Sunday, November 29, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2049 (starts 11/30/20) 

    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)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Atkinson/Byrne/Chaney/Michalski
Label:    Double Shot
Year:    1966
    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
Title:    Hungry
Source:    LP: Spirit of '67
Writer:    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:    Standells
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
Title:    Streetcar
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Battey/Graham
Label:    Rhino (original label: Brent)
Year:    1966
    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
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and, for a breath of fresh air, a bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    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)
Year:    1968
    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
Writer(s):    Shannon/Perkins
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:      Beatles
Title:     And Your Bird Can Sing
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Yesterday...And Today
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:     1966
     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.

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

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Nowhere Man
Source:    LP: Yesterday…and Today (originally released in UK on LP: Rubber Soul)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI (original UK label: Parlophone)
Year:    1965
    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)
Writer(s):    Henderson/Weiss
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fraternity)
Year:    1965
    It's easy to imagine some kid somewhere in Texas inviting his friends over to hear the new Bob Dylan record, only to reveal afterwards that it wasn't Dylan at all, but this band he heard while visiting his cousins down in Tyler. 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
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    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)
Year:    1967
    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
Title:    Credo
Source:    CD: Mass In F Minor
Writer:    David Axelrod
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    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)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock And Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 50 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Rutles
Title:    Good Times Roll
Source:    CD: The Rutles
Writer(s):    Neil Innes
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1978
    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
Year:    2015
    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.
Artist:    Stranglers
Title:    In The Shadows
Source:    Stereo British import 7" 33 1/3 RPM EP
Writer(s):    The Stranglers
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1979
    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.

Artist:    Mumphries
Title:    Bad Dream
Source:    CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1989
    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
Writer(s):    Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Baby Blue
Source:    Mono CD: The Inner Mystique (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
Year:    1967
    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)
Writer(s):    Walsh/Almer
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    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.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    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
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    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
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    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)
Year:     1967
     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.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Her Madly
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971   
    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.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2049 (starts 11/30/20) 

    This week's show starts off in the late 60s, with tracks from Spirit, Jethro Tull, Frijid Pink and Creedence Clearwater Revival before going into some 70s-style free-form rock, featuring such diverse artists as Black Sabbath, Paul McCartney and Johnny Winter. And yes, there's some Yes in there too.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Fresh Garbage
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a rather bouncy rock tune and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Cat's Squirrel
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Abrahams
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Probably the Jethro Tull recording with the least Ian Anderson influence, Cat's Squirrel was recorded at the insistence of record company people, who felt the song was most representative of the band's live sound. The traditional tune was arranged by guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left the band due to creative differences with Anderson shortly thereafter. Cat's Squirrel became a live staple of Abrahams's next band, Blodwyn Pig.

Artist:    Frijid Pink
Title:    Drivin' Blues
Source:    German import CD: Frijid Pink (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Thompson/Beaudry
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Parrot)
Year:    1969
    Frijid Pink released two singles before hitting it big with their third, a distortion-ridden version of House Of The Rising Sun, in late 1969. The A side of their second single, Drivin' Blues, was recycled as the B side of House. I guess that's one way of getting your original material into the hands of the record buying public.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Good Golly Miss Molly
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    Blackwell/Marascallo
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    Although Creedence Clearwater Revival's second album, Bayou Country, contained mostly John Fogerty originals, there was one notable cover song on the LP: a version of Good Golly Miss Molly that was rowdy enough to make Little Richard proud.
Artist:    Grand Funk
Title:    Black Licorice
Source:    CD: We're An American Band
Writer(s):    Farner/Brewer
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1973
    By 1973 Grand Funk Railroad, the first true arena-rock band, was sounding a bit fatigued. The band had released six studio LPs, as well as a double disc live album, over a period of just four years, with guitarist Mark Farner writing virtually all the group's original material, as well as handling all the lead vocals. Having parted company with their original manager/producer, Terry Knight, just prior to recording their self-produced Phoenix album in 1972, the band was seeing a dropoff in sales as well. To get things back on track they brought in a new producer, Todd Rundgren, for their seventh LP, We're An American Band, as well as shortening the band's name to Grand Funk (temporarily, as it turned out). The most noticable change, however, was the rise to prominence of drummer Don Brewer, both as a songwriter and a vocalist. In fact, Brewer took over lead vocal duties on fully half the album's songs, writing or co-writing several of them, including Black Licorice. The album was a huge success, changing the direction of Grand Funk's music forever.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Starship Trooper
Source:    CD: The Yes Album
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire/Howe
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1971
    Although technically it was the third LP released by the band, The Yes Album was, in many ways, the true beginning of the Yes story. The Yes Album was the first to feature guitarist Steve Howe, whose contributions significantly altered the band's sound. This influence is particularly strong on the third section of Starship Trooper (subtitled Wurm), which Howe had brought with him from his previous band, Bodast. The opening section of the song, Life Seeker, as well as the title of Starship Trooper itself, was inspired in part by the Robert Heinlein novel, with Jon Anderson's lyrics centering on a search for God. The middle section, Disillusion, was provided by bassist Chris Squire, and was actually based on a section of an earlier piece called For Everyone. Starship Trooper, although never released as a single, quickly became a popular (and permanent) part of Yes's stage repertoire.

Artist:     Blind Faith
Title:     Presence of the Lord
Source:     British import LP: Blind Faith
Writer:     Eric Clapton
Label:     Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:     1969
     When the album Blind Faith first came out, several critics questioned why Steve Winwood sang lead on Presence Of The Lord instead of the song's composer, guitarist Eric Clapton. Many went so far as to say Clapton should have sung the tune, but after countless subsequent recordings of Clapton singing Presence of the Lord over the years, it's kind of refreshing to go back and hear Winwood's original interpretation.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I'll Drown In My Tears
Source:    British import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s):    Henry Glover
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Originally recorded by Lula Reed in 1951 under the title I'll Drown In My Tears, Drown In My Own Tears was one of Ray Charles's legendary hits for the Atlantic label. Released in 1956, it was Charles's fourth song to top the R&B charts, and inspired him to hire a permanent group of backup singers that would come to be known as the Raelettes. In 1969 Johnny Winter went back to the original title for the version included on his first album for the Columbia label. Although most of the tracks on that album showcase Winter's prowess on guitar, I'll Drown In My Own Tears shifts the emphasis to his vocals, with an arrangement that closely parallels of the Ray Charles version. Keyboards on the track are provided by Johnny's brother Edgar, who would become a full-fledged member of Johnny's band for the album Second Winter.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Got No Time For Trouble
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Bolin/Tesar
Label:    Atco
Year:    1974
    In 1974 the James Gang hired their third lead guitarist since the band made their recording debut in 1969. That guitarist was Tommy Bolin, who had first come to national attention as a member of the Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr. Bolin co-wrote several of the tracks on his first album with the James Gang, Bang, including Got No Time For Trouble, which also was issued as the B side of the only single taken from Bang. Lead vocals on the song are by Roy Kenner, who had joined the James Gang shortly after the departure of the band's original guitarist/vocalist, Joe Walsh.

