This week's show is sort of a Stuck in the Psychedelic Era sampler, with sets from specific years, an artists' set, a progression through the years and an Advanced Psych segment.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: 45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Label: Double Shot
In late 1966 five guys from San Jose California managed to sound more like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds that the Yardbirds themselves (a task probably made easier by the fact that by late 1966 Jeff Beck was no longer a member of the Yardbirds). One interesting note about this record is that as late as the mid-1980s the 45 RPM single on the original label was still available in record stores, complete with the original B side. Normally (in the US at least) songs more than a year or two old were only available on anthology LPs or on reissue singles with "back-to-back hits" on them. The complete takeover of the record racks by CDs in the late 1980s changed all that, as all 45s (except for indy releases) soon went the way of the 78 RPM record. The resurgence of vinyl in the 2010s has been almost exclusively limited to LP releases, making it look increasingly unlikely that we'll ever see (with the exception of Record Store Day special releases) 45 RPM singles on the racks ever again.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Source: LP: Spirit of '67
1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to starting a gig as the host band for Dick Clark's new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out three consecutive top 10 singles. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
Title: Dirty Water
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Dirty Water has long since been adopted by the city of Boston (and especially its sports teams), yet the band that originally recorded this Ed Cobb tune was purely an L.A. band, having started off playing cover tunes for frat parties in the early 60s. Lead vocalist/drummer Dickie Dodd, incidently, was a former Mouseketeer who had played on the surf-rock hit Mr. Moto as a member of the Bel-Airs.
Artist: Other Side
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Brent)
Although not as popular as the Chocolate Watchband or Count Five, the Other Side had its share of fans in the San Jose, California area. Enough, in fact, to land a deal with Brent Records. Streetcar is one of those B sides that is now much preferred to its more commercial A side among fans of garage rock.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Oh, Sweet Mary
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and, for a breath of fresh air, a bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Watch Yourself
Source: CD: Volume 3-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer: Robert Yeazel
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing much of the material on that album.
Artist: Del Shannon
Title: Silver Birch/I Think I Love You
Source: British import CD: The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover
Label: BGO (original label: Liberty)
Sometimes called Del Shannon's most consistent album (and certainly his most psychedelic), The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover was released in early 1968, long after Shannon's run at the top of the charts with songs like Runaway and Keep On Searching. The album was a departure from Shannon's usual style, with songs like Silver Birch (about a girl whose wedding plans came to nothing) replacing the usual "I'm the victim here" types of songs Shannon was famous for. Westover (Shannon's birth name) takes a more subdued, yet rich, vocal approach on songs like the self-penned I Think I Love You, resulting in one of the most underrated (and unheard) tracks of the psychedelic era.
Title: And Your Bird Can Sing
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Yesterday...And Today
At the time the Revolver album was being made, the Beatles and their producer, George Martin, worked together on the mono mixes of the songs, which were always done before the stereo mixes. In fact, the stereo mixes were usually done without the participation of the band itself, and generally were less time consuming. This led to a rather odd situation in June of 1966. Mono mixes had been made for three of the songs on Revolver at this point, and the band's US label, Capitol, was ready to release a new Beatles album. The problem was that they did not have enough new material for an entire album. Their solution was to use their Duophonic fake stereo process on the mono mixes and include them on the album, which was titled Yesterday...And Today. As a result, when Revolver was released in the US in the fall of 1966, it had three fewer songs than the original British version of the album. One of those three songs was And Your Bird Can Sing, a John Lennon composition that he considered a "throwaway", yet one that contains of the earliest examples of harmony lead guitars (on the intro) in rock. The song's original working title was You Don't Get Me, which lends authenticity to the story told by Cynthia Lennon of John's reaction to her gift of a clockwork bird in a gilden cage.
Title: Lovely Rita
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
By 1967 John Lennon and Paul McCartney were a songwriting team in name only, with nearly all their compositions being the work of one or the other, but not both. Lovely Rita, from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, was pure McCartney. The song features McCartney on both piano and overdubbed bass, with Lennon and George Harrison on guitars and Ringo Starr on drums. Pink Floyd, who were recording their debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at the same Abbey Road studios the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's at, ended up borrowing some of the effects heard toward the end of Lovely Rita for their own Pow R Toc H.
Title: Nowhere Man
Source: LP: Yesterday…and Today (originally released in UK on LP: Rubber Soul)
Label: Capitol/EMI (original UK label: Parlophone)
Altough Nowhere Man had been included on the British version of the Beatles' 1965 Rubber Soul album, it was held back in the US and released as a single in 1966. Later that year the song was featured on the US-only LP Yesterday...And Today.
Artist: Mouse And The Traps
Title: A Public Execution
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
It's easy to imagine some kid somewhere in Texas inviting his friends over to hear the new Bob Dylan record, only to reveal afterwards that it wasn't Dylan at all, but this band he heard while visiting his cousins down in Tyler. Mouse and the Traps, in fact, got quite a bit of airplay in that part of the state with a series of singles issued in the mid-60s. A Public Execution is unique among those singles in that the artist on the label was listed simply as Mouse.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Pet Sounds
Source: Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s): Brian Wilson
Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Grace Slick
Label: Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Source: CD: Mass In F Minor
Writer: David Axelrod
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
After the commercial disappointment of the Electric Prunes second LP, Underground, producer David Hassinger decided to use the band in an experiment. David Axelrod had written a rock-mass and was looking for a band to record it. The problem was that the only member of the Electric Prunes who could read music was bassist Mark Tulin, who then had to show the rest of the band what was wanted from them. Needless to say it was a slow process, and after the three songs that comprise side one of the LP were completed, Hassinger decided to hire a Canadian band called the Collectors to provide instrumental tracks for the album's second side. In addition to Tulin, bassist Quint Weakley and vocalist James Lowe appear on every track on Mass In F Minor, while guitarists Ken Williams and Mike Gannon are only featured on the LP's first side. Williams's guitar work is featured prominently on Credo, which also features a full orchestra track arranged by Axelrod.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock And Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 50 years after it was recorded.
