Blues Magoos tune Sometimes I Think About, from their 1966 LP Psychedelic Lollipop. In early 1967 the Shadows Of Knight released their own version of the song as a non-album single, using the title Willie Jean and crediting it to "Traditional, arr. Harry Pye". It turns out, however, that neither band was giving credit where credit was due, probably because they had no idea who actually wrote the song in the first place. The truth is that Willie Jean was actually written by none other than Hoyt Axton, who included it on his 1963 album Saturday's Child. In all liklihood, both the Blues Magoos and the Shadows Of Knight picked up the song by hearing it performed by other artists and assumed that it was a folk/blues standard.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Fat Angel
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sundazed/Epic
Year:    1966
    There seems to be some confusion as to what Donovan's 1966 track The Fat Angel is about. Some critics assume it refers to Cass Elliott of the Mamas and the Papas, although that seems to be based entirely on the song title. Others take it as a tribute of some sort to Jefferson Airplane, whose name appears in the lyrics of the song. The problem with this theory is that The Fat Angel appeared on the Sunshine Superman album, which was released six months before Jefferson Airplane broke nationally with Somebody To Love in 1967. My own view is based on the lyrics themselves, which are about a pot dealer making his rounds. Fly Trans-Love Airlines indeed!

Artist:    Lost Souls
Title:    This Life Of Mine
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gregory/Wilkins/Woff/Paul/Putt
Label:    Rhino (original label: Sunshine)
Year:    1966
    It was the American Dream made real. A bunch of school friends, inspired by the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, form a band in 1965 and win a battle of the bands sponsored by a local radio station the following year. The prize: the opportunity to cut a record of their own. The catch: this wasn't America, it was Australia. The Lost Souls  released This Life Of Mine in September of 1966, scoring a minor hit in their native Melbourne. Further success, however, eluded them, and the Lost Souls gave up the ghost in early 1968.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the Standells' follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Days Of Future Passed and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Justin Hayward
Label:    Priority (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Tuesday Afternoon was the second single released from the Moody Blues' breakthrough 1967 LP Days Of Future Passed. At the insistence of producer Tony Clarke the album version of the song was retitled Forever Tuesday and was used as part one of a track called The Afternoon. When released as a single the following year, composer Justin Hayward's original title was restored to the piece, which was initially edited down to less than two and a half minutes for the 45 RPM pressing. The original album version of the song includes a separately recorded orchestral coda that segues directly into the next phase of the album, entitled The Evening. The version heard here includes the orchestral coda but does not segue into the next track.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    Lonely Too Long
Source:    LP: Collections
Writer(s):    Cavaliere/Brigati
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1967
    There seems to be a bit of confusion over the official title of the Young Rascals' first single from their 1967 album Collections. The album label and cover clearly show it as Lonely Too Long, but the single itself, released the same day as the album (January 9) just as clearly shows it as I've Been Lonely Too Long. Some sources, apparently trying to come up with a compromise, list it as (I've Been) Lonely Too Long. Since I'm playing this directly from a vinyl copy of Collections, I'm going with the title listed on the album itself.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders (originally released as Raiders)
Title:    Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian)
Source:    CD: The Legend Of Paul Revere (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    J. D. Loudermilk
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    For years I have been hearing about the controversy over whose version of Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian) is better: the hit single heard here by Paul Revere And The Raiders (who had shortened their name to the Raiders, temporarily as it turned out, at that point) or the "original" version by British vocalist Don Fardon. What people fail to take into account, however, is the fact that both of these are actually cover versions of a song originally released in 1959 by country singer Marvin Rainwater under the title The Pale Faced Indian. Rainwater, who claimed to be one quarter Cherokee, often performed wearing native American outfits. The song, however, contains several inaccuracies, the most glaring of which is the fact that Cherokee communities are not called "reservations" at all, nor do they live in teepees or call their young "papooses". J.D. Loudermilk, who wrote the song, once explained that it was written after he was picked up by a group of Cherokees when his car was stuck in a blizzard, who then asked him to write a song about the plight of the Cherokee people and even revealed that his great-great grandparents had been members of the tribe. Loudermilk, however, was a self-admitted spinner of tall tales, and the entire story was probably a fabrication.

Artist:    Sand Pebbles
Title:    Future Proofed
Source:    Australian import CD: Ceduna
Writer(s):    Sand Pebbles
Label:    Sensory Projects
Year:    2008
    Neighbours is the longest-running drama series on Australian television, having aired its first episode in March of 1985. It is also the unlikely origin point for Sand Pebbles, a band formed in 2001 by three Neighbours screenwriters. Those three founding members, bassist Christopher Hollow, guitarist Ben Michael and drummer Piet Collins were soon joined by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Tanner. The band's fourth album, Ceduna, also featured guitarist/vocalist Tor Larsen. The longest track on Ceduna is Future Proofed, a long psychedelic jam that is just a touch on the spacey side.