Artist:    Paul McCartney And Wings
Title:    Junior's Farm
Source:    CD: Wings Greatest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Paul and Linda McCartney
Label:    Capitol (original label: Apple)
Year:    1974
    Paul McCartney's final record to come out before the dissolution of Apple was one of his biggest non-album singles. Junior's Farm, released in 1974, also marked the debut of Jimmy McCulloch as Wings' lead guitarist. The song went into the top 5 in the US, and was released in two dozen countries.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    John Lodge
Label:    Threshold
Year:    1972
    Following the release of their eighth LP, Seventh Sojourn (don't ask), the Moody Blues decided to take a sojourn of a different kind: a five-year hiatus, allowing the individual members to pursue various solo projects. Before calling it quits, however, they released one last single. As the last track on Seventh Sojourn, I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) was an appropriate choice for a final effort, and did reasonably well on the US charts, peaking at #12, although it barely made the top 40 in their native England. Since reforming in 1978, the Moody Blues have established themselves as a consistent concert draw, especially around PBS pledge drive time.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Jack The Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots
Source:    CD: Paranoid
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    As a general rule, Black Sabbath's songwriting process on their first three albums consisted of guitarist Tony Iommi coming up with a basic riff, to which vocalist Ozzy Osbourne would add a melody. Bassist Geezer Butler would then compose lyrics and drummer Bill Ward would add the finishing touches. According to Butler, however, the lyrics to Fairies Wear Boots were entirely the work of Osbourne. Although Osbourne himself says he doesn't remember where he got the idead for those lyrics, Butler has said they were inspired by an encounter Osbourne had with a group of London skinheads who taunted him about the length of his hair by calling him a fairy. Butler added that Osbourne's lyrics often went off on a tangent, however, and that the later verses actually describe an acid trip. US versions of the Paranoid album list the track as being two separate compositions, with the instrumental intro carrying the title Jack The Stripper. This actually does not make a whole lot of sense, since that instrumental theme is repeated much later in the track, but in all likelihood the division was made to increase the amount of royalties the band would receive for the album itself. The Grateful Dead's second LP, Anthem Of The Sun, was similarly formatted for that reason, and both Anthem Of The Sun and Paranoid came out on the Warner Brothers label in the US, lending credibility to the idea.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2048 (starts 10/23/20)

    This week's first hour is mostly spent catching up on tunes that haven't been heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era in a while, although there are a few "new" tunes as well as a couple of old favorites thrown in. Among the never-before heard tracks are the opening sequence of The American Metaphysical Circus, a rather unique album from Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies and a very short instrumental piece from the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Our second hour includes artists' sets from Steppenwolf and the Beatles, and, as a special treat, the seldom-heard original British version of the Spencer Davis Group's classic Gimme Some Lovin'.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Get Off My Cloud
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    Early British Invasion bands generally fell into one of two camps. On the one hand there were the relatively clean-cut Merseybeat bands such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits and of course the Beatles themselves, who were the overwhelming favorites of teenage girls all across America. Then there were the so-called "bad boy" bands such as Them and the Animals who tended to favor a raunchier interpretation of rock and roll than their Merseybeat counterparts and had more male than female fans. Chief among these were London's Rolling Stones. While the Beatles were still cranking out love songs through most of 1965, the Stones were shouting their defiance at the world with songs like Get Off My Cloud.  

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Mr. Nobody
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Standells (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Larry Tamblyn
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    The third Standells single of 1966, Why Pick On Me, was probably also their weakest, but it did sport a decent B side. Mr. Nobody, written by Larry Tamblyn (brother of Russ, I believe), is yet another example of why the Standells are sometimes considered the first punk rock band (although it could also be argued that they were actually the first posers).

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    One of the first British acid-rock bands was a group called Deep Feeling, which included drummer Jim Capaldi and woodwind player Chris Wood. At the same time Deep Feeling was experimenting with psychedelia, another, more commercially oriented band, the Spencer Davis Group, was tearing up the British top 40 charts with hits like Keep On Running, Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man. The undisputed star of the Spencer Davis Group was a teenaged guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist named Steve Winwood, who was also beginning to make his mark as a songwriter. Along with guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who had worked with Capaldi in earlier bands, they formed Traffic in the spring of 1967, releasing their first single, Paper Sun, in May of that year. Capaldi and Winwood had actually written the tune while Winwood was still in the Spencer Davis Group, and the song was an immediate hit in the UK. This was followed quickly by an album, Mr. Fantasy, that, as was the common practice at the time in the UK, did not include Paper Sun. When the album was picked up by United Artists Records for US release in early 1968, however, Paper Sun was included as the LP's opening track. The US version of the album was originally titled Heaven Is In Your Mind, but was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy to match the original British title (although the alterations in track listing stayed).

Artist:    Freeborne
Title:    Land Of Diana
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Spiros/Carston
Label:    Arf! Arf!
Year:    1968
    Although the so-called Boss-Town Sound turned out to be little more than record company hype, the city itself did harbor some talented musicians, such as the members of the Freeborne, who released an album called Peak Impressions on the local Monitor label in 1968. Land Of Diana was the single taken from that album, heard here in an alternate mono mix.

