This week we have, among other things, an all-vinyl Advanced Psych set, an all-mono Beatles set and a preview of what you'll be hearing on next week's show.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the record. The song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.
Artist: Grass Roots
Source: CD: Temptation Eyes (originally released on LP: Feelings and as 45 RPM single)
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
In 1968 the Grass Roots decided to assert themselves and take artistic control of their newest album, Feelings, writing most of the material for the album themselves. Unfortunately for the band, the album, as well as its title track single, fared poorly on the charts. From that point on the Grass Roots were firmly under the control of producers/songwriters Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan, cranking out a series of best-selling hits such as Sooner Or Later and Midnight Confessions (neither of which get played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, incidentally).
Title: Writer In The Sun
Source: CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original label: Epic)
In 1966-67 Donovan's career was almost derailed by a contractual dispute with his UK label, Pye Records. This resulted in two of his albums, Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, not being issued in the UK. At the time he felt that there was a real chance that he would be forced into retirement by the dispute, and with that weighing heavily on his mind he wrote the song Writer In The Sun. Ironically his career was moving in the opposite direction in the US due to him switching from the relatively small Hickory label to Epic Records (a subsidiary of Columbia, at the time the second-largest record company in the US) and scoring top 10 singles with the title tracks from both albums. His success with those records in the US may have been a factor in Pye settling with the singer-songwriter and issuing a British album that combined tracks from the two albums in late 1967.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: And I Like It
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Jorma Kaukonen was giving guitar lessons when he was approached by Marty Balin about joining a new band that Balin was forming. Kaukonen said yes and became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane. The two seldom collaborated on songwriting, though. One of the few examples of a Balin/Kaukonen composition is And I Like It from the band's first album. The song sounds to me like early Hot Tuna, but with Balin's vocals instead of Kaukonen's.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source: LP: Projections
Writer(s): Blind Willie Johnson
Label: Verve Forecast
One lasting legacy of the British Invasion was the re-introduction to the US record-buying public to the songs of early Rhythm and Blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson. This emphasis on classic blues in particular would lead to the formation of electric blues-based US bands such as the Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project. Unlike the Butterfields, who made a conscious effort to remain true to their Chicago-style blues roots, the Blues Project was always looking for new ground to cover, which ultimately led to them developing an improvisational style that would be emulated by west coast bands such as the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, and by Project member Al Kooper, who conceived and produced the first rock jam LP ever, Super Session, in 1968. As the opening track to their second (and generally considered best) LP Projections, I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes served notice that this was a new kind of blues, louder and brasher than what had come before, yet tempered with Kooper's melodic vocal style. An added twist was the use during the song's instrumental bridge of an experimental synthesizer known among band members as the "Kooperphone", probably the first use of any type of synthesizer in a blues record.
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Billy Roberts
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin, who had recently replaced founding member Bill Rinehart on lead guitar, came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.
Artist: Syndicate Of Sound
Title: Little Girl
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original labels: Hush & Bell)
San Jose California, despite being a relatively small city in the pre-silicon valley days, was home to a thriving music scene in the mid 60s that produced more than its share of hit records from 1966-68. One of the earliest and biggest of these hits was the Syndicate Of Sound hit Little Girl, which has come to be recognized as one of the top garage-rock songs of all time. Little Girl was originally released regionally in mid 1966 on the Hush label, and reissued nationally by Bell Records a couple months later.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: At The Zoo
Source: LP: Bookends (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Simon and Garfunkel did not release any new albums in 1967, instead concentrating on their live performances. They did, however, issue several singles over the course of the year, most of which ended up being included on 1968's Bookends LP. At The Zoo was one of the first of those 1967 singles. It's B side ended up being a hit as well, but by Harper's Bizarre, which took The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) to the top 10 early in the year.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Wind-Up Toys
Source: CD: Underground
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The second Electric Prunes album, Underground, includes a trio of tunes that relate, in one way or another, to childhood. The middle of these three is an original composition by lead vocalist Jim Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin called Wind-Up Toys, which, in pure psychedelic fashion, includes a bridge with an entirely different style and tempo than the rest of the song, which can best be characterized as light pop.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Incense And Peppermints
Source: Mono LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock (originally released regionally as 45 RPM B side, reissued nationally as A side)
Year: 1967 (original label: All-American; reissued nationally on Uni Records)
Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Unlike more famous L.A. groups like Love and the Doors, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was not a Sunset Strip club band. In fact, the WCPAEB really didn't play that many live performances in their career, although those they did tended to be at high profile venues such as the Hollywood Bowl. The band was formed when the Harris brothers, sons of an accomplished classical musician, decided to record their own album and release it on the small Fifa label. Only a few copies of that album, Volume One, were made and finding one now is next to impossible. That might have been the end of the story except for the fact that they were acquaintances of Kim Fowley, the Zelig-like record producer and all-around Hollywood hustler. Fowley invited them to a party where the Yardbirds were playing; a party also attended by one Bob Markley. Markley, who was nearly ten years older than the Harris brothers, was a former TV show host from the midwest who had moved out to the coast to try his luck in Hollywood. Impressed by the flock of young girls surrounding the Yardbirds, Markley expressed to Fowley his desire to be a rock and roll star and have the girls flock around him, too. Fowley, ever the deal-maker, responded by introducing Markley to the Harris Brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was born. With the addition of guitarist Michael Lloyd and the influence of Markley's not-inconsiderable family money, the group soon landed a contract with Reprise Records, where they proceeded to record the album Part One, which includes the turn I Won't Hurt You, which uses a simulated heartbeat to keep the...umm, beat.
Title: Bring It On Home To Me
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Sam Cooke
Label: Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
One of the original Animals' most popular recordings was their 1965 cover of the Sam Cooke classic Bring It On Home To Me. Cooke's version was actually a reworking of a 1959 Charles Brown song called I Want To Go Home, and was deliberately written and recorded in a style reminiscent of Cooke's old gospel group, the Soul Stirrers. Although the song has been covered by several artists over the years, the Animals were the only ones to take it into the top 40.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: See See Rider
Source: British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Ma Rainey
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
The Music Machine's original plan was to record an album made up entirely of songs written by bandleader Sean Bonniwell. That plan was modified slightly when Bonniwell and fellow songwriter Tim Rose got together and worked out a slow arrangement of the song Hey Joe, which was making the rounds among L.A. bands in 1966 as a fast-paced rocker. Both Rose and Bonniwell decided to record the new slow version of the tune; Rose's ended up being the inspiration for the first single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, while Bonniwell's was to be the only cover song on the Music Machine's debut LP. Original Sound Records, however, had different ideas about how to put together an album, and when Turn On The Music Machine hit the racks that fall, it included four more cover songs that the band had recorded to use on a local TV dance show. One of those four extra covers was See See Rider, an old blues tune originally recorded by Ma Rainey in 1924. Although the original song was performed at a standard blues tempo, the Music Machine used a newer, faster arrangement worked out by Animals keyboardist Dave Rowberry that had appeared on the album Animalization just a couple months prior to the release of Turn On The Music Machine.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Ups And Downs
Source: Mono CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
At the beginning of 1967 Paul Revere and the Raiders were still flying high, with singles that consistently hit the upper reaches of the charts and a solid promotional platform in the daily afternoon TV show Action. Their first hit of the year was Ups And Downs, a collaboration between lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher. Things would soon turn sour for the band, however, as a volatile market soon turned against the group. In part it was because their revolutionary war costumes were becoming a bit camp. Also, Action left the airwaves in 1967, and its Saturday Morning replacement, Happening, was seen as more of a kid's show than a legitimate rock and roll venue. Most importantly, however, Melcher and the Raiders parted company, and the band realized too late just how important a role Melcher had played in the group's success.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Need Your Love So Bad
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): William and Mertis John
Label: Sire (original label: Epic)
As was the usual practice in the UK during the 1960s, Fleetwood Mac released a series of non-album singles from 1968 through 1971, while also releasing nearly half a dozen LPs over the same period. One of those singles was Need Your Love So Bad, a remake of a 1955 blues hit by Little Willie John. Fleetwood Mac's version of the song, sung by Peter Green, was fairly faithful to John's original recording, and ended up peaking at the #31 spot on the British charts. The band's next single, Albatross, would go all the way to the top in the UK, although it did not chart in the US.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Red House
Source: CD: Are You Experienced? (originally released on LP: Smash Hits)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1969
There were actually two different versions of Red House released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, both of which came from the same December, 1966, sessions. The original version was included on the European pressing of the Are You Experienced album, which was issued in early 1967. The album was not originally available in stereo, and a true stereo mix of this version of Red House was never made, as the track was left off the remixed American version of the LP. In spring of 1967 the band attempted to get a better version of the song, but neither Hendrix or bassist Noel Redding (who had played the original bass part on a regular guitar with its tone controls set to mimic a bass guitar) were satisfied with the later versions. Only one portion of these new recordings was kept, and was combined with the original take to create a new stereo mix for the US version of the 1969 Smash Hits album. This newer mix was also used by MCA for both the 1993 CD reissue of Are You Experienced and the Ultimate Experience anthology.