Artist:    Splinter Fish
Title:    Mars
Source:    LP: Splinter Fish
Writer(s):    Chuck Hawley
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    One of my favorite bands on the late 80s Albuquerque music scene was Splinter Fish, a group that didn't quite fall naturally into any specific musical genre. They certainly had things in common with many new wave bands, but also touched on world music and even hard rock. One of their most popular tracks was Mars, which itself is hard to define, thanks to many sudden tempo and even stylistic changes, even though the entire track runs less than three minutes in length. Guitarist/vocalist Chuck Hawley now leads his own band, while fem vocalist Deb-O performs with a variety of Albuquerque musicians in several different combos.

Artist:    Psychedelic Furs
Title:    Pulse
Source:    LP: The Psychedelic Furs
Writer(s):    Psychedelic Furs
Label:    Coumbia
Year:    1980
    The Psychedelic Furs have always been difficult to nail down. Despite the name, they are not really all that psychedelic. On the vocal side they owed a lot to the punk rock movement, but their music has always been too sophisticated to qualify as pure punk. They came along a bit too late to be considered prog rock, and they didn't have the heavy emphasis on electronics and dance beats that characterized the new wave bands of the early 1980s either. So what kind of band were the Psychedelic Furs? Take a listen to Pulse, from their 1980 debut LP, and decide for yourself.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Higher Love, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the mid-to-late 1980s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Burning of the Midnight Lamp
Source:     CD: Ultimate Experience (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA
Year:     1967
     The fourth non-album single released in the UK by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Burning of the Midnight Lamp, which came out while the band was working on their second album, Axis: Bold As Love. The three previous singles (but not their B sides) had all been included on the US version of the band's first LP, Are You Experienced? By mid-1967, however, the practice of releasing US albums with a different song lineup than their British counterparts was on the way out, as the artists themselves were becoming more involved in the process. As a result, Axis: Bold As Love had exactly the same song lineup on both sides of the Atlantic, leaving Burning of the Midnight Lamp unreleased in the US until Hendrix decided to do a stereo remix and include it on Electric Ladyland.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    We Love You
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    We Love You was, upon its release in the summer of 1967, the most expensive Rolling Stones record ever produced (as well as the last Rolling Stones record to be produced by Andrew Loog Oldham), and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. We Love You did well in the UK, reaching the # 8 spot on the charts, but it was the other side of the record, Dandelion, that ended up being a hit in the US. The song was dismissed at the time by John Lennon, who referred to it as the Stones' answer to All We Need Is Love, but in retrospect the song is now seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to the ongoing harassment of the band by law enforcement authorities at the time.

Artist:    Sons Of Champlain
Title:    1982-A
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Loosen Up Naturally)
Writer(s):    Steven Tollestrup
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Bill Champlin is probably best known as the lead guitarist for Chicago from 1981 to 2008 (more or less). Before and after that period, however, he fronted his own band, the Sons Of Champlin. Like Chicago, the Sons were distinguished by the presence of a horn section, a trend that was just getting underway in 1969. Unlike most other bands of their type, however, the Sons Of Champlin were a San Francisco band, and one of the more popular local acts of their time. They did not show much of an interest in touring outside the Bay Area, however, and as a result got limited national exposure. The first single from the first of two albums they recorded for the Capitol label was a tune called 1982-A. I really can't say what the title has to do with the lyrics of the song, but it is a catchy little number nonetheless that, oddly enough, sounds like the kind of song Chicago would be releasing as a single A side in 1982.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Turn On Your Love Light
Source:    LP: Live Dead
Writer(s):    Scott/Malone
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    After two years' (and three albums) worth of trying to capture their live sound in the studio, the Grateful Dead decided just to cut to the chase and release a live album. The result was the double LP Live Dead, one of the most successful releases in Grateful Dead history. The album itself is one continuous concert, with each side fading out at the end, with a bit of overlap at the beginning of the next side. Most of the material on Live Dead was written by the band itself, the sole exception being a fifteen-minute long rendition of Bobby Bland's 1961 hit Turn On Your Love Light, featuring vocals by organist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Dream Scene
Source:    CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Here's one for trivia buffs: What was the first LP released on the Apple label? If you answered The Beatles (White Album) you'd be close, but not quite on the money. The actual first Apple album was something called Wonderwall Music from a film called (what else?) Wonderwall. The album itself was quite avant garde, with virtually no commercial potential. One of the most notable tracks on the album is Dream Scene, an audio collage that predates John Lennon's Revolution 9 by several months.

Artist:     Gurus
Title:     Shelly In Camp
Source:     LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer:     Les Baxter
Label:     Tower
Year:     1968
     Les Baxter is one of those names that sounds vaguely familiar to anyone who was alive in the 50s and 60s, but doesn't seem to be associated with anything in particular. That might be because Baxter was the guy that movie producers went to when they needed something done at the last minute. Such is the case with the short instrumental Shelly In Camp (referring the actress Shelly Winters, whose character ends up in an internment camp in the movie Wild In The Streets), a strange little piece with lots of sitar that closes out side one of the film's soundtrack LP.  I seem to recall seeing some Les Baxter albums at a small town radio station I worked at in the early 70s that alternated between country, soft pop and lounge lizard records; Baxter's were in the third pile. "The Gurus", of course, was an entirely fictional name made up by the producers of the Wild In The Streets soundtrack album. I guess it was cheaper than hiring a real band.