Artist:    Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies
Title:    The Sub-Sylvian Litanies
Source:    LP: The American Metaphysical Circus
Writer(s):    Joseph Byrd
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Following his departure from the United States Of America, avant-garde composer/artist Joseph Byrd got to work on an album called the American Metaphysical Circus. For the album he put together a group of Los Angeles based musicians, giving them the name Field Hippies. The group included Tom Scott, who would gain fame as the leader of the L.A. Express; the reclusive guitarist Ted Greene in one of his few recorded appearances; Meyer Hirsch, a member of the Buddy Rich Big Band and an experimental composer in his own right; Victoria Bond, who went on to have a prominent career as a classical composer, conductor and vocalist; and Fred Selden, a student of Byrd's at UCLA, who joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (led by Byrd's partner in the UCLA New Music Workshop), received a Grammy nomination, and later returned to UCLA to receive his Ph.D. The album, released on Columbia's Masterworks label, remained in the label's catalogue for 20 years, and is considered a landmark album for its use of synthesizers and other electronic effects. The album opens with the Sub-Sylvian Litanies, which has been described as "an entire acid trip in 11 minutes". There are three parts to the The Sub-Sylvian Litanies. The first is Kalyani, an collage of electronic sounds much in the same veing as George Harrison's Wonderwall Music or early Tangerine Dream that segues into You Can't Ever Come Down, a rocking piece with vocals by Susan de Lange that is stylistically similar to Byrd's compositions for the United States Of America. This in turn segues into Moonsong: Pelog, an electronic flower pop piece with vocals by de Lange. I have personally found that the best way to listen to The Sub-Sylvian Litanies is with headphones on to get the full effect of Byrd's creativity.

Artist:    Lazy Nickels
Title:    35 Design
Source:    CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Eyerick/Rhine
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Slug)
Year:    1970
    Not much is known about Lazy Nickels, who released 35 Design as their only single in 1970. The recording uses various tape effects to enhance what was probably a pretty accurate representation of this Michigan-based band's live sound.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Can You See Me (live version)
Source:    CD: Live At Monterey (originally released on LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     UMe/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former R&B sideman (and US Army vet) and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970. Among the songs the Experience performed at Monterey was a Hendrix composition called Can You See Me. The studio version of the song had appeared on the band's first LP in the UK, but had been left off the US version of Are You Experienced. An early concert favorite, Can You See Me seems to have been permanently dropped from the band's setlist after the Monterey performance.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Pass The Time With The SAC
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    Bunnell/Freeman/King/Pittman/Weitz
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    Credited to the entire membership of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Pass The Time With The SAC, from the LP Incense And Peppermints, sounds like it was written specifically to be a break song at the end of a live set. The instrumental is the shortest track on the album, "clocking" in at a minute and a quarter.

Artist:    Ronnie Burns with the Bee Gees
Title:    Exit Stage Right
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):    Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb
Label:    Rhino (original label: Spin)
Year:    1967
    Prior to relocating to London in early 1967, the Bee Gees completed several demo recordings for producer Ossie Byrne in Hurstville, Australia. Byrne, in addition to producing the Bee Gees' Australian recordings, had a singer named Ronnie Burns under contract as well. Burns had first achieved popularity as vocalist with the Australian beat group known as the Flies, but had left the band in 1965 to pursue a solo career. Byrne had Burns add new vocals over the Bee Gees demos, including Exit Stage Right. It turned out to be a winning combination, as Exit Stage Right became a sizable hit when released as a single on Australia's Spin label.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    I've Got That Feeling
Source:    Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released in UK on EP: Kinksize Session)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise (original UK label: Pye)
Year:    1964 (US release: 1965)
    Kinksize Session was the Kinks' first EP, released in the UK a month after their first LP and featuring all new recordings of mostly original tunes. All four songs from Kinksize Sessions, including I've Got That Feeling, were featured on the band's second American LP, Kinks-Size, along with an assortment of hit singles, B sides and album tracks that had not yet appeared in the US. Kinks-Size ended up being the band's second-highest charting 60s LP in the US, surpassed only by a greatest hits compilation album.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Tired Of Waiting For You
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Priority (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    All Day And All Of The Night
Source:    Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964 (LP released 1965)
    Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.

Artist:    Thor's Hammer (Hljomar)
Title:    My Life
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on British EP: Umbarumbamba for export to Iceland)
Writer(s):    Thordarson/Ostlund
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1966
    Originally formed in 1964 in Keflavik, Iceland, Hljomar, led by Gunnar Thordarson quickly became one of the most popular teen-oriented bands on the island nation, commencing to record locally in their native language in 1965. It soon became evident, however, that for the band to increase their audience base they would have to start recording in English, and by the end of the year had travelled to England to record songs under the name Thor's Hammer for an upcoming movie starring the band. Both the movie itself and a four-song EP featuring tunes from the film were released in late 1966, both bearing the name Umbarumbamba. Neither the movie or the EP did particularly well, however, despite strong tunes such as My Life, and, after a final attempt at an English language single in 1967, the band returned to Iceland, becoming Hljomar once more for the remainder of their existence.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:     Beacon Street Union
Title:     The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Source:     LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Wright
Label:    M-G-M
Year:     1968
    While the first Beacon Street Union album is considered a psychedelic masterpiece, the followup LP, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens, has a decidedly different feel to it. Some of this is attributable to a change in producer from Tom Wilson, whose work with Bob Dylan, the  Mothers of Invention and others is legendary, to Wes Farrell, whose greatest success would come producing the Partridge Family in the early 1970s. Farrell used strings extensively to create a noticably more middle-of-the-road sound, as can be heard on the album's title track.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Candy
Source:    Mono British import LP: Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde
Writer(s):    McGuinn/York
Label:    CBS
Year:    1969
    By the time the Byrds released their 7th LP, Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, only one original member, guitarist Roger McGuinn, remained from the band's original lineup. While the band's studio work had continued to move away from the sound that the Byrds had become famous for, the group's live performances continued to improve with each personnel change. Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde itself is, as implied by the title, a curious mixture of psychedelia and country-rock, with most songs favoring one or the other. One tune that combined the two (although favoring the country side) was Candy, a song written by McGuinn and new bassist John York. The tune was one of two songs on the album written for the soundtrack of the 1968 film Candy (the other was a song called Child Of The Universe). Unlike Child Of The Universe, however, the song Candy was not used in the film itself. Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde was not a success in the US, stalling out in the #135 spot on the Billboard charts. It did much better in the UK, however, where it made it all the way to the #15 spot.  