Artist: Mamas And The Papas
Title: California Dreamin'
Source: LP: If You Believe Your Eyes And Ears (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John and Michelle Phillips
California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John and Michelle Phillips, who were living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.
Artist: Mark Wirtz
Title: (He's Our Dear Old) Weatherman
Source: Mono British Import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Mark and Ross Wirtz
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Mark Wirtz was a staff producer at EMI studios (now known as Abbey Road studios) who had worked with, among others, a band called the In Crowd, which eventually changed its name to Tomorrow. In early 1967 he began a project he called A Teenage Opera with engineer Geoff Emerick. The basic concept of the project was to present a series of stories about different characters from a fantasy village, using the device of a young man relating the stories to a young girl through the use of songs. The entire work would eventually be animated, predating the Yellow Submarine film. The first song completed for the project was Grocer Jack, which featured lyrics by Tomorrow's Keith West, who also provided lead vocals for the track (fellow Tomorrow member Steve Howe played guitar on the tune). The song was a major hit in the UK, which prompted Wirtz to come up with a followup single. That song, Sam, was unable to go any higher than #38 on the charts, however, despite the presence of both West and Howe. Following the release of Sam, West decided that being a member of Tomorrow and simultaneously becoming famous as the singer on A Teenage Opera was creating too many problems, and opted not to participate in a third single, (He's Our Dear Old) Weatherman, which was co-written by Wirtz's then-wife Ross (Hannaman) and sung by Steve Flynn. Wirtz continued to work on a Teenage Opera in his off-hours, much as Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher were doing in California with Sagittarius and the Millennium around the same time, but the project was not released in its entirety until 1996.
Artist: Claypool/Lennon Delerium
Source: LP: Monolith Of Phobos
Fans of alternative rock are no doubt familiar with a band called Primus, led by bassist Les Claypool. One of the more colorful characters on the modern music scene, Claypool was once rejected by Metallica as being "too good" for them. Claypool himself has said that he thought James Hetfield was just being nice when he told him that, but the fact is that Claypool is indeed one of the most talented bass players (if not the best) in rock history. Sean Lennon is, of course, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Unlike his half-borther Julian, Sean has never had to prove anything to anyone, and, thanks in large part to his mother's influence (and let's be honest here, money), has always felt free to pursue his own artistic path without having to bow to commercial pressures. The two of them met when their respective bands were on tour and they immediately recognized that they had a musical connection. That connection manifested itself in the album Monolith Of Phobos (a title inspired by Arthur Clarke's works), released in 2016. Ohmerica, from that album, takes a pointed look at modern American culture.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): The Residents
Year: 1976 (?)/1978
Loser≅Weed is the B side of a single released on gold colored vinyl in 1978. The text on the back of the sleeve of that single claim that the record, featuring an avant-garde version of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, had originally been released in 1976, but knowing the Residents' reputation for deliberately obscuring the truth, I have to take that claim with a grain of salt, since none of my sources have any info regarding a 1976 issue. The sign that appears between the words "loser" and "weed", incidentally, is known as a congruence, or isomorphic sign, essentially meaning, in this instance, "structurally identical".