Title: Good Times Roll
Source: CD: The Rutles
Writer(s): Neil Innes
Label: Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
In 1978, Eric Idle of Monty Python's Flying Circus produced a TV film called All You Need Is Cash, a documentary about the rise and fall of England's "prefab four" The Rutles. The clever Beatles parody featured music written by Neil Innes, sometimes called the "seventh Python" and the primary songwriter of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, who had performed Death Cab For Cutie in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour telefilm eleven years earlier. To make things as authentic as possible, Innes, who took the part of bandleader Ron Nasty (John Lennon) recruited two former Timebox members, Guitarist/singer Ollie Halsall and drummer John Halsey, along with multi-instrumentalist Rikki Fataar of the early 1970s version of the Beach Boys, to actually "be" the Rutles. Halsey played the part of Barry Wom, while Fataar got to be Stig O'Hara, the "quiet" Rutle. Halsall, who sang all the Paul McCartney styled songs, did not appear in the TV film, as the part of Dirk McQuickly was played by Idle himself. Also, a fifth member, Andy Brown, provided the bass parts for the group's first LP, which included songs like Good Times Roll, a brilliant parody of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.
Artist: Thoroughbred Dead
Title: Open Mind
Source: CD single
Writer(s): Thoroughbred Dead
Label: independently released
As part of our ongoing effort to gather material for our Advanced Psych segment of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, I have invited producers, band members and anyone else willing to submit songs to contact me through our web page. One result is a band called Thoroughbred Dead, from Long Beach, California. Somehow I have managed to lose track of the initial contact letter, however, so I don't exactly know who to thank for sending me this CD single of Open Mind. Sorry about that, chief.
Title: In The Shadows
Source: Stereo British import 7" 33 1/3 RPM EP
Writer(s): The Stranglers
Although 7" EPs had all but disappeared in the US by the end of the 1950s, they remained a viable format in many other markets worldwide, including the UK, for many years. In fact, by the end of the 1970s the format had become a fashionable alternative to the standard 45 RPM single and 33 1/3 RPM LP, especially among punk rock and new wave bands. This gave artists the option of choosing for themselves how much music they wanted to release at a given time. In 1979, for instance, the Stranglers had four songs that they wanted to include on one record. Since trying to fit all four on a 7" disc at the standard 45 RPM speed would have meant narrowing the grooves to the point of losing audio quality, they instead opted to press the record at 33 1/3. Among the four songs is a live rendition of a song called In The Shadows which had previously been released, in its studio version, as a B side in 1977 and included on their 1978 LP Black And White.
Title: Bad Dream
Source: CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s): Stephen R Webb
One of the more unusual bands on the Albuquerque, NM scene in the late 1980s was a group called the Soft Corps. With a membership that varied depending on the needs of a particular song, the group's on-stage antics included a guitar being leaned on its amp, causing massive feedback while members traded instruments and the band's leader walked off the stage to watch the show. In mid-1988 the Soft Corps officially disbanded, with three of the members, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Quincy Adams, guitarist/keyboardist Suzan Hagler and guitarist/bassist/vocalist StephenR Webb joining up with drummer John Henry Smith to form The Mumphries. Bad Dream, recorded in 1989, features Webb on lead guitar and vocals, Hagler on keyboards, Adams on bass and Smith on drums.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source: LP: Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Baby Blue
Source: Mono CD: The Inner Mystique (bonus track)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Label: Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
Many artists have covered Bob Dylan songs over the years, but few managed to do it with as much attitude as the Chocolate Watchband on their version of It's All Over Now Baby Blue. The song appeared in early 1967 as the B side of the Watchband's first "official" single, Sweet Young Thing. As good a track as Sweet Young Thing was (and it is indeed a good one), Baby Blue, being a bit more recognizable, may have been a better choice for a potential hit single. We'll never know.
Artist: Garden Club
Title: Little Girl Lost-And-Found
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
Garden Club was in reality Ruthann Friedman (who wrote the Association hit Windy) on vocals with a bunch of studio musicians performing a song co-written by Tandyn Almer (co-writer of the Association hit Along Comes Mary and inventor of the dual-chamber bong). Oddly enough, the track reminds me somehow of Suzanne Vega.
Title: Dance The Night Away
Source: Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: Lilith (original label: Atco)
With the album Disraeli Gears, Cream established itself as having a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Bruce provides the melody line on vocals, with guitarist Eric Clapton singing harmony throughout the piece.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Lantern
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones' answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Night Time
Source: German import CD: The Amboy Dukes
Label: Repertoire (original label: Mainstream)
Although the Amboy Dukes were officially formed in Chicago in 1964, only founder and bandleader Ted Nugent was still with the group when they relocated to Detroit and recorded their first album for the Chicago-based Mainstream label. By then the lineup consisted of Nugent on lead guitar, John Drake on lead vocals, Steve Farmer on rhythm guitar, Dave Palmer on drums, Rick Lober on keyboards and Bill White on bass, with Nugent, Farmer and White providing backup vocals. Seven of the eleven songs on the first Amboy Dukes album were originals; most of those were written by Nugent and Farmer, including the song Night Time, which expresses a common feeling among young people of any decade.
Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Nobody But Me
Source: Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ron, Rudy and O'Kelley Isley
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
The Human Beinz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol misspelled their name on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.
Title: Love Her Madly
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): The Doors
Released as a single in advance of the 1971 Doors album L.A. Woman, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.