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Voodoo In My Basement (instrumental backing track)
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
     With their 1966 LP Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, New York's most popular band set out to make an album on which each song sounded like it was performed by a different group. For the most part they succeeded, with songs like Nashville Cats and Summer In The City having few similarities. One of the more notable tracks on the album is Voodoo In My Basement, which acknowledges the folk-blues scene of New York's Greenwich Village, where the band was formed. The backing track heard here was included as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of the album.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Fixing A Hole
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    The first Beatles album to appear with the same tracks in the same order on both US and UK versions was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The only differences between the two were a lack of spaces in the vinyl (called "banding") on the UK version and a bit of gobbledygook heard at the end of the record (but only if you did not have a turntable that automatically lifted the needle out of the groove after the last track). The main consequence of this is that disc jockeys in the US had an easier time cueing up tracks like Fixing A Hole in the days before the album came out on CD.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Come Together
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatles A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.
Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/A Day In The Life
Source:     LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Capitol/EMI
Year:     1967
     One of the great accidents of record production was the splice that turned the chicken at the end of Good Morning Good Morning into a guitar, starting off Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) and ultimately leading into A Day In The Life, with it's slowly dissolving orchestral chord that brings the number one album of 1967 to a close.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    She'll Return It
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Rowberry/Burdon
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    As a general rule the Animals, in their original incarnation, recorded two kinds of songs: hit singles from professional songwriters such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and covers of blues and R&B tunes, the more obscure the better. What they did not record a lot of was original tunes from the band members themselves. This began to change in 1966 when the band began to experience a series of personnel changes that would ultimately lead to what amounted to an entirely new group, Eric Burdon And The Animals, the following year. One of the earliest songs to carry a byline from band members was She'll Return It, an Eric Burdon/Dave Rowberry composition that was erroneously credited to the entire band. She'll Return It was released as the B side of See See Rider in August of 1966 and included on the Animalization album. In retrospect, it is one of the strongest tracks on one of their strongest LPs.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Kicks
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Paul Revere And The Raiders' Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Midnight Ride)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a major hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until their version of John D. Loudermilk's Indian Reservation (Lament of the Cherokee Nation) topped the charts five years later.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People (remake)
Source:    CD: Hey Joe
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    One Way (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves scored their first Los Angeles regional hit with the song Too Many People, released on the Mira label in 1965. When a later single, Hey Joe, became a national hit, the band re-recorded Too Many People for their debut album, released in 1966. Although the newer recording is cleaner (and in stereo), it lacks the raw garage-rock energy of the original.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Berry Rides Again
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf)
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1968
    With almost all of the tracks on the Monster album having, er, monstrous length, Dunhill Records went back to Steppenwolf's debut album for the B side of the 1970 Monster single, which itself was severely edited. Berry Rides Again, as the title implies, is a tribute to rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry, and contains many of Berry's signature lyrics and guitar riffs.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Power Play
Source:    CD: Monster
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1969
    1969's Monster album is generally considered the most political of Steppenwolf's albums. A listen to Power Play certainly lends credence to that viewpoint.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Monster
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Kay/Edmonton
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1969
    Steppenwolf, even more than most rock bands, was plagued by arguments between various band members, dating back to their pre-Steppenwolf days as the band known as Sparrow. One of the earliest casualties of these arguments was bassist Nick St. Nicholas, whose clashes with bandleader John Kay were a major factor in Sparrow's disbanding in early 1967. The band at that point had relocated from Toronto to San Francisco, and St. Nicholas decided to stay in town and form a new band, T.I.M.E., with guitarist Larry Byrom. John Kay, on the other hand, moved to Los Angeles, taking several Sparrow demo tapes with him in hopes of landing a record contract. This ultimately led to a meeting with producer Gabriel Mekler, who liked what he heard. This in turn led to Kay recruiting two former members of Sparrow, drummer Jerry Edmonton and keyboardist Goldy McJohn, along with new guitarist Michael Monarch to form a new band; with the addition of bassist Rushton Moreve, the new group (tentatively named Sparrow) was complete. When Mekler signed the new band to Dunhill Records, he insisted the band call itself Steppenwolf. This lineup recorded two successful albums before Moreve decided that L.A. was about to fall into the Pacific and left the band to move east. Rather than advertise for a bass player, the group asked St. Nicholas to rejoin his former bandmates; not long after that friction between Kay and Monarch would lead to Byrom joining Steppenwolf as Monarch's replacement. It was this lineup that recorded Steppenwolf's most political album, Monster, featuring the nine-minute title track that was also released, in edited form, as a single in 1969.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    It Can't Happen Here
Source:    LP: Mothermania (originally released on LP: Freak Out)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version, which also appears in stereo on the 1969 LP Mothermania, removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The People In Me
Source:    CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer:    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    After Talk Talk soared into the upper reaches of the US charts the Music Machine's management made a tactical error. Instead of promoting the follow-up single, The People In Me, to the largest possible audience, the band's manager gave exclusive air rights to a relatively low-rated Burbank station at the far end of the Los Angeles AM radio dial. As local bands like the Music Machine depended on airplay in L.A. as a necessary step to getting national exposure, the move proved disastrous. Without any airplay on influential stations like KHJ and KRLA, The People In Me was unable to get any higher than the # 66 spot on the national charts. Even worse for the band, the big stations remembered the slight when subsequent singles by the Music Machine were released, and by mid-1967 the original lineup had disbanded.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    You're Gonna Miss Me
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer:    Roky Erickson
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    If anyplace outside of California has a legitimate claim to being the birthplace of the psychedelic era, it's Austin, Texas. That's mainly due to the presence of the 13th Floor Elevators, a local band led by Roky Erickson that had the audacity to use an electric jug onstage. Their debut album was the first to actually use the word psychedelic (predating the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop by mere weeks). Musically, their leanings were more toward garage-rock than acid-rock, at least on their first album (they got more metaphysical with their follow-up album, Easter Everywhere).