Artist: Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Title: Low Interest
Source: LP: Tasting The Sea
Writer(s): Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Label: 10 GeV
The city of San Francisco seems to produce more than its share of bands that go out of their way to maintain their anonymity. In the early 1970s the Residents even recorded an album called Not Available, intending to not release it until all of the band members had forgotten about its existence (it eventually got released in 1978 during a creative dry spell). These days the San Francisco anonymous band torch is carried by Vertacyn Arc Materializer, a band that is just as hard to describe as the Residents themselves. Their second LP, Tasting The Sea, is only available on Vinyl, and it's packaging is nothing less than spectacular. The front cover is the famous Rolling Stones "mouth" logo dissected by an actual zipper, mimicking the Stones' own Sticky Fingers cover, against a stark white background. Opening the zipper reveals a "circle c" copyright symbol. The back cover featuring "portraits" of each of the four band members: the Starbucks logo (bass, guitar), the US $20 bill version of President Andrew Jackson (drums, trumpet), Marilyn (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Homeland Security, represented by a snarling wolf (vocals, keyboards, guitar). There's even more fun stuff on the inside of the gatefold cover, but I'll let you find your own copy to check it out yourself (if you can find one; apparently there were only 500 pressed). Musically, Vertacyn Arc Materializer is harder to describe; I'd put them with bands like Killing Joke and Nine Inch Nails, with a little Pere Ubu thrown in, but even that comparison falls short of the reality of Low Interest, one of the grungier tracks from Tasting The Sea.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
In the early 1960s the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California (sometimes known as the Inland Empire), was home to a pair of rival top 40 stations, KFXM and KMEN. The newer of the two, KMEN, had a staff that included Ron Jacobs, who would go on to co-create the Boss Radio format (more music, less talk!), and Brian Lord, one of the first American DJs to champion British Rock. Lord arranged for copies of Beatles albums to be shipped to KMEN from record shops in London before they were released in the US, giving the station an edge over its competition in 1964. More importantly in the long term, Lord was the man responsible for setting up the Rolling Stones' first US gig (in San Bernardino). From 1965-67 Lord took a break from KMEN, moving north to the San Jose area. While there, he heard a local band playing in a small teen club and invited them to use his garage as a practice space. The band was Count Five, and, with Lord's help, they got a contract with L.A.'s Double Shot label, recording and releasing the classic Psychotic Reaction in 1966. Lord later claimed that this was the origin of the term "garage rock".
Title: No Friend of Mine
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Hickory)
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the state of Texas would produce its share of garage/psychedelic bands. After all, the place used to be a medium-sized country. In fact, one of the first bands to actually use the word psychedelic in an album title was the 13th Floor Elevators out of Austin. The Sparkles hailed from a different part of the state, one known for its high school football teams as much as anything else: West Texas. Recorded in Big Spring, No Friend of Mine was one of a series of regional hits for the Sparkles that got significant airplay in places like Midland, Odessa and Monahans.
Title: Passing The Time
Source: LP: Wheels Of Fire
Although Jack Bruce is generally acknowledged as the member of Cream that provided the most psychedelic material that the band recorded, drummer Ginger Baker gave him a run for his money on the studio half of their third LP, Wheels Of Fire. Perhaps the best of these was Passing The Time, which alternates between a slow, dreamlike section notable for its use of a calliope and a fast section that rocks out as hard as anything the band performed live in concert.
Source: Mono CD: Rubber Soul
The oldest song on the Rubber Soul album, Wait was originally recorded for the Help album, but did not make the final cut. Six months later, when the band was putting the finishing touches on Rubber Soul, they realized they would not be able to come up with enough new material in time for a Christmas release, so they added some overdubs to Wait and included it on the new album. The song itself was a collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the two sharing vocals throughout the tune.
Title: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
Source: Mono CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
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.
Title: You Won't See Me
Source: Mono CD: Rubber Soul
At nearly three and a half minutes, You Won't See Me is the longest song on the Rubber Soul LP. In fact, at that point in late 1965, it was the longest Beatles song that had ever been released. The song, written by Paul McCartney and directed at his then-girlfriend Jane Asher, was one of three tracks recorded during an all-night session at EMI studios on November 11-12, 1965.