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Mono British import 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Fontana
Year:    1966
    It only took the Spencer Davis Group about an hour to write and arrange what would become their biggest hit, Gimme Some Lovin'. It was June of 1966, and the band's most recent single, a Jackie Edwards tune called When I Come Home, had not performed as well as expected on the British charts, and the group was under pressure to come up with a hit. The day before they were scheduled to begin recording, their manager, Chris Blackwell, brought the band to a rehearsal room with instructions to come up with a new song. According to bassist Muff Winwood "We started to mess about with riffs, and it must have been eleven o'clock in the morning. We hadn't been there half an hour, and this idea just came. We thought, bloody hell, this sounds really good. We fitted it all together and by about twelve o'clock, we had the whole song. Steve had been singing 'Gimme, gimme some loving' - you know, just yelling anything, so we decided to call it that. We worked out the middle eight and then went to a cafe that's still on the corner down the road. Blackwell came to see how we were going on, to find our equipment set up and us not there, and he storms into the cafe, absolutely screaming, 'How can you do this?' he screams. Don't worry, we said. We were all really confident. We took him back, and said, how's this for half an hour's work, and we knocked off 'Gimme Some Lovin' and he couldn't believe it. We cut it the following day and everything about it worked." The original British single did not have backup vocals, and Steve Winwood's organ is more prominent in the mix than on the more familiar US version. This version also lacks the reverb that producer Jimmy Miller added for the song's US release to give it more "punch" and, due to a minor error in the mastering process, the first note on the record "bends" upward in pitch. Nearly every reissue of the song uses the US mix, making this British single version of Gimme Some Lovin' a bit of a rarity.

Artist:    Troggs
Title:    Love Is All Around
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Reg Presley
Label:    Sire (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1967
    Following up on a series of high-energy hits like Wild Thing, With A Girl Like You and I Can't Control Myself, the Troggs decided to take a different approach with their November 1967 release Love Is All Around. The slow, melodic love song was written by lead vocalist Reg Presley and became a top 10 hit in both the UK and US; the song must have been cursed, however, because their fortunes took a nose dive soon afterwards. Their next single, Little Girl, barely made it onto the British top 40, and subsequent releases failed to chart at all. The Troggs are still around, however lead guitarist Chris Britton is the only original member still performing with the band, and his appearances are sporadic.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2048 (starts11/23/20) 

    This week we continue a tradition that dates back to the early days of FM rock radio and present, in its entirety, Arlo Guthrie's 1967 classic Alice's Restaurant Massacree, along with sets from 1970 and 1972. You're welcome.

Artist:    Peter Gabriel
Title:    Solsbury Hill
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Peter Gabriel
Label:    Atco
Year:    1977
    Vocalist Peter Gabriel's first single after leaving Genesis was Solsbury Hill, a song inspired by a spiritual experience Gabriel had atop Little Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England. Gabriel said of the song:  "It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go." The song hit the top 20 in the UK and shows up from time to time in various TV and movie soundtracks.

Artist:    Derek And The Dominos
Title:    Bell Bottom Blues
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Clapton (originally released on LP: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs)
Writer(s):    Clapton/Whitlock
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Bell Bottom Blues, from the Derek And The Dominos album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs, is at once one of the many and one of the few. It is one of the many songs inspired by/written for George Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd by Eric Clapton, who was in love with her at the time. At the same time it is one of the few songs on the album that does not include guitarist Duane Allman on it. Clapton wrote the song after Boyd asked him to pick up a pair of bell-bottom jeans on his next trip to the US (apparently they were not available in London at that time). The song was released twice as a single in 1971, but did not chart higher than the #78 spot. In 2015 drummer Bobby Whitlock, who had helped write the third verse, was given official credit as the song's co-writer.

Artist:    Faces
Title:    Flying
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: First Step)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Wood/Lane
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Although credited to the Small Faces in North America, First Step was actually the debut album of Faces, a group combining the talents of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood (from the Jeff Beck group) with what was left of the Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan) following the departure of bandleader Steve Marriott, who left to form Humble Pie. Unlike later Faces albums, First Step featured songwriting contributions from all five band members, including Stewart, Wood and Lane collaborating on the album's centerpiece, Flying.   

Artist:    Three Dog Night
Title:    Joy To The World
Source:    Mono CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1971 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hoyt Axton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1970
    Rock and country music have always had a unique relationship. Some of the earliest rock stars either came from a country background (like Elvis Presley) or ended up having a career in country music (such as most of Presley's labelmates at Sun Records). In fact, it could be argued that rock 'n' roll was as much a child of country and western music (as it was then called) as it was of rhythm and blues (called race music in the 40s and early 50s). By the late 1960s, however, rock and country had come to represent opposing sides in a growing generation gap, with country the preferred choice of many older, more conservative Americans, while rock was becoming the music of choice of the anti-establishment youth of the time. This distinction, however, was not as strongly felt among the musicians themselves. In fact, one of the musical trends of the early 1970s was country-rock, pioneered by bands like the Byrds (post David Crosby) and Poco. Many country artists scored hits on the country charts with their own versions of rock hits, and, on occasion, a country song would cross over and become a top 40 hit (Roger Miller's King Of The Road being a prime example). Some artists were themselves hard to define. Hoyt Axton, a folk singer whose style reflected his Oklahoma roots, was popular among the country crowd, yet some of his songs, such as The Pusher, resonated with the underground rock audience as well. His biggest crossover hit, however, was a song he wrote in 1970 called Joy To The World. The Three Dog Night recording of the song was, in fact, the #1 song of the year 1971. Axton would continue to have a successful career as a songwriter for many years, sometimes even as a recording artist, as was the case with Bony Fingers (with Renee Armand), a top 10 country hit in 1974.

Artist:    Velvet Underground
Title:    Rock & Roll
Source:    LP: Loaded
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    Lou Reed has said that the song Rock & Roll, from his last album with the Velvet Underground, Loaded, is somewhat autobiographical. In his liner notes for the box set Peel Slowly And See, Reed says "If I hadn't heard rock and roll on the radio, I would have had no idea there was life on this planet." The song has become one of Reed's signature songs over the years, but on Loaded the bulk of the work is done by Doug Yule, who played bass, organ, piano and lead guitar parts on the track.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Hope You're Feeling Better
Source:    CD: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Gregg Rolie
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Hope You're Feeling Better was the third single to be taken from Santana's Abraxas album. Although not as successful as either Black Magic Woman or Oye Como Va, the song nonetheless received considerable airplay on progressive FM rock stations and has appeared on several anthology anthems since its initial release.

Artist:    Arlo Guthrie
Title:    Alice's Restaurant Massacree
Source:    LP: Alice's Restaurant
Writer:    Arlo Guthrie
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    The original Alice's Restaurant Massacre was released on Arlo Guthrie's debut LP, Alice's Restaurant, in 1967. The record tells the true story of Guthrie's 1965 Thanksgiving adventures in a small town in Massachusetts, and of his subsequent adventures with the draft board a few months later. The story became the basis for a movie and over the years Guthrie has performed the piece hundreds of times, never the same way twice (some performances have reportedly lasted nearly an hour).

Artist:    Graham Nash and David Crosby
Title:    The Wall Song
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Such was the popularity of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the early 70s that each of the members, both as solo artists and in various combinations of two or three members, released albums in addition to official group recordings, all of which sold well. One such effort was the 1972 album by Graham Nash and David Crosby. One of the more notable tracks on the album is The Wall Song, featuring (in addition to Crosby and Nash) Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann on guitar, bass and drums. The version heard here is the rare mono mix of The Wall Song, issued as a B side in 1972.
Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    The Ghost
Source:    CD: Bare Trees
Writer(s):    Bob Welch
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1972
    Bands lose members for a variety of reasons. Often, it's because of a desire on the part of one band member to embark on a solo career, as was the case with Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. Other reasons include conflicts with bandmates (both musical and personal), mental health issues and outside influences (such as a producer's opinion of an individual's musical abilities). Possibly the strangest departure of all involves Fleetwood Mac's Jeremy Spencer. A founding member of the band, Spencer had become one of the band's principle songwriters following Green's departure in May of 1970. In February of 1971, in the midst of a US tour, Spencer told his bandmates he was going out to get a magazine. He never returned. Several days later the other members of Fleetwood Mac found out that Spencer had joined a religious cult known as the Children Of God. After getting Green to temporarily rejoin the band to finish out the tour, the group began looking for a replacement for Spencer. That summer, based purely on a tape submitted by a friend of the band, Fleetwood Mac, which at that point consisted of Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie and Danny Kirwan, added Bob Welch as their second guitarist. Although not as prolific a songwriter as Kirwan, Welch's contributions, including song like The Ghost on the 1972 LP Bare Trees, were significant. Welch remained a member of Fleetwood Mac until December of 1974, when he left the group for personal reasons.

Artist:    Nektar
Title:    Waves
Source:    LP: A Tab In The Ocean
Writer(s):    Nektar
Label:    Passport (original German label: Bellaphon)
Year:    1972 (US release: 1976)
    On the surface it seems like a story you've heard before: a group of young British musicians go to Hamburg, Germany to hone their craft, building up a cult following in the process. But this story is not about the Beatles. It is about Nektar, formed in 1969 by Roye Albrighton on guitars and vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums, and Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and special effects. The band's first LP, A Tab In The Ocean, was originally released in Germany in 1972 on the Bellaphon label, leading many people to assume Nektar was in fact a German band and an early example of "Kraut Rock". Nektar would eventually become closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the early to mid 1970s, thanks in large part to A Tab In The Ocean finally being released in a remixed form in the US in 1976. Like fellow prog-rockers Genesis and Gentle Giant, Nektar began to commercialize their sound with shorter songs containing fewer time and key changes as the decade wore on; unlike those other bands, however, Nektar did not become more popular because of the changes. Indeed, by 1978, the band had decided to call it quits, although two of the members reformed the band briefly the following year, releasing one album in 1980 before disbanding again in 1982. Waves is somewhat atypical of the Nektar sound, however, as it is basically a short instrumental that serves as a coda to a piece called Desolation Valley.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2047 (starts 11/16/20)

    This week we have some fairly long sets, including both progression and regressions through the years, a Doors set, and, to start things off, a whole bunch of tunes from 1967.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I Can't Get Enough Of It
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Miller/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    One listen to the B side of the Spencer Davis Group's1967 hit I'm A Man and it's easy to see why the young Stevie Winwood was often compared to Ray Charles by the British music press. I Can't Get Enough Of It, co-written by producer Jimmy Miller, features Winwood on both lead vocal and piano. Winwood would leave the group shortly after the release of this single and resurface with the more psychedelically-tinged Traffic later the same year.

Artist:    Troggs
Title:    Night Of The Long Grass
Source:    British simulated stereo CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chip Taylor
Label:    Spectrum (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1967
    After scoring a huge international hit in 1966 with Wild Thing, the Troggs (originally known as the Troglodytes) cranked out a series of singles that did well in the UK but for the most part were never heard by US listeners. One of the best of those British hits was Night Of The Long Grass, which got airplay across Europe in the summer of '67. Like many of the Troggs' hits, Night Of The Long Grass has somewhat suggestive lyrics that probably hurt its chances for airplay on US top 40 radio stations.

Artist:    Idle Race
Title:    Imposters Of Life's Magazine
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
    Birmingham, as England's second largest city, was home to many of the most influential bands in rock history, including the Moody Blues, the Spencer Davis Group and the Move. Although not as well known as the others, the Idle Race belongs on the same list, if for no other reason than it served as the launching pad for the career of guitarist/vocalist Jeff Lynne, who would eventually go on to form the Electric Light Orchestra. The members of the Idle Race and the Move were always close; the original intended debut Idle Race single was supposed to be a cover of the Move's (Here We Go 'Round) The Lemon Tree until that song was unexpectedly chosen to be the B side of the Move's hit single Flowers In The Rain in mid-1967. Instead, Liberty Records chose to go with Lynne's own Imposters Of Life's Magazine, which was released in October of 1967.

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     Catfish Blues
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer:     Robert Petway
Label:     United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year     1967
     Like many other US cities in the 1960s, San Francisco had a small but enthusiastic community of blues record collectors. A group of them got together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, and made quite an impression when they played the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This led to a contract with Liberty Records and an album consisting entirely of cover versions of blues standards. One standout track from that album is Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, expanded to over six minutes by the Heat.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    EXP
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, is very much a studio creation. Hendrix had been taking a growing interest in what could be done with multiple tracks to work with, and came up with a masterpiece. What makes the achievement even more remarkable is the fact that he actually only had four tracks to work with (compared to the virtually unlimited number available with modern digital equipment). EXP, which opens the album, is an exercise in creative feedback moving from left to right and back again, fading in and out to create the illusion of circling the listener (this is particularly effective if you're wearing headphones). The intro to the piece is a faux interview of a slowed-down Hendrix (posing as his friend Paul Caruso) by bassist Noel Redding.