Artist: Henry Mancini
Title: The Pink Panther Theme
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Henry Mancini
Year: 1964 (LP version released 1963)
In one sense, Henry Mancini was a bit of an anachronism, as a writer of heavily orchestrated, melodic pop songs in the Cole Porter tradition at a time when rock and roll was king. Despite this, Mancini was responsible for creating some of the best-known music of the time, including the oft-covered theme from the TV show Peter Gunn. His most enduring piece, however, has to be the Pink Panther Theme, from the movie (and later a series of theatrical cartoons) of the same name. Although the full stereo version of the song featured on the original 1963 soundtrack album is close to four minutes long, it was this 2 1/2 minute mono version that was heard on nearly every radio station in the world in 1964.
Title: Let's Go Get Stoned
Source: LP: Smash Sounds (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
The Robins were one of the first doo-wop groups. Formed in San Francisco in 1948, they had a series of R&B hits for a variety of labels, starting in 1949. By the mid-1950s they were recording regularly with the writing/producing team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, turning out hits like Riot In Cell Block #9 and Smokey Joe's Cafe for the duo's Los Angeles based Spark label. In 1955, Ahmet Ertegun, co-owner of New York's Atlantic Records, offered Lieber and Stoller a contract to produce Robins records for the company's Atco label, including a reissue of Smokey Joe's Cafe. The new contract, however, required that Lieber, Stoller and the Robins relocate from the West Coast to the East Coast. Only two of the band members, Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn, were willing to make the move, earning the name Coasters in the process. After recruiting two new members the Coasters quickly became one of the top R&B acts of the late 1950s, and had several hits, such as Yakety Yak, Along Came Jones and Poison Ivy, that crossed over onto the mainstream charts as well. By the mid-1960s, however, Lieber and Stoller had left Atlantic for other projects, although the Coasters continued to release singles on Atco through 1966. One of the last was a 1965 remake of the 1956 Drifters hit Money Honey, backed by a new song by the husband and wife team of Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, along with former Ikette Jo Armstead, called Let's Go Get Stoned. The following year Ray Charles, having heard Ronnie Milsap's recording of Let's Go Get Stoned, recorded his own version, which ended up topping the R&B charts at around the same time the Coasters left Atlantic.
Title: All The King's Horses
Source: CD: The Monkees (bonus track originally released on LP: Missing Links, vol. 2)
Writer: Michael Nesmith
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1990
When the idea for the Monkees TV series was first pitched to NBC, the plan was for the band to perform two new songs on each episode. Once the series was given the green light, musical supervisor Don Kirschner (he of Rock Concert fame) brought in some of L.A.'s top studio talent to record a TON of material to use on the show. The actual band members were then brought in to record vocal tracks. The material being recorded came from a variety of sources. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who helped conceive the show in the first place, had considerable input, as did the professional songwriters such as Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Carole Bayer, Jeff Barri and others working for Kirschner out of the Brill building in New York. Finally, there was Michael Nesmith, who had already established himself as a professional songwriter with tunes such as Mary Mary (recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) and Different Drum (which would become Linda Ronstadt's first hit song) and thus couldn't be entirely ignored. One of Nesmith's early contributions was All The King's Horses, which was not included on any of the original Monkees albums. The song finally saw the light of day on Rhino's second Missing Links volume, released in 1990.
Artist: Circus Maximus
Title: Travelin' Around
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Writer: Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village in 1967 by lead guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Bob Bruno (who wrote most of the band's material) and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Jeff Walker, who went on to much greater success as a songwriter after he left the group for a solo career (he wrote the classic Mr. Bojangles, among other things). The lead vocals on the first Circus Maximus LP were split between the two, with one exception: guitarist Peter Troutner shares lead vocal duties with Bruno on the album's opening track, the high-energy Travelin' Around.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Season of the Witch (pt. 1)
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released on LP: Renaissance and as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Real Gone/Rhino (original label: Atco)
The Vanilla Fudge are generally best remembered for their acid rock rearrangements of hit songs such as You Keep Me Hangin' On, Ticket To Ride and Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). Their third album, Renaissance, while actually featuring more original material that their previous albums, still included a couple of these cover songs. The best-known of these was this rather spooky (and a little over-the-top) version of Donovan's Season Of The Witch, a song that was also covered by Al Kooper and Stephen Stills the same year on the first Super Session album. A mono single version of the song saw the track broken up into two pieces, one on each side of the 45 RPM record.