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

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source:     LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:     Bruce/Brown
Label:     RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:     1968
     The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    It's All Right
Source:    Mono LP: Kinks Kinkdom
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1964
    It's All Right, the original B side of the Kinks first hit, You Really Got Me, was not available on an LP until the release of the 1965 album Kinkdom, a US-only album made up mostly of tracks that had previously been issued only in the UK. The song shows how strong an influence early US rock and roll had on Ray Davies's songwriting.

Artist:    Lyrics
Title:    So What!!
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Chris Gaylord
Label:    Rhino (original label: Era)
Year:    1965
    In some ways the story of the Lyrics is fairly typical for the mid-1960s. The Carlsbad, California group had already established itself as a competent if somewhat bland cover band when in 1964 they recruited the local cool kid, Chris Gaylord (who was so cool that he had his own beat up old limo, plastered on the inside with Rolling Stones memorabilia, of course), to be their frontman. Gaylord provided the band with a healthy dose of attitude, as demonstrated by their 1965 single So What!! The song was written by Gaylord after he had a brief fling with a local rich girl. Gaylord's tenure lasted until mid-1966. Although the band continued without him, they never again saw the inside of a recording studio.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Nobody Knows You (When You're Down And Out)
Source:    LP: The Dock Of The Bay (originally released on LP: The Soul Album)
Writer(s):    Jimmie Cox
Label:    Volt
Year:    1966
    Like its predecessors, Otis Redding's fourth LP, The Soul Album, contains mostly cover tunes. Scratch that. Otis didn't do covers, he did interpretations. When Otis Redding did a song, he invariably made it his own. Even his signature song, Try A Little Tenderness, was originally recorded in the 1930s (by a variety of artists, including Bing Crosby) but Otis's version bears little resemblance to those early recordings of the song. The Soul Album, released in 1966, is often overlooked because it doesn't contain any of Otis's hit singles, but it does include some of his finest work. In fact, his version of another classic from the Jazz Age, Jimmie Cox's Nobody Knows You (When You're Down And Out), was considered to be so strong a performance that it was included on Redding's first post-humous LP, The Dock Of The Bay, just two years after its original release.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Down On Me
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Joplin In Concert)
Writer:     Trad. Arr. Joplin
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     Recorded 1968, released 1972
     Big Brother And The Holding Company's first album, featuring the single Down On Me, was recorded in 1967 at the studios of Mainstream Records, a medium-sized Chicago label known for its jazz recordings. At the time, Mainstream's engineers had no experience with a rock band, particularly a loud one like Big Brother, and vainly attempted to clean up the band's sound as best they could. The result was an album full of bland recordings sucked dry of the energy that made Big Brother and the Holding Company one of the top live attractions of its time. Luckily we have this live version of the tune recorded in Detroit in early 1968 and released on the 1972 album Joplin In Concert that captures the band at their peak, before powerful people with questionable motives convinced singer Janis Joplin that the rest of the group was (ahem) holding her back.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    How Many More Times
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:    Tangerine Dream
Title:    Resurrection
Source:    British import CD: Electronic Meditation (originally released in Germany)
Writer(s):    Schnitzler/Froese/Schultze
Label:    Reactive/Esoteric (original German label: Ohr)
Year:    1970
            Tangerine Dream is generally acknowledged to be the band that started the entire electronic rock genre. Although they became famous for their use of synthesizers, their first LP, Electronic Meditation, was recorded in a rented factory in Berlin in October 1969, using just a two-track Revox tape recorder. It was the only album recorded by the group's original lineup of Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze, and Conrad Schnitzler. The album itself is highly experimental, as can be heard on its final track, Resurrection.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Love Until I Die (Top Gear version)
Source:    Mono CD: Ten Years After (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    When the British government pulled the plug on Radio London in 1967, DJ John Peel, who had hosted a popular and influential underground radio show on the popular pirate station, immediately found work on the new BBC Radio 1, which was launched specifically to capture Radio London's former audience. He soon found himself involved with the revival of a program called Top Gear, that featured a mixture of records and live performances by Britain's most popular bands. Under Peel's guidance, the show became an important part of the emerging blues and progressive rock scenes. One of the first bands to be featured on the show was Ten Years After, performing songs from their first album, such as Love Until I Die, an Alvin Lee original that builds on the same riff that Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse had used for their version of Crossroads on the 1966 LP What's Shakin' (and Cream would use on their 1968 Wheels Of Fire album), but soon takes off in an entirely different musical direction.

Artist:    Beau Brummels
Title:    Don't Talk To Strangers
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elliott/Durand
Label:    Rhino (original label: Autumn)
Year:    1965
    The Beau Brummels were one of the first bands to emerge from the San Francisco area following the British Invasion of 1964. Signed to Mike Donahue's Autumn Records in 1964, the band got off to a solid start with back-to-back hit singles (Laugh Laugh, and Just A Little), and were considered one of the originators of the folk-rock movement. Financial problems at Autumn, however, led to poor promotion of the band's subsequent releases, including the excellent Don't Talk To Strangers (produced by Sly Stone), and they were never able to regain their momentum, even after Autumn (and the Beau Brummels' contract) was bought out by Warner Brothers in 1967.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Unhappy Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played a lot on the jukebox at a neighborhood gasthaus known as the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, where I spent a good number of my evening hours.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Riders On The Storm
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    The last major hit single for the Doors was also one of their best: Riders On The Storm. In fact, it still holds up as one of the finest singles ever released. By anyone.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Bach Doors Man/Chest Fever
Source:    LP: Sugarloaf
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Webber/Raymond/Pollock/Robertson
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1970
    The Moonrakers were Denver, Colorado's most popular local band in the mid-1960s, releasing four singles on the Tower label from 1965 to 1966. In 1968 two of the band members, keyboardist/vocalist Jerry Corbetta (who had been playing drums with the Moonrakers) and guitarist Bob Webber, decided to form a new band called Chocolate Hair with bassist Bob Raymond and drummer Myron Pollock. They began recording demo tapes in 1969. The people at Liberty Records were so impressed with the demos, including an organ solo called Bach Doors Man that turned into a cover of Robbie Robertson's Chest Fever over the course of nine minutes, that they ended up using the demos themselves on the first Sugarloaf LP. As a result, even though Pollock had been replaced by Bob McVittie by the time the LP was released, Pollock was the actual drummer on all but one song on the album.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Here Comes The Sun
Source:     CD: Abbey Road
Writer:     George Harrison
Label:     Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:     1969
     In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' recording career as a band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the #1 spot on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    Crimson And Clover
Source:    CD: The Best Of Tommy James And The Shondells (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    James/Lucia
Label:    Rhino (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1968
    Tommy James And The Shondells were one of the most successful singles bands in the world from 1966 through mid-1968, when they took a three month break from recording to go on tour with Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign. During that time, James and the band came to the realization that the pop music scene was going through some major changes; in fact, the term "pop music" itself was giving way to "rock", just as the former term had supplanted the term "rock 'n' roll" in the late 1950s following the infamous payola scandal of 1959 that had destroyed the career of disc jockey Alan Freed, who had been instrumental in the popularization of rock 'n' roll in the first place. At the same time, albums were becoming more important to a band's success, a fact that was not lost on James. During their hiatus from recording the band worked on a change in style, and a marketing strategy to go with it. One of the first songs they recorded in this new style was Crimson And Clover. In November of 1968, Tommy James brought a rough mix of the song to Chicago's WLS, arguably the world's most listened to radio station at the time, and played it off the air for disc jockey Larry Lujack. Unbeknownst to James, however, Lujack had one of the station's engineers running a second tape deck in record mode, effectively making a bootleg copy of the song. As the story goes, James then left the station and got into a car that had its radio tuned to WLS, which was already playing the bootleg tape of Crimson And Clover. Although Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, asked WLS not to play the tape, the overwhelmingly positive response to the song caused him to change his mind and instead insist that a single be pressed using the same rough mix that WLS was playing. Tommy James was finally allowed to record a longer version of Crimson And Clover for the band's new album (also titled Crimson And Clover), but decided to use the already existing tracks and build on them rather than re-record the entire song. Unfortunately, a speed calibration issue between the original and new sections caused the song to change pitch slightly at the transition points. This mismatch was finally corrected using digital technology in 1991, when Rhino Records reissued the combined Crimson And Clover and Cellophane Symphony albums on a single CD. For years, the only way to hear the shorter version of Crimson And Clover was to find a copy of the rough mono mix, but somewhere along the line Drake-Chenault created a "cut down" of the album mix to match the single version of the song that was used on the tapes being sent to automated radio stations. Finally, in 1992, Rhino issued a new version of the Best Of Tommy James And The Shondells that featured a true stereo mix of the single version.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Matilda Mother
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm.

Artist:    Thunderclap Newman
Title:    Something In The Air
Source:    CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Keen
Label:    Polydor (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1969
    Thunderclap Newman was actually the creation of the Who's Pete Townshend, who assembled a bunch of studio musicians to work with drummer (and former Who roadie) John "Speedy" Keen. Keen had written Armenia City In The Sky, the opening track on The Who Sell Out, and Townshend set up the studio project to return the favor. Joining Keen were 15-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (who would eventually join Paul McCartney's Wings before dying of a heroin overdose in 1979), studio engineer Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (who had worked with Pink Floyd, among others) on piano, and Townshend himself on bass. Following the success of Something In The Air, the group recorded an album, but sales were disappointing and the group soon disbanded.

Artist:        Spirit
Title:        Topanga Windows
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer:        Jay Ferguson
Label:        Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:        1968
        Ed Cassidy had already made a name for himself on the L.A. jazz scene when he married the mother of guitarist Randy California. He soon started jamming with his teenage stepson's friends, leading to the formation of a band initially known as Spirits Rebellious (but soon shortened to Spirit), one of the first rock bands to heavily incorporate jazz elements in their music. The majority of the songs on the group's self-title first album were written by lead vocalist Jay Ferguson, who would eventually leave the group to co-found Jo Jo Gunne and in recent years has been a soundtrack composer for movies and TV shows, including the theme song of the US TV show The Office.

Artist:    Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters
Title:    Cocaine (aka Cocaine Blues)
Source:    LP: Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters
Writer(s):    Reverend Gary Davis
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    No single person, musician or otherwise, had a greater impact on the Greenwich Village music scene than Dave Van Ronk. Born in Brooklyn in 1936, Van Ronk was among the first white musicians to combine folk music and the blues, and was a fixture in Village coffeehouses from about 1958 on. Virtually every major artist to emerge from the area (including Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell and the Blues Project's Danny Kalb) considered Van Ronk to be a mentor and a friend. Van Ronk's own major influence was Reverend Gary Davis, who taught him to approach the guitar as if it were "a piano around his neck". David Van Ronk's recording of Davis' Cocaine Blues remains one of the definitive versions of that song. Van Ronk seldom left Greenwich Village and never learned to drive a car. In later years he was given the nickname "the Mayor of MacDougal Street." Van Ronk died of cardio-pulmonary failure while undergoing post-operative treatment for colon cancer in 2002. A section of Sheridan Square has been named Dave Van Ronk Street in his memory.

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    Children Of The Sun
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hill/Brown
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1969
    Formed in Riverside, California in 1965, the Misunderstood relocated to London in 1966, where they soon became one of the top bands on the local underground scene. Unfortunately, the band was plagued by issues involving draft eligibility, resulting in original rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter Greg Treadwell returning to the states soon after arriving in the UK. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as his replacement, Londoner Tony Hill, teamed up with vocalist Rick Brown to write even better songs, augmented by the talents of Glenn Ross Campbell, who played his leads on a pedal steel guitar.  The band soon signed with Fontana, releasing a single in December of 1966 before once again running into problems with the draft board, this time concerning Brown. With their frontman gone, the Misunderstood soon disbanded, with the remaining American members returning to California. Two years later Fontana released a second single by the Misunderstood, Children Of The Sun, which has since come to be regarded as a classic example of garage-flavored psychedelic music.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Heart Full Of Soul
Source:     45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:     Graham Gouldman
Label:     Epic
Year:     1965
     Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love, was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, whose own band, the Mockingbirds, was strangely unable to buy a hit on the charts. Gouldman later went on to be a founding member of 10cc, who were quite successful in the 1970s.